Day 5 - A week in the life of a seminarian

Today, back to the normal schedule, we had Mass at 6:45 AM.  I wore a tie because I am assigned as extra-ordinary minister of Holy Communion for the next few days.  This isn't something required or anything,  but I like to dress up on occasion and this gave me a good excuse.  We had three priests at Mass, so I didn't have to fill that role after all.  Mass today was really, really awesome.  I don't usually know why a certain Mass, or hour of the office, or rosary hits me really well, but today was one of those days.  Fr. Joe Moriarty (our vice rector) gave the homily, and he reminded me of how important Jesus' question "who do you say that I am?" is.  Think about it!  Do you act in a way that shows your answer to this question?  Of course, as St. Peter, we will often end up falling, not believing, or being overcome by fear, but was must always come back to his answer "Lord; you know that I love you" - John 21:16.  In the office of readings I also just loved the passage (link click "office of readings" and scroll down to the second reading) from St. Vincent de Paul.  Partly quoted for your benefit: 

"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity."

This is something that I have begun to also see in Pope Francis - maybe I need to work on it a little...  Love of Christ absolutely must appear in the rest of our life through love of our fellow man.   The question of Jesus, and are affirming our belief in Him as God, must go beyond just saying that we love Jesus.  We must answer with love to Jesus, and then follow His command to St. Peter: "feed my sheep".  

I had a small breakfast (small bowl of oatmeal) because I am fasting today.  One of the guys had a birthday yesterday, so a bunch of guys are going out tonight.  Knowing that, I decided to fast instead of skipping meat today.  I figure fasting is harder than no-meat, so I'm not really slacking...  

My first class, senior seminar, was cancelled today, so I began the school day at 10:00 AM with moral issues.  We talked some more about capital punishment, and how every seemingly clear-cut issue usually can be incredibly complicated when you are actually working on it in the real world.

In psychology we again continued to look at areas where young children are cognitively developing.  We talked some more about limitations, like irreversibility (when a young kid doesn't know what operations are reversible - opening/closing a box - and not - breaking a toy), and only being able to focus on the static state of an object (they understand that the show was untied, and now it is tied, but can't remember the steps along the way), and a lack of the concept of conservation (the same amount of liquid is taller in a skinnier glass).  Basically, their ability to think logically slowly grows from ages 3 to 7 or so.  They can think about objects, but can't manipulate those concepts.

I actually got out of psychology like 20 minutes early because the professor had finished everything he wanted to, so Andrew and I went over to the library.  I chatted with some others who were hanging out there, we talked about calculus (derivatives can be complicated), literature (Chesterton is cool), and philosophy (I finally get why the motion must be simultaneous to prove God through motion).  Then we went over to the Marian "shrine" (also called the Rosary walk) and prayed the Rosary.  I always find this really peaceful, but I struggle to concentrate on the mysteries because people are walking around, or mowing, or whatever...  Anyway, because I was fasting, I skipped lunch in the cafeteria and went back to the library to work on some calculus before class.

Calculus class was complicated today.  Those problems I was struggling with before class - they were the topic of today's class.  Derivatives had been pretty easy for me (If f(x) = x+ 2x2 – 11 then f'(x) [the derivative] = 3x2 + 4x).  However, today we looked at much more complicated functions, where instead of just moving the exponent around (notice how it works: if f(x) = xn then f’(x) = nxn-1).  But, what do you do if your function is a bit more complicated?  Like: y = (x3)[(4-x2)1/2]  Here you have to use the product theorem.  This basically states that you take the x3 and the (4-x2)1/2 and call them “f” and “g” respectively, then you can find what the derivative of the entire expression by calculating: y’ = fg’ + f’g.  This means you have to find the derivatives of f and g.  f is easy: f(x) = x3, so f’(x) is 3x2.  But, it isn’t as easy for g.  To find the derivative of (4-x2)1/2, you have to use the chain rule.  This, on its own, isn’t too complicated.  You take the term, move the exponent as we saw before and then multiply the entire thing by the derivative of just the “4 – x2”.  So this looks like g(x) = (4-x2)1/2, so g’(x) = ½(4-x2)-1/2.  Thus, the derivative of the entire function, plugging in the parts that we just figured out, is: y’ = (x3)( ½(4-x2)-1/2) + (3x2)[(4-x2)1/2].  Having fun yet?  Yeah…  Now, set that expression to 0, and solve for x…

So after calculus, my classes were done for the day, so I came back to Bruté and played a few pool games with other guys.  I only managed to win one game, but it was fun either way.  After that I wandered over to my room (there didn't seem to be much else going on), and did a few things on the computer (including working on the computer - plugging in all those equations takes a while...)  At 4:15 PM, I went up the chapel where we had a Holy Hour before evening prayer.  The Holy Hour was, once again really, really fantastic.  (I love it when prayer is like that!)  I said mid-day prayer at the beginning, then the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and then I read a chapter out of the book by Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen, The Priest is Not His Own.  I was debating on reading this book (on the priesthood) versus Forming Intentional Disciples (Wendell) on evangelization, but I eventually went with Sheen.  As it turns out, the chapter that I moved into was about evangelization - God works in mysterious ways!  Best quote (out of many really good ones): 

Our love of souls must be persistent.  We get used to reading the parable of the Good Shepherd, but do we understand that for us priests it is a spelling out of our obligation to seek the lost sheep?  Leaving a dinner, breaking an evening's entertainment, interrupting a siesta - all such efforts are summed up in being willing to leave "those ninety-nine others on the mountain-side, and go out to look for the one that is straying"  (Mt 18:12)"

After evening prayer, a bunch of us went out and played some two-touch football.   It was a lot of fun, but, as always with football, I feel like I'm not doing something right because I rarely get the ball.  I run around like crazy, wear myself out, and often get away from my defender, but I just don't seem to ever end up in an open spot.  Anyway, the teams were really well matched and we ended in a tie (5-5) after about an hour of playing.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, tonight we celebrated Adam's birthday by going to Macaroni Grill.  I ended up getting the lasagna - It was one of the cheaper options on the menu (always a big deciding factor in my choice), and it just sounded really good.  Let's just say that I was disappointed when it came out because it was half the size of a lot of other meals, but I had changed my mind by the end of the meal.  It turned out a lot bigger than it looked!  The evening was a lot of fun!  Right after the waiters sang "happy birthday", the guys in the kitchen (it was open to the restaurant) dumped ladle fulls of grease on the stoves.  So these "waves" of flame roared out lighting up the restaurant - maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it was pretty cool!

Alright, well I'm tired, so this post will come to an end.  Before heading to bed I caught the tail end of "The Hobbit - an unexpected journey", said night prayer, played some pool (actually almost winning!), and ate some ice cream with home-made chocolate/peanut-butter topping.  Once again, an awesome day!


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  2. Thats awesome about the ladles full of grease Dominic! I wish I could have seen that. I've been reading "The Priest is Not His Own, since last fall. (I've picked up other books during it for Lent, etc.) But I love that book! It is so amazing! My favorite part that I just read the other day, said that "when we pick up the breviary to pray, we pick up not only our own intentions that we offer with it, but we pick up the weight of all of the intentions of those in the whole world." What powerful imagery that is! It kind of shocked me a little. Another great post! And as I do like to say: "Sleep with the angels, dream with the mystics, rise with the saints, and get stoned with the martyrs."