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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Asking why

Science News Article |

In all times of suffering, but especially after such disasters as have happened in Southeast Asia it is natural for all people seek understanding and meaning. Not that ascribing meaning would really end the suffering but that it somehow seems more palatable than senseless suffering. I don't know if Mary knew the meaning behind her son's crucifixion when it took place, but somehow I don't think such knowledge would have made her weep any less.

Still, taking refuge in the "mystery of suffering" doesn't really help to provide comfort either. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know why the tsunami took place beyond the scientific reasons. I do, however, have opinions on what should be done in response to the disaster - that is the question of "In response to this occasion of suffering, what should be done?" I pray that as we answer this question, we may also get some answers to the question of why.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Working vacation

I would like to say that I was spending all day in bed relaxing but the truth is that I only get to spend most of the day in bed. Seriously, I am finding that a much freer schedule is causing my body to revert to previous habits. I often wonder whether I should force myself to stay on my regimented schedule so as to avoid greater disruption when I get back into the friary or whether I should try to really relax. Usually the relaxation wins out, even though I end up regretting it when the vacation is over..

Honestly, I am doing some work over the break. Both for school and the friary. I really need to get finished with my Integrating Seminar paper so I don't have to look at it anymore. I am also trying to get my talk on the Trinity done along with researching my second Integrating paper and doing some word processing for my ministry assignment. I need a sabatical and I don't even have a full time teaching position yet.

Still relatively healthy. Keeping fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Two weeks of catch up coming at ya!

I really need to get back into business here. Let's just begin by saying that Christmas was a hectic time at the friary. It's difficult to get to all the religious services and get prepped for going home for a week of vacation. Two masses on the 24th and two on the twenty fifth meant that I was really feelin the spirit. I also came down with a mild cold. My entire family has come down with one of their own so I'm hoping that I'll be able to refuse that particular Christmas gift.

Christmas day was filled with packing, eating and praying. Because of my cold, I avoided the champagne - though I did have some hot chocolate with pepermint schnaps [does that count as an alcholic beverage?] Lots of time getting Christmas cards out as well even though I really didn't say to much in them that hasn't been mentioned in the blog. I have also been spending a lot of time getting the website revised - especially the research section so if you haven't looked at it in a while click on over.

I am home in KC until the 2nd and have some work to do - particularly my talk on religious life and the Trinity. I have some ideas, at least, of what I might say. Perhaps, "The Trinity is a mystery which has never, cannot ever, and is not now understood." And leave it at that. Isn't theology great?

I really will try to resolve to post here more regularly otherwise I end up with posts like this one. Mea culpa and a blessed new year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

MSNBC - Vatican coffee bar serves up heavenly lattes

MSNBC - Vatican coffee bar serves up heavenly lattes

Who says that the Vatican isn't up with the times? Now, if they just added a bookstore....

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Starting another week

Well, I turned in my last final for my last fall semester as a student at WTU today. I don't know if it was any good, only that I no longer wanted to look at it. I spent the rest of the day working on the day of recollection on prayer that I have to give this weekend. I'm not even ordained and I'm already leading retreats. Unfortunately the previous recollection days already did "group discussion" so I actually have to think of something now.

This year our new director decided to get an artificial tree. This means that the friars in charge of cleaning the dining room and common room won't have to fight over whose room becomes needle filled. It won't have that natural pine scent, but I think you can get that in a can now. The new "artificial" tree is still in a box downstairs. I was kind of hoping for one that was inflatable. You never know when it might flood and you might need a seasonal flotation device.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Organized Anarchy

I was surfing the web this evening in an attempt to postpone finishing my last final for as long as possible. This way I can both be irritated that it's not finished and happy that something else has distracted me.

As I was downloading some entries into my computer's calendar, I came across a download for an "Anarchist Calendar" and I wondered how organized one had to be in order to come up with a calendar, yet still be disorganized enough to be an Anarchist. Somewhat like my earlier days working in the comic book store when you would see several people wearing the same shirt that said "Corrosion of Conformity" - rebellious and assimilating at the same time.

Certainly Catholicism has its own sort of irony. You become truly free by submitting to the will of God. You must lose your life to save it. Perhaps its in our nature to strive for the reconciliation of opposites, to seek both freedom and security, order and chaos. It seems to me that this is the necessity for the continuing importance of the liberal arts or soft sciences. The hard sciences give us certainty, the soft sciences give us complication - in comparison with our present reality is not complication more true?

