First off, a shout out to Fr Jason Piper for his visit to Cybertron, his post was awesome and hopefully the ‘Clerictron’ will make regular visits. What was written regarding priestly promises and the Liturgy was intelligent, well argued and to the point. Padre Pipes will always have a forum to speak on ‘Confessions.’ Safe to say that modernists, heterodox and yes,..well heretics too,..all had a little pee pee in their pants after reading Fr Jason’s post, this of course pre supposes that said groups have intellectual acumen to understand it. Now on to some reflections,…
Yup, one of those posts again, perhaps because I really have nothing to speak about or perhaps because I have accepted the fact that while in discernment for priesthood, I am currently where God wants me to be. My personality remains the same, but I have to acknowledge that my prayer life and thus, my soul is at peace. What that means is that I’m accepting the reality that this is a supernatural call from Jesus that requires a complete ‘Yes!’ Essentially Jesus doesn’t want 95% of you, He wants all of you, and that means ‘dying to yourself..’ (Shout out to the Evangelical protestant community,..yes they can teach us things too! ;))
Well, I am nearly finished my first semester/session as a seminarian, and to tell you the honest truth, I couldn’t be any happier! There are moments whereby my own ego, frailty and shades of my past life enter and attempt to disturb me. What do I mean? Well for one, living in a house with 30 other guys, not to mention retired old priests can pose its challenges(God doesn’t take away your manhood, and egos, temperaments as well as stress can cause friction, not to mention 50 men burping, farting and scratching). Logging onto Facebook and seeing friends getting married, girls I’ve dated with other guys, and functions/events that I would gone to in my past life can all play mind games with you.. In this light, I am reminded of St Paul, who after meeting the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus, goes to meet St Peter, then into the desert for what you would call ‘formation.’ After this period does one transition from Disciple to Apostle! (Credit Msgr Frank Leo CSS for that line) .
Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter Pastores Dabo Vobis and in it, he cites four criteria regarding the formation of future priests. To briefly go over them and summarize, they are as follows…
-The Spiritual. Not just Mass and Rosary, but includes personal meditation (especially before the Blessed Sacrament), Praying the Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration and Lectio Divina/Regularly reading and praying Scripture. In prayer is where we meet Jesus personally, we can know about Him, but if we don’t know Him personally, all the Theology in the world can’t help you.
-The Intellectual. A proper understanding of philosophical first principals is essential. Starting with the pre Socratics, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas (all awesome!) all the way to an understanding of modern thought, the nuttiness of Descartes, Spinoza, Kant and in my opinion, the reigning heavyweight Champion of intellectual chaos and verbal diarrhea, MARTIN HEIDEGGER!!! (emphasis added, and yes, I’m biased…) This prepares us for Theology, if we know and Love Jesus, then we want to know all about Him! Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Liturgy, Ecclesiology,..you name it!
-The Pastoral. Jesus encounter Zaccheus up a tree, He doesn’t condemn,..Jesus encounters the adulterous woman, He doesn’t condemn,.. Jesus promises Paradise to the Good thief,.. I think you get my point. Jesus encounters, offers Mercy, but doesn’t leave them there,..He leaves them with Truth! ‘Go and sin no more!’ A call to Holiness! Being Pastoral doesn’t mean smiling all the time and never getting sanguine, it means protecting and feeding your sheep. Meeting people where they are, (St Paul in Acts; 17,..usually syrum for SSPX or sedevacante people wanting nothing to do with Ecumenism,..) then proposing Jesus Christ, while respecting the free will of the individual receiving the message. Here I am reminded of Aquinas,.(Information will only be received by the mode of the receiver,..’Religious Freedom,…VII,..cough,..cough…) . The Spirit of VII crowd sees being ‘pastoral’ as the opposite and it means tolerating any and everything, you know the whole 397 women Eucharistic ministers on the alter, carrying their purses in procession, as well Fr Feelgood McButterfly not preaching on anything substantial instead speaking about the plight of Northern Cariboo. The Bishop’s staff provides the most beautiful symbolism, the hook to keep the sheep close, the spear to keep the wolves apart. (memo to Spirit of VII cookoo crowd, Evil exists, is a fallen angel, and wants your soul…)
-The Anthropological. This is a dimension of growth far too ignored. To maintain a healthy balance between ‘work and play’ so to speak because well,..it keeps you sane. The key is to let Jesus sanctify what you are doing. I still avidly train, usually 5 days out of 7 a mixture of resistance, metabolic conditioning and Jiu Jitsu. As well,.to maintain proper relationships especially with women. There is a difference between heading to a movie with a girl at 2pm in the afternoon, or still having a coffee or lunch as opposed to being alone with a girl, in private, after 7pm at night. Judgement and spiritual direction is a key element.
So there you have it, the recipe is simple, centred completely on Jesus, nourished by the Eucharist, prayer, The Scriptures, the Blessed Mother and of course each other…Then spreading out into avenues,..
PS: I am working on a post showing some blatant inconsistencies within The SSPX. Are they sedevacante? Are they not? Some of their own members aren’t even sure,…Stay tuned!! (That should tell you something!)
St Jean Viannay,…………………………Ora pro nobis!