The Beginning

The Beginning

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Prayer for Vocations

I received this prayer card with this prayer for vocations on the back of it and I thought I would share it with everyone. The Church is always in need men willing to answer the call that Christ has planted in their hearts. It is often said that we are in the midst of a priest shortage, which is a correct statement. But people often go further in saying their is a vocation shortage. However there is no shortage of vocations, but there is a shortage of those vocations willing to say yes to the call God has for them. Be not afraid is a constant theme in scripture and it was picked up by our beloved Holy Father Pope John Paul II. It was the center of his message to young people in the Church. Be not afraid. Open wide your hearts to Christ. I think it is often out of fear that young people choose to ignore the priestly call. But I also think they are also distracted. Distracted by this world. Wanting to make money, to have things that will supposedly make them happy. To have a career that they will enjoy. To have a wife and kids. The last two are not bad. I want to make myself very clear on that. They are obviously very good and gifts given by God. But I think young people don't understand what it means to be a priest or religious. When I ask young guys if they have ever thought of being a priest I usually get a common response. "Yes". Well then what's the problem? "I like girls to much." And thats usually followed by the both of us laughing. But its so true and its so common. There are two main reasons why I joined the Capuchins. One was because I was affirmed in the fact that the order works with the individual so that the individual can do what he loves and enjoys. The order wants us to use the gifts God has given us for the greater good of the community and of the world wide Church. For instance there are friars that are artists, teachers (in every subject), preachers, chaplains, architects, mechanics, scholars, missionaries, parish priests, so on and so forth. My opinion is that for the most part whatever you want to do can in some way be done within religious life. That is my opinion. You can take it or leave it. But the important thing is that the order wants you to be happy and a lot of freedom is given. I was filling out job applications for youth ministry when I decided to apply to the Capuchins. When I started getting involved in youth ministry my freshman year of college I started putting off the thought of religious life. That grew the longer I was in youth ministry. Then I realized that I can do youth ministry as a religious. And now here I am. lol. Second is family. Would I love to have a family? Yes! But one thing that attracted me to the Capuchins was that even though I was a person from the outside looking in, a new guy, I felt like family. I was welcomed into the community and shown great love and hospitality even before I officially began my application. I felt at home. And even though I will never have a family in the literal sense of a wife and kids, as a friar and God willing one day as a priest, my wife will be the Church and my children will be the people of God. Countless in number. What greater thing can a guy ask for? Is it easy? No. I wont lie. But nothing that is worthwhile is easy. Is it scary? Heck yes! New people, new experiences, new everything. Is it hard being away from family and friends? Yes. But do I trust in God that whatever happens is meant to happen? Yes I think I can say I do for really the first time in my life I can honestly say that I trust it will all work out in the end. So "Be Not Afraid". These are my thoughts on vocations and I ask you all to pray with me that more will answer God's holy call to such a blessed way of life.
Peace and all good,
Prayer for Vocations
Most High and Glorious God,
You called Francis of Assisi
to follow Jesus, your Son,
in the spirit of gospel poverty,
humility, and charity. Through
the waters of Baptism and the
power of the Holy Spirit,
you continue to draw others
to discipleship and service.
Through the intercession of the
Blessed Virgin Mary and
Saints Francis and Clare, grant
that there may be an increase
in vocations in the church.
We especially ask that more
young men will generously respond
to the invitation to follow your Son,
Jesus, as Capuchin Friars.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Week at St. Lawrence

The last week has been a busy one. On Friday Oct 29th the postulants from the New York province arrived here in Milwaukee. There were four plus their postulancy director. On Saturday we took them to the lakefront and bought them coffee at one of the local coffee shops. From the very beginning we got along great. On Sunday we headed up to St. Lawrence High School Seminary about a little over an hour north of Milwaukee. We were going up to have class by one of the friars from my province over the history of the Mass/Eucharist/Liturgy. Some of it for me was review but other things were knew. The classes were Monday through Wednesday for about 5 1/2 hours a day broken up into different sessions. We began with the Christian community during the first century and how they celebrated the Lord's Supper and we traveled all the way up to our present day. It is amazing to see how much the Mass has changed over the centuries. What began as a meal in the homes of what were then still Jewish families has now transformed in to the Eucharist celebrated in large churches and cathedrals. It wasn't until the period between 313-750 that because of the time period and people focusing more on their own sinfulness than the mercy of God, that kneeling first came into practice. It wasn't until the 600's-700's that the sacrificial aspect of the mass came into practice. And up until this point there weren't even prescribed Eucharistic prayers as we have today. I think it's just interesting for me personally to see how the celebration of the Mass has been evolving throughout the centuries and even up to today when the bishops of the United States are again introducing changes into this ancient and holy celebration. The purpose though remains the same. "Do this im memory of me," Christ told us. We come together as community to express our beliefs in Christ Jesus our Lord and God. Fully divine, yet fully human. And that as the bread and wine are transformed into His body, blood, soul and divinity, so too must we transform our own lives following after the one who gave gave everything not because He had to, but because He loved us. The humility of God was something that astounded St. Francis and should astound each and every one of us. That God emptied Himself, stooping down and accepting the limitations of the human condition and remaining with us under the species of Bread and Wine. What greater love is there than this?

While we were busy with classes we were also able to spend time in community with each other. We were truly blessed to have the New York postulants with us and we came together as brothers very quickly. We were also lucky to have such fine hosts as the friars living up at St. Lawrence Seminary. They are always very welcoming. Capuchin hospitality. There is none better to be found. I would have to say that this week was probably the best week I've had in postulancy so far. I cannot wait to go to New York in April when we are scheduled to visit the New York postulants on their own terf.

Peace and all good,