I've always been a walker. Wherever I live I always fall into set paths: Prospect St. to Ogden St. to Edgehill Rd. in New Haven. The main road through Connecticut College down to the lonely back of Cummings Arts Center and back over South Lot to the far road. Down the River Corrib path to Galway Cathedral and back home on Newcastle. Up Waterman to Thayer and down to Wickenden, where all the coolest spots in Providence could be found. Up the white trail to the 'stop sign' blazed red trail at Sleeping Giant. Down Fulton St. to Euclid Ave. on the edge of Queens. Up Mass Ave. past Porter Square past John the Evangelist to that funny pedestrian path right by the Greek pizzeria that leads all the way to Alewife station, and then back on the T. The big loop of Morsemere down to the Roberts Ave. in Yonkers, a stop at Christ the King, and back home on North Broadway.
Somehow my walking provides for me an intersection of freedom, contemplation, and solitude. At least that's what one of my best spiritual directors once suggested.
I bring this all up because it has become for me an example of how God redeems our personalities and natural peculiarities for His own purposes. Here in the parish ministry, my walking has done a lot for me. I almost never drive anywhere if it's not too far to walk, given the time I have. One result of this is that I not only run into parishioners, but I get to know the sort of folks who hang out in the streets. It makes me feel more connected to the people, gives me opportunities to ask about their concerns, and gives that much more specificity to my prayer for the intentions of the people of the parish.
This is the sort of plain reflection that gives me a little bit more confidence and clarity in my own vocation as a friar and a priest. I can see God making use of me in my own particularity. It's easy to see the Holy Spirit making use of one's talents and strengths, but when He is discerned to be making a redemptive use even of one's eccentricities or random habits, it reveals the depths of the gentle salvation of God.