8% Checkup

It’s hard to believe, but January is already basically over. That’s 8% of the year gone already!

This means it’s time to check up on my New Year’s Resolutions and see how I’ve done so far… (told you I take these things seriously!)

1. Spend 30 minutes every day in Scripture: Okay, I have done not too badly on this one. Between preparing the Sunday Gospel for the JP2 Group and preparing other Bible Studies, I’ve been spending some time in Scripture pretty much every day.

However, I’m still not quite regularly up to the full half an hour and it’s not quite as meditation-focussed as I would like. That’s something to work on…

2. More dancing: I’ve been limping through this resolution. So far, I have been out dancing once each week, which is certainly more than I was doing last year, but I still don’t feel I’ve really embraced the spirit of this resolution yet.  I have a plan though…

3. No more rushing: I’m rather pleased with this one. I have certainly cut down my number of social engagements, distributed them better and set aside more time to just chill at home. My state of mind has definitely improved as a result.  This one is a “win” 🙂

4. No chocolate: Not touched a single piece.  I really miss it though…I even had a chocolate dream last night 🙁

5. Get into the best shape of my life: Really have done very badly on this front. I’ve definitely cut down my food intake and increased the amount of fruit and veg, but the exercising really hasn’t happened. Must do some lengths in the pool before bed tonight…

6. At least five minutes of guitar practice every day: This one is another “win”. I’ve done a minimum of five minutes every day, but very often more, particularly at the weekends.  Love it.

7. Keep proper track of my finances: Utter fail.

8. Get back to England for a couple of weeks: All flights are now booked. I’m going via Washington to see the lovely DC people and coming back via Philadelphia to see Jen.

So…all in all, I don’t think I’ve done too badly. I think the two big ones I have to concentrate on this next month are (5) and (7).

See you next month 🙂

What do you mean, I don't communicate good?

One of the charges I’ve had leveled at me in the past is that I’m not a very open person and that I’m not very good at communicating what I’m thinking. Now, I personally don’t think this is true, but I guess one can only deny something like this for so long, particularly when the rest of the world seems to think otherwise.  And so in the spirit of good communication….

Friday Frivolity: Fr Ted

For today, I thought I’d share a clip from a show that doesn’t really seem to have made an impression over here in the USA.  So here’s a little bit of classic comedy from the 90’s, “Father Ted”:

(You’ll have to watch it inside YouTube)

Knowing God’s will

It has been said that it’s easier to preach a hundred sermons rather than to live one out. Equally, I’ve found that, more often than not, the advice we freely hand out to friends, family and even strangers is usually the advice that we ourselves need to hear.

At the moment I’m taking a bit of time out to consider the things going on in my life and to ponder where all this is heading… I have done this at other points in my life and, more often than not, I’ve ended up tying myself up into knots trying to discern God’s will for my life.

The other week I said something to a friend that, tonight, I realise I needed hear myself:

“Knowing God’s will? Well, that’s easy! Love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind…and love your neighbour as yourself. Everything else is just details” (c.f. Mark 12:29-31)

Important details, sure, but still details nonetheless…

Friday Frivolity: Maccabees Style

I originally had something else planned for  this week’s Friday Frivolity, but I just got sent this video and just had to share.  If you’ve ever struggled through the books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees, do not worry! Now it has been set to music thanks to the Maccabeats!

Advice from an insomniac

As some of you know, I occasionally have a real issue with insomnia.

It first became a real problem in my final year of University.  However, it was shortly after leaving University that it really started to become a regular (frustrating) feature in my life.

The cause of the insomnia eventually became clear – stress.  When I can’t sleep, it’s because I’m worrying about something. Even at times when I’m not conscious that I’m worrying, my body refuses to let me sleep.  My body clearly knows me better than my own conscious mind!  My body decides it wants to help me and that the best way to do that is to deprive me of sleep until 3am each night, thereby giving me ample opportunity to reflect on the possible sources of this stress in my life!

But anyway, this isn’t really a post about insomnia.  A few of my friends have recently indicated from their Facebook statuses that they’ve been sleeping poorly.  An adult needs about 7-8 hours of sleep every night so here are some helpful strategies I’ve used over the past ten years to get good night sleep…

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Peace, but not as the world gives…

I didn’t want to let another week pass without commenting on a blog entry entitled The Sign of Peace – theory and practice by my favourite Australian monk over at Dominus Mihi Adjutor.

He opens the blog entry describing some of the awkwardness that routinely arises at the“Sign of Peace” in a typical parish.

For those unfamiliar with this moment of the Mass, it is when members of the congregation are encouraged to give “a sign of peace” to one another, usually in the form of a handshake, or sometimes a kiss or hug for family members or close friends.  This takes place shortly before receiving communion, with the priest saying:

Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”.  Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

Priest: The Peace of the Lord be with you always.

All: And also with you.

Deacon or Priest: Let us offer each other a sign of peace…

[Sign of Peace]

All: Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us…

As Fr. Hugh mentions, the Sign of Peace is actually an optional part of the Mass and I quite often go to a Mass here in San Diego where the priest omits it entirely which some people love and others hate. The Byzantine Rite parish I visit whenever I can has no general Sign of Peace.

Fr. Hugh traces the development of the Sign of Peace from New Testament times through the early centuries and into the modern Church.  He argues that the Sign of Peace which takes place in most parishes today doesn’t really fulfill its intended liturgical purpose and is often more of a disturbance than anything else.

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