Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And Now I'm Back Again. Thanks for Your Prayers!

First things first- a heartfelt thank you for all your prayers. I had a wonderful, moving silent retreat. We went to Greccio, a little place in the mountains where St. Francis started the tradition of the crèche for the celebration of Christmas with his brother friars. The Spirit was moving strongly in our prayers and quiet time. That is not to say that the time was "perfect" in any human sense of the word; everyone still had their own moments (or hours) of distractions, along with some desolations here and there. God works through those moments, too, if we let Him. It was funny though it's something I have experienced with silent retreats in the past- I think, and many others in the class agreed- that we grew more in brotherhood sharing the silence with our Lord with one another than if we had been free to converse. I would have pictures for you, but I decided it might not be in keeping with the spirit of a silent retreat to be taking a whole bunch of pictures there. I kinda wish I had, though, so that I could show you the two scorpions I found in my room there. It was kind of exciting, really. They were really quite small and pitiful- so much so that, perhaps through the intercession of St. Francis, I took pity on them and just took them outside rather than squishing them. For all I know they could have been terribly poisonous, but eh, none of us ended up getting stung, so praise God! The retreat was good in a great many ways, but it was really nice just to get the chance to recollect myself and "waste time with God," so to speak, after all the chaos of the preceding four weeks and right before classes start up.

Speaking of thanks for prayers, I passed my Italian language proficiency exam! Praise God! Believe me, He was definitely responding to prayers, since I and a handful of my classmates would not have passed that thing any other way, at least not with our Italian abilities the way they are at present. As my dad is fond of saying now, "ancora imparo," or "I am still learning," stated by many but attributed most famously to Michelangelo.

Now the difficulty is remembering what else I have not yet put on this blog, since so much has happened these six weeks. I have been, believe it or not, singing in the choir for liturgical celebrations here at the urging of Francis Marotti, one of our seminarians who got here last year. It's really been a great experience. I've learned a lot, having never done anything of the like in a formal setting. Our experience will culminate with Mass and ordinations at St. Peter's Basilica tomorrow, where we will actually be singing! It's very humbling and awe-inspiring to think that I'm going to get a chance to sing for a Mass on the main altar at St. Peter's. Please keep the fourth-year men in your prayers, those who either were just ordained or will be ordained to the diaconate tomorrow.

Classes start next week, so that will be very exciting. I'm actually looking forward to it, I think, as amazing as that may sound. It looks like I will be taking Intro to New Testament, Revelation and its Transmission in the Church, Church History, and Christology and Soteriology, in addition to my Greek class and a Class Seminar that we are required to take (unless we can test of out the Greek, which a few guys have been able to do, but not too many of us).

There are some other things I could list, but I think they will best fit in another post. May God bless you all.

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