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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“Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another… It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. […] Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither.”
— Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman (May of 1879)

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Truth Stretches Our Souls
published 12 March 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

AINT Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote “A soul that indulges in useless thoughts and desires scatters it forces. It is not completely under God’s sway. Its lyre is not in tune, so that when the Master strikes it, it cannot draw forth Divine harmonies; it is too human and discordant.”

From my old journal when I was living at a Retreat Center:

I want to be small and silent. It seems clearer to me how my exaggerated humor and nervous chatter is a defense mechanism and how only absorbing the love of God for me in contemplative prayer can make me feel safe enough to be smaller and quieter so that my energies can go into being a blessing to others and not to “the defense fund….”

A lovely poem by my daughter, Carla:


My trees are huddled tightly in their groups –
They’re listening. They wait for the chirroo
Of this last sunrise. Every trunk is full
But they are not departing. They have roots.

The first slight golden drops begin to fall
Like floating carpets. When the wrecking ball
Smacks thicker waters from this praying sky,
This bleeding sky, this cracking sky, then I

Will have to lift my feet. Because I can,
I cross myself and mumble my amens
Just as the egg breaks. I can almost hear
The willing barks receive the dawn. “No fear:

We’ll follow,” whisper leaves so I might know
Their promise to remember when I go.

During a vacation:

When I first came this summer I had lives of the saints to read before closing my eyes at night. Now that I have run out of these I am selecting books off the old family shelf, hoping to learn something as well as turn my mind away from heavy problems besetting me at this time.

Two of these books I was dipping into were upsetting since they forced me to face dreadful realities on the social scene I try not to think about too much. One was a book written in 1925 called the New Negro. It contains articles, poetry, fiction, drama coming out of what was called the Harlem Renaissance. Since my mother was one of those New York City white people with many black friends of those arty circles, I have always had an interest in this period of black urban history between the two World Wars.

What made it sorrowful to read was the projection in the optimistic articles of a seemingly certain progress toward equality and appreciation between blacks and whites. The violent horrors of black liberation with the continuance even after partial victory, of racism, discrimination, family dissolution, crime, drug-addiction and abortion, was not foreseen even by those whose writings displayed the seeds of these destructive forces. The black ministers preaching hell-fire for the sins of their people were depicted for the most part as comic or tragic figures, but not as prophets of still worse immorality.

Blacks saints intercede for your people. Help them come back to their Christian roots. Let the non-violent mission of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers remain to inspire the people to the values that can save them from bitter despair.
Last night I was reading more in the Caitlin Thomas book. Shortly after Dylan’s death, Caitlin made a trip with her five year old son to Italy. Before she used to complain greatly about her housewifely rounds: “Then I could wholeheartedly revile my fate, and say I was meant for better things. But now I have got better things, and only myself to revile, what do I do but complain about my lack of chains, and go searching, and screeching, and banging into walls, like a blinded demented hen, looking for a master to tell me what to do, and when; so that, presumably, I shall have the pleasure of doing the opposite again. For that is another of those little bittersweet ironies, that wrongdoing loses its savor when it is made permissible; and only the unprocurable is a luxury. So now that nobody cared what I did, nor tried to stop my exaggerated exhibitions of myself, just to show I was afraid of nothing, the bite was deftly taken out of the apple. And replaced by a quaking aspen leaf, that was me, not sure of which foot to put in front of the other, in which direction to turn my eyes, stumbling, belatedly newly born, wandering, bereft, in a dense country of confused woods, stifled by too many trees.”

Today was my youngest grandson’s third birthday. Light-spirited fun is certainly to the glory of God who made us to start as children vs. serious adults. A funny moment came when Dad gave large balloons to each of the four children. For a second there little Zachary thought he wasn’t going to get one. His face broke out into total dismay. “Here’s yours, Zacko!” In a flash misery turned to ecstatic joy.
There was another sweet moment when all of us with ages ranging from 65 down to 6 got to see the little one’s greedy pleasure in his presents as his little hands frantically tore off the wrappings.

Oh God, if these anniversaries are so happy, what will the surprises of heaven be like?