Running the race of life: January 2006

Running the race of life

Monday, January 30, 2006

Good words from the Church to Us

Sometimes in the course of my reading, I come across a few lines that make me stop and say, "Whoooooahhhhh!" (okay, that just doesn't translate on paper). Anyways, here's a paragraph that stopped me in my tracks as I was reading the other day. While the language isn't exactly inclusive, the message is certainly one for all:

From the Pastoral Constitution on the Church, Gaudium et Spes:

Such is the mystery of man, and it is a great one, as seen by believers in the light of Christian revelation. Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from his Gospel, they overwhelm us. Christ has risen, destroying death by his death. He has lavished life upon us, so that, as sons in the Son, we can cry out in the Spirit: Abba, Father!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm reading an interesting book I recently received as a gift. I've always loved traveling especially for the surprised encounters of grace with others along the way. You know, the unexpected conversation with the guy next to you on Southwest or the kind deed someone does when you're in a jam. The Kindness of Strangers is a collection of short stories worth checking out.

Some thoughts on the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Having asked for others thoughts on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I wanted to share some of my own thoughts.

My personal experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been an one of conversion. I must admit that for a long time I was riddled with scrupulosity and confession became something I pushed myself to do to get relief.

By God's grace, spiritual maturity has slowly (and continues to) taken root. I now go to the Sacrament not just because I want to shed a laundry list of sins but because I believe there's more to it: The Lord wants to encounter us there with Love.

I've realized that Reconciliation is an opportunity to look humbly and honestly at how I've received or not received God's attempts at embracing me. Now I know this might sound kind of "pie in the sky" but I think there's something to it.

It blows me away to think that in less than a year, I'll be on the other side of the confessional at times. I'll be a Priest hearing the intimate confession of another human being.

Frankly, this is scary and humbling all at the same time. Perhaps thats good, maybe it will open me to really be the Lord's instrument.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation- Thoughts and Perspectives

In "Sacraments of Healing" class we're about to begin discussion about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have been encouraged to seek input from people on the role of the Sacrament in their lives. I figured it might be interesting to hear how some bloggers out there see the Sacrament. I plan on posting more of my own thoughts soon.

Some questions to consider:

Why do you or do you not celebrate the Sacrament of Penance?

Is there a decline in the celebration of the Sacrament?

Do you experience the Sacrament of Penance as worship/prayer?

Love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today's Readings in Art

David dances before the Ark of the Lord!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Moving Witness at the March for Life

I was blessed to be among the thousands who participated in the March for Life in Washington D.C. today.

The picture above is related to the most moving experience of the day for me.
The first group to lead off the March was a group of women silently walking with outraised arms holding signs that read, "I Regret My Abortion".

Moved by their witness, I realized that I just wanted to give one of them a hug. I approached Mary Anne (she had a name tag on) and she accepted my gratitude with humility and we embraced. I told her that I would pray for her continued healing and she said she would appreciate those prayers.

I pray that we will come to realize the suffering that is inflicted upon all when we take the life of children in the womb and devalue the dignity of life at all stages.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Morning Reflection

A little reflection that came through prayer this morning:

You are all about us Lord.
We stir from our sleep this morning,
because you have opened our eyes to your newness.
We breathe, because you give us our very breath.
We offer you thanks because you have
planted the seeds of gratitude in our hearts.
We are silent because you give us
an awareness of your glory.
We speak because you are the Word that is always spoken.
We celebrate the Eucharist because you desire to give us life.
We are all about you Lord.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Journey to Holy Orders

Today, was a significant day for me. In my final semester of studies in preparation for Ordination to the Priesthood, I am enrolled in a presiding class.

Basically this means that we practice the role of being a transitional deacon and then a priest.

Today, fully vested in Alb, Stole and Chasuble, I had the opportunity to pray the Eucharistic Prayer. Whoaa!

My feelings... nervousness and yet excitement. My thought... awe at the action God is calling me to. The prayers are beautiful and they come naturally.

