I have thought about this Catholic Vitamin O for OPENNESS for quite some time. It’s closely related to a previous vitamin D for DISCERNMENT. But this show is about openness to new ideas, openness to experiences and diversity… to new approaches. Our guest for this show is Father Ray Rodriguez, and he is the Vocations Director for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Diocese. He helps people consider the call of Christ in their lives, and in our interview he talks about some of the things which can hinder openness.
Our show isn’t (just) about being open to being a priest or a nun — it’s about how all of us can see, for example, fear in our lives. Fear may be a block to being open to considering new steps for us. Fr. Ray also talked about the value of having a spiritual director — someone who can help us look at our feelings, our thoughts and our worries, in addition to our prayer life and faith practice.
I’ve told this story before. We deacon candidates had gone through four years of formation in Denver. One of the closing formation requirements was for us to spend a week on an ordination retreat. Most of the early days were done in complete silence. I remember this experience so vividly: like my other deacon candidate brothers, I was uncertain about whether to go through with ordination. I was (and still am) a sinner — the thought of my sins and my prior track record at sticking with jobs and tasks was causing me to doubt the wisdom of ordination to be a deacon.
On about the third day of the week long retreat, I was out walking and praying… then thinking and meditating… and from out of nowhere came this prayer. Silently I was saying: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I place my trust in you. Said over and over… and then I realized what I was saying and all fear and doubt and uncertainty just vanished. It was like: Jesus — if you don’t want this to happen — give me some concrete demonstration — otherwise — I put my trust in You, and I’m going full steam ahead.
I was ordained about four weeks later. It hasn’t been any bed of roses — but I can promise you I don’t at all doubt that Jesus wanted me…. wants me to be a deacon. My OPENNESS to His will allowed this to happen.
CONTACT AND RESOURCE INFORMATION FOR THIS SHOW
Among the books Fr. Ray mentioned are the following:
The Coming of God by Sister Maria Bolding. Published by Conception Abbey Printery House
Prayer by Sister Wendy Becket, http://www.amazon.com/Sister-Wendy-Prayer-Beckett/dp/030739381X
Saint Edward and the Dragon by Edward Hayes, http://www.amazon.com/George-Dragon-Quest-Holy-Grail/dp/0939516071/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261197999&sr=1-
Story of a Soul by Therese of Lisieux, Various sources
The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton, Various sources
Fr. Ray also has books on vocational discernment and writings by the late Pope John Paul II. If you are considering a vocation and you haven’t found someone to talk to — we encourage you to make an initial outreach to Fr. Ray — even if you aren’t considering his diocese. (We will tell you that it’s a great diocese and they have an exciting new bishop there 🙂
Finally — our closing music was a very upbeat song SEND ME from the CD with the same title. The artist is a wonderful Catholic singer Billie Tarascio. We thank her for her donation of a CD to Catholic Vitamins. I hope you’ll consider buying this CD or finding her songs on iTunes. Thanks Billie!
Let us pray for greater openness to the will of God — and silence to hear His voice speaking to us in people, circumstance or opportunity.
deacon tom (& Dee)