Seminarian - Mr. Malley
March in seminary is a huge time of discernment, both on the part of the seminarian and on the part of the Church. We are entering evaluation season, where we work with our formation team to decide whether or not God is calling us to priesthood or to something else. Discernment is a big word that can be used in many different ways. The dictionary defines it as the ability to judge well. Here in the church world, we use the word discernment to mean a time of deep prayer in which we allow God to work with us to show us what he has in store for us. Men and women both enter periods of discernment before they make final vows to their religious communities (Sr. Mary Kolbe just made her final profession to her community in August 2020 after a lengthy period of discernment). A period of discernment also takes place between couples who are dating. They enter this deep time of prayer with God to see if He wants them to marry. This is why the church requires weddings to be planned sometimes up to a year in advance, rather than just being able to show up to the local parish and get married. Here in the seminary, it is often thought that once you get here, you are 100% going to get ordained, no discernment required. That is incredibly untrue. The seminary is a setting in which the men are allowed to enter into a very deep period of personal and communal prayer with God about their possible vocations, without all the distractions of the outside world getting in the way. God uses this time in a person’s life to show them what He wants them to do, rather it be to stay the course and become a priest, or to get married and raise a holy family, or whatever He has in mind. Allowing God to work in your life is a beautiful thing, but very hard to do. I guess my point in writing this is to persuade you to begin to let God into your heart this Lent. Entertaining a religious vocation, possible career choice, family life, or what have you is not something that the instant you set your mind on it, you’re in for life. Be open to the fact that God may be calling you to something much greater than what you are thinking for yourself. Lent is a wonderful time to surrender to God, so that come Easter, we can rise with Him anew. My friends, I invite you to open your hearts to God. Enter a period of prayer with Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him. He loves you so much, and he has so much in store for you - things you could never even think to imagine. Be open to Him in a big way. Offer up your Lenten sacrifices as a way to grow closer to Him, and allow him into your heart. God Bless you, my brothers and sisters. I miss you dearly.
A Blessed Lent, and Joyous Easter to all of you.
Hello, my friends! I hope you are all settling in nicely to this new year, and are not under too much snow over there in Connecticut. I’ve heard that it has been quite a snowy last couple of weeks. I saw your snowmen - wow! Nice work.
Can you believe that it has almost been an entire year since the start of the pandemic? In my prayer these last few days, I have been reflecting on all that has changed in the last year. Like many of you, I’m sure, life pre-March 2020 seems like a distant memory. It is important, especially in times like these, to recognize that God is still very much at work in our world.
I believe it was Anne Frank who said “look at all the beauty still left around you, and be happy.” This is so important to remember, as it is so easy to fall into negativity. We must not. There is good to come from this. This weekend, I attended Mass at Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, MI. They created an outdoor chapel out of SNOW. Michigan got hit with a lot of snow in the last week, and they took it and created a beautiful snow chapel for the faithful people to SAFELY gather and worship the Lord (gathering restrictions are much looser outside, but who would EVER gather outside in 10 degree weather for Mass? CATHOLICS!). It was a big reminder, especially in this time of pandemic, that God is continuing to give us what we need - it just looks a lot different. When we pick up what God is putting down for us, the outcome is beautiful. God gave us enough snow to create a church outside! Something to think about, for sure.
In this holy season of Lent, especially, please remember that we are on a journey much like Christ. We can unite our suffering now to His ultimate suffering for us on the cross, so as to rise anew with him at Easter. Remember, as the psalmist says, sorrow may linger in the night, but joy comes in the morning! Let us unite any sorrow that we have now to the Lord, so that Easter morning may bring us abundant joy. We are an Easter people, my friends!
Life here in the seminary is going well. It is about midterm time. My first year is 8 weeks from being over. Where has the time gone? I miss you all very much, and pray for you often. I ask your continued prayers for me as well.
I ask for a special prayer intention for my friend Mark, a seminarian for the Diocese of Marquette. He was diagnosed with Cancer and is beginning treatment on February 22. Please pray for healing and strength on his journey.
If you’d like to send me or the other guys here a well wish or a prayer, we’d love it. We need all the prayers we can get. The address here is: Mr. Spencer Malley, 2701 W. Chicago, Detroit, MI 48206
God bless you all! KNIGHTS RULE!
Like you, I have just completed my first month of school. I am right around the corner from midterm exams, and am learning so much. I think my favorite thing I am learning currently is about all of the different translations of the bible, and the history behind each one. They are so interesting!
Some really cool things have happened. The Archbishop of Guam stopped by the Seminary to say Mass for us one Sunday which was really great. My hallway just won the first Seminary floor challenge, and we won a very large trophy (not to brag, but it's pretty awesome…). We are in the process of training for our Seminary track meet which will take place over Columbus Day weekend. There will be five of us representing the Archdiocese of Hartford. Some people say the Seminary is all work and no play, but they’re wrong. The priests here may even argue that we need to remember that it is NOT all play and no work (LOL).
Spiritually, I have been pondering Jesus’ call to the apostles a LOT, and how it is quite similar to the call that I experienced, and quite possibly to the call some of you may be experiencing. Jesus doesn’t go around looking for the most prim or proper men, or the most wealthy, or the smartest or the most attractive. He called several pretty messed up people. Fishermen, tax collectors, and the like. He called them, and they came to follow him. Sometimes you may find yourself thinking “how could someone like ME be a disciple of Jesus...I have this flaw, or I struggle with this temptation...” This is the devil at work trying to pull you away from the love of the Lord. Jesus is calling YOU to be a disciple, the way you are, with all of your flaws and temptations. He loves you. He wants you, as you are, to say yes and to follow him. He will fix what he needs to be fixed once you say yes and follow him. Many first year seminarians often feel this sense of “I’m not holy enough” or “I have this problem...how could I POSSIBLY be a priest?” and the answer is quite simple: because He is calling us, never let the evil one make you think that you are any less than what you are...a beloved child of God the Father.
October is a month dedicated to the holy Rosary. Throughout the month, I will be keeping you all in prayer in a special way when I pray the rosary each day. I ask you to do the same for me. Pray that I continue to grow in virtue, and in faith. God is good, my friends. His love is greater than anything.
Below, you will find a photo of a jam session I had with some of the guys a few weeks ago.
God bless you!
I have just returned to my room in Detroit after a 5 day silent retreat in DeWitt, Michigan. I know what you're thinking. "How do they expect you to be totally silent for 5 entire days?!" I know, at least for some of you, staying quiet for 5 minutes can prove to be difficult. (Myself included.) But this was different. Being away from the world (and my iPhone!) was exactly what I needed before I begin my semester of study on Tuesday, as you will begin your school year as well. Remember last year when Fr. Sullivan spoke of silence and challenged us to take a moment or two of silence every day, because God speaks in silence? He does. God and I had some good talks this week. One thing I want to tell you as you begin your school year is this: God loves you. Nothing that you do will ever change that. We shouldn't do what we need to do and follow rules IN ORDER to have God love us. We should be the best versions of ourselves BECAUSE God loves us and we want to show that love to the world. Let this propel you as you begin your year this year. Try very hard and always strive to show God's love through your actions and your words. God is your Father. You are his son or daughter. He loves you. Please always remember this. ALSO: Our friend Saint Therese sent me a little flower while I was away. I will ask her to watch over you all as you begin your year, and I will pray for you as well. Please do the same for me.