Jesuit Father Paul Lickteig, who was ordained to the priesthood this past June, has written about his vocation for the Huffington Post. Fr. Lickteig, who also contributes to The Jesuit Post, explains how his vocation emerged in a piece titled “How I Became A Jesuit Priest.”
Fr. Lickteig writes that vocation is a strange thing:
“It is the idea that people can be drawn towards a particular way of life. Vocation is partially about the job, but more about the way a person’s choice of work allows something deeper to develop in his or her heart. For many, ‘the call’ comes at the expense of other aspirations. It is a trade-off. We let go of certain impulses and choose to follow other desires, in an oftentimes circuitous route, that we hope will lead towards a deeper awareness of how we might better love and serve humanity.”
For Fr. Lickteig, his desire to love and serve led him to “explore a single mystery in a deeper way: GOD.” When he found the Society of Jesus, he writes, “I found a group of people that were responding to this same mystery in a profound way.”
In the piece, Fr. Lickteig describes the wide variety of work he did during his eleven years of Jesuit training, which included working with addicts in the Bronx, gutting houses in New Orleans, taking classes in counseling, teaching religion at a prep school and building affordable housing in Omaha.
“I moved from community to community, never staying in one place for more than nine months at a time. In each new home I was asked to interact with the best and worst that humanity has to offer, and somehow find the grace of God thread through it all,” Fr. Lickteig writes. “Ultimately, this is the purpose of Jesuit training: to find Christ in all things.”
Fr. Lickteig concludes, “Eleven years ago I gave a commitment to continue exploring this great mystery in a faith that stretches back thousands of years. It is a yes I will continue to follow as this life unfolds mercifully before me.”