(June 15, when Brian Maloney celebrated his Golden Jubilee at St. Francis Seraph Friary, his message to those who joined him was one of thanks.)
The year was 1969. Neil Armstrong along with Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in Apollo 11 and Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
St. Paul VI was Pope and he had the formidable task of implementing the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. And in New York, the Woodstock Festival was taking place. In 1969, 23 young Franciscan friars processed into Holy Family Church in Oldenburg, Ind., to profess their first vows, having completed their year of novitiate.
God’s call comes to people at different ages, and mine came early. It was clear, total, entirely spiritual, personal and loving. I knew then, and I know now, just as certainly as I know my own name, that God exists, that He is Pure Love and that He invited me to a life of prayer and service to His people. Within the depths of my soul, I replied, “yes.”
That was 50 years ago and in 2019, I celebrate my Golden Jubilee with you. I am still in shock. I can hardly believe that so many years have gone by. It is a mystery to where time goes.
My personal story in not about me at all. It is about God and His merciful and faithful love. If I were a flower my story would tell of the gentle hand that plucked me from the soil and held me close to His heart.
If I were a bird, I would sing of the incredible Person who unlatched the cage and freed me to fly to heaven. Or if I were a blade of grass, I would bend and sway in the breath of the wind. But I am not any of the above. I am just me, myself, and I can only speak the silent language of love and praise as He pleases to give it to me.
My call, my vocation, my life is real. It can be seen in photos, home videos and in the hearts of God’s people, whom I am privileged to serve and call my friends. Life seems to carry us along, minute by minute, day by day, year by year until we reach a milestone and we look back and say, “Where did the years go?”
Vows are very solemn things. Vows are sacred and absolutely binding, a total commitment of mind, body, and spirit.
So while I celebrate 50 years, I most of all want to celebrate God. He has been the anchor of my religious life, my magnet that draws me closer to Him. God is my compass setting my life.