Tuesday, July 26, 2011


san antonio capilla, valdez, new mexico where they say the rosary every monday at 6.
pictured in front, Blessing (the dog) and my friend Lise who made pan-roasted lobster
in chervil butter Sunday night

"Through all my daily life, in those I came in contact with, in the things I read and heard, I felt that sense of being followed, of being desired; a sense of hope and expectation," observed Dorothy Day.


  1. Like you, I'm fascinated by borders, such as the one between personal experience of Christ and a more indirect knowledge acquired through others. It seems like Christ likes the second way too, given how he had Mary Magdalene tell the apostles that He was risen, rather than simply appearing to them individually.

    Pope John Paul II in Fides et Ratio writes:

    In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people. This suggests an important tension. On the one hand, the knowledge acquired through belief can seem an imperfect knowledge, to be perfected gradually through personal accumulation of evidence; on the other hand, belief is often humanly richer than evidence, because it involves an interpersonal relationship and brings into play not only a person's capacity to know but also the deeper capacity to entrust oneself to other's, to enter into a relationship with them which is intimate and enduring...

    Who, for instance, could assess critically the countless scientific findings upon which modern life is based? Who could personally examine the flow of information which comes day after day...This means that the human being—the one who seeks the truth—is also the one who lives by belief...

    [The word of martyrs] inspires such confidence: from the moment they speak to us of what we perceive deep down as the truth we have sought for so long, the martyrs provide evidence of a love that has no need of lengthy arguments in order to convince. The martyrs stir in us a profound trust because they give voice to what we already feel and they declare what we would like to have the strength to express.

    Again the Book of Proverbs points in this direction when it exclaims: “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (Prov 25:2). In their respective worlds, God and the human being are set within a unique relationship.

  2. The appalling strangeness of the mercy of God, to quote Graham Greene...

  3. Jason, I'm re-reading The Heart of the Matter (which I seem to need to do every four or five years) as we speak!...

    And thanks, TS...Pope JPII got it exactly right, that belief does not take place in a vacuum but always has to do somehow with relationship. Paul's relationship with Christ, the Prodigal Son's relationship with his brother and father, my initial and ongoing relationship with my fellow alcoholics.

    The effect of "sin," of missing the mark, is always to isolate and the effect of conversion is always to bring us back to the human table. And that is messy and unexpected and unlikely and conforms to no timetable or formula and in fact is usually so NOT susceptible to articulation or description that it often takes us awhile to notice it!

    Just as the disciples didn't at first recognize Christ after the Resurrection, we often don't even notice that we're being very slowly converted. Maybe we are just a teeny bit less impatient. Maybe we hold our tongue (out of love) one time out of ten--but still that is better than no times out of ten..
    And then sometimes, if we are very graced, the conversion comes all in a clap, as it did with St. Paul.

    And the clap is also often violent, as only violence often seems to get our attention, as Flannery O'Connor knew so well...

  4. What a beautiful piece, this paragraph really spoke to me:

    I'm talking about the riches of realizing that if you're human, at this very moment you're lusting after someone, pissed off at someone, jealous of someone, resentful of someone, troubled by someone, feeling abandoned by someone, afraid of someone (possibly you're feeling all those things about the same person, which is always fun). You're worried about your finances, weight, teeth, transmission, aging parents, aging self, wayward children, cancer markers, whether your husband or wife is cheating on you, whether you're going to get caught, whether you made a fool of yourself last night, the parking situation at Trader Joe's, that you're not way kinder and more compassionate than you are, and what you're going to have for lunch. Religion is not what we do after we get all that squared away. Religion is realizing that a power greater than ourselves is with us in the midst of all that.

    That's so good, I'd love to read more in that vein. Great insights!

  5. Hi TS!

    "one between personal experience of Christ and a more indirect knowledge acquired through others."
    In Christianity, these two forms of knowledge come together when Christ makes himself present through a witness, just as Jesus made the Father present through his own testimony. Just as St. Paul met Jesus through St. Stephen and his testimony. So the witness is also an event that can be witnessed.

  6. Extraordinary post, Heather.

    I look forward to hearing more about St. Therese's role as a "bridge" for the many chasms in our day.


  7. Beautiful post. I miss New Mexico so much.

  8. Ah yes Fred, another of those both/ands rather than either/or...

  9. I love you! This sentence, "Everything that happens to us isn't important because we're important, but because God is," sounded so much like G. K. Chesterton. Keep up the good work.

  10. Great stuff! It reminds me of Thomas Merton's photograph titled, "the only known photograph of God."


  11. Dear Heather,

    I have been so enjoying being on a virtual retreat with you through these pages of yours. But when I read your post yesterday, my eyes started welling up as I read your description of the drama of your day, and then had a good cry as I continued to read what is one of the most open-hearted, glorious, joyful assertions of God's love for us.
    My favorite parts are many, but the first that caught my breath:
    "Everything that happens to us isn't important because we're important, but because God is" and then the whole paragraph about "the riches of realizing that if you're human....."

    God's love for you and how you have been transformed by that love just kind of overflows in every part of this post.
    Once I read it, I returned to it off and on over the past 24 hours, a little tongue-tied at how I could adequately respond to such love from you. And so I had the chance to pray with my heart more open to the love I find myself receiving from those nearest and dearest to me as I see how God has lavished Himself upon me.

    An unexpected treat I find on your blog is reading the comments from your other faithful readers and the links and further ponderings that so many of them share on their blogs.

    On another note, I was delighted to see that you and I share an "almost" birthday- mine is the day after yours. It just so happens that my son was born on my birthday. I had taped Christmas carols to listen to during labor and delivery (after realizing that Christmas is the one religious observance of -well- pregnancy and birth), so my baby boy came into the world with the strains of choirs rejoicing over God being made Man.

    Haha- then yesterday, with all these wonderful thoughts spinning around in my head and heart, I still had to attend to getting a plumber in to fix the NEW leaking toilet, and learning that we will be without a first floor toilet for at least a week... and having to choose between finding someone to fix the also-leaking washing machine or trying to buy a new one that should last longer than six years.... hahaha. Life goes on, but somehow, I didn't let these annoyances take up residence in me, and my sweetie and I enjoyed a little dinner at a pasta joint where we could look in each other's eyes for an hour.

    Thank you, and God bless you!

  12. Oh wow, thanks Mary Beth and everyone else. Chip, Michael, David, Robert, Fred, Chris (only known photo of God--nice!). Mary Beth, you are so right that the many faithful readers, and their insights, observations, reflections, links and their own blogs of which I get to read way way too little are so much of what makes this little community great...

    I am up on this mountain in New Mexico but partly because of just that, have not felt lonely for hardly a second...

  13. Heather, I envy you. However, you've paid some hard dues and the peace is probably long overdue.


  14. I found your through Conversion Diary and she's right, I love your blog. I already highlighted at least 3 paragraphs that I want to share with my kids. When I read anything I feel the need to highlight you know I'm hooked. I find your blog to be delightful, insightful and intelligent. I lately, have really needed to work on judgement and forgiveness so this post spoke volumes and inspired me. Thanks and I'll be back. Blessings, Tia


I WELCOME your comments!!!