Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, November 28, 2010
As my life progresses I'm really overwhelmed with thoughts and prayers, etc. But I guess here's the bottom line of this post: I am a changed/changing man. I've changed. Intentionally. I'm made different. New. And -- I like it.
There's this wonderful thing about seminary -- daily, and I do mean each and every day, Christ is made the priority. He is the Captor of my mind, my heart, my priorities, and everything that makes up Coady Owens. Now this comes at a price: No girlfriend, no facebook, being at a school 10 hours away from home, and a certain sacrifice of some freedoms, but does it ever seem worth it! Given, I'm not perfect at this whole thing yet. There are still some kinks to work out, but I'm moving, and that's a good feeling.
Recently my kick has been intentionality. It seems that throughout my life I've had this idea that if I just do what's right and stay away from what's wrong then all will be well. I'm learning, though, that sometimes you gotta play "no slop." Call your shots, and back up your actions with sincere intention. Don't be virtuous on accident. This is easy to do when in a setting that promotes this kind of living, but in the fast-paced, cut-throat society we've become...eh...not so much!
And how easy it is for seminarians to slip into old habits of laziness and carelessness when we return to everything we knew before seminary! I was re-convicted over Thanksgiving break (as it was my first time home since August) with a desire to bring to my family and friends the same Coady that I bring to God in prayer, lest I forget all that I've gained and return to mediocrity. I can't do that by only praying Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. I can't do it even with the addition of daily mass. The only way I can do that is to live my life virtuously, on purpose, encompassing MP, EP, the Sacraments, etc. as a part of the character of a man on a mission to be with God.
Now, as you by now know, seminary is the first step in a vocation that looks towards the priesthood. I love the priesthood. I love priests. There is a video out online that highlights the Archdiocese of New York's Priestly Ordination for 2009. In it, Archbishop Dolan says, "You will have the very CHARACTER of Christ -- the High Priest, the Good Shepherd -- branded on your hearts...as your very IDENTITY." To me this was a very powerful statement. I was awestruck by the magnitude of what the Archbishop was claiming, but he's right! Then I began to think of these priests, these men, before their ordination. While there was, without a dobut, an ontological change in them, that change upon ordination was the sealing of a life of progression. These men were not taken of the streets and made to be priests, but rather God called them and they were formed to Christ. They lived intentionally a goal of accepting and growing so close to Christ that now people may occasionally mistake them for Jesus, Himself. You see, we are all called to holiness. While all our vocations may not be in the priesthood, we have to realize that there is no moment that does not matter for any of us. My position as a seminarian, a student, etc. should reflect that Jesus is changing me, and if it doesn't, then my coming to seminary was useless and I've wasted my time here.
So again, bottom line: I've changed/I'm changing because I've realized that my life before was pretty ok...and that is -- plain and simple -- not good enough. The Good Lord calls us to more, and it's about time we answered Him.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I was gonna write some huge post about something or other, but I'm kinda short on time right now, so this one will have to do. Just a thought...maybe more an opinion...a question...call it what you will!
Facebook: What's the deal with that? We're always allowed to get back on during our open weekends, and while I have gotten on both weekends...I almost wish I hadn't. Sure it has the positive qualities that are becoming cliché. "Oh I get to stay in touch with so many of my old friends!" or "This way I get to know people so much easier." or "It's a great way to network." My opinion: Facebook...not worth it. I don't say this as a declaration, but maybe some of you have an opinion about this. My friend over the summer was talking to me about facebook, and I think he hit the nail on the head. He said, "Facebook is for people who can't let go, and who want to live in the past." Everytime I get on I'm brought back and it's almost like all the work God has done in me this year vanishes for a few moments. Pictures, statuses, etc...just sort of brings back potentially painful memories of times gone by. I think the new "Social Network" Movie kind of captures this too. It's a sad movie all around and I won't ruin it for you, but for those of you who have seen it -- Remember the scene when he friend requested his ex-girlfriend and just kept refreshing the page over and over to see if she would accept it? I think that embodies facebook to an extent. Just sad and defeated. Trying to make things happen that are already long gone. Tell me what you think, but I think a world without facebook would be a better, more present, more sincere world.
