Guest Post by Elizabeth Hoxie
Our 5 month old is alternating between chomping on my knuckle, sucking on my husband’s pant leg and screaming at the top of his lungs.
“He’s teething,” I whisper apologetically to the demure lady in the pew behind us. I sincerely hope it is true, because otherwise I don’t know what to do with our sweet baby turned shrieking banshee.
“For an increase in vocations to…”
My husband pokes my squishy, postpartum belly and I jump. Here it comes. Our liturgical pet peeve.
“…the priesthood and religious life. Let us pray to the Lord.”
Don’t get me wrong. We love priests and religious. Our wedding was concelebrated by five priests and served by two of our Benedictine monk buddies. We named our firstborn Peter Melchizedek (yes, really). Our son will be unable to spell his name and fail out of kindergarten because his parents love the priesthood just that much.
We pray earnestly for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life every week at Mass, and we sincerely hope God will answer our prayers. At the back of our minds though we wonder, what about us? What about the millions of Catholics whom God has called to the Sacrament of Matrimony?
In marriage there is no superior looking out for your spiritual well-being, no bells to call you to prayer or habit to set you apart from the world. You are in the trenches, back to back with your spouse, fighting the war against evil. In the daily rhythm of ora et labora, our ora is half a Hail Mary snatched between dirty dishes and dirty diapers. Our labora is the thousand seemingly insignificant ways we choose to die to ourselves to love each other — an exhausting work which the world finds laughable.
Let’s get real. The stork does not drop off cherubic novices in white veils and diapers at the Convent of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We, the unworthy co-creators with the bling on our ring finger, are called to instill in our little egg-headed babes a deep and abiding love for the Faith. We are called to image, by our marriage, the infinite love between Father and Son that is the Holy Spirit. We are called to show the world the passionate, generous love that Christ has for His bride, the Church. We are called to challenge our children to listen with the ears of their hearts and follow the Lord wherever He leads. It is a tall order, and we desperately need the Church to storm Heaven on our behalf.
God hasn’t stopped calling men and women to priestly and religious vocations, but in our selfish world, without the witness of selfless parents, children never learn how to respond generously to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I kiss my husband at the Sign of Peace, with our wiggly son squished between us, and I am thankful, so thankful, for the gift of our vocation. I pray silently that the Lord and Author of marriage would give us the grace to be a witness to the world in the week to come.
“That God would give to married couples the strength and courage they need to live out their vocation with tireless love, generosity and deep peace. Let us pray to the Lord.”
Elizabeth Hoxie is a recent grad of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA where she studied biology and Catholic theology. She married the love of her life in October 2010 and she and her husband, Nathan, welcomed their first son, Peter, in August. Elizabeth is taking a leave of absence from medical school to focus on being a full-time mommy. The Hoxie family is about to embark on an adventure in military life where Nathan will serve in the United States Air Force.