Twitter Lenten Penance

Lent begins on Wednesday. Like other Catholics all over the world, I will attend a Mass where the priest spreads ashes on my forehead in the sign of the Cross upon which my Lord died.

Lent is meant to be a sober reflection period. As part of that reflection, Catholics self-impose a kind of penance on themselves to help them share more fully in the suffering of the crucified Jesus.

This has always been a difficult period for me. My brother, Gary, was killed at the age of 20 in a car crash at Easter time on a slick Indiana country road made icy by a snow storm.

I was five then. (Gary was my “brother” in the sense his mother also raised me as if I were her daughter. She was my step-grandmother.)

Sixty years later, I remember that period of time. The state troopers coming to the door, my Mom’s scream and collapse. She would go on to have a white streak in her jet black hair where her hand came to her head on hearing the news.

I remember how Gary looked in his coffin as my Dad (really my maternal grandfather) carried me around the funeral home on the night of the viewing.

Easter is tough for me because it brings to mind a tragic accident that forever changed the trajectory of our family life, not always in the best ways.

As each year of my Catholicism passes (I converted in 2008), I greet Lent with trepidation and difficultly in choosing an appropriate penance. I don’t drink or smoke, and while I love it, I rarely eat chocolate. Not because I don’t love it, but because I do!

Fasting is not an option for me due to my autoimmune and other ills and the medications I take for them.

The past couple of years, I have tried to “take something on,” to add an extra burden so that I might feel a heavier load in my life and walk in the Way of the Cross.

This year, I have decided on the more traditional penitential act by giving up my activity on Twitter.

Simply put, I tweet too much. Not that I believe what I have to say is so significant or because that many people read and either like, retweet or comment on what I have to say.

It’s just that a long time ago, I was a journalist. And like the paths not taken, we often wonder what our lives would have been had we stayed on our original path and not taken that fork in the road.

Naturally I dream mine would have led to a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia and a staff position at “The New York Times.” Oh, and maybe a Pulitzer or two.

Because Twitter is so news and politically focused, it has become my social media platform of preference. Although I have grown to love Pinterest for all the new yoga poses, Klimt renderings and crochet patterns I have started saving.

Still, Twitter is my thing. It has been since I detached myself from the GOP in 2016 even before the nomination of Trump.

It is my way of having a voice to protest all I abhor about this President’s hateful rhetoric, incoherent policies (especially his astoundingly bad foreign policy), and his unsuitability to govern this country that have nothing to do with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election on his behalf. Although that is upsetting in and of itself.

I fear for the future of my country, and that our representational government – rooted in democratic principles – will hold.

And as a person of faith, I do not like seeing people who would seek to impose their Christian values on others. Nor did our Founding Fathers.

Everyone who comes to Christ does so in his or her own personal journey. We would do well as a country not to enforce the will of believers on our system of government. That isn’t why Christ became Incarnate. He came so we could each choose whether or not to accept His Divine Mercy. He came to save souls, not nation build. He already has a kingdom of His own.

So talking about these things is one of many reasons for being on Twitter and speaking out.

Which is why my penance is to give it up. Because it matters so much to me.

And so I can allow Christ to matter more.

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I Am Satisfied

For those in my cadre of blog followers and curious Twitter readers who have been wondering where my spiritual side has disappeared to amidst recent political posts, let me assure you it is still there.

I continue my ministry activities, which have lessened in leadership positions and increased in worship service, as I am now a Lector, Cantor and occasional choir member at Mass.

I am still active in a social outreach ministry as a mentor, take the minutes of Pastoral Council meetings and lead a study group focused on Marian and Divine Mercy subjects.

My prayer life has suffered inconsistencies, though I speak to Jesus in my head and “at” him to the Divine Mercy image on my altar at home.

Still, this has more to do with personal struggles right now than my social activity regarding politics on Twitter.

It seems I am always running away from Jesus at the times I should be running faster towards him.

That has more to do with my desire to self-isolate when times are tough than a lack of faith or desire to pray. My secular self triumphs over the spiritual in these moments.

And of course, I still struggle mightily with auto-immune dysfunction that has run headlong into aging.  So, to those who don’t mind doing so, please send up a health prayer for me as I am going through a particularly difficult time right now.

