I’m writing this blog post in a very familiar place for me: aboard an airplane at about 37,000 feet. And as I tried to patiently sit through the rebooting of my laptop, the subject I had chosen for this post was driven home to me even more.
We’re all painfully aware that we live in an age of instant gratification. I want something, and I want it now. One can see a great deal of frustration in all areas of society today on the part of people who have to wait even a short amount of time for what it is they are desiring or seeking.
I guess one possible antidote to that mindset is the old saying, “Good things take time.” I think that will be the case with the renewal of priestly vocations in the Church. I’ve noted before the blessed reality that the Church around the world is seeing a boom in vocations, one that is filling up seminaries everywhere, and keeping vocation directors busy.
Yet, it’s likely going to be another generation or two before we enjoy the benefit of parishes that are once again staffed by several priests (as was the case a few decades ago), schools where priests and religious are again highly visible as teachers and administrators, and so on.
We’ve been caught in a long, downward spiral when it comes to the number of men leaving the priesthood, and the number of men presenting themselves as candidates for holy orders. But with the current positive trends being experienced throughout the Church, there is every reason to be not only hopeful, but genuinely excited about the future of the priesthood.
Like me, you may wish that it were happening at an accelerated pace. However, we must keep in mind that God “is never late,” as many people say, and the Holy Spirit is bringing about this “new springtime” of vocations at this time in history for a reason – maybe many reasons.
Let us remember that while the vocation boom is well underway, it must be supported by our prayers, sacrifices, and efforts to promote and foster vocations to the priesthood. The Lord can act alone if He chooses to do so, but history shows us that He allows us the opportunity to partner with Him in many important endeavors. When it comes to the future of the Church, what could be more important than an increase in faithful, devout priests?