Monday, May 2, 2011
So I made my decision official as of last Friday. I still feel comfortable.. I feel stress free.. I feel at peace with my decision and yes I am leaving the seminary after this semester which ends on Saturday. As I sit here and reflect on this year I can say that it has been the best year of my life and no one will ever be able to take this experience away from me. I’ve met some really holy people. I’ve gained great friends. I’ve lost a few too but only time will tell how that all turns out. I truly saw the beauty of the priesthood. I’ve see what it is to a servant and I’ve grown in holiness.
Three major things that I am leaving with:
I’ve fell in love with spiritual direction and cannot see my life without it. As soon as I get back, I will find a priest who can continue to help me see the road in front of me. I can best describe it by seeing a road filled with debris and as soon as I meet with a spiritual director, He helps me clean up the road so I can better fallow it.
Another thing I am leaving with is the desire to learn and to give back what I learn. I am not the smartest man in the world but I know I am gifted and I am a good teacher. I just hope I can one day find a career in the education field.
Lastly, I’ve realized that I am called to one day get married. My spiritual director told me to be diligent so I will “be diligent” in finding the woman I’m supposed to marry. After all, I cannot find something I’m not looking for. I will be able to see God in this person and if I’m right for her, she’ll be able to see God in me.
So for now, I’m just relaxing and cherishing every moment I have with my seminarian brothers and I will pray each prayer as if it’s my last. after all it will be my last moments up here on the hill top. I’m excited to get life going outside the seminary because I have direction and I am confident in the person that I’ve become.
Thank you all so much for being a part of this amazing journey. I know its been like a Mexican tele-novela but its been well worth it.
Much love and God bless you!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
So Lent is over and Jesus has risen from the dead. As He has risen, there’s a certain joy in the air. We as Christians are blessed to re-live these days every year because it reminds us what was given to us. The sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us in order to show us true love.
I was able to spend Holy Week at home working at a local parish near where I live. The trip taught me a lot in so many different ways. I learned a lot about Liturgy and the importance of catering it to the community (when possible). I wanted to speak to my Pastor regarding my discernment process but I never got the chance because we were all super busy. The day that I had off, well, he did too.
Now that I’m back in Oregon, I have 2 more weeks left. I think next Tuesday is our last day of classes, Wednesday and Thursday and finals, Friday is moving day (for everyone who is moving rooms) and Saturday is graduation. After Graduation we’re officially on summer break until August. I know I told everyone that I would post my decision whether or not I would be leaving the Seminary after Easter but I am waiting until my next journal.
This year has been one of my best years. There have been many ups and downs but I know that I’ve grown as a person. I’ve grown intellectually, I’ve grown spiritually and I’ve grown into deeper love for God. Granted, I still have my faults; I still can be immature and over react, but I know that I am a way better person now than I’ve ever been. And I will continue to grow no matter what road I take because I feel that I have learned how to ask myself questions and how to reflect on things in a way that will help me get out of those sticky situations that life can throw at us. Above all, I know God loves me and that He is always with me, especially when I’m down. There’s nothing we could ever do, that will make Him love us less.
God bless and I miss you all.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Haha i use to say Asta Pasta instead of "goodbye" or "later"..
I love having a chat with my Spiritual Director because he helps me say what I really mean. I’m pretty good at expressing myself but he just makes it so much clearer. I told him that I will be disconnecting from the outside world for the next two weeks and he really liked the idea and the reasons behind them. He felt it very appropriate and was kind of impressed I guess. He also told me that regardless of the reasons why I leave, God will always love me and bless my decisions (being that they’re good ones). That gave me some peace of mind knowing that I’ll always be loved. He also gave me some spiritual exercises and taught me how to ask the Holy Spirit to bless my future plans. I really am at peace with leaving the seminary and I feel that I’ve thought about it a lot and have come to my decision with my heart and mind. Now its time to ask for God’s blessing.
