Friday, December 23, 2011

Game Plan: Part3: the Prayer


DISCLAIMER:
This is NOT the ONLY WAY to pray! This is just a game plan for those who want a chance to give themselves a routine for their prayer lives. Not everyone can go to Adoration, not everyone can pray a rosary right off the bat, etc. We are all different and we all have different spiritual lives and different walks with the Lord. I’m offering just ONE WAY to pray. ONE of the many different things we can do to pray.

Also, prayer is done out of love for God. This GAME PLAN is a plan so we can foster our love of God!
Now What?
Pray.

Prayer comes in different forms and A LOT can be said. But I will stick to something simple. If you have an idea as to what you would like to do, GREAT! What follows is just a suggestion for those who need something to follow.

The prayer: (this is just a 15 minute example)
  1. Talk to God. Tell Him about your day. If you are happy, angry, sad, worried, etc. just tell him about it. Let him hear about it all.  (2 minutes)
  2. Now pick up your Bible and open up to one of the Gospels. Read a parable, a few lines, a tiny paragraph…allow the word of God to really set in…(10 minutes)
    • St. Ignatius of Loyola recommended to really get INTO the Scripture. Really come into the scene of what is being said. Imagine yourself standing next to others in the crowd, the sand or grass or street beneath your feet...REALLY imagine yourself there...
    • Reflect. Does something stick-out to you? Any words from the reading? A certain thought? See if the Lord is trying to tell you something through the reading. Be there in that peace...Allow yourself to remain in that silence...there in that thought, in that reflection that you are in...
  3. Once you're towards the end, you can close your prayer time with things/people you specifically want to pray for. Maybe something came out in your prayer and you want to pray specifically for that hurt/sin/thought that came out in prayer. (2 minutes)
  4. Finally, thank HIM for that time in prayer. (1 minute)
Alright....enjoy this! Have a blessed Christmas! No time like the present than to pray it up!

The rest will come a few days after Christmas! In the mean time, I may post a thing or two about fun family experiences and what not! Ha!


I love being a priest!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Game Plan: Part2: Getting Started

How Much?
Alright, like the other page said, double your prayer life somehow. Don’t know where to start? Fine. Let’s start with 10 to 15 minutes. Think you can do more? Okay, 20-30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to just pick something doable and yet something that pushes you to go outside the norm. When exercising, we can’t get physical results unless we decide to push ourselves towards a goal! 

It'll be up to you how you want to manage your time with God. What I put below is just a suggestion.


When?
You have SEVEN days to pray…so choose a few days to PUT SOME TIME ASIDE! You know your schedule better than I do. If you really want results in your prayer-life, you need to give yourself some realistic benchmarks to put some time aside for you and God. So how many days? 2? 3? 5?

You can pray everyday, but I don’t want you to come down on yourself if you can’t do it all seven days. Let the fruit of your prayer bring about the desire to put more time in.

So have you picked a few days? Have you? No? Well, what are you waiting for?


Where?
Choose where to pray. Can’t go to Church? Can’t go to Adoration? That’s fine. Lot’s of people can’t just go to the gym either so they workout at home. You can be just as creative as they are. Some people pray in their cars on their drive to work and some pray at home. If at home, pick a spot. Pick a space that you can claim for you and God. Be creative if you need to. The steps? Outside? In your room? It’s all up to you. I remember hearing a stay-at-home mom say that her prayer time is in the shower because
that's when she has some time to herself away from everyone else. So be creative if you need to be.

I, personally, tell those beginning to pray, NOT to pray in bed. Why? Because one minute you are praying, the next, you are sound asleep!!


Alright, that is it for now! Next post is an example for a structured prayer time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Game Plan: Part1: What's the deal?


What's the deal?
Alright. So there have been a few posts that I have put up that have talked a little about prayer and the need to go the distance and how Archbishop Fulton Sheen gave his thoughts on being spiritually developed. 

Prayer is a total must. You want to be a PRACTICING Catholic? Walking into the church and "doing your time" is not going to cut it! Saying hey for a minute or two when you wake up and go to sleep is good, but I don't think you lasted this long with your friends by simply saying "hi! you are cool. okay, bye!" (By the way, Mass is beautiful! It isn't a prison! Want to learn more about it? I recommend this great book for starters!)

WHAT IS PRAYER?

It's time with God. It's the movement of the heart to someONE who is beyond our reality. It's conversation with God. It's talking to the Friend of all friends. Talking to the King, the Lord, the Messiah, the Creator, the Lover of Souls, the Desire of all hearts...

It's the time of coming before HE WHO IS. Like friends or families who hang out, God just wants to spend time with you too!

It's about falling in love with someone. Love is about commitment. Think about the mom that has to wake up for 3am feedings! She don't feel like doing it, but it's done out of love. The dad that works tirelessly, an act of love. Even if you are mad, you listen to your parents out of love for them...

