“Babys, Smoke Rings, and Fr. Barron” or “My Week Off from Social Media”
After a much-needed week off from social media, I'm back, rested and recovered. But I probably couldn't have picked a better week. There was so much going on and it was great to be present to each event without feeling the need to tweet about it, blog it, or share it on Facebook.
Here's a taste of my week:
1. Baby Luke Stubbs was baptized!
One of the great joys this week was attending the baptism of Luke Stubbs, or as you probably know him, the Son of Brent Stubbs. Brent blogs at Almost Not Catholic and lives nearby. Over the past couple years we've developed a great friendship. He and his wonderful wife asked Kathleen and I to be godparents for Luke, their fifth child, which is a huge honor. Here's a picture of the whole clan after Luke was welcomed into the Kingdom:
2. My wife and I began our Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.
The Consecration is actually a single event, but there are 33 days of prayers and preparation before it. So far it's been very powerful if only because it's drawn us closer together in prayer. I'll write more about the Consecration once we move closer to the actual date. If you're interested in making it yourself, which I highly recommend, you can receive free materials through mail via MyConsecration.org or download the excellent mobile app.
3. My former-favorite player was traded to my least-favorite team.
My close friends know I'm a die-hard Orlando Magic fan. I've followed them almost my entire life, even before the Shaq and Penny years. I've cheered them through the up's and down's, from the two Finals appearances to our 20+ game losing streak.
When the Magic drafted a skinny, teenage Dwight Howard with the first overall pick in 2004, I was ecstatic—even moreso when he proclaimed his goal of adding the cross to the NBA logo. Since then, he grew into the NBA's most dominant big man. He led us to the Finals in 2009 and to several winning seasons and is widely regarded as one of the top two or three players in the league.
But this summer, something changed. After a rough season, Dwight began to openly pout, on and off the court. He requested ownership to fire our coach and general manager—which they eventually did. Then he demanded a trade. And not just a general "get-me-out-of-here" trade, but a trade to one of three specific teams. By leaking his trade demands publicly, he sabotaged what the Magic could receive in return from other potential trading partners. Our hand was eventually forced and we dealt him for pennies-on-the-dollar to the L.A. Lakers, perhaps my least favorite team in all of sports.
The move hurts even more considering our last great big man, Shaquille O'Neal, jettisoned Orlando for the same Lakers team. All this means the Magic are looking at four or five years of rock-bottom rebuilding with scores of losses and plenty of heartache. I'll keep on cheering for my hometown team, but I can't pretend this whole thing wasn't sour.
4. I smoked my first pipe.
On a more positive note, I joined the rank of Pipe Smokers. It was Marc Barnes (surprise, surprise) who encouraged me to take up the pipe. But it's not like I needed much convincing. Just consider the group I'd be joining: Gandalf, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Mark Twain.
One of my best friends and I spent the night on our porch, rocking in chairs, discussing Important Things, and blowing smoke rings deep into the night. I wish I had pictures, but just assume we looked like this:
5. Fr. Robert Barron gave me a shout-out!
Archbishop Fulton Sheen maintained that despite his many honors and awards, his greatest accolade took place in 1979—just two months before his death. Pope John Paul II embraced him outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Holy Father said to him, "You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church." That compliment, coming from one of his great heroes, was powerfully sublime.
Though not on that scale, I know something of what Sheen felt. Fr. Robert Barron is one of my own great heroes, so I was incredibly humbled to discover this week that he gave me a shout out at the recent Notre Dame Preaching Conference:
So that was my week. What were the biggest events in yours?