a weekend in retreat (sort of)

the weekend was spent in spokane, staffing the prov 8 young adult & higher ed gathering.  the weekend went off with only a few minor glitches, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  this year’s theme was “turning off the noise” and the gathering was purposefully designed to encourage everyone to listen to the silence.  its not an easy thing…this listening for God in the silence.  my mind often wandered.  especially about what my plans should be for the short term.

my options are this:

First: stay here in portland, at my current job, continue the process, but probably be a little unhappy with my current job.

Second: talk to my friend in LA and see if he needs an assistant for next year.  possibily continue the process in the diocese of oregon, but if need be, start it in LA.

Third: look more into the international mission project from the national church.  possibly go to India or China (or some other place).

The key thing to reconcile with each of these options is my desire to start seminary in the fall of 2007.  Right now I’m really not sure which way I should go.  I need to get a little more information about each of the second two options though.

I have some more decompressing to do on this subject (and the conference), which I’ll have to do later.  My brain is still kinda mushy from the loss of an hour and the drive home yesterday. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/a-weekend-in-retreat-sort-of/

Practicing Resurrection

So one of the suggestions of my discernment committee was to read the book Practicing Resurrection by Nora Gallagher. I finished the book this morning and there were three passages I bookmarked for further contemplation.

On discernment:

I had thought at the beginning that it would be a matter of looking for signs or listening for voices, not too many steps away from divining tea leaves. But it had become a different matter. It had been as if I were invited into a slow stripping away to expose what lay underneath. Some aspect of myself or a part of the past would rise up, something left unattended and unresolved, to which I’d grown so accustomed I did not see it, like the low-lying tree branch in the backyard I instinctively duck. Often a person would bump into this long-held secret I kept from myself, sometimes by accident or as if by accident, and insist that I take a look.

On monks:

I think they are men who do not expect their faith to end their own suffering.

On exile:

It is typical of exile that it changes you, and when you return, you don’t fit in the way you did before.

As I prepare for the Prov 8 Higher Ed & Young Adult Gathering this weekend, I have really been listening to the silence. I haven’t heard much…but I haven’t been as afraid of the silence either. As I “turn off the noise” this weekend…I will be keeping these three quotes in my head.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/practicing-resurrection/

vocation

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, vocation is:

1. a. The action on the part of God of calling a person to exercise some special function, especially of a spiritual nature, or to fill a certain position; divine influence or guidance towards a definite (esp. religious) career; the fact of being so called or directed towards a special work in life; natural tendency to, or fitness for, such work.

b. The action on the part of God (or Christ) of calling persons or mankind to a state of salvation or union with Himself; the fact or condition of being so called.

2. a. The particular function or station to which a person is called by God; a mode of life or sphere of action regarded as so determined.

b. One’s ordinary occupation, business, or profession.

For at least six years I have felt that my call to the priesthood is to be my vocation. More specifily it will be the vocation of my life. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I even had an idea of what a vocation I could do if I didn’t head off to seminary and become a priest.

One of my main tasks during this process is to convey to the people along the path that the priesthood is my vocation.

In my mind…its not a matter of if I become a priest, but when I become a priest. I can’t see a reality without that as my vocation. Sure, I could do something else and be succesfull and happy. But something would always be incomplete.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/vocation/

the beginnings

So my journey officially began on Feb 10, 2006. We met at Sam’s Billards close to St. Michaels for our first discernment committee meeting. The four members of my committee are: Carolyn, a Priest and Professor of History; Rob, a spiritual director; Ann, the Ministry for Youth person at church; and Jack, a retired member of the congregation (who i know best from the men’s group).

Our first meeting was a “getting to know each other better” time. Each of the four members told me (and each other) their life+spiritual stories. As preparation for the meeting I had provided a copy of my CV. Because of time constraints, it was decided that I would share my story at the next meeting. I would also provide the group with a Spiritual Autobiography before the next meeting.

I was definitely relieved to finally depart on this journey.

Our second meeting was held on March 17, 2006. This time I would be in the spotlight for the meeting…I was a little nervous. After opening with prayer, we began to talk about what was going on in my life. So I touched base on what was going on with work (not having an attorney in our law office). The discussion really took off when I began to talk about the upcoming Province 8 Young Adult & Higher Ed Conference. The passion I spoke with was pointed out to me after I had finished speaking about the conference. We then transitioned to my spiritual autobiography. As I went through the timelime of my spiritual journey, I talked about my call and the seeds that had been planted along the way to get to where were at this moment. Again my passion and conviction came through in my words. However the members wanted more…they wanted me to discribe my call in feeling language. As time was again running short…it was decided that this would be my assignment for the next meeting.

Rob (with a second by Carolyn) suggested I read Practicing Resurrection by Nora Gallagher as a way to help spur the language to explain the feeling of my call. So I purchased a copy of the book and will be reading through this during the month before my next meeting.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/the-beginnings/