Did that title grab your attention? I hope so!,.. :)
Who am I? My identity whether it be in the Church or in the world seems confusing, even to myself. I am a few ‘ex’s’,. Ex trainer, ex seminarian, you get my point,. So who am I and what is my mission? I don’t seem to fit in the Ecclesial world and I don’t seem to fit with my old world. A few weeks back was the memorial of St John of the Cross, a master in Spirituality, and today?,. Well it seems that prayer is difficult, working out isn’t working and I’m searching for a dopamine rush,.. somewhere. Is this a blog?,. or the diary entry of a fourteen year old girl?
My mission for 2018 is to find an identity. You see I’m told that I ‘look’ like the world, but am striving to follow Christ. This poses problems (along with loneliness) as I try to navigate these new ‘waters.’ Gone are the days where I would date the secular ‘good’ woman, and instead I find myself seeking a Catholic one. The timing is realizing that I’m a ‘work in progress’ striving to follow our Lord, and like any sinner, always falling short. It appears that I’m a twisted combination of Joe Rogan, Mark Walberg, Thomas Aquinas and well,.. Ultra Magnus. (Perhaps because he can’t ‘deal’ with now! A reference to the iconic 1986 Transformers Animated movie!)
Work 1. Cemetery
I work in a pastoral context, one of accompanying families at the cemetery. The burial can be a moment of trauma for many, as the reality of the moment truly sets in. My job, to listen, to be a voice of reason, even to calmness and to accompany those who wish final prayers before the burial. My appearance is often the 1st thing people notice, and while funny at first, it could become an impediment to people encountering God. My mission is simple, leave every family and every person I encounter with a true sense that God loves them!,.. Perhaps being built like a wrestler is a blockage, but perhaps it also acts as an ‘attention’ getter? Either way, God uses this to humble me, constantly. I can’t undo my body, because I’ve never taken steroids and thus my body is natural. Even if I didn’t train for a month, I would maintain my ‘size.’
Work 2. Jiu Jitsu Instructor
This year saw me get my brown belt under Bruno Fernandes. (Not exactly Joe Shmoe) Doing so was a call to reality for several reasons. The first is that I’m no longer in my prime. Years of sports/combat sports, training and Martial Arts have taken a toll on me. The reality is that a concussion, cracked rib, and two knee surgeries later, I’m not exactly the apex predator (Sorry Randy Orton) that I once sought to be. At 40yrs, I need to accept that the athletic blue belt who came over from another style is capable of ‘hangin’ with me, if not outright holding me off or still ‘tappin’ me. Nonetheless being a BJJ brown belt is an accomplishment, especially considering there was no real ‘Jits’ available when I was 20yrs old!,. (You hear that you young whippersnappers you!)
Let’s put this in a ‘Magic Bullet.’
Now that my work has been addressed, my character development and disposition must be. If there is one thing that the seminary can be accredited for, it is for revealing and holding up an mirror to one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Strengths,.. hmmm,.. I guess to some, I remain fearless. One older Sulpician priest called me a ‘warrior.’ I do fear things though,. Sin for one, my inability to own up to self criticism, and perhaps my ego. While these at one time served as a strength, they are HUGE weaknesses in the spiritual world. Being a twisted combination has helped me build authentic bridges with God’s people. While at the same time, it has alienated me from many in the Clergy. The quote, ‘Marco, they are just not ready for someone like you’ has constantly been thrown in my direction. ‘You’re too American’ is still another. I had mentioned moving forward, but I guess my time in the seminary heading to Priesthood was a true love affair, and what I’m experiencing is akin to a ‘divorce?’.. Not so sure anymore.
In the end, I remain loyal to Jesus and to my Faith. My personality intact, albeit bruised (perhaps in need of psychological healing.) I enjoy Theology, and yes,.. to those detractors, you are right,.. Pope John Paul II’s ‘Veritatis Splendor’ was his ‘halting’ of all the ‘Nouvelle theologie’ synonymous with the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ complete with its moral subjectivism. As a man who grew up in it, then discovered Thomas Aquinas, I will always affirm the timeless Truths of our Faith, popular or not. That doesn’t mean it will be done in a malicious/narcissistic manner, yet in a firm and paternal way by the Grace of God.
My apologies to those readers of this blog who come here hoping to find a frothing at the mouth ‘traditionalist,’ as you won’t. My opinions on what the Pope may or may not be thinking is simply too far down the list from my own sinful self. Before I remove the speck in my brother’s eye, I need to address the log in my own. As Dr Jordan Peterson says,.. I need to clean up my own house. With God’s help, I hope I can put aside my ego, and let Jesus take the wheel.
May God continue to bless and keep you!
Our Lady of Good Success,…………………….. ora pro nobis.