November 28, 2010

Confessions of Someone Who Truly Does Not Know It All-Yet

Sometimes, I sit in Church at Mass and I’m actually able to overlook what people are not wearing and concentrate on my own engagement in The Sacrifice. Maybe I’ve become charitable or soft or maybe I’m not really as cranky and uncharitable as I often appear on my blog.

I went back and re-read some of my older posts. I’ve noticed how my tone has changed over the last several years. Adoro calls this “maturity”. Perhaps. Either that or a realization of my own shortcomings. Maybe that is maturity. I don’t know.

I do know that I often feel overwhelmed. I was in the book room of a local Catholic store on Saturday and as I perused the selections and realized I would never be able to read even half of the material I was deeply saddened. There is so much to learn, so much to know, so much material available to deepen my Faith and I’ll never read most of it. So much to learn, so little time.

I think all I can do is prepare myself with what I do know and what I do have. Maybe one day, if I’m properly prepared, I’ll come face to face with all knowledge. I’ll know everything. There will not be anything left to know.

November 26, 2010

Fun for You!

Looking for something to do without the people you only see once a year and can barely tolerate? Are you unable to watch one more minute of football? Is the thought of sitting thru another parade insufferable? Do the Malls terrify you? Is staring at the leftover turkey and wondering if you should make soup from it giving you a headache? Do you want to do something that is both fun and thoughtful?

Now, here, at long last, is a game you can play alone! Uncle Curt is probably already passed out drunk on the couch so don't worry about offending him because you didn't ask him to join you. This game will amuse you. It will create opportunities for personal decisions. It has no wrong answers. It will not tax your knowledge.



Be your own Magisterium!

A Vincenzo and Cathy joint!

Cross-posted to Amentior

November 25, 2010

Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria!



Patron of this blog and my Confirmation Saint.

Why did I pick St. Catherine of Alexandria? Numerous reasons. However, I see her as a bridge between my two lives. Back in my ultra-liberal feminism progressive Catholic days, St. Catherine was a symbol of a strong woman who dared to argue with the dominant authorities of her time (read: men). Today, I've come to realize that is only part of who St. Catherine was: she was a strong defender of the Faith, a teacher, a philosopher, a virgin who died for her love of Christ.

God willing, maybe one day I'll be as complete.

Oh, yeah, it's also Thanksiving Day in the U.S..

St. Catherine, pray for us!

November 23, 2010

Insane


Has everyone gone insane? Must be the holiday season approaching. Isn't Advent supposed to a be a joyful hope kind of thing? I know. We are not in Advent yet but close! However, if I judged by Christmas music programming on local radio stations, Advent started two weeks ago!

Next year, I think Terry and I should take a booze cruise right after All Saints Day and stay on the ship until after Christmas Day. Of course, with our luck we will end up captured by pirates.

November 22, 2010

Betrayal

We are fallen. We are not perfect. People disappointment us. We disappoint ourselves. People don’t live up to our expectations; we don’t live up to our own.

Recently, there was a high profile story of a local priest caught exposing himself to a police officer. This priest is from a suburban parish but apparently came into the city for some extracurricular activities. Maybe he thought no one would recognize him. Maybe he wasn’t thinking. In any case, I was shocked-not so much that he was caught not all that far from my house-but that this particular priest was busted. He’s not exactly one of the liberal hippie priests. ‘course those guys don’t hide (yes, I just said that).

I felt betrayed. If this guy, this priest, could be busted for solicitation who’s next? Now what? Isn’t there enough bad church news these days without this kind of crap?

I calmed down and realized what I really meant. Isn’t there enough for ME to deal with? Why are MY priests sinners? Why isn’t everyone perfect-especially priests? Aren’t priests and religious supposed to take some kind of perfect test when they “sign up”?

If it is really about me, don’t I, also, take a perfect test every time I “sign up” to receive Holy Communion? How many times do I let Him down-sometimes before I barely get out of the parking lot.

Me and the fallen betray a promise with equal weight. It is not me who is betrayed by the sin of others it is the Body, it is Christ who is betrayed.

When our brother falls, we need to pick him up. Pray for him. I know when I fall I rely upon my friends to help me get back. We are family is not just a disco anthem. We really are family. We need to help each other get back to where we once belonged.

November 21, 2010

Give Thanks

This Thursday, in the United States, is Thanksgiving Day. Every day is, and should be, a day of Thanksgiving. Essentially, the official holiday is in place for three essential reasons:

1) A day off work
2) A day to eat too much
3) Football

Additional reasons may include:

1) Fighting with family members you only see once a year
2) Strategizing The Day After shopping trip
3) Drinking yourself into a stupor of self-pity and loathing
4) Manning the store, literally, because you are a Convenience Store clerk and the public needs somewhere to buy nutmeg at 3:00.

A few of you may actually attend Mass (and you should because it's also the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria this year-woo-hoo!). Some of you may run into some wacky stuff at the, uh, Mass. I have in my life attended liturgies that made me cranky.

