Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Johnny Went From Being Single to In a Relationship"

For those of us who have Facebook how many times have we seen this little advertisement in our news feed? For me who happens to be friends with several teenagers and college students on facebook due to having taught for several years I see it almost multiple times a day. It's sad how many relationships people seem to go through these days. People seem to think that being in High School and College is about going through as many relationships as possible in order to find one self and figure out what you truly want in a relationship. On the contrary however, all this does to many people is cause them to fail to understand what a relationship really means and in many cases leads them down a path of self destructive behavior that will ultimately damage their chances at a real and faithful marriage. Of course this is not the case with every single individual but it does have an effect.

The reason I bring this up is not to get into a full blown discussion on chastity or proper dating habbits but to truly look at and understand the term "relationship". We have forgotten what this means because we live in an individualistic culture in which we have become selfish and we are primarily looking out for number 1. The idea of relationship begins with the Trinity. The Trinity is a communion of persons. God who is infinite and perfect in His perfect love begets the Son and the love between the Father and Son is the Holy Spirit. This is relationship. A total giving of self to the other. This is what our families are called to image and imitate. It is no suprise that in today's culture people have become selfish because that is what they learn from their families. Parents have either not been taught properly or have failed at trying to imitate the Trinity within their own families. We fail to see that any sort of relationship takes work in order for it to be a good one. We have to cultivate it and work at it. Those of you who are married and have a good relationship know you have to work at it and you have to put effort into continuing to keep the flame alive. All of us have friends and we know that in order for our friendships to remain close we have to work at them. I am close to my friends because I maintain contact with them through calls and e-mails and visits. This costs work and money but I do it because I have a bond with them and they are important to me. I also just recently started dating someone and have dated a couple other girls in the past and know that If I want a relationship to work, it takes work. But If I see those relationships in the light of Christ it doesn't feel like work and it helps me to understand that I don't bail on the relationships when the going gets tough or when things aren't going my way.

This whole concept of skewed relationships is also the reason I think people have issues with the Church. I had a long conversation with my Dad while I was home for Christmas. He has a lot of issues with the Church. These issues have bled into him doubting that God even exists and wondering why so many rules exist in the Church. He finds them too unrealistic in todays world to even try and follow them. He asked me how it is I can follow so faithfully? I told him that I do struggle and don't always live the rules as faithfully as I should but that bottom line is that I don't look at the rules as rules. I don't follow the Church, I follow Christ. I follow the Church because I follow Christ. I find it easy to agree with the rules because I have a relationship with Christ. I'm in love with a person. I have encountered a person and that person has transformed me and continues to transform me daily in ways I never thought possible. Because I have a relationship with Christ the "rules" of the Church become easy to accept. They simply just fall into place. I simply see them as guidlines for maintaining the relationship. The same is true for all of our other relationships. Dating relationships, friendships, marriages, they all have rules we just don't look at them as such because we care for the person and don't want to do anything to hurt them.

In that conversation with my Dad I realized him like so many others in our world are victims of being simply introduced to the Church as an institution and a set of traditions we must follow. He was simply never introduced to the person of Christ and given the chance to truly enter into relationship with Him. So many people have simply been given the truth without love and without relationship. Truth without these two things leads to rebellion. Truth without these two things leads to a poor understanding of relationships in general. If people don't have a relationship with Christ they aren't going to work at cultivating their faith and naturally they won't pray and will fall away from the Church. It is no wonder relationships in our world are a mess, it is because people do not have a relationship with Christ!

"The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity." CT 5

The above quote comes from one of the many documents of JP II. This is where we must begin our work in transforming the culture. We must put our efforts into introducing people to the PERSON of Christ. Once people are "In a Relationship with Jesus Christ" everything else will fall into place, the rules of the Church and their other human relationships. Only then will our culture be radically transformed!

Merry Christmas Everyone! May the joy of the Incarnation lead you all to a deepening of your relationship with Christ!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keeping Christ in Christmas!

When I was in 7th grade I was grounded for two weeks right around Christmas time. It was because I went hunting around the house for Christmas presents and found them. Well it wasn't so much that I found the presents but that I found them in two very large cardboard boxes that had ben duct taped shut. When I peeled the duct tape off I wasn't smart enough to put the duct tape back on.

I look back on that and laugh now. I was so concerned with what presents I was getting as a child that I don't think I ever really thought about the true meaning of Christmas. I mean don't get me wrong it is still tough even today to get distracted. It is now the 3rd week of Advent and I don't think I've ever felt this out of it spiritually during advent, at least not since the days of hunting for presents once I figured out Santa wasn't real. (To clarify that was long before 7th Grade!). I don't know what it is this time around but I'm just not feeling at all in the Christmas mood. My prayer life hasn't necisarily been terrible. It hasn't been great but it hasn't been bad. Honestly for some reason all the cultural stuff with Christmas has been bugging me a lot more this time around.

It drives me nuts that people who are not even Christian celebrate this Holiday. It drives me crazy that we put more emphasis on sales, Santa, and Frosty the Snow man than we do on Christ. In front of the chancery in Denver there is this big lights display that has a light up nativity scene and then a light up sign that says KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS. The ironic part of it is that when I drove by it the other night the lights for the word Christ for the letters HRS are all out. So the sign reads more like KEEP CIT in Christmas. As I saw that I thought to myself wow, how perfectly ironic. Christ is barely visible in the sign just like He is barely visible in our culture today.

So my question is how do we as Christians defend it? On our last day of finals Jon and I were driving back to the house and noticed a Church marquee sign when we were stopped at an intersection that read: "Christmas is not a date but a state of mind and heart!" I wanted to vomit! That is such crap. How are we as Christians supposed to fight for the true reality that is Christmas when there are even Christians among us who don't get it. Christmas is a REAL, HISTORICAL event! Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Rarzinger said that when you take History out of the equation all you are left with is Gnosticism. Christmas is not a feeling or state of mind! It is a real Historical event in that took place in History. It is a moment that transformed time and eternity forever! If it is not a date, then it doesn't mean anything! We celebrate the moment in History that as St. John puts it, "THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH"! GOD BECAME MAN! Have we ever stopped to really think about that. I mean we hear it all the time but have we really thought about it? It is mind boggling! And this actually happened! This took place at a definitive moment in History.

There is a HUGE supernatural reality that our culture fails to see. We are about to celebrate something so incredible that I can't believe we aren't all sitting in awe in prayer during this great feast. In stead we go insane with all the preparations and are more concerned with presents than anything else. I love my family and I LOVE celebrating with them but if I don't make a serious effort to take time and be spiritual on Christmas it doesn't happen with them. That is why every year for I don't know how long I always leave the house for Christmas Eve about an hour before the rest of my family just so I can get to the Church and sit in silence with my King before the craziness of the night ensues. That honestly is my favorite moment of Christmas. It is just me and Jesus in the quiet of the Church before the people start filing in for mass. And it makes all the difference in the world.

But is that enough? How do we enage the culture and change these false perception? How do we get people to come to conversion and realize that what they are celebrating is the feast of their Savior coming to save them? How do we get people to realize the greatest present they are recieving on Christmas is Christ himself? How do we get people to step back from the hustle and bustle and take time to just be with the King of Kings? How do we create authentic Catholic culture in general but especially surrounding Christmas?

I just pray I can focus more on prayer and the true meaning and not get sucked into all the distractions myself. Blessed rest of Advent to you all and Merry Christmas! Let us all remember this year that great Historical event that has transformed everything we are!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm so sick of teaching 7th grade confirmation at the school! These kids are a bunch of brats with no self-control. I'm at my wits end. I honestly don't know how to work with them. I have such a hard time being Christ-Like with them. I feel absolutely helpless around them. I feel worse than a first year teacher around them. I need some serious insight and grace here. I gotta kick up the prayers to love these little hudlums more. Thank God for two weeks away from them!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Letting Go

I just got back two days ago from another amazing trip to Wichita. This trip however was different. God spoke to me in a different way while I was there. It was still an amazing week, it was just different.

I arrived on the Friday before Thanksgiving and went straight to Bishop Carroll. I got there in the middle of 7th hour and went and said hi to teachers and students. It was great to be there but it was different. In a lot of ways it still felt like home, comfortable and familiar, but in a lot of ways it felt different. There were now two entire classes of students who had no idea who I was. I knew none of the Freshmen or Sophomores. There is only a handful of Juniors and Seniors there that know me. A huge chunk of the staff I had worked with is no longer there. That over excited welcome I recieved from the school last year had diminished. There was still those few that were every excited to see me and I them but the number of people that knew me had greatly diminished.

The number of people I saw this time around was also less. I still did a lot of running around and tried to spend time with a lot of people, but it was a lot less. I have started losing touch with certain people, mainly former students. And frankly thats ok. I still miss them and pray for them daily but I didn't feel the need to make sure I spent every waking moment trying to catch up with every person I have ever met in Wichita.

The time I did spend with people though felt better and more quality than it had before. I left so impressed with how much my boys had grown up. The boys that were sophmores when I left are now Seniors and I still have a hard time believing they will be graduating this year. It still kills me a little bit that I can't be around for their Senior year but I'm realizing how much they are really starting to make life and their faith their own and am blown away by how the conversations between us while still funny and sarcastic at times are more mature.

The time I spent with the boys who were graduating before I left and are now college sophmores was even more impressive to me. The conversations we had were much more real and much more candid. I honestly felt like I was hanging out with friends and not former students.

Spending time with my young adult friends was also great but things had changed there also. Kids running around, new faces, less drama, people that were married that hadn't been when I left. Still a few socially awkward people but I found even those a little more tolerable than I had before.

