>> Saturday, July 4, 2009
This guest post was written by Cassandra Poppe from Intercessories Family Ministries and Our Lady's Children
Believe it or not, there are solutions to the Church’s declining vocations market. I was reminded of this recently when one of my friends bemoaned, “We need more priests!” She tossed her hands up and sighed, “But, hey. What can we do?” She shrugged it off as a problem beyond solutions, and turned to watch her children play on the swings. Her apparent helplessness startled me. Couldn’t she see? The solutions were right before her, as evident as the Kool Aid stain on her shirt. Two possible solutions! I myself have four. And my sisters also have two solutions, with another one on the way. Indeed, the only solution to the vocation crisis is our very own “nest eggs” – our children.
Please note, not every child was created to become a priest or religious. However, being Catholic parents and shareholders in the Church, we must be willing to make this sizeable donation to the Church, should God request it. To scoff at the thought of such a donation, or to deny Him what is rightfully His will hurt not only the growth of that particular nest egg, but will also drastically effect the overall profit of the Church and all its shareholders in the future. I love the Church and want to see it prosper, and the only way it will thrive is by willingly investing some of my own nest eggs in the process.
There was an article in the Rockford, Illinois diocese paper awhile back that stated a fascinating statistic. Over the past five years, one fourth of graduating Catholic homeschooled males in that diocese chose to enter the seminary over worldly educational institutions. That number, to me, is staggering! Any financial investor will tell you that a 25% return on an investment is excellent. Now imagine, with this rate of return, the wealth of vocations that could come if more Catholic families invested in their young nest eggs using strategies similar to the ones used for these young men. As an insider on this particular strategy, I will slip you a few tips on how to get in on this great investment plan.
Any parent interested in investing in the future of the Church should begin with prayer. Pray that the Lord open your hearts to His will, whatever it may be. Pray that all pride can be put aside, should the day come that your son, on the day he finds he is the first draft pick for a professional football team, says, “Forget it! I’m going to be a priest instead!” Could you accept his decision as a blessing from God? Would you realize the spiritual windfall God has given to your family through your son? Or would you be tempted to cling onto him and bury him in the ways of the world?
Show your children your respect for consecrated men and women. Get to know them so that your children can see the things that they do within their specific callings. Teach them to appreciate the nun’s habit and the priest’s collar. They are signs to the world that they have chosen something far better than the world. They have chosen God! Always speak of priests in awe, and remind your children that a priest is not just a man in charge of a big building. Bread and wine change into the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord through the hands of the priest!
Attend a weekday Mass for an increase in vocations. St. Michael’s in Van Buren, Arkansas actually has a Mass every Friday morning for this specific intention. Attending such a Mass shows your children that vocations are something very important to you and will prepare their hearts to say, “Yes!” if the Lord calls them.
Family time spent celebrating the faith is the greatest deposit you can make into your nest eggs. Pledge to make regular deposits of faith into their hearts. Live the liturgical year. Persist in family prayer. And allow the Lord to call the hearts of your children to Him, should it be His will.
I have put my money where my mouth is and this plan works! 25% of my nest eggs have steadily expressed a firm commitment to become a nun for five years straight. Please pray for her. 50% of my nest eggs are very open to the possibility, but are in no hurry to make a decision. And the other 25%? Well, he wants to be a pirate. Please pray for him as well. After all, with your prayers, he too could become a great future “in vestment”!
photo by Catholic Church (England and Wales)