Sunday, December 06, 2009

feelin' groovy


so, this is it. 34. this is what it feels like, eh? not much difference from the week before. i think i've dealt with the fact that i'm in my thirties now. it only took 4 years - no big deal. a friend of mine used to say (still does) that it's not funny getting old. he's right. i may be getting older (as we all are), but i'm not getting old. aren't we always young at heart?

i had a great birthday day and octave. my Mom flew in from Moncton, and Dad had meetings in Quebec city and managed to be here as well. we had a good weekend together, along with my godmother + family in Gatineau. it is always good to spend time with the family. they spoiled me, indeed!

"slow down, you movin' too fast
you gotta make the moment last
just kickin' down the cobblestones
lookin' for fun and
feelin' groovy" (Simon and Garfunkel - Feelin' Groovy, 1966)

my parents came at the right time too. you see my battle with finding balance in life continues. mom and dad helped me to slow down for a weekend. they, along with my family in Gatineau, helped me take time kickin' down the cobblestones - like a nice walk in downtown Montreal, having fun, and feelin' groovy. i didn't go to Montreal this time, but they reminded me that it is important to slow down every now and then.

this is how i've been understanding the Advent Season this year. slow down, relax, feelin' groovy. we are given four weeks - to prepare our hearts for Christmas. this time of year is always rush, rush, rush. i'm trying to keep in mind Simon and Garfunkel's eternal words of slowing down, chill, feel groovy. if we don't, Advent and Christmas will be over, and we'll miss the whole thing!

balance is always possible, but i realize now that it is never static, never the same thing. it's always dynamic, moving around. after a great week, i now begin my 35th year. i'll be hearing confessions all week - at schools, and parishes. Christmas suppers, lunches, parties are now beginning and i still have yet to make a dent on all the goodies that i got from this past weekend's CWL bake sale! peace out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the middle


"hey, don't write yourself off yet.
it's only in your head you feel left out,
or looked down on.
just try your best,
try everything you can.
and don't you worry what they tell themselves
when you're away." (Jimmy Eat World - The Middle, 2002)

i'm back from Toronto, to see da boys, meet friends, have coffee, relax, regroup, chill, and get a few pieces of paper as well. i enjoyed convocation, i did. however, it was just an excuse to get out a bit and see how my classmates have been doing, how was the first six months in a parish, how the studies were going, etc.

i also returned with my class picture, which now hangs at the entrance of the cafeteria for all to see. class of 2009 - yes, ordination to the priesthood, but there's also the academic side of things too. for more details, feel free to ask. tomorrow, on my day off, i hope to find a frame store in order to frame the picture. after that it'll be simply to put it up somewhere. there's a line up of about 12things to hang up though.

i enjoyed the reflection given by Fr. Paul, priest at St. Philip Neri Seminary in Toronto. he based his reflection on Pope B16's latest encyclical, "Cartitas in veritate (Charity in truth)". this was a little nod for me personally, since i had touched upon it in a few homilies, as well as reviewed it in our book club. love of neighbour flows from love of God. indeed, these are our two greatest commandments: to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love neighbour as yourself. study, and learning, are linked to this same charity, this love of neighbour, as was highlighted by Fr. Paul.
"[...] we know that all of us possess knowledge. knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Corinthians 8:1)
ain't that the truth. i didn't know much but after graduating from grade 6, i was on top of the world. then i entered junior high school. oh, but after graduating from grade 9, i was on top once again. until i hit high school, that is. surely after graduating from grade 12 i'd be king of the universe? nope. i had barely enough time to breathe before i found myself in a room of 400 biology students. understanding where God is leading one is difficult sometimes. after four years of university, i was even more lost. now what? i entered ITI which would solve all my problems - indeed, that's what they promised, a job and career. i was on top of the world for five years, and then realized i had gone nowhere.

at all these steps along the way i thought i was done with study, and learning. me = fool. finally i woke up to the truth. we are always learning. new things, and rediscovering the old. i experienced a conversion/reversion. i lack the exact word for what happened in my life, at that particular point - if one can actually pinpoint such a time in one's life. wikipedia defines briefly this religious conversion as "the adoption of new religious beliefs that differ from the convert's previous beliefs." this is where the gray line begins. they are probably right but i believed in God all my life. rather, at one point i didn't care (that's a bit harsh), and now i do. anywho, this post is supposed to be about Fr. Paul, and now i'm going way off tangent!

