Thanks to Good People Like Father Danielsen

I received an e-mail last evening from a priest living in a foreign country whom I will call Father Danielsen. He and I have corresponded off and on since he discovered this blog a few weeks back, and his comments have been uniformly supportive. I feel very grateful for his comments and for his support, and he has not been alone in offering them. Many people close to me—and quite far from me too—have responded joyfully and supportively.

But last night Father Danielsen did something different. He told me to slow down. It was my own confession in this post that this blog “has taken over my life” that did it. Here’s what he wrote in response:

Your blog has been a joy to read, but I enjoy it most when you keep to the basic score: “Why I am Catholic.” That was a very genial idea. You are at your best when you share the simple things that you ENJOY and APPRECIATE about being Catholic, the things for which you discover yourself to be profoundly grateful. But when you started linking to other blogs, right and left, I found myself thinking: “Oh, oh, it’s happening!” I don’t read your blog to follow links to other blogs. I read yours because in your writing about the people around you in your parish, I can see my own lifelong Catholicism and the Church herself in fresh and simple ways. On a number of occasions what you wrote has made me smile and sent me off on a reverie—remembering people and places and events from my own life—until my screen saver kicked in. Please don’t feel that you HAVE to keep this going at any cost. Don’t feel that you absolutely have to post one or two or three different things each day. You have heard the term “burnout” before, haven’t you? No one who suffers from it ever expected to. I don’t want to read: “Folks, that’s it! I’m quitting this blog because I need to get my life back!” I’d be happy to see you post once a week or less if it’s a genuine “Why I am (happy to be) Catholic” moment.

I shot back a sort of weak rebuttal combined with thanks, which of course is a contradiction. And Father Danielsen’s comments have been rattling around inside me ever since. Especially because I have spent valuable time today meditating on my “saint of the day,” Hilarion, a spiritual son of St. Anthony of the Desert, and believe me, I can’t find one honest reason to write about him. Hilarious, wouldn’t you say?

I started this blog with a purpose—to sort out the reasons why I am a Catholic and to communicate them clearly and effectively to people I love, especially my wife and children. When did I start going off track? Probably when I received the first praise from “someone important.” But certainly when I started tracking response to the blog with “the best software available.” And yet—the purpose remains, along with my love of being Catholic.

So here’s my proposal, gentle reader. I will not be posting every day, or every other day necessarily. I will post when the Spirit moves me, and I hope, I pray that I will not take that promise lightly. I will post when something inside me says, “I love being a Catholic, and I want people to know why, and here it is . . . ” Then I will do my best to tell you why.

And by the way—for all those, like Ferde, who think my Friday posts on “Joan of Arcadia” are throwaways, you have another thing coming. Because I will continue posting on Fridays about JoA! And any other day I have a good reason to be Catholic.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to send me their heartfelt reasons for being Catholic, I will review them and post those that I think can make a difference.

Until the next time the Spirit moves . . .

  • Anonymous

    Your early stories were very inspirational and touching. Father is correct and I am happy that the attempt to mediate on the life of disciple of a hermit led you to realize that constant posting (or communication with others) is not necessary, truly a Holy Spirit moment. Do not jump the shark, as it is said, stay to the objective.

  • Soutenus

    Blessings . . . . pray, breathe, appreciate and blog when you feel you should. I will continue to enjoy your blog and keep you in my prayers!

  • Mary P.

    As a freelancer myself (with a monthly column), I was dumbfounded as to how you posted so many wonderful blogs, sometimes multiple times a day. They're all wonderful! But Fr. is right. Please don't burn out. Just give Katie and your girls a hug. We will wait for you!God bless you, Webster!

  • Anonymous

    Don't let anyone dampen your spirit, Webster. You have much to be joyful about! God bless!==dawn

  • Turgonian

    Indeed. Slow down. Don't let the Internet take over your life. But do keep in touch, occasionally. God bless you and your family.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Webster,For quite a while I haven't been able to keep up reading your posts as fast as you write them. So I end up skimming them. If you slow down just a bit, you'll help me keep up.M.

  • Anonymous

    I have very much enjoyed your posts about your life. Add me to the ones who think you're doing the right thing here.And? You're not just a Catholic writer, much as Willa Cather wasn't just a woman writer. I think the part of you that needs to express yourself was exposed to the light and started growing too fast.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14163535448126249596 Kevin

    The good father has a valid point and I am glad to see that you see it too.This blog of yours has been a true joy to me and I would hate to see it or your reason for posting it change.God bless you and yours,Kevin

  • Anonymous

    If you want to check out another Catholic writer who is as prolific as you, check out seraphicgoestoscotland.blogspot.com.

  • http://croat.runneratyahoo.com ashley

    thanks webster!I too have been trying to catch up, and even though they are great pieces, I sort of skimmed some of them. I am so sorry! Now that I wont have to will be a great relief and I can enjoy your writing that much more:) God bless you and your famiily and Ferde!

  • Ferde

    Thanks for your blessing, Ashley. Blessings back to you. Yeah, Webster was hogging all our time. He's addicted to writing, poor guy. Good thing he can write.

  • goodalice19

    This is probably just for you, Webster, and not of interest to the rest of your readers. I don't want to offend anyone, even though that would never have been my intent. I want to say that it is my hope that you will continue with your 'Joan of Arcadia' musings. I know at least one of your readers does not care for them. Because of your great writing on the episodes, I have decided to buy the boxed sets of the series as well, instead of continuing to get them from the library. If you stop writing about them, I will have no (almost) expert to read, or show me the finer points or details about this fine show. I am also the person that bought a prop from the show recently as well. (Adam's pop art project regarding a cat). It is fabulous; so much better than I thought it would be. I am having it framed and will put it in my living room. CBS sold many of the clothes and props from the show in 2005 to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. I bought this from a third party. Thanks for reading.

  • Webster Bull

    Goodalice19 — I plan to continue the JoA series. Just got caught short of time this weekend. Thanks for your kind readership.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00565128278576668444 Paul Dion, STL

    Webster:Keep this in mind: "A FRIEND, A FELLOW CONVERT, ASKED ME OUT OF THE BLUE ONE DAY, "SO, WEBSTER, WHY CATHOLICISM?" I WAS AT A LOSS. I COULDN'T SAY. SO I STARTED THIS BLOG. EACH POST IS A PARTIAL ANSWER."Live by that and Father Danielsen's advice will come naturally.I have just discovered you. I will surely stick around, not for quantity, but for the genuine "partial answer" from within.Paul Dion


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