Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 3:1-10.19-20; Mark 1:29-39)
Many people discern a call to serve the Church, but few believe that God may be asking them to remain unmarried. They fear being left unfulfilled as human beings if they do not give themselves to another in sexual intimacy. Entertainment conveys this message, and parents encourage their children to give them grandchildren. Albeit in an oblique way, the first reading today addresses this question of vocational celibacy.
The biblical author indicates that a vocation is not easily discerned by commenting that “a revelation of the Lord was uncommon.” Yet the Lord does not cease to knock at Samuel’s door. The priest Eli provides the key to discernment of God’s call. Samuel must converse with the Lord in deliberate prayer if he is to understand what God wants of him.
We should understand that the Church does not hold virginity and celibacy high because sexual intimacy is suspect. Quite the contrary, it recognizes the beauty and, indeed, the necessity of married love. But it also is alarmed by the fascination of uncommitted sex today. By holding its priests to celibacy and by encouraging women to consecrate their lives to Christ, it underscores the existence of the One who orders our lives. God not pleasure gives us lasting happiness. Deep and continual prayer will tell whether God is calling us to testify to Him in this special way.