Wednesday, April 6, 2011

learning some Lenten lessons

If Lent is a time to see yourself unmasked, to see a couple layers under the surface; if the disciplines are meant to serve as a stripping agent and get the schmutz off the outer man, so the inner one can be seen more clearly...well, it must be working. I have been blessed enough to get to adoration more this past week or so. I went to a local shrine this morning thankful to have access to a place with daily adoration. As most places, it has its regulars. Most of the time, a wonderful silence was observed, interrupted only by the sounds of someone mouthing their prayers. (The only drawback of silence is that every sound seems amplified). Now, I am not a fan of mouth-noises. The prayer-mouther in the silent room had the odd effect of making me feel as though I was in a fish tank. The smacking, popping and generally wet
sounds were enough to temporarily banish the ever present Mozart Requiem track playing in the background of my mind and replace it with "Under the Sea."  As you may imagine, this made for an interesting time before the Blessed Sacrament. Most of my prayers were punctuated with, "I'm sorrys" and fighting against twisting my face or sighing and then more, "sorry!" Oh what a holy time. Things did eventually quiet down somewhat. Someone else was whispering their prayers, but after the underwater sensation went away, I was able to recollect myself a bit. Only a bit, because the next problem came from my own mind---did my daughter, before leaving for school, unplug her hair appliances and/or completely turn off any burners she may have used?...As you can see, Jesus has a hard time getting a word in edgewise. He did manage to point out that all the skin crawling noises were serving to mortify (in more ways than one) my flesh and expose my innards. What I found there was 1.irritation (no surprise there); 2. fear (a trust thing) and 3. self doubt, (also a trust thing). 

 I picked up some scripture to read during the time I was unable to "hear" my inward prayers. Here is what I read:

Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Luke 6:19

and from The Imitation of Christ:
"A prudent lover considers not so much the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver."
from book Three, Chapter 6.

This reinforced something I have always found, that to be in the presence of Christ, is all by itself, transformative. He is there, and His power is coming forth. To borrow a phrase from Father McG, I don't have to "think real hard" to make it be so. Of course we want to "seek to touch Him", but this is not the same as being in a perfect state of recollection. Sometimes, as much as I want to be still and silent interiorly, I just can't achieve it. But He is still there, and I am still in His presence. If I could see the entire Christ, bodily standing twelve feet in front of me, would I be changed? Ya think?

 I wrote here about how when I first began attending mass, before my conversion, I recognized Jesus' presence. Some of my kids are not Catholic, but I require they attend Sunday mass. I believe, even if they have not yet taken hold of it, that being in Jesus' presence, has the power to touch and change their hearts.
To think on how much He loves me and be simply thankful for the place and season of life He has placed me, is easy. If He never sends me another gift, I will always have Him, and my offerings of love and thanks "count," at the times I cannot offer the utmost in disciplined devotion.

~postscript: Your Mother Wears Combat Boots

Today, there is a group on facebook that suggested posting a picture of Father Corapi and saying a rosary for him. They are calling it, "Your Mother Wears Combat Boots" day. I have done this. If you have a facebook page, you may want to as well.

I have had to restrain myself from becoming entangled in the comboxes of some bloggers who feel the need to say that Father is getting what he deserves for being, among other things; a celebrity, flamboyant, bombastic, lacking humility, I could go on. I wonder of those people have the same problem with the late Fulton Sheen?

As far as I know, Father Corapi's message was spot on and sorely needed in this world. He taught the Catechism for cryin' out loud.!  Yes, he raised his voice sometimes. His message was of the utmost importance and urgency. People scream and yell over sports. How was it not appropriate to raise a voice over the slaughter of innocents and the race toward hell so many are running in?

To go over all his life and pick it apart; Santa Cruz Media, his home in Montana, his money, his traveling ministry, his not having priestly faculties in the Diocese of Helena, his criticism of the Dallas Charter, his recent change of appearance--all this amounts to is a bunch of speculation and using bits of fact to piece together the supposition of guilt. He, and many other accused priests  (because of the same Dallas Charter) are already laboring under the presupposition of guilt.

Those of us who are believing the best about him are doing so because of the great good he has done by his faithful preaching. To me individually, he has imparted strength and resolve to live my faith with integrity. I personally do not mind his style, which is simply an outworking of his message. To say this is a lack of humility is to show that one has not really listened to his words. Humility is not to lie about yourself, not to scrape, whisper and crawl. It is to tell the truth.


  1. "If I could see the entire Christ, bodily standing twelve feet in front of me, would I be changed?"

    Goodness if that happened to me I would fall to my knees immediately. I would have to be changed. Anyone would. Well, some day after my bodily existence, i do hope to have that happen to me. I know I don't deserve it, but I ask for his mercy.

    I'm with you on Fr. Corapi. It's amazing how many comments Anchoress gets everytime she mentions

  2. Hmmm, we're somewhat on the same wave length today. The "sniffer" was at Mass this morning. I won't take up your combox about this, but I agree 100% that this is mortification and not bad for us, though it drives me crazy.

    I haven't kept much track of what is being said of Father Corapi. I would pray for any priest and I don't dispute the good he's done. It might interest you to know that there are orthodox Catholics of the SSPX variety who have been on his case for years, so it's not just liberals who are Fr. Corapi detractors. A few months ago, I Googled him just to check out his website and see what he was up to when I stumbled upon something that I found shocking, not so much because of what was said but because of who was saying it. There is a whole world out there about which I know nothing, and that's not necessarily a bad thing :)

  3. It has surprised me that so many people have taken one side or another in the Fr. Corapi affair and then been so belligerant about it.

  4. First of all, I have to thank you three for being such faithful readers and commenters! I look forward to your comments :)
    Manny, I actually saw your comment on the Anchoress, and replied to you on my blog, under the hat post↓
    I am inclined to think that if we Catholics really believed in the Real Presence, we would be far more impacted than we usually are at adoration.
    MC-yes, it is really a hot button. He has many loyal fans, and many bitter enemies. I am not sure why the enemies?
    Joyce, I do know Fr. Corapi had his detractors, I didn't know who...I have been trying to stay out of the fray in the other comboxes...there is a certain one that is really bothering me. Father has helped me so much in my growth as a Catholic, that I feel I owe him the benefit of the doubt.
    I agree about the not knowing. Since I have stopped most TV (I watch weather, ewtn, and on Sunday night, the Food Network), especially news, I have been much more at peace and focused on my faith and family. And blogging. :)
    I am going to adoration a little later today, we'll see if that backfires :)...I have been finding that getting up for the early mass many days in a row was leaving me exhausted still in the afternoons and evenings. There is no way for me to get to bed early, and now I have this requiem to practice and attend I have been going to adoration more. I will still get to mass with Bob, just not trying for every day.

  5. I had a bit of a collapse of my own today. I woke up at 1 am feeling like a stomach bug was coming on. Thankfully, it wasn't that, but... I'm afraid it might be a warning sign of an ulcer in the making. I called work to say I wasn't feeling well and would be in this afternoon. Hopefully, the guilt for it won't eat me alive. The schedule was frighteningly light, so I listened to my body for a change and stayed in bed. I might go down the street for a bit before I venture in. If I had an option to go to Mass later in the day or to Adoration, I would consider it, but most days, it's early or nothing. So early it is!

  6. Yes, the challenge in Adoration is often to stay focused on Jesus before us. I live in Mexico, and down here they can't imagine being silent (in general). At Adoration this translates to having multi-page documents of prayers that everyone is supposed to say aloud, interspersed with songs. Our priest has enlisted my help in changing the "culture" of Adoration to one of silence, but it is VERY slow going. Fortitude; focus; peace; that's what I hope I am cultivating during most hours of Adoration here.