Last October, I wrote a blog entry about Grant Desme who gave up a lucrative contract with the Oakland A’s to join another team—the Norbertines in Silverado, California. Grant was recently interviewed by the National Catholic Register and shared some profound thoughts about man’s vocation in the light of God and what he has learned as a seminarian studying for the priesthood.
Now known as Frater Matthew, he always thought that happiness as a baseball player was just around the corner but he was always left feeling restless. “No matter how well I played or how far I advanced,” he said. “I never gained the complete, lasting happiness I was expecting. There were thrills, but none of them lasted. Everything here below is fleeting.” When he injured his shoulder in 2007, his rehabilitation stint gave him a lot of time to think. “I realized that even if I played 20 years in the major leagues and ended up a Hall of Famer, I would still die one day. No matter what I achieved, I would be just as dead as everyone else in the cemetery.”
“I then thought of my particular judgment and how I would be held accountable for every decision I made in life. Eternal punishment or reward would follow, based on whether or not I was a faithful disciple of Jesus. It became clear that I had to get into a deeper, more prayerful relationship with the Lord.”
As a man, Frater Matthew seemed to have it all as a ball player—a big bank account and a shiny SUV. But true masculinity, he says, is “based on self-sacrificing love. Being a man is not about stepping on others, but lifting others up. It’s about using the God-given strength you have to protect others and guide them to eternal life.”
As someone who has been involved with the fraternity of a baseball team, religious life is a good fit for Frater Matthew. “Instead of fighting an athletic battle, we’re fighting a spiritual one,” he says. “We’re united in fraternal charity to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Every time we offer the sacrifice of the Mass, take part in a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament or pray the Divine Office, we’re doing things that have an eternal effect not only on ourselves, but on the whole Church.”