Officially One Year and a Day as a Student for Priesthood :)

181379_409670379073404_1498682121_n

Crest of the Meath Diocese: ‘In Christo Confido’- In Christ I Trust.

Yesterday, I happened to take out the letter of acceptance I received from my bishop exactly a year before. I hadn’t actually realised July 31st was the dayΒ  I was officially accepted as a student for my diocese. I was struck with a sense of profundity. I reflected, as we often do, how quickly time passes. It only seemed like yesterday that I had opened that letter at the kitchen table while my parents and sister were there. I read it the first time silently and got a nice little shock. The original plan was for me to begin Theology classes through Italian this October coming (it’ll be October next year) after my first year in Rome and I was quite unsettled by that. ‘I’ll have to learn Italian quickly,’ I thought. I read it for the second time aloud to my family. Thank God, I have a loving family and they were proud of my decision and congratulated me on my successful application.

So what have I learned during my first official calendar year as a seminarian? What have I experienced? I’m just after writing it all below, and I came back up here to say that!

A lot. There is no questioning that. Obviously, I already had faith in God before entering seminary but I was far from perfect. And I still am. Only it is now much more obvious to me how I am imperfect and just how imperfect I am. I could drive myself mad if I didn’t accept it as a part of my human nature. I need to grow to give God all that I am, and although I could never be good enough for God by my own merits, that doesn’t matter. If I give Him all of me, He will do the rest. His Grace builds upon my nature so that my life can be sacramental- a true meeting of God and man.

God. Where do I start? Words can seem so inadequate sometimes. Indeed, they more often than not are, if they seek to describe the Word. What I have come to ‘sense’ of God (see what I mean about inadequate?) is this: He is simultaneously infinitely beyond me yet closer to me than I am to myself. I don’t know myself perfectly. I thought I did, but this year has taught me I’m still only learning about me. Father, Son and Spirit, You created me together. You know me as only infinite being can… Infinitely. Therefore You know me better than I can ever know myself, unless I share in You.

2-old-testament-trinity-joseph-malham

There’s a place for me and you at the table there, where the chalice is!

This is why we need Jesus. He was the first human to be truly at one with God, because He is God. Two natures in one person- God and man. This is why Jesus says ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.’Β (Jn 14:6) Our own human nature, as I said above, falls short of God. As He is infinite, we fall infinitely short of Him. Our own merits are not good enough. That is why Jesus is the Way- He is the way humans can now come to God. God and man are reunited in Him and in sharing in His ‘being,’ through receiving His Body in the Eucharist and receiving the other sacraments, through His Word in the Bible, through communal and personal prayer and through other people and life experience, we are made one with the man who is also God.

I didn’t mean for this post to turn into a theology discussion! I suppose, though,Β  I cannot but view my experiences through that lense.

images 45

At the beginning of my first year in seminary, last October, I had many prayers, but none of them were more important than this one: ‘God, I want to be a saint. And everyone else too.’ This is not me looking for some post death glory as a venerated figure in the Church. What I meant was, ‘I want You, God. I want to be in Heaven, in You.’ This is no small thing to ask. Again, I’m asking for infinity! So I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover the truth in Jesus’ words the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.‘Β (Mt. 7:14) This is because it is tough. It is not an easy road to walk. It can be a physically and emotionally draining journey. ‘Even’ clergy can take it too easy in life. I’m not passing judgement on others, just observing reality. We are all imperfect, as I said. Please pray for me to keep walking and I’ll pray for you too πŸ™‚ . EVERYONE IS CALLED TO SAINTHOOD, it is not the exclusive domain of priests and religious.

0937b754fd7d3f527b3ce7ee877956b1

We are given an answer to weariness in the Bible, where Jesus tells all those who are ‘weary and burdened’ to come to Him for rest. Everything we need to reach Heaven is in Jesus. We just need to trust Him. Say a prayer and listen to Him too. A few minutes is all that’sΒ  needed.

