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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Executive Decision: Going to Poland

Back in 2011, I made the executive decision to somehow get myself to Rio De Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013. That became realized in 2012 when I found out that my own parish would be going to Rio with another parish in the diocese.

So then, last summer I was able to go to Rio De Janeiro for World Youth Day. And that. was. amazing. Really awesome trip! I was the unofficial blogger for our group, and you can see our stories, pictures, and videos here: SEAS & St. Thomas Aquinas @ WYD Rio '13.

We weren't able to go the closing Mass at WYD Rio, but we were able to see some of the live stream at our hostel a mile away from Copacabana Beach (where the Mass was).  When we heard that the next World Youth Day would be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016, I immediately made the executive decision to go.

I kind of figured that attending these World Youth Days is a good excuse for me to travel the world and renew my joy for the Catholic faith as I deepen it with millions of others through an event of grand scale such as World Youth Day.

This time around, I already know that I'm for sure going (God willing!), and the wheels have already begun turning for me to go to Krakow in 2016.

Can't. Wait.

A teaser video:


WYD 2016 Krakow // Seton Magazine

Sunday, June 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Bad Analogies

Happy "Heresy" Sunday!

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Holy Trinity!

Understanding God as Trinitarian is so central to Christian dogma but explaining and understanding it can be difficult. It's one of those "mysteries" of our faith that we cannot fully comprehend in this life. And it's actually pretty easy to get it wrong, and that's why today is sometimes jokingly called "Heresy Sunday" when priests and deacons do their homilies.

But, I just really wanted to share this video that a friend of mine shared over a year ago because it's funny, at least to me.

St. Patrick has a reputation for helping spread Christianity to Ireland and is often credited with using the three-leaf clover to help explain the Trinity.

So here's that funny video of St. Patrick attempting to explain the Trinity in various ways, but as these fine Irishmen keep pointing out, St. Patrick's bad analogies keep falling into various heresies, haha.

- JD

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Currently Reading: Man's Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl

When I was blogging about being frustrated with my Facebook friends posting their baby pictures, I mentioned that I had met with my spiritual director. The reason why I met with him is because it had been nearly half a year since I last met with him, and I felt that it was time to meet with him again.

While sipping on coffee and sitting on the patio of a local grocery store, I told him about my current dealings with my frustrations (which wasn't about baby pictures on Facebook). I won't go into deeper details for now, because that is not what this blog post is about! To help remind me how to deal with my frustrations, we talked about Fulton Sheen's understanding of the ego and I, which I first learned about in the book Lift Up Your Heart. This was the first book my spiritual director had me read to begin entering into a deeper Christian spiritual life.

From this last meeting with my spiritual director, I indicated that my frustrations were causing me suffering that I didn't know how to understand or deal with. He recommended that I read this book, Man's Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl.

I'm nearly done with it, and it's been a pretty cool read so far.

Dr. Frankl was a Jewish man who survived the concentration camps during World War II. He was a psychologist. Now, I know that a lot of ink has been spilled in order to describe the atrocities that the Nazis committed in their extermination of the Jews and other enemies of their regime. Dr. Frankl himself even asserts this, and while he does recount his own personal experiences in this book, he approaches it from a psychological perspective from his own experiences and observations. In the later half of the book, he talks more about the technical aspects of logotherapy, which is the branch of psychology that he started. Logotherapy helps individuals deal with their neurosis by finding meaning in life.

As I've been reading these experiences on sunny days outside during my lunch break, I find it unfathomable to relate to the dire situations that Frankl and friends had to endure while at Auschwitz. They had to do so much work with so little nourishment. If any of them were found to be too weak to work, they would be sent to the gas chambers and crematoriums. If they were sick, they were badly sick. They were treated so poorly. They were lied to. They had to sleep in their own feces and urine. They were beaten. And the list of sufferings go on and on.

Without giving too much of an analytical perspective on the book, I appreciate Frankl pointing out how is it that men could have survived the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual sufferings of being in a Nazi concentration camp. It's because they attached meaning and purpose to their suffering. Those who could not see a purpose to their suffering lost the will to live or deteriorated more quickly. It was beauty, goodness, and truth that kept these men going whether it was experiencing the beauty of nature or thinking about and desiring to survive because of their beloved wives, which are some examples to name a few from Frankl's observations.

So, as I'm about to finish this book, it's helping me to see that my sufferings regarding my current crosses and frustrations have meaning. And because they have meaning, I can endure. While it may totally inhale at times right now, in the end it is worth it.

I cannot let my suffering go to waste.

- JD