Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ashes to Go? Honest to God.

**This might tick off a few people**

There is a link in this post.  It shares an Episcopal approach to Ash Wednesday where Episcopal and other ministers were taking to the streets to distribute ashes to the people of God.
I use to do that.
I used to think that I was taking the Gospel of Jesus to the marketplace, you know where the people of God really are.
I mean, after all, lets face it the lives of the people of God are so busy and so hectic.
Yep, just like the people of God were busy building the Tower of Babel.  
I recall one Ash Wednesday years back when I distributed ashes in a candy store.

In this context the distribution of ashes takes on a magical quality.  

While the words said may be, "Repent and turn to the Gospel...Remember you are dust..." what is really being said by the action is, "Don't worry, go on, God understands."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Opening Prayer

Krizevac--Cross Mountain--Medjugorje
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

 --from the Roman Missal 
Opening Collect for Ash Wednesday

I like the new Roman Missal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beginning Lent---Fasting

Lent begins in 48 hours.
We begin the holy season by receiving ashes.
We also begin the holy season with a day of fasting.
Though many saints have shown that the way to God involves penance and fasting, we avoid it.  We want God but we don't want to follow the direction of the holy men and women.
(Oh by the way, in case you were wondering the Mother of God told us to fast..we should listen to our Mother)
But we seem to be minimalists.  Canonically the church says we need only fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (but even those have 'amended menus). 
We simply don't want to do the work.

satan's success relies upon our laziness and countless rationalizations

I am the world's worst faster and I fail miserably.
I'm talking real fasting.
Not that one full meal and two small supplemental meal stuff that is preached today.
I'm talking bread and water for 24 hours.
It's not only a cultural contradiction but an ecclesial one
Just listen to the preaching on Ash Wednesday--take note how many will actually espouse fasting on bread and water.  
When I was a young priest--I never fasted.
Sometimes fasting results in immediate spiritual results.
And then at other times--it is more about patient perseverance.
Start a fasting prayer group in your home.

"And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Mk. 9:28.

Jesus is pretty clear.  You got a demon?  Then do battle.  Pray, fast and then go to confession.  And then pray and fast some more--actually do it forever.
It will change your life.

Have a good Lent.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We are Numb

There is no halftime break for satan.
Through the gift of creativity satan seemed to throw out the usual pings.  he had an audience--millions and millions, so why not throw some dark-masked-in-creativity-'humor' at the mass of public waiting with baited breath.

Audi played on the dark vampire series.  Yeh, harmless right?  But it markets all those young professional 20 something people who are making enough salary to afford a monthly payment--all those who have been caught up in the vampire -twilight series for the past five years--in the market for a new car.
Poor form.

And what is it with the entitled rappers?  This is now mainstream entertainment?

So there you have it.  Some pings to you from the powers that be in the entertainment industry.  You weren't entertained you were pinged!
And what is sad is the majority of people didn't even know it.

We are numb and in our sleep the devil prowls.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Announcements...what a terrible way to die.

A long time ago, in an Episcopal church far, far away--the rector inherited a liturgical celebration full of oddities.  At one point people would randomly stand and make their own announcement.  They ranged from selling flowers to volunteer forms to the occasional socio-economic-political agenda/fundraiser.  After a few weeks of observing that the same people were making the same announcements and that the same people had trouble hearing them, the rector made a decision.  He wanted the announcements to be submitted to the office so he could clearly pronounce them at the sunday service.
The move was seen as usurping control--which eventually contributed to his demise thus setting the stage for a rather miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 I guess announcements are what helped return me to the Catholic Church?!

Still, I  can't stand it when announcement overkill occurs.

I attended Holy Mass at a parish this weekend (in another diocese---of course it was far away).
There were a total of six announcements concerning two different collections (before Mass, then by the pastor, then by the cantor)
Then were two talks after communion.  One of which was a plea for another collection of funds following Mass (for a youth mission trip of which I completely understand the necessity--just poor timing).  The other talk was to inspire/invite people to Eucharistic Adoration (again I completely understand)
I am afraid however that the invitation to spend time in Adoration was completely lost--but of course the Holy Spirit will take care of that!

I scanned the congregation during the post communion talks and found that about 1/3 of them left following Holy Communion.
No wonder they announced the collections 6 times.

I left exhausted

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rolling up the sleeves Part II

Here is an update and strong words from a strong bishop....

Bishop Zubik, Pittsburgh on the recent health care proposal....

Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.
  • To Hell with your religious beliefs,
  • To Hell with your religious liberty,
  • To Hell with your freedom of conscience.
We’ll give you a year, they are saying, and then you have to knuckle under. As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded, “in effect, the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs. And we are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation; to subsidize the imposition of a contraceptive and abortion culture on every person in the United States.
Go Bishop...
St. Michael--pray for us.