I can recall the ecstatic feeling I had only six months ago when I was about to begin my first year of seminary. Leading up to August 20th, move-in day, I remember sharing this excitement with another seminarian who had already been in formation for a few years. We were sitting outside at a restaurant having lunch, and the joy of entering seminary shone through me as bright as the sun beating down on us on that warm summer day. After I finished rambling about my fervor for entering formation, the seminarian I was with smiled and laughed. “You’re in the honeymoon phase, Colin,” he said. “Keep this fervor in mind when things get challenging- the excitement you have now doesn’t last forever.” I trusted this man very much so I kept his advice in mind, though I thought to myself, “Surely, it can’t get too bad?” And so the honeymoon phase continued.
That is, until one month later I found myself trying to write an essay analyzing the rhetorical appeal used in a speech exploring the tactic of “rock throwing” in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Being a college seminarian, I’m required to take the same prerequisite classes most college freshmen take, including my current opponent, English 101. I was at a loss of what to write, unmotivated, and finding every possible way to procrastinate. The honeymoon phase had certainly ended, and I thought to myself, “How is this going to help me be a priest? How is this helping me grow in intimacy with Christ?” It all felt so mundane, and quite frankly pointless. All I could think about was my upcoming Holy Hour: “That's where I can grow closer to Christ,” I thought. But then I remembered what my rector had said in a formation talk given to us during our first week of seminary: “God is calling you to live in the present, and every moment you don’t live in the present you miss out on an opportunity to experience union with Christ – you miss out on a glimpse of eternity.” When I remembered these words I was shaken to my core by the reality of the need to live in the present. God isn’t holding onto my past, and He’s not just waiting for me in the future when I get to my Holy Hour. He is with me right here, right now in the present moment just as close as He has ever been to me. I suddenly became aware of the aching in God’s Heart to be united with me at all times, even when writing my English paper. I then took my hands off the keyboard, made the sign of the cross, and began to pray. I didn’t say anything special, I simply acknowledged the presence of the King of Kings dwelling inside of me and offered up my time of writing my paper to Him.
We are called to do the Father’s will at all times in our lives, and at this moment God was calling me to be a student. It still amazes me how we can do the will of God so perfectly in such small and seemingly meaningless ways. But when we do these small things in relationship with Christ we are slowly conforming ourselves to His Most Sacred Heart. Jesus was a carpenter for 30 years before starting his ministry. Yet, it was the Father’s will that Jesus be a carpenter, and so Jesus accepted this and joyfully followed His Father’s will in the small things. Faithfully following God’s will in all the small things of life prepared Jesus to submit to God’s will with the most important task in history - the salvation of the world. Just like Jesus, by being faithful to the will of God in all the small ways we are preparing ourselves to follow Him in great ways.
Colin Lukas is in College I (Freshman) at St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C. His home parish is St. John’s in Severna Park. Please pray for Colin!