Gracious God, with grateful hearts we welcome the presence of Jesus, our Good Shepherd. We accept the mission of Jesus to bring good news to the world by our baptismal commitment to gospel living.
Bless us with discerning hearts. May we have the courage to give our lives in loving service through married life, the single life, the consecrated life, and ordained life. Inspire men and women to respond generously and embrace the gift of a religious vocation.
We unite our prayers with the whole Church, with the communion of saints, with Jesus and the Spirit in praise and thanksgiving now and forever. Amen.
Meet Our Seminarian
Seminarian Matthew Hebert of St. Mary Magdalen
We are proud to sponsor another seminarian from our parish. Matthew Christopher Hebert, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Angie Hebert, began his studies at St. Joseph Seminary in Covington, Louisiana in January 2011. Matt is a graduate of North Vermilion High School and also attended UL in Lafayette. At that time, Matt enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and after graduating from basic training served a one year assignment in San Antonio, Texas. Following this assignment he attended LSU and then went on to enter the Seminary. Matt is still active in the Air Force Reserve and is also an avid baseball player and fan. He has two siblings, Jacob and Danielle.
Dare to Discern
Lauren Beelman, a postulant with the Community of Jesus Crucified, shares some thoughts on Discernment
If you want to be truly happy, only one thing is necessary: follow the will of God. If you want to be unhappy, only one thing is necessary: ignore the will of God. The choice is yours to make.
I would like to share the story of one of my family members. I had revealed to my family that I was discerning a vocation to the religious life. During a family gathering, one of my relatives approached me to talk and I braced myself for yet another encounter of criticism, misunderstanding and opposition, but the conversation that ensued is one I will never forget. She smiled at me, but with tears in her eyes. She told me that 55 years ago she felt drawn to enter a convent and become a sister, but her family was very opposed. They tried every way of convincing and bribing her not to go. In the end, their will prevailed and she never went to the convent. She married and had children of her own. Then she told me something I will never easily forget. She said after 55 years, despite the love she has for her family, not a day goes by that she doesn’t regret the decision she made not to enter the convent. She told me she loves her family and has had a happy life, but she will never know what God could have done with her “yes”. She lives daily with her “no”.
I do not share this story to scare you, or to say that if you chose married life over religious life you will never be happy. God definitely calls people to married life as a necessary, good and fulfilling way to pursue holiness; and these people are very happy indeed. But God also chooses some to follow a different path of holiness and happiness – that of religious or consecrated life. The will of God is different for each one of us. To some Jesus says, “Come, follow me.” To others he says, “Return home and recount what God has done for you” (Luke 8:39). Whatever His call is to our hearts, we have the duty to respond.
In order to respond, we must know what we are responding to. In other words, we must listen until we hear his voice. Discernment is the process of listening in prayer until we hear His voice.
It is also important to remember that God calls whom He wills because He wills. We cannot earn God’s invitation or call to religious life by our prayers, holy hours, sacrifices, or penances. These pious practices along with frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession and regular attendance at Mass dispose us to hear the voice of God more clearly, but they do not force God’s hand. We also cannot nullify God’s invitation to religious life by distancing ourselves from prayer and the Church or engaging in a life of deliberate sin. All of these are responses to His invitation, but it is still His invitation.
Do not be afraid. If you feel drawn to marriage, bring it to prayer. Only Jesus can teach you the true meaning of marriage and how to use it as a stepping stone to heaven for you, your spouse, and your children. If you feel drawn to religious or consecrated life, bring it to prayer. There is a reason you are feeling this pull or tug on your heart. Jesus is pulling you closer so that he may whisper something to you. It can be arrogance on our part to think we know what the Lord will say to us.
Discernment is not a “death sentence.” Just as school is preparation for a profession, prayerful discernment is our preparation for our vocation and a happy and fulfilling life.