Mass is always a time to give Thanksgiving to God for the Sacrifice of His Son. Thru the Sacrifice we actually have a chance of not going straight to Hell. What can be better than that? Yet, some of us forget. Some of us forget every week that the Mass is not about them.

But, on Thanksgiving, the selfishness seems to be more in evidence. Spending the day thinking only of satisfying yourself and your needs seems to be a complete defeat of the purpose of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a day to give thanks to God that you are fabulous and not as stupid and sinful as everyone else.

Which brings me to one of my all-time favorite pet peeves: Open mic at Mass. If you don't know what I'm talking about, give thanks to God (lol). But, really, I'm serious.

I used to attend a "mass" at a church that had open mic on two occasions: Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day (for some of us New Year's Day is supposed to be the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God). Open mic on Thanksgiving Day was an opportunity for all of us to listen to 20 subordinate clauses in search of a sentence. I hated it. Let's face it; what is an occasion of "thanks" for one person, may be a complete snoozefest to another. However, if we are all at Mass together, it occurs to me that we have something to give thanks for in common: God. Any blessings we've had in the past year came from and thru Him so why are we spending the Liturgy, established to do just that, talking about ourselves?

November 18, 2010

Sneak Peak of 2011 Religious Education Conference in L.A.



Liturgical dance rehearsal

November 17, 2010

Legislating Nice

I find it interesting that there is talk of the need for anti-bullying amendment for persons who identify themselves as LGBT. Really? We need to legislate that? Shouldn’t teachers, parents, or other people in charge just say “Knock it off” and “If you don’t quit, you can sit in detention after school for the next week (do schools even have detention anymore? Seriously. Or, was that outlawed at some point?) and write and read before the class a 200 word essay on ‘Respecting Others’”! I know-even talking about this kind of discipline is probably totally wrong of me. But, hey, I never sat in a car seat as a child and miraculously managed to live! Is the legislation going to help the teachers who refuse to get involved, grow a spine? No. It’s a case for litigation. Now, if you can prove you were bullied and it violated the “anti-bullying” statute you can sue somebody or something-like an institution.

I wonder if there is a lookback limit built into any of this? If someone can go back decades and sue an Archdiocese for priest sex abuse, can I go back 24+ years and sue the Minneapolis School District for the bullying I endured as the teachers looked the other way? Or, is this anti-bullying amendment really only applicable to LGBT so the rest of us can just forget about it? If so, where’s the “inclusion”?

When I was in school, there were a couple kids in our classes who attempted suicide. They were not bullied (and I mean that-they weren’t), they were “messed up”. I’m not belittling the tragedy of young people committing suicide, but no amount of legislating is going to lesson the internal turmoil that often drives people to kill, or otherwise harm, themselves. Just because cocaine is illegal, does that mean kids are going to quit inhaling aerosols?

If people really want to bully someone-no statute is going to stop them. If parents and teacher’s refuse to intercede-no statute is going to stop a bully. At what point, do parents or guardians stop teaching their kids that emotionally, verbally or physically tormenting another person is not acceptable?

The real problem is that there walk among us people who have never, and never will, give a d--- about anyone but themselves and no amount of legislation is going to force them to be better people.

You can’t force people to treat others with dignity and respect by passing a law that basically says “Hey, kids, play nice and share your toys!” I think if everything we need to know is not taught in Kindergarden we are hosed.

I have no solution to the problem of bullying and I, honestly, challenge anyone to come up with one. However, I seriously doubt a law is going to end bullying as we know it. It will, however, make some people a pile of $.

November 14, 2010

Community

Prayer can be a time for individual achievement. I try to live a life defined by prayer. I set aside time for prayer. I pray daily. Maybe one day I’ll be able to pray continuously. Maybe one day my whole day will be prayer. I’m not talking about entering a religious community. Can’t the secular life be lived as continuous prayer to God too?

Prayer can be an individual achievement. But, it is lived in Community-even if we are not in a religious community. We are all part of the Body of Christ. We all get together every Sunday for Mass, and at other times, and lift our prayers as one to God.

Even when we pray as individuals we are never totally alone. The Saints and Angels join in and someone, somewhere, may be praying at the same time-maybe even the same prayer.

The Church Militant prays as one. We are also united with the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering.

Sometimes there are occasions when I feel alone in prayer. Sometimes, I feel there is no one listening. There is ALWAYS someone listening. I just realized today that I’m never alone.

November 09, 2010

Future Church

Tonight, I attended a presentation by John Allen, Senior Correspondent, of the National Catholic Reporter. Mr. Allen is a learned man, a Vatican watcher and a very interesting and dynamic public speaker. The National Catholic Reporter is not viewed by traditional-minded Catholics as a “good” Catholic paper. The National Catholic Reporter’s readership is typically liberal or “progressive” Catholics. Mr. Allen’s columns are moderate and he is a good writer.

The venue for this presentation was my alma mater, St. Catherine University-not exactly a bastion of conservative, traditional Catholicism. I have to wonder if some in attendance, and even the University itself, thought because Mr. Allen writes for the National Catholic Reporter the evening would be chock-full of dissident, progressive, revolutionary Catholic talk.

