Post title references Rome's Basilica di San Sebastiano and the nearby Quo Vadis chapel and this early Christian story about St. Peter meeting Jesus, post-Resurrection, just outside Rome. The Basilica and church feature Christ's footprints captured in the stones he walked over to Rome itself.
But it refers to a question, posed rather directly, from a good friend this past July over dinner near Standish, Maine: "Just who do you want to reach with that blog?"
Well, everybody, pretty much.
Except we all know it's not that easy. First, St. Paul's argument notwithstanding, none of us can be all things to all people. To the extent that any of us are is a gift from the Holy Spirit. (Side comment: OK, Bishop Robert Barron comes awfully darned close. There are others, too, such as Father Donio's Catholic Apostolate Center.) Certain blogs will catch readers and audiences that others just miss. That in itself is fine, insofar that the diversity of (Catholic) blogs all intend the same end: the building of the Kingdom, through the Church, here on earth. So, Artur Sebastian Rosman takes one approach, Deacon Scott Dodge takes another, while Elizabeth Duffy, Amy Welborn, and Elizabeth Reardon each take their own. #allgood #therearesomanyothers
So where's Spiritual Diabetes?
Certainly in an academic vein of the Catholic blogosphere, but one attuned to trends outside the Academy's walls as well. Popular culture, popular spiritual trends, and politics all appear, but part of what generates this blog comes from the admittedly rarefied air of Catholic theological studies and, this is crucial, my particular location therein. Other posts have addressed my conversion experiences and my own views on Catholic higher education. Animating those posts, though, is the theme of spiritual hunger, satisfaction, and overconsumption. That is, after all, how one contracts Type II diabetes--you eat your way into it. At some point, and this determining factor differs for each individual, one's consumption outstrips the body's own abilities to process and burn sugar. The diabetic, once diagnosed, knows darned well what the stakes are and reduces consumption, but then it's too late. Thereafter, the bloodstream courses with more and more sugar, which causes both thirst and more hunger. Increased high blood sugar leads to circulatory and tissue breakdown, hence the association of diabetes with blindness, loss of mobility, and even loss of limbs.
The reality that the United States faces, and has faced for almost two decades, a Type II diabetes epidemic seems an apt portal or theme for addressing similar questions of spiritual overconsumption. As stated in one of my earliest posts, originally I saw this theme as a means to address spiritual overconsumption on what might be called "the right" politically and socially-speaking in the United States. Almost three years of blogging has led me to conclude, though, that spiritual diabetes flourishes just as strongly on the Left. (Although at times I have used the phrase "spiritual veganism" to address that side. I do need a couple more posts to explore further that relationship.)
Recently a tectonic shift in Catholic blogging occurred when Elizabeth Scalia "The Anchoress," longtime portal editor of Patheos' Catholic channel, moved her work to Aleteia. Katrina Fernandez, a fiery convert and blogger who works in North Carolina, subsequently announced the end of her blog "The Crescat," and Max Lindemann has toyed with doing the same at his "Diary of a Wimpy Catholic." No blog runs forever, and perhaps we Catholic bloggers should know of and work with that realization more so than we and more so than blogs of other faiths (and no faith at all). Don't worry, this isn't a resignation post--I'm not going anywhere just yet. That being said, for all the refreshing, inspiring, and challenging voices within the Catholic blogosphere, it bears repeating that the Catholic social media presence--as diverse as it is--must never be mistaken for the Church. Only there--and not here--may we discover (repeatedly!) the authentic remedies for spiritual diabetes.