Thursday, July 28, 2011

Supply Side

When the fuel gauge is down below E, it is not time to start thinking about how to save gas. It's time to find a gas station! On a number of fronts, that is where I have been lately -- too close to E. I need to remember to find the supply that I need where it can always be found. The supply is, of course, in the person of Jesus Christ (-- and in His friends. I just got text message assuring me of prayers. That's remarkable if you notice the time!) I have been thinking, for example, more about my sins as hurting Him. I have been thinking more about catching and cherishing the grace flowing from His side. I have been thinking more about the delight that He takes in me and how little delight I take in Him. He is the supply.

Anyhow, I am searching for the supply again. I hope that I never get so close to E again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Break

When I start pulling posts down, I know it's time for a break. Besides, I have lots of work to do and not much to say. I am sure I'll be back.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Desiderio desideravi

I have desired with desire...

God desires you. God desires me no less, just as you are as fully in the entire light and heat of the sun as I am on a hot day like today.

How can God be so crazy? What can he want in me? He wants me to desire Him. My desire for Him satisfies His desire for me. Why doesn't it work the other way around? But it doesn't. Why am I so crazy? What more could I want beyond His wanting me?

Two people wanting each other. Why is that not enough for them? What more can there be?

We do what we desire. Oh, how well I know it. The crazy desires that I have desired and then done. But such hope, if I desire Him.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Miami Virtue

The summer wedding tour continues from South Florida. Wowza.

I have never been to Miami before, other than to the airport in transit to Honduras. What a crazy city! It wasn't even here 100 years ago. And how superficial! I have never seem so much concentrated glitz ever. It also seems like it is the multiculturalists' ideal. It is fascinatingly diverse. I think that it is great that it exists. On the other hand, I am glad that Omaha exists too: tamer and more uniform. What meaning would Miami have without Omaha?

OK - the wedding. Well, Miami is about the only place this wedding could have taken place. Family members from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Chile, Trinidad, Canada. A bridesmaid from Japan. Amazing. There were even a few white folks like me -- sorry, but I don't know what else to call people like me! Refreshing unity and diversity. The rehearsal dinner was at a Puerto Rican neighborhood restaurant. At the cocktail hour for the reception, there was a steel drummer. Jamaican wedding cake like an English pudding. A really authentic mixture for this family.

This one goes down in my travelogue of weddings. I've done traditional New England, classy Oklahoma, down home Gulf Coast, Notre Dame, War Eagle Auburn, "Which high school?" St. Louis, and all varieties of Nashville weddings. The one previous to this one was Old Nashville -- speeches and assigned seating at the rehearsal dinner but not at the reception (just the opposite here). I was so at home!

But all of them have the wonderful Vanderbilt Catholic reality to them. They are really Catholic. The couples really mean what they say! That's very refreshing. Beautiful, wherever it takes place.

One last funny thing from this trip. I went to breakfast with a young Vanderbilt graduate here in Miami. His family is Cuban. Driving around Miami, we were listening to what must be the only Country Music station in Miami. Multicultural, indeed!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How long, O Lord?

Please pray for priests. (There has been another sad event with one of the priests in the Diocese.) Forgive us. Pray for our reformation. Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Discovery

Prompted by an email from a deacon and a conversation with CeeCee (one of our FOCUS missionaries), I preached this past weekend on the need to sow the seed, to evangelize. I don't think that there were many takers. Of course, I need to hear my own message: Keep sowing. I think that the message to evangelize is one that makes many people really uncomfortable. And so not surprisingly it gets neglected. I do the same thing about things that I am uncomfortable with or find boring.

It is a funny thing how to balance the necessities of having an ordered prayer and sacramental life, of evangelizing, of carrying out corporal works of mercy, of embracing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience (which are for all Christians), of growing in virtue -- all of this in the midst of fidelity to my particular state of life with its necessary routine and structures -- boredom and frustrations, in other words. I am always getting off balance. Sometimes, I realize that I have just about completely neglected one element or that I have become too consumed in another one. As nerd-like as it sounds, I find that at a certain level I can improve if I simply put "it" on my calendar. That sounds boring! But putting something I need reminding of on my calendar helps not only to do it externally but can even help to acquire an internal habit.

