Melpomene in the middle

Somedays I simply cannot help myself. I know it’s awful and cruel but after the day that I have had, I just had to impart a bit of pretentious erudite levity upon myself. I sincerely doubt that many will find my subtitle amusing or even moderately interesting but I got a chuckle out of it anyway.

Snowy Woods

Snowy Woods

For those who might have even the slightest itch to get it, I shall explain. Melpomene was one of the nine muses of Greek mythology, deities that gave artists, philosophers and individuals the necessary inspiration for creation. Specifically, muse Melpomene was the protector of Tragedy; she invented tragedy, rhetoric speech and Melos. She was depicted holding a tragedy mask and usually bearing a bat (now if that isn’t an image to get your juices flowing I don’t know what would.) Since this is day four of my silent retreat, the mid-point of the seven days I couldn’t resist the temptation to marry the muse to the quotidian equinox. Oh my cleverness never ceases to amaze me! Do I sound like Sheldon yet? For those who are unfamiliar with Sheldon, ask Janet the next time you see her.

Seriously, much as I had hope for, my muse has arrived. Eight or nine years ago (my memory fails me, much more often than I would like) during my first diaconal retreat I was inspired to write one afternoon during a quiet period and that became the genesis for my first book The Voices of God. When I embarked on this seven day journey of silence and reflection, one of my hopes was to renew that urgent desire to write and to dig deeply into my current project which I have titled Moving Mountains with faith the size of a mustard seed. For some time now I have been stuck, figuratively spinning my wheels and literally going nowhere with it and my hope was that during this retreat I would discover first, why I couldn’t seem to (no pun, well ok, pun intended) get my rather mountainous behind moving on the book, and second to actually begin writing again. Quite happily I believe I have realized both my hopes!

Yesterday in conversation with my Spiritual Director I realized that the main sticking point to moving my mountain was simply one of fear, fear of overreaching the limits of my knowledge in what I so ardently wish to put to paper and in the process of doing so commit some egregious faux pas (heaven forbid a heresy or two) for which I might never have the ability to recover. Sometimes confession is truly good for the soul and as soon as I voiced my fear, it left me. I know not where nor do I care. Oh, Doctor Seuss, save me, save me!

Today I woke with newfound energy and zeal and that itch to write compelled me to scratch it and so I have. Since breakfast I have been scribing out words so fast that I forgot to stop and eat lunch. So far, not counting this brief interlude, I have written over 5,000 words and have every intention of penning a few thousand more before the sun dips below the horizon and I can no longer see outside my window (something I don’t mind too much as all I see is the red tiled roof of the adjoining building.)

So much left for this day and so much more remains. I am reminded of a poem by Robert Frost[1] which I will end this missive with (I’ll even leave it with a dangling participle too):

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


[1] Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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