God is asking you to share his gift of love
By Dcn. Josh Lee
Over this past year I have been reflecting on the goodness of God, in particular on his gentle loving call to walk with him in Christ’s priesthood. When I entered seminary, priesthood appeared like such a distant, far away goal that at times seemed as if it would never happen. Just before my ordination to the diaconate last year it really sank in that this is really, truly happening. In prayer it hit me: “I have been called by Christ and I am joining him in his ministerial priesthood! I’m about to be ordained a deacon. This is crazy! This is real! This is beautiful!” Over the last year I have spent a fair amount of time unpacking the graces of my ordination to the diaconate and prayerfully anticipating the graces that Christ desires to surprise me with and shower down upon me in my ordination and throughout the priesthood.
Over the past year, in fact over most of my seminary career, I have noticed certain worries or fears that have been present in my heart. In prayer I realized that one of the biggest fears that I have run up against is that of change. When I leaned into what “change” really meant, it came to me that the greatest fear in change is that there is a loss of what is familiar to me and that I will be faced with many seeming unknowns. With Christ, change is not that intimidating. In fact, that leads to precisely what I look forward to most in the priesthood: change.
When put in perspective what I am most excited for is to grow closer to Christ with the people that God has given me to be with. I long to walk together with those very people as they encounter Christ and walk with Him. Encountering Christ as he moves in my life, but also the lives of others is thrilling. It calls to mind the disciple’s exclamation as they encountered Christ on the road to Emmaus. “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Lk 24:32) That growth and encounter is change.
One of the greatest forms of change: the loss of the familiar former life in exchange for the fantastic unknown in my journey with Christ! One thing that I have learned in seminary is that I can learn all kinds of information and methods but that is all worthless if I never learned how to allow God to love me and how to respond to that love. Seminary is a great place to respond to the question that God asks every person: “Will you let me love you and will you share that love with others?” If any man is pondering the priesthood, I would encourage them to consider that question and how God is desiring them to share his love with others. The priesthood might just be the very way he is asking you to share his gift of love.
(Photo) Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis , Mo., held graduation Mass on May 14 in St. Joseph Chapel. Dcn. Josh Lee (right) is pictured with his classmate Dcn. Mateo Salam from Belize. Since Mateo had no family in the United States, he was an occasional guest of the Lee family in Rapid City. (Courtesy photo)