Monday, October 23, 2006

Hearing the Call

The past weekend has been a blessing amid blessings. It was a fortunate quick vacation to visit family rarely seen and surprisingly to find myself among the chaos of a semester.

My inadequacies seem ever present in self-reflection, but it is my human nature to focus on them. My emotions should be more clear-cut. I falter to the wind, trying to establish a firm footing. If only my emotions were as firm as my faith, such is my prayer.

Again, this weekend resonated in my mind after returning to College Station. All the visiting, the family--all the younger cousins present amid the older generation of my father with his cousins and siblings and of the eldest generation of my grandmother and her sisters. The family reunion was the representation of three family generations amid the farm fields of Miles, TX.

Especially since the summer, which was started by the wedding of two good friends and the ordination of a local deacon (now priest), I have searched for what I am called to be. It certainly gets no more basic than that, and for me it has become a maze of sorts.

Am I called to a vocation in the priesthood, or am I called to married life? This past weekend, the Mass celebrated in Miles during the reunion, was celebrated by Father Bhaskar, who is the parish priest for three parishes out in rural West Texas. I know there are more desperate parishes throughout the world, but these parishes have little priestly representation, after so many years of giving so much to the Church through vocations, are being laid to the wayside.

Much is the case in rural east-central Texas, between Austin and Houston, in the Diocese of Austin and Diocese of Victoria. There are many rural parishes that if there were more priests, more active participation and likely priestly vocations would follow. What has today's culture done to the priesthood, or better yet, what has the "spirit" of Vatican II done to the Catholic Church in the United States? It is as though the changes in the '70's muddied something that was so pure. So much is there to be upheld, yet human error dashes the proverbial foot of the Church Faithful against the stone. Surely, this diluted group of noble men and women--the religious of the Catholic Church--is not destined to be a lamp hidden beneath a basket. Surely the Lord does not provide less than is needed for the Faithful, so I must remain optimistic for the future of the Church.

And so I am unsure of my calling. I see my younger cousins--their mother expecting again in four months--and yet I see the noble parish priest, with what seems an overwhelming load, a "Sign of Contradiction" of sorts. My heart tells me of desire for family and yet my mind sees the needs of the Church. Things are best heard in silence, and I am sitting in the silence trying to hear the Lord's voice amid the deafening silence. I pray for an answer.

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