Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood,....

A few years back, if somebody had randomly walked up to me and said ‘Marco (Optimus),..’X’ number of years from now, you will be inside the seminary discerning priesthood and your summer will be spent co-ordinating a children’s day camp, ‘  - I would most likely have laughed myself so nutty, that I would have probably busted my spleen…

Yup, myself and my brother seminarian have been sent to a local Parish in the Montreal Italian community and have been given the responsibility of co-ordinating a day camp!  Well to be fair, it is actually training us to be better Pastors, by providing not only a secure and safe active environment but assuring that we are able to speak to kids, something that I am deathly afraid of,…as they are probably afraid of me!  Being a seminarian offers so many cool chances to present the Risen Christ to any and all, but we often forget that children can be molded a little more easily than adults.  As Optimusmastro, yes, I do have a charism (I’ve been told) for young men.  But kids???  Yeeeesh!  So Optimusmastro turned into Mr Rogers and began sugaring up the four year olds!  (By ‘sugar’ I mean speak about love bunnies and squirrels and whatever else,…)

Sooo, here goes, I broke my Catechical blockage and spoke with the younger kids.  My brother seminarian looked at me, said I did okay,….For my first time.  Well, I was shy, (actually terrified,..) but I guess with time, I will learn to settle it in.  Speaking to kids can be the most challenging thing ever.  I can’t speak about the Hypostatic Union, or any high Theology, Christology or metaphysics.  I need to learn to speak in simple basic language, which for a seminarian can be brutal.  My own learning experience saw me experience humility (as I was and am a highly competitive person.)  Once again Jesus held up a mirror and showed me a weakness, a huge one with regard to an impending priesthood.  I can say I got through it, but still, with some psychological bruises.  I can now only hope that the 5 year olds don’t go home and speak about the Arian heresy that had gripped the early Church forcing the Council of Nicea to define the Trinity.  The parents will think that I got choked for too long in Jiu Jitsu cutting off too much air to my brain!

To reiterate, a few years back, this event would have been so far removed from my radar that I would have thought travelling to the planet Cybertron a much higher probability.  Well, clearly Jesus sees things differently!

Our Lady of Consolatta,……………………………………………..ora pro nobis!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Vocation Struggle,..

'The world needs priests because the world is in need of Jesus Christ!' - So are paraphrased the words from my Archbishop Christian Lepine as Jesus created two new priests for the diocese of Montreal.  I had the honour and privilege of acting as Cross bearer at this amazingly Spiritual event.  Fr Alexandre Tran and Fr Alfred Moubayed were ordained this past Friday.  Both awesome holy men, faithful to Holy Mother Church!

The ordination caused a flood of emotions in me, from Joy to unworthiness to complete anxiety, all of which are completely normal.  It seems since my entrance into the seminary, I sometimes break down, trying to figure out my complete unworthiness to even discern this Sacrament.  God calls all of us to a vocation, some to the married state, some to religious life and yes some to priesthood.  Perhaps I'm repeating myself in writing this blog post, but I've never been truly happier in my life.  I guess this is an open letter to any young man out there, or even old man, have you considered priesthood?  There is a special place in my heart, for the dude out there, who thinks he doesn't fit the mold,..well nor do I, and neither did any of the disciples.  Are there scandals?  Yes!  Every facet and aspect of humanity is laced with scandals, betrayal, and general wounds, but through it all, the Church survives!  God calls imperfect men to 'Come follow Me!'  However, are you listening?  Perhaps you were like me?  Partying, playing around, wanting money, girls, none of it permanent... the Charlie Sheen lifestyle.  Well, here is a news flash!  Our Lord won't stop tugging on your heart, He will put people on your road, and when the time comes, and you still haven't said yes,..He'll light a match,..actually more like a fuse right up your ass!  Then you can still say no, and what will happen?  Well, you'll marry (maybe?), have kids? (maybe) and have a mid life crisis at 40, then more than likely start cheating on your wife, get a divorce, and end up miserable and alone!  Why did this happen?  You'll ask in whimpery tone of voice!  Because that is where you weren't supposed to be!  Period!  Obviously this message is for the guys that are called, and you know who you are.  Why?  Because Jesus knows where you will be truly happy!  That's why!

Some of you feel unworthy, well guess what?  So do I!  Some of you will argue with Jesus, that you'll give Him the permanent diaconate,..then you find out that telling God what you'll do is insane.  Some of you will eventually give in, and say, well,..I will give it a try, (hoping that it is not your place!)  and secretly 'angry' that you are finding yourself at peace.  Some of you will fall with a woman, or another vice and satan will begin to play games in your mind, but guess what?  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is there, that little light is the most welcome sign you could ever imagine!  The devil fears priests!  They are God's holy warriors!  No priest equals no Eucharist, its that simple!

For the men coming in this coming August, I say God bless you for accepting to discern!  Already that's the first step, telling God, 'I'm here, I'm available, What do You want me to do?'  (Shout out to Fr Bertand Montpetit for that one! BTW, an awesome holy priest who is is real!)  Do not get discouraged, Do not be afraid, give it all to Jesus, and all will be made clear to you!  God Bless you and may Mary keep you!

St Jean Viannay,.............................................ora pro nobis!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thought Chaos...

'God come to my assistance, O Lord make haste to help me.'  The opening line from morning Prayer, whether you are a machine and pray 'Matins' or just begin with 'Laudes.'  It seems that I repeat this line often throughout the day without recourse to any Psalm.  The reason?  More often than not I meditate upon my potential impending priesthood and society's current 'metaphysical crisis.'

I have blogged before about 'Truth.'  What is Truth?  To paraphrase Pontius Pilate's words to Christ.  Yet, today nobody seems to want to search for Truth anymore.  Well a ray of light happened this morning, that before training, myself and two of my teammates had a conversation regarding Philosophy, from the pre Socratics, to the Greeks (Plato and Aristotle) to Aquinas (Woohoo!)  all the way to the so-called modern era, as in Descartes, Spinoza right up to contemporary, Heidegger and Schelling.   As I've mentioned before, (you can search the archives..) I have always divided thinkers into those seeking objective Truth and those who look at things through their own particular lenses, subjectivists and phenomenologists.  Whether or not we agree is a different story, but the fact is that the conversation took place outside of a traditional intellectual arena, but three guys about ready to train chokes, armlocks, and other takedowns.

Leaving Gracie Barra, and assisting at Mass, saw me especially meditate upon today's First Reading. (2 Corinthians 11: 1-11)  St Paul speaks and warns again of how easy it is for people to preach another 'Jesus.'   The Holy Spirit has a habit of sometimes winking at me, (in my case smacking me upside the head..)  This new 'Jesus' is the result of subjectivist thought.  How many of our generation grew up in the 1980s?  Our experience in the Parish was at times painful, Fr 'Nice' talked about how 'nice' Jesus is and that He is our friend, and we love crayons and bunnies and blah blah blah,.. The other type of priest was the so-called 'social justice' (closet marxist) preaching a false liberation theology turning Jesus into a revolutionary.  Their formation reflected the times, so they were taught Karl Marx, Fuerbach,..etc,.but Maritain?  Nooo, that's too rigid!  Today's heresy is more along the lines of rehashed gnosticism, and voila!  Oprah's Jesus, (who I believe is a creation of satan.)  The problem through all of this was that there was no anchor.  Meaning that these false 'Jesus's' and false Gospels are due to lack of proper intellectual training.  So us, the younger guys are called 'rigid' and 'Traditionalist' and all sorts of buzz words because in the end, we believe that objective Truth does exist and that reason can lead you there!  (Aristotle, Aquinas, Maritain, Gilson...)  Philosophy properly ordered will always be the handmaid of Theology.

Our generation drank the kool aid, and we have been in recovery since.  It is by Grace that I can make it through the day.  I am a sinner, a sex addict, a drunkard and tempermental, yet through it all it is Jesus who Redeems me.  If I fall, I get back up and frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I will not however let my experience override Truth!  Truth just is!  We don't make it up.  We can't decide that gravity doesn't exist because we (our ego) possess a desire to fly on our own.

My ADD kicked in, so I'll stop writing for now.

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Msgr, You Stay! (smiling!) But Holy Father, please let me go,..(squeeky voice)

Guido Marini, the Liturgist/Papal Master of Ceremonies who lately, has been the butt of many jokes and remarks.  He was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2007 to succeed Piero Marini, whose ideas of Liturgical vestments sometimes came out of Star Trek episodes.  Upon the election of Pope Francis,(and he not wearing the Papal mozzetta for the first blessing,) we all assumed Msgr Marini's days were numbered.  That calendar on his wall, taken down as Pope Francis has confirmed everyone for now. (despite his prayers?)  Clearly Pope Francis is a holy man, a man who is in love with Truth, has been issuing homilies warning of the ‘Evil one’ and has recently laid the smackdown on the liberal nuns in the States. (LCWR)  He has also called for a true implementation of the Second Vatican Council, and remember all this has to be read contextually.  What that means is (to paraphrase Fr ‘Z’) one needs to see all that Francis is doing.  He cannot change doctrine!  Ever!  Evvver!  He does, however have his own style, (which isn’t mine,..) and for that we need to bite our tongues and trust in the Holy Spirit.  (Assuming the majority of my readership shares my Liturgical preference.)

Liturgically Pope Francis is a Jesuit.  Very Jesuit.  Very Verrrry Jesuit.  An order of missionaries and educators founded by Ignatius of Loyola who have produced giants of the Faith, including many martyrs and founded many schools.  Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ, an EWTN mainstay and apologetical powerhouse comes to mind, as does Fr Joseph Fessio SJ, or still the late great Fr John Hardon SJ.  They have a formation of about ten years before ordination and where they are faithful to the Magisterium, they still produce solid men.  They have though, in recent times produced some ‘not so solid men.’  Cardinal Bergoglio was the Jesuit, that went to war with Liberation Theology, and that according to Fr Fessio SJ, is the reason other Jesuits don’t like him.  Nonetheless, with liturgy, the joke goes as follows,..’What is the definition of a good Jesuit liturgy????  (wait for it,…) One where no one gets hurt! (yuk yuk yuk yuk,..lolol!!!) 

So about two weeks ago, it happened.  Traditional Catholics held their breath, then let out a sigh of relief, as Pope Francis told the Italian Bishops that Summorum Pontificum is not to be touched and that Msgr Marini will stay on as the Papal MC.  The Pope continued that he wishes to learn from Msgr Marini, and that in turn, Msgr Marini may also benefit from him.   As well, the annual celebration of Summorum Pontificum will continue to take place at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

‘We must put the treasure of Tradition to good use!’ – Pope Francis

 St Jean Viannay,.............................................................ora pro nobis!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Optimusmastro and the Catman!

A little vid on myself and my brother, the Catman.  Frank has been nothing short of my big bro, guiding me through the emotive waters of discernment!  Offer this guy prayers, cause he's gonna be a true priest of Jesus, not to mention an intellectual ass kicker par excellance! (he says words like 'pontificates')  Pure awesomeness!,.. Enjoy!  (and yes,..chairs on wheels, sooooooo rock! )  God bless!

Sacred Heart of Jesus,........Have mercy on us!