Christmas tidings

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the joy of Emmanuel (God with us) lift your hearts and bring you glad tidings.

The Abbey came to life in a special way over the past couple of days, with festive colors of green and red, joyful sounds of heavenly choirs, and grateful hearts expressed on cheerful faces, as over a thousand of Christ’s flock came to celebrate the birth of our Savior during the Christmas Eve Vigils on Saturday night and the Christmas Day Mass on Sunday. However, before any of these wonderful celebratory feasts could take place, a lot of work went on behind the scenes, especially in the days and hours leading up to these blessed Eucharistic celebrations of Christ’s birth, to make sure everyone present had a joyful Christmas experience. As a member of this community, the joy of setting up the decorations, serving as acolyte for each of the masses, and preparing a meal for my confreres, reminds me not only why I’m a disciple of Christ Jesus, but also why I entered into community life in the first place: to serve my neighbor!

As we make our way through the Christmas Octave, let us remember each and every day, all blessings that our loving God has bestowed on us. Not only have we received from Him the best gift ever imaginable; His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; we also can be thankful for the gift of having one another to share our lives with during this most sacred and beautiful time of the year. God Bless!

The O Antiphons

The Lord is close at hand; Come, let us worship Him! One of the many joys I get to experience as a professed member of this Norbertine community, is the opportunity to Cantor for the Divine Office and Mass. On December 17th, the singing of the sacred O’ Antiphons began, letting us know that Christ our Savior is only moments away from entering into our world, so that we may know our Heavenly Father in the most intimate of ways.

How blessed are we to have a God that loves us so much, that He would want to take on flesh and the human condition, to dwell with us here on earth! Starting with the O’ Holy Wisdom antiphon, we acknowledge our limitations as created creatures and urn for the divine guidance that only Christ can give.

Speaking of wisdom, yours truly just finished final exam week at Immaculata University, and while I recognize there is a difference between wisdom and intellect, I’m blessed as an older student to be able to impart whatever human wisdom I may have on my much-younger and energetic student counterparts. All of my professors this semester have blessed me greatly with their expertise and dedication, passing on whatever they can, with the fruits of becoming a more well-rounded and knowledgeable human being.

However, none of this would possible if I didn’t have Christ Jesus to lead and nurture me through this academic experience, especially, when my Spanish class gave me such a run for my money this year…just kidding! God Bless.

A day of recollection

On November 30th, the Norbertine community was treated to a wonderful day of recollection, given by Rev. Francis Doyle, O.S.A. This presentation, held in our Divine Word Chapel, focused on the coming of our Lord, in this holy season of Advent. Fr. Doyle, blessed us with his spiritual wisdom and insight during the two daily conferences, and he also provided us with some spiritual food for thought, in the form of questions to ponder, during the quiet reflective times of this special day.

The highlight of this day of recollection for me was the sharing of the individual reflections from my confreres; a time of illumination for sure, on a spiritual idea or phrase, that really resonated with them from the earlier talks. Days of recollection allow us to slow down from our busy day, to properly center our hearts and minds on the splendor of God, the Church calendar, and the blessings of community life. Once this day of recollection is over, I find the talks and sharing of that day continue to bear fruit, as I journey deeper into the mystery of this blessed season.

I’m already looking forward to our Lenten day of recollection, but first, I’ll enjoy the coming weeks that lead up to the glory of our incarnational Lord and Savior. God Bless!

Advent blessings

A happy first week of Advent to all my friends in Christ Jesus! It’s been a while since my last posting effort, and so, I hope this finds you well. As a quick update… God has continued to bless me, since my last communication with you all, as I’m approaching my four-year anniversary (Jan 2017) with the Norbertines, at Daylesford Abbey. If that’s not enough of a blessing to report, I professed my vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, for a period of three-years, this past August 27th, in front of the entire Norbertine community, both professed and lay. I’m grateful to God, my confreres, family and friends, for all of their support and well wishes, as I took this big step in the vocation process.

As a seminarian, attending Immaculata University, I’ve been working hard on my theology, philosophy, and other required courses, in which the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters (IHM’s) are so lovingly passing on their collective wisdom to me. Now, with the Christmas Season at hand, it’s time to end the academic affairs of the past year, and find even extra space in my heart for the Lord’s coming.

We sing each and every morning the Gospel Canticle Antiphon “Take courage, the Lord our God comes to save us” which fuels us with hope and joy, reminding us all that something truly amazing is about to happen…May you remember this always, especially as you go about the busyness of the upcoming weeks ahead. God Bless!