Now this is a story that I just HAD to blog about, as it combines two of my favorite things, the Catholic Faith and baseball:
Grant Desme entered the 2009 season with an injury-prone past.
The A’s prized prospect exited the season with a head-turning presence, accompanied by a bat that produced 31 home runs and a speedy 6-foot-2 frame that stole 40 bases in Class A ball — making him the only player in Minor League Baseball to enjoy a 30-30 campaign.
An exceptional performance and MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League followed, so surely Desme was close to getting a call, most assumed — if not for a trip to The Show, then at least for an invitation to Spring Training.
Yet, Desme insists he’d already received the call long before his final at-bat in the fall came and went — the one that would take him to bigger and better places.
It just so happens it wasn’t what the A’s organization — or anyone else, for that matter — had in mind.
The call, Desme announced Friday, came in the form of priesthood in the Catholic church.
Here is the money quote, which is a great example of how one can know their vocation:
“As the year went on,” he said, “God blessed me. I had a better year than I could have imagined, but that reconfirmed my desire because I wasn’t at peace with where I was at. I love the game, but I aspire to higher things.
Even though Desme was doing something he loved and doing it in an extraordinary fashion, he was not at peace. I told this story to my own kids to give them an example of how they will one day know what their vocational call is in their own lives.
What I also find so amazing about this story is the timing of Desme’s decision. He is only 23 years old and he is leaving baseball right on the cusp of fulfilling what was surely his lifelong dream: playing in the Major Leagues. No one would fault him if he planned to play for at least 5-10 more years, then decided to become a priest. But God’s plans are not our plans, and when He calls, our response, like Desme’s, should be immediate.
We celebrate the power of The Call with today’s feast, the Conversion of St. Paul. No one could have predicted that the great persecutor of the Church would have his life turned around so suddenly, but when God speaks His Word, it is effective.
This also reminds me of a priest I know who told me he was called to the priesthood at the age of 3. And if that is not amazing enough, he wasn’t even Catholic! He had to wait until high school to convert, then he entered the seminary as soon as he could.
When we hear The Call in our lives, we only have one option: to respond in faith, knowing that the Lord will guide us down the right path.
Pray for Desme and all seminarians today.