It's not a secret that I have had a long-held belief that Charlie, my now 14-year-old, would make a good priest. Everyone who knows this and who also knows Charlie believes there is no hope that this might happen. But as his mother, I still gently offer the idea from time to time.
Today Charlie had a friend over to work on a school project. When they were finished, the boys tossed the football for a while and played video games. I invited the friend to stay for dinner, then after he accepted sprang it on him that we were having breakfast for dinner. (C'mon, who doesn't love eggs, sausage links and English muffins on a chilly, dark evening?)
At one point during dinner, I looked over and saw Charlie shoving an entire sausage link in his mouth.
"Charlie," I said, half joking, " you're gonna have to be a priest because no girl is going to want to marry you with those terrible table manners."
Therran (the friend) laughed a bit and I said, "Don't you think Charlie would make a good priest? I mean think about it, 'Fr. Charlie.'"
Now I had Therran between a rock and a hard place. He didn't want to pigeon-hole his friend into the priesthood, even hypothetically, but he didn't want to disagree with an adult either. So after I let him squirm for a minute, I said "Maybe you could be a priest, too. Fr. Charlie and Fr. Therran. You guys could be coolest priests around."
They both began a bit of a protest so I lightened up.
"What I really want for you guys -- for all you boys -- is that you will just be open to hearing God's call in your life wherever that might take you. Whether that's being a priest or getting married or..."
Charlie interrupted and said, "Right now I hear God calling us to the basement to play video games." With that Charlie jumped up, Therran following him, and called "I'm coming Lord!"
I'm not worried. That story will make a great homily some day.