This post in one that’s been on my mind for awhile now, I’m happy I can sit down and write it out.
It’s not too uncommon while one is in Seminary formation to find that a large number of people, from all swaths of the social scale, are drawn to yourself. This at first can be a little bit of a shock, and even frightening. You find yourself talking and meeting people whom you would have never associated with before you came to Seminary. You had your comfort zone and never saw the need to expand it. Let me tell you; Seminary expands that comfort zone.
What the heck is going on then? Why are people attached to us (seminarians)? What makes us so awe inspiring to be around? We don’t think we’re any different from%90 of the populous, but apparently something is going on. Through my thoughts and meditations I think I’ve come to a conclusion as to why there is a huge interest in seminarians and men of the cloth (priests).
In one word : Authenticity. The human person desires Authenticity. Ever since we ate that dumb apple, we have striven to live the authentic life once again. Original Sin dropped us out of Eden, however that doesn’t stop us from wanting back in. This search for authentic life is in each one of us, that is what motivates us.
1. of undisputed origin; genuine.
This definition by Merriam-Webster gives us a good definition of authentic, but how can we take that and apply it to our lives? It’s quite easy really, let’s take a look. When we go to the grocery store, what are we looking for when we shop? The real stuff. Grape juice- we look for the ‘made with real grapes’, because we don’t want fake grapes. How about ‘real cheese’? I’d actually like to know how many people have actually had REAL Cheese. This search for authenticity is all around us.
In our Relationships, what do we look for in a person? Someone who is going to be real with us. I hope you don’t marry someone because they’re really good at putting on makeup. Or because he has a job to buy you the things you want. No you marry a person who is going to make you feel loved and cared for. Someone who you can go home to and tell all about your day and will take a genuine interest in your life, because they are part of it. How do we feel when we date someone to only find that they cheated on us? Dejected, fake, and lied too. This is that search for Authentic life coming to light.
So what’s up with seminarians then? We’re not dating people or looking for others to fulfill our needs, no we’re living our lives. It’s not just living, it’s living our lives to the fullest extent possible. I believe that is what attracts people gather around us. Some of the guys I live with here are the most Authentic people I know. It’s very real in the way they talk to you and interact with you. We take a genuine approach to how our brothers are really doing, not just how they say they are.
It;s not just here that we do this, it’s outside of the Seminary grounds as well. We take this feeling back to our parishes and our Dioceses, and the best thing? It’s contagious. Be real with one person, I mean honest to goodness real with them, and you will open so many closed doors. You may not like that person, but I can guarantee that’ll you’ll grow closer together.
Seminarians are Authentic, Priests are authentic, People are Authentic, the World wants to be Authentic, Are you Authentic?
p.s. Sorry for the long post.