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Showing posts from February, 2010

Becoming a Better Person

One of my Lenten resolutions (well, actually, a New Year’s resolution, but that’s a different story) is to pray, on a daily basis, a prayer based on Ignatius of Loyola’s “examen of conscious.” The “examen” encourages the person who is praying to search for the ways that God was present in the day-to-day events of our ordinary life. At one point in the prayer, you’re encouraged to look back over the past 24 hours, recalling who you were with…what you said…how you might have been torn between different thoughts or courses of actions. In all this, you are to search for “the internal events of your heart.” As the guide says, “Many situations will show that your heart was divided…moving between hope and hesitation, helping or disregarding, scoffing or encouraging, listening or ignoring, rebuking or forgiving, a word or silence, neglecting or thanking.” I’ll say this: keeping that Lenten resolution -- to take a good honest look at the internal events of my heart -- is a heckuva lot more diff

Patience -- A Fruit of the Holy Spirit

Well, what a week it’s been! We’ve seen record snowfalls in Loudoun County, resulting in all kinds of disruptions, including an “eleven-day weekend” for the schools, power outages, and two consecutive “record-low-attendance” Sundays. A huge shout-out to all those for whom the snowfalls did not mean “Sabbath time” but who had to soldier on: those who work in grocery stores, gas stations, police and fire/rescue personnel, hospital staff, snowplow operators, and others. As much as I love snow, I have to admit: it was nice to see the blue skies yesterday and today, and to see more and more folks emerging, digging out, and trying to return to normalcy. But -- here’s your pastoral advice for the next few weeks -- keep in mind that it will be a long time before “normal” returns. Even if school resumes next Tuesday, school buses and commuters will be sharing roads that are half or less their normal width, causing even greater congestion than normal. And with many sidewalks buried under chest-h

Last Bag of Lettuce

Well! How can I not write about the snow?! As I sit down to write this (early afternoon on Friday) the real snow is just starting, but if predictions are anything close to accurate, then tonight, we're in for what meteorological experts call "a real doozy." Two thoughts about snowstorms: First, snowstorms are disruptive. That's one of the reasons I love them so much. Yes, to some people in some occupations, snowstorms cause a great deal of additional work and stress. But I suspect for most of us, snow days give us permission to do what our heart of hearts yearns to do: slow down the frenetic pace for a while...quit racing around...nestle in...chill out...give rest to our soul. In other words, the disruptiveness can be enjoyed as "forced Sabbath time." Most of us, I think, have lost the sense that the 4th Commandment -- to rest one day in seven -- is every bit as serious as the commandments against lying, stealing, adultery, and murder. We violate the comman