Rev. Kenneth Dos Santos, MIC

Thompson, Connecticut

Kenneth Dos Santos
Are you fulfilled? Do you have the sense that you are faithfully living out what God in His Eternal Providence has chosen for you, that calling for which He has blessed you with specific gifts and graces? These are questions that none of us can answer on our own. In order to discover the answers to these questions, we must choose a relationship with God, a living relationship through which we acknowledge and thank God for the many gifts He has bestowed upon us, and within which we willingly choose to pray to God asking Him to reveal to us His will for us in our lives.

Speaking for myself, I was called to the ministerial priesthood at a young age. I was prayerful, and I had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother, but I cannot say I asked God in prayer what vocation He was calling me to. I was aware that God was calling me to the priesthood, and because I knew this, I chose to tell my friends on the way to public school. Needless to say, I was chastised and ridiculed for it. And it was due to this opposition that I chose to disassociate myself with the call. It was due to this ridicule that I decided to follow another path, one that I would choose for myself, one that coincided with the specific gifts that God had given me, the God-given ability to repair things. Nevertheless, I had chosen my own will over God's will.

Jesus warns us about this opposition, the opposition we will encounter when we choose to follow Him: "Behold I am sending you like lambs amongst wolves" (Mt 10:16). Christ is letting us know that it will not always be easy to follow His will for us, and it is because He knows this that He made us a few promises: "Lo I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20), and, "These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mt 16:17-18). We must trust and believe that God does not ask anything of us that He will not see us through. He is always with us, and if we are attempting to live a virtuous life and regularly receive the sacraments, He will give us the grace we need to do what He asks of us: "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom 8:31).

But I chose to follow my will working in electronics and on business machines for many years. I was interested and — thanks to the grace of God — successful in what I was doing. Still, I was not fulfilled. There was always something missing. I remember thinking: I go to work, I come back home, I eat something for supper, go to bed, and the same thing starts again the next day. Is this all there is to life? I was searching for what mattered most in life, but I was searching amongst the things of the world, and I was searching there because I had fallen into sin. I was blinded by sin. If it were not for the mercy of God, I might still be stuck in this situation, but the providence of God was at work in my life as it is in yours. I went through some tough times, what the world would consider financial ruin. I was unemployed. I was about to lose my house, my car, and all my worldly possessions. For the first time in years, I turned to prayer, especially the Rosary. I must admit, at first I wasn't praying for all the right reasons. Instead of showing gratitude for all God had done in my life up to this point, I prayed for help with my current situation. Still, in and through these tough situations, a relationship formed. God found me, and I found Him.

After this, I began to attend daily Mass. I was asked by a religious novice to fill in as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. I was a bit reluctant, but I agreed. It was through this experience that I received a great grace. It is hard to put into words, but during the distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ, my eyes were opened. I could not even begin to think as I used to. I was changed in a profound way, and I knew I could only move forward. Filled with zeal, I asked the pastor at my home parish if I could become an extraordinary minister. I then became a Knight of Columbus, and I knew in my heart that I had to follow the path toward the priesthood, wherever that might lead.

It was during this period that my childhood devotion to the Blessed Mother was renewed. She was leading me by the hand to her Son. I just had to recognize and accept it. And it was she who led me to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, a congregation whose charisms are dedicated to honoring and promoting the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, helping parish priests where the need is the greatest, and finally, prayer and sacrifice for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. In addition to this, the Marians have been given the added apostolate of spreading the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy given to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the apostle of Divine Mercy.

What else could have filled the void in my life but God Himself? Even though I fell away from Him for a time, Jesus never stopped calling me. He pursued me until I fully understood what He always had in mind, what would bring me true happiness, God Himself. Not the fleeting happiness the world brings, but a true and everlasting happiness that only God can give us, and for which He made us.

So, pray for vocations, pray for priests and religious, but pray most especially that God's will be accomplished in your lives, especially through the intercession of Our Lady, who will always lead us to her only beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Father Kenneth Dos Santos, MIC, is the author of Hagia Sophia: The Wisdom of God as Offered to the Modern World (Marian Press).