Spending time with God is spending time with someONE who loves you beyond what you can ever imagine...

Woa...

Yeah...Okay, So this is how it's going to be. I'm going to put out a few posts about prayer titled: Game Plan. In them, I'm gonna:

All these over the next several posts. Hopefully, though, you have been praying on your own as it is. JUST START. With the little I have said so far, I know you can start something. Put some time aside and GO! Commit! Commit to time with God! Commit to loving someone worth loving!

That's a good GAME PLAN, isn't it? To love God?


And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Friday, December 16, 2011

think about it

The flowers on Our Lady make up a 
spiritual bouquet given to me 
by my friends.
We need to exercise to have a healthier lifestyle. No, I’m not talking about that motivation to JUST get a ripped body, rather the recognition that we need to live better lives and take care of our bodies. We all go about it differently, but there are some basics:
#1 eat right AND #2 exercise.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen
1895-1979

We HAVE to take care of our souls too, though, especially during this Advent Season. There’s this flippin’ awesome late-archbishop named Fulton Sheen who wrote in one of his books, “The vast majority of men and women in the world today are so underdeveloped spiritually that if a like deficiency showed in their bodies, they would be physical monstrosities.” (Victory over Vice 75)

DUUUUDE!!! THAT’S INTENSE! 

Imagine?! What would we look like if our bodies physically reflected what our souls looked like?! Would we all look GQ/Swagger or Chic/Posh? OR would we be grotesque and all "Night of the living dead"?

Makes you think, huh? 

I’m working on giving those interested a game plan on what to do for their prayer lives. Something to do not just for Advent, but for a regular routine. Oh, and by the way, yes, we are in Advent, NOT CHRISTMAS. Don’t believe the lies you are hearing on the radio or on TV!! Haha…seriously. Christmas is the day we celebrate when Christ was born…and last I checked, we haven’t gotten there yet. All those commercials about celebrating Santa Clause and the Holiday seasons...yeah...I'm not sure why we are celebrating now :/ ...that's kinda like everyone celebrating a new born baby when the mom is still walking around thinking, "uh...the baby ain't born yet."

So as we prepare for his coming, this Advent Season, as we prepare for Christmas, let’s work on our prayer lives, fast a little from the good stuff that we like (e.g., if you always go to that one coffee shop, try just having coffee from home or work! try not texting after 8pm!), and prepare for that awesome day when we celebrate when God “was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

P90X+ : Part2

okay. I started seeing how good it is to do P90X+ and so I decided to go ahead and order myself the program. I won't be bumming off of my priest friend anymore. No, sir. I'm going for the real deal. 

Why? Well, I want the full blown experience. I want to be in shape. I want to feel better about myself (health-wise). I have had more energy and I have been sleeping well since I started exercising. My eating habits are changing for the better. Why not go all out?

I started thinking about all this and thinking about whether or not we go all out with our prayer lives, you know? I mean we try all these different diets. We try the latest things to get fit by trying to work out a certain program for ourselves. Maybe we are training for a sport or some other activity...but have we ever really tried to go all out in our prayer lives? Do we desire to "go the distance"?

Yes, I just quoted Disney's Hercules. And here is a youtube video on it!
Seriously, have we ever decided to go the distance? To aim for holiness? To really want a holy life? It's hard, I know, but so is working out. You have to push when you don't feel like exercising. You want results? You commit, right? You can't just watch videos and tell yourself you'll eventually do something about it. NO! You commit. Same thing with your prayer life. You want results? You want to be close to God? You don't JUST go to Mass on Sundays and pray before meals! That isn't enough.

If we want the full blown experience in being Catholic, if we want to see results, if we want to feel better about our spiritual lives, we have to do more. MUCH more. If you want to do it, great! Keep in mind though that if you are just now starting off, you have to take it easy. Remember, like in exercising, you need to work on things slowly and yet you still have to push yourself and commit.


FOR STARTERS:


How much are you praying? A few minutes? Well...DOUBLE it! 

Talk to God, but make sure you allow for that silent time. Just as in conversations you talk AND listen, God wants to talk with you. He is happy that you have so much to say, but give him a chance to spend time with you. Let him take control of the topic of conversation!

Also, go to Confession and rid yourself of those fatty/evil sins in your life!

Seeing as I can say a lot, I'll stop here and add more later. These are some good basic starters. Think about it, alright? I'll give you a game plan later. :p

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bad IdEa...

So I have been working on P90X+ these five days or so, and I have to say, "I really like it." I've also been watching what I eat and making sure I eat a whole lot better...until...tonight....


I went out to Five Guys. Great burgers and fries...except...I had not eaten something that heavy or greasy for quite some time...ugh...i can FEEL the heaviness trying to push through my stomach...like my body is yelling out, "What did you DOOOOOOOOO???"


My bad! I didn't think it would be that big of a deal....Looks like I got an intense evening/night in front of me! I hope my body can take care of it all alright before I go to sleep. Last thing I need is any kind of heartburn or what not preventing me from sleeping :/


I wonder if there is a patron saint of good digestion...hmmm....


Memo to self: make sure you watch what you eat!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something Happened!

Sacrament of Anointing
aka Last Rites
aka Extreme Unction
Alright, really cool story here. You paying attention? I went to go anoint someone. During the rite, there is a moment when the priest lays hands on the individual's forehead (if possible) and then he anoints the sick person's forehead and hands. What is really cool is that as a priest, we can at times be there to notice that SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS during the sacrament.

Something seems to happen mainly at the laying of hands. My experience and the experiences of some of my priest friends seem to convey the same thing.




Alright, Father, WHAT HAPPENED?
I went to hospice to visit a man in his room. The room he will most likely die in. No one was there as I walked into the room. His family had left before I arrived. The man laid there...asleep...in the still and very quiet room. There was rustling as he figited around every now and then. The nurse told me outside that he had an intense night and was given some sedatives to give him more of a rest...so he was in and out...mainly out.

They say that these people can still hear everything that goes on on some level. I spoke to him. Introduced myself and told him why I was there. And then I began, "The peace of the Lord be with you always..." I began all the prayers, slowly talking to him saying, "alright, this is what I'm going to do next..." If he was aware on any level, I wanted him to be able to participate in this awesome sacrament as much as possible...

For whatever reason, one of the prayers before I laid hands struck me: "Give life and health to our brother, on whom we lay our hands in your name."

Mind you this whole time, he would move side to side in his sleep; figiting and unconsciously scratching his dry skin...and then...I laid my hands on his head in silence...

and he became still...and within seconds...his body began to tremble...his whole body began to shake softly...as if something was happening to him...something within him...I continued to stand over him with my hands gently placed on his head...and after a few seconds he became still and peaceful...

I removed my hands and took a moment to gather myself so as to continue the prayers. I looked up at him and in his silence he let out a sigh of relief; that kind of relief that one has after experiencing something beautiful...and a small little smirk came to the surface of his sleep-drawn face.

I continued and anointed him with the oils praying: "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. Amen."

And again, he exhaled a sigh of peaceful relief...I slowly finished up...and left him...alone...praying for him and for his family...

Something happened. I know something happened. Even when people are knocked out and hooked up to machines, my friends tell me that when they lay hands, the monitors begin beeping and making noise and the person begins breathing heavily...the person responds on some level...and then...afterward...he/she goes back to normal...

The Sacrament is a living encounter with Christ...something happens...and I GET to be the instrument, the priest by which it comes about....cool....


Monday, November 28, 2011

P90X+

so whether or not you know it, we priests have to get our exercise in too, ya know? Sure, you see many of us with bellies protruding out of our clerics, cassocks, and vestments, but THAT AIN'T THE NORM!

Dude, we need to try to do what we can to burn off all the food. Ya know, the food we eat when we go over people's homes...and sadly, we can be on the run so fast food seems to be the only thing we can grab in a short time...

STILL! We need to take care of ourselves!! We GOTS to push ourselves and not get into a slump!! So some of us go running or play soccer; I have a priest friend who knows a little karate/judo; some like boxing, swimming, gymnastics, gym workouts...yeah...we are all over the place.

Me? I like swimming. It's hard to get over there on a regular basis...soooo.....I'm hoping to supplement my exercise with
P90X+ !!!!!

No, I'm not looking for hard abs or anything!! hahaha....what would be the point?! It's not like I'm going to be dating anyone! I swiped another priest friend's P90X+. Why? Well, mainly because he wasn't using it (it was still in the wrapping!) AND, he has the original P90X. So I managed to convince him to let me borrow it...nice...now I can have a good workout...I hope it lasts!

I did it yesterday. No weights. No bands. No special, little, push-up thingies. Just my own self and my own pace. I found myself sweating mad crazy after 10 minutes and I still had another 30min to go!!

Today...I'm sore...fortunately for me, I knew when to stop, when to drink water, and how to eat afterwards to replenish myself. YES! Score one for the priest! 

We have to take care of the soul, but the body was also created by God! So do your best! The human person is union of a body AND soul. Take care of both aspects!


Friday, November 18, 2011

FASTING

Did you know that we are still meant to fast on Fridays? 
It is true. Here in the United States we phased out of fasting on Fridays in the 1960's and 1970's...but we weren't suppose to. With all those movements going on at the time, people, and maybe even some of the Church leadership, felt it was time to do away with the "Traditional Stuff." And with a couple of generations of grandparents/parents no longer fasting, we find ourselves today with people who may no longer fast.

Regardless of the times, we are still meant to fast! But hey, if we are going to eat meat on Fridays, okay, cool. Let's give something else up.
"WHAT?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"
hahaha...yes, I'm serious. Go ahead. It's not just a Lent thing. It's a Friday thing. It's a "let me think about giving something up to get closer to God" kind of thing.

"Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord."~UK Bishops: Catholic Witness - Friday Penance

Oh snap! So then, what are you waiting for? Practice your Catholic faith...give something up...don't eat meat...or...put your phone down and don't pick it up for a couple of hours while you are at home....or...don't drink that coffee that you really REALLY like....

It's time we Catholics lived out our faith here and now...What are YOU going to do about it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

to be happy


Ya know what, God? Life is a very interesting place. Everyone on earth is on a constant pursuit of happiness, really. That's all we want: to be happy.

Wherever you are, reader, look around you...look at the people there in the coffee shop. If you are at home, look at your family situation. With friends or at school, just stop and look around...do it...no really, look away from the screen and look around you...

go ahead....I'm waiting.....did you do it? okay, good. :)

Everyone in some way wants to be happy...look how she smiles at the comment said; how those two guys are engaged in something intense and smirk at little deep thoughts that are spoken about; how they are laughing over there; how that lady outside is smiling while she walks her dog; look how they are enjoying the company of others; look how that group is enjoying their food...

Be it through friends, work, conversations, food, or exercise, they all want some kind of happiness; they experience it in different ways.

And though we can look at all the negative things in life, notice that at the heart of every human person, in the most secret crevices of every soul, every person just wants to be happy. And what can satisfy every desire of every heart? Well, the very One that created them all. He who is the source of all goodness, who is GOODNESS itself, is the one thing that all hearts want to return to on some level.

Yeah, life is interesting. It's filled with people who all want to be happy. Until they are, our hearts will remain restless until they rest in He who is the source of all that is good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yes Please!!!!

Don't hate me! I love SPAM! I had it growing up and it was always a treat whenever we had SPAM...I was fortunate enough, when I was part of NET Ministries (look at the link on the right) to go visit the SPAM Capital of the World, Austin, Minnesota!!! To say I was excited is an understatement. My team and I walked around the museum they had there...I was more in awe than anything. hahahaha...

So now, I will make my food. Gosh....I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE SPAM AND EGGS!!

SPAM, anyone? YES PLEASE!!! WOOT WOOT!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Adoration Tonight

I was nervous. The lighting was perfectly dim. There were huge candelabras on the altar. My hands were sweating a little. I had new strings on my guitar and I hoped they wouldn't go out of tune...All I  wanted to do was worship God without having my voice go flat or sharp (I am not trained at all :p )...

I took a breath, offered this time back to God, strummed my guitar...and began to sing...

candelabra
candelabra
         






I lead a night of Praise and Worship tonight. It was a time before the Blessed Sacrament. I pray it was fruitful for the people. Praying like this during Adoration is something that really helped me out in my prayer life as I came into my faith as a teen and young adult. The songs allowed me to put to words what was going on inside my heart, mind, and soul. They allowed me to express myself before my God.

And the moments of silence...wow...those moments allowed me to just sit and be with the God who lives and exists and holds all being in existence...and who remains sacramentally present to me in a very real way in the Eucharist...

I wanted to give other people this opportunity too...so I offered this night for them...I was in my collar as I played my guitar and sang and lead them in prayer.

It was reverent, personal, and I pray that it glorified God.

I'm sure this is just the first of other Adoration nights to come.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Priest and A Muslim

I had lunch earlier today. I sat down by myself at the bar and waited for my food. I began to eat and noticed that a muslim woman sat two chairs away from me. (a chair between us) I was eating and reading my book (Frank Herbert's Dune) when I thought to myself, "I should say 'hi' at the least."

So I turned and said, "Hello." She asked about the book I was reading. Then we just started talking about different things:
When I became a priest and where I am stationed
What she is studying (historic preservation ~I think that is what she said~)
The understanding of a Christian and Islamic prophet
Jesus Christ (as held in the Christian faith and Islamic faith)
The Trinity
Muslim understanding of modesty
The Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca)

We had the most fascinating time understanding each other. Our inter-religious dialogue...our understanding of life...it truly was a great lunch conversation.

     

We were a bit embarrassed when the waiters and waitresses would comment as they walked by with their dishes:
Everyone is in awe of both of you talking.
Can we have a picture of the both of you? 
I really wish I was a part of this conversation!
Gosh I would love to sit in on this talk. 
It was a little weird to hear about all the attention we brought to ourselves by simply talking. I mean, to us, we were just talking, enjoying the conversation and listening to each other...but I guess it was interesting for people to see us talk in public; her in her Islamic modest dress and me in my clerics.

A part of me was relieved we didn't take the picture. I mean, we weren't trying to show off. I understand and appreciate why people wanted a picture taken; still, we were just talking and enjoying our meals.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Hello

ALRIGHT...I was totally surprised the other day after I posted the Social Etiquette blog. Why do you ask? Porque? Perché? Dlaczego? Warum? Bakit?


Because I found out that not only were Americans looking at that post, but people from the United Kingdom, and Australia. There were a couple views from Colombia and Mexico. Italy, Poland, Germany, and Austria. And finally, the Philippines.


I have no idea who you are, but let me extend a quick little hello.
How'dy from the South!
Oi! G'day mate!
Aunque no te conzco, te mando saludos de los estados unidos.
Buongiorno!
Siema! Jak się masz?
Hallo! Guten morgen/tag/abend! :p
Kumusta ka na? Mabuti?


May God bless you all...whoever you may be...and if you ever have prayer intentions, feel free to ask.

Always a first

I am a priest. It is my birthday. There is always a first, right?

It is also the feast day of the Apostles Sts. Simon and Jude. Pretty cool.  No one really knows much about them except for the fact that they are mentioned in the list of apostles...so...obviously they were two of the Apostles. I always kinda liked them because their feast day was on my birthday. (HA! Notice that I never understood it as the other way around. They were cool because their feast was on MY birthday. haha) 
Who wouldn't be creeped out with
images of them like this? haha 

Still, a part of me couldn't ever get past how creepy it was that I didn't know much about them and yet they were watching me from heaven on my birthday:  "Uh...I don't know you guys very well, but I like you for being the saints on MY birthday...and though I don't know you, I know you look down upon me from heaven and watch me on this day especially." Creepy, no?

Right before mass today, I was vesting into my favorite red vestments. I was thinking, "wow...I REALLY like these. It's sooo cool I can wear them today..."

And right before I walked out from behind the altar with the server, I said, "Hey!" "Yeah?" "I'm a priest...and I'm going to celebrate mass for the first time...on...my...birthday..."

And I just stood there...with the goofiest smile...and in awe...
After I came to, I chuckled a bit and said "alright, let's go" and I continued to smile and chuckle up until I said, "In the name of the Father..."

My intention for mass? Thanksgiving for another year of life...and for my mom who gave me life...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Social Etiquette


video

now, do I do this too? yeah, I do. Yet, I catch myself doing it and I try to put the phone down. My friends do it too, but we try to call each other on by saying, "What?! Are we not good enough for you?" hahaha

Friday, October 21, 2011

Everyone's right... "uh...no, they're not."

You know, we are surrounded by so many things that stimulate our senses that we forget what it means to believe, to have faith, to think things through. Yes, faith and reason go together. (Read THIS if you want some food for thought. THIS for more food.)  We can just get totally bombarded with emotional stuff that eventually emotions become the standard for making decisions.

We are human and so yes, emotions are part of who we are. But when we base ourselves on our emotions, then we become flippant or relativistic. Our view of life becomes relativistic. When we base things on our emotions and not on the reality of the situation, then what we begin to discover is that everyone has their own belief system and they pick and choose what they see or don't see.
What do you see? "I see faces" "I see a vase" We begin to say, "Look, there is no real answer. It just depends on how you look at things."

Okay. So...let's say that I enjoy taking the lives of people. I really think this is a good thing. So I keep doing it. I am right. "No, you are a psychopath and need to stop." Hold the phone! I feel good doing this. I must be right in doing this. "No, you are screwed up in the head and you need to stop hurting others." Who are you to say that what I am doing is right or wrong? And why are you imposing your rule of life on me?! I'm happy doing what I am doing. 

We have a problem here...don't we...? It is obvious that we can know a greater truth about reality or about being human (as noted by having a deeps sense of what assist us in promoting the common good of human people)...and yet, if we begin to focus on our emotions as the standard to what we believe in, then relativism creeps in, and then anyone can say or do whatever they want because they feel it to be right...and then there is no longer one TRUTH that all people can live by.
So how do we remedy this? Part of the solution concerns looking at the human experience with human reflection. And just thinking about what you ate for dinner is not the deep methodical intense reflection exercise that I am talking about. Another Part is looking at the human person in light of Christian Revelation. If God became a real HUMAN PERSON...then there is something in the person of Jesus Christ that reveals to us what it means to be human (with all our emotions, reasoning powers, and faith practices), what it means to be in this life, and what this life/reality is really all about.
If we can begin to do this, then we begin to see what TRUTH HIMSELF has been trying to show us all along. That there is a Truth by which all things are governed by. Yes it is a firm and stable truth. And No...it doesn't have different perspectives. Just its own self. No relativism to it. 

want to know more? just click on the links above. BEWARE: the second link is heavy duty

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Bishop

 It was a really great experience to be there for the Ordination of Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer. It's was the first ordination of a bishop that I had ever gone to. It was his first ordination too. Haha. He made that announcement at the end of the ceremony. Everyone laughed. 

I didn't have the best seat in the house. "But Father, you were sitting RIGHT UP THERE!" Okay sure, but when there are all these priests and bishops and a huge altar in the way, there are some things that are lost. And I know some of my brothers were sitting behind walls or a huge ambo. Haha...I feel you brothers.

But what was pretty cool, was seeing Fr. Gregory go over to Archbishop Gregory from Atlanta who was sitting on the cathedra and then receive the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands is when it all happens. The principal consecrator, or the main bishop who ordains the new bishop, puts his hands on Fr. Gregory's head and BAM! It happens! The man that went down as Fr. Gregory stands up as Bishop Gregory...woa... To have him brought into the authority of the Apostles as found within the College of Bishops in union with the Pope...I mean...woa....

After the ceremony, we all made our way to the reception outside. Let me tell you what, that...was...

INCREDIBLE!!

Okay wait, let me qualify that: the skewers with meat on them were INCREDIBLE!!! ugh!!! Sooo delicious! I would have asked for more, but then I would have seem like a pig and like I was only there for the food...

Great day to be able to see alot of old friends, alot of priest friends that I had not seen...man...what a blessed day we had...sure it rained, but I like rain, so it didn't bother me much :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Duck Dodgers, I hear ya brother!

Yes...I have locked myself out of my car. But that has been in the past!! And I don't expect myself to be doing it again...at least I pray it doesn't happen again. OI VAY!

Why do I do it? Why do I lock myself out of the car or even out of the Rectory??!! 

I don't know really. Maybe I'm a space cadet at times...something like Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 century!
All Copyrights belong to Warner Bros. *this ain't mine*
That duck had NO idea what he was doing sometimes. Sure he had the plan, but how he got there was always a crazy experience. I can totally relate with you Duck Dodgers! We have the plan, the vision, but it doesn't always work out the way we want it to. And there is always some thing that happens that throws us off!

His life always threatened by Marvin the Martian or some other mishap.
My Marvin the Martian? Life!

His trusty little side-kick cadet, Porky the Pig, always seemed to get him out of trouble too.
I need a trusty side-kick cadet! Then I wouldn't lock myself out as much!

Duck Dodgers, I understand your pain. Except, I accept my problems and adventures; I don't blame it on others!! haha

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

rElaXing aT MY F@vR8 place :P

I really enjoy going out to the coffee shop on Bull Street. It gives me a chance to enjoy the atmosphere and "people-watch." Sure most of the time I'm the one probably being watched because I have a colar on, but still, once they get over the fact, they get back into their conversations and enjoy their moments with those they are with.
I hate being in the office. I really do...and yet I know that it needs to be done. When I get the opportunity, I come here to get work done. Be it a homily, talking to people about sacramental preparation, or just chatting with friends and acquaintances, this place gives me a chance to just sit, enjoy my drink, and be productive.

Perhaps it's the environment. Perhaps it's my favorite chai tea is made here. Perhaps it's the fact that I am around other people who also like art. I don't know, but it really seems to engage various aspects of my being and character. Maybe God just wanted one of his priests to be present in places like these, and so created me, and called me to follow Him as a priest to be present here and now. Huh...never thought about that...huh...that's an interesting thought.
The music can be very random too. It just depends on who is behind the counter. Things can go from blues, to country, to 80's music, to rock and roll, to reggae...oi....the variety of it all...still...it's fun. Maybe I should just claim one of these tables and make it my permanent office.....Hmmm.....I wonder....

"Father, where is your office?"
"Oh, at the coffee shop on Bull and Perry."
"Ok---wait, what!?!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

End of the Line. Doomed to die. Fools for Christ.

Ha! Imagine this line was the Catholic Church's motto: "End of the Line. Doomed to die. Fools for Christ." We probably wouldn't get too many recruits! hahaha....and yet, that is our calling as Christians. And really, this motto has been the internal motto, the internal conviction of persecuted Catholic-Christians. It has convicted the hearts of men and women to see and understand that there is something worth living and dying for. 

The Apostles lead the way by serving the Christian Church. They lead by serving them, they served by leading them. The Apostles revealed the mysteries of God...the very mysteries that were handed on to them by their encounter with Christ. They lead the way, and passed down in oral and written Tradition what they received...They helped form the Church that Christ established. They assisted those early Christians, and they assist us now by showing how one must ought to eventually live. How? Through the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (uh...the teaching authority of the Catholic Church that is grounded in the authority of the Apostles). 


