Being at seminary doesn't make one Holy. :-) I suppose I knew that coming in. I suppose I knew that seminarians aren't Holy. I suppose I knew that, even at the end of seminary formation, ordination does not itself make one Holy. I should clarify - what I really mean is perfectly holy. That's what I'm not. I'm grateful more and more each day for formation - for a process of identifying, sanding away (sometimes knocking off with a sledge hammer) those parts of me, of self, that aren't part of what a healthy, strong, Christ-centered man is. After all, first and foremost, before and a part of being "priest" MUST be being a healthy, strong, Christ-centered man. Thank GOD for formation. Thank GOD for the Church's acceptance of imperfect men as clay tossed on the wheel to be shaped and molded.
Most of all, Thank GOD for the Spirit which helps to make us (all of us, not just seminarians) moldable, formable. For His word and work in our lives that makes the clay more pliable. I read in a book on prayer when I first got here words that ring in my head every day, over and over. It's ALL grace. ALL of it. Not of me. Grace. Grace to be open. Grace to be convicted by the Spirit. Grace to be drawn to reconciliation. Grace to be accepting of - to love - to be challenged by and at the same time inspired by - the whole process. Grace to smile through it, even when there are difficulties. Grace.
But, I digress. What I really wanted to share was how powerful a song from my youth has been today. (Have I blogged about this Charlie Peacock song before? If so, I apologize.) When I was in high school Rich Jones was our Campus Life coach. He was the first person I ever heard start a prayer with "God - you are SO AWESOME!!!" His approach to life and following Christ literally - and I mean literally - rocked my world. Put me on a new footing with God, got be out from behind the little walls of loving God only through prescribed sentimentalities that I wasn't connecting with on a real level at all, and brought me to a place where I could walk and talk with God a little more authentically.
Anyway, one day I get in Rich's car - I think he was giving me a ride to work after school or something. And there's this SONG on the tape player. (Yep - I'm old - cassettes in the car were what we had. Didn't know what CDs were yet.) Anyway, this song comes on the tape. And it, too, rocked my world. About a year or 18 months ago, DC Talk re-recorded the song. I have it on my iPod. I'm in a habit now (don't fall off your chair, those of you who know me) of getting up around 5:30, and by 6 I'm outside somewhere with my iPod praying. Some of my prayer is rooted in listening to a handful of songs that really lift my heart to God, and help me pray to Him those things that words are insufficient to pray. This song is one of them.
Father - I want to be in the Light. I trust you to birth in me continually, every day, as I strive for continual conversion, a spirit that even more aptly struggles against that-which-is-not-of-You. Save me from the disease of self. I want to be in the Light. I'm still - and always will be - a man in need of a Savior!! Thank You for sending & being that Savior! Thank You for all the days and all the ways that You are molding and crafting me into the man You want me to be. Thank You for the grace of conversion. Thank you for the reminder of how MUCH I want to be in the Light, and how reliant on You for that I am. I truly am falling in love.
I've been trying to find a light
on my own, apart from You.
I am the king of excuses -
I've got one for every selfish thing I do.
The disease of self runs through my blood
It's a cancer fatal to my soul.
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
to keep this sickness under control.
What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior.
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
that I'm still a man in need of a Savior.
I want to be in the Light, as You are in the Light.
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens.
Oh Lord - Be my Light, and Be my Salvation!
All I want is to be in the Light!