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As a priest, your son will replace the comforts of a wife and family with a deeper relationship with God and a commitment to serving the community. He will have the support of his brethren and spiritual relationships with the members of his parish. His duties will be challenging and are extremely important to the people he serves. Each week, a priest enters the lives of dozens of his parishioners at their most vital moments: in the baptism of a newborn child, in the absolution of decades of previously unrepented sin, in the consecration and distribution of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, in the exchange of marital vows before God, in the anointing of the sick and in the funeral of a deceased member of the Church. Because he is “priest,” because he stands in the person of Jesus Christ, the priest is a central part of their lives in these precious occasions. In saying the prayers of the Daily Office and in celebrating daily Mass where Christ becomes truly present in the Holy Eucharist, the priest is in constant contact with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When God calls someone to a specific vocation such as the priesthood, it is up to that person to accept the call or not. God does not force, He only calls. But, as many priests will tell you, if the Lord wants a man to be a priest, it will be the happiest and most fulfilling life he could possibly lead. After all, God is the source of all joy and lasting fulfillment.
If you measure success by money, children, or other common goals to a secular life, then in your eyes your son will not be successful. If you measure success through your son’s eyes, his desire to answer the call and meet the challenges of leading a life in Christ and serving people to find the same, then you will be on the same page as he is and see the possibilities. The priesthood is an uncommon life and a few rare men are blessed with the calling and the skills to serve the Lord in this capacity. A priest holds an indispensable role. In the sacraments, Christ acts through his priests and provides the graces needed to reach heaven: it is the priest who gives absolution for sin; it is the priest who consecrates the Holy Eucharist; it is the priest who anoints the sick and dying. In short, it is the priest, standing in persona Christi, who prepares the soul for death and eternal life. The successes of a good priest echo through all of eternity, long after this earth has passed.
Grandchildren are a blessing, there is no denying that. And, entering the priesthood does mean that your son will not have any biological children. This is, undeniably, your sacrifice in supporting your son as a priest. Reflect, though, upon the powerful impact a dedicated priest has on the many people he meets, and upon the value of accepting God’s will in life, even when it may be difficult. A priest’s life is a life of sacrifice, because it is the life of our Lord. The parent of a priest will also make sacrifices in this life for the greater glory of the next, because their life is that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ask Mary to pray for you for wisdom and understanding, as your son discerns God’s will in his life.
Compliments of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
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