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Scenes from my first Christmas

Yes, this is my First Christmas.....as a Deacon of course. Fr. Andrew reminded me and the entire congregation of that, along with the story ...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making room for Jesus!

I talked about what I would have to put aside to do the Lord's work. I love that quote and felt it was very appropriate. The irony is that I made this decision just before Advent. I not only dropped something that didn't allow me to fully function as an Aspirant, I began to make room for Jesus to come into my heart. I have had a few people ask me why I was giving up the school board, and the answer comes out very easily; I am studying to be a deacon and I need more time to do this well. Surprisingly the educators get it, but probably on an intellectual level. They understand the time and dedication it takes to really get into the studies. Yet, I think there is a curiosity about what I'm really doing and probably why? I think more questions will come in time. The parishioners have been awesome. The support, prayers, and kind words  are a real help to me. All of what is going on right now was a wake up call by Jesus. My life, family, faith, friends, studies all need to be directed to one goal. The message was well received, it's up to me to make room for Jesus.

Bonsoir mes amis, Adieu, a la prochaine fois.
(Good night my friends, unto God I give you, at the next time we meet)

ps my french Canadian background is kicking in, today my daughter called me to ask about a french Christmas Song.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

.....and now there are five!

Well just to share that our little prayer group that started with Mike Johnson and I grew to  four after one night. This morning we had did the liturgy of the hours at 7:30 am in the church and we had Deacon Merle leading us. This is incredible. Deacon Merle has recently lost his wife, and I know he needs this as much as we do. We have started a little community of men gathering, praying, and growing together. It's really special what happens when you plant a seed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, bonjour, & Adieu.


PS. I love to leave with an Adieu, which means in french so much more than goodbye. It actually doesn't mean goodbye, it means unto God I give you until we meet again face to face. Take Care.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

These words have echoed in my mind for some time now. It is amazing to me how something that I read a while ago has come back to me.  A month ago I finished a book, "No One but You!" Yes I have mentioned this book several times in my blog. That line "What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?", stood out for me in the sense that it was challenging people to go out there and serve the Lord. This past week as you all know was a very stressful week for me. I have been balancing so many things in my life that I had to reflect and talk with my wife where I was going in life. I realized that I don't have an S tattooed on my chest. I so love to work and serve people, that I thought I could work 48 hours a week, serve as chairman and a member of the Berlin Board of Education, go to school each week, study, read, write, oh yeah spend time with my wife, etc. Well the title of this blog came back to me in a different way. I was serving the Lord by helping my community, but I have committed to this journey and I was asked by the Lord what I was going to put aside for him, and I guess God wanted to know if I was really committed to following him. Those who know me, or will get to know me will understand that this is really the first thing in my life that I didn't finish.  I can't and won't do anything half way, and my whole heart, mind, and soul is in this journey now. I resigned from the board and though it was difficult to deal with I was given so much support from my peers that I was truly touched by them. A great relief has come over me and a new energy is building up inside.

I know that this will be one of probably many challenges that will come before in the next few years. This was my first challenge, and as they say this was a no brainer. I know I want to continue this journey. I want to learn, spend time with my new family of Aspirants and their spouses, and I want to grow in whatever way God has mapped out for me. 

I don't believe this will be the last time I will be dealing with this question, "What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

Adieu, and a blessed Thanksgiving to all of you.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Balancing my life.

Well it's been a little over a week since I put something together on this blog. I'm sure you have all seen a pattern that I can write when I have free time, like vacation; and when I'm not it can be a challenge. Wednesday and Thursday were challenges for me. On Wednesday I worked alone from 7 am till 6 pm and rushed to a school board meeting at 6:15. A can of soup was my supper before heading to the meeting. That meeting lasted until 9pm, and I had to prepare to leave early the next day for a 9 am meeting in Lebanon on Thursday. A company meeting that had a very full day of learning and that one lasted until 4:20, off in my car and then trust the GPS to get me to Plymouth for my 6 pm Old Testament class. That class lasted until about 9:15 that night. Do I feel balanced in my life? No! I was warned by everyone Fr. Dennis, Pat, my family that this probably won't work. For those of you who know me, I become very passionate in my work. My wife reminds me of that whenever I discuss what is going on in my class. Unfortunately because of a long day I literally didn't have much left in the tank for Thursday night.  I have mentioned in the past that I have read a  book "NO ONE but You!" One passage now stands out for me, what will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

I have been doing my best to balance all of these missions in my life. I have even refused to participate in something new, knowing I didn't have the time. I have been torn by a promise to give my niece and nephew their diplomas at graduation in June. I have been telling myself I can't wait until June, so I can let go of the mission of being a member and chair of the Berlin Board of Education. Inside I know my heart isn't in me for being on the board any longer. I am probably still doing more work half hearted than many have done with full effort, yet that isn't good enough for me. I don't like, and I can't do anything half way.

I need more time in my life to really dive into my studies, and indulge my passion. Again, my wife and I discussed how she, my mother, and others were wondering how much longer I can burn the candle on both ends.

It's now time to put aside something to do the Lord's work. If I am so blessed to be a Deacon some day I can't do anything half way, and I really have to immerse myself in my studies. I'm sure you all know where I'm going with this, and the difficult part now comes telling everyone. I know some will be disappointed, some angry, and some who won't understand. I know all of you Aspirants will and those of you who really care for me.

Today will be a new beginning of a better balanced life, family, faith, work, studies, and fun time. Time to have a better balanced life.

Take Care, Adieu, and I am so looking forward to seeing all of you on our next formation weekend.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Moved by the Spirit to Pray!

