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!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Some people, I am told, are naturally neat people. They keep immaculate desks, and rooms, and kitchens, and the like. They are psychologically wired for tidiness; perhaps they possess some golden "neat gene" permitting them to keep everything around them organized and in its proper place.

I, for one, am quite the opposite.

I find it burdensome to make my bed each day. I haven't a good sense of how space is best used. The cords for my phone, my computer and my lamps are a tangled mess promising to trip the unsuspecting visitor to my room, and they are kept at bay only by constantly kicking them out of the way. The most dominant feature of my organizational technique is, however, the pile or stack.

On the floor near the bed is the stack of books I read before sleeping. On my desk is a stack of things to which I will get around. This pile includes letter to which I should respond, surveys I have been asked to complete, other things that require no immediate action. A second pile includes those things that don't really belong anywhere else. These include articles that once looked interesting, notes from a guest lecturer, a list of dates that I need to remember for diocesan events, and perhaps a book that I have borrowed from a peer but have not yet returned. The most important pile is the pile than includes checks to deposit, letters requiring a quick response, class registration forms, and various other documents that are missing details that I cannot provide without consulting someone else. All of these stacks are decorated with coins collected during the day, pens and pencils, paperclips, clerical collars and little yellow sticky notes reminding me of various things to be moved from one pile to another.

Likewise, on the floor I tend to keep a pile of homework. This includes textbooks, binders with notes and syllabi, and and instructions for various essays. This pile is often accentuated by a single slipper whose mate was accidentally kicked under the bed while someone was contending with the cords. Near the homework pile, one will find the guest chair. This is the chair where I keep my coat. I have hooks on the back of my door where I sometimes hang the coats, but most often, they live on the chair until I have a visitor who needs a place to sit. Sometimes the coat is accompanied by a fleece jacket or a hooded sweatshirt.

I used to keep a secret pile under the bed. That was the pile of things that I intended to read after I was ordained. It started to get too big to move every spring and fall, though, so I just threw it all away. That is the nice thing about piles. At a certain point, everything in a pile except for two pieces of paper (there are always two pieces of paper that have to be saved as seed for the next pile) can just be thrown away.

I am told that I can learn organizational skills. Perhaps so. I am, after all, much neater now than I used to be. It has only taken ten years. Maybe before I die I will find a use for one of those marvelous little desk drawer organizers with a place for pens and pencils and sticky notes and paper clips. How nice it will be to open my drawer and in wonder and awe contemplate my participation in God's creative act by bringing order to chaos just by putting the stapler in its proper place. I might even have to take a picture of it, if I can find the pile where I left my camera.