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From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson


Monday of the Third Week of Advent

For today’s reflection I would like to share with you something that occurred to me after this past weekend’s homily. I concluded that homily by making the statement, “…as followers of Christ, who is our Light, we are called to learn how to rejoice in the midst of the darkness and uncertainties of life…” When the day ended, I found myself wondering if that was a realistic invitation. Then this morning something occurred to me. For us as Christians, it’s a different kind of rejoicing. It’s not the same as an excited, energetic, jumping up and down type of rejoicing. When we find ourselves standing in a moment of darkness or uncertainty in our life, it is, perhaps, a rejoicing over the victory that we know will come eventually. To quote my friend and colleague, Brother Barry Landry, SC, “…I want to believe that there is a resurrection side to this.” That’s the kind of rejoicing to which we are called, the kind that says, “I might be hurting and afraid right now, but I know that the victory will come.”

FOR REFLECTION: What could it mean for me to rejoice in the midst of my uncertainties?


Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Borrowing from the image in today’s Gospel, “…my yoke is easy and my burden light,” (Mt. 11:30), I am reminded of a particular reality; namely, that we bind ourselves to many things every day. We have routines. We have habits, some of which are good, some bad. Some very bad and unhealthy. The good routines help us to stay centered. Father Mike Collins, for example, was a man of regiment. He stuck to his routine, and I believe that was one of the things that helped him to be so effective in his ministry. For many of us, it might be things like coffee, prayer, exercise, and so on. As far as the not so good habits go, we bind ourselves to these things for a variety of reasons. Loneliness. Anger. Depression. Maybe even jealousy or a lack of healthy intimacy in our lives. If we look within the words of Jesus today, the invitation is to “yoke ourselves” to him daily. His promise is that this binding will not be a burden. It will, in fact, be for us just the opposite. It will give us what I like to call clarity of mind and heart, a better sense of direction, and, most of all, a deeper feeling of peace on a day to day basis.

A few months ago, my Mom was having a particularly challenging week. By the time I had arrived for my day off, she had already worked her way through it to a sense of acceptance and a happier state of mind. She told me how she did it. She said, “…so I just decided to sit down with God, and me and God had a little talk. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, you’re gonna need to get me through this…’ and, sure enough, He did…” Thanks, Mom.

For Christ to be “born again” into our hearts and lives throughout the year, we must be willing to honestly examine how we are living, specifically, what we are “yoking ourselves” to and to be willing to let go of whatever it is that weighs us down. As we prepare for Jesus to come into our lives at Christmas through fellowship, worship, and celebration, what might need to “go out of” our lives, so that we can bind ourselves more closely to Him?

FOR REFLECTION: To what am I binding myself every day? And, better yet, why?


Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent: The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

I attended college at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, all the while living at Saint Mary’s Seminary. At that time, Saint Mary’s was an institute of discernment and formation for men at both the collegiate and graduate school level. This was my first time to ever live away from home. My 4 years there were some of the best in my life. I have nothing but fond memories. One of those memories is of our annual celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. My time in Texas was my first exposure to the Hispanic culture. This included religious ritual, music, and, of course, food! All of these came together in an exciting way every year on December 12, the feast day itself. We celebrated a special Mass, followed by a festive meal. What I remember the most, however, is the image of luminaries all over the seminary property. As the sun would set and evening came upon us, it was truly a beautiful sight.

I have personally always found this day to be one of the most inspiring celebrations of Mary. It, along with the unique and beautiful character of the Hispanic Catholic culture, help me to truly appreciate Mary’s role as intercessor. I read in a reflection earlier this morning that, during one of her interactions with Blessed Juan Diego, Mary said, “…am I not here, I who am your mother?” Mary was and is the bearer of God’s message. It is a message of fidelity to us and constant protection, the reminder that God is ever with us.

FOR REFLECTION: Who are the people who bring light and hope to my life?