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!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Such were our Lord's words to Peter when, after going off to pray for but an hour in the midst of the night, he returned to find his vigilant disciples asleep (cf. Matthew 26:36-46). It seems such a simple request, but when dealing with fallen man, it perhaps can be some of the greatest suffering.

Perhaps I'm not referring strictly to keeping vigil with our Lord during the night. But, perhaps I am trying to get at a broader notion of keeping vigil with our Lord: being vigilant and watching for his word, listening attentively, ready to obey as soon as his command is made clear. Obedience, obedire, to "listen well" as we seminarians have been told.

Okay, fine. So perhaps we make our best attempts at "listening well," and, for the most part, we are obedient. But, what about when we must interact with others who - at least insofar as we can tell - at least aren't hearing (one would pray that they are not ignoring)? How then are we to be vigilant, when we are seemingly helpless to change them, yet we must suffer because of them?

In a way, that is ultimately what our beloved Peter was going through some 2000 years ago. Little did he understand our Lord's words; he was to be vigilant, to keep watch with our Lord, and humbly stay at Jesus' side while he was handed over, kissed by his betrayer, mocked by those who are supposed to guard him from defilement, put to death because of those who were his own family. Peter was invited to accompany our Lord and his few true followers while he was abused and betrayed, but Peter failed; he failed miserably. He denied, he ran, he abandoned our Lord and gave up his greatest opportunity. He would never have that back.

I suppose that is our Lord's offer to us. "Keep watch, be vigilant, stay with me." That is our call, our "vocation" if you will, at all times, especially those when we must accompany our Lord - be obedient - in the midst of those who spit in his face, knowingly or not. "Bearing patiently the wrongs of others" boils down to this. And for it, we are rewarded. It wins over our Lord's heart, his mercy, not only for us, but for those same ones who put him to death. We can pray with Jesus, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Yes, this is our call this holiest three days. This is our chance to do what Peter could only later regret.

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