Thirty-Seven Years

I shared these words in my Daily Reflections this morning and wanted to share them with you this evening as they have a lot of meaning to me:

Thirty-seven years ago, on May 28, 1983, my life changed irrevocably because that was the day that I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Gary.  I say irrevocably because we speak about the indelible mark that is placed upon a soul at the moment of ordination. That can never be erased, even if a person leaves the priesthood.  Such is the sacramental mark upon one’s soul.

I never would have imagined the course of my priesthood.  The assignments that I have had throughout the years have been quite varied and have exposed me to a great segment of the faithful in our diocese from young to old, rich to poor, city dwelling to rural, free to imprisoned. I believe I have seen it all.

I would not have predicted my assignments; but, I have always accepted them willingly and out of obedience to my bishops.  Some of them have been short, others long.  Some have been easier, some more difficult.  All of them have been an opportunity for spiritual growth.  Saying yes to God is not an easy thing to do but it is the only thing a person who believes can do in order to stay true to his or her nature.

Have I ever wished that things were otherwise?  I would be dishonest if I said no.  There have been times that I have thought, “Why in the world did I say yes?”  But those times were brief and replaced by the joy of knowing that I was serving the Lord even when things got rough.  I have had my ups and I have had my downs.  That’s what life is all about.

But, given the opportunity to go back thirty-seven years ago, I would show up at the cathedral and be ordained all over again.  This is the life to which I believe God has called me.  I know that I am not worthy of the call.  None of us are.  That is why I like the saying so much:  “God does not call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.”

We are all called by God to a specific walk of life.  We are all called to serve Him in one way, shape, or form.  We call that our vocation.  Fighting a call from God leads to an unpleasant life.  Accepting the call from God will bring ups and downs, happiness and sadness; but, in the end, it will bring us eternal bliss.

2 Replies to “Thirty-Seven Years”

  1. Thank you so much! Not only for your own feelings, but for how these feelings make me think…. about the deaths I’ve had to endure, but also the feelings I have felt, and am now feeling, and how your words made me think about my own decisions and beliefs. It brought me to a realization that God is concerned about each one of us… and that He wants us to love and believe in Him. Our doubts are normal… but He isn’t! I’m so glad you stuck to it!

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