Topic: Preaching

Br. Kevin Andrew, O.P.'s picture

"Brother, can you spare a dime?"

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St. Dominic founded in the 13th century the itinerant and mendicant Order of Preachers. Now at the start of the 21st century, we are still attempting to be both itinerant and mendicant – though in different ways. Earlier this month, two of the student brothers from St Albert’s Priory traveled (itinerancy) to help our ministries fundraise (modern-day mendicancy).

Br. Justin flew up to Anchorage, where he spent last year as a resident student, to help the Holy Family Cathedral as the friars thank their current donors and kick off the next phase of the Mission West Campaign. I flew to Las Vegas – my home for about six weeks this summer – to participate in the St Therese Center’s Circle of Roses event. The St Therese Center is a food pantry serving the HIV & AIDS community in Las Vegas. Fr Joseph O’Brien, OP founded it in 1998 and has seen it grow exponentially since then.

The Circle of Roses is a dinner and auction to support the center, but also an opportunity to recognize those people who have in some way gone above and beyond in their service to the center and its clients. I’m sure Dominic did not predict a dinner & auction in a casino ballroom, with over 600 people present, when he envisioned the mendicancy of his future brothers. The Circle of Roses is not a simple event, but quite an effective fundraiser for Fr Joseph, Br Frederick and all the staff, volunteers and clients of the St Therese Center. As David, Fr. Joseph’s most-capable assistant attests, “every cent we are able to spend was fundraised”.

In many ways, mendicancy has a different face than it did 8 centuries ago. But it still requires us to say that we need help. And not just “we need help” but “we need your help,” through funding, service, and prayers. Such a request requires humility, that virtue most out of place in 21st century America. So thank you for your support of all of our ministries, for allowing us to continue to preach the Gospel in many and various ways. May God bless all of our ministries, and most especially all of you who help us continue to be God’s witnesses in the world, and God’s witnesses to the world.

Br. Michael James Rivera, O.P.'s picture

First Profession

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Brothers Andrew Opsahl, OP, Cody Jorgensen, OP, Andrew Dominic Yang, OP, and Thomas Aquinas Pickett, OP (left to right)

On September 1, four brothers of the Western Dominican Province finished their novitiate and professed simple vows, thus beginning their years of formation as student brothers at St. Albert's Priory. During the Mass, Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, Prior Provinical of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, focused his remarks on the Parable of the Talents, found in the Gospel of Matthew (25:14-30). His homily is included here...

Brothers Thomas, Cody, Andy and Andrew:

Last year before you received the habit I asked you if you were afraid. Some of you nodded yes. In return I said "good." I want to go back to that theme of fear as you prepare to make profession, because it is good to be fearful, but perhaps not as you or others may think.

We must begin today with the parable of the talents in the Gospel. At the time of Jesus a talent was a very valuable unit of money. Today’s equivalent in value would be somewhere around $100,000. You see now that in today’s Gospel Christ was talking about considerable investments. The third servant, out of fear, was unwilling to invest what his master had put into his charge.

Fear is a significant force in our lives. Many of us make decisions on the basis of fear, most of which turn out to be bad decisions, bringing bad results; but we must realize that there are different kinds of fear. In the Church we speak of “fear of the Lord” and in the Old Testament we find that, "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 9:10).

So what is the difference between the fear found in the third servant, and “the fear of the Lord” found in the Book of Proverbs? The difference, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, is that fear of the Lord is reverential. The phrase “fear of the Lord” speaks of the awe and reverence that we should have when we think of ourselves in relationship to God the Father. Awe and reverence lead us to make decisions that are courageous, filled with goodness, and that are life enhancing. Awe and reverence of God encourages us to be risk takers, to make risk investments by sharing what we have with others.

God gives us talents and has invested Himself in us, in order that we, along with Him, can build up and enhance the lives of those around us. This is a major theme that runs throughout the Old Testament, which over and over again calls on God’s people to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, the oppressed, the poor, and to tell the good news of God's holy presence among and with His people.

Christ repeatedly brings that call from God to us, putting His very own life on the line, calling on us to be likewise: self-sacrificing, self-giving, and to employ our gifts and talents to benefit others; even to sacrifice our lives for the sake of others. God our Father, He reminds us, has given us what we have, not just for our own sakes but also for the sake of other.

