Monday, November 24, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUCIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: DISCOVERING YOUR TRUE SELF

This past weekend St. Sebastian had a visiting priest, Fr. Mark Haydu LC, who is the International Director of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums at the Vatican.  (He is also an Akron boy who done good.)  He just came out with a new book, Reflections on Vatican Art: Angels, and came to St. Sebastian as part of a book tour.  He also celebrated 9:00AM Mass, which I concelebrated with him. 
 
I like to think that I am open to how other priests celebrate Mass when they come here.  "Just do what you do and we'll try to adjust" is something I say a lot but I am dubious as to how much I actually mean it.
 
Here is a prime example:  We are almost at the end of Mass.  Everybody is seated and we await Father to pray the collect after communion.  Some priests jump right into it.  I like to wait a little to give people time to pray and am always happy when other priests do the same.

So when we doubled the time that I like to sit quietly I started getting nervous.

Then full pastor mode kicks in and I start thinking logistics of people sticking around to meet Father and the cars coming in for the next Mass . . .
So much for being open and flexible.  Anyhoo . . . at the end of the homily he talked about being in Rome.  "What's going on in Rome with the Pope?" he reported people constantly asking him.  He told us that, unlike our previous two pontiffs, the primary audience for the pope is not the people sitting in the pews, but those who SHOULD be in the pews but are not.  The pope is not speaking to us.
 
He likened it to the story of the prodigal son.  The Father lavishes attention on the son who was off doing whatever it was he was doing and tried to make him feel comfortable, loved, and secure being home again.  MEANWHILE the son that was home, comfortable, and secure is grousing, "HEY!  HELLO!  Remember ME, the SON that is RIGHT HERE and WANTS YOUR CONTINUED ATTENTION?  What about ME!  I, after all, DESERVE IT much more than this son of YOURS who was off gallivanting around."
 
"Essentially," said Fr. Haydu, "we are that faithful son who is upset that our father is paying too much attention to the wayward son and we are feeling ouchy."
 
I am willing to buy that.  It makes sense.  But . . . hey . . .


Friday, November 21, 2014

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: JUMP IN, THE WATER'S FINE


On a retreat once a man was speaking about swimming in a pool with his very young son.  The son stood at the edge of the pool where the water would be over his head as it came up to chest level of his father who stood in the pool.  The man coaxed his son to jump in.  “Don’t worry.  I will catch you.”  It took quite a bit of encouragement because the boy’s fear needed to be overcome by his faith, trust, and hope in his father.  Finally he takes the risk and jumps in.  His father does catch him and after the initial shot of fear, he laughed, held securely and safely in his father’s arms.

 

In large part, this is what this whole next chapter is about in Pope Francis’ “Lumen Fidei.”  If you remember, last week we diagnosed a problem: our society needs the light of faith once again.  In this section the pope is reminding us through evidence of past events why our Father is one in whom to place our trust and our hope.  Remember Abraham and how God guided and cared for the people of Israel through all the ages.  The coming of Jesus shows proof of God’s love for us when Jesus even dies for our sake.  To see His mangled body might cause one to lose one’s faith, “How could God let this happen?”  But it is in precisely that He was willing to submit to the cruelty of man in order to give to men the means of salvation that we have our faith strengthened.  But it is in His resurrection that we understand that this is a reliable love.


 
But it is not enough simply to be saved by His great action.  It is also about relationship.  If good business is about location, location, location, salvation is about relationship, relationship, relationship.  We are called to be in relationship with God and only in this way do we gain from Him a way of seeing the world, understanding it, and living in it.  Through this we are transformed.
 
This faith is necessarily lived out in the Church, in the faith community.  It is never “God and me.”  It is the Church and God.  Faith, since it saves all, is not a private matter but one to be lived within the Body of Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ.
 
Francis wrote much more and much more beautifully in this chapter, but this gives you a taste.  We have only to look to see that God has always been with us and guided us.  Today, we take the jump of faith into the pool of Christ’s body which is expressed in this world by the Church.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

ATHEISTS MAKE BETTER THEISTS THAN YOU THINK


The opposite of faith is not atheism just as the opposite of love is not hate.

 

Take this example of hate as opposed to love; In this awful scene, the character played by Glen Close is spilling vile hatred on her father.  (It is disturbing.  If you don’t want to watch it simply know this – she went to see him on his death bed to tell him she hates him and will never forgive him.)
 
