In celebration of our lives within the Christian Mystery, the Church has always provided Sacraments for living our Christian Catholic life to its fullest potential. This includes our Christian Vocation and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Our Christian Vocation
The Christian vocation to life in the spirit comes from our fundamental belief in the dignity of the human person. The word “vocation” means ” a call” or “the calling.” Christ’s whole earthly life – his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking reveals God to the World. Listening to the voice of Jesus helps us discern our Vocation in life.
In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. And it is he who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate as he draws us through prayer and Baptism to live out our dignity as creations of God. By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the short years of his life, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.
Our Vocation, our “call” is lived out in the Catholic Community by following the virtues modeled on the life of Christ. The virtuous person tends toward the good, pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. Dignity comes to us as we try to live out the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues. The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity.
Charity is the virtue by which we fulfill our Vocation to love God above all things , and our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving one another, we imitate the love of Jesus. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
The Sacrament of Holy Orders and The Call to Consecrated Religious Life
As we all strive to live out a life of dignity formed by the Charity of Christ some men and women are “called” to a different sort of “vocation” in life. Often these men and women are called “Monks” or “Brothers” and “Nuns” or Sisters.” Religious life derives from the mystery of the love Christ has for his Church. It is a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable way of life to the faithful called by God to profess “the counsels.” This often entails men and women who freely follow the call to consecrated life and the opportunity of practicing “the counsels” of chastity in celibacy, poverty and obedience for the sake of the Kingdom.
In the vocation to the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit give themselves to God with vows for the entirety of their lives. Religious life for both men and women, in its various forms, is called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders
Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is directed towards the salvation of others. Ordination confers a particular mission in the Church on men so that they may serve to build up the People of God as deacons and priests . Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ’s name “to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.”
The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ – Head of the Church – before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice and the other Sacraments.
The promise of obedience these men make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.
Permanent Deacons receive the imposition of hands during ordination to serve the Church in ministry. Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with a “character” which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.
If someone is interested in The Sacrament of Holy Orders or the call to Consecrated Religious Life many avenues for discernment are available. Please contact the parish priest for information and opportunities on how to serve the Church following this “vocation” and “call.”
Men interested in serving the Church through the Sacrament of Holy Orders to the priesthood or diaconate can contact their parish priest or directly contact the Diocese of Boise, Office of Vocations; Father Gerald Funke Vocation Director, VocationsOffice@RCDB.org, 208-350-7538 or visit the Diocese of Boise Vocations website at www.catholicidaho.org/Vocations.