“If the barricades went up in our streets and the poor became masters, I think the priests would escape, I fear the gentlemen would; but I believe the gutters would be simply running with the blood of philanthropists.”—G.K. Chesterton in Charles Dickens (via gkchestertonquote)
Adulting really hard since I moved to Chicago, changing addresses, registering classes, renewing passport, setting up doctors and dentists… Oh and learning the ins and outs of my new friary and community!
For the Augustinian family, these are two of our most special feast days, and they come back to back! This evening we will be celebrating Mass and a special dinner at our parish in New Lenox, IL. Tomorrow there is an orientation for new students in Chicago. Later that evening we will have a social and a nice dinner at the house. Happy times in community!
My first semester schedule is shaping up quite nicely. I’ll have 7pm night classes on Monday and Tuesday, and an 8:30 and 1pm class on Wednesdays. I’ll also have one online class. Thursdays and Fridays are off! Woo! (Though surely to be consumed in some other way-such as reading and studying like a madman).
For the curious, my classes are: Intro to Old Testament, Foundations: Theology and Practice of Ministry, Foundations: Religious Exp in Context, Ecclesiology and Mariology, and Christianity in the Middle East (especially relevant today IMO).
A worrisome trend is emerging among some Californians who thought they were safe and secure under Covered California: Their plans are being canceled without consent and sometimes without notice.
1st, patients were told they could keep their primary care physician, & that was a lie.
2nd, the Covered California falsified information on their website, showing physicians who were not contracted with any Covered California plans, leading patients to believe these doctors accepted the CC plans, which they did not. This happened to the healthcare entity I work for. So, there’s another lie.
Now, Covered California patients, who are paid in full & have not defaulted on their plans (& there are tons of CC patients who have defaulted!) are being dropped from the plan they have chosen & paid for, & put on MediCal, an over-stressed plan that fewer & fewer healthcare providers accept because they reimburse at significantly lower rates than it costs physicians to render any given service - typically 30% less, on average.
Based on income standards nobody has access to but Covered California, people are being transitioned to MediCal coverage because they meet the income requirements for this “no-cost/low-cost” coverage. But nobody is telling them in advance that their coverage is changing!
So, people are ending up not being able to see their new doctor, who is different from their old doctor, because their new coverage was changed to coverage that nobody takes because it is utter junk.
Yeah. That sounds reasonable!
And … here’s the kicker … these patients who are transitioned to MediCal without their knowledge or permission, are not going to be able to be reimbursed for the money that they’re already paid in!
And then there are the folks whose coverage is just … cancelled without notice, even though they’ve paid all their premiums!
This is a total FUBAR. Covered California is run by amateurs (hmmm … much like the Federal ObamaCare plans - imagine that!) who don’t even know how to build a website.
Horrific. ObamaCare is horrific. That’s the most accurate word I can use at this point. It’s WAY beyond nightmare. It’s a horrorshow of a law on paper & in practice.
So, Obama & ObamaCare supporters … how’s it feel to have been played? ‘Cos you were. Royally.
I wonder what Obama would say about this. Too bad we’ll never know ‘cos he’s too busy on another vacation.
What a bunch of buffoons & morons the Obama administration are.
I believe that plenty of people who call themselves atheists, agnostics, or renounced their Catholic faith are irreedemably damned. I believe that not so much because God doesn’t damn people, but m…
Really love Fr. Mark’s point #5 where he says, “As Augustine matures, so does his perspective on God, Faith & the Church. I believe that many young people claim agnosticism without realizing this is part of maturation. I think they are turned away by Catholics who have had an easier time at their faith, not realizing that this Negative Way is part of Spiritual Maturation.” [emphasis mine]
How are people not absolutely horrified and outraged by Michael Brown’s death and what is going on in Ferguson? How are people insisting that Brown robbed a store when the police chief is admitting that he had nothing to do with it? How are people seeing these videos of police threatening and
Hello, I'm currently discerning the priesthood, and looking at the religious orders, the Augustinians seem the most appealing. Could you give an explanation of your time with the order, I would greatly appreciate it. Peace and blessings, Julian
Thank you for being open to God’s calling in your life!
The Augustinians were founded in 1244 by a papal decree (uniquely among religious orders) that brought various groups of Italian hermits together to live a more active mendicant life in service of the Church. Because of our eremitical roots, we have a strong contemplative dimension to our spirituality. Our charism is to offer the Church a witness to the common life. Because of this, you’ll find Augustinians serving in many various capacities; with importance placed on having dinner together, usually after Vespers (although every house is a bit different depending on the work responsibilities of the friars). We have a great tradition of many saints and blesseds, and worldwide number nearly 3,000 friars across many different provinces around the world.
In the United States, we have three provinces: the Villanova Province is the largest, with 200 friars serving mainly in Philadelphia, Nee York, and New England. The Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel is based in Chicago and has parishes across the Midwest and in Tulsa, OK. I am a member of the Province of St. Augustine (nice name, right?) often called the California province, we number 30 friars mainly in San Diego and Los Angeles, with a few other houses around the State. This year, three men including myself professes First Vows. We have two men in novitiate and 3-4 in pre-novitiate. So though our province is a bit small it is growing, with over 1/3 of the province new within the last 10 years (including Fr. Mark who runs the blog @EphremHipHop).
As for myself, I have with the Augustinians over over two years now, with over a year of discernment before beginning my pre-novitiate in San Francisco during the 2012-2013 school year. There I finished my philosophy credits to fulfill the pre-requisites for beginning graduate theology studies. I then chaperoned our High School’s trip to the WYD in Rio de Janeiro. After the trip I moved to the national novitiate in Racine, WI. The novitiate is a year set apart with lots of time for meditation, reading, and building fraternity. It was a very graced time that I just completed on August 2nd, when I professed my First Vows. I’m currently on a three week vacation before I move to Chicago to begin my theology. I’m very excited to get started!
Today, my dream came true. I helped everyone in the house with some form of technology. Including a flip phone and I had to channel 15 year old me to remember the old tricks. I love it. I love being knowledgeable about an area when I live in a house with brilliant women, who live incredible lives,…
For those discerning vocation, this is what common life in a religious house looks like on the day to day level. And it is wonderful!
Public roads subsidize urban sprawl (that liberals hate). Short answer is that in a free market neighborhoods would be denser to support very manageable tolls/monthly rent levies/neighborhood co-ops. But still, the roads that Statists love subsidizing the sprawl that Statists hate is one of my favorite political ironies.
Father, how does one 'actively participate' during mass and keep their mind focused on the readings and Gospel and prayerful and loving and open to God?
The challenge of actively participating at holy Mass is heavily affected by attitude. Later on, I will probably write some reflections about Catholics, especially young Catholics, and their attitudes.
First, think of the things you don’t like at Mass.
Is it too hot in the building, like the air conditioning is either not working or someone is trying to save on electricity bills? Is it too cold and not well heated. Are there babies, and children making noise? Are there parents who do not make an effort to control their babies and children. True, you can’t “control” babies, but even older children are completely unsupervised at times.
Did someone show up and not take a bath and now they smell? Has someone bathed in their perfume or cologne and they suffocate you? Are there bratty teenagers or college kids who are talking, texting, answering their phone, or giggling? Do you see old people doing annoying things, like laying loud farts?
What about the church. Does it look ugly? Do you feel there is no art, or it is too plain, or it is overdone with gaudy or tasteless decor, like a bright orange red shaggy carpet? Or are you being tortured by pastoral musicians who interrupt your prayer and nag you for not practicing songs before Mass. And then they do those drama queen, sweeping gestures like they are conducting a symphony and your are in their orchestral pit?
How about the lectors, altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Do they seem too “masculine” or do some of them seem too “feminine” and they rub you the wrong way by the way they walk, or talk, or gesture? Is the priest boring you to tears? Did he walk in 15 minutes late for Mass. Is he dressed with silk, brocade, and dripping in lace, or is he wearing some vestment that looks like a hippie costume and this makes you go “eww?”
Does the homily bore you to tears and is there constant talk and gibberish from the altar so that you do not feel prayerful? Do people do weird and creepy things during the sign of peace, like give you a long hug and you don’t even know the person? Does the sign of peace seem like an orgy of hugging and kissing? Did they make you stand for 20 minutes because you had to wait until everyone in church received holy Communion? Was the Mass bilingual or multilingual and you don’t always understand the prayers?
In other words, make a list of what can go wrong, and then EXPECT that some of those things will go wrong.
Then, take your chill pill. Relax. Psyche yourself up for a liturgy that may not be ideal for prayer and instruction in the Word of God.
Whatever you do, try not to freak out, get up and walk out, get enraged and seethe with anger, or join in and do your own irreverent and annoying practices, like mumble “that’s so stupid” under your breath.
