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God as presence

Two Wesleyan young men came into full Communion during the Easter season. I am not much in favor of these elaborate confirmation programs. I put out an invitation to the students for one on one sessions where their questions and experience set the agenda and where I have to meet them where they are rather than provide answers to questions they are not asking. And certainly the sessions are simple. Reading and discussions. One student a few years ago chose Flannery O’Connor as his entre’ into the life of an engaged and engaging Catholic who would provide by example what the possibilities  of the Faith might entail. So these sessions are good for me and have proven practical with the students.

Anyway, I asked the guys this year what their image of God was. One of them said, he did not have an image. God was more of a presence! I was stunned. That is the answer of a mystic. I think our students are emotionally honest and possess great intellectual integrity. They are hungry for God and are not ready to smooth out all the contradictions of faith but they are really aware of God.

the Death of a dog

The death of a dog.
Last week my last dog died. Heart congestion. In June the other one died…Pua.Pua was a weimeraner and I bought her when she arrived from Australia. Angel and she got along but I must say Pua bullied her. Angel was very patient and came up with her own solutions…pooping by a tree so that Pua could not jump on her without smacking into the tree…things like that.
Angel I do not have now. Most of my life I did not have Angel. She came came because her sainted owner, Liz Kekoa was killed on the road one early Sunday Morning and her brother wanted angel disposed of at the pound. I called and rescued her since her eye and ear infection made it impossible to put her up for adoption.
I am very big on people keeping promises. So since 2001 I kept Angel alive and healthy until the very last. She died on my lap. Ironic because she was not cuddler. But she was strangely quiet as I stroked her. At the first shot, she turned her head to hide under my elbow. The attendants knew her and liked her. It was very quiet and dignified. She will be cremated and her ashes returned to me.
Angel came to me unexpected and out of tragedy. I have hope that this new time without her will be a time when something else good and surprising will happen. I miss her but when the pang hits home, just pray, “Thank you for this great dog I got to keep for LIz Kekoa. ‘

Not obsolete yet

I heard a confrere say that he was not only getting old, he was becoming obsolete. I long for that. I not only feel old but way ahead of my time…back there with Pope John XXIII and some vatican council documents. the beloved students I work for seem stuck in a pre-vatican II liturgy of silence. That they are remarkably devout at Holy Communion time is very moving and evidence of the value they place o n the Mass, but alas, their home parish experience does not include a vocal presence. Carmelite cloistered nuns could not be quieter.

The Next Pope

These are the stats. What would it be like if the next Pope were not European or even from the northern Hemisphere?

The big change in this picture of a devout world is the role of Europe. According to a December Pew study of “Global Christianity,” faith in Jesus is no longer a Euro-centric phenomenon. In 1910, 66.3 percent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe; by 2010, that had fallen to only 25.9 percent.

“Europe no longer dominates global Christianity the way it did 100 years ago,” Pew noted. The Americas now have the largest number and highest proportion of Christians. But it’s in sub-Saharan Africa where the Christian awakening has been most dramatic, with the Christian population growing from 9 percent in 1910 to 63 percent in 2010.”

Thanks to David Ignatius for this statisitc…

My funeral

Today’s Gospel is the one I want for my funeral…It was the constant challenge, comfort of being in religious education. The work has gotten harder. I am convinced it was a waste. But the net is still, against my will, I think, still being tossed out…

 

Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Robinson and Rowan

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2590/archbishops-review-of-when-i-was-a-child-i-read-books

The above is your site for the Archbishop’s review of Marilynne Robinson’s latest …When I was a Child I read books. Try it out…what a treasure MR is!

Nightmare

I had a very strange nightmare this morning. I dreamt that I would never experience pleasure the rest of my life…a curse had fallen on me like a blanket and I was told how …under the blanket…It was forbidden to expeience pleasure…strange that was the word…I would use joy but the banned reality was pleasure…I woke feeling that this included intellectual pleasure…that any appetite for the intelligent, creative, was verboten.
I am thinking now that the horror of much of my life has been the fact that I am over educated. I have also been told that I am very low keyed about my interests here and I am approachable etc. I could write an essay on the “over-educated priest.” It may go back to the condemnation I got from the woman who sponsored me at Punahou for my scholarship test. She thought I had thrown it all away when I went off to the Oratory in South Carolina…there was general horror in Hawaii when I said I was going to South Carolina…the whole south being in revolt at that time over civil rights which were opposed by violence back…civil rights workers killed, demonstrators attacked by police dogs. I was 18 and very naive about all of it though I did have a sense of the physical danger when I was working in the migrant camps in 1965…Black and Hispanic kids on the bus with us in the morning. Terrible looks from local people. So it was intellectual conviction and action married as I hope it always will be. I am not interested in theory just for its own sake…
So…what a shock to feel something like this so real! God has made the world and then told me not to play in it! I should not see or go adventuring in the cosmos.

I just got the essays and I think they are excellent. They cover economics, social policy, religion and literature. They make the case for the best in us building a humane world based on what can be done for the common good. Sharp mind and good heart. Highly recommended.

Dormition

For the ancient Eastern Church where Tradition is really Tradition, this day is the feast of the Dormition of Mary, her falling asleep. She is seen surrounded by the disciples of Jesus and Jesus holds her in his arms. So.

I have met some snitty traditionalists, so called, but in reality simply super Romans who take the West as the only measure of things. One of them said to me, “I have a dormition every night.” He thought they were “cheating” but I said it is not where you fall asleep but where you wake up. Really.

Here is a feast that unites the Church and here is someone trying to drive another wedge in!

[The other ugly moment I had was in front of the Rublev 3 Angels...what is that? said the nihilist traddy...the three Musketeers.? That was almost blasphemous to me and coming from someone who prided herself on being a REAL Catholic.

Well, how blessed is the Blessed Virgin as every generation knows.

As for Bible Christians, they know that Enoch was assumed into heaven...he walked with God and was seen no more [quotation was used by Thomas Merton on his ordination card]. A Jewish tradition says the same of Moses and there is the chariot of fire for Elijah. If there are candidates for this in the New Testament…certainly Jesus and Mary are likely.

There has to be at least ONE woman worthy of the honor given out to all those men. And the mother of Jesus we say is that one.

Rejoyce

“Ten years of my life have been consumed in correspondence and litigation about my book Dubliners. It was rejected by 40 publishers; three times set up and once burnt. It cost me about 3,000 francs in postage, fees, train and boat fare for I was in correspondence with 110 newspapers, 7 solicitors, 3 societies, 40 publishers and several men of letters about it. All refused me except for Ezra Pound.” Letter of James Joyce to John Quinn. 10 July 1912. [The whole first edition of Dubliners was burnt.]

Merton, Thomas (2009-03-17). A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True LifeThe Journal (Journals of Thomas Merton) (p. 129). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

If I am conscious on my death bed, I want the psalms read to me in order over and over if I get that far and I want The Dubliners read to me especially “the Dead” and “the Sisters”….the latter is so subtle and so accurate that I cannot help but cry every time I read it.

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