(trans. James Manteith)

Stages of Formation in the Verbist Order (interview)

Published in: 32. Worldly Aspect

In the world of today, against the general background of advanced modern interests, many may think the rules of life point to prospects in an unquestionable and universally accepted vein. But life always emerges as broader than any narrow takes on it, including the most progressive ones. Our time, no less than any other, abounds in nonconformist exceptions to seemingly unshakable assumptions of unanimity.

Below, Apraksin Blues introduces readers to a group of individuals who have made unconventional choices in all respects. They are young representatives of the Catholic monastic Society of the Divine Word — the Order of Verbists — founded in 1875 in the Netherlands.

This conversation with three aspiring Verbists, who are undergoing their formation in St. Petersburg, took place in the midst of the White Nights. Brothers Andrei and Daniel sat down to talk in the Society’s local library, while Brother Artyom joined in from a suburban retreat house for spiritual exercises.

To start our conversation, it might be good to explain what a postulant is.

Andrei: I can speak about formation in our congregation, and Brother Daniel, since he’s a postulant, can speak about his experiences as a postulant. Formation starts with the candidate wishing to devote himself to God, in the heart of the Catholic Church through the monastic way of life. First he examines a certain order, looking for appealing activities, companions, a beautiful habit to wear, a kind of consecrated life that appeals to him. When he’s sure about his choice, upon joining the order, he gets a probationary period, during which, as an outsider, he takes a closer look at life in the order. That is, he becomes part of the community where the regional superior appoints him, in our case. In the community, he does as his brothers do: he prays the same prayers, lives the same life as the order he wants to join. That is, postulancy is a probation, a time to discern whether all this is mine or not, as the very first stage of monastic life. Brother Daniel will tell you in more detail about how postulancy works among us Verbists in the Ural region.

Daniel: For me, joining the order and beginning my formation happened in my year of postulancy, as a moment when I already understood where I was going. This is a time when you come to understand the community and learn more about the order in order to move on to further formation. My postulancy looks like what Brother Andrei said: common prayers, life with the order, everything’s done together. I’m also learning more about the order itself through literature my brothers recommend and which I find in the library, where we’re sitting now. To find out more about this, to move to a new stage, to find out for myself whether I’ve made the right choice. At this stage I like everything.

Artyom, are you at the same stage?

Artyom: No. I’m now a brother in temporary vows. I was also in postulancy before. After postulancy comes a time of formation called novitiate. It’s direct preparation for vows. I’ve already gone through that formation. We all have. That was in Poland. After the first vows, the candidate decides whether to go on to the priesthood — that is, to seminary, like Brother Andrei — or to be a brother. Andrei is now studying at seminary, while I’m a brother in temporary vows.

About how long does postulancy last?

Artyom: Each region has its own duration. In Poland it’s six weeks. In Russia it’s a year. That also depends on the atmosphere where a candidate was brought up. Poland is a religious, Catholic country, good at catechesis. Russia doesn’t have much catechesis; families, say, rarely pray together. That’s already a problem for formation in childhood, right? So it takes a year of postulancy to be more filled with Christ, something like that. The situation in Belarus is also different. For instance, Daniel went to church as a child; he was good at catechesis, and his family was Catholic and religious. In his case, you might wonder whether he needed that year, but since Belarus is in the same region as Russia, it was decided that his postulancy would also last a year. But our novitiate always lasts for a standard year.

Daniel, how did the idea of entering the order appear on your horizon? What did you know about the order beforehand?

Daniel: I’d been part of a Verbist parish since childhood. Since the nineties, Verbists had built it and cared for it. I was baptized and grew up in that parish; since the age of seven I’d assisted at services there. In course of my life, I’d learned something about the order. It turns out Verbists aren’t diocesan priests. They’re different — they, say, have a belt, they live together, while diocesan priests live separately. I knew approximately where I was going. There’s more honoring of the Holy Spirit here. The order was founded by Arnold Janssen. We have our own saints and blesseds. There are also sisters. I grew up in a parish where I was raised by Verbists.

Were there also Verbists around you, Andrei and Artyom?

Andrei: I have a similar story, but it’s indelibly linked with my journey to the Catholic Church. I didn’t have a childhood connection with the Catholic Church like Brother Daniel did, but my surroundings still played a very important role: when I joined the Catholic Church in Irkutsk — I’m originally from Irkutsk — the priests who looked after the parish were also Verbists, except the bishop. During my catechesis, I found myself both drawn to and very interested in life as a priest, and when I began to think about that goal, my first companions on the way were the Verbists from that parish. Then I went ahead and told my spiritual father about my wanting to go to seminary. He immediately asked me: to the diocesan seminary or to a monastic order? I answered simply, “I want to be like you.” And that’s how I came to the Verbists. I didn’t choose, you might say. But for me the model of a Verbist priest was completely natural; I didn’t even realize he wasn’t a diocesan priest.

And in your case, Artyom?

Artyom: It’s a little different for me, since I’m not from a Verbist parish. I’m from the city of Angarsk, near Irkutsk. These are neighboring parishes, but different cities. A diocesan priest serves in my parish. I didn’t want to be like that, and was thinking of an order that has brothers. There were different options for where to enroll, like with the Franciscans, or I even thought about the Trappists. But I chose the Verbists — since they were close by, so I knew them better than other orders. There were no particular worries about where to go. The choice was obvious: there was Father Vladimir, everything with him was proper, and when he showed me the belt, it’s totally red, so right away I said… (everyone laughs together). He says to me: what’s your favorite color? I say it’s red. He says: then come to us. It’s interesting how it worked out.

Yes, your clothes are lovely, no way around that. And what sort of people, what figures play the most important roles in this path of formation, at different stages? Do you have individual spiritual advisors?

Andrei: I’d say the important figure is the priest who helps start the journey. Or parish priests. For me it was the regional superior when I’d just joined the order. No less important in postulancy is the monastic community itself, which really shapes the candidate by its example, by its prayer, even by its shortcomings. And another important figure is a spiritual father. We aren’t assigned spiritual fathers from higher up, as is usually done, say, in ordinary seminary systems. Since we have a special situation in this region, we have to find our own spiritual fathers. As I see it, that’s more a plus than a minus: the city of St. Petersburg isn’t small; here we have about seven parishes, and there are also a lot of priests. The scope is quite large: you can get to know each other, open up and recognize who they are, who’s the priest with whom you’d like to walk a spiritual path. The figures of parishioners and other members of the local church and other parishes we intersect with in our lives are also important. In my postulancy I had a practice of serving a Sister of Mother Teresa. Crossing paths with Sisters of Mother Teresa also influenced me as a young candidate. The residents of Houses of Saint Mother Teresa, people with a range of life circumstances — alcoholism, drug addiction, prison sentences in their past — also had an impact. Also, of course, parishioners. Since we often visit a parish — we have our own Verbist parish in St. Petersburg — we frequently encounter our church’s parishioners, and those people also influence us.

Is having so many intersections with various people typical of your order?

Andrei: It’s most likely typical of our local formation. For example, in Poland I didn’t cross paths with such a great number of people.

Is St. Petersburg the main place where Verbist formation happens in Russia?

Andrei: In our region, yes. As Brother Artyom said, each province and region has its own centers for formation and length of formation programs. In the Ural region of our order, yes — this is the main center for formation.

Brother Andrei (left), Brother Daniel, Brother Artyom (below) during the interview

Brother Andrei (left), Brother Daniel, Brother Artyom (below) during the interview

How would you describe what’s special about the Verbist Order? You’ve already mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit. Anything else?

Artyom: The order’s founder, St. Arnold, had a great reverence for the Holy Spirit. This veneration had two sources, as I recall. In childhood — that his father venerated the Holy Spirit. And Magdalena Leitner… The historical record says she communicated with the Holy Spirit, Who gave her messages for St. Arnold. The habit we wear has two obvious references to the Holy Spirit: on the back of the belt there is red, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the habit has nine buttons, for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our order used to celebrate each Monday as a day of the Holy Spirit. There was a certain prayer, and the Mass was served with that intention: some special grace was requested for the order. Nowadays it’s just the third Monday of each month. Our order is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, Whom we love and honor.

Daniel: I can give some observations about the system. For example, there’s a religious order that deals with children. There’s an order that deals with the poor, and so on. But I’d like to call Verbists universal. Yes, yes, yes! Because I’ve seen lots of priests who do so many things. Some build, some tend to young people, some to children, some lead pilgrimages, some print books, magazines, calendars. Everyone is doing good work, and the Holy Spirit is helping them do it. This has served as a good example for me. People are passionate about what they do, and God guides them. Brother Andrei might add something.

