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Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales!

Today, on the old Church calendar, is the feast of St. Francis de Sales. Most bloggers touched on this doctor of the Church last week, when his feast rolled around on the new calendar. In my family, we try to mark the feast day for each of our patron saints by doing something special. However, because St. Francis is my patron saint I should have know everyone would have been sick or teething or extra sassy. So, I'll do a quick blog post on the patron saint of writers before heading to bed early in the hopes of thwarting whatever bug is going around my family.
A prolific writer, St. Francis de Sales is credited with converting 60,000 Calvinists around Geneva and Chablais. He also co-founded a religious order, The Sisters of the Visitation of the Holy Mary, with St. Jane Francis de Chantal. Probably his most well known work is 'Introduction to the Devout Life' which I've been trying to finish reading for the last year. I think I'll just have to start over at this point. The information is invaluable, I'm just not into 17th century prose. You can learn much more here. For now, enjoy this excerpt from The Devout Life.
"Tell them that there are two manner of men who need frequent Communion--those who are perfect, since being ready they were much to blame did they not come to the Source and Fountain of all perfection; and the imperfect, that they may learn how to become perfect; the stong, lest they become weak, and the weak, that they may become strong; the sick that they may be healed, and the sound lest they sicken.Tell them that you, imperfect, weak and ailing, need frequently to communicate with your Perfection, your Strength, your Physician.Tell them that those who are but little engaged in worldly affairs should communicate often, because they have leisure; and those who are heavily pressed with business, because they stand so much in need of help; and he who is hard worked needs frequent and substantial food. Tell them that you receive the Blessed Sacrament that you may learn to receive it better; one rarely does that well which one seldom does. Therefore, my child, communicate frequently, as often as you can, subject to the advice of your spiritual father. Our mountain hares turn white in winter, because they live in , and feed upon, the snow, and by dint of adoring and feeding upon Beauty, Goodness, and Purity itself in this most Divine Sacrament you, too, will become lovely, holy, pure."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Poverty is not the problem.

I caught another episode of 20/20 the other night. It's the first time I've tuned in since the stellar piece on North Korea I blogged about a little while ago. Friday's piece was about poverty in downtown Camden, NJ. Within a short drive from my front door there are children who go hungry daily and people who live without electricity in slums with roaches. Camden is one of, if not the, poorest city of it's size in the country. It is in the top three consistently for most dangerous city in the country. However, if these statistics were not bad in and of themselves the fact that Camden is surrounded by some of the largest and most prosperous counties in the entire country is enough to make one sick. Here is Jersey- a notably liberal state under the watchful eye of the so called champions of the poor, the Democrats, with a city ravaged by poverty. I should mention, Atlantic City isn't doing to good itself but that is another post. Homeowners in NJ have the highest property taxes in the country; we beat New York and California and we're less than half their sizes. The average homeowner in Glochester County, just north of Camden, pays $6000 a year in property tax. The local and state governments have tons of tax money coming in and tons of programs yet, Diane Sawyer met a family who used watered down coffee creamer as toddler formula when they had no money for milk. The grandfather opened a handful of those individual little creamer cups, poured them between two bottles and added water to calm his two crying grandchildren. The whole situation makes me want to scream and cry at the same time. Is it any surprise the backbone of the local downtown economy is drug dealing? Dealers pay up to $10,000 a week to 'rent' a corner for pushing. Yes, $10,000 A WEEK. An article in the South Jersey paper the Courier Post suggested more 'programs' were needed to help inner city residents but gave few concrete suggestions. Absent from any reporting is the fact that until the people living in cushy suburbs outside Camden give a damn, nothing is going to happen. Suburban residents are slow to embrace any tax relief that may cause cut backs in any of their communities' services or child's school programs. Meanwhile homeownership in Camden, in even the roughest areas, is almost impossible because of high property cost and taxes. It is simply too expensive to live in NJ unless you make almost a white collar salary. It seems almost a hopeless situation, and it will continue unless some radical changes take place. Most of which rely on a change of attitude more than anything else. Poverty is not the problem. Money is not the answer. People who don't know what to do with the little money they have, will not be able to spend large amounts of money any better. So long as people view their situation as hopeless and themselves as failures they will amount to nothing. For all the kids that go into drug dealing to make money and make life better for themselves what do they do with it all before they're shot? Spend it on junk food, expensive clothes, pimped cars, gadgets and guns. And I don't think any of them are any happier. You can live happily with very little money when it is well spent. How many wealthy people know how to manage money? How many of the people in the suburbs of Jersey carry more debt on the homes, cars and credit cards then they make? How many of them toss and turn at night over the bills? It is the relentless pull of materialism that fuels debt, unhappiness and feelings of failure when we cannot provide name brands and bling for our family. Happiness is not always wanting something else, it's wanting what you got.
We need to give the poor hope. We need to provide them with meaningful work or skill that provides them with a fair wage. We need to teach them how to save and spend wisely. We need to free them from the desire of unnecessary material goods. We need to have clean, safe, affordable housing. We need to create neighborhoods were people take pride in their homes and on the appearance of their public areas. We need to create safe outlets for young people and children under the watchful eye of caring adults. We need to encourage abstinence as the only option until marriage. We need to wean people off of public assistance when possible and teach them to provide for themselves and their family. These are not things the state can do. These are things only the community can do for itself with guidance from churches and laymen. Love of work, love of self, love of family, love of home and love of neighbor; this is what we must teach one another and especially those without hope. This is how people will learn to live happily in Camden and drive out the drug trade. You will not buy drugs if you love your life, you will not sell them if you can make enough money to afford what you need through more enjoyable means.
This all seems like common sense but try explaining it to anyone in Trenton. Most people in the state are so removed from the problem they would much rather start a new program that hires other people to deal with 'those people.' Until suburbanites start getting out of their media rooms and into the soup kitchens, the burden will fall on the select few who answer the call to serve.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Using the New Media to Start the Next Revolution

