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, August 22, 2008

Different Worlds

With the quote below, I don't mean to denigrate in any way the institution that I have come to love. In the final analysis, I think it ought to be viewed as a compliment. Prudence, and thereby pastoral ministry, requires adequate formation of the intellect.

I have finally taken the initiative to find an empty rectory in my diocese and seclude myself (more or less) so I can do some things that I've been meaning to do for a long time. Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I'm also taking the luxury of allowing myself some time to read a book by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, that I was given upon my diaconate ordination. As I was reading last night, I found him elaborating an experience which is similar to my own experience. I appreciated his insight which helps to explain my own experience. What experience is this? Let's let the Cardinal elaborate in his autobiographical Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, English publication from Ignatius Press, p. 48. He's speaking of his experience in theology school in Munich around the age of 20 in the very recent aftermath of World War II.

The wonderful thing was that we could use the castle's beautiful park, which was divided into one area laid out in the French style and another with a garden in the English style. I wandered through this park over and over again, immersed in all sorts of thoughts. This is where the decisions of those years took shape, and also where I tried to think through and appropriate all of the knowledge imparted to us during the lectures. The atmosphere in the house was more reserved than in Freising. We did not have the spontaneous camaraderie I had known there. The extreme mixture of types was too great for this. Here there were students from all over Germany, particularly from the north of the country, and also doctoral candidates who were already quite advanced in their work. Intellectual concerns were dominant here, while in Freising the common will to be laboring soon in the care of souls united us in a much more direct way. Primary stress was put on the lectures, and these are what shaped the area of common interests and the exchange of questions and answers.

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