2015 — II Theology
Dr. Joseph Chan, St. Boniface, Fort Smith
Studying at St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana
I often pictured my vocation linked to Jesus through an elastic rubber band with him firmly anchored on one end, and me on the other end. I knew the calling was there, but I was blinded by the belief that I was not worthy enough to be chosen.
As I grew older, opportunities paved my life’s path. Further education led me to experience God’s gifts and to live my life’s potential to the fullest. I thought that my proximity in caring for those who were terminally ill and suffering was adequate to sustain my search for a life of service, which brought ministerial peace to those in need.
I thought I reached my purpose and peak of contentment. But I was wrong. Like a rubber band stretched from its relaxed state, the further I pursued the path I thought was leading me to my purpose, the farther I got from Jesus.
The stretch was a realization of a life of tension, restlessness and lack of focused spirituality and prayer. The Holy Spirit gave me the insight to reflect and enlightened me to the need to recoil to Christ before the rubber band snapped.
God shook what I envisioned to be my ultimate purpose in life. He made me realize that he was in control. Then my transformation began. The moment I responded to his call, I surrendered myself to his directives and humbly laid before God my pride, unworthiness and shortcomings.
I rejoiced in tears when I realized that his call was too close and yet I had stubbornly neglected. At times conflicted between the worldly comforts and God’s calling, the process of letting go in pursuit of God’s will, mercy and love is liberating and makes me fearless.
The journey of discernment is a lifelong endeavor. Responding to God’s call could not be adequately explained or understood through reason. It is in itself a mystery of faith. Knowing that Jesus became the ultimate desire of my life is an affirmation. There is no turning back, for I now firmly believe that only he can give me eternal peace.
This moment in my life will always be cherished. I applied to the seminary and was accepted in the Year for Priests. God has blessed me with so much that I will forever be indebted to him. I know that he has tasks set aside for me to fulfill.
I invite each one of you to join me in prayer, for the Holy Spirit to guide me in my journey. I pray for God to instill in me the courage to withstand trials, patience in times of restlessness and tenacity to persevere and endure when hope seems elusive in our troubled world.
I will forever be grateful for all the love and support of my parents, my brother and sisters, my friends in the laity and religious life, and my coworkers, who have mentored and guided me to become who I am now.
I hope that we can come together as a community in Christ in the future years as I lay prostrate before God and his Church.
If you would like to contact him, send an e-mail to Dr. Chan.
Updated August 2012