On Friday, March 8th, I began planning my priestly ordination which is scheduled for May 25th. In anticipation of this important event in my life, I would like to share with you some things that relate to my own discernment and how I decided that God was calling me to the priesthood. This week I would like to share with you my devotion to Mary and how I know she will be helpful to me as a priest. I would like to especially focus on an image of our lady that is dear to me the picture of the Madonna of the Streets by Roberto Ferruzzi which is shown above and bellow. This photo reminds me of how Mary helps me in my life. I have a tendency to plan everything out in order to know what is coming ahead for me. It helps me to plan out what I’m going to do each day and about what time. For example, I’ve begun sharing when I’m working out with Fr. Paul and some of the other staff. I find that helps to keep me accountable. I find if I plan it out that I’m going to work out at 4pm on Thursday, it usually happens sometime that afternoon. I know my personality for planning out everything won’t always work for me in the priesthood; sometimes I must let go and trust. Secondly, I’m someone who tends to think towards the future and what I may have in store for me. Again, this won’t always work for me in the priesthood, because as an associate I could be called in the middle of an assignment by the Bishop. He could be telling me that I would be moving to another parish in two weeks because there is a need. I can easily feel overwhelmed if I try to look at these kinds of changes by myself.
This painting is dear to me because of how it pictures Mary and Jesus. The Baby Jesus is sleeping calmly in his mother’s arms as she looks around keeping him safe from what could harm him. As I’ve progressed in the seminary, Mary has always been there as a Mother holding me in her arms. Many times as I’ve wrestled with the question,” Is God calling me to be a priest, and how do I prepare myself to be a priest?”, Mary has been there as a help and guide. As a planner, I rather walk by myself and plan it all out. When I do that I get lost, I fall flat on my face, or things get burdensome. However, if I trust in God and in Mary, they will carry me, and I just need to rest on her chest, and feel her calming immaculate heart beating in love for me!
I wouldn’t say Mary helped me decide to become a priest, but she has been at my side and many times carried me as I listened and heard God’s call to the priesthood. At my Mass of Thanksgiving, I will dedicate my priesthood to Mary, entrusting all that I am, all that will happen in my priesthood, and even the crosses I will take on a priest, to her and her son Jesus. I know she won’t hesitate always to be there to guide me and keep me safe in my priesthood!