Sunday, May 20, 2012

Having FUN?

Yesterday a number of local Secular Franciscans - from Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse regions - gathered in Hilton for a workshop on the new SFO formation program/document, For Up to Now (acronym FUN). The title comes from something St. Francis said: "Let us begin, for up to now we have done nothing." The program was put on by leaders of the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha region, to which my fraternity belongs. (I wonder if our name with change later this year when she is declared a saint?)

Although about a document, the workshop actually offered a nice review of key Franciscan ideas and Franciscan spirituality - so it was like a mini retreat.

There were some good points raised, including a reminder that being a Secular Franciscan is a vocation, not just being a member of a group we can just take or leave. It's a response to a calling. One person noted that when she was young she had thought about becoming a religious sister, and had been encouraged by sisters to think about it. Years later, after she had become a Secular Franciscan, she met one of the sisters who had encouraged her to consider religious life, and who happily proclaimed when learning she was now a Franciscan that she had answered that long-ago call.

As another person observed of one becoming a Secular Franciscan, "This is professing to a way of life."

I need reminders like that. I sat there thinking about ways I need to keep growing and learning as a Franciscan. One of the points brought up several times was the need for more study of two of the great Franciscan theologians, St. Bonaventure and Blessed Duns Scotus. I must admit my own ignorance when it comes to them.

I bought a copy of the document. Reading it will be a good way to continue my own formation. I think I could read these and other Franciscan documents again and again for the rest of my life and still keep on learning more.

On a practical level, when I look at my own fraternity, I'm one of the youngest members. I'm a teacher. I can imagine at some point when I'm a more seasoned Franciscan that the local leaders might ask me to play a "leadership" role in some capacity in the fraternity, and formation might be a logical area for me.

Whatever God wills.

- Pax et bonum

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cancel my subscription

Our local newspaper had announced plans to raise subscription rates about one third. One of the reasons cited was that it was increasing its on-line platform, and that people would also be subscribing to that.

I wasn't interested in the on-line offerings, and didn't like the amount of the increase, so I decided  would just let my paid-in-advance subscription lapse.

Then came Mother's Day.

One of the newspaper's columnists wrote a piece about a Republican legislator who had broken with the party and been one of the key votes in legalizing same-sex so-called marriage in New York. As a result of that vote (and other actions on his part), the legislator had lost party and local support, and had decided not to run for reelection. But then the columnist went on to talk about his own mother who is now "married" to another woman, and in effect calling the legislator a hero for his vote.

In praise of homosexual marriage on Mother's Day?

I called the newspaper and cancelled my subscription, and asked them to refund the rest of my money. I told them why.

Today is the first day I don't have a copy of it to read. I'm writing this instead.

On the way to my retreat today maybe I'll buy a cup of coffee with the money I'm saving.

At least I won't have a reason to spit it up!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The diaconate (not my path)

I was reading an article about the soon-to-be ordained permanent deacons for our diocese. It occurred to me that had things gone differently, I might have been a member of this particular class.

I had started the process, but my own sinfulness, my own pride, my own poor decision making, prevented me from pursuing the diaconate. I could have pushed the issue and appealed to Rome, but chose not to. There was hope, but it was not certain.

Maybe the call was not strong enough. Or maybe my own self doubts kept me from trying. Or maybe it was just something that I and not God wanted. Yes, maybe the whole dream was really just my ego.

Since then, I have been able to do other things as a lay person. And my not studying for the diaconate allowed me to enjoy the great blessing of going through the process of formation as a Secular Franciscan and my profession last year. I was able to join Rock of Faith and play music for the Lord. I was able to be active in the 40 Days for Life campaign.

Thank you, Lord, for all that.

But still, there is a part of me that is sad.



I have too much of that.

The impediment that interfered back then still remains, though with the passage of time it might be less of one now. My age, though, would  likely be a growing one.

And there are character flaws that I see more clearly now that might prevent me from being a good deacon and a good servant of the church.

So I will content myself with striving to be the best Franciscan that I can be, and thank God for His mercy.

Pax et bonum

Poor little blog

I have been neglecting you, lonely blg.

Too little time.

Too tired to string together coherent thoughts.

Too much school work to correct or plan.

Too brain dead too many nights.

But here you are, waiting. Patient.

Sort of like God.

The message: I am always with you. I will always wait for you.

Thank you.

Pax et bonum