Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Physical Presence - Joy to the World

Somebody really smart probably already made the correlation about a thousand times, but then again I'm a pitiful and ignorant sinner, so it took me 41 years. 

The boys served midnight Mass.  I sat there and contemplated the Gift of God's only begotten Son.  The baby, the manger, the reality, the humanity of the Holy Infant, come to us in lowly form, yet so sweet, so beautiful, so perfect, so innocent.

Transubstantiation.  The unbloody sacrifice (gift) of the life of God's only begotten Son. In the Eucharist, He comes to us - real, present, human, physical, in lowly form, yet so sweet, so beautiful, so perfect. so innocent. 

The gift of Christmas time is with us every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Golgotha is ever present. The manger is, too. 

I know that I cannot survive without Holy Communion.  I know people who don't believe, and my heart aches for them, because they have no physical connection to the only Hope we have. The world needed Him, physical and present and amongst us two thousand years ago.  Why would we not need the same now? So of course He is with us now, just as He was then.  

My prayer is that all people ever seek Him, as they watch for Him in Advent. I also hope they find Him, in their hearts, yes, but also in the Blessed Sacrament, where He truly is.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"can we at least call it by it's name?" or "a call for honesty in the the public discourse on abortion"

       ::sigh::  I annoy people.   I am pro-life.  This isn't a position I just "chose" or "fell into", nor is it a position that was "fed" to me by political parties or family tradition (though I'm grateful for my family which does indeed happen to traditionally be pro-life, informed by our faith).  Being pro-life is natural, because it follows natural law, the Law of God (thou shalt NOT KILL).  Every person begins their journey in this world with a pro-life outlook, because even small children know that the weakest and the smallest among us need to be protected.  Truly, it's the opposite position, pro-abortion, which is acquired, not the natural inclination to protect life.  

     I say "pro-abortion".  That rubs a lot of people the wrong way, because, I've been told, that nobody WANTS abortion, but it's "good" to have the option available to them, so I should say "pro-choice".  Honestly, though, isn't that what "pro-choice" is?  I mean, if you are not choosing abortion, what are you choosing? Life already exists.  That choice has already been determined and "IS", so all that remains is the choice to kill in-utero.  That's abortion.  So let's honestly call the position that deems a "woman's right to choose" what it is. Pro-abortion. 

      There has been a lot of buzz regarding people who are "championing" a "woman's right to choose", especially in OK, TX, and other states who are cutting state funding to abortion clinics.  These people are arguing on state senate floors right now, this week.  Championing?  You're a "champion" if you are fighting to the extent of your talents to retain the right to kill your child?  Nobody wants abortion? But these legislators and PACs and "health professionals" are tooth-and-nail doing whatever it takes to hang on to that right?  Champions? Shame on you. All of you involved in such an ignoble fight.  Shame on you, not only for doing the devil's work for him, but for cloaking your words in such terms as pro-woman, rights, reproductive choice, ending oppression against women, etc.  Shame on you for being dishonest.  Shame on you for not being up-front about what it is you are fighting for.  The evil one is the father of lies.  Let's be honest, and call abortion what it is.  Killing an unborn person.  Murder.

      There are those who would discount the pro-lifers because of religious argument.  Those who argue against religion often purport to "scientifically" discredit it.  Except for in the case of abortion.  There is no scientific rebuttal to the fact that abortion kills a human.  Because it's true.  If you don't like the pro-lfe argument that God commanded us not to kill, let's be honest.  Say that.  Don't call that human a "potential life" or a "clump of cells".  Say, "I don't believe in God's law, and want to be able to kill my baby."  That's honest.  It  doesn't sound as nice as the pro-choice euphemisms, though, does it....

      My grandmom, from as far back as I can remember, has said, "Dear, if people only knew what abortion was, not one person would be for it."  She was referring to the brutality, the violence, the bloody reality of just one abortion.  I know she is right, for the most part (obviously some people ARE aware, for they are the ones masking the ugliness in whitewashed, clinical terms),because the surviving victims, the mothers who believed the lie, are traumatized when facing the reality of what they've done, of what's been done to them.  Because it's bloody. It's violent. It's brutal. It's death.  Let's be honest.

