Thursday, November 8, 2012

Flicker of hope

I am utterly humbled by the power and glory of God.

As much as I would like to uproot my family from a parish that is wonderful in every way but one (if you've been reading, you know that "one" I'm referring to is poor liturgy), I am seeing hope, flickering like a candle flame, amidst the faithful people I have met and the small changes that have occurred in   people who don't know the Mass in a studied or scholarly way, but yet, by the grace of God, understand what authentic liturgy brings to the world.  I am also coming to see that perhaps our Lord has brought us to this particular parish not necessarily to be fed as we were at our former parish but to feed and be a catalyst for liturgical change (change, you know, from the "spirit of Vatican II" variety).

One family in particular whom we've met through chance (or more likely by divine providence) has shown us such support and in fact, says that we have given them the courage and knowledge they need to stand liturgically correct, that I'm beginning to see that we are meant to be at this parish, as much as it frustrates us.  We had this family over for dinner this past summer and formed quite a bond from our love of authentic worship and our dismay over a pastor who has an apparent disdain for the Magisterium and rubrics.  It was at this dinner that we started to commiserate over the liturgical abuses and the subject of holding hands at the Our Father came up.  It was here that I was able to catechize (though I didn't know I was teaching at the time) about proper gestures at Mass.  I had no idea that God was using me to influence this family.  Fast forward to last Sunday, after pretty much deciding that I couldn't take the liturgical abuse any more and that we had to leave, and here I am sitting with this family and I come to find out that they've decided not to hold hands during the Our Father but instead pray it individually hands clasped in prayer position (orans is OK, too, by the way, but does confuse people around you because they think you are extending your hands out for them to grasp).  They said they had the opportunity to reflect upon what I had told them about the "our" in "Our Father" being between us and Jesus, a vertical prayer, and not between "us and us" horizontally and came to the same conclusion as us about what the proper posture should be during that prayer.  They sit near us at Mass so that they are not alone in this gesture.  A thought occurred to me...If, as I believe the organic development of holding hands with others in a church during the 70's caught on one by one, then perhaps the gestures at Mass can be reformed to what Vatican II intended, and nothing more, one family at a time.  Brick by brick.

I am coming to know that many other families can sense that there is something not quite right with our liturgical practices at the parish but because they lack information, they ignore the uncomfortableness, thinking instead that there must be something wrong with them.   Enter the Sarrazolla's...we have the knowledge to instruct them (and have...at parties, at pancake breakfasts, at teen Bible studies, etc.).  Others have told me that they have started to do their own research about what I have opined and have come to the same conclusion after reading what the church teaches (I love Google!).

And, I believe that God has used us as the catalyst for the recent change from an illicit practice to the right one...I'm talking here about the Christological trope problem during the Agnus Dei.  I firmly believe that this parish would not have contacted the bishop for a correction if it weren't for the fact that I sent a memo issued by the USCCB telling the episcopate that they were to cease and desist the use of non-Lamb of God tropes to our parish music director.  Why do I think this?  Well, the USCCB sent out a memo back in August that the practice was to be abolished.  However, our bishop here did nothing (which is why our parish still was singing "Lamb of God...Bread of Life...Cup of Hope...etc.").  Enter in the Sarrazolla's once again.  I found the memo last month, thanks to Fr. Z's blog, and immediately forwarded it to my music director with the hope that we would be changing our practice from then on.  She went to the pastor who said we wouldn't change until he heard from the bishop (his typical motis operandi, for I believe this priest doesn't believe our bishop will actually change anything and so he would be able to continue his practices as he [arrogantly] sees fit).  So, our music director, begrudgingly ("why the big fuss, it's only words" as she says) contacted the bishop's office, who, in turn, did an investigation.  And, lo and behold, gee, the Sarrazolla's have been right all along about this and we must change.  A memo from our bishop's office went out to parishes earlier this week (it's about darned time, if you ask me) delineating the proper practice and we will now be singing only "Lamb of God" and none of the other Christological tropes.  Amen!  Thank you God for using us as an instrument for liturgical correction!

So, I'm thinking, of all the parishes we could have gotten involved in (and one in particular I wanted to become a member before we even moved because it more closely aligned itself with the great liturgical practices called for by Mother Church), we were sent to our current parish as missionaries.  Ok, God.  We finally see our purpose.  We will stay, at least for another couple of years.  Perhaps you can reward us with a better bishop and pastor for our faithful service?  Maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud...I may need to go to confession.

Next problem to tackle...getting Father to stop changing the institution narrative and say "for many."  This one may require a letter to the Congregation for Divine Worship...and perhaps a couple of YouTube video postings.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Communion on the tongue

OK you priests and EMHC's out there...does it really have to be so hard to distribute communion on the tongue?  Weren't you properly trained?  Why do I have to have anxiety over receiving Jesus because you don't know how to place the host properly on one's tongue?  I'm not doing it out of spite or some "it's a holier practice" belief (though I do really believe that the most humble way of receiving Jesus is on the tongue from a kneeling position at an altar rail).  I simply have a disability...one that by just looking at me you'd never know...one that does not allow the physical possibility of turning my hands palm up and therefore being able to "make a throne of my hands for the King" in order to receive Him.  Please, if you've never given the host to someone on the tongue, do not, I'll repeat, DO NOT act surprised or confused when someone presents in line for reception on the tongue.  Do not be aghast at the possibility of having to get near someone's mouth.  I am sensitive to it...have been all my life, especially in those dark days after Vatican II and everybody wrongly assumed we could no longer receive on the tongue.  Imagine a young girl, so excited to be able to receive Jesus every Sunday to only find out that she would no longer be able to because she was deformed.  Really.  Jesus said, let the children come to me and I was essentially being told I was not worthy because I had messed up arms.  Is it any wonder I had difficulties with mystery of the Eucharist when I was constantly being shooed away...almost even shunned.

Priests and EMHC's...if you've never had to give communion in a way other than in the hand...do not get used to it.  There are more and more people wanting to receive in the manner that the Vicar of Peter himself prefers.  You will need to learn a good technique for distribution on the tongue (and trust me, there are better ways than the ones laden with subtle disgust that you employ now).  There are properly formed ministers who know how to do this and do it well.

I will now step down from my soap box.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

At crossroads...should we stay or should we go?

AHHHHHHHH!!

I. simply. can't. take. it. anymore.

The excuses..."well, he isn't intentionally trying to be obstinate"...."well, he has issues"...."well, it really is just words and I'm sure God is up there shaking his head at the big deal we humans make over words"...."well, really, his intentions are good and he does make convincing arguments".... "well, there is that one little pro multis problem, oh, and maybe the silly little thing about the Christological tropes at the Agnus Dei, but really, can you show me where else there are illicit liturgical practices"...."well, there is that shortage of priests--maybe the bishop really doesn't want to discipline him and then we lose a priest."

Ack.

I think I just threw up a little.

I mean, really, if a pastor can't follow authority, SAY THE BLACK AND DO THE RED, then does he really have any business being a priest?  What other person who consistently breaks the rules of his work would keep his job?

For God's sake, and the sake of His people, could we please insist that our priests be good stewards of the perfect liturgy God gave us...you know, the one He gave us in order to more perfectly worship Him?  You know, the one in which we could have never come up with on our own because we are mere mortals.  Please, priests, resist the temptation to make the Mass "your own."  Resist the urge to change anything YOU think is wrong.  Because, in essence, when you think something is wrong with our God-given inspired Catholic Mass, you think God is wrong.  There are 2000 years of history, the Church Fathers, a whole bunch of saints, Scripture, and a world-class theologian at the helm who disagree with you.  I have to inform you that your "lone voice in the wilderness" is just that...a lonely cry that holds absolutely, positively NO weight.  Your soul is counting on your magisterially faithful obedience to the Pope, to the Liturgy, to the One who gives us all.

For the sake of my soul and those I am bound to (namely, my husband and my children) I think it may just be high time for us to leave our parish for one that has pastors who do not disturb the divine Mass because of their "issues" and for one that has faithful who will not live with the status quo.

