I recently stumbled across an old article that Fr. John Hardon had given to me more than 20 years ago. The title of the article was “Writing and the Spiritual Life.” He gave the article to me after telling me that I had an obligation to influence other Catholics through the written word. After rereading the article, I decided to republish it here so you could also benefit from Fr. Hardon’s wisdom. Here’s the article:
If you were to ask me to describe someone I’m familiar with, I would start by naming the person’s attributes. An attribute is defined as “an inherent characteristic” or “a word ascribing a quality.” For example, if you asked me to describe my dad (Carl Williams), I would respond by saying that he’s organized, practical, protective, by-the-book, private, efficient, productive, hardworking, trustworthy, skilled, confident, decisive, and strategic. My description of how I remember my grandfather (Tom Williams) would include the following attributes: bold, vigorous, genuine, intense, self-reliant, admired, dominant, forceful, trustworthy, confident, decisive, and independent.
Fr. David and I periodically meet to discuss the status of the perpetual adoration program at St. Philomena. At a recent meeting, the topic of my weekly Adoration Letter came up. We talked about the fact that, on occasion, a parishioner complains about the content of an article or that an opinion expressed in one of the articles may be interpreted by others as the opinion of the staff at St. Philomena.
After arriving home on a Thursday evening a couple of months ago, I learned that three of my daughters – Mary (20), Christine (18), and Teresa (16) – were planning on going to the midnight showing of the newly released movie The Avengers. When I found out about their plans, I announced, “You’re not going tonight. You can wait one more day and go tomorrow at a more reasonable time.”
You may have heard of Louis L’Amour, one of the most successful fiction writers of all time. During his lifetime, he wrote 89 novels, 2 non-fiction books, and 14 collections of short stories. In all, over 320 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. L’Amour died on June 10, 1988, at the age of 80. During his lifetime, he was widely known as “America’s Favorite Storyteller.”
Have you ever heard of the practice of using canaries in coal mines to alert coal miners of danger? Canaries are small songbirds that were first bred and used as domestic pets in the 17th century. Because they are more sensitive than humans to toxic gases (such as methane and carbon monoxide), canaries were, at one time, routinely used by coal miners as early warning devices that danger was imminent.