Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sometimes I wonder

I really do wonder sometimes why I have been given the graces that I have been given. It makes me happy that so many kids and teens are making their First Holy Eucharist and Confirmation this time of year, but it pains me to no end to watch the priest tell the congregation what to do, when to stand, when to kneel and when to sit. The Celebrant should not have to say, "please kneel in preparation for Communion." It was great to see all the little ones receive the Eucharist for the first time, but it was painful to watch how they actually received Jesus. Many of them seemed to have no idea what was happening, and it caused me to wonder, did you ever practice with them. Use a nilla wafer, a wheat thin, a ritz cracker, something to get them used to the action of receiving Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It pained me more to watch adults not know how to receive Communion, to watch a teenager take a host and walk back to the pew with It as if it was something to keep and look at.

Thankfully I have spent time talking to Fr. Brian about my quest of perfection. I know I'm not perfect yet for some reason I strive to be perfect and to have every Mass I go to be perfect. I have started to "offer up" these little imperfections as I see them. Before my cousin's Confirmation this afternoon, I just sat there and said, "Cardinal Cooke, lead me by your example and help me to offer it up for the souls of Purgatory." I did the same thing at the Papal Mass, and it helps. I still Mass to be perfect, I want the people next to me to know what they are doing and when to sit, stand and kneel, I want them to be quiet, but alas it doesn't happen all the time.

At my cousin's party I somehow got stuck in the corner of the "old people" table, my parents, and my aunts and uncles were at it and the topic of discussion was Obama and Hillary and eventually moved into Guiliani and Cardinal Egan. I can't understand why "good Catholics" which is such a stupid term, one is either Catholic or not, will make blanket statements like "Bush ruined the country," or even think of voting for a democrat. Abortion is a grave evil, it is the murder of an innocent human being who has done nothing. I can't see why these Irish immigrants won't look past the idea that Bill Clinton did so much for Ireland, and Bill Clinton did this and Bush hasn't done anything to legalize the Irish. Maybe those dipshits shouldn't have overstayed their visa, Ireland is a country that is well off, they would not be returning to a country that would not be able to offer jobs and what not.

I know that I am a "one issue" voter, I can't see how someone over looks a 100% rating from NARAL or a 100% por-abortion voting record. The excuse my father likes to use is, well plenty of catholics are pro-choice or are doing this or doing that. Normally response is, "well if the Bishops and priests had some guts and weren't afraid of speaking the truth, that wouldn't be an issue." Well if they are pro-choice they have in essence excommunicated themselves, and I'm tired of people calling themselves Catholic and picking and choosing what they want to believe. Life is so much easier to live when you have rules. The Church as been around for 2,000 years and it's still standing, God most know what He's doing.

Maybe the idea that I'm the black sheep of the family is just weighing on me. So many times I look at my parents who instilled my faith in my and taught me the basics of the Catholic faith and wonder why I am the only one who's upset by certain things. In all the times I have been "let go" from schools or parishes it was never "how nice of you to stand up and defend the Church." it always was "you'll never be able to get a job." Maybe I need to give Archbishop Raymond Burke a call, he'd probably hire me. Just once I want to hear my family say "good job defending the Faith." Case in point, after pointing out to my mother that her own son doesn't go to Church each week and if she thinks they do she's crazy, the response I get is well they try, and when I tell her she should say something to them, the response is "why don't you." Because it's your son mom, yes my neice is my Goddaughter and I will be all over her CCD classes and what's being taught, but my brother is not my responsibility. If I was to ever miss Mass, my mother would be all over it, asking why I didn't go, but she doesn't have to worry about that, because as she puts it. "that's not you." No mom it's the gift of the Holy Spirit and the many graces that God has given to me time and time again.

It's a blessing and curse to love the Church so much and I know I'm not alone out there. I am very thankful for my friendship with Bridget and being able to know that when I bitch and moan about something she'll more than likely agree with me and make me feel normal about it. She wonders where I got the insane intensity to defend the Church, it's probably the Irish in me. I know that Terence Cardinal Cooke's family came from around the same area of Galway as some of my mom's family so, maybe back quite a few generations he and I are related. Maybe it comes from having Cardinal Cooke as my archbishop for almost 3 years, granted I was almost three years old when he died, but my mom spoke about him as I grew so I wanted to know his story and well now I do. Maybe it comes from having John Cardinal O'Connor as my archbishop for almost 10 years, and even when I moved to NJ John J. O'Connor was still my cardinal. It's hard to believe that 8 years ago today, he entered eternal life. I have met many bishops and heard of many cardinals since my days of being in the Archdiocese of NY, but Cardinals Cooke and O'Connor hold a special place in my heart and I think it's their staunch support of the pro-life movement. I talk to them almost daily as they are my Cardinals. At the Papal Mass I couldn't help but miss my Cardinal and my Pope, JP2. Don't get me wrong I love Benedict, but JP2 was pope for the majority of my life. Maybe my insane defense of the Church comes from being named for the Blessed Mother, having Christ as part of my middle name, and for chosing Anne as my Confirmation name or maybe it's simply because I was baptized on the 12th of December, the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Who knows what caused it, but it is who I am.

I say it proudly that I am a perfectionist, traditionalist, conservative, young Catholic woman. As my t-shirt says I am proud to be Catholic and I love the rules Holy Mother Church has laid out for us, I just wish more people would come to love them as much as I do.

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