Vocations Sunday- Jonny’s Testimony
Good Shepherd Sunday and the world day of prayer for vocations was last Sunday. Jonny our former Lay Chaplain is currently studying for the priesthood at Allen Hall in London. Here is his testimony about his own vocation story; which he shared at the Parish in Highbury where he is on placement.
I have to admit I found the immensity of the task quite daunting.
How to, in a few short minutes, sum up the journey of how I went
from growing up in a lapsed Anglican family, with very little
experience of faith, to standing here as a first year seminarian
training to be a Catholic priest.
Growing up I always had some sense of God, or at least mystery. I
think it is at the very heart of what it is to be human to know that
there is some bigger story than your own; that there is something
unknown –something too big to grasp and contain. Some have
called this God; the spirit of atheism in our age calls it nothingness,
but there is always the sense of something other than just me.
Now what captured me about Christianity as I studied it at school
was the person of Jesus. In todays Gospel Jesus claims that ‘the
Father and I are one.’ It was this claim that captivated me and drew
me in. I can’t directly experience this mystery of the unknown God,
but here is a man that I can understand because like me he is
human. Yet he claims to also be that mystery which is beyond my
understanding. At this point I started to going to Church, all be it a
As I began to learn about Jesus, this man that seemed to have an
inexhaustible depth to him I began to enter into a relationship with
him. To realise that he wasn’t just a historical figure but really is
alive now. This began my gradual journey into the Catholic Church
and its sacraments, where Jesus isn’t just a story from history but
also an ever-present reality – really present in the sacraments of the
Church. I was received into the Church just over five years ago, and so
flourished a budding relationship. Me drawing near to God, who has
first drawn near to me, by becoming man. How great is this truth,
that he through whom everything was made and in whom all things
exist chooses to make present in the flesh that mystery that I
cannot possibly comprehend. I can’t understand the ways of God
but I can have a relationship with another human being who is like
me. In Jesus, by having that human relationship with him, we begin
to enter into the depth of the mystery of God.
So there are the historical occurrences of my vocation story, the
events as they happened, which would have made a much longer
telling – but this is the heart of it. That I am fascinated by this man
that I am coming know; yet in knowing him I enter into a
relationship with something beyond all human understanding. That
we somehow walk together this life sharing joys and sufferings,
hopes and challenges – knowing that he has entered into the heart
of it all. To spend a lifetime falling further into the great question
‘Who is Jesus?’ and in it finding the answer to the incomprehensible
question, ‘who is God?’ – and in knowing and loving my maker
perhaps I come to know and love myself a little too.
This is what it means to have a vocation, something we all have; to
put out into the deep with Jesus trusting that although we might not
know it, he has a unique path intended for each of us. Life is a
journey spent with the most wonderful companion. As you walk
together, moving ever further into the mystery of who he is, he
shows us more and more the wonder of who we are in him and so
we find ourselves walking roads we could never have imagined.
For me anyway there’s been blinding flash of light, just a gentle
journey walked together that has quietly led me by the restful
waters of this path. Its certainly been a real joy for me to reflect on
my journey and ponder all that the Lord has done for me so that I could share it with you.