Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why we need monks...

Here is a link to a homily by Fr. Benedict, monk of Norcia. It is painfully on point to my particular situation of the last couple of weeks. The homily is entitled "Sin and Sickness." Go read for yourself!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Today I will not be able to see Vanderbilt take on the Hogs of Arkansas, but GO 'DORES!

I am driving out almost to my old parish of St. Patrick's to visit our new retreat site with the Rachel's Vineyard team. It is Bethany, which the Dominican Sisters have just opened up for "outsiders" to use as well as their community. Please be praying for the RV retreat coming up next month. It seems that we are going to have our biggest one yet in the diocese.

I wish that I could stay and visit out in that "neck of the woods" where I have so many connections, but I have to run back into Nashville for a wedding this afternoon. The bride's parents have been leaders in getting the 3 To Get Married Retreat going. And then dinner plans in the evening with one of the FOCUS missionary's parents who are visiting.

My life is full of blessings. It is great that we have RV, 3TGM, FOCUS, not to mention V+C, Totus Tuus, Courage, OD, CL, Awakening -- all in some state of existence. Only a couple were here more than five years ago. I also have some connection to JPII High School, Dismas House, Hope Clinic, 40 Days for Life, CMA... None of these things needs a priest to run it, but they do need a spiritual father to share his life for its good. Oh yeah, and I do manage to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, give spiritual direction, etc. Those do need a priest!

There is life in the Church, right here in the Diocese of Nashville! There may not be much left in me ;-), but what is life for? The truth of the matter is that we need more priests to embrace their spiritual paternity, just like "real" fathers who show up when they should show up and do what they should do. And we need priests who let Him increase while they decrease. We are priests in what we do and in who we are for others but mainly in our relationship to Jesus. That sacramental core, fed by the interior life, is the one thing necessary.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Well, it's Sunday again and time for joy. Ready or not. Enough of that post from Friday on repentance! The liturgical calendar is relentless. So is a stomach that hurts. But now is the time for joy. Later this morning, the Holy Spirit will use me to make a new Christian. Throughout the day, or the later parts of it anyhow ;-), I will serve in persona Christi capitis at Mass. I don't need a plan for any of that.

With that being said, how is the rest of the day to be spent? Do I have a plan? Should I have a plan? What is a plan? I my mind, I do have a plan. I have to because with my personality, I see a million possibilities. I am paralyzed to choose among them when I need to. For others who know their minds better than I do, like a great friend of mine, a plan is not so needed for such things. For a mind like that, a plan gets in the way in small matters.

I am speculating here, but I don't think I should have a big plan. I can be just as good a priest any where, any time. But I need the little plans -- for my little mind!

Happy Sunday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Sorry about the post yesterday. I am not trying to be mysterious or gloomy, but maybe I was both. I feel that there is a transition going on in Vanderbilt Catholic and maybe in me too. These changes are basically what I would call "growing pains," and they are demanding a lot of trust from me which is a good thing, of course.

I had someone involved in another Catholic ministry compliment Vanderbilt Catholic for the freedom that exists here. I am glad that there is responsible freedom here. There actually needs to be more, and that is one of the things that we are working on. That and a more radical commitment to our mission of proposing Jesus Christ in the fullness of the Catholic faith. Freedom comes from being who we are, not what others would have us be.

Although some admire our freedom, I think that it is a threat to others both in and out of the Church. I saw some eyes roll yesterday at Cathedral when I spoke of the new translations of the Roman Missal, which perhaps seem to some people to be an imposition. But they were all with me in exploring the reality of what participating in the Mass really is: our participation in the one, perfect, unconditional, and sacrificial offering that Jesus makes of Himself to the Father in loving obedience and for the salvation of the world. The opportunity to participate in that is no imposition nor is it a right. It is a gift of love that must be accepted on its own terms, including the mediation of the Church.

To those outside the Church, we propose a God who really does leave decisions up to us. We matter. And so that is why we must think about what we do. I doubt that there is an organization on Vanderbilt's campus that is more encouraging of deep and free thought than Vanderbilt Catholic is. I want as many free thinkers as possible because only freedom leads to the truth. Vanderbilt, as well as our culture, seems determined to limit freedom to think only in approved ways.

I think that we scare people, who really do not want to be free because freedom costs. The cost of freedom is responsibility. If I have chosen freely, then I am responsible for my choices. I cannot blame them on someone else. We live in an adolescent culture that wants freedom without responsibility. For example, Vanderbilt is hiding behind "policies" in advancing a particular ideology. If the university really had the courage of its convictions, then it would say what it believes: authentic religious faith is not welcome at the university because it contradicts the secular truth that the university holds. Instead, the university says that religion is welcome so long as it is neutered first to accommodate the preferred ideology. This is a rejection of freedom and an abdication of the responsibility of forming free men.

Ultimately, rejection of freedom is a rejection of love as a viable force in the world. Freedom exists for love, and love is the ultimate responsibility. But, boy, does it cost! No wonder people fear to love. It is so much safer to regulate! Among other things, the sacrificial love of the cross is a rejection of the bureaucratic ideal and the triumph of the free man.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My retreat is set!

I can't wait! Here is where I will be after Christmas.

Why I need a retreat, from Pope Benedict:
I shall sum it up like this: by withdrawing into silence and solitude, human beings, so to speak, “expose” themselves to reality in their nakedness, to that apparent “void”, which I mentioned at the outset, in order to experience instead Fullness, the presence of God, of the most royal Reality that exists and that lies beyond the tangible dimension. He is a perceptible presence in every created thing: in the air that we breathe, in the light that we see and that warms us, in the grass, in stones.... God, Creator omnium, [the Creator of all], passes through all things but is beyond them and for this very reason is the foundation of them all.

UCat Dominicans -- not the one in the middle!

Newly named Br. Cyprian and newly professed Br. Pachomius, O.P. at St. Gertrude's, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 15, 2017

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