To love and to be loved, this constitutes the whole purpose for human existence, and without love, life eventually becomes lifeless and cold. While other natural goods may be enjoyable and may entertain for a season, without love, they eventually fail to warm the heart. What is success without someone to share it with? What is a beautiful home if it is empty and void of friendship?
However, even human love has limits. In a fallen world, when love is not purified and rooted in something greater, it can become just one more way in which seek comfort over sacrifice. For love to have the foundations it needs to survive, it must be grounded in eternal truth; it must be transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It must be raises so that it can participate in God’s way of loving, in God’s way of acting.
In this manner, the formation of the priest is about tuning the heart to the silent music of God’s presence while nourishing the intellect so love can reach its full potential. Priestly formation is about so much more than book learning because it involves the interiorization of a whole way of living, a way of bringing forth intimacy with Jesus Christ. The four pillars of formation (spiritual, human, pastoral, and intellectual) signify the vision of this total formation of the human person, helping seminarians to fall in love with and be configured to the person of Jesus Christ.
Human formation ensures that a seminarian understand that the human person is made for relationship, that this constitutes the fundamental orientation of the human experience. Spiritual formation teaches the seminarian that the principle relationship in this journey is with God, and intellectual formation allows for this relationship to move beyond simply nice sentiment. Finally, pastoral formation indicates a kind of going forth in which the seminarian is sent to proclaim what he has received.
All of this, of course, takes the commitment of both Bishops, Priests, and dedicated lay people who give of themselves generously so that young men can live their dreams. I know that I was the recipient of such time and attention, and I am please to say that as a part of our contributions to our Bishop’s fundraising efforts, the people of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church are likewise committed to this important mission.
I just want to take a moment to show my appreciation for the parishioners of St. Bernadette’s and those who support my work with Christian Meditation. I am so blessed to share the love of Jesus Christ with the world, and that is may possible through the generosity of others. Thank you.