October 4, 2006

Francis

In the winter of 1999 three people in a row told me to think about the priesthood. It was the nun who organized the readers and eucharistic ministers in my parish. Then it was a permanent deacon I met on retreat. Finally it was an old friend on the phone.

Thinking that it might be the Spirit speaking, I went up to the seminary of my home diocese for an interview. I arrived early, as I often do, and so I went to their chapel to pray. I prayed that whatever should happen in the interview, it would help me discern my path.

The interview went poorly; we were just speaking different languages. It was clear to me that the vocation director didn't see me as a diocesan seminarian.

I was confident that my prayer would be answered, however, so when I got home I was reflecting on what this interview might have meant. Pacing around my apartment, I picked up the writings of Francis and read the first paragraph of his Testament:

The Lord gave to me, brother Francis, to begin to do penance: for when I was in sin it seemed bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord himself led me among them, and I had mercy on them. And returning from them, that which had seemed bitter was changed into sweetness of soul and body; and after that I stood for a little while and then left the world.

At that moment I knew that I was a Franciscan at heart.

5 comments:

Rashfriar said...

Dear Brother, Peace! Happy Feast of St. Francis, and thank you for answering the call. May God bless your ordination day as a deacon. To serve. I enjoy your blog. God bless!

Brother Lesser said...

You are truly blessed, my friend. How many of us go through our entire lives and have not a clue as to our calling. The Church is fortunate to have those like you who have heard and answered the call.

May God give you peace!

Paula said...

Sounds like a great love story.:-).

Anonymous said...

Happy Feast of St. Francis, although a day late.

I love the Testament, and that first sentence does explain the spirit of Francis -- his love and his joy.

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Happy Feast my capuchin friend.

Thanks for this blog. That which is bitter becomes sweet. That sounds like conversion to me. And I just read today a bit in The Brothers Karamazov where Fr. Zossima is expounding on his love for the book of Job, and asking how Job can love his new children when he had others before that died, he says "It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy." Would that all our suffering turn into that, so long as we hand them over to the Lord.

God bless.