One of the realities of being Catholic…

…is having really Catholic friends. But not just Catholic friends…rather, Catholic friends who end up being totally radical.

Multiple Math puns
And when I say “radical,” I mean that in the “rooted” AND “departing from social norms” sense of the word.
Truly, a small handful of my Catholic friends have decided to live radical Catholic lives in pursuing a religious life of some sort. It’s radical because your average person (and average Catholic…average Christian) doesn’t consider dropping his or her current lifestyles in order to pursue a life lacking material, wealth, and seeking self. It’s also radical because they can now live a really rooted Catholic life living an expression of the Catholic faith in community with others in the service of others.

When I graduated from college, some good acquaintances and friends from my college parish….

…joined the Apostles of the Interior Life.

…became a Jesuit to further pursue becoming an ordained Jesuit priest.

…entered seminaries in various dioceses.

(but that is just a mere taste of Aggie Catholics pursuing radical Catholic lives)

And just in the past few years that I’ve gotten really involved with my parish and getting to know some individuals…

…one of my young adult friends joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal.

…two of my young adult friends will be joining the Franciscans of the Immaculate…the friars and sisters, respectively.

…three young men from my brother’s high school class (different high schools) are going to the local seminary to further discern their call to the Catholic priesthood…though all three start(ed) at different times.

…I reconnected with a high school band alum who is several years older than me, and he was up in New York as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal. Now he is discerning to be a diocesan priest and will be entering seminary sometime.

And these decisions to pursue such religious vocations, as we call it, do not come easily.  They all took time discerning what is God calling them to do with their lives, and they have freely and willingly answered this call after much prayer and guidance.

As Catholics, we celebrate joyfully the answering of this call to the religious life or priesthood primarily because it would be serving God in the way He intends; in the way He has called each of these individuals to live.  We share our joy in their joy.

So, why do I even care that I face the reality that my some of my Catholic friends are all like…”yo, I’mma be a brutha/sista!” or all like… “Dominus vobiscum!”? Simply because of their joy and youthful fervor in the Catholic faith. I also highly respect them for making such a life-altering decision to follow God’s call in their respective ways, which go against the social norms.

And focusing on that youthful part…sometimes it is tempting to think of the Catholic Church as a bunch of old priests and greyhairs who sit in the front pew at Mass (and Daily Mass) or the angry nun with the witch-like voice and armed with a ruler, but that is simply not what I see and observe in real life.  All those individuals I mentioned above range from ages 18 to early 30’s and are far from those stereotypes.  Hmm…the young Church…praise God that our 2000-year old faith comes alive through the youth of today because she is alive in Christ!

In an effort to humbly brag about some of these individuals and to convey a sense of their stories and personalities, I may highlight them further in my blog. Hopefully I can catch them before they move on towards their friaries, seminaries, and convents!

I ask for your prayers for vocations, especially for those I have mentioned above.  Thanks and God bless!

*90’s voice* …Radical!
– JD