Monday, December 28, 2009

Rounding Out the Year

As 2009 draws to a close, I see that with this post I'll have put 98 items on the web. That's not nearly as voluminous as some bloggers but, as I look back on the events of the year, I think it's about right.

2009 stands as a pivotal year in my Jesuit formation:

  • A former Weight-Watcher, I ran my first marathon in Cleveland this year
  • I graduated from Fordham University with the MAPR (Master of Arts in Philosophical Resources)
  • My family welcomed the birth of my nephew and godson Quinn
  • I had an article accepted for publication in New Blackfriars
  • I was missioned to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy to undertake the regency stage of formation
I have been enormously graced this year. I cannot imagine being any happier than I am now.

If I might offer a few random thoughts:

1. For those in discernment of any sort, I encourage you simply to give yourself over to God. It seldom happens in our lives that we will get what we want. Nevertheless, when we have opened ourselves wholly to God's will, we will always receive what we most desire. Had I gotten everything I had ever wanted as a Jesuit, I'm sure I'd be content. But the fact that the fulfillment of my desires has always exceeded my wildest dreams leads me to testify that my "Jesuit Joy" finds its source in the God whose grace is unimaginable.

2. I know that I have mentioned with growing frequency my dismay at the negativity of many so-called religious bloggers. My hope is that the dawning of a new decade might be a prompt to reform the way we engage in civil discourse with one another, especially when we are discussing difficult and painful issues.

3. Let me offer something of a mea culpa:

Over the past two months, several readers have contacted me concerning posts that I've written. My posts entitled "Fired!" and "Anonymity" raised concerns among some readers and they wrote to ask me for clarification about them. These posts, coupled with the brief period of moderated comments, do deserve mention.

Two months ago, an "anonymous" coward took exception to something I wrote on another blog. He took my call for Christian charity and due process to be an endorsement of vile practices. This individual apparently has no life and visits my blog, and my YouTube site, rather frequently.

To Anonymous, I have only this to say: How is the weather in Minnesota? Did you have nothing better to do at 10:12 last night than to visit my site? Yes, my friend, I have been tracking you for quite some time (IP Address begins with c-75-73.... and your provider is ComCast) and I have contacted an attorney with this information. As one so concerned with justice and moral rectitude, I'm sure you'll understand. Please make no mistake: I do not suffer fools gladly and you, sir, are a fool of rare variety. I tried civil discourse, but to no avail. Now I'll try civil law.

To my readers, those posts were as much for your entertainment as they were to send a message. I apologize if it caused confusion and please be assured that matters will be resolved favorably.

4. Let us turn an eye to to the future! We're entering the seventh year of the blog and the journey keeps getting more interesting. Sometimes I read things I wrote in 2004 and I say, "What in God's name was I thinking?!?!" Perhaps it is a part of growing up, a growth and maturation that has taken place in a very public space. I thank all of you for your readership and your prayers and I look forward to continuing this adventure with you in 2010.

Christ's Peace for you and yours in the new year!


William said...

Hey Ryan, congrats on your great year! While 2009 was a bummer for many, it was the best year of my life for me. Congrats on progressing in your religious life, is there any advice you could give to a 22 year old who is discerning a call to religious life as I am having problems in figuring out what I should do. Thanks for your music and your stories.

Unknown said...

Hey William,

Good to hear from you! You're right in pointing out that this has been a very rough year for many people, something I should have mentioned in the post.

As far as advice goes, let me say a few things.

1. Pray. Open your heart to the Lord and heed the words of Pope John Paul II: Do not be afraid! Our Lord wants us to have life and have it abundantly and He calls each one of us to be disciples. It's a great grace to feel the longing to discern if you are called to the religious life.

2. Find a good spiritual director. This is so important: it helps to have someone to bounce things off of. In dark times, they serve as a light; in times of joy, they help to keep us balanced and focused.

3. Know this: you cannot be a friend of Jesus and an enemy of the Cross. There is no life that is without suffering, no life that is without challenges. You will find both in religious life, just as you would in married or single life. One must be realistic about this, but one must remember that our vocations are always to love. How, then, are you being called to love more deeply?

If there is anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate to write. My email is dunsryan "at" yahoo dot com. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have.

God bless and Happy New Year!

Reed said...

Hi Ryan -
was great meeting you at the feis's this past year - here's to a music filled 2010!

God Bless,
Reed Munson
Lakeville, MN

Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame