Sunday, March 23, 2014

Some Days,..

There are days,.. Yup one of those posts.  Sometimes I take strength in prayer and some days I feel as if Heaven is closed off to me.  All normal, all part of the journey.  I haven’t blogged in a while, because frankly I’m working on me, my weaknesses are of the emotive sort and everyday I die to myself, I hear the whisper of the enemy gently attempting to seduce me. 

The Seminary is a house of formation, a time to grow and deepen one’s relationship with Jesus.  Everyday, I am more and more certrain of this Call  that for years I ran from.  That doesn’t change the fact that I remain a man.  Seeing friends with kids makes me wonder what if I would make a good dad?  Would I be the early morning hockey coach dad?  Bringing kids to sports, dance,.. Being involved in school, teaching them Martial Arts?  Its also tough to see ‘Ex’s in relationships, ..Would I make a good husband?  Then I find myself in ministry, in the field so to speak, and whether I am speaking to someone in jail, a gang leader, drug dealer, biker, doctor, lawyer or anyone, I realize that I have begun to love them.  God is realizing my own paternity in a different way.

In all God has blessed me abundantly.  Lots more work to do on me, and 2014 will see me change even further.  The toughest thing has been ‘letting go’,..  

Our Lady of Perpetual Help,...................ora pro nobis.

Monday, March 3, 2014

My 'To do' List!!!!

As a seminarian, there seems to be lots of things that annoy me and certain things that I want to do to be annoying, (I mean C’mon, I am a celibate man!!! For the love of all things, let me have some fun!)

…Before ordination to Priesthood, in the next few years, God willing, I think I need to get some stuff out of my system!  Certain annoyances, wishes, pet peeves and what not;  Soooooooooo here goes!
.       Find all the people who leave shopping carts abandoned in Grocery store parking lots and take a key to their respective cars.
.       Invite all the people who don’t wash, to not take public Transportation.  Instead be forced to walk slowly through a full car wash…backwards
.       Enter and leave every room in the house blasting Europe’s  ‘The Final Countdown’ complete with smoke and fireworks,..    pro wrestling style.
.       Play really loud bagpipes, while walking through a public library…
.       Answer 17! (Really enthusiastically )to the people at a restaurant who ask ‘How many ketchups do you want?’
          Wear a DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince t-shirt in Harlem while quoting random ‘Arnold ‘ from Diff’rent Strokes,… ‘Whachoo talkin’bout Willis?’
.       Feed red Skittles to 18 year old douchebags in the gym, telling them it’s a flavored pro hormone that will not only increase their size and strength but also their libido,…Sit back and watch placebo take effect…
.       Introduce myself as George Costanza, representative of the human fund,.(to a newly arrived immigrant)
.       Eliminate all pigeons.  (Because they are kamikaze sky rats who will try to pick food off the street within an inch of the wheel of your car.)
.      Find a list of all Jehovah’s Witnesses in the neighbourhood, ring their doorbells and hand out free copies of MAD magazine…

God bless!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kung Fu Fightin',...

Before I begin a dissection of Martial Arts, perhaps some commentary upon the Euthanasia bill currently discussed in the Quebec National Assembly.   Sooooo,..  I guess that the whole ‘Charter of Values’ in Quebec was a smokescreen?   Duh!   So.. Within a few years, Grandma and the family dog, might both have the same rights…. Heaven help us and may God have mercy on our souls.
Stepping away from Theological issues and weighing in on a fun subject.  One that is dear to my heart, the Martial Arts and fighting.  Yup, I wasn’t always a passive seminarian who enjoys feeding the birds while writing poetry and sipping tea. :D  (Actually, I still don’t write poetry, and even as a seminarian still avidly train!)

A post reflecting a post that I wrote years ago with regards to the now old argument of ‘Traditional’ vs ‘MMA.’  Which is more effective?  First off, who will win?  As I mentioned, the better fighter period!  A person training traditional means that through his kata (Karate) or forms (Wushu), he will advance in belt rank or still sharpen his skills.  This does not mean that he will be the ‘lethal weapon’ he was promised to be in the local newspaper ad.  

