I surprised myself by returning to some initial memories as a young boy when I thought that I wanted to be a priest.
My mother recalls me saying the Eucharistic prayers at home while I would be playing, but these thoughts of priesthood quickly faded in junior high and high school. I wanted to have this beautiful wife with six kids and have this medicine practice.
I could also experience the joy of fatherhood and fatherhood’s fecundity, but it would not be through a wife and children.
In the end, I was no longer afraid of doing something radical because I finally was able to experience some of the freedom that comes from living the detachment found in the end of the Matthew 6 and confidence of John 14:1.
I was being called to give my life in a dedicated way to ministry in the Church.
I took a step further and started to imagine my life as becoming a celibate offering, which was the biggest obstacle to me considering of the priesthood.
However, “come follow me,” the invitation of Jesus Christ, requires a total gift of oneself; discipleship cannot be a partial endeavor.
One passage from sacred Scripture became important in my personal understanding of discipleship: Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
I like biology and chemistry, so it was clear that I probably wanted to do something in these areas. I wanted to help people since my family’s Catholic faith upheld this value as being extremely important. I wanted a career that could support and sustain a large family since I thoroughly enjoyed and love my large family. I wanted to be close to my family in Iowa, so a local university or college would be my final choice.
These are all good if not noble considerations, right?
Despite all of these realities in my life as a college student, I decided that I needed to stand on track of becoming a doctor. Taking risks What was really behind all of this determination to move ahead with pre-medicine was a fear that I would get something wrong if I did not stick with the things I was good at and play it safe.
Yes, I did take some risks in my life, but they were highly calculated towards pursing what I perceived to be my goals.
I will be ordained to the transitional diaconate this Saturday, and God willing, I will be ordained a diocesan priest on May 25, 2013.