Pope Calls on Youth to 'Be Brave'

Posted: 6/7/2013

By Pat McEntee,
Associate Vocation Director


"Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave!"—Pope Francis

On the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (April 21), Pope Francis urged young people to be brave as they consider what God is calling them to be and do in this life.

Bravery seems to be a subjective idea. When you think of brave people, who comes to mind? Police? Firefighters? Members of the military? Teachers? Given some of the recent tragedies our country has faced, all these individuals are often seen as being brave because they put their lives at risk in order to keep others safe from harm.

But what about those who make conscious decisions every day to serve God in everything they do? It could easily be said that following God's will for you is the ultimate act of bravery. After all, it could lead you to suffer a fate similar to the one Jesus faced.

Most of us will not lose our lives in order to follow Christ, but it is a risk we take when we do follow Christ. Making the commitment to answer God's call to be a priest or a brother is an incredibly brave act for a myriad of reasons.

First, choosing to live a celibate life and one of service goes against the grain of American society. Although it might not quite be taboo to pursue a religious vocation, it does surprise many people and provokes questions such as "Why would you want to do that?"

Second, sometimes even your own family or closest friends might not be supportive of your aspiration to a religious vocation. With many families being much smaller than they were a few decades ago, parents might prefer to have their children provide them with grandchildren, which means choosing lives that do not require an oath of celibacy.

Third, choosing to give your life in service to God may expose you to some uncomfortable situations. Because of the nature of Glenmary missions, you may find yourself in towns where the Catholic Church is not trusted, and thus you would not be trusted.

The life of a Glenmary priest or brother contains many unknowns. Each missionary setting is different. Each day is often completely unpredictable (moreso even than the days of most parish priests). But the rewards that come from the bravery shown by Glenmary missioners are uncountable.

If you feel God may be calling you, even taking the first step is a brave act. Find out more about us. Come visit us. Give yourself a trial run in a Glenmary mission. You may find that one brave act can lead to another and another.