Good Monday, Carpe Diem!!! Today’s reflection is about you personally are called to do for God and Society. It is a “Readers Digest” version of how I came to be where I am now. I absolutely opened up on this one.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
The world is a mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, friendly & helpful the world will be loving, friendly & helpful to you.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. (Jn 15:16)
As a child, I actually thought seriously about becoming a priest. I liked being in our parish church; the priests were nice; the nun’s were *&/#%? (ok, I’ll just say ‘always there’). As I grew older, I never really lost that pull towards the religious life; but I had other interests, including GIRLS!
After graduating, and starting my profession as a paramedic, I attended retreats and other programs my Archdiocease had for discernment to the priesthood and religious life. Though I checked out several religious congregations, including the archdiocease priesthoods, but nothing ever clicked for me. A few years later, I found my soul-mate: Jeanine. We were married 19 years ago. My love for her has grown daily since our marriage. I cannot believe I can love someone more than I love Jeanine today, but each morning when I wake, it just happens that my love for her has grown again.
My love for God has also grown. Several years after our marriage, we were still childless. I was interested in the Diaconate program, and started the process for admission. I started taking classes the diocese had for adult education. I found a spiritual director to help me with the discernment process. And Jeanine and I went through a series of interviews. I was disheartened when notified that I had been eliminated from the admission process because our marriage was still relatively new, and any children in the future would hamper my studies for the diaconate.
Surprisingly, the exact day that I was notified of this disturbing news, my wife and I also found out we were to become parents. God definitely has a sense of humor. Not only did we have one child, but had four in less than six years. This definitely kept us busy. Matter of fact, I was so busy that I started putting my relationship with God on the back-burner. God wasn’t a priority in my life; though I still went through the motions.
An incident happened in my life that upset me greatly, and this incident was a threat to the lifestyle of my family. I went to church to literally to yell at God. When I was sitting in the church, I found peace instead of anger. I later went on a retreat, and confession for the first time in well over ten years. Not only did I find Jesus again; He hit me hard with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Similar to St. Paul being thrown from his horse, I found myself lying on my bed, on the last night of the retreat, crying with such an emotion of happiness that I could not get out of bed. The Holy Spirit was burning bright in my soul.
I wasn’t searching for this experience. Heck, I didn’t even know this experience could happen. I did not want this feeling to leave me, and I searched for a way to keep this it burning. My search led me to the Secular Franciscan Order, the 3rd Order of the Franciscans created by St. Francis 400 years ago. Again I never heard of this group of people, and had never had been exposed to Franciscan Friars, or their unique spirituality.
With God’s will, I will be making my Profession (the last step, similar to the final vows nuns take) within the next year. I love my Franciscan journey; and I love that God has led me to this blog, that I write every day. Thank you for taking the time to read the thoughts of a poor sinner; that really has no ulterior motive, other than to please God.
“Lord, please help me to understand your wants of me. I will do anything you say, even if it entails pain and suffering. Please allow me to live in, and through you. Finally, please help me with my Franciscan discernment, and be with my friends that read these reflections. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #25:
Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.