Sunday, September 26, 2010

How do I spend my time?

During formation on Friday, we talked about evangelization. A good discussion.

Then up to an activity recommendation that I work out "a possible schedule of how (I) might be able to tithe one-tenth of (my) waking hours in service to the Church and/or in bringing a Christian spirit to society with a conscious effort."

Ten percent of my waking hours? That works out to about 1.6 hours a day (1 hour, 36 minutes).
Just over 11 hours per week.

My formation director was hard pressed himself to come up with how one might do that if one does not include prayer time. Our days are so full of work, family activities, and so on.

I can easily see that some days I hit the mark. I'm in two music groups at Church - each practices 1 1/2- 2 hours every week except summers. On weeks when Rock of Faith is playing, I'm putting in 3-4 hours (not including Mass time). I'm involved with 40 Days for Life, both as part of the starring committee, and in prayer in front of Planned Parenthood. That works out to at least one hour a week from August to the end of October, and two or more hours during the actual campaign.

But even if you include travel time for all these activities, that still does not average out to
more than 11 hours a week.

I pointed out at some of my online activities might qualify. After all, I am a writer, and even worked as a Catholic journalist for many years. When I blog or post on Facebook about Franciscan activities, Church music, spirituality, or social and political issues, I am helping to evangelize. (Of course, time spent on games, fantasy sports, chit-chatting with friends, posting silly poems don't count, etc.!)

Still not enough.

Finally I noted that to meet such a goal, one has to reorient one's life to reduce activities that don't advance the Kingdom. One must make more time activities that serve the church and and advance the Christian spirit.

But isn't that the point of a vocation to the Secular Franciscan life? it's not just a social activity. I am in formation for an order.

So maybe I really do need to spend less time fiddling about online, or watching television, or reading junk. If I am to be a follower of Francis, I must follow him in his dedication to the Lord.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gloomy face, chilling look

“It is not fitting, when one is in God's service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.” - St. Francis of Assisi.

The other day, a parent remarked to the principal at my school that she thought I was mad at her. That came just moments after we'd had a brief conversation, but one which I thought was innocuous - and certainly without confrontation or harsh words.

I was trying to figure out why she would say that when the principal added a comment about smiling.

A subtle suggestion?

I tend toward "serious" looking expressions. People have commented in the past that I sometimes look mad or upset even when I'm not.

They have a point. I need to work at trying to look more friendly, more inviting.

I've got to keep trying to smile more!

Pax et bonum

Friday, September 24, 2010


Tonight at formation we talked about evangelization and the many ways we can evangelize.

Yes, there is talking - preaching. But we also evangelize through writing (such as through blogs), through our actions, through acts of charity, through volunteering at Church and in the community, through the way we conduct ourselves a work and at home, through our attitides and the way we interact with others.

In short: In all that we do.

We should be witnesses to God's love and forgiveness each and every moment of the day.

As Christians, that is our call. As Secular Franciscans, that is what we should be consciously trying to do.

Be with us Lord. Give us the strength we need!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Praying for a better Prayer Life

At formation, we talked about struggles with prayer.

Finding time. Making time.


Wandering minds.

Just feeling as if one is going through the motions.

The director basically said that the important thing is to persevere even when the "feeling" is not there. The effort itself is of value - and it is building up spiritual muscles even if we are not aware. Plus, it may be the thing that is keeping us form going off the deep end into despair when our souls are plagued by dryness.

Keep on keeping on.


Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Me too egotism

Lately I've caught myself practicing "me too egotism."

I will be listening to someone else relating an experience, and instead of offering sympathy or praise, or even just simply listen, I will find some way to interject a somehow related experience I had. Even into conversations I was not originally part of.

I do it not to show the person he/she is not alone. I do it not to offer comfort. I do it not to draw the other person out more.

I do it to draw attention to myself.

And too often the other person's moment is overshadowed.

I need to be more concerned about the other person's feelings and needs. I need to practice the arts of humility and silence more.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Before dawn

up before dawn
dealing with various aches -
aspirin, prayers

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finally Feeling Franciscan Again

I have not written in more than a month.

It's been a difficult month for a variety of reasons, and I have not felt particularly Franciscan.

My thoughts and words have certainly not always been Franciscan.

My new dog even chewed on my Tau cross!

Yes, I know faith is more than feeling. It involves commitment, decisions, consistency, actions. It requires prayer even when the words feel like sand in your mouth.

I'm back. God help me to stay where I'm supposed to be.

Pax et bonum