Notes are a summary of the blog articles linked above the notes
I know I don't write on here as often as I used to, but I am going through a very tough time right now. All sense of direction and purpose for me seems to be lost and am sort of hanging on by a thread. Religion is certainly softening the blow, but that only goes so far. Please pray for me.
God love you, my friends.
and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
(Matthew 13:54-58 ESV)
Some months ago I was directed to a viral video making its way through the social networking universes, titled Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus (http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY). It was a Christian attack on “religion”, or at least, how the author portrays religion. I have to say, what makes his message so appealing, is the means by which it is packaged. Like it or not, we live in the modern world. Like it or not, the folks that need the Gospel message the most are not those who are already “well”, that is, those who already know Jesus and His message, but those that don’t, and perhaps don’t even want to hear it (Luke 5:31-32). I think this guy speaks a language or dialect if you wish that most Christians probably can’t or refuse to speak. It is in a similar sense that I think the Holy Ghost gave the apostles gifts of tongues to be able to preach the Gospel to others in their own languages (Acts 2:6). Some may argue it is “dumbing” it down; some will say it is taking sacred things and profaning it to the level of the streets. The way I see it, if it touches the heart of man, and moves him to seek further, then I will not be the judge of that approach. For me the real issue is not the medium, it is the content of the message. So, spoken word, rap, rock, hip hop, I really don’t care (outside of Holy Mass). The issue for me is: what are you saying?
Two of the most common tips that I have read online in how to prepare a good best man speech are to be yourself, and keep it short. Those who know me well enough know that I can only fulfill one of these right now as I do have a tendency of being long-winded.
It’s probably a rare thing to find that the best man develops his friendship with both the groom as well as the bride. I first met Heather about 8 years ago at a youth retreat which I was speaking at. I was teaching how to explain the Catholic faith to others, and she so happened to be very interested in that topic. I was flagged down during lunch and we spoke about many topics. In fact, I am not sure she actually ate her food. She just wouldn’t stop talking… or slow down.
In the years to come I would see and hear them sing around the parish on occasion. Then I met Jo at one of my talks at his retreat. He had the audacity to correct one of my statements, to which I humbly explained away the objection. I approached them after to admit my mistake and that was the first time I knew them as a couple. Months later, I had seen Heather and asked how she and her boyfriend were doing. She told me he was discerning the priesthood. I too was discerning the priesthood at the time and so Jo and I had many conversations about that in the next few years. We even visited a seminary together for about a week. I recall that day we were supposed to leave the seminary. We had been taking pictures of the exterior of the seminary and the church. He walked up to me, and said, “I don’t think I am called to the priesthood”. After that the conversations began to revolve around relationships and family life.
I recall one night where all our friends were finishing up dinner and I was talking about my communication with an old love interest of mine, and Heather for whatever reason started to challenge my decision. I wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from, but I only later determined there was some kind of projection going on there. When she left, Jo turned to us and told us of his intention to ask Heather to re-kindle their relationship and be his girlfriend once more. About a year later, I had more conversations with him encouraging him to be confident, make a decision about Heather and run with it.
For the guys, most of all our memories with Jo, inevitably included times with Heather. They were and are inseparable. Jo’s go with the flow sort of attitude is balanced by Heather’s tendency to meticulously plan and itemize her daily schedule. Both are willing to strive to show the other how much love they have for the other, in the way they want to be loved. They share everything. They share their lives and their stuff. They seriously study their faith and put into practice ways to have kept their chastity strong all these years in preparation for marriage. They love God, they know their faith and love it.
Finally, I would like to share a few quotes from the best source of modern philosophy, and that is, movies. In Rumor Has It, Jennifer Anniston says this to her love interest: “I didn't come here to tell you that I can't live without you. I can live without you. I just don't want to.” I think love is a choice, and I think Jo and Heather couldn’t agree with this more. The second comes from the lips of Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, where he says about the woman he loves, “All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her.” Often times, insecurity can get the best of us and we feel like we are not good enough for the other. I know this was true for Jo and Heather as it has been for many of us here, but I think they each realized how much they really loved each other and no one else can fulfill that role for them and so they were faced with a choice. Every day is an opportunity to choose, and it is inspiring to have observed this first hand, that in spite of their occasional rough patches, they still choose each other. Lastly, in the recent film, The Way, we hear from the lips of Emilio Estevez the powerful statement, “We don’t choose a life, we live one.” And so, the lives we live, go beyond the choices we make in life, it is animated with an excitement and passion for truth, striving to make each day more meaningful and fruitful than the day before, and serving God and each other.
And so, Josef and Heather, may your love for God and each other continue to grow, all the days of your life! I love you guys! To Josef and Heather! *toast*
6) There are over 25,000 denominations of Christianity, but only one can claim to have the historical roots in the early Christian communities, and that is the Catholic Church.