I’m also going to try to let go of all the feelings I have in my heart regarding leaving the seminary for these two weeks. I am going to focus on doing what I have to do. I was just assigned to be the lead coordinator of a College 1 outing and also a video project for the retiring faculty/staff members. So I’ll be pretty busy doing that along with everything else going on up here. I’m asking God to bless my new direction that I want to take but I’m also asking Him to redirect me if He wants me to stay.
The beauty of this is at the end of Easter, I am going to decide whether I stay or go. Once I make that firm decision, I will be at peace with myself and I will have one less thing to worry about. If I stay then I will be confident that God wants me here and I will be amazed by what I had to give up. Few people know about that. And if I choose to leave, it will give me enough time to say my goodbyes and prepare myself for the next chapter in my life. I’m not going to post anything for the next few weeks so till next time, YOU are loved and even though I haven’t talked to you in a while, you’re amazing just the way you are!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Two week ago, I was already counting the days until I returned home. One of my brothers here on the hill named Art reminded me not to count the days, but make them count. I was so stuck on going home along with other feelings of emptiness that I began to get lazy in the classroom; my prayer life was suffering, sadly, I was sick and I didn’t go to prayer, Mass, or class; everything was just going down the drain for a good week or so.
There’s a Greek word Metanoia and when I first learned the meaning, it captivated me. From my understanding, it means to see with new eyes or to change ones mind. I don’t know Greek but as far as I know that’s pretty accurate. The idea is to look at things differently in order to understand. Maybe I really needed this time to see everything with new eyes. After all, if this is God’s will, then I will somehow find the way.
As far as I know and according to how I feel, I still am looking towards taking that 2 year Leave of Absence and finishing up my BA outside the seminary. But as Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, I feel that I am going through my desert and how else can I get out of it then by trusting in the Lord and committing myself to him entirely asking him to guide me. On that note, starting April 10th, I will be disconnecting from the outside world until Easter Sunday (April 24th) in order to really focus on prayer, Mass, class and community life here on the hilltop. I have faith in Jesus and if nothing changes, then I will know my place is within the married life, hopefully as a Religious Ed/Philosophy teacher. By allowing myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, I might also see things with new eyes and if I do, I hope I have the strength to fallow His light. Thank you all and God bless! Much love always!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Couldn’t keep from writing. What can I say, it’s the way I express myself. So one of the beautiful aspects of living and studying at the seminary is learning something and then seeing how it applies to real life. Although I originally learned these proofs of God’s existence this past summer, I can’t help but to reflect on this beautiful sunset that I sat and watched the other day. The idea of how someone can say that there is no God when they look at something so beautiful is beyond me. God created this world for us to live freely and to freely choose to love God every day of our lives.
As I sat there I was able to reflect on the beauty of the world and how blessed I am. My family is amazing. My friends are all very special to me. Although we all have our problems, I love every one of them for who they are because it’s then that you know you truly love someone; By taking them with all their junk and them taking me for all of mine. And in turn, by loving others, I am showing God that I love Him. I’ve done my share of stuuuupid things and I know I am blessed to have a God (and people in my life) who forgives me.
The sunset was just amazing and I’ve wanted to watch one for a while but just haven’t had the time/opportunity until the other day. haha Call me weird, sensitive, girly, or any other name.. I don’t care, as long as ya still love me for who I am. But if ya don’t, it’s cool. I still love ya :)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sorry I’m just on a roll tonight. I’ll try not to write next week
I always hated that saying but I guess I appreciate it a little more. I always thought “don’t let it go, LET IT SHOW!” I often feel that we don’t let our love show enough and because of that, it can die out. Recently, I’ve learned to “let it go” in a couple of different ways… but in regards to my discernment, I noticed that I came into the seminary with the I’M GONNA BE A PRIEST type of attitude. I was on fire. I felt that this was it for me. No letting go, or turning back. I was, in a sense, holding on so tight that I was suffocating my vocation and not letting it breathe. Ignorance maybe? I don’t know but as soon as I started to let it go, I started to notice a change. I don’t mean I didn’t care, I mean I started to let it take its own course and allow it to grow instead of forcing it. So the saying “if you love something, let it go” works in this sense that I had to let it go to allow it to grow on its own.
