By Fr. Jake Greiner
We have completed another graduation season. High school and college students have been recognized for completing their courses of study in preparation for the next stage in their life. From the perspective of the Catholic Church, these students are preparing themselves to go out into the world and live out their God-given vocations. A person’s vocation is “the calling or destiny we have in this life and hereafter.” This gift from God of our vocation is one of the most important things that we need to be good stewards of throughout our lives. Therefore, getting a good education and seeking good life experiences are truly acts of stewardship. These actions help us to develop our God-given vocation. These experiences are used by God to help us discover his calling for our lives. My own life speaks to this reality.
I went to college my freshman year with the intention of becoming a doctor. Through a discernment of God’s will over the following years, I realized that my calling wasn’t to be a doctor, but to be a priest for this diocese. God did use my actions of good stewardship to help me prepare for eventually accepting my true vocation to the priesthood. I can say that everything happened for a reason. However, I can say this now because I can see how my journey of saying “yes” to the Lord with my time, talent and treasure led to my true vocation. It would be my hope that individuals would not give up on discernment, but they would simply be patient with themselves as God works in their lives.
It would be my recommendation, in light of my own experiences, that parents not be too hard on their children if they do not have everything figured out in terms of their vocation and career. God loves your children more than you do, so you must trust that he has a plan for them. On the other hand, parents should always insist that their children be good stewards of the opportunities they have been given in their life.
Maintaining this high standard of living in this world will take a tremendous amount of effort, especially since this contemporary world offers many opportunities and many distractions. Good stewardship will have its reward in the end.
Our parents were right when they were challenging us to do the best we could in school and to seek opportunities for growing in maturity. They were teaching us to be good stewards of our possible vocations. Families that can foster this type of environment in their lives will truly be a domestic church focused on both stewardship and understanding God’s unique vocational call in the lives of their family members.
(Fr. Greiner is pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville and Sacred Heart Parish in Melcher.)