Saturday, February 26, 2011

i'm a believer

"then i saw her face, now i'm a believer
not a trace of doubt in my mind.
i'm in love, i'm a believer!
i couldn't leave her if i tried." (The Monkees - I'm a Believer, 1966)
you may like this song - as i do-, or possibly you prefer the version by Smash Mouth (with Eddie Murphy as "Donkey" in Shrek) in 2001. i like both, indeed, especially when Donkey starts going crazy at the end - a little scit scat! i am a believer - i believe in God, the Father, God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit. this picture another fab four seems to be asking a question: "are you a believer?" or, are they asking some other question, as in "are you a
believer Belieber"?

did you hear? - Justin Beiber cut his hair. what the what? here's another story of long hair:
"In the Old Testament, Nazirites would go for long periods of time without cutting their hair to show devotion to God. Samson is one example (Judges 13-16); his strength depended upon his refraining from cutting his hair." ( on long hair)
is there a link between the two? Delilah tricked Samson, and proceeded to cut his hair, but has Beiber been tricked? does Bieber's strength depend upon his hair? time will tell! meanwhile he is busy with a new movie - which comes highly recommended by our youth group (hat tip: Danielle + Lauren). i probably won't go see it though, i'll just take their word for it.

back to Donkey's scit scatting i'm a believer! indeed, there's no doubt in my mind, i'm in love, when i saw her face i became a believer too! i love the Church, Holy Mother Church! i've given my life to God and to Her! this is the journey of a lifetime - always good times, ups and downs - of course - but there's nothing like knowing Jesus Christ! remember what Our Lord said to Peter, and to us, this past week on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter:
"you are Peter, the rock on which i will build my Church; the gates of hell will not hold out against it." (Gospel of Matthew 16:13-19)
this week i've been busy working on vocations work (both EN + FR), a day-retreat for men discerning the priesthood (March 26), and we are trying to get up and running. hopefully next week i'll be able to give you an update. interesting Pastoral Days also at the diocese this week - again, both in French and English, on the Mission of the Church, and Old Testament Reflections for Lent, respectively. Ash Wednesday is right around the corner (see ABp's Lenten letter), and i'm already preparing for Easter Liturgies at Annunciation and at the Cathedral (as MC) as well. another thing to keep on the horizon is the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 in Dublin, Ireland - more to come on this later. have a great week. peace out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

under pressure

"and love dares you to care for
the people on the edge of the night
and love dares you to change our way of
caring about ourselves" (Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure, 1981)

as once described by Hildebrand, one must be careful of science fetishism - the thought that science can answer all our problems. science and religion can get along, indeed, they are part of the same axis - where one ends the other begins, however, at all times being intertwined as DNA.

i'm back from my week vacation in the winter desert of Moncton, NB. 2.5 meters of snow have fell, and it is still falling! people were shovelling not the driveways but their roofs because of the weight of the snow! under pressure! ee da de da de (a little scat for ya - something i first learned from Mel Tormé, through Night Court, of course). but i like the idea of the desert - that's where one goes to find oneself. it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. indeed, it was great to see family, but after returning from PE-Island, i was sick for the whole week. i'm still recovering now. good times, de day da ee day da - that's o.k.
"we groan in pain as we await the redemption of our bodies." (Office of Reading Antiphon, Wednesday Week II)
i'm sure scientist have felt this, and religious know this truth as well. however, science focuses only on the body. you wouldn't ask philosophy to answer a scientific question, but why then ask science to answer philosophical questions? Christians, Catholics, know that we are both body and soul - one cannot ignore either! some scientists emphasize one, claiming the other does not exist. some heretical theologians would also emphasize the soul, hoping to forget about the body. one needs to take care of both if one wants to be healthy. why is that so difficult?

last week, because my lack of health was persisting, i decided to go to the doctor. i had no choice, my mom told me to do it! and so, very reluctantly, i called the doctor, made an appointment, showed up, waited, saw him and told him of my woes. while in the waiting room, i prayed the Office of Reading, where i have quoted the first Antiphon that punched me in the face! i realized then and there, that i really do have take care of my body. it was a revelation! i have been emphasizing too much my soul, while neglecting my body. no more! i also realized how some people felt about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

who's want to go to the priest and tell him our sins - they are ugly, and we don't feel good about it. we'd rather be able to take care of ourselves, indeed, we'd like to be independent always. similarly, why would i want to call the doctor? i don't want him to see my runny nose, or my hurts and pains - let me take care of myself already, i'll be fine. it doesn't work like that, does it - in either case! out of humility, i realize i need the help of others. i go to the doctor, so he can help me be healthy in body. i go to the priest, so he can help me be healthy in soul. one is a doctor of the body, another is a doctor of mercy. one is a teacher of healthy living, another is a teacher of truth. being dependant on others is not childish, but a sign of maturity.

