Why I Blog (Even While on Retreat)
Tuesday 28 June 2011
There are several reasons. The first is the obvious, stemming from the origin of this website: that I am expected to do so at the request of my publishers. But there are now other reasons why I write for this site whenever I am able. One of the timeliest reasons echoes yesterday’s post on this site following Fr. James Martin, SJ’s recent piece in America. We are called to be evangelists and ministers of the Gospel, going out to meet people where they are and where people are found today is online. I feel that this is an important ministry, one that not enough people take seriously (hence the abundance of sub-par Christian web content found online).
What so many people don’t realize, perhaps because I am one of the only people that gets to see all the email and other messages that come in as a result of this site, is that there are many people who really appreciate what is published here daily. At times people post rather positive comments on the blog itself, but a week doesn’t go by when I don’t receive several direct emails from readers about certain posts.
I feel as though I am able to connect with others and participate in a conversation about faith, spirituality and life today in a way that would otherwise be impossible or prohibitively challenging. I am grateful for the readership of this blog and for the support that comes my way, always encouraging me to continue writing here. It is for those people that I, in part, blog.
Another reason, one that was recently articulated for me well in Mario Aguilar’s study of Thomas Merton’s contemplative and political action, is that writing is a form of prayer for me. Beyond the at-times more obvious ministerial nature of writing (which it indeed is – see above), I find myself more and more often writing to better connect with Scripture, with God and with myself.
It’s true that one way to learn is to write. I believe it can also be true that for some one way to pray is to write. You would be surprised to see where the spirit leads you. Obviously not all of my daily writing appears on this blog, but some of it does and I make it a priority to, when I am able, share at least something. In the process of crafting these little 500-700 posts, I learn more about myself and God along the way. I am sincerely grateful for that daily opportunity.
Even while on my month-long retreat in preparation for the profession of my Solemn Vows this Summer, I find myself writing at several points throughout each day. Parts of these daily reflections naturally lend themselves to being included here on the blog and I think it’s worthwhile to share some of what is going on here while I am on the West Coast for a few weeks.
What amazes me is that I do not get tired of writing. Sure, there are days when I experience what is commonly called “writers block” and nothing I attempt to draft seems worthwhile, but for the most part I feel a drive or an impulse to write. It is not unlike the same deep urge that I feel to pray. On some level I think that all human beings experience this, both a driving passion for some form of personal expression or creativity, while also feeling a desire to connect with one’s Creator.
The problem, I suspect, is that so many people do not recognize one or both of those motivations in life. We get distracted by much and redirect our energies elsewhere. This is how I see my motivation to write. This does not mean, in any way, that I consider myself a good writer. Instead, I simply consider myself one who is almost compelled to write – something I never would have imagined even five years ago. If something good can come from it, all the better.