Tuesday evening we went to O'Neill's Pub for the first session of this winter's Theology on Tap series. This series is based on a book called Yes! I am Catholic by a local author. Tuesday night a seminarian for our diocese spoke about his journey toward entering the seminary and why he is a Catholic.
It was very interesting to hear from a young man who was open and honest about his life that led to Seminary. He surprised me and probably everyone else there by beginning with the subject of death. Sounds like kind of a strange way to begin a story about finding your faith and entering the seminary. But he explained how thinking about death gave him the focus he needed to change his life.
He talked about how he lost his faith in high school and then during his senior year he had an experience that made him realize how much God loved him. I believe that this is a common experience for young people. We grow up in the Catholic faith, believing what we are told to believe. But somewhere around high school we start thinking for ourselves more and start questioning these beliefs. We need something to make us "own" our religion ourselves. "Own" may not be the best word to describe it, but it's the only one I can think of right now.
After having this revelation, he said he got more involved in the Church and he became a youth minister. But he said he didn't really change his life. He realized after a while that he was a hypocrite. He taught one thing, but in his personal life he still wasn't following the kind of life that he should have been. Again I felt that I could relate to this. As he said, it's easy to say one thing but it's hard to change what you do.
As you can probably guess, he did finally change his ways. He then kind of explained what brought him to consider the priesthood and his first couple years of seminary. Most importantly it was contemplating death that brought him the most focus, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
The only sure thing in life is death. We all know that no matter what we do throughout our lives, we're all going to die. That's non-negotiable. So do we live our lives thinking about how we'll be remembered when we're gone? Or do we live our lives in such a way that we can get to heaven when our time comes? That's a good question. It reminds me that I need to go to confession more often, that I need to keep this kind of focus when I get frustrated or stressed, and that I need to keep the saints in mind as role models in my life because they are already in heaven.
A lot of food for thought. I'm sure the remaining 5 sessions of ToT will be just as interesting. Next week: Christian rapper Righteous B. If you're in Lexington, try to come out next Tuesday night for what should be a great session.