Life is somewhat paradoxical isn’t it?  On the one hand – each one of us has a particular journey or road to travel in life.  On the other hand – none of us is truly alone!

In the most obvious sense, we are not truly alone because we have our friends and families.  There are people we can talk with and share our stories, our fears, our triumphs.

In a less obvious way, we are not truly alone because we carry within us, way down deep inside, at the level of our DNA – all of our ancestors.  Their passions, their strengths and weaknesses, their loves and hates are an important part of who we are.  Wherever we go, we take them with us.

This blog is an invitation for you to reflect on the wisdom that we have inherited from our ancestors.  That wisdom can be found in many sources – the Jewish and Christian scriptures, other ancient writings like Pirke Avot and that of the Fathers of the Church, the writings of saints and sages over the centuries.

Pirke Avot (sometimes transliterated from the Hebrew as Pirke Avos) is a well-studied text in Judaism.  It means “Wisdom of the Fathers” in its original Hebrew.  If you do a search on it via Amazon you would get a number of English translations.  It is a collection of sayings from rabbinic tradition, beginning with rabbis before and contemporaneous with Jesus, ending several centuries later.  Some texts have additional commentary and stories to help modern readers understand.  A particularly good and helpful translation comes from the Atrscroll Mesorah Series published by Mesorah Publications, edited by Rabbi Moshe Lieber.  I think this volume costs about $30.00.

Every week I will post some short saying that I believe deserves some reflection.  I will add some comments and stories and I invite you to add some as well.   Check back often to follow the discussion.

The great thing about a blog is that you can access it anywhere, at any time.   Waiting in an airport, in the middle of a sleepless night, who knows?  Add this blog to your favorites / bookmarks now.   I promise to regularly update this site so that on each visit you make there will be new things to think about and new ideas to share.

You can navigate through the blog using the tabs at the bottom of the banner at the top of the page.

Who am I, behind this blog?

My name is Peter Barbernitz.  I am the writer and administrator for this blog.

I work at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Columbia MD.   Officially I am the “Associate for Evangelization”.  That’s a fancy way of saying that my job is to help spread the good news that God loves us.   This blog is part of my work.

I am ordained as a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C..  As a permanent deacon I am assigned to St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring MD.

While I work for the church, the writing and comments I make here are my own.  I do my best to write things that fully conform to the teachings of the church – but sometimes I may get something incorrect or, more likely, simply not explain something as fully as it might be explained – and that can lead to misunderstandings.  Please don’t jump to conclusions!

  • I have a B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Loyola University of Maryland.
  • I have an M.A. in Theology from the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
  • I have an M.A. in Religious Education from the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
  • I have a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland University College.
  • I have a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria VA.

These degrees don’t mean that I am always right.  I still have an awful lot to learn.

Many of the entries, particularly the early ones, will focus on Pirke Avot – the Wisdom of the Fathers.  I have been studying this work with Rabbi Martin Siegel for several years and continue to do so with him.  I am using this work with his blessing and encouragement as he believes this wisdom for is for all people and all centuries.

Thanks for visiting!  Please come back soon!