In the same way God chose Abraham to be the father of all nations, Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery, the kings to serve everyone in their kingdoms, the prophets to proclaim glad tidings to the people, Mary and Joseph to be the tabernacles of God and the Apostles to be his eyes, voice, feet, arms and heart to the people, a religious is called to be Jesus’ presence and apostle to the poor the sick and the sinners. It is a very special calling while at the same time a privilege to be chosen as one. Vocation is a life in Christ. It is a participation in the salvific mission of Christ and incorporation of one’s being into the one who suffered and died for us. It is a gift that God provides for his children and a gift that we can offer back to Him.

Why is it special? What about the married ones, or the single people who lived their lives according to the will of God? Are they not special vocations? Yes. They are special in their own particular design but a consecrated person who takes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience is one who almost literally takes the person of Christ, allowing Him and only him to be the visible person in his or her life. St. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).” This is a special characteristic of consecrated persons, priests, brothers and nuns. His life is no longer his nor it is exclusively for his family but for the entire people of God. His time, strength, talents and all that he is are his to give to the Church to manifest and magnify Jesus’ presence in us.

It is a sacrifice. Yes. But to think of vocation only as a sacrifice is misleading because just like a priest, a nun or a brother, the head of the family does a lot of sacrifices as well. However, sacrifices are tools to achieve the happiness that we seek. Yes, it is a sacrifice but it is a beautiful sacrifice because it brings us closer to the sufferings of Christ. Just like Christ, our sacrifices are not for us but for the Church. It is heroic in the eyes of some but for the one who has the eyes of faith, it is a bloodless martyrdom. It’s beauty is not on the pain nor it is on it’s rewards but in God. To manifest God is to manifest its beauty.

People often ask me why I became a priest and because I don’t want to disappoint them, I try my best to explain things in a nutshell. Of course there is no way I can give them a very concise and articulate explanation so I only tell them what I know in a very simple manner and that is because God is good. Yes. God is very good and beautiful. No human tongue can fully express the goodness and beauty of our God. Our hearts will explode and our minds will shut because there is no way we can comprehend, compute or digest God’s goodness. The goodness of God is beyond time, space and form. It radiates everywhere at all times whether or not we are aware of it.

The things around us are windows of opportunity to experience God and though we may not see Him, we can always feel His overwhelming presence that is enveloped in creation. The scribes of the olden times who experienced God physically wrote about Him and about how awesome it is to be in His presence. They heard His voice, so magnificent yet subtle. To offer myself totally to this beautiful God is why I became a priest, not because he needs me but because I need Him… we need Him.

We are all called to be holy. Vocation to the priesthood or to the religious life like a nun or a brother is a vocation to be holy in ways closest to the image of Christ. There is no reason to hesitate, no reason to fear because Christ had already won the battle, we just have to protect his victory. The world is waiting for us and we must not take it for granted. God is waiting for us and we must not delay.