Hope and Joy in seeking God's Path
I’ve been on faculty at St. Joseph Seminary in Louisiana for several months now, and it has been inspiring to see so many young men in love with Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
One might think that with all the negative, ugly headlines about the Church, seminaries would be a hopeless and joyless place to be. On the contrary, what I see here are men who have encountered the Risen Lord and are filled with supernatural hope and joy.
One reason these seminarians are full of hope and joy is because of their daily encounter with the Risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus Christ says, “I will be with you always, even until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Nowhere is this truer than in the Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, Our Savior. The seminarians get to eat His Body and drink His Blood at Holy Mass every day. They encounter the Risen Lord in daily Eucharistic Adoration, as well as in Eucharistic processions and vigils.
Another reason the seminarians are full of hope and joy is because they are receiving clear, authentic Catholic Church teaching, doctrines handed down from the Apostles.
St. Paul says, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The seminarians are doing just that as they learn the Church’s teaching, inspiring growth in their faith in Christ, allowing the word of Christ to dwell abundantly in them.
We often hear the seminarians say, “Wow! I never knew that about the Faith! Why don’t more people know this!?” Learning the Church’s teachings inspires them to want to share what they have learned with their families, friends, and the people back in their diocese, whom they will one day serve.
Also, the seminarians are hopeful and joyful here because they are encountering the Lord in the poor. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40). Each one of them has a pastoral assignment where he serves the poor, the aged, and those in need in the local area.
Seminarians also like to volunteer their time with various charitable organizations. For example, we took a group to St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in New Orleans and made over 40,000 meals with Cross International. This was a powerful way to encounter the Lord through service to the poor, and the seminarians enjoyed this experience tremendously!
And the seminarians are hopeful and joyful because they are encountering the Lord in their brothers. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there” (Matthew 18:20).
There is a strong brotherhood here because of their shared mission of serving Jesus Christ and growing in virtue, in charity. These bonds, these relationships, help them experience the friendship of Jesus Christ, encouraging them in times of difficulty. So, the world may paint the Church in a depressing light — but the reality is just the opposite, especially in the seminary. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
As the seminarians follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, they are filled with a supernatural joy, for joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Our Fort Worth seminarians are grateful for all your support! They are praying for you every day. Continue to pray for them. And pray that more young men from the Diocese of Fort Worth may come to the seminary and experience the hope and joy God wants for them.