Saturday, August 30, 2008

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

I remember the class so well.
I was a sophomore in college
It was supposed to be on liturgy but it was more a class on life
The professor, a younger friar, was talking about worship.

He explained that worship was not about paying your dues
or putting in your time,
or fulfilling your Sunday obligation.

Worship was rather about
giving your time,
giving your energy,
giving your attention,
giving even your physical presence
giving your very self to God.

Worship was about loving he said.
Have you ever been in love he asked us ?
There was awkward silence in the classroom,
no one knew what to say.

Most of us felt loved by our families,
some of us had felt that we had experience being in love in relationships.
When someone explained that to him.. he asked again...

Have you ever loved ?
“Love he said “is about losing yourself in the mystery of another
Not loosing yourself against your will, but rather
sometimes desiring despite yourself
to give yourself completely to another.

I have always thought of that class whenever I have heard Jeremiah’s lament.
“You have duped me Lord and I allowed myself to be duped”

One author I read says that it could also read
You have seduced me Lord and I allowed myself to be seduced.
Jeremiah lamented because he was in love,
He found himself lost in God and God’s will.
He wanted run
He wanted hide
But he couldn’t

He was like a bug attracted to a light
It approaches the light at great risk because the bulb is hot and dangerous
But it just can’t seem to free itself for its power.

Jeremiah suffered greatly because of his love
as he proclaimed God’s prophecies
His neighbors, his friends, his family,
laughed at him
Had God not promised that the reign of David and his ancestors would last for ever

No matter what suffering it caused him
Jeremiah could not be silent
Love compelled him to speak without counting the cost.

In the second Reading Paul pleads with the Romans to kind do the same thing
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”

A living sacrifice…. Not a dead one
He is not asking the Romans to kill themselves and place their dead bodies on an altar

Rather Paul asks them to give their lives to God
He asks them to give their lives to each other.

He encourages them to do this by living as God would have them live
And following God’s will and God’s law.

In other words
He pleads with them to be allow themselves to be compelled by love

In the Gospel surprise the very same theme is found
After Peter’s profession of faith which we heard last week the mystery is gone
The word is out.
Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

And almost immediately Jesus begins to instruct the apostles on the type of Messiah he must be

Like Jeremiah
Like Paul asked the Romans
Jesus trys to explain that he is compelled by love

Love will calls him to make of his life a living sacrifice.
He will not be rich or powerful
Love will compel him to accept the cross

Jesus did not just walk up to the cross and jump on.

He allowed himself to be taken
to be tried
and be killed in the most brutal way

And just like following God’s will was a struggle for Jeremiah
Being compelled by love was not easy for Jesus

Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane he pleaded with God to take the cup away from him

Yet his love for God and us allowed him to offer his life for many.

His response to Peter is so harsh because just when he needed Peter to help him
Peter tried to give him an easy way out.
Peter encouraged him not to love or follow God’s will.

Peter was an obstacle rather than the help that Jesus needed

What does this all have to say to us ?

Jeremiah could not be silent
Love compelled him to speak the truths revealed to him by God
He outlived 5 kings all of whom tried to silence him

He was exiled, tormented, made fun of and even thrown in a well
but he could not be silent.

From Jeremiah we learn the power of love and perseverence

Just like God duped or seduced Jeremiah
God is constantly trying to seduce us
Have we fallen in love?
Have we allowed ourselves to be duped?

If our soul is not thirsty for God?
If we are not duped
If we are not a living sacrifice

What are we thirsty for ?
What are we drawn to ?
What is our light ?
What has caught our eye ?

is the object of our affection?
And is it Good or Godly ?

Does what we long for make us better people
or God forbid
are we the object of our love
are we lost in ourselves our wishes our wants

Our wishes
Our desires
Our passions

Peter was Jesus' dear friend
In the end Peter would die upside down rather than renounce Jesus and his teaching

Jesus needed Peter at that moment to help him walk the road that God was calling Him to. Peter failed him

You kind of have to feel sorry for Peter he just didn't know any better

Yet all of us have the obligation to be the best we can be so that when moments like this come and our friends need us we are able to help them encourage them build them up.