Fr. Paul made me realize, once again, that we are always at study, always learning to do better, to be better. no one stops studying, really. books, tv, news, movies, songs, internet, all are tools which help us, or not. saying that one is done with study, is as ridiculous as saying that one is done with conversion. we are continually on this road of conversion, on this journey towards holiness. faith and reason go hand in hand.

finally, what brought me to the seminary in the first place was this intense desire to love God. for six years i tried to get to know Him better. i tried to love Him more. and now, i'm called to follow Him more closely. but all this knowledge will just puff me up, if i don't share it with my brothers and sisters! (this issue of how will be left for another time). again, i see the two greatest commandments at work. because i love God, i love you! love for the People of God moved me to study, to enter the seminary, to know my faith. likewise, because of this love for the People of God, you, i am moved to continue my studies. love/charity and study, faith and reason go hand in hand. i'm constantly in different situations where people ask me this or that. can i be done with study? nonsense! i may not know the answer, but i will do my best to find it - love demands nothing less from me.

anywho, a few thoughts for a Sunday afternoon. i'm off to see the peeps at the LifeTeen mass. peace out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

be still my soul


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Eucharist, meetings, eat, sleep, repeat. the daily puzzle of a balanced life is unsolvable, i think. anywho, i keep at it. after a busy week, life gets even busier, more responsibilities, more grace! God knows my weakness, and good thing He is helping me along!

i just got off the phone with one of my brother priests and he helped me to understand that parish life is like the neverending story. not the book, but the reality itself. i've never read, or seen the movie, but i'm experiencing it in everyday life. i'm trying to finish my homily for the weekend, but phone calls and emails keep coming in. i'm aware that i have a memorial mass to celebrate with the Knights of Columbus next week, and i should prepare better, but i'm off to Toronto this coming Monday-Wednesday (for Convocation). i have a few post-it notes all over my desk with things waiting to be done. i've alreay picked up the phone a few times to apologize to this person or that person for having missed an appointment.

i still need a day off though, and it was good to be in North Bay with another brother priest. yes, we discussed vocations with several other representatives from other dioceses. but it was a good balance! since then i have had this song in my head, be still my soul, especially the version by The Priests. i had forgotten about them, my three fellow brothers in the Lord, until i heard their CD in the drive up and back from North Bay. there's always things to do, but how much more important is the time to rest in Him. how many times will i need to hear this before it sinks in?

so, with everything that is happening, the good, the bad, and the ugly, i have taken on something else in my life.

"Yo soy de Canada. Soy canadiense. Soy de Seite Islas en Quebec."

i've always wanted to learn Spanish. so, why not now, at the busiest time of my life! :) good times. hasta la vista!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

shout



"(...) you shouldn't have to shout for joy
shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things i can do without
come on, i'm talking to you, come on" (Tears for Fears - Shout, 1985)
trying to understand God, the Holy Trinity, is not easy. i remember what i learned day one at the seminary - God is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be entered into! booyah! i never forgot that, it hit me like that can of soup that fell on my toe when i was a young pup.

sometimes i forget that though. i do try to solve Him. as i analyze my chess moves, i analyze His moves, trying to get the better position. i'm running to avoid check, not realizing that we are on the same team. as the ol' song goes, how do you solve a problem like maria, or me in this case? i realized this past week, we as human beings are not problems to be solved, and neither am i. i have been seeking the answer to questions, as buddy goes to the well for answers. for example, the question of balance in life - continues to be my daily puzzle. ministry, exercise, prayer, add a little sleep, and presto - perfect priest. hmmm, if only it were that easy. however, i seem to be focusing on all this as a problem to be solved rather than as a mystery to be entered into. i'm not in control, God is. i'm just trying to follow His lead.

