Thursday, December 23, 2010

Glory Hidden in Simplicity

I just stumbled upon this old blog of mine tonight as I sit here at my in laws ignoring the movie playing in the background. Wow! It has been a freaking long time since I blogged and I really need to get back into it. I really miss it in a lot of ways. Blogging has been a great outlet for me in the past and honestly I just really enjoy writing. I guess other things in life have taken priority. Not that this is a bad thing its just been different. I'm hoping maybe I can get back into it in the coming year.

Life has been simple and uneventful the last few months and I love it. After a year of being engaged, planning a wedding, and helping my now wife get adjusted to Wichita it is nice to feel some smidgen of normalcy. The wedding was incredible. The Honeymoon was wonderful. We love our house and the day to day of married life is peaceful. We enjoy the simple time and days with each other and with friends. Essentially it is life simply lived. Not too much drama, not too much excitement, just the simplicity of existence. I continue to love my job at Bishop Carroll. Teaching continues to be something that breathes life into me every day. Mary Beth has been substitute teaching almost every day at Bishop Carroll also. I love getting to see her beautiful face there. We really are enjoying wedded bliss at the moment in time but not on some huge over emotional level; rather on a simple and joyful level. I love that we get to cook for each other; I love that we enjoy quiet evenings on the couch watching movies or t.v; I love that we enjoy nights playing games and drinking a glass of wine; I love that we enjoy relaxing evenings with friends; I love that we go to mass and adoration together almost every day; Simply put I love that life is not exciting or stressful and that in itself is exciting.

I'm sitting in the warmth of Texas tonight anticipating the celebration of our first Christmas as a married couple. I miss my family and friends in Rockford terribly but I also love being here with my in-laws. Its weird but it feels just as comfortable being here as it does being in Rockford.

There is a simple joy in being sure of God's presence and grace in one's life. For me the surety comes from the sacraments, my students, my friends, my family, and most importantly the simple everyday living of the living out my vocation with the person God has destined me for. Life is by no means perfect. We have had our struggles in these first few months, but through the joys and struggles I can see that God, with my wife as His instrument and me as His instrument for her is leading us both to perfection and virtue. So as Christmas comes upon us and I look upon the simplicity of the manger I am reminded that it is in the simplicity that God's glory is revealed! Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Noone Owes You Anything!

On Ash Wednesday Fr. Jarrod gave a homily on rejecting a sense of entightlement. I think most of my Freshmen slept during that homily.

I'm scared for the future of our world and fear the success of those I teach. I fear raising a child some day in this world. I'm discovering that the two biggest problems in our world and especially among our youth are Apathy and a Sense of entightlement. This is why the health care bill passed, this is why we are in an economic crisis, this is why Obama is our president and this why my Freshmen this semester have caused me so much frustration.

I am currently seeing the lowest grades amongst my freshmen than I have in the six years of my teaching career. I am experiencing the largest number of students that I have ever experienced refusing to do assignments and turn in work. On the last unit test I gave I had 70% of my Freshmen get a D or F on it. In previous years on that same test I had 70% of them get an A or a B on it. All I hear from them is complaining and that its too hard and when I ask them if they have done the reading or the study guides (mind you I give them a study guide with every question from the test on it) they say no. I actually had a girl tell me that she would read if the Bible was more entertaining, its just boring so she wasn't going to read it. I told her God wrote only one book and I wouldn't want to be her on judgement day when God asked her if she had read His book and she has to say no. Probably not the most charitable response but what can I say I was frustrated.

I'm trying my best to be loving and patient but I wonder what the most loving thing is sometimes. I think of the story where Jesus went into the temple and knocked tables over and drove the money changers out of the temple, or his harsh words to the Pharisees. These were harsh words but they were loving. I guess I'm reaching the Jesus knocking tables over phaze in the semester and I'm ready to go into the class room and over turn some desks!

