Advice for Life

As you come to the end of your pilgrimage as a seminarian, do you have any wisdom, or advice to impart to anyone trying to figure out their way in life?

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One of the most precious gifts I have learned during my time in seminary is the ability to remain silent before the Lord. Through it, my vocation grew exponentially stronger. Through it, I grew in confidence that I was travelling the right path. Through it, I truly get to know the Lord and grow in friendship with him. Through silence, I was able to hear the voice of the Lord resounding in the cathedral of my heart confirming in numerous occasions my vocation.

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Silence before the Lord is the foundation of our spiritual house. Deep down, the human person is wired for God. If he focuses on everything, but forgets God, he is restless; if he prioritizes God, everything else falls into place. Personally, I am at my best when I spend times in silence before the Lord; I am restless when I neglect to do so. Once I learn to prioritize silence, nothing seems to be insurmountable. I always feel like I can scale down any walls and break through any barrier when I strengthen my drooping knees before the Lord in silence (cf. Ps. 18:29). So, if we make silence before the Lord the bulwark of our lives, no spiritual earthquake can shake our house. Silence builds us up to face the inevitable misfortunes of life. when our peace and leisure is the Lord, we can live confidently and fearlessly.

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Silence is golden. Before the age of phone GPS, if you are lost driving, to find the right direction, you would need to turn off the radio, ask everyone to be silence, gather yourself. Then clarity is found. Do you ever wonder why? It is because it is in the classroom of silence that life’s puzzles are solved. Moreover, even nature teaches us the importance of silence. Trees, flowers, and plants flourish in the silence of the night. Is it not very telling that it is not in a palace or in the city that the King of kings was born, but in the silence of the night? Consciously or unconsciously, everyone longs for God, but he cannot be found in the noise of the iPhone, in the cacophony of Twitter, or in the confusion of Snapshot. God is the friend of silence. God does not speak in noise (cf. 1 Kgs 19:1-12). Being bombarded with noise in the car, in the market, the street, our bedroom, and even while jogging will not help our cause.

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Silence opens doors. It is in silence that life’s deepest secret is revealed. It is in silence that we understand what God is trying to convey to us. It is in silence that our restless hearts find. Silence is the key to live life with passion and purpose.

So, my advice to anyone who wants to treasure life in its fullest magnitude is to learn to cultivate silence on a regular basis. For Catholics, the Blessed Sacrament is the ideal locus of silence because the Lord, which heaven and earth cannot contain, is sacramentally present there waiting to overpower us with his love. However, if that’s not possible, any atmosphere conducive to silence will do.

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What is the concrete benefit of silence? A number of things: confrontation with one’s own self, seeing one’s dark side, a deep realization of one’s dependency upon God, the surfacing of the neglectful questions of life, an ordering of the priorities of one’s life, a simplification, a getting back to basics, a sense of meaning and purpose in life. It means any and all of these things. So, grace yourself with silence before the Lord; you will not regret it.

 

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Fr. Brice’s Ordination on June 3, 2017

As I am still in the cloud enjoying my moment of glory before real life, let me share with you. what i think of my ordination.IMG_1510.jpg

The ordination was like my “Tabor Moment.” Jesus took three of the disciples and went up a high mountain; there, he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with him (cf. Mt 17:1-3). That was the closest experience they had of the beatific vision while on earth. Jesus allowed them to taste, though briefly, the contemplation of eternal joy so that when the cross happens, they might not falter in their faith (cf. Luke 12:32). Without a doubt, last weekend was not far from the experience of Tabor. It was a little foretaste of what it means to respond generously to God’s call. He allowed me to see the future joy that ministering well might bring, and the unceasing prayer, generous support, untold gratitude, and beautiful kindness we have in the Church community. Many laughed, cried, and savored the weekend with me to the brim; they have promised to pray for me; I blessed them; they congratulated me. Such a holy weekend is not easily forgotten. Such an experience propels me forward to serve selflessly, give myself willingly, and embrace my ministry wholeheartedly because I have the support of the people of God. So, in challenging times, tough days, this is a moment I will remember as I minister and spread the gospel of joy in every corner of the Diocese of Providence.

Furthermore, the people of God get it. I have been assigned to many parishes throughout our time in seminary. Consequently, I have met, befriended, and touched many. They have seen me grow, mature, and persevere year in year out. They know I will be their priests. They count on me to be their companion, guide, solace, minister of salvation, and dispenser of grace and blessing from the cradle to the grave. As soon as a person entered this world, they expect the priest to be available to impart on him/her supernatural life through baptism. The priest accompanies the dead to their resting place in the grave with rites and prayers of immortal hope. When they are suffering, they know the priest is there. When going gets tough in the journey, the priest strengthens them with the grace of the sacraments.

IMG_1455.jpgWhen they fall away from grace, they are reconciled with God in the sacrament of penance through the hands of the priest. Called to found a family, the priest is there to receive and bless this unitive and procreative love. The priest stands by them in the best and worst periods of their lives—new life, fears, doubts, concerns, sadness, troubles, or celebrations. He coaches them about how to win the race and fix their eyes fixed on Jesus, the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings (Gaudium Spes 45). Most importantly, behind the scene, in supplications, fasting, penances, study, hours on his knees, he prepares himself daily to live up to the lofty promises he made at ordination before God and his people. So, Out of gratitude and love the faithful come out in droves to celebrate and welcome the new priests as a way to tell them: “welcome them to our lives. We are glad you are here. Show us the way.” That’s what the ordination meant to me.