The phrase “fear of the Lord” brings us to the realization that God has expectations of us, and to acknowledge and respect those expectations. That is healthy fear, and this fear is essential as you begin your professed life with us.

Doesn’t it strike you that the parables of Jesus, which center on farming, fishing and business activities, all involve risk–taking? Remember the man who found the pearl of great price and then risked all of his net worth to acquire it? Remember the fishing episodes when Jesus asked Peter to throw out his nets yet again, even though he had gone through the whole night without catching a single fish?

The problem we face is that our hearts and souls are too often filled with an emotional fear, a negative fear that causes us not to act, that leads us into a selfish gathering of things that we keep only for ourselves. It is a paralyzing fear that leads us to be like turtles hiding inside a thick outer shell that prevents us from loving others, that keeps others at a distance, and that isolates in a self-imposed hell of loneliness. 

Do we want to find love in our lives? Then we must take risks and make risk capital investments in others. As Dominicans we do this by preaching. Do we want to find happiness in our lives? Then we must take risks and make risk capital investments in others. As Dominicans we do this by teaching. Do we want to find meaning in our lives? Then we must take risks and make risk capital investments in others. As Dominicans we do this by living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in community.

The profession you make today is to be made with “fear of the Lord." Through your profession you are placing yourselves in the hands of the Lord, and He will use your talents to make known not only His love for you, but also His love for others through your preaching and teaching. Thus you are taking a risk today, but not a risk in which you measure the probability of gain, something that becomes an end in itself. No, by your profession you are taking a risk in allowing the Lord to lead and guide you to a place you do not know, where you will use your gifts to bring His love, His Mercy, His wisdom, and His compassion to those most in need.

Through Jesus Christ, God our Father has given you enormous treasures and talents.

Brother Thomas, the good Lord has blessed you with an intellectual curiosity. Take the risk and bring the truth of God’s love to those who desire to learn of His love, but do not know where to begin.

Brother Cody, you have the gift in which you easily engage others. Use that gift and welcome into the Church those who may feel unwelcomed. Show them God’s mercy.

Brother Andy, you have been blessed with an artistic eye. Take a risk by sharing the presence and beauty of the Father’s love reflected in the visual arts, music, and yes, even in the dramatic arts.

Brother Andrew, you have the gift of practical wisdom. Take the risk to lead in building up the Kingdom of God, with those who despair and wonder if God is present in our world.

All four of you have powerful currency, the powers that God has given you. We need to understand that Christ is interested in your productivity, in doing God’s will and risking what He has given you, to love as He loves. He isn’t looking for passive, dependent persons to follow Him as His stewards here on earth. He wants, rather, risk-takers who are willing to be His followers, people of courage and daring -- who will enliven His Church.

Christianity without courage is Christianity without blood and spirit. God encourages us to jump into life and to run the risk of growing, by relating to and caring for others. It doesn't take courage to hide out in fear, but it does take courage to risk something new, and today you embark on taking that risk.

Br. Kevin Andrew, O.P.'s picture

Szczęść Boże!

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Br Brad and I in Krakow’s medieval marketplace, or Rynek GłównySzczęść Boże! Or, “God bless you,” a greeting Br. Brad and I along with our student master Fr. Michael Fones heard many times when we went to Poland this summer. We went for a preaching camp focused on Pope Benedict’s apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini. The camp, now in its third year, was held in English and consisted of 12 Dominicans – 6 student brothers and 6 priests, with representatives from the US, Ireland, and Poland (including one Pole from the Vicariate of Russia and the Ukraine). The camp took place in Korbielów, a ski town near the Slovakian border. We were made up of a mix of friars – some with decades of priestly experience, some more recently ordained, and some of us still in initial studies for the Order. We looked at points from the document such as how we “enable the people of our time once more to encounter God” (paragraph 2). As Dominicans – the Order of Preachers – how do we do that in our existing ministries? What new opportunities can we look for, or start up? What does it mean to “encounter God?” Such discussions were mixed with plenty of time for rest, hikes, or trips to the nearby towns – all of which naturally included further discussions of ministry, liturgy, and theology.

