Mercy Mondays: Chaplain’s Corner – No vacation from your vocation
When I first entered seminary, it was the summer of 1999. It was a very exciting time for me, as I was going to start classes in philosophy and theology at Providence College. During that period of my life, I remember meeting with the different faculty at the Our Lady of Providence Seminary. That is the first time that I heard the saying: “There’s no vacation from your vocation.”
This saying was supposed to be a cute way of communicating the importance of staying faithful to the reception of the sacraments while continuing to increase one’s prayer life and not get distracted by worldly things while on vacation. Summer was a time when many seminarians would become a bit lax in their prayer life. They could easily become tempted to jump into the lazy days of summer and forget about religious obligations.
I wanted to share this story with the Salve Regina community because I think we, especially as a Mercy institution, can benefit from the slightly overused expression from my seminary days: “There’s no vacation from your vocation.”
What is our vocation as a Mercy institution? Simply put, we can find it in the gospel of Luke where we read: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” If our vocation is to be merciful, then we have the responsibility to share this gift with others no matter where we find ourselves this summer.
When I first arrived to Salve Regina, I was asked to share my definition of Mercy. I thought I’d share it today:
“Mercy to me is a way of life …. It’s not only love or just plain kindness or mere forgiveness – it’s living a life that promotes all of these things without effort and without judgement. It’s definitely something that we receive from God and are called to share with one another.”
For myself, I’m very much looking forward to a few weeks off this summer. We all know the last year has been extremely tough in so many ways. For me, the lack of being able to travel internationally and even limited domestic travel was a large disappointment and big adjustment. In my 17 years of priesthood, I’ve always had the good fortune to travel to many cities and countries to celebrate the sacraments, preach and be a tourist! Since COVID-19, I have not had that opportunity. So I’m looking forward to traveling this summer. Even though it still won’t be international, it will be a change of atmosphere.
With that said, I’m mindful of my vocation, not just as priest and my priestly duties, but as part of Salve Regina’s community where I am called to be merciful with those I encounter.
And Mercy doesn’t have to be complicated. Some ways we can share Mercy with others, even when we are away from home, can be as easy as the points given in this article taken from Ms. Jemi Sudhakar. She talks about simple things like being patient with people’s quirks, helping those who are hurting and giving people a second chance. (For the full list, check out the article.)
Regardless, no matter where you find yourself this summer — just remember to share Mercy. Because as the saying goes, “There’s no vacation from your vocation.”
Happy summer and enjoy vacation!
Father Scott Pontes
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.