Until Thanksgiving -- This is Coady Owens, signing off.
Since the last time I've posted a lot has happened, the most important being that I've been officially initiated into the seminary. It's not as dark or mysterious as it sounds -- basically I just had to profess that I would live the year as a seminarian of my diocese and of SJV with the help of God, and then picked a few saints and a bible verse to live my life by for the year.
My verse was John 6:67-69 which reads,
Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
Now -- In my opinion this could be the most relevant bit of dialogue in the entire bible. There are a few sure contenders, but let me explain why I think it is important.
This happens right after Jesus teaches on the Eucharist. I can get into the Eucharist in another post, but right now, suffice to say, Christ joyfully offered Himself as a means for Eternal Life, and people bailed. He was left alone, and dejectedly He turned to His best friends and said, "Do you wanna leave me, too?" Peter's answer was captured perfectly by the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan. To quote Archbishop Dolan's book, To Whom Shall We Go, titled after the verse,
"'You know, Lord...Most of the time, we don't understand what You're teaching either. Most of the time, it goes over our heads. Most of the time, we can't make much sense out of it. Most of the time, we find Your teachings difficult and demanding. Yes, there have been times that we've been tempted to walk away because You just don't seem to make any sense. But Lord, we don't care. You're all we've got. We have come to love You, believe in You, hope in You; and we have come to know that even though we don't always understand You, and even though You at times confuse, frustrate, and exasperate us, we know that You have the words of everlasting life. There is nowhere else to go. We are in it for the long haul.'"
Think about our world today. It seems almost every other day you hear a story about "so-and-so who's leaving the Church"...or someone will say, "well, I GREW UP Catholic..." People are hearing Christ's message, seeing the life of the Cross and saying, "No Way! That's a ton of superstition. This heaven and hell stuff is a load of crap and I can get by just by living a moral life that I define."
While there are a ton of philosophical questions that could be asked about the above statement, let's stick with the one Jesus asked. He's asking us the same question today: "Do you also want to leave?" As I sit in the seminary and contemplate my life with God, I see myself more and more in Peter. "Jesus, where else am I gonna go? I've invested everything I have in You. You are GOD. There is absolutely no way I could have any sort of life worth living apart from You. I've believed before...and now I KNOW that You are the Holy One of God."
Call it a little reflection I guess, it's just something that's been on my mind. Prayers and Blessings.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
God has blessed me infinitely in sending me here to seminary. Here at SJV I found everything that I was looking for and then some. It's funny that the things I admire and appreciate the most are things that, in our culture today, have a lot of negative connotations. I love the structure, the disicipline, the early rising, the studying -- it all is just so purifying. To kind of outline it for you, here is a pretty basic day at the seminary.
5:30ish am: Get up and shower
6:15 am: Morning Prayer, Exposition, and Holy Hour
7:15 am: Daily Mass
8:15 am - 1:30 pm classes, studying, personal prayer and maybe a little nap
2:00 pm: Hit the Gym
3:00 pm - 4:45 pm: Studying and Reading
5:00 pm: Evening Prayer
5:30 pm: Community Dinner
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Study Hours
8:30 pm: Meeting with Diocesan Brothers or Small Fraternal Groups
9:30 pm: Night Prayer
10:00 pm: Sleep
It's a remarkable thing. No facebook to distract me, no wasting time with computer games...Everything here is directed towards holiness. I'm surrounded by other holy men who are on the same journey towards discovering their vocations, and its a very supportive community. No down-talk. Very little Sarcasm. Everyone is always building each other up and helping each other grow.
I won't say that life is perfect. It's not. I still have a lot of obstacles in prayer. I still have things to grow in and work on, but what I will say is that there is no place I'd rather be than here at SJV. Perhaps over Thanksgiving Break, or Fall Break, I will write about something specific that God has taught me since being here, but for now I'm content with this explanation, and I hope that it demonstrates a little bit of what the seminary life is like to you! Please pray for me that my experience will only make me grow MORE in holiness. Thank you!
Peace in Christ,
Coady Patrick Paul Owens