After a year of discernment and a great time of growing closer to Our Lord, I announced to my family on Christmas Eve that I am actively discerning a vocation. Whether it be that I am called to the Diocesan Priesthood, religious life, or perhaps a vocation as a deacon. I feel such a strong call to serve God, I can no longer hide or put these feelings aside, it is time that I answer the call that I feel in my heart and see where it leads. I thought my Mom would be upset with the news; I was kind of shocked that she was open to it. I had so many mixed and bad feelings when I left my former religious order, I thought it would be easier for Mom if I told her that I didn’t have a vocation. I thought perhaps she would be accepting of my departure if I told her that my leaving the monastery was due to no vocation. That wasn’t honest of me to do and I have felt bad for denying it since I left. It was a very confusing time for me when I left and I was hurt and angry for a long time. After I told Mom about my plans to pursue my vocation, she told me that last Christmas which was just a few months after I left the religious life; she said I was broken inside and wasn’t in a good state spiritually. Thankfully I am in a much better place spiritually this year and I feel ‘healed’ in comparison to the feelings that I had last year. The night before I left my Novitiate in 2011, I took a walk with my Novice master and he told me that he did indeed feel that I had a vocation, just not to his community at that time. He thought that I was either called to a congregation or Order that had a charism that allowed its members to be more in the world or I was called to the Diocesan Priesthood. He told me to take 1-3 years to discern God’s call for my life and that he thought I still had time at my age to discern God’s path for my life. As depressed and sad as I was to be leaving my home, I was also happy to know that God still had a plan for me that involved some form of ministry with his Church.
I have had much on my mind this Christmas season. I know that 2013 will be a much better and different year than 2012, I trust that God will lead me to my vocation. On Christmas Day I went by the rectory for a much-needed blessing from my Priest Fr. Moretti. Fr. Moretti asked me which mass I was going to attend and told him that I was not going to attend any of the masses at St. Johns, instead I was going to attend the Latin High Mass at Holy Trinity in Bristow. Poor Father! I think I sent his blood pressure up at that one, but when he realized which mass I was going to, he told me that he was sure it was going to be beautiful. Indeed it was, I took Mom to Holy Trinity on Christmas Day and what a beautiful mass. The latin mass is just so beautiful and it honors God in such a unique way that the Novus Ordo just can’t compare to in regards to the beauty, serenity, silence, and peace which this mass seems to emanate. There was one point during the consecration when the altar boy with the incense was sending billowing smoke up to the heavens and I looked up to see the sun shining a bright beam through a top window in the Church which was lighting up the incense with bright colors which made it all seem that much more supernatural. It was awe-inspiring to see. Our Priest had a great sermon in which he spoke on indifferentism and the error of our modern world where so many people teach that all religions are the same. He said “Some people say that God is a mountain and each religion is just another path leading up to the top of the mountain. That is wrong, there is ONLY one path and that path is through Christianity in its truest form – Catholicism.”
Father then told a short story of an atheist: “There once was a man who didn’t believe in God. One Christmas day a blizzard hit and while looking out his window he saw a flock of geese in his field fighting the strong winds and blowing snow. The man felt bad for the geese and decided to intervene in their sad plight. He went out into the field and opened his barn for the geese to enter to stay warm. However, the geese refused to enter the barn. He then tried to coax them in and the geese just fought him. He decided to try to chase them into the barn, however the geese attacked him and chased him off. The man went back into his warm house and looked out the window again and thought ‘If only I could become a goose, I could lead them into the barn so they would be safe and survive the storm’. As that thought entered his mind, the man fell to his knees and cried. He realized WHY Christ came to save us and the purpose for his life. He had a conversion on the spot.” What a great story!
During this Christmas season, I found myself reflecting back on a dream that I had in 2008 of a very saintly Monsignor from my childhood. I pray that Monsignor Duncan will guide me on my journey of faith and help me reach my destination. I posted a blog on the dream called ‘Gifts Under the Tree‘.