Ch. XIV Holy Orders p 134-150

CHAPTER XIV

 

HOLY ORDERS

 

O Lord grant us Priests!

O Lord grant us Holy Priests!

O Lord grant us many Holy Priests!

O Lord grant us many Holy Religious Vocations!

St. Pius X, pray for us!

 

AN EXCELLENT REFERENCE:

 

An excellent reference on this subject is “THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDECH” by Michael Davies.  This book gives the Catholic position as well as the non-Catholic and Modernist errors concerning The Priesthood. Much of the information in this Chapter will come from this book.

 

WHAT IS HOLY ORDERS?:

 

A candidate for the Priesthood, spends many important years in the Seminary.  Here he grows in Sanctity, Virtue, knowledge, and maturity as his soul is prepared for this Great Sacrament. When he receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he is no longer like other men.  An awesome change has occurred!  He now has Powers that ordinary men don’t have. He has been given the Power to offer The Sacrifice of The Mass and to administer the Sacraments of the Church.  His soul has been permanently marked with The Priesthood.

 

THE RITE OF ORDINATION:

 

During Ordination, the Bishop passes on the Powers of the Priesthood, given to the Apostles by Christ, and passed on in The Catholic Church, through the Centuries. When the Bishop ordains a priest he:

1. Imposes hands on him.

 

2. Puts a stole on his shoulders and arranges it over his breast in the form of a cross, declaring thereby that the priest is clothed with power from on high, enabling him to carry the cross of Christ Our Lord and the sweet yoke of God’s Law, and to inculcate this law by words and by a holy and virtuous life.

 

3. He anoints his hands with holy oil, and then gives him the chalice with wine and the paten with a host, saying at the same time: “Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God, and to celebrate Masses, both for the living and the dead.”

  

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4. Placing his hands on the head of the person ordained, the Bishop says: “Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sin you shall retain they are retained.”  See John 20:22.

 

DO YOU HAVE A VOCATION?[1]

 

St. John Bosco said that one child out of three has a Vocation.  By “Vocation” he meant a call to the higher life of a Catholic Priest, or a Catholic Nun or Brother.  Today, because of the crises in The Church, there is a very great need for good Priests, for teaching Nuns, and for holy Monks. Sadly today, many Vocations are lost, carried away by the desire for earthly pleasures and riches. Our Blessed Lord said: “Come to Me ...and I will refresh you ...You shall find rest for your souls, for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.”  “Everyone that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive A HUNDREDFOLD and shall possess LIFE EVERLASTING.”

 

SOME SIGNS OF A VOCATION:

1. GOOD INTENTION: For example, you must have a desire to be a Priest or Nun or Brother, to love God and save souls, and not to accumulate money or to be honored by other men.

 

2. FITNESS FOR THE WORK: For example, if you want to be a Priest or Nun or Brother, you must have some ability to do the studies required (average intelligence).

 

3. NO HINDRANCES: For example, you must not be bound to support your family.  You must be free from any habit of serious sin.

 

4. RESOLUTION: Be willing to accept the sacrifices demanded by your Vocation (chastity, poverty, and obedience meaning self denial, and also the leaving of one’s family and friends, etc.).

 

5. ACCEPTANCE: by a Bishop or religious superior.

 

CHECK OUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU HAVE A VOCATION:

 

1. Talk with Father about it and possible options.

 

2. Think about it during a 5-Day Ignatian Retreat.

 

3. Do not delay.  The Devil will do everything he can to prevent you from answering your Vocation. 

 

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ERRORS CONCERNING THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS:

 

1. THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE LAITY:

 

Confusion between “The Priesthood of the Laity” and the Priesthood of an Ordained Catholic Priest.[2]

 

Protestants deny that there is any difference between a layman and an ordained Catholic Priest! Tragically, they reject the Sacrament of Holy Orders as they do most of the Sacramental System. Today this error has been widely embraced by Catholic Modernists and they try to water down and ignore the Powers of and Ordained Catholic Priest.  They do this by: Communion in the hand, laypeople bringing the Sacred Species to the sick and distributing It during Mass, neglecting the Sacrament of Confession (going directly to God). 

