Monday, July 18, 2011

One blogger's solace, grace, healing and joy

Image: AllPosters

Four years ago today was a Wednesday, my day off, a very rainy day.

I'd been reading a number of blogs and had thought about writing one myself but I imagined such a venture to be far beyond my techno-savvy.

Had it not been raining so hard that Wednesday afternoon I probably would have gone out.  Instead, I gave it a shot and checked out Blogger.com, the host for the first blog I'd ever read.  I was amazed to find how simple it is to create a blog online and within just a few hours I'd published my first post.

Well, four years later, this is post number 3,199.  My site meter clocks in between 350-450 visitors a day with a grand total of some 466,600 visits.  Hardly one of the bigger blogs on the block, but I'm very pleased with where my page has come.

Those are a few statistics but I'd rather tell you why I've been doing this for four years.

It's truly simple to create a blog -- the hard work comes in keeping it fresh and alive.  But writing this blog is a labor of love. I love to write and my blog offers me not only a daily writing assignment but also a place to share what I write.  (What writer wouldn't dream of being his own publisher?)  As long as I enjoy writing this page and you enjoy reading it, we have a win-win situation!

Writing this blog also keeps me attuned to the scriptures, prayer and spirituality that shape most of its content.  Keeping you in touch with the coming weekend's readings keeps me, a preacher, in touch with them as well.  My Monday Morning Offerings and other prayers I offer here have become part of my own spiritual life (writing and praying them) and it's a joy to share that with you. One reader described my site as a "day book of spirituality." I'd be very pleased if what I offer here rises, even occasionally, to that level.

I'm grateful, too, for a share in evangelizing what Pope Benedict XVI calls the "digital continent." That's his phrase for the Internet and for all of us who communicate through it.  For several years now the Vatican has been thoroughly supportive and encouraging of pastors who take to the net to spread the gospel and call people to prayer.  I'm pleased to be part of this ministry.

But perhaps the principal reason I've been blogging for four years is the peace and satisfaction I find in writing this page.

These past ten years or so have been a difficult and painful time for all of us in the Church and certainly no less for priests than for anyone else.  Nor have these troubled times yet come anywhere near their end.  I'd bet that one day some PhD candidates will write dissertations on how these years impacted the life, ministry, and spirituality of priests.  I work, with help, at understanding what's happened in my own heart and ministry but I know I don't have all the answers. And perhaps I never will.

One thing of which I am certain, however, is how much solace, grace, healing and joy this little cyber-venture provides me in ministry and in my relationship with God and the Church.  In that light I've sometimes referred to blogging as redemptive, something good for my soul in times that need redeeming.  And if I can share some portion of that with you, my readers, then praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Finally, after these four years, thank you! Thanks to all my faithful, regular readers and to those who come by now and again.  You are always most welcome here and for all of you I praise and thank my God!

 
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14 comments:

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks Fr Austin- you are the best !
Long may you continue.
Blessings

Sue said...

Father Austin--I have only been reading your blog for about six months, but you are joy and an inspiration to me every day. So thank you for what you began four years ago, and God bless you always.

Philomena Ewing said...

I posted here early this morning with congrats but it hasn't appeared - have posted link to you on blog anyway.

http://blueeyedennis-siempre.blogspot.com/2011/07/recommended-must-read.html

Blessings

Pat said...

Father, I thank you for your time, work, insights, and the light that emanates from the sharing of your holiness. This ministry offers assistance to your fellow pilgrims on this sacred journey.

Austin Fleming said...

Thank you, Pat, but any claim about my holiness just might be an exaggeration. On the other hand, if I manage to avoid getting in the way of God's holiness shining through my work and words, then Holy is the Name of the Lord!

Linda Reid said...

Thank you Father! I can assure you that as much as you enjoy writing it, I enjoy reading it!It feeds my soul in many ways!

Larry said...

Just want you to know that I visit your blog several times a week and have found God's presence here more often than not. I give thanks to God that somehow you continually find the time to post. I am an ordained Lutheran pastor and marvel at your faithfulness to this blog. Thank you.

anonymous ii said...

466,977 moments of grace ! Hopefully with more to come! It's been great to have shared the last four years with you.....

Austin Fleming said...

Thanks for your kind words and support!

Anonymous said...

This is really the only blog I follow. I am so grateful that your words resonate with me and I know I am blessed to have a pastor whose House feels like home. Thank you for being there for us through our parish life and this blog!
Meighan

Concord Carpenter said...

Happy anniversary!

It is because of your blog that I started blogging and have been for two years!

Continue on brother!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a treasured pearl for your followers. Congratulations on four faith filled years of postings.

Rosemary

Anonymous said...

All of my thoughts have been expressed...Deo Gratias for you, Father Austin.
Shawn

Paul said...

Congratulations on the 4-year anniversary, CP! Praise be to God for your very blessed blog!