On March 1, 2010, our 15 Novices professed first vows at St. Antoninus Church. This beautiful parish is located one block from our novitiate friary in troubled Newark, NJ. Out of the many Masses of profession which I have attended over the years, this one stood out like no other. The beauty of the church, sacred music, large number of professing friars and powerful homily by Fr. Glenn Sudano (Novice Master) all contributed to a very moving experience. Beyond and above all of these factors the public witness of these men saying yes to the Lord was inspiring. There are special graces when you attend events such as baptisms, confirmations, first holy communions, weddings, ordinations and vow professions. It seems that grace just overflows at such public professions of faith. At such events we all have the opportunity to renew our yes to the Lord.
As the Vocation Director I was able to walk with these friars as they made their first steps in religious life. I have known one of them since he was 13 years old. It is a gift to see the hand of God at work in the lives of these brothers, knowing where they had been before and seeing where they are now. Each of them had to persevere through various trials in order to arrive at that day of professing vows. I am so thankful to the Lord for the little role I have played in helping them on the journey.
The discernment God’s will can be challenging. When it comes to vocational discernment it is rare to have absolute clarity. It is a common mistake to wait for such a certainty that never comes. Each yes to the Lord requires a leap of faith. Sometimes what the Lord is doing is clearer when we look back on our past. There is a common saying that “hindsight is 20/20”. Somehow looking in our rear-view mirror makes it easier to connect the dots of God’s guidance. If we have our spiritual eyes and ears open, He does give us glimpses and signs which point us in the right direction. We are called to respond to these glimpses as best we can, trusting in His grace to make up for what we lack in their accomplishment.
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