Here is what I would like to tell my Freshmen:

Dear Freshmen,

Noone owes you anything. I'm not here to entertain you. I'm here to help you get to heaven and teach you the importance of scripture and the amazing story of how God saved us. If you don't find that exciting and entertaining then I feel sorry for you. I'm sorry you have to use your brains and that there is not a youtube, movie, or video game version of this available! I'm sorry that I can't effectively text you all this information! In Revelation it says that it is better for you to be hot or cold than lukewarm for if you are lukewarm God will spew you forth from his mouth! I hate to break it to all of you but most of you fall into this lukewarm category. I fear for your souls and success in life. You are some of the brightest students I've ever taught yet the laziest I've ever met! I've done everything I can to help you and convey the beauty and importance of the Old Testament and you have refused to put in any work on your part. You expect everything to be done for you and want the easy way out of everything. Well guess what I'm tiered of stressing out over it. I will continue with what I'm doing. If you want to join me great if not you may fail and I will let you. Have a nice life!

Sounds a little harsh huh? Well I don't know if that is the approach to take or not. All I know is that I am at my whitts end and want them so badly to see the importance of the Old Testament. I want them to care and actually put forth some effort. I don't know how to do that any more than I already have. I guess I'm just asking God for patience and perseverence at this point. It has become a battle of the wills and I'm resigning myself to the fact that I can't make them accept this message or work hard. It has to come from them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Spirit of the Soverign Lord is Upon Us

Could you imagine if we could actually see the spiritual world mixed in with the physical world? Could you imagine being able to see our Gaurdian Angels at our side everyday? Could you imagine actually seeing all the Angels of God gathered around the alter at mass in worship of our Great King? Could you imagine seeing the demons around us that are fighting against the angels for our souls? Could you imagine clearly seeing Mary when we ask for her intercession? What if we actually lived as if the spiritual world was real and present among us?

There is a reality which so many of us fail to really grasp, even those of us that are devout Catholics. Do we really get the spiritual realities that are present every single day, be they good ones that lead us closer to God or evil ones that try to tempt us away from Him. This is something I have really been meditating on and asking for the Grace to more fully grasp over this past year. During my prayer time I seek to drink deeply of God's love and grace in the Eucharist so that I may constantly be aware of his presence at every moment of every day. Granted this is something that is not easy to do but I can honsetly tell you that one begins to really see the world differently when one begins to catch glimpses of the spiritual realities that are there.

When we begin to see the power of God in our lives and the reality of His presence in EVERYTHING the things that really matter seem to come into focus and the trivial matters of this world begin to fall by the wayside.

In the last year I have really started to see the Spiritual realm as a reality that is more real than the temporal earthly one we live in. This is not to say I'm not affected by the world and have achieved a state of perfection. No, I still sin, I still get caught up in the things of this world, but I can honsetly say that in a sense I have honestly almost felt a distinct presence of the spirit of God in my presence at many times throughout the day.

In less than four months I will blessed to enter into the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. The last several months have been an incredible joy but also a struggle. We have had to fight our own selfish desires to live Chastity. By God's grace we have been succesful but for the first time I've truly understood what people have meant when they said enagement sucks. In those moments I have had serious moments where I have felt a touch of God's hand and the His still small voice encouraging us. In the past few months we have really learned a lot about communication and we continue to learn. We have learned to argue and work through dissagreements. At every moment when it has been hard I have felt an incredible outpouring of God's grace drawing us closer together through those moments. We have looked at a ton of houses, put five offers down and lost four. We saw some crap and been incredibly frustrated wondering if we would ever find something. Through that I felt God's hand and constant voice telling us to be patient and know that He was in control and would take care of us. We now have a house and will be closing on it on March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Mary Beth will move in first to get things ready and then I will move in after the wedding in July. Throughout the days with my students I am aware of God's presence leading and guiding me in what to say, in helping me with patience and charity. I don't always respond to those movements as I should but there is a growing awarenece of this. I attribute all this to the constant growth in my prayer life. I live and breath by that silent time I get with my Lord daily. If we want to become aware of the Spiritual world, we MUST pray!

I have never felt so blessed in my life. I have an amazing job. I have a beautiful fiancee. I have a loving family and incredible friends. All these things are gifts from God that lead me to achieve and live what is most important: to strive for heaven and live in the awareness of God and the spiritual realities that exist to battle for our souls every single day!