This week is National Vocation’s Week; it is a week-long celebration in the Catholic Church in the United States that is dedicated to praying for and discerning one’s vocation, particularly to the Priesthood, diaconate or religious order. This week, I have an opportunity to speak to over 500 students from kindergarten through 8thgrade about the vocation of marriage.
Growing up, I thought my vocation was to join the religious order. My uncle was, and still is, a Franciscan priest. I remember visiting him at his monastery in New Mexico while I was growing up and was amazed at how the friars worked together to form and serve their community. This had a great impact on me. As time unfolded, I joined the Air Force when I graduated from high school. After I left the Air Force, I went to college and that’s when I met a really cool guy.
It was when I met Jason that I knew my vocation was not the religious order but was marriage. Jason and I dated for a year, were engaged for a year and then married. Eleven years later, we have three children who fill our days with laughter and joy. I still have that yearning to be a part of a community and to serve a community. Instead of being part of a religious order, I have a domestic Church. This means that we serve God and the Catholic Church through prayer life and living as active Catholics in our own home. By having our own domestic Church, we are helping to serve our community by raising children who are and will carry on the Catholic faith.
For the past five years, Jason and I have been a part of Teams of Our Lady. Teams of Our Lady is an international movement of the Catholic Church that was started in 1939 in Paris, France. Through the decades, Teams of Our Lady has worked as a movement to make “Good marriages better and to spiritually enrich marriages.” You see, in every marriage there are three people. A man (the husband), a woman (the wife), and Jesus Christ. All too often, Jesus is left out of the picture. Mary is the Patroness of Teams of Our Lady. According to the first chapter in the Gospel of Luke, we get to Jesus through the heart of Mary, hence, “to Jesus through Mary.” She is our guide for our relationship with Jesus and therefore, is our Patroness of marriage.
Mary is also a perfect model for answering our vocations that God has set forth in each of our own lives. Mary was approached at a young age by the Archangel Gabriel and was told that she would have a son that she was to name, Jesus. When Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be done to me according to His will.” This meant that Mary offered the perfect “yes!” to God! Just look at how she has been glorified by God all for saying, “yes!” Mary knew then what her vocation was, and she accepted it without hesitation.
While we may not all have an archangel coming to visit us and let us know our vocation, we do have the Holy Spirit that will help us discern our way to mimicking Mary’s “yes” and answering God’s call in our lives. He made each of us unique and we all have a separate road to travel on the path of life. Perhaps your vocation is marriage; or, perhaps it is the religious order, the diaconate or the priesthood. Whatever it is, I urge you to model Mary and never forget to include her and her beloved son, Jesus Christ, in your plans. For surely, God will not fail you nor will He ever forget you. What is your vocation?