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young adult retreat @ St Vincent DePaul Seminary

January 30, 2010 1 comment

First time ever, the seminarians at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL led a retreat open for young adult of the Palm Beach Diocese.  I heard about it through my friends on FaceBook.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat … simple schedule … 3 seminarian testimonies … deep small group discussion … Benediction & Adoration … and lots of social time.

Even though I couldn’t stay for the whole retreat, I’m grateful to have been invited and grateful to see by brother seminarians at their finest at “home.”

Hopefully, with their great turnout, they can do more events to not only reach out to the community, but keep vocations on everyone’s minds and prayers!

See the Florida Catholic article that promoted the events.

Here’s some pictures I took of their beautiful chapel on campus:

CCD 7th: Hats + 3 Birthdays + Vocations (day 5)

October 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we discussed our unique identities, our stages in life, vocations, marriage and closed with the story of St Agatha.  Lots of interaction and discussion, full of the Lord’s blessings!

3 BIRTHDAYS … each begins a new life

  • Physical B-day … start earthly life
  • Baptism B-day … start Christian spiritual life
  • Death B-day … start our heavenly life

Who Am I? (back page of journal)

  • –Birth name, Nick names, “Hats” (our roles)
  • Spiritual names? What does God call you?
    • (we’ll find out as we try different prayers)

VOCATION = “a call” by God to holiness

  • Primary” Vocation
    • –“to be a beloved child to our heavenly Father”
  • State of Life” Vocationwhich one?
    • Single, Consecrated Single
    • Married (husband/father, wife/mother)
    • Religious sister or brother
    • Priesthood (clergy, deacon)
  • Service” Vocation … career, ministry, etc.

Sacrament of Marriage … purpose is …

  • Pro-create (open to children),
  • Educate (evangelize your Catholic children)
  • Holy Mate (get your spouse to heaven!)

St Agatha (3rd century virgin martyr) a beautiful young girl who consecrated herself to Jesus and resisted the advances of a nobleman. He imprisoned & tortured her (even cut off her breasts), but she stayed faithful to God.  Died in prison. Feast on Feb 5. Patron of breast, nurses, (bell-makers & bakers – due to statue plater).

CCD hs: Faith + Vocations + St Teresa of Avila (day 4)

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Opening prayer song reflection, (live crowd) “Amazing Grace” by Paul Oakley

[Book QUIZ] on Chapter 1 (Faith)

St Teresa of Avila – (16th century mystic Carmelite religious sister, feast Oct 15) as a teen she lost interest in her faith, instead falling in love with boys & chivalry, mother died as a teen, placed in monastery, love of God rekindled, suffered repeated serious illnesses, struggled with prayer, experienced mystical visions of Christ, raptures (joyful unions with God), taught on prayer, “doctor of the Church” (influential writings).

VOCATION = “a call” by God to holiness

Primary” Vocation … “to be a beloved child to our heavenly Father”

State of Life” Vocation

  • Single, Consecrated Single
  • Married (husband/father, wife/mother)
  • Religious sister or brother
  • Priesthood (clergy)

Service” Vocation … career, ministry, etc.

Christopher West & “Theology of the Body” (day 2)

090626-0945_IPF-Christopher-West-Theology-of-the-BodyToday was day #2 (see day #1 here) of the highly anticipated lecture by Christopher West, titled “Priestly Celibacy and the Redemption of Sexuality.”  It was a presentation of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” directed for us seminarians in our journey toward priesthood.  It was very rich in theological language, yet applied to our immediate lives, especially in the area of our personal sexuality.  It was very well received.

He used a lot of song references from the 80’s to highlight points.  I wrote some points for my reflection as I was trying to keep up:

  • Theology cannot only be “in the head” … it must be “in the will” as well
  • mysticism or neurosis
  • Carl Rainer, “Christianity will be mystical or nothing at all.”
  • Ephesians 5 is the summa.
  • Marriage is liturgy and liturgy is marriage.
  • A married man can become a priest, but not vice versa.
  • First choose between marriage or a consecrated celibate … then discern priesthood.
  • Sang Steve Winwood’s song “Bring Me a Higher Love

See day #1 of lecture, with links on Theology of the Body & video of Christopher West.

Christopher West & Theology of the Body (day 1)

090625-0820_IPF-Christopher-West-Theology-of-the-BodyToday was the highly anticipated lecture by Christopher West, titled “Priestly Celibacy and the Redemption of Sexuality.”  It was a presentation of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” directed for us seminarians in our journey toward priesthood.  It was very rich in theological language, yet applied to our immediate lives, especially in the area of our personal sexuality.  It was very well received … and this was only day #1.

