Friday, August 04, 2006

How generous are you?


"Have you ever considered priesthood?" - It's a straightforward question that elicits a whole variety of replies. One of them is "Yes, I have. But it's not for me. My vocation is to get married". Now tell me, how do you know? The heavenly postcard that doesn't turn up when you're called to priesthood, did you get one saying "Wedding Bells"? Did the National Lottery finger appear over a family picnic accompanied by the words "It could be you"?
In Spain there's a variation on the theme with the reply "Es que a mi, me gustan las chicas" - I like girls... Now let's get something straight: - if you don't like girls then we don't want you! Shakespeare's Angelo thought he wasn't interested in girls even to the point of musing "When men were fond I smiled and wondered how?" And look what happened to him...
Young men like girls. Seminarians like girls. Priests and, hey, husbands like girls too. Which is precisely why young men, seminarians, priests and indeed husbands need to exercise a certain prudence in their dealings with girls. A husband who finds himself falling in love with his secretary needs to spend less time with her and more time with his wife!
Marriage is a divine vocation. It is a path to sanctity. It is probably God's chosen path for 95% of men on the planet... and that's the problem. It's too easy! It's too comfortable! Not the state of being married (anyone who's done a baptism visit to a baby with cholic would NEVER think that being married is easy). But it is easy to think that my call is to do what everyone else is doing.
The trouble is that it's only a small step from that to serving God on our own terms. "Yeah, I want to serve God. My priorities? Well I suppose a job in the City. A wife. Nice house. Kids? Well I'd like a few... of course it depends on what my wife wants as well". How happy will you be ten years down the line? Still attending Mass? Enjoying work? Compromised over the number of kids?
It's all a question of generosity towards God. If marriage is your vocation and you're generous in your response you will be happy. You'll still be praying. You'll love your wife and have all the children God desires for you. How do you know if you're generous towards God? The litmus test is this: are you willing to look hard at the possibility that God may be asking something more of you? That he might want you to be a priest? In your prayer are you willing to utter the words "Not my will but Thine"? Are you willing to talk it through with a priest?
Your vocation may be to marriage. But the fact that you're reading this blog suggests it may also lie elsewhere...

1 comment:

Eid'n said...

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