I am very pleased to announce that this is newest guest post that I have received from one of my fellow campers from the Seminary Summer Camps at St. Francis De Sales Seminary this year, Jay Egan. This past Seminary Summer Camp was Jay's first! Hopefully it will not be his last. It was so fun having Jay as a roommate and to be able to talk and pray with him. God bless you Jay and may He continue to guide you on your path of discernment. Know that I am praying for you each and everyday! You can read Jay's awe-inspiring post below.
This was my first time attending the 2011 seminary summer camp. I was really impressed, the whole experience was really illuminating. There were a couple of things that really stuck with me. First was the fact that I'm not alone. Satan likes to isolate and divide people, and build up a pride in their apparent uniqueness. This was an illusion that was instantly shattered. It was very easy to see that many of the boys there were very serious about discerning God's call, and genuinely desired to do the will of God, and the people there were equals. Second, the immense common bond and instant camaraderie shared by all the guys by virtue of their potential vocation. The community there felt like the Church Militant, and I got the sense that a number of boys were considering priesthood as a sort of zealous rebellion against the devil, the flesh, and the world. Most of the guys all seemed to be altar boy geeks like me. I expected something watered down, which is usually the fare teenagers get at things like this. This wasn't at all what I got. I had expected the talks to be basic, as if none of us had a regular prayer life. But the talks on prayer really addressed in many ways where I was at in my own spiritual life. We would talk about prayer, and it genuinely got you excited to pray (beyond just being emotionally enthused), and then we would go pray, and live out what we just talked about. It was all about living the theological truths we discussed. There was a great focus on hearing the voice of God and sitting in His presence. And then we would go pray before the Blessed Sacrament, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, go to Mass, and meet Him right there. It was a very contemplative experience for me, seeking silence to hear the voice of God and encounter His living reality and presence. I feel further convinced that His Majesty is calling me to serve Him as a priest, and the desire for this really takes my breath away. It's frustrating being unable to express one's gratitude to God, because He's so much bigger than anything you'd ever imagined. But I guess that's His will, to take your breath away and fill with silence and the breath of life – the Holy Spirit. This camp made be inexpressibly grateful for His goodness and the fullness of truth in His holy Church. One day I earnestly desire to say those infinitely precious and beautiful words: this is my body, this is my blood, and hold the fullness of truth Himself in my hands.
I was impressed by the service project, in which we helped the elderly and mentally disabled. I think I really was able to glimpse a manifestation of God's being there among the mentally disabled. They seemed really just so human. I could really feel God present there among them, amused and delighted by His creations simply enjoying themselves, even if they themselves might have been absolutely oblivious to His existence.
In this camp, Our Lord continued to open my up to the desire to do His will, and to abandon myself more deeply into His hands. Meeting the people there and growing closer to them impressed on me a lot of hope for the future of the Church and the world. His Majesty has a perfect plan, and the fulfillment of that plan is absolutely fantastic. One of the first things mentioned in the first of the talks was the literal translation for “fiat”, Our Lady's response to the message of Gabriel: do it. I guess this is the essence of sanctity. Abandon yourself to God, freely surrender everything you've got to His will, and let Him do it. In the words of the motto of Bl. John Paul II: totus tuus. Totally yours.