Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thank God for Errands and Ordinary Time

The news hit hard this week.  Fortunately, as much as my brain wanted to sit with the stories and consume article after article, sifting through the various perspectives to discern what's what, school starts tomorrow, and we still need hair cuts, lunch boxes, to put finishing touches on projects, and all the ordinary things of every day like laundry and oil changes and dinner.

Saints understood that even in the midst of crisis, the ordinary needed tending. By responding to the ordinary with grace, those ordinary moments became sanctified. Love will keep us sane.  It preserved the martyrs of the church as they went to their death. It preserved Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) such that she could step onto the cattle car train to Auschwitz and allowed Blessed Mother Teresa to carry on her work with the sick and the dying.   We the faithful know this to be true from Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Lisieux.

"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love."  Doing little things with great love, allow us to do greater things with even greater love. 

Right now, the internet and the world needs a lot of little things, like little words, little smiles, little gestures, little helps. Why?  Because only by beginning to work at the little acts of kindness, can we begin to repair the aches and wounds of the world.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

1,300 Embraced Splinters

Over and over again, in everyday stuff and online, I find faces of despair.  People have much to be angry over, and they're hurt they have to wrestle with this pain when there's so much that needs tending too.  This great mess called life keeps getting somehow messier, and it's frustrating to people of good conscience, of good will, of good faith, to find themselves overwhelmed with the levels of stupidity, cruelty, indifference, clericalism, protectionism and self-indulgence and self delusion we're bombarded with on a daily basis. 

In the Church, people are taking their children from schools, and themselves from the pews, because the leaders/princes of the Church have shown themselves to be poor shepherds in one of the most primary of roles, and as such, it is legitimate to question, how good they are at shepherding in any of their other functions.  It seems, to the laity, the leadership of the Catholic Church does not yet grasp in its totality, how much damage they've created by their slow plodding approach to things in this situation. 

I'm reminded of this scene.

The faithful are the hasty hobbits.  They've said they'll address this in November.  It' rather like Treebeard's telling Merry, "We've just finished saying Good Morning." and Merry's terse response, "But it's nighttime already! You can't take forever." 

Elizabeth Scalia says as much in her very fine article here.  I second all she recommends.

People do feel put upon by the public calls for prayers and fasting when it does not seem those who perpetuated or aided and abetted or ignored these crimes/sins are doing much at all other than publicly wringing their hands.  However, what we are asked to do is still of great merit, not merely for their souls, but for our own. 

I would love for Bishop after Bishop, even those who are good ones, to say, I renounce, I resign, I will serve at the lowest position, and for them to do it.  We need to see something from the Bishops akin to this: 

Even if they've earned a spot on the team by their efforts, talents and service.   

They know the ways of the saints.  Saint Maximilian Kolbe said "Take me instead."  in the concentration camps.  If he could surrender a place of no comfort for a place of certain death for love of Christ, for love of the other, a father who cried out, how is it no bishops, no cardinals feel this same push of the Holy Spirit?  If they cannot see it, then what about us who can?

Well, if they don't, then, we who feel the pain of the fathers and mothers over their crushed children, and of the children who were so violated, we must say, "Take me instead." and that's why it's not wrong for the laity to pray and fast and offer penance.   We need to take on something, something which will cost us, something public and I do not know what it is, but since we see the pain, and we know the depth of it, it's not enough to howl "Do something."  If they don't get it, then it must be us who act. 

I go back to the report, there are over 1,000 victims.  There are over 300 priests.  So there should be a 1,300 day penance, if only to give some hint of action on the part of the laity and yes, we will do penance for the guilty, and penance in reparation for the damage done to the innocent. 

Yes.  But what do we do?   

1) Begin.  Write on your calendar today, Victim 1.  Writing it down, since we don't have the names, is a way of beginning.  
2) Offer a sacrifice of today, of something today for victim 1.   
3) Tomorrow, begin again, for victim 2. 
4) If you forget, begin again anyway. 
5) If you mess up, offer your foolish forgetfulness. 
6) Keep at it.  

For those who question, what good does sacrificial offerings do to the sufferings of the past, or of today, for the victims of the sufferings? 

