“HOW A CALLING AROSE THROUGH MY SEARCH FOR MEANING”
Johannes Beurle shares something from his life:
If someone had told me four years ago – perhaps on my way from the office to the golf club – that I was going to study at the Priest Seminary, I would have told him he was crazy. I didn't have the foggiest notion about the priesthood, nor indeed about any sort of contemporary form of religious life. I was on the way to making a career for myself. And what on earth did that have to do with Religion?
At that time, I had no idea that the growing dissatisfaction with my profession was a symptom of something which lay much deeper within me. What was I actually working for? What is in fact the right job, the right profession for me personally? Is there such a thing as a vocation? Does it really matter what I do or not? And what criteria can help me come to a decision? What does it mean to be a human being, and what responsibilities come with that? Well, what about religion after all?
How can I make a career as a human being?
It soon became clear that I had to take a decision. We are either living in a purely material world, in which chance holds sway, or the world is in some way arranged according to meaning. In a world of chance there is no room for meaning at all. Nothing would make sense in this case. If one really thinks things through, this is the only conclusion one can come to. And if meaning does actually exist, it was clear that I needed to become active in order to find it. For the one thing, I had learnt in my various management courses was: Success only comes, when you know what you are after.
In that case does one have to study at the Priest Seminary? No, not necessarily. There are plenty of other ways of searching for the meaning of life. But the Priest Seminary is a pretty good place to start looking. At my admission interview I made a point of letting the seminary leader know that I did not intend to become a priest. Besides, how could I? I had little or no idea what this profession was all about anyway. Apart from that I had only rather vague or even downright absurd notions what it must feel like to be called upon to become a priest. When the seminary leader assured me with a smile that that was absolutely no problem at all, my mind was put to rest.
Studying at the Priest Seminary was totally different to what I had imagined! After initial doubts, I was really able to get into the course. Soon I had to admit that I had had a whole load of prejudices regarding priests, the priest training and indeed religion, which I was now able to let go of. The people I met were not especially 'other-worldly' or 'fuddy-duddy'. My fellow students were people who had come with similar questions to me about the world and life. A wonderful time began.
Studying what the world Needs
The curriculum encompasses virtually all areas of our human existence: embryology, botany, the Theory of Colour, history, philosophy, theology, anthroposophy and much more besides. During the training lots of little mosaic pieces link up as one big picture. One gets to know oneself and the world. Regardless of which profession I will eventually end up in, the quest for my own Self is no longer the central question with which I need occupy myself, for now I can ask freely: “What does the world need from me?”
Not everyone becomes a priest
The first year of the course at the Seminary is mainly concerned with the question: what does it mean to be a human being? At the end of the year many students leave to return to their old profession, taking it up again in a new way. Or they suddenly know what they are after and start a new profession from scratch. I could also have done that. But I definitely wanted to continue studying. And I also saw the profession of 'priest' in an entirely new light: not as a relic from the past, but as a person with the aim of leading others towards discovering their own inner impulses and seeing the world from another angle, having order and meaning.
I feel a real sense of gratitude that I was able to experience this. I really became a different person, or would it be better to say perhaps that I became a human being for the first time? During the course of the second year, the question how others can be awakened to the world became a central concern. And suddenly I am able to imagine myself as a priest after all. Right now I am about to enter the third year (the Practical experience), which I will spend within a congregation. It is going to be interesting to see what happens next, and to find out where I am needed.
Johannes Beurle was ordained as a priest on 24th February 2013.
If you are interested in the course at the Priest Seminary, we would be glad to hear from you. Feel free to contact us and arrange a time for a personal talk.
Tel: +49 (0)711 166 83 10
Fax: +49 (0)711 166 83 24
THE COURSE AS A PRIEST TRAINING
The course at the Priest Seminary prepares students for ordination and for becoming a priest in one of the congregations of the Christian Community.
THE COURSE AS DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUMAN BEING
Even if one does not want to become a priest, one can still study at the Priest Seminary.
“MY DECISION TO GO TO THE SEMINARY”
Kore Brand writes a personal perspective.