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Our Guide and Model

This past Saturday, the Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three letter shepherd children. To these unassuming little shepherds, Mary, whose month we celebrate, asked them to be messengers of peace to a world that was ravaged with war, a world that was beginning to see communism in Russia rear its ugly head, and a rabid religious hostility especially in the children’ native country of Portugal. And yet, it was through these children that God saw fit to send his Blessed Mother in order that His call to conversion through her assistance would be made possible to a world that was thirsting for His love and mercy.

Sometimes, God calls the most unsuspecting among us to accomplish His greatest works. We need to look no further than the example of Mary, a young girl from Nazareth whose full cooperation with God’s will brought our salvation, and hers, into the world. There was no breaking news, no royal edict, no military victory, but a simple “Yes” from a humble Jewish girl that allowed God to enter into history and transform it forever. So it is when God calls someone to consider a vocation to serve Him as a priest. We are not perfect. And yet, God does not call the perfect, but rather those whose hearts are open enough that He can work through our faults and use us to make all things wonderful in Him. And when things do not seem be going in the right direction, we are reminded of what Christ said to the entire Church through St. John from the cross: “Behold your mother.” I hope that anyone who is considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life would consider the great love that Mary has for them. As Mary loved Christ unconditionally, so she loves those who strive to be like Him and to bring Him to those who seek Him.

During a general audience in 1983, Pope St. John Paul II said that, “The Blessed Virgin Mary, the first of the redeemed, the first to have been closely associated with the work of Redemption, will always be our guide and model.” Let us turn to her for strength so that we can generously say with her, “Let it be done to me according to your will.”

Carlo Santa Teresa
Carlo Santa Teresa attends Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Carlo Santa Teresa

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