Lent is a journey of renewal. It is a time to confess the past and to let it go. It is a time to move on to the future, a future with Christ. It is a time to become more attune to the Word and the Will of God, through his Son, Jesus Christ.
This last week has for me been a tremendous time of renewal. On Saturday I left with five others for Fort Dodge, Iowa, and then proceeded to Peoria, Illinois to spend four days with the Brothers of St. John. Those four days were warm, relaxing, and refreshing. But most of all, they were a time to seek God. As I read and contemplated the different Gospel accounts throughout the week, I kept coming across this one saying of Jesus: ask, and you will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. Then, on Thursday morning, at the last Mass before we were to leave, that turned out to be the Gospel reading!
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
St. Matthew 7:7-11
Ask. Seek. Knock. Lord, I just want to know. I want to know what you are calling me to do. I want to know what your will is. I want to know so that I can glorify you. I want to know so that one piece of the universe might be set back in order. I want to know so that I can stop messing up my life, and so that I can stop interfering in the lives of those around me, making it difficult for them to discern. I want to know so that I can take part in your peace. I want to know so that I can serve the kingdom as you desire.
But the Lord doesn’t simply tell us to ask. God wants us to seek him. He wants us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (St. Matthew 6:33). In seeking we will find. When we seek the righteousness of God, we inevitably will find the gifts that God gives for our asking. We ask, but we don’t sit and wait for answers. We live. We live the commandments of the Gospel. We love God and we love our neighbor and in this, we will be given the fruits that God has for us. In living the Gospel we encounter God. In each act of righteousness, we knock on the door of the heart of Christ to offer ourselves up to him. And in this knocking, the door is opened. He allows us to enter the kingdom. We ask. We seek. We knock. God opens. We find. God gives.
That’s what happened to me this week. I asked God, “what is my vocation?” Instead of waiting, I decided to seek first the kingdom. I knew that if I did, God would give me what I need, what I asked for. And so, with each prayer, with each deed I did for the kingdom, I knocked, saying, “God, hello? Here I am Lord. I don’t have much, but I have this Rosary for you.” And the door was opened and in it, I found the kingdom of God, that is the Will of Christ, and the love that surpasses and encompasses all loves. And in it, the answer I received was to go to seminary.
There ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it. I’ve put it off for two years, but now it’s time to go. If it is at all possible, I will go to the seminary to continue to seek the answers I desire and to offer my life continually at Christ’s door.
Submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your heart, you backsliders. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high.
-St. James 4:7-8, 10-