        I love people.  I have friends, dear friends, from all walks of life.  I love these people.  I'm grateful for the beautiful things they contribute to my life, and this world which we all share.  I am respectful of others (not to be confused with "I respect their positions"), even if I don't share their ideologies.  I have to be, because I love people.  Everyone I know, and those I haven't met yet, are unique and unrepeatable - every face a reflection of God, because they are wonderfully made in His image.  All of them.  And me.  I love people.  Some of the people I love are "pro-choice".  I am not going to stop loving them.   Because I love, my heart is troubled when I hear people defend abortion as if it were a good thing.  I physically wince when I hear someone use the words "God bless you" regarding those who commit abortion.  It hurts me to think of the injury against Our Lord  when someone invokes Him to speak of the unspeakable.  That is the ultimate dishonesty: taking the vilest of actions and promoting it as something God would bless...but nobody wants abortion, right? But we're blessing those who take the lives of the innocents, right?  Honesty, please. 

         I am not going to change anyone's heart.  I can't.  Only God can.  What I CAN do is pray for people, especially those I love.  I can and will continue to defend life.  I can and will continue to present facts.  I can and will continue to challenge those who are pro-abortion to be honest: that abortion has nothing to do with rights - that it is bloody and violent and the death of a child.  

        I challenge everyone to be honest about what abortion really is.  By the way, I love you.

"Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear the words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversation. "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience he has with each one of us? That is his mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, he understands us, he waits for us, he does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to him with a contrite heart. 'Great is God's mercy,' says the Psalm". ~ Pope Francis

Monday, May 20, 2013

culture, counter-culture

    Counter-culture.  Angst.  Turmoil.  Searching.  Pain.  Torment.  Hand-wringing.  I’m different.  Nobody feels what I feel.  Aloneness.  

    Reading pieces by peers of a certain Boy I Know.  Impressions of gloom.  Hints at where a consolation might be.  Rejection of such.  Everything artsy.  Everything counter-cultural.

     Prevailing themes similar.  Styles different.  Same effort.  Same atmosphere.  Counter-cultural?  Unlikely.  Culture of despair.  Culture of empty.  Culture of....oh wait, this is a culture.

     This Boy I Know:   He wears his hair high-and-tight.  He nurtures babies.  He has a sense of duty.  He doesn’t always budget his time well.  He likes games and hanging out with friends.  He has a goofy laugh;  It sounds like Scooby-Do.  He sometimes rough-houses too much, because it’s fun, and he doesn’t know when to quit.  He eats. He eats everything. All of it (review: he’s a boy).  He loves to ride his bike. He loves to wrestle.  He looks really handsome in a suit, and never feels like a monkey wearing it (he feels handsome).  He can’t write an essay on time for beans.

     He prays, this Boy I Know.  He has a well-formed conscience. He doesn’t always follow it.  He wears a cassock when he serves at Mass.  He serves at Mass.  He loves Our Lord, Our Lady, and St.George.  He thinks deeply on our Faith, and is learning to practically apply it to history.  He counts his pastor amongst his great friends.  The Boy has joy.  He has hope.  His hope comes from informed faith, which gives him answers.  He loves his family.  He knows the Cause of his joy.  He knows to be thankful.  He is not lost.  He may have fears, but he knows them to be temporal, and doesn’t despair.  He knows Whom to turn to when he’s not as awesome as his mother makes him out to be.

      I asked this Boy I Know to write a piece for his school’s publication.  He thinks no one would be interested in it.  From my observations, I suspect him to be a counter-cultural revolutionary.  I hope so.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Grace of God - A Hard Lesson in Gratitude

     His sobs came up from his toes.  He was a tall man, roughly my age or a couple years older, two pews behind me.  He was able to control himself enough to continue attendance at Mass, and then stayed for Stations, but his tears flowed freely.  Everyone around him knew he was crying, and every heart was breaking for him.  At the kiss of peace, I pressed a tissue into his hand, for I'd heard him sniffing, and it was the only thing I could think to do for him.  I didn't know him, but I put every ounce of love and compassion for a suffering man into that hand-off.  I asked Our Lady to hold him close.

     I complain about my children, expressing frustration at things that irritate me, which I should recognize as "kid-like".  Teenagers bring that out the best.  So I want to "kill them". (not really, but it falls too easily from our lips, sometimes, doesn't it).  Nine of them.  Healthy. Beautiful. Bright. Funny. Interesting. Capable. Accomplished. Faithful. Amazing. Healthy. Shame on me for ever uttering that phrase.

