Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sermonette

This is a sermonette that I gave to my community on October 14. Each of the students gives a sermonette throughout the month of October. This is intended for seminarians and priests but I think that there are elements that each Christian could find useful in their vocational journey. 



Vocation. What does it entail? Who do we seek as a model? In its infancy we seek God. We seek to be seen by God; to see God; to love God and to be loved by God. We seek to serve as well. We may, at times, find ourselves seeking certain aspects that lead us away from that initial call from God.

The journey of our vocational lives is a constant turning of our lives back towards the will of God the Father. Seeking Him through his Son while being animated in doing  so by the Holy Spirit. Our lives can at times seem as if we are wandering in the desert like the Israelites did so long ago and at other times seem as if everything is perfectly in sync with Gods plan.


Our lives demand of us level of abandonment. Often it seems as if it is unbearable, however Christ, who makes all things possible, strengthens us. In the Gospel of Mark 8: 34 Christ speaks of the conditions of discipleship, He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me…” At face value it appears that the disciple of Christ is one who must let go of and leave everything behind. But, while it is imperative that a follower of Our Lord does these things, the disciple also gains much. In abandoning our will to Gods will we see God working in our life to bring forth His Kingdom through us. Using us as a sower of the seed of the Word of God and the Work of God in peoples lives.

We see this most clearly in the life of Our Lady. Mary let go of everything. She did not know where her fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum would lead her. But she knew that she would be doing the will of God. Our Lady is a prime example for us. Despite our ignorance or lack of faith at times we know that if we live our lives according to the will of Father we will be successful in our lives because we have lived our lives in accordance with Gods will for us, our vocation.

Also, in living out our vocation we are playing an active role in Salvation History. Just as Marys Fiat allowed for the entry of the Messiah into the world our Yes to Gods will allows us to be an active participant in Gods plan for salvation. By being faithful to God we will, and will at some point, be ministers of Gods sacraments which are all outward signs of His love for humanity. Our Ladys Fiat brought forth the Son of God into the world and impacted salvation history for all.  If we are to live out our vocation faithfully, and with joy, we too can positively impact salvation history not just for us; but also for those to whom we are sent.

Using Our Lady as our model of fidelity to the will of God let us entrust ourselves to her; imploring from her for guardianship as well as an intercessor in our lives to assist us in remaining faithful to the call we have all received.

Mary Help of Christians,

Pray for us.



God bless,
Br. Adam

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wake me up when September Ends!

Greetings friends, family and confrere,

It has been a wild month. That's right, I have been here for a month already! Once classes began life got very busy and I was not able to post as often as I ( and I am sure you) would have liked. So, here is a synthesis of what I have been doing.

Classes:
This semester I am taking quite a few classes along with my classmates! I am taking; Inspiration- Canon- Hermeneutics (Bible), Biblical Archeology, Synoptic Gospels- Acts of the Apostles, Biblical Greek 1 (ΧαιΡε), Fundamental Theology, Introduction to Liturgy, Church History I, Methodology, Italian I, in addition to visiting the various Holy Sites (Topographical Visits) and visiting places of history from Biblical Times (Archeological Excursions)

These classes take up the majority of my time. They are great and I am learning a lot of interesting things. For instance, greek, I never thought I would have been learning greek.

Community:
Community is great! Never in any house have i seen such a diverse gathering of confrere. We are 39 students and 11 staff members. During the month of October we pray the Rosary as a community. It is amazing to hear the prayers of the Rosary in many different languages.

Daily schedule:
It is a jam packed schedule. The morning begins at 6:25am with morning prayer. After morning prayer there is Mass immediately following and the meditation. After morning exercises of prayer there is breakfast and then chores. After chores there is class. My chore this month is to clean the Chapel. After chores is class time. We are in class from 8:45- 12:15 with a few breaks. After class there is lunch at 12:30. Following lunch there is some sort of recreation usually at 13:15. On Monday we play basketball, Tuesday we play volleyball, Wednesday we play soccer (or as everyone else calls it football) and Thursday we play basketball again. On Friday and Saturday we do not play any games outside in observance of the Jewish sabbath. Usually on Friday and Saturday the second - fourth years have an apostolic ministry.

Special outing:
We went to the beach about a week ago on September 24. The water was great! It was about 80 degrees. The waves were a lot of fun too. There was a slight undertow but it didn't bother me too much. The lifeguards were very apprehensive of the undertow and didn't let people go too far out.
I ended up getting a wicked sunburn on my lower back. It was brutal.

Learning curve:
Everything here is measured in meters and kilometers. The temperature is measured in centigrade. I need to learn these things. Also, the English here is all British English,  which is frustrating. There are random E and the end of a word. Random U are there as well. All very odd.

Upcoming:
Next week we are going to visit Galilee. I will be praying for you and will be posting a lot of photos to Facebook!