Now in relationships, (friends, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, family ect.) I still feel we should always let it show first! I mean don’t smother the person but… here’s an example in my life. My friend Jorge wrote me the most amazing comment in regards to my discernment and well I know I’m a good guy but as they say, we are our own worst critic and sometimes, especially this week, I’ve felt a bit down and out. But his words really touched me and in a sense gave me the strength to keep my head up. So because we don’t know what kind of mood each of us are in, I feel that showing that love to one another is key because we just might get them out of a slump or make them feel even better about who they are! As Bruno Mars says “you’re amazing just the way you are”. Sometimes we just need to hear it from others. I personally would hate to lose someone because I let my own pride, selfishness, or unhappiness get in the way and in turn not say how I truly feel about a person. I can go on and on and on but I’ll end it with this: If you’re reading.. Which I hope YOU are. “You’re amazing… just the way you are” much love to you all. See you soon (41 days!)
Friday, March 25, 2011
I know I just wrote a journal a few days ago but I feel like I’m behind one since I didn’t write one during my spring break. Even though I spoke with my vocation director and my fellow OC brothers and I feel confident in where God is telling me to go, that doesn’t mean it’s easy either. Haha I doubt myself and my judgments but I keep saying to myself, ‘if God is gonna change my mind, he’s going to do it sooner or later’ or if I’m on the right path, He’ll keep laying it out for me. He always has a way of doing that I guess.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been sick since Wednesday morning or other things going on, but I feel like everything was going great and now it’s like BAM! Not anymore!! Haha. Like I lost something and can’t do anything about it. But the reason for me writing this is not to release stress but rather to just remind everyone that even through the tough times, one might want to ask themselves ‘what’s God up to with me right now?’ I was flipping out for the past 2 days but then I remembered that God has to be working in me right now and so instead of getting mad or upset because I can’t control the situation, I should just try and figure out what the lesson is he’s trying to teach me. I haven’t figured that part out completely but I do feel a lot more at peace after I started looking at things differently. Am I still sad? Yeah, but I know God is working in my life and I’m going to learn something out of this, so it’ll be worth it when I get out. Much love to you all and have a great weekend!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Spring break was a great time away from the Seminary. It was a perfect time to stay close to God by attending daily mass at my home parish and also spending time with as many people as possible. I got to see most of my friends (Chris, I love you brother, I’ll see you soon enough) and I spent some good time with the family. Even though things didn’t go as planned with them, I still feel that God was at work through the tough times. I did spend a lot of time with my friends but it’s really hard balancing time for everyone. In that sense, I am blessed to have so many friends but it is hard to see everyone in one week. my priorities might have gotten mixed up a little bit but i know it was all for a reason. I thought the seminary was a busy life style until I went home for a week. haha.
So I think after this spring break week, I realized a lot more regarding my vocation to the priesthood. I feel that many people don’t understand the fact that in the seminary we are expected to go through tough times and we are also here to figure out God’s will. Being in the seminary does not mean that we’re already priests, nor does it mean that we already have everything figured out. Don’t get me wrong, some people do have it figured out but most don’t and there’s nothing wrong with that.
That being said, I spoke to my fellow Orange brothers and they gave me some good advice. They told me that it might be better to take a 1-2 year leave of absence and in that time finish my Bachelors degree and then see and what’s the best fit for my life. If at the end of the leave of absence, I feel that I am still being called to the priesthood then I can come back. If not, then I can at least move on with my degree in hand into a teaching profession.
