By Cecilia Kohlrust
Coordinator of Vocations, DSJ
“Will you join me in the Sacrament of Matrimony?” One would not expect to hear those words within the walls of a monastery, but, for me, there was not a place or time more perfect to hear them than the Carmelite Monastery during the Diocesan 40 Hours for the Lord Vigil for Vocations last year.
Before meeting Hung, my now-fiancé, I had spent several years considering becoming a nun. As I grew to recognize the beauty of a vocation to the consecrated life, my understanding of the vocation to marriage deepened. In time, I discovered God’s unique call for my life was leading towards marriage; one year later, while working for the diocesan vocations office, I met Hung. In May of 2017, while those around us prayed for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, Hung and I took the next step towards our own vocation to marriage, a vocation that, if we live it to the fullest, will build up the Church in far more ways than we can imagine now.
The complementarity of vocations to the priesthood, marriage, and consecrated life was never more prominent to me as it was in that moment in the monastery one year ago. Each vocation in the Church deepens our understanding of the other. Without marriage, we could not begin to grasp the relationship of Christ and His Church or comprehend the self-giving love of God that is required in the daily life of husband and wife. Without consecrated men and women, the culture would fail to see the joy that comes from laying down one’s life totally for others and becoming consecrated, set apart, for Christ. Without priesthood we would be without the Sacraments, without the Eucharist that feeds us to live out our vocation, without spiritual fathers to lead us and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How will we raise up the next generation of priests and consecrated men and women? Most importantly we will do it through prayer, in our churches and in our homes, praying with and for our own families for more religious vocations.
Through my work to help others discover and fulfill their vocations, I am ever more convinced that next to prayer, the greatest thing that you and I can do to encourage young people to discover their vocation is by letting our own encounter with Christ transform our daily life and vocation.
As we give our lives, our gifts, our voices to God more each day, He is able to call forth priests and religious through our joyful example as disciples and through the invitations we extend to share in the joy that comes from giving all to Christ.
For more information regarding Vocations, visit www.dsj.org/vocations.