Thoughts from a young theologian

Vocational Discernment and the Summit of Faith


Something interesting that came up for me over the past weekend was the opportunity to go to a CCO (Catholic Christian Outreach) Summit. The Summit is a Eucharistic Adoration evening event put on by CCO for university students and varies from parish to parish. Before coming into the seminary, it had been one of the things I looked forward to each month because it would always give me a monthly opportunity to quiet down my life, reorganize and refocus my priorities and get ready for another month of work. Being in the very quiet, serene and prayerful environment of the seminary means that I don’t really need a Summit to quiet down. I just basically need to make it to the end of the day because once about 4:30 hits, my day becomes extremely regular and much more quiet. After all, 4:30 is when I go to a holy hour, followed by 5:30 vespers, 6 pm supper, 6:30 recreation time and 7 pm vigils/office of readings. It’s really a fantastic way to slow things down a bit and end the day with prayer and fellowship.

But I have to admit that I really missed the Summits. I loved serving for it in the past and was thrilled to be able to serve for it once again, for the first time as a seminarian. Only since Fr. Joseph took over the vocation director’s office have seminarians been required to and allowed to go to CCO Summits. Prior to that decision, most of the seminarians would just go if the Summit just happened to be around Mission. The best part about this particular Summit was it was being held in one of my favourite parishes to visit… Why is it my favourite? Because it’s a lot of fun and a great little place to play and pray at the same time. The thing I remembered most about this parish is its little votive candles. This is the only place I’ve ever seen with push button votive candles. I remember the first time, playing and pushing the little buttons on top of these candles to get them to “light” up before realizing a little later on that I actually had to pay for these… Oops… Hehehehehehe So this time, I was trying to borrow money from either the deacon or some of the other guys to “play” with the candles but they all refused to be a part of it. Hheeheehehehehe Instead they decided to put me to work by giving me one of those BBQ lighters and getting me to light up some of the real candles that were on the altar. So I went up to the altar with my little candle lighter, turned it on and realized (rather delightfully) that this was no ordinary candle lighter. Normally, once you click the BBQ lighter, a little flame flickers out. Here, after flicking the lighter, I ended up getting, not a tiny, boring little flame but a stream of it. They had lent me a mini flame thrower!! Ooooooohhhh how much fun I had lighting those other candles let me tell you!! HEheheehhehehe

Seriously though, after all the games, I was able to spend lots of time in prayer once the Summit started. I’m so used now to the quiet holy hours I have up at the abbey that the return of the music that accompanies any Summit was really welcomed. I realized also, while I was praying that another reason why I really like this church, apart from the electric candles and the flame-thrower candle lighters, is because it was here, during a Summit a couple of years ago that I got up the courage to ask Fr. Hien afterwards about the possibility of entering the seminary. I hadn’t been back since! The last time I was in this place, I was a frightened, little university student… now I’m a frightened, little seminarian. It’s amazing how much can change and yet how many things stay the same. I always thought that upon entering the seminary, I’d receive much clarity, immediately, on where I was meant to be. That’s most definitely not the case… God takes His time to work! I realized that I’m still pretty much the same guy who was kneeling here two something years ago… the only difference being where I was going home after the Summit. I mean my prayer life has improved for sure, my ability to meet and dialogue with people (especially those who are searching for truth) has improved as well, owing to my studies up here. But my fears, my uncertainty… those are all still there. I’m still not sure if the priesthood is the place I’ll end up. All I know now is I am where I’m supposed to be, just like I knew, 2 years ago that at that time, the university was where I was supposed to be. There’s just a few things that crossed my mind this weekend. Hopefully, next time, I’ll have something a bit more substantial to share with you guys! Hope you all have a fantastic week and God bless!!!

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