Then there was the conversation with Fr. Jarrod. This was pivotal. I finally came to the realization that returning to Bishop Carroll may not happen next year. Its not out of the realm of possibilites but there is no gauruntee that will happen. And you know what, I'm actually ok with that. Another key conversation that happened for me was with Barb Pianalto. I love this woman, she just has a way of making and keeping things so clear and real. I realized in that conversation that I cannot have back what I had before. Life has changed, Carroll has changed, I have changed. Even if I go back to Carroll I cannot recreate what once was. I have to be open to the possibility that God might be leading me some place else. Maybe I'm supposed to be at Kaupan, maybe I'm supposed to work at a Parish or for the diocese, maybe I'm supposed to work in a completely different city. I want to go home and being back at Carroll is still my dream but its because it is comfortable. Maybe God is planning something completely different. All I know is that He's in control and I want to be open to whatever He has in store. It is a little scary not knowing what will happen but it is also so exciting to know the possibilites are endless come May.

This last week I finally let go of my former life in Wichita. It was the first time I came back to Denver and didn't cry. I'm not letting go of the possibility of being back in Wichita but I know that if I am back there it will be a new start. Round 2 will be much different than round one. I'm not letting go of friendships just putting God more in control of them. I came to realize that no matter where I end up Wichita will always have a special place in my heart, I will always go back to visit, and the relationships I built there will continue to last a life time.

I also ask all of you for your prayers as I enter the last week of classes and finals. Pray for me and my thesis and my last semester. Also pray that God would send me where He wants me. I'm applying to places here in Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, New Orleans, and I think I might even apply in Rockford. Bottom line God is in control. I know what I want but I want God to take that desire from me if its not what He wants. I desire His will and His will alone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time For A Catholic Revolution

This past election really convicted me of some things. I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying, and reflecting, particularly on Truth and Niceness.

Lets make one thing clear people, Jesus was NOT nice. He was LOVING! In today's culture people seem to think there is no difference. WRONG! Being loving does not being tolerant of everyone's relativistic behavior. Folks Truth exists and we need to preach it in love, but not nicely. Love means doing things and telling people things they need to hear for their good. Especially the good of their own soul. When I was teaching and a student was disrespectful to me I told them they were and I wasn't nice about it, it was loving because that is a life skill they need to learn, but it wasn't nice! Preaching the truth and fighting for it is going to cause lots of people to be pissed off at you. Well guess what I don't give a shit anymore. People want to be pissed go a ahead be pissed. It is time we as Catholics bannded together and started fighting for the truth no matter what the cost.

The problem in today's culture is not that there are more people out there against us than are for us. Not it is that those who are against us are much louder than we are. Well its time we got loud and told them how it was. Funny that the second propostion 8 passed in California thousands of people in the gay community were marching on the streets protesting. I hate to say it but that is one thing that we as Catholics can learn from the Gay community. Why do we not hit the streets in protest the second legistlation that is blatantly against the culture of life is passed? I would hope that if the Freedom of Choice Act is passed our butts are on the street marching in protest. Hell I'm willing to sit on the capital steps and get hauled off in hand cuffs if that passes!

We cannot be silent any longer. There is too much at stake. Going to the polls is not enough. We have to get involved in the community. We have to hold those we elect accountable. We have to be louder than those who are opposed to Truth.

I'm not just talking about the Abortion issue here but all facets of truth! The first one being: Jesus Christ is Lord! The Second set being fighting for EVERYTHING He holds dear.

It is time to go out and help the poor.

It is time to become active in the Pro-Life Movement by volunteering at Crisis pregnancy centers.

It is time get our knees and pray like never before.

It is time to educate people on what marriage really is.

It is time to educate people on the evils of contraception.

It is time to educate people on the evils of pornography.

It is time to educate people on the evils of sexual impurity.

It is time to acknowledge that Evil exists, there is such thing as sin, and there is such thing as right and wrong.

It is time to rally behind our priests and Bishops who are not afraid of the restrictions of the tax exempt status and preach the TRUTH no matter what the cost.

It is time to be Catholic OUT LOUD! The Cafeteria is CLOSED folks! Either embrace and love EVERYTHING the Church teaches or don't call yourself Catholic, cause you're not!

If every Catholic in this country made their voice heard, formed their conscience properly, lived what it truly meant to be Catholic, and LOVED we would control this entire country. Every politician would be answering to us and Truth would start to be reclaimed. If we don't fight back, if we do not bring the truth to a world who has lost it noone will.

If something in this post offended you, too bad maybe its time to check in with God and your conscience. I'm not judging you nor does this mean I don't love you, on the contrary it is because I love you that I write this. It simply means I'm speaking the truth and I'm not going to be nice about it. Jesus wasn't, why should I be!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Living in the Land of the Lost

Life has definetally been crazy the last couple weeks. I spent all of Halloween weekend working on a paper, that is finally done thank the Lord. Then there was the sadness of election day. I honestly am still trying to deal with the fact that we have elected the man that we have to run this country. I'm praying for him and I'm going to try my best to wish him well but I have never been more scared for the future of this country.

The day after the election I boarded a plane and headed down to Miami for my cousin Fernando's wedding. I had an amaing time this past weekend. I saw family I hadn't seen in ten years a long with other family I hadn't seen in about two years. We laughed, we cried, we drank, we feasted, we just soaked in every moment and enjoyed each other's company.

It was the ritziest wedding I've ever been to. I felt like I was in an episode of life styles of the Rich and Famous all weekend. The rehearsal dinner on Thursday was a rehearsal cocktail party at my Aunt's house. There were waiters and bartenders there and some very expensive appetizers. The wedding on Friday was beautiful but also very lavish. The reception was at the Biltmore Hotel (one of the most expensive hotels in Miami), we had nothing but top shelf liquors, duck was the main course, and we danced like crazy. Saturday the Bride's family had us over for a BBQ. This was not a Hamburger and Hot Dog BBQ, no once again wiaters and waitresses, full bar, and Argentinian Sausage along with different cuts of steak. Lets just say I ate and drank very well this past weekend.

It was a blast and an honor to share in my cousin's special day and spend such a great time with family.

As much fun as it was, I'm glad its over. I always have an amazing time with my family but am always glad when its time to come home. It is so hard not being able to share the most important part of my life with them. Sure they all claim to be Catholic and I don't want to judge them but to them it is simply a cultural thing. My cousin had a Catholic wedding even though neither he nor his wife practice the faith or have been to mass in who knows how long simply because the mothers insisted they have a Church wedding. I don't judge them or think less of them, its just frustrating when something I percieve as so sacred and profound is not looked at like that by the people closest to you.

I wish I could talk theology with my family. I wish we could pray together and more than just a simple prayer before meals. I wish we could honestly look out for each other's growth in Holiness. It hurts to listen to stories of my brother's and cousins' sexual escapades. They talk about strip clubs, pornography, one night stands, and sex with their girlfriends like these things are a natural part of life and every man is entitled to take part in these things. Not that its a surprise, I know this is how they live their lives, and that much of the world agrees with these actions, but it is still spiritually draining to be around it and it brings sadness to my heart that the sacredness of sex and the dignity of women is lost on them. Not to mention I am a weak person and need people in my life holding me accountable to purity and it sucks knowing that my family would encourage that behavior instead of calling me to greatness with those things.

I guess what it boils down to is this: I love my family with my whole heart. I would do ANYTHING for them. I have a blast with them when we get together. But this past visit to Miami also brought out some feelings I've had for years out a little more. I feel like my family is lost like so much of our culture. Truth is subjective to them, not objective. There is always a part of me that feels out of place when I'm around them. I don't know how to engage them and make them think about how they live. I don't know how to challenge them to greatness. I don't know how to get them to realize that their souls are in danger without them thinking that I'm judging them or making them think I'm rejecting them as a person simply because I reject their actions. Bottom line: I guess I realized I need to pray for my family more than ever this weekend. There is so much goodness in them. The basics and the foundation is there they just live certain things out in a disordered way and don't get the whole picture.

I pray and hope in this year of St. Paul that conversion would come upon the hearts of my family, my heart, and our world!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Light Starts to Enter the Tunnel

Today is Wednesday, October 29, 2008 and this is my first official post on this blog site. All the other posts were originally published on my Myspace blog. That blog is no more, or at least will be in a few short days. I've decided to get rid of Myspace and just stick with Facebook.

Life is a funny thing. A few posts ago I posted on the difficulties and struggles I'm currently having. I don't want to say that I'm no longer struggling with those things but it is definetally getting better. I think the trip to New Orleans was just what I needed. Quality time with Guy and Matt always seems to put things back into perspective for me. I honestly don't know what I would do without those two in my life. They are truly my brothers and I have been incredibly blessed to have them in my life for 8 years now. WOW how time flies. The trip was much more relaxed and chill than usual. I think it is a combination of the fact that I've gotten most of the crazy party side of me out of my system by now and part of it is that Matt is married with one kid out of the womb and another on the way. And Guy, well he's a lawyer working 60-70 hours a week so he's not much in the drinking mood either. But I actually really enjoyed the fact that the trip was so chill. All I was looking for was quality time with my brothers and that is exactly what I got.

