How I learned to obey

November 2, 2021

I spent two years in graduate work in Washington after I was ordained, and then I was abroad for about five years. When I was done, I sent my bishop two letters. One letter invited me to start a school of scholastic philosophy at Columbia University. The second letter invited me to go to Oxford with Father Ronald Knox to open the first Catholic college at Oxford since the Reformation. I sent them to my bishop, and I said, “Which shall I accept?” He said, “Come home.”  He sent me to the worst parish in the diocese as a curate. It was the off-scouring of the earth. Only twenty percent of the parish could speak English. None of the streets was paved.  And I said, “All right, this is it. This is what the Lord wants me to do.” I was perfectly satisfied. After about a year, the bishop phoned me and said, ‘You're to go to Washington to Catholic University as a professor. I promised them you would three years ago.” I said, “Why didn't you let me go when I came home?” He said, “'I just wanted to find out whether or not you would be obedient. Now run along.” So I've been running along ever since.