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Grace in a Coffee Pot View Comments
By Charity Vogel

IT’S OCCURRED TO ME lately that maybe the single-serve coffee dispenser is what is wrong with us these days.

OK, maybe that’s overstating matters a bit. Still, I’m starting to wonder: do those little single-serve coffee capsules signify something going awry in the American spirit, a push toward individual wants and desires over the good of the larger community?

Think about it: the premise behind the single-serve coffeemakers—which use hot water and small plastic containers of ground beans to dispense hot coffee in one-cup increments—is beguiling at first blush.

Advertisements for these single-cup coffeemakers admonish us with, “Don’t make a whole pot! Just make one cup at a time, fresh and steaming whenever you need it.”

This is attractive in its simplicity, nearly foolproof in its appeal. Indeed, this sort of consumption could even be interpreted as pious in a vague sort of way: I am not going to use energy and a filter and a pile of grounds to make a large amount of beverage at one time, the user may think.

Perhaps this is why these machines can command as much as $100 in stores. We seem to love paying a lot for the chance to be seen as socially conscious.

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Charity Vogel, a western New York native who earned a doctorate in English from the University of Buffalo, is finishing a book on a forgotten American train wreck, The Angola Horror, for Cornell University Press. Learn more about this project at angolahorror.com.

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Ansgar: The “apostle of the north” (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Fewer than two years later, he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis’s death. After 13 years’ work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen; Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism. 
<p>He directed new apostolic activities in the North, traveling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another king. By the strange device of casting lots, the king of Sweden allowed the Christian missionaries to return. </p><p>Ansgar’s biographers remark that he was an extraordinary preacher, a humble and ascetical priest. He was devoted to the poor and the sick, imitating the Lord in washing their feet and waiting on them at table. He died peacefully at Bremen, Germany, without achieving his wish to be a martyr. </p><p>Sweden became pagan again after his death, and remained so until the coming of missionaries two centuries later.</p> American Catholic Blog Every vocation is a vocation to sacrifice and to joy. It is a call to the knowledge of God, to the recognition of God as our Father, to joy in the understanding of His mercy.

 
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