Wednesday, February 29, 2012

you're still the one

Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 2010,
with His Grace, Archbishop of Ottawa, Most Rev. T. Prendergast,
on the steps of Parliament Hill, thanks to Montée Jeunesse.
"looks like we made it
look how far we've come my baby
we mighta took the long way
we knew we'd get there someday
they said 'i bet they'll never make it'
but just look at us holding on
we're still together still going strong
(You're still the one)
You're still the one i run to
the one that i belong to
You're still the one i want for life
You're still the one i love
the only one i dream of" (Shania Twain - You're Still the One, 1998)
another post promoting all things IEC2012 in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

hello my name is Fr. Jonathan Blake, and i used to enjoy listening to country music.  not any country music, but the ol' classics (80's, 90's), like this one.  of course, there are still a couple songs, groups, that i like, but that is for another day.  the above is a favourite, since it depicts my own conversion through the Blessed Sacrament.

back in 2002 i knew nothing of prayer, of adoration, of God who loved me.  i was the paralyzed man in this world (Sunday's Gospel according to Mark 2:1-12, from a couple weeks ago).  thanks to his family and friends, that paralyzed man was freed through their faith - not necessarily his own.  thanks to my family, friends, community at Notre-Dame Cathedral, i too was put in front of the Lord, every Thursday night for adoration, and suddenly i could walk again.

during this year's Lenten journey, let us return to our first love - God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  let us support and encourage one another to visit Our Lord truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist.  peace.
"L'acte d'adoration en dehors de la Messe prolonge et intensifie ce qui est réalisé durant la Célébration liturgique elle-même. En fait, « ce n'est que dans l'adoration que peut mûrir un accueil profond et vrai. Et c'est bien par cet acte personnel de rencontre avec le Seigneur que mûrit ensuite la mission sociale qui est renfermée dans l'Eucharistie et qui veut briser les barrières non seulement entre le Seigneur et nous, mais aussi et surtout les barrières qui nous séparent les uns des autres». (Benoît XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 66) Le Congrès Eucharistique 2012 voudrait inviter toute paroisse, tout groupe, mouvement, groupe ecclésiastique et individuel à être renouvelés dans leur compréhension de l’Eucharistie. Les ressources qui suivent sont fournies pour mieux préparer le Congrès Eucharistique selon ce qui est demandé à tout Congrès Eucharistique (en partie) : ceux-ci doivent ‘encourager ou prendre toute initiative qui, selon les normes actuelles de l’Église, aide à accroître la compréhension et participation au «Mystère Eucharistique dans tous ses aspects, depuis la célébration de l’Eucharistie jusqu'à son culte extra Missam » (en dehors de la Messe) pour que son influence puisse pénétrer toute vie personnelle et sociale’. Quant à l’adoration, le Congrès Eucharistique se centrera sur quatre domaines qui pourront être renouvelés et promus: l’adoration dans les paroisses, l’adoration par les jeunes et enfants, la visite à domicile avec le Saint Sacrement et des moments d’adoration au cours d’événements spéciaux centrés sur l’adoration eucharistique. 
The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself. Indeed, "only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature. And it is precisely this personal encounter with the Lord that then strengthens the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which seeks to break down not only the walls that separate the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another."(Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 66) The Eucharistic Congress 2012 invites parishes, groups, movements, ecclesial groups and individuals to be renewed in our understanding of Eucharist. These resources are provided to establish a path of preparation towards the Eucharistic Congress, with respect to one part of the task given for Eucharistic Congresses, which is to 'engage in fostering or taking those initiatives that, in accordance with the Church’s current norms, have the scope of increasing understanding and participation in the Eucharistic Mystery in all its aspects: from the celebration to worship extra missam, (outside of Mass) so that its influence permeates the whole of personal and social living.' In promoting Eucharistic Adoration the Eucharistic Congress will focus on four areas to be renewed and promoted – Adoration in Parishes; Adoration by Youth and Children; Home Visitation with the Blessed Sacrament; Adoration moments (special events centred around Eucharistic Adoration)."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

walk this way

"walk this way" (Aerosmith ft. Run D.M.C. - Walk This Way, 1975)
you gotta love duets, eh?  this is a classic!  anyways, enough of that.  what? wait, i'm not ready! i never seem to be ready, but here we are ... Lent.  today is Ash Wednesday, the door into 40days of knowing better, loving more and following more closely God in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
"The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him." (1st Sunday of Lent, Gospel of Mark 1:12-15)
i always struggle on deciding what to give up, or what to take on.  prayer sounds like a good thing?  how about a little fasting?  and maybe add a dash of almsgiving!  boom, you've got the right ingredients, but i don't always know how to read those complicated recipes!

one of my favourite devotions has always been the Stations of the Cross!  this year, for Lent, one of the things i will add to my "to-do list" is walk this way, that is praying the Stations daily!  during Ordinary Time, we are invited in knowing Jesus better.  through Advent and Christmas, we hope to love him more in the Mystery of the Incarnation.  and in Lent and Easter, we are invited in walking with Him on the way, through the desert, following Him more closely as His disciples.  the journey will not be easy, but it will be beautiful!  happy Lent.  peace.

ps.  join us at St-Pierre-Apôtre for the Stations every Friday night at 7pm.

