I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Holy Easter Season. A number of friends have asked why I am no looking at a monastic vocation.
For the last ten years, give or take, I have worked for Commercial Insurance brokerages. I have worked on some large national accounts and I have worked on “mom & pop shops”. Some of the accounts I worked on had thousands of locations. One of the accounts was recently named in the federal indictment against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevic. In my last position I worked on a book of business that generated over $660,000 in revenue with the premium volume being around $5,000,000. I would work until 8 - 10 PM most nights.
I was making pretty good money, but I barely had a life. I was sleeping very little during the week and twelve hours a night on the weekend. I rarely made it to Mass. (I still wish there were Sunday evening Masses around Blue Island.)
On Ash Wednesday 2006 my mother passed away. My two brothers were living at the house, but because of financial reason, the house needed to be sold in 2008. A number of months later, around 10PM, I turned off my computer at work with the thought, “Why am I killing myself with this job?” I went home and wrote my letter of resignation.
I knew I wanted to do something important with my life, and I was thinking about going back in to education, but this time with a degree. I was looking at getting my masters, but first I needed to get some undergraduate requirements fulfilled. I signed up at a local community college to take a couple classes. Before the classes even began I had a number of realizations.
I started going back to Mass at St. Isidore’s It is a wonderful little parish at the border of Blue Island and Calumet Park. I realized how much I missed Mass, and how important it is to me. I began to reflect on what is truly important to me and what was not. The house, the car, the big paycheck grew wan in my eyes. Things and stuff are not important to me. What is? THE ETERNAL. GOD. HEAVEN. SALVATION.
On Saturday August 20, 2008 I went to evening Mass at St. Isidore’s. (Later I was to find out the August 20 is the Feast of St. Bernard.) Sunday morning I prayed Lauds, the went on to the internet to check my email. Almost instantly I felt the need to search out monastic communities. I fire was lit under me, and I searched with single-hearted purpose. I kept searching until 6PM. I ended my search with Vespers and three communities that stood out. I have talked about my search criterion previously, and I do not want to bore you with repetition.
But I will go back to talking about the fire that was lit under me. It has been a driving force in my life, and affects all of my decisions about the future. When I felt this renewed call to religious life, I was just a few days away from my 40th birthday. I had never felt such impetus in my life before. In the past, when I had to do something “now,” the order came from outside myself. God has put this impetus deep within me, and it has given me a direction and a joy that my life sorely need.
St John Ogilvie A Reading about
2 years ago