Tag Archives: Grant Desme

The Ultimate Team

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.”

Frater Matthew with his family

“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.”

Frater Matthew ended the interview by saying: “The only thing that will last after death is our relationship — or lack thereof — with God. This is something that should motivate everyone to see past the superficial things of life that clamor for our attention and instead invest our lives in God, trusting in his mercy.”


Following the Basepaths to a Vocation

In the news over the past year has been the story of a star baseball player who turned in his glove for the life a Nobertine monk. A long story in Yahoo! Sports tells the story of Grant Desme who was a second round draft pick signed by the Oakland Athletics for $430,000 but said, “I had everything I wanted, and it wasn’t enough.” Wrist and shoulder injuries sidelined him for long lengths of time (Sounds like the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola!) and he got frustrated. He talked to priests and started to wonder what life was all about. When his injuries healed, he became one of the only minor leaguers in history to reach the 30-homer, 40-steal mark in the same season.

But the empty feeling persisted and he realized that he got more enjoyment out of talking about God in the dugout than in the home run he might have hit the inning before. As the article said, “The first phone call went to Billy Beane. It was less than a month before Grant Desme needed to report to spring training, and he was about to call one of the most powerful men in the game to which he dedicated his life – the person Brad Pitt would portray in the “Moneyball” movie – and tell him he was quitting to spend the next decade becoming a priest. ”

His new name in religious life is Matthew because, as his Abbot said, Matthew the tax collector was rich “and I was a rich baseball player.”

May God bless Frater Matthew and his community.

The Norbertines of St. Michael’s were founded by a group of Norbertines from Hungary who escaped Communist persecution in 1950. They worked for almost a decade before saving up enough money to buy the 34-acre parcel of land in a then-uninhabited section of Orange County, California. One monk remains from that group, Father Gerlac Andrew Horvath, 91. The Norbertines have 52 priests and 24 seminarians, a Catholic high school and two albums of Gregorian chant.

May God bless Frater Matthew and his community.

The Norbertines are an IRL Affiliate Community. There is the men’s community and two women’s communities (active and contemplative).