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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“I would hope there is a place [at Mass] for the avant-garde in the same way I think there has to be a place—and we have to be careful with this—a place for Jazz and a place for Evangelical and all of that. […] On theological grounds, I do think we need interaction with the culture at the level of high art or at the level of more commercial pop culture.”
— Fr. Anthony Ruff (22 June 2016)

   Send an E-mail to Dr. Ronda Chervin, Ph.D.
St. Josephine Bahkita – and other Matters
published 8 February 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

F YOU DON’T KNOW HER, google our new saint, Josephine Bahkita, whose feast day is today, former slave in the Sudan, brutalized, who became a holy nun. Her forgiveness of her tormentors will thrill you. About a different subject, a daughter of mine was advised to deal with painful hormone problems by taking a contraceptive pill. Even though she is anti-contraception, this would come under double-effect if a side effect was making the lining of the uterus inhospitable to any embryo that could be conceived in the process. Her response was: “I get this terrible image: a tiny thing but with a face and a toothless brave smile…it swims with great difficulty to the place that is meant to be home. But it is not home, it’s a chilly inhospitable environment which will kill her. I won’t do it.”

It is a poetic rather than literal image since the embryo wouldn’t yet be able to smile, but it made me cry thinking how many of these are flushed out every day in our culture of death.
I am going through old journals from 2006 to now. The excerpts I choose will be under the title One Foot in Eternity. This is a play on my autobiography that ended in 2003 and is entitled En Route to Eternity, published by Miriam Press.

Each time I write a blog I will put in anything from those journals I think you would find interesting:

December, 2006

“During my quiet prayer, absorbed in the beauty of the large white host encircled by the gold monstrance, I suddenly thought about the early American Protestant Divine, Jonathan Edwards, who had a lot to say about analogy. This interesting thinker believed that everything in nature was created precisely for the purpose of providing analogies to supernatural realities. God is glad whenever we managed to spot the analogy, as in becoming aware of how the delicacy of a flower points to the delicacy of God’s grace.

If nature provides such analogies, perhaps human made artifacts also can be jumping off points for Godly meditation. I was stunned once when a brilliant friend who was working her way through graduate school doing clerical work told me that every time she sealed an envelope she would meditate on the goodness of unity over separateness! Get it? The closed envelope, was more together, unified, than the open one!

Now why is it so characteristic of human nature to live on several levels at once – licking envelopes at the same time as meditating on the metaphysics of the universe? The many-layeredness of our psyches has always perplexed me. We are able to do so many things at once. Often instead of elevating ourselves to a higher level in the midst of menial tasks, we are dragged down to a lower level, from the “sublime to the ridiculous.” Is the disunity of the many-layeredness of our personhood a result of the Fall, or just part of God’s way of making us? Did Adam and Eve, before giving into the temptation of disobeying God, have only one thought at a time? Were they what the Germans call “einfach” – one drawer – in the bureau of their character?

But we are forced, instead, to live out a many-drawered existence? In Asian spirituality they call it “monkey-mind” the way our thoughts during prayer slip from spirit to the mundane in a dizzying but boring way. Yet God, who was perfectly “integrated,” if that word can be used of the Divine level or reality, nonetheless chose to create myriads of beings; eventually millions of millions of human beings. He must like variety, otherwise he could have just made one model of each possible being – one dog, one tree, one cat, one human person.

Very often the multi-layered feature of my life is miserably humiliating. In the midst of taking in the beautiful design on the tabernacle in our church, comes a pain of the lower digestive track. To go to the bathroom or not? Ugh! Even if I decide to forget it, the mood of rapt enjoyment of the artistry in our chapel decor is lost.”

(About on-going digestive track little crosses, if I complain about it, the Lord usually gets me to laugh by suggesting to me that these functions are a wonderful antidote to our ridiculous pride.)