The three of us from the Western Province were blessed to have some time after this camp for some of the more standard “tourist fare” in Poland, mostly around Krakow. We visited sites from the somber and horrific (Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp) to the beautiful and inspiring (Czestochowa – the home of the Black Madonna icon). In between, we saw more churches than I thought could ever fit in an area that size. Fr. Michael described the route he walked one day in Krakow just by mentioning the churches along the way – it seems like there was one on every corner!

God bless, Br Kevin

Br. Bradley Thomas Elliott, O.P.'s picture

Why the Catholic Church?

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On July 25th I gave a presentation at St. Dominic's Church in Eagle Rock entitled, "why the Catholic Church?". Below is a link to the talk. This presentation followed a presentation that I gave earlier this summer, "Who is Jesus?" 

Br. Dominic David Maichrowicz, O.P.'s picture

"Stern as Death is Love": A Wedding Homily

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Raphael's Marriage of the VirginOn July 7th, I stood as a deacon on behalf of the Church and received the marriage vows of my sister Rebecca and her new husband Joe. It was a tremendous blessing to be able to welcome Joe into the family at the altar and do everything I could to make the liturgy as beautiful as possible for Rebecca. As a Dominican, of course, I did not pass up the opportunity to preach the wedding as well. Below are the readings they chose (which should be read first) and the homily that followed. If you need a teaser, I claim that obedience is necessary in marriage, that love is not about our feelings, and that, as an institution, marriage is more concerned with the couple’s relationship to the community than with their relationship to each other.



Stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Scripture gives us this beautiful image of love as everlasting, as having a power over all those forces which have plagued humanity from the beginning, even death. Today, however, we might be tempted to think that Scripture is being a little overly optimistic if not proposing a downright fantasy. Today and throughout history we see human (so called) “love” being used to take advantage of others, for selfish gain; love that is fleeting and the failure of divorce; “love” that divides and cuts people off from their family and community.

But what Joe and Rebecca are being called to witness to here today is not a merely human love, but divine love, a love that loves one another as God has loved us. St. John tells us “this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us.” Our love is not some evolutionary development of brute desires or pleasure seeking or herd mentality. It is rather derived from the divine love that pervades all of creation, a divine love we are therefore called to imitate. Today, Rebecca and Joe, you must you take on a special responsibility, a special vocation, to be an image of that divine love before the whole world. You must not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed . . . , that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

The first aspect of that love you are called to imitate is obedience. Divine love is obediential love. Now I know you did your best to avoid that theme in choosing the readings; and that’s no surprise in our culture. Our culture sees obedience almost as a pathological condition, a sign of weakness, an excuse for tyranny. And yet obedience means first of all a listening, a harkening to the other implying a readiness to serve the other. We imagine or assume it is something always divorced from love and yet in reality it is something absolutely necessary for love. Love without this listening, without service, without sacrifice, cannot endure. Even the readings you chose reflect this. My lover belongs to me and I to him. That real sense of a mutual ownership between the lover and the beloved. I urge you, my brother and my sister, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,to anticipate one another in showing honor. And of course Christ’s assertion that if we are to remain in his love we must keep his commandments just has he keeps the Father’s commandments.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the perfect image of that obediential divine love in that he heard our cry, he harkened to our needs, and he laid down his life for us on the cross. Christ made a complete gift of himself to his Church, and you are called to imitate that by making a complete gift of yourselves to each other, to love one another as he has loved you. Far from losing ourselves in this service, it is paradoxically only in giving ourselves to another and receiving the other in return that we truly find ourselves.

This gift of yourselves to each other would not truly be complete if it was not for the rest of your lives. And so there is a second way that your love is to image divine love. Christ’s love for his bride the Church is eternal and so your marriage as the image of that love is indissoluble; a bond of love that cannot be broken. Now there will certainly be times when you are not altogether happy with something the other has done – there will be times when the feelings grow cold – there may even be times when you feel like you don’t even like your spouse. But love, the love you are called to and that you vow today, is not something based in feelings. Love is a choice; it is a choosing of what is truly good for the other. It is in that constant choosing of the other’s good that marriage really can image the eternal divine love through whatever storms and difficulties you may face together in life. And of course the true good, the final good, of every person, is not something that can be found here below, but is eternal life in heaven. And so if I can put on my older brother hat for a moment – Joseph, I trust that not only will you do whatever is in your power to take care of my sister in this life, but that you will also do whatever is in your power to make sure that she will get to heaven. Stay close to the Sacraments, persevere in prayer, make it a central part of your life together, hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; strive every day to help each other get to heaven and your love will be an image of that eternal divine love.

