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The Calling, the Cost, the Joy

and loving spirit. Fr. John shared in all of my pains and in all of my joys; this I felt called to do for others.

My experiences of Fr. John’s loving care and concern for me, together with my experiences of God’s deep love for me, began to foster within me a desire to serve the Lord. This desire developed through grade school and especially into high school as I became more involved with the parish and with the TEC community.

Then in high school, I began to feel God stirring within my heart, calling me to into his service as a priest. I heard his voice in “a tiny whispering sound” in the stillness of my heart (1 Kings 19:12). I came to realize that his love, which I had experienced and had come to rely upon, required me to give it to others; I could not keep it to myself. I heard him calling: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). As he called to the apostles, so he called to me: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). But unlike the apostles, I did not immediately leave everything to follow him. I said, “I am too young” (Jeremiah 1:6), and he responded: “Follow me” (Mark 2:14).

Even so, I thought myself unworthy of so generous a calling— indeed, I am unworthy of it. There were others in my parish more fit for his service, I thought. There were others more popular, more intelligent, more talented, more loving than I, and so I at first declined his invitation, choosing instead to teach history. I could not see why the Lord wanted me, wounded as I was. I did not yet realize that, as Thornton Wilder wrote, “In Love’s ser- vice, only wounded soldiers can serve.”

After my first TEC weekend, I could not decide exactly what I wanted to do with my life, whether I wanted to teach history or

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