Time of Testing
However, the positive side of this has been that when I reached my point of crisis I started to pray about and reflect on my priorities. And I realized that this whole process has served to tear away a bit at my identity. A number of years ago one of my graduate school professors (this is when I was studying literature) expressed some doubt about my suitability for PhD studies. "Mark," he said, "you're an A minus." What he was trying to say was that he didn't see me devoting everything to being a literary scholar. And he was right, there's a lot more to me than a scholar. Now, at the end of my Jesuit formation, and on the eve of my ordination as a priest, that is even more true now than it was then. So, in recent weeks I've started to realize that I probably need to be in a program that doesn't feel so much as if it is tearing away at my identity as a Jesuit, a priest, a teacher, a writer, a minister, etc., all those things that will not take a back seat to being a scholar. Rather than pursue a PhD maybe I'm much more suited for a ThD or an STD, doctoral degrees that are as much about ministry as they are about scholarship. These will help me to achieve the goal which God has set for me as well--if not better--than the PhD programs to which I've applied.
Having arrived at this renewed sense of priorities, with a peace that tells me that I'm on the right track, I asked myself what the next best step was. I also asked a number of professors and mentors whom I trust. The result is that I have applied now also to the STD program here at Weston, which In June will become the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. And though there is no guarantee of my acceptance, I at least have the confidence that the people deciding know me in my whole person far better than those who were deciding elsewhere. So, I ask your prayers for me in this new step, this new wrinkle. And also please pray for fewer distractions for me in the coming months both for the sake of completing my thesis and preparing myself for my ordination in June. Thanks!
I hope you all are well!