Thursday, March 22, 2012

A very Good night

I had the most splendid evening tonight. A lovely dinner. A splendid conversation with a highly intellectual family. And now after it all, all I can say is, "Jesus, you ARE pretty flippin' awesome."

I mean to be able to allow this evening go the way it did was just phenomenal. I was able to really reflect on human nature, glorify the Lord because of his creations, relish the lofty ideas that found reality, savor the goodness of food, and then come back home to pray and see my Lord by my bedside.

I know that not everyone has it like this, and I'm sure that I'll experience my portion of difficulties too, but really, I just want to say, for all the little blessings today, "Jesus, you ARE pretty flippin' awesome! Thanks for giving me a little boost tonight!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learning and Growing

So when I got into my faith, my parish at the time was very Charismatic. (For some reading on it, there is This link from EWTN and there is This link from Sienna that can help us understand this just a little more.) So I was brought up around hand clapping and hand raising, song singing in and outside of Mass,  spontaneous prayer, and there were even manifestations of extraordinary gifts around me as some of the above links refer to. This is how I grew in my faith. This is how I came close to God. I experienced the Spirit in a very real way in this manner of prayer. My love for God and love for neighbor was fueled by this kind of prayer life.

When I was first exposed to the Mass with organ music, I felt like I was going to die! was so foreign to me. I couldn't pray using this form of music and spiritual approach. But I grew accustomed to it, and I began to see the Lord working in me through it. I saw the beauty of the Liturgy in a different manner than before. I began to understand the Lord was present here too, and that it was here the Lord was speaking to me.

And then, I went to school where Gregorian Chant was used within the Liturgy and so was Latin. I wanted to die! Hahaha. I felt stifled. I felt imprisoned. Nothing made sense to me. I felt unable to truly be myself...and then something happened one day. During the Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy), the Gloria, and the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), I felt...HIM.

Through the ancient language of the Church, my heart was moved in a manner that I had only experienced in Praise&Worship. My mind was lifted up and my being was filled with a passion that raged with LOVE for God. I found that I had to actually keep myself from standing in the middle of mass while the chant was being sung. I had to voluntarily keep myself from lifting up my arms. I didn't want to bring attention to myself, so I had to quietly allow myself to be overcome by the Spirit.

I began to learn of the various aspects of our Catholic worship. I was brought up with the most recent spiritual exercises, but as I traveled around the US, I was exposed to the traditions of the Church and encountered the same Spirit in them all.

And then, one day, I attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The "Tridentine Mass." The Mass that was celebrated for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church from the 1570's to the early 1960' complete utter Latin...with the priest, facing the altar....away from the people...! I mean, why does he put his back against the people! No one can understand anything! He's doing his thing and what about everyone else?! This feels soo cold. So rigid. OF THE LAW!

But as I began to understand our Church history, as I began to learn what the priest was actually praying, what various movements meant, what spiritual/theological meaning different things had...I...I began to have a slight change of heart...I went from, I will NEVER go to something like this again, to: I will can appreciate this but it is NOT for me, to: I can see this only spiritually good for the priest but NOT THIS SOON-TO-BE-PRIEST NOR FOR LAY PEOPLE, to: I can see myself celebrating this simply for myself as a private devotion, to: I think I can actually see the how spiritually nourishing this is for people (once they actually know what is going on :) I mean, hey, our greatest saints were brought up with this Mass, right?), to: I can see the Spirit here...and I see how charismatic this can actually be for me and everyone, and how the priest is LEADING the people in worship to God the Father, to: I am going to learn this for myself and for the people.

What I have noticed, though, is that my Charismatic prayer formation is NOT compromised by the Extraordinary Form of the Mass; nor is my charismatic prayer lifestyle contradictory to the Extraordinary form. If anything, my prayer life is fueled and guided by it.

I want to say more (I just chopped off a whole second essay! hahaha), but I will say that as I continue on in my faith walk with the Lord as his priest, I will continue to be learning and growing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Prison

Cardinal Francis Xavier 
Five Loaves and Two Fish is a really great book. I think about it every now and then whenever I find myself in my see, the book is written by the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan who spent 13 years in prison, 9 of those years were in solitary

Yeah, my office can feel like a prison sometimes, and yet I think of this cardinal who spent his life in prison for 13 years! He slowly began to realize that his prison experience of suffering and hope could help others in their journey of faith...

