Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

One Lantern, Two Lantern, Green Lantern, Blue Lantern

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern. If I was going to be a superhero, that’s what I’d want to be. Also, the Lanterns remind me of the Catholic Church—they choose people from among the community and assign them to care for the people in that place, they have councils and a hierarchy, they make fabulously horrible mistakes with galactic repercussions and, ultimately, their objective is to bring justice and peace.

I like the Green Lanterns in particular because their thing is Will. The Will is one of the most amazing attributes of humanity. We are each given our own, we’re free to use it as we like, and when we use it the right way, it makes us more divine. Will is the strongest aspect of my faith. I’m not a real “feely” person, so for me, faith isn’t about warm fuzzies. I don’t spend a lot of time with God feeling. I do a lot of being bossy in my prayer time; telling God what I need, what my friends need, and asking Him to help me make good choices. Feelings can be misleading and sometimes misplaced. I prefer what I can see, comprehend and manipulate (not in a bad way). I try to be attentive to other people’s feelings by listening carefully, but my approach has a tendency to be a little clinical. So, my faith is mostly an act of the will.

[Read blog on The Rogue]

When Your Parish Is No Longer Your Home

Many different circumstances can lead to the need to leave the parish that was your spiritual home—moving, parishes closing or merging, a change in schedule that makes it impossible to attend Mass or Religious Ed, or whatever your need is. Regardless of how it happens, having to leave your parish family can be profoundly painful. Often, it takes a lot of adjustment to make your new parish your home. It takes sincere effort to not compare every little aspect of the new place to your old one: the priest isn’t as friendly or as good a homilist, the music isn’t as good, they don’t have __________ ministry/group, my Church was prettier…believe me I’ve heard, or even said it all! If you have recently changed parishes—or even changed a long time ago and are having trouble getting comfortable—please consider the following ideas on how to make a successful transition.

5. Say “Hi” to the people around you at Mass

It’s not necessarily appropriate to have a full-blown conversation in Church before Mass starts, but people are creatures of habit—and chances are—you are going to find that you, and the people around you are in the same spot each week. Make an effort to acknowledge the people around you; with a nod, a smile, a quick wave. You’d be surprised how a little gesture like that can go to making a connection in the pew. And, it could lead to conversation after Mass!

4. Get involved

Belonging to a parish means that you have a claim on them, and they have a claim on you. Just like you have spiritual and relational needs, your parish has need of you! It’s not enough to scrutinize what they do or don’t have to offer—you have a lot to offer, too! Maybe the choir isn’t great, and you are aware of it because you can sing…bring your beautiful voice to their assistance! Maybe they don’t have the ministry that nourished you most in your old parish…ask if you can help get it started—if it nourished you, it might be great for other people, too! A major part of parish life is community—religion is not meant to stay between you and God—it’s meant to reach out to the people of God. So, get involved and become part of the action of the Holy Spirit!

 

[Read Blog on Catholic365]

Caecilius Est Doctor

capaldi-tennant-fires, doctorwhotv.co.uk

capaldi-tennant-fires, doctorwhotv.co.uk

When I was in middle school, I started to notice that very often there would be a connection with the things I was learning and the things I was living. It seemed uncanny at times how we’d study a particular historical item, or something in religion or science and then that thing would show up in some way in a conversation or, even better, it would be useful to a situation I’d find myself in. And, sometimes it would be on a funky delay and turn into a fun surprise…

A few years ago I got sick. I still don’t know what was wrong, but I was basically couch-ridden for about a month and a half. I missed my son’s and husband’s birthday celebrations and a whole bunch of other events. It sucked. The only bright spots were my cat who kept me company, and the TV. I watched a lot of The Mr. Men Show and Dragon Ball Z. And one night, I was watching the Syfy network when Doctor Who came on. I hadn’t been watching it previously, and might have changed the channel, but I started recognizing some names that stopped me in my tracks. Caecilius, Metella, Quintus…I knew those guys! They were the characters from my Latin primer in high school! Magistra Kirschner brought those folks back from the ashes (as it were) like they were in the class with us. I was riveted (and maybe a little delirious) in the nerdiest way possible. Well, that cinched it for me—I was a Doctor Who fan, and it’s all because The Fires of Pompeii was the first modern episode that I saw. (Well, that and the fact that Puddleglum from the BBC’s The Chronicles of Narnia was played by Tom Baker, and I recognized him as Doctor Who from PBS years before…) And who should be the next Doctor, but Caecilius himself—Peter Capaldi! I loved the new guy before he had a chance to do anything, simply because he was Caecilius.