Blessed Fr. Miguel Pro was killed by the anti-clerical Mexican government.
He died crying out, "Viva Cristo Rey!"
("Long Live Christ the King!")
So how do we live our lives? Really, the answer to that is to first understand who we are. St. Paul tells the Christian community that they are rich and that they are already considered Kings (1Cor4:8) ...Queens....ROYALTY.... uh...but how? Through the new life in Christ! Because of the new participation they have in his Divine Kingship. As Christians, they -- and us-- have become servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God...woa....who wouldn't be different with that reality? Who wouldn't live differently in light of that reality? 

‎"As I see it, God has put us apostles at the end of the line, like men doomed to die in the arean. We have become a spectacle to the universe, to angles and men alike. We are fools on Christ's account..." ~~ 1 Corinthians 4:9-10


See, I know right now St. Paul is talking about himself and the other Apostles in this passage....still, talk about an intense line from St. Paul. Who would want to be an apostle, or a Christian for that matter, after hearing that from St. Paul? And hey, look at Fr. Miguel Pro above. He was killed for being a priest and teaching the people the Catholic faith in the 1920's when Mexico was trying to do away with it. 


And yet, what is really cool is that these Christians understood the new life one received in Christ. Even today, we have received a new identity in Christ through baptism. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings...our dignity has been elevated beyond what society can ever imagine....we have become stewards of the mysteries of God... Nothing else matters in light of that awe-filled reality. The Apostles gave us their teachings (really the teachings of Christ) and passed on to us Tradition. We have had it all for 2,000 years and nothing, I mean, NOTHING can ever take that away...nothing can make us think otherwise or understand our reality/dignity to be anything else...nothing. 


We will continue to live for Christ. We will go to the end of the line because it is not about us but about serving and loving others as Christ did. We will struggle and be sentenced to die, but with the new life and the hope we have in Christ, with the defeat of sin and death, what can scare us? We will become fools for Christ as the early Apostles by living out our faith. Considered "fools" only to those who know not about the new dignity offered to them in Jesus Christ. And because of this new dignity, we can undergo anything and everything. We are sons and daughters, men and women, of the One True God.


The motto that will beat within the recesses of our hearts is the motto that had once beat within the those Early Christian Martyrs facing their death square in the eyes. It is the motto of the Church, the motto of the Martyrs, the motto of the Apostles. It pounded through the veins of all those men, women, and children who lived for Christ. When the time comes, it will pound in our hearts with the same zeal.  


With every last heart beat, the blood within our veins will rush and will sing the heroic song of those who have gone before us:  End of the line. Doomed to die. Fools for Christ.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Little Things in Life

I have been given fun shirts from my brother and sister. One of them is my Marvin the Martian shirt. I can't help but feel like a big kid every time I put it on underneath my clerics. "If only people knew," I think to myself, "that right now, as I sit in my clerics, I actually have a Marvin the Martian shirt underneath..."

I find myself secretly desiring a hostile takeover of the whole world with my fellow martians every time I put on this shirt. Ha! I would totally do it if I could have a hat just like Marvin!

All Copyrights belong to Warner Bros. *this ain't mine*

Sigh...it's the little things in life that amuse me....

I have no idea if anyone reads my blogs, still, I will ask: What are some things that amuse you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

End of the Day Prayer

Well, here I am....sitting here....in my office...it's the end of the day...and I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted to get done. Fortunately, I did pray, which is an ubber must for all priests. Please, dear Jesus, help me to get my prayer time in regularly. And yet, I mainly stayed behind the desk, tried to clean things up, tried to make sense of certain files that  needed ordering, and I tried to get my new laptop to sync with the office's printer...oi vay!

So, now I sit here...kinda feeling like I did the best I could today. I tried to get myself organized. One window into my office. So natural light is limited. I have lamps, but it's not the same...I look out in front of me and think of the little red book with quotes from saints hiding underneath some of the papers on my desk.

St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote something that made me think.
"It is true that the voice of God, having once fully penetrated the heart, becomes strong as the tempest and loud as the thunder; but before reaching the heart it is as weak as a light breath which scarcely agitates the air. It shrinks from noise, and is silent amid agitation."
Even as I sit here, the voice of the Lord is present. He lingers in the air. Just as "the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters" of that formless, dark, void of an earth, so too does the Spirit of God, the voice of God, sits there, lingering, and yet moving in a dynamic way incomprehensible to our own understanding, over the formless, sinful, dark voids of our own hearts...desiring to bring life and order to them by his voice...by the touch of his divine life...

Just as the beloved awaited in an excited anticipation for the kiss from her love, awaiting in anticipation as his lips hovered over hers, so too did the earth awaited the kiss of God to breathe life and order into creation. That moment of anticipation for the creation of all things...that moment as his Spirit moved and hovered over the waters, for that moment when God would say, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

And daily does He await to do this to us and in us...to have that moment with us...to bring us his very self so as to give us life, to order the passions of our hearts...and yes, he may be "strong as the tempest and loud as the thunder," and yet, more often then nought he will work within the heart silently and slowly grow in ardor until he becomes a raging wind kept within the heart.

