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I think one of the scariest questions a Catholic Christian ponders is the call to abandon all and follow Jesus more closely. When most people are asked their opinions on the consecrated, religious, eremitic life, etc., they immediately think of the “sacrifices” involved. The thought of giving up earthly things, like a spouse, children, parents, Louis Vuitton, or Ferrari’s, arises and quenches the beauty of emptying ourselves so that we can receive all Christ desires to give. However, the sacrifice is definitely worth it. The Saints tell us the beauty of following Christ closely. St. Anthony of Padua said that a man who abandons all may seem to be alone but that he is not alone because in Christ he has found his home, his repose and his peace.

I think one of the scariest questions a Catholic Christian ponders is the call to abandon all and follow Jesus more closely. When most people are asked their opinions on the consecrated, religious, eremitic life, etc., they immediately think of the “sacrifices” involved. The thought of giving up earthly things, like a spouse, children, parents, Louis Vuitton, or Ferrari’s, arises and quenches the beauty of emptying ourselves so that we can receive all Christ desires to give. However, the sacrifice is definitely worth it. The Saints tell us the beauty of following Christ closely. St. Anthony of Padua said that a man who abandons all may seem to be alone but that he is not alone because in Christ he has found his home, his repose and his peace.

My own discernment journey started towards the end of the fall semester of my freshman year in college, largely due to praying the Rosary daily. The more I prayed, the more I wanted to pray. The benefit of praying the Rosary daily was that I learned to listen to the yearnings of God’s Heart through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I felt more peace than ever before and begged Our Lord that this peace may remain with me forever. I wanted to pray more and more because I derived boundless joy from spending more time with God and from doing the things that pleased Him. My time in prayer ignited a spark in my heart to surrender my will to Christ and to embrace all His marvelous graces. I was and still am a long way from making a commitment to become a priest, but I had been given a brief taste of the beauty of seeking God’ will and I consequently began searching for Him everywhere.

It was not until I transferred to Baylor and found Saint Peter’s that I finally found what my heart was searching for. I renewed my consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary and begged her to lead me to her Son, and she did so instantly. My soul was immediately flooded with consolations and spiritual experiences, and I felt so drawn to the Eucharist that I had to be kicked out of the Chapel every night. Contrary to what one may think, my grades did not suffer at all. Rather, they improved dramatically and I had fantastic grades that semester, primarily because Christ was my life, and everything else fell into place when He was guiding me. I pursued Christ with all my strength, and while He gradually withdrew me from worldly pleasures, He showed me how perfect His Will is. He does not try to impose His “opinion” on us and then punish us when we do not comply. Rather, He knows the end from the beginning and knows what by path we may approach him best. He then patiently invites us to accept His will not simply because that is the best option for us but because we love Him. His calling may not necessarily be to the religious or consecrated life or even to the priesthood. He might be calling some of us to get married. We must, however, discern His will for us rather than make wrong assumptions so that our joy will be complete.

The most ideal model for us to have is the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Louis de Montfort said that she is the easiest and most perfect way of approaching Our Lord. She is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ, the new Adam, and it is in her that we may find the Lord. Furthermore, it is in her that we may truly find the unique and precious vocation that Our Lord calls us to and it is with her help that we can respond “Let it be done to me according to thy word” – Luke 1:38. Finally, there is nothing to fear because, as St. John Paul II said, we lose nothing when the reward we seek is Christ. Jesus, our One True Master, has shown us the way: a way of simplicity and self-surrender. Let us then follow Him, fearing nothing because He has conquered the world!

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