Tuesday, January 31, 2012

though we are many


"though we are many, we are one body,
we who come to share this living bread;
cup of salvation, shared among all nations,
nourishing us now and evermore." (Bernard Sexton - Though We Are Many, 2010)
for the past few months i have been helping out in all things IEC2012 for the Archdiocese of Ottawa.  our pilgrimage is now shaping up, and since we have our minimum, guess who is going to Dublin, Ireland, in June 2012?  His Grace, of course, accompanied by the whole group, including little ol' me!  good times.  i'm starting to get a bit excited about the whole thing!  i loved the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, and i look forward in being at the next 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012), Dublin, Ireland, June 8 - 18, 2012.  this year's theme:  "Eucharist:  Communion with Christ, communion with one another."

promoting the Congress has begun almost a year ago, and i will help by providing weekly reflections used in both the Friday Fax + Communiqué du jeudi, at the diocesan level.  feel free to share your experience of Quebec, or any other Eucharistic Congress, as i am also working on providing something for the next quarterly Catholic Ottawa newsletter.  here's the first preview to be seen in your local Friday Fax and, or, Communiqué du jeudi:
"You came among us, doing good and bringing healing, ... " For the past few months we have been preparing for the next Eucharistic Congress. I have been praying the IEC2012 prayer daily, and this particular verse always strikes me! We see Our Lord at work in this weekend's Gospel (Mc 1:29-39). Our Lord continues his ministry today through the Sacrament of the Eucharist, bringing healing to all! I continue to invite you to pray this beautiful prayer as our pilgrims prepare for Dublin in June 2012. peace, Fr. Jonathan. 
"Tu es venu parmi nous, pour faire le bien et apporter la guérison, ..." Depuis septembre dernier, nous nous préparons pour le prochain Congrès. Dès le début j'ai commencer a prier cette belle prière, et cette ligne ma toujours frappé! Nous avons fait l’expérience du travail du Seigneur, dans l'évangile de cette fin de semaine (Mc 1:29-39). Il continue son ministère aujourd'hui à travers le Sacrement de l'Eucharistie, en apportant la guérison pour tous. Je continue de vous invité de prier cette belle prière pour nos pèlerins qui se préparent pour Dublin en juin 2012. union de prière, abbé Jonathan.
IEC2012 Prayer:  Lord Jesus, You were sent by the Father to gather together those who are scattered. You came among us, doing good and bringing healing, announcing the Word of salvation and giving the Bread which lasts forever.

Be our companion on life’s pilgrim way. May your Holy Spirit inflame our hearts, enliven our hope and open our minds, so that together with our sisters and brothers in faith we may recognise you in the Scriptures and in the breaking of bread.  May your Holy Spirit transform us into one body and lead us to walk humbly on the earth, in justice and love, as witnesses of your resurrection.

In communion with Mary, whom you gave to us as our Mother at the foot of the cross, through you may all praise, honour and blessing be to the Father in the Holy Spirit and in the Church, Now and forever. Amen

CEI2012 Prière:  Seigneur Jésus, Tu as été envoyé par le Père pour rassembler ceux qui sont dispersés. Tu es venu parmi nous, pour faire le bien et apporter la guérison, pour annoncer la parole du salut et pour nous donner le Pain qui dure toujours.

Sois notre compagnon sur notre chemin de pèlerins dans la vie. Que ton Esprit Saint enflamme nos cœurs, anime notre espérance et ouvre nos esprits, afin qu'avec nos sœurs et frères dans la foi, nous puissions te reconnaître dans les Ecritures et dans le partage du pain. Que ton Esprit Saint fasse de nous un seul corps et que par lui nous marchions humblement sur la terre, dans la justice et dans l’amour, en vrais témoins de ta résurrection.

En communion avec Marie, que tu nous a donnée comme Mère au pied de la Croix, par Toi, que toute louange, honneur et bénédiction soient rendus au Père dans le Saint-Esprit et dans l'Eglise, maintenant et toujours. Amen.

ps.  you absolutely must check out the IEC2012 website!  it is truly fantastic, groovy and all that jazz.  peace.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

my feelings for you


"my feelings for You have always been real
i was so in love with You i could hardly see." (Avicii & Sebastien Drums - My Feelings for You, 2010)
enjoying my day off today (rest, squash - i lost, oh the humanity -, an easy run in the afternoon, and how about a movie!) and so, i picked one out of the blue, an old-time classic, Megamind (2010)!  indeed, genius!  thumbs up, from jsb!  good times!

this movie depicts the classic conversion story, and it has prompted me to write a bit about my own, thanks to Share Your Testimony, hat tip to the peeps over at CCO!  it always good to hear/read about other's conversion stories, and to remind yourself about your own!

the movie has got you hooked from the very start!  at one point, Megamind starts having a heated existential discussion with a himself, asking the same questions that i once asked, "is this it?"  after successfully taking over the world, he cries out to his friend ?, "we have it all.  yet, we have nothing. things are just too easy now."  but his friend tries to encourage him, "[yeah], we did it!"  Megamind looks at him, "then, why do i feel so unhappy?"

