January 31, 2010

Septuagesima in the Kitchen

I decided to bake bread today. Those of you who bake bread from scratch know that the process requires time and patience. The preparation is not intense but is not quick. Baking bread requires certain conditions to allow the result to be sucessful.

I let the dough rise overnight in the bread bowl on the stove top. I put a towel over it. Just like my Mom used to do.

Before Mass I formed some rolls and and a loaf and, same ritual, covered the pans the dough was in with towels and set the pans on the stove top.

Right before I left for Mass I spotted Sodak on top of the stove with his paws on the towel in one of the pans, kneading. Those of you with cats know what I mean. I inhaled my breath quickly and yelled (starts with a d). The minute one of my cats hears my breath hiss they know they are in trouble. Sodak ran for the nearest high place he could find with great apprehension on his feline visage.

My anger was fleeting. I laughed. I can’t blame him. I enjoy kneading dough myself. Gosh, if I knew he liked to do that, I’d have him help me bake bread more often!
I rubbed his chin and gave him a kiss.I have to call that love. No harm done. It’s only bread. It will re-rise. Perhaps, the farther it falls, the higher it will rise. And, it was reworked-hopefully, not too much, but sometimes dough reacts well to extra attention!

Well, it all turned out fine-like all the best meals everyone in the household helped!Well, Kaylen helped by staying out of the kitchen! I’m still trying to teach my cats to do dishes with limited success.

Today, is Septuagesima-nine weeks before Easter. If Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, this period is a time of preparation for Lent. I’m starting to think, now, about my plan to make Lent meaningful. Like all plans it requires time, patience and thought.

The end result of my baking could have been disaster, my Lent may turn out to not be as meaningful as I’d like; however, there can be no doubt that at the end of Lent we will hear “Resurrexit…..” and Jesus will rise again.

January 30, 2010

Yep

Hey, I'm still around! Busy week. Lots of drama. Working a lot. Trying to keep the bunnies from pooping in my yard-Terry sent them over here.

January 28, 2010

Buy Me a Pot of Coffee!

A post about Terry! I'll take it down later.

Labels: WTH does this mean? Huh?

January 27, 2010

The Energy Suckers

We all know them, the giant suckers of all light, the perpetually crabby, the selfish, the me-me-me, the morose.

I call them "energy suckers". Others may call them "energy wasters"

Essentially, they are people that expect and demand that so much of your time be devoted to their never-ending saga titled "I need you to listen 24/7 to how I can't cope" This is an "On Demand" program. Don't look for it on Comcast. The remote is aimed at you. They click and order, you come.

We've probably all known folks like this. They are mired in a mess of their own making and will not get out-not because they can't but because they know if they resolve this "problem" before they get another one to regale you with, you'll suddenly realize:

1) On the scale of human misery this "insurmountable problem" is preposterous
2) You've got enough of your own ____to deal with
3) How come they never help you?

#3 is the point that you realize that you are in an unequal "relationship". You help them and listen to them all the time and they never or rarely help you or listen to you. It's all about them.

I don't have any "energy suckers" in my life. I dump them. It may take me a while, I give everyone a chance, but, eventually, they have to go.

There is a difference between a true friend in crisis compared to an energy sucker. A true friend you will help and listen to them because you KNOW (from past experience) they will help you and listen to you vent when you need it. Encounters with a true friend do not consist of 2 minutes of you sharing and 2 hours of them sharing-not because you have nothing to say, but because they will not shut up.

What does this have to do with Faith?

I know I'm trying to be a Christian but, in my opinion, being a Christian does not mean "be a doormat". Pray for the energy sucker-yes. Pray from a distance. Save your sanity along with your soul.

January 25, 2010

Everything In Moderation

My most recent post on Our Word and Welcome to It!

January 24, 2010

March for Life Photos

Argent has some photos up of this year's March for Life in Washington D.C. She was there and tells me it was wall-to-wall, slow moving, and she didn't dare to turn to take photos due to a real possibility of being crushed.

I'm happy so many turned out that the people there had to use caution moving in the crowd!

Zadok is Back!

Check him out!

January 23, 2010

Blog Birthday!

Today, is Belinda's birthday! Stop over and wish her a happy one!

Life Goes On

Yesterday was the March for Life and a Day of Penance to make reparation for the evil of abortion in the land. I worked, threw in a few extra prayers, gave blood. Because I donated blood, I was not able to fast as is my practice on January 22nd in years past.

A little over a week ago a violent earthquake hit our Catholic brothers and sisters in Haiti. I gave some money and I pray for them.

Friends have had illnesses hit their families. I commiserate and pray.

A couple friends have had family pets die. They are devastated. I commiserate and pray.

Life goes on though, doesn't it? I went to work thru all of it. I maintain my home. I received the Sacraments. I plan social events. Just because tragedy has hit someone else and paralyzed them doesn't mean I should be right?

It all seems so unreal. I don't think there are ever times I am reminded of how much I'm NOT like Christ than times like these. Christ felt everyone's pain. Just imagine if Christ only felt His pain. I feel inadequate in my responses. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing.

