September 9, 2019
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I received during my time in the seminary was this: “There is no vacation from your vocation.” It meant that I was to keep going to daily Mass, keep up my prayer life, and always remember that I was still a seminarian, someone aspiring to the priesthood. These words of advice have always kept me grounded during my summer break or vacation time with my family and friends.
This idea is not limited to just priests, seminarians, or religious — the universal call to holiness can be applied to everyone’s vocation. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
I remember growing up, my parents would reintroduce us to our daily school schedule two weeks before school began again after the long summer break. Wise parenting, I know. By the time school started, my brothers and I did not complain about having to get up early or being tired. We were ready for school to begin.
This call to perfection, as Christ tells us, can be very daunting and very challenging because who of us can be as perfect as God? But fear not, we have helpers and the Holy Spirit to help us on this journey. Like my parents did with me, the Church offers us wisdom and teaching from people who have lived out this calling of holiness: we call them saints.
The saints often tell us that one must have a close relationship with our Lord through prayer, sacred Scripture, and the sacraments, but mostly Adoration of the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit’ of Christian life, the other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it’ (1324).
The Eucharist gives us nourishment for our journey by giving us the grace to remember what Jesus Christ has done for us and continues to do for us at every Mass. The love He shows us on the cross is to be imitated through our day-to-day activities: in our encounters at home, the workplace, and public places.
Another sacrament by which we encounter God’s divine love, which helps us towards perfection, is Reconciliation. This sacrament is where many of the faithful experience God’s mercy and healing. The road to perfection should be rooted in humility, where one not only admits one’s brokenness but is willing to rely on the blessings from God to help overcome our weakness of sin.
The Lord continues to reveal Himself to us if we allow Him to enter our life. We do this through prayer and other devotions such as the Rosary, the Divine Office, and sacred Scripture. These, like the sacraments, nourish us and give us the discipline we need, so that during our busy lives we can slow down and ask for help from our Blessed Mother Mary, the saints, and God Himself.
Through these preparations one may find God and develop a closer relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ, but also ask, in prayer, what is our vocation in life? For those who are still discerning what God is calling them to do, ask the Lord, “what are you asking of me? Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. How do you want me to serve you and my brothers and sisters?” And for those who have accepted their calling, ask for the continued grace from God to keep faithful to the call He has given you in life.
There is “no vacation from your vocation” or from striving for holiness in life, but with help and grace from God and the Holy Spirit, you can continue to grow in holiness and have a more loving relationship with our Lord through the sacraments and the Eucharist.
Ordained on May 21, 2016, Father Nghia Nguyen serves as the parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller and as Vocations Liaison with the Vocations Office.
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I received during my time in the seminary was this: “There is no vacation from your vocation.”