Confidence Man

As you know, I was at the seminary this weekend. It was a great time getting to know the seminarians there and participating in prayer with them. The weekend started off with participating in the evening prayer of liturgy of the hours, something I pray on my own nearly every day but never have done as a group. Let me tell you, it was awesome. I’ve never experienced prayer quite like it. We also had some holy hours during which we practiced lectio divina. That was probably the best part of the weekend. I could go on and on about how the Word of God struck me, but I don’t have enough space. I will just share the two verses that hit me during our two holy hours and I will perhaps elaborate on them later.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”

-Luke 1:38

“And when they brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

-Luke 5:11

We spent a lot of time also doing a lot of physical activity, like capture the flag, soccer, and dodgeball, you know, the regular stuff. One of the great things was just spending time with the seminarians, watching them, listening to them, seeing that we had a lot of similar things going on in our hearts. Being back at NDSU makes it all the much more real to me that I should go to seminary.

One of the things that happened this weekend though was not pretty. I got this constant and nagging feeling that I was not holy enough to be there. As many similarities as there were between the seminarians and me, there seemed to be this unattainable holiness that they had. This voice somewhere kept telling me to stop conning myself into thinking I could be there, that I could take this step, that I could someday be a priest. It kept saying that the Lord knows better than to be taken by me, as I am really a confidence man, pretending to be on God’s side, to be holy, and then just disappoint God and then run. ‘Tis better to run now, then run later and disappoint the One I claim to love.

Yet, I know better than to listen to that voice. Of course I’m not holy enough. Nobody is, but God will give me the graces necessary to do the work he has called me to. St. Phillip Neri said:

Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if he wants anything of you, he will fit you for the work and give you strength.

And that goes hand-in-hand with what Fr. Jasinski said this weekend. He told us not to worry about all the things that priest do right now. Nobody is asking us to go say Mass tomorrow, to perform a wedding, or bury someone’s family members. We ask for those graces when the time comes. The only grace we need to pray for right now is the grace to say ‘yes’ to whatever it is God is calling us to. That is the best lesson I got this weekend.

Lord, give me the strength and the graces I need at the moment, which is the grace to say ‘yes’ to whatever you call me to. I know that the graces I need later will be given to me when I need them. I ask this in the name of Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.