Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I love when Father Bob Lowrey celebrates Mass because I forget who he is when he does so

Sounds nuts? Think again.

Father Bob Lowrey, OMV, a priest at Saint Francis Chapel in Boston, hasn't celebrated Mass for quite a while, except as a concelebrant.

But he's beginning to do so again (and would no doubt chastise me soundly for even blogging about this but I have a feeling he'll never see it so I feel pretty safe) and this is unquestionable evidence -- as if we need it -- of God's love for His Church.

He is, to my mind, the perfect example of how priests should celebrate Mass while facing the congregation. I wish I could videotape him. Were I able to do so, I would beg the Pope to make the tape required viewing, a zillion times over, for every priest and seminarian.

How is this so?

For one thing, there's no "hi, how are ya" or "hey, have a great day" at either the beginning or end of the Holy Sacrifice. Father Bob epitomizes
Father's Z's often quoted "read the black, do the red." I presume, for physical reasons, Father Bob doesn't give homilies anymore. Which, in a way, is too bad, because I remember vividly his ability to break open the Scriptures...stunningly.

But, in another way, it really doesn't matter.

Father Bob, with his impeccable determination to, like Saint John the Baptist, "decrease as the Lord increases," doesn't need words to preach the Gospel. His actions...or perhaps his inactions (he does nothing that isn't necessary to celebrate what is the most beautiful gift God has given us...the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) really do speak far louder than words.

In Persona Christi

I've known Father Bob for many years. I'd like to think we are friends. To converse with him is a joy. But when he's behind the altar at Mass, I forget all that. All I can concentrate on is the Blessed Trinity...and on the Sacrifice of Jesus taking place, right then and right now. The Lord has given us many gifts...not the least of which is Father Robert Lowrey, OMV.

And if anybody tells him I've blogged about him...I'll get even with you! :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Archbishop Dolan really DID trump "60 Minutes"

I just watched an interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan by Morely Safer. I didn't really want to see it...call it a mood thing...but my husband thought it'd be interesting to me, so I did.

Sheesh, the Archbishop lovingly creamed Mr. Safer! When I grow up, I'd like to be like His Excellency. Affable, loving, and as strong as spun silver, Archbishop Dolan pulled absolutely no punches and captured the show for Catholicism...and for Christ.

I didn't realize it was a rerun, and planned to blog more about it, but hey, why should I when the able Tom Crowe did it 153 days ago! Read his post. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A dark night of the soul...why me? Why *not* me?

Our wise old Church has discovered that if you will act as if you believed belief will be granted to you; if you pray with doubt, but pray with sincerity, your doubt will be dispelled; if you will surrender yourself to the beautify of that liturgy the power of which over the human spirit has been proved by the experience of the ages, peace will descend upon you.

--Father Ensheim to Larry in The Razor's Edge, a novel by W. Somerset Maugham

Good writer, Maugham. I've read this book several times, and some of his short stories -- Miss Thompson comes to mind -- but don't know much about him and don't really care to at this point so if you'd refrain from commenting about him I'd appreciate it.

I'd rather believe his words, given to the fictional Father Ensheim to the equally fictitious Larry Darnell, were somehow inspired by God...Who seems, for the moment, to have forsaken me.

Yes, indeed. Of all people, Kelly Thatcher, aka Patricia Lynn Marie Kelly Clark Thatcher, is...doubting.

I don't want to doubt. I love my God...who seems to have left me alone. Temporarily, one hopes. The only times, lately (and let's not get all dramatic about this...it's only happened within the past few days...or has it been months, sporadically spaced?) I've found solace is when I'm in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and guess what? My life choices have made 24/7 Presence not exactly possible.

So. I'm doubting. I'm praying. And oddly enough, I believe my prayers are heard. Mary, for example, seems to understand. But God? My Father? My Abba? Where is He?

Where the bleep ARE You?

It's funny, really. And I mean funny, in a humorous way. Dark humor, no doubt, but still...wasn't it just last Sunday night that I pondered, with the help of the Pope's book Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, Jesus crying out the words of Psalm 22? And smugly, if it must be confessed, completely understanding the fact that this most lovable, most adorable, God-made-Man was taking on Himself all of my fears, all of Israel's fears...all of my sins.

I have committed so many sins. Only a God could withstand them all.

Yes, I know that to deny God's merciful love is the greatest sin of all. Yet knowing that, how easy it is to fall into this denial.

I'm hanging on by my fingernails to prevent this fall. Intellectually, I know that God my Father knows this. 'Course, intellectually, I know that E=MC squared but am at a loss to explain it. Or to understand it.

I really don't like this.

Yet, what is my loneliness to compare with that of Jesus on the Cross? Nothing, I know that. Am I wallowing in self-pity? Indeed, I believe I am.

Yes, yes, I know about Mother Teresa, John of the Cross, all of them.

To put it bluntly: what have they to do with me? I'm no saint. I'm not a missionary, a thinker, a doctor of the Church.

But DAMMIT, I AM a child of God! Even I, like the Canaanite woman and her daughter, get, like the dogs, the scraps from the table of the saints. Or should.

Well, this selfish tirade (only it's not really a tirade...I'm too weary for that just now) has certainly gone on long enough. I plan to post this silly--very silly--blog, share it, perhaps...and hope.

And pray. With sincerity. As if I believe my doubt will be dispelled.

Friday, August 05, 2011

What Messiah are *we* waiting for?

The Jews, in Jesus' time, are and have been and no doubt will be criticized—and perhaps rightly so—for expecting a Messiah who would (a) expunge the enemies of the chosen people and (b) elevate Us Good Guys.

"My kingdom is not of this world," Our Lord said, countless times. We get it.

But do we?

I don't know about you, but I often do NOT get it.

And you know...I'm not sure even the most devout Christians get it.

I've been—what? Guilty? Whatever—of "piously" echoing the prophet's plea: "How long, O Lord?!?" when facing what I deem to be evil.

But "how long" for what? Do I anticipate eagerly the Second Coming of Christ in order to Banish All Those Evil People?

If so, I am not getting it.

After the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, he was given the "keys to the Kingdom." Yet, moments later, while rebuking his Messiah for His determination to face the Cross, he was rebuked himself..."Get thee behind me, Satan!"

Maybe it's just me, and I pray that it is, but from what I hear and read from truly devout Christians? I doubt it. I think that sometimes we're like Mrs. Zebedee...asking, goaded on my our all too human perspective of creation, that our families, our friends, be given positions of "power" when the "Kingdom finally comes." And to hell with the rest of those nasty folk: the anti-Christians, the "cafeteria Catholics," the abortionists, and all those other sinners.

And that's all wrong.

First of all, the Kingdom is already here. Jesus proclaimed it. Second of all, it's "not of this world!"

So all of our lamentations, our grievances, our "hey, this is unfair" complaints? They're about as silly as those folks in the desert complaining about the taste of the manna.

The answer is Love.

No, I'm not talking about a Beatles song, or about ignoring evil. But what I've come to realize is quite simple: Jesus is Love, and as Love, is concerned with all of us...even, no actually especially, those people we humans, sometimes, long to see expunged.

Can we, do you think, take a furlough from our lofty seat of judgment? For example, can we, instead of writing frantic letters to the papal nuncio, take a moment to pray for the subjects of our letters (and, by the way, for the Nuncio as long as we're at it)? Can we quietly refrain from loudly announcing our intention to boycott thus and so retailer—yes, boycott it if we will, but quietly— and use the energy we would spent on organizing such a boycott to simply pray for the people we are boycotting? In other words, can we cut the crap about How Good We Are and spend some time praying for those who's actions offend our sensibilities?

We won't get much worldly notice for doing this.

But do we really give a bleep about "worldly notice?" What good, in the end, will that do us? His Kingdom is not of this world, after all.

How about us?