When I was a teenager, my life revolved around having a good time with my friends. I gave very little thought to how I would spend my future, what vocation God might be calling me to, or what good I might be able to do in this world. So today, when I come across a teenager whose entire focus seems to be on his faith and how he can best serve God in the future, I am deeply amazed and impressed. It gives me so much hope for the future of this world!
In the winding, twisting ways that God takes the events of our days and the people who cross our paths and uses them for His glory, I'm always amazed at His wisdom and how He knows exactly how to lift me up, inspire me to a deeper love of Him and send me a little joy along the way. One of the recent ways that God has so moved me is through John H., a young man from England who befriended my son John and I after we discovered his innovative website, A Vocation to be a Priest. Through our online friendship with John, my son and I have grown in our faith and have been brought out of our own little part of this earth and into a wider world of international faith.
It was John H. who became so incensed back in November of 2009 upon hearing that the "European court of human rights that said the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms" that he began his own crusade to leave the crucifix in every public place he traveled to or visited and encouraged others to follow suit by writing about it on his website and asking me to write about it on this blog as well. So I was thrilled when I recently read a National Catholic Register story about the recent victory in Italy overturning the decision that had outlawed the display of crucifixes in Italian classrooms. Young men like John H. who have the courage and the conviction to enthusiastically stand up for what they believe in, that is, the Christian faith, are a tremendous boost to my own spiritual convictions. My son and I have been encouraged, educated and inspired by this hard-working young man in countless ways during the past two years and so when we received his following email, even though we had already known of his decision to close the website, our hearts hung a little heavier within our chests with the weight of sadness and regret knowing that we will be losing this part of our lives...
"Dear friends in Christ,
As you know, and with sadness, our special website will close in May because of the pressure of studies. By the late summer I will most likely either go straight to Seminary, or go to University first and then Seminary. During the 28 months it has run, it has grown beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I can only assume that the Good Lord had some part in it. I have met so many friends who have worked so hard to discern their vocation and I have been inspired by these contacts and my sense of vocation has matured so that I am ready to commit myself to Jesus and His Church 100%...this site would have been rubbish without the prayers and support of so many people - in the USA, Australia, Africa, India, China and so many other countries. Thank you to everybody, known and unknown."
Although the website will be closing, we know that we have a forever friend in a very holy young man who will always remain in our prayers as we are assured that we will remain in his. Please do keep John H., my son, John and all of the young men who have been associated with A Vocation to be a Priest in your prayers!