Tell us your vocation story.
The Lord led me to the seminary in my early thirties. This call came while spending two years at the JPII House of Discernment learning how to pray and having my identity restored as a beloved son of the Father - this time was much needed and was full of beautiful and deep inner healing work (go to Healing the Whole Person if you haven't already!). Prior to the JPII House, I had spent four years at a federal military academy, commissioned as an intelligence officer, spent eight and a half years on active duty, and finished my time working in advanced special operations. This world had offered me a lot of really flashy opportunities (from shooting to diving to parachuting to traveling to working undercover, etc.), but left me feeling entirely empty, destitute, depressed, and anxious - to say the least. Following a major life event in which this perfect storm culminated and crushed me, I was "knocked off my horse en route to Damascus" and was humbled enough to begin following the Lord more closely. It's been a wild ride since which shows no signs of abating.
What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?
1) “Primacy is His in every way," meaning: He must increase, we must decrease. We must arrive at the humble recognition that our lives are not our own, and that primacy is the Lord’s regardless of our station in life. While He will not disregard our desires (or what we think we desire), He asks we trust Him during our search, in light of His promise to grant every one of our desires in good measure at His appointed time. Obedience and humility are implied here.
2) We must also recognize there is suffering in each vocation as the Cross is the means by which death was conquered, and the same means by which we receive life eternal. Once we accept this great inevitability, we are better equipped to respond more fully to the Lord’s invitation to pursue one vocation or another.
3) As “the man who thinks he knows does not know as he ought," put your trust not in princes but in the Lord alone, who will reveal you to yourself and guide your feet into the way of peace. The Lord works through and in His Church, so you don’t have to “figure it all out” in isolation.
What is your favorite psalm verse and why?
The Lord's revelation to my Master:
"Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet."
The Lord will wield from Zion
your scepter of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.
A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.
The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
"You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedeck of old."
The Master standing at your right hand
will shatter kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall drink from the stream by the wayside
and therefore he shall lift up his head.
The Lord’s love is wild, not tame, nor fully grasped by us without His grace; we serve the Lord God of hosts and long to look on His face. This Psalm captures the grandeur, mystery, power, and primacy of the Lord, to name a few.
What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?
Rucking (walking with a weighted backpack, military habits die hard!), swimming, rosary walks with praise and worship music, writing, and more.
Where do you like to go to pray?
Anywhere Jesus is in the Tabernacle, particularly the chapel at the Schoenstatt Fathers' House in Waukesha, called "Joseph's Place."
Where do you do your best studying?
The chapel, or my room with a giant Crucifix on the wall for inspiration.
Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
There's a whole family of beautiful saints supporting me: Mary, Queen of Heaven, St. John the Beloved, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Augustine, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Christopher, Bl. Pierre Giorgio Frassati, and St. John Paul II to name a few!