It’s been awhile since I’ve really written as I’ve been way out of routine, so today I’m going to talk about my week by stream of conscious, old-fashion, Xanga-style if you will.
A week ago today I gave a talk to almost 50 Catholic guys at the University of Maryland at College Park. Several God-moments happened that night:
-I felt the talk itself went really well as the Holy Spirit really flowed. As I was describing what true authentic brotherhood looked liked, the guys laughed at my nicknames for my brothers in college, especially “Asian” for my boy Josh. I told the guys some aspects I thought what were key to brotherhood: Accountability, Solidarity, Prayer, and Fellowship otherwise known by the easily memorable acronym “ASPF”.
-The moment when all the guys in the room took part in my 100 Guys Project answering the question “How has waiting or not waiting to have sex before marriage had an impact on your life?” was remarkable. The work of warriors was truly happening at that moment.
|The guys at College Park answering the question: "How has waiting or not waiting to have sex for marriage had an impact on your life?" Remarkable.|
-After the talk, I had an inspiring conversation with a sophomore who has found a way, similar to mine, to get rid of porn addiction out his life. “It’s about the Yes in our lives we have to answer to” he said. “Not the No’s. It’s about the joy and love I have for my girlfriend and how I want to sacrifice for her.” Dang, and this boy is a sophomore. Kudos to him. I was definitely inspired by the guy.
-Last but not least, the chaplain of the Catholic center Fr. Rob took me back to the rectory where we got to share a beer together. It was really neat to talk to him man-to-man about ministry, spiritual warfare, and how we get our (butt) handed to us when we are approaching to do something big for God like a talk like this or a retreat and how it’s even worse after the fact. It is during these times, especially afterwards, when we need the most prayers. Remarkable conversation.
Speaking of getting my (butt) handed to me, that was basically the story of the rest of my week as he had predicted. This literally became true when on Thursday I threw my lower back lifting suffering pain that left me on the bed for those next two days. Each day my back has gotten better, but even as I write there’s a tingle of pain in the spot of my tail bone. It’s been a learning lesson for me that when I get hurt, I don’t only let myself down but my work and now especially my wife Mimi. The injury also got me out of rhythm with writing, daily Mass, and exercise so I’m glad to be mostly back this week as I slowly regroup myself.
Saturday was one of the best days I’ve had in awhile, maybe since the wedding and our honeymoon. That morning I got up at 6:30 a.m. to get to a meeting that I got invited to by a priest who came to my workshop at the ADW Chastity Conference a couple weeks ago. Long story short, that morning several men and I met to continue the planning of a Men’s Conference that will take place here in D.C. next March. After talking extensively about why we’re having this conference, what authentic masculinity looked like, and the New Evangelization, we started brainstorming on the brand name of what we want these conferences to be called each year. We unanimously decided on a title I suggested, “Man on a Mission” to highlight man’s new mission and role in society, the family, and especially with the New Evangelization. It was highly exciting to be around these other men who clearly cared about men’s ministry and to come up with other ideas for the conference next year.
Later that night, Mimi and I went to the Gala for Centro Tepeyac, a Catholic Women’s Center where I have started working for part-time, helping them with their public relations. What was especially cool was that we highlighted a program I’m going to start at Tepeyac called “Guy Talk”, which will be a forum for guys to be able to come and talk with each other about masculinity and chastity. I’m excited for this. To cap the Gala, it was a pleasure to speak with our keynote speaker Fr. Agustino Torres, who co-founded Catholic Underground. After hearing about what we do at Catholic Fried Rice, he said that he would like for me to come up to New York to give a talk to his guys. Whew, what? Crazy, God-blessed happenings are going on and I’m so grateful to God for it.
As I was feeling great that night (running on pure adrenaline), I decided to swing by Times and the Dubliner in downtown D.C. to take part of festivities of CUA Homecoming. Both places were packed, but it was a pleasure to see the only peeps I really came there to see, my blessed House friends Josh, Jonathan, Kara, Jules, Col, and Kels-fels. Also, cool to see Ash and Andrew. Shout-out to my boy Patella who’s birthday was midnight that night as well.
|Col-la, Asian, Kels, Jules, K-Mo, and Jota (insert Case-Face)|
Josh, Kels, Col, and I left around 1:30 a.m. to go to Plato’s for food and it was awesome to continue hanging with some of my favorite friends.
Later that Sunday, Mimi and I went to the Homecoming Mass at CUA where we saw a lot of great faces, especially Casey and Kate who we hung out with for awhile. After seeing everyone in The House, it was appropriate and an added bonus for me to complete the picture getting to see Case-face. Awesome brother. Send up a prayer for Kate who’s due anytime now with their first-born son!
And to cap a great weekend, my boy Bob-sex, i.e. seminarian-studying-to-be-a-priest Bobby Kilner gave me a Face Time call from Rome. Great to catch up with him, “talking to him six hours in the future” and finally cap our convo with a prayer shared by him, me, and Mimi. Love the guy.
Some big things I look forward to this week is going through the responses from the guys at College Park, putting up my videos of talks, meeting up with Fr. Rob again, starting much-needed spiritual direction with a Capuchin I met today, getting 100% healthy, and hopefully getting back into a rhythm with writing. I miss it. It cleanses my soul almost as much as the confession I got to go to today at the shrine.
Life is tough, but we have to keep trekking. So let's keep on keeping on. Prayers are always appreciated.