The always excellent Word-on-Fire recently posted an essay by Diocesan Seminarian Joe Heschmeyer titled 10 Things I Learned in my First Year of Seminary. The whole essay is worth reading, but I wanted to share his tenth point because I found it particularly encouraging.
Perhaps nothing exposes one’s lingering faults quite like seminary. It is a group of Christian men who are serious about sanctity, and have cultivated an attention to detail. Furthermore, we are encouraged to engage in “fraternal correction,” on the theory that iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), and we have a moral duty to look out for one another. But fortunately, God is there through all of this. Where I succeed, it is due to His grace. Where I fail, He stands ready to pick me up again. No matter how big my failings, faults, and sins, God’s Mercy is always bigger. As St. Thérèse of Lisieux is said to have said, “everything is grace.”
The first year was quite a journey, but it’s one that I was humbled and thrilled to take.
I don’t know if Joe’s experience is universal for seminarians, but I have to imagine that a year spent in prayer and contemplation with a focus on spiritual growth couldn’t help but bring about a change. And, even more encouraging is Joe’s reminder that God is always there to pick us up when we fall.
— Dad (Evan)