I’ll offer a bit of self-congratulations regarding the general silence both here and over at my photo blog, Colorado Shots. I’ll try to pass off to you that I’ve been very Benedictine in spirit and, having nothing to say, have kept silent. I won’t say anything that might lead you to believe I’ve just been lazy or anything like that, oh no. But, since I can’t seem to maintain enough decent concentration to do a single, focused post, I’ll hit on a few topics of recent interest.
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I have had a spot of ill health that has set me back a little. About a month ago, I went to the dermatologist with a spot behind my ear that was somewhat open, bleeding, and a bit painful. He did a biopsy and it was a basil cell carcinoma and had to come off. This was done last Friday under what is called Moh’s surgery where they take one layer at a time until the cancerous growth is removed. It took two rounds and some 18 or so stitches to close it up. It knocked me for a loop for a few days, but I’m getting back to normal. My right ear is now pinned back ever so slightly; I think it an overall improvement.
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I’ve been doing a good bit of reading on monastic spirituality recently and it suddenly came to me that such reading has been focused on Cistercian and Trappist writers. I’ve read a book by the late Abbot Francis Kline, one by Abbot Andre Louf. I am also a big fan of Fr. Michael Casey, an Australian Trappist and am about to begin reading William of St. Thierry’s Golden Epistle, a book I’ve dabbled in recently. I’m beginning to wonder if I am, indeed, called to become a Lay Cistercian, it’s too big a coincidence. I’ll offer a little background on why I am wondering about this.
I was born a Presbyterian and for 5 to 10 years prior to my coming into the Church, I was quite active in First Presbyterian Church in El Paso. I was ordained a deacon and, during the last year of my term, became Moderator of the Board of Deacons. One of my duties was to present a 15-20 minute meditation on some spiritual topic. After my term was over, I one day went back to those meditations and, to my very great surprise, I had chosen passages almost exclusively from Catholic authors as the theme of each one of them. It was a bit of a shock, but it got me thinking. Hmmm.
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There was a story in the paper this morning about the death in a car accident of a high school hockey player from one of the local high schools. He had graduated in 2008. There was prominent mention that grief counselors had been made available to both staff and faculty at the high school. It didn’t say anything about priests or ministers which might have been the preferred route back in my high school days, if the high schools did anything like that at all. They didn’t. I think the reason is, they probably assumed most staff and faculty had regular contact with either a priest or minister and didn’t have much need for a psychologist. It’s just another example of how things have changed.