The third way in which you must imitate divine love is in its fruitfulness. It is out of the superabundance of God’s love that all of creation came to be. It is out of the sacrificial love of Christ on the cross that the Church is born and that we are born again through baptism into eternal life. In fact, despite some contemporary sentiments, marriage as an institution is really more concerned with the fruitfulness of your life together – with your relationship as a couple to the community – than it is concerned with your relationship to each other. The primary hope of fruitfulness in your marriage will be in the growth of your family. The family is the beginning and foundation of all of society. And so it is expected that you will welcome children into your home, that you will as St. Paul said, exercise hospitality to the next generation, and that you will teach them this divine love you are called to today through your own example and through bringing them to Christ and his Church. More broadly, it is expected that your marriage will contribute to the needs of the holy ones; that it will be a source of service to the Church and to your friends and family; that you will stand not just as two individuals facing each other, but that you will stand side by side together that the abundance of your love may bear fruit in all the world around you.

Now you might think that this sounds like a lofty and rather absurd set of unreachable ideals. And, indeed, you would be right. Neither one of you is ready to perfectly give yourself to the other, neither one of you knows if you will always choose the other’s good, and you do not yet know how as a couple you will be called to be fruitful. But this is precisely why God gives your marriage the grace of a sacrament. Today you vow before us and before God to strive for these things, to learn and grow together in the imitation of divine love: but let me also remind you of what is being promised to you. First, this whole assembly of family and friends promises to stand by you and support you in this great endeavor but more importantly God swears by his very self that he will give you the grace you need to accomplish what he has called you to. He is calling you to do something that is naturally impossible, to be that image of divine love in our world today, but nothing is impossible for God – his grace perfects and elevates our nature to realize what is impossible for us alone.

I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as God loves us all. Be imitators of that obedient, eternal, and fruitful love. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed . . . , that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Joseph and Rebecca, this whole assembly longs to see the work of divine love in your lives and so if you are ready…

Br. Chris Brannan, O.P.'s picture

A Summer of Dispersion: On Wandering and Resting

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St. Dominic's dispersion of the brethren.It is often reported how St. Dominic, in the early days of the Order, dispersed his small group of newly-formed friars from the house in Prouille, France, sending them to university centers throughout Europe, in view of the missionary and universal vision which he had for the Order. This summer, all of the student brothers of our province have experienced something analogous, with the student master having sent us all out of St. Albert's to live in various Dominican communities throughout our province. This “summer of dispersion,” if we can call it that, is providing each of us with a chance to live for a few months in one of our smaller communities and experience life away from St. Albert's in a more ministerial setting.

Some of the brothers, in fact, are spending the summer enrolled in Clinical Pastoral Education – a hospital chaplaincy training program. Hopefully some of them will share a bit about their experience of this on the blog soon. And there are four brothers – Br. Richard, Br. Christopher, myself (Br. Chris), and Br. Tuan (with the Canadian Vietnamese vicariate) – who have begun or will soon begin a year-long “residency year” in which we live in one of our smaller communities for an entire year to gain more ministerial experience and to aid in our formation and discernment with the Province.

For my part, I have recently moved into Holy Rosary Priory in Portland, OR, for my residency year. Last Monday, after having completely moved out of my room at St. Albert's and shipping a number of my books to Portland, I drove straight from Oakland to Portland (which took about ten hours). I spent a bit of the week's remainder unpacking and settling in to my new, temporary home. Fr. Gregory Tatum, who is staying here at Holy Rosary for the month of July, was kind enough to give me a brief tour of a few parts of the city later that week – but as this is only the second time I have ever been to Portland, I'm still a bit unfamiliar with it and need to explore it a bit more.