Our call to holiness in not just about our own salvation but also involves the salvation of those we care about.

We have to grow in holiness for each other.

If we don't then we will fail like Peter.
We will fail when people important to us need us the most.

Today the Scriptures give us three important examples...

Jeremiah was lost in God... and refused to give up his mission
Paul begged us to offer our lives to God..
Jesus allowed himself to be lost in God...

Have you ever been in love… the friar asked us.

Have your ever allowed yourself to be lost in another

Have you allowed yourself to be lost in God.

... a very important questions indeed

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thoughts on Guilt

I was watching Star Wars last night on Spike (not the best TV network). I think it was "Revenge of the Sith." Whatever it was, it is the one in which Darth Vader goes over to the dark side of the force. You can see him struggling during the movie. He is torn between good and bad, giving and self-seeking, pride and humilty. Slowly but surely, step my step, he is leaves the good power of the force and chooses the dark side. His choices are not always big but often little compromises. He is also driven to protect his wife whom he loves. What could be wrong with that?

There is one moment when he seems to make his choice. He looses hope when he wounds the Jedi Knight who is about the kill the Evil Counsul. Darth's motives are mixed and confused. He wants to do the right thing and give the Counsul a fair trial (nothing bad with that), he wants to protect his wife (still a nobel cause) he is intriqued by the power and promise of the evil counsul. Aren't we all intrigued by the power and promise of sin from time to time? His downfall happens when he laments "What have I done?" At that moment I think he lets go of goodness and looses hope for redemption. Doesn't it sound familiar ? Aren't those also the words of Judas who was also overcome by guilt and grief ?

I have to say guilt has been good to me or maybe even good for me. There have been moments when feeling guilty has challenged me to repent and try harder to do good. Guilt in its proper dose can be a blessing a catalyst for change and conversion. This is especially the case when we keep in mind that God's mercy and God's goodness are much more powerful than evil. Darth, at least for a while, forgot that fundamental truth, so did Judas.

Yes, guilt can help us turn around when we find ourselves on the wrong road. By the way, guilt is not a gift that keeps giving. We feel guilty the first time we mess up and maybe the second time and depending on what we are doing guilt may still work the third and the forth time. However, after a while we just stop feeling guilty about our bad choices or actions. Then the road back to "the force", back to what is good, gets harder.

Yesterday I was encouraging some students to go to House Mass as they walked down the hill from Leahy Hall past the House. They were on their way to the Pryz to eat their 4th meal of the day.. (anytime dining baby). As they walked on I shouted out "we have the Bread of Life here" one turned around and stopped. She said," Catholic guilt always works well on me".

Thanks be to God, but like any good thing always in moderation and never without hope.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nothing new under the Sun

Today was a day of staff meetings and student interventions, and financial aid problems and phone calls from Freshmen Parents. A couple kept telling me "we're not a helicopter parents". I spoke with one kid about finding a place to live, another one blushed when I told him how fortunate he was to have a girl friend who cared for him. One of my daughters ran up to me out of the blue gave me a hug and told me how happy she was. The Renew Core team all showed up for training and really demonstrated that they care about helping their peers grow in their faith. The Social Justice introductions meeting was packed 65 students (WOW) Even with my afternoon nap I was tired but around 8:00 PM I decided to see how things were going with my kids in Spellman.

When I drove up (yes I drove over instead of walking) I came upon a group of boys who were talking about girls, What else? They were a little intimidated by me but I broke down the barriers by bantering with them and pushing them around. They are all from Miami and somehow after only two days they found each other. They were happy and playful and just seemed comfortable.

When I went in Spellman I rode the elevator to the top floor and walked my way down. The girls were studying and talking and hanging up pictures. The boys were running around their floor in packs pushing each other. There wasn't a whole lot of studying going on the second and forth floors. When I arrived on the 3rd floor one of my girls ran out of her room and yelled holy crap.... I told her I had been called worse and she blushed. On the second floor I got invited into a quad. they were sitting there eating their wings and chillin as they say. They were happy to recount their day to me and their adventures at the local supermarket. As I left they yelled out "Fr. Bob our door is always open to you."

