Monday, March 19, 2018

Parishioner, former Lutheran pastor, on his journey to Catholicism

As I said below, the audio got destroyed from my homily this weekend.  In lieu of that, here's a presentation a parishioner gave on his journey from being a Lutheran pastor to joining the Catholic Church

Your NCAA bracket, like your Lent, is destroyed!

Homily audio was completely unusable this weekend do to wifi interference

gist: Everyone's NCAA basketball brackets are shredded. Places offer new opportunities to enter new brackets (Sweet Sixteen brackets) the following weekend.

Most people's Lenten promises are shredded. We face two weeks left of Lent. Begin again. Make these final two weeks of Lent the best final two weeks of Lent you've ever had. Double down on your prayer. Did you promise 10 minutes? Do 20. Did you give up candy? Give up soda too!

We see in the Gospel today a theme throughout Holy Week - Jesus shows us His human will is pulling him in a different direction from His Father's Will. He will repeat this in the garden and on the Cross.

Our will often does the same thing. We know the Father's Will but we are pulled in another direction. RESIST! FIGHT BACK! Deny yourself these final two weeks of Lent and come to Easter resurrected with Christ!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Father, the person with the mental illness that sits in the back of Church smells bad

Every Catholic parish has people in it who are battling and living with mental illness.  I have a person at one of my parishes who is that way.  This person spiraled into some form of mental illness when her mother died, long before I arrived to the parish.  She has no family and no one else to turn to, and it is likely that she had some kind of serious breakdown when she lost her mother who was also her last true friend.

She says inappropriate things to people at times as she moves from one place to the next around town.  She's been thrown out of McDonald's and the hospital and so forth.  She can certainly be a nuisance, but with some firm love, and repeating instructions to her over and over, she understands that she's not to be up and talking with people while she's at Church, nor is she to greet people at the door.

We've done some pretty awesome stuff at the parish to help her out, and it has been pretty amazing to see a lot of parishioners pitch in to help.  She was going to be evicted from her home, but we were able to stave that off by going over and cleaning out her house which had years of trash in it.  We were able to get her into government housing, and she's doing a lot better.

So yesterday a parishioner came to me and said "Father, some parishioners have told me to tell you that ________ still smells bad at Mass"

And here's the point of all this: my response: "Tell those parishioners to invite her out to dinner"

Mental illnesses are certainly assisted by counseling and medication, but I'm convinced that a lot of the struggles out there that people have with mental illness would be cured, or at least greatly improved by love.  By people inviting others out to a meal, by visiting them, by talking to them.  "Hey _______, how are you?"  Those kinds of simple things.

If you take _______ out to dinner, will she say something inappropriate?  Maybe.  But every show and movie you watch says something inappropriate too.  Who cares that she might say something inappropriate?

We need a lot more people caring for each other, and a lot less people who see other people who are struggling and just call the cops, the government, or tell their priest to do something about it.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.  He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’  Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”  He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

"Well, we have to do SOMEthing for invalidly married couples!"

In the "Communion for those in invalid marriages debate" the most detached-from-reality statement is: "We have to do SOMEthing for them"

The logical restatement of that claim is "we are currently doing nothing for invalidly married couples"

But in my parishes (and probably every other parish in the world) they can:

Participate in Bible studies
Join and pray with us at Mass
Hear the Word of God proclaimed and preached
Participate in religious ed
Receive charitable assistance
Receive individual or couple counseling from the pastor
Pray in our unlocked churches throughout the day
Participate in our social activities
Go on our parish retreats
Join us for processions
Pray with us during our communal rosaries
Pray with us during our hours of adoration

and about 14,000 other things

Any bishop or priest who says we aren't currently doing anything for couples in invalid marriages has been away from parish life for too long and needs to be reminded of what is happening on the ground

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BEAUTIFUL Words from Pope Benedict - Poet, Doctor of the Church

"We climb up the mountain of time, bearing with us the instruments of our own death. At first the goal is far distant. We do not think of it; the present is enough: the morning on the mountain, the song of the birds, the sun's brightness. We feel we do not need to know about our destination, since the way itself is enough. But the longer it grows, the more unavoidable the question becomes: Where is it going? What does it all mean? We look with apprehension at the signs of death that, up to now, we had not noticed, and the fear rises within us that perhaps the whole of life is only a variation of death; that we have been deceived and that life is actually not a gift but an imposition. 

Then the strange reply, “God will provide”, sounds more like an excuse than an explanation. Where this view predominates, where talk of “God” is no longer believable, humor dies. In such a case man has nothing to laugh about anymore; all that is left is cruel sarcasm or that rage against God and the world with which we are all acquainted. But the person who has seen the Lamb—Christ on the Cross—knows that God has provided... 

All we can see is - like Isaac - the Lamb - the crucified Christ - is in fact our glimpse of Heaven, of what God has eternally provided for us.  In this Lamb we actually do glimpse Heaven, and we see God's gentleness, which is neither indifference nor weakness but power of the highest order.  It is in this way, and only thus, that we see the mysteries of creation and catch a little of the songs of the angels - indeed, we can try to join with them, somewhat, in singing the Alleluia of Easter Day.  Because we see the Lamb, we can laugh and give thanks; from him we also realize what adoration is."

From a homily for Easter, published in "Images of Hope" by Ignatius Press

Protestant Youtuber Converts to Catholicism

Welcome to the Catholic Church!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Faith and Science

"Drug companies have a substantial stake in construing psychological problems as discrete illnesses so they can market medications that treat each condition. The emphasis is no longer on the deep healing of pervasive personal struggles, but on the effort to change behaviors that interfere with smooth functioning in work or school"

This is from a wonderful book I've begun reading called "Psychoanalytic Diagnosis 2nd Edition" by Nancy McWilliams