Sunday, September 14, 2014

What are my gifts?

So as part of our Evangelization Certificate program and eventual Masters of Theology we have Saturday sessions and this past weekend we talked about what our Spiritual gifts are and what ministries we might be suited for.  As a part of this we took a spiritual inventory and took a look at the answers.  Oddly I wasn't surprised by my answers, well order of gifts and when I read the ministries that are afflicted with my top three (five as three of them tied) I was pleasantly surprised to see me described to a tee.

Here are how my Spiritual gifts ranked:
Apostle/Giving/Deeds of Power
Evangelization/Exhortation, Encouragement/Hospitality/Knowledge/Prophet

I found it interesting that serving ended up on top, but I'm not surprised by it as I do tend to lean towards serving people and the Church.  I was sort of surprised to see faith up there as high as it was because I haven't felt like my faith was strong at least not as strong as it was in college.  The ministries that use my tops gifts also fit me, I do volunteer with social ministries, I have no problem doing mundane tasks.  I am a lector, greeter, and Eucharistic minister and I would totally run and participate in Bible studies and take pictures of the events in the parish.  CCD teacher, youth leader and teaching are stuff I do already and I've often said I would love to teach the teachers, so it was nice to have my gifts and ministries reaffirmed.  I would love to find a way to get paid to do all this stuff, but that will come I guess.

Hopefully there will be more to come on this later but for now I am off to read for class ;)

Go to your room!

"But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

So this week's reading is from Matthew's Gospel.  What comes to mind is the idea of praying in "secret" or alone giving the fact that the highest form of Catholic prayer is public it amuses me that we are told to pray alone.  The word prayer jumps out too as in I need to pray more.  Oddly or not oddly I do tend to pray alone either in the car or in a room away from my family so that I don't get any questions about what I am doing.

My favorite form of prayer is and has been Eucharistic Adoration mainly as I can be by myself.  I've always been the leave me alone type of person not because I don't like people but I just like being by myself.  So I guess I have always found a way to go to my room and pray.  We were given an assignment of doing an Examen prayer in the style of St. Ignatius Loyola.  We're supposed to do it daily at the end of the day so we can look over our day.  I don't mind doing it, I just don't want to look at my life that way as I'll see how imperfect I am.  I mean really who wants to see what they are really made of.

Grad School and Scripture

I have to spend time with Scripture passages for grad school so why not blog about them.  Hey why not right.

So our first reading assignment was Luke 5:1-11

"While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him." 

We were asked to spend time with the scripture passage so of course my mind went straight to doing Lectio Divina with the passage.  You know read it, think about it, read it again, think about it again and pray with it.  Yeah, easier said than done. I read it and attempted to do Lectio but it wasn't the best effort.  My thoughts alway turn to how human St. Peter is.  Of course we discussed it in class and each person thought of something different.  As I was reading the passage I thought of my past trip to Ireland specifically our tour of Donegal, especially the fishing village of Killybegs because when I saw the picture that is below, I thought of this Scripture passage.  What, I am a theology major it makes sense.  What came to mind as I read the passage was the stench of the net; it was nasty.  So I went on to think well ministry can be smelly as it's not always easy and well dealing with teenagers does mean getting dirty literally and figuratively when you discuss the heavy hitting issues.

I always think of the USCCB Vocations video when I read this passage as well, it is called Fishers of Men after all.

The beginning of the film is pretty much this scene from Luke's gospel or is at least meant to make you think of it.  While the video is strictly for priestly vocations it doesn't mean that they are the only ones who can catch the fish.  

In class we discussed Peter's progression of seeing Jesus, listening to Jesus, stopping what he was doing, getting in the boat, which Jesus was already in, listening to Jesus again and finally acting on Jesus' words and asking for help from others.   I wonder how Andrew, James and John feel being in the backseat to Peter.  We know they become Apostles and followers of Jesus, but while they are always around they often take a backseat to Peter. Maybe it's because  we can so easily relate to St. Peter in his ways of really getting it one day and the next falling flat on his face.  However Jesus doesn't care how long it takes us to get it or how often He has to speak to us to get it.  

Ministry is something I have been doing for the majority of my life and so often I wonder am I doing what God wants me to do.  Peter, Andrew, James and John literally drop everything and leave it all behind to follow Jesus.  Do I trust God enough to leave what is comfortable and a pay check behind to do His will?  I honestly don't know and that's been the question on and in my mind since I returned from the Defending the Faith Conference at the end of July.  

We had a session on spiritual gifts and charisms trying to figure out what our individual gifts are.  It was an interesting session which I will get into in another blog  but the session ended with us getting an assignment of spending time in prayer so the next Scripture passage is quite appropriate.

Our second reading assignment is Matthew 6:6

"But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

More to come on this later after I sleep and after I actually spend time with it in prayer.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grad School

So like most students I returned to school this past week.  I'm finally on my way to earning that Master's in Theology along with a Certificate in Catholic Evangelization.

This is what I will be up to for the next three years.  I got a new laptop so I might actually be blogging more :)