Thursday, June 30, 2005

No Surprises Here!

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical


What's your theological worldview?
created with

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bear With Me, Prayers Appreciated

I've been trying my best to post every couple of days lately, but you may see a drop off in the coming weeks. You see I'm simultaneously trying to pack--I leave New Orleans tomorrow--and trying to finish my preparations for a series of talks I'm giving at the International Institute for Clergy Formation in New Jersey next week. I head to Manhattan tomorrow where, believe it or not, I will get some relief from the noise here (they are renovating my house and workmen are everywhere, banging everything!). Please pray for the success of my talks. I will be speaking to priests and deacons about ministry to young Catholics--six one-hour talks! I will be officially homeless for the summer, as this is officially my last full day of living in this community, and I can't move into my new community in Cambridge, MA until after Labor Day. The Jesuits at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA will be offering me their hospitality this summer while I write a book and do some ministry work in my hometown. Please pray for my writing as well. I've been wanting to write a book on the spiritual life for young adults for some time now and I finally have my chance!

I hope to return to my regular posting schedule after the Institute is done on July 2.



Friday, June 17, 2005

A God to Adore

Steve Bogner has a post which seems to serve as a good complement to my previous post. From the wisdom of Teilhard de Chardin. Here's just one line: "No, what I cry out for, like every being, with my whole life and all my earthly passion, is something very different from an equal to cherish: it is a God to adore." Have a look at Steve's blog for the rest.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

You Must Choose, But Choose Wisely . . .

Sunday, June 12, 2005

No Excuse Sunday

In Steve Rabey's In Search of Authentic Faith, he quotes the following e-mail sent by Coastlands Church pastor Evan Lauer. (The Church's home page includes a quote which paraphrases the Divine Mercy novena!) He ministers to the "sun-and-surf" subculture in California, but this could as easily translate to Catholic Churches in the oceanless midwest, and those of the snow-and-slush subculture (if there is such a thing). It seems excuses obtain across denomination and culture. He wrote the following in an e-mail to his congregation:

To make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special "No Excuse Sunday."
Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in."
There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel are pews are too hard.
Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night.
We will have helmets for those who say, "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church."
Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot.
Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.
Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can't go to church and cook dinner, too.
We will distribute "Stamp Out Stewardship" buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money.
One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.
Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.
The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them.
We will provide hearing aids for those who can't hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he's too loud!
Hope to see you there!

Speaking of excuses, I heard a joke this weekend which was funny, but also somewhat sobering:

On Sunday morning, a mother wakes up her son (let's call him "Mark").

Mother: Mark, it's time to get up for Mass.

Mark (grumpily): I don't want to go to Mass.

Mother: You have to go to Mass.

Mark: Why should I? The people there don't like me, and I don't think I like them. Give me one good reason why I should go to Mass!

Mother: I'll give you two. You're 51 years old, and you're the pastor!

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's Ordination Time

Tomorrow, Saturday, is one of my favorite days of the year. How I look forward to singing the Litany of the Saints, inviting this great cloud of witnesses to be present with us, as God ordains some of my brother Jesuits to the priesthood!

Jesuits will be ordained throughout the country, and we are particularly blessed this year in the New Orleans province of the Society of Jesus to have seven men being ordained priests. Please join me in praying for the priestly ministry of these brothers of mine who will be ordained tomorrow in New Orleans:

R.V. Baylon, S.J.
Ron Boudreaux, S.J.
Flavio Bravo, S.J.
John Cunningham, S.J.
Justin Daffron, S.J.
Tony Rauschuber, S.J.
Ross Romero, S.J.

They will be offering their gifts in a variety of ministries including higher education, secondary education, pastoral ministry, retreat ministry and hispanic ministry. Thanks to be God for this gift to the Church and the people of God!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More on Dryness in Prayer

G.S. has has alerted me to a very interesting article on the "dark night" of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Check it out!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

For the Record

Thanks to all of you who take the time to contribute your comments. I'm not able to respond to all comments, but they are appreciated.

I've received a couple of comments recently adressed to "Mike." While I have nothing against the name Michael, just thought I should clarify: My name is Mark.

But, hey, if you want to call me Mike, that's fine. I've been called worse.
(And as a Jesuit, I've kind of gotten used to being called all kinds of names!)



Friday, June 03, 2005

Dryness in Prayer

Someone has asked if I would comment further on the subject of dryness in prayer.

While I must admit to not always being particularly apt at dealing with it in my own prayer life, I will share some brief insights.

1. It seems that for whatever reason sometimes it's God's will that we experience unsatisfactory prayer (or at least prayer that doesn't meet our own expectations) for a time. This can be a means of further appreciating our prayer life as a whole, lest we take for granted the graces we receive in prayer. It also, honestly, at times seems to happen for reasons that only God knows. However, I am convinced of the importance of persevering in our practice of prayer, even during long periods of dryness.

2. We are not meant to pray in the same way for the entirety of our life. So, I once had a breakthrough in a period of dryness when my spiritual director suggested to me the possibility that "maybe God is inviting you to pray in a new way."

3. St. Ignatius also insists that Jesuits constantly practice a form of prayer that is always fruitful. He callls it "the examen." Jesuits are urged--and this is a practice everyone could benefit from--to stop twice a day to prayerfully reflect on the events of the day and ask oneself questions along the following lines: Where was God present in the events of my day and in my interactions with other people? Where was God not present? In what ways did I succumb to sin during this day, and how might I need to be reconciled with others as a result? In what ways did I succeed in fulfilling God's will for my life? This is a type of prayer that will always produce concrete results!!

I hope that helps.

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