Friday, September 24, 2010

Dom Robert Heinlein, OSB

There's something Benedictine about this typical bit of Heinleinian exposition from his 1956 juvenile novel Time for the Stars:
"Well, think about it. The greatest menace in space is going coffin crazy. You are shut up for a long time in a small space and there is nothing outside but some mighty thin vacuum ... no street lights, no bowling alleys. Inside are the same old faces and you start hating them. So a smart captain makes sure you have something to keep you interested and tired - and ours is the smartest you'll find or he wouldn't be on this trip."
I suppose that's the same problem faced by the abbot of a monastery - how to keep the crew from going coffin crazy and killing each other. Keep them interested with prayer & liturgy and keep them tired with manual labor, as discerned by St Benedict some 1500 years ago. Or maybe it's the other way around, come to think of it: keep them tired with liturgy and interested with stuff to work on.

Keeping them interested and tired is decent advice for parents, too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My little hometown seems to be up in arms about plans to close the middle school there. The building used to be the town high school until the mid-90s, when the lack of children forced a consolidation with a nearby town. Now there's talk about shutting down the old building entirely, but I haven't yet seen or heard anyone talking about the root cause of it all: if you want your little farm town to have schools, start making babies again.

Update: And then along came Abp. Chaput:
The “next America” has been in its chrysalis a long time. Whether people will be happy when it fully emerges remains to be seen. But the future is not predestined. We create it with our choices. And the most important choice we can make is both terribly simple and terribly hard: to actually live what the Church teaches, to win the hearts of others by our witness, and to renew the soul of our country with the courage of our own Christian faith and integrity. There is no more revolutionary act.