There are occasionally stories about men and women considered extraordinarily talented -- in sports, in Hollywood, in academia -- who give up the adulation, the comfort, the reputation ... and disappear. They change their names, they wear new clothes, and they live life as a professed religious.
A recent article chronicles in great depth the decision of Grant Desme, a baseball player, to become a Norbertine monk.
It was easy to look at Grant Desme and think he was crazy, for leaving behind the sport, the riches, the lifestyle, the family, the wife, the kids, the spoils of the bubble in which athletes live, giving that up for the same day, every day, forever. He needed to trust. God hadn't spoken to him, not one-on-one. He doesn't call like that. It's more an emptiness that only something bigger can fulfill, even if that something still has questions.
Baseball wasn't big enough. St. Michael's was.
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.
And it was then he knew this was the right choice.
Because he wasn't nervous. No jitters, no anxiety. Just 10 digits to freedom. Desme felt a little on the defensive when explaining it to his parents. When he got a call from his friend Logan Schafer, now a rookie outfielder with the Milwaukee Brewers, Desme danced around the subject, fearful of the reaction from someone inside the baseball world. Top 100 prospects don't leave the game. Arizona Fall League MVPs go to cathedrals like Yankee Stadium, not St. Michael's Abbey.
"At first, I didn't really know what to say," Schafer says. "Then I realized it's a simple answer. It's how he explained it to me. He knew he had a career in baseball. But his love for God took over his love for baseball. He loved baseball so much, but he realized there was something greater in life that he had to do. This calling wasn't a one-time thing.
"For those of us who haven't had that call or that overwhelming need to do something, we can't understand. He's turning into the most selfless human I know. It's humbling to see. He made a decision as a human being, not a baseball player."
Read the entire article here.