The most valuable aspect of my education at the Theological Institute was and is the peace of knowing God is residing in my heart.
I remember like it was yesterday. One day in 2011, when I was comfortably successful in the business world, I asked God that very question, "Is that all there is?" Oh boy! Did he ever answer me! I found the Theological Institute of St. John's Seminary and started using the part of my brain that I felt had been in storage accumulating dust and got to work learning more about my faith.
The benefits of attending the Theological Institute are abundant. The biggest benefit for me was that the institute offered me an opportunity to learn in-depth about who is God, who is Jesus, and who is the Holy Spirit. These three friends were very much part of my life without me really knowing them. The institute opened my eyes and heart to understand (although never completely) who is this God of mine who is present in my every thought and in every single action I do on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to know someone. The institute, with their competent teachers, allowed me to spend the necessary time to become intimate with God, which, in turn, gave me the armor to face in peace my everyday life.
Getting my diploma was only a kick-start to my spiritual life. With the diploma came a burden, which turned out to be a blessing. I am accountable. Accountable for every thought and action and because of this new accountability in my life, great peace was imbued -- and that peace found residence in my heart.
Now, I am a chaplain at Beverly Hospital. My studies and diploma qualified me for this position. The question is: Am I competent enough to be a chaplain? The answer is no -- but God is. Before I walk in a room, I ask God to be on my lips, to be in my demeanor, to be in my silence and to be present and let the people see God through me.
The most valuable aspect of my education at the Theological Institute was and is the peace of knowing God is residing in my heart. The institute brought to light that I am only an instrument of God's complicated plan. It took a humongous load off my shoulders knowing that any outcome is not of my doing. The anxiety disappeared, and I consider everything in my past and present life a blessing. I am grateful for every breath, every smile, and every tear.
Every day I find a blessing, especially my health as being one of the biggest blessings that God gives me.
For the rest of my life, I will be grateful for the immeasurable wisdom, tools, and skills that were provided to me at the Theological Institute of St. John's Seminary.
BENOIT THIBAULT IS A 2015 MASTER OF ARTS IN MINISTRY GRADUATE OF ST. JOHN SEMINARY'S THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE. BENOIT VOLUNTEERS FOR COR UNUM, SUPPLIES FIREWOOD FOR THE NEEDY AND THE FRANCISCAN BROTHERS OF THE PRIMITIVE ORDER, AND ACTIVELY SERVES HIS HOME PARISH. HE SPENT FOUR YEARS IN THE MAM PROGRAM, TAKING ONE OR TWO COURSES A SEMESTER. SINCE GRADUATING, HE HAS BEEN JOYFULLY SERVING THE PEOPLE OF GOD AS A HOSPITAL CHAPLAIN.