Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LENT--Hit me up with some Videos!

So....I found some cool videos y'all may like to watch to think about for LENT and What today is all about.

This is Matt Maher's 40 Days song...pretty cool...



Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes:

Now, THIS is cool. Busted Halo Calendar for Lent. 
Cool reflections for the next 40 Days.


Fr Barron does a good job of explaining things to us too:


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Soldier of Christ: Spiritual Battle: the Desert

Ah, the BATTLE. Where we encounter two armies that charge into the field. Where the battle rages. Where swords severe limbs completely and axes cut through helmets. Where one fights savagely and slaughters the other. And as the battle progresses, someone else loses their left hand. In the middle of the grotesque battle, one soldier spots another rider on his horse and deals with him accordingly...I arranged this from an excerpt from the script from Braveheart.

The battlefield of everyday life is a real thing. We have to learn how to practically fight to be Christian...and yet the Spiritual Battle is a very real thing too; we may find ourselves blinded by the madness of it all, blinded by the fact that we are at war with ourselves; our own emotions are under attack, they are dried up and put into a "desert" like state to the point of not being able to discern what ought to be done and what our Commander Jesus Christ is saying.

So what is this dry feeling, this coldness towards God? Why do we sometimes go through it? I am NOT a Catholic spiritual guru nor a spiritual director with years of experience :) but I will give my thoughts on this from personal experience, from what I have read, and what others have shared with me in the past. Because everyone is different, the details will always vary, and yet for the most part this experience is sometimes known as "the desert". The desert is a time of desolation, of solitude, and of apathetic agony. We go through this for various reasons:
  • We may need to be purged from our attachments to worldly things
  • To confront the inner struggle within us
  • To share in the sufferings of Christ
  • God may want you to grow spiritually and learn how to commit to a personal relationship with Him
  • And (following the above 3rd point) in doing so, He will purposely pull away his consolations to teach us to focus on the Gift-Giver, to love HIM rather than the spiritual gifts that He gives us

The spiritual battle, a majority time, is a confrontation with ourselves. Sure we run into people who are just ANNOYING! Believe me, I know. Haha....But really, the question is not, "What prayer do I pray to have this person change?" but rather, "What do I DO to be Christ-like to this person?" "How can I love selflessly?"

We may not feel like being nice or charitable, we may not feel like being like Christ, BUT being Christian is not necessarily based on how we feel but rather on personally and decisively living out our faith even if we don't feel like it.

The everyday Christian walk manifests what goes on spiritually within us. In both places, we encounter ourselves in our brokenness, we encounter our un-Christ-like personalities AND we wage a war against our unorderly passions and train them to be passionate like Christ. In the spiritual life, we wage a war against that part of us that wants to always feel those good warm fuzzy feelings. We try to teach that part of ourselves how to not rely solely on good feelings but to also make the personal decision to love and commit to our prayer lives even if it IS hard. ...God...God will purposely withhold spiritual things from us so we can learn this very lesson.  

Blessed Mother Theresa
St Theresa of Avila
So much more can be said, about different things touched on above, but I will end with this thought. Great saintly people, like these ladies, lived with moments of desolation. They experienced the "desert" of the spiritual life...they didn't feel God all the time, they felt like they were going through the motions. Still, they remained faithful even though they felt like they were talking to a brick wall...why? Because love drove them to train and remain faithful to prayer and to God even if they didn't feel like it. 

This was their battle...and they fought their whole lives to the end.

Any questions? Please feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer. Do try to consult with your own pastor with spiritual matters :) He can do a better job of talking about your specific situation than I can. I mean, he can meet with you...I...I can only receive your messages and give a response via blog ;p

Monday, February 13, 2012

Soldier of Christ

"Father, I want to be holy."

You know, holiness is a process and a hard thing to do.

"I know, but I want to go to church more and pray so much more. I really love God."

Praise God! And I encourage you to go and get involved as much as you can! We all need to get those graces that are poured out to us for the battle.

"Uh...battle? What battle?"

The battle of your life! The battle to maintain holiness! The battle to fight against the inclinations to attack and be vengeful; the battle to let yourself be open to grace and allow peace to be your sword and not anger; the battle where you will need the quick and witty steps of humility and prudence so as to engage with people rather than succumb to prideful and manipulating plots; where you remain a soldier for Christ and constantly remember that you are Loved by God as his child and that you are not an agent of deception...
"That sounds intense....I don't know if I can handle it."

You can't.

"Huh?"

Look, you can't do this on your own. You need God's help, his grace. Going to Confession, Adoration, praying daily, going to Mass, examining your life by the Commandments and Virtues...All these things and everything else we have as Catholics are just the prep-work and training offered to you to deal with everyday life, and everyday broken and tired human hearts.
 

"I thought that being religious or spiritual was all that was needed. What's this about everyday life?"

