Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Exit?

It has been ten years since I made the move down to Lynchburg, Virginia. However, I think it is safe to say that although your can take the man out of New Jersey, you can never take New Jersey out of the man! There is something in our DNA that makes us crank up the car stereo every time a Springsteen song comes on the radio!

That having been said, when I did so this week, the lyrics came across in a way they never have before. Deacon Greg has often commented on Springteen's Spirituality. This verse in particular seems to hit on several Gospel themes:

Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything.
I wanna go out tonight, I wanna find out what I got.
Now I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that could save me
I believe in the hope and I pray that some day
It will raise me above these
So, crank up the volume, roll down the windows and enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Deo volente! Deo gratias!

I came home from work today and there was an envelope waiting for me on the dining room table. Inside, there were two letters. The first was from the Most Rev. Francis X DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond, welcoming me to the diaconate formation process and thanking me for my "commitment and dedication to the process thus far." The second letter was from the Director of Formation, congratulating on my acceptance and explaining what the Church has in store for me during the next few weeks.

So, its official. I am preparing to become a permanent deacon of the Roman Catholic Church. Thank you so much to all who have stormed heaven with prayers for me and all those who have been involved with the diaconate process. Thanks to all who have been mentors throughout my faith journey.

Of course, I would truly appreciate it if all would continue to keep the prayers coming. My family and I will most certainly need them. Throughout the process, I have continued to remind myself that all is in God's hands. I have continued to qualify all statements about discernment with the phrase "God willing." That being said, days like today are such a blessing.

Of course, not all blessings take the form of letters from the Office of the Vicar for Clergy. Far from it. Quite often, they have taken human form. For example, a couple of weeks ago, someone came up to me after mass and asked how the formation process was going. I told him that actually, it had not yet begun! I would hear in the next few weeks whether I had been accepted. "How can you stand to wait?!? The suspense must be killing you!" Actually, it wasn't. After all, it was in God's hands. My mantra over the past few weeks was a quote that I read in Brother Lawrence's book, The Practice of the Presence of God: "I am in the hands of God; He will do with me as He pleases. If I do not serve Him here, I will serve Him elsewhere."

That having been said, however, it would appear that He intends for me to serve him now by preparing to become a deacon. Whether I will make it through the process, well that remains to be seen. And, is kinda beside the point. The work "deacon" comes from the Greek word for servant. I have come to realize that I have a vocation to serve: at home, in the marketplace, at Church. Whether I will do that as an ordained minister of the Church remains to be seen. However, the fact that I am called to serve God's creation is crystal clear. And, as much as I enjoyed hearing from Bishop DiLorenzo today, I did not need his letter to know that!

Image: Deacon candidates prostrate before the altar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles during a 2004 diaconate ordination liturgy. Photo by Rick Flynn, owned by Eric Stoltz.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

Employing science while ignoring the governing hand of God is like completing a jigsaw puzzle upside down. You can figure out how the pieces fit together but you're missing the beauty and function of the design.

- Scott Nehring at Good News Film Reviews

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Don't Blink!

A few months ago, I posted an entry about Maggie Doyne, a young woman from my home town who was making a difference in the world. Last week, I received an update in the form of a video. It is well worth your time to take a look at what one woman has been able to do with some "babysitting money she saved up" and a dream!!

Let's all keep her - and the children she helps - in our prayers. To find out more about the work she is doing take a look at her website. There are pictures as well as a link to her blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My wife has found a new guilty pleasure. The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a new drama on ABC that, according to "centers on the topic of teen pregnancy. Good-girl band geek Amy discovers that she is pregnant after losing her virginity to Ricky at band camp. Christian cheerleader Grace, however, has promised abstinence to her parents. As their secrets start to spread, everyone is affected by the news. "

Again, it is Katie's guilty pleasure, not mine. However, the other evening I overheard some of the dialogue and wanted to share. Two teenagers, presumably a couple, are preparing to go to Church with the boyfriend's parents. The girl (not the pregnant one) is trying to convince her boyfriend to well, engage in behavior that the pastor would not approve of!

Girl: We'll just go to confession afterwards.

Boy: I'm Protestant - we don't have confession.

Girl: You don't? Well, what do you have?

Boy: Umm.... Guilt... Shame... Regret... Yeah, we have

Katie is having a tough time getting a read on the show as a whole. At times there seems to be a strong moral message about the consequences of teen pregnancy, but at others, the writers seem to be mocking that same morality.

One thing is clear, the message this program is sending is not the same one delivered by celebrities such as Jamie Lynn Spears! It co-stars Molly Ringwald as the mom of the teen mom-to-be. Seeing her face gave me quite some pause. When I was growing up, topic of teen pregnancy was the fodder of "after school specials," not prime time entertainment. While I agree that the message is an important one, I wonder whether its intended audience really understands?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

“If you intend to love as God does, then plan on being frustrated as God is.”

- Don Kimball