Since coming back I have been going crazy with school and work. Life sure as hell never seems to slow down. I'm definetally hitting the stress out and freak out point with school. I have two big papers, a thesis that needs to be worked on way more than it has, and finals all before Christmas. Now Christmas seems like its far away still right? And in a certain sense it is, but when I look at it this way it seems much closer: I have the rest of this week. Then next week on Wednesday I leave for my Cousins wedding in Florida, which I'm beyond excited about, I'm going to see family members I haven't seen in ten years! I get back from that and then two weeks of class before I'm off to Wichita to teach at the Regan Institute and Thanksgiving. Then when I get back we have a week of classes and then finals. Essentially right now I'm looking at only 3 weekends left to get work done. Sadly weekends are the only time I have to get the bulk of my work down. Week days are tough because I work and then have either class or other commitments in the evenings. So I'd say I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

However, the silver lining in all this is that I'm super excited that this is all I have left. I mean it is going to zoom by! I'm starting to feel a hope and a joy again I haven't felt for several months. Yesterday I filled out all my registration forms for my LAST SEMESTER of graduate school! I'm so pumped! I'm going to have a Masters degree in less than seven months. It seems like just yesterday I was staring down the road at two long years of studying. I'm finally starting to the point in my journey where I can see the light seeping into the tunnel. I think the fact that I'm starting to feel the crunch of time to get things done gets me pumped up. I'm a work under pressure kind of guy and when it comes to get it done or fail I get moving. I am so motivated right now and I'm starting to feel a little bit like I did when I first started school and was reading every sentence of everything that was assigned.

My Thesis topic is pumping me up. I'm writing it on the effectiveness of the Knights of the Holy Queen in ministering to Young Men in today's current cultural situation. I've sent surveys out to several of the guys as well as several parents. I've gotten several of them back and the feedback has been awesome. I also went on Amazon yesterday and spent like $150 in books for my research. I just feel so blessed to able to write about something that I'm so passionate about. I'm getting to focus on and really study something I was so involved with in Wichita and that I have seen change so many lives that it is such an honor to be able to write about it.

God continues to amaze me. In the midst of all my struggles, frustrations, my whinning, bitching, and complaining, My Father in Heaven is still so faithful. I don't fully understand what He is trying to tell me in my life at this current moment, probably cause I suck at listening, but I can sense Him working. I still feel lonely a lot. My heart still aches daily because I'm not teaching. My heart still aches daily because I miss my friends and students in Wichita, but in the midst of all that I know this is the way it has to be. Sometimes it makes me angry that this is the way it has to be but I have to continually remind myself that HE is in control and not me. I know He's got something awesome in store for me. He always does. It just sucks when He has to purify and break me to prepare me for whatever that is.

I continue to pray, I continue to trust, and I continue to embrace the struggles I'm going through with as much joy as possible. I'm not always good at that last one, but I'm trying. Please continue to pray for me! Love you all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bishops With Huevos!

Thank you Bishop Gracida of Corpus Christi and Bishop Herman of St. Louis for saying what every other Bishop and clergy member in this country has been trying to say but is too scared to because they are afraid to lose their non for profit status!

Bishop Gracida on the radio:http://www.randallterry.com/

Bishop Robert Hermann on Voting to 'Save Our Children'By Bishop Robert Hermann10/17/2008St. Louis Review (www.stlouisreview.com)

Save our children!

More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST — Bishop Robert Hermann, archdiocesan administrator, gives Communion to a student during the Holy Childhood Association Mass, celebrated Oct. 1 at the Basilica of St. Louis King of France (the Old Cathedral). The Mission Office invited Catholic schools from around the archdiocese to the Mass. The Holy Childhood Association is a Pontifical Mission Society through which children help other children in mission lands. The Mass included a commissioning ceremony, where young members were commissioned ‘Ambassadors for Christ.’ST. LOUIS, Mo (Catholic Online) - The Most Rev. Bishop Robert J. Hermann currently serves as the administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a Diocese vacated when Archbishop Raymond Burke was named to his Vatican position to preside over the global judicial system of the Catholic Church. On June 27, Pope Benedict XVI appointed me to the office of Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. This column was entitled "I Thought You Should Know" and was published in the St. Louis Review, the diocesan newspaper. Catholic Online presents this article in our continuing effort to assist our readers and viewers in informing their conscience for the vital task of exercising their "Faithful Citizenship": Save our children! More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. All other issues, including the economy, have to take second place to the issue of life. Save our children! Many people in Germany supported Hitler for economic reasons even though, as his programs advanced, he put to death millions of Jewish people. He ended up wrecking the economy together with the country of Germany. How are we different if we vote for proabortion candidates for office? How can we help change our political and legal situation to protect innocent children and support a culture of life? Save our children! When I speak to some socalled good Catholics, I am shocked that they are quite ready to vote for a pro-abortion candidate under almost any circumstance. I find this hard to understand. We have heard the word "abortion" so often that perhaps we no longer associate procured abortion with the killing of children, yet that is what it is. The term itself can be misleading. The dictionary tells us that it comes from a Latin word that means "to disappear or to miscarry." Sometimes abortions simply happen because of natural causes. That is why this word abortion, for many people, apparently does not really connote the destruction of children. When a human agent induces an abortion, that human agent is taking the life of one of our children. Save our children! How can a so-called good Catholic vote for a candidate that supports laws that take the life of innocent children, when there is an alternative? If there were two candidates who supported abortion, but not equally, we would have the obligation to mitigate the evil by voting for the less-permissive candidate. Save our children! How can a so-called good Catholic vote for a candidate that supports laws that justify the killing of a child that survived a botched abortion? How can such a so-called good Catholic receive the Holy Eucharist? In Chapter 10 of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he states: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? ... You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons." Save our children! Have some of our so-called good Catholics become so hardened against the Gospel of Life that they believe that other issues outweigh the Gospel of Life? Have some of our so-called good Catholics put politics ahead of the Fifth Commandment, in which God states: "Thou shalt not kill"? Do some of our so-called good Catholics, who may go to Mass every Sunday and receive the Holy Eucharist, really believe that voting for a pro-abortion candidate, when there is a clear alternative and therefore no justifiable reason for so doing, is really not voting to have children killed? This election is all about saving our children! Save our children! I have no doubt that there may be some so-called good Catholics who are reading this column and who may be really angry about now. I ask the question "Why would such a person be angry?" If we do good deeds, then our conscience is at peace. If we do evil deeds, then our conscience bothers us. It is my hope that this column will lead some of our so-called good Catholics to study the Catholic Catechism. Save our children! Some of our so-called good Catholics may have hardened their hearts against the real understanding of induced abortions, that they can no longer see that this involves the destruction of our children. "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts!" Save our children! Supporting induced abortions is not the greatest sin in the world. A greater sin is the refusal to repent of such a serious crime or the denial that this involves the killing of innocent children. Save our children! I have used this terminology again and again penetrate the defenses of anyone who in the past may have put personal, economic or political interests above the issue of saving our children. The right to life is our most fundamental right, and to defend this right on behalf of the most vulnerable is a great privilege and is worth giving one’s life for. Policemen and firemen always risk their lives to save human life. Why should we not risk our own reputation to save our children? Save our children!You can see by now that I do not believe that this column by itself will change hearts. The issue of abortion involves serious sin, and to overcome serious patterns of sin requires grace. If you are still with me, may I suggest that you join me and many others in praying the daily Rosary from now until election day for the sake of life. Why not pray the family Rosary every night between now and the general election. The Rosary brought down the Iron Curtain. It can also help us turn around the culture of death to a culture of life. Save our so-called good Catholics who ignore Catholic moral principles when applied to our political life. Pray the family Rosary daily. Pray the family Rosary for our so-called good Catholics who could use your love and your charity. Pray for our so-called good Catholics who ignore serious Catholic moral teachings and still receive Holy Communion. Love them by praying the family Rosary for them. Don’t debate with them. Intercede for them. Praying for them is more fun than fighting with them. Save our children and save our so-called good Catholics who have abandoned Church teachings in favor of personal gain. Pray the Rosary. Pray it every day. Get the whole family to pray the Rosary daily. Prayer is more powerful than contentious arguments. Spread the word to other families. In praying the Rosary, children’s votes count as much as adult votes. Sometimes they pray with purer hearts than we do. If you are disgusted with the TV news, then turn it off and turn on the prayer Internet. What we hear in prayer leaves us in peace. When we pray for our country and for our fellow citizens, we are filled with peace. St. Paul tells us that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers and the spirits of darkness. Prayer is our protection. Let it also be a protection for our country. If you want to make Satan angry, pray the Rosary for the sake of Life. Pray that as a nation we will choose leaders that will say ‘no’ to the culture of death and say ‘yes’ to the culture of life. Save our children! Pray the Rosary!

