“The Faster You Blink…”
College football season has arrived and that means new expectations for many programs. Husker Nation in particular have high hopes as they finally welcome the Scott Frost era. One of coach Frost’s coaching mantras goes like this: “The faster you blink, the faster you think, the faster you process, react and make a play and the more that all overwhelms the opponent, especially on defense.”
What does all this have to do with seminary? Some may think absolutely nothing. But, during the beginning of this new academic year, I’ve thought a lot about my own personal formation throughout my time at seminary. And, in a sense, personal formation and the formation of a new team can draw on a few similarities. Just as Coach Frost wants to form his players into a winning football team, so too does Jesus Christ want to form us seminarians into the men He wants us to become.
Entering SY, I thought I had a good grasp on who I was as a man. I quickly came to realize that I had no concept of what it meant to be a beloved son or what it was that the Lord wanted to do with my heart. How far I was from making a true gift of self. All my insecurities, my immaturity, and my selfishness was laid before me and God wanted to tear it all down only to build it all back up. Like St Jerome says, “I bid you not to tear your garments but rather to rend your hearts which are laden with sin. Like wine skins, unless they have been cut open, they will burst of their own accord.” Not so much through blinking fast are our hearts cut open, but rather, through many encounters with Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament do we allow Him to gently operate on our hearts. Let us embrace the hidden life of Christ. Through devoted prayer, our formation is put in His hands, and through His grace He can mold our hearts. As 1 Corinthians says, “know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” As beautiful of instruments as they are, it is not our formators, or our spiritual directors, or our professors that build the
house, “but only God, who gives the growth.” 1 Cor 3:7 Looking back at the last two years, I am utterly grateful with what the Lord has revealed to my heart.
I was hungry to be formed but had no clue what that meant. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” that is, for You Oh Lord, for they will be satisfied. How beautiful it is for us seminarians to be able to continue to avail ourselves to You, Lord Jesus, so that You can continue to form us – and in doing so, hopefully we can overwhelm the real opponent, Satan and all his fallen angels.