Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

30 November 2006

Ut unum sint

I want to see more of this.


God bless Pope Benedict

God bless Patriarch Bartholomew

Long may they reign!

29 November 2006

To breath


The late Pope John Paul the Great spoke of the importance of dialogue with the Orthodox Church so that the Church might once again breath with both lungs after so many years of separation.

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew are taking another step in the direction of full communion. The Holy Father is visiting the Patriarch in Istanbul for the Feast of St. Andrew in a show of goodwill and friendship. Let us pray through the intercession of Sts. Andrew and Peter that the Church might be one again soon.

The Patriarch set up a website with excellent coverage of the event for those who are interested.

AMDG

Under Construction

I'm tweaking the format a little. Some links have disappeared as a result, don't worry they'll be back and lots more besides.

26 November 2006

Christ the King


Happy Solemnity of Christ the King which marks the last Sunday in ordinary time. Advent begins next week. The kingship of Christ is an unusual thing. While on Earth, Jesus acted unlike any king the world has ever seen, he was a selfless servant who cast of riches and power. Leaders in any field should take a lesson from this. Positions of power are for service, not self-aggrandizement. While this might be cliche, it nonetheless bears repeating because it is so seldom followed.

Thanksgiving weekend was a huge success here at Loyola House. Things started off a little rough with the Detroit Province defeating the Chicago Province in this year's Turkey Bowl. It was a hard fought battle but hopeless in the end. The only thing to do now is prepare for next year and pray more football players join the Chicago Province.

Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success thanks to the efforts of Richard. We still have leftovers to last until next Thanksgiving it seems. Everything turned out wonderfully, it was a great celebration.

After Thanksgiving we first year novices are allowed to have non-Jesuit guests. Prior to Thanksgiving only members of our "Ignatian Family" are permitted to stop by to allow for some community building. Having experience this community building, I see the wisdom of the policy. The house was full of friends and family of the novices. My own family had prior commitments but I'll be seeing some of them in two weeks. Thankfully, three friends from college, Dan, Erin, and Katie, were in town. We had a great evening out on Friday in the greater Birmingham area. After dinner out, we proceeded to the bowling ally. This is my second time bowling in two weeks, a new personal record. I was soundly defeated, bowling really isn't my game. About mid-way through our game, cosmic bowling broke out in all its ultraviolet, high decibel glory. I continued to bowl badly, but now I had something to distract me from my ineptitude. After bowling Katie and I headed back to Loyola House where she took on some of Loyola House's resident pool sharks. We ended up having a nice little party in the rec. room. All in all an excellent evening.

Saturday had two highlights. First, Albert cooked an amazing Mexican feast. It was truly extraordinary. The feast was one of those meals when you get despondent about getting full. Second, USC versus Notre Dame which was entertaining though lopsided. Meghan will hate me for saying this, but Notre Dame was overrated this year. I'm looking forward to a USC-Ohio State BCS Championship. Mostly because USC will probably be easier to beat than Michigan. We shall see.

Iesu, Rex admirabilis
et triumphator nobilis,
dulcedo ineffabilis,
totus desiderabilis.

-St. Bernard of Clairvaux

22 November 2006

Thanksgiving Eve

Today we observed the birthday of Loyola House's youngest member, Hung, who turned 19 on Monday. We celebrate birthdays on our community night which is Wednesday. Happy Birthday Hung.

Thanksgiving preparations are in full swing around here, the kitchen has been filled with activity the last few days and tomorrow promises to be crazy. I've been given the relatively light duty of green beans and carrots. Richard however has been in the kitchen for days it seems making pies, his reward will be great in the kingdom.

Tomorrow is also the novitiate's annual Detroit province versus Chicago province football game. I make no representations as to the outcome of said game.

This Thanksgiving, I find myself with much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my health and all the necessities of life which so many lack. As a recent graduate, I am thankful for my four years at Catholic University for the wonderful education I received inside and outside of the classroom, for many good professors and great friends. I am thankful for my friends at home and for the community of St. Charles. I am thankful for my family who have always been and will always be there for me, particularly my parents and brother Jonathan. I am thankful for the Society of Jesus, for the opportunity to walk with many great men serving the Lord and His People. I have much to be thankful for and so I give thanks to the Giver of all good things. AMDG

19 November 2006

Jubilate Deo Omnis Terra

Today was a wonderful Sunday. With the exception of the Browns loosing, I couldn't have planned it better. I'm pretty well used to the Browns loosing by now so it wasn't too great a shock.

I went to Mass at St. Hugo of the Hills this morning in Bloomfield Hills, typically we don't have Mass at the house on Sundays. I enjoy the opportunity to visit various parishes. St. Hugo's is perhaps the most affluent parish I have visited. Today the children's choir sang. Most parish children's choirs are cute but off key. This choir managed to be both cute and on key. They were even on beat. The rest of the Mass was also very nice. The Church itself is a lovely structure.

Later in the afternoon, a bunch of us headed to St. Joan of Arc parish in St. Clair Shores for a choir concert. The Detroit Concert Choir performed a program a mostly sacred selections taken from a variety of genres-- everything from Spirituals to Chant. They sang an arrangement of "O Sacrum Convivium" which was particularly good. It was a modern interpretation of the medieval chant that was innovative while respecting tradition. I was extremely impressed with the choir. They were almost perfectly in tune and in rhythm. The selections were thoughtful and well prepared as were their interpretations. Kudos.

After the concert we stopped at a nearby Lebanese restaurant. My affection for good hummus knowns no bounds. Thankfully this restaurant met and exceeded expectations. The Shish Tawook was also very good, though I fear I may have misspelled it.

