By Chuck Van Heusen
(A reflection of a father regarding the vocations of his son and daughter to the priesthood and religious life.)
Most of us, when we pray, ask God for good health, security, and happiness for our family and friends, along with other matters such as world peace. We pray for those around us, anyone in need, and thanking God for all the good that he provides for us. I am no different, except for maybe praying a bit more than most when it comes to saving my soul. However, how often do we get a solid, clear answer to our prayers, one to which there is no question that God provided?
My son and daughter have both made decisions to enter religious life; I have no doubt of their decisions being based on God’s plan, but I also see this as an answer to their prayers as well as mine and my wife’s. My wife and I are extremely proud of them and their decisions. Over the years, I did not pray specifically that my son and/or daughter would choose to enter religious life, but I have learned that this is one of the best possible ways to serve God, and therefore always supported this type of life for my children if that was God’s plan.
Support from others when they learn of what our children are doing is almost always very positive. It has been interesting to notice the hesitation in their responses and sometimes the surprise on their faces. Many thoughts surface during conversations about the decision to enter religious life; some of the common ones relate to “giving up a son or daughter” and not having them enter a profession, get married, have children.
For Marie and I, we have another son who is married to a wonderful lady, and they have given us beautiful grandchildren, so we are more than fulfilled in that area of concern. I do not look upon this as “giving up” our son and daughter; it is them answering a call from God. What better profession is there to join!
I consider it a blessing from God that anyone would be called to religious life. When it is your children, it is a matter that brings total joy!
(Chuck (currently serving in Iraq) is the husband of Marie, and father of Ian and Tresa. Marie’s reflection on priestly and religious vocations in her family was posted on this blog January 1st. Their son Ian is at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, and on February 2, Tresa is entering the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.)