Writer’s Block During The Crisis In the Church! Oh Heck!

Writer's blockWe are currently in the most serious times in the recent life of the Catholic Church.  In Rome, in the United States, and other parts of the Catholic world; stories of the cover up of misdeeds of an American Cardinal, involving Pope Francis; the findings of a Pennsylvania grand jury on clergy abuse of children; and reports of sexual misconduct in an Archdiocesan seminary have filled the air ways.  And we now have bishops calling for the resignation of Pope Francis.

And in the midst of all, I cannot yet put fingers to keyword, and write my own reactions, my own reflections on what is happening now!  How does all this negative news affect me?  Because I am, as a deacon, a member of the clergy; although our lives are divided among family, work, and service to the Church.  I am not really that plugged in to the clerical culture.  So how do I react, one foot in Church “culture;” the other in the “real’ world?  I have not quite figured that out yet, so my fingers are still.  For the moment.

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Thanksgiving Day – 2017

Thanksgiving_grace_1942I am on Cape Cod this Thanksgiving Day, with my wife, her mother and some of her siblings, nephews and nieces.  After a wet drive from the South Shore the night before, this day has been sunny, clear, crisp and cool. In the morning we went to the local Catholic church, and attended a Thanksgiving Mass.  My wife, Peg’s father passed away in October, so after Mass, we visited his grave.

As I write this, various members of the family have bringing their donations for this Thanksgiving tableevening’s dinner.  Food is being prepared, table cloths spread out, and the table has been set.  With all this activity, I have begun to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving Day.  Some trace it roots to the English Reformation, during the time when the Puritans had strong influence over the Church of England.  Holy days were done away with; to be replaced by Days of Fasting during times of national tragedies, or stress, and Days of Thanksgiving for good harvests and national victories.  The Pilgrims brought these practices with them to New England.  Various colonies and then states would proclaim days of Thanksgiving.  Abraham Lincoln would issue a presidential proclamation, establishing Thanksgiving as a holiday throughout all the states.

Thanksgiving Day was meant to be a time of both feasting, and prayer.  But as with Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving has fallen prey to commercial interests.  Stores, car dealerships, you name it, sponsor special “Thanksgiving sales,” using the images of Pilgrims, Indians, pumpkins and turkeys to promote their wares.  Groups of people have a different approach to the day.  The Massachusetts town of Plymouth has a community parade celebrating the day; Native Americans hold a Day of Mourning.

May it be time to try to bring back the spiritual aspect of Thanksgiving?  Whether you are a Christian or not; a believer or not; we all need to have time reflect on what good has happened in our lives this past year, if only to counter the negative experiences we may have had.  As a believer, this day makes me aware that all Creation is gift; that our lives are gift; gifts from a loving God.  Sometimes, circumstances may lead us to doubt that, but life is a gift, and God still cares for us, in wondrous and mysterious ways.  And I am grateful for that.

As I walk around and see the woods and fields in autumn; when I look up into the evening sky, studded with stars, I am moved to thank God for the awesome beauty I am seeing.  I close with a prayer from the writings of St. Francis of Assisi.  Not exactly a Thanksgiving prayer, but I think it is appropriate for the day:

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

(Canticle of the Sun)

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Jump Starting a Blog

Earlier, I shared with everyone the difficulty I was having being an active blogger.  At the time, I laid part of the blame on the fact that I only had my IPhone to create posts.  I was really hoping to get a new laptop, and thought that once I got one, I would really be burning up the keys.

Well, I got this sweet little Dell Inspiron laptop, and guess what?  Total silence.  All I can say is that my reasons include writer’s block, and plain laziness.  So what to do?  As the old say goes; “Try, try again!”  One approach is seeking incentives to write.     So I am joining a Blog Party at “Susie Landau’s Wild Ride.”  Putting your blog out there to a possible wider audience, does encourage one to create content, quality content for them to see

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share – 09/10/2017

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would share with you my sadness over the natural disasters that have afflicted this part of our world.  Three hurricanes tearing apart the Caribbean, Mexico, Texas and Florida.  Mexico then was hit by an earthquake, that caused further destruction and death.

