Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas Everywhere!

One of my favourite Christmas CDs is Relient K's Let It Snow Baby...Let it Reindeer. One of the tracks on it is a cover of Silver Bells. Relient K does a great job of creating some more sophisticated sounds for the classic, including a sweet piano riff. But in true Relient K fashion, they also wrote a bridge:

Christmas time is almost here
Take the time to breathe the air
The bells ring out, tell us about
How Love was born this day

As the song transitions from this bridge back into the final chorus, I can't help but think of the song with a new perspective; one that is more Christ-centered. It's a beautiful piece of music. Here, in the middle of a "Christmas" song is a little bridge that reminds me that I can find the beauty and wonder of Jesus in many places during Christmas, not just by participating in mass or by looking at nativity scenes. I can find Him in the hearts of mall santas, in the hearts of children laughing, in the streetlights blinking red and green, and yes, in the sound of silver bells.

Let us rejoice! Our Saviour has been born to show us how to live and how to love. Look for that love everywhere.

Here's a link to Relient K's Silver Bells:

Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary and Joseph's Christmas Wish

I'm young. I'm only 21. And so, I am not going to say that I have a lot of life experience, nor will I assume that I will ever know what everyone is going to go through during their lifetimes. But I can say with confidence that no one, NO ONE, is going to experience anything that will top having an archangel appear to you and tell you that you will give birth to God.


Mind blown.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Consequence of Prayer

There are the times when we really get into a state of prayer...and we don't ask, we don't plead, we don't try to reason with God - we may not even be consciously thanking Him - we just are. We sit. We kneel. We revel in His power and in His presence. And then something happens within our hearts and minds. Something that, having myself experienced far too infrequently (especially during exam time), begs me to ask this question of the Church and her historical heroes: why is it that the greatest saints have all thought of themselves to be the greatest sinners?

The saints are saints because they were constantly striving, during their lives on earth, to seek God. I think a major part of this authentic drive is humility.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Evolution of Our Affection

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes about love, and with the help of the ancient Greeks, beautifully divides it into four main categories. Lewis' definitions of each type of love - in a nutshell - are as follows:

Storge: Affection; a fondness through familiarity.

Philia: The strong bonds of friendship shared between people; “the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.”

Eros: The state of being “in love.”

Agape: Christian charity. This love is the highest, and it is unconditional.

While the first three loves come naturally, Lewis writes that without the fourth kind of love, the other types can become corrupt. He speaks of Agape as the love of God, which, quite literally, gives the other types of love the grace they need to become something more than they can be on their own. Storge, Philia, and Eros all point towards Agape, which is the natural evolution of love – if it is allowed to develop.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spirit Day Every Day

How time flies. I've become so immersed in the world of youth ministry that a part of my brain actually keeps track of time by which events have come and gone. Youth Day? Check. Searching in the Spirit? Check. That must mean...Yep. Spirit Day time!

This past weekend, Nov. 6th and 7th, marked the 7th annual Spirit Day, an event organized for the Gr. 7s of the archdiocese of Vancouver to gain a better understanding of what their upcoming Confirmation should mean to them, and what it really means to be part of the bigger Church. Through the wonderful juggling and antics of Apex Ministries, the awesome music of Jacob and Matthew Band, the craziness of the Spirit Team, hospitality of the Logistics Team, and the skits and testimonies of the Stage team, 1800 Gr. 7s came to understand the theme of "chosen." Hearts were uplifted, joy was increased, and faith was strengthened. The event was a huge success. The Gr. 7s absolutely loved it. God was very present, and I am so thankful and so fortunate to have been able to once again help this event come to fruition.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Love Part II

Over the weekend, I attended a day-long conference called 'Freedom to Love," featuring renowned Speaker Christopher West. The conference was about John Paul II's teachings on the Theology of the Body, which, in an EXTREMELY small nutshell, details how God created the bodies of Man and Woman to make "visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. [They] have been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it" (TOB 19:4). The mystery spoken of is God's Love, and how that love applies to our human love and to our ultimate destiny of happiness with God in heaven.

Monday, September 13, 2010


A lot of my friends and I admire Matt Maher. A lot. Over the years, the Vancouver Archdiocese has been so blessed to have had Matt be the musical guest at events such as Youth Day and Spirit Day. His music is awesome - no one rocks out the God music like he does.

Along with our admiration comes a lot of us keeping friendly tabs on him. As it turns out, Matt has been engaged for a while, and actually got married earlier today (Congrats to him and his wife!). I was mentioning this to a couple of friends, and we all brought up the fact that one of the (obvious) joys of marriage is that you are able to be intimate with your spouse.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

No Body Now But Yours

From August 23th - August 27th, I was part of an 12 person leadership team that led a Post-Confirmation summer camp for Gr. 7s: Searching in the Spirit. It is a camp, so we all took part in tons of awesome activities like swimming, kayaking, archery, hiking, low ropes, and volleyball. But being a Catholic camp, the leaders also gave workshops and led prayers for the participants, each day focusing on one theme. By the end of the week, the youth had been given lessons based on 5 themes: We Are Sacred, We are Witnesses, We Are Forgiven, We Are Servants, and We Are One Body. All in all, it was an amazing week filled with new friends, a loving community, and lots of laughter, joy, and faith.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My 3 Favourite Prayers

I've recently been tagged by Clay Imoo in an internet meme going around consisting of your 3 favourite prayers. Many prominent bloggers, including Clay and Gene Monterastelli of Apex Ministries, have given their thoughts.

