Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1000+ Posts

I realized this evening that, when I hit the 'publish' button, I will have published 1009 blog posts since September 1st, 2004. Anne Hall created this blog for me so that I wouldn't have to send group emails; ever at the vanguard of technology, she realized that the blog might be well suited as an online journal that would enable me to share my journey with others.

As I scroll through the photos and posts, it's amazing how much has changed in eight years. Guys I entered with have left, men I admired have died, and many others have entered my life. When I entered at the age of 24, I thought I had everything figured out. Today, at 33, I realize how little I know and I am often overwhelmed when I think about how many things I have yet to learn.

Looking toward 2013, my singular hope - in addition to growing in grace and virtue - is to continue to grow in boldness. I am acutely aware of being a public presence, one of many faces of the Church, yet I cannot help but to feel that I've been derelict in my duty when I have remained silent on issues I felt drawn to write about. Often my silence is due to fear: fear of being though poorly of by fellow Catholics, fear of causing a stir among the faithful, fear of doing something that annoys fellow Jesuits or clergy. The common theme, though, is fear and it is my hope and prayer that, in 2013, I grow in in a sense of holy boldness in speaking the truth whenever, and wherever, I encounter it...regardless the cost.

This year, I realized that my favorite metaphor for my vocation is that of a "feis musician." My job as a musician for Irish dancers calls for me to disappear, to fade into the background so that the dancers can do what they are called to do upon the stage. Thus, I am at my best when I am most invisible, when I dissolve into the music that I play and enable the dancers to become what they are called to be. There is, of course, a seduction to make each performance an opportunity to show off and demonstrate to others how good at music I am...but I know, deep down, that I'm at my best when I am in the background.

I thank my readers who have written and commented and I hope that I continue to give you things to think about. Nothing would be more gratifying than to know that my words have helped people to think more clearly, to pray a little more faithfully, to trust more deeply. I'm not writing to win an award but, truly, to help others by sharing things that go on within me. Readers may not agree with everything I say but, I can assure you, I only write what I actually think and feel. Of course, this can change over the course of months or years, but I do my best to be honest.

Be assured of my prayers as we continue to dwell in the Christmas season and celebrate "God with us."  We believe in a God who loved us enough to take a role in our story, becoming flesh to show us how flesh should be. We are, all of us, learning slowly how to take up our own roles in this drama and it is my honor to play a part in this production for those who read what little I have to say. 
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