It's been a few weeks since I turned off Facebook in my life. A few local friends who I see in real life, had commented to me how they missed my posts. That the journey Lisa and I have been on - both the Camino and our journey into the Catholic life of faith - have inspired them in their own walk.
I logged into an app the other day and somehow reactivated my old Facebook account. Those tenticles go far and wide apparently! So I decided to just leave it "active" and perhaps just post one way. Letting my friends peer into my life - but keeping myself from my over compulsive nature which can spend way too much time scrolling through digital content online.
Ultimately, my greatest desire is to travel further into the heart of Jesus. I realized from a video I watched the other day that this is the very reason I became Catholic. I had gone as far into the heart of Jesus as I could in various Protestant denominations...and I could only find more of Jesus in His actual presence in the Holy Eucharist.
So, as with the Camino, I'll just continue to follow where the path shows me to go...where those yellow markers say "take this hill, this rocky path" - and try to navigate it as best as I can.
And I guess I'll keep that Facebook window open for now and hope that my life is worth looking at, and perhaps can encourage someone else along the path to keep walking....further....into the Sacred heart of Jesus.
I continue to process our experiences on the Camino de Santiago.
Now we are back in "real life" - back to working our jobs, back to routines and schedules. I do find myself sometimes wishing I was back on the trails enjoying the simplicity of just getting up every day, finding food, and walking.
It makes me think about what life was like for people who lived in an earlier time where the daily routines revolved just around the basic necessities of life. Working was just for the goal of food, shelter and clothing - and maybe some little extras in life. What is appealing is certainly the simplicity of life. Family was at the center but not driven by the hectic running around, entertainment, and pursuits of our current American way of life.
There is something to consider in the Apostle Paul's words to Timothy :
"Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world,
so that we can take nothing out of it;
but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these."
I Timothy 6:6-8
This year I plan to pursue some signifiacant change in my life. I recently dropped Facebook from my life. I now am more focused on reading books and watching documentaries to help shape my life. I realize I spent too much time with entertainment and distractions - which inevitably allow the world for form our thinking.
In the coming months Lisa and I will put the house on the market to sell, and look to downsize to a smaller home. My hope is to eliminate the space we do not use, rid our lives of material posessions that mean little to us and only take up space, and simplify our shelter needs to allow for us to focus on living together rather than accomodate rooms to "get away" from one another. A smaller space will also force us to get outside more, since just hanging out in a smaller home won't be as comfortable as in one of larger living areas. Hopefully, we will want to go on walks, paddleboard, and be part of our neighborhood and community at large.
The journey in life continues and the lessons I learned on the Camino about detachment from "stuff", detachment from tasks, and detachment from comforts continue to stir in my mind and heart.
For St Ignatius of Loyola, detachment from the world meant acceptance of what we have in life, and peace and joy in our hearts because we know where our true lives reside....in the heart of Jesus.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
St Ignatius of Loyola.....pray for us.
Today I officially closed the doors on my Facebook account. I have to say, there is some real sense of liberation in my mind - knowing I don't have to wonder what someone is posting to my wall, or tagging me to reply to, or inviting me to play a game. I was challenged recently by a documentary on minimalism.
I have more decisions to make about the rest of my "social" life online. But I hope this is the first step to doing more "real world" things - and less viewing the lives of others through a computer screen.
Minimalism is getting a hold in my world more and more. On the Camino, and in the spiritual life, it is termed "detachment". I learned a lot of lessons about detachment on the Camino - ones that are now taking root in my life back at home. I am hoping for some good fruit to grow from this new movement in my heart.
A beautiful prayer about detachment is below. This is from the Ignatian Spirituality website - and is a fitting prayer for this day:
I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.
—Saint Peter Faber, SJ
From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits
St Ignatius of Loyola....pray for us.
I have decided to make some changes in life - one of which is getting off Facebook. By the end of the year - I will be off completely and I would love to stay in touch with friends who chat with me on Facebook. So if you are one of the friends who read my posts and interact with me on Facebook - I would love to keep in touch. My hope is to create more meaningful friendships in person, or by email, or by phone.
I'll be weaning myself off Facebook all together - and come the new year, won't be using this platform any more. (Just waiting now for Facebook to send me notice to be able to download all my photos). My hope is to create more meaningful relationships in person, via email, or phone.
I am reminded of our Camino - and how it began in St Jean Pied de Port.
As we began our Camino - it started in one city - in one place in particular. I did not know exactly what lie ahead - but I knew I had a journey that would require a lot of me. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And the Camino certainly lived up to its reputation!
I am sensing a need to prepare for another journey. 2017 is going to be a year of changes for my family. We have one daughter graduating college, one leaving to go work for Americorps building homes, and another who will be driving (solo) and will be a senior in high school next fall! On top of that, Lisa and I are going to be selling our home and downsizing here in Clermont. I continue to discern the call to the diaconate - and know there is a road ahead of me which is going to require a lot - physically, emotionally, mentally, and definitely spiritually! As in St Jean Pied de Port.....I need to lighten my load, simplify my life, and be ready for whatever the road ahead may bring. #buencamino #pilgrims !
It has been a month now since returning from the Camino de Santiago. We put a lot of our content and photos on Facebook - but now it's time to take some steps away from Facebook and other social media sites. Especially after this whole election period - I am just weary of the news feeds I see on Twitter and Facebook overall. So now is the time to step away.
