Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Church Military

One of the more interesting priest-bloggers out there is Fr. Z. Recently, he commented on the rise of vocations to the military diocese. That's right, the Military actually is considered a diocese in and of itself. Fr. Z laments that he's a bit too old for signing up for the military but had thought of being a Navy chaplain at one time. Some of his readers, however, seem to think his age is not a factor. Maybe there's a chance after all!

I understand that from time to time, every young man (or older man) has a sense of wanting to defend and protect someone or something. It's in our DNA, I suppose. The military is always an option for some who want to put these desires into action. The priesthood, in most dioceses, also is hospitable to these urgings. In dioceses such as Arlington VA (a military town all the same), Lincoln, NE, and even Memphis, TN, vocations to the priesthood are flourishing because men have a call to serve, protect and guide. It is inspiring.

A call to military service and/or priesthood has to be well thought out. Both institutions (military and Church) are both majestic and sullied. It's to both aspects a man is called to serve. I read this interesting piece by a man who wants to actually go back to Afghanistan and why. It speaks to any man who's thought about purpose and mission. And, like both vocations, is only for a select few.

Here's a taste:

How do I tell people that I do not want to look back on my generation’s legacy and see the wreckage of a self-absorbed Facebook culture? How can I say that I often feel alone when in bars and surrounded by people, and when we talk about our petty concerns, I feel hollow and angry at myself for not being in the fight?
How can I not come across as some self-righteous, look-at-me jerk?
Am I that jerk?

And those are the thoughts that inspire some men to think about priesthood as well. And if you have those thoughts? Think them.