Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 5: Mis oídos están cansados.

Every day here I speak Spanish, have a great time doing it, get completely exhausted, and then have to retreat to my room for a while, or at least speak English with my classmates. There’s very little in-between. I’m either “on,” or I’m “off.” It’s a strange phenomenon.

Epiphany Cathedral, where I will serve on Sundays
This morning at Eucharist, Padre Servio read the Gospel and then invited us to "chat" about the Gospel in place of a sermon. He sat in the front pew and opened up the floor. (Only we seminarians were in attendance.) The Gospel passage was John 6:15-27. The main point we came to is that it's never enough to tell a hungry person, "Jesus loves you." What good is that if the person is still hungry? Rather, we feed hungry people and then tell them Jesus loves them; our feeding them is meant to be evidence of that fact. In my extremely clunky Spanish, I attempted (and just managed) to paraphrase Episcopal author Sara Miles: “The purpose of church is to feed people, so they can go out and … you know … be Jesus.”

Sarah and Patrícia after our lesson
Later in the morning I attended a class that I would describe as the equivalent of our CPE interpersonal reflection group or VTS colloquy group. Padre Servio invited one seminarian to describe his own personal qualities, and then he invited the other seminarians to give their impressions of the person as well. Again, I could understand the general topic of conversation, but not many of the details. Early on Padre Servio translated for my benefit, but I quickly recognized that it was more important for the seminarians to use this time effectively than it was for me to understand everything. I contented myself with looking up words I didn’t know, and I enjoyed watching the close relationships that the four seminarians clearly share.

Sarah and I had our second Spanish lesson today with Patrícia today. We’ve been practicing using our new vocabulary in conversation, and our homework is to learn more words and use them. It’s a good pace for my learning, and Patrícia is very responsive to our needs.

Kristin and Catherine at dinner
Our clergy companion Catherine Campbell arrived this afternoon and took us out to eat in the colonial district at Cafeteria Restaurante El Conde. She’s very happy to be here. Annie continues to recuperate from the flu; she’s feeling marginally better and she did attend her Spanish class today.

I miss my family, sure, but this is an incredible experience. It demands a lot of me, even as the people around me are always ready to forgive my ignorance. The seminarians at the CET are excited to be heading toward ordination, and my impression is that the Episcopal Church is serving the people well.

No comments:

Post a Comment