Dear family and friends,
I am writing cognizant of the fact that I rarely posted on this blog last semester. And to prove to myself that it really is as easy as sitting down for fifteen minutes on a Monday afternoon and typing out a hey-I’m-still-here-and-doing-ok-thanks-for-the-prayers letter.
This past weekend, forty-six seminarians and a priest from Mount Angel took a pilgrimage to San Francisco to Walk for Life. Like last year, we spent a couple nights at St. Patrick’s Seminary and joined forces marching in solidarity with literally tens of thousands of other people who hold fast to the sanctity of each human life. It was a beautiful experience, with Adoration and the holy Mass and the Office in community and praise and worship and plenty of fraternity. The weekend really made more concrete my own reasons for being pro-life. I love the quote by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” Sometimes, in how we treat ourselves or others, we forget this fundamental truth. Each day I’m learning more and more that the Lord delights in us greatly! He creates us and sees us as very good.
A song that has really been speaking to me this semester is called “Nothing I Hold On To / Climb” (video at the end of this post). As we were waiting to load the bus on Friday at 4:30 in the morning, one of the Orange seminarians busted out his guitar and we sang this song. Its lyrics are so simple and litanous:
I lean not on my own understanding
my life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven
I give it all to You, God
trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of me
There’s nothing I hold onto
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open
I am so in love with You
there is no one else for me
Finally, in February I’ll be undertaking what may seem like a gargantuan blog project. Inspired by a book that one of the monks here at Mount Angel wrote, I’ve compiled a list of 365 words and will be writing a short reflection on one per day for a year. The blog is called A Catholic’s Lexicon. Feel free to join me as I journey from Abbot to Zubritsky, and everything in between.
Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Phillip J. Shifflet