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.