Where have you been? Did you stop writing? What about your thoughts on Utimate Warrior’s passing? (The last one being my favorite!) Well, I finished my second year as a seminarian candidate and my third academic year,..which means that I am off to Parish assignment next year! So some musings, thoughts and overall ponderings. A post without a thesis!
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, God’s ultimate workout for authentic true discernment to practice the Call to Holiness, to work on/eliminate any distractions, and finally to validate the Call to priesthood. (In my case anyway..) The answer lies not so much in the movement and discernment of the Spirits of Good, bad, God or the devil, but in the exercise of silence so as to properly hear them!
Trying to find out who I really am, requires a deep spiritual journey, but one which is rooted completely in God’s abandonement. Faith becomes the cornerstone, my inadequacies the starting point and conforming my will to God’s, hopefully the end result. Obviously this is a lifelong journey, still we need to begin somewhere. Sooo, I am a temperamental, jealous, emotive, and insecure guy who according to wordly standards lived a rockstar life, thought I could find happiness through girls, money and power. God through it all starting speaking to my heart, and although it was happening, I learned to despise my vocation. This anger led to the above lifestyle. Then Sunday came around, I went to confession (sometimes), justified my behaviour, (I contented myself to believe) and paraded as a good Traditional Catholic. Talk about schizophrenia! Behold the Rich Young Man from the Gospel, Zaccheus up the tree, and Matthew, the Tax collector all rolled into one person. Oh wait, I also possessed Judas’s greed, Thomas’s doubt, and of course Peter’s collective stupidity and fear. Why in the blue hell is Jesus calling me to priesthood?
That young priest in the bookstore, what if I had never challenged him? I could have not said a word, what prompted me to? I was perfectly happy identifying myself as a thinking ‘catholic’ with all the accoutrements of secular humanism. Pro-choice? Sure! Pro-gay? Absolutely! (I had a gay friend, and he didn’t harm anybody), stem cells? Of course! Nooo, I was gonna save this poor confused man! Instead, I was launched headfirst into Aristotle, Aquinas, the Natural Law, Truth, JESUS! Still then had every intention of living my hedonistic lifestyle, but only one problem, I was no longer in invincible ignorance… My best friend and I would talk philosophy at times, he was a student as well, (eventually an accountant) yet gone was any appreciation for DesCartes, Kant, Spinoza, and Heidegger. We had trained years in Martial Arts, and Buddha wasn’t very coherent, despite being very ‘en vogue.’ I was learning Thales, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle! The Greeks would searched for ‘arche.’ I no longer had any interest in revolving around my belly button with Rene DesCartes! The Bible, Mass, the Eucharist, I remember it all being a flood! Another chance encounter with another guy from LaSalle,..’Greg, you are studying to be a what?!?!?’ (Fr Greg, ordained in 2010) Slowly I was bit by the bug…Oh yeah, that young priest from the store is now the Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal… Just sayin’…I tried to discern in 2007, but I never really put any effort into it. I always had an excuse,..’diocese too liberal’ (that was code for people will think I’m crazy and I like women!)
The answer, perhaps a mystery, or perhaps to show that He can act through a broken instrument such as myself? Not so sure, yet that fateful night negotiating my fate, preparing to explain to the girl I was dating that I needed to make a life changing decision, all of it comes rushing back full circle. I had told God that I would have given Him the permanent Diaconate! Apparently that wasn’t enough. I remember vividly searching to find any loophole to get out, and continually asking myself why the thought kept popping back in? I remember missing the company of a girl, and so I had asked myself if I’m on the right track? My thoughts rushing to images of me being a biological father, coaching some sports on Saturday mornings, the little voice then added to the angst I was experiencing,…’You could have it all again,..Go back to the way it was.’ The voice was seductive, yet there was no inner peace, joy or authentic freedom. I recognized that voice, didn’t realize that I had played for his team for too long. That woman who stayed with me, that living Saint who during my change tried as best she could to be there for me. Being diagnosed with clinical depression, and being not able to work for about 3 months, all because I didn’t want to accept God’s call in my life. My time as a trainer, acting like St Augustine (in every sense). Jesus continued to speak to me, and so did you! I grew angry with Liturgical matters, angry with people not following the Faith, angry with politics, yet my interior life was a complete mess.
Giving in? Not quite. Signed up as an external student. This way, I would know that there is no call to priesthood, that I’m not one of them! That ‘they’ are all socially awkward little weird possibly gay men, who don’t function in life, while I can work, make money and get girls. That I’m a regular dude who desires a family. (After sowing my ‘wild oats’ that is!) Too late, I remember the bottle of ‘Grey Goose’ on the bar, the cranberry juice beside it, and my buddies cruising some drunk girls…’Life sucks!’ That’s what I wanted. I remember, saying okay Lord, one last girl, then I’ll be yours. Guess it wasn’t to be, and after a brief stay as an external student, You, Jesus, eventually caught me, you win!…I’m yours. As for you satan, not today. My battle never over, but with Christ in me, you devil are powerless!
Just finished up my third year and next year I will be staying in Parish for the year. Throughout the hardships, and Lord, you know them! Going face to face with a drug dealer, or holding a girl who went through an abortion in my arms, crying with her… No, not just that. I’m speaking about the selfish stuff, the times of stress loneliness, the social media avenue allowing you to see old relationships move forward, and being happy for them in times of grace and being a man and sometimes envious in times of stress…
I guess you can tell that there was no real thesis to my blog post,..Oh well…
Our Lady of Fatima,................................ora pro nobis!