Brothers and Sisters,
I was so encrusted with salt, self-loathing, anger, fear, a bloated ego, and disdain for anything that didn't have to do with me. I didn't think I needed saving, but none of us ever do until we do. I truly believe the Lord lifted me up from this wretched life and delivered my soul and me to where I am now.
The concept of being saved by the Lord might be lost on some of you but if you permit me the time I'd like to attempt to explain to you what exactly I mean.
It should be evident by now that I was being called to be a priest early on in my life. Perhaps even before I genuinely ever realized it myself. The one thing that never left me through 18 years was the constant call I had every single day of my waking life. Even if just for a fleeting moment I'd hear that voice in my head and then promptly bottle it up and put it on the shelf with all of the other bottles from days that had passed. All told I placed at least 6,570 bottles on the shelf in my brain all containing the whispers of God calling me to be a priest. Now that I put it that way I don't think I've even ever told my Mother and Father no that many times. It's pretty incredible to think that after almost 7,000 no's God was still here tapping away, waiting for that perfect moment to stick his foot in the door as I was closing it and tell me "not this time my son."
October of last year I believe God had enough of me and my ways and knew it was time to knock some sense into me and take me out of the cesspool of a life I was living in and begin to lead me down the path that I'm on right now. The call for me became quite loud, not obnoxious but it was far more explicit and raucous than I remember it ever being 18 years ago. It was a voice I could not shake no matter what time of day it happened to be. A few months later I would finally surrender everything to Him and free myself of these shackles that were weighing me down always.
That voice still echoes deep within my consciousness every day and every waking moment. I'm not afraid anymore like I was back a few months ago. It's essential that one of the steps in discerning a vocation of any kind to let go of those fears. Sometimes it's good to make a list and work through them one by one. For me, the biggest concern was of the unknown. I came to understand that it was all part of the mystery and complexity of discerning a vocation and after time it'd all become clear to me.
Over the past few months, it's become apparent to me that my path is that of a priestly vocation. To move further down that path, I had to stop talking about it and start taking action. I prayed and finally made the decision to speak to a vocations director, and it was the best move I've made so far. After a pleasant conversation with him, it was suggested that I start getting some occasional spiritual direction. This I saw as the next step down the path, and I now meet with my spiritual director regularly. We talk about the fire in my heart and soul to be a priest, and how it hasn't gone away and how every time I think about it I feel a great peace life has managed to turn another corner for me.
Could all of this not come to fruition? Of course. This is a marathon and not a race and as much as I'm sure this is where I ought to be God could decide He has others plans for me and show me another path. What's important and something that I am still learning is that I need to be open to God's will for me as He knows best and I know very little of what is best for me beyond what he's decided to show me and tell me.