This reflection is now available in Daniel P. Horan, OFM’s book Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century: Selected Reflections from the Dating God Blog and Other Essays, Volume One (Koinonia Press, 2013).
Archive for March, 2012
While my Jesuit friends will likely wish to claim the concept “find God in all things” as the insight of Ignatius Loyola (his community, the Society of Jesus, certainly popularized the slogan), perhaps the greatest exemplar of that slogan-in-practice was none other than St. Francis of Assisi, who, of course, was one of Ignatius’s inspirations. From the most famous writing of Francis of Assisi – The Canticle of the Creatures — to his lived example presented by his earliest biographers, Francis’s way of viewing the world was centered on seeing the world as it really was. This meant that he could see all of creation as something more than the empirical collection of material things and instead recognize the presence of the God who lovingly brought all of creation into being. St. Bonaventure describes this dimension of God’s presence in the world by calling all of creation a vestige of God — literally, all of creation bears the “footprint” or signature of the Creator to whom all of creation points.
There is a great little passage in Bonaventure’s Legenda Maior (“The Major Legend of Saint Francis”) in which Francis is remembered for his recognition of the songs of a flock of birds being the form of praise these lowly creatures offered to God. So moved by the experience of recognizing these little animals’ praise of the Lord, Francis calls his brothers to praise God in prayer immediately.
Another time when he was walking with a brother through the marshes of Venice, he came upon a large flock of birds singing among the reeds. When he saw them, he said to his companion: “Our Sister Birds are praising their Creator; so we should go in among them and chant the Lord’s praises and the canonical hours.” When they had entered among them, the birds did not move from the place; and on account of the voice the birds were making, they could not hear each other saying the hours. The saint turned to the birds and said: “Sister Birds, stop singing until we have done our duty of praising God!” At once they were silent and remained in silence as long as it took the brothers to say the hours at length and finish their praises. Then the holy man of God gave them permission to sing again. When the man of God gave them permission, they immediately resumed singing in their usual way (Legenda Maior VIII:9)
Francis is so often depicted in the birdbath of many home gardens and people generally think this is some sort of generic allusion to the Saint’s “love of animals.” There is no doubt that Francis “loved animals,” but it wasn’t in an overly romanticized way. His love of animals — like his love of all creation, including stones and trees and worms — stemmed from his ability to recognize and praise God in all things.
He didn’t love birds as an end in themselves, but instead recognized the inherent dignity of God’s creation in even the birds’ ability to offer praise back to their Creator in the way most fitting for birds.
Francis also reminds human beings of the way we are created to offer praise back to our Creator in the way most fitting for us: by loving and forgiving. This is made abundantly clear in the closing verses of Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures, when he finally gets around to mentioning the proper way human beings praise their Lord.
May we follow more closely the example of Francis of Assisi (taking to heart what the Jesuit tradition has so aptly adopted) and recognize and praise God in all things. Where will you see God where you haven’t before?
First, let me say that it’s been a few days since I last posted here — my apologies to the regular readers of DatingGod.org — I’ve been on the road leading some retreats and delivering lectures. I’ve had the great opportunity to meet so many wonderful people along the way, folks whose faith is inspiring and whose interest in questions of import are challenging, in the best possible way. This sort of interest in the questions about our faith and the way Christianity — particularly in its Roman Catholic form — is lived out in the public square and private lives of the faithful has been a ‘hot topic’ in recent weeks (if not months) to say the least. That the three leading GOP presidential hopefuls this election cycle include two catholics and a mormon is a situation the founding fathers and mothers of this country could never have imagined in their wildest imaginations (Catholics were largely an oppressed minority in the colonies and, well, the Mormon faith did not yet exist).
The political rhetoric of the Catholic politicians has indeed captured the attention of many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Elsewhere on this blog I have discussed some of the problematic positions that Rick Santorum maintains that stand in opposition to Church teaching (see “The Counter-Catholic View of Santorum on Religious Liberty,” for example), despite the candidate’s touting his orthodoxy in matters of faith and morals. I’m not so interested in rehashing that subject here, instead I want to call attention to an interesting op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times titled: “Many Kinds of Catholic,” by Frank Bruni.
Despite what one makes of his conclusions, the questions with which he engages are important today. The impetus for his piece was yesterday’s Illinois GOP primary (which Romney ultimately won) and the role that religion — particularly one’s affect Catholicity — might play in that political race. One of the more interesting reflections present in this column is the insightful distinction made between what the Catholic faithful actually believes (in other words, the sensus fidelium) and what certain politicians and church leaders have advocated.
The case and point centers on the subject of birth control. After abortion and perhaps same-sex marriage, birth control has been a polarizing issue for the Catholic community since 1968, if not before, with the publication of the now (in)famous, if often misunderstood and caricatured, encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI, Humane Vitae. Bruni keenly notes that time and time again polls and studies show that an overwhelming percentage of Catholics (in the 90%+ range) who are sexually active are in favor of birth control.
It is for this reason that Church leaders as well as politicians for whom this is a campaign centerpiece, cannot appeal to the prohibition of birth control outright: the US population simply would not tolerate that. Instead, the birth control issue becomes subsumed under the guise of a “threat to religious liberty.” This is something about which more people are much more willing to be concerned.
For months now the adjective Catholic has been affixed to the country’s strange contraception debate, which began when many Catholic leaders took offense at a federal mandate that Catholic institutions provide insurance coverage for artificial birth control.
But most American Catholics don’t share their appointed leaders’ qualms with the pill, condoms and such. These leaders have found traction largely among people — Catholic and otherwise — concerned about government overreach. And the whole discussion has opened the door to plaints about morality from evangelicals, who warm to Santorum more than Catholics do.
It is curious to note that for all of Santorum’s ostensibly über-Catholicism it is the self-identified evangelical population that most resonates with his “Catholic” message. What does this mean for our understanding of contemporary Catholicity?
What makes a politician Catholic? Better still is the question: what makes the political agenda of a particular politician Catholic?
There is oftentimes the critique leveled against so-called liberal Catholics that their appropriation of issues related to faith and morals is a form of “cafeteria Catholicism,” an a la carte selection of this or that official teaching. Yet, the same is clearly true about the so-called conservative Catholics as made evidently clear in the campaign agenda of Santorum and others.
One of the things that might be worth further reflection is the title of Bruni’s column — “Many Kinds of Catholic.” My sense is that lots of folks might take offense at the suggestion that there could be a multiplicity of the affective expression and personal commitments of Roman Catholics. We like to believe the myth of the monolithic and hegemonic “Church” to which one either belongs or doesn’t. But conservatives and liberals alike are guilty of incarnating the religious plurality we so wish to ignore.
Curiously, as scholars and historians have shown, diversity and unity have always been held in creative tension throughout the two-thousand-year history of Christianity. One only has to look at the canonical Gospels to note the diversity and unity of the Jesus narrative presented by the four evangelists. Likewise, look to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles to see the dispute over gentile admission to the Christian community. What does this mean for us today? How do we understand Catholicity?
At 2:35 pm this afternoon the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies begin their 2012 post-season NCAA Tournament play. It begins with the Men facing off with Florida State University and will continue with the Bonnie Women playing Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday. The Men are expected to lose, at least that’s what a lot of sports pundits and bracketologists are predicting, while the Women — who ended regular season play ranked #16 in the nation — are slated to win. But this season has been full of surprises. I’m not banking on the Men beating the ACC Tournament Champions, FSU, but anything is really possible in the Big Dance. What I am banking on is the spirit of camaraderie and enthusiasm that is shared throughout the United States today as alums, students and fans of the small Franciscan University in “upstate” New York garners the attention of a population that last heard about my alma mater and its basketball legacy in terms of a devastating recruiting scandal that cost the president, coaches, athletic director and others their jobs and contributed in part to the loss of one man’s life. My how nine years can really change a program!
That it has taken less than ten years for SBU to arise from the ashes of its arguably lowest point in its 150-plus years of history is itself, as Sr. Margaret Carney, President of SBU said in a recent interview, a miracle. The miracle has been attributed in no small part to the school’s star player Andrew Nicholson, but it extends beyond #44 to the Coach, Mark Schmidt, and the entire basketball team. It also extends to the SBU family of alums and fans who, despite painful years of NCAA play that resulted from severe sanctions and the decimation of the team in the mid-2000s, stood by their beloved Bonnies through it all. Among the MANY positive and enthusiastic articles and reports about the NCAA season and the Bonnies are found pieces this morning in The New York Times and USA Today.
A lot has been said about how proud everyone is to be a Bonnie and the truth is that I’ve always been proud to be an alum of St. Bonaventure University. Not just because of the basketball program and its gloried history (and hopefully legendary future), but for what the school represents, the education I received there, the character formation and values instilled, the spirit of community, and the joy of being a part of something so much larger than one’s self.
I’m not going to watch the game this afternoon with a group of alums in Washington, DC, anticipating any major sweep of FSU. If that happens, that would be awesome. I’m there to enjoy the game and spirit of my alma mater. As Coach Schmidt has said in recent interviews, the Bonnies in the Tourney are “playing with house money” at this point, with nothing to lose. They are the underdogs and to be a part of the dance is the reward in itself.
As one blogger recently captured so well as he recalled his experience watching the 2000 NCAA tourney, SBU’s last entrance to the Big Dance, I am not obsessed so much with the winning or losing of the school (although a W would be great!), I’m obsessed with the overflowing pride shared by the community of SBU around the globe this last week. He wrote, of the 2000 experience watching the game in Cleveland with a bar of alums and fans:
If you walked up Prospect Avenue that Thursday morning, guided through the city’s quiet hum by a distant, thumping tavern chant of, “Let’s go, Bonas,” you’ll never forget it. You’ll always remember the pregame bar scene, complete with Bob Lanier-era grads hoisting breakfast pints with robed Franciscans and graduating seniors; the overwhelmed Flannery’s bar staff, who were not prepared for over 150 patrons at 11 a.m.; the laughing conversations between strangers in brown, yellow and white. And, whether you watched the game on the edge of an arena seat or on the edge of a barstool, you’ll never forget the unfortunate ending.But the game itself didn’t instill the meaning of Bonas; the two halves and two overtimes didn’t define the St. Bonaventure experience. It was what happened at Flannery’s after the game that’s always stayed with me. Slowly but surely, students and alums found their way back to the bar not to complain, but to celebrate how little St. Bonaventure University nearly shocked the Kentucky Wildcats on national television. We charged rounds of pre-St. Patrick’s Day Guinness and started up the Bona clap-chants. Those at the game relayed stories of how the Gund Arena crowd–regardless of their collegiate affiliation–joined in the rising Rudy-like chants for the overlooked Bonnies as the game stayed tight. Before we finally embarked on the drive back to Olean, we stood amid a sense of unexplainable communion that most SBU alumni associate with their time as college students.And this is the essence of the Bonaventure connection. This is the embrace of the underdog, the intrinsic bond that breeds such overt loyalty from the school’s graduates. It was evident through my four undergraduate years, and it’s been fact through the 12 years after. That’s what Bonas means to me.
On the other side of the country, the school’s most famous living alumnus heard this and it warmed his heart. Last Sunday, he had gone to his golf club in Scottsdale, Ariz., to hit balls and burn off nervous energy. He had sat in the men’s grille as he watched the Bonnies play Xavier for the A-10’s automatic berth, and he was afraid he was going to be asked to leave, he was so animated.
“Instead,” Bob Lanier said, “suddenly everyone else is joining in, saying ‘Let’s go, Bonnies!’ and ‘Bring ’em home, Bonnies!’ And then, wouldn’t you know it, they did. They did! The Bonnies won, and we’re going to the NCAA, and you just don’t know what that does to my heart.”
