Friday, February 29, 2008

Time to reflect on future plans

By Austin M. D. Quick
Cardinal Columnist

Discernment, a word that is the epitome of what is taking place at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. When many people think of IHM, they think that it’s a place where men are being trained to be priests.
Where that is true in part, the reality is that the men of the seminary are discerning God’s will for them in their lives. This means that when a guy comes to IHM, he is not necessarily going to become a Roman Catholic Priest. He is, however, taking a very important and serious step into the way of active discernment to find out what it is he is meant to do. I’m not a big fan of statistics, but if my memory serves me right, only one in eight of the men at IHM will become priests. This is hard for many people to understand and comprehend, and until recently, I don’t believe even I completely understood it myself (if I do yet).

After almost two years here at IHM and Saint Mary’s University, I will be leaving for an unknown period of time to actively discern my vocation outside of the seminary walls. It is my sincere feeling that God is calling me to become a priest and that although it is not clear yet, He has a plan for me and I am willing to follow that wherever it takes me. It is not easy to follow God to places unknown or uncomfortable. It is not a walk in the park to leave your life and your home behind. It is not easy to do what God calls us to (especially when it’s not what we think we should do). The bottom line is that all of us are called to discern what it is that God calls us to.

Given the fact that we are in the middle of the great season of Lent, we all are encouraged to take time to reflect on our lives and see what things keep us from giving ourselves completely to God. Take this time to reflect and pray for God’s grace to fill your heart and allow you to see that the plans He has laid out for us are the ones that will make us happiest.

I will always look back on my time here at SMU and IHM with great fondness for it is here that I was able to grow closer to God and see first hand the great things happening in the Church. May this Lenten season be a great time of spiritual reflection and growth for each of you. Know of my prayers for the entire SMU community, and please keep me in yours as well.

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