     There is a young man in our parish, whom I don't know.  His name is Colin, and he's 17.  Friends went to see him last week, only to find him with his eyes closed.  Colin awoke, but didn't open his eyes.  He greeted his visitors jokingly with, "DUDE! go away,,,I'm trying to get my beauty sleep."  He wasn't catching up on his beauty sleep.  He was sleeping because he's end-stage.  He maintains his teen sense of humor, and comforts everyone with his jovial nature, but he's going to suffocate to death.  The cancer has now spread to his lungs.  Thursday, he had difficulty taking a breath.  As parents, when our kids are sick, we take them to the hospital to alleviate the symptoms and help them get well.  Colin's folks took him to the hospital.  The hospital could do nothing to help him.  This is how it goes, you see,,there comes a point when there's nothing to do.  He will suffer until he dies.  What a shocking reality, to be that child's mother,,,what impotence,,what fright,,and no relief for her, either.

     I don't want to "kill" my frustrating children.  I am refocusing (which is evidently an ongoing process), and firming my resolve to pray for them more, to encourage their prayer life,  to ask their guardian angels to help them, to focus more on the Virtues, to point out the many tools available to us in our Faith to help us be better. To be a better example to them, myself.

     Colin is not going to be with us much longer.  His beautiful soul is ready to meet his Maker, though, I can tell you that.  He wants to go to Mass in the worst way.  I think Father is planning on meeting that desire, soon, in Colin's home.  He thought maybe they might let him go to Mass and Stations last Friday night.  With his dad.  Who went for him.  Who is living out Mary's Via Cruces. And sobbed openly through it all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A prayerful suggestion. Or, Put a Sock In It

       I don't normally respond to every offensive thing I see or hear about the Church, or I'd be responding all day.  I used to do that, but then I discovered that my house was dirty and my children needed to be fed.  This is my one commentary in response to what I've seen in the last twenty four hours.  
       Our Holy Father announced yesterday his intention of retiring at the end of the month.  The obligatory Pope jokes ensued. That's to be expected,,yeah yeah, funny, ok, I can take a lick or two.  What is also to be expected, though I really had hoped not, was that the detractors are now coming out of the woodwork to add their two cents (overvalued) on how our beloved Shepherd- this holy, learned, prolific, humble and honored Pontiff -was a pedophile protector (barf), a suppressor of women (teehee), a money grubbing egomaniac (oh, PLEASE), and a Nazi. uh huh,,yep,,that's him - a Nazi. This man who suffers greatly for the sake of millions is a Nazi. un. believable.  They forgot to throw in that he's an enemy of social justice. So far.

     The distressing element of having the woodwork lurkers offering such sage nuggets today,  is that the world has changed greatly since our last Papal election.  There is acridity in words that we didn't used to have.  There's more "celebration" of dissention as an "alternative world view".  This emboldens a would-be mud-slinger into an actual mud-slinger.  There's a level of civility no longer present in polite company.  Actually, I find it difficult to FIND polite company.  Am I a rube for thinking that discourse should be respectful? I am hopeless.  Regardless, people are enemies now.  As such, the attacks are vicious.  On my Church. And hailed as "brave" for being so bold - isn't that just...fantastic. 

     So,  instead of having a personal disagreement with the Holy Mother Church's perfection, (which of course indicates an ignorance, a misunderstanding, or a hurt - and mostly pride),  the cry goes out that "the antiquated, outdated, male-run oppressor, the Church, MUST change, MUST bend to the will of the people".   There's a vague hope that the Holy Father's successor won't be just "more of the same", and that the Catholic Church will keep up with the times (holy cow, it's the 60's again,,).  

     I said my Hail Mary's, so now I type:  Why, if you have issues with the Church, do you insist on remaining Catholic?  Do you find the Blessed Sacrament to be the Source and the Summit of your existence?  If Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is indeed, precious to you, please, remain Catholic, and get catechized. Read the Church Doctors, read papal encyclicals, and read Holy Scripture. On the other hand, after you prayerfully consider that you DON"T believe what the Church teaches, kindly find a "church" that suits you better.  And go there. Quietly.