Sunday, November 22, 2009

the middle

"hey, don't write yourself off yet.
it's only in your head you feel left out,
or looked down on.
just try your best,
try everything you can.
and don't you worry what they tell themselves
when you're away." (Jimmy Eat World - The Middle, 2002)

i'm back from Toronto, to see da boys, meet friends, have coffee, relax, regroup, chill, and get a few pieces of paper as well. i enjoyed convocation, i did. however, it was just an excuse to get out a bit and see how my classmates have been doing, how was the first six months in a parish, how the studies were going, etc.

i also returned with my class picture, which now hangs at the entrance of the cafeteria for all to see. class of 2009 - yes, ordination to the priesthood, but there's also the academic side of things too. for more details, feel free to ask. tomorrow, on my day off, i hope to find a frame store in order to frame the picture. after that it'll be simply to put it up somewhere. there's a line up of about 12things to hang up though.

i enjoyed the reflection given by Fr. Paul, priest at St. Philip Neri Seminary in Toronto. he based his reflection on Pope B16's latest encyclical, "Cartitas in veritate (Charity in truth)". this was a little nod for me personally, since i had touched upon it in a few homilies, as well as reviewed it in our book club. love of neighbour flows from love of God. indeed, these are our two greatest commandments: to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love neighbour as yourself. study, and learning, are linked to this same charity, this love of neighbour, as was highlighted by Fr. Paul.
"[...] we know that all of us possess knowledge. knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Corinthians 8:1)
ain't that the truth. i didn't know much but after graduating from grade 6, i was on top of the world. then i entered junior high school. oh, but after graduating from grade 9, i was on top once again. until i hit high school, that is. surely after graduating from grade 12 i'd be king of the universe? nope. i had barely enough time to breathe before i found myself in a room of 400 biology students. understanding where God is leading one is difficult sometimes. after four years of university, i was even more lost. now what? i entered ITI which would solve all my problems - indeed, that's what they promised, a job and career. i was on top of the world for five years, and then realized i had gone nowhere.

at all these steps along the way i thought i was done with study, and learning. me = fool. finally i woke up to the truth. we are always learning. new things, and rediscovering the old. i experienced a conversion/reversion. i lack the exact word for what happened in my life, at that particular point - if one can actually pinpoint such a time in one's life. wikipedia defines briefly this religious conversion as "the adoption of new religious beliefs that differ from the convert's previous beliefs." this is where the gray line begins. they are probably right but i believed in God all my life. rather, at one point i didn't care (that's a bit harsh), and now i do. anywho, this post is supposed to be about Fr. Paul, and now i'm going way off tangent!

Fr. Paul made me realize, once again, that we are always at study, always learning to do better, to be better. no one stops studying, really. books, tv, news, movies, songs, internet, all are tools which help us, or not. saying that one is done with study, is as ridiculous as saying that one is done with conversion. we are continually on this road of conversion, on this journey towards holiness. faith and reason go hand in hand.

finally, what brought me to the seminary in the first place was this intense desire to love God. for six years i tried to get to know Him better. i tried to love Him more. and now, i'm called to follow Him more closely. but all this knowledge will just puff me up, if i don't share it with my brothers and sisters! (this issue of how will be left for another time). again, i see the two greatest commandments at work. because i love God, i love you! love for the People of God moved me to study, to enter the seminary, to know my faith. likewise, because of this love for the People of God, you, i am moved to continue my studies. love/charity and study, faith and reason go hand in hand. i'm constantly in different situations where people ask me this or that. can i be done with study? nonsense! i may not know the answer, but i will do my best to find it - love demands nothing less from me.

anywho, a few thoughts for a Sunday afternoon. i'm off to see the peeps at the LifeTeen mass. peace out.

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