At the beginning of the year, they looked forward to their ordinations, sure, but for most that was just because they'd been done with school. Now that's still a factor (as it is for every student - and most teachers, while we're at it), but there's something different about it now, weeks away from being ordained. They've long been just normal guys who speak of the Church with incredibly deep love, but there's an almost imperceptible difference that's crept into their attitudes in recent weeks. They are, after all, mere weeks shy of their wedding day.
"I can't believe the Church is actually going to ordain me. Me! Does she know what she's doing!?" They speak with the same love and awe of a man who can't quite grasp why his beautiful, talented wife chose him, of all the people in the world.
These men have no illusions. They know that ordination will not solve their problems or make them perfect. They're well aware that the life of a priest is not a walk in the park. But God has chosen them for it. Who are they to say no?
"It's almost real now. I'm really going to be a priest in just a few weeks." There's a deep excitement there, an eagerness to get out into the real world and serve the people in the parishes, but it's hidden beneath a thick layer of reverence for the configuration to Christ they'll soon be given, a layer of awe for the power and responsibility that's about to be entrusted to them.
And it is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time. Thank you, dear seminarians, for reminding me what fear of the Lord looks like. I pray that you retain that deep-seated joy and awe at your priesthood throughout your life. I guarantee that it will bear fruit.
Jesus, High Priest inflamed with zeal for God and souls, have mercy on us.