Sunday, March 16, 2014



What do I mean by this? It is not good for man to be alone. I've heard that somewhere.

Of course, we are in no danger of monastic solitude breaking out all over the place. (Anyhow, the point of monastic solitude is to be WITH God.) But people are everywhere alone, even in "relationships" or in big groups. I think that I spend most of my life providing some sort of possibility for people to be with. I think that with is what works about Awakening, about a mission trip, about a study group or Bible study, about daily Mass. It is what is supposed to work about Sunday Mass -- and does on Sunday nights at Benton and on Sunday mornings at St. Mary's. The same people go to Mass at Cathedral or other places and don't stick around.

But generally, we don't get it. We like the withness, but we are not willing to sacrifice convenience or preference for it. With works for a time, but then the dominant culture of isolation kicks back in. We wonder why we cannot find with when we need or want it.

What a mystery there is to be with another. I was having a conversation with one of the students as we bounced over the Honduran roads to go the airport to return home about the difference between those who launch out to push boundaries and those who tend the home fires. I was trying not to pontificate too much, but I did point out that some point boundary pushing comes to an end, and then there you are tending home fires. At some point, we need to go deep and to put down roots. It is good to do this with.

I am coming up on twenty years as a priest of the Diocese of Nashville. Sometimes I feel a strain with my current assignments. Too much of good things, I would call it. And disparate things. Both assignments are really amazing and challenging. But somehow I doubt that this combination of assignments will ever come up again! I think it was sort of an accident that they came together. I have decided to accept the strain and to do the best I can. To me, it is apart of being here with. Being with the Bishop. Being with God. Being with the People of God. I can imagine assignments that would be more convenient or that I might prefer. But that is just the problem. Then it would be about me with-out regard to all those mysterious others.

This is why I love with so much.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A pretty rough week

I'll admit that this was not a very good week for me. On many levels, I did not get done what I needed to do.

I have some good excuses: just getting back from Honduras and going through my first colonoscopy -- TMI, I know! But there was still time and energy enough to have done better.

I realize that I have been hiding from many things but especially from my grief. Just after my father's death, I posted that I was not letting myself fall down into the dark holes of memory that would open up before me. At the time, that might have made sense -- might have. But not any longer. It is keeping me in avoidance not only of my grief but of my responsibilities.

I realized that this avoidance of my grief was also causing me to avoid God. This week, at a lecture on Flannery O'Connor, the speaker shared O'Connor's insight that the way we treat our parents is the way that we treat God. That thought is surely not original to her, but it broke through on me. I need to deal with my father (and, I think, my mother, even though her death was almost 20 years ago) directly. And then I think I can deal with God and my work more directly as well. I won't be so bound up by avoidance.

I realize that this is going to hurt. I will need to cry it off, and let off whatever other emotions are bottled up. I pray that I can do so in a way that is not damaging to others.

Thanks to my friend Bill Bellet for being there just in the nick of time once again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back from Honduras

That's about all I am going to say now. It is too hard to unpack it all just yet -- maybe for a while.

One thing that I will say is that I was traveling with the kindest and most patient group of students, ever.

Glad to be home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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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