A few weeks ago the Seminary welcomed the local Churches Together group for evening prayer. We are fortunate here to be blessed with a group of Christians, led by their clergy and pastors, who are very keen on working together as much as possible – especially when it comes to acts of prayer and worship, as well as working to eradicate injustices in the local area. (Work that is hardly foreign to our own Archdiocese.)
One of my favourite events for which we join the Churches Together group is the Good Friday Walk of Witness and Service of Prayer. A few years ago at this service, the rather charismatic Baptist minister kept repeating a line while preaching which is often recalled in the seminary community: ‘It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!’
The message behind this line, I believe, can be helpful at this halfway point in our Lenten journey. Even though you still have every good intention and a fervent desire to succeed in the Lenten work of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, you are starting to get fed up of all this Lent stuff. Well, you will if you are anything like me!
These days of Lent in which we unite ourselves in a special way to the Lord’s Passion on the Cross can be difficult. However, even in this season, we continue to be the people of the Resurrection; we know that by the end of this month we will have celebrated the Glorious Resurrection of the Lord. We trust that the preparation of this penitential season will be worth it, and hope that we are able to grow closer in our relationship with the Resurrected Lord through this preparation and the grace which we make ourselves ready to receive.
The seminary formation for the Priesthood is in some ways similar. It is certainly an opportunity for preparation; and like a good Lenten practice, it requires the engagement of the whole person. Like Lent, it can be difficult – as with all authentic Christian formation, it requires taking up the burden of the Cross. Both involve hope too. For most of your time as a Seminarian you can only hope to be ordained. Yet because we know that the Lord is good, we can expect that we will grow into a deeper intimacy with Him by His grace.
Be assured of my prayers for a blessed Lent, and a glorious Eastertide.