Friday, March 07, 2014
Sunday, March 02, 2014
But it was a great visit. One of my older brothers came home with his family from overseas. We got together with our sisters and their families. I visited my youngest brother and his family. Cousins got together across my generation and my children's. And of course, shopping in the Philippines is always good.
But this, I think, was what I loved the most: my kids mingling with cousins their age or a few years older, and aunts, uncles, grandparents, grand-aunts, etc, who spoiled them silly. It's that sense of being part of something much bigger that makes these trips worth the cost. Human beings are social animals, we are told. More - better - than that, though, I think we're always members of a family.
Freddie Mercury sang "who wants to live forever?" in the movie, Highlander, many years ago. It's a haunting question for which the answer entirely depends, I think, in whether or not you are isolated or live within a family. Living alone forever is terrible to contemplate. Living forever with a large, boisterous, messy, always interesting and entertaining family is something I'd like to do. Luckily, I need not think of it wishfully. I already am. :-)
Friday, January 10, 2014
I often warn my kids: "practice makes perfect." I think this is a good way to explain this gradual erosion of one's moral character. St. Josemaria Escriva notes the Psalmist's imagery of "little foxes" that destroy the vineyard, and that has taken on greater meaning for me when considering, if I'm totally honest with myself, how I backslide and veer off-course gradually if I'm not paying attention.
Things add up: what exactly am I piling up for myself? Practice makes perfect: what am I perfecting? One step at a time: where am I headed anyway? One day at a time; one act at a time: who am I becoming?
Fr. Barron hits the nail on the head when he points our the fallacy of saying to oneself "but deep down inside, I'm a good person." Each act changes who that person is, deep down inside.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
I can think of two examples, from St. Paul and Jesus himself, both praying earnestly for an end or abeyance of suffering. God said "no." To St. Paul he said "my grace is sufficient!" To his only begotten Son, completely innocent and undeserving of suffering, he sent an angel for comfort and strength.
I found myself at a familiar prayer, to be delivered from temptations that I have found particularly vexing for most of my life. There were years when I was safe, and months when I was not. I naturally prefer deliverance without a struggle. Partly because I dread the outcome, partly because I dread the struggle.
Thank God he said "no." A man's got to do what a man's got to do, lest, as in this case, one remains a lesser man, and I do want to be exactly, not one ounce less, who I be, in the timeless sense. Who am I? In the divine plan, one is answered in another: who is Jesus? Son of Man and Son of God, in him I find myself. And so when I ask that this or that unpleasant cup pass from me, I have my answer. Each "no" means "you can do this!" What hope he has in me! Thank God for such love and optimism for this wretch, who is not hopeless -- given such abiding hope so graciously and unbelievably placed in me!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
And why do we do the dumbest things? Oh, yes, one refers to the other, and I am often guilty of both.
Anyway, I was struck by these lines from two of my favourite contemporary authors: Raymund Feist: "Feelings don't make sense, .. but they can drive us, and that's what you have to understand most of all. People will often do the most imponderable things because of how they feel, not because of what they think." Terry Goodkind's version is simpler: "Passion rules reason," but I think that needs unpacking.
Perhaps that is how Jesus on the cross could possibly say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." It takes the most clear-sighted human being to see the limits of our humanity, which can mean that reason ends where passions begin, or where passion goes over the precipice. I often overreact when I feel slighted. I'd love it if that was the point when I'd remember: he/she did this really stupid thing because of emotion, not deliberate thought. And I should daily practice ruling my passion with calm, long-sighted reason.