Saturday, June 4, 2011

“Will you give me your whole life?”

Father Michael Scanlon speaks about his vocation.
Decisions great and small are ordeals in  life. It seems God wants to be more of a factor in our decision-making processes. Fr. Michael Scanlon breaks down the decision-making process and offers the wisdom on how God communicates to us His will in our decision making through our feelings, signs, circumstances, prayer, etc. Read his insights on discernment.

"It was the experience of God calling. I experienced it first while at Williams College in Massachusetts. One of my roommates was [the late owner of the New York Yankees] George Steinbrenner. I was receiving some very confusing teachings in philosophy, so one day I went out and spent a whole day and night in the woods. There, I heard God saying to me, “You can trust the Catholic Church as a truth-telling institution.” After that, I read everything I could find. I went to the New York Public Library reference librarian, and he gave me all kinds of great reading material from John Henry Newman and G.K. Chesterton. Before I knew it, I was elected the president of the Newman Club, and I was on the way, with a great sense that God would lead my life.

I thought my life was set. I was in ROTC and was supposed to go into the Air Force. I was engaged to be married. The night before I was to report for duty, while at my fiancée’s, I got a call not to report for duty. Congress had cut the budget, and I was told to stand by.

So, I decided to go to Harvard Law School. That first Lent I decided to get serious and began praying the Rosary and going to Mass every day. That’s when I heard God ask, “Will you give me your whole life?”

Once I said “Yes” to that, I had a sense of the presence of God. I ended up being called to the military afterwards. I was serving as a judge advocate in the Air Force and had a job waiting for me on Wall Street. The day I passed the military bar and became fully qualified, I sensed God saying, “Be a priest in community.” I said “Okay” and began pursuing that.

I didn’t know any religious communities other than the Jesuits, so I contacted them, and they put me in touch with Father Avery Dulles from Harvard, who had just been ordained. I went to visit him, and he told me, “Mike, a vocation is the restless Spirit of God within you. When that Spirit settles and is at home, stop and join the group where you are.”

I visited the Jesuits and the Dominicans, but it was when I visited the Franciscans that I felt at home and at peace. I joined up and never questioned it."