Until the next writing,
God bless,
Br. Adam

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mass in the Tomb

Today my class and I had the blessing of being able to celebrate the Holy Mass in Jesus' tomb. It was a surreal experience that words cannot totally express.





Today my classmates and I also started our first day of classes. It was a good introduction into academic life...again! Im looking forward to the classes. I will update more on this topic at a later date. 

Sorry for the short post but I am tired and am going to bed. Good night! 

God bless,
Br. Adam

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Topographical Visit to the Mount of Olives

Shalom! Greetings from the Holy Land! Today we took a Topographical Visit to the Mount of Olives. We went to quite a few interesting and Biblically important sites. We started the day out at the Chapel of the Ascension. This is where Jesus ascended into Heaven 50 days after his Resurrection.
 Chapel of the Ascension
Place of the Ascension (inside Chapel) 

After some brief history from our guide we continued on our tour just down the road a little way to the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father). This was a beautiful place. This is the spot where Jesus taught his Apostles to pray the Our Father. 
 Panoramic View 
 Our Father in Hebrew and Aramaic
 English
 Courtyard
Cave or Grotto

After visiting this beautiful Church we went to the place where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. This place was simple but very beautiful and very prayerful. It had a great view of the City of Jerusalem. 
                           Luke 19: 41 "As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it"
 View of Jerusalem
 View of Jerusalem
 View of Jerusalem
 Our group listening to Fr. Pol
View from inside the Chapel

After visiting here we went to the Church of Gethsemane. This is where Jesus was praying before he was betrayed by Judas and arrested. It was a beautiful church and a great place to pray. 






After visiting the Church of Gethsemane we went on to the place where Mary is thought to have been buried before her Assumption. All of these places were beautiful to learn about as well as to pray at. Be assured of more pictures on Facebook. 
 Outside of the Church 
 Descent into Church
Painting hanging in Church

Tomb of Mary


God bless, 
Br. Adam

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day Seven

Today we had the official opening of our academic year. It started out with a Liturgy of the Word Service. Afterwards, we had refreshments outside of the Principal's office. Following the refreshments we went to Don Bosco Hall and had our official opening. The new students were introduced to the rest of the STS as well as the new faculty members. After the assembly we had to elect the student leader who will have the responsibility of communicating information to the rest of the students from the Principal and from the students to the Principal.

At the election, Br. Eduardo and myself were nominated by our peers. I was elected. It is a responsibility that I will take with some learning that must be done.

After lunch we had  our daily recreational period. We played football (soccer). It is a bit of a reminder that I am no longer in the United States because soccer is called football; they want me to teach them American Football. That will surely be interesting. Today at soccer I scored the first goal. I kicked it in on a rebounded shot. It was a good day. My team won 3-0

Tomorrow my year group will go to the Mount of Olives for a Topographical Visit.

Be assured of many pictures and plenty of prayers.

God bless,
Br. Adam

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day Six: Community...Recreation...Movie

Good day!

Today was a day filled with activity! I woke up about 6am and got ready for the day. I went to Morning Prayer, Mass and Meditation at 7am and breakfast afterwards. After breakfast I went to the registrar's office to get my books for the semester. This is going to be a busy semester!

This semester I am taking classes in Hermeneutics, Biblical Archeology- History and Geography, The Synoptic Gosepls, Biblical Greek, Fundamental Theology, Introduction to Liturgy, Church History, Methodology, Italian and Topographical Visits (This is a visit to the the Holy Sites in Jerusalem).  It will be a busy semester and it will be a challenge for me. Pray that I do well!

After lunch today I had the opportunity to play some basketball with the brothers. We had two teams playing and we subbed people in regularly. I cannot shoot a basketball to save my life! I can play some defense.
After dinner we had the opportunity to watch a movie. We watched "Red Dawn". Some seemed to like it some others did not. Such is the case with taste; some like some things while some others do not care for it. 

Tomorrow we open our academic year. We will gather at about 9am for a Liturgy of the Word service and then have an assembly to welcome us new students and the new Faculty. I look forward to tomorrow and the rest of the year. 

Until tomorrow,
Br. Adam

Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 5: Registration for classes

Today was another low key day. I registered for classes today and officially was enrolled in the Salesian Pontifical University- Jerusalem Campus. The main Campus of the UPS (Universita Pontificia Salesiana) is in Rome. Right now I am registered to take 11 classes this semester. I know it sounds like a lot but this is part of the European System.

I look forward to my classes. I am joined by 13 others. Tomorrow I will finish getting ready for my classes. I will get my clothes ready. Dress for class is "formal" as I was told today. I will also get my books tomorrow.

In the afternoon I will take some time to pray. Not an exciting day. But it was a productive day.

Have a blessed day,
Br. Adam