Friday, October 26, 2012

Diocesan VS Religious

A gang war?  Not really, more along the lines of a ‘catholic’ (universal) aspect of our Church.  When a man is called to discern God’s call, the common approach is either to say marriage or priesthood.  Well, as they say, ‘different strokes for different folks.’  Jesus calls people to discern many walks and many spiritualities, all of them Catholic obviously!  (Unlikely that God will call anyone to Rastafarianism,..just sayin'...)

Diocesan priesthood is its own unique charism, and has at its heart, the local parish community.  The priest answers to the local ordinary, in his case, usually the Bishop of his diocese, and essentially celebrates the Sacraments, and does pastoral work by meeting people where they are.  Diocesan priests can work as hospital chaplains, educators, in jails or simply out of the local Parish doing everyday administrative work along with Spiritual Direction.  They are required to live celibate, chaste lives, and are encouraged to have a simplistic lifestyle as it pertains to possessions.  (Meaning, if I'm assigned a parish, I'm bringing my car and Playstation 3 with me,..)

Religious communities operate in a different manner.  Consisting of both priests and brothers, They usually contain within their spirituality, a certain charism of their founder.  Franciscans named after St Francis of Assisi would follow his simplistic way of life, working with the poor, the marginalized.  Dominicans on the other hand, following St Dominic, devote themselves to preaching.  While Jesuits, in following their founder, concentrate on teaching and act as educators and missionaries.  What they all have in common are the three vows, poverty, chastity and obedience.  (Meaning they have no personal possessions as everything belongs to the community, including their cars and yes,.(sigh) ...even their Playstation 3s...)  Their prayer life is centred usually on ‘Ora et Labora’ (prayer and work).  Usually they live in community (Monasteries) and rarely leave  (Unless to study obviously, as is the case here).  In essence, people come to them, unlike the diocesan priesthood whereby they go to the people.  Obviously, this lifestyle is not for everybody.  I know I couldn't do it.  

Okay, here is the Optimuscommentary from Optimusmastro!  The Religious call is a unique one, then again so is every call.  In the picture with me, is my little confrere Brother Patrick!  (His Community) He studies with me at the Seminary, as we are both seminarians.  It is my first real opportunity to become friends with a monk, and it has done nothing but deepen my own spirituality.  My little ‘bro’ wearing his habit, having to participate with our Diocesan Liturgy of the Hours, spirituality and being separated from his brothers. He is constantly cheerful, open and the funniest guy at the supper table!   Nonetheless, in an urban setting like Montreal, it takes BALLS to wear his habit!  A living testimony to the Gospel amidst a world that needs it.  God bless him! 

Merci pour ton temoignage Frere Patrick!

St Benoit,………………..priez pour nous!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Post Legs Day Adoration,..

A little levity and a ton of humility.  The levity is with regards to the sometimes aggressive tone of my blog posts, while the humility lies in the little winks that God gives us to remind us,..well...not to be stupid!  Case in point, I will always actively train, that is part and parcel of who I am,..still, I think its time that I learn how to better balance my workouts so they don't fall near specific liturgical settings whereby I'm required to kneel,....not so cool..  Case in point training legs the day before Adoration, thereby letting delayed onset muscle soreness completely set in,...Yup!  Not my greatest moment!  The Hypostatic Union is the formula put forth by the Church to articulate Jesus's human and Divine Natures.  He is 100% of both.  To truly appreciate this blog post, I can almost picture Jesus in His full humanity probably wearing the same look on His face when He saw Zaccheus up the tree,.....'Dude,. Really?  Reaaally?' (Then laughing Himself!)

So let us set the scene, early September and the entire seminary is here, before some guys leave for there pastoral assignments.  Our gym is in the basement, and our activities for the day are over.  It was a Wednesday night, and since it was 'leg day,' I made my way downstairs to 'hit the irons!'  Already there were two members of the 'Marie Jeunesse'( here ) doing their respective workouts.  I looked at them and gone was the Faith dimension, in its place was 'I'm gonna show these 'punys' how its done!'  So I decided to go completely 'Old School.'  Squats, (supersets), Hamstring Curls (supersets) Leg extensions (supersets),..Then Bulgarian Split Squats with dumbells, calf machine, abductors, adductors and finally walking lunges. (With dumbells).  Keep in mind, though our gym is modest it does its job, and there is a beautiful Crucifix reminding all of us of our mission,..Our Call to Holiness!  (Unfortunately, the way I was stacking the plates and screaming out the last rep, my case, it should have been more the call to stupidity..)  The Marie Jeunesse guys probably thought I was long overdue for either an exorcism or at the very least, a good session of human development/psychology.  They went to bed,..and I finished my workout,..(thinking I was Ronnie Coleman) headed upstairs to my room to pray Complines and go to bed.

The next day, my legs were starting to stiffen, but that's normal,.. That evening however, wasn't.  As DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) set in,.. and it came time for Adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament!  On our knees we all went, (in my case slowwwly, using a chair...)...'O Salutaris Hostia,...'  Yup,.. then into our chairs for an hour of Adoration.  While at prayer, Jesus reminded me that my ego is my worst enemy, the sin of 'pride.'  On my heart it was a gentle reminder but a reminder nonetheless.  The hour was up, and then it was time for Benediction,..(On our knees) Soooo,..Divine praises, then 'Tantum Ergo,..'  When it was over tears were running down my face.  (I have already experienced certain bliss and ecstasy at Mass...) but this time, the tears were PAAAIN!  Some of the directors thought I was in another ecstasy,..alas not the case,!

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, sometimes has a way of reminding His followers not to be prideful.  He couldn't have thought of a better way.  I mean who was I trying to impress?  The Marie Jeunesse seminarians seemed to care so little about how many 'plates' I could squat,.. Nonetheless, pride, the ultimate tool of the enemy is sometimes the sin with which we struggle the most!  The moral of this post is about pride, the secondary issue is don't train legs when you have Adoration the next night!  Thank you Jesus!  For by your Death and Ressurection, You have set us free, You are the Saviour of the world!

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Notre Dame/Our Lady,.

We have all heard this hymn 'Ave Maria', a beautiful one indeed, addressed to Our Blessed Mother, the first Christian, the first disciple who points the way to Christ.  Through Her intercession Jesus performed His first miracle, and stood beside Him at the foot of the Cross.  In fact She should be our source of unity among the separated brethren, yet to protestants,.(especially the 'fun' ones,..y'know the rabid anti-Catholic, 'I don't believe in dinosaurs crowd,..) She becomes tantamount to idol worship, and the above mentioned beautiful hymn, sounds like a wiccan incantation towards Gaia.

Now,.Do we post about how we as Catholics do not worship Mary for the 165 357 999th time?  I would love to think that within the ecumenical arena, that we would be able to move past this issue. Guess that's not the case.  First off, to my sincerely misguided Bible believing protestant brethren,..WE DO NOT WORSHIP MARY!!!!!!!  (165 358 000 time)  We honour Mary as Our Mother,.the same way we honour our own mothers,..its that simple.  Notice how I didn't have to go into Latria (Worship) as opposed to dulia?  (Honour)  I can however use the Bible to show the Marian doctrines,..albeit implicitly,..then again there are also other implicit doctrines, of them being the Trinity!...We can begin with Genesis 3:15, (protoevangelium) continue on to Is 7:14, next up we go to Luke 1: 28,..(the Greek here says, Kecharitomene or 'Full of Grace'.... O Protestant, explain how Mary is 'full of Grace' (Her title by the way,..angels are messengers from God..) if the Cross hasn't happened yet?  Btw, its NOT 'highly favoured.'  But nice try though!)  Shall I continue?,..Luke 1:48 (All generations will call me Blessed,..) ..We also have Her only command in John 2: 5,..  More??  Sure!  We have John 19: 26-27,.Woman, behold your son,..(The 'Woman' is used throughout John as a title for the Blessed Mother, the new Eve..It is not used in a derogatory sense, because Jesus, being a good Jewish boy wouldn't disobey the fourth commandment.) Aaaaaaaaand here is a good one, Revelation (Apocalypse) 12, the entire thing,..see if you can now draw the parallel from Genesis 3:15! ,..

