Boston Catholic Journal

“Salus animarum supremus lex esto” — ”the salvation of souls must be the supreme law in the Church.” (Canon Law 1752)

Suggested Reading:

The Problem


The Problem of Evil: Exonerating God

Exonerating God


CCD: Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

Crisis in
Catholic Doctrine:

the Grave State
of Religious Education in America

Boston Catholic Journal

Write us:

 Boston Catholic Journal





9-5 Vocations


Rectory Hours or by appointment

The Priesthood and a Parable of the Absurd


It is rather true that I am married.

It is equally rather true that I am a father.

From roughly 7 AM to 5 PM (and later into the night occasionally) I am a married man with all the obligations incumbent upon that state of life. This is undeniable.

As a father from roughly 7 AM to 5 PM (and later into the night occasionally) I am obliged to embrace the duties of fatherhood, and this, too, is equally undeniable. After all, I am a husband and a father. That is my vocation.

 Typically, however, the hours after 5 PM are mine to do with as I wish, and the erstwhile obligations that bind me to wife and child no longer obtain. After 5 PM I am no longer married or bound to the obligations of my vocation to marriage or to fatherhood. My life is then my own to do with as I please — whatever the plight of wife and child. It must wait until 7 AM until I resume my vocation.

What is more, I have 3 to 4 weeks vacation every year in which I am totally free, 24/7, from marriage and fatherhood, and any of the obligations that had attended either or both. Wife, child, both will have to await my return. I am not to be troubled, accessed, vexed, or in any way deterred from my vacation from my vocation.

After all ... I am only a man

The terribly odd thing about this predicament, however, is sorting out who and what I am between the hours of 5 PM and 7 AM – and, of course, while on vacation. I do not hold the obligation to marriage or fatherhood – to a sick child at an unwelcome hour or a distraught wife “after hours” — to be universally binding upon me. That is to say, my putative vocation as husband and father can only be predicated of me conditionally, and not ascribed to me indefeasibly.

Something clearly is askew.

Considered carefully, we find that the distinction of which we speak is precisely the distinction between a “job” and what we have always understood as a “vocation”.

Apart from some dusty and discredited corners of academia, Marxism has largely fallen into disrepute, and with it the curious notion that man articulates his meaning through work. It nevertheless remains the closest proximation, in a profane sense, of our understanding of the relationship between a job and a “vocation” as articulating the axis around which our lives revolve, and in light of which they become coherent. In either case, considered as a job, or as a vocation, we are left empty-handed — at least for 14 hours of each day (vacations apart) — as to what we really are if we are not "fathers and husbands".

Most sane men will argue that such an assessment is more than absurd: it is a mockery. Fatherhood is not a job. It is a vocation. Marriage is not a job. It is a vocation. The priesthood and Religious life (the lives of consecrated nuns, of friars, of monastics) are not jobs. They are vocations.

The difference, simply put, is that jobs are essentially temporal in nature, which is to say, they are defined, circumscribed, by time: by hours, days, constraints, contracts, vacations, wages, provisos – in a word, they are delimited. One is not an engineer the way in which one is a father. One can cease being an engineer. One cannot cease being a father. An engineer closes the door to his office at 5 PM. A father's door is always open. A contract can be deferred, but not an ill and crying child.
A priest can always recapture the highlights of the football game, but not the soul desperate for Christ who rings at the door in need of the Sacrament of Penance or spiritual guidance in a crisis overwhelming his life — and whom Christ Himself has brought to the door as the last measure. One can be recaptured. One can be lost.

Do we agree that there is not just a distinguishable difference, but an essential difference between a job and a vocation?

We hold this to be true of parents, of spouses, of Religious. There is no time when they cease being “fathers”, “mothers”, “priests”, “nuns”, “friars”, “monks”. There is no "time off” in a vocation – in any vocation. Ask any parent. Ask any consecrated nun.

To bring the point to absurd relief, visualize the following: Jesus Christ calls Peter, Andrew, and John from their boats, and this is His commission to them: “Come follow me — 9 AM-5PM — lunch hour excluded — and I will make you fishers of men — except on your “days off” as Apostles, and of course, excluding your vacation days. See how reasonable I am. I know that you are, after all ... just men ...”

To whom, then, is this absurd parable addressed?

To anyone — and especially priests — whose vocation has become just a job ... a mere obligation ... to fools who cherish time as their own, as though they could wrest it from God, use it to their own ends, and keep both in the bargain ...

The next time you peek before you answer the door, you may find that it is God knocking ...


   Printable PDF Version


Boston Catholic Journal



Search the Boston Catholic Journal



Free Catholic Audio Library

Download Catholic Prayers
and more


Traditional Latin Blessings for Rosaries and Sacramentals

Traditional Latin
 Blessings for Rosaries and Sacramentals


Mother Miriam Live

A Traditional Catholic Nun answers your questions without compromising our holy Faith




The Metaphysics of
Christian Mysticism

The Metaphysics of Mysticism - St. John of the Cross: Reason, Revelation, and the inexorable Logic of the Ascent of the Soul to God by Geoffrey K. Mondello

St. John
of the Cross

Reason, Revelation,
and Inexorable Logic:
 the Ascent of the Soul to God

Geoffrey K. Mondello

available at Amazon


The End
of Christendom

Archbishop Fulton Sheen - The Fourth Great Crisis in the Church - The End of Christendom

The Fourth Great Crisis
of the Church

 Why the  Church
— and the West —
are withering

An audio presentation


The Little Office

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
of the
Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint Michael the Archangel

Prayer to Saint Michael
against satan

Novena to St Jude

 Novena to St Jude Printable 4-fold with one piece of paper
Printable Booklet
on 1 sheet
of paper, 4-fold, free

With Mary in the Rose Garden
Mary Immaculate, Mother of God
Reflections on the Rosary
with a Poor Clare Nun and
Padre Pio

Baltimore Catechism - the most authoritative Catechism ever printed

Discover what the Church really teaches:

Download the PDF

The Practice
of the
Presence of God

 Brother Lawrence

Complete Audio Files

Pope Saint Pius X
Pray for us

Saint Pope Pius X Pray for us

“I shall spare myself neither care nor labor nor vigils for
the salvation of souls”




Boston Catholic Journal

Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome


Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. (Apocalypse 3.8)


Copyright © 2004 - 2020 Boston Catholic Journal. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise stated, permission is granted by the Boston Catholic Journal for the copying and distribution of the articles and audio files under the following conditions:
No additions, deletions, or changes are to be made to the text or audio files in any way, and the copies may not be sold for a profit. In the reproduction, in any format of any image, graphic, text, or audio file, attribution must be given to the Boston Catholic Journal.