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 | By Max Gallegos

Answering the call with gratitude

Who would have ever thought that a young immigrant couple seeking to make a life for themselves in the United States of America would settle down in the rural town of Fort Payne, Alabama, and have a son who would be considered for holy orders? That is how God works, though. He is a good God full of beautiful surprises.

As my diaconate ordination approaches and I consider my upbringing, family, time at Jacksonville State University, and seminary journey, I cannot help but savor the surprises God had for me then and has for me now, which can be summed up in one word: gratitude. As I discerned seminary and now more intentionally discern ordination to the priesthood, gratitude has been a constant presence in my prayer and in my everyday life.

I am grateful for my family, for the friends I have been given, for the experiences I have lived, for the people of God who support my vocation in so many ways, for the priests who have invested their time and energy, and for the love that Jesus Christ has shown as I continue to grow in the vocation to which He has called me. Indeed, gratitude prompts me to joyfully give my life to Jesus Christ and the Church.

A professor of mine once said, “Love makes itself known publicly.” These words continue to resonate with me because, in a deep sense, my ordination will be a public “yes.” It will be a public declaration of love for God and the Church. This “yes,” however, is but a modest reciprocation of God’s first “yes” to me. With that realization, it is impossible to not express gratitude for the great gift, the mystery, I will soon receive. By the grace of God, I will become the man and the priest He wants me to be.