Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pressing forward

Just a quick note to say that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. My apologies for the dearth of postings lately. As I had mentioned a couple weeks ago, it's a busy but exciting time. I hope to soon be posting more regularly and also incoporate some changes for this blog site.

In the meantime, however, other duties call. While I am not normally in the habit of promoting Abbey Press products here, two projects I've been heavily involved with this summer may be worth mentioning and of interest to readers of this blog:

1. Hot off the presses is a book I edited titled Thirsting for God: Prayers from a Monastery, published by Abbey Press' Path of Life Publications. This full-color book features the original poems, prayers, and reflections written by 20 monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, as well as photographs taken from around the "Holy Hill." In one small way, it is a testament to the Gospel lives of prayer coursing through this place.

 2. Upcoming (in September) is anothor book I am editing that it is in the production and design stage now at the Abbey Press. It will be called Sacred Rhythms: The Monastic Way Every Day, and is a compilation of titles that have been published as part of our Notes from a Monastery booklet series. This series, featuring the wonderful artwork of Br. Martin Erspamer, O.S.B., presents in each booklet one aspect of the the Rule of St. Benedict as it may be applied by anyone living in the world. The booklets--now chapters in the upcoming book--have been written by Benedictine and Trappist monks and nuns from around the country, oblates, and other well-known religious and lay authors familiar with the Benedictine way of life.

Anyway, that is what is keeping me occupied at the moment. In addition, I am preparing to give Candidate Anushka his novitiate retreat shortly (he will be invested as a novice Aug. 5; please keep him in prayer). I'm also working on an essay for the next installment of the Saint Meinrad Studies in Pastoral Ministry series, edited by Fr. Denis Robinson, O.S.B., who is the rector of the Seminary and School of Theology here. Each installment focuses on a particular theme. Last year was celibacy. This year, it is imagination. My essay in the book is (tentatively) titled Buried Treasure: Unearthing the Art of Faith through Journaling and Creative Writing. Good stuff, I hope. Pray for me, through the intercession of St. Francis de Sales. I leave you with just a snippent from that essay as I continue to plug away at it:
Christina Bieber Lake, in her 2005 book The Incarnational Art of Flannery O'Connor, says that we are becoming "posthuman"--striving for made-to-order lives, even made-to-order bodies. We are seeking to perfect ourselves without God, "to become like gods," as in the downfall of Adam and Eve. Lake notes that we are moving away from "a healthy view of the self--the conviction that we are created beings, made in the image of God, but limited and dependent--toward an unhealthy belief that we are cosmic accidents whose only hope is to remake ourselves into whatever image fits our fancy."

A faithful imagination is our defense against this. It acknowledges God as the beginning and end of the equation, and invites him into everything in between. Imagination is freedom from self. It is trusting in the revelation that our limited human nature is redeemed through incarnated grace. Imagination is bearing the imprint of Christ in our very being--human beings borne from God's imagination. We are players, characters, true persons in God's story of human creation, incarnation, and redemption. Imagine that.

UPDATE NOTE: You may purchase the Thirsting for God book here. -- PAX

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