Today, among other things (they're called "sins") I confided to my confessor that I was a tad annoyed at the fact that, despite my every-day-insistent-persistent prayers to God our Father -- in His Son's Name, yet! -- for more vocations to the Church, my prayers seemed to be going unanswered. In fact, since the shortage of priests has become more acute than ever (in Boston, of all places, where there was once, not long ago, the city was the place of choice for the newly ordained), I couldn't figure out why God was ignoring my requests.
My confessor looked at me and asked: "Why do you think God's not answering your prayers?"
Almost sputtering -- okay, I pretty much did sputter -- I gave him my list:
1) The fact that the Confession lines were enormous and only one priest was available to hear us
2) Just yesterday, on Palm Sunday, I had to scrounge up lay folks to help distribute the Blessed Sacrament since Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion were scarce and the place was packed
3) The hospital (not to mention any names but it's initials are "MGH") where I bring the Sacrament to patients a few times a week just cancelled its daily Masses
4) Parishes are closing
5) It's rare to hear a priest preaching about sin, and...
There he stopped me and repeated the question:
"Why do you think God's not answering your prayers?"
I simply blinked. Perhaps the priest, I thought smugly, was overtired. Which seemed to prove my point. But before I could summon up the energy to repeat my complaints, he pretty much told me to shut up and listen. (Not in so many words, but you know how it is.)
"Kelly," he said, "we're sending our newly ordained to other countries. God willing, they will be blessed with the grace to return to this city, this country, one day, and be missionaries to us. God heard and hears your prayers."
Gee. It never occurred to me to specifically ask God to send more harvesters to Boston. And now that it has occurred to me, I don't plan to specify.
The United States of America is a mission country. Years ago, probably before I was even born, this country sent missionaries to Africa, Asia, and all over the world.
Now? We're the ones who need the missionaries.
But first, we need to ask, repeatedly and persistently, God for more vocations to the priesthood.
And let Him decide where to send them.
May the Master of the Harvest continue to bless you.
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