Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Magi Arrive at Long Last

The Magi didn't expect the Holy Family to be so much
larger than life. Quite the Epiphany!
And the trip was such a schlep, they decided 
to head home another way.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year's Resolutions? Why Bother?

By the time January 1st rolls around I've already celebrated Rosh Hashonah (Jewish New Year) and Advent (beginning the Christian liturgical year). Plus, it doesn't matter for how long I've been away from academia, its rhythms thrum deep, so I always welcome September as yet another new year.

Add my sloppy but well-intentioned practice of a daily Examen and nightly 10th Step, and creating new or strengthening ongoing resolutions on January 1st seems redundant. Still, as a chronic maker-of-lists and begin-again-er, I do exactly that on the first of January, knowing full well the absurdity of characterizing these intentions as resolutions.

In reality, such as it ever is, I create a list of hopes and wishes. Some come to pass and most don't, which has finally got me asking, "Whose will is it anyway?" And so during morning (written) prayers on the first day of 2015, I found myself scrawling, "Why bother?"

Turns out I'm not alone, something I know enough to assume but was happy to discover empirically while reading Fran Rossi Szpylczyn's first post for 2015, "#Why not? A New Year's reflection." Four paragraphs into her post, "So why bother setting up some unrealistic expectations that will only send me swooshing down some giant slide o' shame by January 10th anyway? Why bother?" Please read the entire post to see how she's embracing the spiritual practice of curiosity in 2015.

As for me, enough with the grandiose plans. I'm inviting myself to be present one day at a time...each hour or moment-to-moment, if that's all I can muster. Amen to that and, while I'm at it, dayenu.

Take a page from my book...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Quote du Jour (Pope Francis Department): "How beneficial a healthy dose of humour can be!"

Depending on, oh, all sorts of variables, people are either over-the-moon thrilled or all-sorts-of-offended that Pope Francis called out the Curia during his annual Christmas greetings to them. Some have translated these fifteen below-sub-optimal attitudes and behaviors "ailments," others as "diseases."

In either case, Pope Francis identified crap that has been going on for centuries. And not just within the Curia. Many of these (I'm going with) diseases pervade local parishes and persist unrecognized, un-repented, and unchanged. And not just within the Roman Catholic church. I've seen all this stuff played out within mainline Protestant denominations; such is the blessing of working ecumenically.

This morning I'm zooming in on two quotes. First, this from dear friend and fellow writer Fran Rossi Szpylczyn from her post, Pope Francis' Festivus Greeting:

If you want to know, yes, at first I offered an inner 'you GO, Pope Francis!' My smug response quickly dissolved when I started to read the list of diseases. You see, following Jesus, the pope is offering something to all of us. If we don’t see ourselves in some of those diseases, then perhaps we are missing the point."

Next, this translation of my favorite thing to bitch about, Disease #12. As reported by Vatican Insider, the "disease of the funeral face":

It is the disease of people who are 'scowling and unfriendly and think that, in order to be serious, they must show a melancholic and strict face and treat others -- especially those, whom they think are inferior -- with rigidity, harshness and arrogance.'
In reality, adds the Pope, 'theatrical strictness and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity about themselves. The apostle must strive to be a polite, serene, enthusiastic and joyful person...'. Francis invites people to be full of humour and self-irony; 'How beneficial a healthy dose of humour can be!'

Amen, amen. Stay tuned: I'm including "delight" as a spiritual practice in my next new book about spiritual practices for the 21st century. Not kidding.