Nah, I ain’t dead; Just real busy, gang. I can’t believe that it is already the start of November! This year is absolutely flying by…we just finished midterms at St. Thomas and are now chugging away toward the end of the semester. In light of that, and the fact that today is the Solemnity of All Saints so I’m being lazy during study hours, I thought I’d give a little summary of the year thus far.
The week before returning to seminary, my grandpa, Edward Adorjan, passed away after a long battle with various illnesses. This was particularly difficult for me since, in many ways, he was very much a hero to me. Born in 1932 and a Korean War vet, he was homicide detective for the Chicago Police Department. All his life he was also an incredibly devout Catholic who loved Jesus Christ probably more than anyone else I’ve met, at least within the family. He was the rock of our family because of his strength (both physically and emotionally), his stamina (probably one of warmest, most hilarious guys out there), and his passion and love for his family. All of these things stemmed from and were supported by his fervent faith in Christ the King (also, coincidentally, the name of his parish) which penetrated everything he did. My grandpa was a man of faith and courage and never gave up, not even in the end. I was so blessed to be asked to lead the wake service at the funeral home for a crowd of 100+ members of my immediate and extended family. It was so moving to see the 40 (or s0) current and retired police officers who came out to say goodbye to their friend “Eddy.” The gospel reading I chose was John 14: 1-7 in which Jesus proclaims “Do not let your hearts be troubled….I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” Indeed, Christ is the way and the truth and the life for us here on earth but especially for those who now reside with him. It gives me peace to imagine Grandpa sitting before the throne of God, finally experiencing the Kingdom he’s dreamed of since he was a boy all those years ago. Two things that will ring out in my mind forever from this experience: 1) The immense pride I had to be an American, and seminarian, and an Adorjan when that soldier raised his arm to salute my grandfather at his gravesite and Taps was played. 2) There’s just something about an old, burly, retired police officer with tears in his eyes when he puts his hand on your shoulder and says “I hope you know that your grandfather was a good, good man. The best.” Yes, O stranger-no-longer, he was the best. And now, he’s got it made. Thanks be to God.
On a less saddening, but surely as moving, note, I had the INCREDIBLE opportunity to be a guest speaker at the Charlotte Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since this experience left me, of all people, without words, here is an excerpt from my presentation to the men at St. John Vianney Seminary about my trip:
My brothers, as we head together into this great year of Faith, let us ‘Come to the Water,’ let us be living, breathing credible witnesses to the idea that ‘He must increase and we must decrease.’ The Eucharist, the body, the blood, the soul, and the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the New Evangelization; it is from the very heart of Christ that our mission has its origin and, as the summit of our efforts, it is that same Sacred Heart of Christ that must serve us as our end. We come from Him and we return to Him. The Eucharist, I came to realize, is more than just our spiritual food; it is our very existence. It is the Paschal Sacrifice of Christ, the supper of the Lamb; it is that Heavenly banquet of the Lord around whose table we have been called for a special task. Monsignor West, the Vicar General of Charlotte, said it best when he told us that the Eucharist, especially in these trying times when more and more people are yearning for the Divine…the Eucharist is the “response of Almighty God to the pleas of humanity.” The Eucharist is the Bond of the Unity and the Source of Charity. It is the very thing which holds us all together as Christians and it is the not only the result of the humility and love of God, but it is also the source of our love, our Charity toward God and toward this great and wonderful with which Almighty God has so generously provided us.
As we leave this room and move on to our daily lives, we might feel bogged down about the upcoming elections, the success of the marriage amendment, upcoming papers and exams, or how Illinois is going to be more corrupt when I return than it was when I left….there are so many things to distract from our ultimate mission, our ultimate goal of keeping the faith, of finishing the race, and of winning souls for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. But, again as Monsignor West encouraged, “What Jesus did, we are asked to do. What Jesus began, we are asked to continue.” Let us continue, brothers, to spread the message of Christ on this campus and in this ever-resistant world because it is all about Christ. It is all about Christ who is our food, our strength, our joy, and our Love. Let us all, in one another, BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD who is the BOND OF UNITY AND THE SOURCE OF CHARITY.
At last, the reason for the title of this here message to you all, O residents of the blogosphere.
Last week when the midterms were over and I could scrounge up enough money to fill the ol’ Sonata I trekked home to beautiful Oswego. Among other things, I visited Oswego High School, had lunch with our diocese’s Vicar for Priests, and spent some much needed time in prayer at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. On Friday night of my time home, I made the always sentimental drive to Naperville, IL to attend North Central College’s annual Homecoming Concert which features the music groups of the college. When I went to NCC, I played in the concert winds alongside my older brother, Matt, and my time in that group is one of the many, many things I miss about North Central. Easily the hardest part of coming to seminary was leaving North Central so soon after arriving there. To this day, I stand in awe of the rare sense of community that its campus enjoys; the small school feel truly makes a person ‘Be Central’ and allows them to achieve their dreams. But that’s just it…I was there to fulfill my dreams and not the dreams of the One who put me here. I love St. Thomas, SJV, and my life as a seminarian but I also find myself missing North Central’s late nights, tight community, and sense of pride. But, as the NCC Women’s Chorale’s well-timed reminder made clear, there are parts of our lives, of our existence, that are not up to us and sometimes we just have to put aside what we want, die to ourselves, and, as God would say, “Go, Where I send Thee!”
Indeed, O God of justice, mercy, and truth. You have made me for yourself, O God, and my heart is restless until in rests in you. You are my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? You are the Way and the Truth and the Life. I have run the race so as to win; I have won the race, I have kept the faith. Now, I go in peace.
and Thanks be to God for it all.
In Christ’s peace,
PS – If you’re looking something to do: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_25_xiii-ordinaria-2012/02_inglese/b33_02.html