So much good Catholic-y news and so little time. I will be back. If there’s smoke, I’m ready!
In the meantime… a caption contest. And don’t go for the obvious 99 bottles of beer!
Captions in the comments section! The five funniest captions, well to my liking anyway, will earn themselves a free examen prayer card. It is the James Martin SJ version from Cards from Anne. They are very nice.
UPDATE: Regular readers, to whom I am deeply grateful to, have commented and said some things that have caused me to rethink things. Due to a setting change, comments closed after one day; if there are other commenters out there, the comments are open again.
Clearly I have a lot to think about and consider. Thank you to all readers and commenters.
Here is a question for anyone who happens to read this blog. This post will only appear here, and comments can and should be made here, or emailed to me. If you don’t have, or can’t find my email, leave a comment saying that you need it and I will reach out to you.
Question for readers of this blog:
Do you dislike it saying “please continue reading at the Times Union?”
If so, do you generally not continue to the TU?
Do you not comment, because you do not like the TU?
I do not have a contract at the paper, nor am I paid to blog (hahahaha – sorry) for them or anyone. I suspect that I would seriously dislike paid blogging, even though I need money! In all seriousness, I have heard from some of you (feel free to reiterate if you are among them) that the paper seems like a more commercial venue, less private, and other things.
I would really like to know. Thanks for reaching out, privately or in the comments. Thank you for reading.
Way back in the“olden” days,”you know, around 2006, people were often mysteriously let go from their high ranking positions at a company. That is, as opposed to today’s more sweeping layoffs and “right-sizing“of businesses. It would frequently be said that the person in the corner office was leaving to “pursue other interests,“or that he or she wanted to “spend more time with their family.” Or, as I used to say, “gone fishin’.”
The cultural reality of our American lives is that they are designed around achievement. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but it can be bad if it is the only thing. We seek to better ourselves and to climb various ladders, be they social, educational, class related, and of course, the most rewarded one, corporate ladders. This doesn’t just mean business; you want to see an intensely competitive and cutthroat environment? Try academia.
Oh yes – and church. You kid yourself if you think otherwise.
There are many things that can be said about the decision of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to step down. Some have noted that it was a courageous and humble decision; others have had many things to say, some more reverent, some insightful, and others far more lurid.
Most likely, none of us will (continue reading at the Times Union.)
I offered a reflection at my home parish last night and posted it to the parish blog. I am re-posting it here as well.
This was a reflection based on yesterday’s Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12. I am posting it today, because I offered it at Evening Prayer last night and did not get to put it up when I returned home last night.
Although I am a member of this parish community, I work in the office of another parish. Recently, two men of that parish died. When people come in to get a mass card, they often tell a story about the deceased person. In the past few weeks, I have heard so much about these two men, much more than usual. I knew one of them, but not the other; they both appeared to live lives of generous service and were highly esteemed in their careers and their lives. It is the work of a lifetime.
One of the men was a CEO, the other was a chemist, both were highly successful, both following the rules to achieve that success. Someone told me that the CEO would always spend time with his all of his employees, especially those with the most menial jobs. He would talk with them as they worked, ask them questions, and even help with some aspect of their jobs. The other man, the chemist, long retired, could have spent his days relaxing, but he did not. I knew this man – he was (continue reading at the Times Union.)
In today’s Gospel…
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Well, that is pretty clear, isn’t it? Sometimes I begin to pray and do I ever ramble.
Just like (please continue reading at the Times Union.)
In 1990, I went on a pilgrimage* as a means of thanksgiving for something that had happened. One day, I was part of a small group attempting to climb a path strewn with rocks, on a very, very hot day.
Someone decided, quite sincerely as I recall, that they should go up on their knees, an idea that lasted about sixty seconds. Others were known for doing it, so this person thought it was possible desirable even. I must admit, I agreed, but I was not going to try it.
A discussion of this practice began as we stopped to rest; it was a very hot day as I recall. Our guide, who had led people up and down this path many times, very gently asked why any of us thought we should do this. A few answers sprung up, most of them saying that we thought that God wanted us to make sacrifices. She shook her head, I recall thinking that her large blue eyes looked like seas of compassion, and she said that maybe we shouldn’t always be deciding what God wants. She went on to say that what if God wanted us to go home and forgive the person we had the greatest grudge against, rather than climb rocks on our knees?
Our small group fell silent. Who wanted to do that?
Can’t we climb rocks on our knees, please? I’ll have the rocky road, please!
Today’s first reading delivered me back to that rocky path in an instant, as I read these words from Isaiah 58… (Please continue reading at the Times Union.)
This ran early on Tuesday morning, in error. I guess my blogging hiatus has me out of shape! So I am rerunning this today, the actual Ash Wednesday. And now it runs, with the backdrop of Pope Benedict’s resignation. He will retire to a monastery, which, to quote The Anchoress, “is One does not “retire” into monasticism; a monastery is not an idyllic place of retreat, but a full-thrust into spiritual depths. It is where one goes to pray, do penance…” With that, let Ash Wednesday begin. What is it about Ash Wednesday? What calls so many people into church? Is it the desire to show off our marked foreheads? If so, that runs in contradiction to today’s Gospel.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
But I got my ashes, shouldn’t (please continue reading at the Times Union.)
The words came to us as a complete shock, an unprecedented surprise. Was this The Onion? Was this real? Is this really happening?
The Holy Spirit, who does not succumb to the boredom of routine and convenience, seems to have spoken through the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, when the Pope said.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
Today, I may seem late(continue reading at the Times Union.)
At about 5pm on Tuesday, the blog will be back with an Ash Wednesday posting.
The blog will be back very soon. It has been a great period of rest and reflection. That that too much resting actually took place, but it was a necessary step away from the keyboard.
Posting will resume on Ash Wednesday, but you may see something pop up before then.
Thank you for reading the blog, thank you for walking and praying with us out here. It is good to be almost back!