Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thank You

Man...I don't even know where to start. The long, long anticipated date of being invested with the Capuchin habit finally found it's way around. ­­After two years of formation with the friars, I can say that there were times I felt like this day would never come. Spiritually, there were days that went up and down, over and over again. With resident candidacy and postulancy in the picture to help with my discernment process, I felt deep in my heart that I was ready to approach the novitiate year with a certain steadiness and completeness enough to where I can be stable in prayer and go to God with the surety that I would come out with an answer. I said I was ready to experience the year and experience the voice of God in the silence of my own prayer. As the investiture ceremony got closer, I tried to prepare myself...

I asked God in my prayer to allow me to remember my faults, my weaknesses and everything that I had done wrong and ultimately get it all out, lay it all down so that He could take it all up. As they called my name a realization came to me, that as I was thinking about all this God had brought out the once feeling of shame and sadness and He had replaced it with love and an immeasurable joy in my heart.

That night it was hard for many of us to contain our excitement. We had just been robed with the habit of St. Francis, the garb of the leper, the garb of the lesser and those who had always been left out. This is what Friars wore for the past 600 years since the birth of the Capuchins, and 800 since St. Francis had founded the Order. That thought was circling my mind through and through as I walked around outside looking up at the california sky with millions of stars visible.

 And if you live in the mountains at all or in the country you know that looking up is sort of like looking straight into the eyes of God. And I think with that you get a powerful, tiny glimpse of who God is, and his infinite love for us. Even if it's only for a moment, it leads us to understand God and his divine care and unconditional love for each of us. In that moment, not only had I been invested with the Capuchin Habit but I was invested also with the reminder that since the beginning God had invested me with his love. It's beautiful to think about God investing us with his love so it was an amazing experience to share with my brothers.
Friars from Province of Mid-America, Fr Frank Grinko (Novice Master) and Fr. John Cousins (Vicar-Provincial)
Seventeen guys from the various provinces around the US

The thing is we are all robed with God's love, we are all invested with His love. Despite of our faults and weaknesses, God still places on us his love through the habit of grace.This has been the message for me.

  Lastly I want to thank everybody who has supported me in my discernment thus far. My family, you've been amazing in support and prayer, encouragement to fight and never give up. To my brother Nick, my sisters, mom and dad, Thank you. To all my friends from Lifeteen, WT Catholic Student Center, Pro-Life Bootcamps, DC March for Lifes, Conferences, The Knights of Columbus, everybody I've had the pleasure in knowing at St. Gregory's, the monks, seminarians, priests throughout my days. Capuchin Friars who have guided me on the journey the past 2 years, thank you. To those who have dedicated prayer time to me, time to write me letters and send me cards, thank you from the deepest part of my heart for your support and encouragements, it won't be forgotten. If I missed you, than I'm talking to you.
                                                                                                                                                                             Thank You,

                                         -Br. Vincent 'Vinny' Mary, OFM Cap

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Newspapers & the Mighty Deeds of God

A couple years ago I had the privilege in working at a Vet home in Denver as a Resident Staff Member. I worked graveyard shift, often writing residents up for coming in late, giving them breathalyzer tests and making sure they were sober when they entered the house. Some days I would ride my bike to work, which was about a two mile ride from the house. As the normal shifts began, some of the residents would come in and talk. We laughed, joked with each other, they shared some stories on how they got where they are now or how they use to be homeless. At the time we had one resident named Mike, a New York native who grew up in Brooklyn. Mike would come in with his east coast accent talking about the girl he can't wait to see, or the red convertible Camaro he had in the garage outside. As the time for him to leave got closer, he mentioned one day that he had something to give me.

"Sorta like a memento...I want you to remember me." he said. 

So he left the office and came back with a black hefty bag full of articles and newspapers. Basically, all these papers from the New York Times that he had collected through the years while he was homeless in New York. Some of them were dated Sept 12, 2001 with the headline from 9/11. He gathered all these up and just gave them to me so I could remember him. That next morning is still a vivid picture in my mind, because not only did I have to ride with a 30Ib backpack full of newspapers, but I had to do it uphill. It was a long bike ride home, I think I ended up getting a flat that morning. But anyway, thinking about it now not only do I remember that day and the morning, but I remember Mike, just like he had asked. It worked, I hope you know Mike!

But yesterday as I was thinking about Jesus in the gospels, the images of my life came to mind. All of the blessings, the people that I've experienced, the different graces, God-moments, and then even all the madness and chaos. Everything that involves me being where I am today, is a work of God. In my mind, they are all great deeds that have been performed by God, they are in fact, His mighty deeds. 

Of the many messages in the Old and New Testaments, one might be for us to remember the mighty deeds that God has performed in our lives. For the Israelites, God wanted them to remember how he had lead them out of the land of Slavery. In the Gospels, Jesus performs so many deeds, to reveal not only the glory and greatness of God but so that the people could repent and turn to God.

I can just hear God, crying out to us, his people, begging us to remember Him and the deeds He has done for us. 

For us to take that with us on the journey that we travel uphill or downhill. Metaphorically it fits, that the black bag full of the deeds of God, blessings and battles should be placed on our shoulders and taken so that we could remember the very greatness of God in our lives. In those time of struggle, suffering or doubt. What we should do is pull out a newspaper, and think back on the many many ways God has been there for us, blessing us and providing everything that we need. "Think about such things" says St. Paul.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  -Phil 4:8