Summer assignment 2018: Part 1 — Mary

Note: I apologize for dropping off the blogging universe for the month of August.  The more I became involved in my summer assignment in Denver, the faster time slipped by.  Overall, I enjoyed my time in Denver.  I have met faith-filled people, received many Marian graces and caught my first fish.  These entries will cover the Service, the Virgin Mary and the Outdoors.  Enjoy reading my small adventures.

It struck me how much the Virgin Mary accompanied me on this assignment.  Here are two moments where I received some powerful graces from the Mother of God.

Cabrini shrine
I stayed at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colo., for my 8-day retreat on Aug. 1-9, 2018.

Annual 8-day retreat (Aug. 1-9, 2018)

When I learned that my summer assignment would be in Denver, I wanted to have my yearly retreat in Colorado.  When was the next chance for me to be out there?  I stayed at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in nearby Golden.  Father Dan Barron, OMV would come down from the Diessbach House daily to meet with me.

A greater desire welled up to tell my story of Mary’s love from the 2015 Spencer retreat.  I had been reluctant to share the specifics of the grace because it felt so personal and intimate.  Father Dan suggested drawing a children’s book of the experience.  I obtained a few sheets of paper and started drawing.  I enjoyed every moment of it.  The initial pencil sketches were rough.  But a few revisions later, I was satisfied how the book came out.  God willing, I might have the book published.

Comic book
Here are two pages from the children’s book that I drew during my 8-day retreat on Aug. 1-9, 2018.

The retreat occurred during the anniversary of my first vows.  I decided to renew giving everything to Mary.  There was much peace doing that.  One of the nights, I awoke and pondered about Marian consecration.  St. Maximilian Kolbe had written about unlimited Marian consecration (to be the perfect tool in her hands to build the Kingdom of Jesus).  That night, it dawned on me that such a consecration required surrendering my shortcomings, failures and temptations so that Mary can strengthen me at my weakest.  I thought I had discovered something new, but a review of my Kolbe notes revealed this quote:

“However, we must not be afraid of anything, because we can and we must win.  But how?  Here is how: by not trusting ourselves in any way and by offering all of ourselves, all the temptations, and our difficulties to the Immaculata, surely we will always be victorious (it is obvious that on our part we have to do what we can not to fall).  The Immaculata cannot abandon her children.”
KW 149, Letter to Newly Invested Brothers, Jan. 3, 1927 

Kolbe talk
It was a grace-filled one-hour talk on Kolbe, Mary and the Spirit at the Holy Ghost parish hall in Denver on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Faith Friday (Aug. 17, 2018)

In July, Father Chris, the pastor, wanted me to give a talk on Aug. 17.  It was part of Faith Friday, a series to give further catechesis to parishioners.  He had suggested my vocation story.  But deep down, I wanted to discuss my thesis on St. Maximilian Kolbe’s thoughts on the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.  It would force to pull my notes together from primary and secondary sources.

I dedicated that day to the Immaculata.  But technology worries filled my head because public speaking events are always plagued with them.  As I was walking to Holy Ghost, an excited man came to me and said, “I’ve seen John Wick’s car.”  He showed a selfie through the cracked screen of his smartphone.  He gave me a high-five and walked away.  I wondered who John Wick was.  But Mary was reminding me not to take things too seriously.

Except for a microphone issue, the talk went smoothly.  Everything came from my heart and I covered everything that I had wanted.  The Q-and-A session, of course, digressed on such topics as the Assumption.  People complimented me on the presentation.  Michael, a parishioner, took photos and video of my talk.  You can view my Prezi presentation here.  (I had updated it to include the last-minute quotes that I read aloud in the talk.)

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