"what is my purpose?", was another question he pondered, as i did at the end of 2002, beginning of 2003.  i felt stuck, and paralyzed.  the world told me to be this type of person - have a career, money, a girlfriend, - i had everything they wanted me to have, but, why did i feel so unhappy?  there was a void in my heart, and there was only one person that could fill it.  Megamind found his joy in Roxanne, i found mine with God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  but actually, He found me first.

in 2003 i left everything to follow Our Lord.  actually, i struggle daily to leave everything, but that's for another day.  in 2003 i fell in love, and could hardly see.  our conversion moment is our Transfiguration moment, when we see God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, for who He really is.  and like Peter, we utter, "it is good for us to be here.  let us build three tents."  the disciples didn't understand, or know what they were saying.  neither did i then, but it was the best two years of my life - i was on top of the world!  i left everything - money, job, career, girlfriend, future - gladly, joyfully, and entered the seminary.  you see, i was in love.  after a couple years, however, the honeymoon, was coming to end.  God, who first found me, now was asking me to work a little, and to find Him in all things.  i enjoyed my seminary years.  it may have been difficult at times, but like pregnancy - to use an analogy -, when your child arrives, you forget everything else.  after ordination to the priesthood, i simply forgot all the sufferings and difficulties before hand - again, i was in love!  i was now following God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, through His priesthood.  it was another Transfiguration moment for me - i could hardly see, and didn't have the words to express myself.  life is beautiful with God, and now, i try to make Him known and loved by all, each and every day - one person at a time!

peace.

ps.  i know i am missing a few details in the last 10 years or so.  maybe i should write out the full conversion story one day?!  maybe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

devil inside


"the devil inside
the devil inside
every single one of us the devil inside" (INXS - Devil Inside, 1988)
today was that kind of day - i struggled to maintain peace, including my own.  two steps back, one forward.  preaching the Good News will be difficult at times, indeed, proclaiming the truth is hard for those who hear it and proclaim it.  the daily Gospel:
"the scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul,' and 'By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'  Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, 'How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a family is divided against itself, that family will not be able to stand.'" (Gospel of St. Mark 3:22-30)
Alexander Ovechkin was suspended for three days for his hit on another player, Tim Thomas has difficulty standing with his teammates, the Canadiens a few weeks ago got rid of one of their teammates, fighting among other teams is not my cup of tea, and how often do we see fighting within the same team - in Montreal, Toronto, etc.?  we've seen it in hockey, football, bball, soccer, etc.  what's worst is when we see it in the Church, in our diocese, in our own parish - as was the case for  me today.  i celebrated daily mass, a funeral mass, running around doing administrative tasks, and trying to get ready for another two funerals.  and if a family is divided against itself, that family will not be able to stand.

all this is happening, of course, during the week of prayer for Christian Unity.  how do we pray for unity when we are losing it within our own circles, within our own hearts?  as Christians, we all bear the responsibility of praying for unity with our brothers and sisters.  however, as our Holy Father said this week, "unity requires the personal conversion of each Christian."  therefore, unity starts with me.  we must learn to walk with the two Sacraments - Confession + Eucharist.  the first reminds me of Christ's mercy for me, the other, His love.

peace.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

virtual insanity

"futures made of virtual insanity
now always seem, to be governed by this love we have
for useless, twisting, our new technology
oh now there is no sound for we all live underground" (Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity, 1996)

there's nothing wrong with technology, right?  however, the groovy Jamiroquai hit from the '90s is proving to be prophetic.  i loved this video growing up, and still love this song.  however, there is nothing useless about my new smartphone!  WOW!  indeed, how have i managed to get to this point of my life without it?!  i love it.

on the other hand, i do feel sometimes like the main character of Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man - more particularly, the character from the groovy movie!  (hmmm, there's that word again!)  the movie, apparently, was not all that faithful to the book!  the main dude, starting from nothing, became the experiment of a loving neighbour.  could his neighbour help him get smarter using virtual insanity?  the main dude loved it so much that he couldn't get enough - sort of like Neo as he was becoming the One.  anywho, the main dude from The Lawnmower Man, loved it so much that ... he became part of it, deciding to insert himself, to become part of the virtual insanity - from inside -, ... in order to rule the world.