I ask your prayers for me that I shall strive to do God’s will always. I will remember you all too. If you like, you can leave a prayer request in the comments below. It would be my honour to pray for you.

Ok, this discussion started off based on life experience and ended up spiritualised, but to me that is a happy coincidence, or providence, maybe. This is because it reflects our journey as ‘metaphysical amphibians’ towards the heightΒ of realityΒ in God. Maybe next time I’ll write about more concrete experiences as a modern seminarian. May God bless you! Tony.

Β  11150920_973103269380715_2671773670273616538_n

Advertisements

21 Comments Add yours

  1. nolanwrites says:

    A big congratulations to you on completing your first year, it’s sounds like you learned a lot. Both personally and spiritually. The great thing is, you are only at the beginning of your journey and so I am sure that you will definitely learn and experience much more. πŸ™‚

    1. Please God, yes, you’re right! Thanks for reading Melissa! Tony.

  2. Austin says:

    I came over from Cher’s party. Happy Saturday!

    1. Thanks for that Austin πŸ™‚ The same to you! Your blog title looks intriguing πŸ™‚

      1. Austin says:

        Thanks. It’s a skewed view of life in Maine. Come on over for a visit! πŸ™‚

      2. I already did, and I certainly shall again, Austin. I liked your post on August πŸ™‚ Made me want to behave like a Roman emperor and do something great πŸ˜›

      3. Austin says:

        Wow. I’ll have to reread my own post because that sounds damn inspirational! πŸ˜‰

  3. Almost Iowa says:

    Good luck in your studies. We sure need priests, especially in rural areas. We just got word that our church will be closing next year. 😦

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll pray for you all. But take comfort too, for Jesus said whenever ‘two or three gather’ in His name, there He is present! πŸ™‚ In a sense, it doesn’t matter at all what building we are in. But I hope you have or can find an alternative arrangement for your church, for all your comfort. I hope these are reassuring words too, and that I don’t seem as if I am making light of the situation. Tony.

  4. Heather says:

    You’ll do splendidly. I went to catholic school from day 1 to high school graduation. The priests I most admired were just people, not high in the pulpit, but flawed people. They are the most inspiring.

  5. Thanks very much Heather πŸ™‚ Its something I think I will always try to maintain in myself, I suppose, the thought I’m a person before I’m a priest (please God, in the future), I remember when I started seminary, I didn’t want, at all, to have to wear a soutane. I thought it looked a bit ‘uppity’ whenever I saw someone wearing it whenever they didn’t have to. But then I realised how warm they are and got used to it. Then after a while, I realised people preferred me not to wear it when I didn’t have to, as they thought I was being ‘uppity.’ So now I just wear my normal clothes without the soutane over them. πŸ˜› Thanks again for reading. On a side note, I like your dog! πŸ™‚ Tony.

  6. Ste J says:

    Well done for completing the first year and bettering yourself. It sounds like a good reason for a celebration!

    1. Thank you Ste J. πŸ™‚ You’re right, thankfully, I was able to celebrate it! Lots of lovely people, dinners and the right amount of drinks πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading. Tony.

  7. I followed your link from “Community Pool” and I think you’ve done a good job. Congrats on your progress spiritually and on WordPress.com. I suggest you look for and find an original banner image. Ask friends or look for Wiki commons or free sites, then cut and paste.

    1. Thanks very much πŸ™‚ I’ll do that. I shall visit you in turn.

  8. thenovelist says:

    You write with sincerity πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much. I read your other longer comment to me, I found it fascinating too. I’ll write a short reply to it later πŸ™‚ May you be blessed πŸ™‚

  9. I had you as a site I follow but have not been getting updates. Unfollowed and refollowed … hope it works πŸ™‚
    Happy you have completed a year so joyfully. May your joy in our Lord grow abundantly.

    1. ajshannon2014 says:

      Thank you Rambling Rose πŸ™‚ That’s very kind of you. I’ll offer a prayer for you, if that’s ok.

      1. It certainly is. It’s the best gift … thank you. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s