Its the same every year. The faces change but the behaviorsand the excitement and the struggles and the joys stay the same.

One kid, he called himself a Prep Boy (I'm assuming St. Joe's Prep) was sitting at a table reading Plato's Republic. When I entered the room he looked up.. "I'm so happy to see that you are doing your work Pal", I said. He said in reply I've got to do well, I've got to get this in my head" I'm sure he will, wanting to do well is over half the battle.

As I walked home Adam Gagliardi called.... a blast from the past so to speak... He's engaged and I saw him and his beautiful fiancee in the parking lot last week. He told me that he and his wife to be would like me to witness their wedding. Another gift on a long day to be sure.

What get's better then this? Just to be a part of their lives, just to enjoy their confidence is a privilege indeed.

If anyone knows how the bulletin board just happened to fall off the wall on Spellman 4 let me know and I will bring my tool box over and put it back up with them.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Donuts and Push ups... (A student sent me this)

Thought you might like this:

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States.

Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery.

Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. 'How many push-ups can you do?'

Steve said, 'I do about 200 every night.' '200?

That's pretty good, Steve, ' Dr. Christianson said.
'Do you think you could do 300?'

Steve replied, 'I don't know.... I've never done 300 at a time.'

'Do you think you could?' again asked Dr. Christianson.

'Well, I can try,' said Steve.

'Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,' said the professor.

Steve said, 'Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it.'
Dr. Christianson said, 'Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind.'

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, 'Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?'

Cynthia said, 'Yes.'

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, 'Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?'

'Sure!' Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, 'Joe, do you want a donut?'

Joe said, 'Yes.'

Dr. Christianson asked, 'Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?'

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, 'Scott do you want a donut?'

Scott's reply was, 'Well, can I do my own push-ups?'

Dr. Christianson said, 'No, Steve has to do them.'

Then Scott said, 'Well, I don't want one then.'

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, 'Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?'

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, 'HEY! I said I didn't want one!'

Dr. Christianson said, 'Look!, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it.' And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, 'Jenny, do you want a donut?'

Sternly, Jenny said, 'No.'

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, 'Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?'

Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, 'No!' and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, 'Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?'

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, 'Well, they're your pushups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.' And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, 'NO! Don't come in! Stay out!' Jason didn't know what was going on.

Steve picked up his head and said, 'No, let him come.'

Professor Christianson said, 'You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?'

Steve said, 'Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.'

Dr. Christianson said, 'Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?'

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. 'Yes,' he said, 'give me a donut.' 'Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?'

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular.

Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, 'Linda, do you want a donut?'

Linda said, very sadly, 'No, thank you.'

Professor Christianson quietly asked, 'Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?'

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. 'Susan, do you want a donut?'

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. 'Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?'

Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, 'No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.'

'Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?'

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, 'And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.'

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.

'Well done, good and faithful servant,' said the professor, adding, 'Not all sermons are preached in words.'

Turning to his class, the professor said, 'My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not His only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid.'

'Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?'

(It is not my intention to violate anyone's intellectual property rights. If this is not public domain please let me know and I will take this down from my blog)


Fr. Bob

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Freshman Orientation Mass 2008 Homily Notes

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.
You will learn so many things here at Catholic.

You will learn to sing, to heal, to teach, to design.
And to build

You will learn to, to counsel, to inspire.
You will learn about love
and you will learn firsthand
about adult friendships and relationships.

Hopefully you will learn how to be generous people

You will study the wonders of nature
and you will come to understand that
there is indeed a happy harmony of faith and reason.

You don’t have to check your brain at the door
when you come into a church or live your faith
Our faith is indeed reasonable….and reasonable people have faith.

And As you study the wonders of the nature seriously
You will see that your reason, your study, can bring you to faith.

When you will leave here many of you will raise families
And some of you will become priests and religious
and your family will be the church.

