Monday, July 21, 2008
Where should I begin? Well, I guess a bit of background is in order I suppose…
I am a convert to the faith. You see, when I was born, my father’s family was Lutheran, and my mother’s side was Catholic, although my mother herself is an agnostic. So, instead of getting me baptized, they decided to leave the whole spiritual journey and decision up to me. And boy has it been a journey!
When I was young, my family owned a small, but well known, florist in downtown Sacramento. At times, this would bring us into the local Cathedral for funerals or weddings. I remember being struck by the beauty in the Cathedral. I would be in a state of awe at the divine presence there. I of course know now what that divine presence was, it was Our Lord, Body Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the tabernacle…
When I was young, I had heard about Christianity, and at one time in the boy scouts, I even wanted to pursue Lutheranism. But as happens with young boys that fell by the wayside eventually, although I never lost interest in spiritual matters and religion. This would continue into junior high when I had my first contact with New Age practices.
In seventh or eighth grade, I found a book on New Age beliefs and Wicca. I was immediately mesmerized in it, and within a short time, I was learning all I could about it. I would continue like this through high school, performing rituals, casting spells, about as far away from Christianity as one can get. But even in high school, the most curious thing would keep happening. Every so often, I would be drawn into a Catholic Church. Whether it was a local one, or whether I went down to the old Cathedral. Something was calling me there. SomeONE was beckoning me to the One True Church. There were even a couple of times when I walked into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and saw what was going on. I saw the sacrifice of Calvary. I saw the Priest giving himself to Christ. I remember thinking once, looking at that priest, “I wonder if I am called to that?” Keep in mind, this is coming from a New Age Pagan who tried all he could to refute the Christian message when he had the chance. A person that looked at all of the spiritual and moral truths of the Church, and thought they were all bogus and phony, made up by some man to oppress the masses.
Towards the end of high school though, I began to grow uneasy. Something was not right. And after graduating high school, more things started happening, and holes started appearing in my spiritual beliefs. There was something wrong. I started searching again. I knew by now that I needed to get to the bottom of all of this, I needed to find the Truth.
My journey continued, and through some amazing graces, I found myself taking Catechism classes from a very holy priest. He helped me to work through all of the issues I had. He also taught me in such a way that when we came up to a new subject, it all made so much sense! The Eucharist, Mary, the Saints, everything! He was truly a God send. Him, and a local Catholic book store, and a local Catholic radio station, but I am trying to keep this post short… :)
When I was baptized in August of 05, when I received first Communion and Confirmation, the priesthood was still on my mind. But I had heard of so many people experiencing the “Honeymoon Stage” of conversion, that I didn’t want to take it too quickly, make any rash decisions. I knew that chances were, I did not have a vocation, and that I needed to just give it time. So I did. But time, or should I say God, had different ideas.
The more time I gave it, the more the Priesthood was on my mind. I tried everything. Immersing myself in different hobbies or projects at work. Taking on new responsibilities, thinking that I would discover what I was truly called to. But the Priesthood would not leave my thoughts. There was not a passing day when I did not think “What about the Priesthood? What if you are called to that?” And so, finally, last October, I finally decided to start looking into different religious orders. And for once, I finally felt like I was on the right track.
I eventually discovered that the religious life may not be for me, although there is still one more order that I am looking into: the Fathers of Mercy. But for the most part, I have started the discernment process with my local Diocese and am currently filling out all the paperwork (autobiography, health exams, etc.) before the three admissions interviews and psychological testing. I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that I may accept His will in my life, no matter where that may be…
For anyone trying to discern a vocation, one of the most important things I have discovered is silence. Silence in prayer. Silence with our Lord, especially in the Blessed Sacrament. Make a regular Holy Hour. Visit the sacraments as often as possible. I can not stress this enough! Only by being with our Lord, and silencing our hearts, can we know His will!
Finally, TAKE IT ALL TO OUR BLESSED MOTHER! She, being the most perfect mother, and being so closely united to Her Son, is the surest way that we can come to Christ, and can come to know our vocations! Pray the Rosary daily! Before you meet with a vocations director, religious order, or complete another step of the process, give it all up to her to present it to Her Son! By ourselves, we are but nothing. We need to allow the Blessed Virgin Mary to walk with us, and to bring us to her Son. Only then will we find lasting happiness, and the will of her Spouse in our lives, our true vocation! Remember: Ad majorem dei gloriam!
Hopefully I don’t lower the quality of this blog too much. :) It’s exciting to be writing with other people who are on this journey of discernment themselves, and I look forward to sharing experiences with them. As always, dear readers, and especially now my fellow contributors, my prayers are with you all. May we all find the will of Our Lord in our lives…
Pax et bonum,