Thoughts from a young theologian

A Mixing of Priorities


One of the big peculiarities about the seminary and its life, I learned just the other day. I’ve just graduated from university, meaning that for the past… umm… 18? years of my life, I’ve been a student. As a student, I’ve always prioritized God first then, my studies second… Everything else would come after that… Lately, I’ve been getting a little bogged down with the studies here in the seminary… It seems that the biggest enemy I’ve really got is time. With all the things that we’re doing, and I’ve attached my schedule, as it stands so far, there’s barely any time to do everything that’s required. I’ve allocated a lot of time to my studies but even with that, being the semi-perfectionist I am, I don’t have enough time to learn all these brand new material.

In bringing that up in spiritual direction this week, I learned that here in the seminary, priorities are really flipped upside down. As always, God always comes first. If I have to make a choice between studying for something or praying at an allocated time, praying will always come first. People want a holy priest, not a scholar. Following God though is community! I need to prioritize, to some extent, the social life I have with the other seminarians over my studies! That really flew at my face as something completely different!! Never before have I ever went out until I’ve finished studying… What they want is not a straight A student but rather a B student who is holy and has very strong human qualities as well, that comes with building relationships with others. That just really struck me so I wanted to mention that here… It’s definitely different in that sense.

Learning that took a whole load of pressure off me. I think that maybe it’s a little more for reasons of pride that I wanted the good grades. A’s aren’t bad but they are bad if they’re attained at the expense of either the spiritual or the community formation of the priest. It’s funny how that all works… I still don’t completely understand it but I guess I’ll have to adapt around it.

Learner’s corner

As per a request from a friend, I will also be posting  a second post each week on what I have been learning. In this section, I will be posting, little by little what I’m learning in my religion class. For anyone interested, the book we’re using is called Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed. The class is taught by Fr. Dunsten, who’s a really smart priest. He’s also the artist of the abbey and if you ever visit the abbey church, you’ll notice all these sculptures throughout the church.. all those are made by him. Trivia: Apparently, he’s still got the record as being the youngest artist to ever have his own exhibit in the Vancouver Art Gallery.

I’ll be sharing a little bit about what I’m learning on the topic of spirit. Spirit is not something that is material. It is intangible and invisible, thus it can’t be described by our sense knowledge (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing). We can’t describe it but we can see it’s effects… when we suddenly get a bright idea that suddenly appears out of nowhere or when we’re working on a problem all night and give up, go to bed, wake up the next morning and bang! we’ve got the answer!!

Ideas are the work of spirit… As a scientist, I would normally say… no they’re not… Ideas are action potentials firing from specific parts of the brain but that isn’t what an idea really is. Those action potentials describe how the idea transmits, they accompany the idea but they aren’t the idea itself. Thoughts aren’t material… You can’t describe thoughts with color, shape, length weight… it won’t work because those are properties of materials. It doesn’t make sense to say our brain, which is material can do something that is immaterial! Immaterial products need to come from immaterial sources and that immaterial source is the spirit. In addition, a problem would arise if we were to describe our thoughts as something physical: THERE WOULD BE A LIMIT! You can only take so much thoughts and there would come a point where you can’t receive anything else but with knowledge, we know that there isn’t an end to what we can know.

That’s it for right now!! God bless!!!

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One response

  1. I’m definitely appreciating all this insight you are sharing – thanks!

    September 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm

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