In the last 10 years
almost 94 young men and women from CUA
have heard God’s call to religious life or diocesan priesthood and chosen to follow it. Who knows…

Yes, you will have to attend class after class,
read book after book,
write paper after paper,
(don’t copy your papers if you do and we catch you fail the course)

And at the same time you are doing all of this…
Because you are young and can still sleep until 4:00 PM on Sundays
You will explore Washington and all the best it has to offer.

You will laugh until it hurts
and there will be moments during these next four years
when you will say to yourself what could be better than this.

There will also be moments when you would wish you
were any other place on the face of the earth
Especially when you are studying for your dreaded class.

And I will pass you by and say
don’t worry you don’t need statistics
or whatever to get into heaven
and you will laugh

And then you will study again because while you don’t need it for heaven
you do need it to graduate.

Yes you have sooo much to learn here

And that said I want you to understand
that you have already had the most important lesson
of your time here at CUA.

I believe I am convinced that You have already heard the most important lecture of your university experience

If you missed it I’ll repeat it.

““You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

That’s it…
Yep that’s it
That’s the most important lesson a person can learn in life

In those simple words we learn why we were created
and in those words we find the real meaning of our lives.

In those simple words We learn our purpose
Our vocation…. what we are supposed to do with our lives.

In those two simples sentences we learn that we are in a relationship
with everyone around us even if we don’t know them

Those simple words teach us the profound truth that
That God longs for a relationship with us
we learn that we share the same family

Your neighbor is indeed your brother and sisters

That’s it, every book and every class and every paper somehow touches on those two simple sentences.

Everything we do here at Catholic should help you love God and Love your neighbor more.

It is so important holy ones that we ponder those simple words.
There are so many people, good people who just never get it.

There can never be God free moments, in our lives…

The Gospel today challenges us to ask ourselves everyday
Have I loved God today
Have I followed his will

Am I a better person because I had 24 more hours….

Have I given God His rightful place in my heart
Have I loved my neighbor as myself ?

Was I respectful of the kids in my Residence Hall
Was I respectful of the faculty and staff

Did I pick up the pizza boxes in the Residence Hall Lounge
Or even more heroic did I pick up the junk that some dumb kid through all over the hall so that so that the cleaning lady would not have to do it in additional to all her other work.

Was I respectful and loving to her ?

Have I loved….

Pray God the answer is yes

In the first reading we heard about a field of dry bones
Can you imagine a field of dry bones.
Can you imagine a plain covered with just dry bones

I don’t know if there could ever be a place or an image more devoid of hope
Then a field of dry, dead bones

And yet that’s what a life can be without God
Don’t live your life without God

Last year when our Holy Father came to Campus
(He was right in this Church)
He went to the Pryz to give his talk

He didn’t enjoy our fine cuisine there
But gave an inspirational talk there …

His message was simple and direct
Christ is our hope

There were banners all over the place proclaiming this profound truth

Christ can radically transform our world
Christ with our help can transform the world
Christ is our only real hope…

It is very fitting and providential that your very first lesson
At CUA was from this Gospel and at our first mass

I hope We will pray together often over these four years
I hope all of us have listened well and learned

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.

And now the part I cut and paste from year to year….

For those of you who have been given the gift of faith
For those of you who have had an experience of prayer
An experience of God's Presence...

You are welcome here.
We are happy your are here
I am in awe at how our students pray...
At 9:00 PM Mass or the Praise and Worship Adoration

Please share your faith with your friends
But share it humbly.... gently

Never let your faith be tainted by pride or arrogance.
You will never bring a person to Christ by yelling at them or condemning them...

Remember the Church is for sinners that’s why we all get to sit here.
Humility, loving service, prayer are how we can become saints.

Those of you who have been going through the motions.
You know Your Dad get's you up.. for church
No donuts if you don’t go etc.

It's time for you to stand on your own two feet..
Inform yourself and decide...
Decide whether you believe or not

If our faith is real
it is worth 100% not 50 or 20 or 10...
Live it.

Those of you who aren't Cathollic...
You are welcome here...
We can't provide the 12% of our undergraduates who aren't Catholic with worship space or campus ministers in your denomination

However, We will be happy to help you find a place to worship off campus in your faith tradition...

