Well here we are at Holy Week, and my last “real” post came shortly after Ash Wednesday. Here are some quick points about how life has been at St. Fidelis Seminary during Lent 2013.
Teaching has settled into a routine. As I would imagine is normal, I’ve become more comfortable teaching. The students have a better expectation of my teaching style and I have a better understanding of what I can expect from the students.
It has been edifying for me to teach from the Catechism. Our textbook is a smaller catechism called “I Believe” which is based on the larger, official “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. I’ve been consulting and reading the official Catechism as we go through, though. As the old adage goes, you never really understand something until you can teach it. How much I have yet to understand!
The Conclave and Pope Francis
Needless to say, we took a great interest in Pope Emeritus Benedict’s renunciation of the Papacy due to old age and ill health, and in the following conclave and election of Pope Francis. Br. Jim was even faithful enough to wake up around 3am on the day of the election to check EWTN to see whether white smoke had risen. Thus I awoke to see Pope Francis’ first blessing after awaking to the sound of Br. Jim yelling, “whiiiite smoooooke!!!” around 4am Papua New Guinea time (I had asked him to wake me up in that exact scenario). I am excited to hear about Pope Francis’ lifestyle and Christian witness. I’ve even felt the sting of conviction as his lifestyle and mannerisms prompt me to ask question about my own attempts to live out the Gospel.
|A view from the side of the friary facing the ocean inlet.|
This may seem like an odd point, but the beauty of Madang province still randomly strikes me throughout my daily routine. We have been receiving a great deal of rain (it is the rainy season), but the sun does come out in between downpours. I love the color green, and there is now so much green here. The blue of the ocean can at sometimes become an absolutely overpowering, deep blue that complements the shades of green present throughout the school grounds. At other times I’ve noticed the stars at night (the hidden blessing of power outages and a broken back-up generator) and haven’t had words to express the feeling of looking up at them framed by the coconut palms around me.
|View from my front door. As usual it is raining.|
How blessed I am to believe in a God who I can thank for all of this! Sometimes I’m tempted to try to stow away memories of such beauty for harder times in life when I will need to remember the beauty of God’s creation. I want to concentrate harder and harder on what I sense to be somehow very good, as if I can understand or make sense of it all. It seems more fitting, though, to simply offer the moment right back to God in gratitude for His abundance. When things are good, I can’t hold on to them or make them last forever. It somehow fits, though, to utter a small prayer of thanksgiving in such situations.
Classes will be cancelled starting this Thursday and continuing through Easter Monday. As the end of Lent approaches, I can’t say I’ve “succeeded” in completely and decisively turning to align myself entirely with the Gospel and the life of Christ, but I have been trying. As I realize my own weakness, I am renewedly grateful for my incorporation into the life of Christ and look forward to the rest of this week as the Church moves with and in Christ upwards toward Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.