Answer, more than we can understand. 
1) It acknowledges the reality of the injury done (something kept hidden for far too long).  
2) Spiritually, you become united with Christ by your sacrifice/atonement.  Christ suffered and died for each of us, we're not even doing much more than offering a splinter, but we can unite with Christ with that splinter.   
3) It might prompt you individually to more, because the Holy Spirit always starts with mustard seeds. 

The number of victims posted would take from today to Friday, May 21, 2021.  May 21st is a feast day in the Catholic Church, the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, instituted this year by Pope Francis. I didn't know that until I googled it, it seems providential, to pray for each of these little ones harmed by the church, to the Mother who birthed Christ, who loves the Church as none of us do, and who wants all of us home at the altar.   

7) When you get to day 1000, begin work on the alms giving and prayers for those who did or hid these acts.   Here, 
8) Give something away each day for 300 days. It can be time, it can be things, it can be money, but surrender something.   
9) Why?  

          a) Because these acts occurred over time, and so time is something that must be given in response. 

          b) Because the only way we won't be driven from the life of the Church even as we cling to the faith of it, is by willful obedience, and this is a discipline which will allow us to lead by example. 

          c) Because these priests, who did these things, they also held the Eucharist, they were consecrated to Our Lord, and God does not want any of his sheep lost, and they were/are lost.  We must be like the good shepherds to these lost shepherds with our prayers.  The prayers will not be wasted, (but I did put them after the victims because yes, I'm still annoyed and flawed and know we all need time to beat that down. Our prayers will be like the Lord's invitation to their souls, to respond to the feast.  We cannot save them, but we can participate in their salvation by our prayers.   We can imitate Christ's mercy on the cross which came before anyone asked or acknowledged what they'd done.   

It won't be a Year of Mercy or a Year of Humility, because it will take three years, six months and three weeks plus a day to embrace the  1,300 splinters, by the people of the Church for the Church, out of love of Christ, and all those injured by this grievous wound, this great thorn.. 

That day will be March 17, 2022, the feast of Saint Patrick's, and a feast day marking the chasing out of the snakes from Ireland. I didn't know that either when I googled it.  So to me, feasting for the victims with the promise of Mary whose foot crushes the serpent, and with Saint Patrick, who chases the snakes away, is the proper response.  For me, it is too wonderful and too perfect a timing not to begin.

So let us begin.  

Thursday, August 23, 2018

It's Thursday...

And I forgot to write a Small Success Thursday this week so there is no linky-love to this week.  We did launch three kids to Graduate School, College One and College 2 this week, so there's that, but we didn't get to writing about it. 

I do have a column over at the National Catholic Register if you'd like to take a look-see.  Thanks as always for stopping by, and see you next Thursday for Small Success Thursday. 

Here's the Link: Reflections on What Chastity Means and What it Doesn't, and What it Demands.  I admit, I wish I'd written a little more, it feels like there's so much more to discuss than what can be crammed into less than 800 words. 

Ugly Questions Unanswered

The deeper one reads, the harder it gets.

 There have been some who sought to soften the impact or influence of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, by disputing whether rape took place, pointing out media bias, and blasting the fact that this report includes some material inadmissible in court, and without the opportunity of those accused within the report, to dispute it.   However, the sheer weight and cost to the lives of those who testified, and those who testify by their deaths, cannot be sponged away. 

The Catholic Church and her princes are supposed to stand for something better, bigger, more universal.  That so many have been found, that there are so many hidden reports, memos, documents revealing this problem, indicates somehow, those in power felt comfortable with how things were. They could live with themselves and with others, content to justify continuing as is. 

I can't.

Here are the hard questions already formed. I know there are more.  

Why were virtually none of these incidents reported to the police? 

Why were none of these cases and reports investigated beyond the initial moment? 

Why did the process of dealing with complaints become merely a filing procedure?  Not just when first reported by also later *After 2002.

Who saw the notes? 

Who decided to do nothing or to stop investigating at some point and why? 

Who filed the notes away?  Who knew where the notes were? 