A parish that doesn't have:
  • A pastor who refuses to say "for many" and instead says "for all" in the words of consecration at Mass because he finds it heretical.
  • Liturgical "so-called" dance.
  • I-don't-care-that-you-officially-call-them-a-deep-version-of-violet-they-are-blue-Blue-BLUE-so-blue-even-your-deacon-calls-them-blue-at-Mass Advent vestments
  • People who continually call EMHC's "Eucharistic Ministers"
  • EMHC's who come up to the altar before the priest has received Holy Communion
  • Priests, deacons and altar servers who make a spectacle grabbing each other's hands at the back of the altar during the Our Father
  • Encouragement for people to go up to Communion with their hands crossed over their chests to receive a blessing because for some reason or not they are not able to receive the Eucharist, and EMHC's who believe that it is ok for them to a) bless someone during Mass and b) lay hands on someone.
  • Happy clappy "I'm OK with Jesus" social-justice-themed music.
  • The singing of the same song during the dismissal of kids for "Liturgy of the Word" with what amounts to the addition of an acclamation to the liturgy because it is sung EVERY WEEK.
  • The processing in of EMHC's with the readers and clergy at the Entrance.
  • A cantor that is forced to speak ad nauseum before Mass from a script
  • The insistance that people who are visiting stand up (or who are even sometimes cajoled) so the rest of the congregation can clap for them to "welcome them."
  • A priest who insists on saying "Good Morning" after the entrance rite
  • A cantor who is not allowed to call the first song of Mass the "Entrance processional" or "Entrance Hymn" but instead forced to call it the "Gathering Song" (Um, yeah, the people have already gathered and the purpose of their singing is the unification of those already gathered...go ahead and look that one up in the GIRM if you don't believe me).
  • The faithful say the Apostle's Creed every Sunday because the pastor believes the Nicene Creed, especially with its translation changes is TOO HARD for every one (come on, I don't believe that's the real reason anyway, because if it were, then he would be admitting that he thinks we're just too stoo-pid to keep up).
I've got to stop...this is making me furious, giving me a headache, stirring up  a little acid reflux and quite possibly causing an increase in blood pressure.

Lord, please change this or help us find the right parish that will not infuriate us every time we go to Mass.

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Right where God wants me, part 2...

Ok, so much for "crystal clear" signs of what God envisions for my life.  I lost the job that I thought God had placed me in.  Well, lost my job is not exactly accurate.  Given an ultimatum (be willing to go full-time at some time during the school year or "perhaps this wasn't the job" for me) is more like it.  So, not wanting to work in an environment of impending doom and not exactly seeing eye to eye with the new boss, I decided that perhaps, it wasn't the job for me after all.  Not that I wasn't upset (downright P.O.'d and hurt if you must really know), but in hindsight this was a sign, too.  God needed me in the temporary position to help out the business manager who was dying of cancer (who has since passed on, God have mercy on her soul) but He obviously does not want me wasting my time as an accounts payable clerk.  He's got better plans for me.  I don't know what they are at the moment.  A few other opportunities came up...a religious education coordinator, a music director at a parish nearby, an online/at-home bookkeeping position)...all which seemed almost perfect and worth doing but in the final analysis, something was missing with each of them, something that made me decide against pursuing them.  It's not like we really NEED the money (though it would be nice), but I get the sense that a little financial struggle and depending solely on God for our every, again here's that word, NEED, not want, is the lesson I'm to learn right now.  When our family finally surrendered to His providence, we have discovered a high school that is willing to give us generous financial aid for my oldest son as well as a "job" for him where he helps to serve lunch at his school in exchange for a free hot-lunch every day, a parish-sponsored middle-school education for my youngest where we pay what we can in the form of tithing to the parish (which also includes our time, of which we donate freely and very, very often), bumper backyard crops with more food than we know what to do with, a permanent job for my husband that comes with better benefits for the family and lots of "free" time for me to do the things that matter most (prayer, exercise, volunteering at the boys' schools, artistic endeavors, practicing the piano, for starters).  So, I guess while I may have seen "somewhat dimly" before, the signs really are still very much "crystal clear."  

Sunday, June 10, 2012


An open letter to Catholic Priests, everywhere, especially those who serve in the diocese in which I live...

