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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Your Kingdom Come!
Yes, truly the month of work is a time in my priestly formation when I have learned how to say, "Offer it up!"

Brother William Webster, nLC
Brother William Webster, nLC
I never imagined that my priestly formation would present some of the obstacles that have been quite common over the past three weeks, namely snails and mold. I am of course referring to my work in some strawberry fields during a period of formation entitled Month of Work, which is an integral part of a Legionary´s training.

The month of work in the Novitiate has proven to be one of the most effective tests of my will as well as the intensity of my spiritual life. Picking strawberries does not sound like difficult work, but it is indeed monotonous. The effort lays a wonderful groundwork for my formation. Since September of last year, when I began my second year in the novitiate here in Germany, I have been working on increasing my love for our Lord, who is present in each of my neighbors. This is of course the practical sign, for myself and every Christian, of love for Christ: that one recognizes Christ in the least of his neighbors, and treats him with the same love as if he were Christ Himself. This love has been put to test by the schedule with which we live during the month of work, and the long hours of monotonous work under the beating sun.

This brings me to another practical level of formation during the month of work: union with the working world. As a future priest, one must in a way be "Everyman" for all Christians, too. All workers experience this tiredness and difficulty in love towards their neighbor at some point in the day. Daily agricultural work unites me with those thousands of men and women who give their lives for the nourishment of the world, and with those thousands who must earn their daily bread through such strenuous work. I have begun to appreciate more deeply the sacrifices of so many men and women who "break their backs" for the benefit of others- an essential aspect of Christian love. On the field I can then unite myself interiorly to Christ, ever-present in my soul and in the souls of all Christians, in order to pray for these heroic, often forgotten, men and women. Yes, truly the month of work is a time in my priestly formation when I have learned how to say, "Offer it up!"

(August 13, 2003)



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