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Q & A with Father Anthony



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How can I teach my preschool sons about a vocation to the priesthood?

Cheryl asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

How can I as a mother best teach my sons about a vocation when they are only in preschool and younger?

Dear Cheryl,

There is a wonderful truth about the vocation, and it is that God had his plan for us even before he created us, and the first great step in that vocation, after the gift of life, was the moment of our Baptism. The kernel of our ultimate vocation is already there present in Baptism. When you look at it like that, you and your husband have already contributed hugely towards your sons' vocation by being open to God's gift of life, by bringing them to Baptism, and now by educating them in the faith and wanting to cooperate even more closely and consciously with God's action in their souls. It is a question now of giving continuity to a work already well started and well underway.
I think two ideas can be of help to you, based on the awareness that you are not going to give your sons a vocation; you will simply prepare the ground, and while you do so you can also pray for their vocation.

The first idea is this: that the vocation, or rather our response to the vocation is a choice, an act of love. So, a very important element of the education and formation you give your boys has to be this education for love, for a well ordered love. Love that is not squandered on useless, selfish or base things. Love that is a free act of giving oneself.

The second is that this love is, of course, centered on Jesus Christ, a relationship with him that is personal, direct, immediate, full of faith and trust. It is cultivated in prayer and knowledge of him. It is inspired by the example of others, especially the saints. When we live this relationship, every detail of our life is connected with him, he is present in everything we do, we spontaneously speak to him and take him into account. For boys it is especially important to place before them the heroic and manly nature of love for Christ. The lives of missionary saints and martyrs are priceless in this regard, from St. Paul all the way to Damian of Molokai and down to our times.

So, lead your sons along the path of prayer, a love for Christ in the Eucharist, a sense of herosim and a sensitivity to the needs of souls. At the same time, make sure that all the other aspects of their lives are taken care of, their physical health, their sense of adventure, their bumps, scratches and scrapes and their minds and memories.

God bless,

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