There’s no denying it—2020 has been a year.
Nothing has been what we expected. Many familiar, comfortable, and even sacred things have been stripped away. While that’s a painful process, it always brings with it the opportunity for renewal. Darkness and Dawn. Death and Resurrection. It is simply the rhythm of our salvation.
I know this now more than ever because this year brought me to the brink of being a widow. When I think of 2020, I will always think of it as the year everything changed. As in the before Dan’s brush with death, and the after. And all of it marked by the question God will ask all of us in the end: Will you give me everything?
And out of our emptiness, our ‘yes’ to utter poverty of spirit, God begins a new thing. God gave me back my husband. He will give us back our Church, our families, our lives—if we but trust Him. And what is most miraculous is that He will give it all back redeemed and restored.
One of the signs of new life born out of this year of suffering is happening in our High Calling program. The growth we’ve seen this year is exhilarating: we are now serving 65 men in 28 dioceses around the country—nearly three times the dioceses from last year!
But I don’t just mean growth in the numbers, I mean the growth in the men themselves. Discovering the power and beauty of the singular call from God to serve Him as a Catholic priest is giving them new energy and enthusiasm for seminary. It’s setting them up for success in their future ministry. It’s establishing a foundation for the restoration of the Church.
Could there be anything more hopeful for the Church—and really, the world—at this time than the renewal of the Catholic priesthood? Could there be a more sure sign of God’s favor that while everything feels like it is falling down, He is clearly raising this up?
I know you ask God for vocations. I know you pray for priests. I ask you now to join us and make an offering in support of the young men who are discerning a call to the priesthood. Who have dedicated a year of their life to listening and responding to the work of God within them. Who have said, in this very year of uncertainty and suffering (and not least of all in the Catholic priesthood in the United States): yes Lord, if you call, I am ready to give you everything. Who face tremendous odds from the world, the flesh, and oh yes, my friends—the devil. Who need the people of God to hold them up in prayer and remind them of their worth and the dignity of this calling—this very High Calling.
We have $44,000 left to reach our goal! Join us today and support a young man who feels the call to the priesthood. Provide a scholarship so that his diocese can send him to us, to the top Catholic teachers and mentors in the world so that he can be formed for mission and strengthened in his yes. https://raisedonors.com/avila-foundation/donate2020-3
Last year, before all the craziness began, I celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the shrine in Mexico City. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. Her maternal tenderness to Juan Diego always moves me deeply, and her reassuring words come to mind when I think of the young men in this formative year:
Listen and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son, do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety, or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?
These men, coming to their bishops, revealing the seeds of a call to the priesthood—these are “dear little sons.” These are precious souls who hold within them a sacred summons. These are the lamps lit against encroaching darkness. Please, please, join with me and help me protect the flame of desire in their hearts by supporting the High Calling program.
Support a future priest today. Be a part of the raising, of the renewal, of the future. You can directly impact the future of the Church one future priest at a time. https://raisedonors.com/avila-foundation/donate2020-3
Thank you, friends. Remember that Our Lady’s words are meant for you, too: “Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.” Remember who is your Mother. And rest in her maternal care this season.
May God bless you and your loved ones, and may He reward you for your generosity!
Image (modified) courtesy of Unsplash.