i don't think i will become my smartphone, or the technology that is now helping me become a better man,  a better Christian, a better priest.  wow, that is some high praises for smartphones, but ... i'm in love!  although Jay Kay's words do ring true.  we do have to be careful of the technology we use, or rather, how we use it.  there might not be anything wrong with da Internet, smarphones, tablets, etc., but we do have to be prudent on how we make use of it.  it is the Martha + Mary parable with a dash of technology thrown in.  if i fail to choose the better part because i'm always playing Angry Birds, then something's gotta give.

this past week, Thursday, i accompanied His Grace to Montreal for a special 400th Anniversary celebration of the Jesuits in Canada, at Loyala High School (His Grace was a student 60years ago, and later a teacher there too).  i helped as MC, and i think everything went groovy.  we left Wednesday night, mass in the morning, spent time with the Jesuit community - His Grace catching up, me making new friends - visited a few religious stores in the afternoon, and back for a 5-7, a reception at the high school.  i got back to Hawkesbury around 9pm Thursday night.  it was a full 24 hours!  everything went well, and thanks to Mr. Smartphone, i even got in a few emails, twitter posts, and texts - yes, even that - i now can text!  insane.  back to Martha + Mary, when did i have time to pray, to choose the better part in a day full of activities?!  no problem, i have a phone of the future!  with His Grace using his smartphone , and me with mine, we load up our iBreviary's and pray Morning Prayer after a breaky, and Evening Prayer on the car ride home.  ah, technology, gotta love it (most of the time)! but with great power, comes great responsibility!

i am enjoying this new technology!  anyone who has helpful hints on how to use it better, which apps to download, etc., please send me some information + details.  now, if i could just figure out how to make a phone call!  peace.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

numb

"don't try and make sense" (U2 - Numb, 1993)
this whole song doesn't make any sense, but this week, in the Catholic Church, many were tempted to feel just this - numb.  the scandal that has been Bp. Lahey has created many questions and doubts in people's minds and hearts.  at the same time, an auxiliary Bp. in LA recently sent in his letter of resignation due to the hidden family he had.  we pray for our brothers who have fallen, we pray harder for the victims.  though we may have many questions, holiness demands that we find our answer with God in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  as Our Father tells us, "listen to Him".

when all this was going on, i happened to be logged on to Twitter, watching - of all things - hashtag #HowGreatIsOurGod roll by!  beautiful!  while some are tempted into discouragement, depression, others continue to seek holiness.  not an easy road - as the Three Kings would tell us.  the journey, the pilgrimage home is difficult, sometimes impossible.  but God is with us, as we remember each and every Christmas.

also this week, a midst numbness for some, darkness to others, there is light in our Holy Father announcing 22 new Cardinals for the Universal Church - from the Archdiocese of Toronto, Most Rev. Thomas Collins, who i got to know somewhat being at the seminary when he arrived.  also, from the Archdiocese of New York, Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, who i've never met but enjoy his witness to the faith through XM Sirius Radio, and through one of the books i read a long time ago, Priests for the New Millennium.  congratulations to both, and to all.

where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.  let us pray for one another!  i'm glad to be walking with you all, my brothers and sisters - indeed, we are not meant to walk alone.  peace.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

woman

"Woman, i know you understand the little child inside a man
please remember, my life is in your hands, and Woman
hold me close to your heart, however distant don't keep us apart
after all it is written in the stars." (John Lennon - Woman, 1981)
i've mentioned this a few times before, that behind every good man there is a woman.  today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God!  it is always good to honour Our Lady, especially today, a holy day of obligation.
"Woman, please let me explain
i never meant to cause you sorrow or pain
so let me tell you again and again and again
i love you, ..., now and forever"
as the beautiful Memorare prayer teaches us, no matter how many times i may have fallen, i sought your protection and intercession during my conversion - at this very time in 2002.  what a journey you have helped me climb.  help me always keep you close.  if behind every good man there is a woman, then behind every good priest there is Mary, there is the Church.
"Woman, i can hardly express
my mixed emotions and my thoughtlessness
after all, i'm forever in your debt
and Woman, i will try to express my inner feelings and thankfulness
for showing me the meaning of success holiness"
the title The Mother of God has its focus on God in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  i am forever indebted to you, Mary for presenting me to your Son.  it was in 2002/2003 that through you, at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, that i was introduced to God in Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist - body, blood, soul and divinity - during adoration of the most blessed Sacrament.  it is you who continues to be by my side helping me serve Him through His priesthood.

today we also celebrate the World Day of Peace.  both feasts point to the same reality:  Jesus Christ.  He is our peace, for all.  thanks Mary for helping me know Your Son better, to love Him more.  help me in 2012 to follow Him more closely, and to share the Good News with every one, to make Him known and loved by all.

happy holy New Year!  peace.