So I’m writing this as I pack up a bunch of my stuff to head off to the seminary in the morning to begin the new school year. What I want to do is write a little something every once in a while to keep you all up to date with what’s happening in the seminary this year. Not because I feel like you need to know every step I take, but because I think it’ll be good for us all to reflect on what it’s like to grow into a vocation. I’m not just going to wake up one day and be a priest, so I want to share with all of you in some way my journey, so that you can all see how big a part you play in it too.
I’ve spent three years in the Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation working on my college degree. But as I pack up my life yet again to head off to St. John Seminary for graduate school, it’s finally really beginning to hit me that this is a big step in my life and formation towards the priesthood. I just found myself thinking that if it were not for the tremendous graces heaped upon me by God this summer, I would not have been nearly as ready as I am now to continue on with this new school year. Certainly I would have continued on, but the boost in my prayer life that I’ve gained, the way I’ve fallen head over heels for Christ in the Eucharist like never before, and my renewed hope in the future of the Church have reaffirmed my vocation to priesthood. And I believe this has to do in great part with the experiences that have flowed out of the summer camp I got to spend with you all.
I’ve had my own overwhelming experiences in Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, but I’ve been almost just as affected by witnessing your own faith too. I just can’t stop thinking about how much love you are showing to Christ as He places Himself before us like that. To have your arms raised, reaching; to have your voices raised, singing; to have your hearts raised, surrendering; I feel like I’m in the presence of Christ’s Body like never before! Thank you for reminding me how to pray! It can be easy to let my praise of God be so subdued by those around me who are afraid to express themselves. One of the greatest gifts I’ve received this summer was to witness your fearlessness in praising God. Pray that I may not be afraid to lift up my arms, to sing, and to give all I have to God. Pray that the whole seminary is set on fire by faith this year!
So as I spend these last few hours of my summer reflecting on just how beautiful God is and the way He has set me back on fire through all of you, I can’t help but to rejoice in what my vocation means. I think a vocation first and foremost belongs to no one person. Sure, I’m the one studying to be a priest, but without those of you I’ve met this summer and without your prayers, it means so much less. I can barely express how much joy it brings me to tell you all that if I do indeed make it to ordination, you will all hold a very special place in getting me there. This also means that my vocation belongs almost as much to you as it does to me. So I ask you to pray for this vocation: for its protection, for its fruitfulness, and for constant thanksgiving that you are all a part of it. And may the hands of Mary protect us, make our actions fruitful, and constantly bring us closer to her Son, God’s Son, our Brother, our Lord.