Walking With The Father: January 2015

January 7, 2015

From the Boardroom to the Bishop's Office

Why would any man change from corporate businessman to seminarian studying for the priesthood? In 2007, I was in charge of a multi-million dollar business division at IBM. I had everything that the world and society told me defined success and would bring happiness: an excellent job, a promising career, a beautiful girlfriend, and a nice place to call home. Life was good. I thought I had it all. Everyone told me I was successful. But something was missing – I was empty inside. Surely there had to be more to life than this?

I heard God’s call to the priesthood at a young age. Yet in high school guidance counsellors and teachers encouraged everyone to go to university or college, so I just did what everyone else did. I kept pushing away the idea of becoming a priest because I did not want to seem different, but the truth is I was different. We are all unique and we should not be afraid of being different – it’s what makes us special.

What I call the “checklist in life” as determined by today’s society was getting done at a rapid pace. Yet with each checkmark, the Holy Spirit was leading me elsewhere. I began to have this desire to serve God instead of a company. I wanted to save souls for Christ rather than to save expense dollars for a corporation. I wanted to promote life and love, rather than capitalism and new business opportunities. People began to tell me at Mass or in Confession that I would be a good priest.

I developed an overwhelming gratitude for God’s generosity in my life. I began to understand more profoundly that Jesus died on the cross for MY sins! I began to pray more often; even several times throughout the day. I started to attend weekday Mass as often as possible. What was happening? I asked my pastor if he would help navigate this transformation going on in my heart.

I began to read the Bible during coffee breaks at work and in spare time at home. The Word of God began to jump off the pages and penetrate deep inside my heart like never before. God’s love started to become real, something tangible, and not just something that I heard other people talking about.

I attended WYD that summer. The experience was overwhelming. There I saw firsthand how the Catholic Church truly is universal and guided by the Holy Spirit. Meeting good Catholic friends through the experience helped me grow in the faith and they provided a supportive environment to live the Christian values. As I tried to return to the regular life in the months that followed, Jesus’ invitation to follow Him as a priest became something I could no longer push aside or ignore. “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’” Each morning I reply, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Epiphany 2015 (Sunday homily)

Mary Mother of God January 1st 2015 (Sunday homily)

January 6, 2015

The Lord's Prayer

When one of the disciples asked Jesus (Luke’s Gospel Chapter 11),
“Lord teach us to pray,”

He replied:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Searching for and Maintaining Peace

This small 118-page paperback is jam-packed with great insights on achieving interior peace. I think that many people get really stressed out this time of year from their time after boxing week shopping in busy malls/parking lots, travelling, with bills coming in from Christmas shopping,  and from family gatherings that may have brought up old wounds. 

This book was recommended to me by a friend who said that it was the best book he ever read. With such high praise, I told my friend that I would read it eventually, but that I had a couple other books on my 'to read' list that was ahead of it.

He bought me the book and hand delivered it to me four days later. I was stunned how persistent and generous he was so I put everything else that I was reading aside and started reading Philippe's gem. Why not start off the New Year in peace?

Book Reviews

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Feast Day - January 28

Many have argued that Aquinas had the greatest intellect Christendom has ever known, and others have said that he is the greatest theologian and philosopher of all time. After reviewing 4 books on him, my favorite quote that helps illustrate the magnitude of his genius was that: 'Thomas could've run circles around Einstein, Newton, or Stephen Hawking.'

He is one of 35 Doctors of the Church, and his prolific writings are still studied and cited regularly, now 800 years later. In fact, much of my required course reading in the seminary, liturgical hymns, and Christian prayers came from him. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervade his writings.

Thomas is often depicted in images with a church, scripture, and a Eucharistic near his heart. Many of the Eucharistic Hymns we sing at Mass come from Aquinas, while his explanations of Sacred Scripture are the basis for many other scholars, and his theology is essential for the formation of priests today.

Here’s my favorite Eucharistic hymn by Aquinas: