Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." - Flannery O'Connor

The little kids started fifth and sixth grade today, Mike started senior year today, Muff is all ready a week into her freshman year, Kato is at the plant, Mom is at the hospital and Dad is at his office. Heidi is snoozing by my chair and I am working at the kitchen table, preparing to finally finish my review, listening to Coldplay, talking to friends on gchat, answering Catholic Society e-mails (I am social chair; the picnic is coming up on Sept. 5th) and other miscellaneous activities.

This morning, I went to morning mass at my parish. I've been meaning to go every day I've been home, but it happens so early I usually sleep instead and wait to go to St. Gertrude's at 11:30 instead. Dad and Heidi woke me up though, so I decided to put aside more sleep for time with the Lord, which I wish I did more often. Unfortunately, one un-motivator for me is that I've been on the opinion for some time now that my parish priest tells some of the worst homilies. I find he makes weak points, preferring to tell stories or crack jokes instead of  talking directly to the parishioners. Now while I am not alone in this opinion, I also know many people (including my mother) who find them satisfying and sufficient.

After freshman year of college, when I truly started to embrace my faith, I started going to daily mass and confession at St. Gertrude's, which is my grandparent's parish about 15-20 minutes away, opposed to walking the block to my childhood parish, Christ the King. Now, as a brief disclaimer, there is nothing wrong with my parish; I just prefer St. Gertrude's, especially as it is run by Dominicans, who are so on fire and such a blessing to the Church.

While I was living in Old Town over the summer, I went to mass at this was a great parish called St. Mary's a few blocks away from the apartment. Before I left school, my advisor told me that Alexandria, VA is one of the most orthodox diocese in the country and how vocations there are growing rapidly. I could definitely see why; it was a fantastic parish: eucharistic adoration, multiple daily masses, community outreach, et al. 

They got a new priest one weekend, and I got to hear his first homily to the parish. He was an Italian from New Jersey and young (late 30s); he told us his story of how he was raised Catholic but fell away during college and for seven years he was a non-practicing Catholic. But his mother prayed for him and he eventually not only came back to the faith but became a priest. It was an amazing testimony to hear. One of the parts that hit close to home with me, though, was when he was discussing priests (this is the Year of the Priests in the Church) and his opinion that there are no bad homilies. Now, my first reaction was to say yes, yes indeed there are. He went on to say though, that every homily you hear, you were meant to hear. God wanted you to hear that particular homily for a reason and if you take nothing away from it, then you are closing your heart to God. Wow, I thought, that's definitely me. 

I've been making a concerted effort to do that, which was easy at St. Mary's and St. Gertrude's, but not so much at Christ the King My first Sunday back we had a guest priest who did a really excellent homily, but last Sunday and today at daily mass, Father just did not hit the nail or the target, but more vaguely pushed around the barrel and his point. I felt much better once we moved on to the Nicene Creed. 

That's when I realized: it really does not matter what Father says, because Christ is speaking to us through the first reading (OT), responsorial psalms, second reading (NT) and Gospel(s), as well as giving Himself to us bodily through the Eucharist. This morning, after receiving the host and drinking the wine (which gave me a slight sting in my throat, but that may have been since it was the first thing I had in my system all morning), I felt a warm movement in my body as if the body and blood permeated my blood stream and were moving throughout my entire body, tingling my senses, making me more aware that I need not get caught up on humanly elements of the mass but to keep my eyes and thoughts upwards towards God. This can be challenging but I think Father's bad homilies are the type of Red Herring the Devil uses to distract people from the Truth that is Christ. It like what Lewis says in 'The Screwtape Letters,' 'Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar type of clarity which Hell affords."

Today it is raining heavily in Cincinnati, so I am glad I am inside working. I was going to go for a run after mass but decided I should eat something so that I would not be running on an empty stomach. I finished my two eggs/ piece of toast/ yogurt now. We have a treadmill upstairs though, so I'm not worried about it. I'm hoping someone will give me a treadmill as a graduation present so that I can have one with me after college, wherever I am. I took Heidi on a late-night run last night, which was one of the things I missed the most over the summer. It certainly is a luxury to be able to run at night and not have the slightest worry that anything bad is going to happen.

Today is also moving day for my friend Andrew, who is going to Chicago to attend Northwestern (not the University of Chicago, which I would have sworn to you days ago he was) for med school. I am very excited for him! Oh, the places he'll go...

Thanks for putting up with my incessant postings, by the way. They will most likely slow down during the school year, but they help me focus my thoughts before getting down to business (i.e. more writing and reading!). I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them :)

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