This weekend we had the joy of attending the first Mass of Father Raymond Buehler. The most beautiful thing about the Mass was not the music, nor the church, nor the vestments, but rather the love for God and His people that Father Buehler demonstrated throughout the Mass, especially in the offering of the Eucharistic prayer.
In his closing remarks, Father Buehler included a special thank you to the religious sisters that accompanied him with prayers and support through his time at the seminary. He recounted a visit he made with a fellow seminarian to the convent. After the visit, his friend made the observation, “I love the sisters. They make me want to be a priest.” I think we were all humbled by that compliment.
However, I am not surprised by it, because this is the reality of the Mystical Body of Christ. My “yes” to God through my vocational response is not just between “me and God” as people so often like to believe. My “yes” (and my “no’s”) affect others’ responses; and their responses affect my own. As religious, we are called to manifest the holiness of the Church for which Christ gave his life; priests are called to make visible Christ, High Priest and Head of the Church, especially in their ministry to preach, sanctify and govern. Families are the domestic Church, or the Church “in miniature,” where children learn through the word and example of their parents the love Christ has for the Church and the love we are to have for each other. A strong family, a holy religious, or a zealous priest strengthens those who are weak so that together, we will be drawn into communion with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. In other words, that we may form the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
If you are not a religious, you might have the impression that sisters are the ones giving and not on the receiving end. However, I cannot count the number of times in my life when the example of a joyful priest in love with our Lord has inspired me to look again at the beauty of my vocation; how a selfless mother has encouraged me to stay faithful by promising her prayers for me; or how children have reminded me of my vocation as a spiritual mother. And these are the moments I am aware of! I greatly look forward to the day when all that is hidden is revealed. God is so humble to allow us to participate in his work of salvation!
If that’s the reality, then the invitation is clear: say “yes” to God, today and every day. In doing this, you will not only be choosing what is good for you, but touching the lives of countless others!