Amoris Laetitia

I have started to read it, about a chapter per day. The way my brain works is I analyze each sentence within itself, and within the paragraph.

Reading this is probably bad for my health.

Chapter 1 didn’t have much to pick at since it’s Scripture. Oh, Chapter 2, why ….!

Want to see what I plastered all over my facebook page? LOL

Unlike the rest of my FB feed, I’m slowing reading Amoris Laetitia. This is in paragraph 36:

“We need a healthy dose of self-criticism. Then too, we often present marriage in
such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation.”

It’s not an Ideal, it’s what God has called us to do, if called to the vocation of marriage: to be of mutual assistance to each other, dying of self in service of the other spouse. An Ideal cannot be obtained, but if marriage is lived according to it’s vows, in the meanest sense, I fail to see how the “ideal” cannot be anything but achieved. And secondly, it is not I, or you, who informed our First Parents, and thus by continuation to ourselves [if this does not apply to us, then neither does the stain of original Sin], “be fruitful and multiply”. God said thus, and it is so.

[36]”At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.”

What is the difference between an Ideal family and a Real family? I see idealized families on television, but I see Real ones depicted in all 73 books of the Holy Bible: I’ve seen stories of old couples who’ve never strayed from each other (Book of Tobit), wives leaving husbands due to hardship (i.e. Job), let’s split hairs when it comes to David, or his son, Solomon and all his concubines. No, theological foundations of family are not squared up. Secondly, to expound that the families depicted in the Bible are far-removed from the “possibilities of real families”, I have to wonder what this means. If I may step aside for a moment and say: There is a concept I teach my families – if you create the expectation their daughter/son/spouse will arise to the occasion; it will be difficult and successive failures until the goal is met – Yet how many of us boast of our failures? Assuredly, St. Paul tells us to do so, but in the context of God’s grace. However to merit God’s grace we need to be cooperating with Him! This paragraph suggests to me that we ought to consider ourselves as meritorious without having to change anything. To call God’s call to holiness excessive…!

“We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.”

Is this Eau d’ Kasper?

“Yet we have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness. Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and the family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery.”

I am so confused. In the upper portion of [38], he’s discussing how there are good, faithful Catholics who are able to attend Mass on the minimum of Sunday Mass, Reconciliation once per year during the Easter season, and remain faithful to their vows. Yet, he devolves into saying this is not a possibility for all. How so? There is marriage, religious life or priesthood, and consecrated virginity. Those are the choices for vocation (seems generous since the Protestants only offer the vocation of marriage). Let’s devolve into the ever-shifting world of emotions (think I’m qualified to speak on the level here?). People (Who precisely?) feel (uh-huh) that the Church’s (aka Christ’s message) on marriage and Family doesn’t reflect that of Jesus. Wait, what? A house divided does not stand! If there is a problem with the understanding of what marriage and family is supposed to be and it’s not supported, perhaps it’s because you’ve got the Gay Mafia running the pulpit? Or priests who are more concerned about keeping the lights on and passing the money basket than preaching the truth, the hard truth. You know what Christ did to the woman caught in adultery? He absolved her Sin – and then told her NOT TO FORNICATE OUTSIDE OF HER MARITAL VOWS EVER AGAIN. Go, sin NO MORE. That’s not fleshly compassion. That’s spiritual compassion – keeping her from eternal damnation.

“We need to find the right language, arguments and forms of witness that can help us reach the hearts of young people, appealing to their capacity for generosity, commitment, love and even heroism, and in this way inviting them to take up the challenge of marriage with enthusiasm and courage.”

Ugh ….. You mean with the language, you use, Pope Francis? You’re so focused on being “open” and “moderns” and “accepting” that you actually lose people; no that’s too loose a phrase: You lose SOULS. We have witness. We have arguments – Tommy Aquinas just wasn’t thorough enough for you? Generosity – you mean how CRS has coupled with people glorifying in their sin; how the West refuses to aid countries for not accepting the West’s cultural imperialism?

You’ve spoke, Pope Francis, of marriage being an unattainable ideal – why would you send a mixed message- of accepting the challenge? Challenges are achievable. A marathon is a challenge. I cannot go out and complete one tomorrow because I have not trained for it. However, if you create the impression in our youth that they can be chaste until marriage, then they will meet it. Show them how instead of shying from that challenge and showing instead how to put a condom on a banana (speaking of unrealistic expectations, but I digress). You’re right in saying the Church has failed, but you’re wrong to insinuate that because the pulpit and evangelization has failed that we ought to limp into the hands of cultural damnation.

[41] Marital problems are “often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic for the Christian life”.17 [emphasis mine]

If one is speaking of the “Christian life”, I hardly think images of divorce, separation, civil unions, “new” marriages (one marriage ’til death, no?) come to mind. Those are the images of the world, the unsaved, the heathen/pagan, and damned.

….

I need to stop reading this. I’m reading it like a tired social worker who wanted to be an academic.

Maybe I’ll be less expressive of my angst tomorrow … Ha!

 

 

ASH #9: A bet with God

God, a deity, who is supposed to be bigger, badder and better than me, or you. I suppose because I’ve never seen him. Although I have a tome of 73 books that I read at breakfast & dinner that tells me so. Yet (most) of these authors don’t see Him either. I’m hopelessly falling into the David vs. Goliath cliche with this, but I’ve got enough vinegar to not care. Oh, you don’t care for vinegar….some vodka then? Dern not vodka, fine yo-yo, I’ll give you single malt scotch whiskey. So yeah, this quiet social worker with her scotch takes on God. Lemme back up for a minute, I wasn’t always a social worker or a scotch imbiber, those come with time. But a bet with God, the one and only Deity in my life, shot that’s just tomfoolery. Yet, I made it. I was fresh out of life (like that feeling you have when you’re out of tp and you gotta go?). How in tarnation I was standing, breathing or moving…must’ve been God’s Will ‘cuz it sure as heck not mine. Nosiree in 2005, living took too much effort. My mind & craw were jammed full of other thoughts like pills, death, funerals and what color roses would cover a fresh mound of dirt. God would have it that I practically wander into the funeral Mass for someone I once knew, and make a bet – more like a threat:

I’m giving you one last chance. It better be good, because I can’t live like this. If it’s not good, I’m gone. I’ll leave you for good.

Er, what? Some chick blackmailed God. If He wanted/wants me, He’ll have to come and get me. Otherwise I’d crossover to the not-so Catholic side of things. It’s hard to tell who’s winning, but I’ll let Him claim it.

Revisiting my Illustrious Religious Past

Saturday a girl friend told me about the Bible Study session that she had been asked to teach: a review of the major world religions, and cults. She wanted my input on the cults, and having spent this entire day reflecting and praying about it, I have decided to not co-teach with her on Tuesday evening.

Why would I pass up a moment to teach something that I know like the back of my hand?

Male chauvinist attitudes, emotional immaturity, a perpetuation of stereotypes among some of the most educated people I know, etc.

(a) The man who is in charge of the Bible study is not keen on women teaching, and when we have spoken up at Bible study, we have been talked over, or what we have said has been disregarded (even if we speak from professional authority). When we were discussing the rape of Dinah in Genesis last year, all the women were silent, as it’s a serious matter that may have happened to someone in the group. Several of the men laughed at it, and only a few men (one of them a very good friend of mine) said that he was furious for the behavior of the other ‘men’ in the group who laugh at rape. I have not been raped, but I have been sexually harassed (at school, at internships, and on dates) [once I felt in danger on a date, and if we had not been in a public place I think he would have attempted it].

(b) Stereotypes are perpetuated despite evidence to the contrary. There have been several statements of “Oh, Protestants are ….” when these people in the study are clearly educated and well-aware of what different denominations teach or how they differ from Catholic teachings. Yet, they remain pig-headed. Other times there have been statements about people in cults, and other easily targeted groups.

For this, I drew a conclusion that I did not want to subject myself to such bigotry when I would be a woman speaking on authority from a psychological background and personal experience; nor would I want t garner further stigma from people who claim to be open minded, but are not. I am aware that by withholding information and experience as I do allows the group to stagnate. But who is allowing who to stagnate? Am I at fault, or is it their facade of openness? I’ll probably write up some information for those interested, along with links and resources. But I can only speak to those truly interested in learning, in gaining new ground, and in change.

I have 3 tests this week, I’ll post it in the coming week.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For a quick read on the cult I left in 2004: here.

Are you going …

This is a reflection I wrote earlier this month for a Confirmation 2 retreat.
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I will stand at my guard post,
And station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what He will say to me,
And what answer He will give to my complaint.
Habakkuk 2:1

Habakkuk, a prophet from the Old Testament, says that he will stand at his guard post and watch for the Lord. He’s waiting, waiting. God’s never late, although He doesn’t seem to keep track of time like we do. He’s standing at his post, and waiting to see God and to learn what He has to tell him. Habakkuk is looking around, looking within himself, and willing to listen, although he does not know if what the Lord will say will be what he wants to hear.

God’s always there to quietly say to us This is the way, walk in it; except its so hard to hear God’s voice. God whispers, Satan screams. God gently nudges us along the right path and Satan shoves us off of it.

And sometimes the sun sets while we are still walking with God, or its dark and foggy. And other times its so cold that our hands get so cold and numb that we can’t feel that he is there, but He is. Its just that where we are when that happens, we loosen our grip on his hand. You don’t have to let go, though. Jesus and God are always here.

Habakkuk says that he went to a tower – in those days, there would only be other people around him seeking the same purpose – to stand guard. In other words, when wanting to hear God, either go off to pray like Jesus did, or surround yourself with Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Habakkuk gets above the world, God is bigger.

God is bigger. He’s bigger than all those little ideas about His actions being wishful thinking, or fate, or luck, or chance; or that He’s so big that He wouldn’t bother with us little people or little Earth.

So, you gonna go stand watch for God?

Names

What is in a name? Perhaps a reputation?

Names are not just what are given to us by our parents to distinguish us from one kid or another. Our names have a way of being tarnished or gleaming with our own reputation.
So, it can also be with God.

Exodus 20:7 (NKJV)
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7 (NAB; St Joseph Edition)
You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.
Maybe more than we are aware, the casual way we talk about God, inject His holy name into even the most flippant of conversations leaves non-believers wondering about our fear and reverence for this Creator we tell them we are so convicted about.