Thursday, February 24, 2005

YELLING AT THE TV
On the Today show this morning, a British commentator spoke about the Holy Father's new book, and said that he was trying to directly impose private Roman Catholic morality on the civil law, making it tough for Catholic politicians.

Argh! What the Holy Father wants is for the civil law to respect the honor and dignity of all human life. We are all seeing the fruits of not doing so. He does not want the criminal law to require Mass attendance on Sundays or meatless Lenten Fridays.

Of course, this commentary was greeted by a deferential nod from Katie Couric...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

FLORIDA STORIES
While one Florida man fights the state to let her starve his wife, in the same state, my cousin Kevin, who had been working tirelessly to save his wif Micehele's life, lost her this weekend to brain cancer. They had just reached their ninth wedding anniversary. Please pray for him and for her.

Eternal rest grant to her soul, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon her
May her soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed
Through the mercy of God
Rest in peace
Amen

Monday, February 14, 2005

RITE OF ELECTION
There are few things more powerful and affirming than seeing the sactuary of the cathedral overflowing with people who desire to join us in the fullness of faith on Holy Saturday, especially knowing that this is just a third of them, just in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Let others write about how the Church is dying, etc. Nothing speaks louder to me than the witness of the elect and candidates.

Friday, February 11, 2005

WHERE'S MY RAGE??
I am going to try to put this delicately, but I think raging against the bishops while disengaging from parish life is the easy way out.

As Mark and others have pointed out, I can't be very effective in confronting Church governance. So I can type my angry comment box entry, maybe fire off a letter, and be pretty confident that I've done all I can do.

But if I engage in parish life, I might find out some more. I might find about about the family whose daughter is pregnant and isn’t sure what she’s going to do. I might find that the catechism program needs good teachers. I might find out that there’s a lot of fellow parishioners who are just barely getting by. I might find out about the widow in my neighborhood who recently lost her husband who never learned how to drive and could use a ride to Mass each week. And so on. This is true regardless of how empty the homily is.

It seems to me that Mr. Dreher is inviting us to withdraw from an arena in which we can be effective – parish life, into one where we’re less likely to be effective – Church governance

Sunday Mass isn’t just for filling our own needs – there’s another side too – it calls us to something more. Part of how it does that is by making us aware of the needs of the people around us. It’s not just about what’s in it for me.

Maybe some people are called with a charism to fight for better Church governance, and maybe Mr. Dreher is one of them. But I don’t think that’s the case for most of us. Most of us are probably called to live the works of mercy to those around us. And there are few better ways to learn about that than attending Sunday Mass.

How do I better serve my daughters? By raging from my St. Louis home about the Bishop of Dallas’s behavior? Or by working to make my parish a lively, spiritual community where they can encounter and learn about God?

I know my answer.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"CHEAP GRACE"
One term that will rarely fail to get me to stop listening is the term "cheap grace," as in this quote.

Grace, by its very definition, is a free gift from God. The implication of the use of this phrase is that most of us have earned our grace, but not this other person.

The other side is that no grace is cheap. It was purchased with our Savior's blood. And our acceptance of, but not our access to, that grace may demand of us nothing less.