We have all seen the Youtube video of the ‘Kiai Master’ getting brutalized by the MMA fighter.  This sad reality is all too common place as guys training primarily in the traditional styles, (Taekwondo, Karate and Kung Fu) all seem to be manhandled by anyone with an elementary knowledge of groundfighting.  What isn’t being said, is the cultural development of why these ‘traditional’ guys are getting destroyed.  In the case of WUSHU, the empty handed fighting forms commonly known as ‘Kung Fu,’ you are learning a demonstration style which primarily finds its applicability inside a pure fighting style known as ‘Sanshou’ or ‘Sanda.’  This combat is comprised of stricking and throws(takedowns).   A ‘famous’ Kung Fu fighter who has done quite well for himself would be Cung Le.  There is also a grabbing perspective, in Chin-Na, you have seizing and grabbing, a pure form of grappling and control, which can immobilize through joint locks and with a simple ‘jerk’ seriously inflict damage. 

 Now onto the forms.  The forms were practiced by the monks mimicking the movements of the animals.  They comprise usually a predetermined set of movements, punching and kicking the air.  Forms are fun, they are vigorously exhausting, require memory and make use of the basic skills.  The problem is that most of these schools that are strictly form based, do not sparr or fight in a competition.  This clearly can give someone a false sense of security.  Great workout, but no fight experience= bad training! 

Clearly, I will always defend Kung Fu.  Although as of the last three years and right now, my style is primarily Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Jiu Jitsu allows for full sparring at 100percent!! I also have some experience in Judo and wrestling, so clearly I’m more of a grappler.  Although I will always practise and consider myself a Kung Fu guy.  The reason that I stepped away from it was from a theological perspective as there were some philosophies that were incompatible with my Catholic Faith.  In recent times, I have returned to training from a pure kickboxing perspective and rehabilited the Kung Fu without the ‘buddha.’  Cross training has made me a more complete Martial artist.

Jesus calls all types of men to priesthood and again, our formation according to Pastores Dabo Vobis will always incorporate the human dimension.  I say this because often people will ask how a seminarian is allowed to train and play sports,.. They are usually shocked when I give them a little Quebec history lesson showing how most boxing and wrestling promotions started in Church basements.  ;)

Obviously, this post was more in tune with a sports/leisure/lifestyle dimension.  I will be returning with more theological reflections in the future.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,……………………………………ora pro nobis.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time to Grow Up and Kill off Optimusmastro

Upon much personal prayer, reflection and consultation with my Spiritual Director, it has become crystal clear that the character of Optimusmastro needs to cease so that Marco can truly be formed.  Yes once again this will  be one of those self critical examinations of myself that needs to be done. 

When I rediscovered my Faith, I was infused with Grace but sadly, I didn’t know what to do with it or how to present it.  The enemy however did!  I was an angry young man.   My Theology was pure head knowledge and my vision of God back then was almost as if He (God) was an accountant, tallying up my sins, and eager to send me to hell.  By the Grace of God, my heart is starting to develop.  When I travel back to my blog, to some vids, the way I used to present Jesus, I can hardly recognize that guy.  I was at best, arrogant and at worst?  Probably my own biggest fan.  Simply put, my marketability was not centered on Christ, but upon my own ego driven narcissism.  Truly amazing what two years of daily Holy Hour, daily Mass, weekly confession, daily Rosary and of course daily Breviery can do.  Alongside an incredible Spiritual Director, …God has revealed things about myself, my temperament that need to be purified. 

Optimusmastro was a cartoon, a simplistic ego driven amplification in a pro wrestling mindset.  Instead of wrestling,  I was beating people over the head with dogmas.  The truth is that this character has been eclipsed for quite some time and doesn’t need to come back.  What was the final straw?  Well, when a young teenager asks you with all seriousness, ‘What does Jesus Save us from?’  Needless to say, fighting back tears was hard.  Other issues from the past two years were working with CafĂ© Trottoir, (Feeding homeless, drug addicts, ) and realizing their proper humanity that they can love and be loved.  Meeting the ‘Solitude Myriam’ and Danielle Bourgeois, a woman viewed as ultra Traditionalist, because she founded a community of divorced Catholics who seek to continue to live out their vows.  All these are examples of mercy, an ongoing theme with Pope Francis.