Well, unless you live it out in your works, your faith can be counted as dead. A soldier of Christ is always trying; he goes into the battlefield everyday. When he steps out of it at the end of the day, he considers how he can improve, and then he goes back out into it the following day.

"So I got time? I can work on this? I can examine myself continuously and continue my battle as a soldier, my work on holiness?"

Yeah, it takes time and because we are all different, we will all train and go into the battlefield in different ways. But so long as Christ sees you training and going out to the battle and working on it, then he knows that you are trying. He wants to see you give what you got. Laziness doesn't do much for you in the battle; nor does laziness help you out when he calls his troops in at the END to give them their final ranking.

"Alright. I'll do my best."

Give it your all and do your best. That's a good holy way of thinking.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Oh Yeah...Lord, you got this!

God is constantly working on something or someone even when we aren't aware of it. Though we may question the amount of work in front of us, we forget that God has already been working on an event or a person's heart. It almost seems like He does this so that when we are brought into the situation, he desires us to play a certain role, and not create something out of nothing.

I have been wondering how and where I can assist young people to draw closer to Christ (Especially through Adoration! ugh! That's my favorite!!). These last few months, I have been wondering what I can do for the youth nearby when a couple weeks ago a teen from the school next door asked me to help them start off Adoration in their chapel. I was blown away when she told me she had all the people lined up to cover for the time slots; she wanted to make sure someone would always be present to keep Jesus company; she had picked out spiritual books for her peers that may come in for prayer; and all she needed now was a priest. (well, she also needed Jesus in the Eucharist!! lol)   

God had already been working on her heart who knows for how long. I am sure that while I was asking, "When, Lord, when?" or "What do you want me to do? Where should I begin?" he was already working on someone else's heart so that he can say to me, "Calm down! I was working on something! Now go to work!"

Basic story: God has it under control. He will use us when the time is right.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From the Nosebleeds to Priesthood

I have been going to the March for Life these last 7 years or so. My first trip was with the university, Ave Maria University, that I graduated from. Let me tell you that by the end of the quick trip from Florida to DC and back, I was exhausted!
Yes, that is me...on the floor...in the airport
But during our quick little pilgrimage, we ended up going to the Verizon Center where the youth rally was going on. If you have never gone, I would recommend one day going. There are THOUSANDS of young people in the arena all going to Mass! Anyways, I was in the nosebleed section my first year.
I was amazed to see so many religious brothers and sisters, and seminarians! And then to see all these deacons, priests, and bishops coming in during the procession....wow...I mean...WOW! I remember crying at seeing all these men giving their lives over to the Lord and hoping one day to join them in the trenches! The experience was profound and quite moving.

And then two years later, I was in the seminary. Little did I know we would be going to the youth rally. I was excited! That year we sat on the floor of the arena. I remember looking up and thinking, "I was up there before...now...someone is up there looking down at me...at us..." For three years I attended Mass as an unordained seminarian and thought of some young man up there looking down at us....just like I had done in the past...

I recall that all those years as a college guy and seminarian I would look over at the part of the arena where the priests were giving their time to reconcile the sons and daughters of God back to Himself in Confession. Hundreds if not thousands of people going to Confession...and every priest being another Christ to draw them back to God...

As an ordained deacon, I was then able to come in during the procession with my other ordained classmates. I remember feeling so excited because it was the procession that struck me when I first attended this rally. It was the long line of men who had given their lives over to God that really made and impression on my heart to continue answering the call of God and join the ranks of His ordained men. And so I thought and prayed in my heart, "Here am I Lord! Use me in this line to glorify you and to encourage any young man out there!"

And this year...this year....I came in through the usual entrance and saw some friends I had not seen since my last few days in the seminary...
I vested myself...
I made my way up to the level where I could be the instrument of Reconciliation for the sons and daughters of God...
I processed in as a priest with my brother priests to concelebrate at Mass...
...and... 
I looked up to where I had once looked down....and I thought to myself and prayed, "One day my, brother...one day. Follow the call and one day you will join us in the trenches...God be with you..."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Long Time No blog....I know

Dudes and Dudettes, I am TOTALLY sorry for not posting up anything. Things have been a little crazy these last few weeks. I am usually finding time to post something on any given day (normally on Sunday or Monday) but it hasn't worked out like that lately.

No prob! Here I am! 
*chirping crickets* 
uh...hello?... 
*the crickets stop....silence envelops the poor little priest in cyberspace*
um....is anyone there? 
*the wind blows across the desert and a tumbleweed rolls on by*

the poor priest doesn't understand how he just ended up in the middle of a desert


LOL
Okay, enough of that...

Hope everyone is doing well. I have two cool stories or so. One from the March for Life and the other dealing with the school next door. I'll get to those in my next posts. But until then, continue praying. Allow yourself to be taken up by the love of God and transformed into the men and women of God that you are!!