It is sad that it takes disasters like this to bring this country together for a common cause of bringing relief to fellow citizens in desperate need.  Yet, it is also heartwarming to see that concern for oIRMA Hurricanethers, and the efforts being made to get aid to the suffering.   My prayers go out for those who have died; for the mourning loved ones left behind; and for those who survived and are trying to rebuild their lives.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that this posting being on a new computer I have been able to acquire a new computer.  Both the desktop that I have had for almost a decade, and a used laptop I inherited, can no longer accept the anti-virus and system updates.  So when I have been able to post, it has been with my IPhone; and I have learned that I do not have the thumbs for typing, that younger folks have.  So we came into a little extra money, that enabled me to get this My New Computerlittle Dell laptop.  So now I have no excuse not to be a more frequent blogger.

As I fill up the cups with more joe, I would share with you that yesterday, Saturday, I attended another monthly meeting of my Secular Franciscan fraternity, located at St. Anthony Shrine, in Boston.  I may have written that it is becoming important for me to get back to my Franciscan roots; and one way is to being a part of the fraternity again.  This particular meeting was important, since we were having our chapter of elections.  Every three years, the professed St Anthony Shrinemembers gather to elect a minister and council, who will help guide us on our Franciscan journey.  It can be a long process, but it does draws us all closer as a fraternity.  My prayers go out for those who were elected, that the Holy Spirit will give them wisdom, an increase in patience and charity, for the next three years.

New Fraternity Council

Well, the cups are empty, and I started this post way too late.  So, I promise to be more timely, and more frequent.  And I will definitely see you next week over a cup of coffee.  Peace and all good!

Enthusiasm for Blogging – Where did it go?

I have recently looked at the WordPress Insight page for this blog.  It shows the number of times I have posted this past year.  Looking at it has been very depressing.  There have been months with very few posts, some months where I did not post at all!

I began blogging some years ago, first using Blogspot, then moving over to WordPress.  My wish, my hope, was to be able to share my views on the world of the Catholic Church, locally, nationally and internationally.  I wanted to share what was happening in my own spiritual life, and spiritual insights about the greater world. And I set the goal of trying to post at least a few times a week.  And for the most part I was able to keep to that schedule.  Even, when I was laid off, I tried to keep on posting.

Now, I am employed again, but the commute to my new job is two hours to; and two hours back.  I am usually not home until 8:30 PM, if I am lucky.  And sitting at the computer sometimes is the last thing I want to do.  And now, I have the WordPress app on my smartphone, and I have actually posted using it.  But is uses a lot of data!  And my plan does not have that much.

Of course, the main reason I have not blogged much this year, is that I no longer have the same enthusiasm for it.  It is rare for me to be inspired to sit in front of this cranky laptop, that has a cursor with a mind of it’s own; and produce something that people would be interested in reading.  And I still like reading others people’s blogposts, for the insights they offer, or just the joy of reading good writing.

Maybe I will rediscover that old enthusiasm again, some day.  What I need to do is to open to those moments, when a spark of inspiration ignites within me, and gets to to sit down and write.
Enthusiasm

Stumped!!

This post illustrates how stumped I am!  The WP Daily Prompt for yesterday, Sunday, was “Stump;” today is Monday!  I fully intended to write something; God knows there was enough ideas, with it being 9/11 yesterday; the Sunday Scripture readings; the news!  But the thought of struggling with a cranky laptop, or an ancient desktop (we are still using XP!), dampens my enthusiasm.  Right now, I am typing this on an IPhone (Thank God, not a GalaxySE; do not want to lose fingers!), and my thumbs are not trained for this.  Well, right now, back to the real world of work; and hope to do better tonight.  Maybe.

Reflecting Again on Why I Write.

Writing

Writing

Why do I write?  That is a very interesting question today, especially since I have been finding it to sit in front of a keyboard, or to pick up a pen.  It was not too long ago, that I would be posting on my blog every other day, if not every day.  I have a serious case of writer’s block, which is why I am trying out Writing 101.

Why do I want to write?  Because sometimes I feel have something to share with the rest of the world.  As a Christian Catholic, a Secular Franciscan, and a Deacon, I feel the need to share my experiences of my encounters with God through Scripture, the Eucharist, prayer, and life.  I want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world that more skeptical, that is a little darker, more violent, and where the poor and powerless have no voice.  I want share the Good News with those who are struggling with the challenges of everyday life; by sharing my own struggles with living the faith daily.

I want to write about, and express my belief that the Catholic Church, this community of believers, is still relevant for our society today.  While not turning a blind eye to its sins and failings, to express the joys, comfort, and inspirations I have experienced for myself.  And I want to share my opinions with a voice that accepts others, whether they agree with me or not.

When I write, I hope I am becoming, like St. Francis of Assisi, a Herald of the Great King, Jesus Christ!