Sunday, November 11, 2007

Catching Up With My Life

Someone asked me the other day if I was still celebrating the Red Sox’s World Series victory. I told her that I haven’t really had time (but I did get my t-shirt!). The truth is that I haven’t had time for much extra lately, thus the silence here on the blog. It’s been hard even to let the reality of “deaconhood” sink in, despite the fact that I have been serving as a deacon at a number of masses lately. And, I’m preparing to preach at my parish’s 9:30 Mass next weekend, which I’m looking forward to, despite the challenge of the pre-Advent apocalyptic readings! What else have I been doing, you ask? Well there is the normal business of attending classes and doing homework. I have a thesis proposal due in two and a half weeks that I’m working on. I’m also in the midst of writing PhD applications for programs in moral theology/theological ethics (I’m applying to Princeton, Notre Dame, Duke and Boston College, each of which are pretty different, but all of which hold unique advantages for the work I’m interested in and the pace at which I want to complete my studies [fast!]). For that I had to take the GREs for the first time in 15 years! Back in the old days, we actually took them on paper, so I had to adjust to the computerized version. I also had to request transcripts from all my previous schools, hopefully for the last time! Then there is the small matter of thinking about the various details connected with my ordination as a priest in 7 months! So, as you can guess, my mind is very much on things of the future. But I still have plenty of ministry responsibilities and homework that I have to take care of in the now. In the midst of this, I have just taken on a couple of new people for spiritual direction, which could be just another thing, but is actually a great blessing because I enjoy it so much. There are few things as rewarding as journeying with someone else in their relationship with God. Oh the amazing things God is doing with people, right under our very noses!

Despite the busyness, I am thankful because it forces me to be motivated and focused on things that will allow me to better serve God and his people which, ultimately, is what it’s all about. And, though it’s going to be a lot of work, I’m really excited about my thesis project which will examine various theological perspectives on the experience of abandonment from the individual experience of feeling abandoned by God, to the abandonment experienced by people in the various genocides of the last century, to the abandonment experience of Jesus himself. This will all serve as a foundation for asking the question: What responsibilities do we as Christians have to those who are abandoned? The project is in its early stages, but I think it will be very worthwhile, even if its likely not to arrive at a single definitive answer. This is in part inspired by a very interesting course I’m taking at Harvard this semester on the German Church struggle and the Holocaust.

As for those PhD applications, I know I’m aiming high, applying to what are considered to be among the best programs. So, your prayers that I at least be accepted to one or two of the four would be appreciated! I know it’s a little early, but if I don’t have an opportunity to write again before then (the Thanksgiving recess is an important time for working on papers)—Happy Thanksgiving!


Blogger Lisa said...

Best wishes especially on the PhD applications. For certain, you will wind up where the Spirit needs you to be - for your benefit and for the rest of the world's benefit :)

1:48 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Good luck with your apps. If you get into Princeton, you'll be near me!

8:33 PM  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Wow.. and to think I had the temerity to consider myself busy!
Your thesis topic sounds interesting. I think I felt 'abandoned' by God when I was 15 and orphaned and screaming out to God for help that never seemed to come. But it pales by comparison to what happened in a holocaust.
All the best for those applications for your PhD, and I hope you manage to get some rest before Thanksgiving. If not, we will understand why your blog has taken a back seat!

12:45 AM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Thanks for the update! You have a lot going on. The thesis does sound interesting, and I'm sure the topic will give you a lot to write about.

A while ago I read 'With Bound Hands' - the story about Alfred Delp during the war. It went into just a little bit about the church's actions during the war. I'm sure it was a complex time, and as people are people some handled it better than others. I'm sure Delp felt abandoned at some point, too.

6:59 AM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

Hey if you end up at ND I will make a point to visit you there. It isn't all that far away from where I am in Indiana, and I have a cousin that lives in South Bend anyway.

I will keep you in my prayers, now that I actually have time for prayers.

6:23 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

You've been tagged

6:46 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Mark, thanks for the Facebook friend thing. I'm pretty lost there and haven't yet fixed up my page.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Mark, I have noticed on the Creighton site that the General Congregation of the Jesuits is going to be looking at ecological issues as one of the topics. I went to a talk by a Columban missionary, based in the Philippines earlier this year. He has become very interested in ecological issues as a result of his experiences there. He said he researched official Church documents but found that little had been written on the issue. So it all sounds very timely.
I am 'training' at the moment as I am heading off to France to walk some of the Camino of St James in a few months. Not sure if I think there will be any 'spiritual' purpose to my walk, or whether it is just that I enjoy walking in varied landscapes (albeit ones with a long history of pilgrims walking.)

11:38 PM  

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