Thursday in the Octave of Easter
In the work of seminary formation (in which I am engaged), we are trying to help prepare these men for the priesthood by transforming their minds and hearts. The work involves the cooperation with God’s grace and the hard work and efforts of many religious and lay men and women who contribute to the various dimensions of formation. The seminarian’s intellectual and spiritual growth can never occur in isolation, but we work hard to help them integrate all that they receive and experience. St. Bonaventure reminds us: “Let no one think that it is enough for him to read if he lacks devotion, or to engage in speculation without spiritual joy, or to be active if he has no piety, or to have knowledge without charity, or intelligence without humility, or study without God’s grace, or to expect to know himself if he is lacking the infused wisdom of God.”
Even after the Resurrection, Jesus played the role of the teacher to His disciples when “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” He desired to prepare the disciples intellectually in order to be able to preach the Good News and witness to the nations.
It wasn’t enough for the Resurrected Christ simply to appear and teach His disciples, as if some intellectual exercise would be enough. In addition, Jesus showed His desire to be with them, to eat with them, to let them see up close His resurrected body and inspect His wounds. He wanted to strengthen the relationship that Jesus had built with them before His passion and death. Jesus’ death had not changed the reality of His love for them, the Resurrection conquered death and His love triumphed over it. These actions were taken to form the hearts of His believers.
When we follow Christ, our minds and hearts must be renewed. When we spend time with Jesus in prayer, He finds a way to shape our hearts by His love. Our authentic love for others will be a most convincing sign to them of the truth of the Gospel.
Reflection Question: How have you prepared your mind to grow in knowledge of Christ? How have you prepared your heart to grow in love of Christ?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB