Fall 2017 series―Made for more: A look at modern sainthood

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September 21
Jacob Stange
Practical Holiness: When I am Weak, I am Strong

September 28
Fr. Greg Konerman
Active Waiting

October 5
Trevor Gundlach
Learning How to Celebrate

October 12
Nealy Mechley
Grace and Graciousness

October 19
Kathleen Murphy
Discernment: Acquiring the Heart of God

October 26
Chris Komoroski
The Power of Silence in a Noisy World

October 27
Fall series after-party
Holy Cross Church, Leo St., Dayton

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Week 3: Trevor Gundlach – Learning How to Celebrate

Recording (download at Internet Archive):

About Trevor

Trevor Gundlach is a native of Wisconsin who loves to hike, bike, drink beer, and explore God’s creation. He holds degrees in Theology and Philosophy from Marquette University and a M.A. in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton. Trevor acted as the founder and director of Totus Tuus in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and recently worked in Campus Ministry at the University of Dayton, where he taught a class titled “A Theology of Alcohol: Learning How to Celebrate.” He is currently editing a book on the subject and is on track to have it completed in 2018. Trevor lives in Dayton with his wife, Kayla, and works as a Project Manager for Kettering Health Network. He is a lighthearted and thought-provoking speaker who loves to ask ethical questions about daily life. Cheers!

Summary

We’ve always celebrated but never thought about why.
It’s right in front of us, but we misunderstand it.

What do we celebrate?
Why do we celebrate?
Who celebrates?

Replace “what” with “who.” Who do we celebrate? It’s easy for our celebration to become self centered without another face to put on it

Why do humans need to celebrate?

  • Celebration is a balance to the suffering
  • Celebration is a season of sorts

Why do Christians celebrate?

  • Scripture is a series of celebrations
  • St. Francis
    • Renounced his wealth (textiles) so that he could announce the good news
      • Canonized streaker — if you hear just this part of the story, Christianity sounds miserable
  • We fast so we can feast

Who celebrates?

If celebration is an art, who is the artist of celebration?
Those around you who give of themselves.

The saint asks these questions:

  • What can I give to you?
  • What can I bring to this?

Putting into practice:

  • Modern day saints celebrate not actions, but the people around them
  • Giving toasts
  • Don’t only look at what suffering is going on now; look back at what good has happened to you (chirological)
  • Introspect; figure out what gift you have to give

Quotes and Resources

Ecclesiates 3:1-8

Questions

  • What church did you get married in?
    • St. John the Baptist in Maria Stein
  • Why is it meaningful to celebrate someone or something?
  • What advice can I give to college aged family and friends to prevent them from adopting the party mindset I had?
  • How does celebrating make us holy?
    • Celebration is the story of the scriptures
    • Holiness – being set apart from the ordinary
    • It takes something we’re usually doing and raises it into something good and beautiful
  • The best way to celebrate is to give? Correct.
  • How does celebrating the person equate to giving to them?
  • God calls us to be counterintuitive. How does that work?

Week 2: Fr. Greg Konerman: Active Waiting

Recording (download at Internet Archive):

Fr. Greg has been a priest for 25 years and is currently pastor at Holy Angels and St. Anthony parishes in Dayton, Ohio. This week, he talked to us about waiting.

Summary

Life is a series of waitings―one following another. All waiting is ultimately about waiting for God, for the full encounter with Him that comes after death. However, to some degree the waiting is over: God entered into our time, with Jesus leading us from one day to the next.

How do we live each day in the present, while looking toward the future? How do we experience God’s presence, especially in light of all the distractions and noise in today’s society? Fr. Greg proposed five things:

  1. Slow down. We need time to experience God’s presence.
    • We’re busy not because we’re bad people, but because it’s all we know in our culture.
    • Try scratching out an activity or two in your planner this week.
  2. Silence and meditation. Our usual hubbub can drown out the voice of God.
    • Consider starting your prayer with silence.
    • Breathing exercises, repeat a phrase as a mantra, etc.
    • St. Mother Teresa: The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; of faith is love; of love is service; of service is peace
  3. Lectio divina. Ancient method of prayerfully reading sacred scripture
    • Any revelation likely won’t be an immediate eureka moment, but you’ll have an idea to reflect on throughout the day.
  4. Encounter of the sacraments. Eucharist, reconciliation, anointing, are powerful (if disguised) ways of encountering the Lord.
    • Mass isn’t just about getting (peace, communion, a good homily)―it’s an encounter with God, right then and there
    • Unsure about something in a homily? Reflect on it throughout the day.
  5. Interpersonal encounters. Christ is present in the people we meet. Watch your words.

