Today, Father Steve addresses the importance of being physically prepared for spiritual mission, especially within the vocation to the priesthood. Read his thoughts on the matter (and see how he practices what he preaches) below.
Several years ago I made an impassioned appeal that in the face of the terrible scandals facing the priesthood, the laity should not lose faith in the priesthood- that they would continue to encourage the young men in their families to consider whether Christ called them to serve him as his priests. The renewal of the priesthood necessitated that a new generation of priests would rise up from the faithful who would make the necessary sacrifices to set right what had gone so wrong. I must admit that I expected some measure of flack from extending this invitation to the assembly. Many faithful Catholics remain justifiably angry about the dark cloud of scandal that has enveloped the Church and hold the culture of the priesthood responsible for shadows through which we must now walk. It seemed to me that many had lost faith in the priesthood, and so I figured my appeal would be a tough sell.
What surprised me was that the sole objection to my proposal came from two parishioners, a married couple that would best be described as devout with a large brood of children. They found my appeal hard to take and the stumbling block they faced was not simply based on the clerical sexual abuse scandal. “Father” they said, “I would have a very difficult time encouraging priesthood to my sons because it has been our impression that it has become an unhealthy way of life.” “You mean in light of the actions of some priests in regards to the abuse of young people?” I asked. “Quite frankly, it is my impression that priests are physically unhealthy, and whether or not this is symptomatic or the cause of other issues I don’t know. But it seems that men are destroyed physically by the priesthood, and I just wouldn’t want that for my children.” I wrote that conversation down and keep it in my breviary...
Recently, Father Steve Grunow, Assistant Director of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, was interviewed by Fr. Brian Welter on the Catholic Community of Faith
show on Chicago's Relevant Radio. In the interview, Fr. Steve, Fr. Brian, and another priest, Fr. Tom Aschenbrenner spoke about vocations.
In regards to the question of increasing and encouraging vocations, Father Steve pointed to the fact that "Christ has his own compelling power." As a priest, the most effective way to further vocations is not to "stand in His way, " but rather, to "conform oneself to Him." In the work of evangelization, this is a valuable lesson for all of us.
Listen to the full interview here.