Well, we all knew it had to come at some point. At 11:30 pm Roman time today, summer will be officially over for me and all the seminarians in my second year class. Time to put away the sandals, shorts, and t-shirts and go back to black and shirts tucked in pants. And I am really sad to see the summer go. There is so much to miss. Especially the shorts!
photo by jurvetson
If you asked me 3 months ago if I would rather go back stateside or go off to China and Milan, I would have said let me go home!!! Perhaps somewhere down deep that desire still exists. But reflecting at this moment, I give thanks for the opportunity to see the Church in China and to experience the life and charism of the Missionaries of Charity. I have learned so much and grown much in my own relationship with Christ and understanding of priesthood.
God really has an amazing way of surprising us. I had really little idea of what this summer would bring. It has been a real opportunity for me to trust his providential care. He is always there, guiding, watching, and moving things towards their ultimate purpose, even if I find myself on a boat on a river in the middle of nowhere northern China.
My last day at the Missionary of Charities house in Milan the superior, Sister Lawrence, pulled out some holy cards with second class relics of Mother and asked me to choose one. The one I picked said this:
"Keep the joy of loving Jesus in your hearts and share this joy with all you meet."
God has an amazing way of meeting us on the road. This is the exact experience I felt I have had throughout my summer. I have found myself falling more in love with God and His Church and desiring to share this love, this joy, this great treasure, with whoever I meet and wherever I am. Life is good. Seminary is good. Priesthood, I have a feeling, will be even better. :)
I sometimes feel like one of those cheezy infomerical guys who is touting the next great product that will solve all your problems, whether it be fitness or in the kitchen, when I tell people that my time in the seminary has been the best time of my life. I am not telling you that you have to get into the seminary, I am just telling you how good it is. It's the truth.
And if you are called to the priesthood, perhaps after watching the vocation video I just posted, realize what Jesus has already said, "For my yolk is easy and my burden is light." To follow the way the Lord is calling you, to discover your true self by listening to the great plan God has in store for you, will be the easy way. Not easy in the sense of no suffering, no sacrifice, and no tears. But rather easy in the sense that you will have a confidence that you are fulfilling the deepest core of your being by following the will of your Creator who from all eternity has called you to a marvelous vocation, to be a rising light in heaven that never fades.
Now back to the books.