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My Spiritual Journey

A Tract Book Essay

By

Anthony J. Fejfar

© Copyright 2006 by Anthony J. Fejfar

I suppose my Spiritual Journey really began when I was in pre-

school, but I don’t remember that far back. I remember a little bit about my

early gradeschool C.C.D., and of course celebrating Christmas, but little

more than that.

In 6th grade I received the sacrament of Confirmation, choosing the

name Thomas as my patron saint. I had seen the video of the St. Thomas

More, story, “A Man for All Seasons,” and this led me to choose the name

Thomas. I asked for the name Thomas More, but the Bishop said that he

only confirmed a person with the generic name. I didn’t like that at the time,

but in hindsight I think that I have benefited from being affiliated with Saint

Thomas the Apostle and Saint Thomas Aquinas as well.

Ed and Kathy Nemeth were my confirmation sponsors and they gave

me the gift of the New American Bible as my confirmation present. I read a

lot as a kid, mostly for fun, and I decided to take on the Bible. So, during

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my 7th grade year I read the Bible from cover to cover, trying to treat the

whole thing as a divinely inspired adventure novel. The Old Testament

certainly contained a lot of adventures.

By 9th grade I was playing junior high basketball. I also had a

problem with a bully from across town with whom I got into several fights

with, defending myself. I had to try to figure out how this all squared with

my Christianity, so I went on a retreat and prayed. I decided that I would

always try to verbally combat a person first, trying to turn the other cheek,

but that if that didn’t work I would simply fight to the death to defend

myself. Interestingly, I never saw the bully again for the rest of my life.

The summer after 9th grade I also went out to Granby, Colorado, in

the Rocky Mountains, for Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s summer camp.

Although I decided to remain Catholic, I accepted Jesus Christ as my

personal Lord and Saviour as a Born Again, Catholic Christian. I think that

this move opened my soul to receiving Gifts of the Spirit. In highschool I

studied, started a contemplative prayer practice, played basketball, and was

the founding President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at my

highschool. My favorite prayer, taken from the Old Testament, was

transformative:

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Your ways O Lord, make known to me

Teach me your paths

Guide me in your truth and teach me,

For you are God my saviour

And I wait for you all of the day.

At breakfast I prayed:

Dear God I give to you today all I think

And do and say,

Thank you for this day.

I also prayed:

The Lord my God is Lord of All,

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

After highschool I went away to college to get a Jesuit education. I

loved my theology and philosophy courses, but especially liked the course in

Jesuit Philosophyer Bernard Lonergan’s Critical Realism, taught by Sister

Mary Alice Haley. I had previously taken a course in neo-thomism but

could not reconcile that with evolution, and so put it on the shelf. My

senior year in college, at Creighton University, I had a vocational crisis. I

was torn. Part of me wanted to get married and part of me wanted to be a

Jesuit Lawyer. While in spiritual direction I fell head over heels in love

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with a coed and so decided to put off the vocation decision and instead

concentrate on going to law school.

I loved law school. I excelled in the law. During my first year I

had a legal process course and in the midst of it I came up with the idea that

there could be a framework for law using Bernard Lonergan’s Critical

Realist philosophy. I made law review and graduated in the top ten percent

of my class with Order of the Coif. I wrote my senior seminar paper on

Bernard Lonergan’s Critical Realism applied to Jurisprudence. I argued and

won three cases before the Nebraska Supreme Court as a senior certified

student attorney working for the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office. After

graduating I went to work for the law firm that I had worked for during my

second summer of law school.

I passed the Nebraska Bar Exam and went to work, doing general

litigation. After a year or so of dating around and getting nowhere I started

to get the feeling that I should try the Jesuit Novitiate and become a Jesuit

Lawyer or Law Professor. After just under two years in legal practice with

my firm I left for the Jesuit Novitiate in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Novitiate was interesting. We spent our time praying, doing

ministry, and studying. I was graced with three mystical experiences while

in the Novitiate. I left the Novitiate after one semester. The Novice Master

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decided that the experience was to stressful for me and thus would not work

out. I moved home and decided to to some sort of church related legal

work as a volunteer. I ended up in Austin, Texas, where both my sisters

were living at the time. I lived in the parish rectory of St. Julia’s parish on

the Hispanic East side of Austin. I began dating Judi Stluka, the director of

religious education at St. Austin’s parish, who helped to set up my volunteer

project. Judi and I became engaged on St. Valentine’s day, and we were

married in July. In the meantime, I accepted a job offer as a visiting

assistant professor of law at Marquette University. I taught property and

legal writing, using Lonergan’s Critical Realism in my legal writing course

as a basis for legal process.

While at Marquette I interviewed with Widener University for a

tenure track position. I was to teach property law and legal ethics, while my

scholarship was to focus on Catholic Jurisprudence and Law and Theology.

We adopted two children, Josh and Crista during my early years at Widener.

During my second year at Widener I started doing Zen

Meditation. I then read the shamanistic books of Don Juan, by Carlos

Casteneda, which threw me for a loop. I really went out there with my

mind—without drugs. It took me 10 years of therapy, inner work, and study

to come back from the Don Juan world using Classical Greek Philosophy. I

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then started work on the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Along

the way I studied all sorts of spirituality, including the transpersonal

psychology and perennial philosophy of Ken Wilber. Metaphysics is an

important part of my spirituality.

I am now out of the University. I live by myself in an one bedroom

apartment, practice law part time and write. In my spiritual life I am

working on my Intuition. So that’s about it for now. I am still on my

Spiritual Journey and never intend to quit.