I took a closer look at Pi-hole’s administrative tools and set up per-client domain blocking. One of my Lenten goals is to disengage with social media altogether, and this configuration will keep me from reflexively opening Twitter and the like during the first few days. Seems to work pretty well! I’ve included my phone, workstation, and tablet. My devices have on-demand VPN connections enabled, so I’m always connected to the home network for ad filtering and remote access to the various odds-and-ends I have running at home. It’s been working so well that I went ahead and enabled it well ahead of Ash Wednesday.
I thought I had been doing a pretty good job of moderating my usage, but a recent local news event had me checking feeds frequently for updates, and before I knew it, I was in it all the time.
In other news, I’m working on a short paper to close out a history class and have been deep-diving into Guatemalan history and the Catholic Church’s role therein. The particular diaconal focus is on gaining some insight into the spirituality of Guatemalan Catholics, particularly newcomers to our parish. I have some upcoming business travel, so I’ve gotten some excellent texts squirreled away on the iPad and a couple of short books on Blessed Stanley Rother and St. Pedro de San José Betancur. Both of these are in Spanish and on loan to me from a Dominican sister at our parish who spent some time in Guatemala recently for language classes.
Still plowing through Taylor’s A Secular Age. So far, it’s going a bite at a time. I can say that reading about Taylor was easier than reading Taylor directly. Maybe it’s just the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, but I’m seeing his name pop up everywhere these days. Even in articles about polyamory. He came up in lectures over the weekend as well. Very weird.
My spiritual director suggested I read An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Frances de Sales, so that’s a chapter a day as part of my morning prayers. One of the things I’m sort of groping towards is a diaconal spirituality that draws from the sources I’ve engaged with over the last few years - Desert, Benedictine, Carmelite, and Dominican. It won’t be presbyteral and certainly not monastic. It will have to be something else entirely.
The de Sales reading and renewed time for daily contemplative prayer will hopefully provide some space and silence for listening. Quieting the dull but somehow piercing idiocy of social media will also help. And the Breviary, of course. Always the Breviary.