It only took me two weeks to do it, but I have finally taken advantage of my close proximity to Washington DC for the summer.

It rained (actually poured, if even that word suffices) but I missed it because I was inside at the Natural History Museum. The highlight of the day was visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was my intention to go, pray in some chapels and attend the Saturday vigil for the Sunday Mass, which I did. However, I discovered when I arrived at basilica that the vigil Mass would also be the fiftieth anniversary Mass for Cardinal McCarrick, the Archbishop Emeritus of the Washington Archdiocese. So I attended a Mass presided over by a cardinal and several bishops and archbishops, including the papal nuncio to the US!

It was a beautiful Mass which focused on the vocation to priesthood and ministry, appropriate for an ordination anniversary I suppose. It left me with a deeper appreciation for the life to which the priests I have known dedicate themselves and which my friends in seminaries are preparing to join. It is a life of service and devotion to God and the Body of Christ, full of deep faith and love. It is not necessarily a call which I have myself, from what I can tell at this point at least, but it is most certainly one of the most beautiful and challenging ways in which one can give of himself. So I shall have to keep that in mind and be thankful for those who respond to it.

This summer I am at an internship in part to experience it would be like to be an astrophysicist . For a while I have been somewhat bugged by the feeling that besides adding to knowledge, an astronomer does little to help the the world. However, perhaps I need to look at things in a slightly different manner. We are called to use all the many things that make up who we are to serve others, to devote ourselves fully to God and each other in lives of faith and love. It is in all of our living, not merely in how we make a living, that we follow Christ. So then this summer through prayer and greater awareness of my actions each day, I may also come to understand how it is that I am best to respond to this call, in life as an astronomer or otherwise, but also in daily life as a better model of Christ. As so often happens, it may also be that like stumbling upon a Mass presided by a Cardinal when all I expected was a typical Saturday vigil, I’ll find myself in a place far bigger than I could of imagined. But one does not go looking for serendipity and so for now, I shall just have to continue to patiently, hopefully, and ever more faithfully use whatever opportunities come each day.

Aestas adveniet et focillor ignes Spiritus Sancti!

(Summer is coming and I am refreshed by the fire of the Holy Spirit)