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The Spiritual Life is a Love Affair

The Spiritual Life is a Love Affair

Father Edward Warren was an assistant dean for 25 years at Santa Clara University. Since retiring in 1988, he does volunteer work at parishes throughout the Bay Area. I met Father Warren in the mid 1970s. He picked me up while I was hitchhiking in San Jose. This encounter with Father is one of the factors in God's mysterious providence that helped bring me back to the faith.

Q. How and why did you decide to become a priest?

A. You have not chosen me. I have chosen you, Our Lord said. I thank Our Lord for choosing me for his love. He uses parents and friends for his mysterious choices. I had good religious parents. Also, I went to U. C. Berkeley and belonged to the Newman club. There I got in contact with those who went to Mass everyday for Lent. They wanted me to go every day with them for Lent. This was a new idea for me. I survived. I didn't die. So, I kept going every day after Lent.

This encounter got me going to daily Mass. That's when I meet Monsignor Terrance Nugent who was from Ireland. He said the Jesuits were a good place to go for a retreat. At the time, I had a janitor job following in my father's footsteps -- God bless him for his daily work. So for my vacation, I went to the Jesuit retreat house in Los Altos. There I met Father William Boland. He was a perfect gentleman and scholar. He asked me if I ever thought of being a priest. He said he thought I would be a good priest. I thought I'd like to be like Fr. Boland. I thought exactly like that. My mother worked so I could go to school. God is faithful.

God made it clear that this was my life. It's been a love affair -- a successful marriage with Jesus. The more we know about Jesus, the more we love him. The heart of the matter is that the spiritual life is a love affair.

Q. What is your most difficult experience as a priest?

A. Being fired from a job and being put in another job I liked better. God has a good sense of humor. I was fired from a director position. I was replaced by a person my superior thought would do a better job. I was moved to assistant dean of counseling, psychology and education. I liked it because of its influence. You were dealing with people who influenced people. It was like training generals and colonels instead of privates and sergeants. St. Ignatius thought it good to work with those who influence more people.

Q. What was your happiest time in the priesthood?

A. It isn't over yet. So, there might still be happier times. It might be when you are allowed to die and be with God. But, it was the time when I realized this is my vocation. I'm happy in my work. We are dealing with Divine grace and eternal life. These are important things. We are not dealing in little things.


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