Still, on balance, my blessings are greater than my trials.

And my virtual “pen” is still mine to wield.

Yesterday I wrote that words echo down the ages, though I doubted my own would. I say that because I am not a famous person, nor particularly profound.

But I have written poetry that has touched some hearts. I am satisfied. I have tweeted thoughts that have been “liked” or retweeted by a few famous people. I am satisfied. (Not because they are famous people, but for the size of their social platform and the number of others they reach.)

I also have more than a thousand Twitter followers with wide platforms of their own.  I feel “heard.” I am satisfied.

I have a loving family, loving friends, a solid roof over my head, a fairly new car in the drive, food in the fridge, an elderly cat who is living comfortably with palliative care.

I am satisfied.

“My soul is satisfied,
My soul is satisfied;
I am complete in Jesus’ love,
And my soul is satisfied.” *

*Daniel S. Warner, 1893

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Melting Dreams

I don’t remember the exact quote from Hubble’s essay. It was something about how things had always come too easily for his protagonist.  That he lived in a country of ice cream dreams that were melting. Or something like that.

If Robert Redford’s character didn’t say that exactly in The Way We Were, he should have. It would have been prescient.

Because we have been a country of ice cream dreams. And we are melting.

I don’t remember too much about the 50s. I was a toddler. My memories start pretty much at kindergarten.  I entered First Grade in 1960.

Everyone had a shining vision of our country then.  The American dream was still possible even for a poorer family like mine.

In my family, the arguments were about the Chicago Cubs versus the Detroit Tigers versus the St. Louis Cardinals.  Politics didn’t enter into our daily considerations except in a Presidential election year.

My mother, anti-Catholic though she was (boy would she be mad at me now!), she LOVED JFK.  We were not a Goldwater family either.

In fact, the only political argument I remember before Trump was one I had with another Fourth Grade student. Her family was FOR Goldwater.  Maybe most in my small town were.

Hey, it was Northeastern Indiana.  Fort Wayne was the “big city.”  Corn was growing everywhere.  I knew only a couple of people rebellious enough to smoke pot in high school.  I wouldn’t even drink 3.2 beer from Ohio!

Of course my parents were against “hippies,” even if I can remember watching Laugh-In with my Mom.  We watched Gunsmoke and Perry Mason too.

Most startlingly, she let me watch The Defenders during the season TV first aired the word “abortion” in a script.  It aired in 1962 ( I was seven) and was called “The Benefactor.”  It was a storyline about lawyers defending a doctor who performs abortions.

I guess my Mom was more progressive than I thought.  Then again, like I said, I was seven. She probably didn’t expect the program would make an impact on me and thought the concept would go over my head.  But the show did and the word didn’t.

Maybe it was because I grew up being told that my birth mother didn’t want me.  So the idea of someone not wanting their own child has always been a scary proposition to me.

So yes, I believe life begins at conception.  Since I was seven. And I believe in human dignity across life’s spectrum.  For everyone, regardless of race, sex, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, and all that jazz.

I think Jesus is with me on this one.

Contraception might be another matter.  I believe in the use of condoms, for reasons of health as much as anything.  And I have no problem with scientific advances that allow infertile couples to have children.  Though I wish more people would consider adoption, too.

I can imagine a person being so worn out from chronic or a devastating illness that they might choose to end their life.  I personally don’t believe in prolonged efforts to extend life. I believe in natural death.

So I am liberal in some regards, more conservative in others.  I guess I am a political unicorn, that vanishing thing called a centrist.

This year, for the first time in decades, I will #VoteBlue.  As I told a friend this morning, I would rather bring a conservative perspective  on abortion to a party that gets all the other human rights issues correct.  Sadly, that is no longer the GOP in the time of Trump.

I hear so many people say they don’t like his style but they like his policies.