Andrei: We study the history of spirituality, which is very interesting, rich and diverse. There are also outward manifestations. The deep joy of life among Verbists is very striking. Many people think so. I often hear things like this: somewhere there was once a diocesan priest — let’s call him Father Erik. Father Erik was good, let’s say. But when Father Johann arrives, it’s immediately clear that he’s a Verbist. Because he’s cheerful, sociable, and will sit with people, cook meals and tell jokes. There’s a special charisma of joy among Verbists. In Belarus they say the same thing; in Poland, in Russia I hear it, everywhere. There’s also the aspect of international life. Our communities are ethnically diverse. In our St. Petersburg community you can find people of Russian, Belarusian, Slovak, Polish and Indonesian origin. So five nationalities. That’s in a single house! In other houses they have people of Indian or African backgrounds. And they live together with people from Poland, for example. That is, we see a great many different peoples living together, reading the same prayers, celebrating the same Eucharist, doing shared work and speaking the language of the area where they live. This is an amazing experience of the unity of the church, its catholicity. And regarding the internal or spiritual factor, we should mention the medallion we wear. That medallion’s currently hanging on Brother Artyom’s neck. It’s called the Divine Word medallion. Basically, like the name of the congregation. The medallion is also a scapular, which is a Carmelite tradition. The pendant reflects our Verbist spirituality in a certain synthesis. That is, different aspects of God’s Word, starting with the written, ending with the Eucharistic, continuing with the sacrificial, sanctified, consecrated, and so on. And on the other hand, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the rings emitting rays of grace, which all people’s hearts must be open to accept. That’s what Verbists and missionaries aim for. It’s also worth noting, as a special aspect of spirituality, the veneration of the Heart of Jesus along with the veneration of the Holy Spirit. The motto of our order is “May the darkness of sin and night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the spirit of grace, and may the Heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all. Amen.” That is, the Heart of Jesus should be embodied in all people’s hearts. That’s the task of the missionaries of the Society of the Divine Word. Arnold’s two aspects of spirituality — the Holy Spirit and the Heart of Jesus — are the two pillars of the spirituality of our order.

I’m recalling the words of the Apostle Paul about there being different gifts but one spirit. You sense that as interconnecting whatever you do. Basically, like you said: there’s Spirit and Heart, and constant reference to that. Tell me, what changes have there been in your view of the world or your sense of orientation in terms of a wider environment than the order and the parish?

Andrei: I have two points. The first is knowing the world… I’m only twenty-two years old, I’m still looking at the world and discovering many areas in it that I’d like to explore, pursuits I’d like to master. My view of the world is expanding, but at the same time its basic elements stay the same. So, for example, I see, as a Verbist, as a Catholic, that every person needs God, needs a personal Savior — who is Jesus Christ for every person. Everyone needs the Father. This need is visible in every realm of life. Wherever I go, whoever I interact with, whatever cities and countries I travel to, I find people crave it. I think that’s how we can characterize the present moment — as the thirst for God in the human heart.

Your path of definition against the backdrop of the world takes place namely in the Catholic tradition… Could you explain a little what this means for you or in what way you might experience this as a destinywhat’s this path like in Russia, a predominantly Orthodox country?

Andrei: As a Catholic, I’m truly convinced, of course, that the fullness of all means of salvation is found in the Catholic Church. I don’t want to say the Orthodox Church isn’t true. Our church doesn’t talk like that, it talks about the means of salvation. But I see that in Russia the call of Christ “that they all may be one” is especially heard through the Catholic Church. It’s a unifying impulse that God addresses through the Catholic Church to the Orthodox Church or any Christian movements in Russia. And I see my role and that of Catholics of Russian origin as involving a desire for unity, for reunification. This activity is a very broad dialogue that respects the tradition of each Christian movement and at the same time introduces something new and complementary. Since we say the Catholic Church has the fullness of the means of salvation, the Church’s embrace of other traditions enriches, provides what’s missing, while respecting the identity of those it addresses. I see my personal role as getting to know the world, Russia, neighboring countries that are close to Russia in spirit, the people who live here, and enriching them in line with Catholic tradition, giving what I have and receiving what they have. Yet I’ll say immodestly — probably giving more, because after all, the Catholic Church is the fullness of the means of salvation. As for the Orthodox Church, its reality is interesting. We often contrast these two churches as if they were opposites, but honestly, the more I communicate with Orthodox people as conscientious Christians, the more I see common points for connection. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I think there might be a good opportunity for some kind of synthesis in the future. I hope so, I believe so. I see that the path as thorny, with challenges, but surmountable.

