Airborne

Following a call from God to leave everything.
by Brother Aaron Smith, LC | Source: Catholic.net

“The plane is ready for departure.” The call came loud and clear over the loudspeaker. “It’s time” my mom said as if to echo the call. As I reached down to pick up my bags my heart was racing. The events of the last few days came rushing through my mind. For some time now the idea of being a missionary priest had become a central focus. Not that I really knew what that meant, but Christ was calling. Prayer, different personal experiences and an internal yearning proved that. A simple fifteen-year-old Minnesotan boy from a small town called Forest Lake was about to set out on the adventure of following the Lord’s will.

The evening before, as I tried to cram everything into a suitcase, I realized it was a hopeless battle. Too many white shirts, dress pants, black shoes... “When have I ever put on a pair of black shoes anyway?” I thought to myself. It could not all fit. I tried to sit on top, zip up one side and then the other. No good. I had to take something out. What could I take out? Unexpectedly, tears filled my eyes and I could not hold them back. I tried to turn away so as not to be seen but mom, who was never far off, put her hand on my shoulder and said “You know you don’t have to go.” “I know” came the reply without thinking “but this is what I am supposed to do.” Brushing away the tears I looked back at the suitcase, reached in and slowly took out my favorite pair of jeans and T-shirt. “I don’t think I’ll need these.” Now, with a small push on top I managed to zip the suitcase closed.

That was the evening before, and now the plane was ready for departure. Suitcase in hand, I headed for the ramp. My parents, my cousin and my aunt were there. I waved farewell with a half-worried grin and passed through the doors to go down the passageway. “I am alone now,” I thought to myself, and then I said with a whisper “No Lord, I am with You. Let’s go.”

As I write these lines, fourteen years late in the city of Rome, six months before ordination, I can not but thank the Lord for the gift of my vocation. For the gift of his closeness in my life since an early age. I never asked for it. I was not prepared for it. The call was his to make and he made it. As the famous Bible verse says; “It is not you who have chosen me but I who have chosen you...”

When I entered the minor seminary run by the Legionaries of Christ to study to become a catholic missionary priest, I was fifteen years old. In the minor seminary I finished 11th and 12th grade in one year and graduated from high school in 1996. As the years have gone by many things have changed; people, countries, languages, cultures, but the Lord has never left my side. He has been strength, courage and fortitude. A true friend you can trust in.



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