John Metilly

I grew up in a Catholic family of nine, where the Faith is always practiced. My father leads the family in prayer every night. The whole family is present for meals. I first thought about becoming a priest when I went on a high school retreat with my diocese.  I spent a weekend during my sophomore year listening to priests speak about different aspects of the priesthood. I was not particularly drawn to the life they described, but I saw nothing that would stop me from pursuing that kind of life. 

            As is the case with many high school boys, however, I was interested more in popularity and girls than in love of God and celibacy. In my junior and senior year of high school I never thought about becoming a priest. I practiced my faith poorly during these years, just fulfilling the bare minimum. Even the bare minimum I carried out with no love or true dedication. I carried it out just because my family did it but not because I loved it. 

            After I concluded senior year of high school, I enrolled at Thomas Aquinas College. My freshman year at the college was the most transformative year of my life so far. When I arrived at the college I resolved to attend mass every day. I don’t know why I made this resolve—it was probably just because I wanted to challenge myself and prove to myself that I could do something consistently. I followed through with this promise, growing more and more devoted to the reception of communion. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the daily reception of communion that fueled my vocation. It is due to daily communion that I am still pursuing a vocation to the religious life today. 

            During my freshman year I went from caring less about the practice of the faith to seeing it as the one thing worth pursuing. As I looked back on how I had been living in high school, I was filled with a desire to run in the opposite direction and invest everything in the spiritual life just as I had invested everything in the life of this world. It was at this point that I started to seriously consider entering the religious life or priesthood. God gave me grace to despise and reject my previous life. I knew that the way I had lived was not the way to happiness; rather, the only way peace and happiness was to be united to Christ. It followed naturally in my mind that in order to be most closely united to Christ, I should enter religious life. I wanted to have time to pray and pursue the work of God. This is still my primary objective in joining the religious life, in particular the Ordo Praedicatorum: to be united to Christ. 

            I knew this desire for union with Christ was not something I could brush off. I told a girl that I was about to date about my desire to enter religious life, and that because of this desire, I could not date her. This was really hard for me to do because I was so used to giving in to whatever desires I had. I knew, however, that there was nothing more important for me than to be united to Christ. Deciding not to date this girl brought a lot of suffering for me. This suffering brought me closer to Christ because it made me turn more and more to Him for help and comfort. I can’t leave out the fact that I was praying the Holy Rosary every day. Because of the Rosary Our Lady protected me and wanted me for her Son throughout this and every period of my life.   

            During my sophomore and junior years at the college I continued to deepen my prayer life. I started going to spiritual direction under the chaplain of the college Fr. Markey. He helped me to commit to a plan of life. During my junior year I was blessed to have a really great roommate Tyler Getlik. Tyler and I have become really close friends. We pray together study together and have great discussions. Tyler has really helped me to stay focused on living a life of virtue. 

            I started seriously looking into the Dominicans in particular during my junior year. I am attracted to the Dominicans because I want to preach for the salvation of souls. Thomas Aquinas College grants you a Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts when you graduate. During my time at the College (I am presently completing my senior year) I have studied the Liberal Arts, but especially philosophy and theology. The philosophy program is focused on the works of Aristotle, while the theology is focused on the work of St. Thomas Aquinas. All the classes are carried out in a seminar style discussion. The tutor asks questions that guide the student’s discussion so that the students can come to a critical understanding of the text. I think that by having this education, I will be especially qualified to study and preach the teachings of the Church according to the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas with the Dominicans.  

I also think that my temperament lends itself to preaching. I am gifted at public speaking and in engaging with others in conversation. I also love to study, especially philosophy and theology. Inspired by St. Dominic, who spent vigils weeping for unconverted souls, I want to spend the rest of my life working to convert souls through preaching. In the present day and age, many people are highly opinionated about the Faith. Because of these opinions, there is a great need for religious who are well educated in the teachings of the Faith, and who can argue cogently against those who detract from the Faith. I want to fill this need by joining the Dominicans.

As a Dominican I will not only preach with words but also with the example of my actions and type of life. The world needs living and breathing witnesses to the fact that God’s grace elevates man to another level. Living a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience flies in the face of what the world sees as good and fulfilling. Example of life will convert souls perhaps more effectively than intellectual disputations.

Another reason that I want to enter religious life is that I want to do penance for all my sins and for the sins of the world. As a religious, I will have no responsibility to care for a family, and as a result I can spend my time in doing penance.

            The Province of St. Joseph is a province that takes the Tradition of the Church seriously. They are committed to providing the true teaching of the Catholic Church, reverent liturgy, and a religious life in accordance with the ideals of St. Dominic. I am also attracted to offering the Dominican rite of the Mass, which is offered in the province of St. Joseph.   

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