Let’s hope so.

Andrei: I’d like to return to the issue of expanding horizons. I think my brothers’ experience would also be useful here: how does a person’s view of the world change after being in the order?

Daniel: My perspective is a bit like Brother Andrei’s. People need more of God, to let Him into their hearts, to give Him free rein. People crave mercy, kindness, because the modern world — yes, it’s comfortable, it’s cool, with all its possibilities — but still, this world is cruel, it has a lot of deception. I see it as my mission — well, that’s a big word! — I see that people need to give kindness, God’s mercy, because it’s said: “Whoever knocks, the door will be opened to them, and whoever asks, it will be given to them.”

Artyom, do you agree? How does your sense of the world change as you move through these stages? You’ve been affiliated with the order longer.

Artyom: Before the order, my life consisted of two lives: school, with friends, secular — and Christian life. Such different lives, like a split personality. In the order it’s completely different. I can be myself with Christians and with others, too. Entering the order helped reunite these two sides into one. It turns out you can also talk to people who have never heard of God; they also have questions about it. And vice versa. Christians since childhood, Catholics in the church — you can also do something with them, not only in church, not only in prayer.

Do you feel like you’re gaining more personal freedom? That you’re becoming more yourself?

Artyom: Of course, my freedom is more fulfilling… Before, I couldn’t talk about God with my friends from school. Now that’s easy for me. Russia isn’t Christian, if you talk about God, people won’t understand, they’ll laugh. But now, when I’m in the order and already wearing the habit, when I walk around the city, I’m not ashamed — people ask about the order, people start asking questions on their own. They already know you’re a monk and studying somewhere. That’s a big shock. I left Angarsk for St. Petersburg, and people wonder, “What are you doing there? What are you studying to be?” Whether you like it or not, you speak because they ask. Each year I gain more confidence and strength, more freedom. It’s very clear that the Holy Spirit helps, that Christ supports and strengthens, and so does Mary… You need to understand that this isn’t your power, you didn’t give it to yourself. If I hadn’t come here, I probably wouldn’t have had this. You didn’t give this to yourself, this is not your freedom. It was given to me, and I use it: now, I’m free.

What personality traits would you ideally like to develop in yourselves, for more success on your path, to become what you set out to be?

Andrei: I think I’d like more determination and courage. That’s important for putting ideas into practice. Not everything can put into practice completely, but I notice that when things don’t work out, it’s probably because of not having the determination and courage. Sometimes obstacles suddenly appear when you begin to think about ideas and plans, although those are important for a good realization of your missionary life. I notice from my older, missionary and experienced brothers that in many cases initiative is key. I’d like that for myself. Now I look at my past and, in general, of course, I’m grateful for everything that’s happened, I can’t say I regret anything, but sometimes I’ve had ideas and wanted to develop them, put them into practice, then to tell about them — and maybe telling about them would already be much more than just keeping them to myself.

Daniel: As for me, I’d probably like courage and patience. Sometimes you don’t have the courage when you come up with some crazy idea that might work. And it takes courage to approach people and ask: what’s wrong, can I help with something? And patience. I’m quite a patient person, but patience is still very important, especially if I go somewhere on a mission. That will be a completely different people. I won’t even understand people, just as they won’t understand me — there will lots of reasons to get irritated. And there’s no such thing as a community without misunderstandings. It’s important to endure, change your mind forty times, and then come to some kind of compromise.

Artyom: I’d like more persistence. When I was doing my postulancy internship with the Sisters of Mother Teresa, one sister… There’s a rehabilitation center for alcoholics, and homeless people are also sometimes accepted for a while. I remember the sister telling someone she was giving care to: Get up and do something! Nobody will take care of you until you do something yourself. In that sense. I was affected by those words, and they help me regarding persistance. I’m now working with young people in the parish, and sometimes you need to “beg” for something from the rectors — it often happens that they refuse… When it turns out they’ve told me no, for me the question is closed: they’ve already answered me. But in reality it’s still open and needs to be addressed. Persistance might have helped me resolve it in a positive way. Persistance is a good quality. But of course it shouldn’t be confused with arrogance, pride and things like that. There has to be an intent to do something good.

