Thursday, 19 May 2011

Diocesan Vocation Retreat 2011 - Testimony #2

(Editor's Note: The recent Diocesan Vocation Retreat was held from 6-8 May 2011. Here is a testimony from one of our participants at the Retreat.)

The Diocesan Vocation Retreat “Hungry Sheep Seeking Shepherds” held in 2011 was my first at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary. Prior to the retreat, I had had a very difficult couple of months that culminated in the ending of my relationship of almost three years. I resented the Lord for taking something so precious away from me when He prompted / called me to come away and discern (seriously) the call to the priesthood. And so I came to the retreat seeking answers and some form of closure from the Lord.

The highlight of the retreat for me came during one of the Eucharistic Adoration sessions (which was then followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation). During the session, the words of the retreat master struck me – “Do I resent God for calling me to discern the vocation to the priesthood?” I broke down in tears because that was exactly how I was feeling – the pain of ending my relationship in order to discern the call (to the priesthood) without any real tangible end in sight, was really too much for me to bear. Through the counsel of the confessor that love always entails some pain, I was reminded of how much the Lord loves me, even dying for me on the Cross. He also reminded me that the Lord is giving me a greater gift by inviting me to respond to His call. Indeed, as I recall now, the words that the Lord had spoken to the disciples, “Do not be afraid. It is I.” (Jn 6:20) was what I needed to affirm me that it is He who is calling me. It was truly a powerful and intense experience for me, when I “re-encountered” the Lord and came to a realization of His great love for me despite all my failings, sins and unworthiness. On another note, during the sharing sessions, I was continually struck and amazed by the words of one my group members. The main message for me was that having “found and trusted the Lord”, I need to “hang on what He has said”. It was another avenue that the Lord was using to reassure me.

I really cannot thank the Lord enough for His goodness and love for me, especially for giving me such reassuring words and signs; words simply fail me at this point. What I would really say to anyone who is trying to find out what is the Lord’s will for him with regard to his life’s vocation, is to “come and see” for yourself. The Lord will and can never be outdone in generosity, and you can be sure He will answer you at the appropriate moment. You will however, need to respond to His invite first, so what say you?

Clarence, 27 (Church of the Holy Spirit)

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