Showing posts from February, 2007

Follow Your Heart

I just wanted to promote the show of my good friend Matt Malone who will be starring in his own cabaret show beginning this weekend. If you are in the NYC area, I'd strongly encourage attending - Matt is a gifted writer and singer and I am very proud of his efforts and excited to see the whole production this Saturday! There is definitely a "twist"at the end that I'm sure all will be overjoyed to see.

As We Begin the Season of Lent...

Due to sickness, the priest who was to give a talk to a group of students last night was unable to attend and, upon the suggestion of a student in Gospel Explorations, I was invited to fill in. I had a really nice time chatting with the students and spent a great deal of time listening to them articulate their experience(s) of faith as college students.

A quick poll indicated that every one of the students gathered owned an iPod. What I extended to them as advice for this season of Lent I will extend here as well:

Often enough, we judge our Lenten journey on what we have given up. Surely, there is much to be said by the asceticism of denying oneself sweets or alcohol or refraining from swearing. But I think that the time of Lent can also be a period of deepening our relationship, of taking a little bit of time each day in order to place ourselves more closely by the side of Christ.

I would suggest that this season each of us try to make some time for prayer. The website run by the Briti…

Ryan and Mike and Rex

I promised a friend that I would re-post this video. Shot by Drew Marquard, SJ during the Jesuit Candidate Weekend (No, not running for public office - just guys discerning their vocations) I played with Mike at our coffee house. Rex (accordion's name) is, of course, the star.

What The Church Can't Accomplish...

There are few things that the Church is unable to do. One of them is to warp the space-time continuum in such a way that, say, a liturgical season like Lent might start earlier than on Ash Wednesday.

"Why," you might ask, "Ryan do you begin this post so strangely? What has Lent to do with the space-time continuum?"

Well, let me tell you:

Tonight I went to Pugsley's Idol, a knock-off of American Idol (or for those who watch it religiously, American Idle). The event was held as a fund raiser for a most worthy cause (a service trip to Ecuador) and the premise behind the event was to invite contestants to sing one song a capella (no music, just voice). Each contestant was "judged" and seven were selected as finalists.

Let me begin by saying: they are lucky that I wasn't judging. The judges generally ranged from "That was good" to "That was great." Wishy washy nonsense! I had one heck of a time looking for the bottom to put some of the…

Fordham Basketball Game

Drew and I went to yesterday's basketball game between Fordham and Duquesne. The mascot made his way up at some point and sat down to visit with us. Special thanks to Ann Beck, mother of #20 Matt Beck, for taking the picture.

Being Found

Before heading over to Jane's last night for a Mardi Gras party, I spent some time with a young friend who has been discerning a vocation to the Society of Jesus.

Our conversation last night stayed with me such that, upon awakening, I had to take it to prayer (and to breakfast). My heart's sense is that the issue that faces him in his discernment faces many people every day.

A little historical background: in the fifth century a British monk named Pelagius taught that humans could attain salvation through their own sustained efforts. The basic mindset was that if a person worked hard enough, she could overcome the bad example of Adam (sin) and follow the good example of Christ (grace). Pelagius was condemned not only by St. Augustine, but also by several councils.

Part of the heresy was the belief that my relationship with God depends entirely on *ME*. It's the heresy of the self-made individual, the belief that "It's all about me" and that everything I have …

Where's My Recount????

Well, I didn't win any in any of the categories I was nominated for in this year's Catholic Blog Awards. We'll hope for great things next year (otherwise I might become the Jesuit version of Susan Lucci and I don't want to be a perpetual loser for an award that really doesn't mean a whole lot). If there's a high point, I was very often in the Top Ten of each category and quite a few times I was tied with blogs I think are really fabulous.

So now back to the drudgery. I have to say that I rather liked having a more hot-button issue to blog about. I might do that more's good to keep folks on their toes! Besides, I have opinions and I very much like to share them!

Students Search For Scripture Meaning in Gospel Explorations - News

Students Search For Scripture Meaning in Gospel Explorations - News

You can follow this link to reach the article written about Gospel Explorations. You'll note that in my inimitable fashion, I offer two "money quotes" that are sure to cause a few eyes to roll!

Examen of Conscience

Anyone familiar with Ignatian spirituality knows that central to our daily prayer life is the Examen of Conscience. During an Instant Messenger conversation last night, a friend inquired about it. Sadly, I lost the conversation's transcripts (read: I closed the wrong window). But, as many of you know, I love writing about prayer so if this is helpful to anyone, I'm glad to offer this reflection.

At the end of each day, the Examen intends to offer a recap over the whole of the day. When we watch the news, we see how the Dow performed on a graph - at 9:00 am a stock opens at $4.00 a share, by noon it's selling for $16.00, and by the time the market closes, it's selling for $13.00. Now for those with no interested, the stock market report is just another thirty-second interval between the day's top stories and the weather. For those with a vested interest in the market, however, these "fluctuations" are terribly important.

What caused them? Why the great gain?…

Valentine's Day

Okay, so I've had a lot to think about tonight. As you may know, I posted earlier (a post I have since removed) that I had received several anonymous messages that completely misconstrued and misunderstood my post. Consequently, I disabled the "comment" features for fear of further escalation.

As I thought about it, however, I just don't see such a move as helping things. People are entitled to have an opinion and I do welcome them to voice it. I just don't like anonymous posts - I reckon that I'm pretty much out in the open and that my interlocutor ought to be as well.

As I said earlier, my friend Jane and I had lunch today to celebrate Valentine's Day. I had French toast and she had a grilled cheese and we drank coffee and spoke of Heidegger and Wittgenstein and Augustine. That's about as much fun as two celibate twenty-somethings get to have on an ersatz holiday intended to sell lots of candies, lingerie, and expensive jewelry.

In other news, stay t…

Catholic Blog Awards

For those interested:

"A Jesuit's Journey" has been nominated in this year's Catholic Blog Awards. If you should be so inclined, please pop over to the website, register, and then vote!

As controversial as I am allowed to get...

[After some thought and debate, I've decided to reinstate the comments. I reckon that if anonymous posters want to make ludicrous accusations, I'll let them]

A friend forwarded a column written by Regina Brett of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I include the text:

How far can church downsize?
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Regina Brett
Plain Dealer Columnist

Regionalism has hit the Catholic Church.

You've heard of cities sharing fire trucks, water and taxes?

How do you share Midnight Mass, choirs and church bulletins?

Alternate years for Midnight Mass? Borrow the choir every other Sunday?

Print one side of the bulletin for St. Malachi and the flip side for St. Patrick's?

Like it or not, full-service parishes will soon perish.

All 231 parishes in the Cleveland Diocese will soon change. The diocese will organize all parishes into groups that will share resources and priests.

I can see the bishop flipping through a thesaurus to find the right word to describe what he will do with the churches …


A friend wrote me this evening asking about confession. The conversation began:

ummm, okay. what can you tell me about confession? I mean, I've been to confession and stuff before, but I feel that I don't go enough, as it is a sacrament and all, and all sacraments are important, but I don't really know what to say when I'm in there, and, well, you probably get the picture

Unfortunately, I do get the picture. Only too well: to be honest, I hate going to Confession. To be fair, I don't take exception to it as a sacrament - it's just that my ego can't stand having to admit my faults and failings!

Posed over AOL Instant Messenger, my response as I gave it to him is more disjointed than I would want to reproduce here, so I'd like to offer a few thoughts on how I approach this sacrament.

Keep in mind that the sacrament of confession is one of healing. It is a chance for us to pose to ourselves the question, "Self (or, if your name is not Self, insert your na…