June 10, 2012


Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord
(aka Corpus Christi)


Dear Catholic Priests,

I'm begging you, please, please, PLEASE say the black and do the red.  The prayer does say "for many" NOT "for all."  Don't change the Eucharistic prayer to suit your desire to appear inclusionary (remember Code of Canon Law c.838 and the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy?). There are distinct theological reasons "pro multis" means "for many," not the least of which is that the prayer directly quotes Scripture (see today's Gospel if you need proof).

Thank you and may God richly bless you in the service to His flock.

Signed,

A faithful and liturgically orthodox Catholic

Monday, May 7, 2012

Right where God wants me...

I love it when the signs are so crystal clear that show me I'm exactly where God wants me to be.  Not that I ever doubted leaving everything behind in my former hometown to move to a place virtually unknown to me, without a home, without a job, without a real plan or man-made safety net.  There was just something gnawing at me and the family that it was time to move on...that God just needed us somewhere else.  So, we made the move, trusting that God would provide for all of our needs.

I believe that when I don't think God isn't talking to me, it's just me actually not looking for the signs...some big, most small.  The latest in a series of signals from the One who created all things for His good pleasure, came in the realization that the job I'm about to start is exactly the one I thought about applying for 18 months ago but decided not to because, well, I didn't live here yet.  The 1000 mile commute would have been a little long.  Originally, I was sad to have missed the opportunity.  I was comforted however in the knowledge that God would provide as long as I only sought His Will.  And, through a circuitous turn of events, and a series of small miracles, I have now been offered that same very position...the job that I believe is perfect for me and my family.  How cool is that?!?  God has me right where He wants me, when He wants me there.  Life is hard, sometimes disappointing.  But, God is always good.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Best April Fool's Joke Ever!

Went to Mass this morning and was treated to the best April Fool's Joke ever...You'll never guess...one hint...it is Palm Sunday.  Ok, maybe two hints...It is Palm Sunday AND there was a procession.  Ok, maybe three hints...It is Palm Sunday AND there was a procession AND there were ladies in white flowing gowns waving and dancing large palm branches into the sanctuary, around the sanctuary, and out of the sanctuary.

Looking at it again, though, except for the April and the fool(s) part, it really isn't a joke...it is the sad state of affairs of my particular parish in this particular Pacific NW diocese.  Can anyone justify dancing (or as the politically correct, liturgically uniformed, wanna be free, squishy Jesus catholic crowd would have it, "liturgical movement") at Mass unless your parish is one of a handful of ethnic parishes (read: not of the American culture, like the Basques or Native American Indians) in the US and around the world who have been granted permission to perform their sacred dances because it is intrinsic to their worship?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

No, I didn't think so.  This dancing silliness has gone on long enough.  Please, Pope Benedict XVI, shut this liturgical abuse down before the gates of hell pervade against us.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding it difficult to do penance this Lenten season

I don't know why...well I have an inkling, but I'm finding it difficult to keep up with what I promised would be my Lenten penance.  I had resolved to go on a modified daily fast of no more than 1400 calories, give up desserts, sweets, candy, soda, going out to eat, donuts on Sunday after Mass and shopping (other than grocery).  The only two I've been able to keep up are not eating donuts and shopping...those are relatively easy.  The others...well, I've broken them all and it was as if I had no resolve at all.  At first I couldn't figure out what the difference was between this year and last.  I thought that maybe it was the amount of stress I'm under, especially with the temporary accounting job I'm working right now.  But, that just rang hollow.  I believe now it's because I'm not getting any real encouragement or challenge from my parish to make a true penance that will lead me to fuller conversion to Christ.  From the banners I see at Church and on the marquee at another local parish, I'm being cajoled into "fasting from intolerance and feasting on love"...but there is really no teeth in that.  Where's the mortification?  Where's the suffering that I can unite with Christ's suffering?  I haven't gone to Confession in a while merely because the last two times, the priest didn't even give me a penance...nada...nothing...not even an easy one, like "recite a Hail Mary before the Blessed Sacrament." I feel as though I've wasted Lent this year, though I'm really going to try to do more during this Passiontide.

