I’m absolutely exhausted tonight. It’s been full speed ahead at my house as I prepare to leave for seminary on Saturday….packing, packing, packing. It isn’t just packing clothes this week either. I’m trying to see/hang out with friends this week since I’ll be gone for almost 4 months, which means I’m packing on the pounds with all of the restaurant food. Pray for my heart!
Anyway, I don’t estimate I’ll have a chance to update again before I head off. I’m not 100% on the seminary’s rules on blogs, but I will for sure try to update as often as possible.
Looking back at my posts since January, I think it is kind of cool to see how things have changed. In January, being a seminarian was still only a dream lost somewhere in tomorrow; so many obstacles and so many things left to the will and grace of God. But today, through that same grace and will I have fulfilled that dream of becoming a seminarian.
As I tell during my vocation talks, I have wanted to be priest since I was 7 years old. At that time, I wanted to be a priest because I got cool clothes and got to spend lots of time at church. Today, those are still guiding reasons…but my call to and attraction toward the priesthood is obviously much deeper and much more profound. I am just starting to grasp a concept that is impossible to fully understand; the majesty and the power of the priesthood is not to be underestimated. Priests are not just old guys forgiving sins and drinking wine. Priests are, through the power and ministry of this Church started by Christ, acting in persona Christi — The person of Christ. We are the alter Christus — The other Christ. There are many things I wish I could do in this life but I cannot think of any profession that can replace the priesthood; not for me, not for anyone.
This past week, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, we heard one of my very Gospel stories. It is the time when Jesus gives St. Peter the keys to Heaven and declares to him that he is the rock on which the Church will be built.
The apostles were the very first priests – fortunate enough to be ordained by Jesus Christ himself – and it is to them that we have to look for guidance, not just on the priesthood, but on everyday life. They were regular joes with regular jobs. They were farmers, fisherman, carepenters, and businessmen. They were just…guys livin’ their lives. So why did Jesus pick them? Because the were just guys livin’ their lives. They were just like us, the regular joes of 2011. In the very same way that Jesus called them into the service of His Church, Jesus calls us into our vocations. In a very real and physical way, Jesus calls us from our boats and fields and assures that He will make us Fishers of Men! That whatever we do, whatever our vocation -whether it’s marriage, priesthood, the religious life, or the single state – it is our duty FIRST AND FOREMOST not to convert, but to share! To share and to spread this great Faith we have in Jesus Christ, His Gospel, His Resurrection, and His Church. That is why we are here.
I was talking with a friend of mine today about our society. Much to the chagrin of Society 2011, we are not here for our own pleasure. The second we drop our crosses and run to our personal pleasures is the second we have dropped Christ. The beautiful thing is that Christ will never drop us, dupe us, or ditch us. Christ will lift us, light us, and live in us. Always. We are here to listen to Him; to find our vocation; to bring others to Him.
Look around at the Catholic Church and look around at society. The Catholic Church has been all but blown up by scandal, corruption, and financial ruin in recent decades. Any company, organization, corporation, or government that has undergone so much will certainly fail…right? So the why haven’t we? Because these terrible things that are happening are coming straight from the devil; he doesn’t want us to know Christ, see Christ, or be with Christ. he wants us all for himself.
But what did Jesus tell St. Peter? “I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of the nether world will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (italics mine). The gates of the nether world will not bring this Church down because they cannot bring this Church down AND if something as strong as hell cannot bring this Church down then NO ONE and NO THING can bring this Church down.
I look forward to my time in the seminary as I discern my vocation. I pray for all of you that you will open your hearts and listen. As Blessed JPII emphasized so often, DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Peace to you.