Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Been A Long Time Coming

Some will think that I forgot about my blog here, but in reality I never forgot about it, I just never had the time to write with my studies in Graduate Theology here at Franciscan. My last posted was dated December 6, 2008. So much has happened to me since then, I really have no idea where to start. 

The first semester ended very well and I was happy with most of my grades. There was one that I was disappointed in, but I still passed the class and did not effect my GPA overall. I am not really sure why I am so worried about my GPA since I am not going on to work on a Ph.D. Going home for Christmas was great and spending time with my family was very enjoyable. 

I returned to Steubenville in the beginning of January and started a semester that confirmed with nearly a "Papal Bull" that being at Franciscan is the place I should be at right now in my life. I learned quite a good deal about Tommy Perna between January and May. For the second year in a row, I attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was yet another great experience even though the most Pro-Choice President in the history of this country now sits in the Oval Office. We must pray for his conversion. 

Lent this past year was probably the best Lenten Season I had in a very long time. I worked on some serious faults and even though I still struggle with them, Lent allowed me to see that I can fight them with the grace of God. It is not through my ability, but only through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The sacraments are so important in the daily life of a Catholic Christian. I realized, maybe for the first time in my life, that when I received the Holy Eucharist daily, the perpetual sins and concupiscence are weakened to the point where I can fight them with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). 

Furthermore, throughout the semester and leading into this summer, I learned that I have many strengths, but many more weaknesses.  I am grateful for two friends here who charitably told me things I need to work on in my life. Pride is such a major sin of mine! I rarely ever want to admit that I am wrong. I have been praying for humility in my own life. I often know what the right choice is, but more often than not, I choose the wrong thing to do. I now understand what St. Paul was speaking about in Romans 7:13-25 and what Czeslaw Milosz writes about in his poem, A Confession (This poem is posted on here from last year - look it up! It's worth it). 

It was through my studies in the Spring Semester that I realized being in the Graduate Theology Program here at Franciscan was the place I needed to be in my life at this time. Although I loved all of my classes (Theological Foundations with Dr. Scott Hahn, Principles of Biblical Studies 2 with Dr. John Bergsma, and Mary in the Modern World with Dr. Mark Miravalle), it was the last class that really had the most impact on my life. My relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary has dramatically changed my life. Not only have I learned the Theology of Mary (Mariology) in great detail, I have come to see her as my own Mother who intercedes for me to Jesus. I go to her for nearly everything. Of course I still have great devotions to the saints too, but she is my Queen Mother (1 Kings 2:19-21). For this course, we had to write a 20 page paper on the Blessed Mother and her role as Mediator. The title of my paper was - The Geribah: Our Advocating Queen Mother. Dr. Miravalle asked to me submit it for publication. At this time, I am still waiting to hear if it will be published or not. If is not, I will post it on here. 

I just finished taking Historical Foundations with Dr. Alan Schreck. We went through 2,000 years of Church History in three weeks! Let me tell you, it was a lot of history for three weeks. I learned a great deal about the history of the Church and throughly enjoyed yet another course here at Franciscan. I wrote two papers for this course, but the paper on St. Gianna Molla was my best (First paper: The Council of Trent). She is an amazing certain saint! If you do not know about her, go to this link - (see recommended books below on her life)

In a few weeks, I begin the Nature of Love with Dr. Michael Healy. I hear that this course will change my life in other areas. I look forward to it greatly since we are going to read John Paul II, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and other great minds of the Church. 

I am going to make a very good effort not to go another 6 months without writing on here. I will write more this summer since I have more time to do so. Before I end this post, there are some very good books I would like to recommend.  Most of these books can be purchased on -- 

1. The Spirit of Catholicism - Karl Adam (As a cradle Catholic, I was pumping my fist in the air).
2. First Comes Love - Dr. Scott Hahn 
3. Introduction to Mary - Dr. Mark Miravalle 
4. The Nature and Mission of Theology - Card. Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) 
5. The Compact History of the Catholic Church - Dr. Alan Schreck
6. Saint Gianna Beretta Molla - A Woman's Life - Giuliana Pelucchi 
7. Saint Gianna Molla - Wife, Mother, Doctor - Pietro Molla & Elio Guerriero 

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!