The Great Adventure

This was published on October 22, 2008

Jeff Cavins created a Bible Study several years ago called The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Study. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is simply a brief big picture overview of the entire Bible. I remember taking part in the study the summer after my first year of teaching and then going back and incorporating information from it into my Old Testament class.
Now bear in mind this actually has very little to do with Old Testament itself rather more of what took place in those classes where Old Testament was supposed to be the subject. I'm still muddling through things I was dealing with when I posted the last blog last week so I thought it would be therapeutic as well as entertaining to my readers to post some of my favorite moments in 5 years of teaching. Some will be very funny and some will just be just plain sentimental. Chances are some of them will be moments you had to be there for, but whatever. Well, here goes, these 5 years were truly a Great Adventure!
1. Year 1: Alex Marion asks if I have ever read the Bible cover to cover. Of which I respond that I'm working on it. He replies, "Man I'd never do that unless it was one of those pocket sized versions"...enough said.
2. Year 1: I'm grading Tests. The Question is, What is the sign of the Covenant with Abraham? The student answers: Castration.
3. Year 1: I meet Nathan Jones in my 6th hour Old Testament class. Little does this kid know that he will end up being an example to me as he takes on a battle with cancer a few years later with a more faithfilled and brave attitude than I would expect anyone to, much less a 17 year old kid.
4. Year 1: A Girl in my class tells me her mother and father recently got divorced and asks me if I would like to be set up with her mom. She says I could be her new daddy. No, joke this happened!
5. Year 1: A girl in my class asks me how many more notes we have because her hand hurts. I look at her and tell her, "Well now you're back's gonna hurt cause you just pulled landscaping duty." She didn't get it, but the rest of the class did and laughed.
6. Year 2: We're discussing Abraham and circumcision again. Dante seems really disturbed by this. When I tell him he has probably been circumcised and that most males today are at birth he gets really offended. Dante thought Circumcision was the same thing as Castration.
7. Year 2: Tonette Freeman raises her hand while we were talking about Joshua and Jericho and asks, "Where the walls of Jericho man made or natural"? I being perplexed by the questions say, "Well when is the last time you saw walls spring up out of the ground?" In the back of class Blake and Andy start laughing and making fun of her. I tell them, "Calm down guys, be nice, not everyone's hamster turns the wheel as fast as others." To which Toni replies, "Huh? I don't have a Hamster, I had a Girbble once, but it died".
8. Year 2: Amanda Nyguen and Brooke Strathe would argue with me every time I handed something back. The difference: Amanda would win and usually get a higher grade, Brooke would lose. I think this resulted in Brooke hating me for a couple years after that, hahaha.
9. Year 2: Ryan Sagesar was the man you wanted in any group project I assigned. He and his group would make the most amazing and hilarious Old Testament movies. All I have to say is John Cooper + Bathsheba + Hot Tob = Very Bad idea!
10. Year 2: I taught the entire class of 2007 that year. They made my teaching experience what it was.
11. Year 2: I'm turned around at the board writing something when I hear, "Sick its all over me, disgusting". I turn around to find Eric Smeltzer sitting at his desk with a look of shock on his face and a sauce packet of Taco Bell Hot Sauce in his hands. Apparently he had been playing with it and did not expect it to explode all over the class room.
12. Year 2: Sarah Lopez and Jocelyn Rodriguez brought in Krispy Kreme Donughts and tried to pass them off as homemade Jewish Hannuka Donughts. I was never more angry and amused at the same time!
13. Year 3: Bart Voegeli and Andrew Dort in the same class. Those two thought they had Theology degrees for some reason and would argue with me about EVERYTHING. As annoying as they were some times, they definetally kept class entertaining.
14. Year 3: In my 6th hour CSD class, every time I said the word "duty" in relationship to having some sort of social responsibility it was followed by little laughs from Josh Dostert and Jared Linn and them saying "haha doodie"!
15. Year 3: I gave Eric Smeltzer a demerit for inappropriate display of affection. All because he slapped John Rice's Ass! Hands down, best demerit I ever gave!
16. Year 3: Daniel Hoffman walks by me eating a cookie (you can't have food in the hallway) right after he walks past Mr. Krotz, looks at me and says, "What a dumb ass, I can't believe he didn't see me and didn't give me a demerit." I thought to myself, wow, who is really the dumb ass? And then asked him for his demerit card. Second best demerit I ever gave.
17. Year 3: Jared Linn asks me to be his confirmation sponsor.
18. Year 4: Here comes the class of 2007 again. Zack Steffen buys me a Gonzo muppets doll to go with my nickname, Gonzo.
19. Year 4: Andy Jonas and Brett McClernon dressing like women in very immodest clothing to demonstrate how not to dress during our lesson on etiquette.
20. Year 4: Andy Jonas texting me (Wonder how he got my number? Thanks Brett!) in the middle of class saying sorry for the class' behavior and begging me to not make them stay after the bell.
21. Year 4: Taking my 5th hour class outside and allowing them to take water balloons. Little did I know that every single one of them under the leadership of Matt Rosenhammer would throw all the balloons at me.
22. Year 4: Meeting Josh, Scott, Nick, Ben, Bishop, Drew, and Garett by having them in class. I would later meet Justin, Clay, and K Long through them.
23. Year 4: Getting to make fun of Drew in class everyday. Especially the day I made him feel really bad for bringing up a past relationship of mine. I made him feel like I was still completely wrapped up in it and that he had brought out a major wound. The rest of the day people kept coming up to me saying Drew felt really bad and was looking for me to apologize.
24. Year 4: Getting to see Drew and Gretchen's love blossom in my 2nd hour Old Testament Class
25. Year 4: Getting in Water Fights with Thomas Ronck all year. One time he came into my 6th hour class and started squirting away in the midst of the brawl the computer started to slip off the desk, luckily either Adam Capps or Chaz caught it before it fell. As they remind me, they saved my job that day, hahaha.
26. Year 4: March for Life Trip to D.C. Great talk with T.J. one night and Mr. G's bus o fun!
27. Year 5: Nick Seiler, Scott Cooper, Josh Rohleder, Stephen Bishop, and Mike McClernon all ask me to be their Confirmation Sponsor.
28. Year 5: Brett Makes a Touch down at the football game that takes place the same day as Ryan Sagesar's funeral. John Rice, a survivor of the plane crash that killed Ryan, is sitting on a couch at the end zone. As Brett makes the touch down he points the football at John. It gave me chills, I was so proud of Brett that day.
29. Year 5: I was so proud of the way everyone came together to help each other through Ryan's death.
30. Year 5: Noah Gear would always fall asleep in my 5th hour class. So one day I let him sleep, right through the bell and right into the first part of 6th hour. He woke up in my room about 5 minutes into 6th hour completely angry to discover that a new period had started. He was late to his next class, I refused to give him a pass.
31. Year 5: We had a special schedule at Carroll when we had a special activity that would require students to go to 5th hour before 4th hour. Tony Brandt used to tell me he would stand in the hall and yell 4th before 5th on regular schedule days and it would confuse kids, even though he was saying what it actually was. I decided to try that several times my last year at Carroll. Man was it funny to watch those poor freshmen get all frazzled.
32. Year 5: The Seniors last day, Danielle Dugan and Garrett Seiler come and say goodbye, only to find out it was merely a distraction for Thomas Ronck to come and pie me in the face!
33. Year 5: March for Life Trip: Senior Bus, Chicken Ceasar Wrap! (Sorry you'll only get this if you were there).
34. Year 5: The Last day before Spring Break. Its round 1 of the NCAA tournament. I decide we should watch the game 7th hour. Well since I had a special Antenna and I'm one of the only rooms getting reception, I end up with over 60 kids crammed into my room from all different classes watching the game!
35. Year 5: Watching the class of 2007 graduate.
36. Year 5: During a Socratic Seminar on the Death Penalty Jordan Neville plays Devils advocate and has the entire class pissed at him. Corrie threatens to take off her show and throw it at him. Hands down one of the best and funniest arguments I have ever seen.
37. Year 5: Tyler Walden making sarcastic and very intelligent comments that noone in class except myself would understand. He was freaking hilarious.
38. Year 5: Someone turns in a REFLECTION paper (as in, no wrong answer) that is the exact same as someone I had had the previous semester. I found it odd that two people who are not even brothers could have the exact same life.
39. Year 5: I was chosen to kiss a pig at the homecoming pep rally. Well the real pig fell through so it ended up being Daniel Hoffman in a pig outfit.
40. Year 5: Dressing up as a Hippie for Homecoming week, I looked awesome!
There are tons more but its getting long and these are just the highlights. Whereever my former students are, thank you for making my life great for those five years. I'm praying for all of you. Please pray for me. It truly was an adventure. Hopefully I'll be teaching again in a year!

Missing You

This was published on October 14, 2008

It's been two months since I wrote a real blog. I've written a bunch of stuff arguing politics on facebook but I figured it was time to write something about life. Life has continued to be a roller coaster. I wish I could write and say everyting has been awesome. I wish I could just write about how wonderful life is and how great my spiritual life is. But I'm realizing there haven't been a ton of those nor will there be a ton of those while I'm in this period of transition in my life. My life is simply just not normal these days. Its hard to get into any sort of a routine or find any sort of consitency in my life or my relationships. It seems like I'm never hanging out with the same group of people or experiencing stability in my daily schedule. I guess that is how it goes when you are in Graduate school and work two jobs.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say things are not going well per say it just feels like life is just kind of there. There doesn't seem to be anything for me to be horribly upset or depressed about but there doesn't seem to be anything for me to get incredibly excited about. I told a friend the other day on the phone that I just feel like I'm in survival mode. I have lost all emotion and I'm just going through my days working to get everything done I need to. I have never wanted it to be May so badly. I feel like my real life is on pause and I'm living this alternate life so I can go back to my real life eventually. Well I can't wait to go back to that. Which is wierd because this is real life and God is trying to show me stuff here. I'm trying to be as open as possible and figure out what it is God is doing my life in this very moment but not going to lie, its hard as hell.
I honestly just miss a lot of things. I miss waking up in the morning and feeling so excited to take on whatever came that day. I can honestly say I never felt more alive than when I was teaching. I miss the same feeling that came with the college days. I miss my household brothers. I miss Austria. I miss the moments in college where everything was carefree, all my friends and I did was love Jesus and enjoy life. There didn't seem to be anything in the world that mattered except our friendship and growing in Holiness. I miss my former students. I miss the Knights. I miss Starbucks with Erin. I miss the Daisy House. I miss Kim. I miss nights at the Vagabond with Bonny and Marianna. I miss the Brandts. I miss being around people the know me inside and out. I miss deep relationships that challenge me to be a better man. I miss people that love me and that I love more than anything. I miss feeling like I am so completely loved by people around me that nothing else in the world matters. I miss being able to pour myself out in love to my students, friends, and household brothers. I miss being able to see Christ so clearly in others.
I don't know why but all of that is harder in Denver. I have a hard time being excited about my days. I honestly hate going to work. I love my classes and what I'm learning but at the same time can't wait to be done with them. I'm so busy with school and other jobs that I can't give of myself to my teens in youth group the way I would like. I feel like all I'm left with in social times is random parties and superficial conversations with people.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not completely alone. I am so greatful for people like Hugh and Wendy and a small handful of others that I love hanging out with and feel totally welcomed and loved by. Its just hard when I don't get to see any of those people as often as I would like because my schedule is so crazy. This blog makes it sound like things are worse than they actually are. No, things aren't bad, they just aren't awesome. There just isn't that thrill about life inside me that always seemed to be there in college and in my last few years of teaching. I want that thrill back. I want to be able to have a passion for souls and life that I'm having trouble finding right now. I continue to go to the Eucharist and continue to pray. Maybe could do a little better at it, but I feel like right now its just me and God and he's teaching me to be dependant on Him more than ever before. This is hard for me because I'm such a people person and the way I have always experienced Christ is through people. I guess Christ is trying to teach me to experience Him in other ways and to learn to seek and find Him when noone is around.
I'm off to New Orleans to visit my brothers this weekend. I'm really excited and hope it is a little dose of just what the doctor ordered. I'm hoping to come back refreshed and rejuvinated. Time to kick up the prayers for perseverance and fortitude. I just pray I make it to May a little holier and a little wiser. I just pray I can see God and learn whatever it is He is trying to teach me in the midst of all this.