Even when cases were investigated, and checks written because of prosecution, did no one within the diocese stop to wonder, if there were others that might be doing the same sort of damage?

Personal note: It is right and just when an injury is done, for the person/institution causing the injury to make restitution. 

However, where did the money come from to pay for counseling, to cover the checks written to victims?  Someone signed off on those checks, so someone knew. 

Those putting into the collection basket each week, did not.  Catholic laity gave in good faith, and would pay for those injured, but we ought to not have continued to support those who broke the faith, those who did the injury, those who perpetuated the silence and the crimes/sins, and who proved themselves over and over and over again, to be unable to restrain themselves from one of the most basic and fundamental acts of abuse/evil known to the Christian and Non-Christian world alike. 

No matter who you are, you do not harm the innocent.   The innocent were harmed.  Their childhoods were aborted, sometimes leading to self-destructive behavior like drug and alcohol abuse and lives of destitution or death. While the victims suffered the aftershocks of the injury, the perpetrators collected pensions, monthly stipends, and treatment for their maladies.  

Our collective ignorance was an additional injury, because we merrily kept on giving and supporting those doing the harm, and thinking ourselves good for giving.   

In the report, why was a priest paid to maintain his silence? 

Why when the scandals broke in 2002, were these incidents not revealed?

Is it because none of us want to look? 

Is it because we naively hoped with policies in place, the problems revealed by the grand jury report, would go away? 

Did people know and just not tell? 

How do we make sure silence doesn’t cover injuries in the future? 

How can we trust the stewards of the Church, if they were unfaithful in large matters, vital matters, matters of the soul, how can we know if were they trustworthy in smaller ones? 

How can we know that those who don’t have these problems revealed by a grand jury, simply don’t have their problems revealed? 

What else is hidden? 

These are ugly questions, which if we’re serious about cleaning and clearing out the mess from our Church, we must ask them and answer them.

I don’t like ugly questions, because they usually involve ugly answers as well.  This report scourges the soul, because it reveals and reminds us, all of us, each of us, how capable we are of sin.   We willingly sin when we perpetuate it, deny it, when we fall asleep in its presence, when we think we can buy off our conscience with thirty pieces of silver, when we disbelieve its existence, or run away from it. 

For those who don't want to see, who don't want to believe, who don't want to know, I urge you, we must read it. We must embrace this cross, with all its ugliness, with all its splinters, with all its thorns, or we will find ourselves nailed to it by the world.   We must be willing to look and do a collective examination of conscience, if we are to do justice to the victims, and begin the process of being the Bride of Christ we’re called to be and save as many souls as possible.

Page 995.   Three-hundred sixty-one pages to go.  

Saturday, August 18, 2018

This week's link up

I forgot to link up to SST, in part because what's going on in the Church, and the ordinary stuff of real life, took over too much time to sit and write even a link in sentence.  Here's this week's offering, which I can't spend a lot of time on this morning because I have to take her to cross country practice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

We're Going to Have to Wrestle With This...

Lots of people say, "I'm spiritual, not religious." and it is because they fail to see the connection between the physical actions (in the sacraments and ceremony) and the deeper reality these physical signs, symbols, gestures and prayers, reveal.  Faith without works is dead, as Saint James said. In the case of the Pennsylvania report detailing accusations, assaults, actual documentations and testimony covering several decades, involving 300 priests and over 1,000 children, we have case after case after case, of works without faith. 

That seems like it might be an overstatement, but the business of the Church seemed to triumph over the spiritual reality of the Church. There will be some who read the report, and because many of these documented abuses took place decades ago, clamor for everyone to move on.   However, these sins, and they were sins, and these crimes, and they were crimes, demand we wrestle with the reality, we are never free from the temptation to cut ourselves off from God, even when where we work, what we do, and all that surrounds us, even the words we must say, call out to God.   We can have everything and forfeit it for a want we can't have.  We can be living out our vocation, and fail the moment things become difficult.  We can fail by looking away, by pretending whatever we see, isn't that bad, or by pretending what we do in this circumstance, doesn't matter. 

We're part of the defense against the Gates of Hell because we are the Church.  Ergo, we must not be asleep in our spiritual lives.  To have acted and preyed upon so many, (1000 known), spiritual deadness must have abounded.   By what we do and what we fail to do, we will find ourselves saying, "Lord, Lord! When did we see you suffering?" and find ourselves spit out for our lukewarmness.   There's a lot of millstones to go around, for neglect, for institutional protectionism, and for actual assaults and failure to report, and profound indifference to the subsequent suffering. 

The error for each of us, is to will only to move forward, as if we can somehow discard sin like a skin.  It's an error of worldly thinking to think we could ever purge sin from our hearts.  Only God's grace can burn away our hardness of hearts, and forge the soft points that should be steel.   We cannot ever taste even a little of sin, for it's like we're all alcoholics, it's just the flavor of the liquor we're debating.    

The whole of the Church will have to perform a penance.  I propose a Year of Humility, both public and private, where we pray, fast and do reparations and alms giving.  We offer masses and shun feasts other than the Eucharist. We hold confessions every Friday from sun-up to sun-down and try to have 24-7 adoration staffed so every parishioner, every family performs a holy hour during the year, as part of the whole Church response to storm Heaven begging for grace, for healing for the victims, and yes, even for the perpetrators.   

As an institution and organization, there's a desire to move on, but we need to wrestle with this pain and it's going to be messy. It's going to hurt.   To begin to heal, we must first allow ourselves to examine this wound and be willing to enter into it.   

The one comfort I can give, is our faith is not based on the faith lives of men but from Christ.  He's with us, he's on the cross for us.  He invites us to enter into his suffering for the Church and we should.  If you want to read what else I've written about this subject, it's over at the National Catholic Register: The Wake Up Call We Need, and if you have a suggestion for further discussion on this matter, leave it in the com box.  

The Grand Jury's report is here. Read it. Weep. Pray. Fast, and weep again.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Have a piece at Aleteia

Hey everyone, I have a piece over at Aleteia on Adoration.  I hope you enjoy it. 

August is my adoration month, where I try to go every day. I don't always make it, but I try.   For those unfamiliar with the practice, this piece might help introduce you to the way to enter into this form of prayer.   I'm hoping it makes it hard to find a seat at the local 24-7 chapel. 

How to Spend an Hour in Adoration.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Worth of It

How do you do it? 
Anywhere someone discovers we have ten kids, the question comes up.  I understand.  It's unusual. 

My flippant answer is "Some days, I don't." and that can mean house work, reading, exercise or getting a shower.   

I'm fairly certain the "it" they wonder about, is the work. It's true.  There's always more to do, and as far as I know, I've never been finished.    To do "it" would imply it got done.  My understanding of this life is, "it's never done, until we are," and so I'm not done with "it."  I don't spend a lot of time with angst over how to do it.  Angst doesn't help.

Some days I don't exercise. Some days I don't read. Some days I don't write. Some days, I don't get it all done, and some days, that doesn't bother me.  It isn't a celebration of sloth, it's a recognition, this won't all happen, it won't all be perfect, and it won't all get done no matter what I do.  So just do what you can, and tomorrow, do it again. 

 Instead, I spend a lot of time asking, "What's next?' 

Summer today ended without prior notice, as one child has practice every day at seven o'clock in the morning.   I shouldn't have asked.   Still, the how do you do it question isn't an expression of awe, but a question of where do you get the will? Because I get, parenting is an act of the will every day.

Today, in the kitchen, I discovered the remains of someone's cooking project, recycling which needed to be taken out, and that I forgot to start the dishwasher last night.  Upstairs in the hallway, is apparently the nesting grounds for all towels in the household, and a quick survey indicated I needed to bus the rooms for evening drink of water cups. 

The real question, "How do you do it?" was "How do you do it without losing your mind?" 
My joke felt a little sharper to me.  Maybe I wouldn't use that one anymore. 

Which is why the answer remains, some days, I don't because of whatever the what's next turns out to be.  I also spend time in my head telling myself, "Never ask that." 

Yesterday, I'd been at the park with the youngest four, listening to two different women.  Each spoke wistfully about only having two, and feeling trapped by economics, by decisions they'd made earlier, by life itself, into staying stuck with less than their hearts longed for.  They both drifted off from me in the park, but watched the interplay of theirs and my children with hungry eyes.  They each told me, they feared even as they wanted, "Just one more."

Having just met, I couldn't whisper to them, "It's worth it."  even with the towel marshaling grounds and filled trash bags, endless errands and paperwork and dishes though I did say, "You couldn't imagine how much you'd love your first, and then you thought your heart would burst with the second.  That same thing happens with every one of them." to one of the women.  I would have said more, but she ran off with her phone, though she told me, she was going to tell her husband that. 

I wanted explain somehow, that desire to love more, that's God talking to your soul, inviting you into the infinite unknown.  The "It" I don't do, but live with every day, is beyond my capacity to "do," because love is never finished.   It's just my will that doesn't always want to do much beyond bark at those I love, "Clean this mess up!"  Most of learning how to do "it" is learning to say yes when you are asked, to ignore your own desire to say, "No!" or bark.   It is climbing the stairs, fixing the lunch, taking the trip to the park, and making sure the meal has vegetables.   It is tying the shoes and finding matched socks.  It is never done because there's always need, there's always more.   Fortunately, love is infinite, so love also is always a reward if you let yourself surrender.  I also know, it isn't numbers, it's how you love, and one can be an infinite lover with one, like Mary, or a flawed lover of the infinite, like me. 

My twelve year old came into my room.  She asked me yesterday to climb the stairs to look at her room. I'd not found the time.  She came in, "Mom...I'm bored."  I reminded her I'd yet to see her room.  She lit up like a Christmas tree. "Hurry, come see it!" and I told her, she helped me finish this story.   The "it" involves a lot of sacrifice, sometimes just stopping what you want to do and climbing the stairs, but if you surrender, you discover a lot of joy you'd otherwise miss. 

We played a game of Extreme Twister afterwards, with five of my kids.  I won twice before retiring, with both a slight head rush from the blood and bragging rights.  I wanted to whisper to those two women's hearts, "It's worth it." 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Today, I'm at Aleteia

The goal for this year was to hit six pieces a month.  Last month fell short, and this month started slow.   However, today, I have a piece over at Aleteia.
I called it, "One Thousand Second Days" but that seems obscure if you don't already know what the piece is about so it's titled, "Seven Spiritual Lessons to Learn With Your Sneakers On.

For those interested, I've been working out with since July 4th, with twelve days where I didn't meet or exceed my step goal.   So of the thirty-five days since I started this thing, I made a solid effort on twenty-three of the days, with my longest streak of strong effort being 13 days long. Now on day 7 of my next string (hopefully) of two weeks of effort. 

P.S. If you share the piece, you can enter in a pilgrimage.  It also helps me so...thanks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Over at the Register today

What I wrote the other day, the National Catholic Register picked up for publication.  I'm very touched. 

On another note, I do want to remind everyone, you can watch Bishop Barron's series, Catholicism for free at the link embedded. It's a reminder to all of us, why we stay, because being Catholic is so much more than the exercises and prayers and obligations, it is all of that as manifestations of what we believe, and in who we believe, not the belief itself. 

Sometimes We All Need Reminders

Woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I'd somehow flunked a quiz.  Writing/publishing's been slow. Weight's remained steady despite exercise (Consistently) since July 4th.  In short, life felt rather like a dog day of summer.  I'd fallen asleep after rereading "A Horse and His Boy," by C.S. Lewis, and in that early hour of the morning, the chastening of Bree, the War Horse struck home.

Aslan appears.  "Now, Bree," he said, "you poor, proud, frightened Horse, draw near. Nearer still, my son.  Do not dare not to dare.  Touch me. Smell me. Here are my paws. Here is my tail. These are my whiskers.  I am a true Beast."

"Aslan," said Bree in a shaken voice, "I'm afraid I must be rather a fool."
"Happy the Horse who knows that while he is still young. Or the Human either."

Bree needed to learn what the hermit told him, but resisted until Aslan appeared.  "My good horse," said the Hermit, who approached them unnoticed because his bare feet made so little noise on that sweet, dewy grass. "My good Horse, you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must listen to sense. You're not quite the great horse you'd come to think."  I thought about my frustration with not getting published or the job I wanted, and the wise words of a friend, about being willing to trust the right position would be there, and not wanting to surrender that bit of the ego.  To which God simply asks, "Why not?"

Sometimes, my self worth gets tied up in my weight, my accomplishments, or even asserting having ten children.  None of these are in any way related to anything other than what I've done or not done.  They have only so much merit as facts about me, for the having and the doing and the weighing are not where the worth lies, however often I misjudge myself.

I thought of our kids.  I love our children not for their ability to run a 5K or grades or even their obedience (when it happens).  I love them because they are.  Just so, my husband loved me long before any of this part of our lives happened and I him, and my parents, before I could do squat.  Love doesn't require us to do, but to be.  God loves us and we can do quite literally nothing without Him, and nothing "for" Him, but to love Him back.  We can only respond to God's love with our own imitation of His generosity and selflessness, with all that we allow ourselves to surrender. 

This morning, in my Facebook feed, a friend posted a quote, "Be so good, they can't ignore you." by Steve Martin.  I thought about that quote and while it's true that one must persist and keep honing one's craft no matter what, it is a calling to be good so as to be noticed and I believed in that moment, that's exactly what in some cases (not always and not all), I'd done.   At which point, the words of the Hermit to Bree hit home once more, after acknowledging he's braver and cleverer than the non-talking horses he's lived with; "It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But, as long as you know you're nobody very special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse."  and Bree still struggles before making it to Narnia with whether horses who talk, do horsey things like roll in the grass.  For him, pride is a constant thorn, because he wants to be special and he's used to thinking of himself that way.   He's used to valuing himself for how he is viewed, and for what he's done.

He rolls in the grass before he gets there, just to make sure he gets one last chance to enjoy himself before getting to Narnia.  While C.S. Lewis doesn't mention it, as he's wrapping up the story, we can know, in Narnia, Bree probably rolled with abandon, because he's finally surrendered that self-conceit. 

I'd made my list of things to do for the day.  I added confession.  Why?  Because that's how I roll. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Reason to Stay

“Lord, to whom would we go?”  It is the reason I stay.  I've read enough of the reports and the findings to feel beyond sad.  I read it because it's important to know, even as it hurts.

If the Church were merely a worldly institution, a club with rules and regulations, I’d be demanding all the money I’ve given, all the time, all the work paid back with interest for the abject failure of so many over so many years, to recognize evil must be opposed.  I’d be screaming and suing to run the whole thing to the ground leaving not even dirt alone, for holding the laity to a standard they ignored themselves.  People who followed the church and gave willingly, lovingly, earnestly of their time and treasure, who obeyed the rules to the letter and beyond, if this were merely a worldly thing, are the greatest suckers in a sad long history of suckers.  

Except we know the Church is a hospital for sinners, we just didn’t know, or rather, we forgot, the assistants to the physician, they too are sick.  We are sick.  I am sick.  We are all sick.  I know I’m sick at heart, sick of trying, sick of hearing about reform, sick of hearing how good everyone normally is, because I don’t see it anymore.   I can’t trust what I see.   I can’t trust what I hear.  I can't trust what I read once.  I can’t trust what I used to know or rather, believe.   We need more than policy and procedure.  We need action, we need more than the usual, it’s just a few bad actors, and ordinary letters and interviews and tweets saying “we’re all saddened and angry.” 

No.  You are not yet.  You are no where near as sad or as angry as you need to be about this, because you still know, if we want the Eucharist, we can go no where else.  We’re stuck knowing the sacraments are here, knowing Jesus is here, and knowing, everything else is also still here.  

Howling at God seems stupid. Howling about how these people pretended they weren’t sinning, even as they created rules and rubrics and made us get finger printed and hear lessons about proper behavior, is infuriating.  We weren’t the source of the problem. I don't howl at God because I'm fairly certain God didn’t like this state of affairs either.  

However, you will hear me howl. “A Wizard should know better!”  Going to war seems like a viable option, even feeling as I do, like a very little hobbit with a very tiny rock.   I admit, I want to throw my rock.

This sin needs to stop.    The cleansing and clearing of the temple is a severe mercy, because it will require removing people from positions, even though they might be gifted at what they do.  A priest is first and foremost, a servant to God, and to the face of God in all others.  If the priests cannot serve without being slaves to grave sin, (either of omission or commission) they cannot stay.  They will have to walk a more humble path, stumbling with the rest of us, wanting always the Eucharist, and not always being able to partake.  God wants all of us in Heaven, but we cannot get there clinging to sins or pretending we don’t sin, or pretending the sins we commit aren’t serious.

We see from this horrid scandal, from this bitter fruit, how little some of the shepherds of our Church have valued this gift, or the dignity of others or themselves or the sacrifices good priests and good laity made in trying to live it.  This hurt hurts, because the Church isn’t just a club, it isn’t an organization of the world.  It is the Bride of Christ.  It is the Body of Christ, and we have wounded it grievously, by what we have done and what we have failed to do, and many will feel tempted to wound the Body of Christ still more, out of wrath, revenge, and a sense of righteousness.   We will be wrong because it will be very difficult not to get caught up in the dark joy of rage.   We won’t be able to stop, and we will hurt the Church and good servants within it in the process.  

So I’m putting down my rock, because I know I’m not without sin, because I must stay, and because throwing the rock would not remove one smidgen of the wrong, it would only add.   However the charge remains, the Church needs to act to make sure this does not continue, not one more day, not one more moment. This cannot continue.  I pray for some of my children to one day follow a calling from God, but now I have to fear, some predator will use the position of authority to abuse my child, now I have to wonder at every act of kindness, every connection and I resent the hell out of feeling I must exercise necessary wariness.  

Please, be priests of courage.  Please, even if you've stumbled up to now, because you are men who loved God, who still love God, who want to serve God, act now.  Root it out.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Small Success Thursday, maybe don't climb every mountain

Went on vacation this past week, so blogging has been lighter than usual.   However while on vacation, we hiked up a mountain.  The guide said the trail could be described as "Moderate."  Moderate sounds so reasonable.  Surely we who are not totally unfit can handle a "Moderate" trail.  Moderate sounds urbane, rational, modern, smooth. 

Moderate is a relative term. 

A 1.9 tenths of a mile trail all uphill, with the fording of a bog and a dried but muddy creek bed, scrabbling across rocks holding onto nearby saplings, I submit is not moderate unless your family tree includes antlers, or at the very least, hooves. 

Even the dog dutifully marching up the seemingly endless "stairs" looked more than happy to sit by a rock while the humans recovered.  Every person we met on the trail groused about how "moderate" the path seemed to be. 

At at least three points going up, each of us considered quitting.  We goaded each other on, saying, "We'd feel bad if we gave up." "We needed to prove we could."  and "We'd be disappointed."

Two and a half hours of sweat later, we arrived at the apex, and were told by a local attempting to craft actual stairs out of rock into the path, if we wanted a good view, we'd have to go another 300 yards.   We sat and ate our fruit and granola bars and nutella and rued we'd not brought more food.  The view of sitting seemed pretty magnificent to me.

The trek back took considerably less time, but introduced us to reverse muscle pain, as the hind muscles felt over taxed the same way brakes overheat when going down hill too much.   We'd been hiking a moderate trail for what ultimately turned out to be five hours.   Getting back to our cabin, we collapsed for what we'd hoped would be two, but turned out to be four hours.   I'd say we felt moderately tired, if moderate means what it meant when we experienced the moderate trail. 

After the nap/recovery, we joked, "It's a good thing we persisted, or we might feel bad."  and, "Wow, this hurts, but at least we're not disappointed with ourselves."  It hurt to laugh.  After considering, maybe every mountain doesn't need climbing and conquering, we declared ourselves wisened by experience and called it a day.

Happy Small Success Thursday.  Next week, I'm taking on molehills.  Much more manageable.

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