July 28, 2010

Don't Give Up

People who minimize the reasons for the Sacrament of Confession will make up all kinds of reasons why it’s useless, pointless,ridiculous,embarrasing and unecessary-any reason to explain why they refuse to go and why you should too. Oh, and the all-time favorite excuse is: Vatican II “did away with” Confession. Strangely, if that’s true many parishes never got that memo. Some parishes may have made their Mass look like a free-for-all but they still offer Confessions on Saturdays!

Some people I know used to say it was ridiculous to keep telling the same stupid sins over and over and over again.

They got it partly right. Sin is stupid. Yes, don’t we frequently have the same sins? I know I do. Over and over again I’ve had to repeat them to the Lord’s servant, the priest in the Confessional.

I never seem to learn but that doesn’t mean give up and quit.

What parent will quit telling their child “no” and hope that the child will just quit acting up because they will it? Exactly, the same as our Lord tries to tell us. The Lord continually says “no” to our sinful actions. Hopefully, if we hear the “no” often enough it will finally sink in and we will quit doing that which we shouldn’t.

Keep using the Sacrament of Confession. Don’t give up. It will make you a better person.

July 27, 2010

Sit Back and Eat Popcorn Y'all!

It's been a while since I've ranted about appropriate attire at Holy Mass. That's ok, though, because Larry D dares to go where many have tried before!

Pile on!

July 26, 2010

For Terry

Who loves ya, baby?

July 25, 2010

Belated Birthday

Happy Birthday (belated) to Vincenzo!

Who Are These People?

Friendship has been redefined in recent years-so has loneliness. If I'm feeling lonely I can just get online and go sit in some chat room with my friends!

Are they my friends? They are friendly, yes, but do I know them, really know them? Do I know what their favorite color is? Maybe, because it's on their profile page! Do I know what their favorite book is? Yes, it's an answer to a quiz they took online! But, do I really know them? Do I know how they will react when the times get rough? Do I know the measure of their fortitude? Do I know they will stand by me in my hour or worst need? Do I know they are good to their neighbors? No, probably not. I don't know.

Popularity was always a contest-in high school. Today, you don't even have to graduate! "Friends" are collected like trophies. I have over 200 friends in Facebook!!!! Some of you laugh and say, so what, I have 500!!!! How many do you actually know? How many have you actually ever met in person? How long have you been "friends", 20 years or 20 minutes?

I have relationships I have cultivated due to connecting on social media so I'm not saying online friendships are impossible but it takes YEARS to make and become a true friend. It takes a while to know a person, to take their measure, you can't do that with one click of "accept"

You all hear "be careful" who you "friend". That was always true, except now you can't look them in the eyes; a Webcam image can be hard to see.

It is an exciting time we live in, we can chat with people all over the world in real time; however, the need for caution has never changed.

Be friendly, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends you have, and their friendship tested,
Anchor them to your soul with hoops of steel,
But don’t spend your money on entertaining
Each newly acquired, unproven friend

Polonious may have been a point of derision to Hamlet but he was not a fool. Some good advice admidst his pomposity is to be had.

Likewise, some true friends can be found amongst the strangers. We all have to start as strangers, right?

But, don't be a fool and assume someone is a true friend immediately.

It may sound trite to those of no faith but the truest friend is Christ. He will never leave you, though you may leave him and often, He is True.

If Jesus were on Facebook, how many true friends would He have? Clicking "Like" is easy, sticking by him as the boos are hurled and the nails and wood are brought out is the test of friendship.

Those people are us.

July 20, 2010

Moments of Revelation

Recently,I admitted to one of my Confessors that I’m not always being charitable at work. I’m ashamed of myself. The Lord gave me a job, after several months of unemployment, and this is how I repay Him.

My Confessor said “Treat those who you struggle with, even those you dislike, as you would treat The Christ”

I do, that’s the problem. I’m no better than the crowd in front of Pilate.

July 19, 2010

Get the Christian Out!

My latest post on Our Word and Welcome to It is called Get the Christian out. Check it out and check out the blog redesign!

No matter how few stories I've given Mitchell, I still have Terry and Ray beat!

July 18, 2010

Random Waves Of Grief

Some of you know that my Dad and I are the only surviving members of my nuclear family. My only sibling, a brother, died over 20 years ago at the age of 17; my mother died 12 years ago at the age of 50.

I don't spend time every day thinking about them. Gradually, as distance increases you move beyond that. Maybe that's a coping mechanism but I tend to think of it as a sacrifice to the busyness of daily life. I just don't have time to reflect upon the lives of the loved ones I've lost on a daily basis. I pray for them when I remember to do it. There, yes, that's what it comes to. I don't even remember to pray for them every time I pray. There was a time I did always remember; but, life goes on and so do I.

However, there are certain times of the year that if the grief is going to come there it is.

On July 6th my brother would have been 39. I usually think about him over the 4th of July holiday at some point. I always do. Many years, the Independence Holiday was rolled into his birthday celebration. I thought of him briefly as I was with my family over the 4th. It was a nice memory. However, as time passes, more and more members of my family never knew him or if they did they've assigned a sanctity to him that he, honestly, does not deserve (amazing how many become saints in death). My cousins who were very young or not even born when he died can barely remember him if at all. I'm sad for that and, yes, I'm angry about it. They don't know what he was or could have been. They were robbed, I was robbed. I was not conscious then of being angry but I need to be honest, it's there latent.

Today, before Mass the grief clobbered me and started to buckle me. I don't know where it came from. Suddenly, I felt like crying all over again. I can feel a niggling anger starting to come up. I was robbed. I've been robbed. D--- you, God! I loved him and you took him. Mercifully, this parish had two priests today and one was in the Confessional into the Mass. About midway thru the First Reading I got up and went to Confession. I'm so grateful for the availability. I don't think one should approach the Lord in anger.

Of course, this is Satan playing me. Normally, I'm not angry about the deaths of my loved ones. I figure God recognized they were fabulous and wanted them, or, perhaps it was part of His plan to teach the survivors (like me) a lesson. I truly believe I would not be who I am today, better or worse (hopefully better) without having lived thru what I did, without having my Mom and my brother in my life.

Grief lessens with time but it never totally goes away.

You Suck Big Time

Some of you know that I was dogsitting for my buddy Adoro while she was drinking margaritas by a lake for a solid week!

Kidding! She was learning iconography while on retreat. I'm sure you'll read more about it if you see her blog.

Adoro has a magnet on her fridge that says "You Suck Big Time" with this happy bunny smiling. No, I don't think Terry gave it to her! Well, maybe he did, I don't know..

In any case, that magnet makes me laugh and gives me some moments of introspection. I do suck and I am full of (insert word here) most of the time.

Definitely, this blog sucks. It was another intense week and blogging tends to go by the wayside. I've found I have no trouble leaving the laptop unused, not reading blogs, not checking email obsessively. I'm online and on my cell phone/blackberry all day at work why do it when I get home all over again? I need the break.

Relaxing at Adoro's was a form of vacation for me too! I got out of my usual environment (change is good) and got that little reminder: Sinner! Yep.

I may never know what is going on in blogdom but there is one thing I can always be sure of: my unworthiness before the Lord.

Now, I know some of you reading this post are grinding your teeth! You hate any verbiage about unworthiness. Be honest. How perfect do you really think you are?

July 09, 2010


New blog! Check it out. http://www.amentior.com

Somewhere Mitchell cries: "Give me somethin', Cath, anything to work with!"

July 07, 2010

Timeless: Reflection on the Year of the Motu Proprio

Today, July 7th, is the 3rd anniversary of the Holy Father’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum (SP). I think of SP as the document that reclaimed a priests AND a lay persons right to participate and have available to them the Mass according to the 1962 Missal (a.k.a. the TLM or Traditional Latin Mass). We now refer to this Mass as the EF or extraordinary form of the rite.

2007 was a huge year for me; not just because of the motu proprio; though that was not an insignificant event.

I was finally BACK in 2007. After a journey of several years I had fully removed myself from my former circle of dissent. I still may have seen or talked to a few of that group but our conversations were awkward as without talking about how much we hated the Church and the Faith we had nothing in common. Trying to share the love you have come to know via authentic and timeless liturgy and prayer with folks who “make it personal” and of the moment is tough. Eventually, we quit trying and I have to admit I only very rarely speak with any of my former crew now. When we talk we kick it Minnesotan and talk about fairly neutral topics like the weather and food. (However, in land of the bland, Minnesota , global warming and spice can be troublesome)

I switched parishes. I was taking a second go-round of Catholicism courses. I was, finally, Confirmed. But, I was, also, finally ready for Confirmation. I was, truly, ready to go forth and make disciples of all nations. I really meant what I professed. If I had been Confirmed earlier in life that would not have been the case. The Lord always has a plan.

Now, I’d like to say I’ve been totally good since 2007, but, well, yeah. There have been bumps in the road. I’m not always the best evangelist for clean living that there is; must less the best advocate for lived expressions of Catholicism that there is. Often I’m more “Do as I say; not as I do”

However, any education that ‘takes’ should, in my humble opinion, bring introspection and, if not clarity; then a recognition of where clarity is lacking in your self.

You may have noticed I’ve been more reflective and introspective than “cranky” of late. I’m not claiming any sudden burst of wisdom but I’ve suddenly realized how far from it I really am. I’ve quit, recently, railing on how much better and enlightened I am than all my dissident buddies, not because I think they are right; because I realize how wrong I am as a spiritual person. Who am I? If Moses and St. Elizabeth can ask these questions, really, who am I to act like a pompous know it all because the Lord finally reached me and I saw Him?

It’s not the more you know the less you know; it’s the more you are exposed to the more there is to absorb. The truth is not out there-it’s in here (pointing to heart and head). I’m trying to absorb it and use it-that’s the phase I’m in now.

2007 will always be for me a pivotal year. It is, for me, THE pivotal year as a Catholic. It was the year I finally felt like one and started acting like it.

In any event; 2007 a VERY good year!

July 06, 2010

Ecce Homo

I’ve been meditating upon the Scriptures lately. There are so many stories of blindness turned to sight. Literal and figurative stories. Physical blindness healed. Figurative blindness healed by the sudden recognition of the Lord.

How many times have I failed to recognize the Lord? For much of my life I did not recognize the Lord in the blessed bread. Even the disciples, as many times as they screwed up, knew it was the Lord when He blessed the bread at the inn on the road to Emmaus. Quibblers will say that was different, a priest is not the Lord so the blessed bread at Mass is not the same thing. No priest is going to say he is the Lord but he acts for the Lord as the Lord’s duly consecrated servant at the Mass.

The Apostles did the same. They continued to bless bread and share the communal meal with those who had come to believe as they did: the Lord rose for our sins and the consecrated Host was Him. The Lord told them and some had trouble believing Him and left.

Nothing has changed. Catholics are taught that the consecrated Bread and Wine are His Body and Blood but many have trouble believing that is really true and with ease leave the faith and become Lutherans. If they only truly believed that the bread they ate and the cup they drank contained the fullness of Him: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity they would never leave. No Protestant or Muslim or Jewish temple, synogogue, mosque or denomination can give you that.

There were times I threw the Lord in the garbage can. I picked him up off the floor and stuffed Him in my pocket and then threw Him in the garbage. I watched Him sitting in refuse and my conscious was pricked but the depths of dissent run as deep as stubborness and I refused to believe. I refused to pick Him up; I’m obviously no St. Simon of Cyrene.

I partook of Him many times and he sat in the refuse of my body; full of sin as I often took Him (I did not receive; I took)into my body. Mortally sinful but rarely sorrowful. Sorrow for sin was something somebody did in the old days. Sorrow seemingly left town with guilt around the same time.

Terry told me the other day that I could claim to be a ‘recovering dissident’ until the day I die. I should change my blog title to “Reparation” as I’ll definitely be doing that until I die.

July 03, 2010

Gone Boating!

Offline until Monday night or Tuesday! Comment moderation is enabled while I'm gone. Someone bug Terry for me-thanks!

July 02, 2010

Joy in Repetition

Is Mass boring? I used to think so. Many think so. If people didn't think the Mass was boring they wouldn't make so many "innovations" to it.

I posit that the Mass is not boring, it's that the Faithful don't "get it". Most Catholics have no idea what the responses mean, much less the meaning of what actions the priest is performing. Symbolism is definitely lost as most of us need to be kicked in the head to recognize the Lord. Maybe we should give ourselves a break, after all the Apostles had the Lord literally right in front of them and failed to recognize Him time and again.

The Mass is repetitive, it is familiar. Like most things that are familiar we take them for granted. I used to take my Mom and brother for granted and then one day they were dead and now I'm sorry that I did not spend more time with them.

Does familiarity really breed contempt? Is repetition to be despised?

Are you tired of hearing your family tell you they love you? Does a child saying "Mommy,I love you!" over and over again just drive you insane? Do you get tired of pushing that button for hours on the slot machine at the casino? Do you weary of dropping that fishing line in the water over and over? Can you bare to lift that spoon with the divine lemon gelato one more time to your exhausted lips?! If I have to decorate one more Christmas tree ever again in my life I will not be responsible for my actions!

Of course not.

There can be joy in repetition. Joy in repetition depends upon how important the action is to us and how much we love it.

The Mass reveals its depths to me everytime I attend. Every time I attend I find something new. "So ancient and so new"-I think a really important Doctor said that once. I learn something new; both about the Faith and about my relation to it. I wonder anew at the Sacrifice. I thank God again! Thank God He is not tired of hearing us talk to him over and over in prayer. Mercifully, He never tires of forgiving us. Hopefully, He finds joy in the repetition of absolution or we are done for.

As the calender unspools and the rhythm of our church year unfolds, how can we not find joy in repetition? Advent is approaching, every Saturday is for the Virgin, Friday is for Him, Ember Days, Ferias, Easter follows Christmas. We live it every year just so but is every Christmas just like all the others? Is every Easter the same? Are we always the same? Yes and, yet, no.

Give thanks for repetition. Why are you here? #1 in the Baltimore Catechism, you may repeat it with a lack of enthusiasm but find the joy in that you still remember it. It's as true now as it was then.

You may leave the Mass but it's always there. Waiting. Isn't the repetition welcome when you've been away? It's like bike riding. Once you learn, you never forget. But, eventually, you have to take the training wheels off.
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