These Formation Years
It has been a long time since we played Volleyball against other teams. This afternoon was a one-of-a-kind game against the aspirants. I was laughing most of the time. First, because it was really fun playing with them, and second, we were winning. Some aspirants at the other side of the net are natural stand up comedians I had the best laugh since Lent.
These are the moments that really stick into my head. Having been an seminarian or aspirant and living in the seminary has filled my life with many beautiful memories. I can say that I really grew up in the seminary. Contrary to the notion that it is some restricting place of rigid order and strict discipline, the seminary is where we really grow to become the person God wants to send in the mission field.
Most of who I am now has been honed and cultured in the seminary. It was in my aspirantate years that I was able to conquer my own fear of facing the public, of public performance, and of making mistakes before a crowd. I learned to use the guitar and saxophone and rekindled my piano skills in the seminary. I made a lot of friends and brothers in the seminary, most of whom have chosen to leave but is still in close contact with me. I got to know the ball in the seminary when I learned Basketball, Football, and Volleyball. There would be a long list if I were to continue in this manner.
Now I understand why Salesians take time to visit formation houses. Instead of shooing them away with the supposed memories of discipline and rules, the familiar buildings and playground remind them of the years where God has made them into the man they are now. The formation houses remind them of the graces God has poured upon the tender seedling of a vocation nourishing it to become the great cedar trees that becomes part of the building of Christ’s body, the Church.