Friday, September 21, 2007
Nuns are better than ever. I truly believe this and for good reason. Two good reasons, truth be told. For one thing, today women who join the convent go because they truly have a calling and for another, the women today who join the convent have a better education going in and have more education after they join.
I can tell you (I have told you) that this was certainly not always the case. I'm not the only girl who slunk off to the convent because I felt I had no other prospects. I wasn't the first and I certainly wasn't the last. Galileo, for example, had two daughters. They were both born out of wedlock and so they could never be married. Off they both went to the convent. One took to the religious life like a duck to water, but the other languished the rest of her life in bitter misery.
Lucky for us she went to a cloister and not in front of a roomful of second graders. Because if she had she might have done something like a nun I knew who shall remain nameless. Sister St. John Doe clocked one of her third graders on the head with a pile of hard flat music books in a fit of un-Christlike pique and the child was out cold. Stunned into silence by what they thought was the death of a classmate, she easily lined up the rest of the students to go outside for recess. They each quietly stepped over their fallen comrade on the way out. You would think his parents would have had something to say about it, but the truth is, in those days, if they had found out that he had made the nun so angry that she gave him a music book pile driver that didn't kill him, they would have finished the job at home.
Nuns also used to make things up. Sometimes it was much easier to catch on that Sister had some odd beliefs. I think the nuns who told us that anyone who raises their hand to strike a nun or a priest would have their arms freeze in the arm forever might have been using that old chestnut as a preventative measure. Certainly we figured out that it wasn't true, just like we managed to figure out there is no Santa Claus because one guy could never fly around all night and hit every single house or fit all those toys in his sled or get into my house which was locked up like Fort Knox at night and had no chimney. Certainly there would have been a couple of people walking around with their arms frozen in the air forever. Such was not the case.
But some things were much harder to realize. Right here we had the discussion about whether or not animals go to heaven, for example, and I mentioned that while the Church has no official comment on the matter, every nun who ever taught me said that since animals have no immortal souls they cannot go to heaven. Made sense to me. Not one of them ever mentioned that that might be their own personal (albeit shared) opinion. I have learned to fact check nuns.
Which brings me to today's question from a reader:
Speaking of the Church Militant, Sister. My parish bulletin is listing activities at a "Center for Spiritual Development Center" that is run by a group of nuns (this group is a bit out there on the "ecumenical fringe"). Their lead announcement is about "Zen Meditation."
Should one speak out about this? What is the right way to combat a watering down of our Catholic faith? It seems speaking out gets one labeled and then shuffled off to a corner with the other "conservatives." How does one defend the faith WITHIN the Church?
I wouldn't worry too much about it. You don't even know what they're going to say about 'Zen Meditation'. Perhaps they're going to talk about what the difference is between this popular form of mediation (which involves emptying the mind), and Catholic mediation (which involves filling the mind with thoughts of Jesus). That would be a very helpful seminar.
Speaking of filling your mind with thoughts of Jesus, He was out there on the "ecumenical fringe", back in the day, you may recall.
You better find out about what is actually going on before you try to 'combat' anything, unless you want to go around acting like one of those crazy nuns.