The Rise of Vocations

Written By Fr. Marty Smith

With the release of the latest Star Wars movie, excitement is once again growing over the decades old franchise, and the allegorical lessons contained within the movies. One theme that is obvious to anyone who watches the films is the theme of Good vs. Evil, the Force vs. the Dark Side. We have seen heroes and villains who struggle as they sway between choosing good and choosing evil. We have seen the redemption of those who have failed in the past, and strive to correct their errors.  And finally, we have seen characters make the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives, so that others may live.

All of these themes of course are not exclusive to the Star Wars Franchise, we see them in many stories of literature, poetry, and cinema. Why are they so popular? Why do they engage us? Because they are the themes that make up our human experience, and they speak to us on a spiritual level, whether we realize it or not. In fact, if we look at sacred scripture, we see these very things contained throughout Biblical History.

Many parallels are often drawn between the Jedi Knights of Star Wars, and the Priesthood and Religious Life. One reason may be the manner in which Jedi’s live by sacred wisdom, discipline, and a great trust in “The Force”.  Jedi must set aside their own desires, hopes, and plans in order to serve something greater than themselves. This mirrors the promises and vows priests, and religious brothers and sisters make when embarking on a vocation God has called them to… A vocation that is dedicated to serving God and others and is centralized by a trust in Jesus Christ.  

We know that in the movies there have been many Jedi that have remained faithful to their call, and some Jedi that have fallen short, failed, and even some who have completely turned to the dark side. This theme speaks to us too, because all too often in the world, and even in the Church, we have seen examples of individuals who have chosen to pursue a path contrary to what they swore to stand for and uphold, and the great damage it can, and has caused.

However, there is always Hope! And the mission goes on!  In the Star Wars movies, when things looked drastic, or at their end, a new generation of Jedi and heroes came forth to join those who came before and stand up and sacrifice for what was right. The same is true in our Church, in every generation.

Our Church has many wonderful priests, religious brothers and sisters, and laity who have dedicated their lives to standing for the Truth of Jesus Christ and served Him in accord with the Gospels. This dedication of the Saints and those living their vocations today, have inspired, and continue to inspire new generations of young Catholics to serve God, and answer His call to a Vocation to the Priesthood or Religious life.

Throughout human history, during good times, and difficult times, during times of peace and times of war, God has been, and is calling young men to serve as priests, and young men and women to serve in religious life. To dedicate their lives, remain faithful, and serve “The Force” whom we know is Lord Jesus Christ.

God has already won the war of Good vs. Evil.  Jesus did this by his life, death and resurrection. But the battle of good and evil continues in our everyday life, the battle of choosing the path of what is good, and what is wrong. Will you be one of those who rises up when you feel God nudging your heart, mind and soul? Will you encourage and pray for someone when you recognize the seeds of a religious vocation in their life? The world and Church needs shepherds, leaders, and heroes……maybe God is calling you to be one.

May the Lord Be With You.

Fr. Marty Smith

Associate Vocations Director

Pastor St. Francis Xavier Parish Jerseyville, IL and St. Patrick’s Parish in Grafton, IL.