Jose Paris: Why Ignite?

A long, long time ago in living room far, far away, I sat in front of a television to watch a show that is now inconsequential. A Chevy Tahoe ad from 2002, like the many things I encountered, would prowl about the deepest recesses of my adolescence. Like the faint recollections of a dream, it would dive in and out of my day to day with words that were ever so simple, yet ever the hallow in the profoundness of their potential. I coiled around these words as I committed them to memory. “And wherever you’re going, that’s where you are. And nobody knows it but me.” It did not become any sort of anthem, but I am not if but a traveler; both actual and spiritual.

So what has this to do with with my ignite internship? 12 years after that car ad, I found myself aimless and despondent. I have worked a slew of jobs, none of which were fulfilling. I took a moment to pray and discern, but this time I made an appeal: “God, this time, you do it. I don’t want to try anymore. You know me, I’ll take whatever it is you have to offer.”

The very next day I got a phone call from a parish looking for a director of Youth Ministry. “So this is the power of God…”

I worked 3 years at this job. Towards the end of that tenure, I could feel the faint whispers of God asking for my attention. “I have seen your workings, you don’t have to tell me twice.” I started to let go of my work there, slowly allowing the pieces of a life I didn’t ask for move away from me. It was despairing at times. I thought the work in that church was my permanent calling. Some people were married, starting a family, and well on their way to establishing careers by the time I finally found a job worth pursuing. Now God wanted to take it all away. Why?

Not for the sake of making my life a roller coaster, but the fact that I was called to work in God’s vineyard meant that I needed more than my own humble attempts in a position I had no prior experience in. The work itself rendered its own teachable moments, but that was more trial and error than master and apprentice. The subsequent irony is quite comical.

My mother passed word to me of an internship happening in Milford. All at once I knew the signs. My position had been filled by then, and all that was left were the farewells.

So why Ignite? For me at least, it is a continuation of a promise made by God to me many centuries ago: “A promise of a future full of hope and prosperity”. Every ounce of that promise I have experienced here. From the training I should have had before working in the church (the irony) to the spiritual growth I have been delaying until now, all of that (and so much more) I have had here, at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford. For now, I am here, working where the Lord wants me. Because where ever he is going, that’s where ever I am, and I’d have it no other way.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in our Ignite Internship, you can find the application here


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