Discipleship involves service
As a teenager and college-aged student, the summer provided me ample opportunity to work, to spend time with family and friends, to rest, and to serve others. Reflecting on my own experience, it became clear to me that our Lord was using these events to draw me closer to Him, and how He invited me to give totally of myself to serve Him and others as a priest of Jesus Christ.
The call to follow Jesus as His disciple, and as His priest, necessarily involves service to others. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said, “one’s life ought to be spent imitating Jesus’ example of humble service and self-giving, rather than focusing on one’s own needs and interests.” Service is directed toward the other, toward their well-being, which for a Christian is, ultimately, the salvation of souls.
A priest dedicates himself to a life of service, given in love to God’s people by celebrating the sacraments, by teaching the faith, as well as by accompanying those entrusted to his care throughout the various events of their daily lives. He gives his life over to his people as their spiritual father, guiding them as they seek greater union with Christ, who is Lord. The priest does so by learning to follow and recommitting himself — each and every day — to live the example that Our Lord has given, that “the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
In between summer work, family vacations, and much needed rest from the school year, I would encourage anyone, but most especially young men, to spend some time during these months in service to your local parish, an organization in need of volunteers, or in any other activity that allows you to offer your time in service to another.
Find time to pray and to reflect on your service and seek how our Lord might be speaking to you in those events, and how He might be calling you to serve Him in a particular way as His priest.
For a young man discerning a call to the priesthood, offering one’s time and energy in service to another is essential, and the summer months afford many opportunities to do precisely that: