Tag Archives: Fr. John

Sometimes Mockery is a Public Service

I fully admit to being influenced by teenage boys in my formative years. And I definitely believe that somethings are Guy Things and some things are Girl Things.

Enter example from this week:

Scenario: 3 guys and myself watching TV. At the end of the night, one guy has left, so it’s me and the remaining 2 guys. There is a question about the rules of baseball which were displayed in the episode we watched. I find myself having to explain the difference between a ball and a strike.

Batter

Then, I think…

WHAT?!?

Shouldn’t they know this stuff? Didn’t they have to pass a test in order to pass puberty? I’m pretty sure it’s required.

So, I immediately called them on this fact.

Why am I, a GIRL, explaining this stuff to, not one, but TWO GUYS?!?

But, before you think I am all mean and uncharitable, I submit that perhaps it was a public service. I was calling them to be better men. And I was remarkably restrained in my mockery.

Especially given the fact that my mockery instinct had previously been provoked by this stunning display of a “tackle” on the September Chapel Chat AKA Exhibit #1: Please watch to the end…

A Lovely Morning

Even though it was the day after a holiday where I stayed up late, I got up early this morning with the intention of going to the 6:30 am Mass at OLGC. 

When I got there, there was a disturbing lack of cars in the parking lot, although it was only 7 minutes until the start of Mass. Plus, there were a few cars *leaving*… Not a good sign.

It turns out that there is only a 9 am Mass today, which I wouldn’t be able to make. I sat in my car for about half an hour, watching all the birds, praying, and just enjoying the morning.

I headed into downtown Plymouth and was greeted by these pretty flowers on the corner of the street where I parked:

From 2013-07-05

Then, I decided to treat myself to breakfast at Panera. I got a breakfast sandwich and actually sat down in a seat by the window, looking out at other people starting their day.

Of course, I also stopped by the Starbucks next door and grabbed an iced mocha. 🙂

I went back to the church, to see if anyone had shown up yet to unlock the doors so I could pray, but as I was driving there, I saw Fr. John driving in the opposite direction… So, no praying in the church for me!

Instead, I took a photo in front of the Lourdes grotto:
Good Morning, OLGC!

And sent it to Fr. John. You know. So he wouldn’t miss me or something… LOL! 🙂 Fulfilled my duty as the annoying little sister for the day! Yay! 🙂

A Fantastic Evening

SHMS Jesus

Have I mentioned lately that I love God? Because I love God! He blesses me so often, and so much! (I know that is not a *reason* to love God, but others showing you affection is always a happy thing).

Tonight, I had a *fantastic* evening! Oh, let me count the ways!
1. I wasn’t as sick as I have been lately.
2. After work, I dragged my friend with me to Reconciliation. She hadn’t been to Confession since Easter, and was glad that she had gone.
3. Next, I took her to Fiamma Grille in Plymouth, where we had yummy appetizers! Another friend had mentioned that we might be going out for dinner later, so I didn’t eat a meal.
4. After dropping my friend off at home, I went to the Seminary’s Christmas Choir Concert.
5. I listened to some great music!
6. I met up with several friends and got to spend some time with them. I love these people and I’m so happy that I was able to be around them, even if for a short time!
7. Through everything, God was very present to me. Earlier in the day, a dear friend had asked me to pray for him for something specific. Before the evening’s activities, I found out that God had granted my prayer request for my friend! After Reconciliation, I felt the Lord’s presence in everything and everywhere I went.

God + food + music + friends has got to = some small preview of Heaven! Can I go there now? 🙂 Because I loved tonight, and if Heaven is anything like tonight (and I have reason to hope that it is better), I want to go there NOW! 🙂

I Choose For His Life

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When the angel came before Mary and asked her if she would be the mother to God’s only Son, she replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  In other words, what she said was, “I choose for His life.”  She completely submitted her life to the divine Will and choose for the Incarnation.  It wasn’t just choosing for an event, but choosing for a person.  It was deeply personal and profoundly significant.  Who knows what expectations and dreams Mary had for her life?  In that moment, she gave them all up.  Her life was now for her son, His son.

Driving in to work today, this was all I could think of.  As I’ve mentioned before, I find myself in a situation of spiritual motherhood or spiritual adoption.  To me, this is much more than just a commitment to pray for this individual.  Earlier in the year, I felt as if I was being asked about the depth of my commitment.  Was I willing to be like Mary and give all of myself to this?

Absolutely.

I am, as they say, “all in.”  I submit to God entirely in this.  My struggles for holiness are no longer merely for my own sanctification, but because prayers of holy men and women are more efficacious (James 5:16, 1 Peter 3:12).  So, I do good not for my sake but for his, and His.  Even my prayer is no longer my own.

On this great feast of Our Lady, I pray for her assistance, that I can, in some small way, mirror her complete self-gift and devotion to the Will of the Lord.  I continue to pray in affirmation, “I choose for his life.”  May my life be a worthy sacrifice for his benefit according to His Will.

Theology of Little House on the Prairie

Evaluate this statement:  “God hates a coward.”

Background:  A friend of mine came to me with a question regarding a statement made in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when Almanzo was debating about whether to risk ten miles each way in forty-below to bring Laura back to her parents’ for the weekend. He’s looking at the thermometer and hedging. Cap Garland walks by, sees him, says “God hates a coward,” and walks on to where he’s going. Almanzo later says, “I just figured he was right.”

The question was whether the statement is in line with [orthodox Catholic] Church teaching.  I would like to know what your take is on whether or not this is in line with Church teaching, and also to explore what might be meant by the statement, and its implications for how we need to live out our lives in adherence to the Truth as revealed by God.

My first response was to say that God doesn’t ever hate. Then, I made a reference to Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” I was viewing the cowardice as a form of “sitting on the fence.” I also indicated that it would be important, perhaps, to define what is meant by “coward.”

The response from my friend was:

Well, the validity of the statement WOULD have to hinge on what is meant by “hate” and what is meant by “coward”. But in Genesis God says “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” – presumably He doesn’t literally mean that He hates Esau. What does He mean by it, then?

So putting aside whether it would actually have been cowardly for [the character in the book] to have not gone – which is very debatable – let’s assume that an action IS actually cowardly. Does God hate that action? And if so, running on the assumption that God still loves the coward himself but hates his cowardly actions, if those cowardly actions are frequent and consistent, couldn’t we say “God hates a coward”?

I mean, God still doesn’t hate the PERSON. It might be more precise to say “God hates cowardice.” But could it be accurate to say “God hates a coward”, if one understands that it is not a direct literal statement of God’s feelings toward the person being called a coward?

In a quick, sketchy way, I replied:

Coward: lacking courage; very fearful or timid.
Courage: to act in accordance with one’s beliefs

I think this speaks to the core of what God calls us to: integrity.

It is one thing to say, I am afraid of going out into the snow because there are very real dangers in so doing.
It’s another thing to waffle.

You have to have faith in God.
You aren’t supposed to worry.

On these definitions, to be a coward is to not act in accordance with your beliefs.
And God certainly hates this.
Better to be ignorant and thus inadvertantly sin, than to know the truth and deliberately sin. One of the 3 main conditions for mortal sin, right? Knowing that it was wrong.

I think what the character in the book was getting at was that A needed to decide whether he was going to go or not. He either a) thought it was too dangerous or b) thought it was feasible. But his fear and indecision left his sitting on the fence and this was what he should not be doing. He should either decide that it was more prudent to stay at home and tell Laura no, or he should make preparations to go (taking into account preparations for inclement weather and adversity) and trust that God will get them there safely.

At this point, our YA Fiction theological question was sent to our chosen whipping boy AKA Fr. Ignatius, whom I always assume is delighted to have the privilege of answering all of my random questions. While waiting for a response from Fr. Ignatius, I sent another e-mail to him, further detailing some of my thoughts on the issue:

“Does God hate a coward?”
Seems kind of a narrow question, really. You could also ask, “Does God hate a procrastinator, or a nail-biter or someone who talks/e-mails too much (GASP!)” Each is maybe an aspect of a person, or even an aspect of a person at a specific moment, but does not constitute the whole of the person or even really speak to his or her relationship with God. In and of themselves, the actions could be bad or neutral. I think it speaks more to the fact that we have imperfections than our status with God.

My official answer: no. 🙂

Up next, our treatise on why marshmallow fluff is not in heaven. LOL! j/k

So, here we are left still with the initial statement. Please respond with your thoughts. 🙂

Chris, Where Did You Go??

Right after I crashed my car, about 20 months ago now, one of my priests told me to, “Get a St. Christopher medal!” Okay. So, I went to the Catholic bookstore and looked at all their medals, looking in particular for a necklace that I could wear all the time. While I was looking, I knew that I didn’t want to have a saint medal without a crucifix. It just felt wrong to have anyone on my person without Jesus there too. I picked out a crucifix and a St. Christopher. When I got home, I didn’t want to be wearing two chains, so I tried to take off one of the pendants and place it on the other chain. Well, the way the necklaces were made, you couldn’t just do this. So, I had to open the jump ring holding it on to the chain, take it off, then try to push it back together. If I remember correctly, I did this to the St. Christopher medal, since I didn’t feel right ripping apart the crucifix. They both had a little gap in the jump rings.

I presented myself to my priest and asked him to bless my St. Christoper medal, which he graciously did. I normally do not wear jewelry, but this necklace I never took off. So much so, that when my dad saw it and saw that there were gaps in the jump rings and offered to solder it shut, I declined. I thought it was fine, and I didn’t want to alter it. That, and I really didn’t want to take it off and didn’t think that my dad would agree to solder it while it was still on me.

20 months go by. I am fairly active and I’ve never had a problem with my necklace. I’ve gone jogging, swam in the ocean off Australia, ditto Jamaica — nothing. It’s always been fine. Occasionally, I have thought about having it soldered, but never got around to it.

About two months ago, on June 11, 2009, was the first time I took it off. And that was because I was in the ER and they were having me get a CT scan and required that all metal be removed.

Fast forward to today. I had a busy weekend planned. Meetings, a baby shower and a bridal shower, in addition to some other things which needed to get done. I had stayed out pretty late in Clinton/Tecumseh/Manchester Saturday night, and this morning, I pretty much just got up and headed out for Mass. I hadn’t had any time to go shopping for something to wear to the bridal shower, or take a shower or anything. During Mass, I got the sense that I should stay home today and pray. I thought about doing this, but ultimately set that thought aside. This was the bridal shower for a very good friend, and I was expected to be there. I didn’t want to let her down — I wanted to share in her day. Her shower started at 1 pm. By the time I got my shopping done, and got home, it was already 1:15 or so, and I still needed to take a shower and get ready. I did this as quickly as I could, knowing that I still had a 25-30 minute drive ahead of me to get there. I got a message from Patty, saying that she wasn’t going to make it to the shower after all and asked if I could take her present. Since I was already late and not far from home, I called her to see where she was. As it turns out, she was at a coffee shop about a mile from my house and on the way. I stopped to pick up her present and she asked me if I didn’t think that I should maybe stay home today. I was already an hour late, and I had been rushing around lately and I could really use the rest. Plus, I didn’t feel all that great today. It had been harder for me to breathe, and at this point it was 2 pm and I haven’t had anything to eat. I gave my reasons for going, and she asked me a couple more times if maybe it wouldn’t be a better thing to stay home. I was still a little conflicted, especially because I still felt that I should be spending the day at home in prayer, but ultimately decided to go. Patty told me to be careful and left with a parting, “At least think about not going.”

So, I went. The place where she was having her bridal shower was darling. It looked like a castle.

As I was driving up there, I was feeling worse — probably from not eating. When I arrived, I found out that I had missed lunch and that the kitchen couldn’t get me anything to eat. I felt like I was going to pass out or cry or something. Then, I realized that my St. Christopher medal was missing. I looked around for it, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I was sad that I had lost it, because it means a lot to me, but I tried to make myself feel better by thinking about the truth of the matter:

1. It was just an object, and not something irreplaceable. After all, I could go out and get another one and ask Father to bless the new one.
2. Even if Father couldn’t/wouldn’t bless another one for me, he had already blessed me, and I couldn’t lose myself.

Still sad, but not catastrophically upset. I felt increasingly bad, I felt that I was a horrible guest and I thought that I probably should have stayed at home, if nothing else but to save Krystin from having an Eeyore at her shower. After the shower, Stacy stayed behind with me as I ate something. I did feel a little better after our meal. Not great, but definitely better.

Tonight after I got home, I looked around the house for my medal, but didn’t find it. I decided to go for a walk. As I walked, I was thinking about the day. In addition to the things that I realized at the shower, I had these other insights:

1. Not only did Father bless me (and pray over me many times), but he baptized me and brought me into the new covenant as an adopted daughter of God. That right there trumps any number of blessed medals. And that is something that can never, ever be lost or taken from me. It’s now a permanent part of who I am.
2. It might be a blessed medal, but it is not a magic medal and I have never thought of it as such. I know that it reminds me of St. Christopher, and reminds me to ask him for intercession, but I also know that it is God’s grace and protection and love which are efficacious in any capacity in my life. The medal itself does absolutely nothing.
3. The thought popped into my head that while I had lost St. Christopher, I hadn’t lost my crucifix. I didn’t lose God. 🙂
4. I felt that God was saying, “Okay, so you often ask for his [St. Christopher’s] intercession, particularly when driving. Now, let’s focus less on him and more on Me.” I knew it was time to stop worrying so much about where that medal went and start focusing on the true priorities in my life. Ironically, this morning, I looked at some pictures from Katie and Joe’s wedding and saw a couple of me and was drawn visually to my necklace — normally, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to that detail. Also ironically was the fact that when I was driving here, usually I ask for St. Christopher’s intercession (not every time I drive, but when I do pray in this way, it is usually directed at him). However, today, I was praying to Jesus.