 

CATHOLIC TEACHING, CATECHISM OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT [3] 

 

The Catechism describes the “Priesthood of the laity” as the “internal priesthood” and The Sacrament of Holy Orders as the “external priesthood”.  Non-Catholics often confuse the two.

 

All the faithful are said to be priests (internal priesthood), once they have been Baptized.  Especially this name is given to the Just who offer up their spiritual sacrifices to God on the altar of their hearts. 

 

Scriptural references to the “internal priesthood”:

 

Apoc. 1:5-6: Christ hath washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us a kingdom and priest to God and his Father.

 

I Peter 2:5 Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

 

Rom. 12:1 The Apostles exhorts us “to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service.”  For example offer up our daily duties as a sacrifice to God.

 

Ps I:19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humble heart.

 

Hence, the “Priesthood of the laity” is their offering up spiritual sacrifices to God.

 

The “external Priesthood” refers to those who have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders and thereby have obtained Powers ordinary men don’t have: Offer a physical Sacrifice  - The Sacrifice of The Mass, change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, forgive or retain sins, administer the Sacraments, etc.
 
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The Old Testament distinguishes between the internal and the external Priesthood.  Our Lord gave many laws to Moses and Aaron concerning the external Priesthood.  He also appointed the whole tribe of Levi to the ministry of the Temple. Our Lord even afflicted King Ozias with leprosy for the sacrilege of trying to usurp the sacerdotal ministry.  See 2 Paral. 26:19.

 

Examples from the New Testament:

 

John 20:23 “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

 

Matt.26:26-29; Mark 14:22-24 Luke 22:19 At the last Supper (the First Mass) Christ gives the Apostles the Power to offer Mass when after the First Mass He said “Do this in memory of Me.”.

 

Acts 14:22 They Ordained Priests in every Church.

 

2. APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION:

 

The Power of Orders is conferred by means of a Sacramental Ordination, the Sacrament of Order, transmitted through the ages from Christ via the Apostles and their successors down to the present-day hierarchy - the Apostolic Succession.

 

A popular theory of Protestants and Modernist “Catholics” is that Apostolic Succession does not refer to the passing down of the Powers of the Priesthood, but refers to teaching the same doctrine as the Apostles.  Thus any sect claiming to teach what the Apostles taught can call itself “Apostolic” and claim to possess Apostolic Succession!

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:[4]

 

Our Lord established only One Church and it is His Will that all men belong to that Church.  This is the essential message of the Apostles.  Churches formed in opposition to The One True Church cannot be held to be of the same mind as Christ!  Christ said that there should be “one flock and one Shepherd”.  Non-Catholic Churches do not have “Apostolic Succession”.

 

Once the Authority of the Catholic Church is rejected, no criterion for distinguishing between truth or falsehood remains, beyond the private judgment of the individual Christian.  Modernist Catholics should be aware of the infallible teaching of the Church on this matter.

 
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Canons of the Council of Trent on the Sacrament of Order:

 

CANON 1: If anyone saith that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true Body and
 Blood of the Lord and of forgiving and retaining sins but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel; or that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.

 

CANON III: If anyone saith that Order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or that it is a kind of human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters; or that it is only a kind of rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.

 

CANON IV: If anyone saith that, by sacred ordination, the holy Ghost is not given; and that vainly therefore do the bishops say: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost;” or that a character is not imprinted by that ordination; or that he who has once been a priest can again become a layman; let him be anathema. 

 

The Catholic Church, the “Pillar of Truth”, cannot contradict Herself.   Modernist Catholics (and everyone else) must not reject the Doctrine of Apostolic Succession or be “Anathema”!

 

3. ANGLICAN ORDERS:

 

At the time of Henry VIII, England was a Catholic Country.  Henry VIII was even given the Title “Defender of the Faith” by the Pope, because of his defense of The Faith against the errors of Luther.  Therefore all of England was filled with validly ordained Priests and Bishops.  When Henry forced England to abandon the Catholic Faith, most (not all) of the English Priests followed Henry in his Heresy, for various reasons: fear, greed, patriotism, tepidity, etc. The question then comes: Does not The Church of England (Anglicanism) then have “Apostolic Succession” and isn’t the new Anglican Rite of Ordination valid?

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:[5]

 

The basis of Protestant teaching lies in denying that there is a difference in essence between the “priesthood of the laity” and the ministerial priesthood conferred by the Sacrament of Order. For a Protestant, ordination is simply a public ceremony in which an individual is appointed to perform a particular function within the Church. There is no intent to pass on the Powers of the Priesthood, since these “Powers” are denied to exist anyway.  Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, taught explicitly that if necessary, the king should make bishops and priests! When he modified the Rite of Ordination, what he added was more ambiguous, than specifically heretical and he deleted references to the Power of the Priesthood and sacrifice.
 
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The Catholic and the Protestant concepts of the priesthood are totally incompatible.  They are mutually contradictory: both cannot be true.  Pope Leo XIII stated irrevocably, in his Bull “Apostolicae Curae” of 1896, that Anglican Orders are invalid because there is no clear mention of the Priesthood and of the Power of Consecrating and offering Sacrifice, the Primary function of the Priesthood. It therefore has a defect in FORM, making their ordinations invalid.  A defective rite can never be used to confect a sacrament, even when used by a lawful minister with the correct intention.                                   138

Since the Anglicans do not “intend to do what the Church does” (conferring the Powers of the Priesthood) during their ordinations, there is also a defect of INTENTION.  Making their “ordinations” invalid. 

 

Therefore the Anglicans are correct, there is no difference between an Anglican minister and a layman.  We can fully agree with them on this.  The trouble is that many Modernists Catholics think that there is also no difference between a Catholic Priest and an Anglican minister!

 

4. THE NEW CATHOLIC RITE OF ORDINATION![6]

 

On November 30, 1947, Pope Pius XII promulgated his Apostolic Constitution “Sacramentum Ordinis” specifying what constituted the Matter and Form of the Sacrament of Order. He laid considerable stress upon the fact that no change whatsoever was to be made in the Traditional Rite.  The importance of the Constitution lies in the fact that it settled for the future, the precise Matter and form of the Sacrament of Order.

 

The new rite of Ordination follows Cranmer’s example.  Prayers and ceremonies which gave explicit Powers of the Priesthood were removed and replaced with ambiguous prayers that were not specifically heretical.  There is a change in emphasis well calculated to please the Protestants! While both the Matter and Form of the new Rite remain unchanged, the Intention must be deduced from the other prayers.

 

As in the Anglican Rite of Ordination, the term “sacrifice of the Mass” does not occur in the new Catholic Rite.  For example:

 

(1) “For it is a priest’s duty to offer sacrifice, to bless, to lead, to preach and to baptize.” This admonition has been abolished!  Why?!

 

(2) “That Thou wouldst recall all who have wandered from the unity of the Church, and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel.”  This has been removed its too unecumenical!

 

(3) “Theirs be the task to change with blessing undefiled, for the service of thy people, bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Thy Son.”  This prayer has been abolished!

 

(4) “That whatsoever they bless may be blessed, and whatsoever they consecrate may be consecrated and sanctified in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”  This prayer has been abolished!

 
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(5) “Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God, and to celebrate Mass, both for the living and the dead, in the name of the Lord.”  This prayer has been abolished!

 

(6) “Receive the Holy Ghost.  Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”  This prayer has been abolished!

 

(7) “The blessing of God Almighty, the Father + the Son +, and the Holy Ghost + come down upon you, and make you blessed in the priestly Order, enabling you to offer propitiatory sacrifices for the sins of the people to Almighty God.”  This blessing has been abolished!

 

Every prayer in the Traditional Rite which stated specifically the essential role of a priest as a man Ordained to offer propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead has been removed!  In most cases these were the precise prayers removed by the Protestant revolutionaries. It is their omission of these prayers, that Pope Leo XIII said was an indication of an intention not to consecrate sacrificing priests. This showed that the Anglican rite had a defect of Intent.

