Wednesday, June 24, 2009

John the Baptist

St John the Baptist
Leonardo DaVinci

Today is the feast day for the Nativity of St John the Baptist and we are now at the half way point to Christmas. The Church placed this celebration on this day, not because there is hard evidence for his day of birth, but for symbolic reasons. John the Baptist said in the Gospel of John (Jn 3:30)
"No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said (that) I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease."
Jesus must increase and John must decrease.

This day also coincides closely with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Our days will begin to be shorter. Our days, like John, will decrease until we encounter the Word made flesh, Jesus.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Class of the Semester

Tomorrow will be the last class of this semester! That means:

Mass at 8:00 am

Turning in three papers on:

Marian Dogmas
The Nature of Grace
General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours

One exam on Moral Theology (that will be a bear since it covers the entire semester).

Then it will be a summer focused on continuing my Spanish lessons. I may throw in a little trip to the beach, fishing, golf and riding the bike.

Oh, I guess I will need to go to work as well.

It will be a busy summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Copyright 2007 M. Mitchell


The process of discernment is an ongoing process for those in formation to become Catholic Deacons. However, the biggest surprise for me has been the level of this discernment. We all continue to discern if God is truly calling us to this ministry, but there are other calls you receive; and with those calls, there are choices that must be made.

This happened to me recently.

We all have been given many opportunities to serve in a variety of ways; from volunteering at the Eucharistic Congress to assisting in our local churches. The ones that are most special are those that allow us to spend time with our brothers in formation since our time together is almost always in the context of classes. Each year we have an opportunity to travel to Jamaica to assist the Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston, Jamaica. I was looking forward to the trip since it would have given me an opportunity to see some of my friends who live in Jamaica and spend quality time with some of my brothers in formation.

But something was pulling at me; it was not what I was supposed to be doing. I began to remember a conversation I had with Deacon Joe Reynolds concerning my vocation. Deacon Joe was one of the most kind men I had ever met and was my mentor. The one thing he stressed to me that day was that 50% of our parish spoke Spanish and therefore I needed to make it a priority to learn the language before ordination. Deacon Joe died the next day. I had tried to pick up the language (Rosetta Stone) but it never became a priority. I now feel it never became a priority because this would be something I must do alone.

I chose not go to Jamaica and focus my time and money on learning Spanish. When I finally made the decision, I felt at peace. Although this path will be taken by myself, I am confident it will open doors I never knew were possible.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"When God confides a special office to someone, He commits Himself to provide the helps and graces that person needs in order to accomplish well the task entrusted to him."
Thomas a Kempis - The Imitation of Christ

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Photo: Ben Delaney

Madonna del Ghisallo Chapel

In 1949, Pope Pius XII named the Madonna of Ghisallo as the patron saint of cyclists. Since that time, the local chapel in Italy has become a destination for Catholics cyclist. You can read more about it here. I have carried a Madonna del Ghisallo medal in my bicycle's seat pouch for many years.


Since I have been in formation to become a deacon, I have attempted to maintain some of the activities that I enjoyed before beginning this process; especially riding my bicycle. However, I have become more and more aware that I do not belong in the groups I used to ride with on a regular basis. The conversations, and the priorities of the people is something that I no longer relate too. There is a part of me that says I must continue and use this as an opportunity to serve those who may be in need (not financially since most cyclist are quite affluent, but spiritually). However, I find that people begin to put up walls once they learn what I am doing. I end up being quite alone on a ride with 30+ people.

I am not surprised, just disappointed.

Lord give me the strength to pick up your cross and follow you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Feast Day of Justin Martyr

Today we celebrate the feast day of Justin Martyr. One of the early eastern Church Fathers (martyred in ~150 ad), he is a great source of information for defending the beliefs of the Church. A great example is his defense of the Eucharist and its meaning. Below is a portion of one of his writings on the subject:

"For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh." (1st Apology of St Justin Martyr)