Seminarian profile: Keith Hart

Seminarian Keith Hart

Seminary, Class: St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, 2nd Theology

Home Parish: St. Peter Parish, Montgomery

Birthday: June 2

There is an oft-quoted saying about the Eucharist from Catholic novelist J.R.R. Tolkien, "I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth." In Christ, we find the fullness of fidelity, courage and love that all the stories of adventure, heroism and romance point towards. 

Christ died for us: God the Son died for us after taking on our human flesh in the Incarnation. Though we deserve punishment, He bore our punishment for us, taking from us the wages of sin - death - and giving us the hope of everlasting life. In the celebration of the Eucharist, we are reminded of all Christ has done for us, a good reminder now that we are some months past the Easter season. 

I remember my grandmother telling me that she was in junior high at Mass when she first truly realized what the Eucharist is; that it is what Christ says that it is, His Body. To encounter the Eucharist is to encounter Christ, to know Him, love Him, and be known and loved by Him. 

As I begin my sixth year of seminary formation, I can look back and see the many times that I was nourished and strengthened by the Eucharist to keep going, to persevere in matters of discernment, temptation, grief and joy. I remember the tabernacles that I have prayed in front of, such as when a brother seminarian and I gathered to pray after the death of a beloved priest; when my nephew was born; when a family member suffered a miscarriage; when a prayer for another relative's healing was answered. Each of these moments of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament was a moment of Christ walking with me. I hope that if I am to serve God as a priest, I am able to point Him out to others and encourage them to discover His loving presence under the guise of bread and wine.