It was a dark and stormy night.
Well…it really was just overcast with a little drizzle. But the plane ride had been a bit bumpy, the road slightly slick from rain – and I was passing behind the black curtain.
There really isn’t a black curtain, any more than Wisconsin has a cheese curtain or the Soviets had an actual iron curtain. But when you enter a place where everyone is dressed in black, it feels like there is a curtain. And I’m on the other side this week.
Depending on one’s state of mind and angle of observation, this could generate foreboding and fear – or joyful anticipation. I have a certain uneasiness, partly because the people I will be with expect me to be a capable partner in their quest for truth. I also feel a bit like the only dandelion in a lawn of perfect Kentucky blue grass.
I’m not sure I belong here; I’m certainly not worthy of belonging here.
But worthy or not, here I am, teaching a communications course to several dozen seminarians at the Legion of Christ College of Humanities in Cheshire, CT. The young men I’ll be serving are typically in their third or fourth year in the Legion and have completed the Novitiate.
These guys tend to be intelligent, hardworking and determined. And they do a great job making the visiting weed feel at home.
Cheshire is a remarkable place, where these young men have opened their hearts to listen for God’s will, to discern whether they are called to a lifetime as a priest. This is the highest stakes game of “what do you want to be when you grow up.”
What contrasts! Demanding studies and playful recreation. Hard work and humor. Silent meditation and joyful laughter.
The quiet can be deafening, especially to someone like me who lives in a world of cacophony.
I’m blessed to be here for a few days. Maybe some of that seminarian holiness will rub off on me.