I miss my old parish and its pastor.  It was too hard to ignore Lent there.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Too much time on the computer

Lately, I have been frittering away too much time on the computer:  resolving issues, facebooking, changing email providers, shopping, researching questions, updating blogs.  I believe it is definitely time to go into a season of online abstinence, leaving the hustle of the online world and re-entering the figurative offline desert, a life of non-electronic simplicity.  I will be reassessing my screen time to see if it indeed detracts from my life (which is my suspicion) and if my time would be better spent in other avenues where my top priorities of faith, family and friends are concerned.  

So, for now, I will bid you a fair "adieu" for I do not know how long this sabbatical will be.

Of course, I am not intending on becoming a hermit so if there is any one out there in the ether who actually reads this blog, I will be reachable by email, phone and regular ol' snail-mail.

God bless you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This will be a pain!


Well, I just learned today that Starbucks is actively supporting gay-"marriage" legislation in the state of Washington.  While I've pretty much kicked my drive-thru coffee habit thanks to a New Year's resolution, a tightening budget and the recent demise of caffeine-withdrawal headaches, it will be relatively easy to not support Starbucks (I will redeem my free coffee coupon though...the money spent on giving me that free drink will be less money they can spend on causes I fundamentally don't agree with).

The other thing I learned is that Google has jumped on the bandwagon with Starbucks.  Sheesh!  I have two blogs on Google's blogger.com, a gmail account, Google+ (sort of), the Chrome browser, my pictures are on picasa and my home page is set to google.com.  It's going to be a royal pain in the (fill in the blank) to extract myself from the snares of Google.  I do not want to support a company who does not understand the very nature of marriage and seeks to destroy the meaning of this most sacred institution through its corporate buoying of harmful legislation.

Call me short-sighted.  Call me ignorant.  Call me bigoted.  Call me closed-minded.

The one thing you won't be able call me is a bad Catholic.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Voting

Many people ask me what political party I'm affiliated with.  I think a better question would be:  How do I vote?  You see, I don't vote a particular party line.  I'm not Republican.  I'm not Democrat.  I'm not Libertarian.  For practical purposes, since I have to declare some sort of party when registering to vote, I am officially listed as an Independent...at least I was in California.  I haven't registered in Idaho yet because I have been told that Independent is not a choice here (still have to verify that, though).  Regardless of political party affiliation though, there is one way I always vote...

I vote CATHOLIC.

I do not just let my well formed conscience be my guide...I am human, after all, and while infrequent, a lack of understanding and temptations can cause me to err.  No, I also firmly adhere to the teachings of faith and morals of the Catholic Church when making my decisions and placing my vote on the ballot.  Why?  Because in voting the "Catholic" way, I am assured that my actions are in line with God's commands and are the best way to show Him that I love Him.  What does that mean precisely?  Well, first and foremost, on all levels of government, I will vote for the candidate who upholds all life, the one who does NOT fence sit between "well, I personally believe abortion is murder" and "I vote pro-choice because that's what the people want me to do."

In a given race, if there are no pro-life candidates or it is impossible to find out the candidate's position in matters of life, then my decision who to vote for becomes much more complicated.  By the grace of God, thus far, I have yet to encounter one of those situations.  I'm hoping and praying that will be the case with this year's elections.

False prophets

It seems that with the advent of the internet and most people's connection with it, there are more and more false prophets gaining disciples these days.  It was bad enough when network TV was the only place where people like Oprah and Deepak Chopra cultivated their following.  Now, it seems, that anyone with a  YouTube video, slickly produced, can get their 15 minutes of "theological" or "religious" fame.  Why is it that there are so many lost little lambs, easily deceived by the wolf in sheep's clothing?  Who is to blame for the ever rising tide of unbelief and misplaced belief?

Folks, there is a lot of work to be done...The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

Behind praying for the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI my highest prayer priority will be for the conversion of heart of those conflicted, those who do not believe, and those who lead others astray, that they may come to know the eternal love of Jesus and come to understand His Holy Church.  Second, I will pray for all those who catechize the unfaithful, that they may be patient and perseverant in their "planting of seeds" and "tilling of soil."