Nihil Obstat (Nothing contrary to the faith): Rev. Fr. Isidro Rodriguez
It has been previously established that the Eucharist must occupy the center and summit of the whole priestly life and ministry. That is why it is encouraged that priests must celebrate the Eucharist at least daily, even if there is no assembly gathered. Such was the importance placed by the Holy Father in the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of priests that he even extends it to those who are still in formation like us. In Pastores Dabo Vobis, the Holy Father has this to say to those undergoing priestly formation: “It is fitting that seminarians take part everyday in Eucharistic celebration, in such a way that afterwards, they will take it up as a rule in their priestly life this daily celebration.” The practice of going to Mass must start from the very moment a person enters the seminary. When the time comes that the same person is ordained into the ministry, what initially began as a practice has now become a habit. I think this is the whole thrust of the seminary formation and the wisdom behind the long years that is involved in the training of future ministers.
Habits, values, and virtues are qualities which can be acquired through time. They are not to be taken as independent realities; rather, as experience would tell us, they are elements of a single movement. Habits that are formed through the repetition of a similar act would reveal a deeper meaning aside from the act itself that is being performed. This deeper meaning in the repeated performance of an act is what we call value. When one no longer sees the act itself but the reason and purpose behind its performance, then one has already placed a value on that specific act.
Another corollary element besides time in the overall movement from habits to virtues is constancy. This refers to the repetition of an act done on a regular basis. This constancy in the performance of an act will gradually elevate that act from simply a habit into the level of virtue, wherein the act is no longer seen as something external to the person performing such; rather he sees it as an integral part of his person. This is the principle behind the structured schedules being implemented in the seminary. They are not intended as an end for themselves alone but are directed towards honing virtues.
Time and constancy are two important elements in the training of future ministers of the church not only in their spiritual life but even goes further to the other aspects as well. In a similar fashion, therefore, when a seminarian during his formation developed the habit of attending the celebration of the Eucharist, then in all probability, this same person when he becomes priest will celebrate it also faithfully.
But the formative aspect of the Eucharist does not end in the development of virtue. It is presupposed that after a seminarian has learned to place a substantial amount of value in his daily attendance in the Eucharistic celebration, it will gradually enable him to develop a specific way of life – a Eucharistic spirituality. It is clear that the frequent or daily reception of the Blessed Eucharist increases their union with Christ, nourishes the spiritual life more abundantly, strengthens the soul in virtue, and gives the communicant a stronger pledge of eternal happiness.
Posted on September 10, 2008, in CULTURE, Human Rights, Lifestyle, Philosophy, Prayers, Religion, Uncategorized and tagged Christian Formation, Church, Eucharist, Habits, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Values, Virtues. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.