Asking a Question, Not Knowing the Answer

At St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie the other day, along with my fellow reporters, interviewed seminarians who are about to be ordained as priests in May. The assignment is one of my favorites because I get to spend so much time talking about the reasons why a man chooses to become a priest which I view as such a heroic vocation.

I have been doing the interviews for nine years now, but I still am filled with anticipation and anxiety before I go because I want to make sure that I ask the right questions and really get to know each and every man individually so I can best tell his story. I always enjoy the interviews, which generally turn into conversations by the end of the session.

In one particular interviewing session, I posed a question to a seminarian that once I asked that I kind of wanted to know the answer to in my own life. The question was: “What centers you in your life that keeps you moving forward toward your goal?”

When I began to think about how I would answer it, I came up empty. I don’t, for example, go to daily Mass or receive the Eucharist frequently or pray the Rosary every day or spend time in Holy Hours on a regular basis. I don’t have any prayer practices that put Jesus at the center of my life each and every day. No wonder ordinary stresses keep blowing up like balloons into extraordinary sizes all the time. So it comes as no surprise when big problems come, I get so overwhelmed I shut down completely.

I went to the assignment for work, to do a good job with the stories I am to tell of the men in an upcoming issue of Catholic New York. But I came out of the seminary with so much more. I have a goal now…I have to find my own way of putting Jesus at the center of my life.

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