Thursday, March 26, 2009

bon voyage.

It feels a bit surreal, but ten-day break is officially here. After hearing countless stories of the ups and downs that come with ten-day travelling, it's finally my turn to travel wherever i want, with whoever i want, get pissed/annoyed/frustrated with/at them, drink with them, pray with them, etc.

Can't wait.

Me, Elliot, and Chris Loisel are leaving at 3AM for Croatia and Medjugorje. i had accepted that i wouldn't be going to Medj this semester and that it "wasn't my time" to go, but Elliot and Chris had such a good experience there last weekend that they insisted we go while on ten-day.

We're spending 4 days in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from Saturday til Tuesday night. We then spend two days in Medj, and finish it off in Split, Croatia before heading home.

This break comes at an opportune time, as the never-ending winter continues here in Gaming. The snow seems to be melting for good this time, but it's never a safe bet it seem in Gaming. The slightly warmer coast of Croatia should be a good change of pace.

We're all expecting big things from this trip. I pray it's as successful and memorable as we hope it to be. please pray for us, as i will certainly be holding Dedham, LOJ, and all friends in my heart as i journey into Medj for the first time.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

eff households 2.0

I'm kind of embarassed i even have to do this.

some 2 months after posting an entry about making new friends, word has finally gotten back to me that my comment of "eff household" has become a joke of sorts, used to sarcastically describe the "excitement" of our return to main campus.

i'm just going to state simply that the comment was merely intended to be a radical way of saying that households are not an acceptable way of judging people or denying friendships with people. i apologize if it bothered anybody.

and if this news i was told is in fact incorrect and is just a misconstrued rumor, then ignore this completely -- i simply don't want people thinking i'm sick of household (hence why i put I LOVE MY HOUSEHOLD in caps in the original entry).

i feel like i'm defending one of my Troub articles again.

loj is the greatest household in the history of households. and i owe much of my growth over the past 2 years to the intercession of St Joseph and the love of my brothers.

the end.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

yea, like nike.

It's been said in a myriad of fashions:
"Just jump off the cliff."
"All you gotta do is say yes."
"Just reach out and touch Him."
"Knock, and the door will be opened".

The first and greatest thing i had to face up to is that the only thing standing between myself and canonization is: myself.

I came into Gaming desiring a number of things: a better prayer life, a better attitude, a greater knowledge of my faith. It took me about 2 weeks to realize that Europe wasn't going to go to the chapel or study for me.

After my first week here, in which i slept in on numerous occasions, i slapped myself and declared that i was going to go to mass everyday. i can still remember the moment i stated this because suddenly i felt enabled. i've missed one since. once the ball got rolling, it was impossible for me to not go to mass. it's eventually gotten to the point where i feel weird/guilty if i miss a day.

and i could repeat pretty much the same story with a multitude of different tasks: prayer, devotions, confession, etc. i've had conversations via facebook with a number of friends from home throughout the semester, and this theme of inaction kept popping up. getting to know the Lord requires action. whether you want to call it reaching out, taking a leap, knocking on the door, whatever, just do it.

the point, i think, is clear. when you know you have something you need/should be doing: just do it. it sounds remarkably simple and maybe even cause some people to think "well, duh, greg". but concupiscence grounds us more than we sometimes realize. we often look at the clock and use time as an excuse for our laziness.

one of the best lyrics Jon Foreman every wrote says, "get up, love is moving you now". we're called to respond to the Lord in love. And love cannot be static, it cannot be given from our sofas. whatever we gotta do -- do it.

slacker. i know.

so i've realized i've been getting rather lazy in my writing. i created this blog with the intention of not just simply giving updates but to also write of things i've learned along the way and whatnot. instead, since january, i've opted for point-by-point updates and brief one-liners. my goal by the end of the semester is to greatly change this pattern. hopefully starting now.

here goes.


Friday, March 20, 2009

just the two of us.

with 90% of the student body (plus gordo and j-watt) on pilgrimage to Medj this weekend, me and Curtis are left hangin out in the Kartause. day 1 has been entertaingly lazy, and we hope to watch some of the Madness tonight.

also, immediately after i posted my last entry, the snow began to fall. and it has simply gotten worse today. this is miserable.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The snow is finally melting and springtime looms in the distance. And this all happens while Josh Wattenbarger is here. Coincidence?

