Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Vocation of the Shepherd -- Andreas

On the way to Assisi, Andreas told me that he had been praying many times every day for Angela and the family. “I need to ask for your prayers, too.” He said to me. Of course I obliged and asked what it was that I should pray for. “Would you please pray for my vocation?”

I didn’t really understand what that meant – his vocation seemed to be a clear one, and becoming a priest seemed to be right around the corner. After all, there he was a seminarian at the monastery in Todi, it couldn’t be far off, could it?

He must have sensed my perplexity because he began to explain his long walk towards becoming a priest, one that has already been close to ten years. After his conversion during the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, he went through Catechism and soon there after entered a monastery in Germany. He was there for seven years and finally left when the priest in charge there told Andreas that he didn’t think that he would ever become a priest.

Andreas told me that the experience was a very difficult one, especially watching even younger men come into the monastery and become ordained in respectively much shorter periods of time. He didn’t know what the reason for all of that was, but he seemed to accept the will of God, albeit with perplexity and probably also pain.

He continued to keep with his studies for priesthood and I believe while he worked for the diocese there in Germany he came across some people who told him of the monastery in Todi and encouraged him to go there. He visited Todi and the community and had a very strong feeling that God wanted him there. In fact, he had been there for just over a year when we met.

I knew that Andreas had been a great gift to our family. There is no question in my mind that God led us to him. (See Blog “Seek and Ye Shall Find – Andreas”) Andreas told me that he never would have chosen this place for himself, but he knew it was where God wanted him to be. In fact, when he met Angela he laughed about the strange will of God, that he would send a precise German like himself to a chaotic Mediterranean place to put his vocational affairs in order! “We are all in the hands of God!”

Reflecting on Andreas’ story I began to see that we are a great gift to Andreas; we were among his first sheep to tend to in the way of the Good Shepherd. I think that Andreas has been able to see the way that God chose Andreas to bring Angela and the family closer to Him. We have all told Andreas how thankful we are for him and what a tremendous impact he has had on all of us. It is impossible to know God’s will, but it would seem to me that Andreas is quite priestly indeed and already carrying out God’s work even at this very stage of his walk towards priesthood. Perhaps Andreas is able to gain confidence as he continues to answer God’s call. After all, that is the true definition of vocation, isn’t it?

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