Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Category archive: Catholic365

Eight Questions Non-Catholics (and many cradle Catholics) Almost Always Ask When They Attend Mass

Whether it’s non-Catholics who attend Mass with their Catholic significant other or folks who are inquiring about the faith; if you weren’t brought up with Mass, your first (and second and third…) time can be very confusing—making people feel like they’re, “around a secret that I’m not in on.” Here are some answers to some of the really excellent, frequently asked questions that newbie’s bring with them.

What’s with all of the sitting, standing and kneeling?
We call it “Catholic Aerobics.” It’s how we stay fit. Just kidding! Each posture during Mass has function and meaning. When we sit, we are engaged in active listening, giving our attention to the readings, the homily and some of the prayers. We stand for a couple of reasons—to listen to the Gospel (we sit for the other Bible readings) to acknowledge that we are in the presence of Christ. The Gospel is the Word of God speaking to us in the present. We hear stories about Jesus and the words that He spoke and so we stand in honor of this. Sometimes our standing together shows our unity in prayer (like when we pray the Creed or the General Intercessions) as the Body of Christ, and we stand together as a community preparing to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist (see #4). Kneeling is a penitential/reverential posture. We acknowledge our sinfulness and need for God’s healing, so we kneel in God’s Presence (mostly while the prayers regarding the Eucharist are being prayed) asking for that healing.

[Read the blog on Catholic365.com]

Rural Juror–A Lenten Journey

Photo Credit: Flickr/j

Photo Credit: Flickr/j

The week before Lent began, I was cordially invited to spend some time in my county court for jury duty. I live in a country setting, so naturally, all I could think of when I saw the summons was Jenna Maroney singing the “Rural Juror” song from 30 Rock.  Good times… Anyway, I thought the idea of serving was pretty cool…I had never actually been able to perform this particular civic duty and was looking forward to having the opportunity—expecting, of course, that I would never in a million years get called for a jury. I spent my first hour quietly reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Bram Stoker’s, “Dracula.” The wifi was squirrely so I was essentially off the grid and I knew no one there, so I didn’t have to talk to anyone. Since I thought it was to be a short time, it was heaven. I really felt like God had plucked me out of the chaos of pre-Lent prep (which is a lot when you’re the director of the Catechumenate for a parish) and gently placed me into a pre-Lent retreat. That was the first hour…

I was in the second group called up for jury selection. That’s fine, I thought—there are like sixty people in this group. I won’t be chosen. The selection took all day, and we had a nice long lunch where I got to read, pray and be quiet some more. At the very end of the day I was selected. It shouldn’t take long, though, the Judge told us. My one-day retreat turned into a full-on trip into the desert. By Wednesday of the following week—Ash Wednesday—we were still hearing witnesses. And the trial even went into the following week and then an additional day.

[Read the blog on Catholic365]

Recovering Catholics–Haters Gonna Hate

My first (and probably last) blog to ever have a wide viewership was called “My Top Ten Favorite Excuses People Give For Not Going To Church (and my snarky responses to those excuses).” Not only did it get read way more than I could have imagined, it received more comments than I think worthy of it. Some of the comments were really nice and supportive. Some were voicing their hurt or distress at the content and tone of the blog. I did my best to respond to each of those comments because I believe each one was written with sincerity and great feeling. As confused as I was at the volume of readers, I was even more humbled by the reaction it caused. To the Catholics that I offended, I am sorry—it was formed with a loving attitude and a desire to do good. I only used the word “snarky” to grab attention, and then believed that the tone would reveal my true intent.

Now, the title of this blog has the same purpose—to surprise and draw folks in. There are many people who refer to themselves as “Recovering Catholics,” as in; they are recovering from having been Catholic. While it probably shouldn’t, that term makes me chuckle—I think it’s pretty clever—I get that need to “recover.” I could have used that term myself at points, except that I did not leave to do my recovering.

Photo Credit: Flickr/f1uffster (Jeanie)

Photo Credit: Flickr/f1uffster (Jeanie)

[Read blog on Catholic365 website]

Travel Mugs Of Death

Life is like a travel mug. You can give it the old college try with the best resources you have and hope it all goes smoothly, or you can try to control your circumstances so much that you’re really sacrificing more security than you’re creating. We have a lot to hope in when God is part of our lives. It can be difficult to step out in faith, but when we believe that God doesn’t call us to anything that He won’t help us finish, it makes it a little easier. Things certainly get messy, surprising and unpredictable, but we’re never left to deal with anything alone. When we have thrills, spills and excitement, God also gives us stain-remover, washing machines and dry cleaners* (*read “sacraments” here).

[Read the blog on Catholic365 website]

Fifty Shades of Gross

They call it “Mommy Porn.” So, what does this mean? Mommies are nice. They are cuddly, nurturing, loving and sweet. They care for others and instill values of sharing and fairness; they teach their little ones right from wrong and give them a foundation on which the rest of their moral development will grow. They are the primary teachers (with their husbands) of what it means to love and to be loved. So, if something is for “Mommy,” how bad could it be?

But, then there’s the other word. Porn. This is not nice. This is not cuddly, nurturing, loving or sweet. It is degrading, isolating, immoral and gross. Even late night TV show hosts and very liberal sitcoms refer to it as “shameful.” Not because the Catholic Church says it’s shameful—they don’t care about that—but because that’s how it really makes people feel.

Photo Credit: Flickr/RAFTWET Jewell

Photo Credit: Flickr/RAFTWET Jewell

[Read the blog on Catholic365.com]

My Top Ten Favorite Excuses That People Give For Not Going To Church (and my snarky responses to those excuses)

As a Pastoral Associate in a Catholic Parish, I have heard it all. People find ways to justify their lack of Mass attendance and believe (momentarily) that their justification will convince the pastoral staff of their correctness. Here are my refutations of these excuses—meant not to isolate further or hurt the feelings of those who don’t go to Mass, but as a playful invitation to reconsider and come back to the family that misses them.  This is an updated version of a blog I wrote for my parish website.

[Read Blog on Catholic365.com]

 

Context Is Everything

Photo Credit: Flickr/TRF_Mr_Hyde

Photo Credit: Flickr/TRF_Mr_Hyde

When I was a little kid, I used to love listening to the stories that my great-grandmother would tell. She was born in Sicily in 1898 and had a very full, very interesting life. She was a tiny woman with a quiet voice and a very nostalgic heart when I knew her, and she was one heck of a story-teller. She loved telling stories about the Mafia, to my Grandfather’s horror. He would always tell us not to listen to her, that the stories weren’t true, and he didn’t want her glorifying the mob. But, I didn’t know what he was talking about and loved listening to her, and would sit with her whenever I could.

[Read Blog on Catholic365]

Listening Ears

Do you have trouble paying attention at Mass? Sometimes it’s hard—there are so many distractions around us, and inside our heads (cute babies, shopping lists, the ‘oh crud—did I remember to…?”). When we’re supposed to be singing a hymn, sometimes I catch myself looking at the notes and how some of them look like smiley faces. If we’re open to it, anything can become a distraction. And it seems like there’s a lot of “down time” in the Mass for that to happen—time when we are not speaking or singing…just sitting and the priest is doing his thing.

[Read blog on Catholic365.com]

Body Building

Photo Credit: Flickr/Prayitno / Baptism on Easter Vigil

Photo Credit: Flickr/Prayitno / Baptism on Easter Vigil

There is a new trend in our Church. For generations, there was a very typical family pattern—young married couples would move into the area, register in the parish, baptize their infants and get their kids enrolled in CCD throughout their school years (the parents would volunteer to teach CCD and were involved in The Altar Rosary and Holy Name Society), until they received their Confirmation. Those kids would grow up, get married, baptize their infants, and so on. For generations, this has been the norm, but increasingly the norm is changing.

[Read blog on Catholic365.com]