March 20, 2010

What If They Threw a Crucifixion and No One Came?

For some there is no perfect time. Well, they trick themselves into believing there is not. We are all so busy. Too busy to make time for anything except what is important. Sometimes, there is no time for the Lord. Is the Lord important?
Some of us are upset that there isn’t a Mass available nearby 24/7. If only Mass was available at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, I could go. If only we didn’t have to go to Mass on Sunday. If only Friday attendance at Mass could replace Sunday. That would be easier for me.

We lie to ourselves. We say we want to be with the Lord but we put our hand to the plow and we look back. We need to take care of everyone else first, then we can go to the Lord. I need to take care of myself first and then the Lord. The Lord can wait for me. He doesn’t have work that is as important as mine.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. It doesn’t make any difference if we have Mass 24/7 if we can’t make ourselves get up and go to Mass on Sunday at 10. Why do we think we can leave the house at 10 p.m. on Thursday and go? Is the Lord to be a convenience for us? Is He supposed to wait on our pleasure?

My parish has Adoration on Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. We used to have it from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. I used to have the 6 a.m. hour. But, some people complained that they had to go home for a while and come back for the 8 a.m. Mass so 6 a.m. was cut. I accepted the decision and moved to a later hour after work. In the evening they had to cut the 8 p.m. hour because some people complained that they had to go out after dinner.

We have trouble getting people to commit to an hour. That’s one extra hour per week with the Lord-apparently too much for some. Commitment scares people. They may commit to one hour on Sunday but the rest of the week they want to move on with their lives-apparently there is a difference: the Lord gets thismuch and I get this…………………………………….much.

Our Adoration Coordinator, some Tuesdays, has covered up to four hours. People say they can’t come and don’t have time to find a sub so they just don’t show up. Some of our Adorers are elderly and if they end up getting seriously ill or dying, then what? The elderly parishioners keep waiting and watching with the Lord as they simultaneously wait and watch for the young people to step up and fill the roles they have filled for decades. The Coordinator is in tears as she prays for more Adorers and prays that she had the words to express what Adoration has meant to her. She wails as she feels inadequate to share with others what she experiences during Adoration.

How do those of us who enjoy attending Mass and make time to go as much as possible express to our fellow Christians how that makes us feel? How do we make others go? Should we “make” others go? “Make” is not the right word but “encourage” is. Some may even call that “evangelization”.

How do you express in our limited capacity for language what is inexpressible? True, it seems like an unattainable goal but you can’t reach a goal without even trying.

It's not the crucifixion that's important, it's the Resurrection. However, you can rise before you die. Maybe things will get better. Maybe we will too.


Blogger belinda said...

Cathy, don't you think it's about "falling in love with Christ?"

When your in love with someone you want to spend time with them and you look forward to it.

Most people are not in love with Jesus even though they may have warm feelings towards him , it's not the real love that requires some sort of a personal sacrifice on their part.

We shouldn't be surprised though, look at how we treat people who require something from us. Most people would never consider "sitting" to watch a child or an infirmed person or patient without compensation. You know - what's in it for me, kind of attitude.

The real question I have is why is Christ so in love with us and why does he ache for us to spend time with him? Wouldn't an angel or God the father be a better choice? To me we just don't seem worth his time or his merits won but I'm a habitual sinner - so what do I know?

March 20, 2010 10:48 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

That's the problem I have with most of our modern "youth" programs. Play rock music and give them snappy T-shirts, hold World Youth Day, have "retreats", but don't encourage or teach them about adoration. Weird.

March 21, 2010 1:14 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Note the subtly of this post, fellow readers. Cathy has used some of her own strengths (analysis & writing) to encourage us. I say we take a page from her book and use our own strengths and passions to encourage others.

Think about it... there's got to be something about the mass, about Adoration, something about the saints, something about the Lord that makes people >blink< when you start talking about it. "My goodness!" they're saying to themselves. "I had no idea she could be so intense!"

Of course, not everyone will respond to what drives you. Not everyone will understand. Try to choose your moments wisely, but on the whole (to borrow a phrase),

"Be not afraid!"

Humbly submitted,

March 21, 2010 9:00 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Dear Sisters in Christ: Excellent comments. Belinda, you are absolutely right. It IS about Love.

March 21, 2010 9:18 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Your parish has the same problem as mine - I do two to three hours of adoration each Wednesday because the few that sign up cannot make it. (Believe me, I don't mind - I do mind not having a priest or deacon for benediction however.) Does your pastor support it? Does he encourage people to go to adoration from the pulpit and the bulletin or by example? My pastor doesn't - the emphasis is on activities, not prayer.

March 21, 2010 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Austringer said...

We are blessed to have Perpetual Aodration and a priest who actively supports and encourages it, quite often from the pulpit.
A fellow parishioner once related how he was able to get his fallen-away friends and co-workers to Adoration and thus helping them back to the Church: if a buddy or co-worker of his owed him a favor, he would, when he needed a sub, ask them to fill in for him. They would not have ddreamed of going on their own, but they went as a way of returning a favor. Now THAT is clever and effective evangelization! This might be one way for us to encourage Adoration: we might know parishioners who would not likely bother on theur own to go, but might be willing to help us personally by filling in for us.

March 21, 2010 11:39 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Austringer: Great idea! If I need a sub I usually rely upon my already existing partner to be there (after I call her to make sure she will be) or I call someone else who already has a prior hour. I should reach out to parishioners who don't do it regularly and invite them.

Terry: God bless you. We have been blessed to have priests in our parish who make an unheralded holy hour. When I had the 6 a.m. Father Ryan usually joined me and my partner. When Father Piche (now Bishop Piche) was in our parish, he would usually slip into the back of the Chapel in the evening and say the Office. Father Juettner does the same evening Office.They are quiet supporters. We do announce regularly in the bulletin. However, you make a good point. I should ask Father Juettner if he can make room in one of his Sunday homilies to mention and praise Adoration. Lately, he's been preaching about the Sacrament of Penance-which we also really need to hear about.

March 21, 2010 1:12 PM  
Blogger The Little Way said...

I don't mean this the way I know it's going to sound, so forgive me if I come off as holier-than-thou. My problem is not making enough time for the Lord. My problem is my family because they do not share my desire to be in the Real Presence. Mass once a week is all the rest of the family can muster. I don't nag or inflict guilt, I simply try to show how happy it makes me to spend time in Adoration or make it to daily Mass. But I am the recipient of a lot of guilt. "You're always in church." Not true, but it seems my children and my husband feel left out. I continue to invite and be turned down, but I don't feel I should stop what I'm doing because the rest of the family doesn't like it. No one goes without a meal or misses a doctor's appointment or activities etc because I like to spend more than one hour a week with Jesus. Still, you'd think I was I was neglecting them. The ridicule is another story, but the Lord never said it would be easy. Anyone else experience this problem?

March 21, 2010 8:14 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Miss Way, you seem so sweet. It's okay to lay down the law when you feel it's important. No family member will think less of you than the wonderful provider who you seem to be. Tell them - If I don't get my "Jesus Time" You wont get your dinner time and that Jesus has to come before them.

I don't run over my husband but when my faith is concerned I do have a flash point. I have told my parents and extended family that I choose Christ and his church even over them. I lost a family over it once , but they found me again ..... darn.. Stand firm on these matters of faith. Do not back down but you have to love them all the greater and you should expect some pain. Remember pain is good. ( it really is and it's temporary)

March 21, 2010 10:37 PM  
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March 22, 2010 7:35 AM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

This is just a thought.
In the small village where our monastic community presently lives (although we are making every effort to get to our property 30 min. away ASAP, another story), people a generation ago used to move here after retiring in order to have access to daily Mass. No longer the case.Now this is rural Wisconsin, okay; but...the village is changing overnight to all kinds of people who are either not Catholic or Catholics who don't give daily Mass a priority...hence, when there is no school, no parish Mass (we offer a Mass on every day except Sun and Wed at 7 AM; however, it is either the Ext. Form or the Ord. Form in Latin...they don't "like" Latin!!, ergo, they don't come); anyhoo...First Friday adoration in years past used to be something a number of people attended...those souls have either gone to God or are in nursing homes. Thus, the school children and our monastic community cover the hours; no school, no adoration.
I sometimes wonder if when we move, regular Mass outside of school days and Eucharistic adoration (which we have each morning in community from 5:15 to 7AM) will cease.
But the hunger for the Eucharist and the desire to be with the Lord in His Eucharistic presence have to fuel the people to want it.
Do they want it?

March 22, 2010 3:58 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Father, I once heard someone complaining about the Novos ordo (sp?)Mass and we were told that no matter what it was still Mass and we should just "suck it up" so to speak. I find humor in your statement...."they don't "like" Latin!!, ergo, they don't come);"


March 22, 2010 6:14 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

belinda: Yep. Spiritually, as well.
We provide translations; we're not complete morons here. The Mass is the Mass. Too bad it doesn't work both ways, yeah?

March 22, 2010 9:33 PM  
Blogger Melody K said...

We are blessed to have had Adoration pretty much around the clock since 1998. There are a few empty spots to be filled but not as much as you would think. Our parish is ~800 families, so it is larger than some, but smaller than others. I thought it would be a big commitment, but once you get in the habit, you just do it, and can't imagine not doing it. (I'll admit I'm a wuss and do an afternoon hour after work rather than a middle of the night one). A good source of new people is the RCIA program; those people are "in love with Jesus" as Belinda was saying.
Little Way, hang in there. You are quietly influencing your family more than you think. I would bet that sooner or later one or more of them will end up joining you or taking their own hour.

March 26, 2010 10:39 AM  

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