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Saturday, 17 January 2015

Chip Off The Old Block

A "teaser" from the St. John's Seminary College yearly mag.  Guess who is the editor this year?

My high-school yearbook at Holy Rosary
Academy was ritually late going to the printers.
We were in Anchorage, Alaska and the printers
were in Seattle - over 2000 miles away. One year,
an editor suggested we avoid the late fees by
texting them a photo of a snowdrift with the
caption "Sorry, this is our post office in Nome!"
Nome is a town 500 miles in the opposite
direction, only accessible by air, but at least it was
in the same state. (Of course, we had a local post
Still, friends in the "lower 48" (continental USA)
were always amazed at the distances and
struggles involved with living in Alaska.The lower
48 has its share of remote places, but nothing like
I find myself using similar language trying to
describe the seminary to my friends. It's a long
way from anything in their experience. It's a
frontier, full of unclassifiable species. I'm the only
seminarian they've ever met, or are likely to meet.
The life here sounds like another world.
But it's impossible to live in a frontier and not be
changed by the experience. It's the sort of
experience which holds you, grips you where you
least expect it, and in a way unique to each new
soul who finds that grasp.
Most people like Alaska for whale-spotting and
huge mountains, but I was impacted more by the
smaller things - ice worms, clams, fireweed - life
forms that seemed to defy the environment with
the same elegant stubbornness as Anchorage's
grandiose symphony hall.
Similarly, it's the little things that have changed me
in seminary - a single prayer, a short conversation,
a quiet walk through BlackheathWood.
I once wanted to study biology in Alaska, but God
had other ideas. Life is a great deal more
complicated now. But those frontier lessons stuck
with me. Facing the unexpected continues to
bring joy rather than fear. For me, there are few
more compelling things in life than a journey into
the unknown, one's destination uncertain, yet
guided by the firm hand of Jesus Christ.
In the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,
the protagonist must describe the experience of
linear time to an immortal race. He resorts to
baseball as an example of something which
requires time to be meaningful. Baseball is a very
slow sport - it feels even slower than my
favourite game, cricket. But the progression of
pitches, outs, and innings must be played out, in
the proper order, for the game to be meaningful.
"Every time I throw this ball, a hundred different
things could happen," explains the Starfleet
explorer, in a flash of inspiration. "The game
wouldn't be worth playing if we knew what was
going to happen."
I hope this edition of the Evangelist has shed
some light on the paths we take, the lives we live,
and the places - sometimes strange, sometimes
ordinary, but always unpredictable - in which we
seek the light of Christ.
With Love and Blessings---The Editor