I remember the words of Abbot Gregory when we graduated in 2010. He invited the soon-to-be alumni to take a contemplative look back to the mountain where we were formed. Three years later, as I descended A Street, I recalled that advice, and took a look back …
Seminarians and the seminary culture, more or less, believes that if you make it through your Pastoral Year, you’ll make it to Ordination. I thought about how I felt my first day at Saint Raphael Parish and as I sit here enjoying my cup of coffee, the day after the experience is over … overwhelmed with gratitude!
Discernment truly has a face, vocation has a face. Above is a snapshot into the many various faces I have encountered and loved this past year. Victor Hugo nailed it on the head in Les Misérables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Yesterday was the grand finale of the Easter Season with the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost. It’s the event in which tongues of fire fell upon the disciples and they began to speak in many different languages (Acts 2:1-11).
This past year, I have learned the Language of being Blessed:
I was welcomed to the lives of teenagers and youth and helped them on their journey of faith as they prepared for sacraments, asked the real questions in life.
I have also learned the Language of being Broken:
It was terribly hard to hear of the death of a seminarian and experience the death of two priests whom I all consider friends. I also journeyed with close seminarian brothers who packed their bags to move on in their journey through life. I have listened to the stories and struggles of God’s people in Marin in a variety of ages and lived with the very reality of the diocesan priesthood, its joys and its challenges.
I have learned the Language of being Shared:
It will be forever etched in my heart that the leadership of the parish allowed me to be with youth and children in teaching them the faith and being present to their lives. It has humbled me and reminded me of the need to have a child-like faith.
Ultimately, I have learned the Language of Love: the more I give my life away in service to the Gospel, in testimony to the Resurrection of Christ, in service to God’s people, I will find my life over and over again in abundance.
Remembering the Abbot’s words from that mountain top in the Northwest where I first began my journey, I take a glance back and celebrate that we are all blessed, broken, and shared because we share in the life of Christ who is blessed, broken, and shared at every celebration of Eucharist. I am grateful for the encounter at Saint Raphael because God’s people have taught me to love, to love without fear!