A Year Later

This was published on August 19, 2008

It has officially been a year since I moved to Denver. It is strange to think that a year ago I had just said goodbye to Wichita and was just starting to get settled into a new place. New opportunities before me and new people every where. There was an excitement in the air and a newness to it all. I was so thrilled to be here and had such a sense of peace for it all. I had found a great house, great roommates and was going to parties meeting people left and right. School was starting and I was so thrilled to be learning again. I was soaking in the books and reading everything placed in front of me. I had no jobs yet, and although it was a little scary there was something exciting about not knowing what I would end up doing. Life was new again. It felt like an exciting adventure.
In many ways things are still good and I still know in my hear that this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing, but in other ways that excitement has worn off. God has really tried me this year. He's stretched me in so many ways. Its been a struggle, its been a serious living out of the cross. I have definetally gone through more high and low points, more mountain peaks and valleys if you will, in one year than I ever have. I mean that both literally and figuratively, I am in Colorado after all. This year I have struggled to Trust more than I ever have, I have learned the importance of prayer in a powerful new way, and I have learned to appreciate the importance of community and friendships in a whole new way. I have also realized in a new way what my true passion is and I want nothing more than to go back to that when I'm done here.
I think God called me here not only to experience something new and to grow in knowledge but to also learn to appreciate more fully what I had and to be formed into a stronger man of faith.
This past year has been hard yet awesome. I have two jobs. One that I love but I've realized I don't love as much as Teaching. One that I don't love so much and has helped me realize I'm called to teaching and Youth Ministry is something to do on a volunteer basis and not full time. Parish Ministry has too many politics and I'm not a fan. The most amazing part about Totus Tuus was to get to see some of the fruits of my labor in Wichita, getting to witness three former students teach for me and really see them a true men of God who had grown leaps and bounds.
The Community out here has been rough. It definetally is not all its cracked up to be. I have met some great people and all but my life is so busy and hectic that when I do have time to really hang out and build relationships no one is around. Everyone seems to be kind of into their own little groups out here and breaking into them is pretty tough. At the same time God knows me well and knows that I am a person that gets attached to people quickly and invest a lot into relationships so I can't help but think that He hasn't allowed me to get too close to people because I have such a strong feeling that Denver is only a temporary stop for me.
So at this point the newness is gone. I still have a strong feeling that this is where I'm supposed to be. But I know its not meant to be permanent and that I guess is what makes it tough. On the one hand I love it out here and love the weather and the mountains but it just doesn't feel like home. I hate this feeling of transition but have a feeling that something big is around the corner for me. I don't know what it is, but I have to continually trust that God is working and will reveal things to me in good time.
I stand now at the beginning of year two. Classes start tonight. I have a Thesis to write and the daily grind continues with work. Dave has moved to Illinois, Beschorner is married and that has left Konrade and I. We moved into a new house a few weeks ago and found two other guys to move in with us as well. The house is in a a great neighborhood and is a steal; $1,000 a month split four ways. I can't believe I'm only going to be paying $250 a month to live in Denver Colorado. I never paid rent that cheap even in Wichita. I wake up every morning and am amazed at God's glory through the beauty of the mountains and feel like I need to pinch myself because I live in Denver, yet at the same time I wake up every morning with a little ache in my heart because I'm not going to work at Bishop Carroll and I don't get to see my boys go through their Senior year. Yet there is a beauty in all of this that brings me closer to Christ and forces me to trust Him more. As I begin this year all I can do is continue to surrender.
Last week I went to a Praise and Worship thing called Logos and went and got prayed over. One of the guys that prayed over me said that the image he kept getting was of me in the womb of Mary and he challenged me to reflect on that image. If you think about it, it is a beautiful image. Mary wants to take us into her womb and form us just as she formed Christ in her womb. I am convicted now more than ever that if I want to continue to surrender and trust over this next year I need to place myself into the womb of Mary so that she may form me more perfectly and bring me closer to her Son.
I pray that I may trust more and cling to Christ throughout this next year. That I may experience joy through suffering, that I may enjoy the views from the tops of the mountains, and understand that when I am in the valleys, I am there for a reason and in order to appreciate the view I have to go through the valleys.
Mary I am thine and all I have is thine, Mary I am thine and all I have is thine, Mary I am thine and all I have is thine!

Summer Time Randomness

This was published on July 15, 2008

This is going to be one of those random posts with lots of different thoughts because my mind has been all over the place lately. It is hard to believe it is the middle of July already. Where has the summer gone? This has been one pretty amazing summer so far. I've gotten to enjoy the mountains a good bit, spent time with friends, been working my butt off at two jobs I love, and just enjoying myself tremendously here in Colorado. So anyways here are a few of my summer highlights so far with some random thoughts mixed in.
1) Franciscan LEAD went incredibly well. It was an incredible experience and I could not have asked for a better team to work with. The Conference was also one of the best I have ever been to. Saturday night of the conference they actually did the whole hour of adoration in silence, which was incredible. It was so awesome to see over 2000 teens praying so intensenly in silence.
2) My prayer life has been awesome since I got done with Totus Tuus Training. I've been making it to mass and finding serveral times throughout the day to quiet myself and listen to God. It has been awesome. I just hope I can keep it up once school starts.
3) I've decided to wait a year on the whole seminary thing. As I stepped back from the situation and really prayed about it, it just didn't feel right to go in the fall. I felt like God was telling me He wasn't done with me in Denver and I really needed to finish my degree for some reason. My spiritual director confirmed my decision and told me to listen to what I was getting in prayer and to not feel pressured by over eager priests. In the grand scheme of things a year is nothing and if God wants me to be a priest I will. He always wins.
4) One of my goals for the summer is to climb a 14er. I attempted it but failed. The directions I printed off took me to the top of the mountain instead of the trailhead. So I drove up a 14er. By the time we figured out where the trailhead actually was it was too late to try and climb it that day. I was pissed. But I WILL climb one before the summer is over.
5) I turned 28 last week. It was a great birthday. I went to the Cheescake Factory for dinner with some friends and had a great time. Then I gave myself a birthday present by taking off to go out of town and go to Wichita for the rest of the week and weekend. As great as it was however, I still don't know how I feel about being 28. It is just kind of this wierd age. It creeps me out that I'm only 2 years away from 30.
6) Its been awesome having Blake, Devin, and Josh out here for the summer. I'm so proud of those guys and the men they are becoming.
7) Is anyone else really nervous about this election? Seriously people wake up and smell the roses. "Hope and Change". WTF does that mean? We have too many ignorant Americans out there. Obama gives great speeches so he must be the right man for the job? Well guess what? Hitler also gave great speeches! Is it just me or does anyone else get a creepy Anti-Christ vibe from the Black Messiah?
8) I love my jobs out here and the weather is awesome, but I freaking miss Wichita and teaching. I really hope a year from now I'll be moving back there and teaching at Carroll (if I don't go to the seminary that is).
9) I'm incredibly excited for what I have left of my summer: Mary's wedding, Totus Tuus end of summer retreat, seeing the Brandt's in a couple weeks here in Colorado, the visit from the boys and the cabin in Estes, Melissa's wedding, and the Jack Johnson concert!
10) Why do cops have to be such assholes? I got a ticket in Wichita, well Park City, for supposedly running a stop sign. The only reason he gave it to me is because I was from Colorado and he knew there was no way in hell I would drive back to Kansas to contest it. Not to mention that jack ass was being this super nice guy and cracking jokes and trying to shoot the shit with me as he gave me the ticket. Freaking prick! If you are going to give me a ticket then act like the asshole you are being!
11) God is amazing. Man I just feel so blessed lately. The Eucharist is such a gift and the more I go to it the more I long for it. I have rediscoverd my love for adoration and mass and I encourage all of you to do the same. Just do it, start going for a little while every day and I promise you, your life will change and you won't want to stop going!
Ok so that's my randomness. I look forward to what is left of summer and am excited for what God has in store next year!

And God Laughed...

