So this is a test to see where this goes. I sent this from my email hoping that somehow, I might start to get into the habit of blogging again. There is something therapeutic about sharing my thoughts out in the open. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram just don’t do it. The rest of the platform is just too busy, too noisy I think.
So we will see where this goes. I do plan to journal/blog more from the Camino de Santiago – now just 59 days away! So much to share about these last 6 years of formation as well. And of course, life as I now know it as a Deacon in the church.
So this is a test. Did I pass? We will see if I continue. Perhaps the real test is to persevere.
“Nil nisi te, Domine”
A Short Visit to the Blessed Sacrament Before Meditation
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
"I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before.
I place myself there.
I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary’s womb and lay in Mary’s bosom; which grew up to man’s estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.
Every day I pray the Angelus at 12 pm, taught to me by my Deacon mentor, Deacon Fred Grant who went on to eternal life in December 2020. It is a practice I am so grateful for that he taught me. The prayer is this:
As I prayed today and gazed upon a photo of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the baby Jesus, I thought about the meaning of her life. It struck me that it is no wonder why the devil so pushes abortion in the world. The great work Mary did was to say "Yes" to God’s will and carry a baby in her womb to term, give birth, and raise the child to adulthood. Of course, this was no ordinary child, but the Word of God made flesh as we pray in the 3rd stanza of the prayer.
It is no wonder why the evil one hates, and fears, the Virgin Mary. She humbly lived a hidden life for 30 years with Jesus. She said very little in the scriptures that we know. Phrases like, "Be it done unto me according to thy word", and "My soul magnifies the Lord", as well as "Do whatever he tells you".
I hope to embrace her humility more and more in the coming years., to relish a hidden life, and to say "Yes" to God’s will with my whole being. May the life of the Lord Jesus be born in all of us.
Here is a homily project I worked on recently for my studies at Saint Leo University. This is for my Ecclesiology class – the study of the church.
We were to pick a scripture passage to preach on that dealt with issues within the church, in order to express complex Ecclesiological ideas to our parish. I chose the “Feast of the Chair of St Peter” to talk about why Peter, the keys of the kingdom, and the office of the Pope changed everything for me….and paved the way for me to enter the Catholic church.
This morning my daughter is having a dress test party with the women in our family. I planned to work remotely for the morning to keep out of the way – but with limited places to work from the road – I decided to come back home.
When I came in, she was just coming down the stairs in her first dress – a beautiful white wedding dress. I melted, sobbed, and just crumbled!
What am I going to do next year when I see her coming down the aisle??
This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!!
And….today is the day my oldest daughter got engaged! Just 10 minutes ago – my future son-in-law bent the knee! What a surreal feeling to know in just 150 days (+/-) one of my daughters will be married and starting her own family.
Today is day #2 of the election in 2020. The campaigns are waging their legal battles, people are gathering in the streets and protesting, making noise and getting agitated.
I am turning my heart towards the Kingdom of God. As Christians we need to remember that our true home is not here in the Earth. We are all on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom to come. Today especially, I say “Maranatha”…“Come Lord Jesus Christ!
Having come from a Pentecostal background to the Catholic church….this just “blessed my heart”!! https://youtu.be/VvYeXh3JHco “More people get healed in a Catholic church during communion than Pentecostals… because to us it’s symbolic.” – Benny Hinn
Think of all the “Truly, Truly” statements of Jesus that you take literally? Do you take them ALL literally?
We believe John 6:53, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”
Most Christians have no issues with the following….
John 3:3,”Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.””
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
John 8:51 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
John 8:58 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
Why take all of these literally but not John 6:53? The Eucharist is not a symbol….it is the true body and blood of Jesus – it is a mystery – and a reality! The manna in the desert was REAL food and supernatural. How much more is the new covenant? It cannot be LESS than the old covenant? It has to be greater! And Jesus said that HE is the true bread that came down from heaven. So when He said, “take eat, THIS IS MY BODY” and “take drink THIS IS MY BLOOD” – why would anyone think it is only symbolic?
“Light is truth“. This was a part of the reading today from the liturgy of the hours. It really struck me – as Jesus is the way, the truth, and the LIGHT. The image that came into my mind was that a little light is good, but it also causes shadows. You know at night, when there is a “little light” in the room, you start seeing things there in the dark. The shadows thrive around just a little light.
But when the FULLNESS of the light is there, you see the truth. There is no doubt that the towel hanging on the wall is just a towel when the FULLNESS of that light exposes what was there all along 😁.
Today, we need to have that fullness of the light. The fullness of the truth. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the LIGHT. He isn’t just a little bit of light – He is the fullness of total light, exposing what was there in our hearts and lives all along. I was challenged to “come into the light” all the way – because if we hang around the edges, we get a little bit of the light…but we start seeing things the way our minds trick us into seeing them. When we come into that FULLNESS of the light – there is no denying the truth of what was there all along.
Merciful God, may your fullness of truth become the fullness of light that will guide us on the true way to eternal life…which is found in the person of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Today’s daily email from the Catechism really got me thinking about my life as a Protestant vs my life as a Catholic. The differences in the approach to spirituality really struck me:
104. What does the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth teach us?
In the course of his hidden life in Nazareth Jesus stayed in the silence of an ordinary existence. This allows us to enter into fellowship with him in the holiness to be found in a daily life marked by prayer, simplicity, work and family love. His obedience to Mary to Joseph, his foster father, is an image of his filial obedience to the Father. Mary and Joseph accepted with faith the mystery of Jesus even though they did not always understand it.
