Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Saint Ignatius, Pray for Us

Recently I've found myself offering ministry to wounded veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On this feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who himself suffered lifelong wounds from battle, I pray for our founder's intercession that our wounded may find purpose and meaning on the road to healing as Saint Ignatius did. May the Lord bring healing to their bodies, minds and souls.

Some of my Jesuit brothers of the New Orleans province have premiered a new on-line video resource, The Jesuit Review, Check it out!

Friday, July 27, 2007

For Those Who Despair at the Frequent Negativity of the Catholic Blogosphere . . .

My introduction to the Catholic blogosphere came nearly 3 years ago when a now fellow blogger took some exception at something I wrote in America magazine. I wasn't blogging then. The systematic attack on my article and, to a certain degree, my person was entitled "When Jesuits Attack," which I must admit I still get a kick out of. I challenged the author of that post for assuming a number of things about me, when he didn't even know me. I suggested to him that perhaps we had more in common than he imagined. Turns out, when we explored things a little, that this indeed was the case. The result was that, though he has never backed away from his criticisms of my article, we actually began a correspondence which has lasted since that time.

It was also the encounter that got me interested in blogging myself. I have had similar encounters with several fellow bloggers in the ensuing years and can tell you that often bloggers are much more charitable and gracious than their blogging persona betrays. Still, that does not excuse how positively unChristian some people can be at times. And anybody who knows this blog knows that I frequently criticize the meanness often encountered in the blogosphere and try my best to avoid it here (and, thankfully, I have friends who don't hesitate to admonish me if I step a little over that line). That's why I was so happy, and humbled, to read the recent post by Dale Price where he revisits our first acquaintance. He graciously says of me:

"Mark was then and has remained unfailingly gracious, both in that and other matters, offering support in a particularly rough patch in 2006.

The Society of Jesus is getting a good man and one that I hope to call a friend some day."

If you read the entire post (July 13), you will see why I already consider Dale a friend, as well as sort of my "blogfather." Thanks, Dale for your words about me, but also demonstrating that civility and charity are alive and well in the blogosphere, despite seeming evidence to the contrary.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Of Water and the Spirit

You've heard little from me lately because I've been engaged in an intensive summer practicum in hospital chaplaincy called CPE since the end of May. I still have about two weeks left in the program, but wanted to share one thing with you.

Today I had the privilege of welcoming a week-old baby boy into the Church. That's right, in my capacity as hospital chaplain, I was called upon today to confer my first baptism. I was shaking the whole time. The nurse took a Polaroid picture to record the event for the family. (The pictured baby is not the actual baby--confidentiality and all that--just one borrowed from the internet)

All I can say is: WOW.

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