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!

 

 

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Coiled

 

rattlesnake
rattlesnake

I went hiking this past weekend for 2 hours (hiked 4 miles). I like to hike the hard way in and the easy way out, that way I get my exercise in, my rest period with a snack, and some creating (i.e. photography, drawing, thinking), and lastly my cool-down period. On the way back to the parking lot along the deteriorating fire-road, just past the ruins of the Keller cabin, the wind died down. The woodpeckers stopped jostling their brains. I stopped and then I heard it, the rustling of the leaves like a ball was rolling in the brush. I looked closely, and saw this guy ^ gliding on by. He/She’s a rattlesnake, about 3 feet long but not very thick, and the rattler didn’t look very well formed.

The imagery and experience of watching a snake in the grass seems to be a good metaphor of how the month of August has been for me: I was on a monastic visit and I don’t know what to make of my experience; my Spiritual Director quit; gossip at work encouraging/pressuring me to date a male colleague; slanderous gossip at work on a different matter which is abhorrent in nature, & more. As it is late in the month, I’m getting to the point of just watching the snake in the grass. I take a step closer because I’m curious, but I use my zoom lens to get a better look. I stand around to make sure it goes into it’s hole in the ground, and I go on my way. I’m just watching all this “danger” come at me and I’m TRYING to let it pass.

My thoughts since learning of the slanderous gossip at work are as follow:

  • if you have the luxury of enough time to conjure such abysmal stories about me, perhaps you need more clients.
  • I only speak negatively of the people who’ve done me wrong (i.e. my direct supervisor calling me a lesbian).
  • I’ve been honest about my family, why make up more horrific stories – the truth isn’t enough? (verbal & physical abuse)
  • Do you actually desire that kind of trauma to be upon me?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact that I’ve made statements that I’m Catholic and therefore will not have strange unmarried men spend the night in my apartment?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated numerous times that I do not date people at work?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated “I’m Catholic”?
  • Driving into work today, I’m was still furious. I frequently talk to myself in the car at times like this. I explained to myself that my life does not exist to please you, to appease you. I am not standoffish about sex, but I will not engage in sex outside of marriage, I will not masturbate, I will not procure abortions or contracept. Not because I’m afraid of sex, but that these are the teachings of the Catholic Church. If I did not want to have to follow these teachings, I’d go find a religion that does fit my thoughts. For example, if I thought children should not be baptized prior to the age of reason, I’d be a Baptist, if I thought modernity were completely of the Devil, I’d be Mennonite. However, these are man-made constructs. I’m Catholic because that is the Church Christ established through Simon-called-Peter/Cephas. If I were to run around to find a religion that fit me, that wouldn’t be Faith, it’d be Pride. I’m Catholic, I follow what Mother Church teaches since She can only speak the truth of God. I don’t attend the Church of You wherein there’s practices of masturbation, abortion, contraception, fornication, emotional extra-marital affairs, loose associations, and Soul-selling for a few moments pleasure: Let’s see, maybe 20 minutes of sex in exchange for eternity in Hell, or I can forego sex outside of marriage between the ages of 13 to 30ish, and have better hopes of going to Heaven. I submit to God. My life is created for the glory of God. I’m made by & for God, so I’m Catholic. I follow what God teaches through His established Church. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.
  • If you’ve never had the experience of seeing a real bonafide Catholic and that scares you to the point of committing slander and defamation, I don’t think I need to say which situation is more foolish.
  • I don’t want to know who this person / whom these people are. Really, I don’t. I’ll lose so much respect for them. I’d loathe calling them colleagues. Their minds are pure filth. Additionally, knowing your name(s) opens you up to a lawsuit.

 

Posting while Nervous

“Is this the last day before your vacation?” Asked the roommate as she stood in the partially open door, on her way out to supervision at the office, later into the field. I stood over the cutting board with my diced apple prepared for submersion into hot bran cereal.

“What?”

“Is this the last day before your vacation?” She repeated.

I shrugged in response, “Yeah, I guess.”

It’s not a vacation. It’s a trip to a very particular monastery during the next four days. It’s a dry run of living the nuns’ lives to see if that’s to be my life until after I’m dead. She doesn’t know this, and all of my colleagues, coworkers nor my supervisor are in the same boat as she. The agency I work for openly embraces the LGBTQ community, evidenced by the spectrum of people employed & the clientele served.
Life is somewhat awkward now. People want to know where I’m going, and I offer information such as “a retreat with my church”, thinking that I’m Catholic and the Church is very large, with lots of property, so nosey people can’t begin to guess. This spawns more questions such as “Oh I did one of those. What lectures are you going to?” To which I reply is a “quiet retreat”. “So, like, you won’t talk?” No, I have little interest in talking, despite what I do for work.

There’s a new male employed in the office in the past three weeks. Males are somewhat rare after the feminization of the therapeutic/counseling/psychiatric field. I’m the last woman on my team who is seemingly unattached. Everyone else is married, divorced, dating, or engaged. Due to the aforementioned issue of vocation-must-not-be-named, I’m the crowd favorite. It ticks me off, this truly pushes my buttons, especially this week. I don’t want gossip mill whirling and churning; plotting out whether I’ll hook up with this man or date him. (The Rolling Stone’s She’s So Cold should be my theme song).

Anyway, my monastery visit begins tomorrow with my supposed arrival at 10am and ends with my departure from there Sunday at 10am. I was looking at the Liturgy of the Hours booklet/guide and saw this weekend is chockfull with glorious saints like Edith Stein.
Happy FEAST of the Transfiguration.

Americans remember that novena of fasting from meat for the following 9 days begins today along with a consecration of your hunger with a Rosary & prayer to St Michael the Archangel, ending on the 14th for the intention of ending the Black Mass scheduled for Oklahoma next month on Sept 21st.

Candy-coated?

I’ve noticed something, when I read the blogs of other women who have entered religious life, and leave their blog running for the sake of future readers, education, information, to say “I was here”, &c. All their blogs are explicitly religious. If something unsavory occurred at work, they don’t mention it on their page. If some dismal words were exchanged between mother and daughter prior to entering, then it’s not shared. It brings to mind a saying of St. Josémaria Escriva, that he disliked the candy-coated appearing statutes of Mary, as though she were made of baking paste to be sat atop a cake.

Am I on display, on a cake, to make you like me? Am I to be all sweet and nice, and you to never see my rough edges? Am I to appear saintly?

No. NO. NO!

I’m not here to say, “Hey! I have a vocation to religious life.” Or “I’m already holy and perfect, please accept me!”

BWAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’m a mess. I’m human. I fall all the bloody time. I lie. I drink. I own 5” cherry red stiletto heels. I like loud music. I like whiskey & single malt scotch. I have the things that land me in the Confession line every 3-4 weeks. I think mean thoughts.

I’m not here for you to like my posts. I’m not here seeking to promote a pretty picture. I put up posts like “Puddle of Power” every once in a while because that’s my reality. This is my blog, and I’ll put here what I dam well please.

Why?

That would be a farce. Farces don’t go anywhere. They spin ‘round; milling and dawdling. Farces tailspin; crash and burn, spurned.

Religious life isn’t about farces or candy-coated lives. It’s about what is needed most to save your Soul. My Soul. Recall, each day you have God to thank & serve, a Soul to save; Heaven to gain, Hell to lose. These truths aren’t obtained on the days that things have passed well, the days that are respites; rather, the days that are difficult. The days when you have a puddle of power, and you can wallow in it, or bypass the puddle knowing that it will dry up at some point. I need religious life to get my anti-morning-person-butthead into Mass every morning, to pray my daily Rosary, to maintain the daily prayerful conversation with Christ; a steady balance of work, pray, play. God calls you to unity with Him; and He calls me as well. We are called differently, as are the life paths. However, what doesn’t differ is our sinfulness.

Concisely, I’m not pure religion & prayer all day, every day. My blog should be a reflection of my reality.