Finally, today marks my third month in this Least Society. AMDG

18 November 2006

God Save the Queen

Today was yet another red letter day or better yet a scarlet and gray letter day as the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines in a hard fought game. Most of the novitiate was gathered around the TV to watch the spectacle. I was impressed how well both quarterbacks performed, particularly Chad Henne. Expectations were very high for Troy Smith and he lived up to them for the most part, Henne got much less press but really played his heart out today.

The fun and excitement continued with a trip out to see "The Queen". A film which dramatizes the royal family and Tony Blair after Princess Diana's death. The acting was good, especially Helen Mirren as the Queen. James Cromwell who played Prince Philip will forever be the farmer from Babe for me. Any movie about royalty is an easy sell for me given my fascination with monarchies; I'm also a bit of an Anglophile. "The Queen" did not disappoint. God save the Queen.

17 November 2006

Bowling

Friday's at Loyola House are a mixed bag. Today we presented papers on the vows in a panel discussion. It was both civilized and edifying. After which we went bowling which is neither particularly civilized nor edifying. Actually that's just sour grapes since I'm a terrible bowler. Not that I expect much having only bowled a dozen times in my life if that.

Hung is a deeply contemplative bowler.







I on the other hand have yet to find the Zen of bowling, though that does sound like a good book title.


Also... Go Buckeyes. O-HI-O

11 November 2006

Veterans Day

Last week I got into a lively discussion with one of the old Jesuit professors at our retirement center about the 'self'. It got a bit technical but essentially we were discussing the role interspection versus the role of exterior moral, intellectual, and spiritual truths. The issue came down to how insular are we really. How deeply can outside things inform our interior selves.

I've been musing in an unsystematic way how essential community is for human existence. Some phenomenologists speak of 'intersubjectivity' that is recognizing the same essential humanity I find in myself in other people. My neighbor is essentially the same as I am, because of this I am able to reach out and connect on a fundamental level. This fulfills a basic human need for connection. The community formed transcends the sum of its parts and enhances each party. Actually arguing this philosophically, instead of simply stating a thesis, is very difficult business which I'm not up to at the moment. Though reflecting on my own experience is rings true.

Today is Veterans Day; the day we commemorate those who served our country in the armed forces. War itself is a breakdown of the human community. A time when people fail to see that which gives them dignity exists in all other people. Veterans through their sacrifice to bring peace and freedom witness to the connectedness of us all. Military units acting as one for a good beyond any of the individual soldiers. Individuals witnessing to the value of their brothers and sisters by self-sacrifice with no prospect of earthly reward. Living at the service of the community.

Hopefully someday we will require no more veterans, no more war, no more arms. Someday we will all come to realize that we are of equal value and that value is great. At present we live in a world where some are much more equal than others.

07 November 2006

Vote

An election day syllogism:

Today is election day.
On election day Americans should vote.
Therefore, today Americans should vote.

Democracy works a lot better if people participate.

04 November 2006

Return from the Cinci

We just got back from our whirlwind visit to the Cinci. Our trip was for Praesidium training; Praesidium is an organization which works with religious and secular groups developing plans to combat child sexual abuse. This is my second course on the topic since I joined the Society. The first called, Virtus, was mandated by the Archdiocese for anyone working with children. Praesidium is a more in depth course required for all Jesuits. In addition to the educational component, Praesidium reviews the policies of the province and implementation of those policies.

The course was eye opening. The revelations of abuse in the Church are really just the tip of the iceberg. From 1950-2000 approximately 10,000 people were abused in the Church, approximately 3% of abusers were priests, the vast majority were lay, though any number of priests involved is inexcusable as is any abuse which takes place within the Church. During the same time period, 4,000,000 were abused in Schools across the country. According to our presenter, one in four girls and one in eight boys are victims of abuse. It was a sobering presentation.



On a cheerier note, St. Xavier High School was host to this conference. Fr. Walter Dye SJ, president of Xavier, was gracious enough to show us around the school and give us an overview of the place. Our illustrious novice master was a previously president. Xavier is the largest all boys school in the country and is highly successful in nearly every aspect of high school life it seems. Walking around the facilities, which are enormous and newly renovated, signs of their accomplishments are everywhere, from State Championship football, to accomplished drama, to fine art. I've heard they do academics pretty well too. This Jesuit education stuff must work. Go Bombers.

Thanks to the St. X Jesuit Community, XU Community, and Faber Community for hosting us, the lowly novices, during our stay.

AMDG

02 November 2006

Fr. General

This is a picture from Father General's visit a few weeks back. I was lucky enough to sit next to him during lunch.

Tomorrow... the Queen City.

AMDG Posted by Picasa

01 November 2006

All Saints Day

Stop and smell the incense. Today is the solemnity of All Saints, the day in the Church year set aside to honor all those who are now united with God in heaven, both saints known and unknown. As a group, saints are a remarkably diverse bunch from Kings to paupers, scholars to simpletons. They are sinners who trusted in God and let Him work in their lives. They were and are God's instruments.

As great as many of the saints are, it's dangerous to place them on too high a pedestal. The call to holiness is universal, everyone is called to be a saint and becoming a saint is open to all. Sanctity is one thing in this world that is truly egalitarian. Everyone has choice to live for God, whether they profess 'God' specifically or not, or live for themselves. It is a choice between greed and generosity, between trust and control. It is the fundamental choice of existence and we all make it freely. Do I simply live for myself and my own comfort or do I live for something more for other people and by living for them for God?

All you holy men and women... Pray for Us.


Due to a recent change in plans, the novices will be in Cincinnati this weekend attending a conference. Though I lived in Ohio for quite a long time, I never had occasion to explore Cincinnati proper. This weekend I hope to rectify that oversight.

AMDG