11 January 2011

Life is Fun

OK -- I'm back more or less in the saddle.  Whoop!

Hold on everybody for the semester of the century!  

I am not even concerned about our first ever grad/professional retreat.  Camp Marymount, the retreat site, suffered a fire in the main building over the weekend so we are in a quandry for now, but I am sure that all shall be well.

Unexpected medical procedure for my father yesterday. Check.  (Thanks for prayers. He is doing well and is such a trooper!)  On we go!  And school doesn't even officially start until Wednesday...

Oh yea -- War Eagle!  (Love the SEC!)

06 January 2011

Inspirations, continued!

Since I seem to be into sharing my emails, here is one to Tala, our FOCUS team leader. I don't think that she will mind my sharing part of it with you all!

"Everything starts back as of 9 p.m. Sunday (actually Holy Hour at 7:30 p.m.). 5:30 Mass begins on Monday.

Thanks for fussing at me about the time. You can do it again today. I fall asleep too early, and then wake up too early. I promise you that I am going to try to get this under control. The best answer is for you all to keep me up until 11, and then make me go pray and go to bed. That is my plan. Also make sure that I am getting exercise. But do pray for me. I am sort of worried about January. It is just too much, but I don't know what I could take out of it at this point. Next year... When am I going to learn?

Here is some business that I like: from what I understand rush will be over by next Sunday. I think that is when we need to hit people with a plan for a return to sanity: a plan for living (Jesus). I want to try to get as many people as we can connected to some group or event smaller than Sunday Mass. As for rush, maybe I could have my first FSC about rush on Wednesday night in Commons. What do you think about that? It is the only night that there are not rounds. Next Sunday, we need a full-court press on for Bible studies, iFacts, FSC, etc. What do you think? Also, can we do some sort of re-outreach, just to get some more in the door? S'mores in Kissam, frisbee in Highlands, etc. Let me know what you think.

Along those lines, I have been talking with Chad about the Vandy Catholic mission. What do you think about this: "Proposing Jesus Christ and forming His disciples at Vanderbilt." Then explaining the four pillars of formation with something added on the front end about "proposing" -- about evangelizing. "Getting them in the door" reminded me about this. It is really Joe's point from our trip to Sewanee. What are our tactics of evangelization? Of course, we ought to be proposing Jesus in everything, but what are we doing that is specifically designed for this? What is our plan? What works or is necessary here? Roman Rush is a great example, but what else on an on-going basis? -- These are not rhetorical questions!

Somehow Jesus in not really known, not even really given a chance. Life with him is so much better than themed extravagance like so many Vanderbilt parties. Even so much better than anything without Him. There is so much zeal for the things of the world among our students, many of them beautiful things, some pretty ugly or at least empty things. How do we get them even to see the best thing -- Jesus Christ?

OK, I guess that is enough.
Faithfully, Fr. Baker"

02 January 2011

New Year's Inspirations

Here is an email that I sent to the student board, FOCUS team, etc:

Dear Vandy Catholic Team!

Happy New Year! A few of us here in Nashville saw in the New Year and celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God with a simple holy hour and then Mass at midnight. We prayed during the holy hour in thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year and made petition for the graces that we will need for the coming year.

It was a wild and stormy night, with all kinds of strange noises and sirens outside. But in the oratory, all was peaceful. What an image for Vandy Catholic! I really believe that our community is a refuge of love and worship. I keep being prompted in my prayer to ask how we can invite more souls into that refuge. How can we be icons of the God who so loves the world, like the print above the mantle in the chapel? I want Vandy Catholic to be like the painting in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (for those of you who have seen it -- many of you with me!) that really was what it represented and drew Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace into that reality.

Here are some of my thoughts. Please do not take them as "gospel." And please do let me know what God is showing you. Let's share with one another the good "resolutions, inspirations, and affections" that God in communicating to us in our prayer.
Prayer -- we need to pray so that, like Mary, Jesus grows within us before He is revealed externally. In particular, we need to pray for those we are to encounter on campus.
Knowledge -- we need to know the Lord, who is Truth so that we do not have to answer that we do not know...Him.
Virtue & Communion -- we need to grow in holiness and solidarity so as to be an attractive (literally) alternative to the "atomistic" existence that so many experience.
Zeal -- we need to make known the transforming love of Jesus.

There are lots of practical ideas to put into action, but let's get the first things first! Charity! Now let the ideas and plans begin from the inside out.
Faithfully, Fr. Baker