In the Shadow of St. Peter

Unlike the other contributers on the blog, I am not at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. I guess that means I am not literally "in the shadow of St. Peter"s in Rome, but I think here in Columbus Ohio at the Pontifical College Josephinum, I am still in St. Peter's shadow. I will explain.

Each man in the seminary is responding from a personal call from Christ. This can be compared to St. Peter being called out of the boat; we are called out of our old jobs and our personal aspirations, just as St. Peter had to renounce his old profession as a fishermen. Then Peter proceeded to follow Christ in His earthly ministry. This was kind of like St. Peter's seminary formation. What makes our lives radically different in appearance is that we no longer experience Christ in a physical human body on earth. Instead of hearing the call through the voice of Christ's physical body, we hear the call in the silent desires of our hearts, in the moments of inspired clarity, and in the wise observations of our priest formators in seminary.

Seminary formation is a process of purification, keeping and developing what is authentic and Christlike in a person, while discarding what dims Christ's presence in a man. It is also, like the life of any Christian, a journey of following Christ in daily life. Every journey has its highs and lows. Like St. Peter stepping out of the boat in faith, then proceeding to be distracted by the noise of the storm and sinking. The seminarian steps forward in faith time and time again, but then sinks as his personal selfishness drags down almost to the point of drowning, only to be saved by Christ's loving and merciful hand. It is in this process that a man becomes what God has intended him to be from the moment of his conception, a priest.

Although I do not literally live in the shadow St. Peter's, I am following in the footsteps of St. Peter. In following the Lord I daily step out in faith, I sink in sin, but above all I experience God's love, mercy, and grace as God makes me his own. Please pray for me and my brother seminarians. In my next posts I will continue to explore how we as seminarians follow our Lord in the shadow of St. Peter (and write more about books).