Light in the Darkness– December 2015, Vol. 5, Issue 5. The 'business' of preparing for Christmas can leave us feeling like a leaf scattered in the winter wind. Fr. Neil gives us some advice on how to slow down, and open our hearts to the gifts that Jesus wants to give us during the season of preparation.
Searching for Healing, Encountering Christ– November 2015, Vol. 5, Issue 4. After traveling to the St. Joseph's Oratory this past month with a group of students from the Notre Dame Community, Fr. Jarrod shares some thoughts on healing and the life of faith.
Viva el Papa! – October 2015, Vol. 5, Issue 3. What would Pope Francis want us to take away from his visit to the United States? Fr. Neil Wack, C.S.C. shares his impression of the Holy Father's visit, and some ideas of how we can take his example into our own lives of prayer and service.
New Year, Fresh Start – September 2015, Vol. 5, Issue 2. For many people the new academic year brings a change of routine. Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. reminds us that now is a perfect time to make room in your schedule for the regular daily prayer that we all need to grow and flourish.
Greetings in Christ – August 2015, Vol. 5, Issue 1. Welcome Fr. Neil Wack! In is inaugural newsletter Fr. Neil talks about his backgound, his own journey through discernment and the joy he has discovered in his vocation to the Priesthood.
A Vocation Beyond Imagining – June/July 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 10. In his final newsletter as Director of the Office of Vocations, Fr. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C., shares some of the insights he has gained from his time in the Vocations Office about the nature of God's will.
A Break from Routine – May 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 9. Taking a vacation, or break from our studies, can provide us with much needed rest and refreshment. As we prepare to change up our schedule, we should take steps to make sure that our spiritual life stays on track.
Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit – April 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 8. We might be tempted to think of a religious vocation as something we will try as a last resort. Instead we need to trust that we will find the fulfillment for which we are longing only when we surrender to God's will for our life.
A "Good" Lent –March 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 7. Lent can be a very fruitful time for those discerning a vocation. This penitential season is a great time to start rooting out the spiritual weeds they may be preventing us from hearing God's voice as clearly as we should.
Christ is Inviting You –February 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 6. What do you do with that thought that pops up from time to time about a possible vocation to the religious life or priesthood? Bring it to the light of day and see what happens.
The Peace that Jesus Brings –December 2014/January 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 5. The process of discerment can sometimes make us feel restless, but sometimes we can discern God's will by paying attention to where we find peace.
They Remained Faithful –November 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 4. As we celebrate the feast of All Saints Day, and approach the end of the liturgical year, Fr. Jim Gallagher, CSC reminisces about members of The Congregation of Holy Cross that history remembers, and others that he personally will never forget.
A Beautiful Scene –October 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 3. The Congregation of Holy Cross was blessed to receive six men into Final Vows this path month. Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC welcomed a film crew to campus as they made a brief video to commemorate the happy occasion.
Receive the Cross with Joy –September 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 2. Discipleship is a demanding prospect; so much so that we often find ourselves too intimidated to take up the struggle. Christ came to reveal to us the great joy of being His disciple, but in order to receive this gift we must sacrifice everything that stands in the way.
Serving the Servants: A Football Analogy –August 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 1. In this months reflection, Fr. Jarrod Waugh C.S.C., illustrates how priests are for the most part not the players on the field, but rather the support team that helps keep the players in the game.
The Forge of the Sacred Heart –June/July 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 10. This month's e-newsletter features the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. reflects on the infinite love of God hidden within a human heart.
Trust is Foundational to Discerning Your Vocation –May 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 9. Following the Lord does indeed require a great deal of trust. Yet there is no one else more worthy of that trust, for there is no one more capable of bringing our life to its greatest fulfillment.
Passing the Tree Line –April 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 8. As we pass the tree line, Laetare Sunday, we should rightly rejoice that we are approaching our goal of the joyful celebration of Easter. Push on, do not slacken your pace now, let the Holy Spirit be your breath as you keep climbing towards the summit.
Lent As a Doorway to Deeper Discernment –March 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 7. Deepening one's relationship with Christ is one of the most important steps of discernment. With this truth in mind, it is clear that Lent is a great season for men discerning God's call.
Spiritual Fruits in Midwinter –February 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 6. Good stewardship of time, careful crafting of daily and weekly schedules, is like planting different seeds in the various sections of a garden. What practices should be "planted" in our schedules to set us up for success and confidence in our vocational discernment?
Gaudete! Rejoice!– December 2013/January 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 5. Fr. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C., shares with us the anthem for the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete! Rejoice! In this season of preparation, we are encouraged to nurture a joyful anticipation of Christ. The work of nurturing our desire for Christ is the wonderful work that promises to prepare us for a greater celebration of Christmas while preparing our hearts to hear and answer God's call.
The Third Best Gift – November 2013, Vol. 3, Issue 4. Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C., is a newly ordained priest learning more about the ministry in Christ's Church and the work in the Office of Vocations. He shares his zeal for living out his "Third Best Gift", with the guidance of his brothers in Holy Cross.
Answering the Tough Questions –October 2013, Vol. 3, Issue 3. This month's reflection comes from an interview that Fr. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C. gave.
Plenty to Do –September 2013, Vol. 3, Issue 2. We all search to find deep meaning in our lives. In the beginning this inner search starts with pursuing our own interests, but this path often does not lead where we expected. Many have found that it was when they turned to God, and asked Him to lead the way, that they finally found the fulfillment that they sought after. Through their work in education, parishes, and missions the Congregation offers service opportunities suited for individuals with diverse talents, interests, and experiences.
A Year for Discernment –August 2013, Vol. 3, Issue 1. Discerning your vocation is not a matter of asking the question and then waiting for the answer. It is a process to engage through prayer, reflection, conversations, and taking things one step at a time. The fall is a great time of year to map out some of the steps to take, so as you move through the year you can make progress in this process of discernment.
A Great Band of Men –June/July 2013, Vol. 2, Issue 10. Discerning a call to the religious life and priesthood can often feel like an isolating endeavor. It can seem like you are being pulled in one direction while everyone else is heading off in another direction. It can seem hard to find someone who can help show the way or to find others to talk with about it. It is no surprise then that one of the most helpful things for men to do in their discernment is to visit a seminary or community house.
Mary, Mother of Our Vocations – May 2013, Vol. 2, Issue 9. Mary's great yes in response to Gabriel’s invitation from the Lord is not merely something that happened in a moment; it was a response that grew out of her previous fidelity to God. In Mary then, we have the great witness of how we might prepare ourselves to receive God’s call.
Only the Opening Yes – April 2013, Vol. 2, Issue 8. There is a real way in which all of us will remain mysteries to ourselves in this life. This is something that can easily give rise to fears in our hearts. How are we ever to make a commitment for life when I cannot even know myself fully now, let alone project who I will be in the future? Yes, we need a certain level of self-knowledge and self-awareness to commit to our vocations. Nevertheless, our vocations are only the opening word, the opening “yes” – rather the final “yes” – in the journey of discovering who we are.
Growing Our Lives of Prayer – March 2013, Vol. 2, Issue 7. One of the most powerful tools for discernment is prayer. If our vocation comes from God and if one is interested in hearing that call, then spending time with God cannot hurt our chances of hearing the call. The key to deepening our prayer lives is to grow slowly in one’s efforts, not getting intimidated by the need to do more or moving too fast and trying to do too much too soon.
Seeking Spiritual Direction – February 2013, Vol. 2, Issue 6. In truth though, spiritual direction is about more than just discovering one’s vocation. At the heart of it, direction is meant to help one grow in their relationship with the Lord. So it is not only for those who are seeking to discern their vocation, nor is it something necessarily to end once one finds their vocations. It is helpful for all who seek to grow in their relationship with the Lord. Indeed, the first level of work in spiritual direction is to learn to deepen one’s relationship with the Lord.
Living in Hope –December/January 2012-13, Vol. 2, Issue 5. To have hope is to be set free – to be saved. In hope may we grow confident that we have a call, an invitation to respond to. We are able to receive our vocations when we have the hope that not only God has a plan for our lives, but also that God wants us to find that plan and He is going to help us find it. In Spes Salvi, Pope Benedict VI identifies three “‘settings’ for learning and practicing hope” that can help us not only live Advent well, but prepare to receive our vocations.
Drawing Faith from Those Who Have Gone Before – November 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 4. Now, most people may not automatically link the practice of praying for our faithful departed with the discernment of vocations, but there is a connection. When considering your vocation, it is important to recognize that you are not the first to ask Christ what it is that He is calling you to. You are not the first to struggle with doubts and fears. Many faithful men and women have walked this way before you.
An Invitation to be Fully Alive —October 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 3. Our vocations are essential to our coming fully alive because there two tombs that easily trap us and prevent us from being fully alive. The first is the tomb of the false self. The second is the tomb of our own individual lives. Yet our vocations, better than anything else, draw out our true selves and draw us out of ourselves.
