Oh, what a great mercy I received during this First Friday! I needed to talk to a particular priest who had been helping me discern my vocation. He requested that I visit him again in the confessional for materials he could give me, but I literally couldn’t find him for months. When we finally talked, I told him that I don’t think God is calling me to be a priest… he was very wise and understanding. Open to the possibility that I could be wrong, he told me to keep discerning, but that being a lay evangelist is also a legitimate calling.
The first time I asked Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament about the priesthood, the message I got in my heart was: “There are people that I want you to reach that you won’t be able to reach if you become a priest.” To confirm, I asked our Lord again much later. His response was: “I want you to be a nothing.” And He explained to me what that meant, in an experience that’s too difficult to describe here… I’d like to summarize the gist of it though: God wants me to do work that others aren’t willing to do—a more hidden role. But He’ll give me everything I need to get it done. He also promised something very beautiful if I could become like transparent glass—His light would shine through me unobstructed.
I didn’t share these things in the confessional… Father’s advice already addressed the inner promptings of the Spirit. I gave my confession and received some really detailed penance. I hope it’s okay for me to write it out publicly. (Since they were my sins, I think I can break the seal of the confessional.)
- For the times that I’m tempted to act out in stress, I need to remember that I’m “too blessed to be stressed.” An attitude of gratitude will help: listing three immediate blessings in my life and thanking God for them.
- For the people who’ve hurt or betrayed me, I just need to let go. They probably don’t know what they’re doing, and I’m only adding extra weight for myself to carry. God wants me to be free at heart… I can still show them compassion and mercy, but I can love better once I’ve let go of all interior burdens.
- When I feel too concerned about the opinions of others, I need to compare myself to Jesus. I didn’t understand this at first, but it makes sense because if we compare ourselves to others, there will be occasions for pride and despair (i.e., by thinking that you’re better or worse than someone). When we compare ourselves to Jesus, we are rightly humbled by His goodness, but also loved in His infinite abundance. We see ourselves as children of God, children of the King. That’s our truest source of self-worth.
- Prayer, fasting, and alms-giving for Lent. Have a spirit of sacrifice.
- Always show gratitude to others. Now, rather than later. We may not get the chance again.
Honestly, I would love to be a priest. I would love to be as close to Jesus as I possibly can, every single day. But it’s really not my decision how God wants me to walk with Him to Calvary.
As I was praying, I was thinking of how St. John, the Beloved Disciple, and the Blessed Mother didn’t have to suffer physical martyrdom… but they suffered something far worse by seeing Jesus die on the Cross. That was their sacrifice, their emotional dying to self. By obediently going through this, they showed a great mercy to our Lord. They didn’t leave Him alone and were perfectly united to the Father’s Will.
We often think of asking mercy for ourselves—our desperate need to be washed clean in Jesus’ Precious Blood. But since Jesus is the Suffering Servant, in that very liberal sense, we can also show mercy to our God. How do we try to console His wounds created by our sins? For me, it was going to confession and accepting my penance as a sign of commitment, a sign of renewed love.
Dearest Savior, You know my heart. Please grant me the grace never to abandon You!
“Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. He will not always accuse, and nurses no lasting anger; He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our wrongs deserve. For as the heavens tower over the earth, so His mercy towers over those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us. As a father has compassion on His children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:8-14)