Giving Up The World

The contemplation of eliminating all social media

I have been pretty remiss in writing anything on this website/blog.  I realize my last entry was about 7 months ago.  And before that…well…some time had passed.

Typically, I just peruse social media like most.  I ditched Facebook over a year ago and tried MeWe.com as an alternative.  That fizzled out since not many of my friends were on the same platform.  I decided from there just to retain Instagram and Twitter.   But lately, I have been noticing new patterns emerge in my life which has me rethinking it all.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Instagram has been the most “pure” of platforms, or so I thought, to just view photos, click the likes, and send the occasional positive encouragement to someone.   Generally, that is the case.   But I have also observed that I no longer really SEE the photos.  I will often just slowly scroll past beautiful photos, maybe double tap that heart, but not actually SEE the beauty of a photo.

 

For example, take this beautiful post from @beautysoancient

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I liked this one and yet scrolled past it and onto the next posting in the feed.   Did I really take the time to look at the beauty in this photo?  Did I contemplate the beautiful stained glass windows, the altar, the paintings, or even the feelings that it evokes within me if I just spend a few moments really SEEING this photo?

No, I did not.  I just double tapped and kept swiping.   So what is the purpose of Instagram for me if I am not really appreciating the beauty of the photos being shared by wonderful people around the world?   Rather than a simple social media platform, I am noticing that my capacity to appreciate beauty is just diminishing.  The same psychological triggers which are found in all social media platforms are present here….always looking for the next item to tantalize my brain.

I am not sure what I am going to do yet.  I am tempted to make a rash decision, pull the plug and just detach from the world of media and “sharing”.   And maybe I will do that.  I know I could just slow down my scroll, take time to see and appreciate the beauty…but will I?   Coming to know myself is one of the perks of diaconate formation right now.  And knowing me….I’ll just eventually fall back into the same habits given the same environment and stimuli.

The question I am asking is this: What is my purpose in life right now?  Answer – to grow in holiness, perfection, and to become like Jesus Christ as much as possible by the grace of God.    Will continuing with my social connections online help me or hinder me in that goal?   And if I decide to pull the plug – what are the real downsides I am concerned about?   That people won’t be able to find or follow me?  That I will miss something in other’s lives?  I’ll be unaware of the happenings in the world?

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  That seems to be the key point to consider today.

“Nil nisi te, Domine”

For some GOOD news

In our current onslaught of robocalls, ads, junk mail etc – all vying for our allegiance for this year’s election…perhaps raising our hearts and minds to a higher calling could bring some much needed mental relief.

Such a beautiful soul.  While this call to poverty and charity is extreme and not for everyone…it is for EVERYONE to emulate this call in our own lives.   The charism of Saint Mother Teresa is an extreme which is meant challenge the rest of us, to find a way to live at least some of this call in our own lives.

Care for your neighbor.  Feed a homeless person.  Give some clothes to those in need.  Welcome a stranger at church and in your community.  Make time for someone, to listen, to really see them.

St Mother Teresa of Calcutta….pray for us.

The Feast Of The Chair

Today we celebrate the Chair! 

 In September 2016, we started our Camino de Santiago journey by visiting Rome and saw the Chair of St Peter.  It is a pretty awesome site and a beautiful piece of art which points to MORE than a physical chair.

There is more to the story of the actual physical chair…you can read here

The artwork over the chair is just as amazing!  The image of angels and the Dove over the chair – showing us that the Holy Spirit is always leading and guiding Peter in the church…even to today in the current office of Peter…Pope Francis. 

Reading I  1 PT 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Resolution For Formation

A new year of expectation

2018 is upon us and I am considering what is on the horizon.   I am not one for making resolutions…since I rarely keep them more than a week or two!  
But I am thinking about goals.  What I would like to accomplish in the course of another year.  Of course the usual….eat better, lose another 20 pounds, read the Bible more, etc.
I have a year ahead of classes and formation in the formation process of the diaconate.  And this has me turning my thoughts away from resolutions…and more towards formation.
What does it mean to be formed?

Whether we realize it or not, we are all being formed.  Formation of our heart is either happening to us in a passive way, or we take on the formation of our hearts with intention. 

This coming year I am considering two words:  Detachment and Discipline

I continue to need an increase in both.  To be further detached from pleasures of food and drink, material comforts, and conveniences of time.  I am often too much in a hurry.  I walked to Publix tonight to buy some groceries.  I could have driven there in less than 3 minutes, but it felt actually pleasurable to walk in the cold, taking the extra time to consider the inconveniences of walking.  It slowed me down, gave me more time to think, and was actually good to spend the extra time.

I also need an increase in disciplines.  Discipline to write more, read more books and less Facebook and Twitter, and an increase in the disciplines of prayer.   This last year, I solidified my discipline of morning prayer with the Liturgy of the Hours.  However, in the coming year, I intend to carve out the needed time in the evening for night prayer/evening prayer. 

 The coming year will bring it’s own pressures, pleasures, joys, and heartaches. So much will be out of my control.  An intentional formation is the path towards a clear goal.  “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24)  That is a clear call to an intentional formation.  

The End of Gluttony

I stand tonight at the precipice of a major change in my life….I hope!

Lisa and I have decided to embark on a 40-day journey of a juice fast.  A while ago I watched the film “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” which shows the story of people who changed their lives by healing their bodies from the inside out.  
There is a spiritual dimension for me as well as physical.   The physical is easy.  I am overweight and have struggled to lose (and keep lost) about 50 lbs.  Carrying the extra weight has begun to really take its toll on my joints, sleeping and overall health.  I have done extended fasts before – so going without solid food for 40 days is not as much of the challenge.  The real challenge is the spiritual connections.
This fast will afford my body a rest, a break.  It’s a way to just disconnect from the pleasures and controls food has in my life.  I often don’t think about what I am going to eat…I just act!  And that is where gluttony comes in.  For me, the sins of gluttony are not about eating until you have to roll me down the road.  No, it is more in line with the definition: “the habitual greed or excess in eating”.   Habitual greed.   Those words grabbed my attention.   There are some bad habits I have allowed to take root in my life.  Food is more than social, more than pleasurable,  more than sustenance.  And since it sometimes can control my actions, it is time to finally take some action.  
I am thankful that Lisa has decided to take the journey with me.  This will make it easier for the times when I would feel left out of the dinner table because of a fast.  So we begin another sort of “Camino”. A walk towards better health.  A walk towards simplicity.   And that walk all begins with the first step…the decision to take action.
So -here we are, September 30, 2017.  I spent the last of this day eating, drinking and being merry.  But I am actually now more excited about putting it all away…and just taking a break from eating.  Just slowing down the pace.  Just taking steps to be more thoughtful about food and my relationship with it.   I hope to learn a lot about myself through this.    And I look forward to the changed man who will one day find freedom from “disordered passions”, who will hopefully find one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit….self control. 

Peace.

“Nil nisi te, Domine”