Monthly Archives: March 2013

From the Byzantine Rite

For our Good Friday service, we were treated to a Byzantine Lamentation. It was so lovely, haunting, and true, I wanted to share it.

In a grave they laid Thee,
O my life and my Christ,
And the armies of the Angels were sore amazed
As they sang the praise of Thy submissive love.

Thou hast enjoined Thy commandments, that we should keep them most diligently.

O my dear Christ Jesus,
King and Ruler of all,
Why to them that dwelt in Hades didst Thou descend?
Was it not to set the race of mortals free?

I will confess Thee with uprightness of heart, when I have learned
judgements of Thy righteousness.

In a grave they laid Thee,
O my Life and my Christ,
Yet the Lord of death has Thou by Thy
death destroyed;
And the world of Thee doth drink rich streams of life.

In my heart have I hid Thy sayings that I might not sin against Thee.

O my sweet Lord Jesus,
My salvation, my light,
How art thou now by a grave and its darkness hid
How unspeakable the mystery of Thy love.

Make me to understand the way of Thy statutes, and I will ponder
on Thy wondrous works.

Thou, O Christ was buried
In a tomb newly made,
Thus renewing the whole nature of mortal men
By arising from the dead as God in truth.

Before I was humbled, I transgressed therefore Thy saying have I
kept.

“Who will give me water
For the tears I must weep?”
So the Maiden wed to God cried with loud lament,
“That for my sweet Jesus I may rightly mourn.”

Thou art good, O Lord and in Thy goodness teach me Thy statutes.

Savior, Thou wast hidden
‘Neath the earth like the sun,
And was covered as with shrouds by the right of death.
But more radiantly do Thou arise, O Lord.

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Categories: Chasing After God | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A Most Unwelcome Homily

Last Monday, my Kindle Fire announced a new post was available in my Google Reader (which I need to just delete and move on, but it’s tough) and the moment I glanced at it in my feed, I knew I didn’t want to read it. There was nothing in the title that was would cause offense, and I wouldn’t be following the blog if I didn’t enjoy the posts. However, despite the seemingly benign nature of this post, I was consumed with dread at thought of reading it. Was it a premonition or just a lazy bone? Who can say? I just know that I did not want to read that post!

So, I did what all good Catholics do when we there is a particular task we are avoiding and it’s right smack in the middle of Lent: I forced myself to sit down and read that article. And I was right–it was a message I did not want to hear.

Throwing the First Stone by 8 Kids and a Business is a transcript of Father Eric Mah’s homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent. Read it if you dare. Here’s a particularly unsettling excerpt:

The French philosopher René Girard has spent much of his career studying the particular psychology – and even spirituality – of the mob.  And he basically says this: human communities – whether we’re talking about families, towns, cities or even nation states – are typically characterized by a sense of tension, rivalry and conflicting desires.  In other words, there’s only so many things to go around – we all want the same thing – and so, we fight!  And so, again, there’s this ongoing sense of tension and conflict within the community.

Now, the question arises: how does a community deal with this sort of problem?  Well, according to Girard, one of the classic ways in which we deal with it is that we tend to scapegoat.  And scapegoating is essentially this: the town – the community – or the mob finds some person or some group upon whom they can project their own sense of tension and violence.  And so, the violence that would otherwise destroy the community is now channelled and transferred onto the scapegoat.

And what does this do?  Well, oddly enough, it does seem to effect a kind of peace and unity within the community.  In other words, we do tend to bond and come together – precisely through our common hatred of a particular person or group.  The down side, of course, is that it’s a very phony and unstable kind of peace – because it’s ultimately based on something that’s actually very evil.    

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, this has been a long time coming. I have just been waiting to be scolded for this since, oh, Junior High? There was a situation where there was tension and unrest in my little circle of friends. This went on for some time before one of my friends was brave enough to say something. She was, therefore, declared the source of all of our problems and was shut out. The next few weeks, those of us that remained bonded like we never had before. There was no more infighting–but it was an uneasy peace, because I could not escape the reality that we had obtained this new strength by standing against one of our friends.

I’d love to say my worry stemmed from my love for my friend, but it didn’t. I was mostly concerned that I would become the next scapegoat. We all had our turn, I think, and learned nothing.

Of course, I don’t have to worry about such things anymore since I’ve crossed over into adulthood, right?

After going out with a friend a few months ago, I came home in a cloud of frustration. “We’re not really friends!” I told Scott, “She just wants to talk trash to me about XXXX and I don’t want to anymore!” What upset me most was that I was so easily led into temptation and said horrible things about people I love very much. And whatever for? I knew the answer: ENVY. That’s the big one. I envy what someone else has and I need someone to blame for what I lack. Envy leads to gossip leads to scapegoating and where does it go next? Scapegoating is a poor foundation for relationships, but how many relationships do we have that are based solely on tearing others down?

I decided to take a step back. If I can’t control my trash talking with certain people, maybe we should spend less time together until I can. I blame no one but myself–I know what is good to say and what is destructive, but I react so very poorly to temptation, it makes me sick.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:14-20

I want to cry and scream in frustration when I read this passage. In the moment, when my frustrations are boiling over, it seems just to point a finger, but almost instantly, I’m filled with regret. I’ve driven a wedge between myself and the ones I love, and by my poor example, I’ve lead others astray. Worse still, I’ve also turned my back on God. All so I could blame someone for something that was never really their fault.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

That homily cut like a knife, but we need a knife to cut the cancer from our hearts sometimes.

Categories: Chasing After God, Negative Nancy | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Holy Week Treasure Map

 

 

 

I don’t know who came up with this, but I found it over on Why I am Catholic (after I figured out what a “yim Catholic” was) on Patheos and thought it was delightfully worth sharing! Happy Holy Week!

HolyWeekTreasureMap-HQ

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Preparing for the Next Great Schism

Divisions within the Catholic Church reached a fever pitch as Pope Francis met with his retired predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Their initial greeting was awkward at best, no doubt both parties felt the undeniable tensions mounting from their power struggle.

You can feel their rage.

You can feel their rage.

I don’t think those two even made eye contact. Pope Emeritus Benedict is currently staying at the papal summer residence while his new quarters within the Vatican are completed. Pope Francis has consented to allowing the retired pope to stay within the Vatican, and rightly so. Outside of the Vatican, he would have too much freedom to set up his own power center rivaling the authority of the new pope. Which is certainly what he’s up to.

This dual papacy is already proving to be a difficult road for Catholics who aren’t sure which pope’s teachings to follow. Shall we follow Pope Emeritus Benedict’s exhortation for us to practice acts of charity that are rooted in faith? Or shall we heed Pope Francis’s call to care for the poor in the name of Christ? These are very confusing times.

I wish they would at least try to get along.

I wish they would at least try to get along.

Seriously, though…

Am I the only one who is loving the pictures that are coming out of this informal lunch? More popery, please!

Categories: I Wish I Was Kidding | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 23

 

 

1: Nothing to Fear

I have some outstanding news this week! I officially have a new fear to add to the top 10 list! YES! Ever since I got over my fear of swimming in the ocean, I’ve been worried that an empty spot had been created that would never be filled. However, last Friday, Jennifer shared with us the details of having filters placed in her veins and it really struck a chord with me. I read the description, then read it again, then read it aloud to Scott. Then, I just sat on the couch with my Kindle Fire in my lap, put my hands over my face, and screamed and screamed. I certainly hope the procedure will help dear Jennifer not to have such dreadful issues with blood clots anymore, but I have to stop thinking about it now because my veins hurt and I want to cry.

2: Suffering, Schmuffering

Since Lent began, I have struggled with every one of my commitments, broken every one, and I’ve been hit with one attack after another. A few days ago, while working at The CellPhone Store, I was dealing with a particularly nasty customer. She made it a point to find error in everything I did, demanded that I adjust fees that I could not adjust, threatened to cancel her account if I didn’t do as she said, and stated that she would call in and complain about me for refusing to do everything she asked. I just wanted to bawl. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, so I was already exhausted, and after arguing with her for over an hour on every single step of her phone upgrade, I was ready to just walk out the door. Why? Why have I been chosen to suffer constantly like this??? As soon as I was finally able to get the customer out the door, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk for a pout. Why does everything have to be so difficult? That’s when I pulled up facebook and…

 

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Point taken.

3: Put on Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

Dr. Taylor Marshall is one of my favorite people evah!  I read everything he posts, and I thank God for him, I really do. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a blog. The time and effort Dr. Marshall puts into catechizing the masses can never be fully appreciated.

That being said, I must say he is absolutely obsessed with the Pope’s shoes. I mean, really, really obsessed.

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Can’t a man wear black shoes without causing a fiasco?!?!

 

4: It’s Not a Popularity Contest!

However, it is nice to be popular! And Pope Francis is, with 73% of American Catholics approving of our new Pontiff! The other 27% are apparently C&E Catholics who did not realize that being Catholic was the one qualifier for being elected. Well, that and being male (gender roles!).

See what I did there? I linked to a highly reputable Pew Survey, then in the next sentence, I linked to the highly satirical Eye of the Tiber. Most bloggers couldn’t get away with that, but I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time, so I can make it work.

5: Behind Barsfeet2

Pope Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday by giving Mass at a juvenile prison.  I was delighted to hear such wonderful news! Until I read Simcha’s post which highlighted the ramifications of the pope’s actions.

You see, when we were hearing about the example he set by preparing his own meals, I said, “Yes! That’s something we all need to do!” When they said he lived in a small apartment, I said, “Yes! Downsize! Minimize! When we start looking for a house to buy, we’re going to get something modest and inexpensive!” Even when they said that he washed the feet of drug addicts, I said, “Yeah, I could send them some money I’m sure….”

But to embrace criminals? People who have hurt others? Raped others?
Killed others?

This is why we need Pope Francis. He’s determined to lead us out into the deep.

 

6: Follow the Leader

That leads me into my next pondering. How can I follow, not the mere footsteps of Pope Francis, but the deeper footsteps of Jesus? How can I reach out to the sick and the poor, the addict and the criminal? Within the confines of my constantly changing, completely unpredictable work schedule?

St. Therese????  What was that you were saying about a little way for little souls? Because I feel really tiny right now!

 

7: The Home Stretch!

Can you believe we only have a week left of Lent? It’s been a rough patch, and it hasn’t been at all like I wanted it to be. I gave up all the wrong things, but by doing so, I learned what I should have given up; the things that are coming between me and God. Once again, I’m wrapping up Lent full of regret for disciplines lost, and that’s fine. It’s regret that leads me to ask forgiveness, that drives me to chase after God with greater passion.

Have a blessed Holy Week!

And of course, check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

 

 

 

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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