In two weeks we will celebrate the Incarnation of the One who is Truth into this very messy world and who lived in the messiness of life from the blood and water of his birth to the blood and water of his death. This is one who wasn't afraid to fully participate in the messiness, the pain, the humanity of this present reality and to make it holy.

Weekend Finals

I'm still at work finishing up finals for the Union, two down and one to go. Unfortunately, its the longest - especially for a two credit hour class. I try to look on the bright side that it rained all day today which meant that I didn't feel so bad being stuck inside the friary.

Last night we went to the Military Bishops' annual Christmas party. I missed last year because I was out in Steubenville, but not much had changed. It was still populated by Franciscan TORs, Nuns, and a couple of the Bishops of the Military Archdiocese. The violinist and accordianist were still there playing Christmas songs, Irish songs and Irish Christmas songs. Dinner was very tasty. It was good to get out of the friary for a bit. Still, it seems odd only to visit once a year. It will probably be the last time as the bishops are moving out and the SVDs [Society of the Divine Word] are moving in. Soon it will be time to scope out the new neighbors.

Sunday is Gaudete Sunday - Gaudete means "Rejoice". Traditionally priests have worn "rose" vestments - not pink, despite what they may look like.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Question of Advent

This Sunday we hear another selection from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus asks the crowds, "What did you go out to the desert to see?" While these words refer specifically to Saint John the Baptist, it seems to me that this is the question for all of us during the Christmas season.

Each year we end one Church Year with prophetic readings of the second coming and reflective readings on the first coming. According to a December 5 Newsweek poll only 15 percent of those polled believe that Jesus Christ will return in their lifetime. This has got me wondering whether the Church has found itself in a "chicken little" position - proclaiming the coming of Christ, but no one is listening.

If you asked Christians whether they were more focussed on the return of Christ or upon making sure that there were presents under the tree, what would they say? Perhaps there needs to be a greater proclamation that our cry of Come Lord Jesus both proclaims his future return and his presence among us today. When we go to Church this Sunday, next Sunday, on Christmas Day, what is it that we are going out to see? Is it a pleasant nativity seen, a replica of the baby Jesus, or is it something more?

The second reading from Saint James calls us to patience as we await Christ's return as the farmer waits for his crops to bear fruit. So to, if we wish to make the reality of Christ more present, to make his return more present; we must plant the seeds of his presence, nurture them, and patiently wait for them to grow and bear fruit.

What are you going to Church to see? If it is not there, perhaps you forgot to bring it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

You call it enabling, I call it science

Want to lose weight? Don't forget to hit the sack

As a Catholic, I always strive to get my faith to agree with science and am pleased to find that science has now come out in support of my pro-nap way of life. So, I can replace that "Quiet! Napping inside!" sign from my door and replace it with a "Quiet! Losing weight inside!" sign. Woo Hoo! So, don't call me lazy, call me fitness conscience [or unconscious if I happen to be sleeping...err... I mean losing weight]

"In vain is your earlier rising" - Psalm 127
"God gives gifts to his beloved while they sleep" - Psalm 127
"You will sleep in peace" - Proverbs 3

Of course now we will have to get new translations of these important texts so as to speak more clearly to the contemporary reader.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

For some reason, the West has toned down this feast of the great Saint Nicholas, although the East continues to hold him in great veneration as seen by this song to him "O Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly"

Saint Nicholas ::: O Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly

You can find the melody for this song at

Christmas in Slovakia

The real Saint Nicholas was a truly holy man who helped the poor and struggled greatly for the faith against much opposition.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Blogging - another exercise in narcisism.

The end of my final fall semester at WTU approaches and all of us in our last year of study have already developed a full blown case of senioritus. To use a football analogy that is making its way through our hallowed halls, we are tired of warming up the bench. Though who knows, perhaps we will one day look with fondness upon these school days - nah.

Even after exams, it will be no rest for me as I try to organize some sort of presentation on prayer for our next day of recollection. I could try to fall back on "group discussion" but I have the feeling that our director frowns upon this. I also have to work with Nathan on presenting a reflection on the Trinitarian nature of religious life for next semester, revising a 20+ page integrating paper before the break, and beginning research on another large paper for next semester. Agh! Agh! Agh!

Well, at least I have my health so far. Cough, cough.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Celebrating A Retreat At Home

I have made available my work on family retreats at the link below. These retreats are designed to be easily used by families seeking to develop their faith lives. Take a look.

The Friary - Links