Letting Go of the Superstar Vocation

Letting Go of the Superstar Vocation

I think one of the biggest pastoral mistakes that good priests make is trying to be great when they should really just work on being good. (By the way, I can’t honestly claim to know what a priest is trying to do unless he says it… this reflection is based purely on what I see.) What I sometimes think I see are the super-try-hard-wheels of a priest spinning and they are frighteningly similar to mine. And I know where that gets me. Try hard, try harder, try hardest… fail. Cry. Repeat.

I can see it in their eyes. Especially with the recently ordained. I know that panicked look. It starts with that passion to serve and quickly becomes a panic attack. I want to hold their nervous hands and give them hot soup on a cold night and let them know… the dishes can wait… go pray with your children.

I haven’t a clue what the “dishes” of the priesthood are but I know they exist. Like the good fathers that they are, they want to meet the needs of their many children. They see the woundedness, the suffering, the hopelessness and they want to fix it all. right. now. Good fathers.

Sometimes I want to jump up on the pew bench during a homily and say, “Cut to the chase, Father. We’ve only got you for a few minutes here. A little less TV talk and a little more Jesus, okay? It’s all right. I do like where you’re going with this one. It’s just that time is short and I need you to give me as much Jesus as you possibly can in this here hour. You don’t have to be exciting. We’ve heard that joke before anyway (it’s a good one) and I’ve never even heard of that movie. You don’t have to be a superstar today. You don’t have to perform in order to attract. Just be faithful.”

When I’m overwhelmed with the responsibilities of my motherhood, I want to run away to an area of my life where I can feel successful. Character issues with a child? Time to make cupcakes! Can’t get anyone to help around the house? Let’s explore the fiber arts! I escape to an activity at which I can take charge, appear successful, and ignore the real needs around me. I plan a big party. I give a big, important lecture to the kids. I visit Pinterest for something shiny and cool to make me feel like I’m accomplishing something. Anything.

And what my kids really need from me is holiness. They need to be in a home that oozes pursuit of sanctity. I want to be great. Superstar mom. Clean house. Perfect teacher. Infallible mentor. Master chef. All of that. God wants me to be good. Faithful. Diligent. Attentive. Prayerful. Loving.

If you’ve ever known a good priest, a really good priest, odds are he wasn’t a superstar… just incredibly prayerful and faithful to Jesus. Those are the kinds of priests who mysteriously attract a large following of the faithful who know that he’s going the right way… and want to make sure they are along for the ride.

Some people are cut out to be superstars. Most of us are not. But every single one of us is called within our vocation simply to be Good. Holy. Loving. Loved.

Copyright 2012 Melody Lyons