Sunday, August 13, 2006

Proclaiming a Fast

This week I've received more than the usual amount of spontaneous expressions of appreciation for my blog from readers I'm meeting for the first time, from new readers, and from those of you that have been faithful companions in the past 20 months or so since I started the blog. I am humbled, and thankful that God has been able to make use of my contributions to this blog to touch people's lives. Thank you so much.

But this outpouring of appreciation comes at something of an awkward time. You see, one of the decisions that I came to during my recent retreat was to begin a temporary fast from all non-essential internet use through the end of September. That would include taking a break from the blog. It would also involve a break from reading other blogs, so be nice to me while I'm gone. During this time I hope to engage in some discernment about several issues.

The first involves recognition of the fact that with my studies and the other writing I'm doing (including a book I have to finish writing), I am already spending a lot of time sitting on my butt in front of a computer. My internet time only increases that, by a significant amount. This also takes away from the time that I am out there interacting with people both socially and ministerially. I need to be doing more of that. I also realize that much of what I write about comes from these kind of interactions. So, the less I have of that sort of thing, the less I have to write about. This presents a problem.

I also, as I mentioned in the previous post, would like to discern how I might make better use of the internet to reach those who are not connected with the Church and try to bring Christ to them. As much as I love the kind of things I've been able to do with the blog, and the wonderful community of friends I have discovered as a result, it still seems that much of what I'm doing is "preaching to the choir." So, I'd like to explore possibilities for a more deliberate evangelical outreach on the internet, perhaps with the contributions of some others, hopefully including some of my brother Jesuits.

Finally, I do have something of an addictive personality and have become concerned about my growing obsession with things like who's reading my blog, how many people are reading my blog, where they are reading from, etc. You'll notice I've removed my sitemeter. And I've also been spending an increasing amount of time on the internet in general, and I want to examine that and be sure that I can continue to use the internet in a way that is healthy and not excessive.

So, I guess you could say I'm taking a blog sabbatical. But the blog is not going anywhere, and will still continue to be available. You can also e-mail me via the link in my profile should you want to get in touch with me--I can't really give up e-mail, so that I will still be keeping track of.

Feel free to e-mail me prayer requests, as I also hope to be devoting more time to prayer during this time. You can also add them to the New Orleans Province prayer circle.

I will also be getting on-line to maintain my NetFlix account. So, if you'd like to be one of my NetFlix friends, send me an invitation (just so long as you're not scandalized by a Jesuit watching R-rated movies).

In the meantime, check out my latest article in the Vision vocation guide, which I think is already available in some places.

Most of all, please keep this discernment process in your prayers, and I will update you all at the end of September. God bless you all.




Blogger Gashwin said...

Best wishes Mark ... I admire your courage!

I too have to discern just what shape my blog will take after the end of the month ...

I pray that your fast is spiritually fruitful.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. While we'll miss your daily e-presence during this time, we know that through prayer we all continue to support one another's faithlife journeys. May the seeds planted during your recent retreat be nurtured during this period dedicated to direct discernment and may you know the way God has planned for you!

Looking forward to your return and sending lots of prayers!


8:18 AM  
Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...


I'll probably be taking a blog break myself the first few weeks of September myself as I begin the Novitiate.

Blessings on your own discernment.


10:44 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...


Completely understand the fast. I majored in computer science in college, and so the past nine months (last semester full of nothing but coding and a summer job of the same), I've spent eight hours per day in front of a computer.

I'm looking forward to not having that much computer access at the novitiate. Books tend to be deeper than the articles you read on the Internet, and I sense God calling me to chill out and learn to be around other people.

I've really enjoyed reading your blog as a vision of where I could be as a Jesuit in a few years. Hopefully I can run into you at some NOR province events. Young adult evangelization sounds cool -- good luck with that!


11:15 AM  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

God bless you Mark!

3:17 PM  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

btw, I'll email you when the baby is born. 2 1/2 weeks!

3:20 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...


I will keep you in prayer as you discern. Let me know when the book will be out I want to be first in line to get a copy.


5:11 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Hi from a lurker,

I will miss your blog. It adds peace to my day and strength to my journey.

Best wishes,

7:11 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...


All valid and very real concerns, not only for the vowed religious, but for lay people as well.

Having discovered your blog only recently, I'll be sorry to see you writing less, but I understand your reasons well.

On preaching to the choir... My suggestion would be for you to visit those who might not agree with you, at least on surface matters. Visit evangelicals, agnostics, people involved in eastern mysticism, people concerned primarily with politics or ethics, etc.. The early Jesuits were firm in their beliefs and principles, but were eager to engage in dialogue with anyone.

Off-topic - My wife and I have started reading God's Secret Agents : Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot --Alice Hogge, a fascinating account of the Jesuits in Elizabethan England. I'd highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.


7:52 AM  
Blogger ukok said...

I will remember you in my prayers, Mark.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Ciaviel said...

Completely understandable...I love your postings, but breaks are good, too. And as to Jesuits watching rated-R movies, you mean they let you out every now and then? ;)

2:09 PM  
Blogger ShadowMayhem said...

fully understandable... added you to my netflix friends... ya! more ideas to gleen from people....

9:40 PM  
Blogger St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...


A previous commenter wrote:
Off-topic - My wife and I have started reading God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot --Alice Hogge

I'm about 2/5th's of the way through this same book. Started a bit slow, but now I'm up late at night reading about the courage of these men and the faithful Catholics who sheltered them and supported their ministries. Hogge doesn't hide the humanity and the missteps, either.

Campion, Southwell, Owens, Garner, etc.--these were some amazing men (dedicated, smart, courageous, sacrificial, etc.) I'll be praying that whatever comes from your discernment is marked by those same qualities.

10:09 PM  
Blogger The Ironic Catholic said...

Best wishes discerning. You're right, the computer can suck you away from what's important.

11:34 AM  
Blogger ~m2~ said...


*nonessential internet usage* = bloggin? yikes!

color me convicted :)

peace to you, my favorite Jesuit. peace.

9:32 AM  
Blogger UltraCrepidarian said...

I would be scandalized by a Jesuit NOT watching R rated movies, merely on the basis of their rating. Jesuits are smarter (I know) and more moral (I would hope), than to fall for that!

As if the MPAA really knows anything at all about morality. They have something more like a tally-sheet. Nipple Count is High, Language is Persistently Vulgar, ... Rated R. [grin]


10:29 AM  
Blogger Brother Lesser said...

I will be praying for you as well.

But...please remember that if years and years of blogging, consisting of millions of words, touches just just one single heart and turns them toward Jesus, then it is all worthwhile...

God bless you!

10:46 AM  
Blogger ProverbialMike said...


Know that you are in my prayers and that this blog is actually ministry in my opinion...especially the stuff on Ignatius.

Hope you're back soon,

Mike Hayes

1:40 AM  

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