September 30, 2009

Redraw the Map

Parishes are territorial in nature. It used to be that one always attended their territorial parish. Territories still exist and the faithful are encouraged to attend church in their territory but church shopping is the norm these days. The faithful seek parishes that present the teachings of Christ and His Mass in ways they individually prefer.

It’s sad that, in many instances, our community and our parishes are weakened by church shopping. However, the larger issues are: not enough priests to serve all the parishes, a decrease in membership in some parishes, financial challenges inherent in maintaining parish infrastructure when costs outweigh income received.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis is currently seeking input from the faithful as part of a planning process. It’s clear that some parishes and schools will be closed or merged with others.

It’s an unspeakably sad process.

It does not, however, mean that the faith is dead or dying. The faith is more than our buildings. Buildings matter and the faithful are attached to them. As a member of a small parish, I suspect we may be facing closure or a merger. This doesn’t mean that I will not have access to the Eucharist, the Sacraments or Adoration. I will continue to have these things. I prefer to think of the possibilities presented by a new community. I may get to meet some new Catholics. I may get to share with them my love of Faith and they can share their love of Faith with me.

Evangelization does not always mean with non-Catholics; it can also mean evangelizing other Catholics.

Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, said; “Be not afraid”

Faith whether individual or collective waxes and wanes. Think of the great centers of faith in history: Corinth, Alexandria, Ephesus…where are they now? What are they now? As a collective they may not be what they once were but people of Faith still live in them. Smaller in number but still in love with God and His Church.

Pray for the people in charge of the process that the Holy Spirit guides them in their work. Participate in the process as you’ve been invited to do.

When it’s over, give in to your emotions for a time and move on to acceptance. What matters is what we become after the process. Will we embrace the possibilities or be consumed and paralyzed with hurt, anger and bitterness?

Will we let our enemies think we are weaker or will we assure them that we are unchanged and as strong as ever?

September 28, 2009

RJW Hath a Blog!

Amateur (I'd say professional but if he were actually paid for it, he wouldn't be reading my blog) blog commenter, RJW has started his own blog!!!!*

Check it out here

*I'm using excessive exclamation points, because now that Bill Safire is dead, who's here to care! LOL! Seriously, may he rest in peace.

The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere On Earth

This post is not going to offend people, I'm not afraid, and I'm going to write it anyway!!! :->



Above is a photo of where I'll probably be living in a few months if I don't find a full-time job soon. Unfortunately, it's not in Adrienne's back yard. It has room for company. But, I know if Adoro sees a spider she'll take out the entire south wall. Crescat will probably set fire to the place in an effort to force us into a Ramada that I can't pay for.

This is not a whine. This is reality.

The Lord, however, will provide. He always does. I'm not saying that to be a snark. I really mean it. He's always provided for me. Even when I rejected Him, He provided. Even when I was wallowing in extreme mortal sin, He provided.

A tent? So be it.

I accept His plan for me. I accepted it, the day I walked out of my last job after nearly two years of continual verbal and emotional abuse by my boss. I took comfort in the fact that I lasted longer than anyone else. I attribute the longevity to prayer and Our Lady.

The author, Bill Holm, could have lived anywhere he wanted. He chose, however, to return to the small town he grew up in; Minneota, Minnesota: Population 1,449. He wrote a book about why he accepted it: The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth. I love that book, but he almost needn't have bothered to write it. Not for my sake anyway. His entire life illustrated his love of place and why he was where he was.

I could focus on how Bill Holm returned to his town because he was broke but we all have choices. He still could have gone somewhere else but he returned to what he knew. I made a choice to strike out. You could say I returned to what I knew: Christ, except this time I never left Him.

Bill Holm's book is a story of acceptance. My life, still in progress, is too.

My entire life should tell the story of why I am where I am. Tent? House? Shelter? Car?

I've given my entire life to Christ; and my life, my actions, should reflect that. I can live in, with and thru Christ anywhere and doing anything. It should be obvious to anyone, no matter my life's circumstances that is the life I have chosen.

The Heart CAN Be Filled Anywhere on Earth. I may not mean it the same way Bill Holm did, but the Life in Christ can be lived anywhere on Earth.

I kind of ribbed my buddy, Adoro, at the top of this post. This last is for her too: the heart can be filled ANYWHERE on earth.

Tom is Back!

Stop over at his blog and say hello!

September 27, 2009

Who am I?

I was thinking today that Catholics know themselves better than anyone. We are so lucky. We are so much more fortunate than non-Catholics. Think about it.

As Catholics, we should be doing a daily examination of conscience. At least, once/day you should examine your conscience to determine your worththiness to receive Communion. As part of the examination, you may determine you need to go to Confession.

Continual examination of conscience usually results in knowing yourself. You get to know your flaws and weaknesses very well. You understand your strengths as well. Self-knowledge is very illuminating.

I’ve certainly learned more about myself since I began doing daily examinations of conscience. I know, will full clarity, that I’m not patient. I often judge others unfairly. I use inappropriate language. I think impure thoughts and sometimes I act upon them. I’m not always a good neighbor. I relish the failures of others. I know when it’s time for me to receive the Sacrament of Confession. Sometimes, they are mortal sins, sometimes they are venial sins. Curiously, I find the venial sins often weigh me down more than mortals. It’s the little weights that add up faster than you realize it and pull you down before you are always aware of what’s happening.

I know most of us hate examinations because it sounds too much like “test”. It is a test. It is all a test. Why not study for it?

September 26, 2009

In the World but Not of It

Recently, a Catholic friend was invited to a wedding that she was not comfortable attending. Not only was she invited, she was asked to participate in the day by giving a prayer before the meal.

We've all been there. We are invited to events we are not comfortable even being invited to much less attending.

Wedding for couples that have been cohabitating for years and already have kids together out of wedlock. Blessing ceremonies rather than wedding Masses. Weddings at shopping malls. Halloween parties. Sporting events on the Sabbath. Dinner at your Aunt's on Good Friday. Catholics who opt to have their children baptised in an Evangelical church. Requests to be godparents to kids whose parents you know are barely following the faith.

What do you do?

Do as we must do. Prayerfully consider each request as it comes. Sometimes you feel you can attend with your core integrity and beliefs intact, sometimes no; you decline and stay home.

As living, believing Roman Catholics we are set apart from the world. We believe and live, daily, in ways that are foreign, strange and, yes, weird to many others in society. Yet, we have to live within the world. How else can we evangelize?

If we only live with and for people who think exactly as we do, how many lost opportunities for evangelization are there? "Go and make disciples of all nations" said the Lord. He didn't say "Go home now and rest, your work is done"

Don't get me wrong. Living with and spending a lot of time with those who think and believe as we do, is a great way of bolstering each other and helping each other in our faith. However, to do so, to the exclusion of all others is to fail the Lord.

Disapproval and absence are strong messages. However, attendance and modeling Catholic behavior and belief is a strong message as well.

When the community of Ave Maria formed in Florida, I supported it in some ways. But, in other ways, I was unconvinced it was the way we should live. It seems bequiling to live exclusively with people you can freely share your faith with. However, that's the point. We may not feel free, but we should freely share our faith-even to those who don't want to hear it.

Maybe Ave Maria fails because of the hubris of one man. Maybe it would've never worked. I know that I believe persecutions are coming and that a dispersed target is harder to hit than a single one.

Be in the world and prove to it that the Gospel is worth living for.

September 22, 2009

Hello Kitties!



Cathy here! Yes, I'm still around. Kind of an intense week. I'm interviewing (which was a pleasant surprise!) and entertaining house guests (which was also a pleasant surprise!)

In my spare time, I'm looking for a new dress to wear for the holiday parties coming up!

Yes, that IS a "Hello Kitty!" dress! Yes, it IS a cry for help!

September 18, 2009

Thug Life

My latest post on Our Word and Welcome to It!

September 17, 2009

Prayer Requests

Please pray for a regular blog reader and friend who is having a kidney transplant today. Pray, also, for his son who is the donor and the rest of the family.

Please pray for a regular reader who is caring for her aging parents.

Please pray for, Vincenzo, who has been feeling poorly lately.

Update: 6:40 p.m.: Kidney tranplant surgery went well. He and his son, the donor, are both ok and stable. Keep praying. As you know, transplants can be rejected. So far, ok.

September 13, 2009

Eucharistic Adoration: A Step Forward

Recently, a well-known, Catholic newspaper (well-known for it’s frequent distortions and refutations of the Catholicism it is reportedly a part of) printed an editorial by a priest. This man of the cloth ended his article with the assertion that Eucharistic Adoration is a is a “doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.”

My reponse was disbelief. Disbelief that a priest would even say such a thing.

I’m blessed to live in an Archdiocese where Eucharistic Adoration chapels are prevalent; both perpetual and occasional. In some parishes, there are additional 40-hour devotions and/or periods of Eucharistic Adoration before or after Holy Mass. I have a scheduled hour of Adoration at my parish each week. I, also, do other random moments with Jesus. See a Eucharistic chapel: stop in.

I can get where Father is coming from. He’s coming from the same background I did. Prior to a few years ago, I’d never even heard of Eucharistic Adoration. I didn’t know what a Novena was. I’d never heard, read or participated in a Litany. I didn’t know the Rosary had Mysteries. I didn’t even know it was a requirement to go to Mass on Sunday. That’s ok though since I couldn’t have recited an Act of Contrition if my life depended upon it, right?

What I did know, and was told, was that the “old” “traditional” and “historic” rituals were all wrong, bad and somewhere in the documents of Vatican II outlawed.

I wonder, now, if there was a motivation behind the people perpetuating the idea that old was bad and irrelevent. Some of them should have known better. Maybe they honestly didn’t. Maybe they truly believed the ---- they were shoveling. In my angrier moments, I wonder if there were darker motivations at work.

Father also said: “Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.”

Are we as Catholics literate and well-educated today? I wonder what he really means by that statement. Were my great-grandparents and forefathers stupid? I’d take the simple and uneducated faith, if what Father says is true, over the “enlightened” literacy of most Catholics today any day.

I used to think that I was so much better informed and educated than the Catholics of decades and centuries past who spent all day at Church in prayer. Who needs that? I’ve got things to do. Besides Father just told us the Mass is all we need. I used to think that too; just spend one hour a week with Jesus and then do whatever you want the other 39 hours of the week. Well, considering how many times I skipped Mass (remember, I didn’t even know it was required to attend on Sunday) and there are many weeks that the Mass alone was apparently not enough.

Let me brutally honest: the average Catholic today is stupid. The poorest Catholic peasant in the darkest of the so-called Dark Ages knew more than most modern Catholics about the Faith and what receiving Communion really meant.

That’s why, in my humble opinion, Eucharistic Adoration is more necessary than ever. So many Catholics have no idea what the Real Presence is or that they are consuming more than a wheat “wafer” at Mass. If that’s true, why not just go sit out in a wheat field and worship and pray over the grain stalks?

Eucharistic Adoration was critical to my reversion to the Faith. The critical piece of my reversion was the deepening of my understanding of the Real Presence. Once you wonder why anyone would spend one hour; much less five minutes, before a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament you start to wonder what the big deal is. Once you do it yourself, you are on your way to accepting the Real Presence. I challenge anyone to spend one hour before the Blessed Sacrament alone in a Chapel and feel nothing. You won’t.

Once you spend regular time before the Blessed Sacrament, you start to recognize the enormity of receiving the Eucharist at Holy Mass. Pretty soon you are examining your conscience, pretty soon you are at Confession, pretty soon you start wondering why wackiness at Liturgy is appropriate, before you know it you are praying every day. Before you know it, you realize just Mass, while important, is not enough to sustain you for 40 hours/week. You want to be with the Lord all the time. You want to learn more about Him. When you love someone, you want to be with them all the time; you want to learn all you can about them. Adoration will teach you that kind of love.

Pretty soon your whole life will change. Eucharistic Adoration is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step forward, not backward. If this is ignorance, than it's, truly, bliss.

September 12, 2009

The Day After

Where’s Terry? Must be doing press for his upcoming film with Jennifer Aniston!

Last night, I was flipping channels and ran across the History Channel’s “102 Minutes that Changed America”. It was footage and sound files of the 9/11 attacks as they happened. I shouldn’t have watched it. I knew it but I did anyway. It was like reliving a nightmare.

We all remember were we were when it happened. I remember because I was embroiled in a lie at the time. On 9/11, I overslept and wanted to go to the gym before work. I usually went every day but because I got up late, I should’ve just gone to work. I wanted to work out so I called work and lied. I said I forgot I had an early a.m. dentist appointment and would be in around 10.

After I was done at the gym, I went home and hung around waiting for the next bus. I turned on my computer; CNN was my homepage; it was about 9:00 a.m. CT. The lead story on the page was about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I thought it was a joke and someone had hacked the site. I turned on the TV and we all know what we saw then. I worked in a tower in downtown Minneapolis then and had no desire to go to work. I didn’t have to. The office decided to close. No one was working; everyone was watching TV. Everyone was too scared to be there.

So, I lied, with no remorse, no confession, no absolution. In 2001, I was not the person I am now. I’m still not the person I should be but I was pretty far away from Christ then. Yes, I went to Church and was involved but my theology (yes it was MINE) was infantile. People talk about “adult Catholicism” and “putting away childish things” like that means running away from the rules “forced” upon you by your church, your parents, your government and just doing whatever you want. Is that what adulthood and maturity really is supposed to be? Acting like a teenager all over again?

