Being too connected

I was listening to a podcast “No Stupid Questions” brought to the net, in part, by the people who wrote “Freakonomics” and “Super Freakonomics” (Stephen Dubnar and Steven Levitt). It is part of the Freakonomics Radio podcast group. I was catching up on a episode: “Why Is It So Hard to Be Alone with Our Thoughts.”  The podcast does not drown in facts and figures but it provides enough links to consider the topic more deeply – e.g there was a reference to a study by Time Wilson on the topic of reverie. You can read a reported version of the study at Atlantic Magazine: People Prefer Electric Shocks to Being Alone With Their Thoughts. Interesting in what it says about being too connected and what happens when the mobile connection is not available.

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Clare of Assisi – audaciously following Christ

August 11th is the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi – in many ways considered a “second founder” of the Franciscan orders of men and women because of the influence her life, example, and spirituality have upon the religious orders of men and women that carry the name “Franciscan.” In honor of these celebrations, let us look at The Legend of St. Clare (1255) in which we read of Clare’s decision to follow Francis’ way of life.

“The Solemnity of the Day of Palms was at hand when the young girl went with a fervent heart to the man of God, asking [him] about her conversion and how it should be carried out.  The father Francis told her that on the day of the feast, she should go, dressed and adorned, together with the crowd of people, to [receive] a palm, and, on the following night, leaving the camp she should turn her worldly joy into mourning the Lord’s passion. Continue reading

Picking up the Cross

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16:24) That is a key verse in today’s gospel. Part of the American idiom is having a cross to bear but I thing it most often points to the presence of a difficult responsibility or burden that someone must handle on their own or just tolerate as best as one can. But has the expression lost its sense of pointing to or working for the glory of God. Continue reading

Mornings

Back in April I posted a slideshow of an early morning walk in downtown Tampa.

The construction is ongoing. Lots of progress being made. This morning I slept in a bit and reached Tampa’s Riverwalk about an hour later than my “normal.” It was a still morning. This is the campus of the University of Tampa. The towers in the background are part of the original Plant Hotel now the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Some days it pays to sleep in.

Freedom, Choice and Face Coverings

Back in May I wrote an article that essentially said, politics is politics, economics is economics, and biology is biology…and biology does not care about anything but biology. One only has to review the IHME website for the whole country (or your state) to see the relentless spread of the coronavirus. Biology is biology. Continue reading

In the boat, on the water

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. Continue reading

Nine Words and a Question Mark

It is a probing, provocative, and pointed question. Yet, it is a deceivingly simple nine words and a question mark. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, our second reading, asks: What will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35).

St. Paul answers: “Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? (Romans 8:35) No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. (Rom 8:37). How can we not be swept up in St. Paul’s fervor, his energy, his hope, his faith, and his conviction. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Continue reading

Who knew…

If Malcolm Gladwell produces a new book, I am going to read it. While the name may not be familiar to you, many of his books have been best sellers:

He simply has an different viewpoint and perspective on things – and invites you to shares his own musings. Recently he published an article for Relevant Magazine: “Malcolm Gladwell: How I Rediscovered Faith.”  Take a moment and read – it will likely be its own reward.

What anchors you?

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope but do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

As we start another day, another week, there is a lot going on that will bring us face-to-face with the choice between hope and despair. Despair by far is the easiest choice. This world seems to be coming apart – the headlines say it all: coronavirus positive tests surging in the United States and many places in the world, a citizenry that argues about masks/face covering in the middle of pandemic, small business owners worried about their livelihood while there are reports of government aid going to large
multi-million dollar corporations, uncertainty about school openings, racial injustice protests and cries for change, the rollercoaster of our economy, the canceling of college sports, taking down of monuments – and all of this churned together as fodder for the upcoming election cycle. Continue reading

Shalom: Peace

Over the years I have often been asked about a passage in Matthew’s Gospel: “So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect“. (Mt 5:48). Most people just wonder how in the world we could ever be perfect like God. Kind of a non-starter, so why try. Not only is it possible – it is commanded by Christ and empowered by his grace.

Be perfect, telios, the Greek word does not mean to be without sin, spot or blemish, but rather speaks of wholeness, a completeness, a certain end point, goal or destiny that is ours – in the end. In other words, to look to what God intends for us: our destiny, our divine calling – a project for this lifetime. A project that with the grace of God is ours in the here and now – and forever. A project that will reach “perfection” in heaven as we are then fully, wholly and completely what we were intended to be. Continue reading