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The Mysterious Journey

Fr. Timothy Mulroy

From the Director

By Fr. Tim Mulroy

As a teenager I browsed whatever reading materials were left around my home: Sunday newspapers that my father enjoyed; novels that my older brother and sisters considered worthwhile; and religious magazines that my mother read at the end of her busy days. These materials expanded the horizons of my world and beckoned me to explore the strange but fascinating world that adults inhabited.

Stories about missionaries in far-off lands that I occasionally read in the religious magazines were uniquely fascinating. They awakened in me a sense of awe and adventure. Whatever the circumstances, missionaries everywhere seemed to face with courage and excitement the challenges that came their way. Their way of life had great appeal to my youthful sense of heroism, and so I found myself wanting to follow in their footsteps. Moreover, in addition to adventure, I would have countless opportunities to change the world for the better. From my teenage standpoint, there were no clouds anywhere on the horizon of my future!

However, as I moved into adulthood I found myself wondering to what extent I should allow God to be part of my future. Did I simply seek His approval for what I had already decided and planned for my life? Or would my life become an even greater adventure if I were to surrender to His dream for me? Besides, the more I experienced the complexity of the world, the less sure I felt about my own plans to make it a better place. Up until then I had been content to allow God to be a front seat passenger in my life, but at that point it seemed that He was asking permission to be in the driver's seat!

It took several years for me to arrive at the decision to enter the pathway that led to Columban missionary priesthood. However, much to my surprise, that major step, rather than producing a ceasefire, intensified my wrestling matches with God.

Confronted with various decisions along the path to missionary priesthood, I had to choose over and over again between self-reliance and learning to lean on God. Thirty years later, God continues to invite me to let go of my own plans in order to fulfill His dream for the world. I am gradually coming to understand what scripture means when it says, "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31). My vocation as a missionary still remains an adventure, a mysterious journey not only to the ends of the earth, but also into the deepest recesses of my own heart where the Spirit of God continues calling me to leave everything and follow Christ.