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!

 

 

Same Old Poop

I know the answers to the unspoken questions that pull tears from my eyes.  I know not to ever ask ever again “When will it stop?” I came as I promised Monday  evening to pick up some food and the old food processor and juicer. She was upset, I guess I was too precisely on time. I said, “I’m here” and the response was “Oh, okay. Whatever.” Dad’s response to me was don’t start anything. Me? I came on time. I came as promised. She’s mad when I come, when I don’t visit.

I can’t entertain the crazy.

birthdays

Twenty-nine years ago today, I was born. From what I hear, that was quite an event, lots of to-do about a wee little me. I was 2.2 lbs. I’m about 118lbs heavier now.

When I started working, and especially since moving out, I give myself the gift of not working on or near the date of my birthday. Two years ago I went hiking at Switzer’s Falls in the Angeles Forest when it was (surprise!) raining and some snow flurries that melted within a hour. Last year I went on a silent retreat for a day, and this year I went to Switzer’s Falls again. The restrooms were closed and the information kiosk wasn’t selling adventure passes, so a really nice couple gave me their annual pass! The fall colors were still putting on a show, and there were people around, but not so many that there weren’t extended periods of alone time. I returned in time for therapy & dinner at home; then went out to the Yardhouse in Long Beach with some grad school friends & coworkers. Some of them re-gifted items to me (i.e. no original packaging, things are not correctly itemized in the packaging).

 

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Today I went to Mass, came home and excitedly read a letter that had arrived yesterday from the monastery. I was told that after “much prayer” that God “isn’t calling you to our Carmel”. Lovely news to read on my birthday. But I went on with my day, buying a gift for mom’s birthday, some errands and a late lunch with friends at Versailles, a Cuban restuarant. Now, i’m doing laundry. Might do some sewing later. Mom’s birthday was on Thursday, and she controls the birthday weekend: her cake, her time, her location, etc. I had to ask Dad if he/they wanted my birthday gift suggestions, and he was “Uh, what?” Like, hello, it’s my birthday, too. Anyway, my family is crazy.

Silence

I’m thinking about silence itself as an object/presence recently. Immediately in my reaction field is a post I was reading from another blogger here on WP.

In my work as a child and adolescent therapist to some of the poorer children (the poorest live on skid row and I don’t have the stomach to work with that population) of Los Angeles; specifically called SPA 8 (Service Provider Area 8). I’ve had the special privilege of working with different young women, all under the age of 15 years of age who have been raped, sexually assaulted, attempted sexual assault/molestation, and/or sexual harassment. Each one has told me that they considered themselves to be the only one until they confided in a friend, cousin, or aunt near to their age (under 20 years of age); then they tell me, “I told her to tell someone about what she was going through”. Can we just get this over and done with?

Ladies/Girls/Women, let’s just admit that the men in our lives want us to feel alone. They want us to be frightened and feel alone! Yet, the reality is that more women and girls are assaulted, harrassed, abused by people they know than absolute strangers.

And abuse, physical abuse is the same story and I totally want to jump in there with the kid and be like “Yeah, I know!” but I can’t. The therapy hour is totally about them, and I pull myself back inside and be all like “Yeah? Can you tell me about what makes you scared?” or “What’s that like?” I stay on the back-burner and may save my urge to blurt out for my own therapy sessions where I get triggered/reminded of getting hit on the back my head or back with shoes or slippers (and you wonder why the F I hate the color pink or her perfume or being touched at all, least of all being touched or hugged or anything by her); that evening I watched the filled Mayo jar fly by me, missing me by golly-knows-what; choosing dissociation in the closet instead of listening to the litany of Megan’s-fucked-up-as-a-daughter-because.

You know what’s also the same fucking story? (I know, a wanna-be-nun just said the F word. Pick your jaw off the floor, ‘cuz she’s heard and said so much more worse in the past). Getting harassed and bullied at work by your supervisor. I’m taking the fall because I told my supervisor’s boss that she made comments which I considered to be inappropriate. About the 3rd week of September I received information from a client’s caregiver about A/V hallucinations, and my supervisor in the course of consulting with another supervisor, stated “Oh, is this your wife?” My roommate (a co-worker) and her supervisor were in the room. As it was out of context, inappropriate, and I’m generally reserved, I didn’t say a damn thing at the moment.  However I did email my supervisor’s supervisor about her statements, explaining that I felt they were:

Hi [Supervisor’s Supervisor],

I want to make a complaint about a statement [Name redacted to protect the not-so-innocent] made to me yesterday in front of another employee & supervisor. We had gone to the back of the [Location] office to consult with [Roommate’s supervisor] about a cx [client] of mine. To this other employee (who is my roommate, [name removed]) and in front of her supervisor, [my supervisor] said, “Oh, is this your wife?”  I corrected it immediately as “No, she’s my roommate.”
Myself and my roommate felt it was inappropriate; I’m embarrassed.
I’m making a complaint as this is not the first time [the not-so-innocent] has made inappropriate comments about faith/personal issues to me; I’ve addressed them with her in the past and thought it was taken care of. I can talk more about those  with you’d like.
I write that I’m taking the fall because I’m the one getting pegged for distinct deadlines prior to the company’s established deadlines for monthly paperwork; my supervision time is being double-booked two weeks in a row and my supervisor says “oh, I messed up…no I didn’t”; she hangs up on me, she conveniently “never” receives my text messages (I can prove this via phone company) ; she gives me the clients that she’s having assigned to her (I can also prove this), which she needs to be credentialed in an evidence-based practice (one of our primary sources of funding); she does not listen to me pertaining to being able to either submit notes on-time, or completing paperwork to her superficial deadlines but not both (I have multiple witnesses). I’ll be harassed, picked on and bullied until my body collapses or she finds someone else to bully.
Yet, there’s another side to silence, where I can find peace instead of noise, calm instead of jarring harassment; can breathe without needing to calm my pinched and firing nerve[s]. For me this kind of silence is filled with incense, Gregorian Chant and sunlight filtered through stained-glass windows. Usually, I’ve just beginning to grasp this kind of silence at the end of the Mass of the Catechumens. Currently, I take a single line from the Anima Christi “Hide me in Your wounds” because it’s the only place that has been once-struck and never struck again. That blow is finished for all time, and He is righteous and reigns again. I can hide wherever I want to, but I crawl into the lance-blow, and imagine Momma Mary holds the body of her Son one last moment as in the Pieta and clasps her hand over me, not only keeping me hidden but I cannot fall out either. I sleep with a Crucifix clutched in my hands because it’s the only way I can sleep through the night without waking up every 2 hours. One of these days I’ll walk behind the closed doors of a monastery which St. Therese of the Child Jesus frequently called a prisoner; however it’s the first time I won’t be imprisoned. I’ll be able to openly declare/be myself without fear of reprimand. Nothing should slow my mother down on reprimanding me about how I’ll cause the doom-and-gloom on her marriage and am an utter disgrace more than a 7 hour drive to San Francisco. I hope I laugh when I should be silent.