Archive for January, 2011

A Little Irony

A little irony can make us smile, it can confuse us or frustrate us. An example: I have encountered priests and members of the laity who fret about the Church, about shrinking congregations, about lukewarm Catholics who have little or no interest in what the Church teaches, about the short confession lines and the LONG lines of people coming forward to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. I have written letters to bishops pointing out that the traditional orders of nuns and priests – those who adhere to and hold onto traditional spirituality, traditional liturgy and traditional ways of living – are bursting at the seams with applicants to enter their order. Meanwhile, those orders which have gone the easier, more liberal and downright silly route to “tolerance and diversity and social justice” are vanishing rapidly and dying on the vine. The response of those fretting folks and these bishops is always mystifying to me – they really do not see a connection between abandoning traditional practices and dried up vocations and depleted congregations. I am 52 years old – I am usually the youngest person at weekday Masses – what will become of the Church if we do not go back to what works?
The irony is this: the fruit of traditional Catholic liturgy and teaching is proven and undeniable. But those folks who dare to live this way and whose success and happiness are very evident are rejected, talked about, avoided and even persecuted. A friend of mine was even told by a priest “I know you are right but I still disagree with you” The enemies of the Church – inside and outside the Church – are enemies of tradition. It is tempting to think that the chaos and confusion we see are intentional. Maybe the problem is that to face this reality, this truth, then places a heavy responsibility on the person in a position to effect change in the right direction – this might be a responsibility too heavy for some to shoulder. However, it is a sure thing that those clergy and laity with the gumption, the zeal and the unwavering faith to begin this return to tradition will experience a joy and happiness unknown to those who conform to the current norm of mediocrity and failure.
There are approximately 20 families in our homeschool community – these good people are experiencing the great fruit and joy of living the way God wants us to live. We will continue the good fight – with the grace of God – to be a small part of the turning back of our society to God and His Church.
Visit Youtube and log on to Citadel Catholic Media for encouragement and great information – it is never too late.
More irony soon – God Bless.

Are You Happy?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen posed this question in a book I am currently reading. In this essay on happiness, Bishop Sheen points out that most people, when asked if they are happy, express the fact that while they are relatively happy, they could be and want to be happier. He says in this book that this means that we are not really happy, that we have settled for a mediocre acceptance of things the way they are. There is a vast difference between what truly makes for genuine happiness and the way we live our lives. The good Bishop says that we have been fooled into seeking happiness itself instead of LIVING the way that leads to the desired result of happiness. He uses the example of people who travel extensively in search of excitement and variety. If these good folks would be honest, they would admit that the happiest two days of their latest trip were the day they left and the day they returned home. So, did the traveling produce a happy result?
A profound truth: this world and nothing in it can make us happy. Happiness is an “inside job”, meaning that if we are not happy that there is something lacking inside of us, not outside of us. People who love filet mignon will derive pleasure from their good fortune of dining on this revered dish, but very few will profess to have found joy in their meal. Pleasure is of the body, joy is of the mind and heart.
Another profound truth: we are seeking God, not his creation. His creation is dropped along the road of life as His way of prompting us to think of how awesome and beautiful the Creator of these “things” must be. But we poor sinners latch onto these things and place our desire and hope for happiness in them. When we realize that this world cannot fulfill our infused desire for happiness, then the things of this world will no longer disappoint us – we won’t expect happiness from them.
Union with God through doing His will is the sure path to happiness. The saints realized this in the depths of their hearts and they were willing to suffer the circumstances that resulted from their decision to seek the pearl of great price. What are we seeking? How are we spending our time? What is really important to us?
Finally – Bishop Sheen eloquently puts forth the following gem of truth: the sun is only happy when shining and providing warmth and light, a pencil is only happy when it is writing – WE are only happy when living in accord with our purpose in life. That requires knowledge, humility, courage and great faith. If you are a Mom or a Dad, it is very simple – our purpose revolves around those little balls of energy and bundles of joy that we have been so blessed to have been placed in charge of. The by-product of doing so with diligence and love is happiness. Happy New Year and God Bless.