No, this is not a self-help post! I am trying to figure out how to move myself into some of those less comfortable areas habitually, as I was urging people this weekend to move into evangelizing. What will make the difference is not to accomplish great works but to change my heart. My heart is changed in the details.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Something different

OK -- I will reveal something about myself. I am a local history nerd.

Come with me to visit Fort Nashborough next Saturday, July 23. There will be a reenactment going on there. It is the one-quarter sized replica of the fort built by the original settlers of Nashville that sits on the river bank downtown. Details to follow.

Think Overall.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How slow you are to believe!

I have to confess that I let myself get flustered at times this week with the variety of things that the Lord had put on my plate. All was for good. And I even stayed on an even keel most of the time. I have had to impose on those closest to me, especially on my father and my sister. I hope that they understand. Also, those who work closest with me. There is no way for me to hide myself from them.

But anyhow, I think that God is being praised and glorified in all of this, especially in the parts where I am limited and imperfect. He never is! He must increase, and...

I want to listen to the Blessed Mother: "Do whatever He tells you." He is telling me to go pray right now, so that's what I'd better do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Talking among the silent

I have been leading a silent retreat today for our Totus Tuus missionaries, and I have been talking all day! And now I am taking a little break to write to you before I talk to them some more.

I really understand the difficulty that some of the missionaries are having with silence. I have it to. As an extrovert, I really need somebody to talk to. I think that there is something wrong with this need, but it's there. I simply cannot be secure about any idea or decision without running it past someone else. Often I can tell what's wrong with an idea as soon as, but no sooner than, I have said it. I have to think out loud. I can give a talk so much easier than I can write a paper. I really can come up with more and better things to say than to write. I dig deeper to be more persuasive when I am facing my audience. Sometimes I write almost in shorthand. Kind of strange for a blogger!

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's a great day!

Actually it is pretty far from daylight yet! But I can tell it is going to be a great day because every day is a great day. How silly I am to think otherwise. The only thing that can ever keep me from having a great day is me and my sinfulness. Otherwise things are great, if I have the meekness and humility to accept the greatness as it comes. In meekness and humility God made and saved the world. I can stand outside of that plan of creation and salvation as its critic, or I can enter into it with everything that comes my way. I am going to begin to enter in -- again.

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ontological Change?

This is an expression that I really do not like. I hope that you have never heard of it. Most normal people haven't. It means a change in what somebody is -- to go on being, but being somebody different from who you were before. It is hard to pull off an ontological change. Really God has to do it. It is a notion which helps with certain notional things, but is it a reality in the way we live?

Some of us got into a bit of a debate about whether marriage brings about an ontological change. I hated to bring it up, but the suggestion was made that it does. I am pretty sure that it does not technically. But that is why I didn't really want to bring it up because whether the changes in a person brought about by marriage are ontological or not, they are certainly among the greatest changes that can happen to a person. So it did not seem to matter much to me. From my point of view the changes at ordination are ontological; the changes at marriage are not or maybe are "quasi" -- whatever that means!

I am sounding anti-intellectual or anti-philosophical. I am not. Please carry on these debates. They do matter. But let's also try to learn to deal with changes well. That seems to be the most logical!

I am in my late middle ages, I suppose. I really doubt that I will live to be 96. My family are not long livers! It seems to me that change is speeding up in my life. Not so much in the things happening around me that I need to respond to. That is certainly true. At this age, the world somehow thinks that you should be more responsible for things. Most of that is an illusion. Those things will keep happening regardless of me. Cemeteries are full of indispensable people :-) But the changes within are amazingly revolutionary, including my response to the outside changes. I can't keep up with these interior changes, and I'm not surprised that you all out there might be confused. I don't really care to analyze all this but just to notice it.

I had a spiritual director once tell me that I think too much: that I need to stop analyzing so much and notice more instead. I am noticing the changes. And I am grateful for them. More grateful than I really can tell. I am sure that they are almost entirely products of grace: they are drawing me into a better and more supernatural life. And they are some how also rooted in the most literally mundane experiences.

All of this, I hope, is not mere navel gazing. The changes are for a purpose: to give greater glory to God and to offer His love more generously to others. I guess I would sum up the changes as making me more receptive to being loved by God the way He wants to love me. And He does love me! What a simple change. So wherever you are, please continue to change in this way!

1st UCat priest

Fr. Josh Altonji and some UCat friends in Birmingham!

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