I probably ought to be feeling really bad about myself today. Yesterday, as I noted, I got flipped off by an older couple immediately after getting rear-ended. A Catholic reporter called an article of mine on my work blog "revolting", and a Twitter follower called me a bunch of nasty names simply for expressing concern and prayer.
Yeah. Haters gonna hate and prayers gonna pray.
It takes awhile to develop a thick skin about such things, but it's necessary. It is not necessary to be nasty in return, and it does so much more good to pray...even if the prayer is said through gritted teeth. A prayer is a prayer is a prayer, and perhaps the prayer said under duress carries a bit more weight since it goes against our grain.
Hope and prayer. It's the only way to answer nastiness and name-calling.
This morning I got rear-ended on a busy street on my way to work. No damage to my car, which is agood thing, since the guy who hit me couldn't be bothered to much else besides yell out his window: "It's fine! It didn't do anything!"
Then, as I tried to merge back into traffic, the older couple (70s?) in the truck next to me FLIPPED ME OFF and refused to let me back in. Wow. Thanks.
With my chai latte now all over my front seat, a sore neck and an aggravated attitude, I finally got going again. Snarling. Churlish. I wasn't feeling at all nice. Then, just as a "gentle" reminder, from my radio came:
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
What love the Father has lavished …
"Following Jesus is just that: going with Him out of love, behind
Him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world
will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as
Jesus did. Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that
He has revealed to us and that He has taught us. This is beautiful,
because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us. So be
Huh. I don't remember this sort of stuff being up for a vote in the Church. As I tell my kids, I don't suppose Jesus much "liked" hanging on the Cross for three hours. Now get your backside off the pew and kneel up!
There has been a big kerfuffle (I think that's the first time I've used that word on this blog) about Pope Francis performing an exorcism or not.
First, any priest can perform an exorcism. In fact, every priest DOES perform an exorcism whenever he baptizes someone. It is part of the baptism rite. (Did you know that? If you're Catholic, you should.)
Every diocese has an exorcist. It is not someone who is called upon frequently, nor is the Rite of Exorcism done lightly or "on the fly." I highly recommend The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. It is a dispassionate look at the work of an exorcist, and does a terrific job of explaining the rite.
Take it easy, folks. While Satan is at work, God is almighty.
Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against
the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly
pray and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of
God, cast into hell Sata…
In Michigan, we suffer from potholes. Extreme potholes - the kind that can damage your car, deflate your tires and kill your day. Because we have such extreme temperatures (below freezing one day and 70 degrees the next and I'm not kidding), our roads stretch and groan, and eventually just give up and collapse.
Our lives can do the same thing. We get put under tremendous pressure. Sometimes it's good - like that 70 degree day, and sometimes, we are faced with a bitter cold wind, blistering our faces and making us wonder if we will ever make it home. It can be pressure at work, at home, from family, from our health. It can be a new baby or a new marriage, an old problem or an aging parent. It stresses us out, pushes us and pulls us in different directions. We groan under the weight of it all. We wonder how we'll manage, how we'll hold it all together. And sometimes we don't: just like the potholes in the road, we collapse.
"A courageous prayer, that struggles to achieve a miracle, not
prayers of courtesy, 'Ah, I will pray for you,' I say an Our Father, a
Hail Mary and then I forget. No: a courageous prayer, like that of
Abraham, who struggled with the Lord to save the city, like that of
Moses who held his hands high and tired himself out, praying to the
Lord, like that of many people, so many people who have faith and pray
with faith. Prayer works wonders, but we have to believe! I think we can
make a beautiful prayer ... and tell Him today, all day long, 'Lord, I
believe, help my unbelief' ... and when people ask ask us to pray for
the many people who suffer in wars, all refugees, all of these dramas
that exist right now, pray, but with your heart to the Lord: 'Do it!',
but tell Him: 'Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief 'that is also in my
prayers. Let us do this today."
Yahoo Education cheerfully warns us not to "allow" our children study these majors: architecture, fine arts, philosophy/religion, anthropology/archeology, film/video/photography. Apparently, these majors don't have "market value".
Now, I know that you want your kid to get a good education, and presumably, a job with which they are satisfied. But "market value"? Does that mean I should not encourage my children to follow a passion, just to chase a paycheck?