I received a wonderful email from Kimberly on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, telling me about her new website, Forgotten Saints Catholic Worker, and her journey of becoming a Catholic Worker. In the few years I got paid to write, I never received such a heartfelt compliment of my work. It must be because now, I am writing about what I love, rather than spinning the press releases thrown at me by my editors into something sensational and newsworthy. It is nice to know that my writing is enjoyed by some.
The internet and all it encompasses (blogging, websites, youtube, podcasting, etc.) is where the next revolution will start. Dorothy Day reached out to people across the globe with her newspaper. Sometimes, it would arrive several months late at an overseas destination, but her writing was always timely, and it inspired people to reconsider the goals in their lives. Today, people from all over the world read my blog within hours of me posting. Like minded Workers, and Catholics of all types, can meet in comboxes, chatrooms and Yahoo Groups. A generation ago, we would have be limited to finding radicals within our local community, maybe statewide if we had the right connections. How wonderful it is to find a supportive community in cyberspace. When every church around you swings far left and your neighbors and family thinks your nuts, you can rest assured there are people just like you only a click away. Together we inspire one another and pass along new information of interest. We are given strength in our endeavors when everyone else leaves us. But the goal should not only be to touch each other, but to make an impression on anyone who stumbles across our words, photos, videos or voice. To take what we've learned to our communities and families; to those who've never heard or experienced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We need to rally support and bring anyone we can into the Worker Movement and the one true Church. There are many struggling for answers and for meaning. The bible, the writings of the Church and even the words of Day may contain what they seek. Not long after The Catholic Worker newspaper debuted subscriptions soared into the tens of thousands and hospitality houses and farms sprung up everywhere. Can we not create a new fury of activity? A new radical revolution? Search the Catholic Worker website for houses and farms opening up and looking for volunteers. Read bloggers like Kimberly from Forgotten Saints and Tony at Benedictus Deus who envisions a Catholic community. The desire is out there. In a society that is drifting away from Christ and into perversity, we must band together and launch a peaceful movement against secularism and relativism. It is when we say that it cannot be done that we have already lost. May God give us the strength and hope to persevere in our efforts.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"We rejoice in tribulation..."

"People probably do not realize with what fear and trembling I speak or write about the Catholic Worker, our ideas and our point of view. It is an extreme point of view, and yet it is tested and proved over and over again; it is almost as if God says to us "Do you really mean what you say?" and then gives us a chance to prove it. We have to live with the positions we take, and at the same time we are bound to be beset with all kinds of human doubts: who are we, who have so seldom been tried and have not suffered as others have in war, to take such a position? I remember having a nightmare during World War II in which, thinking of our pacifist position, I heard a voice saying "Be kind, Cain," as if such words could ward off the blow that was about to fall. I know what human fear is and how often it keeps us from following our conscience. We find so many ways of rationalizing our positions. There are all kinds of fear: fear of losing our bodily goods, fear of poverty, fear of losing our job, our reputation, and not least of all there is the strange business of bodily fear. Gandhi's son once described the humiliation he felt at seeing his father beaten up in a railway station in South Africa. Nothing is worse than that sense of utter humiliation we feel when pain is inflicted on us. We are reduced to an animal status; we are lesser men for having taken a blow or endured pain. [...]
It is not worthwhile writing or speaking unless you say what is in your heart and say it as you see things. This is the way. This is what converts expect when they come into the Church and they find it in the lives of the saints who accept the idea of death in whatever form it takes. We say all these things in our prayers and don't mean them. And God takes us at our word, fortunately, and so we are saved in spite of ourselves; we are just dragged in by the hair of the head. But this is the message that we try to give at the Catholic Worker. It is painful to speak of and that is one of the reasons we rejoice in tribulation, we rejoice in suffering and so we can speak in those terms."
"Fear In Our Time"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, April 1968, 5, 7.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Whatever you did for one of these did for me.

Today, as we mark the solemn occasion of the legalization of abortion, let us pray for the more than 47 million children who have been killed in the name of choice. Let us pray, for the mothers and fathers who chose to kill their children. Let us pray for the doctors and nurses who killed these children. Let us pray for those who may be considering an abortion this very minute.
When the most innocent among us is not safe, no one is safe. As civilized human beings we must work tirelessly to put an end to abortion. As I watched the March for Life on EWTN I was filled with so much hope. That is what we need to be offering to young mothers with no where to turn. You don't need to go to Washington DC to march or work full time at a crisis pregnancy center to make a difference. Go to Americans on Call and find out how you can help. So many women turn to abortion because they feel alone with no one to help them. If a woman came to you and said she was pregnant and was considering abortion what would you do? We must be willing at all times to offer unlimited love and support when confronted with such a woman. She has more than likely been rebuked by her boyfriend or husband, maybe even her family, or posibly she is too terrified to even speak to them. Maybe they are all presurring her to kill her unborn child; she feels as if she has no choice. If she comes to you, will you be ready? We must always be ready to welcome Jesus when we see him in the unwed mother.
Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:34-40

Being pro-life is not a part time position. Be open to life at all stages and use your vote and your wallet to advance the pro-life cause. Be unpopular when the topic comes up among family and friends if you have to be. Carry the phone number of a local crisis pregnancy center in your coat pocket at all times. Make sure your elderly or handicapped relatives don't sign medical waivers that give doctors the right to withhold care. Support abstinence NOT 'safe' sex. Become an NFP or Creighton teacher. You can fit being pro-life into your busy lifestyle.
We will win the battle against abortion and we will climb back up the slippery slope it has sent our society down.
If you are pregnant and considering an abortion and you have stumbled upon this blog please visit Lifecall or email me by clicking on my profile. Life is the only choice!
"Cowardice asks the question, 'is it safe?'; expediency asks the question, 'is it politic?'; vanity asks the question, 'is it popular?'; but conscience asks the question, 'is it right?'; and there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but because conscience tells one it is right."
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Small Laws

"When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws." - GK Chesterton Daily News, 7/29/1905

It's a new year and your national and state representatives and senators are hard at work. In the San Francisco area, they're working to ban spanking. Here in NJ they want to ban people from smoking in cars with children and a new bill would make it easier to get the advertised rebate prices from retailers. I've also heard of many politicians hard at work to ban trans fat and the dreaded foie gras. I'm glad America has reached the point in its history where life is protected at all stages, hunger is unknown and all our servicemen and women are home safely with their families. What a relief, that now we can focus on all the finer points that were off our radar screen as we worked together to overcome the larger issues like poverty, abortion and the war on terror.
Yes, I'm being sarcastic. Does anyone else see the problem here? Our country is taking a moral nose dive and I'm supposed to give a damn when my elected officials spend their time debating whether or not to remove the word 'idiot' from our state constitution. I can't make this stuff up. Even when you remove all the pomp and circumstance around the minimum wage raise, you'll see very few people will genuinely benefit, rise out of poverty and turn their lives around because of a measly $2.10 per hour raise. The increase doesn't address the causes of poverty just like banning trans fat won't stop people from getting fat. Banning spanking won't end child abuse or help our violent culture and taking the word idiot out of our state's constitution isn't going to help all the mentally ill who wander the city streets in need of a bed, medical care and genuine compassion.
We live in an era when our elected officials are too cowardly to take a real stand on anything for fear of negative press or a drop in popularity polls. If we rely on the press and the government to tell us what the country needs, we'll be stitching up our paper cuts and slapping band aids on our gaping wounds and then wonder why we're falling apart.
We need officials willing to be unpopular and citizens willing to vote for the right candidate, not the popular party candidate. We need politicians who can stop name calling long enough to actually enact smart , constitutionally sound laws that address the root causes. Less committees; more commitment. We need judges who stand for justice, who aren't seeking to reinterpret natural law.
Given our current situation, however, the future is grim. The process of selecting an American president is becoming more and more like the vote for prom king or queen. What can we as Catholics, as Workers, do in the political sphere to shape the future of our country? We can not stay entirely hands off and let the country fall into the hands of the few squeaky wheels. But certainly, there seem to be no parties that offer a platform that is entirely inline with Church teachings. Would a Catholic political party even have a chance? The thought makes me smile. For now, let us pray for God's presence to be felt in our nation's capital as never before and for Him to raise up people worthy of our trust.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Defeating anti-Christ armies

More good stuff from Lamb and Dragon. Thankfully, someone else out there gets it and has the time to write it up so nicely. Again, what else can I add? Be sure to check Nate out.
"The truth is that our nation has by and large rejected Christ - from abortion to contraception, from poverty to prisons, from wars to domination. Our culture of death has embraced violence and warped sex. What is the alternative to war? The culture of life! A civilization of love! This is the Christian response to terror!"

Read more here.

From 'Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio'

47. "It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations.

48. "It is possible to sum up all We have said in one word, "the Kingdom of Christ." For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one's life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example. Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates and after which even it is named. (Ephesians iii, 15) The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the sacred ideals of the Holy Family. Finally, Jesus Christ reigns over society when men recognize and reverence the sovereignty of Christ, when they accept the divine origin and control over all social forces, a recognition which is the basis of the right to command for those in authority and of the duty to obey for those who are subjects, a duty which cannot but ennoble all who live up to its demands. Christ reigns where the position in society which He Himself has assigned to His Church is recognized, for He bestowed on the Church the status and the constitution of a society which, by reason of the perfect ends which it is called upon to attain, must be held to be supreme in its own sphere; He also made her the depository and interpreter of His divine teachings, and, by consequence, the teacher and guide of every other society whatsoever, not of course in the sense that she should abstract in the least from their authority, each in its own sphere supreme, but that she should really perfect their authority, just as divine grace perfects human nature, and should give to them the assistance necessary for men to attain their true final end, eternal happiness, and by that very fact make them the more deserving and certain promoters of their happiness here below.

49. "It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the true peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ -- "the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." It is no less unquestionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establishment of Christ's kingdom, we will be working most effectively toward a lasting world peace."


Please, do go and read the entire encyclical. Prophetic words; lasting message.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr., Too radical

"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Hopefully you got the day off. I would like to mark the day by passing on some quotes. While I don't know if King was a true pacifist. He certainly accomplished much through peaceful methods. People who would quickly drag those they disagree with into a violent battle of words or force could learn much from King and those like him in the civil rights movement. We can triumph against injustice and persecution with only the Gospel of Christ as our weapon. When we practice self-control, patience, charity and sacrifice there can be no conflict among Christians.
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." -MLK

As men, with the power of God's saving grace, we can rise above the pull of sin which lures us towards envy, greed, pride, anger, vengeance and ultimately violence; even when battling against true injustices, such as King did. How difficult it must have been to continually face such hatred and always respond with love.
"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."-MLK

"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."-MLK
With all our knowledge, we have yet to conquer war. Peace seems to be beyond the reach of technological and scientific advancements. And unfortunately, the further our society fall from Christ, the further we will get from peace. A culture that supports the murder of its most vulnerable, who pose no threat to our national security, will never have a problem justifying war. Liberals bemoan the casualties in Iraq while happily supporting the killing of the unborn while conservatives rally for life in the womb but blindly support a war waged by their party. It comes back to living our faith first above nationality, political party or ethnic divides. When we live the Gospel, God takes care of the details.
"We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers."-MLK

