The Unseen Path

At an unsuspected time, in an unsuspected manner, God called me to the priesthood.
by Br. Michael Picard, LC | Source: Catholic.net

For many it is not an easy choice. For me however, I had a perfect image in my mind. I searched for a brief period going here and there. I encountered some that were close but knew it was not quite it. Then May 12, 1997 I found it: the perfect ring. The engagement ring was 14kt gold with a hand-picked marquee diamond. It brought me great joy to find it after so long! We had been dating for seven years and we both wanted to have a big family. It was, however, also just over seven years ago that I began another key relationship.

At an unsuspected time, in an unsuspected manner, God called me to the priesthood. I did not fully understand this call because my faith was weak. “Me, Lord, how could I possibly be a priest?” Yet with the grace of generosity I added the second part; “yes Lord, whatever you want, increase my faith.” I never said no to Christ but I did often question if he was really calling me to be a priest or just to be more active in my faith. It was easier to think it was the latter. It is true I felt compelled to reach out and help others. Would it not be enough to raise a good Catholic family and volunteer at the church? Possibly even become a deacon. I always wanted to be an architect and one project I had always on my mind was to build a church. What I did not realize is that this was a seed in my vocation; God was calling me to build the Church, just not in the way I thought I would.

My high school years were a period of growth in my faith after the call. I came back to confession after 5 years. I came to know Christ in the Eucharist and the meaning of the Mass. First I started going to adoration then I began going to Mass not as something I had to do, but because I wanted to go.  It was never a clear cut for me what God wanted of me.  I had this call and inclination to the priesthood.  At the same time I really wanted to have a family and a career.  I had a girlfriend; I had great ambitions.  What guided me through the years was the perpetual adoration chapel.  It was located across the street from the public school where I went. There where periods when I would go daily for 30-60 minutes. I placed myself before Christ and constantly asked Him what he wanted me to do. Sometimes I felt very strongly about the priesthood and sometimes more towards the married life. It was not an easy process but I took everything a day at a time and constantly placed myself before Christ. May 1999 a decisive moment came, I prepared to propose to be married. The night before I would propose I was in adoration and turned to Mary to place myself into her hands.  Mary had a key role throughout my life in many ways which is a whole other story.  I said to her “I want to be faithful to God’s will, I know at times I have felt called to the priesthood, but I do not know. Right now I think maybe God could be calling me to the married life. However if God is calling me to the priesthood I pray that my fiancée and I will come to know and understand my vocation. Maybe she could even know before I do, for I am weak.” A few months later a lady who I had not met before came up to me and asked me if I was going to be a priest. This triggered a brief series of events and that night my fiancée and I ended up having a long talk. 

Though we do not always know the way, if we put our trust in God and remain close to Mary; they will lead us the way. To finally make that first step in my vocation was not easy. Looking back over the years of my life I can see the ways God had been preparing me. I knew nothing of the Legionnaires of Christ but it only took one retreat and I knew this really could be what God was calling me to. The retreat was in January 2000 and I went to candidacy that summer to try it out. I am so grateful for the many graces I received. Following my vocation has not always been easy. What gave me the strength to finally say yes? My prayer life made this possible by always asking God what he wanted. I had my own hopes and dreams, but came to see that the only way I can reach fulfilment in life is by being faithful to God’s will. After nine years of formation, my priestly ordination draws near and I have no regrets. My vocation is the greatest gift.  



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