A Man Does Well
NAME: David Spriet
LOCATION: London, Ontario
When consecration to the single life was made: April 28th, 2012, The Memorial of St. Louis De Montfort
Hobbies/Interests: Sports, reading, seeing friends
Favorite Saints: Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Jean-Marie Vianney, St. Padre Pio, St. Therese de Liseux
September 29th, 2012
I am a 36 year old male, and I hope this letter that I am writing will convey to anyone who reads this, how I came to know Jesus Christ in my life and also how I came to discern that consecrated single life is my vocation.
I was baptized Catholic as a child, and received all of the sacraments that a person is supposed to receive when growing up – First Holy Communion and First Confession, as well as Confirmation in grade 8. Unfortunately, I don’t recall any of these sacraments, because I wasn’t raised in a religious family. All our family would do is attend mass most Sundays and that’s it. We would basically never pray the family rosary together each day, or any other prayer.
So I went through public school and high school, thinking that everything was great between me and God. Little did I know, as I will explain more in this letter, that all was not so well! The strange thing was that looking back now I probably would have thought that had I died during my early years, say for example, at age 18, I would have gone straight to heaven, so in other words I must have thought I was a saint. And I say this sincerely, because I think most Catholics who just go to mass most Sundays, or who just go to mass twice a year at Christmas and Easter and that’s it, think they are okay, and that everybody gets to go to heaven. Maybe not an Adolph Hitler, but everyone else has a straight ticket to heaven. But that is not what the Catholic Church teaches, as I later learned in my life.
The reason why I probably thought I was going to heaven is because I thought I was a “good person”. When I say “good”, I mean, I treated people with respect, and I didn’t kill anybody, and that’s about it. A lot of Catholics will say that these days, that so and so is a good person; so they won’t go to hell. But with all respect and love, it’s not good enough in the eyes of God to just go to Church periodically and not harm anybody. There is so much more involved in getting to Heaven than that. God wants everyone to be a holy person and to love Him with our whole heart.
Reflecting on my youth now and early adult years, I can be honest with myself, and say that I wasn’t trying to love and serve God with my whole heart. I was into many different sins; I would miss mass on Sundays, I would hardly ever go to confession (maybe once a year); if I prayed, it was for only like 2 minutes a day. Basically I wasn’t trying to live a holy life.
Only at around the age of 21, through God’s grace and help, I went through a profound conversion. And let me say, I thank God so much for giving me this conversion. I have lived without God (my youth and early years) and now that I am striving to live for God each day, life is great and much more peaceful inside. Frankly, I don’t know how I survived in my teen years living day to day, not having a relationship with God and asking Him for His help to get through the daily grind of life, and also the difficult moments of life.
So with my conversion, I will try in detail to the best of my ability, describe how I went through it. Even though as I said earlier, I went to mass most Sundays growing up, I was troubled because I never really experienced God in my life. I was basically thinking ‘how do you know He is real.’ Because if He was real, and He is, then I was wondering why I never got to experience Him. Thankfully I have a wonderful twin brother, who went through a conversion around 2 months before I did. He truly found God, and so he wanted to share Him with me. So as it normally happens in life, God uses other people to get us thinking about Him, and then it is up to us to decide if we want to follow God more closely, or reject Him.
I went to a university away from home to do a business degree. It was around December of 1997, and I went out for lunch with my mom and twin coming home from university for the Christmas break. And Michael, my twin brother, challenged me, and said, “David do you pray at all?” At that time, I wasn’t really praying, and so I imagine, I said no.
While I was home for Christmas break, I saw messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a Catholic newspaper, where it was reported that she was appearing to children throughout the world, and so I was curious. I was reading how these messages said, that it is so important to pray the rosary every day, go to mass as much as we can, and go to confession at least once a month, and so on. I also read, how it said, that Mary said to the children, that souls actually do go to hell. That was really the first time I heard of souls going to hell; I read that, and so I was scared. I had a dim intimation of what hell was, and I didn’t want to be one of those people who go there. Later on in my conversion, I realized how someone goes to hell – unrepented mortal sin – as I learned the Catholic faith better.
Anyway, those messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary were obviously new to me, and so I had to make a decision. Do I listen to them, after all it was Mary, the Mother of God, saying them, so they should be listened to, or in my pride, thinking I know more than her, do I reject them. Thankfully, I was open to changing my life, and I started to go to weekday masses during that Christmas break. Also for the first time I prayed a rosary in my life. From there, I proceeded to read the Bible daily, and allow God to change me. But I still had no real experiences of God yet in my life, even though I was starting to do these things.
