On the morning of Nov. 3, some of you will be sitting in the dark, elevated 10-15 feet above the ground, waiting for the pale horizon to turn to pink, as you pray for Mr. Buck to come by.
One particular saint you can also ask to pray for you is St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters. As Divine Providence would have it, Nov. 3 is also the feast day of this man.
St. Hubert was born in the mid-seventh century and spent much of his youth hunting animals. He also spent it away from the Lord chasing after many worldly affairs. One particular Good Friday, the lure of a large stag in the area continued to occupy his attention, drawing him away from the church service and away from God. As the pious story goes, when he saw the animal, he also saw a cross between the antlers and heard a voice saying that if he did not amend his ways he would spend eternity in Hell.
Shaken to his soul, he allowed the grace of God to change his heart and his life. Soon after, he was ordained a priest and eventually a bishop. Instead of seeking deer, he was molded into a seeker of souls, after the heart of Jesus. By God’s grace he converted hundreds, and many people experienced miracles through his intercession.
Whether it is deer or a crop, or something else, this time of year we see many going out to seek a harvest. We recall that Jesus speaks of a harvest beyond this world: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
We take time this first week of November to intentionally pray for a response to the vocations of priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life; these vocations in our culture many may think of less and some may think less of. True, the call to the priesthood or religious life is different, somewhat obscure and always mysterious. These vocations point directly to a life beyond this world in a way our culture has to either notice or choose to ignore.
For me, it is a very exciting time to be working directly with these vocations. The people responding to God’s call are responding to something very concrete and genuine that they have experienced deep within their souls.
As easy as it may be to get caught up in the things of this world, we recognize that true fulfillment comes in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray each one of us may have the grace first to listen, then to follow his voice wherever he may lead.
If you are able spend some time in the deer stand seeking the hart this weekend, don’t forget to seek the heart of Jesus Christ first!
Father Douglas Liebsch is associate director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Cloud and chaplain at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.