Why Tobit’s Sparrow?

I’m back. And this time, hopefully for good.

My old project Quid Sit? fell into the dustbin of the Internet when I was ordained to the priesthood. Despite multiple attempts to revive its still heart, I came to realize that I just didn’t have it in me. Though I don’t intend to take the site down any time soon, Quid Sit? served its purpose as a creative outlet for the seminarian I was during its run. I still look back on some of those posts with fondness, even if I did unintentionally nix the archives a couple of years ago.

In addition, the demands of priesthood are great, and the amount of time I have to dedicate towards leisure has diminished significantly over the past half-decade. I like this: in 32 years, never have I been so busy or so fulfilled.

bernardostrozzi_thehealingoftobitConsequently, what leisure time I do have is now largely spent as a consumer of media rather than a producer of it. I still read a great deal, but outside of the weekly homily, I rarely write anything. Homilies are a different kind of writing, and while they carry some semblance of satisfaction when properly crafted, homily composition does not challenge me in the way blogging does: it’s a different art form altogether.

So I’m back to blogging here at Tobit’s Sparrow, and see it an opportunity to challenge myself, to get back to something I’ve found rewarding in the past.

As for naming this blog:

I’ve always held a particular fondness for the Book of Tobit, because it proves that both God and the men he inspired  can take a joke:

That same night I washed and went into my courtyard, where I lay down to sleep beside the wall. Because of the heat I left my face uncovered.

I did not know that sparrows were perched on the wall above me; their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing white scales on them. I went to doctors for a cure, but the more they applied ointments, the more my vision was obscured by the white scales, until I was totally blind. For four years I was unable to see, and all my kindred were distressed at my condition. Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years, until he left for Elam.

Tobit 2:9-10

Four years of blindness is a lot to pay for sitting in the wrong place.

I do not intend for Tobit’s Sparrow to be a serious compilation of posts on serious topics, though I’m certain the winds will blow in that direction occasionally  I certainly do not intend to write exclusively about theological and ecclesial matters, though I suppose I’ll go there from time to time too.

I dedicate this blog to two saints: To St. Ignatius of Antioch, my chief patron, that I might always resemble his fortitude and fidelity; and to St. Ignatius of Loyola, that I might always seek, in every human endeavor, the Goodness, Truth, and Beauty of Our Lord.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

1 Comment

  1. Greg says:

    Father Josh,
    Congrats! Tally ho!

    Years ago there was a song called “Blinded by the Light”, and now you inform me that you can be blinded by something else.

    (Now we will see if you actually post anything…)

    Actually, I was rather fond of Quod Sit, and I may go back over in the next few days and make a final comment that could be mildly inappropriate, but hopefully fun.

    As you know I have moved to a small town (2500 souls in various degrees of sobriety).

    There is a Catholic church here, St Rose of Lima. The sign says mass is at 11:00. There’s a long, corrugated tin building next to it that distinguishes itself as a Knight of Columbus post.

    (You know, Josh, one of the things they say is that this town is so small that the Knights of Columbus and the Masons all know each others’ secret.)

    However, the town itself is said to be run by the ‘Methodist mafia’ (Do you know the joke about Methodists? Methodists are Baptists who have gotten a little education.)

    The old timers will confide to you that the important citizens who are part of the Methodist mafia got their start in the bootlegging business. Having spent as much time as you have, Josh, around the Chicago area, I would think this would make you feel reassured. So if you happen to drive through, you’d feel perfectly comfortable.

    By the way, continuing with religious humor — they used to say that an Episcopalian was a Lutheran who had made a little money.

    As you can see, the different denominations act as foils for competitors somewhat in the way that Catholic orders tell jokes with the others as a punchline.

    A friend spent some time in a monastery, and I was surprised to discover there are monk jokes. The only ones I heard were not suitable for a blog of this sort, but I will say they all had a sort of “the monk and the farmer’s daughter” ambiance.

    I hesitate to offer any Catholic jokes, because you will have me completely outclassed and know 20 for every one of mine. However, I will relate one of my favorites.

    A certain Dominican priest began to be curious about which of the Catholic orders were found to be the most beloved in God’s eyes.

    Finally, in determination to resolve this issue, he wrote a letter to our Lord. He asked point-blank whom God loved the most.

    After a time, as the letters worked through the US Postal Service, he received a reply.

    With trembling fingers he opened God’s letter and read, “I love all of my children equally”. And it was signed Jesus Christ, SJ.

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