2014: Gossip, Anger, Forgiveness, Joy, and Blessings

2014. What a year it has been! I am amazed at how quickly the years keep going by. As we keep moving forward in time, we each keep gaining more things to do and fill our time with. This year has been full of blessings without measure. I’m sure that each one of us could name our blessings in this year, but can we name the wrongs we have committed against others and whether or not we have been forgiven them? I’ll reflect on that in a moment, but first here are some of my “top” moments of 2014:

Directing the Brass Quartet

Directing the Brass Quartet

January 2014:

  • March for Life in DC!

March 2014:

  • Attended the 17th annual Youth 2000, my 6th or 7th one!

May 2014:

  • Started working AGAIN at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center. What a blessing to call this place my second home in Kentucky! I love my Gasper family!

    Working at camp - Selfie!

    Working at camp – Selfie!

June 2014:

  • My dear friend and brother  Will Thompson was ordained a priest! Father Will had a beautiful Ordination and Mass, which I was blessed to take part in.wpid-img_20140601_164852174_hdr.jpg wpid-img_20140614_194054167_hdr.jpg
  • I turned 20! Two decades old, nothing too special about this birthday though!
  • Sponsored my cousin Raymond Musholt, as he was confirmed under the patronage of St Eligius! What a joyous day!

    With Ray (Eligius) at his Confirmation

    With Ray (Eligius) at his Confirmation

  • Participated in St. Joseph, BG’s Corpus Christi Procession. What a wonderful procession with our Lord!wpid-img_20140727_082503102.jpg

July 2014:

  • Celebrated my dear friend Kaffryn’s birthday with a bunch of friends and fun!10492184_10203329489111987_8759803617691381455_n

August 2014:

  • Camp ended 😦
  • Junior year of college seminary began!10414434_10201857998651758_4180219194056489891_n 10704126_10203964369903045_2397698355877978784_n

September 2014:

  • Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary turned 10 years old!
  • Started my ministry assignment at St. Joan of Arc in Indy! I love every minute of it!

October 2014:

  • Parents and Pastors Day with the Brass Quartet and Organ!

November 2014:

  • Attended my second ODYC! Saw lots of amazing campers and friends from across the Diocese!10806489_730417970359575_5743648509804853820_n
  • My third niece, Nora Lynn was born!

December 2014:

  • Went on a 9 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land with my brothers from Bruté. What an amazing experience of which I will always remember!10689572_10205559876693166_1067577437774352330_n 10845911_10205544349064985_4690569302940670562_n
    The pilgrim group from the Seminary

    The pilgrim group from the Seminary

    Me, on the Sea of Galilee

    Me, on the Sea of Galilee

    Me, on Mt. Tabor

    Me, on Mt. Tabor

    The Owensboro pilgrims!  (CJ Glaser, Jacob Fischer, me)

    The Owensboro pilgrims!
    (CJ Glaser, Jacob Fischer, me)

    Me in front of the Church of St. Ann

    Me in front of the Church of St. Ann

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    Church of the Pater Noster

    Church of the Pater Noster

    Basilica of St. Stephen

    Basilica of St. Stephen

  • Saw my new niece for the first time!
  • Saw my Quincy relatives for the first time in over a year!

As I think of the joys of 2014, I am also reminded of the wrongs I have done and what I must continue to do. I call to mind St. Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

It amazes me how much energy we as humans give to being angry and upset toward others. We talk about each other and gossip about who’s with who, what that person did that we didn’t like, how we are going to let that person have it because of this one time… The list goes on and on and on! We waste so much precious time being angry and upset at each other instead of giving our brothers and sisters what the Lord offers each of us at every moment: forgiveness.

Personally I struggle at times with forgiving others for their transgressions against me. Call it my german-blood, stubbornness, or just pride, it is something that I and most humans struggle with. The ability to forgive others is a virtue that we can all do with more of. So how do we get it? Well, one of the things I have done since middle school is each night, placing the names of those who irritated me, wronged me, or who are angry at me and place them at the foot of the Cross, giving them from myself to our Lord, the Just judge and letting him deal with it. Through letting Christ work on the Hearts of those who are angry at me and through forgiving those who have wronged me I tend to be a much happier person.

Now, I’m not perfect and sometimes I do tend to be angry at others, but each night I am faithful to asking our Lord to give me the grace to forgive and moving on. Each new day is a new start to be Christ to others and receive him from others into my own life. During our pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few weeks ago, Tony, our tour guide told us of the significance of “turning the other cheek.” To smack a man with the back of your hand was to take away his dignity and treat him as not human. When the man would then turn his cheek the other way, you had to smack him again with your palm, acknowledging that he was a man and deserved respect. In a way you forgave him of his wrong. As we progress to this new year, let us turn the other cheek. Let us forgive and forget. And let us devote all of our new energy to praying without ceasing for others, for building up God’s kingdom and for spreading his Gospel of love throughout the world!

2014 is a year in the books! Let’s pray for the blessings of 2015 and for the good work we will be able to accomplish together for Christ’s glory in these next 365 days! Thank-you all for your support, love, and prayers over this past year. Without them, I couldn’t be where I am today. May God reward you in this New Year

To God be the glory! To the heights!

O Mary my Mother, I consecrate to Jesus your Son, through your Immaculate Heart all of the actions, experiences, and undertakings of 2015. I ask that you watch over me in this new year as you always do, and that our Lord will bless each person that I come in contact with. Make me an humble instrument of the Lord, as you were. Help me to accept his will in my life and to surrender myself more completely to his plan. O Mary, Mother of God lead me to your Son, the source of my happiness and joy, the giver of my Salvation. AmenCapture2

If your brother has sinned against you…Community living

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Being a seminarian means living in community. It can be rough at times, you live, eat, pray, sleep, and work besides 40 or so men your own age and you really get to know each other. I mean REALLY get to know each other. I always say that my seminarian friends are my best friends that I have ever and will ever have, and that is true. We share intimate things with one another, it’s all part of the formation process.

Whether it be asking your brother to pray for you because you are struggling with a particular sin, asking them about their spiritual life practices as a way to enhance your own, or just unloading all of the struggles that you have been having that day to someone and having them listen and give you support, seminary community life is full of such moments. In Formation, both spiritual and human, we are encouraged to go deep, to  in a sense: “Stretch out our nets for a catch” Luke 5:4. Formation can be a challenge. There, I’ve said it. Having someone else tell you what they see you struggling with, holding you accountable, and encouraging you to grow can be hard. Why? Because we as humans like to be private! We don’t like to let people inside and see our broken-ness, our failings, our hurts, and our fears.

But, it is necessary! For growth! For Holiness! For Heaven!

Living in community, has it’s moments. Good and bad. I like to normally focus on the good, but for a short post, I want to focus on the bad.

“If your brother has sinned against you…”
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
 and there recall that your brother

has anything against you, 
leave your gift there at the altar,
 go first and be reconciled with your brother. Matthew 5:23-24

Living in Community, we tend to rub down each other’s hard edges into smooth spots, but in order to do that, we find our sharp spots and those tend to hurt. Christ, in Matthew’s Gospel says that when we go to the Altar and recall that our brother has sinned against us, we should first go and make amends with him, before we continue at the Altar. This has always been something that I have found beneficial to myself. If I am going to go and receive communion, I have to be free of hatred, envy, anger, toward my brothers. The sign of peace that we give to our closest neighbors at Mass is just that. A sign of peace, of an end to division, an end to anger against our neighbor.

God has a sense of humor, or at least he likes to make me smile and say, “Gee, thanks God! I’ve really been foolish this time!” There’s countless moments, I find, as I go about my day, in which I laugh at my own stupidity. Laugh at my own humaness.

Recently, I went to Mass in the morning after finding out the night before a sin that my brother had committed against me. It was an action which really cut close to home and made me feel quite upset. I had prayed the night before for God to give me the strength to deal with it and for Mamma Mary to help me to forgive him. Lo and behold during Mass the next morning, celebrated in Mary’s honor I was near the brother who sinned against me. While I struggled with the idea of forgiving him, when the time of peace came around I felt an immense sense of peace and as I offered him a sign of peace I made peace with him.

There is much to be said of forgiveness. Christ, forgave his killers as he hung across the cross, countless saints have forgiven their persecutors. Imagine what this world would be like if people learned to make peace with one another and forgive each other’s short comings. Something which I pride myself in trying to remind myself constantly that I am a sinner and when others sin against me, I could have sinned against them first. Let by-gones, be just that. By-gones! Let now-be’s, be now-be’s!

Live in each moment. Take each day, each encounter as a gift from God. Strive for what is eternal! Leave behind the temporal vices of this life! Forgive, be at peace, reconcile yourselves to each other. If your brother has sinned against you, do not let the sun go down on your anger, forgive him. Because hopefully in the future, he will forgive you.

murillo