Thursday, November 25, 2010

mr. roboto

"domo arigato, Mr. Roboto...
you're wondering who i am
(secret, secret, i've got a secret)
machine or mannequin
(secret, secret, i've got a secret)
with parts made in Japan
(secret, secret, i've got a secret)
i am the modern man" (Styx - Mr. Roboto (video), 1983)

i heard this song - big 80's on 8, of course - on the way up to the conference on how-to-be-a-priest, how to be a good joyful priest, embracing the gift of both priesthood and celibacy. therefore, how not to be Mr. Fr. Roboto. as i'm thinking about what will be taking place, learning to fly, i'm reminded that the priest is not a robot but a human too. domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. this song blew my mind, now hearing it with new eyes.
"i've got a secret, i've been hiding under my skin
my heart is human, my blood is boiling
my brain I.B.M. [indeed, what's Mac? i've always been PC]
so if you see me acting strangely, don't be surprised
i'm just a man who needed someone
and somewhere to hide
to keep me alive, just keep me alive
somewhere to hide to keep me alive"
it was great to be with the brothers last week, some of whom i haven't seen in over 5years - i studied with many of them over at St. Augustine's Seminary. we gathered together to discuss challenges of the priesthood today, in 2010. we concentrated on evangelization, discouragement, relationships + priestly fraternity, balance (why does this one keep coming up?), and celibacy. we discussed the up's and down's, however, everything in the context of the joy of the priesthood. we also prayed together, morning prayer and daily Eucharist with some of the Ontario Catholic Bishops. it was a great week. it also allowed me to experience Niagara Falls, On. good times. the week helped us to refocus in our ministry and become once again anchored in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
"i'm not a robot without emotions
i'm not what you see
i've come to help you
with your problems, so we can be free
i'm not a hero, i'm not a saviour
forget what you know"
these are interesting words for a song, but powerful [prophetic?] words when applied to our lives. as a man, as a Christian, as a priest, i can only do so much. funny how i always expect more, and get disappointed when i do less. i'm just a man. but my true identity is a Christian - son of the Father, disciple of Christ, temple of the Holy Spirit. indeed, my true identity, is now as a priest of Our Lord Jesus Christ. i'm not a hero. i'm not a saviour. like everyone else, i needed Someone, and last week's conference helped me to centre my life once again on Him.
"domo arigato, Mr. Roboto
the problem's plain to see
too much technology
machines to save our lives
machines, de-humanize"
too much technology? hmmm, where have i heard this before? i'm still trying to figure out my cell phone, so sometimes i'm out of the loop. however, i remember that line when Colecovision and Atari where in! then again i heard it when i wanted my Nintendo system. of course, then computers began popular - Y2K was barking the end of the world! then, Playstation, Xbox, now iPhones, Blackberrys, iPad and what's next? there's always going to be something new! the question is not not wanting to create and imagine new horizon's, but rather to realize that all this stuff is a means to an end ... Home with JC! if anything gets in the way, then we need a reality check.

once i soaked it all up, today i run from it. however, there's a need for it within ministry. but where's the balance? sometimes i feel like i'm being sucked into emails and phone calls, like a centrifuge collecting the crap ... it keeps me from escaping, from being with people - visiting hospitals, visiting the sick, visiting schools, meetings within the parish and the diosese. "get a blackberry" many people tell me. say it ain't so!!! that won't help in writing my Sunday homily, or will it? indeed, email, phone, twitter, blogs, have their place in our lives. as Salt & Light reminds us, we need to use modern forms of communication effectively. ah, but that's the keyword - effectively. we are still learning. i'm still learning. any tips, i'd appreciate it. however, i'm still far off from starting the new language of texting. now, gotta run and work on my homily. peace out. domo arigato.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

learning to fly

"i'm learning to fly but i ain't got wings
coming down is the hardest thing
i'm learning to fly around the clouds
but what goes up must come down" (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Learning to Fly, 1991)

this song, from XM's 90's on 9 of course, prepares me well for this coming week. after a good week - confessions for the holy Women of Bethany, mass, sacramental preparations, meetings at the diocese and parish, q+a with the youth on Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, work on vocations, i'm now off on a conference.

