Written By Fr. Brian Alford
Over the past few years, I have renewed move love for the sport of ice hockey. Having played throughout high school, I pretty much gave the game up when I went to college. When I moved to Springfield in 2013, Bishop Paprocki encouraged me to come out and play sometime. My initial excuse to decline the offer was that I did not have my equipment anymore. Thanks to my dad who has a great knack for finding used things for sale, he found a whole set of equipment, all of which fit perfectly! With that excuse destroyed, I struggled to find another one. This time I tried to claim that it had been so long that I probably would not even remember how to skate anymore. I finally went out on the ice one day and to my surprise, the skating came back almost instantly. Another excuse destroyed!
Throughout those months, I struggled with trying to find reasons not to get back out on the ice, and the real excuse was that I had cold feet. Here I am speaking about the common phrase we use for being afraid of doing something, not the fact that the ice is cold! I think there are some parallels here with discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. We can be very good at coming up with excuses for why not to pursue the process of discernment. Some common ones include: “I’m not worthy”, or “I’m not holy enough”, or “I’m not smart enough”, or “I think I might want to get married and have a family.” Having discerned my own vocation many years ago, and having accompanied many men in their discernment process as well, I am here to tell you that those excuses are common to almost EVERY young man, and I bet if you polled a majority of our priests, they would say that they too gave serious thought to using those excuses as a way of not seriously discerning the priesthood. The Lord is able answer all of our excuses, and when he does, the only thing that often holds us back is our cold feet, our fear of “getting on the ice.”
So if you (or somebody you know) has thought about the priesthood or religious life and those (or other) excuses keep coming up, get in touch with one of our vocation directors and I think you will find that we will help you to address those excuses and realize that if the Lord is calling you, even if you feel like you do not have the necessary equipment to be a priest, God our loving Father will help to equip you so that you can fulfill His call in your life.