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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Two pages of modal exercises reflect Liszt’s lively theoretical curiosity. On those pages he analysed the construction, transpositions, and “points of repose” of several modes, copied out several types of tetrachords, and jotted down several definitions of the effects and characters of certain modes. {…} Modality was not the only element of Gregorian chant that intrigued Liszt. Rhythm too was the object of his “studies.” He also copied out plainchant melodies using modern instead of square notation. In his letter from July 24, 1860, to Carolyne, Liszt refers to the necessity of this “modern” practice.
— Nicolas Dufetel on Franz Liszt's interest in plainsong

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St. Francis of Assisi still can Help Us!
published 10 September 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

I am working on the Spiritual Classics Anthology. I have read that story about St. Francis and Perfect Joy many times, but this time it hit me freshly.

I have a terrible time with being cold – it comes with old age and my time in Corpus Christi thinning my blood, they say. Anyhow I was dreading the cold weather coming. At the seminary they usually don’t turn on the heat until November 15th which is 2 months after I am already cold. I have a heater in my little room, but there is nothing to do about the cold in the chapel where I like to spend a few hours a day. (By the way, today was a day of recollection for the seminarians. They spend 24 hours in silence and serial adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I can’t remember any Church except here ever being in a chapel with 100 people not speaking or even whispering! Balm to the soul. You know a little more silence in all our lives has to be good. I knew a mother with 8 home-school kids who insisted on an hour a day of silence for herself reading the Bible in her bedroom. The older kids had to answer the needs of the littler ones. It worked. She was peaceful.)

So I am reading where St. Francis is cold and miserable the rain walking toward his monastery and proclaims to Fr. Leo: “What is perfect joy? If our brothers healed the sick, made the deaf hear, even raised people from the dead that would not be perfect joy. Perfect joy would be if we arrive at the monastery and they won’t let us in thinking we are thieves, and instead of muttering and grumbling we would forgive them and try to enter with only kind words three times.”

Generally when I read the story it just persuades me that “I am not 'cut out’ to be saint. Forget it, etc. etc” This time, however, probably because of working on my New Way and also the Theophostic prayer I mentioned a few days ago I thought instead, “what would happen if I made up my mind, after doing everything I can to stay warm, not to even mention the cold for the next 3 months???? I grabbed my dedicated widow companion and told her that any time I mention the cold she can smile and hint “perfect joy?”

Can I challenge you to think of something you tend to complain about outwardly or just in your head? Think, what would it be like if after trying to change the situation, I would just stop complaining for a day, a week, a month??????

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.