I am a Catholic, a thomist thinker, that will not change.  I love reverence in the Liturgy, and that will not change.  However a few weeks back when the Pope referenced seminaries forming ‘little monsters,’ I recognized that a few years back, I was a potential ‘little monster.’  Make no mistake about it, there is a time and place for apologetics, but today's society doesn't know Christ, and if they have a vague idea of Jesus, He is spoken in the same light as the Easter bunny or Santa Claus.  The danger is extremes.  We cannot rely on a simplistic Marxist approach complete with a laboratory experiment liturgy and at the same time, we cannot present doctrine and morals to people who haven’t met the Risen Christ. (I had a conversation about the Hypostatic Union to an atheist.)  St Paul is a perfect example of this, when he presents the Risen Christ to the Athenian people.   The world today accepts all ideologies except Catholicism.  Jesus is not presented to people, and often times the Gospel or mere mention of Christ can provoke a negative/violent reaction.  In the face of all these issues, the urgent call to live the ‘Call to Holiness’ has to be applied to myself, before I can go out and present Jesus.  So from here on out, some Carmelite Spirituality is gonna be added to my diet.  To pray, fast and sanctify myself. 

Sanctify yourself, I was told, then you will be able to preach and sanctify others.  As for the blog?  It will always continue, and I guess this is another step in the ongoing conversion.  I will talk about Jesus, prayer, fitness, MMA and Jiu Jitsu.  (Not to mention Transformers!)

St Jude,........................................................ora pro nobis!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm Alive...

2013,.....The year of two Popes, the so-called Quebec values Charter, and GSP's retirement.  Where to begin?  First off, yes, I've been away, more like very busy and regular blogging has become a wish, more like a fantasy.   So that being said, guess I'll start with what I've been up to, and where I'm headed! It will be a short post, but a post to let you all know that I'm alive and well!

My second year as an internal seminarian(external my first year) and to tell you the truth, I couldn't be happier!  The priesthood and seminary life offers many challenges and Our Lord is holding up a mirror to see all my inadequacies, deficiencies and weaknesses.  This year has been ripe with emotional turmoil, friends getting married, always being 'on call' for everybody, and living my diocesan assignment as part of the PAVO.  (Pastorale des vocations)  Loneliness can at times set in, (even other desires, girls, and money) but trusting in God has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.  I hope to return to more consistent blogging in the future, and I promise that I will issue a post on this Quebec Charter,..(Every time I speak of it, I get the urge to go to the bathroom..)

In the meantime, I wish everyone a very happy and Holy Christmas season!  May the joy of Christ, born a new in our hearts and lives continue to be the source of Grace for a troubled world!  Continue praying, continue training!

God bless!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blogosphere debate,...

Time to weigh in on what is (in my opinion), a high end pissing contest between Catholics in/on the blogosphere.  Three questions that I, the man beast Optimusmastro will address are 1.  Does hell exist?  2.  Do people ‘go there?’  and 3.  Can we reasonably hope that hell is empty?  Before I answer, let me give the pretext that I, and most men with testosterone were force fed during the ‘Cabbage Patch Jesus era’ that we grew up with!  Remember going to a funeral where Fr ‘Nice’ complete with a colourful stole (no chasuble!  Too Roman!!! ) with pictures of butterflies and other crap on it, delivered his sugary coated ‘homily’ of our loved one who died, in Heaven cheerfully feeding squirrels and singing with Mary Poppins…   Then freely accepting money to offer Masses for him!  I mean, why Fr McFruitloop?  He’s in Heaven, he doesn’t need prayers.  It wasn’t a funeral Mass, it was a canonization!  (Even though he died suddenly in a car crash, while coming back from a drug deal..) A little harsh?  It needs to be.