5. More irony. God told me to stay home and pray. I didn’t listen to Him. Then, He had Patty try to tell me to stay home today. I didn’t listen either. Now, my medal for the Saint who is the patron of travelers…is gone.

That has to be a coincidence . . . right?? 🙂

Whoops!

Leaving Mass this morning, Fr. Anonymous was trying to wish me a good day.

Fr. A: “Hope you have a good day! We just received Jesus, so . . . . Oh . . . . I guess that means it’s all downhill from here.”

LOL! 🙂

Happy Independence Day!

There are so many people to thank for this day! First, the men who fought those 233 years ago and won our independence. Then, the men and women who have kept our freedom to the present day.

Here’s a picture of some of the girls in the wardroom of the USS Mount Whitney, CORTRAMID 1997, Norfolk, Virginia (I’m at the far right):
Girls in USS Mount Whitney's Wardroom
For all my fellow military members, police forces, and government agents — thank you for fighting for and upholding our freedom and our laws.

Baptism07
For God, who gives us true freedom and independence.
And for all the clergy and holy men and women who teach us of our amazing inheritance, freedom, love and gifts given to each of us, personally, by the Lord. They teach us not only of the many ways in which God saves us from our slavery, but also of the ways in which we enslave ourselves. With His help, we can be truly free and live with a rightly ordered independence in His love and mercy.

Guess Who This Is!!! :)

Guess Who This Is! -- DSCN7978

I thought this was absolutely perfect!  On so many levels!  🙂  The image is a photo I took of the card.  But go ahead, give me your guess in the comment box as to who this is and why I think it fits so very well!

🙂

Take Nothing for Granted

Last night, my brother came over, which was great. I don’t get to see him all that often. He stayed until about 12:15 am, when I finally had to go to bed, so that I’d be able to get up this morning. About 3 am or so, my roommate woke up and was violently ill. Poor girl — I hate being sick like that. I got up and gave her some baking soda water to try and calm her stomach, then tried to lay back down for a little while.

Of course, then I overslept. I ran around and figured that I’d at least attempt to make the very end of Mass, even though I don’t like walking in late. I pulled into the parking lot about 6:50. Mass always goes at least until 6:58. People were already leaving. How strange. As I walk in, a friend was walking out, so I asked her if Mass got out early today. She said that no priest ever showed up.

“Are they okay??” I ask, worried now. This is not typical.

She shrugs, “They probably just slept in.”

True, that’s most likely what happened, but what if something happened and someone’s really hurt or ill or had to go to the hospital??

So, I went into the chapel and prayed, prayed, prayed.

Then, I thought about what the other people might think, who also go to the 6:30 am Mass. I was concerned that they might be upset with the priests, and I prayed for their understanding and forgiveness, too.

I prayed for all the people who don’t get to go to Mass every day; for the priest shortage; for the upcoming Year of the Priest.

I prayed for Fr. John. I prayed that he was okay and that nothing bad happened that he had to take care of. I prayed that whoever had not made it to Mass, that they were okay and that they wouldn’t get too upset at themselves for missing (if it was a sleeping-in kind of thing). I prayed that Fr. John wouldn’t get too mad at whoever missed Mass. I prayed that (if it were a sleeping-in kind of thing) our priests weren’t working themselves too hard. I prayed that if they needed the extra sleep that God would heal them in mind and body and refresh them. I prayed that they would have stamina and endurance and be able to fulfill all the tasks which God calls them to. I prayed to the Blessed Mother to take care of her sons, to protect them and to care for them.

I prayed and I worried. I said things like, “God, I trust You that everything will be okay, but please, please keep him safe!”

I went to Starbucks to get my morning coffee, and on the way back decided to stop by the church again — to see if anyone had showed up for the 8 am Mass. On the way back, I was praying for him to be okay, and alternately thanking God that he *was* okay. Which was a little bizarre. I got to the church, and Fr. John’s car was there, so I was a little relieved. I gathered up the toys I had to give him and went inside and waited for a little while, but didn’t see him. I snuck down to the church proper, and saw him sitting on the far side, praying. I didn’t want to bother him, and it was getting late, so I left to go to work.

I’m glad he made it in. That something’s not grossly wrong, but I still pray that he is okay and not sick or overly tired or facing any big problems. May the Blessed Mother continue to care for him.

I was running **really** late for work now. So much that I knew that if I parked in the commuter lot and waited for the bus, I would be definitely late. So, I had to park in the structure. That’ll be $10 for the day. Ouch. But I’m glad that I at least know that he made it to church. I hope that if it was Fr. Lee who was to say Mass this morning, that he also is okay.

Worry. Pray. Worry. Pray. Whew! Caring for priests is a hard job! 🙂