Archive for September, 2008

Today’s Gospel is interesting… When the owner of the vineyard asked one of his sons to go out and do some work, he said he would and then did not follow through. This analogy to failing to do God’s will is pretty obvious. Not only did this son fail to do the work, he also misled his father by saying he would (assuming he had no intention to do the work from the beginning.) The other son who said no to his father, but who then did the work also had some inconsistency between his word and his action, but in the parable, Jesus seemed to imply that this one ultimately did the father’s will.

Reflecting on my own response to God’s invitation to me, there are many times that I intend something and then fail to follow through. The failure is often due to weakness rather than an impurity of intention, and the trick, for me, anyway, is not to spend a lot of time and energy beating myself up for my shortcomings, but to sincerely ask God to remove them, pick myself up and resolve anew to follow through.

And there are other times when I am like the son who says no but ends up doing the right thing. Sometimes I end up doing the right thing to avoid feeling guilty. Probably not the ideal motivation… A lot of the time it is upon reflection that I realize that to be true to myself, I must do something. This may not appear to be so different from the guilt motive, but to me it seems a significant difference, as the guilt is more externally motivated, while the integrity motive seems to me a more authentic response.

Anyway, just a brief thought to check back in with you all. I had a weekend of visiting a friend who is going through a bit of a rough patch, and presence to each other was more important than the mounds of work piled up. But I did get enough done to survive my classes tomorrow…hope you all had a blessed weekend!


Read Full Post »

Excuse me while I rant a little…and my disclaimer is that regarding macroeconomics, investments and finance, I know very little…

Well, of course the financial crisis on Wall Street is the talk of the nation, and perhaps even the world… Like many Americans, the whole notion of bailing out AIG or any other private financial institution makes my blood boil! Yet, I do accept that failing to intervene would cause a major collapse that would only hurt vulnerable individuals more. My roommate compared the situation to a forest fire. “Just because someone else was careless doesn’t mean that the fire department shouldn’t put out the fire.” But you know what? If they catch whoever started the fire, there should be some serious consequences if there was negligence involved!! The executives who were on the gravy train all those years…why isn’t the government going to seize their assets?! If Joe Schmo defaulted on a loan by one of their comapnies, they would foreclose, repossess, do anything they could to collect on it…

Oh, I forgot…this is the U.S.! The rich and powerful are governed by different rules than the poor and vulnerable. Excuse me!!!

End of rant, at least for now…

Read Full Post »

Quick check-in

Nothing much to say tonight, as it is already 1 in the morning and my full class day is tomorrow – work from 11:00 to 8:00! Just wanted to let you all know I’m still here…took some down time this weekend, which resulted in some good rest, but alas – no blog entry! Check back around Tuesday or Wednesday…

Read Full Post »

As a celibate woman religious, I sometimes ponder what I will leave behind when I pass on. I won’t be leaving behind children, grandchildren, etc., so I find myself feeling attracted to the notion of having an “option for youth.” What I mean by that is a presence to young people that is mutual and collegial rather than pedantic and condescending. Too many people of my generation or older have a hard time appreciating what these talented human beings bring to the table.

Teaching at a university gives me a great opportunity to work with young adults. In many ways, they are quite different from me. They don’t always behave in the way I would; they like different music, hobbies, book, movies, etc. I find that I have to earn their respect – it’s not a given – but there are so many adults who are untrustworthy, I can hardly blame young people for their suspicion.

I have found that the best way to earn the respect of my students is to respect them first. Seeing them as junior colleagues instead of as subordinates, being open to their insights and views on things, all contribute to a sense of mutuality. Above all, I must “walk the talk.” If my actions don’t enflesh the values I promote, then I have no claim on their respect.

The organization “Call to Action” has a young adult program called NextGen. A group of these young Catholics who love the Church started a blog several months ago. I haven’t read all the entries, having just visited it today, and I’m guessing I won’t always agree with their views or how they present them, but I am very interested to hear their perspectives. They do not reflect the views of ALL young Catholics, by any means, but they do debunk any notion that all young Catholics are conservative. Check out this blog at http://youngadultcatholics-blog.com/.

