by Fr. Tommy Lane
Sometimes you might hear someone say “Seminary is not real life” or “Seminary is not reality.” I would respond to that by reminding us of today’s Gospel (Mark 3:14) in which Jesus called the Twelve firstly to be with him and secondly to go out and preach. Seminary is the time to spend with Jesus preparing to be sent out to preach. Seminary is real life, this time of formation goes back to Jesus himself. Pastores Dabo Vobis §42 states,
“To be with him”: It is not difficult to find in these words a reference to Jesus’ “accompanying” the apostles for the sake of their vocation. After calling them and before he sends them out, indeed in order to be able to send them out to preach, Jesus asks them to set aside a “period of time” for formation. The aim of this time is to develop a relationship of deep communion and friendship with himself. In this time they receive the benefit of a catechesis that is deeper than the teaching he gives to the people (cf. Mt. 13:11); also he wishes them to be witnesses of his silent prayer to the Father (cf. Jn. 17:1-26; Lk. 22:39-45). In her care for priestly vocations the Church in every age draws her inspiration from Christ’s example.
Earlier in §2 Pastores Dabo Vobis states,
The Church’s work of formation is a continuation in time of Christ’s own work, which the evangelist Mark illustrates in these words: “And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons” (Mk. 3:13-15). It can be said that through her work of forming candidates to the priesthood and priests themselves, the Church throughout her history has continued to live this passage of the Gospel in various ways and with varying intensity.
Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013