I have not one but TWO degrees in religion: a B.A. and then, because that wasn't enough geekiness, an M.A. And I have a job. A good job, that I like, that I utilize my education for.
Do I make as much as a surgeon? No, but I don't want to be a surgeon. I don't make as much as a public school teacher...but that's not where I'm supposed to be. I am where I am because I followed my passion...I prayed about what God wanted for me to do, and I believe He has blessed me for that.
“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord,”said Pope Francis during his morning Mass at the Vatican on May 16.
“We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this apostolic fervor and to
give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the
Church,” he said at the chapel of the Saint Martha residence, where he
The Pope preached on today’s first reading from Acts 22 and contrasted “backseat Christians” with those who have apostolic zeal.
“There are those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are
unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic
zeal,” he stated.
The pontiff said apostolic zeal “implies an element of madness,” which he labeled as “healthy” and “spiritual.”
He added that it “can only be understood in an atmosphere of love” and that it is not an “enthusiasm for power and possession.”
Apparently, it's not enough to take your kids to Disney World. Nope, to be a really great parent, you have to pay $1000 a day to hire a disabled companion so you can jump to the head of the lines. I have no idea what that says about American culture. I just shake my head.
Our family vacations have been pretty lame. We've never had a lot of money, so long weekends at hotels with water slides or renting a lake cabin for a week have pretty much been it. Mickey Mouse was never involved. And yet, my children have survived, and thrived.
Even if we'd had the money, I don't think Disney would have been a destination. There are way more interesting, historical, beautiful places that America has to offer, but I understand the allure of that "dream".
My brother and his wife raised 10 kids. Vacations were trips to Grandma and Grandpa's cottage. I suppose with less kids, both families could have done more, but which kids would we want to do without?
I had the great privilege of listening to Sr. Timothy Prokes, FSE on Saturday night, speaking about the Second Vatican Council. (She's written a slew of books; you can look them up. Be warned: she's a deep thinker and her writing is a challenge!)
She did a great job of putting the Council into context and reminding us that it was truly a miracle that the Council was pulled off. John XXIII, in a matter of months, had nearly every bishop in the world in Rome. Remember, this was a time before computers, when travel from many parts of the world was difficult, when putting together recording, microphones, television crews and other media was a Herculean effort. And yet, there it was.
Sr. Timothy spoke about the four Constitutions that came from the Council, and their great importance. She also urged us to read them. Think about it: the most significant event in Catholicism in centuries - literally - and most of us haven't bothered to read the documents. Her advice was to read …
"Let us think of that moment with the Magdalene, when she washed the
feet of Jesus with nard, which was so expensive: it is a religious
moment, a moment of gratitude, a moment of love. And he [Judas] stands
apart and criticizes her bitterly: 'But ... this could be used for the
poor!'. This is the first reference that I personally found in the
Gospel of poverty as an ideology. The ideologue does not know what love
is, because they do not know how to gift themselves".
In a working-class neighborhood in Cleveland, it is discovered that the owner - a guy known for hosting barbecues and playing salsa music - was holding and torturing three women in his house for ten years. No one in the neighborhood had a clue.
There is a woman who lives down the street from us. She is married, has a couple of kids. Their home is beautiful - a showpiece, really. In the 10 years or so that they've lived there, I have never once seen her smile. I've waved as she walks her dog, picked up the mail at the mail box, said a hello. Never smiled.
We have friends who are as poor as church mice. They live in an older home that is sort of cobbled together, and bursts with the enthusiasm of their five kids. When you visit, you often have to clear a space on the table that is wedged into the kitchen, or shoo a cat off an old rocking chair in the living room. It's one of the warmest, most hospitable homes I've ever been in.
Dark-haired daughter is struggling right now. She's had a rough couple of weeks. She severely sprained an ankle, had her wisdom teeth yanked, and is dealing with some PTSD from her assault last year. It's made for some sleepless and scary nights for her, and sleepless, prayerful nights for me.
When I can't sleep, I often pray. I don't know if I'm praying well, as I tend to drift from memorized prayers to extemporaneous ones and back again. It seems muddled to me, in a half-awake and stressed-out state; I can only be assured that God makes sense of what is on my heart.
How many of us lie awake at night, asking God for something? You don't know when you meet someone what their night before held. Were they awake praying for a child with an addiction? A spouse who is cheating? Money issues? Worries about work? What did the night hold for them?
Most of the time, night means rest and refreshment. However, there are those nights when we search in the dark for answers…
There are times in your life when you see a friend or family member heading for a fall off a cliff. It's so plain, you cannot imagine how they themselves don't see it. You reach out to them, grab for them, yell out a warning....and they keep happily toddling towards the precipice.
It's frustrating, it's maddening, it's scary....and there is not a damn thing you can do. Except pray.
Most of us come to the realization that we can't make choices for other people. We can advise, cajole, admonish and guide, but we can't choose. What's even more upsetting is when you *think* that person is on the right path, and then they swerve, u-turn, fall off the wagon.
The Church tells us we are to admonish the sinner. And we must. Then, the sinner has to take responsibility. That's the tough part.
For me, over the past few weeks, this means not only watching someone make choices that I think are not only poor but possibly dangerous, it means suffering the erosion o…
You have a specific and important mission, that of keeping alive the
relationship between the faith and the cultures of the peoples to whom
you belong. You do this through popular piety. When, for example, you
carry the crucifix in procession with such great veneration and love for
the Lord, you are not performing a simple outward act; you are pointing
to the centrality of the Lord’s paschal mystery, his passion, death and
resurrection which have redeemed us, and you are reminding yourselves
first, as well as the community, that we have to follow Christ along the
concrete path of our daily lives so that he can transform us. Likewise,
when you express profound devotion for the Virgin Mary, you are
pointing to the highest realization of the Christian life, the one who
by her faith and obedience to God’s will, and by her meditation on the
words and deeds of Jesus, is the Lord’s perfect disciple (cf. Lumen Gentium,
53). You expre…
Éowyn. Daughter of Théodwyn and sister to Éomer, Éowyn
was a woman who longed for battle and despised being sequestered to the
“cage” that was her life. In the end it was her heroism in battle that
defeated the Witch-King, where she proclaimed, “Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you.“ After her victory, she would eventually devote herself to “be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” Éowyn
reflects that power of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who crushed the head of
the serpent and is called the “Terror of Demons;” for when called upon,
demons fly away from the sound of her name. Éowyn also reflects that
healing power of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called the “Health of
the Sick,” “Comfort of the Afflicted” and “Help of Christians.”
Eowyn's my favorite character, so you'll have to head over to the blog to read the rest.
On my way into work this morning, I was listening to a local Christian radio station, and they often have a little "thought" from a Protestant minister and professor. Today, his pondering was on, "What is the primary trait of God?" Great question!
My immediate thought was "God is good." The professor's answer was that God was creative, based on the fact that the first action we know of God was to create - in Genesis.
What would you say is God's primary trait, should someone ask?
This is from my "work blog". I pray to God I can stop writing posts like this soon....
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the sale of the “morning-after pill”
(such as Plan B) for teens as young as 15, with no need for parental
consent, and mandated that the drug no longer can be kept behind the
pharmacy counter. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for
Reproductive Rights, believes there are “daunting and sometimes
insurmountable hoops women are forced to jump through” when faced with a
crisis pregnancy and that this measure is a step forward for women’s
health. While there are conflicting opinions as to whether or not these medications cause abortions, there is no doubt that the side effects for the female taking the medication can be harsh, including hypertension, depression and ovarian cysts.
What is disturbing to many is the fact that this move by the FDA now
gives human traffickers a way to stop or end p…
Catherine Zeta-Jones likely identifies herself in many ways: wife, mother, actress....and bipolar. It is being reported that she has "proactively" checked herself into a mental hospital for treatment of her illness.
Hurray for her! Not only for being proactive about her health care, but for letting the world know. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of, it is not under one's control and it requires the person who has it to be part of their own treatment and stability. Good for her!
Now, Catherine (can I call you Catherine) has an advantage that many sufferers of mental illness do not have: money. She can afford the best of private care. Again, good for her. She and her husband have worked hard for their money, and if I were in her very fabulous shoes, I'd do the very same - seek out the best treatment available.
But most mentally ill people in this country don't have that luxury. Our mental health system is still a disastrously difficult mess to naviga…