So much to learn and yet perhaps even more to pray about. I'm smiling as I write this. Thank you Lord for your calls in our lives and your patience as we grow into our call!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Nuclear Weapons in Iran

The situation in Iran baffles me.

While I acknowledge a legitimate fear of weapons of Mass Destruction, I don't understand the rationale behind U.S. and European policy.

We are a Nation that has developed Nuclear Weapons. Who are we to dictate that another country cannot do the same?

I'm certainly not saying we don't have a right to defend ourselves. And we do have an obligation to challenge those who threaten peace. But, it seems to me that Natural Law, Church teaching and Political thought call us to reconsider the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on our home soil and abroad.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who is that masked man?

Since I'm new to the World of Blog I've had several people ask me, "What does it mean that you are a Franciscan Friar of the Third Order Regular of Penance?" Its a good question, since we're not well-known and so I thought I'd share a little more about my Franciscan identity and welcome any other questions that come this way.

I am a Franciscan Friar of the Third Order Regular better known as Franciscans, T.O.R. Borrowing from our website:

Basically, we are a religious community of Catholic priests and brothers dedicated to God. Our beginnings can be found in the Penitents of the Middle Ages: people who were seeking holiness in their daily lives. Francis of Assisi was himself a Penitent, but he gave this movement a new direction and spirit. Our community is international and yet small (around 900 friars).

Part of the confusion about Franciscans is that there are so many different types. I like to use the phrase someone once told me: Franciscans are like Ice Cream; one basic product but many different flavors! May God be glorified in the different expressions of the Gospel!

How did I decide to become a T.O.R.?

I was first exposed to the T.O.R.'s as a student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. The Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of which I am a part serves at Franciscan U. One of the friars was our hall chaplain, we got to know each other better and soon I was seeking his wisdom in Spiritual direction. I continued to get to know the other friars during my years at Steubenville but really was thinking my vocation was going to be marriage. In the two years following graduation, the Lord really began to place the Priesthood on my heart. Within this call, I found myself longing to live in community and to live in a community open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At this point, I was naturally drawn to the men I knew- the T.O.R.'s. I checked them out and decided to give it a try! Emphasis on give it a try! I guess you could say that the Lord confirmed it all throughout. I professed my solemn vows as a Franciscan last July and will be ordained a deacon in May and God-willing a priest in November (I hope to speak more about my sentiments on this in future blogs).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Alito Affair: Faithful to God and to the Law?

The Confirmation hearings on Samuel Alito have me thinking a lot about the interesting relationship between personal faith and public policy.

It is fascinating to consider the questions being raised. The questions aren't new but they really beg for exploration:

What does it mean to be faithful to God and faithful to the Law?

Is it possible to make a distinction between one's beliefs and the way one acts and discerns publicly?

I was speaking about this with one of my brothers who is very interested in Politics. He was helping me appreciate the complexity of all of this.

One thing he said was particularly interesting. He proposed a situation where a political persona such as Samuel Alito came to him for advice on how to handle the "grilling" of a confirmation panel- How would he advise this person to be true to their faith without saying something that would be political suicide?

His answer was simple yet wise: Speak the words of Jesus.

He said that we have to look to the example of Jesus. Jesus was questioned often and while he didn't compromise, he didn't necessarily tell all nor did he always answer the question directly (e.g. "Whose face is on the coin?").

Interesting stuff.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Baptism of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River. There are many things that stand out from this Feast but the words pronounced over Jesus strike me as particularly important because they apply to us as the brothers and sisters of Jesus:
"You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Under Construction... Slowly

I'm slowly adding links to a few of my favorite blogs.

Thanks DP, Noel and Lauren for welcoming me to your blog spaces. Fr. Seraphim continues to offer wisdom and humor through his blog.

Happy New Year everyone!

Its three days into the Year but its still fresh! I'm back at the friary after a few days of vacation with my family. It was a blessed time but I'm glad to be back.

Have any New Years resolutions? Mine is more of an attitude I hope to embody through God's grace. Live a little more boldly, take some more risks out of love, thats my desire. Lord, help me to live out what you resolve for me.