Showing posts from September, 2008

The Catholic Imagination (AKA: Sensuous Catholicism)

I posted some time ago a description of the program I'm running this semester. Over the last few weeks, I decided to change the name from "The Catholic Touch" to "The Catholic Imagination." I thought for awhile about calling it "Sensuous Catholicism" but, like the "The Catholic Touch," there was a fear of evoking hints of the sex-abuse scandal. So we're being more benign.

So here's another articulation at the rationale:

Thomas Aquinas believed that human knowledge originated in the senses. This should sound pretty sensible: we "know" the football play because we practiced it, we "know" how to cook because we've chopped and broiled, mothers know the scent of their babies clothes, and even Thomas in John's gospel "knew" it was Jesus when he put his hand into the open wound. Entire industries have been built around our senses: vibrating game controllers, perfumes and colognes, richer and more luxuriou…

Now that things have settled down...

Well, it seems like Joseph isn't talking to me any more. Alas. I guess I'll have to find something else to blog about....
...such as what life as a young Jesuit is like.
This morning I woke up fairly early (5:30 am) and had time to do Yoga. In the still of the morning, I love nothing more than to take my time giving thanks to God for the start of a new day. As I assume various poses, I imagine the stretching of my body mirroring the opening of my inner life to be responsive to God's movement in my day. 
What I've noticed is that the practice of Yoga has brought me a sense of inner peace as my exterior and interior are aligned through stretching and breathing. The tension of the previous day is relaxed away, my muscles and joints are awakened for a new beginning. Having achieved some sense of balance and physical awakening, I settle into my chair for some more formal prayer time - usually beginning with Pray-As-You-Go and then moving into a meditation on the day's read…

Good Ignatian, Bad Ignatian Part II

At the risk of appearing obsessive, I want to call attention to a message Joseph Fromm left in his comment box. Before I do so, a few things to note:

Following my initial post, Joseph deleted the post I referenced. The post and the comments have both vanished. Why?
When I responded to his response on his site, the post was deleted. I guess I should not be surprised: why should he allow another person's views to be presented in full when it is his longstanding tactic to cut-and-paste only those bits of peoples' writings that he (mis)understands.I don't mean to sound obsessive, but I'm not letting Joseph off too easily. He doesn't like having attention called to himself or his posts, nor is he willing to engage in some measured debate. He prefers guerrilla blogging tactics where he takes shots from afar and retreats into the shadows.

So without further ado, this is his latest response over on his blog:

I deleted both posts, not because my positions were untenable, but be…

Good Ignatian, Bad Ignatian?

This morning, I'd like to lay my cards on the table. This may or may not surprise folks, but I hate bullies. As one who was occasionally bullied as a kid, I have a particular disdain for those who like to intimidate or inflict injuries on others. In getting older and gaining perspective, I realized that the bullies who picked on me were typically empty, sad, and terribly lonely people who needed someone weaker than they to make themselves feel strong, fulfilled, and purposeful. 
What interests me is that, as I look back on it, bullies tended to feel themselves as upholding some standard or norm. I remember once a guy in high school getting pushed around because he was judged a "fag" and "his kind" didn't belong in our school. In this case, the bully was defending some notion of hetero-normative behavior and exacted a toll on the guy who didn't comport to his standard. I think bullies do this very often: theyset the standard by which they judge and then a…

The Untutored Eye

I've been really busy this week, but since I have to preach tonight I thought I'd post the homily.

Lk 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

The Untutored Eye

To help us dwell on this evening’s gospel, I would like to draw upon two competing schools of exegesis: the Cowellian school founded by Simon Cowell and the Abullian school begun by Paula Abdul. While you probably thought their talents were limited to being judges on American Id…

Dinner at 7

After I return from the gym this morning, I'll spend the rest of my day in the kitchen preparing a dinner for (about) twenty people. It has become something of a custom for me to host semi-regular dinners here at Ciszek for some of the younger members of the theology and philosophy departments, Jesuits, and other graduate students.

My menu tonight:

Prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe
Sauteed green beans with tomatoes and basil
marinated summer squash
tortellini bolognese (my own sauce)
Nectarine and blueberry crisp

In recent years, Fordham University has made fabulous young hires in both theology and philosophy and it has been one of my great delights to have gotten to know many of these faculty members. Extending hospitality toward members of the Fordham community - both faculty and fellow graduate students - helps for them to get to know us, to understand what the whole "Jesuit project" is, and gives them a sense of having a role in our formation process that extends far beyond j…

Into the Breach Once More

If you're a regular follower of my blog, you'll know that this is my third year at Fordham University. A full year of courses awaits, to be sure: Integration Seminar, Natural Law, Husserl, Fundamental Theology (all this semester) to be followed by Integration II, Transcendental Thomism, Levinas, and Merleau-Ponty (next semester). I think it's safe to say that there's a fair bit of work between now and the beginning of May!

Now the added bit of excitement to the third year of philosophy is the fabled Regency Assignment. Regency is the period of Jesuit formation that follows First Studies and often, although certainly not always, involves a man teaching in one of our high schools.

Although it's less dramatic than lining up for the Sorting Hat at Hogwart's, it's still an exciting time. Many of us daydream about where we'll do our regencies; indeed, many of us were directly influenced by young regents when we were in high school. So now the time approaches…

My Protégé

Music teachers, probably like coaches, can wait for a lifetime for their protégé to appear. How fortunate for me that my niece, Emma, has a natural inclination toward the tin whistle and will soon be following her uncle's footsteps. Well, not all of them: the Jesuits don't admit women.