I was recently informed of a column that appeared in the newspaper The Catholic San Francisco that discussed a lecture I recently gave in Washington, DC, titled “Navigating the Spiritual Landscape of the Millennial Generation.” This article, written by a Paulist Priest, Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP, does a good job presenting a survey of my presentation as well as that of the other presenter in addition to his own reflections. One note of clarification — Fr. Ryan describes me as a Franciscan Father, I haven’t yet been ordained a priest, but I am scheduled to be in May.
March 13th, 2012
By Father Thomas Ryan, CSP
My engagements during the past month afforded opportunities to speak with students at universities in Ohio, Tennessee and Minnesota. “The millennial generation” they’re called, born between 1982 and 2002, the majority of them in their late teens and twenties now.
On my return home, in leading a discussion in a parish on one of the presentations, “The Mystery of God,” in Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” series, I was struck by the fact that there was no one under 55 in the room.
Soon after, the Washington Theological Union sponsored a symposium titled “Attending to the Spiritual Landscape of the Millennial Generation.” Presenters were Franciscan Father Daniel Horan, a millennial and author of “Dating God,” and Patience Robbins, who has served as a spiritual director for the past 25 years with the Shalem Institute.
Statistics indicate that there is a significant increase in the number of young adults who are interested in religious practice. Often their putting off of commitments such as marriage or having children is ascribed to delayed maturity or to irresponsibility.
But, according to Horan, there are other factors involved, economic and career-related, such as employment opportunities or the requirement of travel in a job.
This also explains, he said, why they don’t settle into other commitments. “They oftentimes lack roots or stability, are always on the run – and not necessarily by choice.”
When it comes to engaging in faith practices, they’re expressing their interest in different ways than the traditional ones of Sunday mass, Benediction, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the rosary. Recent surveys show that while two-thirds of them acknowledge the importance of these practices, only 18 percent are coming to church to participate in them.
What does draw them are service-oriented immersion programs like Peace Corps or Americorps or spring break trips to places where they’ll do something like help to build homes or assist in cleaning up an area after a natural disaster. Praxis is first for them.
There is also a curiosity about practices in other religions, like Zen meditation or Muslim fasting or Hindu chanting. While many are interested in the traditional forms of spiritual practice in Christianity, it’s necessary to think outside the box in relating to millennials, said Horan. “They are interested in questions of deeper meaning, but the ways they express their faith are going to be very different. You’ll have to meet them where they are.”
Spiritual director Patience Robbins expanded on that theme. “Millennials want genuine, authentic mentors and spiritual guides. Meet and accept them where they’re at, and they’ll come back. Be open and flexible around forms of prayer and names for God. Let it emerge rather than imposing a top-down traditional model of practices.”
Robbins said the three themes she emphasizes in spiritual direction with millennials are: One, you are beloved of God. Two, cultivate listening for God in your life. Why am I here? What’s my role? Three is generosity. Be open; let the divine love flow through you to others.
“Such an approach is countercultural,” she said, “in the face of the current cultural emphases on ‘more’ and ‘faster’ because neither favors being grounded in the ‘now.’ What am I rushing for? There’s nowhere to go and nothing to ‘get’ – it’s here! And the next question becomes: If you’ve already got this deep connection with God, how do you want to cultivate it?”
Her words reminded me of something I saw happen in our family after my father died and my mother lived alone. One of her granddaughters, a nurse working in another state, liked to come and spend days at a time with her. She joined her for her meditation at the beginning of the day, and then accompanied her to daily Mass, and prayed the rosary with her at the end of the day.
And along the way I became aware that this granddaughter had begun going regularly to Mass at her local parish. Her grandmother was her mentor. She accepted her granddaughter where she was, but continued to live her own faith with integrity and conviction, to carry it in living form and to manifest its fruits. Her peace and serenity made of her life a living word. Her granddaughter saw it and, over time, reached out for it.
There is instruction and encouragement in that for us all.
Paulist Father Thomas Ryan lives in Washington, D.C., and has written several books on spirituality. www.tomryancsp.org.
In the earlier posts, the first two in a three-part series on the new document released last week by the International Theological Commission (ITC) titled, Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria, I presented the first eight of twelve “criteria for Catholic theology” presented in the text. In this post I want to look at the next four criteria, offering some preliminary thoughts and commentary on each criterion along the way.
9. Dialogue with the World
A criterion of Catholic theology is that it should be in constant dialogue with the world. It should help the Church to read the signs of the times illuminated by the light that comes from divine revelation, and to profit from doing so in its life and mission. [no. 58]
These last four criteria for Catholic theology are undoubtedly my favorite and ones that should garner much more attention than I’m afraid they will. This ninth criterion emerges directly from the Conciliar documents, particularly Gaudium et Spes, and is a positive sign of the ecclesial-theological communities recognition that what is done in theology must traverse the strictures of insularism and parochialism. Theology is indeed a discipline and practice that needs to be in dialogue with the world, with particular regard for the lived experiences of men and women of each age and in each culture. This is also a promising sign of a new outlook on the relatively new sub-disciplines of Catholic contextual theology.
One of the more interesting dimensions of this section is the ITC’s attempt (and a reasonable one at that) to define or explain the at-times amorphous phrase “signs of the times,” which comes, of course, from Gaudium et Spes.
The ‘signs of the times’ may be described as those events or phenomena in human history which, in a sense, because of their impact or extent, define the face of a period, and bring to expression particular needs and aspirations of humanity at that time. The Council’s use of the expression, ‘signs of the times’, shows that it fully recognised the historicity not only of the world, but also of the Church, which is in the world (cf. Jn 17:11, 15, 18) though not of the world (cf. Jn 17:14, 16). What is happening in the world at large, good or bad, can never be a matter of indifference to the Church. The world is the place in which the Church, following in the footsteps of Christ, announces the Gospel, bears witness to the justice and mercy of God, and participates in the drama of human life. [no. 54]
It is curious that in the paragraph dedicated to the explication of the phrase “signs of the times” no additional text is cited apart from the Gospel of John.
Perhaps the most exciting parts of this section on dialogue with the world is the rather optimistic (if not entirely acquiescing in positive regard) take on the intellectual, social, political and cultural trends of the last several centuries. I don’t know of another ecclesiastical document in which the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and other events have been hailed as positive moments in history whose trajectories must be considered dialogue partners for authentic Catholic theology. There is an admittance on the part of the ITC of the Church’s oftentimes reluctance to take seriously, to engage positively or to even recognize such events and movement, but there is also a claim here that Catholic theology can no longer justify such a stance toward the world. “A better discernment in the light of the Gospel has been made, with a greater readiness to see how the Spirit of God may be speaking through such events” [no. 55].
Again following the Second Vatican Council, the ITC also reemphasizes the Church’s position that Truth can be found in “other persons, places, and cultures” [no. 57] to varying degrees.
10. Beyond Fideism: Theology as an Authentic Intellectual and Academic Pursuit
A criterion of Catholic theology is that it should strive to give a scientifically and rationally argued presentation of the truths of the Christian faith. For this, it needs to make use of reason and it must acknowledge the strong relationship between faith and reason, first of all philosophical reason, so as to overcome both fideism and rationalism. [no. 73]
This is the first criterion of the final third of the document. This rather lengthy section is, in its at times wordy way, both a survey of the history of theology and reason as well as an exhortation to theologians that theology must take seriously the intellectual discoveries and developments of allied fields of scholarly inquiry. This comes across most relevantly in terms of theology’s relationship to philosophy. Without rehearsing the entire section, let me simply point to paragraph no. 71 in which the ITC raises the ‘boogeyman’ postmodern philosophy. While there is at first a meandering and rhetorically questioning approach to this line of inquiry and questions of “truth,” ultimately — and, perhaps a little surprisingly (in a good way) — the ITC endorses Catholic theology’s engagement with all forms of philosophy, including those diverse strains that fall under the aegis of the “postmodern.” One of my favorite parts of this whole document appear in the following three lines: “There is therefore a problem in that the metaphysical orientation of philosophy, which was important for the former models of Catholic theology, remains in deep crisis. Theology can help to overcome this crisis and to revitalise an authentic metaphysics. Catholic theology is interested, nonetheless, in dialogue about the question of God and truth with all contemporary philosophies” [no. 71].
11. Authentic Catholic Theological Method is Manifold
A criterion of Catholic theology is that it attempts to integrate a plurality of enquiries and methods into the unified project of the intellectus fidei, and insists on the unity of truth and therefore on the fundamental unity of theology itself. Catholic theology recognises the proper methods of other sciences and critically utilises them in its own research. It does not isolate itself from critique and welcomes scientific dialogue. [no. 85]
There is little commentary needed for this criterion of Catholic theology. The ITC should be lauded for its efforts to drive home the point that theology is not simply a fideistic enterprise of a repetitious nature (USCCB committee on doctrine, take note!). Instead, theology is an authentic scholarly discipline that has myriad methodological approaches and correlative projects. Here we also read of the relationship that Catholic theology might have to its closest allied fields, such as religious studies and the study of religion conceived more broadly. There is also, if I’m reading between the ITC’s expressed lines, an anti-Radical-Orthodoxy-like move latently present in this section. The social sciences, the natural sciences, the allied fields of liberal arts, and the like, are to be respected and viewed as properly autonomous [no. 84]. Yet, on the other hand, there is something of a sympathetic movement toward the end of this section that critiques the total independence of the academy from theology, noting, following Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est, that “theology and theologians at the heart of university life and the dialogue this presence enables with other disciplines help to promote a broad, analogical and integral view of intellectual life” [no. 84].
12. The Wisdom of God, Not the Wisdom of the World
A criterion of Catholic theology is that it should seek and delight in the wisdom of God which is foolishness to the world (cf. 1Cor 1:18-25; 1Cor 2:6-16). Catholic theology should root itself in the great wisdom tradition of the Bible, connect itself with the wisdom traditions of eastern and western Christianity, and seek to establish a bridge to all wisdom traditions. As it strives for true wisdom in its study of the Mystery of God, theology acknowledges God’s utter priority; it seeks not to possess but to be possessed by God. It must therefore be attentive to what the Spirit is saying to the churches by means of ‘the knowledge of the saints’. Theology implies a striving for holiness and an ever-deeper awareness of the transcendence of the Mystery of God. [no. 99]
While I stated above that the three lines addressing postmodern philosophy and its capability with Catholic theological inquiry were among my favorite of this ITC document, this final criterion is by far my favorite of all the criteria. The early part of this again lengthy section is a survey of scriptural and historical perspectives on the relationship between theology and wisdom over the course of Christianity’s history. But the bottom line, in a pragmatic or constructive sense, is that theologians must also recall that what is meant by Christian wisdom is not to be confused with the agendas or “wisdom” of the world. This is something I like to hammer-home in speaking from time to time: Christianity, plain and simple, by the standards of the world, is entirely illogical. From the theological or metaphysical axiomatic claims upon which we ground our doctrines to the ethical mandates confessed, there is nothing sensible about Christianity: God becoming human, forgiving the unforgivable, loving the unlovable, bread and wine becoming the Sacramental presence of Christ, and so on. The illogic of Christianity is precisely the freedom from the worldly confines of the status quo to imagine the world and reality more broadly as God intends. Theology must be aware of this.
The other thing worth noting about this section of the document is the place of the vocation of the theologian. There is an inherently dignified presentation of what it means to be a professional theologian in the Church and what that means for the People of God: “Theologians have received a particular calling to service in the body of Christ. Called and gifted, they exist in a particular relationship to the body and all of its members” [no. 94]. In a way that sounds very Augustinian, the ITC connects the practice and ministry of theology with the Sacramental life of the Church — not a bad reminder!
In order to wrap up this commentary, I think it best to let the ITC and its document speak for itself. Here is the conclusion of Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Critera, which happens to be the last paragraph of the text.
