Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

I have been very blessed in my life to know some awesome priests. They certainly had personalities that were different from one another, but they shared something too. Each man was a joyful servant of the Lord. Some of these priests are/were vivacious; some are/were reserved. But each one has/had a servant’s heart. Each heart was made to love in a very specific way, namely as a celibate man. All priests are called to be “father.” In fact, every man is called to be “father” just as every woman has a vocation to motherhood. These are universal calls.
What is not universal is the way in which we will live out this call to love as father or mother. If you are a man, then you are called to take a spouse. If you are a man, then you are called to be a father. The question may seem simple, but can be elusive. “How has God created my heart? How am I to love?” Is God calling me to choose a woman for a spouse, or is God calling me to espouse His bride, the Church? Is God calling me to biological/adoptive fatherhood within a family? Or is God asking me to be a father to His children, and be the father of an entire parish?”
My heart was made to love as a married man. I find joy loving my wife and my children. I love everyone, but I love my family in an exclusive and unique manner. Hopefully all married men and women find joy in their vocation. Those of us who do may not understand the possibility of finding joy in a celibate life. We don’t encourage a religious or priestly vocation because we don’t understand how anyone could possibly find that life fulfilling and joyful. But parents, please understand that you would not find a celibate life joyful and fulfilling. Your heart was made for marital love. Don’t be afraid to let your son or daughter entertain the question, “How is your heart made.”
God will lead them to peace and joy.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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