PROVIDENCE — Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was the principal celebrant for the Opening Mass at Our Lady of Providence Seminary on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The bishop welcomed 13 new young men from New England dioceses beginning their formation this year at OLP, including eight from the Diocese of Providence. There are 21 seminarians in total studying at OLP this fall.
“The most important thing that you have to do at Our Lady of Providence Seminary is to grow in your discipleship of Jesus Christ, to grow in holiness. That is your primary vocation at this point in your life, ” Bishop Tobin told the seminarians in his homily.
The bishop relayed a story from a book he had read, “Il Gigante: Michelangelo, Florence, and the David 1492-1504,” by Aaron Gill, which focuses on Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David. He described the story comparing the way one art form adds to a canvas, while another subtracts from a block of wood or stone, both creating objects of beauty, as a very apt analogy for the spiritual life.
“In some ways, as you grow in your discipleship of Jesus, it’s a process of adding on to virtue, to holiness, to charity, to your purity, your compassion, your awareness of other people, your humility, your openness to the grace of God. It’s that process of adding on to your spiritual life,” he said.
“But in some ways, the spiritual life is also a process of taking away. Taking away the vices you have, the temptations, the sins ... A process of adding on in the spiritual life, and the process of subtracting from the spiritual life so in the end we end up with a beautiful work of art, which is a disciple of Jesus, a man made in the image and likeness of Christ himself.”