Greetings from just about halfway through Lent 2015? Are you feeling #blessed yet or are you still basic as ever?
Great news on the vocations front! My friend from the University of St.Thomas, Lizzy Schmitt, found out that she’s been accepted by the Sisters of Life and will be entering the convent in fall of 2015! Please take some time to read up on this relatively young order with an awesome mission.
Lots of Catholic-bashers might be surprised to know that the Church does not have unlimited funds to be spending on whatever it wants, and something that slows down a lot of vocations, especially to religious life, is existing debts that must be paid before a person can enter an order. Lizzy’s case is no exception. BUT! She’s turning this problem into a blessing and a way to spread not only her talent as a beautiful musician but to spread the love of God in other people’s lives. Lizzy along with a bunch of other great music peeps have put together an awesome CD, “Deep Longing” as a way to raise money. You can download the CD here and get more info about donating to help Lizzy pay off her student loan debt here.
I’ve been listening to the CD for the last couple of days and I’m just so amazed at the quality of the music, duh, but the way it is touching my soul and leading me into prayer is incredible. One of her songs, “My Life is Not My Own”, has a refrain that pretty much sums up what its like to choose a state of life that requires pretty much total renunciation of the world’s plans and expectations (and certainly, sometimes, your own plans and expectations) so that a person can live in total conformity with the plan of God. Lizzy takes the famous words of St. Kateri Tekakwitha: “My life is not my own / I have given myself to Jesus” and turns them into a beautifully contemplative song….the kind that refocuses even the most distracted, impatient, balding seminarian (*ahem*) on what really matters: Jesus.
And this song got me thinking: I really miss college.
(Ryan, what does that have to do with anything?)
Internet, I’m glad you asked. Each of us has the capacity to say those words: My life is not my own, I have given myself to Jesus. But what it means for you will be different than what it means for me. Even if, for example, you’re another seminarian who’s given his life to Jesus to serve him and his Church as a priest, our vocations will not, nor should they, be totally identical….mainly because we are not, nor should we be, totally identical. In other words, that phrase…that statement of your commitment to Jesus says one thing: This is my journey with and in and toward and for and through and because of Christ; my life is not my own, I’m on a journey with the Lord.
When stuff got boring or old at St. John Vianney (which obviously never happened #LOL), I could leave the seminary and walk through campus and run into people from every place and walk of life. And it was those walks and experiences on campus that led me to meet Lizzy and so many others like her who are also on their journey. And I miss hearing about them and their lives. I miss chatting with people in the student center about how the Lord is working in their lives, about how the test went, about how their new business is coming along, or even about the weather and the creepy devil worshipers who hung out at the end of Summit Avenue. Mundelein is great and I love major seminary, but it’s pretty much just us: 210 dudes studying the same stuff all day.
I love to learn and am glad to do it. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying as “school is dumb, major seminary should be different, I can’t wait to blow this Popsicle stand and get out there in the real world where stuff really matters”….’cuz I’m not saying that. But more than anything, I long for pastoral service. I yearn (as our ol’ pal Frank has asked of us) to have the smell of my sheep. To know their stories, and not just to hear about their journey, but to be a part of it; to walk with my people as they, and I, encounter God in our midst.
So with that, please pray for me BUT especially pray for Lizzy and other young women and men who are discerning God’s call in their lives. May God bring to fruitful completion what, on the day of our baptism, was so wondrously begun in us.
Click the pic below to download the CD