Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last post...for a while

This semester has been busy for many of the writers of this blog and we feel that at this time we need to cease the blog operation and focus on other ways of engaging those who want to have contact with the seminary and seminarians. We are looking at using the blog for those who would like to follow the two classes who will be traveling to Israel and Rome this coming January. Until then, thank you for your loyal following of this blog and may God bless you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Catechism is sweet!

So I was reading the Catechism and poof!~
2639-"Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives Him glory, quite beyond what He does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing Him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God,"121 Cf.Rom 8:16. (CCC)

I don't know why this strikes me as beautiful, but it makes me pretty happy. God has raised my fallen nature! I can do this! Praise be God!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Peace, and a new scene opens

Well, things are still thick as ever, but I have found some firm waves on which to stand. In fact, this weekend has opened out as a rare opportunity to get a bit ahead and enjoy some recreation. As always, I hope to recreate as Christ would, or at least with Him. Which reminds me of that hymn of Elizabeth Poston, a person about whom I otherwise know nothing. But who are we to say what our great contribution is in the Providence of God? Perhaps He called me into the seminary only to move other men through it. Perhaps He called Elizabeth only to arrange this music. Take a rest beneath the Apple Tree.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Radical Dependence

Chesterton deserves to his picture up in these pages at least once.

As much as I like poetry, I do not have much enthusiasm for trite, rhyming slogans. Among these I would count, "The Attitude has to be Gratitude" and its family of variations. However, as much as I don't like the expression I cannot deny the content. There is a way in which being thankful for what one has never fails to brighten the day, open up new possibilities, and clarify how the situation is not nearly that dire. Chesterton captures this, rather well I think (though my bias is known) in his biography of St. Francis:

"If a man saw the world upside down, with all the trees and towers hanging head downwards as in a pool, one effect would be to emphasise the idea of dependence. There is a Latin and literal connection; for the very word dependence only means hanging. It would make vivid the Scriptural text which says that God has hung the world upon nothing. If Saint Francis had seen, in one of his strange dreams, the town of Assisi upside down, it need not have differed in a single detail from itself except in being entirely the other way round. But the point is this: that whereas to the normal eye the large masonry of its walls or the massive foundations of its watchtowers and its high citadel would make it seem safer and more permanent, the moment it was turned over the very same weight would make it seem more helpless and more in peril. It is but a symbol; but it happens to fit the psychological fact. Saint Francis might love his little town as much as before, or more than before; but the nature of the love would be altered even in being increased. He might see and love every tile on the steep roofs or every bird on the battlements; but he would see them all in a new and divine light of eternal danger and dependence. Instead of being merely proud of his strong city because it could not be moved, he would be thankful to God Almighty that it had not been dropped; he would be thankful to God for not dropping the whole cosmos like a vast crystal to be shattered into falling stars. Perhaps Saint Peter saw the world so, when he was crucified head-downwards."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The contradiction

Gerard Manely Hopkins has a remarkably introspective poem which nevertheless stands apart from most of his other introspective poems. Usually, he writes as one gripped by an immanent depression, tensely gripping what consolation he has. In Heaven-Haven, however, which bears the subtitle "A nun takes the veil," Hopkins writes:

I have asked to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb
And out of the swing of the sea.

As the grip of my academics, seminary events, the ever-pressing SCHEDULE drives me down like it never has before, I recall these words for simple ability to soothe. Those closing anapests create a gentle settling calm.

However, the actual text of the poem reveals the contradiction. In this perfect calm, there is a desire for at least a little bit of activity. In the perfect, stormless fields a few lilies blow. As the moorlands roll along the horizon, they recall the jostle and thrust of a rising sea. And is that not where I would be, right now, if I didn't have anything to do? Longing for some high adventure even though, gripped as I am in this moment, this right now, I plead to be out of the swing of the sea?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Martyrdom

I highly recommend reading Cardinal Newman's Sermon entitled Ventures of Faith. It begins with the Gospel of Mark, at the passage in which James and John approach Jesus with the request to sit at His right and left when He comes into His glory. When asked if they are able to drink his cup and be baptized with his baptism they famously reply that they are. This firm, "We are able" becomes the basis for Newman's sermon. He inquires whether or not we Christians, claiming, as we do, a strong faith, have actually ventured anything upon it? How would our lives be one bit different if the Gospel were a great falsehood? Newman fears that, sadly, many of us would not be living much differently. At the close of his sermon, Newman returns to James and John an points out that both gave themselves entirely, indeed, ventured all upon their faith in Jesus Christ:

"Those blessed Apostles said, 'We are able;' and in truth they were enabled to do and suffer as they had said. St. James was given strength to be steadfast unto death, the death of martyrdom; being slain with the sword in Jerusalem. St. John, his brother, had still more to bear, dying last of the Apostles, as St. James first. He had to hear bereavement, first, of his brother, then of the other Apostles. He had to bear a length of years in loneliness, exile, and weakness. He had to experience the dreariness of being solitary, when those whom he loved had been summoned away. He had to live in his own thoughts, without familiar friend, with those only about him who belonged to a younger generation. Of him were demanded by his gracious Lord, as pledges of his faith, all his eye loved and his heart held converse with. He was as a man moving his goods into a far country, who at intervals and by portions sends them before him, till his present abode is well-nigh unfurnished. He sent forward his friends on their journey, while he stayed himself behind, that there might be those in heaven to have thoughts of him, to look out for him, and receive him when his Lord should call. He sent before him, also, other still more voluntary pledges and ventures of his faith,—a self-denying walk, a zealous maintenance of the truth, fasting and prayers, labours of love, a virgin life, buffetings from the heathen, persecution, and banishment. Well might so great a Saint say, at the end of his days "Come, Lord Jesus!" as those who are weary of the night, and wait for the morning. All his thoughts, all his contemplations, desires, and hopes, were stored in the invisible world; and death, when it came, brought back to him the sight of what he had worshipped, what he had loved, what he had held intercourse with, in years long past away. Then, when again brought into the presence of what he had lost, how would remembrance revive, and familiar thoughts long buried come to life! Who shall dare to describe the blessedness of those who find all their pledges safe returned to them, all their ventures abundantly and beyond measure satisfied?"

John, as the above passage makes clear, did not suffer a martyrdom like his brother, acute, quick, and early in the life of the Church. John, however, did not. That is one of the famous bits of Church trivia. All the apostles were martyrs, less one. St. John lived long and suffered long in the first days, the birth pangs of Christianity. And this was a real sacrifice, and it would not have been had John simply given over the Gospel. Who knows how often that might have been his temptation? One by one the Twelve were called to Heaven. In those final stages, standing in the room "unfurnished," lonely, watching a new generation of Christians, zealous but unwitting, inspiring but clearly not of the apostolic band, how often did John question to what exactly he had given everything? This is a real suffering, and it counts, too, as a sort of witness, though less flashy. St. John, pray for us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rev.do Mons. Paul D. Sirba

Il Santo Padre ha nominato Vescovo di Duluth (U.S.A.) il Rev.do Mons. Paul D. Sirba, del clero dell’arcidiocesi di Saint Paul and Minneapolis, finora Vicario Generale della medesima arcidiocesi.

Rev.do Mons. Paul D. Sirba

Il Rev.do Mons. Paul D. Sirba è nato nella città di Saint Paul (Minnesota) il 2 settembre 1960. Ha compiuto gli studi presso il Seminario arcidiocesano di Saint Paul and Minneapolis e presso il "Notre Dame Institute for Catechetics" ad Alexandria (Virginia).

È stato ordinato sacerdote il 31 maggio 1986 per l’arcidiocesi di Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Ha poi ricoperto i seguenti incarichi: Vicario parrocchiale della "Saint Olaf Parish" a Minneapolis (1986-1990) e della "Saint John the Baptist Parish" a Savage (1990-1991); Direttore Spirituale del Seminario "Saint John Vianney" (1991-2000); Amministratore Parrocchiale della "Maternity of Mary Parish" a Maplewood (2000-2001); Parroco della "Maternity of Mary Parish" a Maplewood (2001-2006); Direttore della Formazione Spirituale nel "Saint Paul Seminary" a Saint Paul (2006-2009); Vicario Generale della medesima arcidiocesi (dal giugno 2009).

* * *

From Vatican News

Lord, let your face shine on your servant;
teach me your decrees.

ReadingZechariah 8:1-17,20-23 ©
The word of the Lord of Hosts was addressed to me as follows:
‘The Lord of Hosts says this.
I am burning with jealousy for Zion,
with great anger for her sake.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this.
I am coming back to Zion
and shall dwell in the middle of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem will be called Faithful City
and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the Holy Mountain.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this.
Old men and old women will again sit down
in the squares of Jerusalem;
every one of them staff in hand
because of their great age.
And the squares of the city will be full
of boys and girls
playing in the squares.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this.
If this seems a miracle
to the remnant of this people (in those days),
will it seem one to me?
It is the Lord of Hosts who speaks.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this.
Now I am going to save my people
from the countries of the East
and from the countries of the West.
I will bring them back
to live inside Jerusalem.
They shall be my people
and I will be their God
in faithfulness and integrity.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this. Let your hands be strong, you who here and now listen to these words from the mouths of the prophets who have been prophesying since the day when the Temple of the Lord of Hosts had its foundation laid for the rebuilding of the sanctuary. For before the present day men were not paid their wages and nothing was paid for the animals either; and because of the enemy there was no security for a man to go about his business; I had set every man against everyone else. But now, with the remnant of this people, I am not as I was in the past. It is the Lord of Hosts who speaks. For I mean to spread peace everywhere; the vine will give its fruit, the earth its increase, and heaven its dew. I am going to bestow all these blessings on the remnant of this people. Just as once you were a curse among the nations, you House of Judah (and House of Israel), so I mean to save you for you to become a blessing. Do not be afraid; let your hands be strong.
‘For the Lord of Hosts says this. Just as I once resolved to inflict evil on you when your ancestors provoked me – says the Lord of Hosts – and as I did not then relent, so now I have another purpose, and I intend in the present day to confer benefits on Jerusalem and on the House of Judah. Do not be afraid.
‘These are the things that you must do. Speak the truth to one another; let the judgements at your gates be such as conduce to peace; do not secretly plot evil against one another; do not love false oaths; since all this is what I hate. It is the Lord who speaks.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this. There will be other peoples yet, and citizens of great cities. And the inhabitants of one city will go to the next and say, “Come, let us go and entreat the favour of the Lord, and seek the Lord of Hosts; I am going myself.” And many peoples and great nations will come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the Lord.
‘The Lord of Hosts says this. In those days, ten men of nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say, “We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you.”’

ReadingSt Teresa of Avila
Let us always be mindful of Christ's love
If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.
Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favours, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.

Concluding Prayer
Lord, may your grace go always before us and behind us:
may it make us constantly eager to do good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.