Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lent 2017

I meant to post this yesterday, but I got sidetracked into typing up an email for our RCIA class and the reading and getting ready for class.

Seeing at it's Fat Tuesday and Lent starts tomorrow I should probably figure out something to do for Lent. 😮

There are many ideas floating around in my head as to what I should do.  I can go the normal route of adding Liturgy of the Hours to my day, trying to say a Rosary everyday and so on, but I don't know.  I feel like it's a cop out to do these.  Oh I definitely need to pray more and I do enjoy Liturgy of the Hours, but I always feel bad when I don't say all three every day.  A wise priest once said, "make it a good Holy Week; it's about how much you do" and I think of that often when I fall short of doing what I intended to do.

I've a crazy obsession with virtual 5ks and the shiny medals that come with them; so I can actually do a virtual race a day for Lent.  For me it's a great way to catch up and actually do the miles I was supposed to do and Lent gives me that extra boost of get it done, get it done.  Will I be annoyed with myself if I don't catch up on my medals, yeah, but even if I don't get to all of them, I can at least try.  And moving my fat ass is far more important than complaining that I didn't finish all the miles.  As I and many others says, "I'm lapping everyone on the couch." So I guess this is thing 1

I have a bunch of evangelization related books that were recommended by my class; so the book for class will be the first book of Lent and the rest will follow.  It's better for me to be reading a book, than aimless scrolling Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites. Guess this is thing 2

I was thinking about what to give up for Lent. That same wise priest gave a homily on "did you give up yet?" as that is what his young nephew used to ask him. As I thought about what do I give up, nothing came to mind in the traditional sense, you know cookies, alcohol, junk food.  I've done that and it's silly to me as come Easter Sunday I'm shoving it all in my face.  I've decided that actually taking the time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner is far more important than giving something up. Does that mean I'm eating Dunkin Donuts every morning; no that would defeat the purpose as well.  The idea is to be more aware of what I am shoving into my mouth vs. just staring at the fridge hoping something magically appears for a meal.  Will I be pissed if I decide that Burger King, McDonalds or something else becomes dinner, no as I actually don't eat there that often anymore.  So I guess this is thing 3

The traditional aspects of Lent are Prayer, Almsgiving, and Fasting so how am I doing these this year.
Prayer is the easy one.  I can go to Mass everyday, St. Anthony's offers my lazy self a 12:05pm Mass of which I can avail; however if I manage to find a job then that Mass won't be so easy to attend. I have been blessed in the past with ease of Mass, Seton Hall offered a Noon and 5pm Mass making it easy to attend and schedule classes around.  Working in NYC offered me a choice of Churches that had afternoon and evening Masses.  The one day that got shafted and still does is Saturday, so I think I might make an effort to go to Mass on Saturday morning.

So I guess I'm going my normal prayer thing of Liturgy of the Hours and maybe instead of listening to music while out for a walk/run trying to say a rosary.  I usually pray in what I call Irish speed meaning it's far faster than it should be, so slowing it down maybe saying it in Latin could work too.

Fasting: this one is tough as I'm not sure what I am fasting from, other than my laziness and carelessness when eating.  So it's not traditional in the sense of giving up something physical, but working on something that needs to be worked on.

Alsmgiving is the harder yet easy one.  We have a rice bowl sitting on our kitchen table, so if I go out and have 2 drinks instead of 3 I can put the money saved into the rice bowl. What it's March and therefore St. Patrick's season which means drinking.  Maybe this year we'll remember to return the rice bowl on time.

So how's today going so far: Liturgy of the Hours: Morning prayer was said.  I'm sitting here debating reading my book while walking or going outside for a 3 mile walk.  So we're getting there with this one.  I'm not eating today so watching what I eat will start tomorrow.  The cup of coffee next to me is nice and big so that I don't kill anyone.  So score 1 for Mary on Ash Wednesday, but then again the first day is usually the easiest.  Now to watch the rest of a movie or read a book while walking around the house.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

Dear Fellow Americans,

Chill the fuck out.  I get it, I understand completely that the person you wanted in office is not in there.  Too fucking bad.  I didn't get any special treatment or safe zones or any other shit 8 years ago when President Obama was first elected.  I got "you have to support him, he's the president." I was told I was racist for not supporting and for not voting for him.  Somehow that advice is now not good enough for those that gave it.

Stop acting like racism is a new thing, stop blaming one man for the actions of others.  Stop saying oh look this is all happening now because he's president.  News flash, Obama is still president until January.  These issues didn't just appear.

I'm tried of people saying things like "people are upset and it's their right to lash out."  Really I said that President Obama didn't represent me and I got blasted for it.  I wasn't lashing out, I wasn't burning my country's flag.  I condemned those that said Obama should die and other things, but that doesn't count because I voted against him.

All these talk of fear, guess what I was fearful that I would end up in jail because of my Catholic faith.  For simply thinking that marriage is between a man and a woman and a sacrament.  I had to worry that I could lose a job because someone found out that I was conservative or that my life could be destroyed because I said no to a gay couple.  Did I bitch and moan about it, at first yes, but I gave up because in actuality my opinion doesn't count because I am a white conservative female.  I don't fit the damn mold.

Guess what I am pissed that things I said and did 8 years ago are now a-okay for people to do.

I legit wept for our country 8 years ago, because our country has lost sight of God and a respect for all of humanity.

We are a Godless nation, that listens to the media for everything.

I need to go live in a cave away from everything.  Maybe I do need a safe zone after all.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11th 15 year later

So today is the 15th anniversary of that infamous day.  A day that many Americans remember living through.  For me I guess I now know what the generations before feel like with the end of the World Wars and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I've watched the generations after me not understand why we are somber today.

If you have read this blog, you know that my brother, being the smart ass he is chose 9-1-1 as their wedding day because it was a Saturday and well everyone will remember the date.  Last night we were out to dinner and my 14 year old niece said, "why did you pick 9-11 for your wedding?" Both my brother and I responded with it was a joke 9-1-1 to which she said "you didn't think the terrorists would think the same thing."  In her innocence and being the first group of kids to have not been alive when 9-11-01 happened makes the statement funny, but it also says something about how her generation has grown up.  There has always been talk of terrorists, what they did and what they will do and when will they do it again.

I don't know if it's because I'm old or just emotional anyway, but today was the first time I nearly cried during my pastor's homily.  Maybe it was the fact that 15 years have past, that I had just watched the picture of Dennis McHugh scroll across my tv; maybe it was finally realizing that his parents are with him and his mom got her wish of having a body to bury.  I guess the focus has always been on the sacrifice of the FDNY that day, they did lose 343 souls from their ranks.  I guess because John Gallagher's Mass was a memorial Mass, that I don't think about him as much which is odd, because I actually knew John, well I was Peter's little sister so everyone knew me, but I do remember being in their apartment/house when I was little.  John's body was not and never will be recovered as he worked for Cantor-Fitzgerald and he was hopefully gone in a few seconds.

Tonight we watched the CNN special 9-11 Fifteen Years Later. The film maker spoke of seeing people on fire walking past him and I went immediately to the memories of the fire at Seton Hall.  I often wonder what in the world possessed me to go wash my car 15 years ago, but I really think it was the Holy Spirit saving me from having those images burned into my brain.  I have a very vivid memory and I rather tell the silly story of I was washing my car instead of saying I was watching TV like the rest of the world.

My family has happy memories of 9-11 as yes it's the day my brother got married, without that wedding I don't have a niece or nephew acting like goofballs making their family laugh.  So yes 9-11 holds many memories.

My cousin by marriage (she's still a cousin) shared a picture of her husband (then boyfriend) from ground zero on facebook and it made me think.  Maybe it's because they are both close to retirement that I look back and say, dear God, that could have been us.  I watched NYPD funerals and said, that family could have been us.  I forget that I know a good few first responders, many of whom were in NYC 15 years ago.  Maybe that's it. I lived through the day, saw the aftermath, watch the smoke billow from the towers stood.  Yes there is a giant building there now, but it's not the same and nor should it be.  I guess like the rest of NY that was here that day, we've moved on, still standing, still fighting, still knowing we are a target, but also giving a big ole classic F-U to the terrorists.

That fight isn't won, and it won't be while we still fight.  the irony of my f-u and moving into the idea of peace isn't lost on me.  My pastor spoke of how the stories in the Gospel today spoke to us about how peace is what is needed in the world and yes that is far easier said than done.  I did find his comment of once the US beats you in a war, we are the first to offer an hand to help you up.  He's right we'll kick your ass and then help you clean up the damage we did.  I remember a good few years ago a chaplain from West Point saying "you have no idea what Iraq is like, it is better off now."  From studying scripture and other religions it's clear that war is never the answer, but Jesus' idea of peace is.

I know 15 years ago we were all go get 'em, get the bastards. 15 years later we're still fighting terror and neither side is winning, but I'd like to think our side is on the winning side.

May those who died 15 years ago continue to rest in peace, and may God continue to bless our first responders, military, fire fighters, police and EMTs.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why is this woman's vocation such a big deal?!

In perusing Twitter I came across an odd tweet:

To place the picture in the blog I had to search for it and was surprised that it was the Daily News that tweeted it, I really thought it was one of the Catholic people I followed not a secular newspaper.  Read the story for yourself here. Of course the use of the words "wedding" and "married" have sent people into a tizzy.  Kinda funny considering we are to open to all sorts of "marriages" now.  The use of the word marriage is what throws people off, this woman has chosen to become a Consecrated Virgin.  While we say she's married to Jesus we also so that nuns and sisters are married to Jesus though we know they are not really married to Jesus.  We also refer to the Church as the Bride of Christ.  That's an awful lot of brides for one man; though He is God.  All kidding aside, it's the odd Catholic phrasing that gets people.  It's like when we say we pray to the saints, we're not really praying to them as prayer is reserved strictly to and for God, but we are asking the saints to pray for us.  It's just the language we use that confuses people.

Anyway I read the article and thought that's odd, but kind of cool.  I went about my evening thinking no more of this woman's vocation until it appeared a few times on my Facebook feed.  I didn't read the articles as I knew the story, but I did make the mistake of reading the comments on one of the posts.  I refused to read the others as I assumed they would be full of hatred, I mean loving comments on how ugly, crazy and stupid this woman is.  So much for tolerance.

Of course most people commented isn't this what nuns do and well she's a nun now.  Not knowing much about it I didn't respond to the comments as I'd be there forever saying, "no she's not a nun, her vocation is different.  She many not of found a charism of an order that matched her."

My favorite comments have been the "stupid Catholics, don't know what they are doing." All the so called Catholic theologians came out on this one. You know the ones who tell me I worship Mary, that I'm committing necromancy for "communicating" with the dead, that I don't read the correct Bible, your faith is fake, your religion is made up, yes those "catholics" who know more than those of us actually studying Catholic theology.

These are the same people that when you point out that all the Christian religions have their roots in the Catholic faith tell you that you are wrong.  I know that right now I sound like an uber-snobbish holier than thou Catholic. Did you know that all Catholics have a holier-than-thou attitude?  I didn't but I'm glad I do now.  By the way this blog is dripping in sarcasm, in cause you couldn't tell.

I usually just ignore the Protestants and just keep going, but one comment set me off, not really set me off, but made me say "please do some research before you spout off misconceptions of the Catholic Church."

Below is the tread that followed.  I'm learning to nicely defend the faith.  I'm using comments make at conferences.  I'm trying to be civil and level headed, but I'm Irish so we'll see how long that lasts.

I'm pretty sure you can click on the picture to make it larger, but I'm not sure.  I'll see what happens after I publish the blog. (Side note: it does open in a pop up, but on my screen it's smaller than what it is here on the blog.)

I'm pretty sure the women who chimed in twice thinks I'm the stupidest Catholic on the face of the Earth, but I wasn't getting into the whole Catholic vs. Protestant thing here.  I was trying to figure out the logic of why I can talk to Jesus, who died (Yes, I know He's risen and alive) but I can't talk to other who have gone before me.  You'll see that my comment of Jesus talking to the dead was ignored.  I let that one go as it wasn't going to really do anything.  I think it's hysterical that the guy thinks I came up with my comments on "live on bread alone" without the help of any scholars.  I actually went to the USCCB page and clicked on the links to see what tied into what, but we'll let him think I figured it out on my own without the help of other Catholics.

It's always the same old "argument" and people act like Catholicism didn't exist before the 1500s.  Another woman just commented on how pompous Catholics are because we believe that we wrote the Bible and are the rock on which Christianity was built.  We did and we are, so yes we do have the technical right to be pompous, but we're really not.  I don't throw Church teaching in others faces, I don't ask "have you been saved?", I'm lucky I get my sinful person to Mass every week.  I try so hard to not come across as a know it all, holier-than-thou person, but sometimes I honestly can't help it. I've studied Theology and I love being Catholic so yeah I do come across as bitchy and pompous, but I also know that I have the fullness of faith at my fingertips.  It's easy for me to pick up a Catechism and read actual Church teaching.

Anyway back to the woman this blog is about.  As a "cradle Catholic" I have heard of Consecrated Virgins, but never paid attention to what it is/was.  I honestly didn't think they existed anymore.  I think God has used this women's story to bring awareness to this vocation.  God bless her for her decision, I know it could have been easy.  I know that I'll be adding Consecrated Virgin to my list of vocations to talk about to the teens.  What I don't understand are the vile and awful comments of this woman is so ugly no one would want to marry her, she couldn't get laid so she decided to do it.  As a woman who is constantly discerning her vocation, I understand that this was not easy for her.

There is an article that does a good job of explaining what happened at the rite here. I feel a great disservice is done to the rite and to this woman because the words marriage and wedding were used.  White is a symbol of purity hence why it's worn for Baptism, Communion, Confirmation (though most don't do that anymore), and a wedding.  I don't know people are so immersed in the sexual ways of the world that this simple act seems so strange.  I know her story has opened my eyes to the idea that not every woman is called to religious life in the idea of being a nun or sister.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday... more like "marriage" is what divides us today.

Yes, the title of this blog is borrowed from the Princess Bride.

I remained quiet on Facebook and reserved on Twitter because I honestly can not post how I feel on the Supreme Court decision because I will automatically be labeled a bigot and hater.  No I do not agree with the decision, but you should know that by now.  Part of me doesn't want to post this because everyone is going to assume I hate those who are homosexual.  The Catholic Church and I love everyone, let me say it again, the Catholic Church and I love everyone.  I do not hate people, I hate sin.  I am a sinner and therefore can not judge or condemn another, but I can point out sinful behavior the way I would expect someone to do for me.

I'm not out to start or get into an argument about marriage.  I never have been as I actually hate arguing because it's pointless as no one listens to the other and it turns into a shouting match.

The decision of the Supreme Court does not surprise me but it does disappoint me.  I feel I am no longer allowed to have an opinion.  It's hard to put into words as there is no word for it. We have all these "isms," sexism, ageism, racism, etc but none for the prejudice against Catholics and Christians.

I was thinking about a bunch of things and I came to the realization that I'm tired and defeated.  I'm tried of having to say the same thing over and over.  It's the same issues with abortion and other pro-life issues. I've stayed off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because I keep seeing all these rainbow profile pictures and it just makes me want to explode.  One of my favorite priests happens to be in Italy on a pilgrimage and I was surprised that he was "quiet" on the whole thing, but he shared a great link this morning.

I feel that people have not thought about will happen now that "everyone is free to marry whomever they want."  If we really mean that statement, polygamy, bestiality, incest and other things will no longer be illegal as everyone is free to love whomever or whatever they want because "they can't help it." No really thing about it, if we are free to love whomever we want because that's the way we were made, then all of this will have to change too.

At my last place of employment one of my co workers who is gay told me, "you're not like most Catholics" and I responded with, "you're right, I'm what a Catholic is supposed to be." In a way this was one of the best things for me to hear as it affirmed that I was "behaving" as I should.

Homosexuality did not destroy marriage. Marriage was destroyed along time ago when people decided sex would be wonderful on it's own.  Yes I blame the generation between my parents and I. My parents both born in the early 1930's reflect that generation and while I just skated into to the 1970's.  My "job" as a catechist just got even harder because the younger generation doesn't want to hear what the Church is teaching, they need to hear it and we need to keep teaching it, but they don't want to hear it.

I'm tired of constantly having to defend myself and my beliefs and opinions.  Why is it that I can not have an opinion that is different.

