Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Call for Holiness, A Call to Everyone

This weekend, I attended a discernment retreat for the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. It was held at the St. John Neumann Center located near Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Tallahassee, Florida. While my main purpose was to take an important step in my discernment process, the one thing I took away from the retreat was this: holiness. We are all called to holiness, rather or not we are single, married, in the priesthood, or in religious life.

What became clear to me is that my discernment must not take priority over the call to holiness. As Pope John Paul II said (quoted in the book The Meaning of Vocation: In the Words of John Paul II), "Christian holiness does not mean being sinless, but rather it means struggling to not give in and always getting up after every fall." Any vocation is connected with the call to holiness, rather the vocation be to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the married life, or as a single lay person. We are all called to holiness; we are all called to live a life that is pleasing to God.

The first event of the retreat was Evening Prayer and Mass. For those who do not know, Evening Prayer and Morning Prayer are based on the Liturgy of the Hours. All clergy are obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Evening and Morning Prayer include the reading of two selections of Psalms, singing a hymn, and a reading from another book of the Bible. Fr. William Ganci was the celebrant for the Mass and the title of his homily was "God calls weak, sinful men to proclaim the Gospel." The best example (and the one example used in Old Testament readings at Mass) was David. Samuel the prophet expected to anoint Jesse's oldest son as the new king of Israel. Instead, God chose David, the youngest of Jesse's sons. Later we see with David, that even though he was chosen by God to be king, he was still sinful (as we are all). And keep in mind that Jesus's first apostles were not the educated or upper elite of Israeli society, but fishermen and tax collectors. Only Paul was considered the upper elite, and he wasn't called until Jesus'd death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven.

Next in the retreat was a talk given by Msgr. Crawford, the Director of Seminarians. He talked about the present challenges seminarians and clergy face in today's age, and also addressed the importance of hearing the call. The next morning we had Morning Prayer & Mass, with Bishop Ricard as the celebrant. He also gave a talk with the title "Vocation as Total Commitment to Christ." This talk was followed up by Fr. Nicholas Schumm's talk about "The Process and Reply to a Vocation." He included his own discernment in his talk.

We then had a time for recreation, rest, and more prayer. Since I forgot to pack clothes appropriate for recreation, I watched the others played basketball, and got a chance to talk with a few of the seminarians. In the late afternoon, the next talk was presented by a seminarian about "God calling in Earliest Youth." We followed that up with Evening Prayer, and an event called Lord's Day. I don't know a lot about it (still don't for that matter), but from what I gleaned, it was based on an earlier Jewish custom where we broke bread, had some cheese, and a sip of wine. Two seminarians also talked about the importance of fraternity and friendship in Christ. Then we had dinner and chatted for the rest of the evening until it was time for bed.

This morning was the final day of the retreat. We began the day with Morning Prayer, breakfast, and another talk. This talk was given by Fr. Chris Winkeljohn and he emphasized three things: 1. The joy of being generous, 2. Perserverance and fidelity, and 3. The example of Mary. Regarding the first point, he emphasized the need to make known our discernment and not keep it bottled up. Second, he emphasized the importance of keeping up with the discernment and not putting it on the back burner. Finally, he spoke of Mary's willingness to say yes to being the Mother of Our Lord in a time and culture where pregnancy outside of wedlock could've gotten her in serious trouble with the rest of society. I took from this last example how important it is to continue our discernment no matter what trials and tribulations we may face on the way.

We concluded the retreat this morning with Mass celebrated by Msgr. Tugwell, the Director of Vocations. His homily focused on the need to not be afraid with respect to our discernment. Whether or not I end up in the priesthood, I have learned important lessons from this retreat that will serve me well later on in life. Pray for me as I continue my discernment, and pray for the seminarians as they continue their discernment, and pray for the three deacons I met who will be ordained to the priesthood later this year. But most importantly, pray that we all answer the call to holiness, which is a call for everyone.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Anger and other issues

One of the areas I struggle with in my life is anger. It is something I need to get a better control over, especially since I find myself getting angry over the smallest, most trivial things. To that end, I'm going to start limiting the amount of time I spend on the computer (I spend way too much time as it is), especially reading political related news. I don't know if I will quit going online totally, but I am definitely going to work on drastically reducing the time I spend on here.

If I am successful, I hope to not only get a better control of my temper, but it may also help with another problem I'm struggling with. Since my job is not a 9-5 type of job, Monday-Thursday, I'll have to find other things to keep me busy. I know a few things which I need to do that will help in that area.

With the Lord's help, I hope to start having a more calm persona once again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obama faith council debates religious icons

Obama Faith Council debates religious icons

During the Presidential Election of 2008, there was a great debate regarding Obama and McCain. Some claimed there wasn't any difference between McCain and Obama. Actually, there is a great difference. First, their respective stance on abortion. While McCain may not have been effective in ending or restricting abortion, Obama actually does all he can to push abortion on the U.S. I'm actually surprised he hasn't tried to make it mandatory ala China.

But this is a 2nd major difference. Does anybody believe John McCain would've considered this? I doubt it. But it shows the flaw of the federal funding of anything. By accepting federal funds, it opens the door to the government telling an organization what they can or cannot do. And for the most part, the government "requests" tend to be reasonable. But for every few reasonable conditions, there are some unreasonable conditions mixed in. We are now seeing the consequence of Bush's federal funding of religious charities. Sure, there were others who opposed the federal funding, but not for this reason I suspect.

Advice to churches and other religious institution: do not accept federal funding. It's better that one has to rely on the private donations of people and be able to fulfill its mission, than to receive federal funding and be restricted on what it can do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Prayers going out for the nation of Haiti as it recovers from a devastating earthquake.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

V for Victory!: The Crucifix versus the Swastika

V for Victory!: The Crucifix versus the Swastika

There has been great controversy regarding Pope Pius XII and his involvement in World War II. This, along with information about other Catholic martyrs during the war, should help put to rest the myth that the Church was allied with Hitler and the Nazis.

Unfortunately, while it should put that myth to rest, it won't. There are those that are determined to slander the name of Pope Pius XII and other wartime Catholics in order to advance their political (or religious) agenda.