This was published June 11, 2008

My summer is in full swing. It has been incredible but far from what I expected so far. A few months back I wrote a blog entitled "If you want to make God laugh...tell Him your plans". Well laugh God did.
First off my summer officially begun with a trip to visit the Doherer's in Utah. It was an amazing weekend. Great food, good times with old friends, and some much needed relaxation.
Then began the week that has changed the entire course of my summer and quite possibly my year and even possibly my entire life. Totus Tuus training started on May 23rd. It was an amazing week. The teachers we hired this year are solid and doing an incredible job so far. The week, although a lot of work for me, also ended up being a much needed retreat. I was instantly imersed in prayer and the Sacraments. Also it was the last week of my preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary by Lewis DeMontfort. Let's just say finishing the consecration, daily mass, daily holy hours, daily Rosary and Chaplet, and daily Liturgy of the hours, combined with an openness from me that I have never experienced made for the perfect conditions for God to come into my life and rock it to the very core.
Three months ago I was planning ..ing my degree and moving back to Wichita in a year to teach at Carroll again and return to my home away from home. However, those were MY plans. Sure enough God has laughed and now things are heading in a different direction.
In the last few months I've been feeling the nudge to discern the Priesthood more seriously. Like most good Catholic males, I decided to ignore it and run away as fast as possible. Well then I made the mistake of really praying, which is the last thing you should do when you are trying to run from a vocation. I felt Christ telling me that I need to surrender and trust in Him completely. That I need to discern fairly and properly. I felt Him saying that if the Priesthood was my vocation He would reveal it to me through proper discernment, and if I had a vocation different from that, He would not let me have it, until I discerned Priesthood properly.
Well what that means is I have started making the steps to apply for seminary for the diocese of Wichita. Last Sunday I sent Fr. Pat York a text message asking him to call me ASAP. Well Monday he returned my call and I told him I felt I needed to discern the Priesthood properly. He responded with telling me he wanted to get the ball rolling and get me into seminary this fall. This was not the answer I was expecting. I thought for sure he would tell me to wait a year and finish my degree. Freaked out I called Fr. Jarrod and filled him in on everything. He proceeded to tell me to calm down and just go through the process and discern. By applying and going through the process I was not committing to Seminary I was simply continuing to stay open to that possibility. After I got off the phone with Fr. Jarrod, I called Fr. Matt McGuiness and left him a message. A couple hours later Fr. Matt called me back and asked me what I was doing the following Monday. I told him I knew I would have to get to Wichita eventually to meet with someone but that I didn't know how soon that could be. He responded by saying he would be in Denver that Monday. I said, "Well...then I guess I'm free". We met this past Monday for two hours.
So the ball is rolling. My paperwork is filled out. I have both a Physical and Psychological tests scheduled for the week after next and am continually going before the Blessed Sacrament asking for guidance. I don't know if I will enter seminary in the fall, or in a year, or even go through this whole process and realize I'm not supposed to enter. All of this is in God's hands. Its scary but also so incredibly exciting. My life could drastically change soon but I'm feeling a peace in simply allowing God to lead right now.
And God laughed...and I'm laughing right along with Him. I ask you all for your prayers over the next few weeks and months. God' will be done!

Let the Good Times Roll!

This was published on May 9, 2008

My summer officially begins today. Talk about wierd. I am completely finished with my first year of graduate school. Man this year flew by fast. It has been a roller coaster and one I wouldn't want to re-live but one I wouldn't trade for anything. There have been some tough times but man there have been some good times over my last nine months in Denver. And there are still some pretty awesome things to come this summer. My friend Marianna said to me the other day on the phone, "You have a good life". And I sure do.
First of all I want to look back and thank God for the many blessings over these last several months. Here are some highlights:
1. Living in the Race Street House with some pretty awesome guys.
2. Having Dr. Reyes as a Professor and now my Thesis advisor. The Guy has pretty much changed my entire perspective on life, history, and the culture. My worldview is slowly changing thanks to this man.
3. My job as coordinator of Totus Tuus.
4. Going to Wichita and suprising everyone in October, that was pretty awesome to see the looks on everyone's faces when I walked into Carroll unannounced.
5. Getting the opportunity to teach at the Regan Institute.
6. Being near the mountains with the opportunity to have gotten to go skiing and going on several hikes in the fall.
7. Boctor's wedding in January. It was a great reunion with all my brothers.
8. Having Hugh move to town and getting to spend some good times at the Celtic.
9. The 80's party my roommates and I threw in October.
10. Having my brother come to visit and spending a weekend with him here in Denver.
So yeah it has been pretty good so far. Now I have an incredible summer ahead and I am so pumped for it. Here is a quick run down of what will be going on:
Next weekend I'm going to visit the Dohrer's in Utah and chilling at their Bed and Breakfast. I'm super excited to go and relax and spend time with them. It has been a long time.
The weekend after that we start Totus Tuus training at St. Malo. A week in the mountains should be pretty awesome. I'm also really pumped that three of my former students are teaching for me this summer: Blake Maly, Josh Mans, and Devin Burns. It is definetally one of those little moments when God allows you to see the fruits of your labor. It is pretty awesome to see how these guys have grown since I met them 5 years ago when they were High School Freshmen. It will be good to have them around this summer.
Then June 16-20 I will be working as a facilitator for the Franciscan LEAD program for the Steubenville of the Rockies site. It is their new version of Young Apostles. I'm so excited to get a chance to do this. The program seems pretty amazing. Please pray it goes well!
Then the last weekend of June when Totus Tuus is on break Brett is coming out here and myself, him, and Blake are going to hang out and go hiking for a few days, should be pretty awesome.
Then my long time friend Mary Garbe gets married July 19th in Rockford, so it will be off to home to get to celebrate with the old gang. Not to mention Dark Knight comes out that weekend so it should be a pretty good time!
Then July 31 after Totus Tuus has ended I will be invaded by nine of my little brothers. Josh Rohleder, Ben Meether, Scott Cooper, Nick Seiler, Drew Hoffman, Garett Burns, Clay Kimbro, Justin Parsons, and Kyle Long are all coming out for a visit. We got a cabin for three nights in Estes Park. Sleeps 10 people and has an 8 person Hot Tub. Got a sweet deal. Apparently this trip has been coined the Pilgrimage to Jose. We are going to spend three days hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park along with getting a little subtle spiritual activities in. They are going to get a little bit of a retreat with me. It should be pretty awesome. I'm really excited about them coming out here.
Then two days after the boys leave I head to Nashville August 6th for my best friend and sister, Melissa's wedding. This will probably be the high light of my summer. Melissa got enagaged over Christmas to a pretty amazing guy named Taylor. I never figured I'd like or approve of the guy she decided to Marry but this guy is awesome and actually good enough for my little sister! (By the way she is not actually my little sister we just have called eachother brother and sister for years). It will be good to be there with the family and the old gang once again.
Lastly my summer will finish off on August 17th at Red Rocks Amphitheater! I will be going to the Jack Johnson concert there that night. I pretty much can't wait!
So that is what's ahead. Please say prayer for me that all that goes well. I'm really excited for what God has in store and I'm sure it will be another summer of growth and trial. On top of all this I will be working on my Thesis so life will be keeping me busy for sure!

Jesus Take the Wheel

This was published on April 22, 2008

It is 9:30a.m. and I'm sitting at work trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do to pass the time until 12:30. I'm on my second cup of coffee trying to stay awake and muster enough energy to last through the day. I was up until 1:30 last night talking to my roommate Dave. This seems to be a common trend, talking to Dave until it is way past my bed time. Then I suffer for it the next day. But hey if we didn't stay up talking so late who else would solve all the world's problems. If we didn't stay up late talking how else would we figure our lives out. I mean the two of us have the power to fix everything don't we? I mean I'm this incredibly Holy man that can perform miracles and Dave is this brilliant thinker...with our powers combined...hell we can't even make Captain Planet. Not saying that our talks are unproductive or non helpful, I really enjoy our talks. In a certain sense they do help a lot. But there is something I continually come back to everytime we finish a talk, that is how much I don't trust.
Has God ever given me a reason not to trust Him? No, and yet I seem to continually lack trust in His ultimate will for my life. I constantly worry about the future. I have a very hard time living in the present moment. I constantly want to be in control. Everytime I live like this something not so good happens, yet I keep trying to do the same thing expecting different results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?
I have no control. I am not in charge of my life. I am merely one small instrutment in His much larger plan. It can be very difficult to live this way, especially when we don't see the big picture right now. We want all the answers for everything right now, but we're not going to get them, because God doesn't work like that. Remember when we were kids, how easy it was to just trust our parents. Everything they said we believed. We didn't worry about anything because we knew we would be taken care of. That I am realizing is the kind of trust God wants from me now. And that kind of trust is tough because I have been wounded, I have been affected by my own sins. The innocence I had as a child has been lost. However, if I do not strive to be like that child with the grace of God I'm never going to be able to relinquish control of my life over to the one who has a much better idea of where it should go than I.
As difficult as it is I have to continually look back at my life and realize God has NEVER let me down and He NEVER will. As I look back on my life the most difficult moments have been when I did not want to trust God and tried doing things my way. When I try and stay in control I am miserable. As I look back on my life and reflect on the moments when I gave up control and allowed God to take the lead I realize I was most at peace in those moments.
So how do we do that? How do we trust more? It is a continual handing over. It is making that decision to trust every day. We must seek God in prayer in the Sacraments, which is something I have sucked at lately. The other day I was on the phone with a former student who challeneged me to pray a Rosary every day this week for an intention of his. I thought to myself, "you're challenging me, wow how the tables have turned". But he served as the voice of Christ to me reminding me that I needed to return to trusting Him and that begins with prayer!
Jesus I trust in you...Jesus I trust in you...Jesus I trust in you!

