God’s Time

by Stephen Hassett

As part of their application to the postulancy (the first stage in the process that leads to ordination), aspirants are required to undergo a fairly rigorous psychiatric evaluation. I knew that this was a time-consuming step and should be taken care of early on, but nevertheless I procrastinated, causing a minor crisis: the deadline for submitting forms to the diocese was ten weeks away. The organization that performed the psychiatric testing claimed to need from nine to thirteen weeks, on average, to produce a report. Quickly doing the math, it seemed I was about to miss the opportunity I had been working two years to prepare for. I think in an effort to comfort me, and to suggest that it would be okay to wait till next year to make my application, the diocesan officer in charge of vocations said: “Well, everything in God’s time.”

Suddenly years of sermon messages came rolling down on me, spilling out of the deep recesses of memory and culminating in a single, pristine message, burning like a flame in the forefront of my consciousness: God’s time is right now.

I knew what had to do.

I called the Center for Ministry, took advantage of a cancellation the following Tuesday, devoted the weekend to filling out questionnaires and inventories and the Meyers-Briggs and the PF16, and spent all that Tuesday in conversation with one of the center’s resident psychiatrists. Understanding the gravity of my situation, he produced an evaluation for the diocese within two weeks. (Furthermore, he said I was sane.)

What was supposed to take nine weeks took three. I completed the rest of my application, met with the bishop and the Commission on Ministry in March, and was admitted to the postulancy shortly thereafter.

Stephen Hassett is a postulant in the Diocese of California, will begin seminary this fall, and certainly hopes that God knows what she's doing.


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