I then went on a retreat and that is where I experienced God for the first time in my life. I really recommend people to go on a retreat if they have never been on one, because if you go with a sincere heart, God can touch you, as He certainly did me. Well, during that retreat, I was talking to a man on Saturday, January 17th 1998, in the morning, and I was saying to Him, I’m upset at God, because I believe in Him, but I never get to experience Him, why not? I don’t know if this man was a devout Catholic, but he didn’t really give me the answer I was looking for. So I continued that day in my misery, upset and depressed, and not really satisfied, because I wanted to experience God.
Well, as the day was drawing near to an end, I went into the chapel, and prayed to God. And then in an instant, it was like I felt the presence of God. I heard no voices, saw no images, I just felt tremendous peace, and it was like He was saying to me, “If you follow me, everything will be okay”. I just had that sense, that this was what He was trying to say to me. Therefore, I was so grateful to God for this experience. It is hard to describe what I went through, but it was powerful. The next day, overjoyed, I told other people at the retreat that I had experienced God the previous night, and so I was basically crying and crying with joyful tears.
After the retreat, I went back to my university, and told others that I had truly found God, and so I decided from that day on, really to try to give up sin, and do what is right in life. I would soon start going to daily mass, pray the rosary every day, try to practice good works, and again, try to do things God’s way.
In terms of my finding my vocation in life, it has been another great wonderful journey that Jesus has led me on, though I should say it has had its moments. I found that I was called to the consecrated single life, one can almost say through process of elimination.
I have only had one girlfriend in life, which lasted around 4 months or so. After finding God in my life, I jumped into a relationship rather quickly, not really praying to God asking him if he wanted me to court this girl or not. Hence after a short period, I had to break up with her. I told her, I needed time to pray and reflect where God was calling me to.
After praying and discerning with the help of priests, I decided after university ended, that I would visit different religious communities and see if I had a religious calling. I visited three communities in the United States over a period of 6 months, and there was one in particular where I had so much peace. They were the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Well, I ended up entering the community, where I had a great 15 months as a postulant. However, it was not my vocation, so they sent me home.
Thinking that I was going to be a religious for life, I now thought to myself what will I do next. I moved back to London from the States and worked different jobs. For a period I thought maybe I could try to enter a seminary one day or perhaps discern courtship again. So I applied to a few seminaries but they all turned me down. With respect to trying to discern marriage with a woman, even though I did meet some girls here and there, I never had a strong sense of peace inside that God was calling me to this vocation; hence I finally decided one and for all, that I would remain single.
The biggest influence in my life to remain single was God himself. There were moments where I really felt him asking me to give up marriage for the sake of the kingdom. Once after going to confession, I received as penance to read part of scripture. When I opened the New Testament, the first scripture that I read was “A man does well not to marry.” I knew that God was speaking to my heart there. Not that I am down-playing marriage, I am not. It is a beautiful sacrament and if I was called to marriage I would rejoice. However, in God’s mysterious ways, he was asking me to forgo marriage and choose to remain single. And with the help of prayer and my spiritual director, I decided that God always knows best, so I should follow Him if I want to be happy.
But, I just didn’t want to go through life and remain single and that’s it. Hence, this is where one of my best friends on this Earth comes in. I met her around 2 years ago. Her name is Mary and she is also single, but one who had taken private vows with her spiritual father. One day my twin and I were talking with her, and she suggested that we also take vows with our spiritual father; those of course being, poverty, chastity and obedience.
So I brought it up with my spiritual director in Toronto, and he told me to wait 6 months or so and to really pray and discern this. I’m sure he was praying for me as well, and after having peace about this, I made vows on April 28th, the great feast day of St. Louis de Montfort. The rosary is my favorite prayer by far, so it was kind of fitting that I made these vows on his feast day. They are for one year, and I hope to renew them year for as long as I live, God-willing.
There are many joys of the consecrated single life. The vows really give way to being detached from the things of this world, and hence try to live with your mind set on heaven more often. Also, since I don’t a family to provide for, or kids to play with, I am able to devote more time to praying, and being involved in the pro-life movement, or other activities. One of my favorite days of the week, next to Sunday, is Friday. I usually always look forward to this, because one this day, I am able to do 2 protests; one, against a pornography store, and then after against abortion at the hospital.
For those discerning a call to the consecrated life, my best advice would be to talk it over with your spiritual director, and always be open and honest. The Most Holy Trinity is an awesome God and he will always grant us the vocation that is best for us. We just have to trust Him, which I know may not always be easy. But once we over come this, one can be at peace and free to serve the Lord with a joyful heart.
Some may say that the consecrated single life is a lonely life. But I can honestly say that I haven’t really experienced this, if at all. Remember the Blessed Mother and all the holy angels and saints, are our close companions in this world, so we can always turn to them if we are feeling bored or lonely and ask them for their help.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph