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!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Heart of Gratitude

The turkey's gone. The dishes are clean and put away. The friends/relatives have gone back to their homes. Christmas sales and decorations have appeared. Turkeys and cornucopias give way to reindeer and snowmen. But has our Day of Thanksgiving gone too?

Not for this seminarian.

Indeed what a blessing to spend time with friends/family ... especially when the seminary schedule makes this difficult to come by. Indeed, what a blessing to have "recreation" -- to be 're-created' in order to face but once again all that awaits me back at the seminary. It almost seems providential that there is an element of seminary life that feels as though we are in a 'pressure cooker' because it makes me appreciate even more so those times when the pressure of life is temporarily suspended. It makes watching a late-night movie, a pool game with the siblings, listening to music while writing a blog entry or doing yard work with the rest of the family much more precious.

Moments like these teach this slow learner what it means to enter more deeply into (or to abide in) God's rest. Herein lies the secret to the Sabbath day of rest. Built into our weekly schedule is a day to do just this. God seems to give us a small glimpse into the eternal rest that awaits us as we persevere here on earth to reach our eternal home. Yet oftentimes we don't know what to do with this gift of rest. We busy ourselves with activities that give us pleasure, but don't necessarily recreate our weary souls and bodies. We find ourselves more and more tired as the break gives way to the demands of life.

So this Thanksgiving weekend, I find myself repeating the mantra, "Thank you," hoping that these words penetrate more and more deeply into my heart. I figure that so many people can complain better than I can ... so I won't bother. I can try and be as grateful as I can for everything that Providence will see fit for me. This heart of gratitude becomes my daily prayer such that the truth of Neh 8:10 becomes a foundational truth in my life: "Do not grieve this day, but let the joy of the Lord be your strength."

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