Upon entering kindergarten, I began to assist at Mass twice per week—once on Sunday with family and once on Wednesday with my school family. Very soon, in the first grade, I found myself at Wednesday Mass one day thinking, “I want to be a priest. I’d like to do that.” As life progressed, however, I began to “run away” from this initial call, this initial desire and didn’t think about it very much. But God was persistent. He constantly pursued me with His gentle and loving invitation.
God has plenty of time and, before undeniably inviting me to seminary to pursue a vocation to priesthood, He deigned to simply draw me towards radical holiness. He inspired me to live a moral life, brought people into my life who inspired me to regular Confession and study of the faith, and put me in touch with a spiritual director who taught me how to pray.
By the time God began to invite me in an undeniable way to pursue priesthood, I had seriously fallen in love. Each day, I was taking a few minutes in silence with God and His Scriptures, and beginning to feel a gentle tug on my heart towards priesthood and therefore towards the seminary. I didn’t want to be a priest at that point, but I asked God to raise up the desire for priesthood in my heart. Now, aside from being a saint (i.e. being united with God forever in Heaven) there’s nothing I desire more than to be a priest. So I now begin my life as a priest with an open heart to the continued growth in holiness which Jesus wants to effect in my heart and pray that I always live an intimate relationship of love with the Holy Trinity, a love which decides everything.
To this end, Father Pedro Arrupe once said, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.” I pray that, having falling in love, I might stay in love, that I might always allow this love to define my life. May this love define your life too, wherever God has you.
I also count it an extraordinary blessing to be a seminarian for the great diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, where God is doing powerful works. Everywhere I go—from Golden Meadow to Thibodaux to Morgan City to Houma and everywhere in between — I see people hungry, hungry for truth, for goodness, and for unity. I see people hungry for beauty and, ultimately, for God. How exciting it is for me to be in formation to feed this hunger with love, especially and, eventually, with the great Sacrament of Love, the Holy Eucharist! Don’t get me wrong, all of this is hard to do, but is anything both easy and worth doing? The difficulties are soon transformed and, as Blessed Theresa of Calcutta said, “If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” With all of this beauty in front of me, I pray that God makes me a good and holy priest. Please pray for your priests, pray for me, and pray for our seminarians!