Friday, February 17, 2012

happy together

"me and You and You and me
no matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
the only one for me is You, and You for me
so happy together
how is the weather [in Dublin?]" (The Turtles - Happy Together, 1967)
another post promoting all things IEC2012 in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

i've been hearing much ado about this particular video - i love JC yo, but not so much religion.  i was in last week chillin' and relaxin' with my peeps.  and over coffee Anna informs me of this video that is no everywhere!  i was on vacation, therefore, ergo, thus, out of the loop.  when i got back i quickly checked out what was going on.  buddy what's his face made a few good points.  and, there have been many others (Fr. Barron, Phatmass' Fr. Pontifex, etc.) who have taken up the cause of shedding light on this - indeed, you can't have one without the other.  we need, i need, both God in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Holy Church.  however, bball1989 - buddy what's his face, was raising old points addressed by many before, including one of my favourites, Sigmund Freud.

back in the good ol' days of the seminary, we were encouraged to take our courses from different colleges among the Toronto School of Theology (TST).  i loved this idea, since it allowed us to see and experience faith from different perspectives.  by the end of my fourth year, i had taken at least one course from all seven colleges!  in my third year, i think, i took a course at Trinity College on Psychoanlaysis, etc., which of course, delt heavily with Freud.  i didn't see everything the same as others, but i enjoyed the conversations, the dialogue, and our common desire to walk with God.  it is not secret that Freud disliked religion.
"Freud's family and ancestry were Jewish, and Freud always considered himself a Jew, although he rejected Judaism and had a critical view of religion." (Primary Source, no other than wikipedia, of course)
i think at one point we read the full Future of an Illusion, which dealt primarily with religion, and his difficiculty with it.  one of the points of bball1989 was similar to Freud's major difficulty with religion - that all  are sheep, to paraphrase.  indeed, that is how people outside the Church see people inside - there is a picture on Facebook to prove it, so it must be true.  however, i do agree with Freud - we were never meant to be sheep.  as St. Irenaeus once said, the glory of God is man fully alive.  however, even Christians, Catholics, and all who try to walk with God, suffer sin, and a paralyzed - as this Sunday's Gospel reminds us (Mc 2:1-12).  being holy does not mean being a sheep - simply following what St. Peter did, what St. Theresa did, what St. John Vianney did, etc.  we must look at why they were holy, then apply that to our lives, somehow!  God has called each and everyone of us to be holy.  in his many books, Freud disliked the sheep mentality coupled with religion, but he did see some good points in religion!  indeed, he always considered himself a Jew.  Freud had good points, so did bball1989.  however, if it wasn't for the Church, i would never have found God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

i was forced to go to Church through most of my childhood.  however, through the love of my parents, and encouragement of several friends, i found God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly present in adoration, in the Most Holy Eucharist - body, blood, soul and divinity.  happy together.  it was through prayer and adoration that i fell in love with, and continue to love Jesus Christ.  His love for me moves me to love my brothers and sisters, and to love Holy Mother Church.  can't have one without the other.

all this as an introduction to all things IEC2012.  the theme this year is The Eucharist:  communion with Christ, and with one another.  indeed, our Church is not individualistic - we are not sheep.  our love for God, moves us to love all our brothers and sisters.  united in prayer, union de prière.  peace.  here's the official reflection this week:
Pope Benedict XVI has given his formal approval to the theme proposed by Archbishop Martin for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress: The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another. The Congress theme has its roots in The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, (Lumen Gentium) of the Second Vatican Council, where we read: Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. "Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread". In this way all of us are made members of His Body, "but severally members one of another" (Lumen Gentium, 7).  more details please.
Le Pape Benoît XVI a donné son accord formel au thème proposé par l’Archevêque Martin pour le 50ème Congrès Eucharistique International : L’Eucharistie : Communion avec le Christ et entre nous, a ses racines dans la Constitution Dogmatique de l’Eglise, (Lumen gentium), du Concile Vatican II.  Prenant réellement part au Corps du Seigneur dans la rupture du pain Eucharistique, nous sommes engagés dans la communion avec Lui, et les uns avec les autres. « Parce que le pain est un, et bien que plusieurs, nous sommes un seul corps, nous tous qui prenons part au seul pain ». De la sorte, nous sommes tous faits membre de Son Corps, "mais respectivement membres les uns des autres" (Lumen gentium, 7). Pour plus d'information.
ps.  can i use the same title twice?  10-4, over and out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

back to life

back to [parish] life, back to reality!  (Soul II Soul - Back to Life, 1989)
after a week off down south, in, i am now back to real life!  i had a great time with family and friends.  i went to visit the good ol' seminary as well.  it's hard to believe that i haven't been back there in almost two years - time flys when you are preaching the Good News.  i have good memories of the brothers at the seminary, and it was good to reconnect with some of them.  i went running three times - once with Fr. Eric, once with Greg -, had many good things to eat, almost enough rest, prayer, celebrated the Eucharist, and just great times catching up with AG, KT, GSB, and many more!  thanks again to all for a much needed rest.