When you have to give up every value of human decency just to have tax cuts for the rich and corporate America, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you dangle the lives of DREAMers like a cat toy that you intend never be “caught” because it is too good a political weapon, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are okay with human vivisection because the Saudis MIGHT buy weapons of war from you, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you pull out of a nuclear treaty with Russia on a whim and start talking about expanding nuclear armament and starting another Cold War that could turn hot,  that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you say the press is the enemy of the people and celebrate a Congressman who was convicted of misdemeanor assault against a journalist, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are willing to give cover to a President and say he was just kidding when he brings that incident up in celebratory fashion at a rally, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are willing to let the President pepper the people with daily lies, obstruct justice, violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are told peaceful protesting with signs is “mob rule” while Nazis march with Tiki torches in Charlottesville and get a pass, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.  Especially when one of the Nazis runs over and kills a woman.

When our kids can’t go peacefully to school unless their teachers are armed, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When the richest country in the world wants to make healthcare, education, homeownership and retirement a benefit for the privileged few, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

Fortunately, mine is a faith that says when my conscience tells me a preponderance of evidence shows a candidate does not value the total experience and dignity of human life, even if that candidate is anti-abortion, it is okay to vote for the candidate who isn’t.

While some Catholics think we are a one-issue Church, our universality fortunately is proof we are not.

And when your ice cream dream of your country has melted, you have to vote to save it to keep the authoritarian sea at bay.  That is the bridge you must cross.

And your vote is the only life-preserver you’ve got.

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Are You Enjoying The Play, Mrs. Lincoln?

The Thursday hearing to listen to testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleging Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her is political theater. Nothing more; nothing less.

A Judiciary Committe vote on the confirmation has already been set for Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.

No standard investigation of these allegations has been done by the FBI.  Evidently the Senate Judiciary will not hear from an alleged second victim.  Or any corroborating witnesses.

Meanwhile, attorney Michael Avenatti claims to have a third, credible victim that he will reveal in 48 hrs.

The 11 white Republican men on the committee apparently will not directly question Dr. Blasey Ford themselves.  They have hired an “assistant,” aka a female lawyer, specializing in sexual harassment and other cases.

They think somehow this will provide better optics.

But given publicly televised statements several of them, McConnell, and President Donald Trump have made this past week – heck, just TODAY – they couldn’t be more wrong.

They have, all along, been quite obvious about how they will vote and what they already believe. The optics are terrible at best and horrifying to those of us who have survived sexual abuse.

But it is really what they want that is most disquieting.  They want to overturn Roe v. Wade – and Lord knows what other equal opportunity protections for women and minorities in the future.

If you don’t realize this, you haven’t been paying attention. Since, like, Goldwater in 1964.

This is the last stand of the conservative white male men – they are all Custer, out to legally decimate those of us natives who do not resemble them or want to let them tell us what to do, think, feel and be. Even though there are more of us than there are of them.  Even though we are the majority.

I am Catholic.  I believe in life at conception until natural death.

However, for a nation premised on God “establishing” us, we do not seem to want to allow people (in this case, women) to use the free will God granted when it comes to their liberties and freedoms, even how to treat their own bodies.

And we really have it all twisted when it comes to Jesus’ admonition to love thy neighbor as thyself.  He put no restrictions on who that neighbor might be.  We would build walls to make sure people who don’t look like us are definitely not our neighbor.

Mr. Rogers is weeping on the sleeve of his sweater in Heaven right now.

Do I want to see babies aborted? No. But then, unlike my Church, I believe in contraception – both to prevent abortion and to curtail the spread of sexually transmitted diseases that can end in infertility, sterility or cancer.

And it is also my belief that every person stands in judgement for what they do – but that God’s mercy and love is far greater.  I trust in it.

What we need is a Supreme Court that is not ideologically packed either to the far right or the far left.  We need Justices who can truly look – without passion or prejudice – on each case that comes before them and rule based on the merits of the law.

We needed a Judge like Merrick Garland.  But McConnell aborted his nomination.

With glee, as the legend goes.

Custer died during his “last stand.”

Hopefully the outdated patriarchy that still has a strangle hold on this nation will too.

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New Beginnings

Today marks my first year anniversary of this blog site.

With just 7 hours left, I renewed the site for another year.

While I haven’t consistently blogged every day, I have built up a fairly large body of work this past year.

My content has been classified as Social/Political/Religious Commentary.

