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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Good Night, Mrs. Calabash

Greetings from the Midwest! Today's question, easy breezy, lemon squeezy:

Here's a question you might think is silly. Maybe I'm being scrupulous, I don't know. Is it okay to say your nighttime prayers and then read a book? My mom said I should say my prayers "as soon as I wake up, before my feet hit the floor and last thing I do before I close my eyes at night." The problem is that I like to read in bed but, I often fall asleep reading thus not having examined my conscience or said my prayers. Is falling asleep without saying your prayers a venial sin? It seems disrespectful to say my prayers and then pick up a book to read. What do you think?P.S. I love being able to ask these kinds of questions without having to bother my priest with them. Hope you don't think this is too goofy.

The last time I checked, there were no laws governing bedtime prayers. While I applaud your mother both for her plan of prayer attack and her ability to stuff her prayer plan into your brain so as to become inextricable (hooray for Catholic guilt!), it's her plan, something she concocted on her own.

Don't get me wrong. It's a great plan. I highly recommend it. You've got the Son in the morning, as the old song says.

But falling asleep without saying your bedtime prayers is not a venial sin. It is merely a bad habit. (Although bad habits can also become venial sins! Maybe even mortal sins! Today's skipped prayers are tomorrow's missed Mass. I should put that on a T-shirt. Maybe a mousepad.)

Here are a couple of bedtime do's and don't's:

Do say your bedtime prayers.

Do say a rosary for your bedtime prayers.

Don't say a rosary to cause drowsiness. The rosary is a meditative prayer. You should be trying to fill your mind with thoughts of the life of Jesus as seen through Mary's eyes. This should not make you drowsy. If it does make you drowsy you should stop doing it until you can wake yourself up. Because if you keep saying a rosary to make you drowsy, or while you're drowsy, you'll become the Pavlov's dog of the rosary sleep aid. For you, this equation will take over your prayer life: rosary=dreamland.

The rosary is not dreamland. Those things all really happened.

Do read a book, if you like, after your prayers. Why not? You've said your prayers, you've examined your conscious. Now if you need something to read before you nod off do so with God's blessing. God invented reading. He wrote a couple of books, didn't He?

Here's a plan for you, if you're still in a state because your mother is scolding you in your head (go Mom!): Read a book about God! Read the lives of the saints (very exciting stories, political intrigue, chase scenes, violence, mayhem, and always a happy ending, since they're all dead and in heaven), the Bible, your missal, books about the Vatican or the Popes, read encyclicals, the Catholic newspapers, books about Mary.

I have a great book now about good old Mother Angelica, aka Rita Rizzo of Canton, Ohio. Did you know that as a child, angels flew her out of the path of a bus? It's right in the book!

PS. I wonder if your priest is glad to skip these sorts of questions. I doubt it. It's a relief to tackle the easy ones.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leaning on the Saints

I have to travel to the mid West tomorrow to lend a hand with my family. I will be calling on St. Joseph to lend a hand with my travels, as he is a good patron saint of travel having managed to get the Holy Family safely to Egypt...on a donkey, no less. Although I wonder if they actually had a donkey. They may have just walked the whole way. No one was around with a camcorder to record the trek.

Anyhow, I won't be calling on St. Joseph out loud, unless there is a lot of turbulence, which brings me to today's question:
An anonomous person asked this: Can saints hear my prayers if I pray silently? I know God can, but can the saints? I was wondering about it too. I am leaning toward yes but I am not completely sure about that. What do you think? If you can get around to answering the question.

That person was not anonymous to the saints, ironically.

Lean all the way over to yes. I'll give you a shove if need be. If you pray silently for the saints intercession, the saints hear you.

We don't know how it works, but we know it does work. For one thing, praying for the intercession of a saint is how a person becomes a saint in the first place. I'm sure all the people who prayed for the intercession of Mother Teresa didn't stand on the corner hollering up to her. But prayers were indeed heard, as Mother Teresa is now "Blessed Mother Teresa."

Think of it this way. Mother Teresa has no ears. She left her ears here when she died. She'll get them back eventually, but she doesn't need them now. She won't need them later either, she'll just have them anyhow. So you wouldn't need to talk out loud to a person who didn't have any eardrums for the sound to bounce off.

And yet somehow, Mother Teresa "heard" the prayers of a woman who needed to be cured (I think she had a tumor or something) and Mother Teresa asked Jesus if He could help out and Jesus said, "Mother Teresa, you were so fantastic down there yourself, in the face of tremendous sorrow and suffering and despite all the nasty things Christopher Hitchens said about you. I'd be happy to do just about anything you ask me to do."

Blammo! Tumor gone. (A miracle has to be instantaneous.)

Perhaps you've heard of Danny Thomas? You wouldn't have if St. Jude wasn't able to hear him. Mr. Thomas was a struggling comedian with a family. He was just about to give up his dream of a life in showbiz when he stumbled into to St. Jude's Church and asked St. Jude to help him decide what was the right path. Mr. Thomas was ready to go sell shoes based on St. Jude's answer. The next time Mr. Thomas went onto the stage he was a huge hit and the rest is history. That's why Mr. Thomas started his giant children's hospital: to say thank you to St. Jude.

I have to believe that Danny Thomas didn't stand in the middle of St. Jude's Church and pray out loud to be a successful stand up comedian and start a television empire. What dirty looks the old ladies would have shot him if they had gotten wind of that! But we can tell that St. Jude, who has no ears, either, heard Danny Thomas.

So there you go. As I said, we don't know how it works. We Catholics have a saying for these kind of questions: "It's a Sacred Mystery." "Sacred Mystery" is "Catholic" for "let it go."

Friday, June 22, 2007

What Did Jesus Smell?

Dear Sister, it's nice to see Mrs. Gott on your blog again. How is their friend who smelled so badly at the Catholic Charities store?

Funny you should ask. We were just inquiring about poor Bob ourselves not two days ago. I hadn't heard tell of him in some time, and I always hear about it when he's been around. Then there is the lingering...awareness... that he stopped by.

I am not happy about the news, but I have yet to form a plan.

Here's what's happened. Somebody snapped. No one will fess up to who it was exactly, but I suspect that everyone else was so grateful for the lapse of compassion that the other ladies have now formed a thin Mary-blue line of protective silence. Their lips are sealed. They've thrown away the key. At some point I will lay my 'nun gaze', famous for stopping fifth graders in their tracks, upon them. The ninety year old women of the Catholic Charity will once again be 1o years old and they will spill the beans.

Even at the Catholic Charity store people are expected to pay a little something for their clothes or the things they need. The story is that Bob stopped by twice without paying anything. He probably owed them a dollar. Maybe two dollars. So when he stopped by a third time empty handed, someone snapped. Whichever octogenarian snapped also showed him the door. Somewhere in there the horrible odor was mentioned to him. He protested that he had on clean clothes. He was informed that clean clothes don't help when you don't bathe. Ever.

This must have happened a while ago, because I managed to find out thatBob has since been banned from no less than two other stores run by other charitable groups. On one occasion the police were called.

What a dilemma! I'm very disturbed. I'm sure the money thing had to have been a ploy. I can't think why any money has to change hands. All the items are donated. I guess for the gas bill and rent. Still...I know how much a dollar can be when you only have one. Or none.

I can't pass judgment on the good ladies who work every day to help the poor and have been as kind as they could muster to poor Bob, all the while gagging and holding their breath. I can't pass judgment on poor Bob who clearly has a screw loose. The hygiene screw has been stripped altogether. And we certainly can't expect the other people who come for help to hang around while Bob is there or in his stench-filled wake. We can ask for their compassion, but we can expect nothing.

We can hand them some Febreeze and hope that it's not as carcinogenic as it seems it must be.

I'm not sure where we can look for the answer. One of the North American martyrs (I can't recall which one) specifically asked to be sent back to work with the the Iroquois, or the Utes or whoever, because he absolutely could not stand them. He found them utterly repulsive. And smelly. Can we ask this of the elderly ladies of the Catholic Charities? I think we already do, every once in a while.

And what would Jesus do? I discussed this when I first mentioned Bob. We know Jesus embraced lepers. And by this we don't mean he really liked to help the cause of lepers. He actually embraced them. Gave them bear hugs. Kissed them.

And as I've said before, I'm guessing that no one smelled too great in Jesus' time, not even Jesus. If Jesus had smelled great to you and me the people of his time would have thought he smelled bad. No one would have blinked at Bob. Unlike us, their eyes would not be tearing up. Everybody probably smelled a lot like Kenny. The lepers probably smelled even worse. But since everyone was not used to nice smells even the lepers probably weren't too bad.

Although, I do recall that in "Ben-Hur", when Ben-Hur's girlfriend finally finds his mother and his sister locked away in the prison, the turnkey covers his nose and gasps, "Lepers!" when he opens the cell door. But this may be because he is afraid of breathing in leper germs. But then...they didn't know about germs and airborne viruses back then. But then, the actor who played the turnkey may not have called that to mind. We'll never know. He is an actor who has no idea how accustomed to awful odors an ancient turnkey would have been.
The slave galley couldn't have smelled like a rose garden either, but no one ever brings up that problem.

I digress.

My point is that Jesus could have just cured Bob of any problems Bob had and may not have noticed Bob's hygiene one way or the other. I doubt any of Jesus' suffering was on account of anyone else's lack of personal hygiene.

My main concern is that Bob gets fed. He mostly came by for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. He didn't come by very often, luckily for everyone involved, but when he did there was at least a donut involved.

I think we're going to have to go track him down and check on his stomach status. We do have something Jesus never had.

Nose plugs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Three Steps Back

Our readers have asked about the progress on our garden. We've had a set back.

The garden area is in two parts: a small plot which is nothing but plants and a little deck area of equal size. While we cleaned the garden part out, the deck area has been pile with debris. We were ready to clean the deck area when disaster struck.

First, we didn't get to start in on it because on Friday we had to rush Sister Mary Fiacre to the doctor. She was refusing food. Sister Mary Fiacre may not be aware of much, but she is aware of meal time, snack time and whatever else anyone is eating around her. Anytime she seems a little uncomfortable or somewhat unhappy we need only crack out some marshmallows or a cookie or one of those Little Debbie Snack Cakes and her cheery disposition returns. At this point I am sure she is onto us and puts on a sad face when she craves Girl Scout cookies.

She had a little bug, it turns out, and is back to her voracious self, turning the corner by Sunday evening in time for some home made fried chicken and gravy that Mrs. Gott brought by. Mrs. Gott had plotted to snap Sister Mary Fiacre out of it and her plan was a success.

Meanwhile when we returned on Friday evening from our waiting room Limbo.....limbo does exist it turns out. To find it you just bring someone to their doctor after the nurse on the phone tells you to come on down and they'll 'work you in'. We racked up some Purgatory points over there, let me tell you. Here's a flash: all the marriages in "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" are saved. The answer is always, "Yes." Thank you, Ladies Home Journal.

Anyhow, as I was preparing for bed on Friday evening I could hear water running in the pipes when no water was on. Fearing the worst, we spent the weekend turning all the water off after each use. Who knew we used that much water? I have a smudge on my habit from crawling under the deck to turn the valve.

On Monday, the plumber ascertained that the hot water heater is shot. This is a major expense and not something we can manage right away.

I am rethinking the fires of Hell, by the way. Icy water could be down there. It's very unpleasant. Ask the people who leaped off the Titantic.

We should have the new hot water heater in a short while. But we have to clean out the side of the house for the old heater to be carried out and the new one to come in. Some sort of exotic palm like thing has rooted itself in there, taking up the entire space. Of course it is also cover in........soap opera sting music SFX (thank you Hollywood)....morning glory. There is also a giant rubber tree in there and it's giant leaves fall off every day. They are at least knee deep. The plumber was shorter than me, so he may disappear altogether in the rubber tree leaves.

Sister St. Aloysius dug right in. By mid morning she had found Jane Goodall and a chimpanzee colony. I read recently that there are only 750 gorillas left in the world. I'm sure we can make that 751 by tomorrow.

Maybe we'll finally find Jimmy Hoffa.

Thank goodness neither of us is afraid of spiders. You can't live in this house and be afraid of spiders.

So the deck is a hopeless mess. I take that back. Hopelessness is a sin. The deck will take a lot of work, should we ever see it again.

The final blow came just a few minutes ago. We have beautiful yellow calla lilies as a focal point in the middle of the garden. Teddy and his little friend Romeo smashed them flat. Flat! I don't know why they did it. Trying to escape the gorilla, no doubt. Or playing with Jimmy Hoffa.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tit for Tat

We've had some questions about my opinions on tattoos. I am happy to further clarify.

Since the body is a temple, couldn't a tattoo be considered decoration as well? Cathedrals have their stained glass windows and I have my cross tattoo...

I'm not sure how you can compare burning ink into your flesh with a stained glass work of art. Perhaps some visual aids.

I rest my case.


I disagree and agree with you sister. I agree our bodies are temples of the spirit. I agree that we need to be careful what we put on it, or in it, as a holy place. To go extremist for a moment though- why do we cover this temple? why aren't we naked, I know that is another can of worms on sin and mortality.

You haven't opened the sin and mortality can of worms, so much as you've opened the Adam and Eve and morality can of worms (unless you meant to say 'morality' and had an actual Freudian slip).

The can of worms part is good news, to me at least. As a Catholic you don't have to take the story of Adam and Eve literally. You don't have to believe that God made one man and one woman in a garden and there was a talking snake and then they had two children who were both boys and the one of the boys (the murderer) went off to live in another town somehow populated with all the girls Eve had while we weren't looking. And everyone had to marry their sisters and first cousins for a while there.

You can if you want to.

Yes, except for a small bump in the road named Galileo, the Church doesn't run screaming from science. You may believe in the theory of evolution if you like. Not a problem.

You do however have to believe that the story of Adam and Eve is true.

Calm down.

The story. Not the events.

How does that work? Everything in the story is true. Some of the things didn't happen.

Just like in a movie, a 'bio-pic' (I do live close to Hollywood, I know the 'lingo') for example. In the movie "The Miracle Worker", little Helen Keller lives like and animal and fights her teacher tooth and nail until the big break through moment at the well when she realizes that the signs the teacher is making in her hand mean something. A powerful moment, to be sure.

To this day, when I've been talking myself blue trying to explain something that is bouncing off a nearby thick head and I finally break through the noggin into the brain, in my own brain I scream, "Mrs. Keller! She knows!"

But that "well" moment never happened. If you read the actual autobiography of Helen Keller you'll find she was hungry for knowledge and knew right away the teacher was there to help her. Helen loved Teacher from the moment she arrived on the plantation.

Was there a little girl named Helen Keller who couldn't hear, see or speak, who struggled to understand what her beloved teacher meant with motions of her hands? Yes. The story is true. Some of the things didn't happen.

So what we must believe about the story of Adam and Eve is that God made man in His own likeness out of love and that Man did something to ruin His relationship with God.

And in there somewhere, as a result of Man's separation from God, Man discovered shame and had to cover himself.

That's not the problem....believing or understanding that.

The problem is with what does man cover himself? There's your can of worms. Even a decent temple cover can go awry.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Sidney Poitier has not yet arrived to help us in the garden or drive us to Mass, so we're soldiering on on our own. The worst of the actual work of tearing things out and trimming things back and cutting things down is over. I even got through almost all of the weeding.

So I wasn't expecting further injury from the attack rose bush. I should have known better.

I understand that the rose is called "Joseph's Coat" because the flowers go through so many changes in color. The flowers bloom in clusters so there are always flowers in one of the stages, so all of the colors are happening at the same time. I would have thought that the person who named the plant would have no small amount of experience with it and named it something with a more appropriate warning. "The Devil Wears Prada", perhaps.

I was weeding near the base of the plant in my 'Lilies of the Field' work clothes and straw hat, throwing the weeds in a pile to my left and somehow, on the back swing, my hand got too close to the Joseph's Coat. My index finger snagged on one of it's giant thorns, but my hand was in motion. I ripped a large tear down the side of my finger.

I did not swear.

It wasn't a deep gash and I was on a roll so I kept right on working. A couple of minutes later I looked back at my finger. The wound was packed full of dirt. I'm not one to wear gloves, even with my "Lilies of the Field" get up. Anyhow, I thought I'd better wash my finger.

I soaked and scrubbed. The dirt stayed in there.

I had given myself a dirt tattoo.

