Saturday, March 23, 2013

keep your eye on the ball

I have described myself before as a slow processor, and I've also learned that there are many of us out there! 

Over at, for example, author Heather King describes herself as, 
"one of those people for whom every week of experience takes two to process (which partly explains why I need to spend a lot of time alone)." 
Since this is my first Holy Week as a blogger, I don’t know what is the proper or regular protocol as far as balancing these things. But I've discerned that in order for me to enter Holy Week fully and with my whole heart, it's going to be important that (at least this year), I make a point of fasting from blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and most anything related to electronics. 

As a basketball fan, I'm already fairly distracted by march madness. 

Holy Week, especially the Easter Triduum, is a treasured time for our family, and this year we will have all of our grown children and their families (yes, including Elenita and the Twinkies!) celebrating with us. How blessed am I?! It will be our family version of march madness.

But before I sign off for Holy Week, I want to point out a couple of things. 

First of all, as I’ve already written here before, my current book project is a biography of Servant of God Fr. Stanley Francis Rother, an Oklahoma priest who was killed while ministering at an Oklahoma mission in Santiago de Atitlán, Guatemala.

And Wednesday of Holy Week – March 27 – is Father Rother's birthday.  So I’d like to tell you a little bit about his final Holy Week and how important it was for him. 

Each year, Fr. Rother sent a Christmas letter for publication in the two Oklahoma diocesan newspapers. In his final Christmas letter of 1980 he pointed out, 
“This is one of the reasons I have for staying in the face of physical harm. The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.” 
A month later, and six months before his death, Fr. Rother and another local priest left Guatemala under threat of death after witnessing the abduction of a parish catechist. 

But Fr. Rother returned to his beloved community in Santiago Atitlán in time to celebrate Holy Week with them, ignoring the pleas of those who urged him to consider his own safety. Not only did he know in his heart that the shepherd cannot run, he also lived with his entire being what it meant to be "a sign of the love of Christ" for his people.

That July, in a statement read in all the nation’s parishes, the Guatemalan bishops denounced “a carefully studied plan” by the government “to intimidate the Church and silence its prophetic voice.

At 1:30 am on July 28, 1981, three Spanish-speaking Ladino men (non indigenous) snuck into the rectory of Santiago Apostol (St. James) church in Santiago Atitlán, beating Father Rother and shooting him twice in the head.

Please pray for me as I continue to work on this beautiful life story. 

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On a completely different subject, I was asked yesterday to be one of the contributors for a Lenten "discussion" in the New York Times section called "Room for Debate."  The topic is: "Is there a point in giving up something for Lent?"

I will try to remember to post a link to the final product here, but since I'll be offline and it will be published on Good Friday, I'd like to ask #1, for your prayers as I ponder  and discern what to say--and #2, if you happen to think of it, please drop by the NYTimes and leave a friendly comment?