Thursday, May 19, 2011

Laying Down Your Life for God

As Christians, I think we're all called to lay down our lives for God's Glory. That may mean enduring hardship, persecution, even death. But it's God's call to greatness. We're all called to do it in different ways. Some of us make artwork, like a graphic design, a photo, a website, etc., for our Church purposes. Some of us work with inner-city or under-privileged kids in the rough parts of town, a tough thing to do for sure (in my humble opinion). But nothing is quite as inspiring to me as laying down your entire life at God's hands, and using all your energy, day in, day out, to reach out to people and show them his love.

I had the privilege of seeing this climactic event occur in the lives of 9 young men at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The event, you ask? Priestly Ordination.

Now let me give you a little background on what you have to do to become a priest. Firstly, you have tp respond to the call itself, which is a process in and of itself. while some guys feel it from childhood and just know from then on, most of us take a couple years to come around and fully answer it. It's not a popular choice. Priests are arguably one of the most criticized groups of people because of how they spend their lives and, more in a saddening way, because of the inappropriate actions of a few erratic priests.

Once you've taken the big first step of answering the call, you have anywhere from 6-8 (sometimes more) years of training. If you go in straight out of the gate from high School, you can normally be a priest by the time your 26/27 (depending on your birthday). If you've went to college, you only have about to train for about 6 years (because the first four years are getting a College philosophy degree).

Now for some of you, 8 years may seem like the blink of an eye, but for us young guys, its a long time. But once you get to that moment of completion, on the Altar at St. Patrick's (or the Cathedral of whatever Diocese you train for) I cannot tell you how radiant those 9 men looked walking up the aisle.

The service itself is actually pretty long: a whole 2 hours! You hardly realize it though. You can FEEL God in that place with you, singing over these 9 men with his angel choirs.

Just as amazing, however, is the level of trust,openness and willingness to do God's will these men so evidently possess. At one point, they literally prostrate themselves flat out on the floor, as an outward sign that they are laying their lives at God's feet. It is a truly beautiful thing to see. And what comes next exchanges the spiritual side of the priesthood for the human side: all 70+ priests come directly up to each of the newly Ordained and pray over them. and later, back at the Seminary (Priest training place) you are offered the opportunity to have each priest pray over you. Truly awe-inspiring

Below is a slideshow of pictures I took at the ordination! Enjoy!

Ordination 2011 Slideshow from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

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