If you have read my writing, you will know I am:

  1.  No fan of Donald Trump.  From the beginning of his campaign, I did not see him as qualified by background, experience or temperament to be President. His Presidency has only further cemented my opinion, and I see him as an existential threat to the Republic, its democratic ideals and perhaps its existence.  The economy was already recovering without him, thanks. Any other Republican would have had his results.
  2. I am very disappointed by the GOP I once reliably voted for. In fact, I had planned to vote for Jeb Bush in 2016.  I would have settled for Rubio.  But my vote for Hillary had to be cast, because to vote any other way would have been a vote for Trump.  That I refused to do.
  3. I am not as politically complacent as I once was.  While I voted for McCain and Romney, my world did not come crashing down around me because Barack Obama was President. In fact, I have a better appreciation of him as President in hindsight.  But then, Trump projects a very large mirror in which to better admire Obama.
  4. I am a moderate voter. This is true whether I cast a Republican or a Democratic vote.  Our government was not designed for any one party to have too much power. It only works when there is bipartisan agreement. We are too large and diverse a country to operate on any other basis. I know “centrism” is not a popular political place to be.  But it is the only place that works in the long haul, IMHO.
  5. I am a Catholic convert.  I believe in a personal relationship with Christ made more intimate through the Eucharist.  I have learned to appreciate Mary’s role within that relationship.  The “Litany of Loreto ” and the “Divine Mercy Chaplet” are my favorite rosaries to pray.  I believe in Divine Mercy and Grace.  Mary Magdalene is my patron saint.  I do not worship the Pope, although I honor him as Vicar of Christ’s Church.  I am outraged and saddened by more revelations of sex abuse allegations.  But I am not surprised that priests are frail and human like I am. I can only do the good that I can personally do as a member of Christ’s Church.
  6. That said, I believe in a zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse or any other criminal activity on the part of clergy.  Anyone accused should be put on administrative leave until civil authorities either clear them or win prosecution.  If the latter, clergy should be defrocked and serve whatever punishment handed down. If the former, they should carry a presumption of innocence and be allowed to continue serving.
  7. I am very open about my life.  My family and friends think I am too candid and active on social media.  But this is who I have always been, and I don’t know how to be someone I am not.

So, if my political views are not to your liking; if my devotion to Jesus makes you uncomfortable; if my sharing is too intimate for your taste; I encourage you to find other bloggers on WordPress.com whose work you can follow and support. There are many wonderful writers on this platform, and they all have unique viewpoints and ways of expressing themselves.

For those who have enjoyed my blog this past year, thanks for reading and following. I will do my best to stay true to the things I have outlined above.

God bless and keep you all.

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90 Day Challenge: Third Interruption – Day I Give Up

If I have learned nothing else about myself in the past 40++ days of trying to follow this spiritual challenge, it is that I am not good at keeping a regimented schedule on anything.

In fact, I already knew this about myself. When I was younger and a newspaper reporter, I was always an adrenaline junkie thrilled more by the next breaking story than the piece still waiting to be written in my notes.

I can say the same for my time in PR and other admin jobs – the regular day-to-day stuff bored me. I thrived on the special projects that came my way. I was the Queen of Special Projects, even if it was something like creating a $1 million staff budget, something I had never before done.

For the past few years, I feel like I have been Queen of Special projects at Church , too, even if they were done through an established Ministry or as the work of a Special Committee.

As I have just joined the choir and am learning to be a cantor, there will be very few ministries I won’t have had some association with since becoming Catholic in 2008.

So I guess following a strict prayer routine not of my own creation had about as much chance of success as my following a pre-organized diet.  I have done the latter more times than pounds lost.

Some people may be wondering, with the news about the Church these days, how I could stay devoted to it. After all, I had complete moral clarity when it came to leaving the GOP once Trump became its nominee.

Most assuredly I am angry and heartbroken about the criminality that has occurred in the past and been covered over through clericalism and with the imprimatur of the highest levels of the Vatican.

I believe in a universal, zero tolerance policy on child sexual and other clerical abuse.  I do not believe the Church should police itself on such matters. I believe anyone accused should be placed on administrative leave until such time as a civil investigation is done and a trial held. If a guilty verdict is reached, priests should be defrocked, nun laicized and civilian employees fired. It really is that simple.