We respect your religious preference and there is no organized plan to
"Convert you"

And if you identify your religious preference to us….
I (We) will gladly Harrange you about to going to your Synagogue...
or your Mosch or your church
just like I (We) do to our Catholics... We are an equal opportunity Harrangers..

If you are non Catholic we are happy you came to Mass...
My advice
Don’t’ sit in the first row
Sit someplace else and simply watch the people in
front of you
Stand when we stand sit when we sit...

When it looks like everyone is getting up for a walk that's when we receive communion. Should you wish you can get into line too

Simply put your arms like this
When you come up to the Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

It will be our privilege to say a brief prayer for you...

Those of you who don't believe in God.
You are welcome here.

Obviously we have some pretty significant differences in the way we look at our lives.... and our world

All of us here in Campus Ministry and Student Life consider ourselves Student Advocates...
and we never check the religious preference or lack there of when a person makes an appointment.

Find us if you need us for anything
If you come to see us we will listen to you and enter into dialog with you

And even if we are still in disagreement when you leave...
It is our hope that we will part friends.

Class of 2012

You can and will do incredible things…

Always Remember your first class at CUA

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Remember It’s going to be on the final Final exam…
I guarantee it.


Monday, August 11, 2008

On - Prayer

Tonight Jeff one of the Campus Ministers on our Professional Staff gave a talk on prayer....

It was very well done he spent a lot of time on it but one point that he made really struck me. Prayer begins with words our prayer takes on flesh as we use our bodies to speak. Slowly our verbal prayer becomes mental prayer it moves into our minds our thoughts if you will. This type of prayer is called meditation. As we grow accustomed to meditating on the events in the life of Christ and the truths of our faith we fall in love. And that is when our prayer centers itself in our heart. Only then is our prayer an expression of our love for God. Sometimes, lots of time two people say I love you without ever needing a word.... that's contemplation.

Lots to think about

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A joyful day indeed

Today Tara Rutledge and Jimmy Kane stopped by. I was really happy to see them and after we were about 5 minutes into our conversation Jimmy let out the good news.... They were engaged yesterday in Alexandria the sight of their very first date. They looked so happy. They are the second couple to get married from a trip we took to Panama. Amazing. here is a picture of the newly engaged....

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Another year begins...

This is number 11 at CUA.

Tonight we (the professional and students staffs) gathered on the roof of the friary for the annual welcome back cookout. Fr. Andy ran the grill and everyone chipped in.. Lots of food lots of stories lots of smiles lots of enthusiasm. Youthful exuberance to be sure and at its finest.

We have such wonderful students and tonight is always very moving inspiring if you will. Every year after the cookout we lay out our plan for their training (it takes two weeks), build community, feed your souls, keep your eye on the cross, program and plan well, respond appropriately to a crisis situations, know your faith and how to share it confidently, appropriate boundaries, appropriate boundaries, appropriate boundaries, appropriate boundaries. That's always a big one as you can guess. This year we passed out binders for the training and on the cover Erin Craine put the pictures of every student minister group for the last ten years. This program is so much bigger than anyone person or anyone year. Every single person has left their mark... impressive indeed.

To enter into prayer we played this song..... a message we should all think about

Amazing forever and a day..

I'm grateful, excited, and I'm going to bed.

God Bless you and pray for our student ministers...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Summer begins to set...

A week from today we will be praying Night Prayer with the Student Ministers. The great adventure begins again. This is year 19 for me in as a campus minister. I really am a dinosaur verging on fossil in campus ministry years. They have been such rewarding years.

I am not the least pessimistic about tomorrow. I have seen who will be running the show and we will be fine. They are goofy and adolescent (their supposed to be we're not.) They are caring and insightful. They are connected and stay connected, email, text messaging and places like facebook help them hold on to life giving relationships even their circumstances call them to different cities or even different countries.

Here are a few of the goals I have received from our new group of Student Ministers... see why they inspire me.... see why I am filled with hope.

