Its coming close to the end of my first year here in Mount Angel Seminary in beautiful Oregon. And boy, what a ride its been, even in this short time. Looking back on all the different twists and turns that finally led me to say “yes” to God’s invitation, i can only smile with glee because ultimately i realize God is driving. It took me awhile to let go of the steering wheel, but once i did, my life was transformed.
Yes, the number of priests are declining while the number of men entering seminarians cannot keep up. But i know God is working even now in the hearts of countless men across the world, just as He did for me as i discerned. Ever since i entered “Priest boot-camp” (as my dear friend Elie refers to it), ive been randomly coming across other guys, young and old, pondering the same vocation. It’s amazing! I have a feeling its providential that God would allow my path to cross with these men to offer a sense of solidarity in their discernment, which often can be lonely road in our material world.
As i get to know my brother seminarians here, a joy radiates from our discussions. We’re all aware of the climate of the shrinking priesthood in America and Europe and yet we go foward with optimism, confident knowing if indeed we are privilaged to be ordained soldiers of light, we march on with a rosary in one hand and a worn out copy of the Liturgy of the Hours in the other.
Indeed, we are asking the wrong question. A fellow seminarian once commented that “we dont have a vocation crisis, we have a faith crisis.” And there is truth to that. I believe if we help people strive closer to God, vocations will come.
I think Fr. Corapi also hit the issue right on the nose when someone asked him about the “vocation crisis” and he answered back, “How many times have you prayed for vocations?” How of us actually do consistently pray for more workers in the vineyard?
Pray for it, and they will come!