The Church is not exempt from obeying the laws of society. In fact, it’s morality is supposed to be the basis for those very laws. We are a failed Church in this regard.

But I did not join this Church to worship the Pope or the priest on the altar; I joined to worship Jesus in the Eucharist and now, to console Him on the cross by bearing my own burdens with the same willingness he bore His.

You don’t get the joy of being with the resurrected Christ without walking the Way of the Cross. They are inextricably linked.

This is nothing you will hear in a Protestant Church. In fact, unless it is a mainline one, you are likely to hear any and everything, as there are over 633 Protestant sects in the U.S.

There is one Catholic Church, the one Jesus established at the Last Supper, when he said Peter would be the “rock” on which His Church would be built, the one to whom He gave His Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

It is this same Church that was reaffirmed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

It is not perfect. It never has been. It never will be. That is the point of the Second Coming.  We will be judged, all of us, each according to our life led while on earth.

Because we are ALL the body of the Church-including those who have abused the very great power they have enjoyed in Christ’s name.

Jesus – like God – could see past, present and future.  Any priest or nun who caused a child in their care harm, any Bishop or Cardinal who covered it up, any Pope who did the same – Jesus saw you while He was nailed to the Cross, and His heart was swollen with sadness for your sin. And He couldn’t breathe under its weight and He died for it.

Just as He did for mine.

So I cannot abandon a Christ who so willingly died such a horrible death on my behalf. Or for fellow Catholics whose conduct I abhor.

And because whether it is comfortable in this moment or not, I am part of the body of the Church.  The same Church as they.

And while I can hate the sin, and I have complete moral clarity that I should stand up and speak against it, it is not my place to judge the sinner.

In a civil society, that is for the courts. In a heavenly one, that right is reserved for God.

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90 Day Challenge: Third Interruption, Day 2

I continue the interrupted stage of my spiritual challenge. It has been a hectic week, as weeks leading up to three-day holiday weekends tend to be, even for those of us in retirement. Your regular rhythms get rocked.

Of course, that is what this challenge is supposed to help you establish – a routine spiritual practice that doesn’t get rocked by your Labor Day weekend or any other plans. I am challenge-challenged, I guess.

It doesn’t help that at a time I am trying to deepen my Catholic practice, the Church again is embroiled in controversy.  Understandably you question your commitment to a Church that has failed spectacularly as an institution so many times throughout its history.

But I deeply believe in the theological underpinnings of the Church. I can no more turn my back on Jesus in the Eucharist now than I could disown my son.  It is never going to happen.  There is no going back on that for me.

This doesn’t mean I am not critical or saddened in the Church as an organization.  But perhaps because I am a convert, I have never had the “awe” of priests that those raised in the Church grew up with.

So the fact that they can be seriously flawed human beings capable of their own grave sin does not surprise.

Also I joined after the 2002 Boston Globe expose that so rattled the Church and began reforms and more inclusion of laity.  But I think the Church has far to go in transforming – not its theology or Tradition – but framing those things within a changing world.

And self-sufficient woman I have always been, yes, I think women should be able to play greater and more authoritative roles, including that of being Deacons. If we can train them in their formation (and we do), then it is indeed a failure that we cannot be Deacons.

Please, spare me the Apostolic heritage argument.  The risen Christ appeared first to a woman – my Patron Saint, Mary Magdalene.  If she can proclaim Christ’s resurrection to the original twelve Apostles, we women can proclaim the Gospel itself.  And give homilies.

In fact, I think the feminine view proclaimed from the Ambo would give new dimension, insight and depth to a Church too steeped in its patriarchy.

Allow Mary, our Mother, to proclaim through a female voice to the congregation “Do as he tells you.”

I am not suggesting this as a cure for child sexual abuse that has happened in the past. (Please God, let it be in the past.)

But I do think it could be a part of the balm that heals the Church going forward.

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90 Day Challege: Interrupted, Day 2

Today was interrupted because I am a. still not feeling well because I am waiting on the delivery of the special antibiotic ordered by my dr Friday and b. because I needed to read a book on works of mercy for a class I was supposed to lead tonight.

The book offered little insight, as my parish is already very active in carrying out Matthew 25: 35-40 :  “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Laudate-New American RE Bible).

Only one person showed up for this last class: just as well, as I am not certain what I would have said about charitable works we are already engaged with.

I am sure I would have gone off on one of my jags about the concept of purgatory  again.  A convert for the past ten years, it is one of the few Traditions I have difficulty reconciling with my view of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

If he suffered such agony to atone for my sins, why do I have to wait to be purified in some Middle Kingdom when I die to be made more perfect to meet God face to face?

Jesus’ sacrifice was already made perfect on my behalf.  It makes no sense to me that I should have to then shed my last vestiges of sin; did not his Crucifixion already do that? One death for all sin, for all time.

Otherwise, what was the point?

I have still not had a priest explain this satisfactorily to me.  Sometimes I get close to finding an answer I think I can live with, only to have to crumple it up and toss it in the wastebasket like a poem that starts out sounding beautiful but ultimately makes no sense.

I spent the rest of the day in a commiserating phone call with my next oldest sister (the joys and pains of home ownership); a phone call with another friend about plans to get together next weekend; and a couple of decades old movies I had seen only once before but still remembered “who did it” and “why.”

While doing the latter, I multi-tasked playing a board game puzzle where my score is now over a million points.  And I fed the cat. Many, many times.

Poor thing, it is not her fault.  Old age and kidney issues have made her appetite fickle.  Since she had “kitty dialysis” yesterday, her appetite was up today.  And she must have had her fill, for tonight she is abed and content on my lap, something she doesn’t do as much any more.

I no more want to think about her continuing decline than I want to think of purgatory.  And it isn’t just all dogs that go to heaven – cats, horses and other pets make it too, I am sure.  I don’t care what the Catechism says on the subject.  I subscribe to St. Francis of Assisi on such matters.

Oh yeah, I passed along Turnip 2020’s tweets to Donald Trump and other GOP leaders who have blocked the little red beet.  I am not sure why – Turnip 2020 seems clever and cute and not at all disrespectful.

My tweets have yet to be honored by Trump censorship.  Maybe I am using words that are too big.

As for Rudy Giuliani’s assertion to Chuck Todd today that “truth isn’t truth,” I refer him to Aldous Huxley:

”Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Oh, and one more caution for him and his client from “Straight Up and Dirty” author Stephanie Klein: “Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”

And a final thought all mine:

Omarosa. Has. Tapes.

Peace out and goodnight, moon,

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90 Day Challenge – Interrupted

Looking back at this site, it seems I made it 36 days through this challenge before a bout of not feeling well and depression interrupted me. That was ten days ago.

The best news is that the nodes a CT scan of my lungs revealed do not appear to be cancer related. The bad news: they were probably created when my immune system could not completely fight off an infection.

In another round of good news, I have seen my own bladder, and it is healthy.  The bad news: the procedure itself created an infection for which I am awaiting a very special medication the pharmacy had to order.

Good news or not, I am watching the Ari Melber-Steve Bannon interview as I type this.  They are discussing the empowerment of women in this political moment.  Bannon seems to think all college educated WHITE women love Donald Trump.  Not this one.

And impossibly, Bannon still supports Roy Moore and believes Mitch McConnell is to blame for his not winning the Alabama Senate race.

Wish Ari would have asked if Bannon would have let his own daughter – at 14 – date a then 32-year-old Roy Moore.

There are some things only a female journalist can ask that really drive a point home.  We have all been someone’s vulnerable teen daughter at some point in our lives.

I can remember being profoundly disturbed by male behavior on a mall excursion with my then 14-year-old niece in Texas.  At 5 feet 8 inches, fully developed, with white blonde hair and a beautiful face from which her bright blue eyes gazed out on the world, I can understand they thought she was older than she was.

But the way they stared at her as she passed made me wish I was not so supportive of gun control. A rifle to protect her from those lascivious stares would have been handy about then.

God, I sound like a Kemp for Georgia governor campaign ad.  Mea culpa.

The idea of patriarchy also was a part of this Bannon interview. This is a concept – having worked in the corporate world – I do understand.  When I was part of the work world, getting ahead as a woman meant acting more like a man.

Mimicking their “tough guy,” bottom line attitudes was the only way the men in power would let you play on their team. But that still didn’t make a woman their true equal.

One of the difficult things of the past few days has been listening to the new allegations of sexual abuse leveled against the Church.

It is difficult listening to such ugly things about a theology that has so much that is innately beautiful in its practice.

That it went on so long and was so widely covered up does not surprise. The Boy’s Club always protects itself, no matter where you encounter it.

I am sorry for those who suffered such abuses at the hands of the people they so innocently trusted.  I am sorry for the individual priests who sinned so grievously and denigrated their sacred vows.

But I firmly believe in a zero tolerance policy on such matters, and I do not believe the Church should police itself when criminality is involved. I don’t care that the Vatican is, in essence, it’s own nation-state.

Alleged criminal activity should always be investigated by civil authority. Meanwhile, those under investigation should be placed on administrative leave until their criminality is determined.

The same for anyone alleged to have abetted in a coverup.  No matter their rank in the hierarchy of the Church.

Those found guilty should be defrocked. Yes, they are as deserving of forgiveness as is any sinner. For that we have the repentance of the Confessional – not a switch to another parish or diocese.

There may be those who consider this idea too harsh against a priesthood already decimated in its ranks.

There is a remedy for that but the Church will not accept it.

I will end by saying that Jesus may indeed have chosen twelve men as his closest disciples.

But it was to a woman that he first revealed his resurrected self and announced the Good News.

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90 Day Challenge: Day 36 – Superior Ideal

“As a man must be born before he can begin to lead his physical life, so he must be born to lead a Divine Life. That birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism. To survive, he must be nourished by Divine Life; that is done in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

For many years before I joined the Church, I spent my Saturday nights attending the Vigil Mass with my elderly friend, Vera.

She was like another mother to me and had come to live with me and my son in our home as he began attending college.

I was already a “generic” Protestant Christian; but I did not have a home church at the time.  I had been baptized, had my “born again” and several other “evangelical” experiences.

Secure I was already “saved,” it did not bother me to take her to weekly Mass, from which we would usually venture out to dinner ( Red Lobster was her favorite) and a movie or some shopping.  It was all in a Saturday night.

But a strange thing happened to me as I sat in the back, on the right side of the St. Pius X sanctuary on those Saturday nights.  I began to develop a great longing to join the line of people going to the altar for Communion.

Every week that passed, the desire grew stronger and stronger.

I had always especially enjoyed the times in Protestant churches when a version of Communion was celebrated, usually at Easter.

But the more Masses I attended, the more I came to believe those times were too infrequent and pale fruit juice and cracker imitations of true Communion.

I could tell there was something deeper and more reverent occurring in those Mass Communions than I had ever experienced…and I wanted whatever “it” was.

When I finally was confirmed a Catholic in 2008 after nearly a year of required study and preparation, I found  “it” to be an intimacy with Jesus I had not experienced before.

Partaking of the consecrated Host and wine was to literally take Jesus within me, sharing his lifeblood with my own, incorporating his body into mine.

I came to realize it is the closest I could be to him and still be here on earth.

Later study would bring me to a greater appreciation of the transformative moment on the altar when the priest lifts the Host and wine, intoning the words “Through him, and with him and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever.”

Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, refers to this as “supercommunio,” or the high point of the Mass.  It is a “supercharged” moment in his writings, where heaven and earth come together through the invocation of the priest so that Christ becomes bodily available to us – the moment just before his real presence comes to us through celebration of Communion.

As I said, that is a moment of intimacy for me unlike any other I experience. It is the concentrated and consecrated Christ in us.

I do not think, when he broke bread and wine and gave it to his disciples at the Last Supper, that Jesus ever meant us to partake in the occasional, fruit juice pale imitation of remembering him.

I believe he wanted us to remember him with the fullness of faith and the fullness of his presence, in that moment and all the moments in between.

This is the Mass. This is The Eucharist. This is the Superior Ideal.

“When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.”

 

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