4 marks

A while back I was reading some vocation testimonies and one of the things that struck me was when one of the priests gave four marks for a vocation: “prayer, hard work, generosity and sacrifice.” I think he is right.

When a dying man was on his deathbed, he got his kids together. He asked one to organize the family estate, he asked one to comfort his wife, and the priestly son asked what he should do. “Pray, obvious,” responded the father. In prayer Jesus shows a priest the way.

For four years I put about 3,500 miles a month on the car. And it wasn’t that I travelled every month cross country; I did a circle of 3 States over and over again – I know most of the Interstates there well enough that I can tell you what restaurants are at the next exit. Fr Robert DeCesare, whom I was with the last two years, was an example of hard work. Despite the obvious time needed to drive, he would preach 20+ silent weekend retreats a year for over 500 people, he would preach 6 or more evening retreats each month, and he would see close to 200 people a month in spiritual direction. Nobody ever said the vocation would be easy, in fact the harder it is, the more we can show our love to Jesus.

Another priest in this same series of testimonies spoke of how when he was a young priest, he wouldn’t lead a prayer group on Sunday evenings so as to avoid inferring with his NFL couch-time. Obviously, to live an exemplary priesthood, he changed his ways. This is obvious because we all recognize that a priest is a man for others, a generous man.

The mass is a sacrifice; this priest as another Christ offers that sacrifice. But being another Christ isn’t just at mass; his day must be filled with the same sacrifice. Most of the sacrifices are pretty simple – being available at odd hours to help people, always showing a smiling face even when he wants to kill someone – but he needs to be ready, like Christ, to lay down his life for his sheep.

These four characteristics are not just an ideal, but as Legionaries we live them out every day. Our day is really regulated by prayer between a 1-hour meditation, mass, rosary, spiritual reading, conscience exam, and a few community prayers we pray about 3 hours a day. Just as a man his called to his wife, we are called to Jesus and his Church. For us, generosity, hard work and sacrifice are linked together in our integral and constant formation which teaches us to give at each moment, generously sacrificing ourselves. By this, hopefully, we can become the priests God wants us to be.

(The series of vocational testimonies I was reading was Priest by Michael Rose, which I would give a limited recommendation to for adults but not give it to teenagers as some of these priests dealt with adult problems.)

About Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC

In 2001, I traveled from Calgary, Canada to join the Legion. Since then I’ve been all over North America and spent some time in Rome. I currently reside in Washington doing a bunch of writing and taking care of the community while studying my Licentiate in Theology (between Masters and Doctorate). I’m most well-known on Instagram and Twitter where I have about 6,500 and 40,000 followers respectively.
This entry was posted in RC Live. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *