I have not stopped blogging. Biltrix isn’t done yet.
In one of Seneca’s letters — I think it’s letter 43 but I’m not sure — Seneca rambles on to his imaginary friend Lucilius about how good it is for the soul to travel and read on vacation.
Well, I’m not on vacation, but I’d still like to share some of his thoughts here, paraphrasing, of course. He gives some great examples of how we need to take extended periods to read and relax in order to refresh our ideas.
Reading has a mysterious way of refurbishing the soul. Seneca compares it to bees making honey. We really don’t know how they do it. They collect pollen from different sources, ingest it and regurgitate it, and when it comes out it’s something altogether different. The product is delectable. Some people can detect different flavors in the honey that tell what kind of flowers the bees collected the product from, but still, the product is unique — it’s not clover, it’s honey. The honey is the product of both the clover and the bee, but we credit the bee, not the clover with the honey.
So it is with the things we read. Very few things we write are our own original ideas. When we read, it influences our writing and often people can tell where we got our ideas from. Usually, our ideas are influenced by numerous sources, and we ourselves don’t consciously recognize what those original sources are. But if we reflect on them, we can perceive the source.
Seneca’s point is not to let the influence of other people’s ideas discourage you from reading simply because it will affect your writing and people will call you a copycat (he’s not encouraging plagiarism either). If people detect the source, it should be taken as a compliment. His further point is that if we don’t refresh our ideas with reading and relaxation, our ideas and our writing become stale.
So, what have I been reading lately?
No, actually. Not even Twitter. A few text messages, maybe, but…
Okay, so I’ve determined that I need to read more. I’ve got a few books sitting on my nightstand, staring up at me and asking, “Why haven’t you opened me yet? I’m a good book.” But that’s not all.
I have been putting off this post, which I felt I owe you, my dear readers. Let me address that first.
Over the past year and a half, I have had the great pleasure of getting to know many of you, whom I appreciate greatly. You inspire me with your words, and most of all, with your faith. Because we share that bond, I really do consider you friends. That’s really what friendship is, sharing common interests and needs that unite us and direct us down the same path together. One of the things I appreciate most in life, and I think everyone does, is friendship.
So thanks for being friends!
When I started this blog, about a year and a half ago, I was living in a different situation. Currently, my situation is changing. I won’t get into the details until I have something thrilling to share, but not to worry — I’m doing quite well actually and thanks be to God!
The brunt of it all is that I have had to change my focus and priorities lately. I plan on getting back into full swing eventually, but I can’t say now when eventually will get here.
Not that I feel the need to apologize, but I am sorry for one thing. Many of you have expressed how much you appreciate this blog and I appreciate you. This goes for not just my WordPress followers, of course, but I’ve entitled this “My Dear, Dear WordPress Friends,” because in a way I’m talking more specifically to you, since this is the platform where we got to know each other and for most of us it is the only platform where we stay in touch — though some of us also follow each other on Twitter (and I haven’t been on Twitter much lately either).
Lately, I’ve just been posting on Sundays and I will continue doing that. The priests on this blog (really it’s only Fr Smith who has continued to contribute regularly since last summer… I need to recruit more writers) have summer assignments that keep them very busy. This is a big drop in posting down from our daily posting.
I want to get back up to daily posts, but if I am going to do that, I want to post good stuff, not just anything I see on YouTube or my own ill-informed commentary on current events. I really hope to do that soon. In the meantime, I hope you will bear with Biltrix. For me, Biltrix is a mission, not just a blog. That mission continues.
Presently, however, we need to make some honey. Better said, in order to make good honey, we need to take time to smell the flowers. I hope you all have the time to do the same!
God bless you!
I feel the strong need to end with Calvin and Hobbes…
And a gratuitous video, for old-time’s sake. A real classic!
It’s a Biltrix thing…
Good to hear from you, James! I missed you 😦 I’m glad (relieved) that things are well. Take all the time you need. We’ll be here when you get back.
I missed you too, Terry. Your blogs are very inspiring and always uplifting. I hope you any your family have a great summer. God bless!
Fy Dear, Dear Biltrix,
PEIDIWCH AG ANFON ME UNRHYW MWY O HWN SBWRIEL!!
So happy to hear everything is going good for you. I’ve missed you James. I’m doing a bit of reading myself. Enjoy spending time to smell the flowers my friend. God Bless.
Thanks, Teresa. I missed you too. Speaking of reading, I just started The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly. Have you heard of it? I’ll have to write a post on it when I finish reading it.
Have a great summer! Count on my prayers and God bless!
I haven’t heard of that book. Pretty sure I have a different book by the same author. I’m reading Your Life In The Holy Spirit by Alan Schreck. I can’t wait to see your post on the four signs of a dynamic Catholic. Relax, have fun, and a great summer! God Bless.
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Yeah, me, too. I haven’t posted much either, but still am reading, and I truly did miss your writings.
Reading is good. I do a lot of it. I look forward to those Sunday posts.
By the way, the gratuitous cat photo is really funny. Loved it, and I’m not even a cat person!
Thanks, Reinkat. I really love your blog too, for its uniqueness and spiritual content you don’t find anywhere else. You’ve really helped me appreciate iconography. During lent this year, I gave a tour to the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral young adults group at the Metropolitan Art Museum in NY. They were renovating some parts of the museum where I normally direct these tours. This cut out about half the paintings that I had planned on explaining. Not a problem…
I had gotten to the museum about half an hour early and I quickly surveyed the Marian paintings starting with the earliest icon I could find. When the group assembled for the tour, I told them the situation and said that this was providential, because Mary would be guiding our tour and so they would have the scheduled “Passion in Art” tour and an “Our Blessed Mother in Art” tour.
Thanks to what I learned from your posts on Mary reds and blues, sacred geometry, faces and hands, folds, stars, gold and other colors, and the influence that Eastern and Western traditions had on the development of depicting the Blessed Virgin in iconography… I made some pretty good honey.
Of course the flowers came from Reinkat!
Hey Biltrix! Thank you! You cannot imagine how tickled I am to hear this.
One of the wonderful things about blogging is the many ways, large and small, that we touch each other’s lives. Sometimes in life-changing ways. What a blessing your blog has been to me, and I hope that you will continue as you find time to write.
As one who last truly posted in the fall last year sometime in the interest of focusing on formation, I can truly appreciate what you are going through and will continue to look forward to your posts no matter what the frequency. God bless!
Thanks, James. How much longer until ordination?
Two more years, God willing and if the homework does not kill me, ha ha….
You’re in my prayers!
James!!!!!! I can’t let you gooooo! I am going to contact you. I’m sorry I have been a total ghost even though I still come here and read your wonderful words and hover around and …you are just supposed to always be here!–urgh panic attack!
Ok actually I totally understand where you are right now because I am in the same place. I think I will just say “ditto.. what he said.. same here.” and then link from foraging squirrel to this post.
Thank you for being my blogging mentor and spiritual guide.
Lots of love and best wishes and prayers coming your way . Good luck with the projects you are working on. I will look forward to more Biltrix on Sundays… but no pressure 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind words, FS. I’m always finding little feasts for Catholic nuts like myself over at your place. God bless!
I do not know you well, but I certainly wish you well.
My own reduced production has come about from a WordPress/LiveJournal disconnect, timed with the press of other projects. I sympathize with your situation, and I hope that you are back soon for all the best reasons.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Thanks, Keith. You’re always a big support. Best wishes!
You know you are missed. Who would not miss you????? 😉 I understand completely and “thanks be to God” I have no new questions at this time. 🙂 (Don’t take that for granted though) Have been going through things with Mom and Dad again, and sometimes we need to step back and catch our breath. I think reading is a wonderful way to do it, as I have some of that going on also. You take care and again, “we will all be here when you get back.” God Bless, SR
You too, SR, are missed! It’s people like you that keep me around.
So glad you have the opportunity to spend time with Mom and Dad and hope you enjoy a happy Father’s Day with them. God bless you!
James, praying a lot for you, hope all goes well
Thanks, Bro! You’re in my prayers too. God bless!
Go where God leads you! Know that where ever you go, it will be with a backpack full of all of our hopes, prayers and blessings. [and by ‘our,’ I mean all of those who follow and are inspired by you and your co-bloggers.]
Be refreshed in mind, spirit and fire, friend. You have much to offer and we look forward seeing you at the other end of your journey.
Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words, my Arkansas friend, and and many blessings on you in return. As the end of our journey is ultimately heaven, it’s a beautiful thing when we all help each other get there through our mutual prayers and support. Thank you so much and God bless!
Good to hear from you! Will keep watching your blog, (religiously?), to see how it’s going! Keep up the gratuitous cat and Rocky and Bullwinkle references.
At least gratuitous cat is wearing an ordinary time colored citrus hat. We all need something like that from time to time.
You know what they say, when life hands you lemons (or limes)… make a cute lime kitty helmut! There’s sooooo many ways to spice up ordinary time for even the smallest of God’s creatures.