I went to Mass this morning to a parish other than my own. In his homily, and I forget precisely how this lead-in was phrased, but Father essentially said that people sometimes worry or think about whether or not they will get to heaven. I do recall his next remarks verbatim, however. He said that that question is "completely irrelevant" and "not of the Gospel." Father's homily proceded to speak of many this-world problems like violence and wars, poverty and then, on the other side of that coin, he spoke of getting in touch with our desires, our pleasures, as seemingly means of spiritual growth. Also in the homily, Father also spoke of not being able to sleep last night, and so he went downstairs and got a soda and some chips and watched CNN a bit, where there was this "riveting" special on regarding heroes that CNN was honoring. This theme and others dominated the Mass and Father's entire consciousness, it seemed. He also mentioned a particular hero from the special, a man who I believe feeds some 470,000 people a day. I don't think Father mentioned how or much else about the story, but he did proceed to add a general overall statement about how great people out there offer "salvation" to hungry boys and girls. After the Our Father, Father ad-libbed (as he did often throughout the Eucharistic prayer and other parts of the Mass) a bit, adding his own dramatic pause and text "especially the evil of our lack of imagination", following the "forgive us every evil" which the priest usually says. Glass chalices for the two cups of wine that the two Eucharsitic ministers used to distribute the Precious Blood. During the sign of peace, Father went down to the first row of parishoners to shake hands and smile with them a bit. During the homily, Father thanked the congregration for listening to him, for letting him ramble last week. He also thanked everyone for coming right before or right after the closing prayer. A few times I think. One of his "pleasures," Father said, is praying with us at Mass each week. At the close of Mass, during the procession from the altar to the outside of the church, Father waved and smiled at some parishoners while he was leaving and chatted it up quite a bit outside afterwards: "I like that hat!"; "Your name? So glad to see you."There was a lot more that stuck out in my mind, but I don't remember it all.I guess I was particularly thrown a bit by it all after hearing what the readings were today too, particularly the Gospel. But the thought of whether one will go to heaven, in Father's reading, was "completely irrelevant."
My parish isn't quite that bad, but I know parishes that are. I hate it when that stuff happens. I should photograph the church I go to - it is all junked up with ugly advent stuff.
Happy Advent!Patrick: That sounds dreadful; I apologize in the name of the priesthood...sheesh!I preached on the Four Last Things today: death, judgment, heaven and hell.Advent is more than getting ready for Baby Jesus (although that is important, too).We just gotta pray, no? Priests need lots and lots of prayer and sacrifice; they are under tremendous diabolical attack.Anyway, I'm back, in somewhat good shape and ready to go.
Nazareth Priest...Glad you are back!!You MUST tell us EVERYTHING about Rome!!Our Deacon gave the homily today...I thought it was good, about being prepared...using the Gospel reading about one being chosen and the other not..we need to be prepared in so many ways.Sara
- it is all junked up with ugly advent stuffSome fool painted the dark blond woodwork behind the alter a stark white color which only makes the celing stain circles stand out all the more clearly. Our church started out as a 1950's gym and has always been ugly but now it's been fine tuned and like you wrote made worse with things.
Hi Father, My katie asked me to ask you to pray for her. (She's having social issues at school- you understand.)Thanks Father
*hugs Patrick* How frustrating ans sad! Stuff like that does so much damage. :(Mass at the student Chaplaincy was lovely. We had a guest homilists (a Capuchin priest) who preached very beautifully on the importance of constant prayer. :D Then after Mass we had a meal together, which was also lovely.What was very un-lovely was that during Mass, somebody sneaked ino a little annex outside the Church where some people had let their bags and robbed three people. This was discovered quite late into the evening. The three victims were all extremely upset and shocked. Pray for them.Also pray for the thief. A person must be pretty desperate to steal from a Church.
I'm thankful I'm able to just get this stuff about Mass today off my chest. It's sad indeed--not trying to judge the priest himself, but the whole thing was awful. I don't know how many people were in the Church, but I'm sitting there thinking all these people just heard a priest say that to think about whether one is going to heaven is completely irrelevant. It also made me want to abandon the idea of becoming a priest altogether, run away from the seminary and go live an anonymous life somewhere. I don't know if I can handle this, and everything else.
Patrick, come to my parish. Today, Father's homily was about Advent. He asked us to consider doing three things; not shopping on Sunday, praying daily rather than focusing on God only on Sunday and um, brevity isn't his thing so I forgot the third one. Do not abandon the idea of becoming a priest. If you are called to the priesthood, Satan and his demons are also called to torment you; the form of torment changes based on what will hurt the victim most.Again, come to my parish; Father makes it clear that Heaven is a glorious possibility if we do as Jesus asks us to but is not a guarantee, for although salvation is out there, we have free will to accept or deny Jesus.One thing the priest seems to have forgotten is that the Church follows both Scripture and Tradition. I'm so sorry that you were exposed to that.
Fr. John Mary is back from Rome - Yay!
Nooo Patrick, You could make things better in your own little part of the world and for others like you. (me)Your reasons to leave the seminary are the same reasons, (and then some) people use to leave the church entirely - lack of fidelity in other people who have abandoned the truth are not good enough reasons for you to leave. (Unless you feel Christ is calling you elsewhere.)If you leave and marry or live a single life, you will see the same lack of spiritual community support in those vocations as well. For anyone trying to live a life as Christ has intended, he or she will experience hardships and in all vocations. At least no one is feeding us to the lions yet....
Nan .... that was a wonderful homily ... Fr was pretty passionate about what he addressed ... 3rd thing ... pray, pray, pray.
Fr. welcome back!
Prayer request please..My friend Diana is having knee replacement surgery on Tuesday....this one is in pretty bad shape..then after she recovers from this surgery she will have the other one done..she has myestenia gravis and a host of other ailments so this will not be an easy procedure...many complications can result especially with pain medication and anestesia...This is especially hard on her as she loves Christmas and holiday entertaining..so this year she will just have to watch :)God Bless and thanks abunch..Sara
pml, I thought I covered prayer? No wonder I couldn't remember the third thing!Sara, I will pray to St. Pantaleimon and to the Infant of Prague for Diana.Patrick, also remember that as a priest you'll be in a position to ensure that fewer people endure such, um, uninspiring homilies.
Hang in there Patrick - patience and perseverance - it won't be any better elsewhere. "Everywhere we meet the cross" - especially the one we were running from.
Terry wrote in three sentences what I took 50 to write. :)
Lovely Terry - I'll be posting in a few days on the real meaning of Advent. I just know you will love it. Ta-ta, hon!
(Can't wait -Sister Pat's the best.)Who doesn't love to laugh at, um.. I mean with Sister Pat.)
*hugs patrick*Hang on in there! We need good priests.
Thank you all. I'm going to hang in there for now. The thing is, I don't know for certain if this is where I belong--that's the most difficult part. It could all be in vain. I know no time is wasted time with God and all. I believe that. I desire to be sure I'm in His will, though maybe that's a lust for certainty or a kind of comfort that is not of God.
Patrick, I'll pray for you as you discern where it is that you belong. I don't know if you mean the seminary, generally or the priesthood so I just pray that you remain close to God and that the right place be revealed to you. Whatever the outcome, you are the answer to the prayers of many; a man who discerns the religious life. It isn't about whether you become an ordained priest or join a religious order, it's about responding to the call of God and trying to determine if that's the place that you belong. Thank you.
Nan,Thank you--I never thought about it like that before. When you say that I am the answer to the prayers of many, what do you mean?When I speak of the confusion, I don't mean about the seminary itself that I'm in; it's a wonderful seminary. I mean God's will for my life, whether that be the priesthood, religious life, married, single, whatever. I want to do His will and live for His glory, even when I'm selfish and prideful and feel a million miles away from Him. I can't stand it sometimes, my own sinfulness and how far I feel from Him, but I know His will is the only show in town.
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