Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I was reading a story about a young woman who thought marriage would cure her drinking problem.  You laugh.  I did not laugh.  You see, I thought that by becoming a priest I would cure my partying.  I believed that when I left my bachelor life in San Francisco and entered the seminary I would not drink.  It worked, but it took twelve years.  And it was not the priesthood that did it.  But it helped.  Why did I not drop the priesthood solution when it did not work?  A good question since that was a rather radical solution anyway.  What happened, to keep me in seminary and priesthood, was that from time to time I would actually, somewhat selflessly, help someone who was struggling with their own life.  I liked doing this.  Why?  Empathy.  I connected to their pain.  I know priests you can contact because you are struggling, and they won't even call you back.  They don't have a drinking problem.  My heart is what saved me. It connected with some of the miseries of others.  These suffering people were not so much a burden for me, as my lifeboat.  They gave me hope that I was in the right place even if my original reasons were insane.  Whereas a priest might try to focus on getting a girl to go to church or know her catechism, or live a good moral life, I would connect with her loneliness, self-doubt, and anxiety. Fortunately, most of them did not know that I was sicker than they.  So don't worry if you think you are a little crazy.  Pray that your heart is right.

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