21 September 2010

BPG, pray for us!

The Church Belongs to You!

Pope Benedict to the young people of Scotland:

"There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life. This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!"

16 September 2010

Days of Newman

Here is a first installment of reflections of and on soon-to-be Blessed John Henry Newman:

"God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. Therefore, my God, I will put myself without reserve into your hands. What have I in heaven, and apart from you what do I want upon earth? My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the God of my heart, and my portion forever."

05 September 2010


I was having a conversation yesterday with a most delightful group of young men and woman who are mainly engaged in the New Evangelization right here in Nashville. For those of you who hear only gloom and doom about the Church, please come and spend a few days in my world! Your hope will be renewed.

During this conversation, something came up about the senses. I pointed out that according to St. Thomas Aquinas the only sense to be trusted in matters of faith is hearing (see Adore Te). For example, when it comes to the Eucharist sight, taste, and feel deceive one whereas hearing can be trusted: "This is my Body."

One of the young men brought up the speculative point of losing one sense. I said that I was most afraid of losing my sight, and the reason I gave seemed to surprise them. I told them that I didn't know what I would do if I could not read. You see, I love to read.

I have recently been listening in my car to a recording of an excellent novel: All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. I know, this really isn't reading; but being read to by my father is one of the reasons that I think I like to read so much. The two experiences are very close in my mind. It is one of the reasons that I think that I listen reasonably well. Anyhow, I have been struck by how well written this book is. Beautiful. I have been fascinated by the character of the narrator, Jack Burden so much so that I had to go get the book when the last disk proved unlistenable. I had to know what he had learned about himself. It turns out that he had learned a lot. I am interested by what I remember of this book from my reading of it while I was in high school. I was much more sympathetic to Jack then than now. Kind of like Hamlet. Self-absorption becomes boring at a certain point in life! It seems to me that Jack Burden learned to love.

Then this morning when I was lying awake but pretending that I would go back to sleep, I thought of another beautifully written book with an unattractively self-absorbed narrator, Charles Ryder in Evelyn Waugh's Brisdeshead Revisited. I was struck by the similarity of the two narrators and the two books. The books are very different stylistically and culturally, but each is grounded in a style and a culture. They were written close to the same time. Both Jack Burden and Charles Ryder learn to love after experiencing the wreckage of a life of self-absorption. I haven't gotten much further in my thought than that, but it has put some things together in my mind.

See what happens to you when you read?

Oh, and Vanderbilt lost a close one last night. I needed to distract myself.

04 September 2010

Watch out Northwestern!

Yesterday I had the honor of meeting Coach Robbie Caldwell, the new Commodore head football coach. What a gracious man! I was able to offer the service of blessing Dudley Field!

(Stole slightly askew 0:-) )