My family receives the alumni magazine from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and I usually peruse it for interesting articles-especially since I'll be attending there as a student. Well, in the most recent issue, there was an article of former student's favorite advice from professors. One of the pieces of wisdom really jumped out at me:
"Find a good mate, settle down, and procreate with reckless abandon."~Dr. Regis Martin
Really, how many people think about Catholicism in this way? Seriously, many people look at faithful Catholics with scorn, thinking "Oh, they never have any fun," "oh, their lives must be soo boring, all they ever do is go to church," etc. BUT, look at the "Theology of the Body for Beginners" by Christopher West sometime. I don't have a copy on me to give good quotes, but just know that there is a lot of good stuff in there. Anyways, I'm getting back into the Dr. Martin quote.
"Find a good mate." It's a difficult journey, finding one's spouse. Some people marry the first person that they date, others go through many heartbreaks and prayers and valleys before they find their spouse. And don't just look at this quote with a view of marriage, either. I believe that this quote can apply to the vocations of priesthood and religious life as well. Priests are bound to the Church, and religious women are espoused to Christ. But even this process of "finding a good mate" is a difficult one. Trust me. Once a person feels called to priesthood or religious life, the journey to "find a good mate" isn't over, its just beginning. There are so many women's religious orders that are all awesome! And for men, there's diocesan priesthood, which is awesome, or several men's religious orders that are also fantastic! And many people that I have talked to have felt so strongly called to one particular order, but then God calls them to another order! And then there are all of those people who feel so called to priesthood or religious life, but God ultimately calls them to marriage! On the flip side, many engagements have been broken because of men or women entering religious life. So "finding a good mate" is a long, difficult journey, but the reward is well worth the effort.
"Settle down." Again, another challenging command. "Settle down." Once the person is united to their spouse, they should not be restless, anxious to move on with life alone. No, this person must settle down with their spouse, uniting themselves to the service of God as they are called. A married man must settle down with his wife, and seek to love her more each day; he no longer actively seeks romantic relationships with other women, his eyes are for his wife alone, and the same goes for a married woman. The married people must "settle down," each seeking the other's best interests. For religious life, the man or woman must "settle down" in obedience to their superiors and order. A missionary sister must "settle down" and rest in the Will of God, being sent wherever He wills. Wherever God sends her, the sister must settle down and do God's work, and the same goes for religious men.
"And procreate with reckless abandon." This part of the quotation always brings a smile to people's faces. After all, this is a direct command to bring forth life with love and pleasure. This act is a very necessary part in the life of any married couple; in fact, in order for the Sacrament of Matrimony to be consummated, the "marital hug" (to quote my Old Testement teacher from freshman year) must take place. God commanded us to "be fruitful and multiply," and so we should. Though each couple is called to have a different number of children, couples are all called by God to be open to the gift of life. Natural Family Planning is a fantastic method for couples to practice unity with God and each other, concerning the process of procreation.
Now, do not think that this command to "procreate with reckless abandon" is simply for married people. Those people who enter religious life do not engage in the "marital hug," but they "procreate with reckless abandon" in various ways. To procreate means to "bring forth offspring" (Webster's Dictionary). In other words, to procreate means to bring forth life! How do religious women and priests bring forth life? Through prayer, sacrifices, evangelization, and love. Religious women and priests pray for the people of the world, so that they may live in God's love. Religious women and priests sacrifice, to bring forth life and love to the world. They evangelize, bringing the life of God to others. They love--they seek for the good of others above themselves, so that others may live. The very life of a religious sister or priest is so "procreate with reckless abandon," without caring for their own good, to be wild with love for God, to bring forth life for Him!
Good words of wisdom to live by.
Find a mate.
And procreate with reckless abandon!
May the love of God drench you with joy!