One Student Minister wrote :
-I want to be able to handle failure, disappointment, and setback in mature, faith-filled, prayerful, and understanding ways
-I want to increase my patience
-I want to increase my humility
-I want to find out more about myself
-I want to find the ability to find a balance in a hectic schedule/life
-I want to come out of this year with a higher sense of confidence in God's calling for me

Ministry Goals
-I meet and get to know a little bit about each and every one of my residents
-I want all of my residents to have positive encounters with me
--I want to make deeper connections with everyone in The House, especially ones I don't know that well
-I want to be able to model Jesus at all areas of my life whether I'm in the dorm or not, having the ministry as my main motivation
-I want to view and treat my female residents solely as my sisters of God. Not for once do I want to entertain any ideas of any of them being more for me during this year of ministry
-I want to treat the guys as true brothers
-I want to come off as their peer and equal, never as an intimidating "holier than thou" figure, or condensending
-Above all things, I want the ability to open the minds of my residents, if I can have all of them to open their mind to God just a little bit, I feel I succeeded
-I want to especially reach the questioning, the lost, the non-believers
-I want to take away the stigma that Campus Ministry and its events is a whole bunch of "holy" people club, I want to create "coolness" in the people who think they're too cool or not cool enough.
-I want to take away the stigma that Southside is a whole bunch of "pagans"
-I want to work closely together with my fellow mates combining our efforts in event planning, night prayer, and Sunday shuttles to mass
-I want to help bridge some gap between the work area between RA's and RM's
-I want to have a better know-how in when to deal with difficult situations (depression, suicide, recklessness, stubborn people, etc.)
-I want to be the best my residence hall has ever seen along with the best House CUA has ever seen, by best I mean in our own unique and genuine way

Another wrote:
During ministry I do plan on setting goals for myself and for my community. It is tough to put them into words, but I'll try!
One goal is to be a witness to people on campus. Not everything thing that I do has to be in word form, so I hope that when people see me it might lead them to be happier. I don't want to have a stigma where it is "Oh, it's her, run!" I want people to feel happier after they leave me, I don't want to be anyone's chore. I want to grow deeper with God, with my community, and with my residents. I don't want the people in Spellman to just be "my residents," I want them to be my friends. I want to be able to be open for people to talk to, and have them feel comfortable around me.
I want to become much more spiritual. I want to be able to be ready to pray whenever I feel happy, sad, unsure, etc. So much of my prayer life could be deepened, and I hope that my community will grow so much together in prayer.
I want my community to hold me accountable for things, I want to be able to hold them accountable.
I want to have a solid Renew group.

And another said:
My personal goals for this upcoming year as a minister are to never think of myself as something more than my residents because I am the Resident Minister, in other words to not see myself as someone morally superior to people just like myself. You told me one year ago that if I set the bar low, the I will only accomplish as much, but if I set the bar high, then I can expect much more out of myself, and that is another personal goal I hold of myself this year. It is my ministerial goal to stay strong in my convictions without forcing my ministry down the throats of my residents. I want to lead by example and be as good of a person as I want everyone to be. These are the goals that I hold ambitions to reach after personal reflection, and I can imagine more will be added when training starts next week.

And another :
I've been giving my goals a lot of thought and am still not sure of what it is I want to/ need to accomplish.

The few things I did come up with are as follows:
-Making those in my living community feel welcome and encouraged.
- Reach out to those in need and be available whenever needed.
-Be a positive presence in the CUA community.
-Grow in my personal faith as well as aiding in the spiritual growth of those around me.
-Seeing obstacles as an opportunities for growth rather than as setbacks.
-Planning my time better so as to make sure ministry and academics take priority.

There's lots more where that came from... so much hope.

Am I sad to see the summer come to an end... not really it's getting a little boring around here. I never mind when the school year ends but after a month or so miss my interaction with our students. As they say in the vernacular "Bring it" I'm ready.

As for me what are my goals...
That's simple I want to be a holy priest (It's gotta happen some day... Tempus Fugit)

Bump... My thoughts on Celibacy