So, a week ago last Tuesday, my air conditioning was repaired — a little over four days after it went out. I met the repairman that day — he arrived a little earlier than the two to five o’clock time period I was given. Before three o’clock, he was done and advised me it would take a few hours to cool the house back down — it was indeed 96F in the house. I checked my vents and confirmed that cool air was creeping back in — I was still breaking out in a sweat. Too late to return to work and not really wanting to wander around shopping, it occurred to me — the Blessed Sacrament chapel in my parish — that’s a cool place.
I grabbed my Liturgy of the Hours, my rosary, and a couple of books. I made the short 6 mile trip — it was even cooler in my car. Once inside the chapel, I challenged myself to take my own advice. I had shared with a group that, to really listen for God’s voice, try going to adoration without anything in your hand. I decided to sit there quietly. I was reminded of another cool Jesus moment — literally cool. A few years ago, my Secular Franciscan fraternity was asked to assist with the Atlanta Steubenville Youth retreat. It was held at Georgia’s FHA camp and had a beautiful chapel on site. One of our fraternity volunteered to set up the adoration chapel and I volunteered to keep the sign-up sheet for guardians. The wee hours of morning from one-thirty to five were a little sketchy. I was assigned to sleep in a room on the floor with other volunteers. I was glad to have my air mattress — until I realized I’d forgotten the plug that would keep it inflated. I was having a fitful time — too warm and hard floor. I had seen that there were a couple of hours without a guardian. I grabbed up my pillow and sleeping bag and headed to the chapel. It was a blast of cold air like opening the freezer door — it was heaven. I curled up on a pew and tried my best — the idea is to be awake — I was never alone in the chapel. Another friend had joined me and there was usually one or two others. I did doze. Lightning never struck me for dozing but it was blissful and the dreams I had were for me alone.
I am reminded of this time as I sit here in the Blessed Sacrament chapel — waiting for my home to cool down. I sat silently and was spoken too — I did take notes so as not to forget. I joined Evening Prayer and then went home after being gone for three hours. My home was 86F and the humidity was gone. I was many times better than when I left.
All that to be reminded that Jesus is cool.
“As Grain Once Scattered…..” — the theme of this year’s Eucharistic Congress. This year I helped process with my Secular Franciscan fraternity banner…
Immaculate Conception Fraternity of Secular Franciscans - Jonesboro, GA
Just posting a quick note with a link to a Georgia Bulletin article to which I contributed information. The article details some of the information regarding my Immaculate Conception Fraternity Jubilee celebration in March. It provides a nice overview of what we are about.
Check out the article here “Secular Franciscans Mark 50th Anniversary Here”
The Georgia Bulletin is the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdicese of Atlanta.
So, I have not blogged since Easter Sunday. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over the last ten years — I’ve been Catholic now for ten years. I’ve not been disappointed, or ever doubted my calling — the way in which I ran into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no other way to come in — when you already believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. At least I already believed enough in order to seek the rest of the story. This year my Easter Vigil was extra special — knowing the Elect and Candidates through my participation on the OCIA team this year. Ah.. Easter Vigil — I come for the smells — the bon fire, incense, and Chrism oil. I come for the baptismal water and a renewal of promises. I even come to hear a large portion of Bible read — from Creation to Resurrection. It makes it all so real for me again — something the Catholic Church does well — making things real again. I feel that my spiritual life was rescued the day I sat in my first Inquiry session and said, “I want to be Catholic.” I was very hungry — starving — raised in a tradition that lacked vital nutrients. Every day I fall more in love with heaven — my heaven has more people in it now that I can talk too. <grin> Where ever I’m at, I can pause, close my eyes, I can literally taste the heavenly meal — the Eucharist.
In the last ten years, I attended World Youth Day in Toronto, made two pilgrimmages to Italy and one to the Holy Land. I made two trips to Assisi. I completed a year of Pastoral Ministry Formation and then went on to finish my bachelor’s degree in Management. I became a professed Secular Franciscan — that to which I was asked if I was moving too quickly, to be so new in the Catholic Church and then into a religious order. To that I can only say, “You are saying I cannot live the Gospel life?” I do understand the questioning — it is a serious life long commitment — a religious profession. Being a Franciscan is not simply about the Gospel — it is about being in relationship with a community of people — Franciscan family. Every one who aspires to St. Francis’ spirituality is not meant to spend several years becoming a professed Franciscan. My whole Christian experience from age 9 forward has been about discovering what Jesus has said in His Gospel. In my own Southern Baptist experience, I learned nothing of Saints. Having been brought into the Catholic Church in a Franciscan parish, I was bound to learn about Saint Francis of Assisi. He was the exclamation point for all that I’d read and studied — the Gospel lived according to Jesus — indeed. Sometimes, you have to join the family to continue in conversion. I saw that in him — a model of continuing conversion. The Christian life is a narrow road. What does Jesus mean when He says, “Follow me?” It is a different calling to each of us — you must listen and He will speak.
I feel I should say something profound about my future expectations. I’m looking forward to the Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress in June. I’m excited to see Greg and Jennifer Willits will be official speakers. There is something else I’m looking forward to as well — as God so wills it — but — I’ll save that for much later.
Special to my Secular Franciscan readers — Just a quick post to share a link to Fr. Seraphim Beshoner, TOR’s most recent audio podcast on the Order of Penitents. He gives a great brief history on the Penitents and how the Franciscan Order grew out of the Penitents.
Link to Mp3 file here Program is about 40 minutes
Link to Fr. Seraphim’s post The Penitent Man
Fr. Seraphim teaches for the Franciscan University of Steubenville at the Gaming Austria campus. If you enjoy this program, he posts a new one almost weekly.