last week, however, i needed a break. i ended up going to Champboisé to rest awhile in the Lord. silence is the best music after all. so i spent my day off reconfiguring things, analyzing this, contemplating that, ... basically praying, sleeping and eating - not necessarily in that order. they say that the first year of the priesthood is the worst. guess what? the honeymoon is over! i'm now in my sixth month as a priest, and - as i heard it said this morning by one of the parishionners, transitions are difficult, even the positive ones. this is going to be a bumpy ride, i'd better hold on! ah, but to what? to prayer, of course. my mini-retreat has taught me the importance of prayer, and the emphasis i must put on it. this is indeed a ride of a lifetime, a journey of holiness can be nothing other. and, prayer smooths out that ride and make it peaceful.

so, now that i've shouted it all out, figured out those things i can do without, i can move forward and upward. it'll be a busy next couple of weeks. this week i'm off to North Bay for work with the vocations committee (francophone side of things). i'm going with Daniel B., our episcopal vicar for the francophone lung of the diocese. i'm looking forward to it, and more on that later. the following week i'm back to Toronto for convocation. after having missed it while finishing up and UNB, i'm excited to see how it all goes down. then, at the end of this month, marks something special! i'm not going to say what it is, but let's just say that my mom is flying in for the weekend to celebrate it with me! :) good times.

have a great week. peace out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sharp dressed man


i've almost forgotten how to use this blogger-thing-a-ma-gig, but i guess it's like riding a bike. here we go again, on thoughts, questions, concerns, musings, etc., etc.

like Spike here (bulldog in the fancy red sweater and top hat) i felt pretty good today. you see i've been sick for the past week. i'm just getting up now. for the past two weeks i've been fighting a cold. a good and bad story. the good part is i won. the bad part, is that it materialized itself into a chest/back infection! i've been in bed since last wednesday. nood. no good. anywho, for the first time in almost a week i put on my clerics again today! it felt good. i'm not sure if ZZ Top were thinking the same thing, but i think it may fit here. wearing my all blacks sends a message. it invites others to reflect on the presence of God in our lives, but it also reminds me of His presence in my own life! i'm thanking Him especially for health these days. it's good to celebrate mass with the People of God again, and not just privately in my room. it's good to see the world again. it's good to get a taste for coffee once again. anywho.

of all things, why Spike and Chester? well, during the time i was sick (still recovering by the way), i did nothing. absolutely nothing. it was awful, and i was glad today rolled around so that i can go out into the world again and talk to people - parishioners, friends (congrats to Jason and Susi on their new baby, Adrian), and simply get caught up on calls, emails and life. anywho, after a few days i found myself recovering which meant i could move from the bed to my couch. i sat and watched tv for an hour, and had to retreat back to bed. don't worry, about all the details, suffice to say that my favourite show was on a few times and i was entertained by Bugs Bunny and Friends. i remember getting up all those years as a child excited to watch the newest and bestest cartoons each and every saturday morning. every year there were new cartoons, however, Bugs remain the only constant! he still cracks me up.

i remember this one episode with Spike and Chester! Spike, the calm cool and collected bulldog, with a red sweater and top hat, and Chester, the annoying little terrier jumping all around pestering Spike to do stuff - "pick up some bones", "play ball" or "chase cars". at each request Spike continues picking his teeth with a tooth pick and slaps Chester down. Chester doesn't mind because he looks up to him, indeed, him and Spike are pals! then Chester has another idea, "chasing a cat". finally, they both go off in search for Sylvester. i'm not really sure where you could find the episode in its entirety, but it's very funny. now, please note, caution: don't take my analogy too far. which of these characters am i? of course, i'm Chester, the small pup, the new kid on the block, the baby priest, ready to do anything and everything - weddings, baptisms, meetings, reflections, homilies, - all in one day of course, and with no sleep. it seems that that is what i have been doing, and now i'm surprised by my chest infection? when will i learn to chill, already? i've only just begun my priestly ministry and so i'm still learning, still trying to be present to everyone, yet somehow neglecting God and blogger. i need to slow down, live the present moment and be all-cool like Spike. by the way, i shared my analogy with my pastor; he loved it! :)

so, here we go again, trying to find balance in my life, through different responsibilities, ministries, meetings, rest, prayer, exercise, etc. meanwhile, i'm going to continue to do exegesis on Bugs, to see if i may find clues on how to live life better! peace out.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

hallelujah

i remember at the seminary, so many moons ago, a few of us had a heated discussion on which version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah was the best. he wrote this simple and powerful song, but others cover it very well - better them him, some might think. i always enjoyed his music, so i'm biased a bit. however, i do enjoy this version too. anywho.

the Ottawa priests are off on retreat this week, Monday 31 August - Thursday 3 September. we are off to pray, meditate and continue our own journeys of holiness. i'm going to go work on my own broken hallelujah.
"now i've heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord."
actually, i'm going in search of something specific. i'm in search of this secret chord! sometimes i doubt the work i do. the very work i am called to do and wonder if it does please You, O Lord. it's hard to know sometimes. but like all Christians i persevere and continue my journey forward and upward.

last week we celebrated St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mom! she prayed so hard for his conversion, and now we know him as Saint Augustine. she prayed, begged, everything so he may turn to the Lord. indeed, her spiritual director once said, "surely the son of so many tears will not perish." now both are in heaven praying for us! Amen. Alleluia! i'm glad they are praying for me, especially as i begin my retreat on Monday. this led me to ponder the saying, "behind every great man there is a woman." i'm not sure if this is true always, but i'm leaning on the positive. if that's true for the married man, what about the celibate priest? Blessed Virgin Mary. of course, Mary is praying for us, and for me too. Mary is part of every Christian's life. the question is not what one should do, but how one should do it. my relationship with her is also developping.

of course, one needs to surrounds themselves with family and friends too. thanks to Katheryn + Greg, Colette, Mireille, Julie, Daniel, Pierre, for the friendship in the past couple weeks, the many emails and calls of encouragement, and of course, the holy men and women at Annunciation that continue to impress me! they encourage me to be holy.
"i'll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah."
indeed, i thank the Lord for all of you, and please know you will all be in my prayers this week! one last thing before i sign off though. the great and beautiful Archdiocese of Ottawa is now offering monthly reflections on the priesthood. His Grace asked me to do the first one, so here it is, in English and French. i forwarded this on to my parents of course. they are my biggest supporters. and my sister, Elizabeth, makes me proud once again, as i am now an uncle for the second time. she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Gabrièle! Hallelujah!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

ob-la-di, ob-la-da


indeed, life does go on. sometimes i feel like i should post something everyday, since i have too much on my mind and in my heart today. there's not enough internet space to describe it all. no exaggerations. that's what i like too.

i've always loved chess. i remember my aunt teaching me way back when in the early '80s when i was a wee child. she taught me the basics - setting up of the board, the names of each piece, what everything did, etc. well, the etc. part is what takes a lifetime to learn. i've played on and off over the years, including a few heated months at the seminary. it helped me, and it also proved to be an obstacle.

i'm reading The Way of Perfection, by St. Teresa of Avila, in which she helps hers sisters live and move forward in the spiritual life. and, anytime i see analogies using chess, i love it! therefore, the reason for the emphasis on chess today is because of my friend Teresa. this paragraph is from a section where Teresa is introducing a new section on prayer and humility.
"I hope you do not think I have written too much about this already; for I have only been placing the board, as they say. [...] But you may be sure that anyone who cannot set out the pieces in a game of chess will never be ablt to play well, and, if he does not know how to give check, he will not be able to bring about a checkmate."
she continues on, and a warning to me,
"Now you will reprove me for talking about games, as we do not play them in this house and are forbidden to do so. That will show you what kind of mother God has given you - she even knows about vanities like this!"
ouch! not only do i know about this game, but i'm very terrible at it, and thus have practiced - somtimes much too long, to improve! anywho, she continues on, and i do enjoy the book very much. the line that struck me though was the first. it seems that for the past six years, at the seminary, i have been merely placing the board. i've studied this and that, this thought and the other, familiarized myself with multiple commentaries, etc. now what? just like in chess, i agonize over my opening move. i over analyze it. i try to see 20moves ahead, looking at all possible angles, details, etc. it's not healthy. the Lord, has given me the grace to know Him. and now, all i must do is follow. what if i move the wrong pawn or something? impossible! there are multiple opening moves in the game of chess. and the victory already belongs to Our Lord Jesus Christ, so why do i analzye each and everything i do to death?! [seems like i've reflected on this before - stop worrying already, and just play!] again, the etc. is what takes a lifetime to learn. there's no rush, so i'm taking my time trying to integrate this new reality of the priesthood.

now that i'm moved into my new parish assignment, people have begun to know me and vice versa. let us just let the board unfold as it will. God has called me to be faithful, not successful. i continue to trust in Him who has led me for all these years. if you are reading this, though, 1.d4, now it's your move.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

the first time ever i saw Your face


wow! here i am, in my new parish, Annunciation of the Lord! the transition has begun, and this past weekend was a great start! i introduced myself to everyone by quoting Dorothy, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home." don't tell anyone, but i still haven't seen the full movie. i have been ordained and helping out at the Cathedral this past summer, but there's something different now ... i can't quite explain it yet. but i think i like it.

anywho, i continued, as is my custom now, with: "i'm your new baby priest, the new kid on the block." this brought up an image in my head, which you now see! i was thinking it would be best for all if this was put in the window of the parish, just for safety precautions. i am new and i've asked all to be patient with me as i begin my new life as a priest, and more importantly, as the new associate pastor of Annunciation of the Lord parish. i'm honoured to be here with you all!!!

today we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Saint John Vianney - the patron saint of all priests. i had the opportunity to celebrate mass this morning and was particularly moved by the whole celebration with all of the parishioners. there's a great story of him beginning his ministry as well. after three years of ordination he was called to be pastor of Ars, a small village in France. he set out for this village and got lost. he lost his way. therefore, on the country road he asks a boy the way to Ars. the boy responds, "that way". thankful, St. John responds with, "you have showed me the way to Ars, i will show you the way to heaven." powerful! that's what i said to the taxi driver who took me to Annunciation. [not really]. this story has been preserved in a statue depicting this moment in history. as a new priest, and associate pastor, i'm asking St. John to pray for me, and all the new guys, in a special way.

this brings me back to the title. indeed, that which i cannot describe, as previously alluded to, can somehow be seen in our cry to see God! wanting to see Him face to face is what prayer is all about. when we take time from our busy schedule, taking time in silence, we get a glimpse of who God is, who we are, and what He has in mind for us. i experienced this in a very real way 6years ago when i left everything to follow Him who was calling me. the journey since then has been full of joys and sorrows. it has been anything but smooth sailing. however, after ordination to the priesthood i had forgotten all my past sufferings. and now, i am at peace, in my new home. i have met the face of God, for the second time, through the parishionners of Annunciation and their welcome of the new associate pastor. i'm not overexagerating. in fact, the joy of Jesus Christ, never comes out quite right in words. i feel i need to say more, but i cannot. i pray that all can share in my joy one day - the joy of Jesus Christ.

i now continue my journey with all at Annunciation. i played Ultimate frisbee with the youth last night, celebrated the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconcilation, trying to move into my new office, getting my voice message just right, unpacking my books, and as St. John used to do, trying to stay rooted in prayer through out it all. united in prayer. peace out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

feelin' groovy


"slow down, you move too fast.
you got to make the moment last.
just kicking down the cobble stones.
looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
ba da, ba da, ba da, ba da ... feelin' groovy."
(Simon & Garfunkel - Feelin' Groovy, 1966)
who remembers the Brady Bunch? well, i don't either but i do remember the reruns! a favourite line of mine was always, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" this is what Marsha's younger sister, Jan, would often say, complaining about this or that. where am i going with this?

well, today we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha. another favourite line of mine is found in today's Gospel, Luke 10:38-42, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things." (v.41) of course Our Lord Jesus Christ was not complaining about Martha as Jan was about Marsha. but i always enjoyed the similarity, and everytime i read this particular verse i can read it no other way than, "O Martha, Martha, Martha."

the sister of Mary Magdalene, who we celebrated a week ago, and the sister of Lazarus, Martha was known for her hospitality. however, she did worry and was troubled by many things. some considered her a perfectionist. the Gospel continues that Mary, her sister, had chosen the better part - listening to the Lord, and that Martha should focus on finding the same balance.

