Monday, June 23, 2008
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ and companions in discernment,
First of all, thank you so much for your prayers for me and my discernment, I have certainly felt them as I struggle through each day here. Paul's most recent post rings true for me as well. It's hard when people you care about and have known you for nearly 22 years question God's call in your heart to the priesthood, just because you haven't yet found the place where that call is leading you to serve Him in that capacity. I have been flat out turned down by a religious order (the Congregation of the Holy Cross, who decided not to invite me to apply) and turned down for two years by my diocese, and it looks possible that the Jesuits will not be inviting me to apply either, from a conversation I had with the vocations director. Yet, inspite of all this, the call to the priesthood remains as strong as ever in my heart, and I could wait forever for Our Lord to lead me to where He is asking me to serve Him. Some people have told me that I'm not open to all options, and that I should date or abandon discernment altogether, since I've been turned down by a diocese and one, possibly even two, religious orders. I've considered what they had to say, but, at the end of the day, I need to go by what Our Lord has placed in my heart. How can you date someone when your heart is someplace else? That's how I feel. My heart is with Christ and His Church, and, now that I've given my heart to Him, I've finally been able to be who I was created to be. That doesn't mean my life doesn't have its ups and downs, those remain, but the feeling of knowing that you're following God's will for your life is amazing.
My advice to you is to each day examine your heart, as I've found that the deepest desire of your heart will help lead you to where Our Lord is calling you in life.
It takes a strong prayer life to be able to do that, but once you've discerned what that desire is, my advicce is to follow it, no matter what others think of you.
Sometimes following God's will for your life is hard, and people you love and care about think you're crazy for disagree with the choice you've made to follow God's will. However, at the end of each day, I think about what my life was like prior to surrendering to God's call in my heart, and what a difference these past two and a half years have made on my life. When I do that, I know in my heart that I've made the right decision, and even though it may be painful to face criticism from those I love and care about, if that's what it takes to follow God's will, so be it. God placed this call in my heart for a reason, and, speaking from experience, ignoring that call only brings pain and sadness.
May God bless you all abundantly in all you do, now and eternally.
+Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam+