Sunday, May 2, 2010

Square One Reflection

Happy Sunday Ya'll,

Let's jump right in.

What is the meaning of life?
What is its goal?
Its purpose?

How do these questions strike you?

On one hand, you may recognize this as the most basic human question. The question we are always confronted with. The question we are always trying to respond to.

On the other hand, in the past, when we try to actually articulate an answer to this question, find ourselves getting tongue-tied, confused, and a bit unsure of ourselves.

It is in this moment, that we warily begin to ask ourselves, "Have I really lived this long and never really dealt with Square One?"

It can be a shocking moment in life, to realize that you still haven't really got a firm grasp of Square One. However, I feel that this is a moment which many of us have experienced in our lives...perhaps are experiencing right now to one degree or another.

Earlier today I was reading a book entitled Union with God which made reference to this phenomena. The author, Fr. David Vincent Meconi, SJ, responded to this "Sqaure One Question" as follows (This is going to be a lengthy quote...but one I think is worth sharing. I have added some bolding myself.):

"The human person has an inescapable desire for perfect happiness. This yearning is common to all, regardless of race, creed, or culture, because it is a 'desire of origin" (Catechism of the Catholic Church {CCC}) directing every human soul to the one true God. This is an essential insight, because before we start out on any endeavor or project, we must first understand the end we wish to achieve. 'Should I fly, take the bus, or ride my bike?' 'Well, that depends," the answer would come, 'Where is it you wish to go?'. Without a fixed goal clearly in mind, it is impossible to weigh intelligently or coherently between choices. Nothing can be understood fully until one understands the purpose for which it exists. WIthout a destination, a right turn is equally as good as a left, and eventually we find ourselves treating life as nothing more than an aimless joyride, having produced a generation chanting 'WHATEVER' as the slogan capturing their forlornness and spiritual torpor.

The great Christian masters have seen otherwise. For example, toward the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola [one of the greatest Spiritual Masters in Christian history] (d.1566) combats our fallen tendency to lose our way with this guideline:
The human person is created to praise, reverence and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so to save his or her soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created. It follows from this that one must use other created things in so far as they help toward one's end, and free oneself form them in so far as they are obstacles to one's end." (Principle and Foundation; Spiritual Exercises P.23)

Notice how Ignatius starts. before entertaining how we should live, he first must establish WHY we are alive, "to praise, reverence and serve God." Our entire life must be directed towards that end, the only real and last goal we have. [...]

Typical here too is the 'world friendliness' of St. Ignatius. He never divides the world into anything automatically good or bad, nor does he ever list what created good or activities will necessarily bring us close to God. For Ignatius, any creature can prove to be either a holy icon inviting greater union with God or a deterrent to the divine, leading us away from the goal for which we should all be striving. Every seemingly mundane task can hence become in the eyes of the saint, an opportunity to be used to grow in divine intimacy. Indeed, the saint is the one able to hear the sounds of the world as the primal symphony singing the glory of God.

OK. It's Victor again. Either now or when you finish reading this post, I would really recommend some time looking at this YouTube line: BEN ZANDER. It features a famous classical musician named Ben Zander who is currently traveling around the world trying to resurrect people's love for Classical Music. This link allows you to watch one of his presentations. The last line of the quotation above reminded me of this. As he teaches you to open your heart to the power of classical music, too ask the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes, ears, and senses to hear all of creation singing praises to God....and to hear God in unison with all of his angels and saints singing love songs to you. It is real. It is magnificent. It is always playing. We must just stop and listen.

OK back to Fr. Meconi's reflections:

As we think about all of the different ways we are pulled in the course of an average day, of all the various attractions and aversions within us, we can better understand why we need one sovereign goal beyond which there is nothing left to strive. We all hunger for permanence and when we are honest, we see how the world cannot offer us the incorruptibility for which we all seek. "Now thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; you have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; And he who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it" (Haggai 1:5-6). Unless they are initiated, sustained and completed by the Lord, all earthly pursuits and relations leave us cold and empty, and as long as there is something still wanting, we are not yet at the Christ life. Union with the divine is the only state that can fulfill our deepest desires and give us a sense of purpose and peace. "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you," St. Augustine confesses to God (Confessions 1.1), knowing how deep within the center of the human heart is found a chamber opening up onto Infinity. It is God-sized and only God can fill it and until then, our vastness continues to hunger and ache-deep calling out to Deep. (cf. Ps 42:7)

So, I really enjoyed reading over this and reflecting over it is this past week, so I thought I would share it with all of ya'll.