"O Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan." why do i worry so, and why do i let this and that bother me, trouble me, irritate me? the Lord was not diminishing what Martha was doing, but rather underlying the importance of being rooted in the Word of God, and of course being rooted in prayer. just like Martha, i need to worry less about my work - not to imply that i don't do my best, and give it my all, but rather at one point to say enough is enough, put it in the hands of the Lord, and trust all will go fine. i don't have to go over my homily a 1000times, i don't have to rewrite this or that to make it perfect - whatever that means. indeed, i don't have to exercise, pray, work to the point that i've lost the meaning of why i was doing any of it in the first place. all has their place, all of it is needed for a balanced life, a healthy life. Our Lord was simply reiterating that fact today for Martha (and for me).

as i finish my time here at the Cathedral, i am preparing myself, packing a few boxes and moving everything over to Annunciation to begin my new assignment - i move on Friday. i'm fighting the temptations against being worried and distracted because of it. indeed, i'm entering into a new family, and that is nothing to be worried about, rather i am very joyful, and i can't wait. now, i'm off to finish my on-call ministry, read the paper, and to worry about whether or not i'll have a chance to do some biking tomorrow morning. peace out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

don't cry


"don't you cry tonight
I still love you" (GNR - Don't Cry, 1991)
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us. today we celebrate the memorial of one of the great disciples of the Lord. she was known by many as a great sinner. however, though her sins were many, she is forgiven because she loved much!(Lk 7:47) indeed, Our Lord humbled many through Mary's humility, including many who were at table with Him that evening.(Lk 7-36-50) many seminarians have a special place in their hearts for this Saint.

the girl at the mirror, by Norman Rockwell, seems to tell us a bit about St. Mary. he always knew how to portray humanity. mirrors often lie to us. they'll tell us what we want them to say. it was only when St. Mary looked into Our Lord did she recognize who she really was. she recognized Him who recognized her. she knew herself as a sinner, yes, ... but a forgiven sinner! indeed, this passage from Luke is about God's love for sinners! however, the following is more from GNR:
"talk to Me softly
there is something in your eyes
don't hang your head in sorrow
and please don't cry
I know how you feel inside I've
I've been there before
somethin' is changin' inside you
and don't you know
don't you cry tonight
I still love you"
i can relate. i may have fallen, and continue to, but in Christ i have been forgiven. we are forgiven sinners! in the mirror i see what i want. i have rules about how i should be as a man. how i should live as a Christian. how i should live as a priest. if i only look in the mirror, i will surely fall. it's only when i look to Christ do i understand my vocation, and direction in life. indeed, it's only when i look to the other, rather than myself, do i begin to feel that peace which comes by living in Christ. however, i can't forget that i'm on a journey, ... a journey of becoming more human, more Christian, indeed, more Christ-like. if i've failed you, failed to be present to you, i ask for pardon.

today, the Church couples St. Mary's encounter with the Risen Lord (Jn 20:1,11-18) with a powerful reading from Song of Songs (Song 3:1-4). St. Mary Magdalene was tired of living a lie. the love she had for the Lord moved her, compelled her to continue to search for Him. though she wept, she was overjoyed by the encounter. she no longer needed to live by false ideals. she now lived by the will of the Father. at peace with herself, she exclaimed, "i have seen the Lord".(Jn 20:18) let us pray to her, asking her to see as she did.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

knockin' on heaven's door


"mama take this badge from me
i can't use it anymore
it's getting dark too dark to see
feels like i'm knockin' on heaven's door"
(Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door, 1973)

many people have asked me how things are going. how is life as a new priest? how is ministry going? by the way, what exactly do you do? etc., etc., etc. at the moment, i'm learning. that's what i tell everyone. learning how to celebrate the Sacraments (daily mass - Eucharist, Reconciliation, Sacrament of the Sick, and i just celebrated a wedding this past weekend!). learning how to offer some hope and consolation to those dealing with death and dying. finally, simply learning to be a priest. good thing i have the Sacraments to support me.