I was originally going to post this when the decision first came out and then I just forgot about it.  It's not put together the way I would like, but like I said I'm tired of saying the same thing over and over.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent

Why in the world was I thinking Second Sunday of Advent as I typed the title of the blog is beyond me, perhaps I want to go back in time. Here's the link to the readings. 

So the first reading is where Abraham is told to sacrifice his son Isaac.  We just studied in my Biblical Call Narratives class and some interesting points were made.  When we think of this story we often pictures Isaac as a teenager, but it is possible that he was an adult, say in his thirties when this happened.  I guess part of our imagining Isaac as a teen comes from the use of the word boy. Another point that was made is that this may not have been a command of God to sacrifice Isaac but rather question put to Abraham. Again our take on it could come from the words that are used in the translation.

We so often see what we deem an angry God in the Old Testament.  Really who commands someone to give up their son, oh wait, God, Himself does that out of love for us.  We take more notice over the idea of Abraham almost killing Isaac that we completely forget that Abraham is actually talking with God and God is responding back.  How we all long for that type of relationship with God, where we actually hear what He has to say and Abraham has it, yet we never talk about it.

I'm always amused with how easily the characters in the Old Testament responded with, "here I am." As if God didn't know where they were, of course He knew; He's just waiting for us to acknowledge Him.  We skip over Isaac questioning his father. Isaac wasn't stupid, he realized there was no animal for the sacrifice. Abraham does a nice bit of not answering the question with the whole God will provide answer.  We also leave out the fact that Abraham tied Isaac up to be sacrificed and we go right to the "don't do it" answer from God.  Put yourself in Isaac's shoes, well sandals, I'd be saying, what the hell dad, what's going on, which he did and rightfully so.  God deals with what we give Him, so maybe He did ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac or maybe God just posed a question either way, we find out that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son.   Abraham is promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand in the desert.  That's a lot of kids.  There's a theory out there about this as well. We often assume that God and Abraham were talking at night so you'd see a ton of starts, but what if they were really talking during the day and the only star you could see was the sun. Anyway, what matters is that God and Abraham entered into a covenant of sorts and we are Abraham's descendants, so yes God kept His promise, like He always does.

I have a feeling this will not be the psalm that I hear at Mass, as I will be at our 6pm Mass and they tend to not stick with the given psalm of the say, but use one of the alternative ones, but we shall see.

*update* it wasn't the Psalm used at Mass, we sung "If today your hear God's voice; harden not your hearts."

The refrain is "I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living."   What strikes me is the idea of walking before God.  This harkens back to the idea of being able to talk to God, yes, prayer is our way way of talking to God, but the idea of walking with God makes it that much more personal.  So often we act like like having a personal relationship with God is unattainable.  In the verses of the Psalm we see that even though we are afflicted, that we are precious in God's eyes, that we are His servants, not the sweep the floor and looked down upon type, but the I love what I do type,  and we say that we will show God to others.  Well, that's my take on the Psalm, doesn't have to be everyone's and I am by far not a Biblical scholar despite studying it in college.  The Psalms rarely are preached on and it can be difficult to see what each verse it, but I think this Psalm is reminding that we are God's children and that we should do what He is telling us to do.

The Second reading, is actually one of my favorite readings.  I'm always reminded of Fr. Bill when I hear and use the line, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"  It happens to be Fr. Bill's favorite verse, or it was when I was in college, we all know things can change.  This is a line that I should listen to and pay attention to more often. So many times we fall into temptation forget that God is there for us no matter what, and that if what we are doing is what He wants, then no one can be against us.  St. Paul once again reminds us that God the Father did not spare His own son, but rather handed him over.  This ties in nicely with the first reading with the whole giving up your only child.

The Gospel is the Transfiguration, which we are all familiar with.  We all know the story Jesus takes Peter, James and John up to a mountain and Jesus appears with Moses, Elijah and He and His clothes become a dazzling white.  Peter excitedly, or at least I think he was excited, asks Jesus if he can set up some tents.  We're told that they were terrified as they should have been, imagine how you would be if you actually saw Jesus appear in His full glory and then a voice from the Heavens says, "This is my beloved son. Listen to him."  I'd be terrified too.  I'm always amused that Jesus tells them to tell n one about what happens.  I know it says that they are to wait until after Jesus dies and rises from the dead, but I still only hear the don't tell anyone about this comment.  I guess Jesus was preparing these three for what they would eventually do.  I read and I think it was Fr. Barron who mentioned it in his lenten reflection, that this is in a way a physical version of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament.

My Sunday was spent watching the freshman in our confirmation program be on retreat, which was great to watch as they actually got something out of it, but I was done by the time we got to Mass so I don't remember much of the homily except that Fr. Ray preached mainly on the first reading and slightly on the Gospel.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

bus stations, train stations, Stations of the Cross part deux

So I am slacking in my saying the Stations of the Cross, daily but it's still early in this Lenten season.

I decided to walk to daily Mass and today was no different except it was snowing but I don't mind walking in the snow, I rather enjoy it.  I decided to walk "the back roads" aka the not main road that runs through town as I figured if I have to walk out in the street it's better to do it on a street where there's not at much traffic.  So I walked along my way, using mainly sidewalks as they were clear despite the dusting of snow on the ground.  I was listening to Jars of Clay's version of I Need You when all of a sudden my ass was on the cold ground and thought, ouch.  I have enough padding to just be slightly bruised if I am at all.  I bounced up as quickly as I went down.  I was thinking about a friend who had basically posted her goodbye to us on Facebook, as she's entering the final stages of her battle with cancer, so my mind was not on watching where I was walking.

The ice I slipped on was hidden by the dusting of snow and dare I say my ego was bruised more than my body.  I do have a nice little "cut" on my hand from where I placed it to break my fall, but again the whole thing happened in about 5 seconds.  I got up thinking, well grumbling, I should have just walked in the street and then I noticed that my hand hurt.  I took off my glove and looked at my left hand and said, oh that hurts, but it's barely skinned, I wonder if my ass will bruise.  As I kept walking I started to think about Stations of the Cross and I of course thought of the Jesus falls ones.  I looked at my hand and said, this tiny cut hurts more than anything, I can only imagine what type of pain Jesus was in when He carried the cross.

Here's my tiny little flesh wound that still hurts hours later.  Something that 
small shouldn't hurt as much as it does.  I have always been one who realized that the traditional beatings Jesus got in the movies was nothing like what really happened.  Call it God's grace or my vivid imagination.  So of course I think of The Passion of the Christ when ever I think of Jesus's Passion and death.  I chose a not so graphic image from the movie.  I have in the past looked to Our Lady of Sorrows for consolation and for some reason she came to mind this Lent.  Maybe it's because of the death of one of the parish's young adults and watching the family she left behind suffer and not knowing what to do for them or watching my friends suffer and not knowing what to do for them either but suffering has come back as a topic.  

Yesterday I learned that a priest I knew and has as a professor at Seton Hall died suddenly.  Not an Ash Wednesday goes by that I don't think of him and the giant crosses he would place on our heads.  Anyway, I started to think of all the memories from Seton Hall and I thought where's the book we used in class. I remember he commented that it was such a small book despite the class being on Christian Spirituality.  The book is 144 pages long and covers some of the classics of Catholic Spirituality actually that's it's name too.  I went searching for it just because and found it and thought, oh I need to get a bunch of these classics.  While searching for the book, I found books that I used for my senior thesis.  One of those books is called At the Foot of the Cross The Seven Lessons of Mary for the Sorrowing Heart, the other one I found is Archbishop Sheen's Seven Words of Jesus and Mary Lessons on Cana and Calvary.  I don't want to take any of my proposed books out of my book a week challenge  but I might have to add these two in.  Again I see a theme appearing or should I say reappearing as I have read these books before.  

I had originally planned on this particular blog to be about Stations of the Cross again, but when I fell today it got me thinking about how we can daily live out the stations of the cross.  I have an all day retreat with our high school freshman in our confirmation program on Sunday, and I know that right about now is when the spiritual, physical and mental battles come to a front.  I'm reminded of a quote I saw on Facebook, of course it happens to be from Mark Hart. "Don't be surprised when attacks come - if you're living for Christ they'll come constantly. It probably means you're doing it right... 'When you seek to do good, evil will be at hand.' - Rom 7:21" 

Who would have thought that a tiny cut on my hand would make me think about how to daily live out the Stations of the Cross and to look back into our Lady of Sorrows.  We are not suffering along, Jesus knows what we are going through as does God the Father, and our Blessed Mother. 

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

homework: what type of student would I be if I didn't do my homework

I admit that I am very lazy when it comes to homework, I was as a high school student, college student and as a graduate student.  The less work I have to do the better.

Last week Bishop Serratelli was our guest lecturer and he's back at it this week. I love my bishop dearly and will defend him pretty much all the time as I don't like people complaining about who he happens to send us as pastor or vicar, but his homilies can be boring.  Bishop is a Scripture scholar and a pretty good one at that too so you would expect his homilies to be good, which they normally are, he just delivers them far differently than he teaches.  I had the priviledge of having then Father Serratelli for a class while I was an undergraduate at Seton Hall.  I was looking to be a senior so I took a class at the graduate level to get my credits. So I knew what we were in for when Bishop came to teach and I have to say I will miss him after these two classes.  Our regular professor, who is brilliant and full of knowledge, just seems scattered.  Bishop came in with a plan, stuck to it and we covered everything he wanted to cover.  There is a difference in how Bishop interacts outside of his homilies, he's completely different.  Bishop Serratelli, the teacher, is the man I see preach at the Chrism Mass and who at the end of Confirmation and regular Sunday Masses, but this person seems to disappear when he preaches.  Any way at the end of class last week the comment, "What type of teacher would I be if I didn't assign homework: read 1 Kings 22:13-28 and tie it into tonight's class." That last part might be my paraphrasing of it, but that is our assignment. To read the following passage and tie it into what we spoke about in class.  

Meanwhile, the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah said to him, “Look now, the prophets are unanimously predicting good for the king. Let your word be the same as any of theirs; speak a good word." Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, I shall speak whatever the LORD tells me.” When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to fight at Ramoth-gilead, or shall we refrain?” He said, “Attack and conquer! The LORD will give it into the power of the king.” But the king answered him, “How many times must I adjure you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”So Micaiah said: “I see all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd, And the LORD saying, These have no master! Let each of them go back home in peace.” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you, he does not prophesy good about me, but only evil?” Micaiah continued: “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD seated on his throne, with the whole host of heaven standing to his right and to his left. The LORD asked: Who will deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall on Ramoth-gilead And one said this, another that, until this spirit came forth and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will deceive him.’ The LORD asked: How? He answered, ‘I will go forth and become a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.’ The LORD replied: You shall succeed in deceiving him. Go forth and do this. So now, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours; the LORD himself has decreed evil against you.” Thereupon Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, came up and struck Micaiah on the cheek, saying, “Has the spirit of the LORD, then, left me to speak with you?” Micaiah said, “You shall find out on the day you go into an inner room to hide.” The king of Israel then said, “Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon, prefect of the city, and to Joash, the king’s son, and say, ‘This is the king’s order: Put this man in prison and feed him scanty rations of bread and water until I come back in safety.’” But Micaiah said, “If you return in safety, the LORD has not spoken through me.” (He also said, “Hear, O peoples, all of you.”)

