Saturday, April 27, 2013

Franciscan Council formation

Today was a day of formation at the Stella Maris Retreat Center for Franciscan fraternity leaders from across New York (and Erie, Pennsylvania). (The region is now known as the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region - the banner was made back when she was "Blessed.") Ministers, Vice Ministers, Secretaries, Treasurers, Spiritual Assistants, and Councilors (like me). The day - called a Servant Leader Workshop - was my first such training since I was elected a Councilor last fall.

It was a good day.

In addition to the group sessions we had breakout sessions for different offices. Since our fraternity needs a Spiritual Assistant, I went to that session to find out what would be involved in becoming one.

But given that I mark only two years of being professed this July, I would not be eligible to begin the formation until 2015, and with that process taking at least 19 months, I would not be able to become one until 2018 - too long a wait for our fraternity. Plus, given the nature of the position, and the rules/limits governing it, I came away thinking this is not where I'm being called.

Being involved with formation of candidates would make sense with my education background, but we'll see.

What I'd most like is just to continue as the person who unlocks the doors, sets up the meeting room, greets the late arrivals, and puts the room back in order after the meeting. The Doorman - like the Venerable Father Solanus Casey. That's my idea of being a "servant" leader.

Of course, I did buy some books and workbooks!

Pax et bonum

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thank God for beer


As I drink a beer tonight, I think of Chesterton, who enjoyed a good drink. I'd love to find an image of him drinking a beer. I'd love to find a list of beers he drank - maybe set out on a quest to sample them all!

(In moderation, of course!)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More sluggishness

a slug among weeds
regularly writes love poems
he mails to himself

Pax et bonum

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A sluggish entry

a slug among weeds
hopes some day to pray as if
he really means it

Pax et bonum

Sunday, April 14, 2013

If a single living cell ...


A nod to Tom

Pax et bonum

Kermit Gosnell ( a clerihew)

I don't know if late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell
will end up in Hell,
but I bet he's hoping all those babies who died
won't be helping God to decide.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pope Francis greets Patti Smith!

Well, she did record a song involving St. Francis and Constantine ("Constantine's Dream") on her most recent album, Banga.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Prayer Fear

This morning at men's group we viewed the Catholicism section on prayer - primarily contemplative as explored by Merton, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila - and then talked about it a bit. The contemplative part seemed difficult for most of the men in my group. There was some talk of the rosary and the help it provides, then we drifted off to our own spiritual awakening/return to the faith and how to get young people back to church.

Yeah, we got a bit off topic. But contemplative prayer seemed to intimidate the group.

In the back of my mind I was thinking of something to say, but I didn't.

Contemplative and deep prayer scare me.

I'm too into control, and the few times I've begun to lose myself in prayer I've backed off.

I'm not so much afraid of God and where such prayer might lead me. I'm just too afraid of lost control.

Part of that that is defensive - a sign of the dysfunction in my mind and soul - but I also suspect it has to do with pride. I want to be in control.

And there is also the fear of what God might ask me to do. I've read too many lives of saints.

I keep praying for the healing and the grace I need to let go.

But not too hard.

Pax et bonum

Friday, April 5, 2013

Reposting My Chestertonian Heresy (revised)

Over the years I've read a goodly amount of Chesterton's writings.

My tally is no where near the amount the great Dale Ahlquist has read - I suspect he has studied even Chesterton's shopping lists ("Two cigars, three pieces of chalk, brown paper, ...") - but it's more than the vast majority of people. I credit Chedsterton's biography of St. Francis with helping to restore my Catholic faith, and I followed that up with such books as his biography of Aquinas, The Everlasting Man, and Orthodoxy, a slew of his essays, and a broad selection of his poetry.

But I had read only a few of Chesterton's Father Brown stories. The ones that I had read - the ones that are regularly anthologized - I had enjoyed.

So this past Christmas I was delighted when youngest daughter gave me a first American edition of The Wisdom of Father Brown that she had found in a used bookstore.

After finishing off a few books that were on my reading list first, I started my Father Brown treasure full of anticipation.

With each story I grew more disappointed.

Mind you, I am a fan of mysteries. I've read almost all the Sherlock Holmes tales, many of the Tony Hillerman Navajo stories, a number of Parker's Spenser books (where I learned a better way to cook pasta!), all the Father Dowling books my local library had, and I even got to interview the incredible (though sadly, now late) Ed Hoch, who's stories I love.

I just didn't think the stories in this Father Brown book were particularly good as mysteries.

Then I got to "The God of the Gongs."

I was more than disappointed. I was offended.

I understand that it was a different time period and that racial names were viewed differently then, but I found the frequent use of "Nigger" jarring. If it had just been that - I've read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn without freaking out - I could have understood the use of that word. But there was also an attitude of racial superiority that came through in various lines about Italians, darker races, and Blacks, and when Father Brown observed, "That negro who has just swaggered out is one of the most dangerous men on earth, for he has the brains of a European, with the instincts of a cannibal," I nearly threw the book down.

But it is a gift and a first edition and, well, a book. I am a bit of a bibliophile.

I don't think Chesterton was a racist. I think he was a product of his time. An unenlightened sometimes insensitive time.

I would not be surprised if such attitudes might be found in some of his other writings - I've only begun to mine the mother lode. But they have literary riches that outweigh such racial slag.

But as for the Father Brown tales ... I'll finish reading the book - it was a gift and I feel obligated - but it may be a while before I'll read any more Father Brown mysteries. I've lost the desire.

Pax et bonum

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pope Francis Proposes Changes

Following up on some recent surprise moves, Pope Francis today proposed a number of changes in Vatican and Catholic procedures and protocol.

First, he declared that the Church should have an official liturgical dance - the Tango. "The Tango is the dance of love," he explained. "We are a religion of love."

He also instructed the music director of St. Peter's Basilica to recruit some liturgical guitarists to play at future services.

To promote unity with Unitarians, he suggested that in joint services coffee and donuts can be substituted for bread and wine.

He has also asked that the Vatican consider fielding a national soccer team to compete in tournaments and eventually the World Cup. "We must find ways to reach people through the things that are really important to them," he said.

A Vatican spokesperson said with sob that more announcements are pending.

Pax et bonum