I just came from finishing a movie with the rest of the Seminary community. We saw it during our dinner as it was the eve of Hari Raya holiday. This is our usual movie night during such occasions. The movie? Ah Boys To Men (pt 1).
One of the aspirants who attended our last weekend's vocation retreat had commented that life in the seminary to him is somewhat more difficult than life in the army today! If he had come in and join us in the seminary during my time as a seminarian his comments may not have been too far off the mark. However, today, much have changed and the environment has improved tremendously.The main difference between the Army and the Seminary can't be any further from each other. One deals with the interests of the country and national defence, while the other deals with the interests of the heart and the soul. Strangely, both point to 'serving a higher purpose'.
No, I am not promoting nor being dismissive with the nation's National Service. This has always been part of the country's psyche and its value and implication cannot be easily discounted or analysed like some other topic of interest or water-cooler talk.
It the element of transformation that intrigues me.
It is the literal manner in which the person, the young naive man, over a period of time becomes a mature, confident and grown up man ready to face the challenges that will be thrown at him in real life. Only in a seminary, the formation is towards a life where, yes, challenges abounds, but is one that follows the higher purpose where God's presence and plan take special and unique placing.
Tomorrow, we will have two deacons (Edward Seah and Benedict Chng) who will be ordained to the priesthood at the Church of the Holy Family. They came in around 8 years ago wondering whether they will ever make it to become a priest, went through their lives as seminarians engaging in all the necessary formation to prepare towards the ministerial priesthood, and now about to start their next phase of life a Man of God, a priest after the heart of Jesus Christ. I wonder what they are thinking now? It will be another arrival of the milestone of their life and a new chapter unfolds before them.
They have come very far since they first set foot in the Seminary to turn back now. There is only the new journey ahead. We pray for them that they become the pastors and mediators which God has always envisioned them to be!