What do you think is the best way to acquire those qualities?

Daniel: As for my qualities, that’s all simple. First, it takes practice. And the Lord God will force that upon you, if you pray to Him correctly.

Artyom: I think for persistence to appear, everything must be done together with prayer: with hope and, on the other hand, with the will of God. If you’re denied something, you shouldn’t try to get it at any cost. That would be a bad quality. But if you do it prayerfully, asking whether it’s really necessary, “The Lord Himself will give it to you: go and ask.” That’s what God did with Moses — he didn’t want to go to the Jews. But he had to go and free them from slavery. And God also used persistence: even if you don’t want to, go anyway. Trust more in God through prayer.

Andrei: For my part, I can see three stages for acquiring qualities. There’s a prayer of trust, a simple childlike trust in God’s providence: Lord, can I think less and do more? — and if I run too fast, grab me by the collar and stop me. In that style. The second stage is just thinking less, and the third is doing more. In January a fellow brother of ours, a father, gave a lecture where he said: “We think too much and do too little. You need to think less and do more.”

I’d like to wish each of you all qualities you’ve named for yourselves, as well as those that the rest of you have named. None of that will go unneeded; all of that will count for your callings. You spoke of your missionary activities. Does that refer to getting a specific assignment to go somewhere, or to the nature of what you’re already constantly doing?

Andrei: It’s really our congregation’s character, our charism. The mission is supposed to involve travel somewhere where the church isn’t fully developed yet, isn’t fully formed, or is weak in its growth, you might say. But our mission — in all its facets, it primarily consists of the witness of our monastic life. I’d say it’s more of an internal aspect that’s often understood as external.

Does each of you receive a mission abroad?

Andrei: As for going on mission, that depends on the program of formation. We have an opportunity for missionary practice after studying at the seminary or completing formation as a brother. That’s approximately five years. We pick one of the countries on the list of where our Verbist community is. Then it’s figured out whether we’re going there or not. Each country where our community is sets deadlines for providing missionary practice. The second stage is a so-called first appointment. After making personal monastic vows, we choose any three countries where Verbists serve, where we’d like to go, and we decide where we’ll go. But we can say in parentheses that really our entire formation is already a mission, since we move from one city to another. For example, brother Daniel from Belarus came to Russia and during his postulancy he visited Irkutsk, Volgograd, Saratov; that is, he’s seen quite a large part of Russia. Brother Artyom and I have a similar story: for our formations we’ve visited Belarus and Poland, as well as different cities of Russia. Mission as a movement, a journey, as a path, has accompanied our formation.

About Russia: in some ways, you have a mission in Russia itself, renewing certain traditions there — after all, it’s on the outskirts of the Roman Church. At the same time, there’s also the idea of Holy Rus’, where this is a central place with very deep roots. Could you say something about that dynamic?

Andrei: First of all, as Verbists in Russia, we represent the most ordinary kind of priestly service. We serve in the parishes of the Catholic Church, we serve the people of God who come — we do everything that ordinary priests do. The only thing particular to us is that we live in a community and not all of our brothers serve together: there are brothers who do catechesis and simply stay with the people. That is, the first focus of activity is normal basic parish life, sometimes pastoral work. We celebrate masses, conduct liturgical services, provide sacraments, and engage with people. We try to participate in charitable organizations and cooperate with other orders. Like those Sisters of MotherTeresa who serve the poor and support with rehabilitation from whatever addictions. We help them. That is, everything the Catholic Church does at the local level, we do as part of the church. Of course, we try to go out, as Pope Francis says, to the periphery, to the fringes. We also try to take on parishes that are far away. For example, Eastern Siberia has parishes like Chita. Although the cities there aren’t small, due to having long distances between them and few priests, diocesan outreach is hard there; as a monastic community, we work with such parishes. We’re trying to handle parishes that don’t have many parishioners, or sometimes don’t even have their own church — for example, in Yaroslavl or Vologda — where there’s truly, you might say, a missionary situation. Taking small parishes is also typical for us in Russia. As for Holy Rus’, I think that can include an ecumenical aspect, because we’re trying to be a kind of bridge between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, Protestant denominations. I think a good example of such dialogue and ecumenical zeal is our Verbist parish in St. Petersburg on Mineralnaya Street, where almost every day you can meet representatives of different Christian denominations.

