Thursday, November 19, 2009

Habemus Abbatem! We have an Abbot!

Yesterday, the monastic community of Mount Angel Abbey elected its 11th Abbot in its second century history. After an hour and a half of voting, the monks were able to elect their leader. He is (Abbot) Fr. Gregory Duerr, O.S.B..

We attended novena masses in the Abbey church nine days before the election. On the day of the election, all morning classes were canceled. We just sat in our rooms, roamed the hallways, and hung out in the commons waiting for the ringing of the bells indicating that the monks have elected a new abbot. Indeed it was like the papal election. In our own way, we were anticipating the "white smoke".

When finally the bells rung, all the seminarians rushed to get to the Abbey Church. My heart was racing in excitement for the new abbot. We all fought for best seating, which is unusual in the seminary :), to see who it will be. The bells stop and the organ began to play starting the procession of monks. At the end of that long procession would be the new abbot.

The monks came out two by two by seniority in a very slow procession. The anticipation got intense when the key players (*who we thought were, like the conclave- everything is done in secret) did not process out. Ease came as they emerged. Finally at the end, with the pectoral cross around his neck, was the new Abbot. In our little "St. Peter's Square", peals of applause broke out when we saw Abbot Gregory emerge as the chosen one.

In such humbling words he said, "As I look down, I see a chain. On the end of the chain, there is not roses but a cross." He also said, "Thank you for something very precious, that is your trust."

Saint Gregory, pray for us!
Saint Benedict, pray for us!
Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I thirst for you...

On the first night at the seminary, I was thirsty. After dinner and the orientation meeting I went back into my room. I began to unpack my things and put them away. When I saw the bed, there were no sheets. I did not pack them with me. I ended up sleeping on clothes and used a towel as a blanket.

Just before bed, I wanted a drink of water because I was thirsty. When I went to turn on the sink the water came out brown. In Hawaii, the water from the tap comes out clear. I never saw tap water that dark. I figured that since no one ran the tap for a whole summer, it came out that color. So I went out side of my room to the fountain. The water also came out brown. Aye SOS! I ran back into my room and jumped into bed. I was so thirsty, that I savored the every drop of my saliva.

Then I realized, I experienced my first spiritual exercise. I was thirsty physically, but I was also thirsty spiritually. Jesus, I thirsty for you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

College Beach Weekend

One of the first events that is held every year with the whole undergraduate college is the College Beach Weekend. It was held on Sept. 11-13 in the Oregon Coast. I come from Hawaii so my perception of the beach is different. I was expecting to see beautiful calm blue "Hawaiian" water. Isn't it the same Pacific Ocean. Boy was I wrong.

It was cold that I could not swim in it. There were cliffs with tall pine trees. I thought that I was in a forest rather than a beach. Overall, my weekend was very fulfilling because I the bonds of brotherhood grew stronger. These strangers that I only met a while ago became my friends and brothers.

On the first night we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Evening Prayer. After getting settled in, I took a stroll down to the beach. I was just in time for sunset. Oh it was breath taking. God's creation is much greater than I thought.

On the second day, we celebrated Mass then bonded again. After lunch, I started to dinner. The Filipino Community sponsored the dinner. Our very own EJ Resinto was the head cook.

Our weekend ended with the Sunday Eucharist. The mass was so profound for me because no matter where we were, Jesus was made presence. Jesus is the center of our lives!

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Journey Begins...

I arrived at Mount Angel Seminary in Saint Benedict, Oregon on August 23, 2009. My flight from Seattle was a short 30 mins. on small Horizon Air Commuters. I was picked by a seminarian brother. With a full luggage suitcase and a balikbayan box (a term used to describe a shipping box used in travel), I expected to be riding a van. When we arrived at the car, it was a small old seminary car. There was another new seminarian that also arrived the same time as I did. With four pieces of luggage, I thought that we wouldn't fit. What such doubt. When our driver, Joseph, tried to open the trunk, it was stuck. We couldn't open it. Ahh, I thought. What such luck.

So, with the faith of my other new seminarian brother, we tried to fit all our luggage and three bodies in a 4 seat car. Although this puzzle was only a few pieces, it felt like a thousand. Praise God we managed to fit all the pieces together, leaving not even leg room for all of us (well at least the driver). The first cross I had to bear was seating in the most awkward position for about an hour (seated in the front seat with my seat belt on, my carry-on on the floor, and a checked baggage of my seminarian brother (at least 40 lbs.) on my lap. We all had to serve as rear-view and side mirrors. My agony in the garden was eased when I got to see all the sites of the place I will call home for the next four years.

When we arrived at Mount Angel Seminary, we were greeted by the orientation team. I got my room number, 329, and began my second carrying of the cross. My room is on the third floor and they haven't finished building our elevator. I had to bring all my luggage up to my room. I thought to myself, can't I just sleep on the first floor. My pain was eased when a seminarian brother helped me carry my heavy luggage up three flights of stairs. I was inspired by the lack of complaint from him. A stranger and he helped me. That made realize what service I am called to do for others.

I got to my room and there laying on the table was a Saint Benedict Medal and Holy Water. Felipe (Seminarian that helped me) instructed me on some housekeeping and then left me in my room. There I was, alone. I sat on the chair for several minutes to thank my God for bringing me here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Constant Dying and Rising

Tonight, I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours using "Pray without Ceasing" in the convent chapel. As I was praying Psalm 86, God spoke into my heart. He used the word of the the Psalm. "O God, the arrogant have risen up against me, and a council of violent people have sought my life, for they have not kept you in mind. But you, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in steadfast love and truth. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant."

Some people very close to me and I have experienced a few disappointments lately but no matter what the circumstance is, the Lord is ever faithful. Even in the times of trial and tribulations my co-workers in the vineyard and I experience, the Lord gives us strength to go on. May we persevere in our work for the greater glory of God and the building of His kingdom.