And come to Mass prepared, with your own personal Missal that has the Mass prayers and readings. And bring your rosary, or even a devotional book with pious prayers. Even grab the diocesan newspaper or Catholic publications from the magazine rack at the back of the church. Because when something is bothering or distracting you, you need to fill your mind with something that is spiritual, even if it is not connected to the prayers and readings at Mass.
Some folks bring their rosary and whip it out and start praying. That is not ideal, but if you need to do that in order to stay prayerful, more power to you.
Most of all, assume that people have good intentions and are sincere. If the lector is very poor at proclaiming the Word of God, or the musician is awful in singing the responsorial Psalm, assume that they did not mean to do anything wrong. They were not, on purpose, trying to deprive you of a Liturgy of the Word that was nourishing in Scripture and song.
As for those around you, again, try to be understanding. People don’t walk into church with the intention to harm you. No parent says, “I can’t wait till my bratty unsupervised kids kick the bench from behind you, or even stand up and breathe into your ear or pull on your hair.”
Most of the time, parents are just overwhelmed and like you, trying to pray with kids in tow who simply do their own thing, when they feel like doing their own thing. Yes, that includes scream, cry, have tantrums, and on plenty of occasions, children have been known to slap their parents in front of everyone. I remember one kid who got scolded by the mom in the front row, and then he projectile vomited in her face like something out of an Exorcist movie. All over her nice church clothes too.
Even I as a kid, reverent as I was, would act up in church, pull my sister’s hair, and get pinched or sent to the kiddie room as a punishment for being a brat. And on a few occasions, when I got home from church, my dad spanked me. Those were the old days when parents hit their kids—and did not regret hitting their kids LOL.
So, do you want to keep focused? Have a positive, good attitude. Say to yourself, “I’m going to church. THIS IS AWESOME, no matter what happens or what goes wrong, because Jesus is there and is going to do something for me, even though I won’t always feel Jesus is there.”
Expect the unexpected. Smile at what should annoy you. Go with the flow. They are your family, all those strange people gathered before the altar. Some priests are so reverent and holy, that you think you are standing in front of Saint John Paul. I have had some priests and bishops give me goosebumps, because they are so reverent and offer very holy and beautiful Masses.
And then with some priests—not. So what? Jesus will be there and 99.99% of the time, it will be a valid Mass with Eucharist and the holy Virgin, and lots of angels and saints will hover above you and pray with you, as they look down on you and love you, until you join them in heaven.
Look for that golden nugget of God’s message coming to you, and keep your eyes wide open and your ears attentive to the signs that God is present and wishes to bless you. If you fail to keep up with every part of Mass, have no worries. God is good.
Went to Six Flags Magic Mountain today and rode FULL THROTTLE, X2, The old classic Viper two times, The Riddler, rode the Green Lantern and got stuck for two minutes suspended facing the ground (what a thrill!!!), Goliath, Apocalypse, and the old timer Gold Rusher!
I which you could have seen the picture of me from X2… Face was priceless
Full Throttle is now my favorite coaster. It launches you immediately out of the station through the world’s tallest loop, then has a few surprises that I wouldn’t dare write here for fear of ruining them. They took me by shock and I had never been so surprised by a coaster before. A true work of creative engineering!
Green lantern is a short 30 second coaster where the cars independently swing based on body weight as the car rides down through the loops and very sharp turns of the track. 2/3 through at the checkpoint for some reason our weight didn’t push it through and we got stuck. Because I’m a big guy obviously myself and my friend Kyle weighed more than his girl friend and another guy friend of ours, so we teetered suspended beneath the track facing the ground- with all my weight on the restraints and nothing that would have broken my fall in between me and the ground… I was glad to have said a Hail Mary on the initial ride up the hill!! But I know I said a few choice words of a different sort when I was stuck there haha!
Fliers will direct students to NYU Langone Medical Center's free sex therapy program, organizers said.
Interesting quote from the piece:
Rosenberg said erectile dysfunction is becoming more prevalent than premature ejaculation among young men, a rise specialists attribute to a “prevalence of porn.”
"A 20-year-old who started watching porn at 12 or 13, seeing exactly the body parts that they want and watching sex in exactly the way that they want, it’s more difficult for them to get turned on by a real person," Rosenberg said.
But, wait … I thought porn was a harmless & healthy expression of sexuality?