 

What are we to think therefore of the new “Catholic” ordination rite?!!!!!  Is the new rite valid or not?  Do the men ordained after 1968, with the new rite, really have the Power of the Priesthood? As lay people, we are not competent to judge.  A sincere Catholic however has good reason to suspect the validity is at least doubtful!  We need good Priests now.  We need to work out our Salvation now.  Therefore we need to have access to Priests of unquestioned valid Orders, Priests who have the Power to offer The Sacrifice of The Mass, to forgive sins, etc.     This is what Archbishop Lefebvre has given to the world, in these confusing time - An army of unquestionability True, Holy and Catholic Priests.  Deo Gratias!!!

 

5. CELIBACY AND THE PRIESTHOOD:[7]

 

Anti-Catholics take considerable delight in noting that some of the Apostles, including Peter, were married and that for centuries, Catholic priests were allowed to marry.

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Catholics do not deny that some early Popes were married and that celibacy, for priests in the Latin (Western) Rite, did not become mandatory until the Middle Ages.  Celibacy is a disciplinary rule, not a Doctrine.  It was decreed by Pope Gregory VII in 1079.  A priest has enough to do than to have to worry about a wife and family.  An unmarried priest can give himself totally to God.

 
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In Apostolic times, celibacy for priests was preferred. After saying he wished those to whom he was writing were, like himself, unmarried (I Cor.7:7-9), Paul said he thought celibacy was the best state in which to be (I Cor.7:26).  Christ was never married.  However in the early days of the Church, there was a scarcity of single men who were eligible for Ordination.  Men who were already married were accepted for the priesthood and the episcopacy.  As the supply of single eligible men became greater, only single men were accepted for ordination in the West, in accordance to Paul’s wish.

 

The Catholic Church does not forbid anyone from getting married.  No Catholic is forced to be celibate.  Marriage has even been raised to the level of a Sacrament.  When a person elects to become a Priest or a Nun, they know they will not be able to marry and freely take the vow of Chastity. 

 

6. PRIESTESSES:[8]

 

The Catholic Church, is often criticized by Her enemies, as being against women, because there are no women Priests.  Some of our more liberal nuns even confront the Holy Father, insisting on The Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Some non-Catholic Churches already have women ministers, so why doesn’t the Catholic Church allow this also?

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Page 491 in reference 102: “To receive Holy Orders validly, the one to be Ordained must be a baptized male person with at least the habitual intention to receiving the Sacrament.”

 

“It is simply a recognition of the Divinely instituted and profound difference between the sexes, each of which is enabled to make a distinctive contribution to the building up of Christ’s Mystical Body.  It is no more an affront to womanhood to declare that women are incapable of the Priesthood, than it is an affront to declare men are incapable of being the mothers of families.  It may be remarked that while the unique glory of women is motherhood, there is a special distinction for those mothers whose sons are raised to Holy Orders.” Almighty God has made these differences between men and women because of the vastly different rolls He intended for them to play. 

 

In both the old and the new Testament, men were inspired by God on how to offer Sacrifice.  Only men were Priests, a Tradition coming down to us from the earliest of known history. When a Priest offers up a Mass, at the words of the Consecration, he says “This Is My Body” and “This Is My Blood”.  Bread and wine however are changed into Christ’s Body and Blood and not the Priest’s body and blood, because at that moment it is Christ speaking through the Priest.  At that moment the Priest is an “alter Christus” (another Christ).  Christ was male and not female.  Another reason for the male priesthood.    

 
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The Catholic Church is of course not against women, but protects them as best She can from the world because of their critical and important roll of motherhood.  Of all the people who came into existence since Adam and Eve, the highest honor is given to a woman, a woman who is even above the Angels - The Mother of God, The Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Angels, Queen of all Saints, Queen of Heaven, and even Mediatrix of all Graces. 

 

 

 7.  CALL NO MAN “FATHER”!

 

PROTESTANT OBJECTION: 

 

Matthew 23:9 says “And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in Heaven” (God the Father).  So how come you Catholics call the Pope, the Holy Father and address Priests as “Father”?

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Well, my non-Catholic friend, if you were filling out a questionnaire that asked for your “Father’s name”, what would you put down - “ God”?!  Of course not, you’d put down your Dad’s name. Even one of the Ten Commandments tells us to “Honor thy Father and thy Mother”.  There are many words (like Father) that have more than one meaning.  There God the Father in Heaven and there is also our natural Father.  Our natural fathers supply for us, our physical needs, while we were children (food, shelter, protection and guidance).  Priests supply our spiritual needs and therefore can be said to be our spiritual “Fathers”.  The meaning of Matt. 23:9 is that our Father in Heaven is incomparably more to be regarded, than any father upon earth; and no master to be followed who would lead us away from Christ.  

