About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“The Church has always kept, and wishes still to maintain everywhere, the language of her Liturgy; and, before the sad and violent changes of the 16th century, this eloquent and effective symbol of unity of faith and communion of the faithful was, as you know, cherished in England not less than elsewhere. But this has never been regarded by the Holy See as incompatible with the use of popular hymns in the language of each country.”
— Pope Leo XIII (1898)

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Contingency and Powerlessness
published 7 November 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

This was the week of the big power outage in Connecticut where I live and teach. I have not yet reaped all the insights from this awful experience. The morning after the lights and heat went out one of the priests said “This is good it will get us out of taking everything for granted.”

It was a horrible feeling alone in my room that night expecting that any minute the power would be gone = no land-line, a cell phone whose battery would soon run out that couldn’t be re-charged, no heat, no light but a flash light and a prognosis that it could be from 4-10 days before power would be restored.

I had been in the big LA earthquake area, but in that case power was quickly restored and phones and emergencyTV channels were on; it was not cold outside, and most of all I was huddled with family.

Since it was about 40 degrees in the classrooms almost all classes were cancelled. Happily the chapel is heated by some radiant ecological system unrelated to electricity and the kitchen stoves are gas – the cooks in heavy warm clothing were cooking with flash-lights to see by trying to make best use of all the food in the huge refrigerators whose electric power was out.

Soon there were gas lines at the stations from all the people fleeing to their cars for warmth.

A good moment was finding someone with a battery for charging the cell phone that fit with my little Verizon phone. The second night I chose huddling under my comforter with a flash light over sleeping on a hard pew, bag-lady style, in the warmer chapel. The best moment was finding that one of my dedicated widows who comes back and forth from NY State had a house with power back on. So we quickly packed up the car of another freezing widow, waited on the gas line and sped 2 hours away to our friend’s house. We passed many trucks of men fixing power lines or dragging away fallen trees on the way.

Many muttered prayers and joy to go to Masses in the light of Churches out of the outage zone, but basically a deep feeling of contingency; that is, anxiety that comes when what we depend upon isn’t there. “God alone is enough” was not my first thought or feeling. Alarm that because of tech few of us have fireplaces.

Today I will hear about the local shelter one religious brother went to. The dinner conversation was all about different sizes and relative hazards of generators we might use if this happens again.

Anyhow, after only one long night in New York, the phone call came from the Rector of the Seminary – the power is back! Power! Yes! More power to power and prayers for all those still afflicted and the woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning trying to work a generator without knowing how.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda by visiting RONDAVIEW. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.