God Speaks With Fire

This is a copy of another one of the talks I was able to give at the end of the Sunday Masses on Pentecost at the parish I’m assisting this summer in Lawrence ….


Just to share a little bit about my vocation story, I’m from Boston, my father is Irish and my mother is Armenian, so I have an immigrant mix that has its own clashes. My father was a postal clerk and my mother stayed home, so we didn’t have much for money. But let me tell you where I was at some time before entering the seminary.

I was dating a wonderful woman, we were friends, and I was setting aside a little chunk of money for one of those diamond things, just in case. My family was close by, my parents living locally, and I visited once a week, my brother was in town after being away for a number of years. I had an education – both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, and I was putting them to work. I worked in Cambridge with a bunch of folks from MIT, some of the brightest engineers and entrepreneurs in the world. We made new technologies that were never done before. My friend and I were starting our own business, we had the business cards and the contacts ready to go. And I was making good money, a nice salary, and I was using the noodle to invest it well, one year I doubled my salary in the stock market. I owned a condo in the Back Bay of Boston, the primo real estate in all of Massachusetts. My neighbors were multi-millionaires, and when the fireworks went off on the Charles River for the Fourth of July, the windows in my home shook so hard I thought they’d fall out. I was in great shape, I exercised and went to the gym, played basketball and softball. And I had all my friends, friends from my youth, from schools, from work, and we did the whole social scene, all the nights out in Boston, I went to everything, all the bars in Boston, the Red Sox, Celtics, Pats, Bruins.

For someone my age at that time, I had it all.

And I was empty inside.

I had no fire.

So one day I was in my home, and, this had never happened before, but I got this inspiration. I believed that God had brought me to my home in order to go to the church down the street that I had never been to before that very night, to a Mass, to find what I was missing, the thing I wanted my whole life. Now I wasn’t going to church or praying, but I believed this with all my heart.

So, I put on my coat and walked up the street and opened the doors of the church, and it was filled with young adults like me, and I went in and sat in a pew and waited.

Then the priest came out and said the Mass, and I had never seen a priest say the Mass like that before. He had joy and he was into the whole thing. And then he read the Gospel and preached the homily, and I had never seen a priest preach like the before. It was like his whole being was into it, and he knew God, and he was speaking His Word, he had tears in his eyes and his heart was on his sleeve. And when he was done, this feeling welled up inside of me, from my whole being and a thought came into my head: I want to do that! ….

Well, here I am.

Now, God is giving me His spouse, His family, His education. His career, His mission, His wealth. His friends. His Heart. His fire. ….

Sometimes when people come up to me, and they find out I’m a seminarian, they say, “Congratulations, that’s great – we need priests.” Now, I don’t know, I don’t have God’s whole blueprint, I don’t know how many we need of this or that. But I do know that God is calling. He wants to lead each of us to the right place. And there’s only one thing I try to do, only one thing we need to do:

Follow our inspirations.

Because God speaks with fire.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Lk 18:29-30)

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