February 28, 2010

Diary of a Cranky Catholic

Gentle Reader:

Periodically, I consider dropping the blog. I'm busy, everyone is busy. But, the blog has been a great spiritual diary and tool for me. It's a way for me to yell: "Help!" to my blog buddies (who alone are a #1 reason for blogging) and here they come like the warriors they are, bringing help, good advice, insights and prayers.

I'm reading back thru some of my early posts and I can see how I've calmed down over time. Yes, I still get cranky but nowhere near as much as the early days of the blog. Yes, I still pick on Terry but don't look for that to change soon! LOL

Thank you to everyone who sticks around and puts up with me!

February 27, 2010

Agony

Gentle Reader: I'm struggling with dryness this Lent. I feel completely disconnected. Is it even Lent? Really. I'm not "feeling" it this year. Maybe I've fallen from the high of being a newly Confirmed in 2007 to the day-to-day reality. I'm not a Princess anymore! I don't know.

I pray daily. I read the Scriptures daily. I fast and abstain as prescribed.

But, this week I fell into serious sin, mortal sin, and went to Confession today. I told the priest I feel dry and disconnected. He told me to pray to Mary for strength.

You know how it is when you can't face someone after you've screwed up? So, it was with me this week. I couldn't hardly pray to Jesus much less his Mother. How dare I even show my face to either much less deign to speak to them full of sin as I was.

It was then that I realized the shame is what can make some fall away and stay away. There are people, I used to be one, who sin and then are ashamed and then are afraid to face themselves. If you can't face yourself then where is the Lord? Yep, can't face Him either. Eventually, you quit trying. Eventually, you stop going to Mass. Eventually, you quit praying. Eventually, you justify yourself with the hollow excuses society conveniently provides: "You don't need to go to Church." "Just be spiritual" "There is no such thing as sin" "Well, you didn't kill anyone" etc etc.

When you fall down, don't stay down. Get up! It's never too late to start over. I got up and went to Confession. Did that cure everything? It cured my soul but I still feel dry.

Come to think of it, maybe this IS the best Lent ever for me. I'm united with Jesus in the Garden. I feel alone.

February 24, 2010

A Good Priest is Hard to Find

Terry has a disturbing post.

It's all true.

A good priest is hard to find. Heck, a PRIEST can be hard to find.

I "do process" for a living but there are times you just need flexibility around the process so you can just jump to the terminator.

Death and serious illness are one of those times.

We all know of instances, maybe it happened to you, where you need a priest for a Sacrament and you can't get to him.

I've ranted before about how messed up I think it is that priests live "off campus". I can understand it, somewhat, if there is no Rectory or if Father is assigned to multiple parishes and for obvious reasons can only live on the grounds of one.

There is too much of an effort these days to give lay people more control over the administration of the sacraments then they should. There is a huge difference between a parish administrator role and the priest. The parish administrator or business adminstrator or office secretary should not be controlling access to Father to the point that they are, in essence, stonewalling people under the guide of "not wanting to bother Father with more stuff"

For instance, and this has loooong been a source of anger for me, you want FATHER to visit a loved one in the home or in the hospital or in the nursing home and the immediate response of the 'gatekeeper' in the parish is: "I'll send one of our LAY ministers" There are times where, I'm sorry, I just don't WANT a lay minister. I want a PRIEST. I get even more furious if they continue on and get down to it: "Father doesn't DO those types of calls" WTH?

Call me suspicious. Ok, yes, I am. But, I always wonder if Father is locked up in the basement closet while the lay people run amok in the office? I wonder if Father was actually ever even consulted on this push to force lay ministers on as much as possible or that's what the parish (read: lay people in charge) have always "done".

We've probably all know (well, I do) of priests who are surprised to hear that people can't access him when he's needed because Father had no idea the office was pushing folks away from him. Father ends up giving his cell phone number and PERSONAL email address out so people can bypass the "office". Is that acceptable? It's ridiculous.

In my opinion, the authority in the parish, the last word, the COO, is the pastor. God is the CEO and ultimate word. The pretenders can all go home. I know it's harsh. There it is.

More and more people are bypassing the church weddings and funerals in favor of doing them at commercial wedding chapels and funeral home entirely. The commercial business world has figured out something we forgot: Give the people what they want AND what they need.

February 22, 2010

The View from My Desk


It's Lent and I can barely tell. I'm so busy at work. I'm grateful to have the job but I'm working 50-60 hours/week. We are hiring so I hope some of the pressure will abate eventually. Blogging is going to be light to non-existant for a while. By the time I unplug from work and get ready for bed-It's time for bed. I don't have time to compose a blog post much less read blogs.

I'm glad I have my desk crucifix. It keeps the Lord in my peripheral vision, if not my full vision. I was so busy on Ash Wednesday that I never got ashes. I know. It's not technically a Holy Day of Obligation but it is a good spiritual practice and way to kick off Lent. What did I do? Work. I usually go to Confession to start Lent off on a strong note-what was I doing? Something else. Never got that done either this year.

I feel like I'm rendering unto Caesar more than the Lord.

People talk about the work/life balance. Where's the spiritual/work balance? I carry the Lord with me when I can. I pray in my car on the way to and from work. I pray before lunch. But, I feel like I'm cramming Him in along with everything else. Will it come to the point that I'm putting the Lord in my Outlook calender?!?

I'm being totally serious. What do you do?

February 21, 2010

Those Who Don’t Know Their History are Destined To….

On this date, 25 years ago, an embarrassing incident in local Catholic history occurred. To wit, the old “joke” “What did the Archbishop pick up when he ran into the store?”

Our former Archbishop’s struggles are fully known, now, only to God. May he rest in peace.

Why even bring this up? Sometimes, we need to remember and learn our history so that we don’t repeat it.

I was thinking in recent months how far I’ve come in Faith and how far I have yet to go. Far, WAY far to go.

Along with my self-examination I was thinking how FAR the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has come in the last, oh, 10-15 years.

Those of you too young to remember how hard it was to admit publicly that you were a Catholic in this town; give thanks to God that you don’t remember.

It’s true I often had no excuse because I was mired in dissent. I was a CINO (Catholic in Name Only) for a long time. However, I still dealt with, and bristled under, the mockery of folks who learned I was a Catholic. To them, there was no distinction made between practicing and non-practicing. Catholic was THEM, the hypocrites, the flock of the scandalous.

The actions of some of our leadership and some of our priests, a few decades back, did not make it any easier to stand up and admit you were a Catholic of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

It was a dark time, Catholic schools were closing or merging, the Gauthe case was unfolding in Louisiana, and there were a lot of rumors, dark rumors in the air. Some of these rumors turned out to be true. Dissenting priests had iron grips on large swaths of town. The seminaries were a tasteless joke. I think of the visual of the dark cloud of Mordor in Lord of the Rings moving towards Gondor. That is what it felt like around here.

When Blessed John Paul II ascended to the Chair of Peter in 1979, nearly 20 years of distortions did not sweep away overnight. It took a while for the gradual changes the Holy Father implemented to trickle down. They are still trickling down.

I’m thinking how far our local seminaries have come. I know they’ve come a long way because I used to hear about the appalling behaviors that went on there. If I repeated any of what I’d heard..well, I never will. I heard about it from non-Catholics who partied with the seminarians. Yes-partied. Partying did not make the seminarians “cool”, it gave anti-Catholics yet another reason to despite us all.

The solid Catholic men who made it through the Seminary paid a price. They had to lie about who they were in order to get thru it so they could be ordained. Some men did not make it, not because they weren’t solid, because they WERE solid and they couldn’t pretend otherwise.

Apparently, prayer was not something local seminarians were encouraged much to do back then. You know it’s bad when the late Monsignor Richard Schuler, was running what was, essentially, a parallel seminary out of St. Agnes.

It’s between Monsignor and God to debate the propriety of his actions. However, I, as laywoman of this Archdiocese, can only give thanks for what Monsignor did because the men he trained are, in many ways, the backbone of the Archdiocese today.

Things may not be perfect today but we’ve come a LONG way, baby. Some parishes are still in “recovery” even years after their dissenting leadership was retired or moved. Some are still struggling. But, real change has occurred.

The next time you drive down Summit Avenue past the Seminaries, give thanks to God that they are, not only, still open, but thriving and solid. There was a time when it looked, very much, like they would not make it. It wasn’t all that long ago.

There was a time when it looked like this Archdiocese may not make it, but we are still here.

There was a time when it looked like I may not make it..remains to be seen, I guess.

The Administration in Washington can claim after one year in office that they have brought “change”. Bunk. The real change is here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. We have changed and brought change. Thanks Be to God.

February 20, 2010

Brunch Recap



Last Saturday I had a brunch at my house. Several bloggers came. Father Z was busy keeping the roof from falling on Fr. Pasley's head. In his place, Penjing arrived. Penjing's groupies stationed themselves outside. Kind of annoying, I don't know how Father stands it!

The Holy Father and a Cardinal crashed the event and Swissy served His Holiness some of my best bacon. His Holiness BYOB'd. He expressed surprise that I did not have a piano for him to play Bavarian pub songs on. If I'd known he was coming, I would have bought a piano!

Sodak hit it off with the Holy Father right away. He did, however, have some issues with Sister blue blazer who showed up and ate all the cookies.

YOU should've been there!

February 19, 2010

The Day After the Day After

A Lenten status check up-because it drives Terry crazy! LOL! Love ya! Please buy his art. He's a genius.

Anyway, Lent has been cancelled. I don't need to work on anything. Tiger has just done all the penance any of us should ever need. Feel free to have that burger for lunch. Thanks and God bless!

Ok, kidding sort of, but, who the ---- cares? If Tiger is going to apologize to anyone he should be apologizing to his wife, his family and God. I hope he did that. Why he feels the need to go on public TV (all 3 networks! because apparently there just isn't anymore to say about planes crashing into buildings in Texas! But, everyone hates the IRS, right? )and tell US he's sorry is beyond me. Seriously, if he were to just go back to the golf course and not say a word to us beyond "Mind your own ------- business!"-fine by me.

Plushenko was robbed. God bless the U.S.A.

Peace Out.

February 17, 2010

Lenten Plan

I’ve been thinking since Septugesima what my Lenten plan would be-the advantage of the traditional calender is you consciously get the lead time to think about it! Those of us who are weaker and need more help (me!) need all the lead time we can get.

In year’s past I’ve had this elaborat e and lengthy plan of “to-dos”. I will continue during Lent with my regular regimen and habits which I think, on the surface, are lengthy and good.

The problem is: surface. I can recite the Rosary daily (and do) , I can read Scripture daily (and do) and got to Mass on Holy Days (and do) and go to Adoration weekly (and do), fast and abstain as required during Lent, but if I’m not working on my interior disposition the results of the exercises are limited.Sure, it’s better than nothing, but I’m aware of my shortcomings. The period of preparation for Lent gave me a greater awareness then suddenly waking up today and realizing it’s Ash Wednesday!

My plan is to work on my interior charity; really, the lack thereof. I’m constantly fighting the temptation (well, lets be honest, it’s not a heated battle) to mutter about others, judge people, worry about what other people are, or are not, doing. The minute I find myelf falling into my continual temptation to prove to myself what little charity I really have, I’m going to do one of the following: send up a prayer, seek forgiveness in the Confessional or punish myself by some type of personal deprivation.

This will be the most challenging Lent ever.

February 14, 2010

Terry's Valentine Date

No wonder he bagged the brunch I had yesterday! He had to get ready for his date! Does Todd know?

February 12, 2010

The Spirituality of Making Bread

I took the day off today and decided to bake some bread. I slept in. I set the dough out to rise before I went to bed. Unfortunately, the dough was ready, WAY ready, before I was to work it.

I’ve found that bread dough has it’s own schedule. Well, really the yeast does. I find it’s best when baking bread from scratch to just relax and be ready. Work on the yeast’s schedule. Just let it go. It’s almost like something Padre Pio would say: Knead, Bake and Don’t Worry!

I used to get very upset that bread would not cooperate with me. I would stress over it so much that I rarely made it. I was too impatient and it, frequently, did not turn out right. How many times did I bake it when it was not risen quite enough? How many times did I let it rise so high I had to scrape the dough off the OUTSIDE of the bowl?

Dough is remakarbly flexible and forgiving. You can beat it back down and, eventually, it will rise again. You can mold it and shape it. You can bake it and eat it. It is filling and sustaining.

It is no accident, because there are no accidents with the Lord, that Our Lord may join with us thru bread.

Creating bread, molding bread, baking bread, breaking bread can be a very spiritual exercise.

February 07, 2010

A Lady Waits

Last Friday was First Friday and is my habit I attended late evening Mass. I had to use the ladies room before entering the church. I went to the restroom in the school corridor.As I walked to it, I saw a statue of Our Lady of Fatima resting on a pew in the hallway. Obviously, she was, temporarily, placed there. Maybe she was being taken to an overnight vigil. I was not sure. In any case, it was disconcerting to me to see her visage sitting there alone in the corridor.

I know the statue is NOT actually Our Lady. It’s a representation of her. But, still, I was sad to see her just sitting out there by herself. Waiting.

It turns out after the Mass, she was brought out and placed on a pedestal in preparation for a Vigil period.

I reflected on the Gospel passage in Luke where Mary is waiting outside the house for Jesus who is inside and Jesus, when told his Mother is outside, does not go out to her or insist she be allowed in. In fact he gives us a lesson in how the family in Christ is THE family; blood relation is second. As far as we know, as Scripture does not confirm, Mary waited and Her Son never came to her.Eventually, she probably went away. What a sorrow that must have been for her-for any parent whose child does not acknowledge them. Perhaps this was another thing that Mary pondered in her heart. She, despite her position as Mother of the living God, would have to wait her turn “on line” just like everyone else.

There she was in the corridor, waiting for the Mass to honor her Son to conclude and then she would enter the Sanctuary. Thinking about it that way, it made sense to me that she was in the hallway-waiting.

There are those who would say that Jesus’ “treatment” of Mary is, yet, another illustration of the injustice perpetrated by the Church against women. Women are always treated as second class-they have to wait outside until the men are done and then they can enter.

Jesus honored his Mother during his life. He listened to her, but, when He was ready to embark upon His Father’s mission she had to take her place among his disciples. When you think about it, and this is what Jesus was trying to say, being counted among His disciples was a better place than being one of His relatives. Mary’s position as a disciple, really THE disciple, was more important than her role as His mother.

Blood is no guarantee of heaven, true discipleship is.

Mary waited on and for her Son during her life. She took her place among the disciples when she walked the earth. She was rewarded for her service by being honored as the highest human in Heaven. For all the people who insist that the Church is sexist, reflect that a woman is the most exalted human in Heaven. Reflect also that the Catholic Church “makes a big deal” about Mary-you will not find a Protestant church doing the same.

Get Your Game On!

A short film starring Cathy of Alex, Looter Guy and Heineken. Directed by Vincenzo.

I'm out of beer which is the only situation I'll nab a Heineken. Hey, free is free!

February 06, 2010

And So To Bed...

But, Cath, you haven't posted anything! That's right, I'm tired. I figured out what was wrong with my computer, fixed it and it's all good. Maybe I'll post tomorrow, maybe not. Who knows where or when? Hey, wasn't that a song?

I'll pray for you as I drift off to sleeeeppp

February 05, 2010

Status Updates

Hey, I've been having computer issues all week and working a LOT! Thanks Be to God, I have a job. Speaking of which, please pray for a good friend-he was just laid off this morning.

February 02, 2010

Eyes on the Prize

I go about my day to day and I’m aware of a goal. I’m aware that I must strive to live In comformity with The Law in order to attain Heaven.

But, I never think about Heaven itself. What is it? We only have limited intel, but we can be certain that the Saints, God, Jesus and Mary will be there.

I never think about what that must be like: the greatest Adoration hour ever? (the worst hour of Adoration…well, there is no such thing)

Why should I wonder about that now?

I think if I spent more time reflecting upon what Heaven could be and look forward to it more proactively maybe it would be easier for me to help others get there. Maybe it would help me to see everyone as God’s creatures, if I was aware they all, we all, have potential to attain Heaven.

Helping someone get to Heaven-that must be the greatest gift ever.

February 01, 2010

Sunday is Always On

Over this past weekend, my friends in the Carolinas were clobbered with a kind of winter storm that we usually see here in Minnesota. I got a text from Argent on Saturday that said she may be sleeping in the church overnight. I sympathized and appreciated her efforts. Argent reminded me that the Lord is to be worshipped no matter the weather.

She’s right.

Sunday weather is not like a sudden meeting cancellation during your workday. Just because the weather is bad and you can’t get to Mass doesn’t mean you get one hour back in your day. You may have a valid reason for not getting to Mass but the Lord should get the time anyway. In the privacy of your home as the storm rages you can read Scripture or spend time in prayer. As you are flat on your back in bed in congestive misery you can offer up your sufferings to the Lord and, perhaps, read some writings of the Saints.

Even if you are ill or there is a family emergency and you can’t get to Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation, that doesn’t mean just forget the Lord as if you should say “Whew, don’t need to worry about THAT now!” The Lord is not that, he’s all that.
He gave you time, now give Him some back.

Every day is Sunday.
<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>
Locations of visitors to this page