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Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Little notes I post from day to day are ruminations on how my thoughts and experiences merge with the Faith. As all of us who write here hope that what we write eventually finds a wide audience, not for the sake of personal notoriety but because we enjoy collecting and sharing sparkling little gems God scatters like breadcrumbs for us to follow in our path to Him.

In my seminary training, a very astute, little Irish priest-professor would share with us intriguing thought experiments (he was known for these). Consider the following:

"Imagine, men, that you are a boat fishing. Suddenly your line goes taught, and you are having trouble reeling in whatever it is that you caught. From the fog, you cannot quite see, though soon you find your boat is being pulled by an enormous whale. What you were trying to catch has caught you."

Another idea he gave us:

"Imagine you are standing in the snow with a cabin in front of you. You go in and there is a fireplace sitting in the middle of the room with a roaring fire. You are attracted by the warmth before you but are detracted by the intensity of the flames. At the same time the cold from behind pushes you forward."

Msgr. James O'Reilly [1] peppered us with wonderful insights like these that we might better live for and be accessible to God's word. How else were we to nourish the faithful if we ourselves are not nourished? But rich thoughts like his take place every day and not just in a university. Consider today's Office of Readings Scripture passage, for instance, in which Jeremiah addresses the exiles of his time (Jer 29:1-14):

‘The Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says this to all the exiles deported from Jerusalem to Babylon, “Build houses, settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce; take wives and have sons and daughters; choose wives for your sons, find husbands for your daughters so that these can bear sons and daughters in their turn; you must increase there and not decrease."

The rest of the quote follows below in a footnote [2], but the "big fish" or "standing between fire and ice" insights that caught and dragged me in to ponder through faith just one aspect of what the Lord asks of and offers us is as follows. In a world stifled by pro-abortion propaganda and even perhaps a seemingly ecclesiastical wavering over the Church's stance of birth control, Scriptures and Church teaching (e.g., Humanae Vitae), make it clear that we ought to cooperate generously with producing souls for heaven. I find it intriguing that amidst all the smoke and mirrors currently produced by the world to de-populate, God reassures us that He "did not make death, and He does not delight in the death of the living" (Wisdom 1:13). Instead, we were given from the Garden of Eden a command: "Be fruitful and fill the earth, multiply and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). Why the pitch to reproduce? Because He wants to fill His kingdom, to share His glory and love. Now *that* is worth posting!

Someday soon I hope we will all awake to find Biden's Build Back Better programming that calls for the demise of unborn babies so the living can thrive has all along been a poisoned proposition. And that Pelosi's lies about restricting abortions being sinful [3] will find us laughing with saddened scorn at the absurdity of such diabolic claims. And then, the way my mind works, I begin to worry about souls being misled and lost for eternity, which calls for another post I am not yet ready to write. My point in all this is that posting little thoughts online (better than alone at home on my walls), may be valuable to some--and isn't that why we share here?


[2] "Work for the good of the country to which I have exiled you; pray to the Lord on its behalf, since on its welfare yours depends. For the Lord says this: Only when the seventy years granted to Babylon are over, will I visit you and fulfil my promise in your favour by bringing you back to this place. I know the plans I have in mind for you – it is the Lord who speaks – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you. Then when you call to me, and come to plead with me, I will listen to you. When you seek me you shall find me, when you seek me with all your heart; I will let you find me – it is the Lord who speaks. I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have dispersed you – it is the Lord who speaks. I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you."


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Deacon Schwerdt
Deacon Schwerdt
Sep 03, 2022

I still have printed copies of Msgr. O'Reilly's Tuesday night conference talks. He used to hand them out, due to demand of us seminarians. Because of his 1-unit course based on the book The Copernican Revolution that we had to take in college, we also affectionately nicknamed him "Cosmic Jim." He was extremely intelligent and a holy man. Requiescat in pace.

Deacon Schwerdt
Deacon Schwerdt
Sep 03, 2022
Replying to

In my junior year I had a three unit course called Astronomy and Geology, as well as a course called Seminar: Selected Topics in Astronomy, a one-unit course. I am reading those from copy of my college transcript. I took the course in the Spring of 1971. (I kept a copy of my transcript in the folder with my degree, printed in Latin). The one-unit course was taught by Msgr. O'Reilly, the three-unit course by Fr. Robert Wood, C.M. Was Wood still there when you were in college?

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