Those feelings that I feel regarding married life are still there and after constantly thinking and praying about it, I feel that this leave of absence will be good for me to really see where God wants me. I am really sure that God is calling me into this new direction because of the way God has been working in my life since I arrived to the seminary. Each path has its ups and downs and I know I experienced those highs and lows this past week but I know it’ll all be worth it in the end because I feel that I am doing my part in prayer, listening to God, keeping up with my studies and living the community life. I think that's another key in this.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I sit here in my room multi-tasking and doing nothing all at the same time. As I am finishing up my essay for my Reading Literature class, I am also listening to The Fish online, writing this journal and reading some random stuff. I cant help but to think of this Lenten season that started today. I am grateful that I am here in the seminary and I hope that this experience changes my life even more. This year I am giving up soda and I am boosting up my daily prayer time. I guess the last couple of days I’ve felt as if I didn’t want to do anything anymore and it’s taken me a lot longer to finish this essay than usual. Normally I can knock out a 3-page essay in a few hours but this essay has taken me 3 days so far and I’ve basically done a paragraph or two a day. I wonder if it has anything to do with me going home for spring break? In one sense I can see spring break effecting my mood because I just want to get home already and on the other hand I know I’ve always been a lazy person, and that’s why I always procrastinate. This year I want to make a conscious effort to pray to God so that he may help me get over this hump for good. I seem to really only be able to do one or two things at a time but I know I can do more if I just applied myself a bit more. I think one issue is transitioning from one task to another. That can be pretty tough for me. Most of the time, I do a little bit of each task and either they all get done slowly or none of them do. haha any suggestions are more than welcomed.
I probably won’t write another journal until after spring break in order to give myself time to think about everything going on in my life and to better reflect on God’s path for me. Thank you all for reading. Much love!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I had the meeting with my spiritual director and I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful priest. I feel as if he affirmed the new direction God is showing me. He said a lot but one thing that stuck with me was he told me to explore (mentally, NOT physically) this route because it will lead to good things. He said that it definitely sounded like God is up to something and he commended me for being so open and honest about it. I remember my vocation director saying that to me and I guess it stuck. He said as long as I am honest with myself and others, everything will work itself out and here, things are working themselves out.
Certain people and certain situations that are going on back home, along with what I feel is happening to me up here, all have to do with this and my spiritual director feels that I should pay attention to everything and see the signs that God is putting in my path. I am seeing and feeling things and God is showing me these things through other people and he says that in the end, it’s what those feelings represent that matters. He also asked me to pay attention to the things that might bother me about the seminary and to write those things down. To be honest, I’m a very easy going guy and nothing really ever bothers me so that is going to be pretty hard. There are certain things that bother me but I don’t think they’re enough to make me want to run away from the seminary. In a sense this is another reason why I feel that I am not running away and that this might be a legitimate calling.
I just heard news that my grandfather is close to passing and I can only imagine the pain my dad must be going through at this moment. My grandfather is 95 (plus or minus a few years) and has been an amazing influence on my life and I more so on my dads’. I pray that make my dad, along with his sisters (my aunts), make it to his side before he passes on. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than seeing your family before falling into eternal rest. Tonight has made me appreciate my family and life much more. I feel empty tonight. There's a reason for that but... wont go there. haha. Someone, ANYONE, call me cuz i'm going nuts! haha just kidding. But this, along with the other things going on in my life have been exhausting on me today. I know things will get better.
I hope all is well with you and if you haven’t said it in a while, tell your parents that you love them because “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone”. And even if they're already resting in God's glory, say it anyway because I'm sure they're listening!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
First and foremost, I just wanted to tell everyone once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for those who responded to my last journal. You have no idea how much that meant to me. It feels good to know you are loved and well, I felt really loved! I ask that you please say a prayer for me during these times. The meeting with my spiritual director was canceled (rescheduled to the following Thursday) because of the bad weather so I have not had the chance to talk to him about all of these things going on but I have noticed some things. I’ve spoken to some people who have felt like leaving and I noticed some key differences. Some guys feel lost or scared and some feel like they’ve lost their vocation where as I feel that I am seeing a different direction unfolding. I’m not scared at all, I still love going to mass, when I pray, and it’s with joy and true devotion. I guess only time will tell. This all might be a test and it might strengthen my vocation to the priesthood or it can truly be an open door that I think I am seeing.
