Monday, June 17, 2013

An old friend

When Fred and I lived back in Vermont we were pretty involved in Catholic youth ministry. We spent lots of time helping out on teen retreats, singing around camp fires,  and driving car loads of kids from place to place. We had a few little kids of our own in those days, and a bit of extra time to spare and so it made sense for us. Naturally, some of the local teens became more friendly with us and began stopping by our place on and off to chat.

One particular young man, whose name was Jon, came by more often. We talked a lot. (And if you can believe it, I actually did most of the listening in those conversations!) He asked a lot of questions about God and faith, and how to deal with the struggles of life- as if I had some hidden answers. We drank a lot of coffee. And we became friends. Jon always had a lot of energy and questions, but he was largely from my recollection of those days- restless. One afternoon when Jon was telling me all these great plans he was ready to accomplish with his life I stopped him and said "You know what I think Jon? I think that one day you are going to make a very good priest." His face pickled up into a terrible sneer, and he left shortly after very angry indeed.  He didn't speak to me for at least a few weeks for that comment, but eventually I apologized for it and  we talked it out. And then he went off to college, and we moved to Maryland and had another five kids and life and time took over for us all, and we lost touch.

Until today when he came to visit...And before he left he had heard my confession.

He has been a priest for five years now. He finished up college and finally applied to seminary, and then he studied in Rome. That still small voice just kept growing inside of him. Of course it would already be super cool to have simply gotten that one right ( like I did) but the better part of the story, that I was even more right about, was that he REALLY IS a good priest! He is happy, and peaceful, and not restless any longer like he had been. The priesthood  really does suit him just like I supposed.

"Our  hearts are restless until they rest in thee" St. Augustine

So Fred and I and the kids and Fr. Jon spent the day visiting together, and chatting about old times, stopping at a few local shrines for prayer, and catching up on the last dozen or so years since we had seen each other. It was such a perfect afternoon. When he was getting ready to go and I asked him to give me some words of wisdom now that he was a priest and all  about how to handle the struggles of life his words were simple and profound "Keep on loving anyway."The words felt like they soaked right through my whole soul.

We are meant to be a part of one another's lives, all of us.


  1. Yes... we are. And you told me I'd make a great mother. My face prickled in most likely the same way at that time... and yet, here I stand today with two sweet girls, a wonderful husband and "content" finally.

  2. tracy.rose@healthline.comJuly 10, 2013 at 8:35 AM

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