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The Avengers and Discernment

For the fifth year, I have embarked on a pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of life. I am traveling with a group of willing, or mostly willingly teenagers to reflect on the right to life and moving closer to the end of our mission, the protestation of an unjust law that allows wombs to be graves for children created in the image and likeness of God. Part of the gift of life is the gift of our vocation.

This trip not only opens their eyes to the culture of death but also that it is conquered through the living out of our vocation, which naturally fosters the culture of life. To that end, we have priests, seminarians, and women religious traveling with us. We also have certain reflection starting points, one of which I find very interesting, the summer blockbuster The Avengers.

I have reflected previously on The Avengers, wherein I actually made a sort of connection with priesthood, the Old Testament priesthood, but the priesthood nonetheless. However, after watching it several times since that initial theatre experience. It seems that the concept of vocation and discernment can be gleaned from a rather complex popcorn film.

First, often times vocation discernment is initiated from without. We are called. Iron Man, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, Hawkeye, Thor, and Captain America are called out of their various lives to protect earth. They each have certain gifts which are useful for protection. Each would rather be doing their own thing. Indeed, all are reticent to take up the vocation which Nick Fury could see, with the prophetic one eye. Fury acts as a sort of battle worn spiritual director moving the men and woman to what they are called. Granted he uses a lie, but any analogy fails.

Second, discernment is not done alone. It is done in community. They realize together what they have and to what they are called. They make a definitive choice to move as a community toward that call. They are aided by S.H.I.E.L.D but are ratified by the community at the end of the film as fulfilling their calling. S.H.I.E.L.D, for all its brokenness, is a place of formation for them, a superhero seminary or novitiate. They come from various places to be directed and guided to their call.

Finally, the catalyst for them answering their call was a death. We find our vocation realized in and through the obedience of Christ even unto death. His response to his vocation, You are my Son this day I have begotten you and Behold the Lamb of God. Christ fulfills his call in and through His death and His Resurrection from the dead.

So to where or what is God calling you? The Avengers can help.

About Fr. Kyle

I am a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. I was born and raised right outside New Orleans. I attended Catholic school my entire educational career. By the time I graduated high school, I had two paths to choose: rockstar or priesthood. I pursued both for awhile but eventually came to the understanding God's will was priesthood and my will was rockstardom. After making that decision, to allow God's will to be mine, I needed a new way to channel my creativity. I began writing as I finished up my formation for priesthood. I still play music, but priestly ministry comes first. My bride: St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Harahan, LA.

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