Ups & Downs
First I must prepare you that this blog may be all over the place tonight. It has been an interesting week that really had some highs and lows that really has taken its toll on me. I will set up the week then go into where God and God's will comes into it and also try and see where this comes into all of our lives. I am writing this blog from a bench looking out at the waves crashing on the beach just after sundown. This is a place where I have always saw God. The vastness of the ocean and sky that appears to meet and that if you sail out far enough you can touch both the ocean and sky at the same time. This also has become my solace after my trip to Ireland and burring my mothers charm at the Cliffs of Moher. Since doing that I never went back to the cemetery because I feel I buried my mother in Ireland. My mother alway like the ocean so to me it is like looking across the ocean to where my mother is. I have been coming here a lot lately trying to get some peace in my life. Visiting where I used to live and where my aunt and uncle lived has settled me somewhat but at the same time it makes me wonder and wish I knew how they would be feeling about this direction of a life, a vocation that really is not a norm in my family. Looking back and the memories is a great blessing but I can't help but also wonder. The sad fact is that I will not know in this life how they would feel. This trip has started a week of up and downs. By no means was this the catalyst but just the start of questioning.
With the ending of work this week, I planned a day trip to Philly to see some shrines and attend confession and mass at St. Peter and St. Paul Basilica. I had no clue when I planned this trip it would be the week before the Solemnity of the Saints. The day was amazing. To see the shrines and to kneel and pray at each was a true blessing for me. I felt connected and saw the faith so alive around me. Being able to be so close to a saint was powerful. Seeing the body of St. John Neumann was unreal. The idea of being close to a saint sent chills to my core. Know that St. John worked miracles in peoples lives and that I could be close to that kind of life was amazing. Me a sinner, with a past that's full of darkness and lack of God or Faith is able to be there. Then being at St. Rita's shrine and at the Miraculous Medal Shrine were also powerful. Just thinking of all the prayers that have been said and all the people that have been prayed for is overwhelming. We are blessed to have shrines and be able to go to them as a part of our faith. The Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul was beautiful. The details and the alters were unreal. I was in awe and knowing that in a few days it was their feast day was awesome. I felt like I was getting ready to know them better. Almost stopping by their homes to talk and catch up.
Friday comes and it's Jeremy Camp concert time. Something that I have been looking forward to for months. He put on a great show but one speaker / preacher spoke about God's will and how one knows if it's God's will. There were three aspects of it and unfortunately I am only sure about two of them and one of them makes me think the life that I desire is not the life that God wants for me. Yes I feel the desire to be a priest but the speaker spoke of a third condition and that being is "God opening or closing doors for you?" A big obstacle for me is financial for entering the seminary. Worrying of whether I will have the means to pay my car off, insurance, phone etc.... Worry what if this doesn't work out so keep my furniture and get a storage unit and again funds to do this. Some of course will say "all will be ok. Just take that leap of faith." And I hold back from saying "so, if this doesn't work out I can sleep on your sofa?" I know they mean well and may even be right but that doesn't stop the worry and also knowing that because of my own .... well stupidity... loaning money to family that more then likely will never return it doesn't help the situation. So, is this a door that is closed by God. To let me know this is not the path that you are to take. I mean wouldn't something come down the pike for it to be right? This question never left my mind all night and it is something that has been worrying me.
With this question on my mind all night and Saturday I decided that my plan to attend the Thanksgiving Mass and last Mass for a priest that is moving to a new parish was just not going to happen. Then as the time drew closer and closer I found myself rushing around to make it. I am so glad that I did. The mass was great and the homily was what I needed to hear. As I said it was the weekend of St. Peter and St. Paul and I ended up hearing three different homilies this weekend about these men of faith. Before I get ahead of myself let me focus on Saturdays homily. With the idea of Father leaving and moving on he spoke on how he is nervous and how it is hard to move on and start this new journey for him. The same way that these men were asked to leave all things and go. Father took them and made them personal for him. Compared life and the Will of God and how He moves in us and how both Saints had struggles and were not perfect. Yet, Jesus used them with their struggles and imperfections. It is hard to wrap up his homily because as he spoke about them he related his life as well. It was at times emotional and yet comforting as well. Then he sang a song called "Double Life" that speaks about crossing that bridge to a new life. I will post the video of the song below. I needed to hear the homily and left feeling that God's will is far from me or at least understanding it anymore.
