Update 9/23/2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ:
These last few weeks here have been very meaningful for me, as the Lord continues to gradually reveal to me His plan for my life.
Since the last time I've posted on this blog, I have had dinner with the Jesuit novices at their novitiate here in St. Paul, met with a Jesuit priest while he was here at St. Thomas at the invitation of my Catholic Studies advisor, met with the Wisconsin Province Jesuits vocation director, and played softball and watch a movie with my brother knights from the St. Thomas Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (which I am a first-degree member of).
Through these experiences, and others I have had over the past two years, I have become 80% certain that the Lord is calling me to the Jesuits, and 90% certain that I am called to the priesthood in some capacity, but there's always that little bit of yourself that asks the question "What if I'm wrong about this, what if this isn't where God is leading me?". In my case, although I'd be happy teaching Catholic Studies, Theology, or Catholic philosophy at the college level, and touching the lives of others in that capacity, I know that deep down inside, it is the deepest desire of my heart to serve the Lord and His Church as a Roman Catholic priest, and to die to myself and my own ambitions for glory and academic recognition.
However, it may take two years before the vocations director and I can determine whether or not the Lord is calling me to serve Him as a Jesuit, so right now I'm doing all I can to figure this out: praying, serving as a Eucharistic Minister (which I did this morning, administering the Body of Christ for the first time! (I had administered the Blood of Christ before)), co-leading a Catholic Men's Rosary Group, serving others and growing in fellowship with other men for Christ on campus in the Knights of Columbus, and, hopefully this spring, I'll be serving the poor in some capacity. I've thought about helping out at the Juvenile Detention Center in dowtown St. Paul, ministering to the poor in spirit, whom I think oftentimes get forgotten about. Everyone wants top help the physically poor, but not many people I know want to minister to convicted criminals, so I thought I'd check into doing that sometime this spring, since right now my schedule doesn't permit me to do that. In the spring, though, I've have 8 more hours free each week, so I should be able to do some service work on my own, but right now I'll have to settle for what I can do acting through the Knights of Columbus, because that's what my schedule permits.
I am also looking into graduate programs in Catholic Studies, Theology, and Philosophy, which I am looking at concurrently as I discern with the vocations director, whether or not I am called to join the Wisconsin Province Jesuits. The process could take years, so I need to be prepared in case I'm turned down or they want me to wait before I enter, which is fine with me.
Whatever I end up doing, however, I know that I will never get married, I've discerned while looking at the priesthood that the vocation of the married life is not what God is calling me to do. I love kids very much, coming from a family of seven children, but I know that with the major I am pursuing at St. Thomas, which is Catholic Studies and Philosophy, is not a major that will lead to a high paying job, and it takes a lot of money to raise a family. In addition, if I were married, I would not want my wife to have to get a job, as that would be hard on the kids with both of us working. The role of the father is to be the protector and breadwinner of the family, and since any career resulting from my Catholic Studies and Philosophy major would not provide enough money to support a family, I know in my heart that I am either called to the priesthood or the consecrated single life. I know I'll be making a sacrifice in that respect, but I know it's a sacrifice God wants me to make by virtue of the majors he's lead me to pursue here at St. Thomas.
Discernment of a religious vocation is a long road, but it's a road that you never walk alone. God is with you, so is your spiritual director, so is your vocation director and so are your friends and family. They are always there to help you if you ask them, so you need not walk alone on the road leading to your vocation.
I look forward to continuing down the road to my vocation. I've discovered so much about who I am, and who God's calling me to be through this process, and made many friendships that, God willing, will last a lifetime.
I continue to keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers, and if you need help, please do e-mail me, and I'll do what I can to help you.
May the Lord bless you abundantly, and grant you the grace and means to follow Him now and forever.
Your brother in Christ,


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