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Vocation reflections -- Part I

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On Priesthood Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, dozens of seminarians of the Archdiocese of Boston went out two-by-two to share the vocation stories at parishes and campus ministries throughout the archdiocese. In collaboration with the Office for Vocations, The Pilot is reprinting the text of a number of their talks.

The following talk was delivered by seminarian Peter Stamm to students at Boston College.

Good evening, friends. It's a pleasure to be with you tonight as we celebrate the Eucharist and to share a brief word on the joy that comes from discovering God's plan for your life.

When I was a freshman here at BC, I lived in Fenwick and would pass by this chapel every morning on my way to class. Occasionally, I would stop in for a moment of prayer. It's really a hidden treasure we have here -- you step in the door, the noise recedes, and you come down the steps and into the presence of Jesus, who is always present in the tabernacle. I found that these little visits gradually reshaped my day. I was able to see people in a different light, not so much through the lens of my own wants and needs, but more as Christ sees us -- sons and daughters of God. This love began to gradually transform not only my day-to-day experience but the entire direction of my life. Christ took the things I was already interested in, the talents I had been developing, the things I was studying, and brought greater depth to them. To the extent that I would give myself over to the service of others, he would fill me with joy. So, ultimately I went from those brief visits in this chapel, nearly eight years ago now, to standing before you in this same space now as a seminarian, looking forward to being ordained a priest in about a year-and-a-half.

My only real purpose in being here tonight is to testify to you, from my own experience, about the great, great happiness that comes from following your vocation. We all have a vocation, which is nothing other than an invitation from God to the way of life which will enable us to give ourselves most fully in service to others and which will in turn bring us great joy and peace. God communicates this call to each person in an individual and mysterious way. It's usually something which is perceived gradually as it unfolds over time. I would just encourage you to be attentive to the promptings of God in your own life. The Lord speaks especially in silence. I've found it helpful to take some time each day to turn off the cellphone, put the computer to sleep, and be still in his presence.

The Jesuit tradition speaks to us about being "men and women for others." Your presence at this great university means that you've been entrusted with some extraordinary gifts. If you follow your more generous impulses, be assured that you can each make a real difference in this world. Love and truth, peace and justice, are spread one heart at a time. Each of us has a part to play in this. May God be always with you and bring you to the joy he's prepared for you in your own vocation. God bless you!

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