Even though she obviously hates him she is still in relationship with him.  It is a sick relationship, but she is still connected to this man she despises.  She feels a need to communicate.  What happened in the past matters to her.  What he thinks and feels matters to her.  And when she leaves the room he still has control over (will still have control over her after he dies!)  It may be a sick relationship, but it is a relationship.  And though we would hardly call any aspect of this love, it is not the opposite of it yet.
 


The true opposite of love is indifference.  With indifference there is no relationship, there is no caring how the other person feels or thinks.  There is no control over the other person (positive or negative) because there is no type of connection at all.  It is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. 

 

In like manner, atheism is not the opposite of faith.  (There are many types of atheism so this is speaking rather broadly.)  There are atheists that spend their energy fighting notions of God, which puts them in relationship with Him unwittingly.  There are atheists who build their moral construct on viewing the world by observing it and seeing how it seems to operate at its best, which brings us to Natural Law, which ipso facto brings order and intelligence to the universe which brings us to God.  There are atheists who rely solely on science, which often leads him to faith.  Let us suppose that he relies on the theory of the Big Bang as the birth of the universe (put forth by a Catholic priest by the way.)  It still explains nothing.  What caused the big bang?  Why should there be energy as opposed to not?  Why should there be matter as opposed to not?  In the end (or in the beginning) the whole thing is established on faith of things that are completely un-provable.
 
The relationship with (or to) God may not be a healthy one (from a Christian perspective) and the faith in SOMETHING that gives order or was a first cause may be materialistic in nature but it is still faith. 
 
The true opposite of faith is thinking that the world and all that it is in it is a complete fluke of nature.  Life has no meaning.  The existence of the cosmos has no meaning.  This whole conversation would ultimately have no point.  Truth is non-existent.  There is nothing cognitive outside of ourselves (and even that may be an illusion) and when humanity passes away it won’t matter.  The universe will continue to go on and there will be nothing to mourn the passing of man or all of his works and thoughts.  It wouldn’t mean any more if we had just been rocks.  So eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.
 
But let one tiny ray of order, meaning, or the holding of something that cannot be proven, then there is a relationship with something that most people call God no matter how flimsy.  Catholics may not think it a healthy relationship.  But it is one.  And therefore not the opposite of faith.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

HOW TO LIVE HIGH ON A BUDGET

The other day while praying in church it struck me how much stuff there was in our building that came from yard sales and dumpsters.  I have written before about how I have furnished a nine bedroom rectory (they are not still all bedrooms) for next to nothing by a lot of scavaging from the wake of debris of society, but it did not strike me until that moment that I had been doing the same thing in our church.
 
Some things are very understandable.  After Vatican II when the forward altar was established it needed candles.  Instead of purchasing new ones the parish had the high altar candlesticks refashioned.  This made them match the rest of the church but left the high altar with either no or vastly undersized candlesticks, a problem that was WAY too costly to remedy.  Then came the spat of church closings in the diocese and lo!  High quality marble candlesticks at fire sale prices.  (Isn't it cool the way the stained glass plays off of the black marble?)
We gained many things this way: candle racks, poor boxes, vestments . . .

But we are not only benefiting from the sad demise of other Catholic parishes, but from Protestant Churches shutting their doors.  This wrought iron advent wreath holder was recently purchased for $30.  From that same sale we got hand chimes for the music department, a missal stand for the rectory chapel, and a  great podium already in use in the narthex.
These two thurables and their stand came from the dumpster.  They are original to this parish and when someone threw them away years ago, someone else rescued them and put them in their basement and returned them when they thought they would be appreciated.  We use them from time to time and now they are about the ONLY keep sake we have from the old church.  Everything else is gone.
The processional cross to the far right was a freebee from a yard sale.  I was walking Sebastian and saw that there was a yard sale in progress so we stopped by to say hello.  As we were leaving the kind gentleman said, "Wait Father, I have something in the house you might like."  So he gave me this cross which made for an interesting walk home.
In similar fashion I have received vestments, sacred vessels, relics and other church related items from people who have them in their closets at home because someone was throwing them away (not even sending them to the missions!  Just throwing them away!)  So now among other things we have copious copes, this one below found in a box during the clearing out of a house.
This picture below is on the back of a humeral veil.  When I was a seminarian it was in a box of things that a priest told me to throw in the trash.  We use it on Tuesday nights for benediction.  SNAG!  One man's trash is another man's treasure my Mom used to say.
This one I saved for last.  We were in need of a new organ.  A new organ would have cost us about a million dollars.  A couple of Protestant churches were consolidating and so were selling one of the buildings in which was this fabulous organ.  Now it sings beautifully for the parish every day and it only cost half as much.
And that, my friends, is how to live high on a budget.  Just don't be afraid of the word "used."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXVI

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "There’s a professor at my college who regularly turns his course in psychology into a vaudeville stage for liberal sermons, of no relevance to the subject he is supposed to teach, much to the irritation of his paying customers, the students. But he has academic freedom, which means that he does as he pleases, and laughs as he fleeces." from Anthony Esolen's article, "Clerical Freedom and Academic Freedom"
 
QUOTE II:  "No one is compelled to go to church. But millions of children are compelled to go to school, and if they end up with Miss Pedigree, that’s tough luck for them. They must grin and bear it; just as if we could imagine the leaders of Planned Parenthood hauled by law into a cathedral every Sunday to hear the message that when they kill babies it is babies they are killing. People in church may leave, but children in school cannot, and students in universities have not all that much more liberty, practically speaking, than they did when they sat smoldering in the sixth grade." same source
 
IN OTHER NEWS:
 
Wondering what the quotes above are all about?  Matt sent in this clever article comparing religious freedom and academic freedom.  Thanks.
 
You can find a video HERE that was sent in concerning the intolerance of the tolerance movement.  It might just make you mad so don't watch it if you want to be in a good mood.
 
Karen sent this in:  "Dear Father Valencheck,
That's LA for Louisiana, where it's nice in warm in March. Please alert your members to our upcoming conference in warm Ponchatoula, Louisiana (close to New Orleans), home of the world's only, life-sized, public statue of G.K. Chesterton (This is a post Mardi Gras event so no worries about the crowds!). Thank you!"


Just in case you did watch that video above, HERE is a humorous article sent in by Adam to improve your mood entitled, "What If Pope Francis' Translators Translated Other Stuff In History?"
 
Yet another reason we started the Academy of Culture and Arts at St. Sebastian:  Although this is in England, you get the point of THIS article.  Thanks Adam.
 
Fr. O sent in THIS link to another great Catholic blog called the Catholic Gentleman.  Thanks
 
FYI for locals:
 
Fr. Mark Haydu LC International Director of the Patron of the Arts of the Vatican Museum in the Vatican will be visiting St. Sebastian this coming weekend (Feast of Christ the King.)  He will celebrate the 9:00AM Mass with us and also make available for purchase (and signing) his new book.  See more HERE.
 
ON THE SAME DAY: Concert at St. Sebastian 4:00.  The Singer's Companye and Miller South choirs will combine with a small orchestra to give us another outstanding concert.  Tickets are $15 at the door.
 

Friday, November 14, 2014

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: AANotes: LUMEN FIDEI: KNOCK OFF PAGANS


In general I am opposed to CliffsNotes versions of things that we are “supposed” to read.  But it is also understandable that after a day at work, home chores and responsibilities, and with the one hour you have to relax, you probably are not going to cozy up with a Church encyclical for some satiating reading.  So for the next few weeks on Friday Potpourri we will have the AANotes on Lumen Fidei, our Popes encyclical addressed to all the faithful, so that you will at least have a decent idea on what our pontiff wishes to know though the fullness of what is being said can only be grasped by reading it.

 

Here is the main gist of the entire preface: 



 

The faith is a light for all of humanity to help us understand who we are, how we are supposed to live, to give us worth, dignity, direction, and hope for the future.  G. K. Chesterton talks about the pagan world (so does Francis here though he doesn’t mention my buddy G. K.) and how it gave way to the Christian world.  It lacked that ultimate light for which it strove.  Nobody “has ever died for his faith in the sun” wrote St. Justin Martyr.  Still, true paganism (unlike today’s knock off brand of it) had a very strict moral code, grave ideas of honor and respect and sacrifice, but it could not carry the weight, need, and the divine spark of the human person.  That is why it passed when Christianity came on the scene.  That is why to return to paganism is not a cure especially when used by those who employ it with the grave misunderstanding that it provides a framework for engaging in any human endeavor the particular individual wants license to engage in.  That was NOT the paganism of old.
 
We know that Western culture is enamored with itself.  Like so many past generations it is self impressed with its technological advances, it growing collection of facts, and its television reruns, and so has figured it has now arrived, can work out life on its own, and can relinquish faith.  In fact, as it has so many times in the past, it now sees faith as darkness, a step backward, full of emotionalism and superstition.
 
But the experiment has once again failed.  Lost as society is, it has even lost its nerve to say anything is true.  The idea of the dignity and worth of man is in free fall and the ability to say for sure what is good and what is evil is escaping us. 
 
Because of this there is a great need for the light of faith to help inform us who we are, and, in knowing who we are, how we are to live in order to be most fully and healthily human and what is our ultimate end and how can we get there.  We are aware that faith can be a fragile thing and that we once again must nourish and promote it like a grape vine lest it be overcome by weeds and fail to produce fruit.
 
That’s the set up largely in my own words.  We just went through two and half pages of small, single spaced document.  We’ll start the first chapter next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WHO GETS TO DECIDE WHO HAS TO BE TOLERANT AND WHY?


Cleveland is being asked to pass a law that would force everybody except churches to allow transgender persons to use whatever bathroom they wish.  Of course, in the age of Tolerance, those who think this might not be such a good idea are labeled Intolerant and even to debate the issue in the name of Tolerance is deemed Intolerable.
 




On the one hand I understand the concern.  (Deep in taking of breath from the collective audience reading this.)  I remember my first experience with a transgender person.  My Aunties would take me to the double header Indians games and Municipal stadium (gads I miss that place) when I was in grade school.  We generally got the mid range seats and so there were never many people around us – neither those going for the really cheap seats nor those who could afford really good ones.  So people around us stood out.  One day there was what appeared to be a woman in a lime green miniskirt.  I knew something was different here even as a kid.  I had no idea that there was such a thing as transgender people and so what I was seeing didn’t compute.
 
He was a slender African American person having some of the attributes of woman, (to my little boy’s brain: “Okay, there are those.  Check.  Makeup.  Check.  Long hair.  Check.”)  But other things that didn’t fit.  (Adam’s apple.  “?”  Big hands.  “?”  Deep voice.  “?”  Stubble.  “?”) 

 

Now, here is where my understanding would kick in.  What if this person suddenly realized that the need of bathroom was desperate?  How would I feel being this person going into the men’s room with a bunch of testosterone rich, drunk, men?  So we are asked to be compassionate and, by law, make this person feel comfortable with the bathroom he or she chooses to use except at a church.
 
POR OTRA PARTE:  Tolerance is a one way street here.  What about the people who would feel uncomfortable having a person who appears to be of the opposite sex in their bathroom?  How safe would a woman feel with a man, even if he is identifying himself as woman, in the bathroom with her at a downtown bar or any other number of scenarios?  What if of one hundred women, only 3 felt uncomfortable?  Are they Intolerable wretches that need to be sent to a counselor to get over their prejudice?  Why should they be sent to counseling and not the man who identifies himself as a woman?  He could dress like a man and go to the bathroom but women have no such option to end up in a place in which they feel comfortable carrying out their sensitive business. 
 
Anyway, the argument could go on and on about on whom the duty falls to be the one to have to be tolerant of the other.  They can’t both be accommodated without building owners constructing numerous bathrooms from which people could choose.  “Women’s bathroom for those born and who remain female.”  “Women’s bathroom for life long females and those born male but who identify as female but have not yet had an operation.”  “Women’s bathroom for those who identify as female but beyond that don’t really care who else is in here.”  THERE is true but very expensive tolerance.
 
What is happening here is a defining of what is “normal” beyond a setting on a dryer and exactly who must be tolerant of the sensitivities of whom.  Opening this door does not make Clevelanders more Tolerant, it only defines of what they will be Tolerant and of what they won’t be Tolerant.  At the core of all wars on Tolerance, there is the determination to eliminate the voice and rights of all who are not Tolerant of my Tolerance.   And in this and similar cases it will be enforced by law.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ARE POLITICIANS ON THEIR OWN NOW?

