Father Darin May aspires to holiness, to be a vessel for God’s grace and reach every soul in Marion County.
“We’re all called to be saints,” May said. “We’re all called to holiness.”
This is an abstract and lofty goal for the man with an office at the Marion rectory. His road map is the work and teachings of saints and saints in waiting.
In his first month of service in Marion County, May has exerted his presence at nursing homes and the residences of shut-ins. He is bringing the faith to those who desire it, to those who may not be able to attend a Mass in a church.
Transporting God’s words out of a sanctum was a staple of the work of one of May’s heroes, Mother Teresa. She treated the sick and dying on the streets of Calcutta as if they were her own children. When she embraced one starving man, a reporter tasked with following her said he would not do what she did for a million dollars. She responded that she would not do that either.
That was humility. It was Mother Teresa’s great capacity for humility, which made an impression on him when he saw her when he was still in the seminary in Maryland.
“Her spirit was simple yet profound,” May said. “It all comes down to love. She loved God so much.”
Humility is a characteristic May embraces. He speaks not much louder than a whisper. He said his soft-spoken voice is more for the confessional than preaching in front of a congregation.
He said that grace was his tool against sin. He was nothing without God and everything with him.
May’s own journey to the priesthood was not especially saint-like. He said his calling was gradual, he was slowly shown the way instead of seeing a great vision that cast a light on his path.
“When someone sees a flower blossom it is not the first but the last,” May said. “My relationship with the Lord grew.”
Indeed, May’s growth was more intellectual, philosophical which fits his nature. May is comfortable talking about God in terms of being infinite. He is much less comfortable talking about himself.
With this philosophical bent, it would seem natural that he would follow another of his idols, St. Francis of Assisi and become a Franciscan monk.
However, part of being humble is knowing a place and following a simple path. Even though he is a priest, May is still a Kansas boy. He grew up in El Dorado.
He does not need to treat the poor in Calcutta. Although he wishes for the strength to starve so others could live as Emil Kapaun did in the North Korean prisoner of war camp, his followers are faithful, friendly, warm-hearted, and genuine. He does not expect to face hardships or persecution in Marion County. His parishioners should be the type of souls who could be easily led away from sin.
But like any humble man, May knows there is still work to be done.