Simply put, if we all lived as Christ, as pacifists, there would be no war. That should be our goal, to bring about a social reign of Christ. But what to do, since that is not the case? How do pacifists exist with those whose religion dictates violence? When is self defense permissible? When is war just? More to come. For now, enjoy the quotes.
"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobile rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind."-MLK

Friday, January 12, 2007

Our Enemy

I've been catching up on blogs and wanted to pass along a great post over at Lamb and Dragon on pacifism. When I grow up and am a real Worker I want to be like Nate. But seriously, I'll have to see if I really have anything new to add to the discussion because he puts it all out there so nicely.
Over at the Daily Eudemon, Eric has a write up on 'Our Enemy, The State,' by Albert Jay Nock. The book discusses government rule vs state rule. In his review of this political classic (which I added to the old Wish List) he makes these remarks. Italic is his, bold is mine.

1. State power comes at the price of social power. If the state will take care of something, then people won’t. As social power collapses, so does society. This is Nock’s best insight, and upon two minutes’ reflection, is so obviously true that I’m kind of embarrassed I’d never articulated the thought before. For years I’ve lamented that the welfare state kills charity, but I never reached the larger point: an increasing state gradually kills all social endeavors. [...]
2. There is a fundamental difference between the “state” and “government.” Government is good. State is bad. I agree with the latter assertion, but I’m still struggling with Nock’s idea of good government. It’s libertarian to the core: “Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention. Making justice costless and easy of access”; “the business of government [is to maintain] freedom and security.” Anything beyond that, Nock said, and the government starts to morph into the state. [...]
4. Perhaps the most timely part of the book is at the end: Chp. V, Part IV: “The Party System.” It’s easily summed up: If your country is ruled by a state, it doesn’t matter what political party is in power. Both parties are merely going to abuse the power for their own benefit. It’s inevitable. If you, like me, were optimistic after the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, consider reading this section of the book (I can’t find the book online, but it might be out there). You’ll understand why you, like me, were foolish back then and will better understand why the Pelosizing of Congress was inevitable.

Nock made these assertions in the 1930's at the same time Maurin was pushing Personalism and Distributism but yet we are still laboring under our flawed political system. People seem to be willing to pay more taxes, to fund more programs that pay people to do things that Christians should be doing as second nature in the first place; help the poor, treat workers fairly, respect natural resources, etc. How many investigative committees do we need to fund to figure out that regulations and special assistance programs don't help people love their neighbors? We don't need the state to help people, we just need the government to protect our rights to help one another. We can no longer count on any one party to help Catholic causes. We can only vote for individuals who can lead us away from the big government we've morphed into. People have accepted the lesser of two evils and now what do we have? I don't know if I'd go so far as to say we have an evil government but under who's influence do you think most of the "Catholics" in Congress are under?

"Thus it is that while they hold up to admiration the high authority of reason, and unduly elevate the subtlety of the human intellect, they fall into the just punishment of pride through ignorance of what is of more importance.
7. When the mind has thus been poisoned, at the same time the moral character becomes deeply and essentially corrupted; and such a state can only be cured with the utmost difficulty in this class of men, because on the one hand wrong opinions vitiate their judgment of what is right, and on the other the light of Christian faith, which is the principle and basis of all justice, is extinguished."

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on December 25, 1888.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It just happened while we were talking

Did I mention I finished the Long Loneliness? My copy has so many folded corners it's doubled in thickness. Since then I started working on an article about pacifism which has taken on a life of its own and gotten out of control. Hopefully that will be done by the weekend.
Day's comments on pacifism are as revolutionary today as they were at the height of WWII. We are the greatest of all God's creations, yet our fallen nature causes us to act out in the most animal of ways towards each other. Can we ever achieve peace through war?
And lastly for tonight, expect regular blogging again tomorrow. When I try to take more time and work exclusively on longer posts...I just wind up not writing at all. So hopefully, I can crank out at least one in-depth article a week while also passing on other points of interest for Workers. Some upcoming article ideas; finally mentioning something about that Americans on Call link on the right, more thoughts on subsidiarity, welfare creating dependence on the state AND MORE! Feel free to pass along any ideas you think might be relevant.
I have missed the lighter blogging, these few quiet moments after my children are asleep when I am free to discuss things with you. In the postscript to TLL I found, it does start with just talking and I shouldn't be afraid to limit the converstation.