this song is about growing up. as a growing baby boy priest, i need all the help i can get. therefore, next week is a Symposium for the Recently Ordained, sponsored by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario + the ACBO Commission for Priests. i will join almost 60 of my brother priests from Ontario in Niagara Falls for a conference on "Priests for the Church Today: the Challenge of the First Years". i've heard many good things about this conference ... i think it happens every three or four years. i'll be leaving after lunch, with a brief stop in - on the way there and back. i'll be back Saturday, November 20th in time for hopefully ball hockey, but definitely the Catholic Women's League bazaar and Knights of Columbus chili supper! peace out. united in prayer.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

now that we've found love

"now that we found love
what are we gonna do
what are we gonna do with it
now that we found love what are we gonna do" (Heavy D + The Boyz - Now that We've Found Love, 1991)

this past weekend someone was talking to someone who was talking to someone else who was talking to another person who was trying to get my attention. anywho, after mass there is a lot of people talking, you get the idea. at one point i over heard someone say, "oh, this is Fr. Jonathan, he has been ordained for a year." i interjected right away with, "excuse me, that's a year and a half!" don't forget the half - it makes all the difference. good times. i remember saying half when i was turning 1, 2, 3, 20, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 ... anywho, it fit in to the conversation at the time.

after having found what i'm looking for, talking about the one i love, this Heavy D ditty fits in nicely. indeed, now that God in Our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen us, and that we've chosen Him, what do we do? there's an intercession that we pray in the French breviary that i particular enjoy. "those who seek God, may find Him; and those who have found Him, may continue to search for Him." - a slight paraphrase, but it always hits home with me. we must continue to know Him better, love Him more and follow Him more closely each and every day. indeed, the first paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church hits it on the nail: "the life of man is to know God." get busy living, or get busy dying. peace.

Monday, November 08, 2010

the one i love

"this one goes out to the one i love
this one goes out to the one i've left behind.
a simple prop to occupy my time
this one goes out to the one i love." (R.E.M. - The One I love, 1987)
more big 80's on 8 for you this morning! is this just another love song? hardly. read the summary, please. it reminded me of the skit i saw last night with our youth group - powerful. through Baptism i share in the death of Christ, but now i live my life in Christ, in His Resurrection. i must decrease, He must increase. easier said than done. living in a non-Christian world, culture, society, will have its effect on you. what does one do when one is attacked by alcohol, drugs, lust, depression, or suicide? one cannot but be affected by the culture we live in. however, Our Lord Jesus Christ is more than a prop to occupy our time. he is our rock, our very foundation! the skit last night powerfully demonstrated that. we are Christian, Catholic, and Our Lord Jesus Christ is the one we love! he is my God and my Saviour. without Him i am lost. no matter how far we may get from Him, He is always ready to welcome us home!

last week i posted i still haven't found what i'm looking for. however, we have with God in Our Lord Jesus Christ. let us encourage one another to continue this journey, journey of holiness. for no man is an island, and alone we fall. we need to encourage one another as brothers and sisters, for there is strength in numbers. of course, this applies not only to the laity but in a very real way to the clergy as well. they need support too, and how difficult it is to see a priest who has lost his faith. if we are not striving for holiness, we are doing nothing.

back to last week's post for a second. what struck me from this new council, on the new evangelization, is not only its mandate, among which is to understand these new forms of communication, but lastly its emphasis on returning to the basics, on returning to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. if JC is not a prop, then let's work together to know Him better, to love Him more, and to follow Him more closely as His disciples. there are many books on my to-read list, however, moved by Our Holy Father, i'm going to pick up the Catechism once again. who's with me? peace out.