Father Tim Gallagher, OMV had played a big part in my coming to the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. He answered my email promptly two years ago when I had started inquiring about various religious orders, and his words of encouragement carried me toward St. Clement’s.
Last fall, Father Tim left St. Clement’s after many years and took a post at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver. I missed mealtime conversations with him about his latest book project, the Spiritual Exercises and the Oblates’ founder, Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri.
This weekend, he returned to St. Clement’s for the annual weekend workshop on spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The seminar this year focuses on the rules of discernment found in St. Ignatius’ book Spiritual Exercises.
Concurrently, five men discerning a religious vocation visited the Oblates. Father Tim led a small talk Thursday with the visitors reflecting on the words of Father Lanteri. Leland, Brenden and I sat in.
I appreciated Lanteri’s approach to the Mass: to place oneself in the feelings of biblical characters at certain parts of the Mass (e.g. during the Gloria, I should have the sentiments of the angels at Christmas). I found myself drawn more to the Mass when I was mindful of those suggestions.
When I read a description of Lanteri’s devotion to the Virgin Mary, I was relieved that I wasn’t alone in having such a deep devotion to her. But Lanteri had shown that it could be even deeper.
Friday night, four seminarians told their vocation stories to the visitors. After a year and a half in the seminary, Father Jeremy, the Oblate vocations director, finally picked me to give my story. I invited Father Tim to hear my recount. He graciously sat in. I had pared back my story to fit the 12-minute time limit. But I recounted the most essential key points of my spiritual journey. Many guys complimented me on my story.
The workshop had the largest attendance ever: nearly 150 people. Father Tim’s insights were a spiritual gold mine. His witty comments brought nice reprieves during this serious topic. I have been familiar with the Rules of Discernment before. But Father Tim focused on the fundamentals, explained thoroughly Rules #1-6 and offered more resources. I hadn’t considered Rule 6: changing myself to combat the spiritual dark moments.
If you want to hear Father Tim’s free podcasts on the Rules of Discernment, you can check it out here.
He flew back to Denver early this morning. I hope the seminarians there soak up plenty of Father Tim’s wisdom.