In any case, this whole experience of moving out of one place and traveling to a new location is one that can feel both jarring and exhilarating – and is something Dominican friars must learn to accept; our Order began, after all, as a group of itinerant preachers. Thus this life requires a sort of detachment from any particular location, a willingness to uproot oneself and travel for sake of the Order's mission, for the sake of the Gospel.

I am reminded by this of a short conversation between a scribe and Jesus in the gospels: “And one scribe, approaching, said to him, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you will go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to rest his head'” (Matt 8:19-20). There is a sense, indeed, in which every Christian, like Jesus himself, is “homeless” on this side of heaven, and must not remain too attached to particular possessions or places. This may seem, at first, a bit too “unearthly”, or aloof from a genuine human existence. After all, who does not long for a stable home, a safe place in which one can consistently retire each day, a haven and refuge from the busyness and stress of the outside world? Who does not value a home to which one is attached? What can it mean to be constantly “detached” from such genuine goods of this world, if not simply to be perpetually disoriented and unstable? How is such a life, in any meaningful sense, “healthy”?

To make sense of this, we should keep in mind a general truth which is essential to the Christian life: we are all pilgrimspilgrims who have not yet arrived at our true and final home. While this world was created good, it is but a foretaste and preparation of that for which we were created and redeemed – dwelling in glorious communion with the Triune God. Thus any attachment to the things of earth which hinders our approach to the Heavenly Jerusalem will not do us any good; we must be willing to “let go,” to “move on” as God draws us onward and upward toward our celestial home. It is not that we should not have any affection or love for the good things of this earth; quite the contrary: to despise what is good, in so far as it is good, is to despise Goodness himself. But our love, much like our homes, must be “in order,” and properly arranged: we must love most only what is best, and love the lesser in view of the greater. Our love for God must be first; our love for the lesser things for country; for home, family, and friends; for career and leisure; for food and for sex – must all be subordinate to divine charity, the love of God which has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5).

And this is what this “summer of dispersion” causes me to remember: God's love for us is greater than any other good or pleasure we can experience or imagine on earth, and we must, therefore, let our love for Him – itself a divine gift – transcend all other loves that move our hearts. The alternative is the restlessness which we all fear. So the choices are simply these: abiding in divine love, or drifting in perpetual restlessness. And, paradoxically, unless we see ourselves as wanderers on earth, we will not be able to rest in the bosom of the Father. For that is the only place the Son rests his head (cf. Jn 1:18), and the only place in which we, his Body, can find our true home.

Br. Michael James Rivera, O.P.'s picture

Fireworks, Freedom, and Frassati

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A month after his 21st birthday -- a time when most young people are trying to find themselves -- Pier Giorgio Frassati became a member of the Dominican family. Kneeling down in the gothic church of San Domenico, with the soft glow of candlelight reflecting off the vaulted ceilings, and the sweet aroma of incense filling the air, he received the white scapular of the Third Order of St. Dominic. Taking the name Gerolamo, after the Dominican friar whom he so admired for his religious zeal and fervor, Pier Giorgio had no doubts about his purpose in life. He was to be a man of the beatitudes: merciful, pure of heart, a peacemaker.

Like many Catholics in the modern age, Pier Giorgio was no stranger to political unrest. He understood, perfectly well, the struggle for peace and religious freedom. As a young man he participated in a number of religious processions that often led to his being “detained” by the police. They were afraid that he might be trying to stir up trouble as a member of the Popular-Socialist Party, who along with the Fascists, were vying for control of the Italian government in the early 1900s.

In spite of his distaste for the Fascist Party, the affairs of state were not Pier Giorgio’s chief concern. He simply believed that violence was never the answer and that “true peace is more a fruit of Christian neighborly love than of justice” (A Man of the Beatitudes, 99). So he used his brief periods in jail, not to promote some political agenda, but to encourage his fellow prisoners – to pray the rosary with them, to counsel them, and to ease their pain. For Pier Giorgio, this is what it meant to be a Christian, to be blessed. As a man with a hunger and thirst for righteousness, he had discovered that freedom is not merely something political. True liberty is spiritual – freedom from the power of Satan and slavery to sin.  

