(Obviously, one of the difficulties of being retired is, sometimes, you lose track of what day it is.)
I’ve learned a lesson, for me a laptop is a terrible, worthless hunk of plastic and other indescribable electronic parts that I strongly suspect of questionable pedigree and domestication. I know few people would agree with me, but if I’m going to write on a regular basis, it must either be at my desktop computer or else on my iPad. The advantage of the iPad when I’m on the move is that it’s light, therefore extremely portable, and generally a less formidable and more personal piece of equipment. I mean, whoever heard of sitting a laptop computer on your lap? Really. The things are heavy, unwieldy, and capable of causing severe damage to spinal alignment when used in that way. No, it just won’t do.
I readily admit, iPad’s do have their limitations. While I can directly post something into Word Press through their app, I never feel comfortable that the desired formatting will be retained. Also, I find it difficult to include any kind of photo or other media from within the Word Press app itself. I generally choose to draft a post in the iPad Pages app and then email it in Word format to myself in order to apply finishing touches. It’s an extra step, true, but I consider it a small price to pay for not being chained to a laptop which could quite adequately as an anchor for the QE2.
I’ve been meaning to share a little prayer that I find simply delightful from St. Gregory of Nazianzus:
I rise and pledge myself to God
to do no deed at all of dark.
This day shall be his sacrifice
and I, unmoved, my passions’ lord.
I blush to be so old and foul
and yet to stand before his table.
You know what I would do, O Christ,
O then, to do it make me able.
Don’t we all feel that, no matter our best intentions and no matter how hard we try, things always find a way to go awry? And how often do we forget that we can’t do such things through our own efforts but run to our Lord for help? I for one am going to memorize this prayer and repeat it every morning to try to shape the day ahead.
I should mention, if it’s not obvious, that I have begun the habitus of doing a 7 Quick Takes post and will probably continue it for a while, in order to instill the better discipline of writing something every day. I find that the best cure of all for writer’s block, and it also helps keep me a bit more attentive to the events of the day than if I don’t.
“Idleness is the enemy of the soul.” That’s from the Rule of St. Benedict (48:1) and even though it was written 1,500 years or so ago, it’s as true today as it was back when Rome was falling to pieces. Benedict knew that, while prayer and holy reading were important, doing some manual labor each day was equally important for a monk to be a monk. He wasn’t talking about making his monks serve hard time, like slaves sentenced to doing hard labor, but of exercising their bodies as well as their minds and souls. In that way their lives were tp be balanced and fruitful. That’s one of the things that drew me so much to become an oblate, Benedict devised a way of life in which no one thing or activity was allowed to overwhelm any other part. Yes, oblates pray, but as they can when they can. Most try to do lectio everyday, but that may mean picking up a Bible at different times during the day for just a few minutes. But oblates also work, in regular jobs, or by doing necessary chores around the house. The point is being faithful to both practices and, therefore, developing a balance in their lives.
Fire season has started here and it brings back some somber memories from June of 2012. I feel some relief, and guilt for feeling it to be honest, that the fires aren’t so close to the house, but I also feel great concern for those who’ve lost their homes. I ask your prayers for them. As of the time I’m writing this (Wednesday) it appears nearly 100 homes have been lost and it’s feared there’s been several fatalities. Please pray for all concerned.
UPDATE: As of this morning, June 13, they say 360 homes have been lost and nearly 15,000 acres consumed. There are another 79 homes that they can’t reach and that may be either damaged or destroyed. Please keep all those people in your prayers. As of now, I don’t believe they have any containment on the fire and conditions don’t look good for this afternoon with 30 mph winds and gusts close to 40 mph, this could be very bad.
“Of the creation of the world we have a thousand contradictory accounts; and though a very satisfactory one is furnished us by divine revelation, yet every philosopher feels himself in honor bound to furnish us with a better. As an impartial historian, I consider it my duty to notice their several theories, by which mankind have been so exceedingly edified and instructed.” That is Washington Irving. The other day, I heard part of a talk by a very modern professor of Old Testament studies who very freely talked about the creation “myths” of Genesis. As Fr. Groeschel once said, one is tempted to ask this person, “You were there?” Why is it, academics seem to feel compelled to come up with new interpretations of things that for millennia were considered well settled? What makes us think we’re so smart, smarter even than God? Interestingly, a few days later I stumbled upon a book by Gerald L. Schroeder, The Science of God, which details how nicely the events included in Genesis concerning creation fit with many of the latest discoveries in physics. Imagine that?
From a story on the Cardinal Newman Society website, about an orientation Catholic University of America held for newly hired faculty to help them understand the Catholic intellectual tradition. The is a quote from John Garvey, president of CUA from his talk to the group:
“A recovery of a genuinely Catholic approach to higher education begins by re-evaluating the notion that a Catholic college or university ought to strive to be like a secular one. A distinctly Catholic model of education will acknowledge that a comprehensive Catholic education involves both a moral and an intellectual formation inspired by the Catholic tradition.”
I find it refreshing that a Catholic university is actually claiming the Tradition of the Church, rather than running away from it.