Friday, February 28, 2014

It's About Time (2)

For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 6:2)
Now, indeed. From last week's rather fretful personal reflections on Time, let us consider Liturgical Time (or, rather, Lent specifically). Of course, Lent  begins this Wednesday, a season of penance and of preparation for Easter.
In prayer and recollection, take time now to prepare to prepare[1] for the Easter Triduum.
How will you make a good Lent?
Here are some timely resources to help you get started:
Andrea Mantegna c. 1460, Agony in the Garden
What will you be reading?
In quibus diebus quadragesimae accipiant omnes singulos codices de bibliotheca, quos per ordinemex integro legant; qui codices in caput quadragesimae dandi sunt.” – Chapter 48 of the Rule of St. Benedict[2]
Which one book will you read from beginning to end this Lent? Please share suggestions in the comments. For instance,
[My next post will highlight some Lenten prayers and devotions. Suggestions are welcome.]

[1] Yes, I happen to have a penchant for meta-preparation, project planning, list-making, contingency planning, and another round of list-making. It may be that this contradicts compliments the SGD core principle of Catholic Spontaneity. This will presumably be the subject of future posts—after we've decided what we really mean by that principle, how we will marshal quotes from saints and other Catholic authors on this topic, and how we might spontaneously (or otherwise?) apply these to our lives. Who knows, I might even mention Aquinas on prudence, if only because I haven't mentioned Aquinas here yet.
[2] The “Father of Western Monasticism” knows a thing or two about keeping Lent. I’ll quote another sentence of his next week. Maybe even with an English translation instead of yet another link.

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's About Time (1)

By the grace of God and the generosity of the core group of SGD leaders,[1] I find myself the newly designated Editor of this blog. As such, I am expected to procure and produce content at certain intervals, make adjustments, and take on various other unspecified duties as the need arises. I am to write and to edit.

This fact is not in itself remarkable; what is striking is that this assignment was given without any scrutiny or background checks or other vetting procedures (not even a sample of my writing), without a probationary period, and without any parameters or limitations. Instead, in a closed-door meeting at an unpublicized location, the core group discussed various high-level topics, including the next stage of their own valiant efforts to make this group flourish, and then entrusted me with the responsibility to write for, with, and from the Sodality of Garcia Diego. I ask them to pray for my efforts. I likewise ask for the intercession of the patrons of our group and of St. Francis de Sales.

In my inaugural post, shouldn’t I say something profound? Or at least offer vicarious profundity by means of a compendium of my favorite quotes?

Or perhaps I should look at the calendar and then somehow brilliantly tie together the literary and spiritual legacies of 1) St. Peter Damian, O.S.B., Doctor of the Church (d. 1073, and whose feast is now celebrated on this day), 2) the poet and Jesuit martyr Ven. Robert Southwell (who happens to have died—specifically to have been hanged, drawn, and quartered—on this day in 1595), 3) Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (who happens to have been born on this day in 1801).

Father Time, 17th-century woodcut
Alas, no, I have nothing profound or brilliant to say, even to mark this date and time. I have wasted my time (and perhaps yours).  I could perhaps say something about seasonal time, and the time of the liturgical year as we move toward Lent. 

Maybe that will be another post, another time. Time passes, presses…I waste time, fret about time, mark time, but never make time—I sometimes find time, and I always use it. Lately I’ve been worried and anxious about timeabout running out of time—of time moving too quickly for what I need to do, and too slowly for whatever I might be waiting for. Hence this post’s title—for all its faults, this is a post about Time. 

I have just been reminded that all this fretting about time is un-Christian. I close with some thoughts of Thomas Merton’s[3] that I need to spend more time contemplating:
“To understand the attitude of the Christian and of the Liturgy towards time we must have a profound understanding of Christian hope and trust. Fundamentally the Christian is at peace with time because he is at peace with God…Time has now come to terms with man’s freedom…Time for the Christian is then the sphere of his spontaneity, a sacramental gift in which he can allow his freedom to deploy itself in joy, in the creative virtuosity of choice that is always blessed with the full consciousness that God wants His sons to be free, that He is glorified by their freedom.”
The sentences I omitted refer to the state of sin vs. state of grace. Obviously, the lines I quoted refer to the Christian in the state of grace. These pages were just what I needed to read this week, caught as I was in self-centered worries about time. Incidentally, consider this a reminder to go to confession—it is Shrovetide, after all.
As we move toward Lent, let us remember that our Redeemer’s life, suffering, death, and resurrection sanctified Time itself. +

[1] “Core group” seems to be generally accepted terminology at this moment, at least until such time as the charter is completed and accepted. These leaders could be called the Group of Five (G5). The phrase “Founding members” does not apply, partly because two of the founders (the “royal couple”) have left, and partly because the present writer joined later--“as one born out of due time” (1 Cor 15:8). For now, the number of officers (and titles and duties thereof) is still tentative.

[2] Merton, Thomas. Seasons of Celebration. Chapter 3: “Time and the Liturgy.” published 1950-1965.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows News

Hello Sodalitiers,

I have some news for that will affect our group. During this mornings Masses at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, the Provincial of the California Province of Jesuits, Father Michael Weiler, S.J., concelebrated with our Pastor, Father Mario Prietto, S.J. After communion, the provincial made an important, historical announcement. After 106 years, the Jesuits of this province will be withdrawing from Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Santa Barbara. The provincial said that he would no longer be able to guarantee staffing for the parish, as the number of Jesuits of the California Province has become quite low. When he entered the society, there were eight or nine hundred Jesuits, and now around three to four hundred. He said that if anything were to happen to the pastor or associate, he would have no one to replace them with. And while the parish is still strong, the decision was made that the parish should be turned over to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to become a diocesan parish. This was absolutely earth-shattering news to my ears. The Jesuits have been in the heart of Santa Barbara for a very long time, and their historic and heavenly church has touched the lives of everyone through these many years. In July of this year, the Archdiocese will take over, and Father Andrew and Father Mario will both be leaving. Father Augusto Berrio, S.J., the senior priest, will stay for at least a year to aid with the transition. The provincial himself shared what sad news this is, as he himself made his first vows in Our Lady of Sorrows Church. He also reminded us that the parish is not closing and will continue. There are eight deacons, and a number of lay staff who will continue to be with the parish. He read a statement from Msgr. Michael Jennett, the Episcopal Vicar for the region, which said that the church would be receiving pastoral care. Father Weiler said that he didn't have too many answers because it was in the hands of the Archdiocese now. Archbishop Gomez will be the one who decides who will be coming in to our church to lead us from July onward. 

Let us please pray for our church of OLS during this transition time, for the new shepherds who will be coming to serve us, for stability, that the church will flourish and grow, for her protection, and for the wonderful Jesuits who have served us in the past and those who are currently serving and for their future mission, Amen. Bishop Garcia Diego, pray for us. Blessed Junipero Serra, pray for us. St. Barbara, pray for us. St. Therese, pray for us, St. Joseph, pray for us. St. Rita, pray for us. St. Anthony, pray for us. St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us. St. Francis Xavier, pray for us. St. Patrick, pray for us. St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us. St. Jude, pray for us. St. Anne, pray for us. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. Our Lady of Grace, pray for us, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us. (In case you didn't pick up on it, I am asking all of the statues in OLS, except for the first 3 names which there aren't statues of but could be up on the stained glass windows.)

I know our group will continue, and that we will find another great priest to be our chaplain.

God Bless & hope to see you all Friday,