As a lot of you know, I’ve been struggling with whether God is calling sinful me to be a priest of Jesus Christ, or not. Many of you know last year I stayed with Fr Leo McDowell from the diocese of Great Falls/Billings. Unfortunately, things at home haven’t been going well, so I didn’t have the chance to go back and stay in the winter like I had planned.
Under most circumstances, I’m a person who isn’t afraid to cause trouble or make a few people angry here and there. (If you’ve been following this blog you’re quite aware of that). I don’t reveal much about home life on here mostly because I don’t wish to reveal everything. But I will say it is immensely difficult trying to discern vocation with the dad being anti-Catholic. So thus to keep peace, I don’t really discuss matters of religion or politics. (I’m conservative, he’s not to say a word)
That said, I’ve had a chance to pray about the 3 Evangelical Counsels, and I will share with you my thoughts on them.
Poverty: As someone who has love for the Holy Liturgy, there are some outside the Catholic ranks, that look at the beautiful vestments, altars, statues, etc, are all against the 1st Evangelical Council of poverty. This is not the case. When it comes to God, no expense can be limited in my opinion. When I see the great Cathedrals in Europe, or even some here in the United States, I see the Faith of the people, I see Catholicism in its great beauty. Even at my humble parish of St Therese, you see the life of the Saint on the Church, it’s a very edifying thing. When it comes to Holy Liturgy, I want the best vestments, the most worthy vessels for Our Lord, the most well executed Liturgy to offer to God. Poverty is the reliance on God to provide means for the material needs of the world. This doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have money, or material things, but only the things that are necessary. Some are called to radicalize this, most are not. Church items are expensive because they’re NOT mass produced, specialty items always cost a bit more than things that are mass produced. For example if you pay for say a 400 dollar cassock (which btw, is the one that I want ;)), some may go, that was a bit expensive, shouldn’t you be living under more impoverished clothing? Well in short, the cassock is a sign of that, why? 1st it’s made out of the cheapest color to make (black), it identifies you as a priest (so much for hiding under civilian clothes), you’ve given up the fashion of the world (though I can make a pretty reasonable argument that cassocks are better than worldly fashion)…Now I could sit and go on about this, but I won’t. In short, love of Liturgy does not mean that I must sacrifice something for God, if anything it means that I must enhance for God, because of my own lack of wealth.
Obedience: I don’t think that anyone likes being told what to do. I know I don’t (hence why I’m my own boss for the most part). Obedience is well, hard. Obedience requires that someone be above you. Unfortunately in Protestant circles, they’ve effectively become their own bosses. It’s humbling to have to listen to an authority and to squash your own will. Some people view obedience as oppressive, I view obedience as freeing. Beats having to decide on your own that’s for sure. God willed that a hierarchy exist, the Pope, the Bishops, the priests, all of it was Divinely instituted, to not listen to the authorities is to not listen to God effectively. Obedience comes in everything, even in the Holy Mass. We conform ourselves to the rubrics of the Mass so that Christ is the true actor, not us. For those of you that attend Masses that I serve at you’ll notice I’m very precise about the rubrics, I bow my head at the name of Jesus, oremus, etc, I keep my genuflections nice. All to take myself away from the Mass, (you’re not supposed to notice me, part of the vestments thing, lol). We even have those wonderful people in the government as an authority over us as well. (Though they’re often times wrong) they’re still the authority. Even Jesus listened to the authority of the Pharisees and did all the Jewish customs, why should we be any different?
Chastity….I have nothing profound to say here :p, but this charism needs to be lived out by everyone, especially our priests in light of the scandals and all that. I could go into detail about things, but I won’t
So, now you ask, what’s next in the cards for your humble blogger?
With my thoughts, I’ve given a new look to religious life…
1. Institute of the Incarnate Word:…It’s a new order (relatively) that’s been around since the super old year of 1984. (A year before yours truly was born). Incarnate just ever happens to be my favourite Theology word. As much as I love the charisms of the older orders, Carmelites, Franciscans, etc. I’m not going to lie, being encompassed in a shadow isn’t always a good thing. In other words, There’s so much greatness to live up to, (Ss Simon Stock, Francis, Bonaventure, Dominic, etc), I aspire to be St Joe (although I hardly live such a life to be a Saint). Somethings are much easier in a younger order a chance to really develop and build upon something. That’s to say, I’m a kind of person who likes to build, and not take what’s already good and make it better. The chance to visit the order and really in a way build from scratch does intrigue me.
2. Order of Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy I consider myself to be Augustinian in my Theological understandings and reflections even though I use a linear approach like St Thomas Aquinas. I deal with absolutes in a gentle manner and am not the one who will try to reason your socks off :). The Mercy of God just happens to be my favourite attribute of God. (Since I need a ton of it :p). I had a chance to read the rule of Augustine and much of it fit my way of thinking.
Therefore, over the next month, I will be visiting Our Lady of Peace Shrine, the Institute of the Incarnate Word House in Washington DC, and the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. In all I should be gone nearly a month. I will let you know when I’m leaving to visit.
What you can do.
a. Pray for me, I need ALL the help I can get in the face of anti-Catholicism/vocation that I face at home.
b. supportive e-mails are always a good thing :), my blogger profile has link to my e-mail
c. Did I mention pray for me :)…I don’t think I can mention that enough
Thanks for reading