now, back to reality - real life, real tv, real priests!  anywho, as i was sipping on my coffee at the Eaton centre, fascinated by the water fountain in the middle, and trying to figure out why FourSquare wasn't working for me!  i stop counting people after two.  apparently, "every week more than a million people visit Eaton Centre," so it is safe to say that the population of that particular mall, at any hour, would be much more than the population of my town, beautiful Hawkesbury (about 11,000).  indeed, i was a bit overwhelmed by it all.  i grew to love Toronto when i was there, but now ... i prefer a slower pace to life.

however, the pace in parish life is anything but slow!  welcome back to reality!  we are preparing for a couple funerals, baptism prep meetings, preparing our children for first confession + communion, vocations work, new weekly IEC2012 reflections, getting our new website up and running, getting ready for Lent and weekly Stations of the Cross, and, and, and, ... i better write all this down.  have a great week and see you soon.  peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

les cloches du hameau

IEC2012 Bell
"les cloches du hameau
chantent dans la campagne
le son du chalumeau
égaye la montagne" (Celine Dion - Les Cloches du Hameau, 1998)
another post promoting all things IEC2012 in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.  this particular song is one of my favourite sung by the Dion family, on my favourite Christmas CD of all time!  today, it prepares the way for the International Eucharistic Congress bell, in Dublin, Ireland, 2012!  here is the latest weekly reflection:
Je me souviens de ma cinquième année à l'école primaire AL James, à Moisie, Qc!  Si je garde un excellent souvenir de cette année scolaire en particulier, ce n'est pas seulement parce que ma mère était la directrice mais c'était une école assez spéciale.  Nous n'étions que 60 élèves de la maternelle à la sixième année. Certains élèves étaient de langue anglaise, d'autres de langue française. J'oublie comment on était choisi, mais tout le monde voulait sonner la cloche!  Il y avait une seule cloche, à main, pour signaler l'heure du break, du lunch, et de la fin de la journee!  J'étais tellement fier quand c'était mon tour à sonner la cloche!
Vous vous souvenez du symbole qui a marqué le Congrès Eucharistique qui eut lieu à Québec, en 2008?  Vous avez raison, c'était l'Arche de la nouvelle Alliance. Vous voulez savoir quel est le symbole pour le prochain Congrès Eucharistique?  C'est une cloche,  bien sûr!  et cette cloche est une invitation à la foi, à la prière, à la réconciliation, et à la mission.

À ce sujet, à chaque fois qu'on a chanté les cloches du hameau durant la saison de la Nativité, je n'ai pu faire autre que de penser à la cloche qui annonce le temps de se préparer au prochain Congrès Eucharistique International qui se tiendra à Dublin, en Irlande, en juin 2012.  Mon premier Noël à Hawkesbury fut plutôt émouvant pour moi;  les cloches de l'église  St-Pierre-Apôtre ont sonné de façon mélodieuse à de nombreuses reprises!  et ces cloches de nos églises nous invitent encore et toujours à approfondir notre foi dans l'Eucharistie - don de Dieu, pour la vie du monde,  communion avec le Christ et communion entre nous. 
Ensemble, prions pour le succès du Congrès Eucharistique de Dublin! ... et maintenant, à qui puis-je demander de sonner cette cloche qui signale notre joie de faire partie de la grande communauté de croyants et de croyantes!
I remember my fifth grade at AL James elementary school, in Moisie, Qc.  I have many good memories of that year - not only because my mom was the principal, but because of the friendships that were formed.  The school has about 60 children, from kindergarten to grade six, some were in English, some were in French.  I forget how they had to choose, but everyone wanted to ring the bell.  There was one single hand bell on the front desk to mark the beginning of recess, of lunch, and of the end of the day.  I was particularly proud when my turn came up! 
Do you remember the symbol which marked the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, 2008?  Of course, it was the Ark of the New Covenant.  And what is the symbol which is preparing the next Congress?  A bell!  This bell is an invitation to faith, to prayer, to reconciliation, and to mission. 
Over Christmas, every time I heard Silver Bells, I was thinking of the call to prepare for the next International Eucharistic Congress, in Dublin, Ireland, June 2012.  My first Christmas in Hawkesbury was beautiful since the bells were ringing often to mark the Mystery of the Incarnation.  Each time the bells of our churches ring, they invite us to go deeper into the Mystery of the Eucharist, gift of God for the life of world, communion with Christ and with one another. 
Let us pray for the success of the next Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.  now, who can i ask to ring the Congress bell once in Dublin?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

empire state of mind

"grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
if i can make it here, i can make it anywhere, that's what they say
seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway
even if it ain’t all it seems, i got a pocketful of dreams
baby, i'm from New York
concrete jungle where dreams are made of
there's nothing you can't do
now you're in New York
these streets will make you feel brand new
big lights will inspire you
hear it for New York, New York, New York!" (Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind, 2009)

#superbowlsunday good times!  New York Giants!!!