    

 


[1] See attached paper, author unknown.

[2]. “The Order of Melchisedech” Chapter I, by Michael Davies.

[3]. “CATECHISM OF THE COUNCIL O F TRENT” - “Twofold Priesthood” Page 330

[4]. “THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDECH” CHAPTER II BY Michael Davies

[5]. See Chapters II, III and IV of “The Order of Melchisedech” by Michael Davies.

[6]. See Ch. VII “The Order of Melchisedech” by Michael Davies

[7]. “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” , Ch 2, page 41, by Carl Keating

[8]. “Christ and His Sacraments” Ch. 14, page 491, by Donlan - Cunningham - Rock 

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QUESTIONS

Apologetics: Chapter XIV - HOLY ORDERS

 

1. Write you name so I can read it.(1 point).

 

2. Give three ways a Priest differs from ordinary men.  (9 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Fill in the blanks: St. John Bosco said that ________ child out of _________ has a vocation.  (10 points).

 

 

4. Give five signs of a possible Vocation to be a Priest, a Nun or a Brother.  (10 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The internal priesthood (the priesthood of the laity) differs from the external Priesthood in that the former offers to God ________________________ sacrifices while a Catholic Priest offers up

______________________ Sacrifices to God.  The Victim in the Catholic Priest’s Sacrifice is

______________________.  (12 points).

 

 

 

 

 

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6. What do we mean by The Apostolic Succession when applied to the Powers of a Priest.

 (10 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. A Modernist Catholic tells you that all those who claim to teach what the Apostles taught have Apostolic Succession and are Priests.  How would you answer them. (12 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Why did Pope Leo XIII say that the Anglican Orders are invalid?  (12 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9. List some of the ways that the changes in the  New Mass are similar to the changes made by the Protestant reformers in England. (12 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  A feminist claims that the Catholic Church is against women because they wont let women become Priests.  How would you answer her.  (12 points) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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   Father, what is a vocation?

 

     By vocation, we understand a call to a higher life, to a life out of the world, to a live in which we not only keep the Commandments of God (e.g. “Thou shalt not lie.”) but also observe the evangelical counsels (“If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor . .  and come follow Me.”) The vocation may be to the priest hood or to the religious brother hood or sisterhood.

 

     But how can I know that God wants me to be a priest or a monk or a nun?

 

     Of course you do not need to hear a little voice ringing in your ear saying:  “I want you to become a priest,” or you must not wait for an angel to arouse you from sleep in the night and tell you:  “I want you to become a nun”.  No, the idea will enter your mind just as any other holy thought, such as an inspiration to pray or to go to confession.

 

     At least I must feel some kind of strong attraction towards it?

 

     No, some are like that.  They are carried away by the irresistible charm of the higher life and from their earliest childhood all their thoughts and longings are fixed on their religious vocation.  But many young men and women feel the fascination of worldly things.  During their youth they enjoyed the company of their classmates, liked to dress well and go to parties, maybe they were even attracted by marriage.  But after a battle of nature and grace, they were won over to the cause of Our Lord and became priests, monks, or nuns.

 

    

Do you think many are called to a more perfect life?

     Yes.  St. John Bosco says that one child out of three has a vocation.  There is a great need for good priests, for teaching nuns, for holy monks offering the divine praise to Almighty God, etc. …  and therefore no doubt God is calling many to join seminaries, monasteries, and convents.  But id the invitation to follow Our Lord falls upon the ears of everyone who reads the gospel, it does not touch he heart of all.  The human must listen to the Heart of Jesus calling.

 

      What are some signs which give me a moral certitude that I have a vocation?

 

1)      GOOD INTENTION: for instance, you must have the desire to be a priest to love God and save souls, and not to accumulate money or to be honored by other men.

2)      FITNESS FOR THE WORK: for instance, if you want to be a priest, you must have some ability to do the studies ( i.e. average intelligence).  If you want to be a teaching nun, you need to love children, etc . . .

3)      NO HINDRANCES: for example, you must not be bound to support your family.  You must be free from any habit of serious sin.

 

     Do you mean that someone indulging in impurity will never be able to enter the religious life?

 

     No, if he conquers his bad habit and gives conclusive proof that he can lead a pure life, God will of course permit him to enter His service in religion.  The history of the Church is full of sinners who became great saints: St. Mary Magdalen, St. Paul, St. Augustine, etc. . . .
 
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     Father, What are the two last signs?

 

4)      RESOLUTION: to accept the sacrifices demanded by your vocation (chastity, poverty, and obedience meaning self-denial, and also the leaving of one’s family and friends, etc. . . )

5)      ACCEPTANCE: by a bishop or religious superior.

 

     Can someone showing these 5 signs give himself to God in peace of conscience?

 

     Definitively, Yes!  Our Lord says to ALL boys and girls: “MY dear children, I want all of you to strive to be saints.  I do not expect every boy to become a priest or a brother, or every girl to join a convent, but I desire a sufficient number of you to do the work of the Church, and therefore I call for volunteers.  I give to all of you the invitation to observe the Evangelical Counsels, provided you are not prevented by some serious obstacles such as bad health, inability to study (needed for those aspiring to the priesthood), home difficulties, etc. . . .   Anyone of you who is willing to accept my invitation, I shall be very glad to accept and I promise that I will help you with My grace to be faithful to the end.”

 

     But many boys and girls do not become priests, monks, or nuns.  Did they all refuse the calling?

 

     No, not all of them.  Many did not show the 5 signs.  For instance, take a boy who never thought about becoming a priest and who got married and is now a good husband and father.  God placed him in circumstances where the question of a vocation did not arise in his mind.  He as eager to get married and is now happy in his state of life.  It is most likely that he did not have a vocation.  But take for instance a girl who seriously thought to enter the religious life, because she heard of a religious aunt, or because she understood the present need for contemplative and active sisters.  She had the 5 signs mentioned above.  The events of her life, the advice of priests . . . made her clearly hear the calling of Our Lord.  She said in herself,  “I will not enter in religion because I would rather remain in the world.  The sacrifice is too hard for me”.  Finally she got married.  We can presume that she may have refused her vocation.

 

     So the free will has a great part in the choice of a vocation?

 

     In a certain sense, Yes.  Remember the invitation of Our blessed Saviour: “If YOU WANT to be perfect, . .  come follow ME”!  But do not forget that since it is the grace of God that moves our will to correspond to the calling, a vocation is principally the work of God.  He enlightened your mind, strengthened it and guided it to make the right decision.  When somebody who entered the seminary or a religious order looks back on his life, he clearly sees the mercy of God who has led him a frail ship to the harbor of his vocation.  In this sense, Our Lord can say: “You have not chosen ME.  But I have chosen you”.

 

     Father, What happens after somebody consciously refuses a vocation?

 

     He does not commit a mortal sin, because a vocation to a higher life is an invitation, not a command.  But if it is through his own fault, he will find it hard to achieve salvation.  Why?  Because such a person loses the special graces God would confer on him in which He desired him to live.  In many more cases than people think, married couples are unhappy because the wife or husband, or both have, through their own fault (selfishness, cowardice, etc.) missed their vocation.  They should have become priests or religious brothers or nuns.

 

      I understand what you mean.  Please can you tell me some means to help in this difficult problem?

 

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     Surely!  PRAYER: will obtain for God the graces of light you need.  God is a Father and will not leave your conscience forever in doubt.  In one way or another, you will see what is the right thing for you to do.

 

     FIND A GOOD PRIEST: and ask advice from him.  Our Lord told the priests: “Whosoever listens to you, listens to Me.”

 

     DO NOT DELAY: The devil fears new vocations, because that means hundreds of souls saved and going to Heaven.  No doubt he will do everything he can to prevent you from answering your vocation (i.e. sadness, temptations, etc . . .)  Be Courageous!

 

     A last question: After all that you have said, suppose I make up my mind to enter the seminary, the monastery or the convent.  What happens if I find out that I am mistaken?  Won’t that be terrible?

