Here is a little pick me up for you. Remember Chase Hilgenbrinck? We reported on him back in July when he quit his job in Major League Soccer to enter the seminary. Well, ESPN caught up with Chase and did this very nice video profile on him.
Besides just the video, Kieran Darcy at ESPN.com did an in depth written profile on Chase’ journey of faith. I think it is very instructive.
“College was a big turning point,” Chase said. “I was away from my family for the first time. I no longer had to go to Mass, no longer had to practice any faith if I didn’t want to. But just out of habit, I continued to go. And actually, the light bulbs came on, and I realized what my faith was, what the church was all about. I was paying attention in Mass. I started to have a passion for Scripture.
“That was the time I truly made the faith my own.”
Chase’s plan had been to make a name for himself in Chile, and then get picked up by a team in the United States. But even bigger things were happening to him during those years. Living on his own in a foreign country for so long, he had a lot of downtime — a lot of time to think and reflect. Despite having a girlfriend for two years while he was there, he sometimes felt very lonely. Often, he would go to church to find solace.
Chase realized that while he was fulfilling his dream of being a professional soccer player, he didn’t actually feel fulfilled. He wondered if he was meant to do something else with his life. Eventually, Chase came to a startling conclusion, at least to himself: “I felt that [God] was calling me to the priesthood.”
This feeling didn’t emerge overnight — Chase says he contemplated the possibility of becoming a priest for about 2½ years. He wrestled with the decision quite a bit, but not because of soccer. “I knew that I would miss the game,” he said. “But I felt blessed that I was allowed to fulfill that goal of playing professionally.”
Read the entire piece, it may lift your spirits.