As some of you may recall, Nina wants to marry Jesus. She has been saying this now for over six months – which is a mighty long time when you consider that she is only 2.5 years old! And Luke? Well, for nearly as long he’s been saying (don’t cringe) that he wants to marry Nina. But, recently that has changed.
One afternoon, not long ago, Luke came up with a new plan while at Grammy’s. He had told Grammy he wants to marry Nina, and Grammy had responded that brothers and sisters don’t get married. So, Luke thought a bit and, then, proclaimed that if Nina were going to marry Jesus, he would, too. That way, they could still be together. Yes, Luke’s logic helped him quickly come to the decision that he was going to be a priest and Nina was going to be a nun. Grammy, of course, said that would make her very happy. And, while I said I would be happy, too, I couldn’t help but to laugh. For these proclamations of one-day priesthood were coming from Luke — the boy who rarely makes it through Mass without making Mommy and Daddy wonder if we need to seek Reconiliation for our less-than-holy attitudes as we try to coral our rambunctious boy. Yes, I am referring to the same Luke who horrified me one Sunday not too long ago by saying very clearly during a very quiet moment at Latin Mass, “Go away, Jesus! Come in, Devil!” instead of his usual, “Go away, Devil! Come in, Jesus!”, which I encourage him to say when he is tempted to do something naughty. And, so Luke’s otherwise amazing first potential call to priesthood passed with Grammy’s pride and (forgive me, Lord!) my laughter. And, no further mention was made of it.
That is, until this morning…
This morning, Mike said something to Luke about what Luke might want to do. Luke immediately began to balk, and Mike cut him off, saying, “I know… You don’t want to. You want to marry Nina.” (Oddly enough, when Luke is overtired, wound up or otherwise not in the most pleasant of moods, he often responds to any suggestion about what he might want to do with a whiney, “No-ooh-ooh! I want to marry Nina!”, whether we have been talking about something Luke might want to do in the next five minutes or in the next fifty years.) Luke, then, retorted, “No, Daddy. I changed my plan. I am going to be a priest and Nina is going to be a nun.”
Just as I had done when I first heard Luke state his priestly intentions, Mike choked back a laugh. Then, he engaged Luke in conversation, with Luke explaining that he’d changed his plan one day at Grammy’s… As I overheard Mike and Luke chat from the kitchen, where I was doing dishes, I spoke up, telling Mike that Luke really did change his mind at Grammy’s one day and that this was his new plan. (Truth be told, I had forgotten about the conversation at Grammy’s until just this morning.) Indeed, our boy — who still cannot make it through a Mass with anything close to resembling angelic behavior and who, much to my horror of late, sometimes declares he cannot love God because God is “too big” — speaks of one day becoming Father Luke.
Now, I know Luke’s possible ordination is many years of challenges and blessings away. But, if it comes to pass, I will be proud, much like I am sure the parents of Grant Desme – a baseball player who recently made the news for choosing a call to priesthood over an opportunity to become a major league player – must be! Indeed, if my children, like Sts. Benedict and Scholastica, choose to enter religious life, while maintaining a close relationship, I will smile knowing I did something right in life! Likewise, if “Father Luke” and “Sister Nina” never come to pass because the children discern other calls along the way, I will be just as pleased, so long as both listen intently to God. Either way, I am simply tickled that now, in this Year for Priests, at such tender ages, the thought of religious life has even crossed Luke’s and Nina’s minds.
Please join me now, as I pray for all priests:
we pray that the Blessed Mother
wrap her mantle around your priests
and through her intercession
strengthen them for their ministry.
We pray that Mary will guide your priests
to follow her own words,
“Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).
May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph,
Mary’s most chaste spouse.
May the Blessed Mother’s own pierced heart
inspire them to embrace
all who suffer at the foot of the cross.
May your priests be holy,
filled with the fire of your love
seeking nothing but your greater glory
and the salvation of souls.
Saint John Vianney, pray for us.
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