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.