I plan to just focus the next month on revisiting the Camino and the lessons I learned there. The first lesson comes from the "Pilgrim's Beatitudes" which we received at St Stephen's church on our 3rd day. I'll post the entirety at another time - but here are two of the beatitudes which strike me today:
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you've found out
that the Camino begins where it ends.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you understand that a step back to help someone is worth a thousand steps forward without looking at your side.
So my step back today is to retreat back in my mind and heart to the month long journey which was the Camino de Santiago. To relive those memories and share the deeper words beyond the photos - to try to integrate the contemplative life into the midst of my working, family, ministry life. To find Jesus in the every day moments - just like we did on the Camino - and remember that the journey is ongoing...it's only the destinations that change.
Our destination isn't just to a point in time - but rather to life everlasting. Our goal isn't a city such as Santiago - but an eternal city within the life of the blessed Trinity. And just like the Camino - that journey calls us to carry less "stuff" so we can more easily walk with others - helping them along the way, encouraging them to keep pressing forward, grabbing their hands and helping them through difficult steps - so in the end - we can truly live the Pilgrim's Beatitude #1 :
"Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you are not so much concerned about arriving, but arriving with the others."
Tonight I finally laid out all of my belongings with which I will live for the next 30 days! As we embark on our journey to the Camino de Santiago, I put it all on the floor and marveled at how simplistic my life is going to be over the next month!
All in the pack weighs 18 lbs - which is under the 10% of body weight guidelines people recommend. I imagine I may ditch some of the stuff along the way even - but this should provide all the necessities of the way.
2 days to go and the excitement is building! #buencamino!
Today, I celebrated a milestone in my Catholic journey! I came into the church on Oct 28, 2012. For almost 4 years, I debated, prayed, talked, prayed, served, prayed, and then just LIVED my faith with prayer. Today, my wife and daughters were confirmed in the church and our family is once again, united in our faith and worship!
Take heart for any who are in a similar boat. The Lord is faithful and His timing is perfect! Today, so many people after mass came up and said how much this event touched their lives. I told my wife, perhaps the Lord allowed us 4 years of separation in our faith - to make this kind of impact in our parish. As Father began his homily and addressed me 1st "Richard I can only imagine what this day must mean to you".... I started sobbing with joy! Then Father started crying, and it rippled through many others!
I welcome the perceived "sufferings" from Jesus - because when I look back on them - they are only grace.
I would do it all over again and again to walk this path with Jesus!
Today's gospel from Luke 14: "Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters,and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
This was a very hard passage for me to swallow at times. Because I DO love my wife and children SO much! Yet I see it now...I don't love them less....I simply love Jesus more!!
During Advent - I am thinking often of the blessed virgin Mary. Her quiet, humble acceptance of God's will. No wonder she is "glorified" in much of art and poetry - the scriptures tell us that those who humble themselves will be exalted by God. Why did I ever have such an issue before being Catholic, with Mary's life be so highlighted in the Catholic faith?
Now I see more clearly. She humbly said "let it be done unto me according to your word". She humbly walked with Jesus - and her last recorded words are "do whatever He tells you". She humbly continued on to the cross with Jesus....and was there at that most crucial hour - her own heart being pierced as well.
James 4:10 (RSVCE)10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
(A Facebook Post)
"Believing that all of us are called to be saints has profound implications for daily life. An acceptance of what the Second Vatican Council termed the 'universal call to holiness' imbues even the most hidden moments of one's life with a special grace.
The universal call to holiness is an invitation to be ourselves. It's also an invitation to remember the sacramentality of everyday life and to realize the great goal that God has set for us: sanctity. It is what the saints came to realize, sometimes in an instance, sometimes over the course of many years, whether they were born in first-century Palestine, thirteenth-century France, or twentieth-century America. Whether they lived in a quiet cloistered monastery in Lisieux, in a lonely desert tent in Morocco, or in the grand papal palace in the Vatican. Whether they worked alongside the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, with the plague victims in Rome, or with the gentiles of Asia Minor. Whether they succumbed to illness early in life, were martyred in middle age, or died after a long life of perfect health.
The call to sanctity is an invitation to friendship with God. It is a call that transformed the lives of the saints into gifts to the One who loved them into being. The invitation to holiness is a lifelong call to draw closer to God, who wants nothing more than to encounter us as the people we are and the saints we are meant to be."
--Excerpted from Fr. James Martin, SJ's "My Life with the Saints."
I decided to create a separate page just for my musings on the Catholic faith. I converted to the Catholic church on October 28, 2012 - and I am coming up on my 2nd year as a "happy Catholic".
Certainly, my journey has been difficult at times, and rather lonely in some cases - having converted without my wife and children. But the journey has also been incredible in that I am growing closer to Christ and learning how much larger my spiritual family really is!
So just as an introduction to this blog page - "Happy Catholic" - that is what I am! I hope to share my journey, my discoveries, and of course, my theological nerdiness with the world!!
Richard Ferris - Clermont, FL. Married + 3 daughters. I like real estate (especially tiny homes and off grid stuff), nature, theology, and Religion. I am a Catholic Convert - aspiring to be a saint!