The lines that stuck out to me are the ones that I bolded.  Our class is on Biblical Call Narratives and let me tell you there are a lot of callings in the Bible.  We've studied mainly old testament calls and of course both Scripture scholars, Bishop Serratelli and Dr. Glazov, have talked about the calls of the prophets.  I guess it's a good thing when both men give you the same basic overview of a call narrative.  In all the calls we have discussed we talk about the divine confrontation, the introductory word, the commission, the objection, the reassurance, and a sign and how these will appear in most call narratives.  This passage doesn't seem to be a call narrative so how does this tie into what we talked about.  

Well we've covered a lot of stuff in our classes but one of my notes from Bishop's class seems to stick out, the prophet will speak how God wants him to speak" Which agrees with the first statement I bolded, where Micaiah is saying I will speak how the Lord wants me to speak.   Micaiah speaks of how Israel is scattered on the mountains like a sheep without a shepherd; this makes me think of the Gospels when it's said "I will strike the shepherd and sheep will disperse" (What I'm Catholic I know the story, the line, just not which Gospel and the exact number of the verse) Maybe it's because it's Lent and the Passion Gospels tend to stick out more, but that's what I thought of.  It shows that the New Testament and Old Testament do work with each other.  The last line that I bolded is the one about seeing God seated on the His throne.  This image we did talk about with the call of Isaiah and how he sees God upon a throne.  It's an image of Heaven, which we get to see at every Mass, well not actually see, but to be close to at every Mass.  

Not sure how much I am supposed to read into the passage but these are the three lines that stuck out to me.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Confessions of a newbie veiler


Any one who has read this blog or who knows me should know by now that I am a fan of traditional Catholicism.  I'm old school when it comes to many things; dare I say I would enjoy a Latin Mass once in a while, if only for the simple fact that I wouldn't have to do anything other than sit in the pew. Don't get me wrong I love being Catholic and I love serving, but when it's a weekly or daily thing it gets  monotonous and well annoying.  Again I love serving, I'm just tired of always having to be the one to get up and do it.

I've been following Veils by Lily on Facebook and Twitter for a while and I keep looking at the veils saying, "oh those are pretty," or "oh I like that one."  I also felt the urge or shall we say nudge to actually wear one to Mass.  My friends go to a Latin Mass chapel run by the Fraternity of St. Peter so my initial thought was, "it would be nice to have an actual veil for the sacraments that I would be attending there verses my finding of a huge shawl that I have worn in the past."  I followed links and read about it and kept thinking I want one and I should do it.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased one at Christmas time.  Oddly the veil came the day before the March for Life and a neighboring parish happened to be having a holy hour that evening so I thought this is perfect and I brought my veil with me.  As I took the veil out my mother looked at me and said, what is that a veil, that's old fashioned.  To which I said no it's not and proceeded to tweet something about it via my phone.    I admit I was nervous and still am about wearing it.  I didn't clip it in my hair that night so I was worried it would fall off and I put it on as the holy hour began and took it off right as the holy hour ended.  I put the veil back in the nice little bag I purchased for it and left it in my pocketbook that I carried with me everywhere.  I wasn't comfortable enough to wear it at my home parish, yet.

The original date the veil was supposed to arrive was right around the time of our youth ministry retreat and I thought what a great way to start veiling.  I didn't do it, I had it with me in my bag, but the fact that I was in a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers caused me to say and think, I can put that gorgeous veil on my head dressed liked this and I wasn't ready to answer any questions I might have gotten.  I decided then that I would start veiling for Lent.  Why not as it seemed the perfect time to start something.  So I did, I walked to Mass on Ash Wednesday (you can see my thoughts on that Mass here), found a spot, sat down, prayed, took out the bag the veil was in and eventually put the veil,  on my head.

I feel like a million thoughts went through my head before I did put the veil on my head. Do I really want to do this, Does God really want me to do it, I'll be the only one, everyone will be looking at me wondering what is she doing.   As I said in the Ash Wednesday blog, it dawned on me that the older generation would know of the custom and the younger generation could care less.  I keep telling myself every time I place the veil on my head, "it's not about you, it's not about you, the world is so self centered, they probably don't even notice it."  Granted I've only veiled a total of five times since this started so yes I am new to it and I will keep thinking about how I'm the only one doing it but I have to remember it's not about me.

I've noticed that based on where the veil falls around my face, that instead of hiding behind my hair, I used to let my hair fall as it would cover my face, I actually move my hair behind my ears thus exposing my face.  I've also become more aware of what I wear to Mass.  I usually try to dress up for Sunday Mass or at the very least dress nicely.  Yes I have worn jeans, usually they are the designer brand jeans and an nice sweater or top.  I always laugh at the idea of me packing a dress for Sunday Mass when I go to a conference at Franciscan University, but when I'm home it's oh jeans work.

My mother ingrained in me the whole idea of Sunday best and I fought in high school to wear shorts and sneakers to Mass and I did one day just because I could, but the idea of Sunday best never left me.  I don't always follow it, I have worn jeans to Sunday Mass, usually it's when I have all day meetings with youth group or if I was teaching confirmation or if I'm going to our evening Mass and I don't feel like changing.  Now as I mentioned above so many times I end up having to serve at Mass, so the nudge to dress better has been there, but when it snows and it's nasty out and you typically walk to church you tend to not wear a dress or skirt.  As I walked to Mass this past Sunday I thought, well I don't really have anything to wear these sweaters with other than pants, I was wearing corduroy pants, and the Holy Spirit nudged me with, umm you have a black skirt or other skirts in the house.  I think I actually laughed out loud at the fact that yes, God was right, I do have other bottoms at home.