at the seminary i as somebody. i lived in a room on the second floor. i was a 4th year seminarian (to be feared, or ignored, take your pick). many envied us since we rarely went downtown for classes, thus reducing our commute times exponentially. at the seminary, i was at the top of the ladder. today, i begin once again at the bottom. i look up the ladder afraid of taking the first step sometimes. the first step is always a doozy! when i left home for the first time (to Pittsburgh). when i bought my first house (and sold it 8months later). when i entered the seminary. transition periods in life are not to be minimized! i always underestimate them. i always try to hurry through the process, looking for a shortcut. i want to be in control, confident, and at peace. what's the hold up already?!?!

there is nothing wrong with being lost. at least i know the direction - Our Lord Jesus Christ! however, i lose focus even on God when life gets the best of me. because of my sin, it gets dark, too dark to see sometimes. that's why i return to the confessional, time and time again. i wonder if God is bothered by me knocking so often? i go to the Sacrament asking for pardon, peace and strength to continue my journey - where ever that may lead me. He always gives me peace, hope, and reorients me on the right path. God is good! indeed, he forgives me, and helps me to be a witness to him.

at the moment, attentive to the pager on my hip, i begin preparations for this weekend. my last weekend here at the Cathedral. yep, here comes another transition. i'm off to my new parish, Annunciation of the Lord, in less than two weeks. my arms are wide open, and looking forward in meeting my new family. peace out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

walking on sunshine

Norman Rockwell:  He's Going to Be Taller Than Dad, 1939

"i'm walking on sunshine , wooah
i'm walking on sunshine, woooah
i'm walking on sunshine, woooah
and don't it feel good!!!"
(Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine, 1985)
after jumping in, i find myself measuring the progress (picture = Norman Rockwell: He's Going to Be Taller Than Dad, 1939). i think it's a bit early to do that, for obvious reasons -- i'm a new baby priest! i need to give myself some time before i can change the world. i need to drink milk before eating meat. the other realization i have come across is that i will not change the world, rather God will do all the transforming. all i can change is my heart.

like Katrina and the Waves though, i am walking on sunshine. despite the mysteries of the road less traveled by, i am at peace for the first time in a long time. so, yesterday, my day off, i decided to live it up. not one, but two sports. i played an hour or so of ultimate frisbee with the gang on Parliament Hill. then, after a short break, drove up to Orléans to play squash. i lost, both games. oh well. who's counting though? oh, possibly the youth at Annunciation of the Lord parish. i've been hearing there is ultimate frisbee every monday night as well. well i'm practising, hopefully i can keep up with you all!

i'm off to prepare the wedding i'll have on Saturday. peace out!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

jump


"Might as well jump, jump!
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. jump!
Go ahead, jump." (Van Halen - Jump, 1984)
hmmm, say what? excuse me? here i am, two months into the priesthood and i feel - how do i say "holy crap" in a pastoral way. i've barely begun my ministry and i can't help but feel grateful for this wonderful gift. however, i also see the great responsibility that comes with it.

Van Halen said it best. you've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real. i haven't seen much yet, but it has been an eye opening experience to say the least. last night i was called into the Civic Hospital to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick, anointing, for a woman who was on her last breaths. the family needed consolation, and they got me. ready or not, life has found me, and i'm getting ready to jump right in!

i never liked diving. i remember learning how to swim and i always was afraid of that high tower thing-a-ma-gig! in fact, i never enjoyed the small diving board, let alone diving off the side. ouch! after six years of formation at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, i am now a new baby priest of the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The High Board by Norman Rockwell seems fitting, no?

more on my journey thus far, since this blog is in it's 4th or 5th edition. for all those are used to my old website, i apologize for the major change. i would have liked to continue using my text editor and coding my site from scratch - which is what i have been doing for the past 10years. however, it seems that i do not have much time any more. i still would like to keep my thoughts flowing somewhat, so hopefully this format will help. i'll see what i can do in transferring some of my old content. until then, however, it seems that we have a brand new start. peace out.