Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Vocation Story from a Dominican

A Dominican at my university recently told part of his vocation story to us in class so I thought I would share some snippets because I think what he said was extremely valuable.

He said that when he was young, he had all his plans figured out. He was going to be a physician. He had a wonderful Christian woman in his life that he was going to marry in a couple years. They would wait until he finished school and she had finished her nursing program so that she could move to wherever he would go to medical school and be a nurse there. They even had the names of their first two children.

That summer, he was taking some extra classes in Berkeley, spending his time going to class, Mass at noon, more study, and some more prayer. He was living a life in solitude. Phone calls were expensive so he did not call his girlfriend much. There was no internet as he likes to say. He was alone. And each day after receiving communion he would say, "Lord, help me to pass my classes so that I can go to medical school and be a good physician." But slowly that began to change. The words remained the same but the Lord became the bigger part of that prayer.

One day, while taking a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in SF God asked him a question. "Why do you want to be a physician?" He responded, "To heal people." God replied, "Is that the only way?"

From here began a long journey.

He would finish his studies in Berkeley that summer and rush down south to see his girlfriend. As any female member of the human race, she knew right away something was up. So did he. She got into the car with him to head down to the beach but he read very quickly, all was not right. There she was, sitting with her arms crossed, looking out the window. Not good.

Finally she spoke. "Who did you meet in Berkeley? Your heart has changed."

It was the conversation he did not want to have yet wanted to have. They agreed to pray with it and one day, she came to him and said, "Christ is calling you to be a priest. That is what you need to do." And he agreed.

He would eventually move towards applying to be a diocesan priest but a vocation director stopped him, saying, "I have been praying a lot for you and I have to ask you if you have ever considered religious life."

That became a turning point. And some 30+ years later he is still a holy and faithful Dominican priest teaching to this very day.

He says many wise things. Among others, God takes us places and gives us our vocation in life not because that is how we can best love God but rather how God can best love us.

I, like this Dominican, have discovered that God best loves me as his priest and how true it is, that it is his love alone that initiates, sustains, and completes this vocation that he has placed in my heart.


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