Veiling has changed how I dress for Mass, well somewhat changed.  I'm still with the idea that daily Mass gets whatever I happen to be wearing that day, but I will admit that I put on a sweater instead of a sweatshirt.  I do tend to wear the nicer jeans during the week.  As I place this gorgeous piece of lace on my head, I start to think about what I am wearing.  I've been searching the inter-webs for blogs or other resources on veiling and I found this and this. I have to admit the second one made me laugh because that is exactly what went through my brain.  The first one made me think about how I do actually think about what I wear to Mass now, not that I didn't I just make more of an effort to be dressed and covered, though me being covered wasn't much of an issue.

I have to admit that veiling this past Sunday was the hardest.  The daily Masses are easy as I'm usually alone and I can do my own thing, but Sundays that's when I sit with my friends, and seriously what would they think.  I actually thought about not veiling and then said, if you don't do it now you never will, so on it went.  Yes I spent a good portion of Mass thinking is someone going to say something or what are they thinking and I kept telling myself it's not about you, it's about God and reminding myself that our culture is so self absorbed that they wouldn't even notice that I had this thing on my head.  I was rather happy that I had counted enough Extraordinary Ministers of Communion and would not have to serve. I was wrong as one person decided that even though she was needed that she wasn't needed, so I ended up serving, so everyone saw my veil as I stood in the sanctuary.  I didn't really spend all of Mass thinking about the veil, I actually spent a good portion of it thinking about what Mark Hart had written in Behold the Mystery.  I made it through my first Sunday Mass veiled and I did get a comment, but not the one I was expecting.

I placed my veil down on the pew (I know technically I should be wearing it as soon as I set foot in Church, but we're getting there) and was folding it to place it back in the carrying bag when this old man came up to me.  He said with an Italian accent, "every lady should wear one of those"(as he picked up my veil and I thought don't touch it I just want to fold it and put it away so I don't ruin it.) I missed the next part, but I gathered after reflecting on it that he was telling me to get the other women to wear a veil as well.  I thought, that's not how it works, you have to be called to veil, and if you want to do it, do it, if not don't; that's the beauty of being Catholic. Those of us who veil, veil and those who don't, don't.  I did thank God as I walked home and thought, well that was a nice sign that I am doing what God wants me too. I keep expecting to hear the why are you doing that comments and I am very surprised that my pastor hasn't said anything to me yet because he's the type to say something to me no matter what.

I am new to veiling, but it is a growing trend and custom among my generation.  We were never thought why we covered our heads at Mass and I will still troll the internet looking for the perfect answer. I'm sure it will get easier each time I place the veil on my head, I've already started to notice how empty my head feels when I take the veil off and I stay in Church for stations, eventually I'll leave it on, once I work up to it.  I'm slowly learning and growing in this.

Why am I veiling, the simple answer is I felt called to it.  I've always been a big believer in feelings and knowing what God has wanted me to do.  I did pray about it, I didn't ask anyone about it, because my family already thinks I'm nuts, I don't need to add any fuel to that fire. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic later but for now I'm okay with I'm new to this and still learning.  God calls us to do many things, this is just one of the ways He's calling me.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SCC the digital version or my "homily" for the 1st Sunday of Lent.


I decided to start my Lenten book challenge off easy, I was already reading Mark Hart's Behold the Mystery and have most of Cardinal Dolan's Doers of the Word read so I decided that they counted as one book and would be read on Ash Wednesday and the days that followed.  I did finish both of them, but they were easy reads.  In Behold the Mystery Mark Hart suggests spending time with all four readings for Sunday's Mass.  I always think of Small Christian Communities (SCC) at Seton Hall when I think of this, because that's exactly what we did.  A bunch of us met each week with Fr. Bill to discuss the readings for the upcoming Sunday.  I know we inspired a bunch of homilies for him and it was fun and interesting to discuss the readings for Sunday.  We typically came up with about 4 or five questions to go over, and by we I really mean me. No, it was mainly Fr. Bill until one day I heard "hey, Mar, my newest, bestest, best bud, do you want to write the questions for SCC tonight."  I know I had some sort of smart ass response but I can't remember it, but I do remember him saying, "but your's are good and better than mine" or something along those lines to me.

I've decided to do a digital version of SCC though it's more of a Lectio, which now that I think about it is what SCC was, but we never treated it that way.  Now, I know why Fr. Bill suggested Lectio Divina years later, and that's what makes him one of the best priests I know.  This also makes me laugh at how God works.

Any way I figured I might as well spend time with the readings and what better place to "talk" about it but the almighty inter-webs.  I know that a lot of people don't read this and it's mostly for me, but hey you never know who might find it and learn something.  Here's the link to Sunday, February 22, 2015 Mass readings  .  The USCCB page was giving me issues before, so I'm not sure if it will load correctly or not, but they should have an interactive calendar on the home page if the link doesn't work.

So the first reading comes from the Book of Genesis and it involves Noah and we can assume that the ark was involved too.  The daily readings link doesn't give you the footnotes like the actual Bible pages do; the New American Bible Revised Edition aka the NABRE is on the site. I have to give credit to said Bible as my bishop, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, spent "7 years of his life" working on it. It's also the Bible we hear at Mass.  I was going to look for the footnotes, but the website is not loading on Chrome anyway, not sure about other browsers.

