Sunset at the beach on vacation
Some people may find it hard to believe—since I have to do it practically everyday of my life now—but one of the greatest fears in my life was speaking in public. When I initially contemplated a priestly vocation, I actually thought that it would be great being a priest—just as long as I didn’t have to say anything publicly. I know that this particular fear exists for many people. I have worked to overcome my anxiety over the years, with God’s grace.
That being said, I still very much like being quiet and alone at times. Whether in my room, driving in my car, praying in church, or walking along the beach, I like my quiet time. Basically, I am an introvert. This means that usually I get re-energized when I am alone. It’s not that I don’t like being around people or haven’t been able to develop the necessary interpersonal skills required as a priest. Extroverts get recharged being around people. I am just the opposite.
I think that knowing who I am and trying to understand myself, helps me to comprehend some of the decisions that I make. Why do I gravitate towards a silent, monastic retreat? Why do I find so much solace praying quietly in front of the Blessed Sacrament? Why do I usually vacation in places where I can find quiet and peace of mind? (Why am I writing this to you from one of those quiet places now?)
I am on a brief vacation right now recharging my battery. (Although I recently arrived at the parish, my vacation had been arranged well before I would be assigned to Woodbury.) I like the beach—having grown up at the Jersey shore in Wildwood—and so I frequently spend time near an ocean or shore. For a brief time, I will be alone (with God, of course!). I have already met up with a few friends who usually vacation when I do so that I am not completely by myself. My ultimate goal is to be refreshed and renewed when I return to the parish. I have time to pray (especially the Mass as I bring my travelling Mass-kit with me), to read, to write, to exercise and just to relax.
Reflecting on Jesus’ life, He too was found at various places—by the sea (Mt. 4:18), in the wilderness (Lk. 5: 16), up the mountain (Mk. 6: 45-46, Lk. 6: 12), in the garden (Lk. 22: 39-46)—where He could pray, reflect and be alone. I suspect He knew best how to find the necessary quiet time after days of preaching, teaching and active ministry.
I usually find that it does me a world of good to withdraw from the daily routine for some extended time and to find a corner of the world where I can recharge my inner battery. Besides, the parish staff (wherever I've been) usually agrees that I am much more pleasant and easier to work with after some time away! Just think of how good this vacation time is for them!
See you in another week!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Getting ready to celebrate a private Mass
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