Quotes and resources

Questions

  • How do we balance waiting and seeking God’s will?
    When we seek God’s will, it should be for today. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • As a non-Catholic, how can I participate in the sacrament of penance?
    You cannot receive the sacrament, but you are welcome to enter the confessional during that time seeking counseling and an encounter with the Lord–most priests should be okay with this
  • What is your favorite way to bring Christ to others?
    The Eucharist. Preaching and teaching.
  • How to understand God’s plan in light of free will?
    • He thought you into being before you were created.
    • We can violate His plan by free will.
    • Theologian: “If I didn’t follow God’s vocation for me, is that a sin? Not unless you intentionally rejected it.” Doing that is rare; life is complex and we may have thought we were making the right choice at the time (and we must remain in whatever sacrament we may have entered).

Week 1: Practical Holiness: When I am Weak, I am Strong

Recording (download at Internet Archive):

About Jacob

Jacob Stange originally hails from rural Indiana where he was homeschooled with his 10 siblings. He now lives in Dayton where his wife leads the home & school for their three children, and supports Jacob’s hobbies. Jacob has dabbled in everything from board games to blacksmithing, calligraphy to carpentry, automotive to martial arts. But he found his real love when he lost his job and discovered that the most exciting adventure is a life lived in the Spirit —no matter what you do.

Today, he is a software developer and teacher, spending most of his spare time with his family, working on programs for his parish, and baking.

Summary

Where is God? God is here. Make it personal.
When can we talk to him? Now.

Baltimore Catechism: Why are we here? To know love and serve God so that we may meet Him.
HOW?

CCC 2684 Spiritualities come in many forms

Spiritual life – journey in discovery of God and ourselves

John 16:8: Holy Spirit will convict us in sin
Doesn’t remind us of our sins (devil does that); brings the love of god into our life and sins

Holy Spirit is our guide on this journey

Dr Jacque Philippe — In the School of the Holy Spirit

  • Spirit guides us by inspirations (movements of heart)
  • To receive more inspiration:
    • Obey the ones we get (humility)
    • Interior conversion (penitence)

Continuous conversion by gestures of reconciliation
PILLARS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE: Fasting, prayer, almsgiving (mercy)
(express conversion in relation to self, God, world)
Foundation (inner) and fruit (exterior)

Almsgiving a kind of mercy

From a sermon by St. Peter Chrysologous (5th c.):

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.
Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing.

How do you break into the loop?

Prayer

Living, ongoing relationship – requires consistency
We get to know people thru frequent, continuous, intentional encounters.
CCC 2565 In the new covenant, prayer is living relationship of children with father
God knows what’s best for us better than you or me
When you have talked with God, you won’t be able to keep it yourself. It will propel you to bring God to others.

Where is God? Here.
When can we talk to him? Now. Let’s do it.
Say one prayer. Then another one. Then another. Don’t delay. Don’t put off praying because you don’t think you can do it right.
Do it, even if you’re doing it wrong.
Prayer requires practice.

“We have to be willing to do the ridiculous so God can do the impossible.” – Mother Angelica

5 steps of daily personal prayer

  1. Get comfortable
    • You might fall asleep, it’s ok
    • God’s had many people fall asleep in his embrace
    • Think as a parent: aren’t you happy to have your kids fall asleep in your arms?
    • Discomfort might be a distraction, esp. starting out
  2. Read scripture
    • Every time you read scripture, it should make you uncomfortable
    • Friend: “When you get closer to the Lord, you realize what a lousy friend you are.”
    • Before you speak to God, let Him speak to you.
    • CCC 2587 The Psalms teach us to pray
    • Psalm, Gospels, Readings of the Church
  3. Have guided meditation
    • Recognizes that I don’t have all the answers
    • Magnificat, Bishop Barron, One Bread One Body
  4. Have some silence
    • Then, tell God what’s on your mind based on what he’s told you
  5. Take notes/journal
    • Will help reflect on where you’ve been, plus remind you of god’s fidelity, love
    • While I’m getting comfortable in the morning, I reflect on the previous day

Fasting

You don’t know how fruitful your prayer can be until you’ve fasted with it

St. Peter Chrysologous – Fasting gives life to our prayer

CCC 1430 Interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures, and works of penance

Builds a hole in our lives, need to fill it (with prayer!)
If you think it’s not being filled, it’s being filled by sommehting you don’t want

Consistency – fast on Fridays
Fridays we remember death, Sundays we remember resurrection
Daily penance finds its nourishment in the Eucharist

Follows the model of redemptive suffering

John Paul II – apostolic letter – Christian meaning of human suffering
Christ: suffered voluntarily, suffer innocently, suffered out of unconditional love
Suffering more than anything else preps the soul for redemption

Isaiah 58 – fruits of suffering – guidance from God, renewal, healing, freedom, justice, …

Principle: When I am weak, I am strong in the spirit.

Luke 4 – Jesus fasts for 40 days, then Holy spirit brings Jesus grace to start doing ministry

Acts 13 – While Church of Antioch is fasting, Paul and Barnabas receive call to ministry

St Ignatius – Life of St Anthony of the Desert– when the enjoinments of the body are weak the soul is strong

Examples:

  • Friday fast
  • Stop eating between meals
  • Stop using seasonings, salt, etc.
  • Music fast
  • Give up ice in drinks, cream in coffee
  • Bread and water fasts

Let the Holy Spirit suggest a fast to you

Don’t do extreme asceticism on your own, get a spiritual director
“He who has himself for a spiritual director, he has a fool.” – attr to Teresa of Avila

Mercy

St Peter Chrysologous―Fasting bears no fruit if not watered by mercy
Matthew 25―where we see Jesus

How to practice:

  • Almsgiving―a generosity beyond tithing (special form of mercy: those in poverty have a preferential love
  • Corporal/spiritual works of mercy

Spiritual gifts (~32 of them)

3 legged stool: humility is the foundation of prayer

Questions

  • What does intercessory suffering look like?
    • Is it a model of prayer? Not really. Is it an attitude? Moreso.
    • St Terese of Lisieux: I choose all [everything that happened to her]
  • How do you teach your kids about these principles?
    • He doesn’t make them fast, but tries to instill in them thinking about others
    • CCC 2685 Prayer w/kids
  • How to recognize movements of the heart
  • Why won’t we like the next thing the holy spirit suggests?
    • It forces us to change.
  • How do you balance mortification with just being hard on ourselves?
    • Don’t leave tonight and do something too extreme.
    • Sainthood is not as rare as people think.

Closing prayer: from Evangelii Gaudium section 3

Week 6: Fr. Chris Geiger – Made for Greatness

Recording (download at Internet Archive):

Fr. Chris became a priest in 2016, and is currently parochial vicar at St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes in Milford, Ohio. He brews beer in his spare time.

Summary

You are made for greatness; you are unique and unrepeatable. There’s a difference between doing something great and being great. How do we achieve greatness?

If you want to be great, be holy. Being holy doesn’t mean being boring.

All of us can write a blank check to Jesus: “I give myself to you, no matter what.” One way to do that is a Marian consecration; if we give ourselves to Mary, it’s her job to bring us to Jesus.

Quotes and Resources

Saint John Paul the Great by Jason Evert – “Everyone comes into the world in diapers. Most of us leave in them, just much bigger ones.”

Pope Benedict XVI – “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.

Pope Francis homily, 3/28/14 – “The God of mercy; he does not tire of forgiving. We are the ones who tire in asking for forgiveness, but he does not tire.”

33 Days to Morning Glory – Marian consecration book

Questions

  • How do we balance enjoying the good things in the world but not getting caught up in the comforts?
    • Live a life of joy (not the same as happiness).
    • Enjoy healthy recreation. Seek comfort when you need rejuvenation.
    • When we seek comfort for comfort’s sake, that’s where we go awry.
  • Can you speak to singleness as a vocation?
    • Everyone is called to holiness, no matter your vocation or state in life.
    • There is something qualitatively different between being a single person vs. married, ordained, or in an order (all constitute a commitment).
      • Different does not imply that one is better or worse.
  • How do you carry out a personal leap of faith?
    • Go home and tell Jesus, “I am yours.”
    • Confession is a tool to erase any barriers keeping you from making that commitment.
  • How can our wounds lead to greatness instead of holding us back?
    • Our God comforts and heals. We have to trust in him. If we have a wound or weakness we can’t overcome on our own, turn to God and say, “I need you.”
  • How can fight the temptation to hold back areas of life from God?
    • Ask yourself, do I really know God? If you do, you’ll want to share everything with Him.
    • Mo Teresa – I worry that some of you have not yet encountered the Lord in your heart (to the missionaries of charity)
  • Why is greatness scary?
    • It requires total commitment.
  • How do you strive for greatness in a chaotic environment?
    • You have to make time for the Lord.
    • Give your struggles and chaos to Jesus when they happen.
  • How do we help people see what real greatness is in the midst of what the world sees it as?
  • Can you talk about the joy of confession as a priest?
    • You are letting Jesus win the battle for your heart.
    • I’m inspired by the courage people show when coming before a priest to admit where they messed up.
  • How do your distinguish between what makes you great and what you enjoy doing?
  • How do we internalize greatness from something that’s head knowledge to something we believe in our hearts?