If you want to make God laugh...Tell Him your plans!

This was published on February 27, 2008

God's grace and hand in my life amazes me. The other day I was praying and thinking about where I am in my life and it is literally never where I dreamed I would be 10 years ago as I was finishing High School (WOW I honestly can't believe it will be 10 years this June since I graduated High School!!!). As I sit back and think I have had so many dreams and ideas go through my head and am amazed at how much they have changed.
10 years ago I was frantically applying to and auditioning for half the Theater programs in the country. I honestly think I went to like 10 auditions and applied to like 22 schools. That is not an exaggeration! I loved acting in High School. There was nothing like being on stage and performing. I got a huge rush from it and some of my greatest memories from High School are from being in plays and the people that I got to be in them with. I was ready to make a career out of it. I wanted to be on stage my whole life. Little did I realize God had other plans.
I think the reason I had applied to so many schools was because I had such uncertainty and just didn't want to admit it to myslef. Theater was what I loved so it made sense to pursue that as a career. Then one night as I was talking to my youth ministers about it, they looked at me and said "We understand this is what you want to do, but is it what God wants you to do? Have you talked to Him about it?" I was completely taken a back, "What do you mean have I talked to him about it?" If this was what I wanted I was going to get it. Well wrong, shortly after that on retreat after a lot of prayer I realized this was not what God wanted and I needed to do His will.
Well that path was unsure and lead to U of I as a communications major and then eventually led me to Steubenville. After Steubenville my plan was to move to New Orleans and teach and hang out with my best friends and hopefully meet a cute Southern Belle to marry. Once again not God's plans and I ended up in Wichita, KS. Then my plan was to go and get my Masters in Counseling and finally after much fighting stay in Wichita for good. Once again not God's plan so now I'm in Denver working on my Masters and working two part time jobs. I have an idea of what I want to do after this is over but once again it probably won't be God's plan. I'm thinking I should probably just stop making plans all together because God has a funny way of changing those, and since He's God, his plans generally work out and mine don't.
I have to look back and laugh at myself. Theater, honestly what was I thinking? I loved it, it was fun, but when I look at old videos of myself doing it I go, ok I was pretty good but I'm no professional, never would have made it! Then New Orleans...sure it would have been fun but I would probably be more broke than I am now and an alcoholic, not to mention had my home taken away by Katrina. Plus I never would have met the amazing people God brought into my life in Wichita. The people there became family. Lastly, counseling, so I would make more money and still be comfortable in Wichita. But I wouldn't be being challenged to grow like I am. I wouldn't be being challenged to trust like I am and I wouldn't have met the great people I have now.
I am grateful that God's grace is bigger than I am. I am glad He is in control because no matter how difficult things seem when my plans fail in the end it is always so much better when His plans work out. Who knows who I would be had my plans come to fulfillment instead of God's? But I do know that life would not be as sweet or exciting. As tough as it is there is always something exciting about surrendering to God's plans!

The Return of Peace

This was published on February 14, 2008

Well Life finally seems back to normal. It had been a rough few months. But it finally seems that peace has returned into my life. I honestly can say that I am overjoyed with life and the possibilites that are on the horizon.
First of all, probably the major reason life has becomes more peaceful is prayer. I am finally in a good and steady routine of prayer. Funny how that works huh? Every time I get in a good groove of prayer I wonder why I ever fell out of the groove. How dumb can we be sometimes, really I marvel at my own stupidity and laziness sometimes. But daily mass has become a part of my routine again, I've started saying a rosary daily and am back into praying the liturgy of the hours again as well as finally making sure I do a holy hour once a week. I can already begin to see the fruits of all of this.
Totus Tuus is starting to get incredibly busy but I am so excited as the summer gets closer. I am so excited to help with interviewing, hiring, training, and then getting to visit the parishes and observe the teams over the summer. This is going to be amazing experience. I am still in awe of how good and Faithful God is. When I got here in August I had no job and now I'm working for Totus Tuus which is a program I taught for here almost 7 years ago. It is a program I truly love, believe in and want to see succeed.
My attitude toward my job at Sts. Peter and Paul has changed dramatically. I've realized that the job did not stink because it actually stunk but because my own attitude toward it was not good. This job was gift from God too and the difficulties that come with it are difficulties God has given me to help me grow as a person and help bring about change in my own heart. I have come up with a new long term plan. I am revamping confirmation next year and am pretty excited about the program. I'm starting to slowly fall in love with my 7th graders. They will still never come close to how I feel about High School students, but my experience with them is important. I'm going to start doing things to reach out to the 8th graders as well. Finally I'm going to start taking my High Schoolers and truly developping them into leaders. I'm going to do a lot of leadership training with them this summer and get them into a position where they can help me minister to the 7th graders on the confirmation retreats. My fire for youth ministry has returned. I don't know where it went or how it came back, but the Holy Spirit is AWESOME!
Life at the Augustine Institute is also incredible. My classes are just as interesting as last semester but less stressful. I can't tell if that is because they are seriously less work or if it is because I'm just getting used to being a student again. None the less I am greatful to have the opportunity to be in such an amazing program. Last Monday we had a big open house. A lot of potential donors, students, religious, priests, and the Archbishop were all in attendance. They showed our new promotional video and the Archbishop gave a talk. My Leadership class helped with a lot of the logistics to put it on. That night I really came to realize again why I came to school here. Words can't express how amazing it is to be a part of this school. It truly is a special place and I have to remember no matter how tough things get, God wants me here!
I've also started my internship for graduate school working in the office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. It is awesome to see what goes into all the planning for big events and get to work under such talented people. They have also nominated to be an on site facilitator for the Steubenville Youth Conference LEAD program which is talking the place of Young Apostles. God just seems to be opening so many doors and opportunities. I don't know what is going to happen over the next year and a half but I'm excited to find out.
In other news I'll be going back to Wichita for Easter and look forward to seeing everyone there again.
The calm and the peace have returned. Who knows how long it will last. I know tough times still lay ahead but at least there will always be the consolation that I am doing God's will and just because it is His will doesn't make it easy. I feel re-awakened in my spiritual life and am loving this season of Lent. I pray this be a time for growth and true preparation for Easter for all of us!

Mountains and Valleys

This was published on January 24, 2008

Life seems to be full of mountains and valleys. It seems like I've been spending a lot of time in both lately. It seems like I get to the top of the mountain and then immediately find myself in a valley shortly after that. I'm beginning to see how much a part of life that is. How necessary it is to experience suffering in order to experince joy, I'm beginning to see that no matter what there is always going to be moments of dissapointment and difficulty in life, but there will also always be moments of intense joy. That's how God works, that's how Jesus lived when he came to earth. Part of living my life as a disciple is to be as fully present in the valley as I am on the mountain. To know that the view from the mountain will be that much more beautiful if I learn to appreciate and embrace the tough times in the valley.
Life has been interesting to say the least since the last time I blogged. I survived the hell that was finals week and ended up with 3 A's and a B for my first semester of graduate school. I was pretty proud of that. Being in the valley of studying and finishing papers was tough but was well worth the view at the top of the mountain when I got my report card.
I went home to Rockford for the first time in a year and a half. It was so strange being home. I don't know if I should even call it home anymore. It was so good to be there and wonderful to see my old friends and family but I don't know that I would call it home anymore. For the first time home felt like my parent's house instead of my home. Which is ok, just part of the moving on process. I was able to spend a lot of time with old friends. The high light aside from Christmas Eve and Christmas with my Family was throwing a wine and Cheese party with all the old crew. We had a great time. I think over 30 people came. It was so fun to remenise and catch up. However my time at home was not all wonderful. I was supposed to head back to Denver on December 29th but ended up extending my trip until January 3rd. My best friend Melissa's mom died suddenly of a heart attack at age 56 on December 28th. Phyllis Perrone was an amazing woman who served her children, students, and husband well. It was a really hard few days and I can imagine is still tough for the family so please continue to keep my friend Melissa and her family in your prayers.
After all of that I headed back to Denver for a whopping 14 hours and then flew out again for Joe Boctor's wedding. It was interesting going from a funeral pretty much right into a wedding. I don't think I have ever experienced that wide a range of emtions so close together in my life. But Joe's wedding was a blast. It felt so good to be reunited with so many of my household brothers. Some of whom I had not seen in at least 3 years.
After the wedding I returned to Denver for 5 days and then went to Wichita for the Knights retreat. This was a much needed retreat. As always it was very rejuvinating to be around my boys. They are such a blessing in my life, and although I miss them terribly I continue to have peace that this is the way things are to be right now.
After the retreat I came back to Denver for all of 12 hours yet again and then flew out to Lincoln, NE for the national Totus Tuus meeting. It was a long couple days but also spiritually uplifting and very informative. It will be interesting to be on the coordinator side of it. I'm really looking forward to the summer with Totus Tuus. I think I will gain a wealth of experience and also really grow in the process.
So now I am finally back here in Denver. For a long while without going anywhere hopefully. I'm slowly getting back into my routine. The first few days back in school and back in town were tough. I was experiencing a lot of doubt again and questioning God for bringing me here to Denver. But I am slowly climbing back up the mountain and out of the valley. I have to keep reminding myself that change even if it is good is hard. I have to keep telling myself that just because something is God's will doesn't make it easy. But I'm slowly starting to come alive again. The funk I was in after Thanksgiving is finally starting to fade. My prayer life is getting back on track and I am finding ways to manage my jobs and school without freaking out as much. There are moments still when I despise my Youth Ministry job but I'm starting to accept it as a cross God is given me. I'm not sure what He's doing to me and through me here at this job, but I know something is happening. His grace is working and I'm excited to see what happens.
So thus begins 2nd semester of my life in Denver. The climb uphill has begun, will I see the view from the top soon, or will I fall down into the valley again? Who knows, that is in God's hands. It won't be easy, it won't always be exciting, but it will be what God wants it to be, no more, no less, and that in the grand scheme of things is all that matters!