The purpose of priesthood, the meat and potatoes is to shepherd souls, that God entrusts to them.  As seminarians, we are training to prepare for that reality.  Priests sherpherd by assisting the local Bishop to administer the Sacraments of Christ, Offer Holy Mass, preach the Word, and lead people to Jesus.  It is Jesus who Saves!  However, when the above scenario takes place, (it used to regularly throughout the 1970s and 80s..) We should stop and ask the priest point blank;  ‘What does Jesus save us from?’  Think about it,.. If universal Salvation is the norm, then why would we need the Mass?  Morals?  What kind of sicko psychologically unbalance freak would give up sex for nothing?  Who cares!  That generation turned the Christ of the Gospels, Our Ressurected Lord, into a bubblegum pink unicorn who wants to hug you.  (Unless you pollute,..don’t ever pollute or question pollution and global warming climate change.)….

My friends, the battle is real, Salvation is at stake.  Jesus calls men to be priests.  To offer Sacrifice, the one Sacrifice, Calvary made present in our time and space.   OF Mass, EF Mass, Maronite, Anglican Ordinariate, Eastern Divine Liturgy,…ALL have the Sacrifice!  Why?  Because Heaven and hell are at stake!

One player, (We will call him the Intellectual Thomist) while doing a video, states that we can have a reasonable hope that hell is empty.  This notion, often attributed to Hans Urs Von Balthasar, can be mis-interpreted to mean Universal Salvation.  The reality is, that no…(despite the fact that it could lead someone to believe that,especially in this day and age.  The anecdote regarding Fr McFruitloop’s canonization/funeral was/is a reality that far too many of us experience.  That being said, it is true that many Saints and Mystics have been shown visions of hell and yes, there are souls there.  The question of ‘hope’ though seems absent.  To ‘hope’ is an entirely different story. 

The second player, (Magic Hair Man) responds with videos criticising the content of the former (Intellectual Thomist) saying that ‘Hoping’ that hell is empty is unreasonable.  Again, in context, this goes back to the post Council insanity, and Fr McFruitloop’s canonization.  From a pastoral perspective, what would magic hair man say to a mother who lost her son?  Perhaps the son didn’t live a holy life?  We cannot pronounce the soul in hell, but we can recourse to God’s mercy.  This won’t change the reality of the soul in question, as at the moment of death, judgement is pronounced.  It will however give recourse and comfort to the loved ones. 

I believe that this issue if one of competing extremes, and I can easily sympathize with both points of view.   Does hell exist?  Yes, Jesus spoke of it.  Do people go there?  Yes, as a consequence of free will, God accepts the choice of those who do not follow His commandments.  Can we reasonably hope that hell is empty?  Hope?  Yes, we must hope!  Reasonably,…ughhh,.. sorry.  Although God is merciful, I highly doubt that it is empty.  (Not to pronounce judgement.)

My friends, we need to be united… EF, OF whatever, be Faithful to Christ and His Church, then let the chips fall where they may.   I am reminded of the prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help,..

Our Lady of Perpetual Help,…………………………….ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prayer, Pigeons and Injury,...

Sometimes I feel as if I’m in a vacuum.  My thoughts, erratic, my posture broken.  Alas, an injury, a hyperextension of my elbow from being trapped in an armbar.  My prayerlife a little shaken, can’t train, just let my body heal.  Ahh the ego, that bit of male pride stuck in me… Now?  Gotta heal and take it easy, can’t lift….Rooaaaarrrr!  You see, this is my break, a reading week.  My plan was to pray, study, train and repeat.  This injury forced a detour...

God uses this moments to calm me down.  The enemy if he can’t get to you, will keep you busy and away from prayer life.  God is a jealous God, and wants let me really spend time with Him in prayer.  Message received.  

A short post, some odds and ends… Discernement is going well, although the ‘What ifs?’ seem to pop up especially during times of injury or inactivity.  Mass, Breviery, Rosary, all good, yet sometimes I feel as if the sky is closed. Not being able to train though is frustrating,..  This squirrel out my window is annoying me greatly, so do pigeons....(sky rats)  Seeing old friends has been good... Therapeutic in a sense.  

I will return with something a little more substantial later,..

Chillin' with my old Seminarian brother Xavier,..another dude who needs action... 

St Jude.......................................................ora pro nobis!