Aside from that we also have the Testimony of the Church Fathers, and well, they were the original Bible commentators,.cause well,..some of them wrote and helped canonize the New Testament!  So 'Theotokos', we have St Cyril of Alexandria, St Ireneaus and St John of Damascus to name a few.  For the 'Immaculate Conception' we have St Ephreim, and we have St Augustine!!!  On a side note, we also have your founders,.Luther and Calvin!  Both had great devotion to the Blessed Mother!  As far as intercessary prayers go?  The Old Testament Psalms 103 and 148 come to mind whereby the angels are invoked.  We invoke the saints to pray with us,..not to communicate and bend them to our will, that is forbidden.  In the New Testament, through Christ, we read that we are all members of the Church and death does not separate us.  This was also recognized by the Early Church Fathers, particularly Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian of Carthage.

To conclude this little apologetic on Mary and the Saints,. I would encourage all those seeking Truth with a sincere heart to open yourselves up to the teachings of the early Church Fathers.  If a verse comes down to interpretation, definetly consult those, who in many cases knew the Apostles personally,..or you can continue to quote the Rev. Cletus Archibald Lovejoy III from the 1st reformed pentecostal baptist church in the Ozark mountains, with his 19 PHDs (from non accredited schools.)

Our Lady of Fatima,.....................ora pro nobis!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Book First!

As Catholics, we have a treasure and that treasure is God's written Word, the canonized 72 Books of the Holy Scriptures,..The Bible!  Why is it then, that we (Catholics) don't truly appreciate and unlock its treasures by meditating upon Sacred Scripture daily?  Well that is a post for another day,..Right now?  We need an Optimusmastro venting session as only Optimusmastro can do!  (Aaaaaand when I vent,..I can easily make Micheal Voris look like a cuddly baby harp seal...)  One thing about Vatican II, (You hear that whack a doodle sedevacante nutjobs who also believe in aliens, sasquatch and Elvis??!?!?!?) is that it opened us, the Catholic faithful, up to the treasures of the Bible,.so much, that practically the entire canon of the New Testament can be read in 3 yrs,..(provided you attend Mass every Sunday...)

The protestant 'reformation'(okay, deformation,.) of the 16th Century had Martin Luther essentially divorce the Scriptures from its proper place,.the Liturgy.  The Result?  Private interpretation resulting in a constant division and subdivision within Christianity, all claiming that their version of it is true.  Where to begin?  On the issue of the Old Testament, it is important to once again contextualize our thesis.  There was no set defined Old Testament canon until about AD 90 at the Jewish Council of Jamnia.  Before then, the 'educated' language of Palestine was Greek, and they, (Jesus and His contemporaries) used a version of the Scriptures known as the Septuagint.  So the protestant version of the Bible which uses the Hebrew Scriptures, is,..well,.. missing a couple (7) books!

Why the sarcasm?  Why the attitude?,..Well,.because if I answer one more email from our beloved separated brethren on this issue,..I might develop carpel tunnel syndrome, in my brain!  God bless you,..I really mean it.  You guys (Evangelicals and Open minded FundaMENTALists..) are incredibly on fire for Jesus and I truly respect that, but to accuse the Catholic Church of being 'anti' Biblical, or still hiding the Bible, or corrupting it, adding to it, heck,.even painting it green,...the entire point is that it(the Bible, all 72 books,. not your man-made edit job of 66) is our Book!!!!!  It belongs to our Liturgy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Arghhhhhhhhh!,.........Feels good to vent once in a while,...

St Thomas Aquinas,........................ora pro nobis.