Those who get to know the Cross

Once upon a time, in a parish not to far away, I knew a Parish Priest – I wont use his name. we will simply call him Father Padre, to tell the story (think of this as a miranda approach).  When I first Moved back to Hazelwood around 2002, I decided to try to start living a good life, and going to mass. Later in 2003, I would go to Homecoming (the parish Picnic) and volunteer. I was all of about 24, and very headstrong. Father Padre came out at the Parish Picnic, Wearing a Yellow shirt, and indistinguishable as our Pastor, unless you knew he was our pastor.

It was at the time, unnerving. “How Dare the Priest.. not look like one!”, (I said to myself). He also seemed overly political, as he was talking to ALL the important people. At the time, I felt he should have been doing more for the people who DIDNT go to the church, but I digress.

Within a year, our School had to close. Once again, to me, Father Padre had failed! Father Padre should have been able to keep the school open!  Father Padre was week in letting the Parish Council just have their way, with everything, I said to myself.

Within Two years, We Merged with another parish (which.. this happened alot in North County, but was VERY devistating to everyone to say the least). Father Padre Failed at properly courting the poor souls being displaced!  Father Padre wasnt Pastoral!  How DARE HE! What a Jerk! Everyone coming over didnt like him. There was talk about how he bullied his way around them, and kicked them when they were down!

Couple Years go by. Father Padre informs us that he is being Transferred to St Way Down South (also changing the names to protect ..well whoever). We all had a festival for Father Padre..  At this point I was luke warm to him.

Who replaced him.. was Father Personality (which he had none of). Suddenly Father Padre Didnt seem so bad. Where as Father Padre atleast talked to the right people.. Father Personality Talked to no one.. Nor Did he keep the Council at bay (we purchased a ridiculous Ambo that frankly.. the 4000 dollars could have been put to better use)… We also started letting people have more of a “Say”..  in various committees (my favorite to this day are liturgy committees… because.. The Ordo Is a suggestion). Father Personality constantly told us he literally…. was just waiting on retirement. Father Personality, was a former state chaplain…  wouldnt even entertain the idea of being our local KOFC Chaplain… much less come to a meeting and wave his little cap. The Saving grace at the time was Father Old Assistant.. But he was not in the best of health… and was just the associate. People started going to other Parishes… and we went from the 5 Masses a weekend Father Padre had built.. Back to 3.

Then we Started hearing the rumors. Father Padre had gotten into trouble. Father Padre had done something he shouldnt have, and was on retreat.  I happened to meet Father Replacement, before he went to the parish.

Then it was Illuminate. St Way Down South.. was a trouble parish. Father Padre had been sent there to fix it. They had a council that was out of its mind, that had literally sent 2 other pastors into the Hospital. Because Father Padre had resolve..  and couldnt be broken, they fabricated a story (and several Father Colleagues.. men I trust, validated this)… So Father Padre was banned from his parish on a fabrication. Father Replacement… refused to go there until the Bishop grew a back bone.

I also Learned Father Padre, previously went to my parish.. to do the same thing. His gift to this day is being able to help a parish get back in the Black. A lot… Run in the red,  especially older parishes, where names and people are established, and you better scratch their backs or else. Father Padre did EVERYTHING to not close the school, but the parish had spent recklessly. Father Padre did everything he could to try to unify the various factions in the parish, because years later (to this day) they would begin to quarrel, and rip things apart. Father Finisher is there now.. and honestly, he will probably close that parish in another year..alas I digress.

A Couple years later.. I would run into Father padre – He Looked Older.. Older beyond his age.. Tired. He was a priest in residency, a fall from being a Pastor.. and being up for Vicar of the Dean. I talked to him before mass.. exchanged pleasantries.

Mass occurred. I paid attention to how he celebrated.. What I saw up there was Christ. Here was a man I could tell had finally united with the Cross… because he sure as hell knew his Calvary. He knew.. by virtue of how a bunch of self important jackwagons treated him…what Christ felt like on that hill. I saw an earned Holiness.. and a wonderful Pastor.. who in the end.. truly cared about his work, and was deeply in love still, with his God, and his church. I was humbled.. I was ashamed.. I almost cried. I had like so many other people, unjustly accused this priest, but where they had simply retaliated to hide their own deviance.. My sin was greater. I had Judged him before I even knew him.  However, my joy came knowing that God had taken the care to teach me that day, and I am better for it.

I tell this story, because often people leave the church over the “bad Priests” .. or they leave the Church over the  “Uppity Priests”.. or they leave the church because Father (insert name here)was a meanie.. and was just trying to be a bully.

We need to know for every Father Ne’er do well.. Father Personality etc, there is a Father Padre.. and we dont know the real battle he is fighting with his Parish.. His boss the Bishop, or even with his own demons. They are men like us, and have our failings, our doubts.. and our need to Love God. Those men are the real heroes of the church, the ones on the front lines. Often,.. the “real story” is never told, because we have become a people governed by a populous narrative. Often we forget that the Parish Priest.. is literally one of the hardest working people in the Church.. Probably second to the Holy Spirit in effort.

They Need our Support, They need our Encouragement, and MORE than anything, they need our Prayers.

So the next time you doubt your Pastor, prayerfully discern it, and while you are doing that, Pray for him as well. You never know the living hell he might be going through.

St John Vianney, Intercede for our Parish Priests!

Rejoice, Oh unwedded bride!

O Virgin Pure

Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)
Refrain: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and purer than the sun’s light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav’nly armies.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon’rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flow’r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Thoughts on going through Hell to Bring about Heaven.

Matthew 26:38-40New International Version (NIV)

mysteries_agonia38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.

 

Ive always loved this scripture. It really shows how.. just like us.. our Lord had doubts..and was scared of the future. It certainly has a climactic finish in “Jesus Christ Superstar” .  Its even rumored, Jesus sweat blood..as he was so overwhelmed with the weight of our Sins.. Past, Present, Future. This story right here, reminds me more then anything, how like us in every way but sin Jesus was. In a weird way its reassuring. I’m not alone in my anguish, I’m not alone.

We often have to take a cup and drink what we don’t want in life. Sometimes we can totally be in the right.. but the world will tell us we are wrong. I think at times like that, we need to remember more and more, that God loves us so much that he came in a way that sympathizes with us, and, in the end, our tribulation is necessary, just like His, so that we can transcend this state, and be refined.

Keeping Mark Shea of http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/  In my Thoughts.

Brother.. Not all of us agree all the time, but faithfulness doesnt require Popular validation. Our Validation comes way down the road.

 

Short, Sweet, To the point.

Psalm 86 – Very much on my mind

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Psalm 86 1-7:

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Very much on my mind – Im Going through a big step of completion tomorrow – I could use prayer and thoughts. Moving Forward. Definitely, the enemy is doing a number to try to convict me tonight. He is full of lies and deceit.

Weak Kneed Christians – Where in I rant.

3895755506_259d7c055dFirst off, Id like to give fair warning. I believe some of the words I am about to say will be convicting to the point of angering some of my Brother Christians. Second.. I realize I am as flawed..if not more as the next man.. so I dont approach this from an aire of perfection. At all.

So, the back story  – Recently there was a meme and others,  taking a jab at Ken Ham. It pointed out that, with the money he spent on this replica, he could have essentially bought housing and a meal for the homeless in Kentucky.gqJWzg9

I shared this to my wall (I have since taken it down), as I thought the concept was challenging.  However, instead of getting the spirit of it, and engaging in some self reflection as Christians, people have been up in arms over it. “How dare we challenge his attempt to evangelize, or his capacity for love? “, those were statements thrown around.

One of my more learned friends, a wonderful Dominican Friar priest, pointed out our Lord, rebuked the disciples who tried to stop Mary Magdalene from using oil on him, because to quote our Lord “There will be poor always, but you will not always have me”. My retort was, our Lord realized that Mary was doing something practical. Jesus knew he was about to die. Myrr he was anointed with was a foreshadowing of the grave.  Alas, the good Father and I disagree,  and I have to respect his opinion, as it was articulate, and certainly him being a Dominican, dwarfs me intellectually.

However, that was when some took it personal.  I was asinine (quoted), for challenging both his evangelization effort ( Of having an Ark Museum), and pointing out that his capacity for love was low (I compared the effort to the “Clanging Cymbal” St Paul mentioned).

I tried in earnest, to point out, that given the fact Mr Ham, is an avid Creationist, and is well-known for it, that he does our unified movement no service, given that we all get to be lumped in with a kook.  Scripture scholars have always maintained that the 1st and Second Creation Stories, and the Ark, are not to be taken 100 percent literally, but instead are inspired stories meant to teach  (Look up the word “Elohist”…  They wrote genesis…I digress)

First of all, the bigger issue  – You want to evangelize, FINE do it right – Teach on the Cross, and WHERE our salvation comes from – The Ark was merely a precursor to Calvary.  All you are doing with an Ark Museum is opening a door.. that people can look in … but it’s still not them inside the house.

Calvary is the source of our salvation. NOT an Ark. If you leave out the Cross (as many TV Evangelicals DO).. you are teaching soft Christianity. You are trying to make people feel good. You are not gaining anything for the kingdom. Period.

Look at this  – THIS is our salvation.. Not a cross

forsaken

Second, and this is the Convicting part  – When did we as Christians become such pansies? Have you people even read any of the ecumenical Councils?  The LENGTHS the church fathers endured to ensure that the faith and teaching remained pure. There is even an account of St Nicholas (where we get santa from) Punching Arius in the Jaw at a similar Biblical interpretation gaff. He went to jail, only to be released and exhonorated once the rest of the Bishops came back to their good senses.

The only person who will keep our house clean as Christians is US. We have a duty to challenge each other (in charity..and always with Charity), in order to hold ourselves accountable. Do you think the Master will go any easier on you?

This past week My Pastor’s homily mentioned the Good and Faithful Servants.. and the Wicked servants – Which one will you be?  The ones who Buried their Talents..  (equivalent to ignoring error when it is there..) or will we cultivate and work those talents? It’s up to us. The Message we teach, has to be challenging, and not simply self-serving.. else we are simply burying the talents.

Look, I’m probably one of the most flawed people around. I have my sin just like anyone else. At the same time, I also find it disturbing that we as Christians, don’t keep our own house better. It makes it that much more difficult for those inside to maintain a good path.

Do I think Mr Ham, meant well? God only knows (I mean no pun or hyperbole there) – However… at the same time, if we are going to allow at best… erratic thinking such as Creationism to have a stage, and at worse, never condemn the WestBoros.. or the Abusive backwoods Christian faiths that are out there (and also in heresy… think Early Pentecostalism, Oneness.. Snake Charmers.. etc), or the Mega Churches that simply profit off of people’s spiritual greenness.. Then we have NO BUSINESS criticizing other faiths for their lack of effort in that regard.   In the end we look non intellectual. We look inarticulate. We look stupid. We will have to answer for our spiritual cowardice.

I know this comes off like a rant. It partially is , but I sincerely direct it out of love. Our Lord, in his trial, didn’t say much, except what he needed to say. He didn’t hold back, one bit though. We should follow that example.  Even Peter and Paul Rebuked each other on more than one occasion.

They’ll know we are Christians by how much we LOVE. Not by the buildings we create or how many salvations we can count on some website.