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April 18, 2018

By Leagon Carlin
Diocesan seminarian

I will graduate from the Pontifical College Josephinum in May, a reality not much different from a multitude of Leagon Carlinother students my age.

Out of the projected two million matriculants receiving four-year undergraduate degrees in the United States this spring, many will be unsure of their path, scared of the unknown and uncertain future.

Yet, while I have not been graced with any measure of complete certitude myself, I have no fear of what is to come.

What can be the reason for this hope?

As with all good questions, God is ultimately the answer. In a more particular sense, relationship with God is the answer: His Heart speaking to mine, and mine to His. From this constant conversation, I draw all of my strength, all of my joy, and all of my peace.

At this juncture in my path to the priesthood, I find the confidence to carry on within the lived experience of those qualities:

• Strength of resolve, from an ongoing engagement of God’s unfathomable mercy and ability to equip the radically imperfect men (such as myself) whom He calls;

• Joy, not simply a feeling but a state of being, dwelling in God’s individual love for me and rejoicing in it;

• Peace, coming only from a total surrender to His plan for me, and His desire to take my unworthiness and use me as His instrument in whatever way He wishes.

As I move on in formation toward the priesthood of Jesus Christ, advancing into this second stage of major seminary, I know that God has called me to take this leap. Therefore, regardless of any fear, doubt, confusion, or sinfulness that I may experience, I rest in the firm conviction that He holds me in His Heart. As long as I listen to the voice of His Heart in mine, I can be assured of doing His will.

With all of this being said, this is not a place I have been able to come to simply or comfortably. It has taken four years in minor seminary, learning how to give up, trying and failing to give all of myself to God, while always holding something back.

I have had to discover that any time I try to control my life, to find my own answers to the questions of vocation, I fail and cause more harm than good.

As G.K. Chesterton tells us, “The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.” All of our lives, we encounter riddles, and the more solutions we come up with, the more confounded the riddles become. It is not until we realize that we don’t have the solutions, and learn to really love and embrace the riddles, that we can live our lives happily.

This isn’t about blind obedience, or denying our gifts and talents. This is about uniting our total self, body and soul, heart and mind, freely to God.

As I stand now, I have not accomplished this complete journey of conversion, and likely won’t fully accomplish it in this lifetime (thank God for the gift of Purgatory!). However, after four years of dedicated discernment, I have moved closer to the Triune God than I had ever known was possible.

The graces that He has bestowed on my life through prayer, especially through my reception of His Most Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist daily and frequent confessions, has enabled me to come to this crossroads and choose to continue.

So, as I do my best to stay on the narrow way, as I continue to speak to His Heart, and He to mine, I very much count on your prayers.

Be assured that I am praying daily for the wonderful people of our diocese, as are my brothers at other stops along the seminary path.

Please pray for us a little each day, as well, that God may show us His will, and then give us the grace to do it! 

May the Blessed Mother wrap you in Her mantle, and bring you closer to Her Son!

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