Thoughts from a young theologian


So today is a special day as it happens to be the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel… Today, also being the name’s day of Father Abbot, we had no classes so I was able to catch up just a little bit on my studies. Today as well, we had our mass in Latin, which I have been told happens once each month. In addition, we had a common meal all together at lunch time. Usually, every meal time, the major seminarians, myself included, eat in our own room, separate from the minor seminarians, who themselves are separate from the monks. While we are all one big community here in the seminary, there are 3 distinct mini-communities as well. The monks, the major seminarians, and the minor seminarians. 99% of the time, these communities do everything separately. The only things we do together are certain prayers (Majors are always present during the monks’ prayer times in the abbey church, but the Minors aren’t) and mass, where the whole community gathers as one. Very very rarely, like today, we had a common meal where we all sat down together in the same room… majors, minors and monks… It was pretty interesting and I got to meet some of the monks who I would never have been able to meet otherwise. 😛

Feasts are always pretty big celebrations here in the seminary. Their importance is most easily seen during meal times as well… Heheheheh you can totally tell that I’m getting a bit hungry… I can’t seem to stop talking about food… 😛 Anyways, on weekdays, we usually eat lunch and dinner in silence. We listen to one of us who’s been designated a table reader as he reads out loud a book that has been chosen by our rector. This past month, we have been hearing stories from a book written by a hospital chaplain… One of the bigger adjustments I had to make was to keep quiet as I ate… That’s still something that’s not very easy for me to do…. Luckily, on Friday afternoons, we break the silence for the weekend, which is one of the things to look forward to during the week.

On big feast days though, which we know when we see incense used at mass, we don’t have table readings and we can chatter and blab about whatever we want to at table… c”,) Those times don’t happen very often so it’s really nice when they come around.

Learner’s corner

So last time, I was bugging you about the difference between spirit and soul. All living things have souls but only man have a soul that is also a spirit.. One other characteristic about spirits is that they do not take up space because they are partless. Being immaterial, there are no parts to a spirit… When we think of hamburgers, for example (going with the same theme of food), there are different parts to a hamburger.. the patty, the bun, the lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. Making up the patty are atoms of carbon, hydrogen… etc that are present in the meat. Anything that is material has parts to it, and having parts makes it occupy space. Spirits, being partless mean that they do not occupy space… It doesn’t have an inside or an outside, top or bottom, one end or the other end… so it’s not in space. That’s why if you cut off your arm, you’re not going to have your spirit retreating really quickly into the rest of your body.

Sheed gives an example of the phrase “mercy is more useful than judgment.” In this phrase, there are 3 ideas… mercy, judgment, and usefulness… In order to compare the three, we need to bring them together and synthesize all three to get one distinct new idea of the usefulness of mercy and the usefulness of judgment.  If these were concepts separate from each other in our spirit, there wouldn’t be any way for us to get these together and be compared. This part is still a little bit weird for me I must admit… but there you go!! 😀

God bless!!!

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