Reflecting on the ‘extraordinary’ call to priesthood

By Deacon Tyler Underhill

Special to The Message

Looking back over the course of my time in seminary and as I approach ordination, I have often reflected on the call to the priesthood that the Lord has placed before me. At times, I have thought to myself that my call to the priesthood was simply just another boring vocation story that was not real interesting and had no exciting or miraculous events surrounding it. 

After high school, I entered college seminary at Bishop Simon Brutè in Indianapolis, and then I was sent to the Pontifical North American College (in Rome, Italy) for theology. But as I thought more about it, I think there is a real extraordinary part to it all.

Just the other day, as the Church celebrated the feast of the apostle St. Matthias, I was struck by the homilist at Mass who immediately brought our attention to what a call from God really is. He related how sometimes we think of our own call as God’s “backup plan.” We might even look to St. Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas as a “filler,” and think that he was another plan “B.” But how untrue this really is. Every call from God is a blessing, even when it may seem ordinary or not really exciting. 

Looking into my own life and call to the priesthood, after some thought and reflection, I believe what led to my vocation is rather extraordinary. It was in the celebration of Mass and the examples of many priests living out their priestly identity rooted in Jesus Christ that drew me into the life and call to the priesthood. Serving Mass as a young child and throughout high school brought me even closer to this reality. I think the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, continues to be that driving force by which God has called me. It is in this ordinary bread and wine, where something extraordinary, the Body and Blood of Jesus, becomes present. This great mystery, which we celebrate every day, and which I, in the person of Christ, will soon celebrate for the whole Church, is not something I randomly chose, but a call placed in my heart by God alone. How extraordinary this truly is. 

My prayer is that God will continue to use me as his minister and instrument to show and reveal to people the extraordinary gifts he has set before us.