Meeting God Halfway
I love a good anniversary celebration. Who doesn’t? It’s fun to celebrate milestones. Next week, on May 2, I have a rather unique one to celebrate in my own life: my one year anniversary of becoming a priest of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.
I’ve been a priest 12 years this May, so this celebration isn’t a celebration of ordination. It is a celebration of me becoming bound to this local church, this local bishop, and the priests and people of this diocese. Every diocesan priest belongs to a local church. I was ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington, and I am eternally grateful for the education I received there, the support of so many people, and the experiences I had in ministry.
But about five years ago, I decided God might be calling me to make a change. I was pastor of a beautiful church of about 900 families, Ascension in Bowie, Maryland, and loved living in the DC metro area, a place where I had lots of great friends from college, work, the seminary, my time as a parochial vicar, and my time as chaplain at the University of Maryland, but I was really feeling the tug of family and friends here in Colorado Springs. I was also feeling the tug of a missionary diocese that doesn’t have a lot of priests, especially compared to the Archdiocese of Washington. I was feeling the pull of my hometown.
I spent a lot of time praying about this. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I thought I was doing everything I could to cooperate with God. However, it was then I realized that there was something more to be done. I needed to meet God halfway.
I needed to be open to whatever happened and whatever God wanted, and I needed to be a little more active. This has been an issue for me before. I remember thinking the same thing when I was trying to discern the priesthood. It took me months to even call the vocation director! Sometimes, we think just being open to God is enough, but God needs us to work with Him.
As it applies to my situation about whether or not to move to Colorado, I was waiting for God to put some Holy Spirit whisper in the ear of Bishop Sheridan. I was waiting for Bishop Sheridan to wake up one morning and think, “hey, maybe I’ll call this priest in Maryland and invite him to come here.” I was waiting for Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, to call me out of the blue: “maybe you should consider moving back to Colorado.”
After I realized that it was highly unlikely that either Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Sheridan was going to suddenly make this happen, I decided that to meet God halfway, I needed to write a letter to Bishop Sheridan. It was that letter that set events in motion. That doesn’t mean that when I wrote the letter, I knew what the outcome would be, but in taking that first step, with God’s support, I was blessed with a great feeling of peace that whatever happened, I would feel good knowing I did something active to help me understand what God might want of me.
So how does this apply to you and your life? Maybe there are things you’ve been praying about for a long time. I know how frustrating it can be to pray about something and feel like we aren’t getting a response from God. But what if we met Him halfway? What if we did something more active but remained open to a number of various outcomes?
My decision to uproot my life was scary, and there were moments when I really questioned if I was doing the right thing. I do really miss my friends back east, but the decision to write that letter to Bishop Sheridan was one of the best decisions I have ever made. So in the days and weeks to come, dare to meet God halfway. The results might change your life in an exciting way you never imagined.