Llorando in Antigua

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Crying in Antigua. Yep. That’s right. Tonight I cried. Lagrimas son el lenguaje del corazón!  “tears are the language of the heart!” At La Merced today, we had Adoration for the whole day. It provided me with a lot of time for reflection and prayer on and off during my free time and my Holy Hour before Mass. Truthfully, I was a bit homesick today. I had been having problems with the bank the school recommends and them not accepting my debit card to withdraw funds over the past few days. Finally, after talking with my teacher and a lady at the bank, I was directed to an ATM that looked and is supposed to be safe, that worked! Praise God!

I had to celebrate by engaging in a little “ganga” or barter with the merchants on the street. Gonzalo, one of the shopkeepers who remembered my name practiced Spanish with me for a little bit, with irregular verbs. “Con-yel-in” (no clue how to actually spell her name) told me that I would be her favorite customer if I came back and bought a table runner, wrap, or scarf from her tomorrow. She said she’d wait for me. Well…After the hard bargain and walking away I had to do with her friend, she might be waiting a bit longer for me to buy something else from them. Haha. At least I know the two locations they set up shop.

Class today was long. But it was very very good! My teacher, Matilde is super sweet, very devout, and very good. She has me doing a wide range of things in the classroom and after 10 hours, I’ve already felt more comfortable and have been able to practice speaking with others with more frequency. I’m excited to see what else I’ll learn in the coming weeks!

Tonight at dinner, the sister of my Madre de La Casa came over, so it was just her, Janet’s daughter and myself enjoying the delicious chicken and pasta, Janet had cooked for us before she left. BTDUBS…Janet is an AWESOME cook. Like people ask me in shops and church where I live and they all comment on her cooking abilities! Milna, Janet’s sister shared with me about the struggles of her fathers death last year and caring for her mother with dementia. For 40 minutes, I was able to sit, to listen, to respond (in spanish) and to pray with her. Never, Never, in my life did I think that I’d be able to do any sort ofimg_6011 pastoral care or ministry while here in Antigua. And yet, the Lord took my little bit of home-sickness and worry, made it better and then challenged me to grow in my spanish as I was present to and spoke with Milna. And so for 40 minutes, we went back and forth taking turns crying. Milna, for the loss of her father and pain of her mothers condition and me as my heart broke for the pain Milna was going through. We talked of how we come into this world as children and the Lord in his love takes us out like children, Christ said: “Let the children come unto me!” And it is very very hard to experience our loved ones when they age, but there is a beauty and a joy with hit as well.

Friends, it’s moments like these where I feel the call of priesthood well up inside and become so much stronger. To be able to be the hands and feet of Christ, to share in the wounds of others and to help them see his light is such a gift. It’s been my prayer thus far this summer that I learn Spanish. It’s been the Lord’s will thus far that my heart becomes

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more like his. Conversion happens all of the time. And for me, it happened tonight while speaking and listening in Spanish in one of the smallest towns in Guatemala, a beautiful town situated between volcanoes in a valley with people who have such an outstanding sense of faith and devotion.

Join me in praying for Milna, for her mother, for the repose of the soul of her father, and that my heart might become more like HIS Sacred Heart. May the Lord allow us to choose nothing. Nothing, but him and may we have the courage to follow that call. Even if it means conversion, if it means hurt, if it means crying, and sharing in the lives of others.

Behold the Lamb of God -A Reflection on the Incarnation 

 John 1:29-34. 

“John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. 

He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’

I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”

John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.

I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ 

Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

“Behold the Lamb of God.” This line is one of my favorite lines of the Mass. Look! Behold! This is Jesus, the Christ! Look, see Him here hidden under the Eucharistic Bread and Wine! “Blessed are those called to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb!” “Blessed, special, Holy, thankful, are those who are called to receive him in Holy Communion.”
Each Wednesday I go and bring our Lord in Holy Communion with me to visit our parishioners in the Hospital. Each Friday I go and visit the home bound, always bringing Jesus along. I use a pyx which was given to me by my sister-in-laws mother who has since died of cancer. Each time I use it I think of Ms. Janet and day a prayer for her and ask her to intercede for me and those who I will visit that day. I also ask for the intercession of the others I have brought communion to, using that pyx who are no longer of this world but have passed away. 

There is a tradition in the Church to pray the rosary as you transport the Eucharist, asking our Blessed Mother to help us as she was the first to bring Christ to the world. I too pray my rosary and ask for our Lady to intercede for me and those I visit. I never know who, or even what I might encounter when carrying our Lord, but I do know that I always am filled with his grace and his love. Without which, I couldn’t go and bring Him to others. 

The people I visit are always thankful to receive our Lord; some will comment on how it is so nice to have received a visit and to be able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. I too, am always thankful after having an encounter with someone and our Eucharistic King. 

At the end of the communion rite as I hold the host above the pyx and say: “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him, who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those who are called to the Supper of  the Lamb.” I am always filled with an immense sense of gratitude and wonder at Christ who comes to feed us and give us what we need under the form of this simple host I hold in my fingers. 

One of my visits to a person who died shortly thereafter involved me holding the host and saying those words like normal. As I did that, I noticed that the catheter bag was beginning to fill up. My first thought was one of shock and I began to worry about what I should do in this situation. I closed my eyes, took a breath, and began the prayer again: “Behold the Lamb of God.” As I said those words I opened my eyes and saw the person there behind the host. I saw Christ and looking through the host to the person I saw Christ in them. Christ, the all powerful God who became man including every aspect of our humanity. Including the need to relieve ourselves and the ability to do so even in a catheter bag, during a communion visit. Through this person, expressing a perfectly normal part of their humanity I recognized the Incarnation, I saw the humanity of the God-child born in Bethlehem. I saw Him who wanted to come to this person under the form of bread, the one who had died for them, and who now wished to bless them with his presence through this “Supper of the Lamb.”

Those words bear more of a special weight now. Each time I say them, I think of the person who is deceased and hopefully with God at his eternal Supper. I ask for her prayers. I find that the many different people who touch my life through my ministry at the Cathedral, or the parishes I have been at before leave my heart wounded with the love of Christ in unique ways. When I say different words, use different objects, see different pictures, my heart is filled with the love of Christ for his flock. I have a closeness with these people. I have a desire to serve them and love them more like Christ. And I am encouraged to constantly seek to find Christ through them. 

And as I say those words: “Behold the Lamb of God…” I, like the person on the receiving end, look upon the face of our Eucharistic King and see Him who has come to visit us, who has come to visit me in the “Supper of the Lamb.” And I think and I pray that I might always be blessed to be called there to the side of the Lords flock, looking and gazing together upon the Lamb of God. 

Adoration with the Cathedral Youth Group

A Protestant attends Catholic Adoration and the Transcendental Beauty of the Catholic Liturgy

Over at Gungor music, Michael Gungor blogged a while back about his experience at a Catholic youth festival during Adoration. I highly encourage you to read his post here. Lex orandi, lex credendi is a mnemonic for the idea that “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” (What we pray, is what we believe.) We as Catholics are known largely by the way in which we worship. A Catholic liturgy celebrated in accord with the rubrics and norms of the church leads the faithful present to the upper room. Through the liturgy man is able to encounter Christ in the most intimate, inspiring, and beautiful ways. Michael Gungor experienced a little of this during adoration, but Catholics can experience it all of the time. 

From beautiful churches, with Gothic arches, steeples, Stained Glass, cruciform shape:St.-Joseph-MaconIMG_0103

To our use of incense, which guides the mind and heart to another world through clouds of smoke, and the sweet, yet bitter smell:
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To our use of candlesRome_Pilgrimmage_1_Feb__2006_189 incense adorationTo the mystery  and solemn reverence of our funeral rites, commending the soul to God…

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To our use of beautiful vestments, vessels, relics, and appointments, or the colors that change with the seasons…

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Pope leaves on wheeled platform after celebrating Ash Wednesday Mass at Vatican

Or to our use of servers, ministers, and those who assist in the Liturgy…IMG_2580To our use of decorations, implements, sacramentals, and objects…

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The Catholic Liturgy is centuries old, and is truly a celebration of the Ages.The Mass in all of its form, brings the heart, mind, and soul to Heaven. It is a slice of true beauty. Ours is a faith of smells, and bells. It is a tangible and concrete  faith. Our former Vice-Rector at Bruté, when “subbing” for Fr. Bob one day in class, told us that he likes to think of the Sacraments as being “messy.” We use oil, fire, water, smells, tastes, hearing, sight. Things are meant to be experienced, to be felt, to engage in a very real and sacred way, what is actually happening.

Michael Gungor experienced some of the “beauty of our Faith” during adoration. He witnessed the joy and love that is present in the Liturgy, he witnessed Christ come to earth, under the forms of bread and of wine. He didnt witness a Latin Mass or a Novus Ordo Mass, he didn’t witness an ordination or an installation of a Bishop. He witnessed adoration. He witnessed Christ in his fullness. He witnessed the beauty, simplicity, and joy of his savior. He witnessed real Catholic Liturgy. The type of liturgy which draws us out of ourselves and into praising God. To God be the glory!

 

This blog post is an extension of my blog post on Transcendental Beauty

 

Gasper River Update – Adoration and Procession

God is SOO good!

Growing up and moving is never fun and it was never fun for my family and I when we moved the summer before my 2nd grade year to Beatrice, Nebraska. Being so far away from family and friends is never fun and it was hard on us. One thing that we found that aided us though was Eucharistic Adoration. Through adoration we grew to develop a love for the Blessed Sacrament which we would later receive for the first time that year. My siblings and I grew to love the Eucharist and I can safely say that without it in my life I would not be the man I am today. Without adoration I would probably not be in Seminary, or at least it would have taken more time rather than just out of High School.

The Eucharist transforms our lives, it makes us who we are as Catholics and reiterates the words of Christ that he would be with us until the end of the age. When Christ at the Last Supper said “This is My Body” he wasn’t joking. It truly is his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Tonight at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center we closed out the day with a Eucharistic Procession and Adoration starting at 10pm.
Earlier this evening we separated the boys and girls and had an excellent talk/discussion about our roles in life and about being good, respectful, and moral men and women of God.
Ben Warrell, Fr. Mike Williams, the other male staffers and friends from WKU know how to drive home points about authentic masculinity and I could tell that it was going to be a powerful night for all of our campers.

During adoration we would sing a few songs and then pause for Lectio Divina. My Faith EX group had practiced Lectio with everyone yesterday so it was really powerful to put it into practice before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

The room was pitch black, only lit by candle light as we read the story from John’s Gospel of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Katy read it the first time I knew we would touch people as I could hear the sobs breaking through. With my reading of it, I had jotted down a reflection that I added to it at different points. I will try to publish it on here when I have time. With that the tears started to come even more and after Kaylee read it the third time, we all needed a lot of kleenex.

Seeing the campers so humble, so pious, and so open with what they were feeling and experiencing with Christ was amazing and it filled me with such great joy. As I knelt and looked out and saw 12-14 year olds sobbing, laying prostrate, making themselves as small as possible, kneeling and just so full of love not only warmed my heart but brought tears to my eyes as well. I grew up with the Eucharist, so many don’t. I am forever thankful to my family for instilling in me the love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Seeing all of our campers in adoration made me reminisce back to the days when I first started going to adoration.

This is what our goal is with the New Evangelization; to bring souls to Christ, present in the Eucharist and let him work on their hearts. God is so great and so beautiful, and he is doing marvelous things in our Diocese here at Gasper River. Please pray for all of us, we are counting on your prayers and praying for you!

+In His Mercy,
Corey

(BTW, sorry for any typos, it is 12:30 am and I need to head to bed.)

Adoration at Bishop Bruté

Adoration at Bishop Bruté

Father Patrick Beidelman incenses the Blessed Sacrament during our Holy Hour tonight at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary. Wow! I wish that I had thought to film it before it started tonight. It was amazingly beautiful. Especially with our new Reredos, blocking the doors. Adoremus in Aeternum Sanctissimum, Sacramentum!

Picture is ©Tony Cecil & ©Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary