Thursday, August 28, 2014
For a while now I've had a desire to be a missionary. It would be an awesome opportunity to travel the world and help people to have a deeper relationship with God. I think it would be equally awesome to do this considering that I've hardly been outside the Midwest. I know, sad right?
It is easy to think of being a champion for God, being the ultimate disciple or modeling myself after the saints with steadfast faith. Before I can even hope to help others know Jesus Christ though, I realize that I need to work on being a better follower of Him myself and live a more authentic life centered around the Gospel. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has planned an event to help do just that.
On September 6th at St. James Parish in Menomonee Falls, Bishop Donald J. Hying will be presenting on the topic, Living the Fundamental Vision of the Gospel. This event will be an enlightening morning of formation and reflection on the issues of charity and justice and will run from 8am until 12pm.
I am planning on attending and will be giving a recap of the entire event afterward. If you are feeling called to a deeper relationship with Christ and to serve the universal church, then please prayerfully consider attending. Registration can be done online at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website. The deadline is September 2nd.
See you there!
Thursday, August 21, 2014
This past weekend I took a much needed mini-vacation to Chicago-land. It was my first trip there in over a year. Not only do I enjoy the hustle and bustle that comes with being in a big city, but I also love the hundreds of beautiful churches that are held within the city walls. I like to look at it as God’s abounding presence in a world full of distractions. God is alive…even in a city full of Bears and Cubs fans…
My trip featured some of the finest churches and shrines that the Chicago-area had to offer. The first landmark that I visited was Marytown-The National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Libertyville, IL. A ministry of the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St. Bonaventure Province, Marytown includes a Franciscan Friary, a contemporary Retreat and Conference Center, the Marytown Press- Catholic Books and Gifts, historic Chapels and numerous outdoor shrines and rosary gardens. It is definitely a place that you would want to visit for a highly uplifting spiritual experience.
Right down the road from Marytown is the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. Since opening in the year 1921, it is one of the largest seminaries in the United States and has the most spectacular campus you will ever see. I had a wonderful opportunity to go straight down from the university to the lake below. Secretly I had hoped to bump into the rector, Fr. Robert Barron, but alas, it was not meant to be.
After spending quite a few hours on campus, I made my way to the vigil Mass at Our Lady of Victory Parish which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Mass celebration was extremely beautiful and was presided by the current pastor of four years, Fr. Robert Fedek. Fr. Fedek, a remarkable priest originally from Poland, was invited by Cardinal George to study at Mundelein Seminary for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Needless to say, I believe that Our Lady of Victory was handed a wonderful pastor, whose warm personality and love for the Eucharist is very evident. My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture with him.
Please enjoy some pictures from my weekend trip and let us keep in mind that no matter how busy or noisy our lives may be, God always blocks out the busyness and noise with constant beautiful reminders of His presence in our world.
(Left: Marytown Chapel. Right:Mudelein Gazebo)
(Beautiful worship space at Our Lady of Victory)
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I am a huge fan of the great spiritual writer Henri Nouwen. Both a Catholic priest and a university professor, Nouwen wrote many spiritual books such as Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer and the Return of The Prodigal Son, that have influenced so many over the years in their search for God and for meaning in their lives.
One of my favorite books by Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love, was actually written in the form of journal during one of the hardest periods of his life. During this difficult period when he struggled with self-esteem and faith in God, Nouwen wrote short paragraphs of encouragement to himself.
In the journal entry, “Keep Living Where God Is,” Nouwen speaks of putting aside your own agenda, your very own hopes and dreams, and consistently finding God in each moment. I find this section of the book extremely relevant for today’s culture and specifically in my own life.
I am someone who loves attention, maybe we can even say I crave it. Everyone wants to be liked and have a vast amount of approval, right? Who doesn’t want to get noticed for doing something special? Sometimes when I write my blog, and I’m sure that other blog-writers can attest to this as well, I get caught up in selfish thoughts that distract me from my main goals as a writer.
This blog, which is intended to inspire young adults in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and wherever you may happen to be, is not the John Bender show. The initial goal of this blog is to bring people closer to God, whether that is through promoting public events or sharing personal stories. It is only human nature that we get caught up in our own selfish ways.
We, as a society, need to remember that everything that we do in life should be to honor and glorify God, and if the things we take on aren’t doing precisely that, then we might be doing more harm than good.
Let us always pray that we put our selfish ambitions second in comparison to giving God deserved glory and that we may do the work of the kingdom in drawing people closer to him through many unique avenues.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
"The safest place to be is on the open water with Jesus, trusting that He will grasp us by the hand. We can't stay in the comfort of the boat because Jesus is not there. Like Peter, when we join Jesus on the open water, no matter what we are trying, in the end, we will succeed because He succeeds in us." ~Bishop Donald J. Hying, homily on Matthew 14: 22-33 at Roses for Our Lady's August 8th holy hour at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary
Roses For Our Lady (a local organization promoting authentic Eucharistic and Marian devotion) held their monthly Holy Hour for Vocations today at St. Francis De Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wisconsin. The presider was Bishop Donald J. Hying, Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee.
The Gospel account today was the inspiring story of Christ calling Peter out on the water. In front of a congregation of 50 plus people in Christ King chapel, Bishop Hying said that this Gospel account, “calls us as Christians to step out of our comfort zones and allow Christ to work in our lives in new and exciting ways.
As humans we have a tendency to stay put in certain situations where we feel safe and secure. No one likes the feeling of being vulnerable. However, if we want to make strides in our relationship with Christ, we are required to take a leap of faith and land in the arms of God. We cannot be satisfied by just dipping our toes in the water, but instead need to place both feet on the surface and begin focusing our eyes and hearts on our Lord. It is through the most uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations where we really come to know about God and surrender ourselves to His great love and mercy.
In what ways is Christ asking you to take a leap of faith today? Are you ready to accept the challenge?
For more Roses For Our Lady events and news please check out www.rosesforourlady.org
Friday, August 8, 2014
(photo courtesy of www.jackieandbobby.com)
“A woman’s heart should be so lost in God, that a man must seek Him to find her.”
- Maya Angelou
My first few adult years have been a great learning experience as I seek God’s will for my life and I’ve found great encouragement through reading other Catholic blogs. There are many great resources online such as TheChastity Project, Catholic Gentleman, Jackie&Bobby and Arleen Spenceley that discuss dating, marriage, and chastity just to name a few. Check them out if you haven’t already!
I feel very strongly that it’s so important to find a woman that is completely in love with God. Good character is very important. After all, it is our spouse’s job to help us get to our heavenly destination. Upon reading Jackie&Bobby (a website run by a married couple) on the subject of a woman’s heart, I began praying for my future wife, offering her up to Our Lord at daily Mass as the host and chalice are elevated. In today’s culture, praying and waiting is not an option, but I believe that if you surrender everything in your life completely to God, wonderful things can happen and it’s exciting to see the results.
Here are a few ideas from JackieandBobby.com that can be helpful in searching for a spouse-
Pray for your future wife or husband
Consecrate them to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Start a 54 day novena (27 days in petition, 27 in thanksgiving no matter what happens)
Write a journal for your future spouse
Take comfort in knowing that God is always with us in everything we do and He will never let you be alone.
God loves you and He is always in control.