by Father Dan Morris
“Come, and you will see.”
Just as Jesus extends this invitation to his first followers in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John, so, too, does he continue to extend this invitation to us every step of the way.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take seven young men from our archdiocese on a three-day visit to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.
The purpose of the trip was to give them a taste of what seminary life is like. Although their visit lasted only three days, such an immersion will prove to be invaluable for each man’s discernment.
Although these “come and see” moments don’t require a lot of commitment, taken as a whole, they hold the power to gradually unlock God’s plan for our lives.
As one of the young men commented afterwards, “This was a good next step beyond a discernment retreat. Because, for two days, we actually got to live the life of a seminarian.”
This included sitting in on classes and having their minds stimulated and stretched by topics such as medieval philosophy, sacramental law and Christology.
Rising before dawn each day to pray a Holy Hour and celebrate Mass as a community highlighted the importance and benefits of giving God the first fruits of their day.
Lastly, there were many moments of authentic brotherhood, in which they were shown how to engage in leisure in both fun and life-giving ways.
This fraternity was strengthened through activities like playing basketball, taking an evening excursion to Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard, competing in a Smash Bros. tournament and a smattering of little conversations held throughout the day.
At the end of our stay, we had the opportunity to hear from the vice rector of the college, Father Jason Schumer, as well as dean of seminarians Father Paul Hoesing.
After allowing our men to share some of the fruits of their visit, the formators shared with us some of the overall goals, purposes and finer details that constitute seminary formation.
At the end of which, Father Hoesing left us with this: “I’m not interested in whether any of the guys who enter seminary become priests. All I’m interested in is that they find and listen to the voice of God.”
As vocation director, that wisdom sums up my prayer for each of these men as well. Like John the Baptist, my job is but to point and introduce people to Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ himself who will ask each man what he’s looking for, followed by an invitation to come and see.
These seven young men had the courage to enter into this conversation and answer Jesus’ calling. Because of this, they now find themselves one step closer to discovering their vocation, whatever that may be.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.