I met a nice woman the other day, who had her kids in the rectory. She, like many people my age knew near nothing about the whole Catholic world. I was wearing a roman collar, and mentioned something about being a priest in training. Saying that I am an Augustinian brother is irrelevant to most people, let alone most people my age have no clue what a seminarian is.
The woman was very friendly and inviting of an intelligent conversation with somebody that actually knew what they were talking about. Maybe she did have more faith that her average peer, maybe not, but I can tell that me being a seminarian did not at all terrify her, as is sometimes the case. I can tell that she was appreciative that I was patient with her child and all of them, and that I was willing to answer her curiosity. Just as the kids stepped into a new world, she probably did too.
I really had no time to explain it all in much detail, and would have been happy to had there been more time. By the end of the tour she had asked something about working with the pope in Rome or whatever, as if all young aspiring priests hope to climb the ladder and get a job right next to the pope doing the important stuff. I am not quite sure. I know I have a conviction to work directly with people in ministry, and have no interest in working full time in a vatican office. This has a lot more to do with my gifts then the vatican essentially.
The new exorcism movie came out “The Rite,” about some new exorcism course being offered in the Vatican, or by the Vatican. There is so much alleged and/or imagined intrigue surrounding the Vatican these days. I think it also lends itself to all sorts of strange contradictions. When you say, there are a bunch of senior citizens walking around in a 500 year old institution, who do not possess blackberries, let alone email addresses… It really begs the question WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?
There is something magic about the Vatican. There is something magic about traditions that still remain relevant to people, amidst all our infatuation with the latest trend, gadget, or fashion. Essentially, I think there is something many young people subconsciously think is missing, and they have some mysterious and seemingly contradictory longing for.
I walked away finding it so funny how often people talk about the ascendancy into Church leadership, like it could be another corporation. They have made movies about this, and several books have been written. I wonder if these same people could find these movies they might have some of their curiosity satiated, to say the least. For me, however, Getting the honors and notoriety should be irrelevent, but apparently it’s not. Whatever I do in or out of the Church only has merit because it is what Jesus asks of me.