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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“…it would be a very praiseworthy thing and the correction would be so easy to make that one could accommodate the chant by gradual changes; and through this it would not lose its original form, since it is only through the binding together of many notes put under short syllables that they become long without any good purpose when it would be sufficient to give one note only.”
— Zarlino (1558) anticipating the Medicæa

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More old journal insights from way back
published 29 March 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin


I had a breakthrough on the Grieving book I am writing

Weep alone – you may drown in grief Do not weep – you may become hardened Weep with Jesus – you will have comfort and hope

This will be linked up to the idea that the purpose of God allowing the miseries of grieving is to gradually wean us from the world and bind us to Him who is The Way, the Truth and the Life, with each word being important – that the only way through grief is Him, and it is His saving truths and we need to hang onto in faith; and that Life is Him in eternity and hopefully reunion with the beloved ones – Life is a pilgrimage. Our home is not here on earth, but in heaven. Your tears are like a river to sail into the heart of God, etc. etc. etc. (This book was not published but can be obtained as a free e-book on www.rondachervin.com)

February 17, 2006

Answer to a letter:

Here is my present thinking about “unbreakable” relationships with non-spouses who are close spiritual friends: Because we are made for perfect happiness in heaven, our life on earth even when reasonably happily married, will seem unsatisfactory and leave us restless. Relating to a “spiritual friend” or past boyfriend or girlfriend, in a way that doesn’t involve the daily boring grind of concrete needs and petty personality conflicts, “who should take out the garbage,” etc. creates the illusion of that perfect love we will have in heaven.

We really are relating in such friendships to the deepest lovable self of the other, but that is only part of the person. If married to that same person we would have to deal with all the daily boring and/or conflicting sides of each other which kill or dim the vision of the innermost self of the other.

It is possible that a good Christian friendship could arise but not on the addictive basis of I have to write to him everyday and make him into a pseudo-husband figure. You would need to let go of all fantasies – “what if our spouses died in the next earthquake,” etc. etc., and presume you will never be married to each other and develop a friendship of sharing no more “exciting and exalted” than you now have with, say, your best woman friend.

If this seems unbearable it is because you might need a combination of psychological counseling because the urgency is based on some deprivation lack in childhood you are desperately trying to fill, as well as more deep prayer to let God’s total perfect love fill your heart each day – using the same time you pour out your heart to your e-beloved to be with Jesus. I will pray for you. God bless you, Ronda

Growing in holiness is not something you can just force. Here is an image someone gave me you musician readers might like: The student concentrates on his fingers and then becomes stiff, we need to play with our whole body. So in spirituality we need the whole self, relaxing the body, letting God integrate us. We need to “play” with the whole person and not be divided so there is flow. Joan Andrews Bell, the tremendous Operation Rescue woman visited the Mahoney’s here en route to an intervention against abortion. She and her husband adopted handicapped kids. They were so full of fun, especially Emiliano with prothesis legs, twisted arms, but bubbling over with joy! The adoration chapels are not for seeing God as a sounding board for my worries, but to bury my worries in His heart.

Good quote in the book by Yann Martel , Life of Pi, “to choose doubt as philosophy of life is like choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”

A few years ago I started sending a small sum to a foundation that runs a Christian school in the Holy Land for Christian Arabs. I picked out a young girl whose face appealed to me. I got a chance to meet her at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. I was moved to tears to see this beautiful but sorrowful face with big black eyes, fearful – she is about 12 years old. The sight of her made me ashamed of some cynical surmises I had about possible these type of charitable activities being scams. It was such a person to person – Jewish grandmother Catholic encounter to with a sweet Christian Arab girl.

Later I confessed to cynicism throughout my life. How does cynicism help anything? Well one might avoid being cheated but at what a price in the blackening of the soul by suspiciousness!

On the pilgrimage in the Holy Land sometimes it seemed as if a Jewish person there who said he was Christian might have been faking it to keep a good job working with Christian pilgrims. We Jewish-Catholics spoke of this and how we felt distrust. I likened this to the way the Spanish royalty must have felt about those Jews who became Catholics but might have not had real conversions and then they could be in league with the Muslims of that time. Of course they felt uneasy and wary. The Inquisitorial practices were horrible, but maybe a little more understandable given this reality. Any day Carla’s 5th baby – a girl, will be born after high risk and lots of pain. I will go to New Hampshire, July 4-21, to see little Martina. (The baby was born on July 9th with terrible labor pain. I thought about Jesus suffering for us to go to heaven as like the mother suffering for the baby to come into the world. “How can any child think his/her mother did not love him/her watching a labor!”)

Since in my anger-management system the psychiatrist is constantly inveighing against romanticism I have become slightly wary even of my love for romantic music! Low, the psychiatrist, defines romanticism very broadly as any unrealistic feelings that everything could be perpetually perfect or beautiful in life – as in people wanting to think their own views of how to do things are always right and therefore they can critically chew everyone else out over any other viewpoint! A startling but eventually compelling thesis – namely that being opinionated, in this manner, is a fatal obstacle to daily contentment.