Livin on a Prayer

This was published on November 30, 2007

I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. That however is the problem, I've been doing way too much thinking about prayer and not enough praying. I wonder why time and again I do this to myself. I know the value of prayer, I've seen the fruits of it in my own life and the life of others, yet I constantly get in these phases where I don't do it. And then I wonder why I'm feeling like crap, stressed out, and begin to doubt God's plan for me in my life. Every time I get in a funk I realize, hey I haven't been praying. I keep telling myself the solution is simple, all I need to do is quit not praying and pray. But is it really that simple?
I constantly make excuses for why I don't pray. "I've just been so busy, I don't have time." Well wouldn't you think that because I have so much going on, that that is all the more reason to pray. But the reality of it is that prayer can be scary, because when we pray we are forced to really look at our lives. We are called to really face what is going on inside us, our weakness, our sin, our true selves are revealed to us when we pray. Prayer can change us and this can be scary because we so often get too comfortable with who we are. Lack of prayer so often shows our lack of trust in God.
In my life that is honestly what it boils down to. I'm afraid to pray lately. There is a lot in my life I need to change. A lot of things I need to face, virtues I need to work on, conversion I am in need of. Things God maybe calling me to that I don't want to do. The idea of Holiness seems so attractive to me, yet I'm so often not willing to put the effort it takes into becoming Holy. I have an entire shelf of Spiritual reading that I need to do, I am working on my Masters in Theology, taught Religion for 5 years and still have not read the Bible cover to cover. I'm thinking I need to get on that.
This last week has been so hard. I got back from an amazing break in Wichita. I got to spend time with so many people I love. I got back to Denver and it just finally hit me harder than I ever thought about the fact that all of this is real now. I'm not on vacation, I really live here. I never thought I would miss Wichita as much as I do, but I do. I won't act on this, but the thought actually came to my head that I should quit my grad. program after the Spring and move back to Wichita. Seriously what am I thinking? That would not be a smart move. It is honestly as if all the peace I felt about moving here has been ripped out from under me. I know that is not the case, it is just that I haven't been praying and the devil is just really messing with me. I also came back to two jobs that really are not all that exciting. I can honestly say that most days of my teaching career I was excited to get up and go to work. I despise my Youth Ministry job. I work mostly with 7th graders who are just not fun to be around. I have some time with the High Schoolers but it is hard to really do anything when I'm only allowed to work 15 hours a week. I enjoy Totus Tuus but it is so mindless and tedious right now that I am looking forward to the Summer where I get to be out in the parishes with the teachers and kids. I'm still loving my program but I am honestly terrified of taking finals in two weeks. Papers I could handle, but after 5 years of being the one grading tests and not being the one taking them I have to say I'm a little nervous. I've also had a cold all week.
It's been rough, but the thing that amazes me is that as I look on everything I'm feeling and going through I am upset at myself for not praying. I need to get my butt to adoration and give all of this to Jesus and His mother. But like I said it is scary. What if by some freak chance God is telling me I need to move back to Wichita. I highly doubt that is the case, but it's scary to face those realities some times. But I need to man up and sacrifice. I need to surrender. I need to be in the presence of my King. I need to get back to daily mass, I need to get back into the Liturgy of the Hours, and I need to start making Adoration and prayer a priority. Prayer needs to by our life line. Deciding to pray is simple but it is not easy. So pray for me and I will pray for all of you!

There's No Place Like Home

This was published October 24, 2007

Life is definetaly interesting. I had a pretty amazing time in Wichita this past weekend. It was strange because it didn't feel like a typical visit somewhere. It felt like I was a college student home for a break. It honestly felt more like home than Rockford does these days. The house I grew up in no longer really seems like my house, it is my parent's house. It's not like I had my own house to come back to in Wichita, but I felt a tranquility there, a welcomeness, a warmth, it was home.
I got home from class last Wednesday at around 9:30 and decided I would go to bed and wake up at 3:00 a.m. and head for Wichita. Well I tossed and turned until about 11:30 and decided it was pointless to continue trying to sleep so I got in my car and drove. Suprisingly enough I was so hopped up on caffene and adrenaline that I made it all the way to Wichita without stopping except to get gas and coffee. I got there at 7:45 a.m. I stopped at Andrew and Kristi's to take a shower and a nap.
After that I headed to Carroll in time for lunch to start. Noone knew I was coming so it was pretty sweet to suprise everyone. It was so awesome to see the looks on the guys faces as they realized I was there. I felt so loved. I felt like I had never left. It felt like this was were I belonged.
I spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with old friends and former students and Knights. I went to the Homecoming game, went to Buffalo Wild Wings with a group of the Knights, played cards with Tony and Kelly, subbed at Carroll, visited one of my old hangouts, the vagabond, with Bonny and Katie, hung out with Erin, and spent time at the Rohleder House. I got to do all my favorite things in Wichita and spend time with all my favorite people in Wichita.
It's odd. I continue to have peace and know that Denver is where God wants me. Like I have said before I love my graduate program and my new friends here but it is still hard some times. Going to Wichita kind of messed with my head a little bit. Last night I got a text message from Josh telling me they had won their soccer game. First time Carroll had won a regional soccer game in a decade. They are heading to Liberal on Thursday for their next game. I was so happy for him and the team yet at the same time it hurt me so much that I wasn't able to see it, that I wasn't able to be there for him and watch him win. I really do miss it. It really did become home after five years no matter how hard I tried to fight that. I guess this is all a part of the continued trust God is trying to show me. I have to keep trusting. I have to keep surrendering myself to His will every single day.
I guess it is true that sometimes in order to really appreciate something you need to lose it. I continue to have no doubt in my mind that I needed to leave Wichita. I need to be in Denver right now. It doesn't make it any easier though. But something inside of me is thinking I'll be back. I could be totally wrong and God could lead me some where else, so we'll see.
You know when it boils down to it I just want to have my life figured out. I want to be settled into my vocation. I want to have kids and raise boys like the guys in the Knights. I said to God yesterday, "You know here is my desire, take it or leave it because you know what is best for me. I'm just going to throw it out there and if you want to make it happen that would be great. By the time I'm done with my graduate program I want to be with the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with, I want to settle in Wichita, teach at Carroll and raise a family there." Who knows if that is God's plan for me. It seems like my plan is never God's plan, but we shall see. Once again continue to trust, be patient, and surrender! That really sucks some times, but hey, it is how we grow in holiness!
Well I have a crazy rest of the week ahead. I need to sit down and write one of my papers today. Pray for me!

Our Hearts Are Restless Until They Rest in You Oh Lord!

This was published on October 14, 2007

It has now been two months since the big move to Denver. Life around here is quickly starting to feel normal. I'm starting to find my nitch and fall into a routine. Well sort of. It seems like there isn't much of a regular routine to my life. Everyday, every week, brings a new suprise. Yes of course there are struggles, but every suprise seems to be continued confirmation that this is my new home.
I am being challenged to grow in ways I never thought of. I am being challeneged to stretch my mind. I am being challeneged to manage my time wisely. I am being challenged to work with difficult people. I am being challenged to learn to love more in spite of parish politics. I am being challenged to learn to love middle school students. I am being challenged to pray more. I am being challenged into deeper holiness and greater abandonment to God.
Last we week we had to read The Confessions by St. Augustine for my History class. It was quite challenging to read the whole thing in a week, but it really convicted me of a lot of things. First of all how much more I am in need of conversion in my own life. There are so many things that make sense in my head and I fully want to believe and live them out, yet in my own fallen human nature I am still chained to sin that keeps me from fully living those things out. My intellect may be conformed to God in so many ways but my will is still very much lacking. I need to continue to strive and seek God more than I already have. I am in need of greater freedom from my sins and attachment to this world.
The other thing that really convicted me was the story of St. Monica, St. Augustine's mother. I was so amazed by how much she prayed for her son's conversion. She was so concerned for his soul, that praying for his conversion consumed her life. It made me realize how little I am concerned with the converions of some of my family and friends . I do not pray nearly as fervently for their conversions as she did for St. Augustine's. If we are talking about people's eternal souls, maybe myself and all of us need to be more concerned with praying for conversion in people's lives, especially in the lives of our family members.
I am constantly amazed by the formation I am recieving at the Augustine Institute. God is seriously whooping my butt into shape. I still have a long way to go, but I am so excited by what is happening.
My community is starting to solidify itself too. I have had some great conversations with my roommates over the last couple weeks. We have had some great people over for meals and awesome conversations. I went to a party last night and had an absolute blast. I had some incredible conversations with people and then the night ended with a hilarious dance party. My roommates and I along with a few other guys are going to be starting to have a Bible study on Thursday evenings. This is such a blessing. God just really knew what he was doing when he brought me out here!
The dating situation is looking up as well. I am not dating anyone yet, but I just really feel good about some things. I have definetally come to a point where I am done being shy. There are entirely too many amazing, Holy, Catholic women out here and it amazes me that noone is dating them. So I've come to the point where I'm going to ask one of them out. If they say no, big deal move on! Too many of the guys sit around here waiting for a neon sign from God telling them who they should date. It's not gonna happen. I have gotten to know a few ladies recently and I am going to just take the plunge and ask one out this week.
So that's life after two months in Denver. Pray for me, I have several papers to write and several more books to read before all this is over, but I know God will give me the grace to get through it!