Read Full Post »

I was just reading Thomas Friedman’s column in the NY Times. (He’s the author of “The World is Flat – A Brief History of the 21st Century”.) He referring to Rudy Giuliani’s speech at the Republican National Convention, where at one point, Giuliani led the assembly in a chant of “Drill, baby, drill!” when referring to the question of offshore drilling as a solution to the nation’s energy challenges.

As a person in recovery, I find it nonsensical to suggest that we combat our addiction to oil by feeding it. As an engineer, I recall while in industry that managers were saying we needed to kill the “SOW” (same old way). A couple of popular sayings come to mind… “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”

Of course, we’re going to need oil for many years, but instead of exalting that — with “drill, baby, drill” — why not throw all our energy into innovating a whole new industry of clean power with the mantra “invent, baby, invent?” That is what a party committed to “change” would really be doing.

Thomas L. Friedman – Making America Stupid – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com

As one deeply moved by the crisis gripping the planet, I find the lack of leadership in government disheartening. What ever happened to our leaders asking us to make sacrifices to advance the common good? Why is conversation about conservation drowned out by the voices calling for more, always more, let’s satisfy the appetite for energy, let’s continue to increase our consumption, etc? Of course, I realize that in an election year, politicians are hesitant to ask their constituents to think in terms of sacrifice. I love that quote by JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” And I realize that this quote was from his inauguration address…perhaps he would not have been elected had he said it on the campaign trail…but I’d like to think that we could come together as a nation and as a global community to face together the reality that the planet faces a crisis it has not faced since humans first entered the scene.

Well, I suppose I can always pray that after the election has taken place, the kind of public discourse I find so utterly lacking among many of our leaders will begin to happen.

Read Full Post »

CSJ’s and Nonviolence

A few days ago Claire asked about “nonviolent dialogue as a charism” of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Let me take a stab at this…I suppose you might say that the “charism” of Sisters of St. Joseph is fundamentally “union with God and the dear neighbor.”  In that sense, nonviolent dialogue is not specifically articulated. In our Baden congregation, we adopted a Directional Statement a number of years ago in which we committed ourselves to living nonviolently. (See my post on this for the text of this statement.)

I would say that this commitment to nonviolence is a manifestation of our charism. It is hard to achieve union when harboring ill will…

And let me say that this commitment is something we’ll be working on for some time…in my view, our desire to live this way is commendable, but in many ways, we are just taking our first baby steps in trying to get a handle on what this means for us as individuals and as a group.

Read Full Post »

Important note…this is NOT an endorsement of any candidate, simply a reflection on the climate for dialogue within a nation that is deeply divided and polarized.

One of the things I really dislike about election years is the vitriol that is usually spewed forth in an attempt to get people to vote for particular candidates. This year is no exception; but must it be that the voting public will always reward the candidate whose campaign launches the most mean-spirited attacks? We shall see… This excerpt from an article in “America” voices part of what bothered me as I tried to listen to speeches at the RNC:

Unfortunately, “Sarah Barracuda” failed to show the same courtesy, humility and nonpartisan respect that has characterized the Obama campaign. Whereas Barack Obama has disagreed with John McCain solely on policy issues without casting aspersions on his character and has refused to declare open season on Bristol Palin, her pregnancy and the rest of the Palin family, Sarah Palin did not hesitate to mock Obama’s role as a community organizer…

….As I watched the sea of faces light up mostly at Palin’s insults and rarely at her plans for the future, I wondered what the opposing camp would have to say.

This afternoon, Obama responded to Palin’s jabs: “I’ve been called worse on the basketball court.” When pressed about Palin’s record, he told reporters: “I’ll let Gov. Palin talk about her experience. I’ll talk about mine.”

America | The National Catholic Weekly

By the way, I’d like to note that in many ways, Jesus was a community organizer, and we all know that Pontius Pilate was the Governor. (credit for this quip belongs to someone else)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »