--1--Thursday was our big Rector's Dinner where we are given a chance to thank those who have generously contributed to our experience here in Rome. It is also a good community event for us and a beneficial fundraiser. Here's us setting up below. The nice thing about having 220 guys in house is that a ton of work is made easy with so many hands.
Fr. Robert Barron, of the famous Word on Fire website, gave us another talk this week on Newman and and his biography, Apologia pro Vita Sua.
My vocation director, Fr. Chuck Kelly, has been in town for the week and I have been asking a lot of questions. I'm truly excited for the summer. It seems like we'll be running all over the diocese. Among other things, we will be doing Wilderness Outreach, which is a weeklong work camp out in the wilderness cutting trail. Its emphasis is on developing an authentic masculine spirituality. I'll be going out with Fr. Chuck, a few other seminarians, and then some guys who are discerning. If you are interested and discerning, you might try to reach our vocations office and see if there are any openings. The dates are July 23rd-30th. We'll also be visiting parishes, promoting vocations, and whatever else presents itself. I cannot wait to get back home. :) Here's Fr. Chuck, Aaron and myself up on the roof.
Fr. Chuck was speaking to us a bit and said something that struck me. He said you are never going to be comfortable with what you are doing. And to be a priest, you have to get comfortable with always being uncomfortable. It's not an easy life and new dilemmas always cross your path, you have to be ready for the unexpected. There should be a certain fear. That can be healthy because it keeps your head screwed on straight and you do not just go charging into battle. A former police officer was explaining how there is always a bit of fear going in a house knowing you are in for a battle. So also with the life of a priest.
He also spoke about confession. There is a real deep sense that you do not know what is really taking place in confession as the confessor. God works in deeper ways than you can imagine so you may experience little if any consolation in the confessional but God can be saving souls right in front of your desolation. This is a powerful reality to enter into but honestly so very difficult as well.
I was just at the hospital on Monday and I met a woman who was visiting her dying friend in the hospital. She was unconscious and on oxygen. I mentioned I would be praying for her friend but she responded, God does not answer us. God is not love. He allows her friend to suffer for some 40 years and even now will not let her go. He is not love. I was just starting to get my bearings when she continued that Jesus died for nothing because we still suffer and God sits idly by.
You know, I did not have the answer. I knew I did not have the answer. Who has the answer to suffering? But I responded that God must be love and though it was hard to see, God was with them in this suffering. We can say that we do not understand why we must suffer and why good people must suffer but we cannot deny that God is love.
Well I am not sure if it was the right move but I could not let a statement like that stand, ultimate for her own well-being. There is just no way to let it stand. I think in some sense she knew it had to be countered. What kind of world would this be if God were not love? Impossible!
But she responded that I have never seen suffering. She has. She has accompanied many of her friends to their deaths and she lived during world war 2. She knows suffering. And when I know suffering, I will know that God is not love.
Yikes! I had to admit my lack of experience but I insisted that God truly is love, completely and always. Yes I might be young and suffering is a great mystery but God answers it in the best way possible, with His Son sharing in our suffering.
Please pray for her and her friend who is on her death bed that the Lord may receive her into his arms.
We play Redemptoris Mater this weekend's Clericus Cup game. Say a prayer for us. They beat us last year in the finals. :/
This just in. Our numbers for our new man class of 2014 has just crept up to 60. I think they are trying to break the record my class set 2 years ago. :)