Surprise!

The presentation was fair-like Allen’s columns. BUT, it was clear from the presentation that progressive Catholicism, the kind of Catholicism usually taught at St. Kate’s is NOT a future trend. It was clear that what Allen terms “Evangelical Catholicism” is the future trend. Moreover, in future, Catholicism will be predominately represented by the southern hemisphere of the globe-an area that is, by and large, conservative in matters of Catholic doctrine-especially sexual morality. The Catholics of the southern hemisphere embrace social justice but when they say use the term “social justice” they don’t mean supporting gay marriage, they mean fair wages and equal trade.

As he laid all this down I could just “hear” the teeth grinding and dismay. If the feminist crowd has not figured out yet what most of the rest of us know-their movement is dying off-they heard it now. Not only did they hear it now, they heard it from an author of a publication that most of them read and subscribe to as the credible voice of their religious idealogy.

However, Allen, possibly inadvertantly, consoled them at the close by saying for the Church to survive we all need to listen to each other, talk to each other and work for communion. He used the phrase that liberal Catholics love “a place at the table”. I could just feel them thinking: “That’s our in.” But, they miss the point because Allen’s slide showed a table with no one sitting at it-there’s the rub and the future church. Everyone thinks their side is right. There is no middle ground. The only ones at the table are all “like-minded”. A visual lesson there for both liberal and conservative Catholics.

In the end, though, I still think the Evangelical Catholics will win as they are, frankly, the only ones breeding. Progressive Catholics, by and large, bought into the birth control movement decades ago. The future church is young.

Or, is it? On my way to my car, I walked in front of two students. The auditorium had several students in it taking notes and I just KNEW (having been there!) they were assigned to go to the presentation and “write about it”. The two students walking behind me said “I don’t know what to write.” “I didn’t understand any of it” When I was their age, Mr. Allen would’ve lost me too. My guess is that if these students have the same poor Catholic diet I had at that age, he would’ve lost me when he started talking about the resurgance of traditional Catholic devotions like: “Adoration” and “Eucharistic Processions” and “Benediction”. Up until 5 years ago I had never heard of any of them.

St. Kate’s , when I attended, always claimed it was an alternate voice. Alternate voice to what? The alternative to the alternative was largely silent in my life. The progressives did their work so well for so long that for many they are the norm.

Recently, I attended a First Saturday Mass in the Novus Ordo. The Mass was celebrated in Latin and English. Many of the attendees appeared to be in their
80s-90s. Now, I would think (and maybe it’s unfair to think so) that many of them would remember the Latin responses. No. Many of them were reading them from the leaflet provided in the Church.

In 40 years, only 40 years, centuries of learning and belief were systematically lost. That’s not a future trend but it’s definitely interesting, and disturbing, history.

I wonder that if colleges and universities are paying attention to the future trends if there will be another Land O’Lakes Conference; but this one will decide that a Catholic institution needs to teach Catholicism.

November 07, 2010

Cry to the Lord

My regular readers (all 5 of you!) know that my parish is slated to merge with another. Our building may end up closing. It’s uncertain. What is certain that is that St. Andrew will no longer exist as a distinct, independent, community. Technically, we never were independent anyway-all parishes are linked to each other. All are members of the same family of Christ.

Which is why, in the end, it’s all going to be ok. The Lord will provide. He always does. If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that things can always get worse but with a Faith and Trust in Christ I can get thru anything. At times in my life I have lacked that trust and faith. Somehow I bungled thru but not always with grace (or Grace) and not always with faith (or Faith).

I don’t live in 1930s Spain, I don’t live in China. I am able to find a place to worship and receive the Eucharist without difficulty. I can worship openly. I am fortunate. I am blessed.

Some of you may have heard that my parish appealed the Archdiocese decision. His Will Be Done. No matter what happens I will still be able to receive Him somewhere.

Today, I’ve received emails from friends that indicate worry about joblessness, money, family, serious illness-these are real and serious concerns. I feel, honestly, that my parish possibly closing and losing itself in another is minor in comparison. There is always an opportunity to make the best of a situation, to make new friends, to share gifts with others-even in tragedy.

November 02, 2010

Dia de los Muertos


Election Day

Today, in Minnesota we have three primary choices for Governor: Dead, All Dead, and Mostly Dead. I’m not sure any tricks of Miracle Max would bring any of these three Vitamin D deficient characters to life.

But, the Governor’s office is important and voting is important. The CATHOLIC vote is important. Vote like a Catholic. Vote for life, vote for traditional marriage, vote for the common good.

Many Catholics think the “common good” only applies to economic criteria. It does, but not exclusively. Marriage and life also benefit the common good. Without a propogation of the species and a moral family foundation, what’s the point? Voting for a narrow definition of common good is useless if no one is around to reap the benefits or no one who is around gives a rip.

Your Mom may have told you “Eat those vegetables, there are people starving in China” Remember, there are people dying for the right to vote in many nations of the world.

Voting is important-take it seriously. Just. Do. It.
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