That is, a rhetorical concept is unfolding at a practical level? Could you say the same about the tradition of Our Lady of Fatima, which is so important for Russia?

Andrei: The Fatima apparitions are closely connected with the life of Russia. For me, as a Catholic from Russia, those events are important because they’re directly addressed to Russia. And here we need to understand the call of the Mother of God for the conversion of Russia in the sense that Russia would simply return to God. The apparitions occurred toward the end of the First World War and the beginning of the unrest and the October Revolution, and the message of the Mother of God is to constantly remind people of God, of Russia’s Christian past. Of course, historically we’re Byzantine on the surface, but our present shows many Christian denominations, many roots in different traditions, and, strictly speaking, this present doesn’t contradict the past; it shows that Russia can take a new direction in turning to God. The Catholic Church is closely associated with the call of the Virgin Mary, and Verbists take an active part in this call to conversion through their activities.

At a wonderful service in St. Petersburg dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, Father Pavel said in his sermon that we often imagine, when talking about the conversion of Russia, that we’re talking about third parties, about other people — whereas maybe it just means all of us, here and now.

Andrei: That is, a feeling of responsibility for conversion, right?

Artyom:  I had that kind of situation even before joining the order. We, young people, were walking home from Mass. Some of us were already thinking about enrolling. I’m not alone in the order, I also have two friends who are sisters in different orders. The conversation was about converting people. And then the thought struck me that even though I was a Catholic, my mother wasn’t a Christian — she was a Christian at heart, but didn’t go to church. My brother and sister weren’t Christians. I thought: the first people I should lead to God are those around me. And thanks, I hope, to my prayers, my mother is now going to confession and preparing for her first communion.

Daniel: I also felt that responsibility, because the world is full of people who, as I put it, pretend they don’t need faith. In fact, almost every person experiences that in life — wanting support, wanting to go deeper spiritually, but not knowing what to do. It seems to me that God needs to send assistance to people like that to help bring them back. Everyone is like that lost sheep you have to go look for.

Should conversion be understood more as a moment in life or as a lifelong process?

Andrei: It goes both ways, of course. We’re all converted throughout life, we become like Christ; that’s a process of conversion, yes. You need to constantly renew your mind and, in fact, the practice of confession, throughout life, speaks to that. But the moment of a person’s meeting with Christ, usually through witness, still takes place. So I came to church, but relationships with people, the experience of witness, played a decisive role. Christ through a living person is the decisive moment. And there’s a moment in human life when it’s like something clicks, and there it is, completeness, truth. There’s love, sincere and deep. Something clicks and guides a person on the path. When we talk about conversion, that’s what we’re talking about: how to help Christ give another person that click.

Daniel: Tugging the “blanket” toward myself, I’ll also share my experience of responsibility for others. I feel it whenever I’m dealing with my conscience before confession; I understand that sin is social, just like virtue is. Every action is social. And I understand that the conversion of all of Russia begins with myself, and the next need is to convert those who are nearby.

We might think some things remain simply in God’s hands or in the hands of people around us, but all people probably know the limits of our personal responsibility.

Are there any last things that each of you would like to say to our readers?

Artyom: I’d encourage readers to consider praying for new callings to consecrated lives. And I’d like to ask you to pray specifically for us, for callings to our order, and more broadly for new callings in Russia, because there still aren’t many called. There are parishes with a shortage of priests, or simply with no priest at all. We, as a monastic order, have parishes with only one priest, although that isn’t always comfortable for a monk. For my part, I’d ask for prayers for new vocations. Thank you for the interview.

Andrei: I’d like to appeal to believers and non-believers. As a piece of brotherly advice, I’d like to wish non-believers to sincerely listen to their heart: to what it wants, to what it longs for. We often miss just listening to our heart. Don’t be afraid to discover a deep desire there and to go fulfill it. As for believers, I’d wish for them to hear the voice of Christ in their hearts and follow this voice. Answer this call.

Daniel: I’d wish for the people who read this to stay closer to God — whatever your situation is, He won’t leave you, He’ll make it even better. Thank you very much for the interview!

Thank you!


  1. Roberta Tiffany Bruce says

    Thank you for letting us know about the Verbist path through these young men’s comments.

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