Monday, March 16, 2009


Bruges was awesome.

but that's all i have to say about that because as most of the readers of this blog already know, 3 of my household brothers, Gordo, Curits, and Josh, surprised me and the other LOJ members by randomly showing up this weekend for their spring break. i just got back from our first night out at the bar together, and it's just a remarkable feeling to be back with these senior household brothers who have had such a huge impact on my life.

long live loj.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


"I believe God rules all by His Divine Providence and that the stars by His permission are instruments."
-- William Lilly
this one's for my Dedham friends.

well. i never, ever thought this day would come. at least not so soon.

i had agreed to travel this weekend with a group to France. long story short, it wasn't going to work out, so they switched our destination to a place where our other friends were going: a small little town known as Bruges.

Those of us that were fortunate enough to be a part of that group back in 2005 that went to Bruges post-World Youth Day undoubtedly still remember the cobble stone roads, the beauty, and the widespread antiquity of Bruges.

I pray that i'll be able to see the cloth stained with Christ's blood again. I can remember the excitement of finding out they had it out on display, and how we literally up and left lunch and sprinted across the town. I can remember us quietly sliding into the chapel moments before they shut the door, not allowing anyone else in. I can remember the bus ride back to Brussels, asking myself when i would ever find the opportunity to return, because i was so struck by the experience i had.

and in just 5 hours, i'll be on my way again.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a much needed update.

"i've smuggled myself into new nationalities...think you'd be proud of me."
-- the get up kids
Ok ok ok ok. ok! i'm sorry. i failed to post a blog before our departure for Rome and Assissi, probably leaving some of you scratching your heads and wondering whether or not i was still alive.
but no worries, for i have returned. Rome and Assissi proved to be depots of remarkable grace, mental clarity, and growth for me.
first, let me explain why i vanished. i had originally planned to simply travel via bus with the school to Rome on friday. but a 11am on thursday, Richard Flourmont, Sam Sharpe, and Dan Devine invited me to Florence with them. my Eurrail was yet to be activated, so it would be an expensive trip. not letting money distract me from an opportunity to see the world, i agreed to join them and we set off thursday night.
Florence was absolutely my favorite city in Italy (er, so far). It was pure beauty. We stepped off of the train into 60 degree sunshine, quite the contrast from the never-ending blizzard we had just experienced. Floreance is Artsy with a capital ART. you see it in the design of the city, in the Churches, in the museums, in the people's clothing (you thought MY pants were tight...). We saw the original statue of David, which was strikingly an emotional event for me. i still laugh at myself when i think back to that moment, but seriously, i had no clue how awesome that statue was. i just stood there for 10 minutes, then spent 10 more minutes trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor.
Rome was, obviously, awesome. I could write for hours about it. highlights: mass at St. Pete's, the food, seeing the Vatican for the first time, spending time with my friend Heidi who i thought i would never see again, going to see a major Italian League soccer match, seeing all the major basilica's, the food, the wine, the food, seeing the Sistine Chapel, the wine, the Scavi Tour (seeing st. pete's bones!), the Angelus with the Pope out of his bedroom window. and the wine. in no particular order.
I got to spend a quite a bit of a lone time in Rome, once i figured out the metro system. it was much needed. One day i just walked around the city for a good 2 hours, alongside the Flume river, the sun shining on my back, my headphones in, and nothing to do but see the world. never in my life did i think i'd have the opportunity to simply walk around Rome by myself for an afternoon. no agenda. perfect. before i get too sappy, i'll just move on.
Assissi was. quaint. sacred. uphill. awesome. it made me miss Fr. Conrad and his rambling homilies/talks. highlights: mass at st. francis' tomb, walking up the mountainside to his hermitage, the food, the wine. ...yea. there wasn't a lot going on there, it was just an amazingly prayerful and peaceful little city. on the walk up to the hermitage, me and Christian Bobak worked our way all the way up to the very top ofthe mountain. i'm talking the snow capped tippy top. the air was thinner and the world looked tinier. we sat there in silence for a good 20 minutes before saying a prayer and descending.
for those 20 minutes, i had a small idea of what the world looks like to God. the entire city of assissi took up about an inch of our panoramic view. the people were nowhere to be found because they are so dang small.. their problems, struggles, and anxieties were infinitely smaller compared to the world i was seeing.
and yet Christ still cares.
i'll be trying to wrap my mind around that one for a while.