Yeah, I know I have talked about how much I dislike office-type work either on my blog or Facebook, still, I write my experiences to express that as a priest, I do know that everyday life is hard or mundane! Still, I also write to say that there is still meaning that may be found in our everyday suffering.

How does office work fit into this? Well, we have to understand that we can do the average thing with great love. And so long as we foster the mindset that says, "Lord, though I am tired right now and I don't want to be here, let me continue on out of Love for you. I do this work for you.", we can make any action a holy action. 

And yes, you can even say or pray things like, "Lord, I look over these numbers to glorify you. I staple these papers out of love of you. I answer this phone and I love you through the other person I converse with." Anything can become a way of acting in love...

As a priest, though I'm not being called out on an emergency right now, I do the little things that need to be done for the glory of God. I offer up my sufferings in hopes that if there are any good merits and graces that come from them, that they may be given to those in need within the Mystical Body of Christ.

Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan's tiny book is filled with prayers and meditations that were the fruit of his long suffering that started in 1975. Being trapped in a confined area, he found himself and the will of God. Sometimes, being trapped in my own little prison, I find myself before God. I find myself trying to grow and mature in seeing the will of God in my work. I can tell that I have a lot of maturing to do...still, it's worth it. Why? Cuz I do my work for HIM...and I do it for YOU.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Krispy Overload

Okay, so I do enjoy Krispy Kreme Doughnuts every now and then.
And the other day, I totally had like 3 of like...3 minutes....I felt soo sick. I do NOT recommend doing this, especially if you have been eating healthy for a while. 

Overloading on Krispy Kreme got me thinking of sin. Eating doughnuts is not a sin...unless you are being gluttonous. Sin can be soooooo tempting. Sin is bad from the get go (and doughnuts aren't the healthiest thing for you either), and when you overload on either of them, you find yourself sick to the core of your very being. Why? Because sin destroys your relationship with God in a very real way (and too much sugary goodness isn't good for your body's system). Sin severs the virtue and grace of God's supernatural charity that is poured out to you. 

As a result, we feel sad, empty, restless, annoyed, etc. We try to fill that void up, but we once again turn to sin (a very fleeting experience of happiness that really doesn't make us happy at all) and continue to widen the gap and find ourselves in a paralyzing coma where all that is good and holy doesn't seem good anymore. I may have one doughnut and think, "wow, that's good. One more isn't going to hurt..." And I guess in a minute way, one doughnut hurts my body in some way, and yet, unless I grow in temperance, one thing will lead to another, and sooner or later a cop is going to find me off the side of the road in my car in an original-glazed-doughnut-induced coma.

Whereas doughnuts are not a MORAL EVIL that can depict if we go to heaven or hell, Sin IS a moral evil and if we refuse to do something about it, then we won't be destined for heaven. So we do what we can, we continue to eat better and exercise and continue to rely on the Sacraments as we grow closer to Jesus Christ. And if we have a slip up, acknowledge your sin, come to the Sacrament of Confession (or just refrain from some other tempting sweet/drink for the rest of that day) and bask in the goodness of your relationship with God.

Till next time, friends.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Phone problems

So, sometimes I wonder why my phone thinks it can just turn off on its own. I have called my phone company, fortunately, they are doing what they can to help me out (they even sent me a replacement, but the second one still does the same thing! ha!)  These last several days, when my phone decides it wants to disobey me and do it's own thing, I stop and think, "Sigh...this is just ridiculous." So I wait until it powers back on. I lose the time that I could have used efficiently on something else...and really, I can't get upset anymore because I know it's going to do it. Is it frustrating? Yeah, but my anger isn't going to help me out. And if I throw the phone around, I'm going to be left with...a BROKEN phone, rather than a disobedient one... hahaha So I have to be patient and wait until it cooperates again...

This is just like God, though, right? I mean, we are meant to live our lives a certain way. We are meant to communicate his love to others. We are created for a special plan he has for every single one of us...and then....BAM! We disobey because we would rather do one thing rather than what He really needs us to do....and so what does he do? He waits...he waits until we finish doing our own thing. In the meantime, we cause who knows what other problems for ourselves!hahaha So he waits, lovingly... until we are back "on line".