Sunday in winter

It is Sunday morning here — the littlest birds know when best to sing. Otherwise, it is as quiet as a post-departure weekday. The kids are with their dads, and the resident dad here is out Massing/breakfasting/EMHCing, as has been his Sunday way for quite some time. The one day he doesn’t make the coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee!

It’s sunny but cold. Cold but sunny.. can’t get away from that word. It’s a good day to go peruse a mall’s brick-and-mortar book/music/coffee store. Were parking/much walking not a problem in another town, it’d be an ideal day for the littler book/music/coffee-and-pastry shop. There’s no sea-scent on the cold days there, but there are gulls who are happy to leave the dumpsters alone, just wheeling around overhead, reminding us that there are cold people working cold boats today!

It’s a good day to ride down a little further to their rocks, and perhaps a little further along the coast, and to photograph what I always want to share. In the winter, the ocean gets farther and farther away; the drive, longer than ever; the visit, short, shorter, shortest. Only the kindest God could’ve had man invent binoculars, which are not impeded by a running car’s windshield!

And then there’s the inner argument: Whether to stop at the cemetery on the way, to *deliver* an honorary medium hot, extra cream 2 sugars DnD coffee. So overdue..

Most winter Sundays don’t come to much, before the 5 pm Mass. Most become a good day to ‘blog, to hem jeans for all our French Canadian/Irish/Mexican-length legs, or to rearrange certain things, now that the little one strong as an ox can pull open the ancient bureau’s drawer that holds my stash of Aspercreme and aspirin, TUMS and nasal spray. I’ll switch all of that out for a little metal car or two, to take the sting out of his newest mini-confounding in “Memmaw”‘s house.

Son, the only tall person anywhere in our immediate universe, will be over with laundry and son-ness.  Far daughter will reach out, and we’ll reach back. Other far daughter called last night; we talked for nearly two hours. Her rabid-fandom of Trump has cooled greatly (by his own doing), which has heated up my heart. It was scary for a while.

After the 5, everyone will be back. I’ll be ready — for noise, food, laughter, 60 Minutes, and Kevin Belton’s New Orleans cooking. If the noise (and contests and races) exceeds the tolerable max, I’ll be ready for opening the new bottle of white merlot and, either way, to re-admire yesterday’s new excessively green plants — an oxalis and a peace lily — quietly blooming away in the dining room.






Love has one face




Scandals, scandals, scandals..
they’re never over and done.
In the beginning and midway
–we’re always at Square One.

That’s the toughest part of being a Roman Catholic publicly. Scandals. Yet, when haven’t we had them? When in these 2000+ years haven’t we had them?

The Heart of the Church is so amazing, one is almost incredulous that especially one ordained or consecrated could allow him- or herself to profane anything about this furnace of love Who never gives up on us, Who willingly took our place, Who paid our terrible debt, and Who bides with us while He waits.

And yet, even we lay non-molesters/abusers do exactly that. And yet, no one holds a priest’s or pope’s feet closer to the fire of human judgment than do we! We conveniently forget that the Lord handed off His church to Simon barJona. Simon Peter — really?? Why not the deeply contemplative John the Evangelist? Why Peter the laborer — someone so steeped in human weaknesses that we can identify with him immediately? Did I just answer my own question? What is it about Peter’s example we are to follow? A contrite heart. The will to love the Lord rightly. Peter’s own never giving up on the Lord, ‘though he give up on himself a hundred times!

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The spirit is willing to trust the Paraclete, but the flesh says, “The Pope is too weak! Imperfect! He’s wrong. What’s he DOING??”

Or, yes: different but real scandal.

I myself am not a fan of Pius X, never have been, probably won’t be until my soul understands with all its faculties exactly why he has been declared a saint. Meanwhile, I am to trust the Church on this. If that means I have to keep my mouth shut about him so as to not sin against the Holy Spirit, and so as to not give scandal to the Bride of Christ, that is what I must and will do.

The same should apply to all the Popes, especially the living one(s).  There are some who think Francis is profaning the Church. (As if any one of them might replace him, as if any of them could fix “this mess” as they call it.) They will harm no one by keeping quiet about him, as I do about Pius. It will serve to bless the Church we all profess to love. Our terrible words expose only our own human weaknesses.

Part of every indulgence requires prayer for the Pope’s intentions.  There is a very Roman Catholic reason for that, and it will never change! Does anyone really believe that the (any!) Pope’s deepest intentions could be evil? If so, he or she should bring it to the confessional asap. Meanwhile, let’s just hush and do our own best. To love. To keep our eyes on the Prize.

At the height of the scandal in Boston a number of years ago, I read reports of how even Protestant ministers were converting to Catholic (laity). That’s not easy — their congregations supported them financially, and now, they will have to find work no matter what age or skill sets. Right in the middle of raising families! What courage. What great understanding they have of the Heart. And what trust in the Paraclete, yes, Who reminds us of every word Jesus said — and of every healing we are to know of.

A few Sundays ago, I was at Mass at a (personally unbeloved) parish church, here. It pretty much drives me around the bend, but Mass is Mass. I put away my preferences, because I am as sincere a Catholic as I can or must be. Wouldn’t you know, though, that it was there that He showed me something that erased all stupid boundaries? O, He does that often, if our eyes and ears are open.

In this church that is finally becoming one of color (Rwandans, Chinese, Indians), I have seen much that touched me. How the Rwandan women sometimes dress in their native celebratory clothes and headwear; how the Chinese cherish their old granny and will never be without her; how the Indians love their little children so much.

It happened at the Consecration, here in the midst of more clerical scandal. I’d seen it before, and somehow had forgotten! The Indian husband and wife in front of me, beautifully dressed as if in India, removed their shoes. From my kneeler, I saw their bare feet under the pew. Indeed, they were on holy ground!  What courage it takes (anyone) to convert, and not least of all to something so colorless and staid — until they come!  It made me cry, oh, in a good way.. in a very good way.