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.