Which brings me to this reader's question:

How are tattoos accepted? I wanted to get a tattoo of a scapular, but i dont know how to go about doing so. There are many regulations which come with scapulars which is making this more and more difficult i have found.

As far as I can tell the church has made no official pronouncement about tattoos. Obviously, a naked anything is out of the question. One of my favorite basketball players has a tattoo of his mother on his arm. She's still wearing her big square glasses from years ago. I'm sure she's delighted to wear them for years to come. On his arm. But I digress.

This scapular thing is a bone headed idea on so many levels.

It is my personal view that God doesn't like tattoos. This is not a personal revelation from God to me. It is my closely held opinion. Why? Because the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Tattoos are graffiti on the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

And on top of that you want a scapular! First read this: What Brown Can Do For You.

I'll wait.

So let me get this straight. You're going to tattoo a scapular onto yourself, thus skirting the even minimal act of wearing one and the awareness of being deserving of heaven that might bring. You're going to run down to Inky's Tattoo Barn and burn one into your flesh like you're at the Lazy "C" Catholic Ranch and forget about it, except for questioning eyes at the beach. "What are they staring at?" you'll think to yourself. "Oh yeah, my scapular tattoo!" Then you'll dance off in your string bikini.

How happy this must make Our Blessed Mother! All mothers love it when their children run out and get a tattoo, after all. The Blessed Mother, the very symbol of purity, must be overjoyed.

The real question here is, should you really not deserve heaven in the final wash, how is God going to get that thing off of you? Because He is going to get it off you.

A scapular, by the way, is worn both front and back, so getting it off you stands to be really gruesome.

My advice: Don't do it. If you insist on doodling on the library book that is your body, just scribble " WWJD" on there. Maybe it will remind you not to get any more tattoos.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hosanna! I Have the Answer!

I left my Dr. Laura hat out by the curb, in the hope that someone will run over it when they try to park. But we have some other questions from a reader:

1. Why does the priest bow to the altar on his way to the ambo? I can understand bowing to Jesus present in the tabernacle behind the altar, but he is definitely bowing to the altar (with his back to Jesus in fact)and not the tabernacle. Why?
2. Why do we bow our heads as we say "and became man" during the creed? While I am honored that Jesus chose to humble himself and become a man for me, I am even more awed at some of the other things He did that are mentioned in the creed, like "was crucified, died and was buried." or "rose from the dead." Why an act of reverence for "just" becoming a man?
3. When we say "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" during the Hosanna, who are we talking about? The whole prayer seems to be referring to God without specifying Father, Son or Spirit so I was wondering if this line speaks about someone other than God, or if the prayer is made to God the Father and this line is referring to His son.
Thanks for any insight you will offer.

I can handle these! Whew!

Question 1: To non-Catholics, every aspect of the Mass must look like some elaborate square dance. Bow to your corners! At least I can explain about the ambo. Much easier than explaining what an '"Allemande" is. Try explaining that move! I know it may involve going left the old left hand.

So the ambo is basically the pulpit. I thought everyone stopped calling it an ambo and started calling it a pulpit. Although they are a bit different. An ambo is a raised platform. It used to be a sort of movable lectern and then it became a piece of church furniture. A very elaborate piece. Ah, the good old days of elaborate church furniture! When did the whole church go Danish modern? The new statues make me feel like I'm on Easter Island.

But I digress. The bowing toward the ambo is not prescribed in liturgical books, but probably arose from a sense of reverence and respect for the Word of God which is about to be read from the ambo.

If the priest is bowing toward the altar, then the Book of Gospels is there and he's bowing toward that. Then he'll alamande left with the old left hand over to the ambo.

No, he won't. That's just what the non-Catholics think he's doing.

Question 2. I think you could have figured this one out. How does Jesus die for our sins or rise from the dead, so you can be amazed at that, if He first doesn't first do the stunningly humble move of being born a man? It calls for a profound pause.

Think about it. God. Omnipotent, eternal, "I Am." Rolling around heaven all day even before there was an earth. No body to get tired. No feet to hurt. After an eternity, literally, God makes us to join Him. In the great scheme of things we've only been here a very short time and we've can barely get anything right. We'd tie our own shoe laces together and start walking and break out our front teeth, left to our own devices. You, as God...you don't really even have to pay attention if you'd rather not. Luckily, you're paying close attention. Imagine what it would be like to have to deal with being born and having a body. Was Jesus lactose intolerant? Did He suffer during allergy season? Probably not. But you get my drift. I'm sure His feet hurt, at the very least, from all that walking.

