Dear Father Nicolas,
Dear Father Nicolas,
There are dreams and there are Dreams. We all have small dreams which, by grace, occasionally bump into the magnificent big Dream that God has for our lives. Your small dreams included graduating from Texas Tech and becoming an engineer. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not know what kind of engineer you became, except that I’m certain it wasn’t electrical and it did not involve driving trains.
Like many engineers, you weren’t just calculating and planning a life for yourself. You were looking for something more: something beyond lines and numbers, plans and permits, concrete and cement (I plead ignorance as to which is which, but I know you pour one and it turns into the other).
As you engineered your life, you found yourself unable to step away from your faith. God and his people had a hold on your heart and drew you back to prayer, the Eucharist and youth ministry. Youth ministry had been a big part of your journey. You looked at your distant future and visualized yourself, your wife and your own kids one day happily involved in your Catholic faith and in ministry to youth. You had dreams, but they did not prove to be equal to God’s Dream for you.
Our restless, relentless Creator called to you in the night and deprived you of the great peace you expected to have as a practicing engineer and a good Catholic man. The Dream intruded on your dreams.
Finally, like every good engineer, you ceased to fight the problem and surrendered. You gave in: not like a reluctant victim taken hostage by a bully, but as an idealistic young man falling into love. For you, Nicolas, it was not the love of your dreams, but the Lover who blessed you with His own Dream.
To prepare you for this life, the Lord birthed you into a faith-filled family as their first-born son. The faith they lived was rooted in distant places and brought here to Texas on the backs and in the hearts of immigrants. You, in turn, will now stand at the Tables of Word and Eucharist to be padre, to walk in the sandals of Jesus and offer welcome, blessing, nourishment and healing to all who come to God’s Church.
And so, Father Nicolas, your dreams didn’t work out after all. On the other hand, God’s Dream of a good man to wash the feet of his people, to accept them in their sins, to whisper to them a word of comfort and to love them with his life has come to take possession of your heart.
As St. Paul said to the Philippians and as your own bishop said to you on the day of your ordination: may He who began this good work in you carry it through to completion. That’s the blessing every engineer longs to hear.