After graduating from SCU, I spent time with JVC, L’Arche, and the Maryknoll China Teachers Program. I’ve thought of these experiences as my “formation years,” as something akin to the notoriously long Jesuit formation process, which typically lasts at least ten years.
With Dis-Orientation just completed for the current JVs, I feel obligated to reminisce on where my heart was just twelve short months ago.
“They Say” is a poem Meg O’Neill wrote while working in Ritsona refugee camp in central Greece.
For this post, I decided to curate a list of some “not-so-easy-breezy-beachy” books that I absolutely recommend.
Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim was a tenth-century German canoness, dramatist, and poet. (A canoness is basically like a nun, but with less strict vows.) Hrotsvitha is remarkable: she has been called the first Western playwright since antiquity as well as the first known woman playwright. In her six plays, Hrotsvitha takes comic tropes used by Roman playwrights and reworks them into plays that not only glorify God but also deeply honor faith, celibacy, and women.
After hearing about a peer’s commitment to the present moment, I have realized that I too default to sharing about experiences with a clear distinction of “then” versus “now.” I am taking her words as an invitation to practice honesty and truth-telling in the present instead of waiting three months to write you a post about insights on my current experience.
My senior year of college, I stopped attending Mass regularly. I have not yet replaced the rituals which were such a crucial aspect in determining the essence of who I am, but I am beginning to redefine the sense of joy which was so foundational to my Mass ritual growing up. This joy was not simply elation at this thing or that, but a spiritual wellspring at the possibilities inherent in being alive.
I was excited to see Cal Newport’s recent blog post titled “Digital Minimalism and God (Or, is Social Media Undermining Religion?)” In the post, Newport remarks that he was somewhat surprised by how well received his new book Digital Minimalism has been within religious circles.
Most of the things I do on a daily basis now, I do alone: commuting, working, exercising, and eating, just to name a few. I find myself in these moments wanting to invite God to join me in the accompanying bus seat or at the dinner table. In these moments, I find God in the comfort of remembering my JV community. Their presence pervaded the minute details of my routine in Houston, and I can’t help but think of them every day.
With the growing popularity of state-changing psychedelic drugs, can we hack our way to spiritual clarity and bliss?
Released in 2018, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post bring major attention to Christian conversion therapy and the general repression of queerness by conservative Christian communities. In this post I discuss the ripple effects this kind of mass media representation has on people who identity as both queer and Christian, and what that might mean for FJVs working towards a better understanding of allyship within the church.
Have you ever tried to laugh without having a reason? I’d recommend it. Laughter has become an odd spiritual tool of sorts for me the past few years, not a defense mechanism as is often cited but, rather, a form of deep surrender to whatever situation is at hand.
While I try to maintain a sense of the past year through conversations and this blog, nothing captures it as poignantly as my dreams. They beg me to question how my life after JVC serves people besides myself.
I woke up to the sad news that Mary Oliver, poet of the natural world, had passed away. That day I took a few moments of silence to read a few of her poems and it suddenly dawned on me that her text, in many ways, could be considered sacred and spiritual. Reverting to the Catholic practices I am familiar with, I decided to apply the tools of Lectio Divina to a few different Mary Oliver poems, treating them as texts open to spiritual contemplation and personal reflection.
Through photography, I can be connected to the past, grounded in the present moment, and aware of the future all at the same time.