The Seminary of Life.

A call within a call.

Throughout these last three months I began to observe with a new perspective the irony surrounding my calling to the Brotherhood of Padre Pio. There may be a chance that God has been grooming me to be a religious all my life. It certainly isn't the typical road to heaven, but then again, what is typical to one may not be typical to another. Who is to judge God and who is to judge me for knowing that what I know now could have never been taught in a seminary.

It all began when I was a young 10 year old boy. I didn't look forward to Christmas like other kids. Christmas Eve was a night I would usually cry myself to sleep. Each Christmas my siblings were lavished with many gifts. I usually got one nice gift and maybe a nice new shirt. We were five children living in a small 2 bedroom home. My father worked all his life and was a great provider, while my mother was a stay at home mom. She kept an immaculate home and was a great cook and kept us impeccably dressed. My parents struggled to send us to Catholic schools.

Though I wasn't blessed with an abundance of gifts my mother was aware that I knew they were struggling to make ends meat. I now wonder how I could grasp the financial stress of my parents at just 10 years old and why I carried the weight on my shoulders. For years I resented my mother. Yet in the seed of that regret I learned a valuable lesson; to have compassion for the poor and families who struggle. I recognize the true gift in giving. The simplicity and joy of handing a toy to a child and to appreciate the priceless look on a child's glowing face.

I began to reflect on my mother sheltering me from the outside world until I was 21 and the feeling of isolation from the experiences of being a teenager. My mothers health prevented me from finishing High School. And while my siblings had many friends, I had none. I felt like an outcast yet within the seed of feeling as an outcast came the gift of compassion for the outcast in society and understanding their loneliness.

Who of us has never been lonely? Mother Teresa said " Loneliness and the feel of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."

I truly believe God called me. I truly believe he led me into these life experiences so that I could bring hope to others. I believe that to truly understand the emptiness that loneliness brings you must experience it within. To know poverty, you must experience being without. I had to be in love and broken hearted to understand both sides of a relationship. I had to be addicted to understand addiction. I had to be sick to have compassion for the sick. I have to face death with Aids to know death.

It was God's will for me to carry as many crosses I could bear. To make my shoulders strong enough for others to cry on. To be an example that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was never God's intent for me to be a priest that went to a seminary. The ministry of a priest is based on the Mass, Sacraments and theological guidance. The will of God always comes with a rhythm and reason.

St. Padre Pio always said people need to talk. God called me to use my life's experiences to help others. God taught me to minister to those in need and to be able to say "been there, done that."  Padre Pio also said "Pray, Hope And Don't Worry." My mission has been to pray, and bring hope to others so that they never worry.

What I have learned cannot be taught in a seminary. I had to live life to know life. The poet William Wordsworth wrote: "A deep distress has humanized my soul." Those who emerge from dark difficult times have a great desire to help others who are sufferings. How true this is. Throughout my life God had a plan for me. Though I lived in darkness, everything is perfectly clear now. It was God paving the way all along.

Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P.

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ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 19, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Thank you Christpher for, perhaps,the most.....beautifully put post in Patch History.I have a milder version of your story in my life also. I am 74 now and am increasingly aware that i have ascended the trail up to the crest and am campin here now. As I look down on the trail I traversed and all of my campsites, I cliing to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have done some horrible thibgs. I NEED THE SAVIOUR, I NEED THE ADVOCATE. Do not feel badly if few responses or insulting ones either. Thank you for such expressive writing. How old are you ? Bob
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. January 20, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Thank you so mucg Bob. I turn 62 tomorrow (Jan 20th). I don't worry about insults. I've learn to accept the good and the bad. I deal with on a daily basis. God bless.
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. January 20, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I meant to say much.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 20, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Chris: You remind me of a person I would like to share thoughts with, but this site may not like that as it is not really news. I was born in Okla in 1939, but parents moved to Glendale, Ca in 1944 when I was five. During my first years, I was the apple of my daddy;s eye...something like a show case kid..a toy that someone picked up when in the mood. I re-invendted my self at about 12 and took on the hood look with ducktail hair comb, thuggy clothes and demeanor. My dad could not accept that, he wanted his little boy back. I withdrew into myself and developed my own source of comfort. I turned my room into a shrine..candles, maps of the Western States on wall, incense burner, old marble clock..listened to country music back then which all about wailing over troubles. I has secret places...maybe a bush or an old abandoned bus. I was no longer there to please others..the hell with what they thought of me. I think a modified degree of that remains with me to this very day. Thank you for response..I am married and retired, my wife is in invalid and I take care of her day and night..not a burden..a life saver..Bob
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. January 20, 2013 at 03:27 AM
No problem. You can find me on Facebook as Christopher Sale. Or the Brothers of Padre Pio.


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