One of the things I really enjoyed at St. Methodios was our community prayer time. Mike Johnson and I set a time together to meet every other Wednesday night to say evening prayers together. On the first night a friend of mine Roland Arsenault asked what we were doing. We shared our experience from our first retreat and also shared the joy we had praying together that night. He asked if he could join us, and mentioned that he had a friend who would come also. This past Wednesday evening we had four men praying together and sharing our petitions to God. Well, Roland asked if he could ask others to join us and also asked if we could put aside one morning every week to do morning prayers together. We did morning prayers at 6:30 am in the Church and of course we all enjoyed it. Such a basic little thing as gathering together to pray, and extremely enjoyable. A coincidence this is happening, not! I don't believe in coincidences The Spirit is alive and moving us all in a new direction. I am loving this so much I had to share it with all of you. I will let you know how our little group is moving forward.

God Bless, Adieu!


Old Testament.....A study in Church Genealogy!

Yeah Genealogy! Last night was our third class for Old Testament with Deacon Greg. I'll be honest, the first class really left me in the dark wondering if I was ready for this, or even if I could really start to understand and get this. I'm not an expert, but you know I'm starting to grasp the beauty of the Old Testament. The subtle inferences, the links with our rich tradition, and the true foundation that our wonderful Church is built upon. This week we really got into a great discussion on King David. (For those of you in Manchester that maybe looking for a smaller class size, consider the drive to Plymouth to join us). I was really moved by King David's prayer to God. An excellent snapshot on how close a relationship a human being had with God. King David and Moses are right up there with a true personal relationship with God. Two great men filled with flaws, a deep burning Love for God, and I could go on and on. So I started this class with doubt, and I'm starting to sift through this heavy stuff and I really Love it. I always call Terry (my wife) when I'm leaving Plymouth, and I was ranting on how much I really enjoy this class. I'll be writing my first paper in this class and I will be writing about being chosen by God, their relationship, the blessings received, and how God's blessing can cause uprooting, conflict, and insecurity.

God Bless all of you, Take Care, Mitch!

Monday, November 8, 2010

What do names really mean,....what do words really mean?

From taking the Old Testament course I have come to learn that names really mean something. The names are just not names, they have a meaning. I learned that Israel means "wrestles with God", Bethel "House of God", Melchezidek "My God is Righteous". And the names can go on and on. In the Hebrew tradition we learned that naming someone or someplace had great significance, or was impacted by some event. Very fascinating for me. It's incredible and extremely interesting how this tradition developed. If you recall in my past blogs I have come to literally grab some words that have really hit me in some profound way. They seem to come to me in my classes, my spiritual reading, prayers, etc. This past week I have come across some words that have caused me to stop and reflect. I participated in the whole community catechises this week and a few key words came to light. Attitude, a very interesting word that seems to have a double meaning. As a child I remember when a teacher might have said you are developing an attitude. Not a very flattering or positive statement, or is it? I once put on a message on my old cell phone and the message was "Attitude is everything!" I believed that a positive attitude or developing an honest attitude in life was important for me. We all have choices, and I strongly believe a positive attitude is the only choice to make.

Gratitude, giving thanks, being grateful were all key words that were shared that same evening. Are they just words or are they something more? When we participate in the Mass Fr. Mark reminded us that we are not there just to ask for something, we are there to be grateful, and give thanks to Our Lord for what we have received. Are we not developing a better attitude about our faith when we our thankful for all of our even tiniest blessings that we have received?

That same evening when I was in a group I was asked about the message that was in the current Parable magazine. I was asked about what was the sign and the answer I received from God. I was a little choked up at first explaining something very profound that happened in my life. I shared that the message I learned from God was to Trust. I really need to work on having an attitude of Trust in my relationship with God. I need to Trust that whether I call on God or not, God will always be there for me.

So, this past week in class I learned that names have a very special meaning to them, and God taught me that words are not just words. These words that have been shared with me will help improve my attitude about everything. After all I do believe that Attitude is everything. What do words really mean to you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Seeing life through a different lens

I remember very well the day I first put on my new glasses. I was 27 years old and I was so amazed how well I could see, and I couldn't help but think why I had waited so long to fix the problem. The headaches were going away and the clarity of vision was incredible. I wasted a few years of my life because I was too stubborn and probably too vain to think I needed glasses. I am in session #2 of my Old Testament class and I'm starting to get it. Deacon Greg last night was talking about seeing our past through a different lens. Ironic in that I have been contemplating writing this little piece for about a week now and I had already picked the title. This isn't just a class for me and I'm sure it isn't for the Aspirants, it's so much more than that. I can see the work of the Spirit guiding me along. Take for instance on Saturday I'm returning from the cross country championship in Manchester with my best friend of over 39 years. We talked about my vocation and he shared one very touching and prophetic statement. Bruce was concerned that now that his children were graduating from High School we would have more time to hang out, but he was afraid that the Diocese would uproot me and take me away from Berlin. I told him not too worry too much because there was 4 more years of studies, and I still have about 15 years to go to retire. That night I was reading from Carmody on the mixed blessings that come from being chosen by God. "Being chosen by God brings with it uprooting, conflict, and insecurity." Powerful stuff there for me, so powerful I had to stop reading and try to absorb all of it. All I could think of was what Bruce said to me that afternoon. I asked Deacon Greg how he felt about the mixed blessings that come from being chosen by God. He shared that he was amazed at the fact that he was chosen by God to do this work and loves it. He isn't necessarily doing everything he wants to do, but he is doing what he is called to do. Like the first day of wearing my new glasses, I'm starting to see things more clearly and God is revealing a little more to me each and every day. I'm just as amazed today as I was when I was 27. I'm so glad God fitted me with some new lenses.

Take Care, God Bless to all my Aspirant family.