I found that this "Square-One Reflection" was very helpful to me. To remember that every, little detail of our lives has meaning. Every little detail is drawing us closer to God...the source of all our happiness and fulfillment...or further away.

I think at times we are looking for great, magnificent, INSPIRING moments in our lives...that we can claim as "valuable" and "meaningful." Sure there are "defining" moments in our lives, but we must not miss out on what is going on right NOW. Every moment we are alive is Real. Every moment we are alive is a Gift. May God give us the Grace to always see the Gift in the NOW. To Receive it. To live it.

Consider again the quote of St. Ignatius above. What a beautiful way to treat Square One. How simply he puts it. We are made to praise God. In every instance, in every "NOW" of our lives, we may use this as a Guideline...a touchstone...a Square One. We may ask ourselves in every situation, "Will this help me to Praise God or not?" And then act accordingly.

Can you identify with the "restlessness" that St. Augustine speaks of? Do you desire to be perfectly happy? Do you find yourself always longing for more?

If you answer "Yes" to any of these...have no are, INDEED, a human being.

This is the great Hope in Jesus Christ. That there IS, in fact, an ADEQUATE medicine...response to our heart's deepest longing to be perfectly love and be loved. And this is God....who is Love itself.....who has a human form = Jesus Christ.

I offer all of this to you for you reflection, prayer, and living. I pray you may experience more and more how Real is God's Love for you. How it is REAL food for your life. It is the Real Goal...the Real Purpose behind your life...and all things.

As you strive to live, love, and welcome God into your life this week, I leave you one last thought of Fr. Meconi:

"Those around you are the means through whom God has chosen to love you and the way he invites you to love him."


Good Priests?!: Despite all of the bad media priests have been getting lately, here is an article that reflects upon the recent "scandals" in the Church and then takes time to do something most reporters are not interested in---reflecting on the many heroic and saintly priests who are serving us today.

ROLL TIDE: It never gets old....always inspiring.....always refreshing.....

A couple weeks ago, our College hosted its annual "Rector's Dinner." It is the biggest fundraiser of the year here at our College in Rome. Guests are invited from all over the United States and Italy to join us for a formal dinner. The seminarians organize, set up, and serve the whole thing. Each year, some kind of entertainment is provided. This year they decided to do a medley of accapella songs that many of our more "wizened" guests would appreciate. They are really impressive. Check it out. One of the guys singing is from Mobile--Steven Vrazel. You will recognize him by his handlebar mustache.

RESPONSE TO ABUSE: Here is Cardinal Leveda's response to the many allegations of abuse in the Church. I find it to be very balanced and helpful. He acknowledges the greigous errors of priests in the Church but also puts think in proper prospective and addressed the media's approach to the whole ordeal.


Yesterday, my Granddad turned 83!!! Congrats Toad! Love you! Keep Rocking it!


John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;

yet the word you hear is not mine

but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.

The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name,

will teach you everything

and remind you of all that I told you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me tell you,

‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’

If you loved me,

you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;

for the Father is greater than I.

And now I have told you this before it happens,

so that when it happens you may believe.


Peace Ya'll.

Let's keep praying for one another.


  1. Hey Victor...its a nice read.. and extremely thought provoking. I am also reading a book (Iam sure you must have heard about it) Tuesdays with Morrie". Its an amazing book. Havent reached far.. however, I wiould just like to share one thought that the book talks about... The old prof says "we must learn how to die....only then we will learn how to live..."

    The life that we are leading now is truck in soooo many trivial things that the broader focus at times is my age and experience, I try not to be affectedc by these things but still... practicaity and triviality seems to be the course of the day..

    Keep posting...


  2. sorry...its stuck not "truck"...just proof reading :)