 

     No, you must remember that first of all, one goes through a long period of trial before being ordained (the definitive step, the Subdiaconate, is made after 4 years of seminary training) or before pronouncing vows (the temporary vows are pronounced only after 2 or 3 years of novitiate).  If you make the mistake of entering the seminary of a religious order, you can stop before it is too late.  Judicious superiors will be the first to advise you to leave and to back to the world, if your are in the wrong place. But one cannot change one’s mind after one has made the mistake of getting married or of marrying the wrong person.  Such remain bound by their marriage vows for the rest of their days.

 

     But it would have been a waste of time!

 

     No, because you will have received great graces during these years.  I know several persons who are very happy to have spent one year in a seminary for instance.  This time had a good influence on their whole life.  It is no disgrace for a boy who enters the seminary or a monastery, or for a girl who enters the convent, to leave and return home if they find out that they are not fitted for this higher vocation.  They deserve praise for having made the attempt.  On the last Judgment Day, they will be amazed at the wonderful reward they will receive for having, when they were young, left the world, even for a brief time, in order to give themselves to Our Lord.  These boys and girls have indeed more backbone than the ones who are too cowardly to try for fear of failure.  The father of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus wanted to enter the monastery. He was refused.  Later on he became the saintly father of 9 children.

 

     Have you anything to add on this topic of the vocation, Father?

 

     Yes, I would like to tell you the immense joy that one feels who has dedicated himself to God.  Notwithstanding all the hardships that come to every creature in this land of sorrow, there is no happiness in the world like to that which those enjoy, who know that from morning to night, and year in and year out, they are engaged in carrying out to the best of their ability the greatest work of any creature: to Love God with our whole heart, with our whole strength, with our whole soul, with our whole mind.

 

     Realize how beautiful it is to be a priest, to approach the altar and offer daily the Holy Sacrifice!  How happy is a priest when he absolves poor sinners in the confessional, forgiving them in the name of God!  How wonderful it is to bear in his own hands Our Lord, as Our Lady at the crib of Bethlehem!

 

     Realize also how beautiful it is to be a monk!  God is the infinite Beauty, the infinite Goodness.  So the Religious expresses himself with joy in a free outpouring of love in thanksgiving enraptured by the splendor of God.  This divine praise can be through the liturgical office or through mental prayer.  All daily activities are done to please God.

 

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    Realize how beautiful it is to be a nun!  Teaching sisters, nursing nuns, contemplative nuns, . . . all are the spouses of Our Lord, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.  If an earthly husband can love his wife so much, than how much more can God love His mystical bride!  He shed His blood for her on the cross.  And a nun is also a mother, yes, mother of souls. By her prayers and sacrifices, she obtains so many graces for the conversion of sinners!

 

     Do you think that there is a present need for more vocations?

 

     Oh yes!  The crying need of the Church today is for vocations and more vocations.  “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.”  Alas, many souls are not generous enough.  They turn a deaf ear to Jesus’ call.  They refuse to make the sacrifice.  Fifty years ago, in every country the seminaries, monasteries, and convents were filled.  Now they are empty.  One of the reasons is the modern way of life.  Boys and Girls hear the loving voice of the Savior; but the comforts and pleasures of this world have too strong a hold on their hearts, of promiscuity between boys and girls, (at 14 years old they have a life of parties, dating, etc. . . .).  How do you expect a modern highschooler to persevere in his vocation when everything around him invites him to take it easy, to live only for enjoyment.  The little seed is choked by the thorns.  God calls as many as are needed.  But many are carried away by earthly riches, earthly pleasures, which are present everywhere in our poor modern world.  That is why many vocations are asking yourself the question: ”Which way shall I go?”  If after serious had honest reflection, after several months of fervent prayer, after having taken advice from several good priests, perhaps after a retreat, you say:  “I think Our Lord is calling me to a higher life, to follow Him, to enter the seminary or a religious order.” Do not hesitate.  Your future is in a sense, in your own hands.

 

     “COME TO ME . . . and I will refresh you . . . You shall find rest for your souls, for My yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

 

     “Everyone that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive a HUNDREDFOLD and shall possess LIFE EVERLASTING.”

 

 

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