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November 22, 2005

I Confess

Sometimes a meme becomes pandemic. Suburban Banshee--long may she wail--has tagged me for this.

I confess . . .

. . . that responding to this meme rather frightens me (can't say why.)

. . . I actually enjoy holding hands during the Our Father, largely because it so much forces me out of who I normally am

. . . that at one time I did a bad job of discerning a vocation to the Carthusians (praise God!--Camoldalese would have been another possibility had I been aware of them)

. . . I think some people (including myself) think waaaaaaaay too much sometimes

. . . not particularly liking the prose and poetry of Chesterton and Belloc (love some of his poetry), but really, really liking the person of Chesterton

. . . monastic life and complete solitude hold a real and everpresent appeal (though they do not compare with the joy of the Vocation of Marriage and Family)

. . . to viewing blogs and associated projects as having possibilities as apostolates

. . . to being a far nicer person on-line than I could ever hope to be in person

. . . to liking Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Sponge Bob, and the Fairly OddParents far more than I ought

. . . to being TSO's number one fan and nuisance e-mailer

. . . wishing my blog could be more like Fructus Ventris, Sancta Sanctis, Happy Catholic, and Summa Mamas (but it just ain't gonna happen)

. . . wishing I could do what Tom at Disputations does so well (but then if I did, we wouldn't need Tom, and that would be a terrible shame)

. . . a scrupulous attempt at Orthodoxy which stems from coming from a Protestant background

. . . not really understanding what many traditionalists think or want

. . . not really understanding what most progressives really want

. . . not really understanding why we can't all just get along

. . . to owning no fewer than 41 different Bibles (different translations, different annotations, different assemblies of similar translations, including at least two four column parallel Bibles)

. . . and to having read or studied every one of them

. . . and to still being ignorant of the majority of God's word

. . . being an ardent fan of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Henry James and a whole slew of people who bore most people silly

. . . to having won an award for poetry composed in the manner of Finnegan's Wake (First place--a complete set of the critical edition of the works of James Joyce, commentary by Anthony Burgess on Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses, and a guide to Dublin)

. . . to being a complete tea-totaler, having had in my entire college career three alcoholic drinks

. . . but nevertheless liking the strawberry margarita sorbet at a local ice-cream chain

. . . Carravagio, Monet, Renoir, Dali, Tanguy, and Magritte are my favorite artists

. . . I get an enormous fit of the giggles every time I think that someone actually paid money for most of Robert Motherwell's "art" (that should get a rise out of Erik)

. . . getting a rise out of Erik amuses me far more than it ought

. . . loving the St. Blogs community inordinately for what it consitutes in the real world

. . . having grown tremendously because of my exposure to the many opinions, minds, and persons of the people at St. Blogs.

TMI, I know, but this allows me once again to consider the things I am thankful for.

Posted by Steven Riddle at November 22, 2005 10:39 AM

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Tracked on December 1, 2005 11:02 PM


But if you were more like Summa Mamas who would be giving us the wonderful reflections that have been feeding me these past few weeks. No thanks ... I confess I like Flos Carmeli just the way it is! :-)

(but thanks for the ego boost!)

Totally off subject but I have been wanting to know this forever; what does Flos Carmeli mean? (Or have I asked that already?)

Posted by: Julie D. at November 22, 2005 3:21 PM

Dear Julie,

You'll see that I note "it ain't gonna happen." That just isn'tme or any part of me. But thank you for the reminder.

Flos Carmeli means "Flower of Carmel." It's a hymn and a prayer, one translation of which appears in my side column. We say this prayer or sing this hymn in one form or another at nearly every meeting.



Posted by: Steven Riddle at November 22, 2005 5:08 PM

" to being TSO's number one fan and nuisance e-mailer"

Then I must be the runner up! : )

". . . wishing my blog could be more like Fructus Ventris, Sancta Sanctis, Happy Catholic, and Summa Mamas (but it just ain't gonna happen)"

Well your blog is you and that's special, unique and needed too!

". . . to being a complete tea-totaler, having had in my entire college career three alcoholic drinks"

Me too and I don't miss it at all!

Posted by: Elena at November 22, 2005 6:49 PM

Steven - I'm curious - what aspects of FV, summa mammas,sancta sanctis and happy catholic would you choose to emulate? I see the difference as being a feminine versus a masculine style of writing. Thankfully we have a Catholic church and a catholic blogosphere - room for all sorts.

Posted by: alicia at November 23, 2005 9:38 AM

Dear Alicia,

You may have hit the nail on the head, which is why it will never come from me. But not entirely. I see an integrism particularly with these sites that doesn't compartmentalize spirituality here, helping the poor there. It comes through better in the writing. All of life is wrapped up in one great big ball and rolled for God's pleasure. That's the sense I get when I visit your site or MamaTs or Julie's or Enbrethiel's.

That isn't the sense I have of what goes on here. I am nothing if not single-track mind. Everything comes back to One Thing. That could be good, but it could easily become tiresome.

And you may also be right about masculine and feminine writing--although that wouldn't explain TSO or some of the others I like well.

Also, keep in mind there is a human tendency to want to do what we do not--the grass is always greener. . .

Thanks for the note.



Posted by: Steven Riddle at November 23, 2005 1:52 PM

I'm a mom and many of the others you have cited are moms. (TSO is unique and I really love his writing in the way that I love Bill Luse's - honest and not always pretty).
When you are a mom, you learn pretty quickly that body and soul are integrated and that you have to love them both. Otherwise some of the physical tasks of motherhood get to be just too much. Dads have this too, but it shows up in a different way.
When your vocation is physical motherhood, one finds a strength that spills out into every other part of life. Don't get me wrong, spiritual mothers (think of Mother Theresa for one) can also be imbued with that same strength.
I know that had I not been a mother first, I could not have found the strength to be a midwife. And I don't think that one has to experience pregnancy as the only route to physical motherhood for this transformation to happen - just that the physical sufferings of pregnancy and the eternal waiting of labor are a good beginning. I guess that the emotional pains of infertility and adoption are also a preparation for learning that it is all about process and not just outcome.
I think that by nature and learning women focus on process and men on outcome/accomplishment - and that is one of the many reasons why God gave us huminity in these two complementary flavors.
Thank you for a thought provoking post.

Posted by: alicia at November 25, 2005 7:30 PM

Steven, you confess to "wishing my blog could be more like Fructus Ventris, Sancta Sanctis, Happy Catholic, and Summa Mamas" and ". . . wishing I could do what Tom at Disputations does so well" . . .

In response, may I propose to you the image of a sumptuous garden, brilliantly-disposed and planted with every variety of flowering fruit tree, together with roses, gardenias, iris, peonies, dahlias, and also flowering perennials such as lavender. Fragrant, colorful, and rich in variety: would it not be a sorry thing to ask, "why do we need the gardenia when we already have the white rose?" or "let us do without the iris since we have the flowering cherry?"

Thank you for all you do!

Posted by: Marion (Mael Muire) at November 27, 2005 12:55 PM

Dear Marion,

First, thank you.

Second, you are, of course, right. But desire does not often follow reason. Fortunately, this desire is not overwhelming, just a little wish that occasionally rise in the back of the brain and then subsides. I am not any of those people I like and admire and so I cannot do what they do, I can only do what I do--which is, of course, what gives rise to the desire. Were I to try to do what they do so well, it would be a travesty.

But thank you for the reminder that our gifts are given to us for a purpose and in a plan. We may desire otherwise, but we must make as good use as possible of the gifts as given.



Posted by: Steven Riddle at November 28, 2005 9:03 AM

Is it too masculine or too feminine of me to worry whether my writing style is too feminine?! :-) Regardless, thanks for the kind words. I think Alicia's comments were right on about men being more result-oriented. Both styles can be absolutely deadly - men are sorely tempted to use a bad means to a good end that leads inexorably to the demonic. And women can increase the sum of evil in the world for as Flannery O'Connor said "when you govern by tenderness, tenderness leads to the gas chamber", meaning the ends of compassion are crucial.

Posted by: TSO at November 28, 2005 10:31 PM

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