Thursday, August 31, 2006

German and a Trip Into the City

Fordham University's classes began yesterday and, at 9:30 in the morning, I could have been found in German 1001 (aka Baby German). After a summer spent working on my Spanish, this was a jarring transition - the words are harder to spell and I've no sense of how to pronounce anything. As a help to readers, particularly those who are fans of "The Sound of Music" a great lie has been perpetrated for many years: the proper pronunciation of "Frauline Maria" is not "Froy-line Maria" but is, instead, "Frowline Maria." It's not a big deal, I guess, but it's what I learned yesterday.

After class Drew and I spent the day in Manhattan. We walked a lot and saw many of the touristy sites. Indeed, we ran across huge crowds gathered for tonight's VMA's (Video Music Awards). It was so refreshing to see such a thriving city with so many people speaking so many different languages. Our day's trip ended with dinner with Father Karl Kaiser, SJ who happened to be in town meeting with alumni.

The train was PACKED with people on the way home and I stood for the whole trip. As I stood there, my imagination was captivated by the people around me. Many of these were people who had worked all day (it was now 8:00) and they were still in their work uniforms and were probably going home to prepare supper either for themselves or for their families. Many looked tired, relieved, distracted as the listened to their iPod, or nervous. A group of newly trained soldiers of the US Military were with us on our train's segment and they seemed so hopeful as they talked about deployment.

I mention this because it was such a grace-filled reminder of just who it is that I do my studies for. On a bad (ie, selfish) day I get caught up with abstract theological notions that do more to tickle my own intellectual curiosities than they do to help those who need to hear a word of challenge and encouragement. Growing up in a fairly middle-class parish, the people on the bus are the same people who live out the day-to-day martyrdom of faith, the simple acts of believing and trusting in a world that often seems stacked against them. Not that many of them would ever read my blog, but I'd like to think that writing here primes my pump in some way that will enable me through ministry to connect with the concerns of others.

By the by, I'll be in Cleveland next weekend for the First Vow ceremony of Lukas Laniauskas who is the newest member of the Detroit Province. I'll be in Friday and will go home Sunday evening. It'll be nice to stop back at the homestead - I have a ton of books I need for this semester!

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