Posting has been slow lately, I know. Ever since this Boston College business became that much more real for me the other day, I have been preoccupied with all kinds of joys and worries. I noticed it especially when I had a hard time concentrating on the Office of Readings earlier this morning; my thoughts were racing so much that it took me three tries to get through the hymn Hic est dies verus Dei. I thank God for practices like Centering Prayer which have helped me to disidentify with thoughts and feelings and so not be overwhelmed at times like this. Yes, I am my thoughts and feelings, just as I am my body. But these do not exhaust who I am as God's creature.
On the one hand, I'm happy about the whole thing. The friars have asked me to go back to school, and since I have vowed to seek God's will for me in my obedience to the fraternity, I am confident that this is what the Holy Spirit desires for me right now. I also just feel good; transition always gives me this funny and giddy energy that makes me feel curiously alive.
On the other hand, though, I'm also very anxious. I don't have enough of a plan of what I'm going to do when I get there, or with whom. Topics for a dissertation--even giving shape to the word gives me a feeling of dread--roll around in my mind: Sermons of Lawrence of Brindisi? Victorine love and obedience? Religious life as eschatology? The Bonaventurianism of Benedict XVI? Debt paid or canceled on the Cross?
Other anxieties arise as well. Am I ready to go back into a fraternal and educational environment that is much more ideologically charged than life here at the parish? Here nobody bothers with the larger theological or ecclesiological implications of belief and practice. On the one hand, this can make for boredom, but it's also a very real freedom. If you feel like you should pray or offer Mass in a certain way, nobody uses it as a chance to dismiss you with some reducing label, nor does anyone confront you with questions like, 'Is that your idea of Church?' Am I ready for the penance of losing this freedom? Will I find my new environments tolerant?
Anyway, that's where I am today. I still have a couple of the "What's At Stake" posts in development, and I promise to get back to them.