Forgetting to be a Christian

Being at St. Charles, older and more experienced seminarians are always offering advice about how to be a more authentic and discerning seminarian or just how to get through the many years of study and seminarian life. Some advice is certainly worth keeping and every now and then even worth living by.

Recently, a long-time seminarian gave advice in the form of a story in which he was being called out by his bishop for forgetting to be an authentic Christian. He admits that it was true and that the way he was acting was not in accord with being a good Christian. He then gave me the advice not to forget what all this time at the seminary is for. The goal is keeping my eyes on Jesus and not losing sight of what being a Christian is about.

After hearing this, I reflected on this concept for myself: how often do I lose focus on Jesus by getting caught up in wanting the bad, boring, and not fun part of the seminary to be over? How often do I allow myself to wander and come to the conclusion that “only then, in the future, could I really do my best and make an impact?” Because for us as fallen human beings, right now is never an ideal time to try and be an authentic Christian. I see this in myself and I hear it from so many people: once I get into Seminary then everything will be in place and I will do great, once I become a priest, once I get into college, once I get a job in my field, or once I retire. Well, that never seems to be the case. It’s only when we accept that now is the time to change do we change. The future does not make us change but only through our action and choices do we change.

A part of being a Christian means living in the present and not waiting for a better time to be better a Christian. Rather it’s now that we should be great Christians. In order to be great Christians, we must have Jesus at the center of our lives. Whatever may be placing Jesus down the road, making him someone to be dealt with later, needs to be taken out of life. Once we have Jesus in our sight everything else becomes secondary and is put in its proper place. For our whole life is in the hands of God, and we are able to experience that when he is in the middle of our life.

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