On New Year’s Day, we were invited to dine at another family’s house. Our husbands have known each other for a long time. My husband had been his student and later worked with him at the diocese. It was so wonderful to be able to reconnect with them in the midst of a busy Christmas season. Also in attendance was Fr. Joe Hirsch, whose specialty is vocations recruitment, mostly for the Diocese of La Crosse, but he’s been invited to speak in other locations about the need for answering God’s call.
During the course of dinner, he shared with us a portion of his talk that he gives to young men. He begins by asking them how many have considered being a priest. Maybe one or two will raise their hands. He then asks them to consider cancer and its devastating effects upon people’s lives. Upon this reflection, he holds up a pen and tells them to imagine that this pen is a shot that contains the cure for cancer. He asks them what they would be willing to give up to distribute this cure. Would they give any amount of money? Would they give up being able to have a wife and children?
Then he asks them what is worse, to lose your life, or to lose your soul? Most children will know that the loss of the soul is eternal, but the loss of the body is only temporary. He asks them, after seeing the wheels turn in their heads for a moment, “isn’t the spiritual cancer of sin even worse than physical cancer?” Their response is “yes!”
By that time, he is ready to drive home his point. “The priest has the cure for spiritual cancer. Through the Sacraments, people are continually cured by sin and its devastating effects. Isn’t that worth a substantial sacrifice? Wouldn’t you give anything to help cure spiritual cancer? Consider the priesthood. Is God calling YOU to be an instrument of His cure?”
Beautifully put, Fr. Hirsch.
In the following clip, Fr. Hirsch explains what is needed to truly discern a vocation to the priesthood:
Please share this with the young men in your life. We should all be mindful of potential vocations to the priesthood within our own families and parishes. They need our encouragement and prayers, especially in this time of trial when the priesthood is being so viciously attacked. On this day we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, when Jesus began his earthly ministry. May we all pray for God’s call to be answered in greater numbers.