Father Doug Liebsch: The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus

Note: National Vocation Awareness Week is Nov. 6-12.

By Father Doug Liebsch

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).

Our vocation, that place to which we are called to give ourselves, is the field. It looks different for each of us depending on what God calls us to, but the treasure is always Christ. He is worth selling everything else!

So often in the Church we can hear a plea for the priesthood that comes from pastoral need: “We need priests because…” As true as this may be, in the midst of that cry we can almost forget the gift priesthood is to the Church and to the individual. If Jesus is calling you, or your son to the priesthood, certainly it is a gift for the Church, but it is also a gift for the individual!

By virtue of their ordination, priests enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ in a very intimate way. The last person I talk to before I go to bed and the first person I typically talk to when I wake up is Jesus, found in the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel where I live. Certainly a treasure.

My first experience of eucharistic adoration was when I was in elementary school. My parents would each have a weekly Holy Hour at our local adoration chapel. When I was young, my mom had one on Sunday evenings and my dad had one on Thursdays at 4 a.m. Occasionally they would invite me. I didn’t say “yes” often, but once in a great while I did. When I would go, I would receive a silent peace this world does not give. This is the treasure Jesus offers — a belonging to him that brings peace.

Priesthood, which so often is first seen as a renunciation of family, is so much more. It is a “yes” to find the treasure of Jesus Christ. I pray that all of you reading this recall the value of your own life — of what you offer so that you can find Jesus, who also sells all that he has to find you!

As we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week this month, please pray with me:

Gracious God and Father,
We praise You for Your goodness and love. You teach us that each vocation is born in prayer and only through prayer does it persevere and bear fruit.
We ask You to stir the hearts of all those You call to the priesthood and consecrated life in the Diocese of St. Cloud. Make them generous. Make them courageous. Make them joyful in giving everything to Jesus.
Send Your Holy Spirit upon our families and our children. Choose from our parishes, our homes and our schools those called to this adventure of love. With Mary, Mother of every vocation, we ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Father Doug Liebsch is the director of the diocesan Vocation Office and chaplain at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.

Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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