A new crop of elected officials are now going to go to work.  You elected them.  Don't abandon them.  Please keep all of them in your prayers.  They are charged with working on your behalf (whether it always feels that way or not) and they deserve and need your prayers.  It is a rough job.  I woudn't want it. 
 
May the Holy Spirit guide you and let all that you do bring true glory to God and benefit to your brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXV

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "I don't know where being a servant fell into disrepute.  It is the refuge of the philosopher, the food of the lazy, and, properly carried out, a position of power, even love."  from John Steinback's "East of Eden"
 
QUOTE II:  "Only fugitives are capable of flawless courtesy from morning till night."  Michael Cunningham's, "A Home at the End of the Word"
 
IN OTHER NEWS:
 
JUST IN TIME FOR WINTER HOWEVER:  Now THIS is interesting:  The Diocese has set up a pilgrimage route through three counties of the diocese dedicated to Mary, Untier of Knots.  Read more here.
 
MOVIE:  Mary sent this in:  In 1506 a farmer discovered a statue in a field.  Thus began the most significant collection of art in the world.  Here is site concerning a movie coming out about it.  It looks as though it might be worth while compared to all of the other far less than quality things we are urged to go out and see simply because it has the label "Christian" on it.  Thanks Mary.
 
OSTENSION:  Dr. Chad Engelland, former professor of philosophy our seminary and a good friend (and who was stolen away from us to become the Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas - a Roman Catholic school) has written a book entitled "Ostension."  Read more about it here.  Congratulations good Doctor!
 
ON THE FLY:  This was too good to pass up.  When Jason sent this in he said, "This is a video of a pastor who turns into a jet."  I had no idea what he was talking about and almost didn't watch it.  Here is your opportunity not to watch it.  I am SO going to try this.
 


Monday, November 10, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUCIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: GO ST. SEBASTIAN WEST SIDE TERRIER SAINTS

This past weekend a friend of mine and I went to the Independence High School Alumni football stadium for the 2014 Catholic parish school football playoffs. 


It was COLD - well, colder than I had anticipated and so I didn't quite dress well enough for the game, which, as far as I am concerned, is part of the game.  It just makes the hot chocolate taste better. 
 
Catholic football is a bit different from public school football.  For example:



Friday, November 7, 2014

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: DON'T YOU FEEL BETTER FOR HAVING GONE THROUGH THIS?


I’ll say this for Vatican documents: they may be intellectually stimulating but they don’t make for fun reading.  Like Ignatius discovered in his reading, we might feel more enlivened for having read them, but at the time of the actual reading it seems a chore.  But they did try to put a grand ending on this document.  One can almost see the “The End” being projected over the final scene.  As it encourages us to keep reading the Bible it states, may “the Word of God speed on in triumph (2 Th 3:1) and the treasure of Revelation entrusted to the Church may more and more fill the hearts of men.”  (Cue swelling music)
 
But it does leave us with this great thought.  Like the Eucharist, the continual exposure to the Scriptures only aids toward fulfilling us more and making us love it more and more.  Eating more and more steak does not make us crave more steak.  We eventually tire of that computer game or hearing a song or listening to the election results analysis.  But there is such a depth to Scripture and the Eucharist that an entire life focused on studying it will only scratch the surface as it yields life unto life.
 
Well, that’s it for this document.  I don’t know what we will do next week.  Guess we’ll see.  Until then, as far as Dei Verbum is concerned this is . . .


Thursday, November 6, 2014

I KNOW IT DOESN'T MATTER BUT . . .


We’ve all heard it a thousand times so let’s all say it together: “The Church/parish is not a building, it’s the people.”  Yeah, yeah, I got it and intellectually believe it.  But you know what?  At night I still dream about my home parish.  Not the new building but the one in which I grew up in on Hopican Avenue.  Similarly I am mightily attached to West Akron and the building IN


WHICH the parish of St. Sebastian worships.

 

This Sunday we will be celebrating as a Universal Church the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the mother Church building of Church buildings.  I will grant you that if some crazed lunatic bombed the place to smithereens (thanks spell check, I don’t know that I ever spelled that word before) the Church will still exist fully intact though perhaps a little ticked off.  But the fact that we have this celebration means we are kind of blushing, shuffling our feet, head hanging a little with a smirk on our faces saying, “Well, yeah, buildings do kinda, sorta mean something to us even though theologically we could completely do without them.”
 