Either way the Lord will provide and as I’ve learned in my Introduction to the Bible class, the Lord keeps reaffirming us and redirecting us when we get lost. Its our job to keep a watchful eye to notice the lifesavers being thrown at us. And well one thing that I like about myself is that I (regardless) will always say “yes” to my Lord because I just don’t see how I can say no. even if here were to want me to be a homeless man in the streets, I would still follow him. In the words of Bruno Mars: “I would take a grenade for ya/Throw my hand on a blade for ya/I’d jump in front of a train for ya/You know I'd do anything for ya” well, I like the song. It’s a bit twisted but the idea of doing anything for someone is kind of how I feel about God. Because he not only died for us, created us, loves us, ect, how can I NOT give him my life.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
First of all I would like to wish you all a Happy belated Valentine’s day! I hope you had a great time with your loved ones. Although I start this journal/blog on a happy note, is a reminder to me that I always have to be grateful for what I have in life and appreciate how God is working within me. The last week was tough and I went through so many different emotions and even contemplated on leaving the seminary. Not so much because I cannot handle the seminary but rather because I felt that God is calling me another direction. And in one sense I still do feel this way.
My whole life, I never applied myself to education. Since elementary school, I’ve never had the self discipline to do anything out of routine. The only thing that I cared for was going to football practice. Jr. high went by and I got into trouble and still was passed on through the education system. High school, I did enough to be able to play sports. I passed because I was smart enough to pass and I don’t think I ever read a book in its entirety until after high school.
Having said that, I have found a love for learning here at the seminary and I like most of my classes. Although I can still skate by without really applying myself, I am actually learning the discipline that I never really had and since I like the material, it makes me want to pick the books up and learn. I am even reading an extra book on the side. This whole idea as been fermenting in my for the past month and I finally figured out what it was that was troubling me within. I think I might have a desire/calling to be a teacher somewhere in a Catholic school system. Now that I am finding a love for education and knowing that I’ve always loved to teach people, this might be a new direction that I would have never found if it wasn’t for the seminary. The desire to get married is still something within me and so is the love of the priesthood. Quite a struggle.
I almost drove myself crazy last week but one thing that calmed me down was this: I know that I have given my life to the Lord and that He will do whatever He wills with me. If He wants me to be a priest, then so be it. Or if He wants me to be a teacher of some sort, then so be it! I did not get here in a week and I will not leave that fast either. This will take a lot of time to discern and what better place to discern this than the seminary.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Being a college 1 seminarian, we do not have a specific Pastoral obligation other than informally being there for our fellow brothers on the hilltop. This last Friday, we took part in an immersion program set up for us in Portland. No one told us anything about what we were going to experience because it’s worth the mystery and anticipation. I won’t get into everything we did but I will tell you that our time in Portland was to be with our homeless brothers and sisters and to learn about mental illness and its place in today’s society. At first, I felt very uncomfortable with the whole situation. I have had past experiences with the homeless but I did not know how to approach them or what to say; I didn’t know how to help them. I could only sit there and feel helpless. Then after we distributed clothing to them, we sat around and talked with everyone who stayed for a warm meal. This is when I first started to figure it out, it’s not about helping them, but rather, it’s simply about listening to them and being compassionate.
Moving up in “the real world” has broken away some of my compassion that I once had. Because of my own personal drive to move up and to be successful, I lost sight of the little things that mean so much. Don’t get me wrong, I know (hubris-ly) that I am a pretty nice guy, however I did notice that in a way, I started to become desensitized by our culture and I started to see personal gain as commonplace.
This reflection prepared me and gave me the right state of mind that allowed me to refocus on what was important in order to go through with the last part of the night. I was assigned to stand outside and greet everyone as they came in to take part of the soup kitchen event. After all the food was served, I was asked to just chat with everyone/anyone. I learned to see them as a community of people who are just like me, but just caught a few snags along their path in life. It must be even tougher for them to get back on their feet because the way our society treats them. Not being able to use a public restroom as a quick example. Most homeless people have some sort of mental illness that they did not choose and cannot just turn off. And yet they were so happy and thankful for everything that was given to them and I at times complain about the food we get here on the hilltop… It was a real life-changing moment for me. Thanks be to God for allowing me to go through this.