Sunday, October 31, 2010

Patience with God

Several weeks ago, I came upon a review of a book over at Faith and Theology. The book, Patience with God, is written by Tomáš Halík, a Roman Catholic priest and theologian from Czechoslovakia.

Halík begins with an experience common to so many, especially in the wake of the bloody 20th century and, more recently, September 11th and the so-called "War on Terror." This is the experience of the absence of God, so chillingly posed by Elie Wiesel in Night when, as the gathered assembly watched a young boy hang from the gallows, someone asked, "Where is God now?" prompting the wrenching response: "Where is He? Here is here - he is hanging here on this gallows." This question confronts both the believer and unbeliever, forcing each to face the scars and traces of destruction and devastation, demanding that we reflect upon Wiesel's question: "Where is God now?"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belated Birthday

In the run-up to "U of D Jesuit Pledge Detroit!" I have been completely mired in organizational details. It's quite an undertaking to organize and find meaningful work for 2.5 hours for 850+ students, plus faculty, plus parent volunteers. Working with sites, assigning buses, procuring tools, praying for good weather, trying to get the kids excited: all of this makes for long, exhausting days. Parent phone-calls and emails, faculty concerns, kids failing to turn in permission slips: these exacerbate the headaches.

In the midst of this, I did turn 31 on Tuesday, the Feast of the North American Martyrs. I remember being somewhat jealous of other kids who had cool saints like St. John of the Cross or St. Patrick or St. Thomas Aquinas who celebrated feast days on their birthdays. My youthful Catholic imagination saw some special relationship between the saint after whom you were named as well as the saint on whose feast day you were born. Much to my dismay was it, then, that I had a nondescript group of saints! Over the years, though, I have come to value the contribution of these men and I'm proud to share my birthday with them.

Over the next few days, please keep me and the students in your prayers. I'm very excited, but also very nervous, about executing this event. I want it to go well because I want the students to have a positive experience of their home town. Detroit gets pilloried in the papers - I think I get bonus points in conversation when I mention that I live in Detroit, as though I were living in a war zone - and it's about time we show our students, and the rest of the world, that we will not cave to broad generalizations. Our kids are going to leave a lasting mark on their city, a corporate fingerprint, that will attest to their willingness to put their hands on and heart into the city we have called home for 133 years. Pray for them that they be moved by generosity and a spirit of charity as we labor together to Pledge Detroit!

Saturday, October 09, 2010


I frequently describe blogging as therapeutic: as an extrovert, I tend to process externally, thinking out loud. Since I can't expect someone to be with me at all hours of the day, I tend to use my blog as a way of thinking out loud in a disciplined way that brings clarity to me and is, perhaps, helpful to others.

This last week has been so incredibly busy that fatigue has forced me to process inwardly as I'm too tired to sit down at my computer. We just had our Spirit Week (Pajama Day, Field Games, Jersey Day, College Shirt Day, and an all-school pep rally) which I was in charge of planning and executing. I spent most of today setting up for today's Homecoming Dance (Theme: Superheroes in the D) and I'm hoping to get something to eat before the dance starts at 8:00. Tomorrow I have to help clean up after the dance and then begin the final preparations for "U of D Jesuit Pledge Detroit!" This is such a busy time and I'm so grateful that I've been faithful to daily prayer, the Eucharist, and finding time with friends and brother Jesuits...otherwise, the stimulation would force me to explode in an extroverted frenzy!

If I'm quiet for the next two weeks, fear not: I'll be back. It's just that with all of the planning and work that must still be done for Pledge Detroit! and my own teaching schedule, I have precious little time. The thing I'm most excited about right now is that I have Wednesday off due to the PSAT being administered and I'm planning on catching up on my sleep because, folks, your scribe is pretty tired. As a very holy Jesuit Brother once said, "Even the good things we do can make us tired." I echo his feelings and look to that day when I can rest fully...the end of the month, at this rate!

Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame