Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year 2006!
As we begin a new year of the Lord's grace, we here at CRM want to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year! May the remainder of the season of Christmas be a blessing to you and your families as we embark on another year.

I have not posted in quite some time. Advent is oh, so busy for a priest. I just never found the time to be over in my office for blogging. Christmas at the new parish was beautiful. It was wonderfully decorated and is a real feast for the senses. I even managed to get Christmas shopping done this year BEFORE Christmas. That was a big stress relief. Even though the majority of my focus for Christmas is on things sacred, parish events, sacred liturgies, etc., it is amazing just how stressed even I can become with the commercial aspect, the gift buying pressure, that also makes itself felt as we approach Christmas time. I noticed just how stressful it all is when I had completed shopping. I immediately relaxed and was a bit more calm for the remaining days before Christmas. I really don't like shopping and I don't feel as if I have any really good ideas for gift giving. That doesn't help my attitude at times of year like this. The other problem I have is that as I start walking around the mall, there is this urge inside of me to stand at the heart of the mall and to put on the prophet's mantle. I see so much that (at least on the surface) appears so shallow. How much dedicated time does the shopping get in this season compared to how much time the soul, the relationship with God, gets in the same time period? Those are the things I feel like screaming out in the mall. Yes, in some sense, it is probably wise for me to limit my time at the mall!

The Octave of Christmas (the eight days after December 25 which, in the Church's liturgical calendar, are feasts -- as if the Christmas celebration was one long one lasting for eight days) was rather disappointing for me. It all began a few days before Christmas when I could feel sinus problems making themselves known. That is not a good sign for a priest approaching the weekend or an important solemnity because of the energy the body needs to get through the ceremonies and because I like to chant if my voice allows it. Providentially, with some hot tea and a little extra care, my voice was good enough to make it through Christmas day. However, (here is where the trouble and disappointment start), I began feeling more sick on Monday evening, December 26th. I made it through Mass on December 27th and then went to the doctor. The bottom line is that sinus trouble became walking pneumonia, so I have been down all week and through this weekend. I have stronger medicines now and my lungs sound a bit better today for the first time in almost a week. But I have to take it very easy because I notice my lungs react negatively when I try to do too much. Physically I don't feel ill, but the lungs aren't happy. That is where the temptation lies: to try to do too much since I don't feel badly.

The week ahead should afford me more rest. I leave tomorrow morning for my annual seminary class reunion. If you have been a reader of CRM for more than a year, you may recall my photos of past reunions. My classmates get together every first week of January for outdoor activities, hunting, fishing, hiking, and generally good fraternity around the dinner table and the bonfire. It is most relaxing and it is always good to see such dear friends -- real brothers in the priesthood. The trip should aid my taking it easy and resting up!

If I have any stories or photos of the reunion to share, I will do so in a future post some time after January 9th.

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