Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter

Being Catholic means looking at death in a way that is similar to other faiths, and yet perhaps different. Being Catholic means having some Catholic Facebook friends, like the one reminding me last night that my mother, who recently died, would be with me at Mass celebrating Easter. Yes, we believe that about Mass. We're all there celebrating. I feel that religion and faith are not just about being comforted in difficulties. It goes so, so far beyond that. But, that's part of it, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Trinity

Sometimes, being Catholic means pondering a God that we believe to be three persons. We've practiced the songs for the upcoming Sunday. "All Hail, Adored Trinity" will be nice because it hearkens back to an earlier era, especially with the organ voice of the guitar synthesizer, and because we sing it in parts and it sounds pretty good. Overall, though, we are not excited about the choices for Trinity Sunday, and "Alleluia, Sing" is not found in our new hymnals.

Does this doctrine that at times seems to be simple and at other times (most of the time) seems complex and worthy of a lifetime of study and contemplation  -- affect my daily life?

I think so. I think that I relate in different ways to each person of the Trinity. I think this belief has had a part in shaping the person that I am. I believe that this God-in-three-Persons has created me, sustained me, taught me, saved me, encouraged me and challenged me throughout my days on this earth. 

Pentecost

Sometimes, being Catholic means wrestling with different views within the church, attempting to understand varying viewpoints, and trying to discern both what is right, and what action is required.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More art

So, this weekend the art show I mentioned previously is underway. I was amazed at the size of the show (not to mention the size of some of the pieces!) and the quality of so much of the art. I wished that I had planned for more time to be there, to contemplate more of the striking work.

In his "Letter to Artists," Blessed John Paul II spoke of "the path of the fruitful dialogue between the Church and artists which as gone on unbroken through two thousand years of history." That path has led this weekend to a parish of my diocese. I am richer for having been there today.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Current events

Being Catholic has an impact on the way I perceive the world and what happens in it. It colored the way I looked at the killing of Osama bin Laden. It meant that in between stories of revelation and celebration in the news, I was also reading reflections by Catholic thinkers and others (such as this one) about concepts like revenge versus forgiveness, the value of life, the cycle of violence. The discussion is coming out of Christianity, but my view is particularly through the Catholic lens.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter

Being Catholic means (well, for some but not all) spending a lot of time in church during a certain weekend in March or April. I am glad that I have a job that allows me to participate in everything, right down to the Saturday morning spent washing pews and carrying lilies to help get the church spruced up for Easter.

It's the Vigil that I most look forward to. Beforehand the darkened church is quietly buzzing with anticipation as the assembly begins to gather, servers, clergy, musicians, and readers go over their parts and catechumens don the robes they will wear for baptism. The liturgy begins with a blazing fire near the sidewalk in front of the church. Do passersby wonder what we are up to? The Paschal candle is lit and the fire spreads across the tapers held by everyone old enough not to burn the clothing of the person in front of them in procession back into the church.  "Christ our Light!"

It's a long Mass, two hours plus, or even three or four (I have heard) in places, but it's a night for telling our story and renewing our hope. And that takes time. I feel the joy as the lights are all turned on and as I remember the "resurrections" I have experienced and witnessed in life. The story is not just one that happened two thousand years ago, but one that is imprinted onto the hearts of those who celebrate this feast each year.

It's a  long celebration, but it's also "outside of time," so that almost every year at the conclusion, someone remarks how surprising it is that it is so late.

He is risen! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday

In the days when there is the most to say, I have the least time to write. Much more could be said about the Triduum.

One day is not enough (but it's a start) to ponder the mystery of the death of Jesus. I have not always gone to the Good Friday liturgy, but for many years, yes. And yesterday I was drawn in, even if the service tends toward "arcane and baroque" as someone recently said.

The veneration of the cross seems like a strange custom for people (sometimes I just touch the cross), but it's a pretty good example of the way Catholics involve the senses in our liturgies and the way that we speak with symbols as much as with words.It is a religion for the whole person, not just the intellect.

Questions on my mind yesterday had to do with the meaning of Jesus' death for us, as well as what his example of sacrifice in life as well as death mean for me in my own life. And I thought about where Christ is being crucified today. Some want to gloss over Good Friday, because Jesus rose from the dead, after all. We know the end of the story. But then do we have the tendency to also overlook suffering today that does not directly touch us? Do we know how to find hope, and to give hope, in the midst of all the problems in our world? Some churches, including my own, have Stations of the Cross that make the connection explicitly. A group downtown actually walks a path of suffering in neighborhoods there.

Just some thoughts, as a Catholic, from yesterday.