Week 5: Kelley Brown – Dating: Finding Completion in God

Recording (download at Internet Archive) (sorry about the poor audio quality):

About Kelley

Kelley is wife of 14 years to Dayton ToT veteran Courtney Brown, and mom of six going on seven. She grew up in South Carolina and today lives in Cincinnati.

Summary

Kelley describes dating as a heart condition:

  • What you are doing is preparing for your vocation
  • It cultivates the culture you’re going to have in your vocation
  • Look at your current condition: wounds, brokenness, etc.
  • If you ask God to show you the areas of your heart that need healing, he’ll start to.

Have physical and emotional boundaries.
Have an idea of what things are important to you.

Kelley goes on a date with her husband every week.

Passport to Purity – mother daughter retreat

  • If you are pursuing God first, even though it’s hard, your heart will stay strong
  • Even though it hurts, you know there’s a bigger picture involved
  • Think about the decisions you make now with the person you’re dating — if you don’t end up marrying them, how will it affect them in their/your future marriage?

Marriages is two imperfect people in a perfect union because Christ is at the center. You don’t have to wait for “I do” for Christ to be your center.

The purpose of dating is to get closer to God. Dating needs to be less serious and more fun.

Jason Evert – Every day we need to say yes to what God is calling you to do

  • If your relationship is not rooted in prayer, start praying on your own and together (or don’t start dating yet if you’re not)
  • Praying as a couple can be awkward, it takes time to develop

The more we can trust God with our heart, the more we can center on Him, and the more we can love the person we’re dating instead of using them to fill a need.

Quotes and Resources

Questions

  • How can you address loneliness without seeking affirmation from others?
    • If you feel lonely now, you need to find out where it’s coming from.
    • I was seeking affirmations from people all my life, but I wasn’t believing them.
    • If you struggle with loneliness:
      • Pray. Get uncomfortable in prayer.
      • Seek wise counsel.
      • If you ask, God will show you where it comes from.
    • I was afraid to admit I was lonely because I thought people would think I was stupid for feeling lonely with all these people around me.
  • Have you found that believing and experiencing that you are unconditionally loved just as you are has allowed you to face and work through and find healing for your brokenness and flaws?
    • Yes. God is constantly working on me.
    • Believing and experiencing that I am loved has come in stages.
    • Instead of looking at my past as a track record of failure, I now look at it as a track record of the Lord’s victory.
  • To clarify, getting to know yourself and finding God’s purpose for you through dating vs. getting to know yourself as well as possible to prepare for dating
    • In dating, you need to know who you are separate from the other person.
    • You need to know your strengths and weaknesses in the light of Christ
  • The hardest part about the beginning of marriage?
    • Courtney leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor (still does)
    • Trusting in the sacrament in the face of their parents’ wounds
  • Do you feel at a point when you were dating that you were going steady (exclusive)?
  • You mention the single life is temporary it is ends in marriage or religious life. Is it possible to share you fruit in church ministry while living a chaste single life?
    • God has created us to be in relationship with Him.
    • Both married and single have to practice chastity.

Week 1: Trevor Gundlach and Amy McEntee – Faithful Citizenship and the Civilize It! Campaign

Recording (download at Internet Archive):

Trevor Gundlach is a native of Wisconsin who loves to hike, bike, rock-climb, and explore God’s creation. He holds degrees in Theology and Philosophy from Marquette University and a M.A. in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton. Trevor acted as the founder and director of Totus Tuus in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and worked in Campus Ministry at the University of Dayton. He is recently married and lives in Dayton, OH with his wife, Kayla. Trevor is a lighthearted and thought-provoking speaker who loves to ask ethical questions about daily life. He is currently writing a book on the Theology of Alcohol and gives talks on the Philosophy of Celebration. Cheers!