Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

I recently read an article on the National Catholic Register website about what Fr. Dwight Longnecker calls “wood-chopping therapy.” After visiting a parishioner who he felt was over-worried and anxious about life, his brother suggested that the parishioner needed a good dose of wood-chopping therapy. He, the brother, had recently come home feeling angry and frustrated about something, but after chopping wood for awhile in the back yard, he felt restored of mind and spirit.

Fr. Longnecker interprets his brother’s suggestion as a case study in St. Benedict’s rule to combine prayer and work, ora et labora, to lead a contented, balanced life. St. Benedict mandated that his religious brothers engage in chores throughout the day and that these chores be, whenever possible, physical chores. He too knew of the restorative power of physical labor.

After reading that article, I was craving some wood-chopping therapy. My school day ended somewhat lousily today, and nothing I told myself in my head made any difference. Nothing stuck. I knew that the problem wasn’t in my mind, but rather in my body.

Seeing as how I live in an apartment in a large metropolitan area, however, chopping wood is easier said than done. I went for a walk, hoping to take care of some of the edginess. I was unrelieved. I prayed, simply, for some wood-chopping before the day was through.

Earlier this week, I had arranged to pick up a used sofa from a friend and co-worker. It was a large, heavy sofa with a mattress inside. “Will we be able to carry this?” I asked, referring more to myself than my friend.

After some vein-popping fun, the couch finally made it into the apartment. But before it even got out of the door of his, I knew this was God’s answer to my prayers for a chance to chop wood this evening. The job done, I felt restored to a degree of mental clarity. My lousy day wasn’t so confusing anymore, and I could see things a bit more clearly.

If you need any wood chopped, let me know.


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Need a little inspiration this month?  Check this video out.  I found it on Amy Welborn’s Via Media.:

This one is almost even cooler.

Update:  I decided to make the second one a link so as not to overwhelm this post visually.  Both of them are worth checking out.

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This weekend I was reading a reflection from Praying with St. Paul at breakfast.  The author, Fr. James Martin, S.J., remarked that “God takes delight in you!” and that in little ways, God shows us that he likes us, that he takes delight in us.

When I showed up to run the 5K at St. Richard’s this weekend, I stopped in quickly to get my registration materials, number, and t-shirt.  This is what I found inside:

scan0002Yes, that’s right, I had been given the number one as my race number.  I felt pretty special.

Then, later that day, I received this card from my eight-year-old brother in the mail.  It was perfect.

scan0003Well, that pretty much sums it up.  Thanks, God.

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I have been reading some very insightful and powerful reflections at Amy Welborn’s Blog, Charlotte Was Both. Amy Welborn is a popular Catholic author who has written the Prove It! series for Catholic young adults, among many other bestsellers. I have met some people who disagree with Amy on one topic or the other, but I find her to be a sound writer, though she isn’t afraid to approach some difficult issues.

Amy has reflected in writing on a number of topics that I have found very relevant to my situation. She has put words to what it feels like to leave home, to find your way in a new place, to try to strike the balance between insulation and communication, and to live faith in an uncertain world. Amy’s posts about reading and books are usually insightful, at least to the point where I am encouraged to read more and am reminded of how enriching a balanced diet of reading can be. The fact that Amy’s posts don’t have the benefit of an editor is not usually a problem. Aside from a typo here or there, Amy’s reflections are well worth the time it takes to read them.

And while we’re on the subject, I really enjoy reading Ambrose-a-Rama, a blog written by a Catholic woman living with her family in China. I’m a fan of Ambrose’s frequent references to Starbucks and her frequent posts about the Church in China.

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