Pondering the Providence of 1212 Perfection Avenue

We recently wrapped up SJCS’s 12 Days of Christmas on Facebook, so it’s a perfect time to consider the significance of the address of our future seminary. This time next year, God willing, we will be close to completion on our new home at 1212 Perfection Avenue. On our website, we address the divine significance of the word “Perfection” and how we are all called to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”(Matthew 5:48). But today, we ponder the significance of the numbers in our future address. If it is seen as providential that our street name is named “Perfection” (as this was the name given to this road by the city, long before we considered this property for the seminary), it can also be said the Lord had a hand in its numbers as well.

The number twelve has great significance in Scripture, and this significance will surely not be lost on the seminarians who will one day live at this location. After all, there were Twelve Apostles who became the first priests, and whose lineage can be traced through apostolic succession right to our current and future priests! Delving further, these twelve Apostles correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel, initially representing the totality of the Jewish people, and eventually encompassing all followers of Jesus.

Twelve also figures prominently in the Book of Revelation, particularly when describing the heavenly Jerusalem (chapter 12), with its twelve foundations, gates, and angels. Reminiscent of this biblical heavenly Jerusalem, twelve seminarians used 12 poles to hold up the tarp during the Bishop’s groundbreaking ceremony for our new home in September.  In addition, the woman in Revelation 12 was said to be “clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and twelve stars.”  This is how our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Juan Diego at Guadalupe, which eventually led to the conversion of millions of middle Americans.  We pray daily for the continued conversion of our seminarians and the parishioners they will minister to in the future.

There are also twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and chastity) as listed by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. These fruits help to sanctify us and increase our holiness as we grow closer to Christ, and will certainly aid the seminarians as they practice virtue and deepen their commitment to our Lord.

There are many other iterations of the number twelve in the Bible, which our seminarians will certainly study in their Scripture classes. Jesus was 12 years old when he was found questioning the scholars in the temple; there are 12 legions of angels the Lord can call upon; the tree of life in the new creation will bear 12 types of fruit; and the servants of God at the end of time numbers 12 times 12,000.

The number twelve is very meaningful in Scripture and Catholic tradition and is symbolic of God’s spiritual kingdom, both in this world and the next, when both the heavens and the earth will be made perfectly new. Each and every time the seminarians return to their home at 1212 Perfection Avenue will be an opportunity to reflect on the significance of their vocation and the love the Lord our God has for each and every one of us as He calls us into a more perfect union with Himself.

Though we did not choose the name or address of 1212 Perfection Avenue, the city has allowed us to name the road that leads to our new building.  It is a stretch of about a quarter-to-half mile and the name of the road will be “Arctus Avenue” and its number “22.”  “Arctus” is medieval Latin for narrow, or arduos, and 22 is for our Lady’s Queenship.  Thus, we pray for our mother’s protection and guidance as we follow the narrow way that leads to perfection.