Friday, October 22, 2010

Heading Home for a week....

It is really hard to imagine that the semester is already half over and I am now on my way home for our fall break.  I still have homework to do but I am so excited to be with Matthew and the animals.  I did not know that grad school was going to be so hard emotionally.  I knew that it was not going to be easy but I just thought that it would be all good and everything will be fine. I will say that this week it hit hard that it gets lonely while I am in California.  I had been studying for a mid-term and trying to be sure that I am doing all the homework I need to be successful.  I would get frusterated and overwhelmed and I would turn to tell Matthew and he was not there.  I did not even have the pugs to make everything better.  Then I turned to the cards....I kept all the cards that I received during my going away party as well as the cards that I received while I was in California.  I felt the love and support that I am receiving from everyone and it really made me feel less lonely.

When I come home things are going to be different, Matthew has started living his life and he is getting used to me being gone and I worry that I am going to feel like a visitor in my own house but I will see.  All I care about is that I get to be home with him and we can be a "real" rather than a virtual couple for a week. 

Both Matthew and I knew that when we started this journey that it was not going to be easy but honestly I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful community of support as well as an extremely supportive husband who is in my corner cheering me along the way.

God has blessed me and at times it brings me to tears because I am so lucky to have people who love me.

Thank you all!


Jason Lucas

Monday, October 18, 2010

Well overdue update....

It is hard to believe but the semester is already half over!  I will admit that there are times that it seems that the days are just rushing by and other seminarians have told me that this will continue to speed up as the years go by.  I will admit that I am excited that things are going fast because then I will be back home with Matthew and I will be on to where God is calling me.

This last week I was asked to read a reading in Spanish at the installation of the new Dean at CDSP.  The liturgy was beautiful. I was even mentioned in the sermon by the new dean.  Many of you know the story but for those of you that don't here it goes.  When I was little I would use a blanket and turn it into a chasuble and run around the house screaming "Give till it hurts!"  I would then hand out Eucharist (tortilla chips and iced tea) to my dog and others (stuffed animals) that were present.  There were three fellow seminarians mentioned and I was the last one and it was received with great laughter.  After the service I did have some people come to me and share their stories of how they used to play church.  I think it was the Holy Spirit working through the story to be able to help others remember their childhood.

This weekend was a bit of a challenge for me.  Since I have been here at CDSP I always had something going on for the weekend and this weekend I did not.  I also did not have my regular friends around to try to do something.  It hit me that I was feeling lonely, I really was missing home and my community back in Minnesota.  However, I was forced to be ok with just being with myself and thanks to my co-president Elizabeth was able to go for a drive into the neighboring towns as well as going to a church that I would not have been able to get to since I do not have a car here in Berkeley.  For this weekend, I felt that I was a regular person again, not worrying about school and church but just being a normal person out in the world.  I know that there are more days like this in the future and this is when I turn to those things that remind me of home to make the distance between here and Minnesota seem less.

This Friday I do get to come home to Minnesota for a week.  I am so looking forward to getting a break from the routine here at school and just play with the dogs and spend some time with Matthew.  I know that this time with him will be short but I just am going to love to be with him and go through the normal everyday routines that we had before I left on this adventure.  I hope that when I am home I am able to see some of you. 

While in Minnesota I will also be talking with hospitals about their CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) programs.  Since there are not many hospitals the spots are really few and I needed to get ahead of this before June.  I will be working with people in the hospitals and from what I have heard it offers me the ability to see ministry from every angle possible; from births to deaths and everything in between.  I will admit that i am a little nervous about this but I know that God will be with me during the process. 

I think that is about it for now, please remember that each of you are in my prayers and I ask that you please keep me in yours.


Jason Lucas

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi

Yesterday (October 4) was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  The Roman Catholic Church I grew up in was the St. Francis of Assisi Parish and I remember asking my mom once, "Mom why are they so mean I don't think that St. Francis was a sissy." 

However St. Francis I think has been playing a part of my spirituality from when I was a child until where I am now.  St. Francis is know for his love of animals; this weekend I was at an animal blessing and I was so happy to see how many people really love their animals.  Now in the urban world of Berkeley there were no chicken, cows, horses etc but I could see how much people really love their animals.  Many of you know that I am a big animal lover, my dogs and cats bring me so much joy and there are so may times I miss having them fall asleep next to me.  Animals offer their owners unconditional love, OK maybe not cats, but generally animals are there to be companions for the lonely, to help the sick and to bring us a good laugh when the day is really bad. 

When I am talking to Matthew or he is talking to me and we are having a bad day we always say, "Go and cuddle with the pugs and they will make it all better."  I can't tell you how true it is.  Personally the dogs give me a feeling that no matter what they are going to love me and they also offer me a place of peace.  My spiritual director (the one in Minnesota who is now in California--I think God was telling me that California is the place to be) has animals and she has a dog named Short.  From my first meeting with her Short was there to help in our spiritual direction meeting.  Short knew when things were getting rough for me to talk about and Short would come up and place her head in my lap and look at me with the eyes saying, "I am here to make it better, and since I am here you can pet me if you like." 

I thank God everyday for the love that my animals provide to me as well as for those animals who help to make other peoples lives better. 

Saint Francis however is not only known as the animal saint but he said an amazing quote that I try to live my life through, "Preach the Gospel at all times...if necessary use words." 

I had someone once tell me well Jason you want to be a priest so you have to be that way.  However, I think that this message is not just for people in religious life but I think this is a call to ALL people.  We are all called to love each other, treat each other with dignity and respect, and to love our God.  This, in my opinion was the message of the Gospel and this is the message that St. Francis is telling us. 

So how can we preach the gospel?  Well I have a few ideas, we need to be advocates for social justice, to help the poor, and to help those in need; however, I think we also need to look closer as well.  Personally for me, I feel that I am preaching the gospel by sitting and listening to someone in need or even just going and helping someone move a box.  To preach the gospel does not mean that we need to do huge things rather it is doing things with love no matter big or small that I think is preaching the Gospel.

Jason Lucas