Thursday, March 09, 2006

Money and Success

A few years ago I was training a class of altar servers and one of the children told me that he was thinking about becoming a priest. His mother instantly reprimanded him and said,

"You aren't going to be a priest. You are going to be successful".

I told the boy that I was very happy that he was considering a religious vocation, but he was very young. Then I instructed him to always keep his mind open to a religious vocation but to not commit to anything now nor to feel bad if he changed his mind later on. Then I addressed the mother.

There have been few things that have taken me aback quite like that comment. I wonder how many people measure success by the size of a persons paycheck. I measure success by the effect a person has on the world and the lives of those around them. I like to think I am successful, although I know I am not using my gifts to their fullest. I think most of the priests I know would consider themselves successful.

I am horrified to know there are church-going Catholics who don't consider their priests successful or even think their vocations are valuable endeavors. I guess they would rather have the local doctor, lawyer or engineer perform their funerals.

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