Letter from Rome: May 2018

By Joshua Dixon

A few months have passed since I wrote my first article for the Pic, and hopefully by now you will have gained some insight into seminary life in Rome. It is certainly true that life here is varied, exciting and affords time for spiritual growth. The excitement of Easter was no exception. After some beautiful liturgies celebrating the Sacred Triduum here in the English College – which is always open to visitors – I was privileged to sing at the Papal Easter Morning Mass in St Peter's Square. It was a joyful occasion to see the Holy Father and many cardinals and bishops ... to say nothing of the 10,000 or more faithful gathered from across the globe to celebrate the new life of Easter!

And yet the life of a priest or seminarian, as with everyone, can also be mundane. It is impossible to live in such a way as to always be on a high, to be constantly spiritually elevated – we all need to get used to the ordinary aspects of life too. The word mundane has its roots in the Latin for 'world', which is mundus. The high points of life offer us hope and consolation whereas the low points often force us to question, doubt and struggle with our faith. Then there is the whole spectrum in between, and here we can place mundanity.

As Christians, we believe that Christ is always with us, journeying, speaking and leading us on. In the mundane things we can find time to reflect, to recognise that, at least for some of his life, Christ also lived mundanely as he 'grew in wisdom and stature with men' (Luke 2:42). The working out of salvation, our opening-up to God's love and his accompaniment with us each day need not be filled with constant excitement.

Indeed, much of the unknown lives of the saints were spent in the daily grind as, little by little, they allowed the Holy Spirit to work on their inner lives, helping them grow up to God through a life of loving. All of us are called to such a life in our own lived reality – not in some distant land or in some deceptively dreamt-up other place where we imagine we could simply do better. In reality, God's becoming human in the incarnation was precisely to show us that, without exception, we too can live a life of loving service to God and neighbour every day. After the excitement of Easter and with the coming of spring, let's embrace the mundanity of life and find God with us in it.