Called by the Father and Led by the Spirit —September 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 2. "I believe that I have been called by the Father and lead by the Spirit to offer my life and my life’s work in the service of the Lord for the needs of the Church and the world." Brian Ching, C.S.C., Mark DeMott, C.S.C., and Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C., used these words as a part of their profession of final vows. This confidence in God’s call was not there when they entered into their first year of formation with Holy Cross. It is something came through their time in formation.
Questions, Not Answers —August 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 1. Was God calling me to be a priest? I had a question, but I didn’t have an answer. I didn't know if God was calling me to be a priest. I thought He could be. There were plenty of “signs” pointing to that possibility. And yet, there were a lot “signs” pointing to marriage, which had been my dream since childhood. It took some time, but slowly I began to see that that question was precisely God’s “answer” to my discernment.
Rooted in Jesus — July 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 9. I realized that I greatly value the fact that my life as a religious and a priest keeps me rooted in Jesus. At the heart of who I am called to be and what I am called to do is the reality that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came that we might have life. There really is no greater reality that we can come to know in our lives, and the Lord led me to a place where this reality is at the center of my life and my life’s work.
Our Unknown, God's Known — June 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 8. The life-long commitment that a vocation calls forth from us can easily make the idea of embarking on one seem like a giant leap into the unknown. While we can never fully know what God is getting us into in our vocations, God knows exactly what He is getting us into. As God said through the Prophet Jeremiah, “I know well the plans I have in mind for you. Plans for your welfare and not for your woe, so as to give you a future full of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
An Invitation to Enter His Joy — May 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 7. Recently Msgr. Stephen Rossetti did a study on the happiness of priests. He found that priests had a higher rate of happiness than the general U.S. population. A large number of these same priests felt that they had an overwhelming amount of work to do. Yet even with the great amount of work on their plate, they were satisfied with their life. This might seem counterintuitive to a popular culture that leads us to believe that we will be happiest when we have a life of luxury and ease. Yet the reality is that our greatest joys will come through our participation in the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
The Joy and Love of Sacrifice —April 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 6. In recent years, vocation promotion in the Church has tended to emphasize the joy that comes through finding and living our calling from God. And yet, we cannot forget that true self-fulfillment only comes through self-emptying … through self-sacrifice. That is why immediately after telling them that he came so that their joy could be complete, Jesus says to the disciples, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13). The reason that I can truthfully testify that I have never enjoyed so much love in my life as I have since I took final vows and was ordained a priest is precisely because I have never had to sacrifice more for others and for God.
Building a Personal Relationship with Christ — March 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 5. The best piece of advice that we can give to anyone who is wondering how they are being called is to seek out ways to draw closer to the Lord. If it is the Lord's call that you seek, draw close to Him. The wonderful news is that this is not as complicated as it may seem. The opportunities to draw close to the Lord are manifold.
Through Uncertainty to Insight and Peace — February 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 4. When we are honestly seeking God’s will, uncertainty and doubt are only the next step to greater insight and peace. At times God blesses us with the gift – yes, the gift – of uncertainty and even doubt because only by revealing to us what we still do not know – whether about ourselves, about the vocations we are discerning, or about God Himself – can God help us discover the questions we need to be asking.
Led by Trust in the Lord — January 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 3. I took the leap of faith and entered the seminary not positive that my call was to the priesthood but because I was finally ready to invest a few years of my life into figuring out if it was. As I engaged the process and offered the questions and fears to the Lord, the answer would come back: “My grace is enough” (2 Cor 12:9). Only a few will hear the Lord’s call so clearly and boldly that there is no mistaking it. For the rest of us, we must continually open our lives to the possibilities that the Lord has in store for us ... trusting that He is at work in our lives and that He does know what He is doing.
Exchanging Lower Values for Higher Joys — December 2011, Vol. 1, Issue 2. Both marriage and religious life involve sacrifice, this is true. But the sacrifice of both vocations is not a giving up, but rather, in the words of Archbishop Sheen, “an exchange of lower values for higher joys.” Again, we often more easily see this when it comes to the vocation of marriage, but the same is even more true of the vocation of religious life. It is only when we understand the exchange we make in professing the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that we can truly discern religious life.
Out into the Deep with the Saints — November 2011, Vol. 1, Issue 1. Initially, there may not have been much on which Simon Peter could base his trust in Jesus’ fishing advice. Yet we do have a good bit on which to base our own trust. On today’s Feast of All Saints, we recognize that we have the witness of the lives of countless saints to show us that the Lord does amazing things with those who put their trust in Him.