Posted by: Robert A. Holsapple | March 1, 2010

Confessions of a second year seminarian: Part two

There are times the words flow smoothly and freely as if of their own volition, and there are times when the arid desert wind might appear refreshing and inspiring as there is nothing else to draw upon.  At times such as these I pray.

One of the nicest surprises and most fulfilling discoveries of my now two-year seminary education is the ability at any given moment, in the midst of class, while in conversation with others or when alone such as now, to pray.  Surprised because I have been living in a world where such behavior has been considered an affront to the sensitivities of others and tolerance for public displays of spirituality have been outlawed in many places.  I am sure you are sufficiently familiar with any number of cases that have slogged their way through our country’s courts over the years for me to have to elaborate further.  Fulfilling because prayer has become more than simply something I do when I want something or when I want to give thanks or ask for intercession on behalf of others.  It has, in fact, become simply a way of being.  Nothing more is required than to engage in a deep dialogue with the creator of the universe and try to see what it is that is being done around me that calls for my accompaniment.

For me it has become increasingly more important that I allow time and space for prayer and meditation, for the practice of several of the spiritual disciplines.  I find that if I take the time to center on something larger than myself or my own circumstances – and I think the God of all creation to whom I pray would be considered larger than myself – the day and all that is encountered therein generally is more positive and productive than it would otherwise have been.

Prayer provides a connection with the divine, with the spirit and with others in God’s Kingdom here on earth.  This connection I am experiencing while in seminary compels me to want to remain connected throughout the day; not merely at its earliest part.  Why am I not able to more fully live out the gospel in all of my day to day interactions with others, with the environment and with whatever resources over which I am granted stewardship?  There are times I lose sight of the bigger picture and get caught up in the drama being lived around me, reactive to rather than nurturing the social milieu.

In the Christian faith we believe that Jesus lived a life here on earth as fully human and fully divine.  In his life we hear of no time at which Jesus failed to carry out what he believed to be the will of God.  I know from the deepest part of my being that while I want to be more like Jesus in my daily journey through life, I will stumble and fall along the way despite my best efforts or at times perhaps because of my best efforts.  But I can keep before me the image of Christ and remember the message that he brought to earth, remembering every now and again to take the time to pray and to love others and to give freely of myself.

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