I keep trying to come up with words that can describe how I feel about this whole mess and I can't ever find the right words. Heartbroken? Sure. Sad? Yes. Stressed? Of course. Angry? Absolutely. Ashamed? You got it. Disappointed? Without a doubt. I know I'm in a tough place because as someone who values his time of sitting in silence and being able to still my thoughts I've been completely unable to do this for the past 24+ hours. Silence and contemplation is a major pillar in my life so not being able to get more than a few minutes in is tough.
It's times like this that really test my faith, my feelings regarding the path I'm on, and this church that I love dearly. I've been in a fog for most of the afternoon and into this evening after reading as much as I can about the news that broke today. 300+ Priests were identified as credible abusers of over 1,000 victims during a 70+ year timespan (source). My heart breaks for the victims, and I know there's nothing I could ever say that will ever make them feel any better. I'll pray for the victims, the church, and the good priests out there.
Our community needs to be protected, taught, loved and shown the extraordinary love that God has for us and we can't do any of that if they don't trust the leaders of the church. It disgusts me that sex abuse and cover-ups happened and I think about it all the time, but I do believe that we can look to those that are doing good in the church as examples of what we can rest our faith upon.
Discerning your vocation isn't always rainbows and butterflies. While there are plenty of moments where you'll find yourself filled with joy, there are also moments of doubt that we'll have to work through. I would argue that these moments might be more critical and pivotal in the process than a moment of joy, in fact, they'll often bring you to a moment of happiness in the end.
My brothers and sisters this is just the start of what I'm assuming will be many posts on clarifying assumptions that you might have regarding older vocations or vocations in general. I know I've had quite a few and if I can share them here to help make someone else's possible discernment process a bit easier then all the better!