Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I can’t believe that it has been 14 days since my last journal. Oops. Well it’s been tough getting back into the swing of things. Thanksgiving took a lot out of me. I just wanted to be done but nevertheless, the show had to go on. Finals are almost over. I think I’ve escaped with 4 “A”s and 3 “B”s. Not bad for my first FULL semester back in school. Most guys have left and the internet is now fasterJ. As I study for my last final of the semester, I take a moment to see what God’s been up to in my life.
I sit here and look at how much I have changed in the last 6 months (counting the summer stint I did in NYC). One thing that I noticed was my passion for the Church is greater. We learn as much in the classroom that we do at the dinner table. I am still my crazy self and I am still learning my own boundaries but I know that it’s okay. The formation team has told me to keep this because there was a moment where I felt like I needed to change. Mature. Act more “professional” if you will. But they said that this is who God made me and that I should embrace it. Obviously certain things need to change, but in general, I need to keep being that Happy-Go-Lucky type of guy.
I’m also learning patience. Many people might say that I am a very patient person but the truth of it is that I usually eat up my emotions. I’m learning how to let out what I have to say appropriately. Sometimes things need to be said because certain things should not be allowed to go unsaid. We at the seminary are responsible for each other’s formation. If we let each other get away with things then it’s doing them a disfavor.
All in all, it’s been a great semester and I am very undeserving of this blessing. Only the good Lord knows why I am here after all that I’ve done in my life. It’s a true testament to his unending mercy.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Man o man it felt so good to be home for Thanksgiving! It was so good that I literally forgot it was my birthday. I got home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and after speaking to my mom for a few hours I did some facebooking and I had some birthday messages. I totally forgot about it. The next morning the same thing happened when I was taking my dad to work, he wished me a happy birthday and that’s when it dawned on me again. Seeing a lot of familiar faces felt good and I can tell that people missed me. Things were different. Everyone’s feelings were overwhelming and so were mine. The time I was home I felt a bit unproductive but it was good. I got to hang out with the nephew and niece and the rest of the family. I was fortunate to see a lot of my good friends and I even went to The Boys & Girls Club that I used to work at a year ago. If I did not get to see you then I’m sorry but the time flew by so fast. I hope I get to see you when I come home for Christmas Break. It was a very busy 4 days and I’m just so blessed to have done all that I did in the little amount of time that I had.
Now that I am back and over my 1-day depression, it’s back to the books. Yes I was a bit depressed when I got back. But the next day when everyone else started coming home it was all good again. Two weeks from today I should be coming home for a couple of weeks. I can’t wait. I want Finals to be here already so I can get a move on. It’s been a great semester so far and I wouldn’t change my decision for anything else in the world.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I hate being sick! I’m not the most active guy alive but I like doing stuff. I like going to class. I like praying in community. I like eating with people. I like communicating with others. And I cannot do any of that when I’m sick. Here at Mount Angel, when you’re sick you have to stay inside your room until you get better. Monday is my laundry day and I couldn’t even do that. But even through what seems to be “evil”, God is working within. I have to give a speech on this question: “If God is so powerful and so good, why is there evil in the world? And what’s the deal with grace?” I don’t want to go into how I answer the question but if you want to know, please email me and I’ll email you my speech. But even a common cold/flu can be good. Like for me, I am learning that it’s okay to let others help you. I am stubborn sometimes and I find it hard to ask people for things. I have that “I can do it all on my own” attitude at times. And here I have to rely on my fellow brother seminarians to get me food. Something that I know that I can do on my own. I mean, I am sick.. I’m not dying.. RIGHT!???! Haha well again, learning to rely on my brothers and learning to change my mentality is the goal here. On the other hand, I am behind a few chapters in one of my books. It’s a great book but there’s hardly any time to read. Like today, if I was not sick, I’d be busy from 5:30pm to about 9pm . I love the things we do but its hard wanting “A”s and feeling that there is not enough time to study. But maybe tonight I can even catch up on my reading. Its about balance. And I guess in some crazy, we have to balance our sick time also.