Then I heard two other homilies on Sunday. I wanted to hear more takes on these two men, Saints and Pillars of the Faith. The first homily spoke more on them going off and preaching and what they over came. It was more of an overview of them. Then the last focus more on how they stood for their faith and even battled with each other at times. How they died for the faith and where life ended and ministry took hold. Even comparing how their faith was tested and over came to be what Jesus needed them to become. To allow God's Will to overtake their lives. All three homilies addressed different areas and made it personal as well. Each I know I needed to hear.
I have always been drawn to both St. Peter and St. Paul. The man who denied Jesus and yet came back to him and become the first Pope. Then a man who went after the faith and the followers of Jesus and Jesus still called him and changed his life. Of course I have identified more with St. Paul and his life but still have some parts that St. Peter has had an impact on. There is a song that was sung on Friday night about St. Paul that I will also include below. Both men stopped a life and altered their course because of a call from Jesus. Today's reading reflected that same thing, when asked to follow a man responds "I have to bury my father" and Jesus says " follow me and let the dead bury their dead". Father then asked what is it that holds us from follow our mission and God's will in our lives. What is it that holds me is that idea of trust and security both financial and spiritual. How about you? Is there something being laid before you and you are just not ready to pick it up? Do we have to be ready? Is there a desire that beats in your soul but you are waiting for that "magic" something that will make it be right?
Now I sit and think or is it that I really have not done all that I need to do yet. That there is a door that is waiting to be opened and it's not "magic" that I need to open it, but just me. Is my frame of mind all wrong? I mean here I am planning on things not working out and have all my things in storage just wait for me. Did Peter say "ok, Jesus let me just put my boat in the slip and gather up all my belongings to keep them safe for my return". Did Paul say " great, thanks for the conversion but can I hold on to some parts of my life until I get this whole God's Will in my life settled". I must say that I still have a mouth and temper. With that temper the mouth goes even further. At times someone says "that doesn't sound very priest like" and my response always is "I am not a priest yet". How can I live that way and expect a door to open? Let's face it I already have one foot out the door with holding onto material things and my head turned,eyes focused on a past life and a hand holding the door of my past opened. Who am I kidding at this point? It's not God I am kidding it is myself.
God's Will in our lives will only happen if we allow it. He will not force our hand. He may send some powerful signs or sometimes just simple ones. I have to say that this week has been a week where signs are there but I am having a hard time understanding them. One great thing is that so often this week I have had people say that they are praying for me and for my vocation. That means so much to me. To have that kind of support is powerful. My desire of a vocation is that of becoming a Priest. When I watched the ordination of the new Priests, I felt something deep in me stir. A whisper saying this is your true desire. Listening to a Priest speak of confession sent chills to my core. Listening to a Priest speak about leaving a parish and moving on brought tears to my eyes. Listening to a Priest speak about the honor of having us, call him Father, set a river of tears flowing. This is a life I want and desire. I am not worthy at all to be called to this life and maybe that is another aspect that I have to over come. I know the impact of these Holy Men on my life and what this vocation really means to me. It is not about giving up a life but a life that is complete.
It has not been easy this past week with uncertainty and realizations but no one said this course of life would be simple. Each one of us need to find our vocations and God's Will in and for our lives. I am sorry that this blog was all over the place tonight and also that there has been less of blogging and more of posting lately. I hope and pray that with new realizations that things will get back together and settle. ( remember that below is both songs that I spoke about for you to view)
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and search for God's will.