He used a lot of song references from the 80’s to highlight points.  I wrote some points for my reflection as I was trying to keep up:

  • 80’s song “Blinded by Science” –> science has blinded us;  our bodies are theological, not only biological
  • U2 song “Desire
  • Peter Gabriel’s song “In Your Eyes” lyrics demonstrate a “twisted mystic” that hints at “Song of Songs”
  • In seminary, we learn to “inseminate” the “bride” (Church)
  • Bruce Springstein’s song “Everybody has a Hungry Heart
  • Bookends of the Bible begins with Adam & Eve and ends with the NEW Adam (Jesus) & the NEW Eve (Church).  This is a great analogy of how “God wants to marry us”
  • Are we eating from “fast food” or a “starvation diet”
  • “Idolatry of body” verses “Iconography (window to heaven) of body”
  • Devil is the “enemy” of human nature (body & soul union).  He wants to separate.  Horror movies show this with ghosts or corpses.
  • On the Cross, the giving “flow of blood & water” is the giving of “His seminal flow” (from St Augustine)
  • Eve “takes” the apple (gift) denying the trust of “receiving” the gift
  • Lust “extorts the gift”
  • Even my will is “grace.”  “All is grace.”

Weblinks to Theology of the Body resources:

simplicity of life: quid animo satis?

January 29, 2009 1 comment

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE — today’s talk was for “returning guys” on the “Simplicity of Life” in more detail than earlier introduced.  This is the basic outline of the talk.

090129_sjvcs-simplify-lifeI.  The Evangelical Counsels
      A.  Chastity
      B.  Obedience
      C.  Simplicity of Life
      D.  Qualities Beyond Basics (to grow deeper)
      E.  Posture that creates openness

II.  Poverty / Simplicity
      A.  Pinching limitation …
      B.  In regards to Present possesions — a lack
      C.  In regards to Future possessions — insecurity
      D.  First of the Beatitudes  (reminds us God will provide what we need … trust)
      E.  In Religious Life —> freeing
      F.  Look at Complications in our lives
      G.  Look at Identity

III.  Poverty Flows out of Hope
      A.  Faith —> Certainty in Present
      B.  Hope —> Expanding Certainty of Faith regarding Future
      C.  Obstacles to Hope:  Possessions of the Particular
                1.  The Attribution of Certainty to Particular Things we already possess.
                2.  Hope has to do with non-possession, and the Virtue connected to that is Poverty

IV.  Deepening Levels of Understanding
      A.  Eternal Level
      B.  Next Level:  Freedom
      C.  Deeper Yet:  Gladness (= Joy)
      D.  Deeper Still:  Lacking Nothing

V.  Detachment / Indifference
      A.  People live without thinking about this
      B.  Example of Painting
      C.  Comparison applied to Everyone
      D.  Poverty belongs to dynamic of Knowledge:  it is Intelligent and full of affection

VI.  Lectio:  Matthew 6:25-34 …

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.  — Matthew 6:25-34

puzzling life + guardian angels

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — Life is like a puzzle.  When we’re young, it has big pieces and the picture is easy to put together.  As we get older, however, the pieces get smaller, more numerous and the picture gets more complicated.  We can only get so far on our own.  We start struggling through confusing pieces, forcing pieces, missing pieces and trying to do too many puzzle at the same time.  Eventually [hopefully], we acknowledge our need for help to see the bigger picture of our individual lives that God has planned for us.

Discovering God’s Will for our lives is what each of us should strive for daily.  That’s better said than done however.  When we have an “extra challenging” calling to a possible vocation, therefore, the busyness of our lives demands a extra-ordinary move to “remove yourself” to more intense “discernment” process like the seminary here.  Am I called the the priesthood?  the religious life?  permanent diaconate?  married life?  single life?   Even in the seminary, however, there come distractions that keep you from exploring the question honestly with yourself.  I guess that’s why we have Spiritual Directors to help clarify your personal puzzle while the Seminary Formation Team help your puzzle grow into its fullest potential, assuming everyone involved is looking at the right picture.  Discernment and formation may sound simple and easy, but I don’t think either word should be used if the puzzle is truly taken seriously … serious enough to stop calling it a puzzle … and embrace it as “MY LIFE” that God drew just for me … with images I don’t want to see … that the Lord reveals as I become open to accept … and ultimately live for His glory … knowing it brings joy … while short-sightedly focusing on the fuzzy gaps that fear clouds in doubt.  [this last line took an hour to write]

Today’s feast day for “Guardian Angels” reminds me of yet another voice I have access to but don’t give an ear to often enough.  Here is the Guardian Angel Prayer:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day, be at my side,
To light and guard, Rule and guide.
Amen. 

“From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God.”  — from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336.

DOTS — Rector’s Conference on “Obedience” — VP debate in HD