 

[Read Blog on The Rogue]

5 Useful Ways Catholics Can Deal With Suffering and Grief

As the reader looks at the list below, they will notice immediately that not all of these things are absolutely unique to Catholics. But, they are useful ways that Catholics can experience grief and suffering. I would have added to this list “take a break” and “find humor where humor can be found,” but not everybody can do those things—and the ones who can, do it naturally. It’s not meant to be a complete list—feel free to add your own in the “comments” section!

1) Moving from the question, “why me,” ask, “why not me?”

When we are suffering, it’s the most natural thing in the world to ask “why.” Things that catch us off guard, or at our most vulnerable, or as a series of unfortunate events can get us scrambling to find meaning in our suffering—and that’s brilliant because it acknowledges that we believe that there should be meaning in our suffering. And, as Big Bird says, “Asking questions is a great way of finding things out!” We need to ask God “why” to get us on the journey to discovering that meaning. Whatever personal meaning you may find along the way is a gift—it is the answer to “why me.” But, there is another question we have to ask alongside it; “why not me?” Suffering is a natural part of human experience. It is something that no one successfully avoids. It is something that even God chose (yes chose) not to avoid in the person of Jesus so that we could immediately find meaning in our own suffering. Jesus’ suffering led to the conquering of sin and death for us. It is our salvation, our hope and our model for how we can suffer.

[Read blog on Catholic365]

I Don’t Want To Be Upgraded

Humans are funny. On one hand, we want to avoid any kind of vulnerability at all costs. We don’t like to fail, be judged, or show any imperfection. We guard our appearance because we don’t want to look old, or fat, or out of style. Consider the amount of makeup ladies wear; consider Spanks or Just For Men hair coloring. And that’s just physical vulnerability—when we mess up, we immediately look for excuses—someone or something else to blame. We will go through all kinds of elaborate schemes to avoid feeling uncomfortable, uncertain or hurt.

 

On the other hand, we would fight to the death for our right to be imperfect, vulnerable and broken. We do it in personal relationships and as a species. And, as is reflected in our preference for stories that support and identify with our ways of thinking and feeling—we love stories where we are victorious over those who would take away our individuality, diversity, autonomy—our right to make our own mistakes and be vulnerable.

[Read Blog on GeekdomHouse]

The Injustice League–Gods and Monsters

I came across some of DC’s “Justice League Gods and Monsters Chronicles” short videos today. I could share them here for you to make up your own mind, but I don’t want to be the one who shares them with anyone. They bill it as “dark” which is usually something I can get behind (tonight’s blog was initially going to be about how awesomely dark the new Aquaman looks, but then I saw the shorts) —because with superheroes, the darkness eventually yields to light. It may be that the shorts were only showing the darkness before the light, but what I saw was so devoid of hope, kindness, caring or humanity that I don’t think I could sit through it to get to the payoff—if, in fact, there is one. What I saw was just gross and vulgar.

 
The shorts that I saw appeared to be disturbing just for the sake of being disturbing, there was a bunch of bad language in it and, Harley Quinn was unnecessarily scantily dressed.

 
The series is the precursor to a movie length feature which will be released directly to DVD and download of our Justice League heroes in an alternate universe where they keep the world in check in not-so-heroic ways. Fine. But this so far, is so devoid of anything even remotely heroic it actually made me not want to watch another minute. Clearly, it’s written for an adult audience, but even as an adult, it’s not something that I’d ever want to see more of.

 

[Read blog on The Rogue]

Nerdy By Nature

When I was a kid (and it still happens now), whenever someone called me a nerd, or weird-o, or any of the other charming titles I was given, I didn’t get offended because, in my head, they were recognizing that I liked what I liked and wasn’t put off admitting it just because it wasn’t popular. I was proud of the fact that nobody else dictated who I was going to be and I chose to be authentically, unapologetically me. They didn’t necessarily appreciate that quality in me, but I did.

 
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with editors from another Christian nerd blog that I’m guest writing for, and one of them said something about being a nerd and our identity as nerds, and I hesitated to accept the title. I didn’t feel worthy of the title because I’m not really an expert in anything of the nerd genre. I love Star Trek, but I don’t speak Klingon. I love The Lord of the Rings, but I’ll never learn Elvish. I love superheroes, but I’ll never do Cosplay…I wondered if I qualified…

 

[Read blog on The Rogue]