Monday, March 8, 2010

From the Hood' to the Wood'- A Journey to Minnesota

Who would have thought a city boy like myself would spend his spring break in Northern Minnesota? Saturday afternoon, Brian Kennedy, Andrew Lundquist and me departed from Notre Dame, Indiana. I had the wonderful opportunity to teach these boys how to push the whip aka drive a car with one hand, all while bumping Catholic Rap and Reggae music. I think they can agree, the trip from South Bend to Culvers in Wisconsin, was quite the experience. A STREET LESSON LEARNED.

After 8hrs of driving, we finally made it to St. Paul Minnesota!!!!!! It was in St. Paul Minnesota that we stayed at BK’s friend’s apartment located on the campus of St. Thomas University. It was a time filled with Hookah smoking, Mario Kart 64, and late night ice cream. The following day, we had the privilege of going to mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul…

Andrew and I in front of the Cathedral...

We also made a quick pit stop at the Basilica of Saint Mary’s. Ohhh what a wonderful experience.

We were then off for an additional three hr drive to Pequot Lakes, Minnesota where we arrived in BK’s hood’, I mean wood’. His mom made us Mexican food hmmmm (It seems like I can never escape the Mexican culture, I can be as far north as possible and they seem to follow me wherever I go).

The following day, Brian and I went for a three mile run around lakes. It was pretty strange to see trucks on frozen lakes, while fishing, is that even legal?... Later on that night, I finally got to experience an official bonfire in the middle of the woods.

Tuesday, we polished up the .22 Long Rifles and shot at empty cans and beer bottles…

Saving Private Ryan?..
And Shepherds we shall be, For thee, my Lord, for thee.Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, Our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.So we shall flow a river forth to Thee And teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.

We also took a day trip to The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, where we had the privilege to pray midday prayer with the monks and eat lunch with Fr. Don Tolofus,. He reassured us that "the people around us can tell you a lot about your vocation”.

I also had the opportunity to see the ugliest statue in the history of the Catholic Church. St. John the Baptist-

*hint hint* If I ever become a Saint make sure my statue is “COOL” please make sure I have my hat on, with some Adidas shoes, with a lil lean in my swag thanks.

Anyways, Friday we headed off for an additional 2hr drive to Duluth, Minnesota right off the coast of Lake Superior. This was officially the farthest north I had ever traveled and it was quite the experience. How many people can say they stood on Lake Superior?...

After touring the beautiful city of Duluth, we made an additional 2hr drive to Biwabik, Minnesota, where BK’s family invited us for a weekend stay in a 3 story condo at Village Giants Ridge Ski Resort.

Saturday noon, I took a giant leap of faith- actually I took a giant leap in snow. I went Cross Country Skiing...

This was before I went face first into the snow.. lol. I am a city boy, dont hate.

We ended our so call “pilgrimage” with a twelve hour drive back to ND, where we concluded the trip with mass given by Fr. Stephen Koeth C.S.C. aka He wrote the letter, aka, Ad Orientum. What is the lesson learned? The LORD said to Abram: "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you."Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4)

I love this passage from Genesis because one sees how Abraham did not hesitate to open up his arms to receive God’s blessings. Oftentimes, we fail to recognize that God wants to bless us with endless opportunities but before we can receive such blessings we have to be willing to take that step out into faith and go wherever he calls us to. We must be willing to go without hesitation like Abraham did. For me it was going to Minnesota to experience another part of the world.

But there is something else to consider here also, Abraham did not just step out in faith to receive a blessing; he stepped out in faith to be a blessing. How often do we refuse to be a blessing to others because we don’t want to step outside of our comfort zones? Let me reassure you, I am city boy, something like skiing or living in the middle of the woods is something that I am not used to. Wearing snow boots-aint my thang, I am use to chucks or Adidas. However, I am well aware that I have a lot of people back in AZ who will never get the opportunity to see different parts of the world because of their social or financial status, so I am hoping that I can be a bit of hope for them.

Faith isn’t about comfort. And until we begin to understand this we will not reap the full measure of God’s blessing. Let us always be attentive to God’s call in our lives and remind ourselves that we are called to be blessed and be a blessing even if that means being uncomfortable.