Saturday, June 27, 2020

Who Am I To Judge by Dr. Sri

I picked up "Who am I to Judge? Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love." by Edward Sri a good few years ago. I have known of Dr. Sri for a while as I heard him speak at a Defending the Faith conference at Franciscan University. My parish also uses his Symbolon videos for our RCIA program.  The book grabbed my attention a few years ago for the same reason I decided to finally pick it up and read it, the feeling of being alone in my thoughts and morals, even though I know I am not.  Each chapter has questions at the end of it and I figured typing my answers here would make as much sense as writing them down.  My answers will be in a different colored text and each chapter will get answered as I read it.  There are seven chapters with questions and then seven keys after that.  As you can tell I am typing this as I am reading the book.  Chapters 1 and 2 are Part 1 of the book, Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are part 2, and the Seven Keys are Part 3 and then there is a conclusion and a post script.  

Chapter 1 - A New Kind of Intolerance

1. Have you ever felt afraid to bring up a moral topic or talk about a moral issue with your friends or family? Why were you afraid? What were you afraid of?
The short answer is yes. I don't know if I was afraid or more tired of constantly being on the defensive. I know when I bring up the topics of abortion, gay marriage, and transexual people in confirmation class that I am going to hear the classic retorts.  I guess I am afraid that I won't be liked, but then again why does that bother me.  

2. Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) was quoted as saying, "Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism." Do you think that's true? Explain.
I agree with Pope Benedict (I can't bring myself to call him by his given name for some reason.) I think it's hysterical that I am considered a  fundamentalist for being Catholic. Honestly, all I do is go to Mass on Sunday and pray during the week, I don't think I am that different or crazy of a person.  

3. Have you ever been labeled "judgmental" or "intolerant" by others just because of your moral beliefs? Perhaps by a friend, teacher, relative, or group you were involved with? If so, share a story about what happened. 
Again, the short answer is yes.  I will never understand how "catholics" can vote for a pro-abortion candidate. I know my political leanings are different than most of my stereotypical democratic Irish American family, but I will never forget the anger in my cousins voice when I said I was voting for George W. Bush. When I was teaching at LaSalle the students flat out told me I was racist because I was white and that I was intolerant because I was telling them actual Church teaching.   

4. What can you do differently so that you are not afraid to talk about moral truth with others?
But on my big girl pants and not worry about what others think of me.  Pray more to be courageous.  

5. Many people today think that groups who believe in truth are the ones who cause all the problems in the world-- such as 9/11, the Rwandan genocide, etc.-- so they think its better never to make moral judgements about other people's actions and to just tolerate each other. What's the problem with this approach? (See the quotation in this chapter from sociologist Christian Smith.) 

Said quote: "At the same time, these emerging adults have not been taught well how to differentiate between strong moral and religious claims that should be tolerated, if not respected, and those that deserve to be to refuted, rejected, and opposed. Very few have been given the reasoning tools and skills to discern such important difference. As a result, many emerging adults simply end up trying to completely avoid making any strong moral claims themselves, as well as avoiding criticizing the moral views of others ... But what few of them seem to realize is that such a position makes it impossible to rationally evaluate or criticize any moral wrong, including the horrific destruction and violence that helped drive them to this tolerant position in the first place. That is a problem."

I think claiming to be tolerant gives people an excuse to actually be intolerant.  I think people are so afraid to disagree with one another. They also don't know how to actually talk and listen to others. I know I have been there myself too.  It's much easier for us to try and figure out the answer vs. actually listening.  I agree that we have done a poor job of actually teaching teens and young adults ways to actually agree to disagree. People don't like to be criticized or hear something different than what they say.  We have become such a "tolerant" society that we don't know how to actually be tolerant.  It makes me think of what Chris Stefanick said that being tolerant means you disagree while still loving the person.  

Chapter 2 - Clashing Worldviews

1. The author told a story about proving to his friend that relativism was logically inconsistent. Explain that point in your own words:Why is it illogical for relativists to say there is no truth?
My initial thought was "Why can't I think that quickly, why can't I think of a witty comeback like that?" If relativism is the belief that absolute truth doesn't exist it contradicts itself by being a truth. 

2. How successful was this approach in convincing his friend that relativism was wrong? Explain.
It made the point but it didn't really work, but his friend did agree at first.  

3. Have you  ever tried to convince a friend relativism is wrong? What was your approach? How well did it go?
I don't think I have.  I might point out natural laws as in everyone is usually against murder.  It usually comes up in Confirmation class, not in everyday life.  

4. Why does the author say it's not effective merely to debate with relativists? What must we do instead?
It's like the saying "you get more with honey than vinegar."  It's kind of hard to deny something when you are forced to take a look at it yourself.  Treat them with kindness and eventually the truth will win out.  

5. The best way to detect counterfeit money is to study authentic currency. And the same is true with morality. What can you do to form yourself  more with an authentic, Catholic moral view? 
This makes sense, the more you immerse yourself in something the more you take in.  I always had a Catholic moral view and it was strengthened by finding like minded people who also took the time to learn what the Church actually teaches.  It reminds me of the quote attributed to Archbishop Sheen, "There are not one hundred people in the United Sates who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be." 

Chapter 3 - "But I'm Not Hurting Anyone"

1. Let's reflect on the funeral example mentioned in this chapter. Which qualities do you want to be remembered for most at your funeral? What does this tell us about what's most important in life and the kind of life you want to live?

2. We saw that ethics is about how to more from who we right now to who we want to become -- from man-as-he-is to man-as-he-could-be-if-he-fulfilled-his-telos. What is one area of your life that you think you need to work on most in order to become the kind of person God wants you to be? What is something practical you can do this week to help take a step closer toward becoming that person? 

3. The chapter discussed two ways we hurt people by directly harming the or by failing to be the best we can be for others. What are some ways we fail to be the best we can be? In our friendship? In our family? In our relationship with God?

4. Describe a time you personally hurt someone by failing to be the best you could be for them. Or think about this the other way around: describe a time you were hurt by someone who didn't harm you directly but failed to be the best they could be for you.  

5. What is one relationship you think God wants you to improve the most right now? What cane you do practically to strengthen it?

Chapter 4 Friendship and Virtue

1. We saw how we are made for relationships. What are the most important relationships in your life? How well are you fulfilling your responsibilities in these relationships? At home? At work? At church? With your friends?

2. In this chapter we discussed the connection between virtue and living our relationships well. But is this true? Do I really need virtue to live the people in my life? If I care about them and value them, why can't I just love them?

3. There are many virtues, such as justice, humility, patience, purity, courage, prudence, self-control, generosity, honoring others, and gratitude. Which virtue do you think you need to work on the the most to strengthen your relationships?

4. Virtue involves three qualities: habitually doing the good easily without a struggle, as if it's second nature; doing the good not every once in a while but consistently; and doing the good joyfully, without complaint or frustration. Which of those three qualities do you think is hardest for you? Why? 

5. The chapter discussed three ways to grow in virtue: learning about the virtues, intentionally practicing the virtues, and depending on God's grace. 
a. What can we do to learn about the virtues?
b. What are some ways we can more deliberately try to practice virtue?
c. Practically, what do we need to do to draw on God's grace more to grow in the virtuous life?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Reflections on the Priesthood

I started writing this five years ago, but typical of myself, I got distracted by something and moved away from it. Call it the Holy Spirit, but I was thinking of most of these guys recently.   Let's call it the story of the good guys. 

It's not often that someone's blog entry causes me to want to write my own reflections on priesthood, but it has happened. Yes, I am a woman and yes I can never be a priest, I have no desire or want to be a priest, however if I was a man that would be a different story. Seriously, I have said many times "if I was a boy this discernment thing would be so much easier, I'd know what I want to do." I believe St. Therese aka the Little Flower said that as well, I'm searching through my books on her to double check. I remember sitting in my dorm room thinking "Oh thank God I'm not crazy someone else said it."

Side note or a bit of a detour:  My mom for years as she walked me to grammar school would often tell me to say, "Little Flower in this hour show your power." Apparently one of my brother's teachers told him to say it so it was passed on to me. I often heard Bishop Patrick Ahern, God rest his soul, speak about St. Therese at the many confirmations I was at as a child that he officiated. He always told the confirmandi to read Story of A Soul, I was not confirmed by him, but a good few of my friends were and eventually I took his advice and actually read it. I actually have a picture with him that will always make me laugh as his exact quote was "we'll just say it was your second confirmation." because the picture was taken at my friend's confirmation which was a week or so after mine.  Of course that parish happened to have a statue of St. Therese so that's where he stood to take his pictures and she is directly behind us in the picture.  You could say this was the beginning of her watching out for me.  Therese has become one of my favorite saints and it took me a while to actually pick up her autobiography and read it, but I did probably because another priest suggested it, but more on him later.

The quote is not exactly what I remember, but I will type the whole thing simply because it can and has been taken out of context. The following quote is from Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Liseux.

"To be your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls,should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocations. I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR. Finally, I feel the need and desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within m soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defense of the Church. I feel in me the vocation of the PRIEST. With what love, O Jesus, I would carry You in my hands when, at my voice, You would come down from heaven. And with what love would I give You to souls! But alas! while desiring to be a Priest, I admire and envy the humility of St. Francis of Assisi and I feel the vocation of imitating him in refusing the sublime dignity of the Priesthood. O Jesus my Love, my Life, how can I combine these contrasts? how can I realize the desires of my poor little soul? Ah! in spite of my littleness, I would like to enlighten souls as did the Prophets and the Doctors. I have the vocation of the Apostle. I would like to ravel over the whole earth to preach Your Name and to plant Your glorious Cross on infidel soil. But O my Beloved, one mission alone would not be sufficient for me, I would want to preach the Gospel on all the five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years only but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages. But above all, O my Beloved Savior I would shed my blood for You even to the very last drop."

Looking back on my life I have met quite a few other wise known as a lot of priests and only a few have left a sour taste in my mouth, and for some reason it involved the Sacrament of Confession when they left that bad taste. Being told that what you are confessing is not a sin throws one, however it probably wasn't a sin, but having confessed pretty much the same thing to a different priest (who had been ordained 25 years at the time) at a later date and he treated it as such, actually he asked me an interesting question about it, so I dare to say that "inexperience" on behalf of the first priest is what happened, as he was literally ordained a month if that. Another priest corrected me very abruptly as I was discussing issues I had with a boyfriend about Pre-Vatican II, one is often nervous while confessing to begin with to be corrected in what one is saying really makes one nervous.

The bad tastes are far outweighed by the overwhelming number of awesome priests I have met. For as long as I can remember there has been a priest "watching" over me. While I was in grammar school and in the Bronx Fr. D now Msgr. Dervin would also remind me that I was baptized on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I've said before that my baptismal feast and name have often helped me be as feisty as I am when it comes to defending the unborn and ending abortion. Fr. D often included me in parish events for the parish school kids as my school didn't have a parish attached to it. To this day not a feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes by that I don't think of him.  The last time I saw him was a memorial Mass for one of my brother's friends who was killed on Sept. 11th.  That Mass was a home coming for all of us because most of us had moved away and out of the Bronx, but we all returned and it was as if we never left. Typical of the Irish we mourned and then partied.  I'm always amused by the comments I get at these things because I am so much younger than my brother, but Fr. D's comment was along the lines of little Mary is not so little any more.  I said no I'm not.  But there will always be a part of me that is little and that remembers being scared of priests because I didn't get what they did yet.  Fr. Dervin was one of the first to break that barrier.

In high school I got my first experience of dealing with a newly ordained priest, Fr. Geno aka FG would guide me through high school and continues to pray for me when ever I ask. FG was my first young priest, he's the same age as my brother so it was strange to have a priest that young, granted he is 12 years older than me, but it was still young. Having recently reconnected with Fr. Geno it's easy to see and remember why I loved him in high school, and the nice part about now it that in the way I have grown in my faith, I can see how FG has grown in his priesthood. Fr. Geno started our parish's youth ministry and it was there that my faith would grow and be nurtured in the "it's ok to be religious" form. Fr. Geno would also tell me one year, "you have some big shoes to fill next year, so I tend to say it's all his fault for when I get up on my "be Catholic soap box."  Fr. Geno not only busted the barrier of scary priest down, he helped me to realize that priests are human just like the rest of us. So much of my faith can be attributed to my parents who raised me in the faith and made sure that I was also educated in it, but it was under FG that I begin to look outside the classroom and church and see the idea of universal church.  Fr. Geno has given me more than I could ever ask for.  As my high school graduation present and because they couldn't send me to Catholic high school, my parents sent to World Youth Day in Paris.  It was here that I got to see JP2 for the first time and here were the grace of God began to sink in shall we say.  It was in Paris that I realized how much I cared about my faith and that I was there to see the Pope and nothing else, which for a 17 year old was pretty damn impressive considering. FG would later give me another blessing of being in Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II. Now FG is literally down the road at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist as rector, and still a part of my spiritual life. 

In college I would attempt to look for a reminder of FG and youth group and found it in Fr. Bill. Fr. Bill was the "Irish version of Fr. Geno" as I described him to someone from high school. Fr. Bill was a whole 4 years older than Fr. Geno making him a young priest still. Fr. Bill and I had a lot in common including a similar background, liking the Mets, and well being feisty Irish-Americans. Fr. Bill would strengthen the love that I have for St. Therese and see me through the "coming to understand and love being Catholic" phase of my faith. Fr. Bill would help me with some of the more difficult times in my faith, the times where I would actually question and wonder why I was Catholic. Nothing helps like a priest who knows how to deal with a crazy Irish American and her feisty ways. My first experience with Padre Liam as I call him, was hearing a knock on the campus ministry doors and watching this priest blow into our Small Christian Communities meeting.  I don't know if I will ever forget the priest clad in jeans and a t-shirt and how much he affected my life. My years at SHU were wonderful and I wouldn't change them, but they were a far cry away from easy.   I found myself fighting the administration and professors on the Catholic identity of the University, thankfully there was a priest whose office in the corner who knew how to tell me it's ok, this is allowed and you are right.  I know the parishes and schools that have had the pleasure of having him as vicar and pastor and the schools that have had him as campus minister were and are truly blessed for knowing him.  We may not be as close as we were, but I still know how to find him. About when I started to write this, Fr. Bill was celebrating his 25th anniversary as a priest.  Neither of us had seen each other in years, but the friendship is still there.  He was also one of the first guys I told about my mom's death.  Technology is a blessing in that we are now only a text away from each other.  

After college I came home to a parish that I wasn't in love with, that I didn't want to be at and then all of a sudden a second FG came into my life. Fr. George come to St. Anthony's as pastor. I had know Fr. George from my high school days as the other priest whose parish had a large youth group. Fr. George became the priest that listened to me as an adult, who would treat me as an adult. FGH as he has become know as, is one of those guys that still says hi after all these years.  Every Chrism Mass I try to say hi to him.  This past Chrism Mass I happened to say hi to the former pastor in front of the current pastor and I still wonder what Fr. Ray thought seeing the smile and hug I got from FGH.  More on Fr. Ray later, but both of these men are my favorite pastors.  Fr. George was the priest that allowed me to be an adult in the Church and he helped as much as he could to get me a ministry job.  I'm still working on that one, not really, I have given up looking for that "dream ministry job" as nothing as ever come from it.  FGH may not realize it but he's another priest that I've known of longer than they have known me.  I first met Fr. George at a youth ministry event that his parish and Fr. Geno's parish were doing together.  I still laugh thinking about how FGH signed an email "FG" and I said Fr. George I love you but I have an FG already so he quickly changed it to FG2 to which a friend and I made FGH to go with his initials.  It's now a running joke to shorten the priests names to initials.

Along with Fr. George there are a few vicars who were at the parish that I love and miss .  Fr. Kevin who I currently see whenever I see Bishop Serratelli comes to visit.  Fr. Brian (Sullivan) became the vicar I missed the most.  I don't know why but Fr. Brian's departure from the parish hit me hard.  Fr. Brian became the priest I turned to for confession and advice and well we just got a long.  Fr. Roberto, my Cuban vicar, is another one that I miss, but that's because he and are the same age and well when he cam to the parish, he was newly ordained and English wasn't his first language, so with some help we quickly became friends.  

Fr. Ray has actually taken the spot of favorite pastor.  We don't see eye to eye on some things, but we do share a love of liturgy done correctly. Mom always said you would stand in the snow to hear his sermons.  I certainly wouldn't stand in the snow to listen to him, but he is a great priest. He has the personality of a rock, but deep down the friendliness is here.  I guess in a profession where you move so much you have to put up some barriers before you get too close to anyone.  Fr. Ray is one of those priests who has been a priest forever so nothing fazes him. 

There have been priests that come into my life at times and come and go.  Fr. Paul Manning is one of those.  He's another one of the knew Fr. Geno back in the days guys.  Fr. Paul took over for Fr. Geno as Vicar of Evangelization for the Diocese and thus became the priest that was there for my Certificate in Catholic Evangelization program.  Fr. Ray may not say much but his actions speak loudly, as Fr. Paul invited the pastors of those of us in the program and Fr. Ray did show up.  While I am not nearly as active with St. Paul's as I was, I did get to meet another awesome priest Fr. Derek though it.  Fr. Derek gave me some insights into life as a catechist.  

I have what I call my on line priests, Fr. Jim Chern, his last name has to be included as I know a few Fr. Jims. Fr. Jim is the priest I interact with the most of Facebook and without fail if the homily at the parish wasn't the best, I end up reading Fr. Jim's and it's usually a home run.  Fr. Jim and Fr. Bill kinda go together as they are both involved in Campus Ministry and are good friends.  

I'm saving the best story for last.  My best friend, Charlie.  Charlie will be the last entry in the story of the good guys because I might as well publish this thing.  About 8 years ago I met Charlie as we were helping out with the parish youth ministry program. Within that first year, Charlie let us know his intentions of wanting to be a priest.  I have never seen the Church move that quickly. Six years of education and with one year of priesthood under his belt, Charlie is one of the best priests I know.  It was a joy to take that journey to ordination with him and I can't wait to see what he does with and in his priesthood. 

All of these guys have played a part in my journey as a Catholic.  Fr. Bill is just a text message away, so Charlie and I have a feeling these two will be very influential on the rest of my spiritual journey.  

Yes, my life would have been easy if I was a boy, I would have most likely become a priest.  Being a priest isn't an easy choice and the current crop of seminarians is showing the JP2 generation isn't going to be knocked down and that they have opinions.  Please continue to pray for good, holy, vocations, and good, holy priests.   

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A reflection on the empty Tabernacle

There is something hauntingly beautiful about the empty Tabernacle.  It stands as a stark reminder of what happened roughly 2,000 years ago. 

So often we are caught up in what is going on around us, right now the focus is on the global pandemic and how to end it, that we forget about what actually happened on that first Easter. In the Gospels we hear how the Apostles, Jesus' closest friends, ran and hid. They were scared, Judas and Peter had done just as Jesus said they would, betray and deny. They did not know what would happen and they were worried they would be next. Today we are hiding from an invisible enemy, a virus that has brought the world to it's knees. We are scared like the Apostles, we are wondering if and when we will return to normal. 

I always understood Holy Thursday and Good Friday, but never understood why we waited until Saturday night to usher in the Easter Season. A wise priest, I know a few of those, one spoke about how not to forget the silence of Holy Saturday. It dawned on me that we so often focus on the events of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday that we forget about the silence of Saturday. The Church in her wisdom has given us this time to reflect on what was going on in those hours. 

An ancient Holy Saturday homily says "Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness." We feel this strangeness and silence in many ways this year. We feel it in the unease at when a return to normalcy will happen, the unease for all those working on the front lines, nurses, doctors, respiratory technicians and the rest of the healthcare and essential workers, the pangs of having our church building closed and locked. 

Another wise priest I know said in his Holy Thursday homily there is a "spiritual sadness" hanging over this year's Triduum. There are many things missing from the celebrations, the smells and bells that Catholics are used to are not there in the same way they usually are, but there is hope. 

That strange silence offers us hope. A hope that was born from that "necessary sin of Adam" to bring about "a great Redeemer" that destroyed that sin completely. In that empty Tabernacle there is silence but also hope. A hope in the knowledge that Good triumphed over evil, that Life conquered death, that Happiness overcame sadness. 

May the silence of today remind us of the great joys that are to come. Without Thursday there is no Mass, without Friday there is no Sunday. Today is that odd day that gets lost, today is the day Jesus descended to the dead. The silence of today is just as important as the events of the past few days. May we revel in the silence and the hope that comes from it. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Holy Week 2020

I mean why not keep an account of the insanity that has been March and April of 2020. I plan on looking at the rwdinds for the week and doing what I call SCC questions about them. SCC being small Christian communities aka our weekly meetings at SHU where we would read the readings for the next week and answer questions and give Fr. Bill his homily. 

We've been in quarantine since St. Patrick's Day, well a bit before that, but pretty much that week. So it's been about a month where I have only left the house for groceries or to go for a walk. What a blow on one's mental health. I hate it, it sucks, I am inside my head far too much and I just want to get back to my little students and back to normal. 

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.