Further reading: CCC 533-534, 564
As a Protestant, the purpose of knowing God is always about being on mission. God blesses us to bless others. God saves me so I can proclaim Him to others…thus bringing salvation to them as well. While this is true in the Catholic’s life as well – we are called to proclaim the gospel with our lives and our words and deeds – there is also a deeper spirituality of being “hidden” in prayer.
This is incredibly freeing. When there are seasons of my life where I just can’t seem to muster the strength to go on mission – I take great consolation in knowing that part of the mission is to simply be. To be hidden with Christ, to enter into his hidden life in prayer, this is our first love. Why do we get so busy with the work of the Lord, that we forget to spend time with the Lord of the work?
The hidden life. Christ spent 30 years in that hidden life. Working, living, being with family and community. I return this season of Lent to the hidden way of prayer. Mission will come. The work will always be there. But it is for whom we work – that is what we must remember.
I have been unusually interested lately in the rite of exorcism in the Catholic church. I have been listening to a lot to Father Vincent Lambert on many of the YouTube video talks he has given. On a few occasions, I have heard Fr. Lambert say that the rite of exorcism is a sacramental of the church….not a sacrament.
This struck me as one often thinks of the power of an exorcism when we think of movies about demon possession. Yet the true power is in the sacraments themselves. Going to reconciliation (confession) and receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is the MOST powerful way to expel evil from our lives.
In the occasions where someone is truly being tormented by evil, from oppression to possession – the rite of the church as a sacramental is to bring relief to the person afflicted in order to reattach them to the life of grace in the sacraments themselves. The goal always is to bring someone to Jesus – and the ways that Jesus brings us His grace and power is through the sacraments of the church.
Thanks be to God for the many sacramentals we have – from holy water to rosaries to medals scapulars, and the like. And thanks be to God for the sacramental of the ministry of exorcism. In a world becoming increasingly interested in the occult, in witchcraft, in horror of all kinds – we have the answer to help those who have now put themselves under the powers of the evil one. The answer is always Jesus. And we find Jesus, most fully and substantially in the Bread of Heaven, the Holy Eucharist.
The contemplation of eliminating all social media
I have been pretty remiss in writing anything on this website/blog. I realize my last entry was about 7 months ago. And before that…well…some time had passed.
Typically, I just peruse social media like most. I ditched Facebook over a year ago and tried MeWe.com as an alternative. That fizzled out since not many of my friends were on the same platform. I decided from there just to retain Instagram and Twitter. But lately, I have been noticing new patterns emerge in my life which has me rethinking it all.
Instagram has been the most “pure” of platforms, or so I thought, to just view photos, click the likes, and send the occasional positive encouragement to someone. Generally, that is the case. But I have also observed that I no longer really SEE the photos. I will often just slowly scroll past beautiful photos, maybe double tap that heart, but not actually SEE the beauty of a photo.
For example, take this beautiful post from @beautysoancient –
I liked this one and yet scrolled past it and onto the next posting in the feed. Did I really take the time to look at the beauty in this photo? Did I contemplate the beautiful stained glass windows, the altar, the paintings, or even the feelings that it evokes within me if I just spend a few moments really SEEING this photo?
No, I did not. I just double tapped and kept swiping. So what is the purpose of Instagram for me if I am not really appreciating the beauty of the photos being shared by wonderful people around the world? Rather than a simple social media platform, I am noticing that my capacity to appreciate beauty is just diminishing. The same psychological triggers which are found in all social media platforms are present here….always looking for the next item to tantalize my brain.
I am not sure what I am going to do yet. I am tempted to make a rash decision, pull the plug and just detach from the world of media and “sharing”. And maybe I will do that. I know I could just slow down my scroll, take time to see and appreciate the beauty…but will I? Coming to know myself is one of the perks of diaconate formation right now. And knowing me….I’ll just eventually fall back into the same habits given the same environment and stimuli.
The question I am asking is this: What is my purpose in life right now? Answer – to grow in holiness, perfection, and to become like Jesus Christ as much as possible by the grace of God. Will continuing with my social connections online help me or hinder me in that goal? And if I decide to pull the plug – what are the real downsides I am concerned about? That people won’t be able to find or follow me? That I will miss something in other’s lives? I’ll be unaware of the happenings in the world?
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. That seems to be the key point to consider today.
“Nil nisi te, Domine”
In our current onslaught of robocalls, ads, junk mail etc – all vying for our allegiance for this year’s election…perhaps raising our hearts and minds to a higher calling could bring some much needed mental relief.
Such a beautiful soul. While this call to poverty and charity is extreme and not for everyone…it is for EVERYONE to emulate this call in our own lives. The charism of Saint Mother Teresa is an extreme which is meant challenge the rest of us, to find a way to live at least some of this call in our own lives.
Care for your neighbor. Feed a homeless person. Give some clothes to those in need. Welcome a stranger at church and in your community. Make time for someone, to listen, to really see them.
St Mother Teresa of Calcutta….pray for us.
With so much horrible news and scandal in our midst, it is good to remember that we are Catholics because of Jesus Christ. Because He is PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus calls us to be prophets, priests, and kings….and now is the time to speak and act.