Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hearts Unlike Our Own



The Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I have been at St. Paul’s Church for three weeks now, and what an amazing experience it has been! I have learned so much already, and met so many people—my head is spinning! In just a few weeks, I have done and seen more than I could have ever expected. I wish I could tell it all, but I would not have time to do the work of the Lord if I did so! I will share what I can…

Since Friday and Saturday were the celebrations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I thought it would be most appropriate to write about some of my experiences in light of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Being at a parish, I anticipated having the opportunity to meet many Catholic families. I have been impressed many times, because it is evident that these faithful families are bound by a love which is genuine and devoted. They on several occasions have shared their faith experiences with me, and their stories are all very beautiful and inspiring. How I wish I could share them all with you! What I can share is that Christ is surely in the midst of these families because they have given their hearts to one another, that is, their genuine love and devotion. Each faithful family I have met has been a clear image of the love of Christ and His Mother. Recall how Mary stood by Christ’s side even at His death. That is the love which I have seen reflected in the parents and children of these families—and I believe it is this profound love which unites them and sustains them. God bless them for their genuine love—what an image of God’s love for us!

Of course, an image is never perfectly like a real person; and so, we must admit that sometimes we have failed to love our family members as Christ loves them. I admit that sometimes I have failed to love my family as I should, and I think we all have on occasion failed to love our families as we should. That is why I titled this post: “Hearts Unlike Our Own.” Christ’s Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Heart are very different from our own. They have never failed to love one another in a familial way, but neither have they failed to love others as if they were family. The love of their Hearts envelope all people with no preference or partiality, save those who love them in return. “And stretching out His hand towards His disciples He said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:49-50). It is clear, then, that the Christian mission is to love all as if they were our family—indeed, they are our family. This is obviously not easy, because we all know how much easier it is to love those who love us. Nevertheless, let us start by loving our families as we should, and then love those outside of our families in the same way. After all, it is the love we give that we receive!

Christ’s Heart and Mary’s Heart are different from ours because they love us as if we were their children, their “brother and sister and mother.” However, Christ has a higher love for His true brothers and sisters because they do the will of God the Father. He loves His true brothers and sisters because they love Him as brother and as Son of the Father. That is why He said: “Here are my mother and my brothers.” He prefers those who love Him to those who do not. This does not mean He does not love all; but that He desires all to love Him and to love one another (He cannot force us to love). “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 13:12). When we fail to love, we reject Christ’s love for us, and so we reject our brotherhood with Him. Truly, we break His Heart because we have broken the bond of love between us and Him.

I have seen this profound, heartfelt love here in the community of St. Paul’s Church. The families I have met who love one another in a devoted way, beyond weakness and partiality, are the same families who love others in the same way. The familial love strengthens the love of those outside the family! I hope I have expressed my point. May you and I open our hearts today, not just to receive the love of friends, but to share our love with strangers. And what a perfect day to love, on Father’s Day! Let us love as the Father loves us. We were once strangers to Christ, but He loved us anyway and now considers us as faithful disciples: His brother and sister. Amen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

QuickPost: Pictures from Ordination

Good evening!

I thought some pictures from the recent priesthood ordination
might interest you. It was a great event and I really enjoyed being
able to partcipate in the Mass in such a proximate way.

Enjoy the picts, and I promise to write a full post in the near future!

God bless





Monday, June 15, 2009

QuickPost: Candidacy and Preparations for Rome

Greetings from Maryland!

It is a beautiful day here--sunny, perfect temperature, a few clouds here and there--
there is no place like Maryland!
I just recently was admitted into candidacy, the first public step toward priesthood. On June 9th, I publicly professed my faith and my willingness to fully discern the vocation to the priesthood. The Archbishop now sends me forth with his blessing and admittance into candidacy. Now everything has been prepared for me to begin my formation in Rome!
Another recent event was when I introduced myself to St. Paul's parish (this past weekend). The picture below is of me speaking during the 11:30AM Mass.

I really enjoyed being able to introduce myself to the parish. It is a vibrant community, and they
accepted me warmly. I am so excited to be able to serve them during the summer!
We have a lot of activities already planned here at St. Paul's. In July, Fr. Matt (the pastor) and I are hosting a New Parishioner Cookout, in order to welcome all the new parishioners into the community. St. Paul's may have been founded in 1838, but the parish has continued to flourish--the 2009 year has already more than fifty families who are new to the parish! Obviously, there is need to celebrate and welcome this large group.
I will tell you about more activities later, but now I have to go and get some other work done.
Enjoy this beautiful weather, Marylanders--and for anyone else I hope your weather is nice as it is here!

Friday, June 5, 2009

QuickPost: St. Paul's Catholic Church

Greetings from Ellicott City!

I have just finished my first week at St. Paul's Catholic Church as the seminarian intern for the summer. The parish is a beautiful, historic church (it was established in 1838). Though the church building is old, the parish is vibrant and new--just like the universal Church! I am really excited about the work God has in store for me this summer at such a great parish. Please visit the church's website at http://www.stpaulec.org/. You are certainly welcome to stop by and visit too!

This (obviously) is the first post I have done for this weblog. I am really happy to have found a way by which I can keep in touch with many people at once (it saves me a lot time composing emails). However, please feel free to contact me at my email if you want to; though I cannot guarantee a quick reply.

I hope in the future posts to attach photos and even video, so please check frequently!
God bless you and have a great summer of rest and reflection. I am planning on posting pictures soon of the parish, and maybe some pictures from the different activities I will be doing.

The Vatican