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From the beginning of my life, two voices have been speaking to me: one saying, Henri, be sure you make it on your own. Be sure you become an independent person. Be sure I can be proud of you, and another voice saying, Henri, whatever you are going to do, even if you don't do anything very interesting in the eyes of the world, be sure you stay close to the heart of Jesus; be sure you stay close to the love of God.
I'm sure we all hear these voices to some degree-one that says, Make something of your life; find a good career, and one that says, Be sure you never lose touch with your vocation. There's a struggle, a tension, there.
At first, I tried to resolve this by becoming a sort of hyphenated priest-a priest-psychologist. People would say, "We don't really like having priests around," and I could reply, "Oh well, I'm a psychologist. I'm clearly in touch with things, so don't laugh at me." I tried hard to keep those two voices together-the voice calling me upward and the voice calling me downward.
Early in life I pleased my father and mother immensely by studying, then teaching, and then becoming somewhat well-known, going to Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard. I pleased a lot of people doing so and also pleased myself.
But somewhere on the way up, I wondered if I was still in touch with my vocation. I began noticing this when I found myself speaking to thousands of people about humility and at the same time wondering what they were thinking of me.
I didn't feel peaceful. Actually, I felt lonely. I didn't know where I belonged. I was pretty good on the platform but not always that good in my own heart. I began to wonder if, perhaps, my career hadn't gotten in the way of my vocation.
So, I began to pray: "Lord Jesus, let me know where you want me to go, and I will follow you. But please be clear about it. No ambiguous messages!" I prayed this over and over.
At that time, I was living at Yale. One morning at 9:00, someone pushed the bell of my little apartment. I opened the door ...