Wonderful last stanza of an Auden poem about what’s wrong with romantic love:

“Stand, stand at the window as the tears scald and smart you shall love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.”

May 12, 2005

From a letter written to a “recovering homosexual,” from one who ministers to Christian homosexuals trying to become chaste: “…This whole issue of “remembering” the “good” times. There is no mistake about it, there were some good times. In fact, many of those “good times” look a whole lot better than the moment or situation we are in right now. To say otherwise would be “double speak” and the ultimate denial.

“Fact is, not everything we experienced in our bondage days was totally awful. I can remember the good times, just like anyone else can.

“So could the children of Israel when they were dusty, dry and hungry in the wilderness! We imagine that the bondage of Israel must have been nothing more than brutality and torture. Thank you Cecil B. De Mille for that!

“In fact, the Israelites owned property, in Goshen. They also had really nice vegetable gardens…hence the longing for garlic and melons, when all they had to eat in the desert was “this manna”. They probably had some good fishing days in Egypt also.

“And yet, the Scripture clearly says that God heard their cries and moans for deliverance. No matter how nice the fishing might have been, or how plenteous the produce, Israel knew that they were called to be free men, not slaves. Servants yes (of God), but not slaves (of man).

“Deliverance came….miraculously. Through the Red Sea Israel passed. Freedom! Next God led them to some very bitter waters. YUK! Who could drink THAT??? Moses throws some charcoal in it and it’s made sweet. Next, it was just a short 7 mile walk to the most beautiful Oasis you can imagine. This Oasis had 7 Springs! Ever been to Mammoth Springs? Imagine 7 of those. WOW. And the water was not only plenteous, but sweet too!

“Now why in the world didn’t God just take Israel from the Red Sea and lead them directly to the Oasis?

“Next stop, a huge rock! Not a drop of water in sight. Man did the people complain about that! “Better to be in bondage in Egypt”, they said, “than to be brought to this wilderness to die!” Moses strikes the rock and, VIOLA!, water comes out! Paul tells us that that rock was Christ!

“Oh, it was SO much better in the old days! We had garlic! We had melons! We had homes and a favorite fishing spot! This freedom thing is too much work, and the rations leave a whole lot to be desired too! We should never have left Egypt in the firzt place. Woe is us!!! We wanna go back!”

“Sound familiar?

“So, why didn’t God just lead Israel to a cleft rock with a spigot in it in ]the first place?

“The answer to both these questions is the same.

“They never knew the character of the Father! God had to teach them His character. I think this one object lesson went something like this.

“Trust Me. Bondage may appear sweet. Freedom may “appear” bitter.

“Only the Power of your Father can make this freedom sweet. Once sweetened, you WILL be nourished and saved by it.”

“Never think that today is “it”. Times of beautiful refreshment await…just a few miles down the road…just over the next sand dune.”

“Nothing, not even solid rock, can prevent your Father from meeting you, and showing Himself strong on your behalf.”

“Although it might seem like a wilderness that you’re in, remember that it is your Father Who has brought you to it. Can it get any better than that?”

Oh yeah, one more thing. “You can’t drink and complain at the same time! Do you wanna gripe all day? or start drinkin’?”

“I had a very deep and long lasting relationship. It was so beautiful that it almost killed me! Talk about co-dependency! If I’m honest, I can see that the relationship was sick. No matter how “good” the “good times” seem to have been. A slave is still a slave, no matter how good the fishing or abundant the produce.

Anyway, this is what I have learned about remembering the “good times”.

In a speech Pope Benedict gave in 2002 about the nature of the beautiful he contrasts the Greek Adonis type notion with the Christian notion in which the disfigured Christ on the cross is the most beautiful because it is the great demonstration of love.

This paragraph made me think of beautiful non-pregnant Carla and beautiful pregnant Carla so I thought you might like it:

“In the face of the Shroud of Turin so disfigured there appears the genuine, extreme beauty: the beauty of love that goes “to the very end.”

May 1, 2005 Dear friends,

Even though we are not supposed to discuss politics on the Association of Hebrew Catholic discussion board, there is a related philosophical issue with regard to attitudes toward Israel.

Just on an ethnic level, people who live in a country have a right to love it and want to protect it. This does not mean they should defend it in the sense of “my country right or wrong,” since universal just war theory is binding on Catholics, still one can’t say that a person of Jewish ancestry whether atheistic or orthodox or anything in between doesn’t have a right to hope that the land of ones people would survive just as US Irish Americans want Ireland to survive.

For instance, Germans fought for their Fatherland even if they were anti-Nazi just as we would fight for the US in spite of our horrible abortion laws!