For our next RCIA session we were asked to reflect on the question: How are you, here and now, on a journey of faith." As I reflect on this question I can see that I have been on this journey but I have not always been making progress on the journey. I am a "cradle Catholic" and so when I was younger I often took many aspects of my faith for granted. The first event that shook me was attending St. Anthony's College run by the Franciscan fathers. There I met some men who had a powerful influence on me and I made a decision to enter the Franciscan seminary in Detroit Michigan. This was a major step for a farm boy from northern Alberta. I spent two years at this seminary but while I had lots of new experiences I (looking back on it) did not grow much in my faith. The next year when I was most of the way through the novititate I came to this realization and decided that it would be best if I left the seminary.
The decision to leave was a very difficult one for me and I think that for many years after that my faith journey was not an important part of my life. I was kind of like the Hebrew people on their journey from slavery to the promised land who stopped at the oasis and wanted to stay there because it was easy and comfortable. Anyway, my searching for something to do eventually led me to the teaching profession and I spent many years as a high school teacher. I think that the demands of teaching were good for me. I especially recognized over time the importance of caring for other people and while I was not a great teacher I think that most of my students believed that I cared about them - and mostly I did.
I think that the next step in my journey came when I retired from teaching. People have this funny notion that retired people should be taken up with leisure and travel. One of the first things that I did though, was to complete a Masters degree in religious education. Following that I became more involved with RCIA and that involvement helped me to grow in my faith. Journeying with people who are trying to come to grips with their spiritual calling helped me to examine my own faith. More recently my involvement with the hospital ministry of my parish has been important to me. Meeting and bringing the Eucharist to so many people and praying for them afterward has been a great help for me. Even more recently taking a lead role in the RCIA program has been an important opportunity again for me to reflect on my own faith and on what is important in life.
I summary then, I can see how my faith journey has many characteristics with the journey of the Hebrew people told in the book of Exodus. I can see how God has been calling to me but I can also see how at times I have ignored God, or complained to God. Today, I hope that I am back on my journey trying to respond to God's call and trying to make progress on my journey.