Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oratory

I find that being a priest is a challenge, a wonderful challenge, to live an authentic Christian life. The best that I have figured it out is to get up each morning and try to figure out how to do it all over again. I need to have some big vision of where I need to go, and I need to have the peace of the moment to "live Jesus" right now. I am not sure which is harder.

First, the big picture: without it, I am liable to following my own judgment. Am I being led somewhere in my priesthood, as Jesus was heading for Jerusalem? Do I remember the four pillars of my on-going formation: spiritual, intellectual, human, and pastoral? Am I conforming myself to Him spiritually? Am I forming my life according to His Truth? Am I living an authentic human life? Am I seeking out the lost? The biggest challenge for me is human formation, being authentically human. I have many faults internally that interfere, and I face many external obstacles to authentic human development and communion. To address these takes humility or else the cure becomes worse than the disease! I am constantly battling down frustration over my own lukewarmness and that in the Church around me.

Then the day actually begins, and even though I might have a big road map, there are many detours that come up. I think that one of the important things for me as a priest is to have a default "yes" position: in Him it is always yes. That means that I end up all over the place. I have to learn that my map is actually a series of detours all run together! There is no interstate highway in the priesthood. Each of these detours is an invitation to love in the details and also to re-engage the big picture, to "recalculate" my map as my GPS says.

It seems like I need to change a lot and yet remain steadfast. In order to get anywhere strategically, I have to lose all strategy and to live in the moment. The only way to do that is to pray, to study, to grow, and to labor. That's love for me because that is where He is. He is the one who loves me and for whom I love. I am trying to draw closer to Him by drawing closer to others, in the right ways. I need to be careful about how I do this, but I must do it.

Maybe you are wondering about the title of this post. Well, it reveals one way that I have found to come to some sense of peace within and communion without. The oratorian exercises of St. Philip Neri really help me. I used to wish for some perfect state of community, but now I have decided just to begin with what I have. On Wednesday nights, a group of the young men here (mainly captains in Fraternus) meet to pray in a way that St. Philip organized for young men back in his day. We have a guided meditation and a scripture passage that we all pray over and then talk about. We then reflect on the life of a saint who embodied the particular message of the meditation. Then we offer prayers of intercession and thanksgiving together. Then we sing, at least to the Blessed Mother! It is that simple. The oratory has provided for me a way to draw close in the right way to renew my priesthood. I wonder what God will do with it, but that is for another day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

They call me father

And am I? I am more and more seeing how to be a better priest by trying to be a father. It's that simple. Let me know how it's going. I can see a lot of room for improvement!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Be careful what you ask for!

I feel that my priesthood is being spent in a spiritual "Reconquista" led by Bl. John Paul and Pope Benedict -- which they are winning, by the hardest! And I really knew this from the beginning. There will be no rest and no business as usual in my priesthood. There probably shouldn't ever be, really.

I knew that things were not right in the Church when I began seminary. Many things still are not. Yet the center has held. Of course. There is a rock down there to stand on. The great sorrows are the souls that have been hurt, maybe even lost, in the upheaval. I have to trust God about that one. A great joy is that so many of the young people I deal with don't much realize the bad that has gone before. They are too enthusiastic about the good leading us forward!

I do not want to go backwards. I think that I am the most progressive priest you could meet. I want to go so far forward that the status quo or even the "good old days" are hardly remembered.

I have come to see, however, that good is done only in charity. That largely means in willingness to suffer with calm and even joy. I am not very good at this! But I am trying to change and to be better. I am the problem in the Church that I most need to work on.

And so 17 years into priesthood, I feel just the same as at the beginning only a little bit wiser and more patient. If anything I am more zealous. And happier!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers' Day

This is a great Fathers' Day for me. This weekend at FOCUS training has been the occasion for me to understand better how I am called to be a father. I am embarrassed that it is taking me so long to figure it out. Give me a little while, and you all can let me if I am doing any better!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:St. John's Catholic Newman Center, Champaign, IL

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wowza!

I am absolutely blown away by Totus Tuus training. I am having a blast -- a totally exhausting blast. I don't when my mind and my heart have worked so hard and with such beautiful rewards. I just finished talking about the Book of Revelation, and I get it in a way I never have before.

And these missionaries. Amazing. They act like they are normal. But they are so wonderfully abnormal. They love God. They trust Him. They want others to know Him. They are in the real world but not of it. I am so blessed.

OK -- time to pray more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pray for me!

I am teaching just about the whole history of salvation to our Totus Tuus teams this week. I have to confess that I am doing it barely one step ahead of the team members! And it is great -- for me and I hope for them.

It is coming to me more and more that as important as catechesis is -- and it is important, evangelization is even more important. And evangelization must continue. I am being evangelized this week. I am sharing the joy once again of believing in the Good News of salvation, which is the Good News of the Love of God.

So please pray for me. I am doing this on wobbly legs! I get weak and tired -- and whiny! But I begin again because He begins again with me!

UCat Dominicans -- not the one in the middle!

Newly named Br. Cyprian and newly professed Br. Pachomius, O.P. at St. Gertrude's, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 15, 2017

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