Tuesday, November 29, 2011
More, Not Less
What I find so beautiful about today's Gospel is that when the Lord invited Andrew and Peter to follow, "at once" they left everything and followed him. Was Andrew being impetuous or unreasonable? Quite the contrary! So often, when people speak about vocatations to the priesthood, they immediately begin to recount the things that a man would have to "give up" in order to be a priest. But this is entirely the wrong approach. Is it true that a man must be prepared to sacrifice certain things? Sure. But, we are talking about Christ here! The man who chooses Christ possesses everything else more, not less. Pope Benedict XVI often reminds us that when we follow Christ, we lose nothing of what makes life true, and beautiful, and good. In fact, we gain everything a hundredfold.
Andrew left that boat and his nets because his heart leapt in the presence of Christ. He saw in Christ the answer to his heart's deepest desires. He saw in Christ an invitation to more, not to less. Was it a sacrifice to leave something behind. Absolutely. But, what is the alternative? To say to my heart that is leaping with the joy of discovering Christ, "No, not if it means giving up these things"? If Andrew had opted for the boat and nets, he would have acted against his own heart and his own happiness.
Let's pray for the great men in the seminary. May they never be deluded into going back and looking for the boat and nets that they left behind. Andrew's boat and nets have long turned to dust. But, the souls who came to believe in Christ because of his preaching, they eternally give glory to God. Cling to Christ.
To those considering a vocation to the priesthood: Look at the image above. Christ is so close! In Eucharistic Adoration, you come to see that Christ is near to you. Spend time with the Lord in the Eucharist. And, don't be afraid. The one who has Christ, has everything. When you possess Christ, you possess everything else more, not less.
All of us have an opportunity to bear witness to Christ. Ultimately, Andrew offered a lot more than a boat and nets. He offered his life. In return, Christ gave Andrew the power to preach the Gospel. To any man considering the priesthood, I can assure you that the joy of preaching Christ is reason enough to get out of the boat and follow.