peace, de dat de dat da da!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

who can it be now

"who can it be knocking at my door?
go 'way, don't come 'round here no more.
can't you see that it's late at night?
i'm very tired, and i'm not feeling right.
all i wish is to be alone;
stay away, don't you invade my home.
best off if you hang outside,
don't come in - i'll only run and hide.
who can it be now?" (Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now, 1981)
a little ditty hinting at the effects of sin in one's life. when Our Lord Jesus Christ comes knocking, we may say we feel tired, we are not feeling right. indeed, if we were, we'd let him into our hearts no questions asked! as i was leaving the confessional today - as the penitent - i was asking myself who can it be now? - of course, it is JC who gives me peace and joy! there's no other.

this leads me into another thought on running. i have recently mentioned how i started running. i enjoy the parallel ideas that pop into my head regarding the spiritual life. one of these, which i have already preached and talked about has to do with the talk test:
"the Talk Test is the best way to monitor yourself while jogging/running. if you are not able to talk to someone while running then you are exercising too quickly. slow down to a talk."
as the above quote reminds us, if i'm too busy for God in my life, slow down, take care of what's important, and return to the relationship with God in Jesus Christ. this talk test applies to many things:
  • if i'm too busy to email a friend, ...
  • if i'm too busy to smile, ...
  • if i'm rude on the telephone, ...
  • if i can't take time to see family and friends, ...
  • if i'm too busy to pray, ...
indeed, these may be signs that we continue the struggle with sin, and it is time to slow down. let me add another one in there:
  • if i'm too busy to feed my fish, ...
then, you know there's a problem. i had supper with friends last night who continue to coach me on how to take care of a birthday present [four fishy's] i got two months ago. i had fish, now i have a fish. once there were four, now there is one - Number One, as i liked to call him. however, after the same friends found me this great childhood book, my fish is now called Otto. as the book begins:
"'this little fish',
i said to Mr. Carp [man behind counter selling this awe-inspiring fish],
'i want him. i like him.
and he likes me.
i will call him Otto.'" - (p.3)
hopefully Otto will live long and prosper. i'm sure this little fishy will find his way into one of my homilies one day. i'll keep you posted. i have this book, and now will surprise my two nieces with it as well. i'm sure they will love it, just as i did when i was a wee young pup.

it has been a hectic few weeks, and i'm trying to wrap up a few things before i go away on a week to rest in beautiful sunny Moncton, NB. i'm off see my mom, sister, nieces, i know dad will be there too, and i look forward in seeing a couple friends as well. i'm getting ready for a couple baptisms this weekend, busy interviewing couples for wedding preparations, not to mention our new sacramental journey preparation for our children preparing for First Confession and First Communion. i'm also involved in the vocations committee here in the diocese, and we are preparing in revamping if you have any comments/concerns please keep me posted.

one last thing. i cannot not comment on the Super Bowl, eh? Pittsburgh, of course [since i did live there for a year and a half]! i'll be getting in Moncton just in time for the game on Sunday. anywho, what's caught my attention is a post over at Fr. Z's blog. somebody, a priest in Green Bay - the team that will lose vs. Pittsburgh - has apparently cancelled Sunday night mass because of this football game.

i disagree often with what Fr. Z says and writes on his website, but i must admit it makes me grow in my own spirituality, and love for the Church. this time, however, i think i agree with him:
"Solution to the Mass cancellation? Go to Church in the morning. Can’t do that? Go Saturday night. Can’t do that? Go to another parish. Can’t do that? Your are relieved of your obligation. The priest who canceled the Mass can sort things out with God."
i'm pretty sure that Coach Lombardi - one of the greatest coaches of all time, then head coach for the Green Bay Packers, after whom the Super Bowl Trophy is named - would not approve of a priest putting a sign on the front door of a Church saying there is no mass. almost sounds like Luther [Catholic priest, started Reformation]'s 95 theses in 1517, where the resulting reaction was overreaction. anywho, i've written about Lombardi before. he believed, and practiced his faith, deriving his strength from daily mass and communion. after all football is just a game, but life is forever. as Fr. Gallagher [chaplain for the Colts, who by the way lost vs. Saints last year] mentioned:
"[...] that paramount in the Colts’ spiritual preparation for the Super Bowl is the realization that when all is said and done football is a game, and win or lose, life is going to continue with its higher challenges and expectations."
peace out. see you all in a week!