Posts Tagged With: Gossip

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.

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

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 18: Preparing for Lent

1: The Scapular Challenge

3535583670_9f417c1b3cI wrote about the myths and truths of the Brown Scapular on Wednesday, and in my fervor, I extended a challenge: To wear a Brown Scapular and tell one person what it’s really all about (and it’s not about having a free ride to Heaven). I’m considering ordering 25 from the Free Brown Scapular website and leaving 24 of them in the chapel with a little brochure telling the story. I may need someone to type up a Spanish version. If you would be interested in being my Spanish translator, let me know, and I’ll work on a short pamphlet outlining what the Brown Scapular is for. Well, first I’ll look for one online. That would be nice if it was already done for me. I’ll probably still need a translator, though!

Why would I only leave 24 in the chapel? I’d carry the other with me to give to the one person I’m going to verbally tell about the true purpose of the Brown Scapular!

Available for purchase on Kindle and free through Amazon Prime Lender’s Library

2: Mercy Most Divine

Since I get to read a book for free every month on my Kindle with Amazon Prime, I decided to read a Catholic book and do a review on it. I selected Blessed Pope John Paul II, the Diary of St Faustina and the End Times for this month, but I took it a little further. Since Scott and I both have Kindles, I suggested that he read it as well, with me. We’ve never done such a thing before, and neither of us knew the fully history of Divine Mercy.

Let’s just say, it’s been absolutely wonderful and we will definitely be doing it again! Scott has been on the night shift for 7 months now, and we see so little of each other. Reading this book together has been a reminder that we’re both on the same journey. Which, really, it’s so easy to get caught up in my spiritual journey and my prayer life that I don’t always recognize that it’s our spiritual journey and our prayer life. We are bound together in all things, especially our road to Heaven.

Read this book! Or any spiritual book with your spouse!

3: Are You Ready for Lent?

I, for one, am incredibly excited about Lent. It’s like Advent, without all the pressure. In fact, lack of pressure is a rule. No, you may not spend all day baking cookies and cakes! No wild spending sprees for you! Don’t even think of gorging yourself at a family dinner!

As we prepare for this reflective and penitential season, it is good to have a game plan and make sure that you have the resources you need. Our parish offers the Little Black Book for sale in the office. Someone from Women’s Club was kind enough to buy a box of them to hand out to all of us at our February meeting. It’s also available on Kindle. Magnificat Lent Companion is available in print or on Kindle. That is in addition to the Magnificat Year of Faith Companion. And Lent is a wonderful time to start getting into the habit of doing the Liturgy of the Hours! Don’t forget your daily reading and meditations!

That’s one thing Lent has in common with Christmas and Thanksgiving: it’s easy
to put too much on your plate, bite off more than you can chew, and end up with a serious case of indigestion. I’ve decided to keep the Little Black Book in my purse to read at lunch, do the Magnificat daily readings, prayers and meditations for mornings and evenings as well as Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Ignatian Retreat. I purchased the book at our parish book fair on Sunday, as well as a prayer companion. That’s a lot to do, so I’ll be checking in on myself to make sure I don’t get overwhelmed and just give up.

Just remember: there will be Lent next year, and whatever devotional you don’t do this year, you can do then if you still feel drawn to it. If you die before Lent comes around next year, well, you’ll have a highly spiritual experience then!

4: Speaking of Fasting…

I’ve been pretty darn good about sticking to my workout routine. However, my snacking routine has intensified dramatically so I have made no progress towards any New Year’s weight loss goals. It can be awkward to fast when you want to lose weight because it feels like your motives aren’t pure. The candid and controversial Simcha Fisher wrote up a wonderful little post on the topic. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend, especially if your baggage is spiritual and physical.

5: Curvio! Ooh-la-la!

Have you ever sat in front of the TV, seething in envy over a particular dress or accessory an actress was wearing without the faintest clue of where you might find it? Enter Curvio! I just discovered this little gem that allows you to sort through TV shows, right down to the particular episode of Mad Men where you saw that amazing little sweater. The matches aren’t always exact, but they come pretty darn close! There aren’t a whole lot of shows up right now, but Mad Men is on the list, and that’s the one we really want the outfits from, right?

6: Run for Your Life!

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I am officially registered for the Color Me Rad 5K in Oklahoma City on May 11! Which means I need to start running. Soon. I found this lovely little 5K plan from The Color Run (which is essentially the same thing as Color Me Rad) but there are tons of 5K programs you can follow. The most important thing is to do it! Last year, I was able to do a full mile before I fell off the wagon. That may not seem like much to you, but for a fat smoker who never played sports growing up, it was a big deal! 

When I get out of work tonight, I’m going to go out shopping for running shoes and try to start a running routine on Saturday if I can. I’ve got some pretty bad shin splints so I may not be able to progress at such a rapid pace, but I’ve got 3 months, so I can go slowly, I just have to keep going!

Previously, I had some concern over registering because I didn’t know who the charity would be, but I have since learned that it will be The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

7: One More Take!

I’ve been awfully long winded in these takes, so I’ll be short and sweet and Saintly!

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Had enough nonsense? Looking for something coherent? You can try again back at Conversion Diary!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 17: Unchained Edition

1: Off the Chain

734428_159189494228432_129676950_nWhile out riding my bike today, I was pedaling with much more ferocity than my bike could handle and the chain slipped off. I managed to get it back on (Scott is really the bike mechanic in the house—and the car mechanic as well, although I’ve tried) but it came back off after another half a mile. So, I was forced to do the walk of shame back up to the house, pushing my bike along. Of course, I took the opportunity to feel immensely sorry for myself for having worked so hard, only to have my final success snatched from me before I could see it come to fruition—oh there I go. I’m starting up another pity party. Except that my pity parties are a bit hardcore. It’s more like a rave than a party….

2: Mechanic, Shmechanic

I learned to leave mechanics to Scott a few years ago after I did some work on my car. Something had gone wrong/stopped working–I can’t remember what–and I got into the fuse box and changed out the fuse and it worked again. That was the moment I decided I was qualified to work on cars. My back windows stopped working, and then my “CHECK AIRBAG” warning came on, so I got into the fuse box to fix it right quick.

As I recall, it was about $300 later that Scott forbid me from ever “working” on the car again.

3: Offering It Up

A few months ago, I talked about learning to “offer it up” when faced with suffering. As a convert from Protestantism, this is very strange to me, but it makes a lot of sense. Since I’m a converting from fatness, working out provides an endless opportunity to suffer. My legs ache, my arms ache, and with the mystery health problems I’ve been having, it’s tempting to just quit. When I feel like giving up, I’ve been focusing in on someone and offering up my suffering on their behalf. For example, I may think of someone in particular like our beloved priest, Father Ed. Or someone in general, like all those who are suffering and oppressed. Yes, this hurts, but if I offer it up and ask God to comfort them instead of me, it’s easier to press on.

4. My Sweetie and I!

5970026021_a1a2a1e53b_zIt’s only about 2 weeks until V-Day! What are you doing with your sweetie? We both have to work, and our schedules conflict to the point that we won’t even get to see each other that day! I’m thinking we’ll go out to IHOP just after midnight on V-Day, since it’s right between Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent. So we can have bacon. That’s what love is, isn’t it? Sneaking out after midnight to eat bacon and pancakes together? Sounds like love to me!

5. Tradition!


The ever eloquent Dr. Taylor Marshall talked the other day about Catholics migrating to parishes that were more traditional. Maybe it’s just because I spend so much time on Catholic blogs, but I feel like there’s a slow, powerful movement back toward more tradition, less secularism. Does anyone else feel the pull? The beauty of embracing the sacred over the casual?

As a matter of picking up old traditions that have been tossed aside, I’m thinking of getting a holy water font for the house. Where would I get the holy water? I haven’t got a priest and the fonts have all been removed from the church. I could get a spray tan and sneak into the Lebanese Maronite church down on Alameda maybe?

Are there rules for having a holy water font in your home?

6. Lent is Nigh

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Because people told me last week’s fish picture was disgusting.

Lent is almost upon us! I’m thinking of doing a weekly post of Lenten meals. Scott and I are considering adding another meatless day or two, and I’ll be going meatless at lunch every day but Sunday.  Meatless doesn’t have to be fish. I’m not particularly fond of fish, but Jesus was absolutely mad for it. In fact, on one occasion when the disciples were out and didn’t catch any fish, they were ready to turn back, but Jesus was like, “Oh, no! Throw that net over on the other side! We are not going back until we catch some fish!” I’m paraphrasing of course….

Split pea soup is just wonderful. Or potato soup. Maybe one Lenten recipe a week? Two? I’ve got a few weeks to think it over. Maybe someone should host a link-up.

7. Shutting My Mouth

3111207407_ea37525588One thing I’m giving up that I’m not waiting for Lent for is gossiping. Of course, I went out with friends tonight and gossiped my little mouth off. It’s so easy to fall into, which is why I’ve got to wrestle my way out of it. Gossip is so wicked, and an affront to the dignity of the human person, but it seems so harmless that it’s easy to get sucked in.

Enough is enough!

So, I’ll shut up now. You go on over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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