Today was the day that I decided to go to the charismatic prayer group. It was my first experience to something like this. Although I’ve been in the presence of others while they spoke in tongues and I’ve was also blessed to be able to interpret someone they spoke in tongues but this was my first “hardcore” experience in a group setting where practically the whole group was speaking in tongues.
I guess I’ll start off by saying that I have been in a spiritual slump for the past week or so. I haven’t been going to mass and I completely lost my prayer life this past week. Certain sins were eating me up inside and I just did not see myself worthy of even attending mass or praying. It was a nasty slump. I would imagine that 2 weeks of scattered mid-terms did its part and kept me away from prayer also. It felt as my world had fallen apart. I got a “C” on my Latin midterm but thank God I got “A”s on the rest.
Today while at the prayer group, I really just offered myself to God and asked that he help me be open to this new experience and that it help me get out of this slump. We sang songs and prayed a little after each song. We prayed over people and towards the end, the group prayed over me. This is when things really started to hit me. I was getting into the music. The songs were worship songs that spoke to God asking him to be with us and help us. “Here I am to worship”, and some other songs that I can’t think of at the moment. As people were praying over me, I heard one of them speak to me softly in my ear and after hearing what he said and allowing it to sink in, I just started to cry like a baby. It was cleansing and they were tears of joy and repentance all at the same time. God was telling me that everything was going to be okay and that I was on the right path. Those words were EXACTLY what I need to hear. Tomorrow morning I am going straight to Reconciliation to be forgiven for my sins in faith and in hope that everything will be alright. Next week, God willing, I will be back with this prayer group as a “NEW” man. I will no longer be in a state of Mortal Sin. I am not expecting anything in particular but I hope that maybe this new path, this new group is where God wants me to be. I love you all very much and may the peace and love of Christ be with you!
Being in the Seminary is great and I am truly blessed being here. One thing that I encountered this week is that I am learning to see it in a different light is confidentiality. As a priest, when it comes to confidentiality in a confession room. There is no judgment, there is no speaking publicly of what happened and a priest cannot view someone differently after hearing even the most disturbing confession. After all, it is not the priest that forgives; it is God that forgives through the hands of the priest (if you don’t understand, please let me know. There’s a lot of theology behind this that I cant really get into at the moment). That is a grace from God that one receives. It’s tough stuff!
This week we had the honor of hosting 10 Bishops and over 15 Vocational Directors here at Mount Angel. They come from all over the United States and they are the ones who send us here for seminary. The reason they all came was for our Annual Regency Mass. The candidates who will be Ordained to the Deaconate were announced and formalized. My diocesan brother and I picked up Fr. John from the airport Monday night and we had a great talk. He met with us individually and I told him how I was doing and that I want to skip a grade because I am in between college one and college two. I have 21 credits and if I work a hard the next year, I will be able to move ahead a year. He liked my idea. He also mentioned the possibility of going back to New York next summer amongst other ideas. I could also stay home and study at a local college. But I feel that I can get ahead in my philosophy credits in New York and take my History here at Mount Angel.
I also jokingly mentioned the idea of me studying in Rome and to my surprise he said that I would be a great fit as long as my grades would hold up. I was very happy to hear this but at the same time I felt very honored and nervous. Now the pressure is on. If I get a “B” or two this semester I can probably get away with it but from now on, the microscope is on and if I can pull this out I will be able to study my theology in Rome. BUT as always, I will do my part and if it is God’s will then it will happen. If not, then it’s okay. At least I put in my best effort and either way I will be happy to study anywhere my diocese puts me.
Because I am in the Choir, we were fortunate to sing in front of all the Bishops and Clergy. It was a great feeling and even though we messed up a few times, we all sang great! All in all it was a great week and now that everyone is leaving tomorrow, it’s time to buckle down this weekend and get ready for my essay and two midterms next week.