Anyway, back to the first reading. Most of us know the story of Noah, the ark and the flood.  In the first reading we get the promise from God to Noah that the world will not be destroyed by water again.  God saved the world because of one righteous person, Noah, well eight people if we count Noah's wife, sons and daughters-in-law. God promised that He wouldn't use water to destroy the Earth again.  I'm currently sitting through a Biblical Call Narratives class for my Masters and Certificate program, so we've been discussing the Old Testament far more than the New Testament and I'm fine with that because we so often skip over the Old Testament that we don't look to it for wisdom, even though it is one of the books of the Old Testament.  God made a covenant with Noah and his family and the sign He gave them was a rainbow, or so we traditionally say it is.  Even today we are always in awe when we see a rainbow in the sky.  I remember a few times when my family was in Ireland that I was told, "get you're camera, there's a rainbow; oh it's a double rainbow; quick before it goes away."  I happily oblige as there is something special about rainbows precisely because we don't see them that often.  I usually think of pots of gold at the end of a rainbow long before I think of God's promise to Noah.  I don't think oh that's a reminder that God will take care of His family, I think oh that's pretty.

We have a glorified idea of Noah and the Ark, that thing had to stink to high holy hell with all those animals on it; yeah think about that, gross isn't it.  The stench didn't stop Noah or his family from doing what God told him and that ark wasn't small, it did have to fit two of each animal and 8 humans on it; so the hard work didn't stop Noah either.  Noah trusted God and was rewarded for it; God saved the world because of Noah's faith and actions.  One person saved the world, that sounds familiar doesn't it.  As my pastor reminded us at his Lenten Friday Night Lights aka his seasonal sessions on Catholic things, we, the younger generation often look at the Old Testament as some nice stories that we hear but don't really pay attention too. It's true we look at a rainbow and think, oh that's pretty, we don't think oh God's reminding us about how He saved us all those years ago with Noah.

I was about to jump to the second reading when I read the psalm. So often the psalm is forgotten or not preached on.  A few weeks ago Fr. Ray spoke of the psalm because it happened to be his favorite and the music ministry happened to play his favorite setting of it.  I don't remember what psalm it was but it reminds me that as Mark Hart said in Behold the Mystery we so often forget about the psalm.

The refrain of the psalm is "Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant." My initial thought as I read it in church was, how the heck are we doing to sing this one.  It's interesting that the psalm uses the work covenant.  Today we don't think of covenants, we think of contracts which is sort of what a covenant with God is.  I try to say Liturgy of the Hours every day, there are plenty of days where I don't say one or any of the hours, but it has allowed me to get to know the psalms better or least notice which ones they use all the time.  The first verse of the psalm has us asking God to teach us His ways.  The second verse has us asking God to be kind to us and to remember us in His compassion.  The third and final verse reminds that God guides us, teaches us and shows us the way.  When we pay attention to the readings we see how they are linked together. Noah followed God's ways and kept the covenant and therefore passed on the faith to the generations that followed him.

The second reading is from St. Peter's letter.  It's rare that the second reading is not from one of St. Paul's readings just because he takes up the majority of the New Testament.  When I went to type the blog at first I kept thinking where did I hear "prefigured baptism" it must have been in one of the books I read, no it was from the second reading as I realized as I sat in Church. I think my mind had wondered during this reading, and I laughed to myself as I thought of Mark Hart's comment of well, at least you will have gone over the readings in case you start to not pay attention at Mass.  In this reading we are reminded that Jesus suffered for sins once, that righteous one suffered for the unrighteous.  Here we have that righteous man saving the world again.  Yes, that righteous man from the first reading is in essence a prefiguring of Jesus for one man saved the world.  Rarely do we have the readings so connected, or at least it seems that it's rarely that the first and second readings connect; let alone mention the other.  Noah was a prefiguring for our baptism, though the water of Baptism we are saved, but we can't forget about Jesus and how His saving act is what truly saved us. St. Peter reminds of that at the end of the reading.  Our salvation is not about being physically clean but about having a clean and clear conscience.

The Gospel is one of the shortest ones I can remember. It's literally three verses long. It's five sentences from the looks of it.  Of course on the first Sunday of Lent we are reminded that Jesus was in the desert fasting and was tempted by Satan.  This reminds that Jesus knows exactly what we go through each Lenten season.  Jesus knows that we are going to be tempted to eat what we gave up or tempted to not pray because I'm tired or some other excuse. In this short Gospel we get the idea that Lent will not be easy and that we will be tempted.  In the second portion of the Gospel we hear the words that we also hear on Ash Wednesday, depending on what saying the person who is placing ashes on your forehead uses.  "Repent and believe in the Gospel."  The gospel is the good news that Jesus came to save us all but we are so far removed from it that we often forget it.

I always try to get one thing out of the homily and while Fr. Ray actually preached on the first reading, using a great example of the Benedictine Abbey in Newark and how they because the ark for young men in Newark it was his preaching on the Gospel that stuck with me.  Fr. Ray mentioned the idea that we are obsessed with survival shows.  It got me thinking of Naked and Afraid, Bear Grylls' shows, the one with the military guy and the hippie guy and of course Survivor.   The line that got everyone to laugh was, "Survivor: they send people out to a remote island for 40 days and have all these tests and rituals they have to go through; we've been doing that for 2,000 years it's called Lent."

It's so true we are throwing ourselves out into the dessert to hopefully be drawn closer to God by giving something up or whatever we planned on doing for Lent.  It won't be easy as we will be tempted, but at least we've not voted off the island.

In cause you were wondering why the J.M.J. (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) randomly appeared; I've been writing it on my handwritten notes since college and after seeing another blog with it and Cardinal Dolan post a homily with the letters at the top I figured if they can do it so can I.