Saturday, September 29, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Cut Above

It is with a great deal of pain that I type this. Agony, really, so I shall be short. In addition to the bruised ribs that I earned the other night while praying (for those of you who didn't read the post below, I engage in full-contact prayer) I have yet another new injury.

You see, several weeks ago I ordered a beautiful set of Calphalon knives. Gorgeous blades, really, and while they certainly aren't executive chef quality they are still an enormous improvement over our other utensils.

So I was preparing supper last night when, in a fit of magnanimity, I decided to slice some apples for the baked Brie I had prepared. In the midst of slicing (oh so easily, thanks to the knife) I basically removed a really good portion of my thumb. I can only imagine how much more exponentially painful it would have been had I used a dull knife so, I reckon I'm a mite bit lucky that I had a lovely new knife to take a nice hunk of skin off of my finger.

Moral of the story: Calphalon knives are excellent. Should you desire to: 1. Chop your vegetables well; 2. Slice easily through large hunks of meat; or 3. Amputate a limb easily, I'd suggest buying a set.

So that's it for now. I should have gotten stitches (it bled for a long time) but I'm stubborn and didn't want to be bothered. It'll be fine in a week or so, I'd bet, so no worries. It just means that I'll not be playing "Where is Thumb-kin" any time soon...unless I want to have a disfigured Thumbkin (Here I am! Here I am! How are you today, sir? Very well I thank you, run away, run away).

Oh Lord - I've regressed to pre-school.

Actually, I never got much beyond it.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sitting in the Rec Room

I write this from the Rec Room where my Rector - Father Vincent Sullivan, SJ - is learning how to upload material to Blogger.

In his honor, I include this video that Drew Marquard, SJ, has created as a contribution to

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Off the Ball

Several months ago I purchased a physio ball. You know the kind: those HUGE balls that kids love to kick around and adults love to buy because it seems like a cool, and harmless, piece of workout equipment. Anyway, I really enjoyed using it for stretching and for my abs, so when I returned to the Bronx I brought my ball with me.

Well, I had some time in between dinner and watching a movie so I thought I'd go to my room to pray. In the still silence of my room, I had a great idea: "Boy Ryan, wouldn't it be cool to pray on the ball? You could balance yourself on it like some Zen-master and look like Yoda as you commune with God." And so I alighted upon the ball, drawing my legs up underneath me and I sat triumphantly on the ball for several moments. Assured of my stability, I closed my eyes and tried to relax.

That seems to have been my mistake. For upon relaxing, the ball shifted and I began to wobble to-and-fro upon it. With my legs pinned beneath me, I had little chance to break my fall as I toppled over and fell onto my metal garbage can. I now have a nice little bruise on the left-side of my rib cage and my ego is a bit bruised.

Additionally, I did continue praying throughout the affair. "Oh God, you've got to be kidding me." "Oh God, I can't move my feet." "Oh God, don't let me break anything think." "Thank God my ribs aren't broken." "Thank God no one saw me." "Oh God, I'm an idiot."

So Zen-Master Yoda I am not. From now on, when I feel daring I'll say the rosary as I walk down Fordham Road. Otherwise, I'm going to stay seated.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Semester Plans

It's hard to believe that I've been back in NYC for nearly a month and that classes are now entering their third week. Time seems to fly by so quickly and I'm ashamed that I've not been more vigilant about posting updates on the blog. It just seems as though I've not been doing anything blog-worthy!

I do want to share, however, some of the ministry opportunities that I'm going to active in this semester. First, I am again teaching the high-powered and rigorous "Introduction to the Irish Tin Whistle" course here at Fordham. I've also been asked to offer the course at Fordham Prep and I'll meet with the principal on Wednesday to discuss what shape that will take.

I am particularly excited about a new venture entitled "Faces of Catholicism." As I described it in an email

Faces of Catholicism" will be a bi-weekly group of students who will
attend a diverse array of liturgies throughout New York City. Whether
we celebrate the Eucharist with Vietnamese immigrants,
African-Americans in Harlem, the eclectic mix of parishioners at
Xavier on 16th street, an impoverished parish in the Bronx or a
wealthy parish on Park Avenue, our goal for the group is threefold.
First, we want to experience the various ways in which the Church is
incarnated in the lives and meets the needs of its congregants.
Second, following each liturgy there will be a meal where the students
will reflect on the particular face of Catholicism witnessed. Third,
it is hoped that a heightened awareness of the diversity and richness
of parish life will animate the each student's own faith life, leading
each to active participation in the life of his or her own parish.

Finally, and this is directed more toward anyone at or around Fordham, we are planning to have an Irish Music concert on October 19th. Now for those of you not aware, October 19th has two points for which it is noteworthy: it is the Feast of the North American Martyrs AND it is my Birthday. I'll post concert details very soon and I'll probably ask Drew to videotape it and I'll put clips up here.

I'm going to see "The Lion King" tonight. I am really excited to see this show and I'll post a bit about it tomorrow or Monday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Link

Before I head off to the gym, I wanted to alert readers to the following blog:

Jesuit Tertianship in the Phillippines

maintained by Father Ray Guiao, SJ, an alumnus of and teacher at my own Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Of this experience he writes:

Lots of people ask me, "What exactly are you going to the Philippines for?" My answer to them is, "I'll be doing my Jesuit Tertianship there." And after scratching their heads, they go ahead and ask, "What's Jesuit tertianship?" Here's a simple explanation.

Jesuit tertianship is the final phase of training for a Jesuit. It is a program that usually lasts seven to nine months, and it is a requirement for all Jesuits (priests and brothers) prior to pronouncing final vows in the Society of Jesus. There are currently about 27 Jesuit tertianship programs all over the world for Jesuits who are invited to this final phase of training. While a few tertianship programs exist in the U.S., I very much wanted to take this opportunity to do my tertianship in the land of my Filipino origins, for reasons which I will explain in various postings on this blog.

For us Jesuits, tertianship is a time of intensive reflection and renewal on our lives as a members of the Society of Jesus -- a kind of "spiritual sabbatical." The centerpiece of any Jesuit tertianship program is the Spiritual Exercises, otherwise known as the 30-day retreat. This will take place in the month of November in my tertianship program. Other activities include studying the various foundational documents of the Society of Jesus, as well as the rich history of the Society of Jesus. We also do various ministerial projects during tertianship -- a total of three projects in this particular program, including work with the poor and marginalized and spiritual and sacramental ministry.

I'll be sure to detail my experiences in the postings on this blog. Thanks for your interest in my progress, and most of all, thanks for your prayers on my behalf! Be assured of my own for you!

Insofar as my blog is written from the perspective of a man in the early stages of Jesuit formation, it is inherently limited to my four years of Jesuit life. It should be interesting, therefore, to have an opportunity to see through the eyes of one in the Society for over twenty years.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Forthcoming Publication

I was just informed that my article "Being in the Face of Nameless Mystery: Levinas and the Trace of Doctrine" has been accepted into the January 2008 issue of the Heythrop Journal. The referee wrote of the article

This is an erudite and clearly thought out defense of Karl Rahner's doctrine of God against the charge of reduction or assimilation of the transcendence of God into the experience by man of his own finitude, using cleverly Levinas' distinction of the saying, said, and unsaying to defend a limited capacity to speak about the wholly 'Other' while recognizing at the same time the limits of our conceptual tools. The author shows real potential for the future.

This is really exciting news for me and I really wanted to share it with my readers. It's a great affirmation to know that others appreciate your theological reflection, particularly when engaging in theological reflection is what one wants to do with his life!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Is it time for school yet?

Before I head off to Mass, I thought I'd post a quick update. Since I've not really done anything of note this last week - read a few books, bought an exercise ball, napped - there's not been much to blog about. With classes resuming on Wednesday, however, I expect to have more to kvetch about within the next week!

I'm having a little dinner get-together for some friends tonight. On the menu:

Mixed greens salad with bleu cheese crumbles and cranberries
Four-Cheese Orzo with Fresh Basil
Lemon-Pepper Chicken with gravy served over grilled herbed-polenta
Garlic/Spinach/Parmesan stuffed Portobello mushrooms

and, for dessert, we have caramel brownies a la mode.

It's not necessarily a spectacular meal, but I'm hoping for it to be fun and tasty. I found some frozen imitation crab meat that I'd like to turn into some sort of appetizer dip, but that's only if I can find the time.

While we're on the topic of recipes, let me encourage one and all to check out JesuitRecipes.
An approved ministry of the SMMSJ (Society of Mothers of Members of the Society of Jesus) this site has been updated quite a few times recently and I think many will be pleased with the selection of recipes available.

I should like to mention, while I'm bringing folks up to speed, that they can expect the Intermediate Series for Fordham's Introduction to the Irish Tin Whistle Course
within the next week for so. We taped three of them on Thursday and, when Drew returns from camping, he'll edit them and have them posted online. These videos are less "technical instruction" and more "affective encouragement" about how one takes the notes of the tune and transforms them into music.

Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame