— 1 —
If I could have picked a talent…
— 2 —
At the beginning of the summer I had announced my (ahem) confident intention to stick to just one book this summer: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Each summer I become over ambitious and construct a large list and become frustrated in my failure to get through a quarter of it. So this summer I was going to stick to just one, one of the classics of Western literature.
Naturally I failed despite my enjoying the book. A summer filled with baseball evenings and late nights was not conducive to such heady fare. So I meandered through some Merton, a book by Paul Elie about Merton, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Pearcy and Dorothy Day, and a book on prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay.
I’ll pick up with the brothers again this fall and into winter.
— 3 —
Christian faith, inasmuch as it proclaims the truth of God’s total love and opens us to the power of that love, penetrates to the core of our human experience. Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called to love in order to remain in the light. – from Paragraph 32 of Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) by Pope Francis
Love is God. Light is Faith. And for me that is the core of my faith, the love and communion that I have inside my heart, and the essence of my humanity itself. Bravo, papa!
— 4 —
They have not come to the monastery to escape from the realities of life but to find those realities: they have felt the terrible insufficiency of life in a civilization that is entirely dedicated to the pursuit of shadows. – Thomas Merton, The Waters of Siloe, quoted in A Thomas Merton Reader, pg. 182
I’ve heard it said too many times that people join a monastic community or a cloister in order to escape from the world. This is a misconception and untruth. While it is true that the opportunities for solitude with God increase in such a setting, the truth is that you are not isolated from the brothers or the sisters you’ve joined, but only from the world outside. Given the daily onslaught of tragedy, political malfeasance and hostility broadcast each hour by the various forms of media I have felt the pull towards just such a life. Being married and with children, I cannot do so, nor do I regret that I am unable to. I chose a different vocation. But I do understand the desire to strengthen my heart, mind and spirit by embarking on such a venture as Merton described. Such close and intimate communion with God strengthens and readies the soul for the world, a world dedicated to the pursuit of shadows.
— 5 —
One more time: Jools Holland, with his tribute to Dr. John, during his days with one of my favorite bands: Squeeze.
Maybe on Sunday
Head for Baton Rouge
Dancing with the cajun
Twist away my blues
Then a drop of rain
A trickle in my eye
I look up and smile
At the rhythm that never, never dies