The following article appeared in St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church's bulletin a couple of weeks ago. Please pray for Christian and all young men as they explore the priesthood. A special thank you to Christian for letting me share this with you!
As a relatively new Catholic, I often think about what the Faith means to me: how it shapes and molds me, and brings me closer to God. It seems like years have passed since I received the Sacraments of Initiation, but in actuality it has only been 9 months. Yet in that time, so much has happened – from my journey as a lector, sacristan, commentator, to volunteering at the parish office. And although these capacities vary in nature, they share a common thread: service. With this, I am drawn to these questions: How can I serve God and others? What does God have planned for me? What vocation is God leading me to? As I continue to discern God’s call, I often think of priests and how they serve others so selflessly; how they facilitate our union with Christ through the Sacraments, and how they proclaim and live the Gospel. The thought of this touches my heart and continues to fuel my desire to seriously consider a vocation to priesthood. Even now, my involvement with various aspects of the Liturgy – an area that brings me closer to what the priest does – has helped me to develop that unique closeness to God and the Eucharist.
To further my discernment, I recently attended a weekend retreat at Mundelein Seminary called “Exploring Priesthood.” With this unique and memorable opportunity, I was able to interact with seminarians who shared their vocation stories and explained how they came to feel God's call to the priesthood. And it was their openness and honesty that affirmed for me that priesthood is a call to service; this in turn, helped me to better understand how God sometimes reveals His plan to us by speaking through others, leaving behind subtle clues that may shift the course of one's journey. Prayer was another important aspect of the retreat: through daily mass, "morning" and "night" prayer (lauds and vespers), and Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, I was able to connect with God, bringing about feelings of peace, happiness, and joy. And with these emotions, it is clear to me that the call to priesthood is something that I cannot simply ignore. Therefore, to delve deeper into the elements of discernment, I will be joining a weekly program called "In-Search." "In-Search" allows one to meet with other men who are going through the same process of discernment, as well as with a diocesan priest who will share his vocation story and provide insight on a particular area of priesthood. (Q&A sessions and socialization follows.) I look forward to being a part of this group!
I thank all of you for your support, especially Fr. Francis Li who serves as a great inspiration and mentor. As I continue to open my heart to Christ and be conscious of Him moving through me and others, I ask that you please keep me in your prayers as I will do the same for you.
"Caritas Christi Vrget Nos" / (The love of Christ urges us on)