Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lent: Day 7

It's been a bit quiet here when it comes to blog entries. I mean, here we are at the start of Lent; you'd think I would have profound things to say?

So Ash Wednesday (for Priests, "Dirty Thumb Day") came and went, and so the Lenten season has begun. Like most other people, I began with great resolutions: spiritual, person, professional.

How's it been going for me? Nothing so stellar, yet.

But that's the thing with Lent: You can always start again. Lots of people make resolutions that, if they fall, have no intention of going back to it. Sort of a "Zero Tolerance Policy". Lent's not the Olympics: it's not about in what place you finish; it's about the fact that you finish.

Some things have already made me nuts (and these come from south of my locale - across the boundary line in another diocese, lest I be accused of "ratting out" my own diocesan brethren).

I hear a neighboring parish regularly has a Lenten parish penance service at which they give general absolution, and that many Catholics (amongst my parishioners) flock there to avoid individual confessions.

Some parishioners were telling me about a repast they attended after a funeral this past Friday (a Friday of Lent). They encountered a Deacon who was proudly consuming some chicken. When they asked him if a dispensation allowed them to eat meat on a Lenten Friday, this clergyman told them he could do it because he was "over the age" when he didn't have to follow the rules of abstaining from meat, and (checking them out) so could they. Someone needs to tell the Deacon that Canon Law says that being older than 59 can get you out of Lenten fasting, but that's all it gets you. Abstinence from meat, in Canon Law, is something for every Catholic 14 years and above. How long has he thought this way? How many people watched him eat meat and presumed, if a Deacon is doing it, they can do it as well? Would you accept your doctor or lawyer not knowing the rules? I don't know if he doesn't know the rules, or if he knows the rules and chose not to follow them. But either way, not good.

On another front: new bishops for Scranton and Ogdensburg today. I went to seminary with a few Ogdensburg guys, and the Scranton diocese borders part of my own diocese. God bless and sustain both bishops-elect.

That's all for now.


Unknown said...

Good Morning, Padre. With regard to knowing the "rules" - too many times we've all seen flagrant fouls, which have been explained as being inconsequential. It's no wonder both young and old are confused as to what is the law and what is optional. In having knowledge of some of the type of Catholic education taught in local Catholic schools, private prayer is taught to be something done in the home and not in the church. The church is for community sharing/visiting and interaction, before and after Mass - not a time for quiet reflection.

ProudCatholic said...

Wow..can't agree more with you, Father and with Mary. It's amazing how our traditions and our spirit of sacrifice have so quickly and quietly fallen away. And a good deal has to do with leaders who do seem to have a myriad of excuses and loopholes so no one feels "bad" about their "choice." No wonder lay Catholics get confused (at best; or lazy or indifferrent, at worst) about the bigger "choices" they make when there is such confusion over even the littlest. As Chaucer so beautifully put it, "If the gold rusts, what will the iron do?" We can't expect the sheep to head in the right path when the shepherds don't know the way. But of course, the responsibility also must fall on us all. For my part, for our savior who suffered so greatly, I of course can never repay that..but I can have a spirit and attitude that following fast, abstinence, holy days of obligation, doing works of mercy and charity are at least a start and not beyond reason. I won't look for loopholes as I've heard so many times (that I can freely substitute another day instead if I want to eat meat on Friday or that I can do a work of charity instead). On the contrary, no matter how much sacrifice I make, it can never be enough. It is only a token, a symbol, but it is certainly the least Our Lord who sacrificed everything deserves to have. How many "loopholes" could Jesus have taken but for love of us, He did not. And yes, Mary, Church was once a place of awe, wonder, and respect. When you entered God's house, there is where you found peace, tranquility and spiritual gratification. There is no shortage of opportunities for fellowship that don't take place in front of the tabernacle and altar but there are far fewer opporutnities before it for silence and prayer. But unfortunately so many do not see it that way. I suppose, if they do not respect God in his house, we can't expect them to respect their brothers and sisters who would like to take the time to sit in the presence of the Lord and think and pray.

JoeDobies said...

Thanks... "Lent's not the Olympics: it's not about in what place you finish; it's about the fact that you finish." 7 days into Lent & I missed my 1st daily resolution. In the past, I would've just given up, but with your encouragement, I just started over. With God's help & my own resolve, I hope to complete the season intact.

NCSue said...

Thank you for reminding us that it's OK to "start again".