An article in the Catholic Digest by a seminarian gives the readers a brief overview of his growth as a human being.
In the 3rd grade elementary school, the writer with his father, visited a nearby monastery for Mass on Sunday. The priest he met left a lasting impression on him for his kindness and peaceful demeanor.This remained with him for years after and a reason he entered the seminary.
He was considered naive and gullible. He always tried to do what was right and say the right things to receive approval. More than happy to be a good servant of Jesus he was acting under pressure. No joy, only duty, it was an obsession. What he did had to be done.
He finally did enter the seminary and this way of behaving followed him. No big fights with others but he was strong in his opinions. His dignity was important, in comparison to others he always considered himself right and in his own eyes number one. Everything needed to be seen thru his own eyes and his values needed to be satisfied. "I am right others need to follow."
This gradually came to an end and the faults of others were seen as his own magnified. This brought discouragement. The priestly life and his own life was seen negatively. He saw himself as a monster. Like a person in flight, he entered the military and thought after two years things would get better but it was not so. The Seminary became a trial. All was habit. Attending Mass and communion he felt like a hypocrite. He tried to change but nothing worked.
He continued being conscious of others and felt he should leave but couldn't and time passed. He began to feel more alienated from the spiritual life and began to become involved in other distractions. On vacation, he would contact his high school buddies and go drinking. He behaved other than like a seminarian and didn't want to be considered one.
One day on vacation a grandmother saw him at Mass and put something in his pocket. She was a street vendor with her small articles for sale in the village market. She told him that she prayed for him and was touched to see him at daily Mass and kept him in her prayers, praying that he would be a good priest.The crumbled piece of paper had a Korean bill valued about 10 dollars. He was moved by the encounter and the knowledge that he was loved by the grandmother left him embarrassed but also a warm feeling.
He was struck with the knowledge that he was not called because of his goodness or ability. Knowing this did not change his way of life but knowing the love of God and of others made him conscious of something that was nor present before.
He remembers the recent ordination ceremonies for priests and deacons and the answer to the call of their name: " Yes, I am here" He looks forward to the day when he also will shout out: "Yes, I am here".