I just got back from a great meeting with some Catholic friends involved with the CLM (Christian Life Movement) and we were talking about grad school, the priesthood, and marriage / family life. It was great to see people who really knew their vocations and were dedicated to living them out.
As for me, I just tell people I'm getting my masters in History (or Theology) and they're usually too bored to say any more. But tonight I was getting much needed advice from 2 graduate students and with every new piece of information I felt overwhelmed. Apparently there's alot of formalities, scholarships, and paperwork to this whole MA thing.
Anyway, on top of that everyday cowardice of mine and fear of new things, I began to think about my vocation more. There are only a handfull of times in my life I've ever heard/felt/sensed God's action directly, and I'm not one for saying 'God told me this', etc. I think I'm just so selfish I could never actually sit in quiet long enough for him to speak. I just wait for 30 seconds, and then start making up things he should be saying.
Things I'm certain of:
I'm certain of this: I don't want titles. I'm such a pompous upper-middle class kid, I've always had life easy. Academia would be so pitifully average for me. I would secretly thrive on being able to call myself "Dr." or "Fr." that I know it would destroy me.
I'm certain of this: I love learning. I love to read and study theology, Church History, Brittania, The Old South, etc. But I find Universities and Academia in general to at times be antithetical to learning. You learn a few things, and then repeat them over and over again and condescend to other people who don't understand quite as well as you do. It's just intellectual games.
I'm certain of this: I want to be active. I don't want to sit in my office, or write research papers about myself, I'd like to teach or to argue with people who disagree with me. I'd like to actually DO something in the world. At the end of my life, if I haven't been part of a community, or if there are no people who I can see that God has changed through me, it will all have been a faillure. Even if I'm a famous historian with a wikipedia entry.
People I want to be like:
There are three people I really want to emulate -whatever my vocation may be:
G.K. Chesterton - he never had a degree, yet he debated some of the sharpest minds of his day, he never backed down from a fight and he knew the faith extremely well. No academic merits were bestowed on him, and yet Thomist scholars say he was one of the most influential commentators on the Angelic doctor. His work helped convert C.S. Lewis for crying out loud. He was a real Catholic man, and I want to be like him (I'm there in weight already).
St. Edmund Campion - he was an academic, he could have been archbishop of Canterbury, or a famous professor at Oxford. But he left it all behind to become a Jesuit priest and he died a martyr for it. He gave it all up for the greater glory of God, and if that isn't admirable, I don't know what is.
Finally, there's a picture I have that I found on a Catholic blog. I don't know who the priest is, but I just can't describe how beautiful it is. I'm far too unholy to be a priest, but if God's grace ever loosed me from my sin, oh how much I would love to give my life in service of the Kingdom... be a military chaplain. padre Andrew (maybe if I used a non-english title it wouldn't go to my head).
So all in all, I think I'd like to be a monk maybe. I'm just confused and a bit scared. I pray that maybe God will make things clearer for me. I would love to be holy enough not to care about myself and spend entire blogs in self-reflection, but I'll blame it on St. Augustine's Confessions.