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 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.
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 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"

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

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... ", 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 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...


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 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 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'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.