As theology is a service rendered to the Church and to society, so the present text, written by theologians, seeks to be of service to our theologian colleagues and also to those with whom Catholic theologians engage in dialogue. Written with respect for all who pursue theological enquiry, and with a profound sense of the joy and privilege of a theological vocation, it strives to indicate perspectives and principles which characterise Catholic theology and to offer criteria by which that theology may be identified. In summary, it may be said that Catholic theology studies the Mystery of God revealed in Christ, and articulates the experience of faith that those in the communion of the Church, participating in the life of God, have, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church into the truth (Jn 16:13). It ponders the immensity of the love by which the Father gave his Son to the world (cf. Jn 3:16), and the glory, grace and truth that were revealed in him for our salvation (cf. Jn 1:14); and it emphasises the importance of hope in God rather than in created things, a hope it strives to explain (cf. 1Pet 3:15). In all its endeavours, in accordance with Paul’s injunction always to ‘be thankful’ (Col 3:15; 1Thess 5:18), even in adversity (cf. Rom 8:31-39), it is fundamentally doxological, characterised by praise and thanksgiving. As it considers the work of God for our salvation and the surpassing nature of his accomplishments, glory and praise is its most appropriate modality, as St Paul not only teaches but also exemplifies: ‘Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen’ (Eph 3:20-21). [no. 100]
For those in the Hartford, CT, area, I will be speaking at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church and Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry this evening on the subject of Thomas Merton. The talk, titled, “Thomas Merton: A Modern Prophet and Model of Contemplation and Action,” is a combination of presentation on the life and work of Thomas Merton, the late American Trappist Monk and best-selling spiritual writer, as well as an opportunity for discussion and Lenten prayer. Working with the text of Merton, I will provide some context and insight about the writing and then share selections of his work on four particular themes: Identity, Silence, Contemplation and Action. The evening’s events begin at 5:00 pm. Consult the website above for more information.
I will also be speaking for a much briefer session the next day, Tuesday March 13, as part of the Lenten Nourishment Program at noontime. As always, for information on speaking events, conferences, workshops and retreats, visit DanHoran.com/events
Here’s the photo via A-10 Conference! Mark Schmidt (head coach), Sr. Margaret Carney (SBU president) and the SBU Championship Team! GO BONAS!!!
If you haven’t heard by now, the St. Bonaventure University Men’s basketball team has made it to the Atlantic-10 (A10) Conference tournament championship! One of the advantages of having a blog is that you can hijack your own website now and then to cheer on and promote your alma mater. It has been an awesome season for both the Women and Men’s teams at SBU, a well-deserved and greatly appreciated comeback after ten years of very, very difficult times (google the SBU basketball scandal of 2002-2003 to catch up if you don’t know what I’m talking about). The Women Bonnies ended the regular NCAA season ranked #16 in the nation, the smallest team to reach that distinction this season, the only A10 team for either women or men to be nationally ranked for most of the season (until Temple’s Men entered the top 25 in the last weeks of regular play), and the first time in SBU history (the women have been playing since the mid-1980s) that they’ve reached that national status. They are sure to get an at-large bid to the “Big Dance” tomorrow evening during the Women’s NCAA Tournament selection process — stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, the Bonaventure Men have been taking Atlantic City by storm! Despite some tough losses during the regular season, the Bonnies were able to hold on and get a first-round bye in the A10 Tourney this weekend, earning a #4 seed in the bracket. They’ve won at both the quarter- and semi-final levels and earned a place at the Conference Championship game TODAY! At 1:00 pm on CBS watch the St. Bonaventure Bonnies take on the Xavier Musketeers for the A10 title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney.
This is, by the way, the only Franciscan school left in post-season play! Regardless of how things shake out in Atlantic City this afternoon, the Bonnies Men will have some post-season play in the NIT tournament, so either way there is much to celebrate. Credit is owed to Coach Mark Schmidt and his team of Bonnies who are simply excellent! They make this SBU alum (and thousands more) very proud to be a Bonnie. The star of the team — the A10 Player of the Year — Andrew Nicholson only played 25 mins of the last game, yet the Bonnies (in part thanks to #11 D. Congar, in photo above) were able to clinch the W. Hopefully Nicholson and the rest of the Bonnies are able to play well, play hard and play proudly this afternoon — tune in!