Click on bulletin two times to enlarge
Why I Love and Hate Seminary at the Same Time…
Posted on September 19, 2014 by coltensymmes
“Colten, Christians aren’t supposed to hate…”Yes, I know but I hate seminary. “Why?” Because it doesn’t last long enough! Yeah, I know you are thinking, “O that was clever… haha”
I am joking about the hate part but there is small sense in which I am serious about it not lasting long enough because seminary formation offers a man a very unique experience that you don’t find in other places. And… it challenges you and forms you when you give yourself to totally to it and allow the Lord to use it to be the means by which you “take off the old man and put on the new” (See Ephesians 4:22-24).
How does this happen? Well, in many ways but one in particular way is through community life here at the seminary. I can remember my first year coming to the conclusion that living in community is hard but it’s amazing at the same time. I was asked about 3 months into my first year of seminary (which was 3 years ago) what I most liked about seminary. I responded “Living in community. It is awesome to be with many other guys who love the Lord and are discerning the priestly life and to make that journey with them and all that entails.” Then they asked, “What do dislike the most?” To which I responded, “Living in community life!”
If you ask someone who has been involved in the military or a fraternity/sorority they will tell you that there is something special about being in a group of fellowship that more or less lives with each other and become somewhat “family.” But seminary is more than this. Why? Because it is centered around the Lord and the Church.
Living in community life really exposes oneself to themselves and usually it reflects back those things they might not necessarily like about themselves. Thus, it calls for action: either to disregard it and live as if it doesn’t exist or do something about it and better oneself.
Seminary formation offers the man who embraces it with a great gift. It challenges one to be a man of prayer, study and service while also building one another up for the sake of love and the other’s good, that is, his salvation.
So, no I don’t “hate” seminary but there are many times where I truly wish to have more time here because it is such a place where profound growth happens and is a great milieu to grow in greater love of the Lord and one’s neighbor. But life must go on and the desire to grow in charity must expand – expand to not only want a bigger heart of love for yourself but for others which means getting into the world and bringing what seminary formation has given you to those who desire truth and love!
For the Thomistic saying goes, “Bonum diffusivum sui est.” (The good is diffusive of itself). Whatever is of goodness and love and, thus, is of God, always seeks to go beyond itself and to give itself for the other and for their good!
Please pray for all men in seminary formation. Know that you are in our prayers as well.