One of the lay parishioners who had come with me said, “Let’s play a game – priest or not a priest.” She knew that in attendance at the conference were many Catholic priests. She also knew that many of these priests were enjoying a little down-time, away from their parish, and were not dressed in their usual priest collar and clerical clothes.
So she would point to a man across the room and say, “What about that guy? Is he a priest or not?” Then the members of our small group would make their guesses. Afterward one of the group would go over and spark up some conversation with the man – to find out if he was a priest or not.
I was amazed by how often they were right! Even when the priest was dressed in common civilian clothes they were able to “sniff him out.” Somehow they could tell who were the priests in the room.
What gave them away? Was it their poor sense of fashion (we priests don’t have wives to help us shop for clothes, so sometimes we can be a little style challenged)? Was it a frozen expression of piety on their faces? Was it the way they held their hands (when my hands are not elevated in Mass prayer position I don’t know what to do with them)?
Faithful Catholics just have a good spiritual sense to spot such things. They grow to see as God sees.
We continue to make our way through the year that Pope Francis declared to be a “Year of Consecrated Life.” Part of the goal of this year is to identify and support from within our local parishes men and women whom God might be calling to enter into vows of consecrated life.
So I invite you all to hone your radars. Pray for spiritual sense and try to “sniff out” from our parish men and women you think God might be calling to be priests, deacons, religious sisters or brothers, consecrated virgins, members of secular religious institutes, or even consecrated hermits. Then spark up some conversations and ask.
It’s never a bad idea to invite people to reflect on how God might be calling them or how the Holy Spirit might be stirring in their lives. One simple question can inspire someone to begin a new journey with Jesus. God is calling you to call others. So call. Please and thank you,