A few desires, pious and otherwise, at the front end of Lent and the tail end of a quadrennially fat February:
1. Once again, to have more company at St. Michael Friary. This remains my strongest desire. I can hear the sound of children romping upstairs, the little cousins of one of my postulant brothers. We had a Thanksgiving-in-February meal, with turkey and London broil, and with many delicious sides. You can fast and abstain all you want, but when sisters and brothers in the Spirit come to your house, make a feast with your finest foods. My contribution was a Betty Crocker cake and an apple crumb dessert from scratch. Everybody was contented. Friends of mine, make your way to St. Michael before May 9!
2. To speak prophetic truth to power at least one more time in the public arena, be it the statehouse or the marketplace. I am travelling to Albany with a delegation from Neighbors Together next Wednesday to lobby for a budget bill that serves the common good; a long-overdue increase to the New York State minimum wage; and other legislation that will support good jobs and housing. I may get my wish vis-a-vis the polis; as it concerns the oikos, well, let's wait and see how the Occupy movement rises.
3. To get more sleep. Another long-sought desire, often deferred. This could mean hard choices. Will I love my bed more than my blog?
4. To read more about the Second Vatican Council. I do not mean only the 16 conciliar documents, but also the history of the council, the insider and outsider stories about how and why what happened, happened.
5. To write more about celibate sexuality. You know you want to read about it....
6. To visit the Brooklyn Museum. (To tour that museum with Jennifer, my sister, who is an art teacher and has a master of fine arts degree.) To see the renascent New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Also with aforementioned sister, and perhaps my brother Nicholas.) To walk the Williamsburg Bridge when the weather gets about ten degrees warmer. To walk through any of the local parks when the first treebuds burst. To dine one more time at Junior's in downtown Brooklyn. To go to any cheap diner in Queens. To go to the movies once or twice more with the brothers at the tiny neighborhood multiplexes for $9 or less.
7. To memorize the hymns we sing during Eucharistic adoration, as well as the Salve Regina, which we sing at night prayer. To learn how to swing an incenser properly. To memorize the New Testament canticles that recur in the psalter we follow for evening prayer. To be simply present to God during morning meditation.
8. To think, speak, and act in such a way as to leave my brothers or my neighbors no doubt how I love them. To think, speak, and act in such a way as never to deceive myself or them into believing I love the brothers or my neighbors when my thoughts, words, and deeds prove the contrary. When my love fails, at least let truth prevail.
9. To be comfortable enough in my personhood to do something that seems to be completely out of character but is actually the confirmation of a successful process of development.
10. To trust my deepest desires. To entrust my brothers with those deepest desires. To trust my brothers a little more to hold my deepest desires carefully in their hearts.