Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two of My Real Friends

One of the most common ways of building blog readership is to link with other blogs and hope they will return the favor. For the sake of an expanded readership it is tempting to become—there’s no better term—a blog whore. Definition: A blogger who hooks up with anyone for a hit.

If that sounds harsh, the truth is, I am ratting myself out. One of several reasons that I stopped blogging for nearly a year before starting “Witness” is that I had become a blog whore. The temptation to curry favor with other bloggers—any other bloggers—is strong, believe me, especially when you start following your statistics, as I did. Confession: I still follow my statistics. I asked a new blogger the other day, with only a trace of pride, “Do you have any readers in China yet? Russia? Slovenia?”

It is hard for a blogger to keep it real, so linking only to blogs with which I have a real connection is an important choice for me, although it definitely limits my hits. Two Catholic bloggers with whom I have real, not virtual, ties are my pastor and my daughter (the top two links in the right sidebar).

I have written about my daughter several times before. Her blog, Marian Writes, has already been hailed as “lovely, quirky, and smart”—OK, that was a comment from my friend Vangie, but it’s on the money. Marian’s latest post (you’ll always find her latest post in the right sidebar) is a simple but powerful call to charity this Advent season.

As for Fr. David Barnes, my honored pastor, he has just started a blog of his own, “A Shepherd’s Post.” Those who worship with me at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Beverly, Massachusetts, know that Father Barnes takes seriously the role of shepherd. I look forward to seeing how his blog develops.

One immediate use he has made of the blog, during its first week, is as a sort of rehearsal room for homilies. Father Barnes’s latest post, “Are You Ready to Receive Good News?,” which hit the blogosphere Saturday, found its way into the pulpit today, the 2nd Sunday in Advent, although in an expanded version. The post, like the homily, concludes with a thought that my wife Katie was commenting on long after today’s 10:30 Mass. Here is the thought: We must guard our own emptiness. 

Any alcoholic, drug addict, sports-obsessed fan, or video-game nut understands the need to fill one’s inner emptiness—with anything. We are a society of addicts. Another type of addict (and they are legion) is the blogger who posts obsessively for the virtual attention, for the “hit.”

But, Father Barnes says, our inner emptiness is precious and should not be filled. Rather, it should be guarded, preserved, kept open—in readiness for the coming of Christ. It was a form of inner emptiness, virginity, that welcomed the Incarnation in the first place. Today, we await the Second Coming, an important meaning of Advent, and if we fill the hole in our hearts with base matter it will not be open to receive something higher, when He comes again.


  1. So justifying my whoring by saying I am merely trying to be charitable and support other bloggers? Hmmmm. You caught me!

  2. Cool.

    1) There is a beautiful connection between Fr Barnes' 'guarding our own emptiness' and a witness at your SoC a few weeks ago where someone connected 'guarding our memory like a child' with 'guarding our depths' (where we can encounter Christ) All three of these seem complementary methods to get closer to Christ.

    2) Not to get too technical but I believe you mean blog-slut not blog-whore. Our ever declining federal currency notwithstanding a blog hit still doesn't pass for legal tender... ;)

    3) And of course the qualifier 'obsessed' after sports should be dropped...

  3. Thanks for the plug Webster. We are friends. Isn't that a beautiful thing?

  4. It is a beautiful thing, Padre. The friends I have made since becoming Catholic . . .

    As for you, Vincent, my very real friend indeed, you just hate sports to start with!

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  6. Allison,
    The only one accused in this post is me, myself, and I. Real charity is never a bad thing. Read my daughter's latest post.
    Hope to see you at the NY Encounter.

  7. Webster I do not hate sports that would imply that they have a negative value that impacts me adversely in a way I can't handle. Sports simply have no substance no value and no use.

  8. Which is why there are absolutely zero sports analogies in the Bible. Oh wait...

    King David and St. Paul disagree with Vincent. See Psalms 19:6 and 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 2 Timothy 2:5 (Rats! That one is right there next to a soldier analogy too).

    But wait, there's more. Contests, anyone? 2 Samuel 2:14-24 (wow! that one is hardcorps), Job 9:19-25 (he would know). How about Habbakuk 2:2? *I wonder how they chose those heralds? Choose the slowest guy? the one least fit? By lottery? Hmmm.

    Then there is Hebrews 10:32-36 (St. Paul, or "whoever" wrote it). And Hebrews 12 is so good I'll even link to it.

    Whoa, tis the about an Advent flavored sports analogy? ==>>Isaiah 40: 28-31. *whistling sound*

    Yep, you can ask Webster: I always said it's better to read the Bible than a blog, any day of the week. =)

  9. W: Yes! I will see you at the NYEncounter. In fact (shameless mom alert) the chamber music group of which my son is a part is playing after the keynote speaker Friday night! Wouldn't miss that!

  10. Allison :-) Shameless parents are always allowed to promote their children's artistic careers. Please see right sidebar under "The Dad Invites You to Follow . . . "


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