“Father you have given me everything, more than I have asked for and so much more than I deserve...all I want is to do whatever you want...” (23 October 2018, retreat)
So, last weekend I had do something I never thought I would have to do a day after my birthday. I had to make the difficult announcement that I was asked to leave my pastoring of St. Francis de Sales Parish and become the spiritual director for Saint Mary Seminary beginning the summer of 2020.
When I received the phone call at the end of last year asking me to pray about it, my first reaction was one of tears and rationalizations. I had every reason for why I should just say no. Then I was told to tell no one except my spiritual director (and my mother). It was hard to believe that God would ask me to leave the place that taught me to love with a pastor’s heart and to receive such love from a Church who has been a constant reminder of Jesus’ love for me. Then I read over my retreat journal notes from the past two years (like the excerpt above). Over and over again I kept saying the same thing, that I just wanted to give Him back the love He has given me. Then I realized that could never be possible, but I could always just give my “yes” to whatever He would ask of me.
When I finally gave my assent, a peace and joy rushed over me. I knew what was being asked of me is really nothing more than why I was even created and why I am a Priest. I am so blessed and grateful that Bishop Perez asked me to begin such a responsibility. Being asked to help with the spiritual formation of men who are discerning the call to the ordained Priesthood, is a perfect follow-up after being with a Church that constantly supports the gift of Priesthood by sending their sons to the seminary generation after generation. Thank you for showing me how to help them know how to love as a Priest. People keep asking me how are these next nine months going to go, will I be ok, who will come in next as pastor? All I know for certain is that God will give us who and what we need to be drawn closer to Him. So let’s just keep doing what we do best here at St. Francis de Sales...let us be faithful to the Sacramental life of the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t let this time become something of “this is the last time you...” because it is not who we are or what we believe in Jesus Christ. Let us live every day as it is our first time and our most precious.
Pax, Fr. Bline (your pastor)