One of my favorite quotes:  “God does not need cathedrals.  But we do.”
 
So I took Sebastian on a walk through my home town the other day.  I wrote about doing this a couple of summers ago.  The point of this particular walk was to see God’s Magic City Church.  This was formally Sts. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church founded primarily for the Slovak community.  It was absolutely built in the WRONG place -  a flood plain and was regularly flooded.  But the building was a little gem though the renovations after Vatican II were less than stellar.  It is (was) a tiny Romanesque building and would have made some kind of great shrine or some other use if it weren’t built where Wolf Creek enjoys overflowing its banks.
 
Anyway, on our way there we passed the former-former Sacred Heart Church which is now a non-denominational church.  This is the building in which I cut my teeth.  It is mostly in pretty good shape (though they removed the tile roof and replaced it with a shingle roof which robbed it of much of its character.)  So the congregation there must be doing relatively alright.

I just found this video that showcases the organ from my home parish that I tried to obtain but at the time the current owners did not want to sell.  Now some church in Texas will have it.  Tears at my heart . . .


 

Next we passed the old St. Mary, formally the Polish parish in town.  Never a remarkable building it now looks pretty sad.  The non-denominational congregation there could use some paint and other general maintenance to keep the place looking good.  Who knows how long it will be viable without a huge influx of cash.
 
Then there is God’s Magic City Church.  There was a fire there recently.  The area where the sacristy was is completely gutted.  There is no roof or windows left, just a brick shell.  The nave of the main church is burnt through and the cross seems to stand miraculously though precariously on the charred main beam of the roof.  I know it’s just a building but something about it make me feel incredibly sad.  It’s more than it just having been a beautiful building worth keeping around.  It is sad to see a place that roofed so much good so savagely devastated.  Like spilled milk, seeing something that represents such goodness so utterly wasted is somehow disturbing. 
 
Is the “Church” less for having lost a building?  No.  But we have lost a symbol of our mission.  A touchstone that reminds us to keep on track.  Another relic resigned to the memory of the current generation. 

 

No big deal.

 

And huge deal.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GUEST BLOGGER: THIS GUY ROCKS - er - MARBLES

Today's guest blogger is Deacon Jeremy Merzweiler.  He is a member of St. Sebastian and was ordained to the transitional deaconate two weekends ago with an eye toward being ordained a priest.  This is his first homily as a deacon and he has given permission for it to be printed on Adam's Ale.  Please keep him in your prayers!
 
 
Homily 10/26/14 – Priesthood Sunday

 

Are you made for the marble? 

 

By itself, this question does not make sense. 

 

Yet, for years I have asked myself this question.  Am I made for the marble? 

 

See, during my time at the seminary, as I served Mass and different liturgies throughout the years, I would always glance at the sanctuary floor and see the marble floor and ask myself, am I made for the marble?

 

Why the connection to the marble?  What does the marble signify?

 

If you have ever been to St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Cleveland and have seen the sanctuary floor, it is made out of marble. 


It is in this place where ordinations occur; it is in this place where seminarians lay down their lives on the marble and give of themselves fully to the Church, for the people of God, for all of you.   

 

Therefore, to be made for the marble is to be made for others! 

 

In fact, just this morning, 3 seminarians and I during the diaconate ordination Mass, literally laid down our lives and laid prostrate on the marble floor as the Church prayed for us by singing the litany of the saints.

 

In laying down our lives on the sanctuary floor, we are laying down everything, our whole lives. 

 

This ‘laying down of our lives’ is at the heart of a priestly vocation and any vocation for that matter.  Yet, we don’t lay our lives down for some thing, or some job, or some amount of money, but rather, we lay down our lives for some one.  And who you want to lay down your life for will form who you want to be. 

·        Married people lay down their lives for their husband or wife, and children. 

·        Single persons lay down their lives for the community. 

·        Religious, deacons, and priests lay down their lives for the Church!

 

This is really what today’s Gospel is all about.  When a Pharisee asks Jesus which commandment in the law is the greatest, he responds:

 

"You shall love the Lord, your God,

with all your heart,

with all your soul,

and with all your mind.

