Ok! The news I have been waiting for has just been communicated to me and those with the authority to help me discern my Vocation to the Permanent Diaconate in the name of the Church have found no impediment to my change in status from aspirant to student. I have been invited to apply to Mater Dei College in Dublin to begin my studies in September.
Needless to say it is immense relief but now real life concerns start to rise in my head. With a family of 6 childers, ranging in age from 12 years down to 7 months, there is a LOT of work to be done in the house and indeed outside of it when you take into consideration school demands and extra curricular demands etc. so it is constantly demanding. Can I afford to be absent from home one night a week, one Saturday a month and then absent again responding to the pastoral placement I will receive? Should I increase my wife's home workload while I take time out to study? Given that my wife has not yet fully recovered from the traumatic time she had giving birth to our 6th child, and that she still gets very tired very quickly can I afford to be away?
What if this opportunity had arisen 10 years ago or 10 years hence? I guess they would be very busy times in life too! In fact, I do sincerely believe that no matter where you are in life's journey this is your busiest time. Is there ever a stage in life when we say we are entering a non-busy time? No. So is it a case of 'Carpe Diem', trust in God and in the love of neighbour and all will settle? I guess so. Deep down I say yes!, but some say I am being naieve and unfair to my wife.
I know my faith gives me an answer that I fully believe and it is something that I mentioned in a earlier post, that when one turns his face to serve the Church, God will not leave his family without the Grace necessary to adapt and change. I have seen this happen already. I know that prayer really is the answer and through prayer all will be made clear even if it takes a while :)
My wife is most supportive and is certain that I should move on, but also she is anxious about the studies and how they will impact on my availability to and on my time with the family. Indeed these are very real concerns for both of us and perhaps have put my mind and heart into 'neutral' for the moment. I am in no hurry to respond with the 'Yea' or 'Nea' and will talk it all over with my Spiritual Director next week to see if he can help to shine more light on the whole process.
To be honest I didn't ever imaging getting this far and this is only year 1 of 4. There again I am not being ordained next week so perhaps I could try it out and see in real time how it impacts on the status quo and then readjust if we find that it is having a negative impact on my primary role as father and husband.
From what I have heard, the six of us who entered the 'Propedeutic Year' have made it through and have been invited to formally begin our studies. Thank God for that as all are very good and sincere men.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!