And so, as He awaits there, shrinking away from noise, as He awaits outside of the "doors of my heart," I silence my internet radio. I let my guard down. I allow that whispering voice of God's silent peace into my anticipating heart as I pray:

Come, Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Psalm 95 ~~ A call to praise God

Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the rock who saves us
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving, and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

The Lord is God the Mighty God, the great King over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea, it belongs to him, the dry land too for it was formed by his hand.

Come then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord: "Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me,
although they had seen all of my works.

"Forty years I endured that generation. I said, 'They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.' So I swore in my anger, 'They shall not enter into my rest.'"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"My Kind"

I'm tired....ugh....just feel like dying right now...lol...no not really, but you know what I mean? Long days can leave you so exhausted when all is said and done...

So here I am...waiting to go out with my brother priest for dinner. It'll be nice to just hang out for a little and lay low with another of "my kind." Ha ha ha! It's so true though. It's great for priests to have very close friends who are not priests; it's so important to have those friends in our lives that we can share our lives with, those families that we can connect with and not feel like we are "on." And yet, priests do need other priests as friends too.

Basketball players hang around with other basketball players. Why? Because they relate the best with each other. They have a common interest and their friendships develop from there.

Priests have the priesthood in common. It's what sets them apart from other people. They have been changed ontologically...uh...metaphysically...uh...another way of saying this is that there has been a real actual change spiritually that has a real effect on their complete being....no, not just a warm fuzzy feeling, but a real change to their whole being on a very deep spiritual level....So yeah...we are different....and we need to hang out with those who are just like us...who understand how to relate with us...

It'll be good to just decompress over some food....Yes Jesus, I am very tired...and my eyes are killing me....still, thank you for making me your priest....thank you for giving me an opportunity to hang out with another of "my kind." lol...yes...thank you, Jesus

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Lord cares for his priests

I was talking with another priest for a little bit. We were talking about how interesting it is that the Lord has a way of taking care of his priests...the priest just needs to make sure he is paying attention.

The other day, after celebrating mass and preaching, I wasn't sure if what I had done was "good enough". Okay, yes, I know the Lord will use me as an instrument, and I know that I am not going to have an effect on the whole congregation that they all rise up and become zealous and start a huge movement to convert the whole city (and yes, my brain thinks about stuff like that...lol)...and yet, a part of me that struggles with the quality of what I can put in....(I suppose it's also a question of my perception of it)...

Not just 30 seconds after I process out, an individual walks out. I greet them, "Have a good morning sir," To which he responds, "I don't know if I agree with your sermon." He shakes my hand, doesn't make eye contact, and moves on....

I watch him leave and I think to myself...."I'm sorry to hear that, because I gave you exactly what the Church teaches about mercy, forgiveness, our sin, our need to show forgiveness as God forgives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation..."

And I'm left a little wounded after that encounter. Then the people began to leave and person after person they began to say, "Good homily," "Very good sermon, father," "Thank you," "You were filled with the Spirit, thank you for your words."

I was thrown aback because these people had not heard what the man said, but they immediately began to affirm me so as to counter the "attack." I thought to myself that it's just a nice thing they are saying, but it just kept coming. Usually, people don't remember anything and they'll just wish me a good day. THAT'S the most common response....but it kept coming.....and I began to say to myself, "is this real? is this just a coincidence?" And it kept coming....and I heard the inner "Chris Ortega" voice say, 'Yes, Chris! Believe it! The Lord is letting you know you did well.'

I laughed at myself and I said..."okay, okay....I won't listen to that man, Jesus...I will listen to you as you speak through your people."

When the priest seems to question something in ministry, the Lord always seems to work through others to tell him that he loves him, supports him, and that HE (God) has everything under control. The priest just has to pay attention and he'll notice what God is doing in his life...

I'm glad I paid attention :p

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Long time inquiring, first time blogging

Hello World,


Alright, this is my first blog. Why am i doing this? well, in all honestly, I just wanted to give people the opportunity to see what a priest thinks about. Sure we all have experiences of what life is about, but what does a priest think about? I know if i were a teen, I'd be like, "What do they do all day? Just sit in church?" Ha! Whatever!! There is so much to a priests life and he has to go through so much just in one day....but do you really know what he is thinking about? What is he going through? Here is your opportunity to know what goes on in the brain of this priest.


First off, I'm from the Los Angeles area...and now...I'm in Georgia...and I'm loving it! A West Coast Kid in the Bible Belt....I LOVE IT! I never felt more at home....


So...here I am....more to come in the future... Peace