Saturday, September 12, 2009

Incoming Missal

Today the Serra Club of San Francisco is hosting a barbeque for seminarians and their families here at St. Patrick's. I remember last year when my mother came. As I showed her around the grounds she kept saying, "Oh this place is so peaceful. I wish I could live here." I must admit I do enjoy my Saturdays. If I'm ordained a priest, then these will be the last Saturdays I'll ever have to myself again!

Fr. Chuck Kelly, our vocations director, told me something interesting when I met with him a few weeks ago: most diocesan priests are introverts. That surprised me because when most of us think of our own parish priest, we think of him in the narthex or outside on the steps after Mass, greeting and shaking hands with everyone. Our Faith requires us to interact with others, no matter our state in life. Even the Carthusians talk to each other once a week :p For a long time I thought, "The diocesan priesthood is an extrovert's only vocation, and that's definitely not me, so I shouldn't even bother trying."

I told those thoughts to my academic adviser one time and he said, "If the priesthood is only for extroverts, then I've been in the wrong vocation all of my life." In St. Theresa parish in Lake Tahoe, I had a similar conversation with the pastor, Fr. Ron. He told me something that's stuck with me: "The Gospel requires everyone to step outside of themselves." If you're an introvert, like me, that means you will have to open up to others more. Much of any priestly life is simply showing up and being with the people during the most important parts of their lives. But the upside to this is that I'm perfectly happy when I'm alone. No matter who you are, if you desire to be a priest, you have to be comfortable by yourself - alone with the Alone - and with yourself.

That's part of what seminary life is about. We really only come to know ourselves in our dealings with others. When you leave the seminary, whether it is to be ordained a priest or because you discovered the life was not for you after all, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. Above all, pray and trust in God. If He calls you to the priesthood, He already knows all of your weaknesses and chose you anyway. He never chooses any man because of any merits he may possess - whatever gifts we bring to the seminary and the priesthood all come from God after all!

No comments: