Friday, December 4, 2009

First Saturday Devotions and Mary - Some thoughts

I've admittedly not given much thought to "First Saturdays" devotions. I see them on my Church Calendar and mentally "pooh-pooh" them as archaic rituals meant to give older women in altar veils something to do with their weekends. However as time goes on, I'm learning that following the example of older women in altar veils isn't the worst thing in the world!

The Devotion originated as a recommendation from Our Lady to Sr. Lucia Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, as follows:

Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
- Our Lady of Fatima to Sr. Lucia

Sometimes it is difficult for me to envision my prayers as an actual consolation to Mary's Sorrows. However, Brother Ed (our Fraternity's spiritual assistant) emphasizes that we must embrace our "pilgrim" soul, and seek out God with new eyes and new ways. Paradoxically this has led to to "old" ways; traditional Catholic devotions I may have dismissed or been unaware of in the past, like the Rosary, Novenas, Scapular, and First Fridays and Saturdays.

So, I begin my own First Saturdays devotion tomorrow. Though the prayer may be difficult, I can imagine the suffering of Mary between the Crucifixion and Resurrection - the First Holy Saturday. How her faith must have been tested! How anguished she must have been! She was no wispy, ethereal entity as she is sometimes portrayed in art. She was a middle-aged mother who had just witnessed her only Son arrested, ridiculed, abused, beaten, and executed in one of the most horrid ways ever devised. I can imagine her pain. The focus of my prayer will be to remember how I personally can hurt others - mentally and spiritually - with my actions and inaction, and to make prayerful reparation to them with the help of Our Mother through her Son.

God Love You!

Feast of St. John of Damascus
First Friday

Daily Mass Readings
Isaiah 29:17-34
Psalm 27:1,4,13-14
Matthew 9:27-31

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BARRED from Heaven???

(Forgive the lack of a problems)

This is one of those things that make me ashamed for my Church. In the face of all evidence that sexual orientation is NOT chosen (and given the general treatment of homosexuals in our society, who would choose such a thing?), this Cardinal Barragan states unequivocally that "gays will never enter into the reign of God."

No one...not my parish priest, not Cardinal Barragan, not the Holy Father himself, can judge the state of another's soul. To do so is arrogant, prideful, and the height of uncharitable, un-Christian thought. To do so against an entire chunk of the population is far worse and smacks of blatant discrimination and ignorance. How do we build up our Church when our leadership is so concerned with keeping people out that they forget to let people in???

A blogger who commented on this story quotes Hillaire Belloc's description of the Church
" institution run with such knavish imbecility that were it not the work of God it would not last a fortnight."

Amen, Hillaire. Amen, indeed.


Daily Mass Readings
Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalm 23:1-6
Matthew 15:29-37

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What is it about "reality TV"?

I had the displeasure of pausing on a cable channel with a show called "Bridezillas". The show's purpose is to highlight how absolutely horrid, shallow, and cruel some women can be during the ramp up to their wedding day. I guess it might be something different if the majority of these women even FEIGNED embarrassment at some of their actions. Some of them are proud of it...WALLOW in it even. Then it gets to the point of witnessing a train just can't turn away and wind up gawking.

It's hard being this beautiful...I wouldn't be your friend if you were poor...I wouldn't be your friend if you were ugly

And perhaps that is the key to these kind of shows' success - our collective desire to feel better, superior to other people. Speaking for myself, I am almost gleeful watching these shows sometimes, thinking "Hey, it's not like I'm like HER!" Basically I use the people on these shows as a tool for my own self esteem...there's always someone I can feel I'm better than as long as shows like BRIDEZILLA are on the air.

Perhaps if my (and I guess millions of other people's) emotional well-being didn't need a boost from the perceived miserable lives of others, these kind of shows wouldn't have this kind of traction. But there's the old chestnut...are we affecting the content of these shows, or is the content of these shows affecting us?

This was sort of a wake-up call for me at this beginning of Advent; part of preparing for the coming of the Christ Child is to stop watching shows like this. Enjoying the ugly behavior of other people in order to minimize my own shortcomings is not living in the vein of being faithfully watchful, as we are called to be in this season of waiting and vigilance.


First Sunday of Advent
Daily Mass Readings
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28,34-36