Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 21, 2005
'I will make you fishers of people'
Jesus called apostles to give whole lives to serve the people
By ARCHBISHOP THOMAS COLLINS
Dear people of the Archdiocese of Edmonton,
"As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.' And immediately, they left their nets and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-20).
Each one of us, through Baptism, has received the fundamental call to discipleship, and from amongst his disciples Jesus still calls some, as he called Peter and Andrew, to give their whole life to the service of his people.
Jesus calls some to be members of secular institutes, or to be religious sisters and brothers, or to be priests of the archdiocese or of various religious orders. There is no shortage of vocations to these forms of consecrated life in the service of Christ and our whole community of faith.
But Our Lord also said: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37). It is easy for disciples, so busy with other things or distracted by the attractions of this world, to miss the call of the Lord, or to turn away. I ask each of you to pray that those who are called will respond.
I also ask you to encourage those whom you sense may have a religious vocation to consider it prayerfully. I will forever be grateful that when I was in high school a priest in my parish directly suggested to me that I consider the priesthood.
I had thought about it for some time, influenced by the example of the priests in my parish whose holy and joyful priestly lives were the sign used by God to reach out to those called to join them in the mission. But direct encouragement was also a sign, and after several years of further thought and prayer, I walked into the sacristy after Mass one day and asked my pastor: "What do I do to become a priest?"
We live in challenging times, though no more so than in previous generations. As always, the need is great. Perhaps a particular challenge of our age is the fear people can have of making permanent commitments: Can I be faithful to the call all of my life? But the deepest joy in life comes in living, day by day, the sacred commitments we make. A lifelong commitment is a daily commitment of self, made possible and joyful by the sure presence of God's grace, renewed each day until our last.
If you sense within you a call to some form of the consecrated life (and the call is usually not dramatic, but quiet and steady), think about it, and pray about it, and then step forward in the footsteps of Peter and Andrew: "Jesus said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.' And immediately, they left their nets and followed him."
Archbishop of Edmonton
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