By Way of Update


LAST WEEK WAS filled with what could be called “emotional labor”. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and my pastor has called out “maintaining particular relationships” as a hallmark. On top of that, my own devotional life is swirling around seeing Christ in each and every person. Pope St John Paul II wrote, “Jesus Christ is the chief way for the Church. He himself is our way ‘to the Father’s house’ and is the way to each man.” (Redemptor Hominis, 4 March 1979.) As the “the way to each man” it is seeing Jesus in the Other, that lets me relate to them and, even so, to begin Evangelism. The real relationship between human persons must begin in the Divine Person, even those who are not yet baptized are Persons precisely because of their real (if hidden) living relationship to the very ground of their being. That man there, that woman is Jesus. It’s worth the emotional labor. It’s worth the love.

Things that came home to me last week: it’s hard to be the one who is responsible. Also, it’s unusual when your body does something it’s never done before. Reconnecting is hard.

I’m doing a lot of work at the Byzantine Catholic Parish. As part of the Diaconate, I’m expected to do about 10 hours a month, but OLF is getting about that much a week from me! It’s ok: I love the community and the work. However, there is a double irony: one reason I moved away from Orthodoxy was that it is (in America) a very boutique religion. In Russia or Greece, the situation would be reversed: Latin Catholicism would be the boutique. However, because of my faith journey, I’m pretty much perfectly suited to volunteer at a place that is so very boutique-y that there are only 12 parishes like it in the world. Another thing that’s pretty wonderful is they also have a (ByzCath) seminarian there: he’s able to help me keep my feet firmly planted.

My own seminary work seems to be going ok. It’s good to be back in class and to see my brother students face to face. We’re currently being taught homiletics by a Friar Preacher, Fr Bart. He is very funny, but also very dead-on serious about preaching: it’s their charism, yo? That said, for this class (we also have a Homiletics 2 later) we only get three homilies.

Hebrew class is going well, and I’ve been approved to move on to the next level. However, I don’t think I can afford it. I may need to wait until there’s an opening for online classes at the SF JCC.

Finally, it is embarrassing how many times a day I try to open FB, even though I’ve deactivated my account.

Currently reading:

(There seems to be a pattern forming. Real Relationship.)

Recently finished:

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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