Today began a new day for me for many reasons...
1) Today is a new day because it is literally a new day. A new day to try harder, to love more, to grow in conversion, to be alive, and to breathe for another day. It is another to change and to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth.
2) Today is a new day because I began classes at Oblate for the spring semester. This marks the beginning of my fourth semester here, my 2nd of my 2nd year, and the end of halfway point for my graduate studies for the priesthood. It is exciting just to start new classes for me and to see my fellow students and my teachers again. For the first time every in my life I filled in my calendar with all the dates and times of my classes before the semester even started. Usually I am rushing to buy books, organize my supplies, start my course readings, and fill in my calendar at the same time - now I am somewhat prepared for the semester. I am actually taking seven classes this year - before you call me let me explain. I am taking the five regular courses for my track: Pauline Literature (how perfect during the year of St. Paul), Pastoral Counseling, Catholic Social Thought, Theological Field Education, and Christology. Then I am taking a class called Elements of Mission on the missionary life of the Catholic Church in prep for Costa Rica and other future ministries. And last but not least I am taking actually auditing Earth Our Home: Biblical and Theological Perspectives - which will be taught by nine professors each sharing about the Earth and their particular academic expertise. So I am looking forward to it.
3) Today is a new day because the 44th President of the United States was sworn in, President Barack H. Obama. At school we gathered in the student lounge to watch this historic event not only for Americans but for citizens of the whole world. It was powerful to have students, faculty, and staff of all ages, races, and experiences together at that moment. As the first African American President Barak he is leading us into a day many never imagined. What will come about during his presidency I do not know - but what I do know is that I live in hope. Hope for our country, the world, and God's kingdom. May God Bless Barack Obama has he leads our broken and hurt country hopefully into one of more peace marked by forgiveness.
4) Today is a new day for me to be thankful for my life and the lives of each person I encounter. I ponder the death of a member of one of the parishes that our friars staff. I did not personally know this person, but their death as due to suicide. What I ponder is what makes someone feel so compelled to commit suicide? I would like to say that I am not condoning in any way those who have committed suicide and I am not passing judgment on those who mourn the death of a suicide victim. I cannot begin to imagine the torment and the loneliness one goes through in thinking about, attempting, and/or succeeding in committing suicide. There is one thing I can imagine though, that is seeing God wrapping His arms around those who have committed suicide as he or she enters heaven. I can just hear God saying the most loving way "I love you and you are home." Know that you are loved by God and that God is always with you even when you cannot feel His presence - God is there. Do not lose hope in God's love or care for you!
Good Night and God Bless!
Peace be with you!
My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.
Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!
*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*
*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"