"We were just sitting there talking when Peter Maurin came in.
We were just sitting there talking when lines of people began to form, saying, "We need bread." We could not say, "Go be thou filled." If there were six small loaves and a few fishes, we had to divide them. There was always bread.
We were just sitting there talking and people moved in on us.
Let those who can take it, take it. Some moved out and that made room for more. And somehow the walls expanded.
We were just sitting there talking and someone said, "Let's all go live on a farm."
It was as causal as all that, I often think. It just came about. It just happened. ...
We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love come with community.
It all happened while we sat there talking, and it is still going on."
Dorothy Day pg 285-286

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Entering the calm

It is so hard to get back into the swing of blogging after a break. Especially as I reexamine my purpose in posting. Since this blog is to document my transition into the radical life, I feel like I should be recording my progress as such. However, despite an influx of new ideas and books into my life little has changed on a day to day basis. I wonder how long I can continue to harp on the problems of the day and pass along Day quotes before I become the clashing of cymbals. I have vented, as I needed to, especially in the beginning and now, does this blog offer anything of value to other Catholics, other Workers, other Christians, other humans or me?
Since the conception of The Next Worker, my purpose in life has become clear. That feeling in and of itself is very freeing. Should life throw me a curve, I still know where I stand. I feel rooted and secure. Free from the desire and uncertainty that plagues many. Perhaps, however, this is only calm before the storm.
So, for now, the infatuation is over. The thrill of the discovery is gone. I remember with fondness first reading 'On Pilgrimage' and having it all click and the giddy excitement.
I am still excited. From your end, you may be thinking I'm loosing interest and before long I'll have found another love. But the changes on my side of the screen that you can't see, radical ones, are happening. Just very slowly, and slow changes do not make for very interesting documentaries, or daily blog entries. In 25 years, this period, the calm, may well be forgotten. But for now, I'll enjoy it, as the hectic rut my life usually transforms into makes me long for such peace.
Blogging may be less frequent but meatier. A hearty bite to chew on for awhile. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Insignificant trivialities

This was passed along to me so I don't know the origins but felt it post worthy.

"Dr. Leslie Flynn writes about the time when the English and French
were at war in colonial Canada. "Admiral Phipps, in charge of the
British Fleet, was ordered to anchor outside Quebec, a city on the
St. Lawrence River. He was to await the coming of the British
infantry and then join the land forces in attack.
"Arriving early, Admiral Phipps, an ardent nonconformist, was
annoyed by the statues of the saints that adorned the roof and
towers of the Catholic cathedral. So he spent his time shooting at
them with the ships' guns. How many he hit we don't know, but history
recorded that when the infantry arrived and the signal was given for
attack, the admiral found himself out of ammunition. He had used it
for shooting out the saints."
I often wonder in the church how much of our efforts are poured
into fighting among ourselves over insignificant trivialities instead
of uniting our efforts to attack the real enemy."

What might our Church accomplish if we could unite everyone from SSPX'ers to liturgical dancers under one true holy, Catholic and apostolic church? The devil is not just at work in the secular world; I wonder if he accomplishes his greatest work by sowing seeds of dissent, pride, cowardice and apathy from inside our Church. Points to ponder.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sow love

Happy New Year! I'm back from a weekend with family. Got some reading in so I thought I'd pass along another interesting passage from 'The Long Loneliness' to ease back into blogging
"There was another story, [from Father Pacifique Roy] to bring the same point more into the realm of our experience. 'Suppose you want to go to California and it costs a hundred dollars. You have fifteen. It is not enough. So give it away, give it to the poor. Then you suddenly have twenty-five, and that is not enough and the only thing to do is to give it away too. Even seventy-five. That is not enough. Tell the Lord you want more. Throw it away recklessly. You will get back your hundredfold. You will get what you need. Maybe it will come in graces. Maybe it will cover your spiritual needs, not just your physical. But sow, sow! As ye sow, so shall ye reap. He who sows sparingly, reaps sparingly.' ...
The same principle always worked. If we are rushed for time, sow time and we will reap time. Go to church and spend a quiet hour in prayer. You will have more time than ever and your work will get done. Sow time with the poor. Sit and listen to them, give them your time lavishly. You will reap time a hundredfold. Sow kindness and you will reap kindness. Sow love, you will reap love."
Dorothy Day, pg 252