Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Who Wants to Be America's Next Top Writer?
Friday, October 12, 2007
Oh, Slay Me!
After learning that fans of the canceled cult favorite have been, horror of horrors, demonstrating their undying love for the show by attending theatrical screenings of the Emmy-nominated musical episode "Once More, with Feeling" for the past year, 20th Century Fox's attorneys started sharpening their stakes.
The studio, which owns the rights to the former WB (then UPN) dramedy red-lighted the dress-up and sing-along tour this week, canceling all future screenings—including a three-night run scheduled to kick off tonight in St. Louis at the Tivoli theater, which had already sold out for Friday's show . . .
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Ordination Day, Part 1
The Bishop was late--he got lost, and ended up at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. He was rescued and arrived in time to start at about 10:20. As we gathered at the back of the church for the procession, the clicking of an ineffective grill igniter was heard, followed by the words "does anyone have a match?" Someone was dispatched to get something, and we eventually entered with candles lit, at about verse 2 of the opening song. One of the deacons who was supposed to sing the Kyrie, couldn't find the page in the book, so we eventually moved on, just saying the words. This was a portent of things to come. To the trained eye, the liturgy was in many ways a mess. But it was also wonderful, and I think that was what most people noticed.
It was hot, in the 70s, and the church is not air conditioned. Yet, it did not seem nearly as hot as it had during the rehearsal the day before (when I wasn't draped in fabric). And the late start allowed those of my guests who are typically late--you know who you are--to actually be on time. It also allowed Penni & Amy a breather after their four hour drive from New Jersey.
I was thankful that I was not the first to go up to the Bishop each time we were called upon to do so. Each time, I had several people in front of me, to remind me what to do! I was also glad I hadn't depended upon counting for the question and response period--several "I dos," finishing with "I do, with the help of God" after the last--because the Bishop accidentally left one out. I had stored away enough of the last question in my head to know when to say the final response, as it seemed did most of my brothers. What did he leave out? Comically, it was the part about celibacy. But, since we all have a vow of chastity already, that was more or less redundant anyway. Nevertheless, as we gathered with the Bishop for a photo afterward, he was sure to remind us that this was understood.
The Litany of the Saints is my favorite part of the ordination liturgy, but this was my first time doing it lying on the floor. I soon realized that trying to sing it was going to be awkward with my face so close to the floor. So, after a couple attempts, I opted for silent listening. It was wonderful to hear the names of all the saints sung, especially the part in which several Jesuit saints are included--Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Robert Bellarmine, Edmund Campion. Not all my thoughts were so pious. Since my vision of life is so colored by my love of movies, I remembered that the opening scene of the movie The Prophecy featured several men being ordained lying prostrate, one of them the main character who stands and interrupts the ceremony, realizing he can't go through with it. Consolingly, I felt confident enough to remain where I was. I went back to enjoying the litany. However, when the singing ended, but the music continued, I began to worry--did we have a cue as to when we were supposed to get up? I peaked over at Anthony lying next to me, just to make sure he was still there. Shortly thereafter, everybody was invited to "please stand," and I knew that was also our cue!
When it came time for the laying on of hands. Bill, who went first, knelt before the bishop and closed his eyes. He didn't feel anything, but opened his eyes to see the Bishop looking as if he were done. So, he got up and returned to his seat. For whatever reason, the Bishop didn't go so far as to touch any of our heads, his hands just hovered over them. Several guests expressed concern about this later, but were assured that the ordination was indeed valid nevertheless.
My knees don't do very well on hard surfaces. So, the most difficult part for me was during the prayer of consecration, when we were all called upon to kneel around the bishop. At the beginning, I felt as if I'd received some grace, as my knees were not as uncomfortable as they were at the rehearsal the day before. Yet, as things dragged on, my knees creeped closer and closer to giving out. My body was shaking, and I hoped it wasn't too noticeable. I distracted myself by offering my discomfort up for all those who had asked my prayers. And, as it seemed that I couldn't take it anymore, the prayer finished. But I looked to the MC and he motioned for us to remain kneeling! Thankfully, this was only for a few more seconds. As my hands quickly went to the floor, I noticed several others had quickly done the same, so I guessed I wasn't alone.
The ordination rite was finished, so we moved to our assigned places to be vested by those friends we had invited to do so. My good friend and Jesuit priest Jim, who I worked with in New Orleans, helped me into my stole and dalmatic.
To be continued . . .
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
A Few More Ordination Photos
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Well, it happened. The bishop got lost (in Boston, imagine that), so we started half an hour late, but in the end I and eight others were ordained deacons. At this point, I'm too tired to give you all the details, except a couple of photos provided by Penni & Amy who made the trip to be there. I promise more when I get them! In the meantime, you can get a brief report on Penni's blog. I must sleep . . .
Friday, October 05, 2007
Back in Philosophy Studies we used to talk sometimes about the "really real." Well, albs have been bought, guests are arriving, rehearsal is this afternoon. It seems that ordination--to the diaconate (spell check hates this word) this go around--has entered the realm of the really real. The really real is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:00 am. Wherever you are, pray for the nine of us being ordained deacons here in Cambridge at that time. And if you're nearby, come join us!!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
On the Need for Reform, or Getting What You Pray For
I just had a look at a blog whose purpose avowedly is to promote the reformation of the Jesuits. But, from what I can tell, what it is up to is basically dishing out gossip about the Jesuits—taken out of context, of course. Worse yet, the blog’s author pretends to be a great Jesuit Saint who would be appalled at what his name is being attached to. Perhaps the author has good intentions, but reading the blog one does not see them to be in evidence.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am a “company man” when it comes to attacks on the Jesuits. Not that I can claim to support everything that individual brother Jesuits say and do. But I do, as Saint Ignatius instructed, always try to give the best interpretation possible to those actions and words. I also recognize that while it may not be the way that I might have done it or said it, it may be inspired by the same Spirit as my actions and words, as Saint Ignatius also recognized. Plus, in humility I must recognize that my actions and words may not always be right or commendable.
After more than ten years of formation as a Jesuit, I think I can confidently say that I know more about the Society of Jesus than most of those who criticize our least Society. I can tell you with confidence that from my perspective the Society does not need to be reformed, at least not in the image of most of those who are calling for it to be. The problem is that they read Jesuit documents and come up with some mythic image of what they think the Society once was and think that is what it was meant to be. But Saint Ignatius’ image of the Jesuits was not of some static organization, but rather of one that would respond to the challenges of each era in the Church’s history. If Saint Ignatius had insisted on sticking to his initial vision of the Society, Jesuit schools would have never existed. They weren’t in the original plan.
What the Society of Jesus has always been good at is responding to the signs of the times. The Society has also always been good at attracting men of great passion. So, there will always be those among us who, in their enthusiasm, go a bit too far in responding to the signs of the times. And there will always be those who do not go far enough. Leaving most of the rest of us somewhere in the middle. And it is that middle, the heart of the Society, that many our critics (and even some of our fans) never take sufficient notice of. The Society of Jesus is made up of men who, for the most part, never attract much notice beyond their immediate apostolate. These are the men who faithfully go about the work of God day by day without pretension, touching lives in big and small ways, but in ways that generally don’t make headlines. They are the true "Good Old-Fashioned Saint Ignatius Jesuits." These are the men who also, I think, are most hurt by those who attack the Society.
I pray constantly that I can live up to the example of the men whose names you do not know.
The Society of Jesus is changing, the Holy Spirit is taking care of that in ways disseminating Jesuit gossip will never achieve. The signs of the times demand it, as they have before. Each subsequent generation of Jesuits has been different, made up of a different mix of men focused on different things. This generation will be no different. And each generation of Jesuits has had its detractors and critics. If we are living up to our mission and our spirituality, that’s the way it must be. In the Spiritual Exercises, every Jesuit is invited to pray for persecution. And we always seem to get our share. And so, perhaps, the existence of a blog like the one I described isn’t such a bad thing. Though I think it misguided, it may finally serve as evidence that we Jesuits are not so far off the mark after all. We’re getting what we prayed for.