January 22, 2010

Day of Penance

Today, in the United States, is a Day of Penance to mark the anniversary of the law that brought abortion into the law of our land.

Do something to make reparation for this evil. Even if you have not had an abortion and don't know anyone who has (be grateful) and were not personallhy responsible for Roe v Wade's enactment, we have much to atone for as a nation.

Too many shrug or glory in the liberality that perpetuates the myth that to kill an unborn child in the womb is a "right".

January 21, 2010

The Fight Against Rigidity

Don’t you dislike joyless people? I do. Don’t you dislike and avoid people that insist on seeing the negative in every situation? I do.

We all know people like that.

Sometimes I think I’m funny but I lack joy. Sometimes I know I ignore the positive and hang onto the negative. I worry that I’m rigid.

My friend, Bede, was kind enough to share with me the hospitality of her parish last Saturday evening. Her parish is known in trad circles as “not trad”. I had that in my head and heart when I got there. I don't like to think of myself as trad but, I suppose, compared to some I am. Trad is not a bad thing but some of the trads I know are not always the most joyful folks on the planet.

Have I become so rigid and defined by the joyless that I have to consciously remind myself to see the face of Christ and the hearts of the Angels in my brothers?
I think so.

Ok, so church “in the round” is not my thing. I’m too weak to avoid distraction by being able to see others. I have trouble focusing on the Sacrifice. Is this everyone’s problem just because it’s mine? Not necesssarily.

The design of the crucified Lord in the sanctuary (I called it “Jumpin Jesus”) was not meaningful to me. Does that mean it’s meaningless to everyone?

The Tabernacle is in a separate chapel. Not my preference but, how can I know what was decided during the design of the church? I have to admit the Tabernacle Chapel is a lovely chapel for meditation. Ideally, yes, the Tabernacle should be visible during Mass but Bede told me many are in the Chapel before and after Mass.
Obviously, they seek the Lord and are willing to find Him. Me, I guess I have to have Him in front of my face. Would I go look for Him? I hope so, but, I’m not sure.

The pastor had kindly eyes and an obvious love for his flock. How can you fault that? The associate pastor was a true book geek; we talked about Kindle. How can you not love that?

I worry I’m becoming too rigid. I’m becoming, as Terry calls them,: “church people”-not a happy term. I worry I’m always looking for flaws and issues, rather than appreciating each person and parish for the honest gifts and love they bring to the table.

January 20, 2010

Some Thoughts About Liturgy

Father Zuhlsdorf asked, on his fine blog, some questions about liturgy preference: Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form-original or extra crispy! (kidding about the last)

My response is too long to comment and why give other bloggers my best stuff? Nothin’ but love, ya’ll! LOL!

For much of my life I barely bothered to attend Mass at all-unless “made to” by my parents or if I felt compelled to due to tragedy. You know how it is, things go bad and THEN you go to Church. Foul weather faith. When things are great, you barely know Him.

In the early 90’s I felt compelled to go to Mass again. Keep in mind the indifference deep down in my soul did not change. I’m not sure why I felt compelled. Maybe it was the death of my brother and the discovery that my Mom had cancer, maybe it was the ill-defined need of youth for “something more” than the aimless and meaningless existence that many of us feel that we have.I don’t know.
But, there I was. I was in a Catholic church with creative liturgy. Conformity with Rome were bad words. Any rubrics were gathering dust on a bookshelf somewhere.
Creative liturgy was what I needed then. I, also, needed undemanding faith. I needed it easy. I wanted to belong to something and feel like I was giving to God and this was it for me, then.

Time passed and I was content. I continued in many of the sins I’d always had and believed in the rightness of things (wrong as it was). As long as I was part of a community of believers who felt as I did, life proceeded a pace. I became heavily involved in the life of the parish. My erroneous beliefs were reinforced.

Nearly a decade later my presence on Catholic online forums led me to think that much of what I believed was Catholicism, really wasn’t. I began to read more authentic Catholic documents. I began to question what I’d been told and taught. I began to realize that much of what I’d been taught about the Faith was bunk.

My experience with liturgy was, perhaps, opposite of some. When my faith was weak, creative liturgy was what I craved.I think because my Catholicism was creative so why not the liturgy?. Once I realized the truths of our faith I began to crave authentic liturgy. I was tired of liturgy that did not fit the faith I professed.

Once you accept that liturgy is about God and not about you and your friends, many things begin to fall into place. There is other. Yes, much other, but that’s a start.

Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form? I don’t, honestly, prefer one over the other. I know and am comfortable with both. I just want liturgy that conforms to the appropriate rubric. I want honest and straightforward homilies that deepen my faith, and question my relationship to it-not question the faith. I have to admit that I prefer Masses ad orientem because having all of us, including the celebrant, oriented toward God makes perfect sense to me.

I’m well aware that I was blessed. I was fortunate to find truth and seek to learn more about it. I worry about those who are never exposed to anything but distortions and lies. We will never, as a Church, be one if we don’t have effective catechesis. Not only that, we need to expose everyone to it.

January 19, 2010

Things I Don't "Get"

A Cranky Cathy Post!

It is Tuesday but it feels like Monday and I'm irritable. Mostly, because the guy in the cube next to me is so dang loud I feel like throwing my desk crucifix at him to scare his Baptist self into deep silence! It's nice to have a job though, except some days I wish I was the only one here! But, I love everybody!

Can we talk?

What is the point of the "Google friends" thingie in the sidebar? Is this like the failed Wave experiment with Argent? An honest question. Is this set of friends going to mean more info for me to track that I don't have time for now? I don't "follow" many blogs-only a handful. Does this mean I don't care? No. It just means I don't have time. I can barely read the handful I DO follow. My spiritual reading is in the crapper with my clock because I just don't have enough hours in my day. So, here, have some more stuff to read!

Which brings me to another surly question, and my moment of respect to William Shatner, (and shout if you feel me!) Does anyone in Catholic blogdom or Catholic online life actually have a job? a life? There seem to be a lot of folks who are online dang near 24/7. Is upper abuse rampant in Catholicism and it's just never talked about? When do people pray? Are they Tweeting in the Adoration Chapel?

My Farmville in Facebook is such a disgrace it should be plowed over and the land used for a strip mall. I just don't give enough of a ---- to sit thru the tutorial. "Brief" as it may be that's another 2 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Thank you for your kind attention. Why are you reading this in the middle of the day? Why am I posting this? It IS my lunch time (an actual lunch hour is something I only dream about). Yeah, I should be eating!

Later. Please remember to pray for me when you actually have a few minutes to do that. Thanks!

The Parenthood of Us All

We all hear, and continue to hear, about how crucial evangelization is. We are to bring others to the faith. That is our mission as a community. You convert someone. Then, what? As we all know from our personal experience conversion is an ongoing and, often, lifelong experience. We learn and we mature-just like we grow from infants into adults.

Sponsoring and working with a convert does not end after the Easter Vigil, it’s ongoing. It’s similar with someone that you may help to revert. You can’t just leave them. You need to stay in contact with them and be available to answer their questions.

We are all parents, even those without children of the body.

We need to be there for those who need us. Just as their faith is an ongoing experience, so our relationship with them is ongoing-SHOULD be ongoing.

January 18, 2010

Medjugorje: Dialog? We Don't Need No Stinking Dialog!



I usually leave all things Medjugorje to my buddy, Vincenzo who, in my humble opinion, is the foremost Catholic blog tracker of all things Medjugorge.

And, he gets heat for it! He usually ends up turning comments off on Medjugorje posts or moderating comments, because he gets a lot of angry attention from folks who are upset that Vincenzo may be making judgements about the seers that they may not agree with.

Whatever, Vin may say about Medjugorje, the unmistable fact remains that the apparitions and visions of Medjugorje are NOT approved by the Vatican. They are not, that I'm aware of, formally disapproved either. However, in any instance involving faith or morals, if you are believing or hearing something stated that is not formally approved by the Magisterium, this is where your "well-formed conscience" comes into play. I would, if I were you, use caution and a great deal of scepticism toward anything that has not received an official stamp of approval.

I can not, however, help but be really suspicious of the Medjugorje stuff. I hear what the seers and their priests have to say and I think: In what universe would Our Lady advocate something contrary to what the Bishop said? Or, in essence encourage the Faithful to disregard obedience to their Ordinary?

I think the seers are attention seekers right up there with the gals in the Salem Witch Trials in the colonies. There, wait and see what kind of hate mail I get for that comment! The young girls in the Witch Trials were later exposed, and admitted, to lying. They sent a lot of innocent people to their deaths by their deceit. We may not be talking about physical death at Medjugorge but isn't spritual death, still, death? Spiritual death is worse than physical death to someone of faith.

I regard with suspician, due to experience, anyone who fears discussion or dialog about what their truth is. I say this about any church or faith. When you see open dialog discouraged, banned or shut down, be very cautious. Ask yourself: why?

There are forums about Medjugorje that open dialog is discouraged and people are banned from those forums. I have no problem with people banned from forums because they can't agree to be mannered and polite. However, people are being shut-out who dare to ask questions or remind people that the apparitions at Medjugorje are not approved.

Back when I was a dissenting Catholic and a member of a well-known "out there" parish in town, that parish started a web forum. They got a lot of "heat" on this forum. They did not expect it and they were not ready for it. Catholics from all over the globe questioned the parish's practices and what the parish was encouraging as Catholicism. Some of these guests were ill-mannered and were banned. However, many were not. The parish took the unprecendented step of encouraging its members to combat the "attackers". Ok, so I tried, but it's hard to fight without ammunition. I had no reference point for what these Catholics were saying (turns out they were right and I was wrong). The entire forum was a disaster, in the eyes of the parish. They shut it down-closed it altogether.

The forum may have been a "disaster" for the parish but it wasn't for me. That forum was a real turning point for me because I had to look up, in order to supposedly combat, what people were accusing us of and realized we didn't have a leg to stand on. It was at the moment they shut it down that they were exposed to me as the hypocrites they really are. They pay lip service to open dialog and welcoming everyone no matter what their beliefs and here they were proving that they only encouraged open dialog when it fit their purposes and beliefs. Otherwise, they shut it down.

I should thank them. Thank you.

Anyway, I've found that when people don't want you to hear truth they shut you down. They don't want you to learn either so they discourage alternate voices because, God forbid, you are converted to the other side.

Now, I know there are folks out there who think the Catholic Church shuts down alternate voices. Do they, really? If that was so, why, then are dissenting orders and parishes still open? If the Church did not want you to realize, thru your own free will, that they are leading you astray they'd close them today. Faith is a free will choice and the Catechism tells us that. No one is forcing you to believe.

But, there comes a time to pick your side. For some of us it will be too late. The rest of us, still here, have a chance and a choice.

The bad thing about Medjugorje and dissent is the leaders often deny you and discourage you from reading the truth. They take it upon themselves to tell you what it says, based upon their distortions. Don't be a rube.

The only official interpreter of Catholic doctrine is the Magisterium. Period. Anything I say should be viewed with suspicion. I'm no authority. I know there are Catholics reading this who will say the Magisterium is not to be trusted. If that's your viewpoint and without that lack of basic trust, why are you calling yourself a Catholic? If we are all our own Magisteriums, well, then there goes cohesion as a family of faith. It's no accident that Archbishop Nienstedt's, my Ordinary's, motto is "That all may be one" I don't think he's just talking about ecumenism with that motto.

I struggle with trust. I prove this daily. Charity is also something that is, often, unfamiliar to me.

Thanks Be to God, I'm trying. I'm trying to educate myself. But, not alone, I'm using the tools God's Son gave us thru His Holy Church.

January 17, 2010

Blog Birthday!

The occasional blogger, Geometricus has a BIG birthday today!!! Stop over and wish him a happy one and ask him to blog something!

Why Catholics Shouldn't Be Allowed to Write Hymns

Gentle Reader: Today, I have a special treat! No, I'm not announcing that I'm never blogging again! Sorry, my haters! Today, is a "Recovering Dissident Catholic" first! A guest blogger! My friend, and commenter, Bede! Read on!

"Why Catholics Shouldn't Be Allowed to Write Hymns"
By Bede

Before I begin this short essay, please let me make it perfectly clear that I am almost inexpressibly thankful to have been received into the Catholic Church. There is not a mass that goes by where I don't thrill to the congregational response "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."


But honestly, sometimes I think that Catholics shouldn't be allowed to write hymns.


Cathy was kind enough to come to lunch at my house today and later we attended vigil mass at my parish, St. Ambrose of Woodbury. Picking up the worship bulletin, I was compelled to apologize to her. The opening hymn was "Sing a New Church". There are two reasons why Catholics shouldn't be allowed to write hymns and this song demonstrates the first: the lyrics are appalling. Let's take a look at the first verse:


Summoned by the God who made us
Rich in our diversity
Gathered in the name of Jesus
Richer still in unity


What is the purpose of a hymn? To praise God. The first verse of this song isn't even really about God, it's about us. Not a good beginning. Let's examine the refrain:


Let us bring the gifts that differ
And in splendid varied ways
Sing a new church into being
One in faith and love and praise


This starts out fairly innocuously. 1 Corinthians 12 makes it clear that we are given various gifts by the Holy Spirit. But how is this hymn using them? To 'bring a new church into being'. This implies that there's something wrong with the old church, the one founded by Our Lord. Perhaps the second verse is better:


Radiant risen from the water
Robed in holiness and light
Male and female in God's image
Male and female, God's delight


Again, this verse is about us, not God, and it puts we poor sinners in rather glowing terms. Quite a contrast to:


Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see


I'm not going to subject you to any more of this hymn. I will tell you that, showing great Christian charity, Cathy deigned to sing it. And it's not a bad tune from a singing standpoint. But the Communion hymns illustrated the second reason why Catholics shouldn't be allowed to write hymns: the music isn't right for most people to sing . "Abide, O Spirit of Life" has some nasty octave jumps and "Take and Eat" changes time signatures and is full of unexpected flats. If you can't read music and you didn't know the song well, you were out of luck during communion today. I have a fair voice and can sight-read a bit, but there are plenty of Catholic hymns that even I struggle to sing.


Were there any good hymns at today's service. Yes, sort of. The offering hymn was "Give Me Jesus", an old spiritual. It's an odd choice for a church (mostly) full of white suburbanites, but it's a good song. It just wasn't written by a Catholic.


Now is the time to acknowledge that there are many fine hymns by Catholic composers and that the Church has a long history of excellent music. I just wish we'd hear more of it at mass. Of course, now that I've complained I'm going to have to do something. Since I'm not a composer, that leaves me talking to our music director at St. Ambrose. The worst she can do is sign me up for the choir.


With many thanks for your kind attention,
Bede

January 16, 2010

All Hands On Deck!

A rambling post that is NOT about priests on cruise lines! We can't afford to put priests on cruise ships! At least, not in this Archdiocese. We need every man!

We need our priests. We need more priests! Pray for vocations!

I'm a member of my parish council and there is a tension coming into our meetings in the last few months. We are well aware that our parish is probably going to be closed, merged or clustered. Our priest is facing the possibility that he may be covering 2-3 parishes in the next year.

A council member suggested that, perhaps, our church will become a mosque. To which, I snapped, but I meant it "I'd rather see the church burned to the ground"

Probably not the most charitable or constructive response but I am what I am-and not with Moses on the Mount!

Worry is in the air.

We are not the first congregation or communion to face demographic shifts that occasion the closing of houses of worship. In the early 1990s, I lived on the Near North side of Minneapolis; an area that 40-50 years before was mostly Jewish. The Jews migrated to the western suburbs and they sold their synogogues. Thus, you had the odd visual in that area of a Christian church with Jewish symbols still visible in the building architecture. I have to imagine that's a tough image for a Jew to see.

A few weeks ago, in the nearby Frogtown area of St. Paul, a church, that was originally built to house a German Methodist congregation about 100 years ago, was raised. The Baptist congregation that currently owns it can't maintain it and the structure was deemed unsafe. How sad were the Methodists who had to sell the building as their numbers moved and declined and how sad are the Baptists who had to watch it come down?

We are not the first to face these problems. We will not be the last.

The good news is the Catholic churches in the suburbs are busting at the seams. The bad news is, having visited some of these parishes, some of them are not all that solidly Catholic. I had one Catholic lady tell me the selling point of her Catholic church in the NW exurbs is: "You can't tell it apart from the Lutheran church!" Huh?

If that's the reason our parishes in the suburbs and exurbs are booming we are in big trouble. Maybe not now, but we will be eventually as vocations dwindle and those parishes decline as their parishioner never hear about the evils of contraception.

Demographics are killing the inner city parishes as well. However, I wonder how much the lack of hearing about the evils of contraception and the lack of pride in their Catholic faith led to the death? I look around my neighborhood and there are still enough Catholics around but their kids don't practice and many families go to a different parish that is more palatable with their version of Catholicism. Church shopping kills us too. I can get how some can't tolerate liturgy in some places. But, that fleeing to the parish you personally like and leaving your neighborhood one in the dust doesn't help them stay open.

I'm rambling.

Rumors abound that some priests have asked to serve. Some want to stave off retirement, some want to come out of retirement,some want to be recalled. Rumors (and they are rumors!) are starting to ramp up (they've been around for a while) that some priests are being told "Their services are not needed".

I HOPE these are rumors and falsehoods. Because it seems to me that, unless a priest has unresolved or proven abuse allegations, or can't seem to teach about Catholicism without sneering, or can't seem to stop disrepecting the Archbishop, they should be taken up on their offer. Just because a priest is difficult, or cranky, or prickly should not disqualify. Honestly, there are plenty of active priests still around who have unresolved abuse allegations, can't teach Catholicism without sneering, and can't seem to stop disrespecting the Archbishop. So, what are the qualifications again?



But, I'm getting off track again.

No matter what happens we need everybody. Lay people are going to need to step up. Our priests need our help. Soon, more than ever. Don't just sit around and bee-yatch! Do something constructive-something that doesn't involve packing up and leaving for another church, sitting on your hands and sighing, or spending all your spare time blogging. Amen.

Cross-posted to Stella Borealis by Ray's command!

January 14, 2010

Swissy Come Back!!!!


In all this mind-numbing drama over Conan and Jay and "Pants on the Ground" (For the record, Terry recorded a demo of this, uh, song, but now this clown from AI has gone viral and Terry is still...Terry) it helps to remind everyone that Swissmiss still has HER time slot on Blogger.

Come back Swissy! We miss you! I miss you!

Don't let her tell you she's not online! She's been trash talking my Farmville on Facebook for the last week and her and I are engaged in a heavy duty snowball fight on Facebook as well! AND, she was in Zchat last Friday.

All, evidence she should come back. I think Ray is having Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy withdrawal.

Update 1/15/10: The pressure was too much! Swissy is back!

January 13, 2010

Cathy's Head Scratchers (No, Not Lice!)


Just musing "aloud"

*Why do we kneel before the exposed Sacrament in adoration and genuflect before the Sacrament in the Tabernacle but NOT kneel to actually receive it?

*Why a baldachine (usually only in pre-1960 built churches, though occasionally you'll find one in a well-built newer church) over the "old" high altar just as there is a baldacchinno (sp) carried over the Sacrament in Procession but then this freestanding altar (for the sacrifice) is plopped in front of it and the priests are supposed to use that and ignore the high altar? Doesn't the OT tell us that the Israelites put up tents for the Lord (a visual of the baldachine)?

January 12, 2010

Longing

Recently, on a way below zero fahrenheit Sunday, a friend couldn't get his car started. Those of us who live in cold climes know what that is. He was unable to get to Mass. He felt guilty about that and went to Confession. The priest, rightly in my humble opinion, told him he had a valid reason for missing Mass that Sunday. This friend, RARELY, misses Holy Day of Obligation Mass.

Another friend and a family member were both really ill on a recent Sunday and unable to go to Mass. They were apologetic, you could even say, guilty, about this. However, illness can be a valid reason to miss Mass.

Now, obviously, one should speak to their Spiritual Director or priest if they have doubt about the validity of their reasons for not making it to Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation (Sunday IS a Holy Day of Obligation). Don't take my word on this as truth. I'm giving my understanding and opinion here.

Catholic 'haters' will often assign the phrase "Catholic Guilt", in a perjorative way, upon any Catholic who is aware or conscience of doing wrong.

I wonder, is it really "guilt" or is it longing?

There is a difference.

Do my friends who missed Mass feel a longing for Christ? Is attending Mass and receiving Jesus a longing? You miss Him. You want Him.

Some may argue that attending Mass, and engaging in regular prayer are habits and routines. They may, also, indicate this in a perjorative way. In the simplistic sense, they are habits and routines, but, I think they transcend such simple terms.

They are longings. Longings to communicate with Him whom we love.

In our infancy of faith, prayer, regular attendance at Mass and devotions, may start out of a resolve to make them habitual. However, I believe, as we mature in faith, a bar is crossed. They stop being habits and routines and just one more thing to cram in. We crave it. We long for it.

For myself, what began as a Lenten resolution a few years back to pray the Rosary daily, became a habit to pray it during my long morning commute, then, crossed into a longing for it. I miss it if there is a day I don't drive in to work. Then, I think when can do I do it that same day? I fit it in. I make time for it. It's important to me. There is a longing and a desire to communicate to Him thru His Mother.

Same too with my weekly standing hour of Adoration (every Tuesday night at 6!) and my attendance at Vespers on Sunday. They started out as faith exercises. Now, I can't stand it if something happens and I miss them. If I'm out of town or I'm ill and can't go, I long for them. They've become part of my life. More than that, they've become part of ME.

Missing them is not guilt. It's longing.

We know we want to spend time with Him. The Devil hates this and will do all he can to stop us. To plant those ideas in our brain: wouldn't you rather watch the game? wouldn't you rather go shopping?

I was just reading St. Teresa of Avila over dinner and the Doctor spoke about a period where the Devil fooled her into stopping prayer. The Devil persuaded her she was ok without it. Thus, the Saint intimated, she made God The Enemy and the Devil her friend. One listens to the council of a friend and there it was.

Lest anyone think I'm this great saint in the making, I want to remove that idea from your head altogether. Since I started my new job, I've fallen down on some of my "habits" if you will. I've listened to the Devil, as St. Teresa did for a time, and ignored my longings. I've ceased making extra time for daily Mass. There have been mornings I get up too late to do my daily Scripture readings in the a.m., as is my usual practice, and maybe I fit it in later. Maybe.

The Devil would have me believe I'm ok and it's alright. I'm good enough as I am.

The Devil is full of crap and lies. I've ignored my Angel and my longings for the Lord. I've replaced them with my longings for extra food, blogging, work and sleep-none of which I'd have without Him. Every thing we have is a gift from God. How do I pay him back? Listening to bad counsel.

January 10, 2010

Kaylen's Moment


Kaylen has been upset with me since Advent because I posted all those photos of Sodak attending to the creche. She's upset that it made her look like a heathen. I, gently, reminder her that tending to the creche is, in fact, something Sodak does and she doesn't. She ignores it.

In an effort to make peace in the home, I'm posting this photo of her in her favorite place: on my bed in the sun. Uh, yes, it was laundry day! LOL

Kaylen was a fostered kitty. I adopted her, in December 2005, from a lady that welcomed her into her home for 9 months. Yes, 9 months AND she had other cats of her own. Fostering a pet is a great thing. What, my friend, Adoro is doing with Bear is a beautiful thing. He will be ready for a new home when it's time.

January 09, 2010

Additions to the Sidebar

I usually 'sneak' new blogs onto my sidebar without comment. No one notices anyway because I refuse to be a complete librarian, english geek and alphabetize them!

Well, here are a couple of unique additions featuring local Catholics.

A micro-blog by a local Catholic whom you may recognize from his blog photo. He does not identify himself so I will not. He's cool because he's a coffee addict like me! Read him at Catholic Servant

Another one I snuck in a while back is, my cousin, Tancred's blog at Eponymous Flower He's trad and mad but he's never boring.

Last, but not least, my buddy, Bede, and two other ladies have started a food blog (you know I hate to eat!) 2010.52.3 wherein they vow to cook 52 new recipes in a year and they post the recipes with commentary. These are just regular ladies. Thanks Be to God! No fee-fee-shoo-shoo gourmet contortions here-or if they try to be they are "real" about it! LOL!

People that Surprise Me


Gentle Reader: I very much enjoy the company of people who surprise me. I don't mean in a "gift" way, though amazement can be a gift, but, I mean, people who reveal depths to their selves that you never expected. Never expected because we have a tendency, in our human limitations, to struggle to see beyond the surface to the truth within.

We all judge. Often unfairly. Certainly, I am guilty of this.

Belinda, a frequent commentator on many local blogs, including mine, has a great post up about judging others during our day to day errands.

Belinda is someone who may appear to many of you to be goofy and random, if you only read her comments, however, she continually amazes me with her flashes of kindness and insight.

Don't be fooled! Don't BE a fool.

January 08, 2010

One Word Comment!

Angela said...

Let's see how forthcoming (I'm not worried, none of my regulars are what I would call meek!) my blog buddies are. Leave a ONE word comment that you think best describes me. It can only be one word. No more than one word (I know!). Then copy & paste this post on your blog so I can leave a word about you. This should be interesting...

January 07, 2010

Cathy's Predictions for 2010



Gentle Reader: Why not? I did not bother to link to the blogging folks that I mention below. You know who they are. You know who YOU are! You know that I know who you are! Well, I hope you do. Someone help Tom, ok, please? Thanks.

In 2010:

*Argent will go to Rome and make me insane with jealousy. I will spend one month in a straight jacket! (maybe I'll lose some weight if they cinch it tight!)

*Angela will draw names for A NEW CAR!!!! and her son, serving in Afghanistan, will be safe.

*Ray will win the new car that Angela drew! Unfortunately, he has no money to go pick it up, so blogdom takes up a collection for him to go get it and bring it back!

*Terry will release a disco album with backup vocals by Digi, Crez and Tara!!! It will break all download records on it's first day of release!!! Regrettably, Terry forgets to work out any kind of deal where he and his talented trio of lovelies earn a royalty for every download. So, basically, they are all hosed. Digi, Crez and Tara sue Terry and it's aired on CourtTV. Crez receives 30 proposals of marriage within the first 24 hours of air. She tells all of them, affectionately, to go straight to H---! Terry and the ladies decide the money is not worth their friendship and decide to go camping together. But, at the last minute, Terry decides not to go. Regrettably, he had the tent so it rains and the ladies get all soaked and here we are again!

*I do a post with a major doctinal error in it and Adoro will not say anything!!!!

*LarryD and Caveman will retake the Holy Land!

*Toby decides to be a good boy and Tom will not know what to do with his extra time!

*Christine S will pray at the abortuary every Saturday and it will CLOSE! Thanks Be to God!

*John Paul Sonnen will FINALLY admit that he lives about 30 miles outside of Rome in a basement efficiency, wears off-the-rack, has not been to a Papal Mass for 3 years and has a job sweeping the streets!!!

*Adrienne will come to the Twin Cities and we will eat at Mancini's!!!

*Father Z will return to town and pretend he doesn't know me!

*Father Richtsteig will do a live program called "Brigham Young's Vault!". It'll turn out, based upon historical evidence uncovered in an old bottle in this vault, that Mormonism was made up by a bunch of guys sitting out in a field one night drinking rye! Father takes to the lecture circuit and thousands of Mormons convert to Catholicism!!!

*The Hadleybloggers will FINALLY get a webcam and Mitchell will put all of us on UStream. Everyone will see how insane we all are and Blogger will shut us all down.

*Vincenzo will decide to eat only macrobiotic.

*Joe will find love and happiness.

*Laura will still be a honey and the best prayer warrior in blogdom.

*Nazareth Priest will be revealed as the older brother I never knew I had!!!

*Bede will release a You Tube video of herself singing "Rise Up Shepherd and Follow". She gets a record deal and Terry is pissed because he didn't ask her to sing backup on his disco album!

*Chris G will get a huge contract as the official photographer of a new book coming out called "Churches of the Archdiocese". She'll quit her day job!

*Crazy Mama and I, under the ruse of doing research, will attend an AOTM meeting in drag! The jig will be up when we are busted complaining about the food.

*Jesus will still have died for our sins

*I will still be the biggest sinner I know (step off, Terry and Larry (that's like Two of Three Stooges right there!)-though, perhaps, God willing, I'll improve something in 2010!

MORE Insights! (1/8/09):

*Swissy will begin to award CASH prizes for Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy! Archangel's Advocate, Ray and Vincenzo will sit on her blog 24/7 so they can be the first one to answer the question!

*Geometricus will actually say "no" to adding "one more thing" to his already crowded schedule. He will take a vacation with his family!

*Dan will chant during a Vespers that the Archbishop is attending! Dan will be named "Chant Czar" of the Archdiocese and charged with furthering chant in all parishes!

*The Roamin' Roman will return to blogging! You know you want to!

January 06, 2010

Gifts

Today is a day of many gifts. A classic day. Today, is the Epiphany in the Traditional calendar. The 12th Day of Christmas.

Today, a dear heart, a blogging sister, enters the Postulancy of the Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph in Whitesville, Kentucky. You know her as Quantitative Metathesis QM is giving the Lord the gift of herself. The gift of being open to a lifelong union with the Divine Spouse. Only God knows if QM will devote her life to Him thru the community, but, for now, she is open to the possibility.

Give the gift of prayer. Today, the sister of a friend to this blog has surgery. Kindly, remember her in your prayers.

January 05, 2010

Charlie Bites the Dust: Native Fishermen Have Nightmares



Now THAT's a BIG FISH!

If my Grandpa and I had seen something that big in our nets we would've paddled the H--- out of there!

I'd love to see Father Z prepare this! No pressure. Heh.

"Feminist" Theologian Mary Daly Died

This notice flew under the radar but I thought I'd post it. Mary Daly, the VERY radical feminist theologian died on January 3rd at the age of 81.

There was a time when I vigorously studied her work. I have to admit, she was too much for me and I was not a convert to her ideas, even back then. Daly was a radical reconstructionist; you could even say: deconstructionist.

Her work dealt with language and how changing language and the terms we use can have radical implications upon belief and the structures of power (as she saw them).

If some of you think some members of the USCCB get too hung up on language and the influence therein relative to how we worship or live or Catholic faith, they are nothing compared to the late Ms. Daly's views on language.

Trust me on this. Even if you are preceding from some the same hypothetical starting points as Ms. Daly, her work is still "challenging" to get thru.

In her defense, I'll say that she was never boring. Convoluted, mistaken and, often, bizarre; but, never, boring. In your mercy, please pray for her soul.

January 04, 2010

Belt Fashion Watch



Clearly, the First Lady is taking a vacation from the hideous girdle belts she wears in the 48. What gives? Too hot in Hawaii? She's taking fashion advice from the jumper dress crowd? Is it possible she reads this blog? Did Desiree Rogers allow someone not included in the trip to Hawaii access to the First Lady's closet and they stole all the belts?

Who needs reality TV?

January 03, 2010

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay



Some of you know that Terry "Lord of the Dance" Nelson and I recently gave disco lessons at Landmark Center.

Terry, even though I told him it was excessive and unnecessary, waxed his chest for the occasion. When it was just he and I setting up, he did an Irish jig and I took this photo! Isn't he great?

Well, I gave lessons. Once people actually began showing up, Terry went and hid in a closet and wouldn't come out. Nothing could entice him, not even his pastor vowing to never publicly welcome strangers at the beginning of every Holy Mass, worked to bring him out. Finally, when everyone left, my feet hurt, my groove thing was fractured, and my hustle was long gone, did he emerge. Then, he insisted I go warm up the car and bring it around to pick him up because the cold is too hard on his vocal chords.

He's such a diva. You can't even imagine the things I do for love.

his Purpose Driven Life


I don't know what the purpose of your life is, but the purpose of my life is to get $1 million dollars out of you-FAST!

Apparently, not enough people are still buying his book. Or, could it be his support of President Obama hurt him with his core supporters and they quit contributing to his church? In any event, the Lord is not raining money down upon him from the sky despite his upraised arms of supplication. I wonder what happened to all the money he made from his book sales and speaking engagements? MC Hammer?



A Vincenzo and Cathy joint!

Support Your Local Chant Scholas

Gentle Reader: Some of my buddies are among the locals here striving to bring more chant back to our local Masses. They are alternately, teachers (in the case of two: literally-lol) and students. They are learning more about the art of chant themselves; but they are always willing to include other men in their group and teach them what they know about reading the notation and using the voice to give thanks to God.

Dan Fisher of Believe and Profess blog is among this number and posted a set of You Tube videos of the recent Vespers for the Vigil of Mary, Mother of God that he assisted with at Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

Fr. Bryan J.B. Pedersen, pastor of Sacred Heart, is present and in fine voice as always. Geometricus, Ray from MN and Mr. Tony P are also here.

No, that's not the back of my head in the pews! LOL! I was on the other side of the aisle. There were a few more here than the shots would suggest. Most people sat on the same side I did because it was closest to the parking lot entrance. Also, it's possible they saw the camera and opted not to sit on that side-lol!

If chant is ever going to make the comeback it deserves, it's going to take all of us to make it so. Encouraging laypeople to take up the notation is the only way it's going to happen. Also, encouraging pastors to be open to the possibility of introducing chant into their masses will only be possible if there is a group of people ready to provide it.

I'm so happy that we are so blessed in this Archdiocese to have so much good liturgical music! Sure, I wish there was more, but compared to what many dioceses have, we have a virtual plethora in this Archidiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

January 01, 2010

Happy New Year and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!




In the secular world, Happy New Year!

In the world that matters, this is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Today, is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics: meaning get thee to a Mass!!!!

I used to go to a place that allowed folks to get up on a mic and tell what they wished for/resolved for the coming new year. This practice is NOT Mass, this is not even BEING Church (whatever). This practice is NOT giving glory to God, it's giving glory to your self. Even then, I hated it. Of course, I don't like open mic anywhere. Too many opportunities for long-winded bozos to get up and talk about themselves for 10 minutes before they get to the point. What is the point? Oh, yeah, they are the point. Ok.

The point of Holy Mass and the point of worship and prayer is NOT you.
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