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Archive for August 9, 2007

“the worst temptation”

Before going to be, I read and meditated on the “Catholic One Year Bible” Passage of the day, which is  Proverbs 21:2 … “We can justify our every deed but God looks at our motives.” 

From a sermon years ago, I remember it said, “the worst temptation in the world is to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.”  I’ve always identified with it and believe it to be true, but when I share the thought, it usually fall on deaf ears with, “that doesn’t make any sense.”  I’m not very good at illustrating the statement, but I think this 2-week “New Student Experience” will help us newbies focus on the real “personal” discernment journey we are beginning toward the priesthood.  Aside from the fellowship, the quiet times help us to focus on the voice that calls our hearts without the distractions of the everyday.   

Our true “motives” should either bring more “joy” (as Fr. Michael said, “rest in the comfort of knowing the Lord is happy you’re responding to his call”) or greater frustration, if our reasons for wanting the priesthood are selfish.  I like it here … I feel at home … as the joy grows, I don’t feel worthy (like I’ve stolen someone else’s place).       

NSE Day 1: Dinner & Icebreakers

Dr. PepperAs we finished Mass and stood in line for dinner, I noticed THEY HAVE DR. PEPPER!!!    — God is good & wants me here! 

Dinner with parents was followed by “see-you-laters” as we got to know each other better (questionable J ) with some crowd-breaker activities, including “Crazy Screaming Ninjas” & “Screaming Stares?” & “Embarrassing Introductions.”  An informal “social” added to the fellowship. Finally, the day ended with Evening Prayer, call “Compline” (from Liturgy of the Hours) in the small chapel.  Fr. Michael closed with (I paraphrase), “Rest in the comfort of knowing the Lord is happy you’re responding to his call.”     I’m tired and taking that to bed … tomorrow will be an eye-opener (since it hasn’t really hit me yet)

NSE Day 1: Arriving & Opening Mass

Today begins the first day of seminary for a 2 week long “New Student Experience” (NSE) before classes begin on August 27.  I finally arrived with my parents after 3pm. I’m upstairs rooming with a senior (not here until Aug 23 for returning student).  It’s only temporary, because there are a record 65 seminarians this semester, and 2 off-campus homes (nearby) will hold the Pre-Theologians (that’s me) in a few weeks (while they’re getting setup).

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The Mass, celebrated by Fr. Michael Carruthers (Rector – in charge), focused on St. John Vianney, the patron saint of diocesan priests, and who the seminary was named after. St. John VianneyThe homily began with a story (that I’m trying to recall correctly) of a wise man who asked his students, “How do you know night has ended and daylight has begun?  Some incorrect student answers included, “When you can tell the difference between an oak tree & a willow tree.”  Another said, “When you can tell the difference between a dog & a wolf.”  After all failed in their great efforts, the wise man said, “You know night has ended and daylight has begun when you can see everyone as a brother or sister.”  (the veil of darkness is replaced by true sight)  … That is what we are all called to. 

The homily continued with St.John Vianney’s background.  He was a French seminarian that had difficulties learning Latin (he may have had a learning disability) but became a priest due to his great devotion.  He had difficult pastoral assignments, but always saw people as a brother or sister.  He was known as such a good confessor that he would take confessions for most of the day. 

EUREKA!  The areas of the priesthood that I currently hold most dear is the merciful and healing grace of Reconciliation.  I knew about St. John’s background, but his gift of confessor didn’t hit me til today.  I think that’s a good sign.

A cool fact about the property! … the exact geographical center of the property is the Tabernacle … just as the Eucharist is the center of our lives.  that’s the heart of everything!