Here are my 3 favourite prayers, besides the sacrificial prayer of the Mass:

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: This prayer was originally taught to me by my Gr. 10 religion teacher, and again has been ingrained in me by Msgr. Smith who recites it with the congregation at the end of every mass at Christ the Redeemer. We should never forget the help that we can receive from God's messengers, especially from the leader of his army, in battling the demons that constantly try to turn us from God. It is a prayer that reminds me how important it is to fight for my soul, and to fight for the Church.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Something to Enter Into

The other night, I was hanging out with a couple of friends, and we started talking about our Catholic Faith. Somehow, we began to talk about the doctrine of The Resurrection of the Body - how at the Second Coming of Christ, the souls of all people will be reunited with their physical bodies. I've always felt that this one doctrine, which Christ Himself spoke of ("He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" [Jn 6:54]) is often one that is misunderstood. Why would we get our bodies back?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Better Is One Day

In Phil 4:11, St. Paul says, "Not that I am referring to being in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have." With whatever he has. He realizes that because he has full faith in God, he will never be alone, and that is enough for him to be content with the situations he encounters in his life.

It's an extremely difficult thing to be truly content, in the sense that St. Paul is meaning. I take 'content' to mean 'satisfied,' but I also think that being content is very different from being complacent. Complacency is so easy to fall into. It's pretty much saying "yeah, this is good enough," and leaving it at that. It's thinking that whatever you've done thus far is great, and good enough to get you by; never feeling like you need to go anywhere else.

Apathetic Way to Be

Recently, I’ve been on a shopping spree. And by spree, I mean that I went shopping. Besides this shopping outing that I embarked on, the last time I went to a mall with the sole purpose of buying clothes was like. When Christ was born. “But wait Jeremy! You weren’t born back then!” Exactly. I go to Park Royal because there’s a Future Shop there. If I could wear an Xbox 360, I would.

My friend Daina had planted in me the seeds of “looking good.” To which I replied, “Honey, you can’t look much better than this.” Well, sort of. Well, no. And so that weekend I went to get a nice pair of jeans. And then the next weekend I went back to the mall with no specific shopping aim, but just to look around and see what caught my eye! I ended up buying some really nice stuff, and yeah I was satisfied with my purchases. Yes, I thought I looked nice in the stuff (otherwise I wouldn’t have forked over the money, even if they were on sale). But it actually made me ponder a bit, that from one sentence from a friend (not blaming her, by the way), my state of mind went from trying to look alright and keep warm to trying to look fantastic and keep cool.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Primary Focus

On June 12th, I travelled down to Scottsdale, Arizona for the National Life Teen Training Convention that was held for all youth ministry coordinators who had already subscribed, or were thinking of subscribing, to their youth ministry program. It was such an amazing time, filled with so many great people, so many great talks, and so much great music.

A lot of information was thrown at us over the course of 4 days. With over 500 people, we had to choose different breakout sessions. But after every session of "How to Recruit Leaders" or "Teaching Teens and their Families to Pray", or "Leading Teens into Sacred Scripture", all 500+ youth ministry coordinators and 70 priests came back together and listened to a talk that mentioned The Eucharist, or a talk that mentioned Mary. Accompanying all of this was prayer, and there was lots of it. Everywhere. Liturgy of the Hours when we woke up, prayers during general sessions, prayers at the beginning, middle, and end of breakout sessions. Daily mass and Eucharistic Adoration. Liturgy of the Hours before we went to sleep. It was incredibly challenging, yet incredibly peaceful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Our Torch

A couple of weeks ago, Msgr. Smith’s homily compared Christian Discipleship to athletes training for the Olympics. He also mentioned St. Paul comparing faith to sports as well. Later on that night, I was praying, using one of my daily devotional books. It gave me a scripture passage to meditate on – and whatdya know! It was the one Msgr. Smith referenced that same morning.

“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable garland, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air...”(1 Cor. 9:24-26).

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Over this past Christmas break, my friend Daina and I travelled to England to visit and travel with our friend Tash, who is studying there just for the year (God willing...). We also jumped over to Germany for New Years. In short, the trip was awesome. It was such a blessing to have been able to see Tash again, and to spend Christmas away from home with both her and Daina. The trip was filled with snow, tea and scones, lots of trains and buses, late nights, early mornings, expensive food, newfound friends, broken suitcases, almost-stolen luggage, and pig costumes (just ask one of us), just to name a few. And throughout the two weeks we came to learn more about each other and where each person fit into the lives of the other two (To Tash and Daina: I love you both).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

From One Season to Another

The first full week of January 2010 is coming to a close. The year of 2009 is under our belts, and the freshness of the new year is staring us in the face with relatives getting ready to go home, students getting back into routine, and the last hoorahs of the 2 week break quickly fading. Amongst all this, you may notice certain things: carols are no longer sung, people are taking their lights down, and Starbucks is getting rid of their holiday drink lineup. Yep, that's right - the Christmas season is over.

Those 12 days, from Dec. 25th to Jan. 6th (Feast of the Epiphany) always mark such an exciting time each year. The birth of Christ gives everyone the tremendous opportunity to make way for thoughtfulness, peace, and love. The reminder of His birth helps everyone to gather together as a family and to be thankful.