Or just try to imagine something very big becoming very small. A dinosaur standing in front of you suddenly becomes a golden retriever. You've got to be impressed with that!

"..and became Man." The collective gasp after hearing those words should suck all the air right out of the room. A bow of the head is the least we can expect.

But feel free to bow your head at every turn during the creed. Why not? Good for you and your sense of awe. I won't try to stop you. Good for you feeling all that reverence! the extra head bowing will cause the visiting non-Catholics to be further confused, wondering if we've switched from a square dance to the hokey pokey. But their opinions have never concerned us one way or the other, really.
Question 3: We're quoting the Gospel of Matthew here, when Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday. "He who comes in the name of the Lord" is Jesus. That's what they said when He rode in and we're quoting them. It's not an accurate description of Jesus, exactly. But if we said, "Blessed is the Lord!" we wouldn't be quoting them anymore. We don't go around saying 'Hosanna!" as a rule either...that should have been a tip off for you that maybe it was 'from' something.

Although, I'd be willing to work a Hosanna or two into my everyday vernacular to have those great old statues back. I know they're around somewhere in some body's church basement.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I realize that I have invited readers to ask questions and I do welcome them. But I must admit when I am in over my head. In the first place, I don't have the answer to everything. But more importantly, armchair analysis based on a few sentences is a very dangerous thing, I think.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you tell me that your brother is a very sweet man but is somewhat neglectful of his wife. You go on to explain that he loves her very much, he is always there for her when it is really important, he's a good bread winner, a good provider. He just misses a birthday sometimes or shows up really late for family gatherings and his wife is embarrassed and it causes them to fight.

What do I say? I would say, keep your trap shut and say a rosary in his behalf and thankthe Good Lord that they are more happy than not, that he is there where he really needs to be, that he loves her and that maybe she is being a little needy. If I had to talk with his wife, if she told me about all the things she needs from him, I might say, "Drop some needs."

But you've neglected to tell me, in your question, that the reason your brother is late is because he is being detained by the police, that his nickname is "Sonny"(always a red flag) and that his good behavior always coincides with the periods in which he is on the wagon.

Now my advice is really, really bad.

That's why I can't touch this:
I've been in a rocky relationship for over half a year now. Lately I've been wondering what it is I am supposed to do. Do I stay and stick it out even though I am suffering right now because God wants us to persevere through the dark times for what is important to us? Or is the fact that I'm so unhappy lately a definite sign that I'm not on God's path for me? Nothing at all seemed odd to me but then I tell my best friend about my dilemma and she looks at me like I'm nuts to think about it that way. So I started wondering if God really does work that way. Does He have a specific plan for each of us? Or just some of us? Or is it more general like 'do good, be good, love God'? Is He really concerned about my love life? Or just the condition of my immortal soul as in I can date whoever I please so long as there is no sinning? I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter, Sister. I feel sort of ignorant at the moment. Thanks.

Unhappy for the entire year and a half, or just the last six months or just last couple of weeks? Unhappy because he makes you feel unsafe and unloved?

He makes you feel unsafe. Because he's been known to fly into a rage? Or because he's never on time to pick you up from work?

He makes you feel unloved. Because he is cold and dismissive? Or because he forgot to get you a birthday card?

Or unhappy because he doesn't do what you think he should do?

He doesn't do what you think he should do. He can't hold down a job? Or he doesn't pick up his socks?

Is his nickname, "Sonny"?

My question is: Why ask me? You should be telling him this stuff.

But what do I know? I'm a nun. Jesus doesn't even wear socks, so that's never at issue.

I don't mean to be dismissive to you. I understand that this is a very real and a very important problem. I just what to explain as fully as I can why it would be bad for me to try to give you dating advice. You can see how this could really go right off the rails. I could be doing you serious harm.

As for God's plan. .... He does have a plan and He does care about every aspect of your life. Unforunately, He doesn't mail you a copy of the plan. But that's why we have the Catholic Church! So you and God can be as close as possible.

And His nickname isn't "Sonny".