Tonight after all the hysteria in Missouri over the meteor strike, I decided to finish up the movie “Risen”. In it , a Roman tribune encounters the disciples and Christ himself after the Resurrection. He goes from disbelief, to belief.
It made me think..how amazing it must have been to see Jesus..in person. Sure, as a Catholic…I see him every time I receive communion, but to encounter him…in the flesh… to have put my hand in his side as Thomas did.
These men weren’t anything special. In fact, they were probably what we might consider hoosiers, rejects, undesirables. If we saw a Peter…or James today, we might ignore them walking down the street. Yet our Lord privileged them above all others in history. They knew him on a personal, intimate level. I am in awe when I consider this
More so..I am in awe of those Jesus healed. Lepers, the blind, demoniacs. If nothing else… that gives me hope. Those are REAL issues, and if he can heal those… how much of a swifter stroke is it to heal mine, or anyone’s soul.
“Now Master, you can let your servant go in peace, for I have seen your salvation” – Simeon
They shall see the Lord face to face and bear his name on their foreheads. The night shall be no more. They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.
One day all this stupidity will end
One day we won’t have to wait for orthodoxy to return…
One day man won’t kill man…woman won’t kill their own.
One day we won’t have to deal with this vale of tears.
Or St John’s revelation isn’t something to fear or frett over. Rather… It proclaims one simple truth. In the end… God wins…and all will be as it should be again
This week , I have noticed a few items that I wanted to chat a bit about. The Catholicsphere has been crazy over a couple items
The first item was Amazon, released a new commercial in which the in the background is playing the Ave Maria. Chaos is ensuing and a mother is desperately trying to keep order. Dad, is in the other room with his noise canceling headphones, that he just happened to get from Prime. You can see it here
The Catholic world has been losing their minds over this. How could we take a time honored prayer to Our Lady and commercialize it so much! What Scandal! What Heresy!
What pompous arrogance and ignorance honestly. Yes, the text of the Prayer to Mary, is overlayed – On something that originally WAS NOT a prayer, but written for something else
“The piece was composed as a setting of a song (verse XXIX from Canto Three) from Walter Scott‘s popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, in a German translation by Adam Storck [de] (1780–1822), and thus forms part of Schubert’s Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See. In Scott’s poem the character Ellen Douglas, the Lady of the Lake (Loch Katrine in the Scottish Highlands), has gone with her exiled father to stay in the Goblin’s cave as he has declined to join their previous host, Roderick Dhu, in rebellion against King James. Roderick Dhu, the chieftain of Clan Alpine, sets off up the mountain with his warriors, but lingers and hears the distant sound of the harpist Allan-bane, accompanying Ellen who sings a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary, calling upon her for help. Roderick Dhu pauses, then goes on to battle.
Schubert’s arrangement is said to have first been performed at the castle of Countess Sophie Weissenwolff in the little Austrian town of Steyregg and dedicated to her, which led to her becoming known as “the lady of the lake” herself.
The opening words and refrain of Ellen’s song, namely “Ave Maria” (Latin for “Hail Mary”), may have led to the idea of adapting Schubert’s melody as a setting for the full text of the traditional Roman Catholic prayer “Ave Maria“. The Latin version of the “Ave Maria” is now so frequently used with Schubert’s melody that it has led to the misconception that he originally wrote the melody as a setting for the “Ave Maria”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ave_Maria_(Schubert)
SO looking at the article from Wikipedia (and honestly…reading history) – We really have nothing to be that angry about. Yet we Roman Catholics at times seem to let our Righteous Indignation, get the best of us. Honestly, if we get past our false insecurities for one moment, we can realize two important things. One… clearly Amazon is noting more the calming nature of the Schubert piece (which often is used at Funderals as a piece of comfort..I reference singing it at my Grandfathers funeral for that very reason, I digress)
The Second outrage..was the Holy Father – Disclaimer.. I am NO FAN of Pope Francis. I find his approach very confusing.. and lacking of leadership. Further disclaimer..Im a layman. Not a Priest..or Deacon.. Just a normal guy. So my opinion should be taken as such (And possibly carries its own unique weight, again I digress)
I have quite honestly watched my Traditional friends lose their minds this week. How could he criticize orthodox catholics. Damnit..we keep this ship afloat right now with Frank at the helm!
Well.. as much as I hate to say it.. I actually agree with the Holy Father for once. The biggest challenge to a restoration of tradition is not the Lavender Mafia, Its not the liberal bishops.. or the rogue priests, or the Holy Father. Our biggest challenge is other traditionalists.
Instead of with humility leading by example, we get offended at every little thing! Its pretty ridiculous to watch at times. We have a treasure beyond treasures with the liberation of the so called “Old Mass”…and we spend our efforts getting made and honestly proving “Frank” right.
Again…Im the last person to defend this pope… that said…right is right in this case. We waste energy on songs and off the cuff remarks, where in reality… those are actually very minor things. Our biggest struggle right now is catechism and liturgy. The Pope (whomever he is at a time) is a VERY small piece to that.
At the end of the day, our energies are better used on other more pressing items. If we dont wise up….and start showing WHY… people wont care about the what.
“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Ezekiel 37 , 1-3
Today I finished Gateway Cup , “St Louis’s premiere Cycling event”. It takes place over Labor day weekend, and is featured in 4 iconic St Louis Neighborhoods, Lafayette Park, Francis Park (ni St, its named after a wierd dude with MR Peanut cane…not the Seraphic Minstrel of old, ) The Hill (The hub of Italian Neighbors in St Louis originally), and Benton Park, which sits in the shadow of Anheiser Busch (and the Cathedral of South St Louis, St Francis De Sales).
The final stage takes place in Benton. A lot of this neighborhood was originally Bavarian immigrants. There are other notable parishes besides SFDS (which is still a notable church, in that it is the center of so called”Traditional Worship” for the Roman Rite in St Louis, I digress)
For instance, St Agnes was the Parish of the Buschs and Lemps, and sits direct in the shadow of AB. Its been closed for some time now, However, it originally hosted a TLM community, one that introduced me to the TLM in my late teens. This parish like so many others was built out of pure love, and quite literally, with nickles and dimes, which very often was all the poor working class could afford
Down the road, we can find St Agatha the official “Polish Parish” of St Louis, after the once great St Stanislaus was sadly lost to an Apostate Priest and Board.
Still down the road, we find the quaint St Michaels Orthodox Church, once a Russian Orthodox Church, now of Serbian Orthodox affiliation (and, the parish of an Uncle that converted to orthodoxy, Bruno, I digress again)
Still there are countless other churches in the area. Many are closed and repurposed, often as homes or schools. I bring all of these to mind, because they very much remind me of the “dry bones” verse in Ezekiel. Once just like the Dry bones Ezekiel of old encountered, these folks, though hard workers who often had a very limited future, had one thing in common, one thing that kept them going. A devotion to their God, one that was manifest in the beautiful Churches our city, and many others are privy to. Many don’t understand that historical aspect, because frankly its been lost to time, and the people who have replaced it have swarmed the area both with struggle and deviance. Its a shadow of what it once was, despite often wealthier people moving in.
Yes, just like the dry bones, often those of us who are weary, find ourselves standing at a valley of death…praying for the day the dry bones might become warriors of God again. I find myself depressed in the fact of acknowledging how far things have fallen, especially in the municipal centers. Where as St Louis isn’t as malevolent in morals as say, a New York, its a very small nudge to go from where we are, to where they are.
However, the dry bones aren’t just those who seemingly are unwilling to change. Its you , me, and everyone who isnt courageous enough to stand up in the face of the evil which has corrupted our world, and that begins down the street. No, we shouldn’t be all crusader and leading the charge. There are little things we can do, examples of things we can do.
I really think this is why areas like the City have so much sadness, and struggle. Many people will blame it on one class, race, or creed abandoning a geographical region for another, but it comes down to realizing the foothold the Enemy gained… and knocked us out with a one two punch. There is a reason why the few churches that are left are flourishing – Its because Lucifer cannot get a foothold in there, and God’s grace abounds.
Make no mistake, these places are sick, and suffering. There can be no revival of the city, with out a revival of the Faith in almighty God that originally emboldened those folks who built it.
However, we Catholics are guilty of leaving our faith with the Chalice or Ciborium. We are so worried about being a contradiction, when the very nature of our faith, our walk, is a contradiction to the world itself. We have become so legalistic in our approach to sin and malice, that we have stopped meeting the Sinner where they are (and make no mistake, this is self reflection as well… Im the greatest of sinners I know). I know with myself, I struggle with even meeting myself at the door, and instead I write off myself as worthless to Him who put so much value in me
Right now, Im listening to “Oh my Soul”.. by Casting Crowns. The End of the refrain is “You’re not alone”. The first time I heard it…I cried like a baby. I still do. But the message is clear. NONE Of us are alone “There’s a place where fear, has to face the God you know”. Powerful. All of the time, sin and suffering are birthed in fear. That fear is rooted in listening to the false message that we arent valued, that we arent loved. If we dont believe we are valued or loved, then its easy to cast aside the 7th of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Reverence, or in more Antiquity “Fear of the Lord”… which doesnt mean God is something to be afraid of, but respected, both because of His power, but also, more importantly, his love and mercy.
Those are absolutely the most difficult concepts for even a person like me to grasp…mostly because my religious education, and scholastics, end up becoming a slap in the face. Again, that legalism will tell me, no, there is no point. Much like our church has often indirectly declared with her attitude toward the poor and suffering, while replacing it with a false sense of mercy for the “pop” causes of our times. Instead of dealing with the suffering that’s in our back yard, we write those poor souls off, because they absolutely convict us. Its a lot easier for our Bishops conference to make pontificating statements about immigrants a thousand miles away. Because just like me, the equation balances to them…because they ignore the stranger at their door, looking far off into the distance.
Fear of the Lord, is realizing that power, and that power first and foremost is trans-formative. Not just for ourselves, but the whole world. That begins with us, not writing people off as beyond help, but quite literally “Hate the Sin and Loving the Sinner”. The blight that’s in our Cities can be cured, and it begins with losing our pride, and embracing the humility that says, I dont have a damn clue what I am supposed to do with this mess… but HE does. The God of Miracles, of Wonders, of Mercies. He can fix this, and we as his instruments, and submitting to that power, can make it happen
Tomorrow I start a new company. After 2 years at a very demanding company, I am moving on. Whether or not the new place will be as demanding or less (or maybe even more) is undetermined.
Those who are close to me, know my life has been pretty , shall we say, dynamic over the past 10 years. That said, I definitely have a Morpheus or Qui Gon jinn approach to life, in that, everything happens as it has..and as it should. Thats not to say its a belief in pre-destination. Rather, its a fundamental understanding of the role of faith. Having faith isnt the same as having favor or having it right. It simply means… I DONT KNOW – for an engineer (of anything ), that’s a hard statement to make. I make a career out of I KNOW THIS, or I understand that. I can honestly say though, I have ZERO clue where my next step on a personal level is
What I do know, is that not only do I not know what will happen, but I do know, its not in my control, at all. What I know though is I have a God… who loves me beyond measure, and ultimately… He IS . That means he controls, everything. If we understood the WHY , we would have no need of a God..and there would be no God. A lot of people think they understand the why, but in reality, its all a beautiful lie. The one truth in life is that we don’t know – and that’s OK. Because HE knows, and believing in Him means that I know that not for but the grace of God I go.
I wish I would have lived in a time where I could have known Merton on a more personal level. He’s the ultimate mystic of our time, in that he thought and believed on a level few people will ever attain, some might even call it enlightenment. What ever it is, I think we can agree, its best embodied in his writings, and especially his faith based efforts, such as his prayer below. If there was one prayer that I think was tailored for a person like me, its that below
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.