We find an example of this type of freedom in the Gospel of Matthew (8:28-34), when Jesus heals two men who have been possessed by evil spirits; men who had been held captive in Satan’s grasp for many years. By sending these demons into a herd of pigs, Jesus reveals that his miraculous work is not limited to feeding the hungry crowds. He also has the power to free us from the bonds of sin. Like the demoniacs who are freed from their spiritual imprisonment, we too can experience the power that frees us from spiritual death and raises us to new life in Christ. It is made available to us in the Sacraments, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, when we are absolved of our sins, when grace is poured upon us, and we are given the strength to resist future temptation.

These least two weeks, during the Fortnight for Freedom, have been a wonderful time to reflect on our belief as Americans that everyone has a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” While I will gladly admit that religious liberty and freedom of conscience are essential aspects of our way of life, we must not forget that spiritual freedom – freedom from the power of sin – is just as important. For Christ’s reign extends over all creation and the proclamation of his kingdom includes a declaration of liberty to captives – those under the thumb of human oppressors, as well as those who find themselves oppressed by spiritual forces.

Pier Giorgio knew this well. He believed that “faith enables us to bear the thorns with which our life is woven,” whether they be political or spiritual. This is why he went to Mass daily and once told a group of young people, “Feed on this Bread of Angels and from it you will gain the strength to fight your inner battle, the battle against passion and all adversities, because Jesus Christ has promised to those who feed on the Holy Eucharist eternal life and the graces necessary to obtain it…you will enjoy the peace that those who are happy in accordance with this world have never experienced, because true happiness does not consist in the pleasures of the world or in earthly things, but in peace of conscience, which we only have if we are pure in heart and mind” (A Man of the Beatitudes, 97-8).

Pure in heart; these words were often used to describe Pier Giorgio, by those who knew him best. When he died of polio on the 4th of July, 1925, it seemed as if the entire city of Turin turned up to pay their respects: Ester, the housekeeper whom he had brought to the faith; Signora Converso, the poor woman to whom he had sent medication while on his own deathbed. These and many others poured into the house, lined the streets during the procession, and crowded into the Church during the funeral. In Pier Giorgio they had been witness to a life touched by grace, a man of blessedness, who had experienced spiritual freedom in Christ and wanted to share it with the world.


Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1990, and is a patron of World Youth Day. 

Br. Bradley Thomas Elliott, O.P.'s picture

Who is Jesus?

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On 13 June 2012, I gave the Dominican Forum presentation at St. Dominic's Parish in Eagle Rock California. The topic of the talk entitled, "Who is Jesus?" was on the nature of Jesus Christ as true God and true man and the importance and centrality of this teaching for the Christian faith. 

Starting from Scripture and moving through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I attempted to illustrate in a straight-forward and easy to digest fashion what the Church understands about the nature of Jesus Christ and how she has articulated that understanding throughout the centuries.

Br. Peter Junipero Hannah, O.P.'s picture

"Vocation Boom" Interview

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I was interviewed recently by Jerry Usher, host of the radio program “VocationBoom!,” which airs on various Catholic radio stations throughout the country.  As a Dominican friar now in my fifth year of student formation, I have begun to lose track of the number of times I have “told my vocation story.”  Yet if someone asks, I never tire of it.  I have given longer talks of half-hour or more.  I have given shorter ten minute versions.  And then of course there is the person you meet at a party or reception of some sort who wants to know “how you became a Dominican,” and you need to come up with something to capture your vocation in about 2 or 3 minutes!


The truth is no amount of time is enough, since God’s ways are infinitely mysterious and intricately woven into the very details of our lives – each one of our lives is more than we can possibly begin to understand; but, on the other hand, any amount of time works since the only explanation for any vocation is grace, and that grace can become apparent even in the most humble and simple events in our lives.  I ran out of time on the show here to share more of my journey into the Catholic Church specifically, which was a simultaneous intellectual and spiritual journey while in graduate school.  Intellectually I came more and more to be persuaded by the depth, beauty, coherence, and truth of Catholic theology; spiritually I was drawn more and more deeply into the mystery of the Mass, and the way Jesus Christ is truly present in his sacred body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist.  In any case, I was glad to give some time to Jerry Usher and his show, and hope what I did have time to share can in some small way give encouragement to all interested souls.