 

And….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

 

The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

 

In this, Christ makes love the greatest commandment. 

 

Yet, this type of love requires everything, your whole heart, soul and mind, everything needs to be laid down for God and for others! 

 

For it is Christ, who in John 15, before he enters into his own passion, says to his disciples that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. 

 

From all of this, we can say that all of us are made for the marble.  All of us are called by Christ to give our whole heart, mind and soul to others in love.

 

Throughout the diocese this weekend we celebrate priesthood Sunday, in which we are called to challenge those pondering the call to priesthood to consider it and to check it out. 

 

Basically, the message is that it is important to do something about the stirrings within your heart.  If you are thinking about priesthood, come talk to me, Fr. Rosing, Fr. Elbert or give the vocation director a call.    

 

It is extremely important to not ignore what is going on inside, to not ignore what you are being called to do. 

 

One person who understands this is Lebron James.  Since this last July, much hype and intensity has been centered around Lebron’s coming home.  In fact, the Cav’s regular season begins in just a few days. 

In his Sports Illustrated Letter in July, Lebron writes:

 

I feel my calling here goes above basketball.  I have a responsibility to lead in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously.  My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where Im from."

 

When it comes to vocations, to living out the vocation we are called to live, like Lebron who could make a difference in Miami, we too could make a difference doing what we want to in life. 

 

Yet, I believe it can mean more when we lay our wants and desires down and be open to what God wants and desires for us in our lives. 

 

The lie that often comes with this is that God’s wants and desires are somehow against what we want and desire.  In fact, the opposite is true.  What God wants and desires for us is in fact the way that will mean more for us in life, it will be the way that will lead us to true happiness and joy. 



 

Therefore, be open to what God wants and desires for your life.  Do not be afraid of the stirrings of your heart.  Even though Jesus wants you to love with everything you have, do not live in fear, but instead give him your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole soul. 

 

And when you do this, not only can you say that you are made for the marble…

 

you can say that you are made for the Lord…

 

made for others….

 

made for love!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXIV

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUNDIf a therapy doens't help you feel better we think its not working.  In contemplation, the purpose isn't to help you feel better.  Its to help you see the truth of your life.  Seeing the truth of your life may initially make you feel terrible.  But if you're committed to truth, then you the question of how you feel is not the main issue."  unknown
 
QUOTE II:  "It may be love.  It may be a heart attack.  At the moment, it's hard to tell the difference."  from Katie Schneider's, "We All Know Love"
 
IN OTHER NEWS:

 
From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  Did you know this is National Vocation Awareness Week?  Read more here.
 
Don't forget to BE INFORMEND and VOTE TODAY!
 
Here is a 3 minute video of the ordination to the transitional deaconate two weekends ago.


And just for the fun of it - Lynn sent this 4 minute video in.  Who knows what is inside that small, unassuming house next to yours???

Monday, November 3, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUCIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: ABUSUS NON TOLLIT USUM

The above phrase roughly translates, "The abuse of anything does not abrogate the lawful use thereof."  And after the word "love," the currently most abused word in the English language is "actually."  Woken up out of bed early in the morning, it is put to hard labor all day carrying on tasks for which it was not hired until collapsing on its bed at night, exhausted and worn, barely able to say its night prayers and smarting from the abuse it had been put through during the day.  That is why I am on a one man campaign to end the abuse of the word "actually."  I am . . .
Believe me, I know my English is not perfect.  Both on this blog and at the end of a homily people will let me know how I have managed to mangle Englishdom.  Remember the problem I was having with effect and affect?  This probably has more to do with me covering over my own inadequesies (such as in spelling) a kin to the middle aged man with a wife, five kids, and a dog who buys a two seated Porsche.
 
But the problem is pretty serious.  People use the word so much they don't even hear it anymore or realize that they are saying it.
Think of all the waisted time.  If we cut the word "actually" out of the typical one hour meeting, I bet we could get out ten minutes earlier.  Even texting would be less time consuming.
The problem is, once you notice it, you can't stop noticing it.  It gets under your skin.  And like an ex-smoker, once you stop your dirty habit everything in you wants everybody else to stop also.
But you have to be careful.  Because just when you are getting all high and mighty, someone comes along and zaps you right back