I spent the morning of 9/11 glued to the TV. In the afternoon I decided I couldn’t watch it anymore and went out into my yard with the transistor radio and dug out two huge bushes that were dying and set up a garden bed for a total overhaul. It was so quiet. No air traffic. No trains. No kids outside. No one else was home. Apparently, I was the only one in the neighborhood whose office closed.

It’s the Day After that I remember most. 9/12. For those of us who yearn for quiet on public transport, that was the day. No one said a word on the bus. No one spoke. No one looked at each other. It’s like we were all guilty or something. What could anyone say? No one wanted to be there. Everyone wanted to be home with their Mom. That’s what it felt like. You know those times when you feel like a little kid again; unsafe, insecure and you want your Mommy? My Mom never lived to see 9/11. Thank God. One more person for me be afraid for.

I remember going to an ecumenical service at St. Olaf downtown. My co-workers wanted to go to the one in the IDS Center. The impression I got, strongly, was they did not want to go to a Catholic Church for anything. I was offended. I wondered why I was irked since most of the “masses” I attended then were very much like a bland and non-offensive mish-mash to rival any so-called ecumenical service. I thought about that. I wondered why I was upset that someone would insult my Faith when I insulted it every day. Guess it was different when it was me. Like a kid that thumbs its nose at its parents but then is upset when someone else does it.

We all remember the hordes at church in the week or so after 9/11. Where are they now? Some took our leaders at their word and just went on as before: unchanged. Their faith was deepened but it was only temporary. It was an immature love. You know; the kind you have as a teenager that is intense and you are sure will last forever and then 10 years later you can hardly remember his name.

I’m convinced that it’s not so much disaster that defines us; it’s what we do after. Do you rise or do you fall? It’s not the day of, it’s the day after. Good Friday was pivotal but it was Easter Sunday that really mattered.

I think about the Falling Man of 9/11- the man who jumped from one of the towers. Someone made a short film about that where an actor dressed as Falling Man rises up the side of the tower. Not falling but rising.

There’s so much I’m ashamed of. Many of us could probably say the same thing. Who were you then and who are you now? I could wallow in my lies and mistakes or I can Confess them, admit them, ask to be forgiven from them and rise.

The day of the sin is bad but what do you do the next day?

September 09, 2009

A Post Guaranteed To Tick You Off

Vincenzo has the story.

Basically, it's about an order of dissenting religious that figured out a way to not only leave the Church but take the money and the property. It also outlines an organization that is setting up to help other orders do that.

The story is rife with the usual teeth-grinding phrases and meaningless double speak of dissenting culture.

The claim the dissenters are "sojourners" really set me off. I think of the original sojourners as the apostles and disciples who set off into the wilderness to bring The Gospel. These "ladies" are setting off to spread their gospel-the gospel of relativism.

In any case, we need lawyers on the job to figure out a way to nip this movement in the bud or else it's going to spread. Mark me.

Father Rutler wrote that it's easier to dissent using the church's own copy machines than it is to strike out on your own. Now they've figured out a way to take the church's copy machines AND strike out on their own.

Remember, they are taking what WE, and our forefathers, gave them.

Ever Wondered What Happened to Balaam's Ass?

Father George,formerly bloggingLourdes, will tell you!

Check it out! Don't be offended, Father probably isn't. He has that wacky humor I like.

Father and his blog have moved here

September 08, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

But, they treat me better than Blanche DuBois...

Tonight, at Adoration, I will pray for all who have shown me kindness during this past week. I'm always amazed. I feel so unworthy and sinful. Well, I am sinful. I'm STILL the biggest sinner I know.

I may never actually meet these souls in this life. Maybe I'll recognize them in the next. They'll be resting on the bosom of the Lord as I look on from the darkness.

Prayer Request

Gentle Reader: Please pray for the repose of the soul of my maternal Grandmother who died one year ago today.

A very kind friend was driving to South Dakota for the long holiday weekend, just past, and offered me a ride. Without the offer, I would not have been able to go. The kindness of people never ceases to astound me; especially since I often feel undeserving.

It was a great weekend but it was emotional walking back into Grandma's house. It's the first time I've been back in there since I last visited her a few days before her death.

She died in the house, well cared for by her surviving children and other family members. I tend to think a lot about "end of life" and "palliative" care. My family's had a lot of experience with it. I think of the sacrifices made so a loved one can go with dignity and in their own home. It's not easy. But, if it's at all possible, it's SO worth it.

September 07, 2009

I'm BAAACCKK!!!!



Hey!

I spent my time "off" in drumming, reflection and ritual. I also threw in a few liturgical dance lessons. Terry hooked me up with his teacher!!! I had a disaster with the smoking pot during the ritual. Well, let's just say my class days are over. So much for welcoming me wherever I am on my journey. Whatever.
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