Authored by Jonathon Hank
It has now been a little over a month since the other first-years and I moved in to St. Clement’s, and about 3 weeks since the start of classes. For me, this seminary way of life is a totally new experience. My schedule is full of courses I never thought I’d be taking; I’m living in community with over a dozen seminarians and priests, of just as many different backgrounds and ages; I’m learning all those things about the liturgy that I had been content to sit back and watch; and I’m spending more time in prayer than ever before. All of this is part of my new identity as a seminarian and postulant with the Oblates.
It can be incredibly difficult to jump headfirst into a completely new lifestyle. But it occurred to me a few days ago that this is exactly what Jesus is calling us to do. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:18-19) God wants to do something new in each of us. He wants to take our old life and make it into something new, great, and beautiful. We’re not called to hold on to our old ways, to be content with what is meant to be temporary; we’re called to press on, and to keep running the race of faith, not fearing the unknown that sometimes comes with the new.
That is what God is doing in me now. He has led me to this new place, with these new people, and this new schedule. There are challenges that come with this life – sometimes it requires a huge effort to get myself out of bed for morning prayer at 6:30; or maybe I’m getting annoyed with a fellow seminarian – but there is plenty of fruit as well. Already, I’ve been experiencing a deepening spiritual life, continual growth of bonds of friendship and brotherhood, and an intellectual expansion which is stretching my mind beyond the mold of the hard sciences that I studied in college.
Even though I am leaving behind much of my old way of life, and all the people and places that were part of that, I thank and praise God for all of these blessings, and I trust that He will continue to give generously in new and unimaginable ways.