by Bardeleon Jaddou
I wish I could say I entered seminary by taking this huge leap of faitha leap that landed me into the palms of God where I found my rest and peace.
No, that's not how I entered seminary.
The first time I felt called to the priesthood was at the age of seventeen. I was a senior in high school. I would attend a youth group called CLC (Chaldeans Loving Christ) for the primary purpose of hanging out with friends and meeting girls.
Yes, the Lord can work through our poor intentions!
The Lord used the witness and testimony of the youth group leaders to plant a seed of faith in me that screamed, "Bardy, you are called to the priesthood." I don't know why this thought came to me, but I believe that's the mystery of the call itself.
At the time, being a priest was the last thing in my plans. The priesthood appeared sad, lonely, and boring. Instead of receiving this idea in faith and taking time for prayer and discernment, I did the complete opposite. I ran as far away from God as possible because the very thought of God would bring up a vocation that I wanted no part of.
At the age of twenty-one, I experienced a strong conversion where I started to invite Jesus into my lonely, broken heart. The conversion led me to daily Mass and frequent prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In receiving his immense love, the desire to share this love grew deeper in me. I was blessed to receive a phone call from a leader at the youth group I used to be a part of, CLC, asking whether I wanted to be a leader.
As a leader for the youth group, I experienced the immense joy of sharing Christ with others, especially with the youth. I also served at another youth group called .CoM (Children of Mary) at my home parish at Mother of God in Southfield. The associate pastor at the time was Fr. Anthony Kathawa. Meeting him is confirmation that God wanted to destroy the lie of the evil one in my perception of the priesthood. Father Anthony showed me first-hand that the priesthood is a life of great joy and satisfaction. No one smiles like someone filled with the grace of God. I saw joy in the face of a happy priest.
I entered seminary because the idea, "Bardy, you are called to the priesthood," finally met with my desire to be a priest. I am a witness to the truth that God never leaves his children. God patiently waits for us to come to him. God will not force us to follow him, but when we doWOW what grace he has in store for us!
I want to respond generously to the "call" placed on my heart. I'm truly grateful for the formation I receive from Sacred Heart. One point that formation emphasizes: we are in constant formation, whether in the seminary or out of the seminary, and our formation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit so that we conform to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
"Praise him for his indescribable gifts!"
Bardeleon JaddouBardeleon Jaddou is a graduate student for the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.