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

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

A spirituality for you

Today is the Feast of St. Martha and the day’s celebration offers the celebrant two choices for a gospel reading.  One is the well-known Lukan gospel in which Martha wants Jesus to make her sister Mary help her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” And in that moment we wonder if we are being told that Mary’s spirituality is the preferred one and poor Martha was so busy she was missing the great moment of faith. Continue reading

The Great Harvest

In today’s gospel we heard the explanation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds previously told in Mt 13:24-30. The explanation is straight forward: “field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One.” And indeed that is a simple explanation of ourselves and our circle of family, friends, associates and acquaintances. The world has children who seek the Kingdom, those who reject the Kingdom and its claim upon us, and those who do not accept nor reject. One of our possible responses is to take care of ourselves and let God sort out the rest. As the parable makes clear and the subsequent explanation supports, God indeed sorts it out in the end. Continue reading