So here I am… a second year at Mount Angel Abbey & Seminary continuing discernment and education so that I may find out if one day, God willing, I can serve Him as a holy priest.
Coming into this year is obvious excitement; gathering once again with my fellow brother seminarians to see if God has truly called us to become holy priests, serving Him for the rest of our lives. However, as much as I am excited for this upcoming year, I definitely feel “odd” coming in. Over this past summer, I got to participate in numerous events at my parish and with my youth group and the biggest desire that has been at my heart throughout this past summer has been intimacy, being close with another person. For me, this does not mean sex, but rather just being in the company of someone. I discussed this with a close friend of mine and she showed me this quote that has been in my mind ever since:
“Do you ever crave someone’s presence? Like you would literally be happy just sitting next to them. It could be completely silent and it would be magical to be there with them.”
Being able to bond with another person through love and intimacy are natural human desires, but I feel as if these desires grow immensely stronger as a seminarian where you are “restricted” in your discernment. Maybe this could be a way the devil is tempting me out of a path God has truly meant for me, but I suppose the only way I can know for sure is through discernment. Of course, you can only discern one vocation at a time and being at seminary is a time for discernment for the holy priesthood, but no matter where you go, the desire still remains. Regardless, I still plan on fully participating and discerning this school year being devoted to academics, servitude, and spiritual growth and seeing where that leads me.
This leads me to my goal this year as a second year seminarian who, just like others who have gone before me, is still unsure of his future. I want to fall in love. I want to fall in love with Jesus Christ. I want to surrender myself to what he has in store for me whether that means giving a full and total love to Jesus through the holy priesthood or extending His love by loving another person fully. During a late night McDonald’s trip with some seminarian brothers, one of them asked me a question he was asked when he was struggling with his discernment: Have you fallen in love with Christ?
Damn. That hit me deep.
For the next few days, that question stayed on my mind and I can truthfully say that I have NOT fallen in love with Christ. Prayer is one of the most fundamental ways to build a relationship with Jesus and for my first year at seminary, I neglected it badly. This NEEDS to change because at the heart of the holy priesthood is a well maintained relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and the Eucharist. Paraphrasing from a homily by Bishop Peter Smith, a priest who leaves the priesthood more often than not has stopped praying at some point in time. Whether I become a priest, a religious member, single or married, I do not want to lose something the holds a relationship together and the change starts HERE…the change starts NOW. Easier said than done, of course, but at this point in time, there is no more contemplating and proclaiming about what I am going to do and how I am going to do it, I just need to do it.
So… THAT is my goal for this year. I want to fall in love with Jesus Christ because the more we get to know Him, the more we know about ourselves and the plan He has in store for us whether that is the holy priesthood, marriage, or any other possible vocation. I want to fall in love with Jesus because if I do end up becoming a priest, by being in love with Christ, I am then able to share His love to others. And if being in love with Christ leads me out of seminary, by being in love with Him, I am then able to love someone in the same way, fully and everlasting “until death do us part.” 🙂
Fall in Love by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.