Friday, February 29, 2008

"all the poets they studied rules of verse; those ladies, they rolled their eyes"

Something suitably and strangely cool for this leap day, a Velvet Underground classic elegantly redone by that marvelous group- Cowboy Junkies. This, dear friends and fellow mortals, is our Friday traditio for 29 February.

On a relevant note for a Friday of Lent, it bears reminding that suffering has no intrinsic value. According to Catholic and psychologist Sidney Callahan, as summarized by Dr. David Loxterkamp, "pain, grief, hunger, depression, and loneliness. . . . are not sent by God to test our faith or punish us, to grab our attention or to perfect us. Nor should we - on the secular side - buy the self- help agenda that assigns blame for illness to toxic anger, irresponsible diet, or neglect of our third chakra." Rather, according to Loxterkamp, Callahan's "argument is a theological one, and follows the thinking of Karl Rahner."

In other words, [s]uffering does not arise from God, but from what is 'not God.' It stems from the malicious use of free choice, or from accidents that occur in a natural world still evolving toward perfection." Suffering, Callahan insists, "cannot, of itself, either calibrate our self-worth or make us better people" (Commonweal, 29 Feb 2008, vol. CXXXV, No. 4, pg. 28).

All of this gets back to Dr. Cynthia Crysdale's thesis in her remarkable book Embracing Travail: Retrieving the Cross Today, a thesis about which I have written and spoken. It is sloppily (can sloppy be used as an adverb?) summarized in St. Mary Magdalene: First Witness of the Resurrection, there is even more on this in another post: Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene.


  1. The Ironic CatholicFebruary 29, 2008 at 7:42 AM

    Embracing Travail is... no more.

    I'm teaching a diff book this summer.

    I know, let the mourning begin, but I do think this new book will work extremely well:
    David Power, Love Without Calculation

    If it doesn't work, then we go back to ET, right?

    (The program director suggested that we get an onsite therapist to deal with the loss of ET, though....) ;)

  2. Say it isn't so! Embracing Travail was like freshman hazing. I heard stories about it on the shuttle all the way from the Twin Cities to Winona. I had not been concerned in the least until I heard the stories.

    I want the first appointment with said therapist!

  3. The Ironic CatholicFebruary 29, 2008 at 8:48 PM

    Hazing on the shuttle!!??

    OK, that affirms the decision for me. But maybe I need to get the word around more deliberately so I won't be pummeled with tomatoes the first day. I've already had two alums say "You CAN'T!" Um, well....


God's love for us is tireless

Readings: Jer 23:1-6; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34 No doubt you've heard the saying, "There's no rest for the wicked...