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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Still Sweating




Here near the coast,
it doesn't get so hot as other places in Southern California. Just about the time you wish for air conditioned comfort, the air is cool again. But the last two summers have been brutal. (Because my father threw his milk shake cup down the sewer every day in the summertime for countless years, at least until Mr. Zim died, causing global warming.) We've had to pack Sister Mary Fiacre and Teddy in ice.

Teddy is a big fatso and very hairy and really filthy. When we iced him down he made a brown puddle. He didn't complain, though. Sister Mary Fiacre is....not small. She is sleeping more. I suppose that's a good thing. Unless she's dreaming she's in Purgatory and the Virgin Mary is bringing her ice. (Mary is in charge of Purgatory. She actually sends the angels for the ice.)

Last night on the weather report 'they' said the weather would break today from the triple digit heat. I believe it did a little. Not that I can tell. I think I'm permanently hot, like an old oven with a broken temperature knob. Stuck on high, so to speak. Maybe I'll end up like today's saint of the day, St. Charbel. St. Charbel, dead since 1890-something, is still sweating. He was a monk who lived in the desert. I think he may have been permanently over-heated.

St. Charbel was the son of a mule driver. He took up the hermit life as a monk, and like his hooded brothers before him, tried to get away from people as much as he could, which is the whole point of being a hermit monk. As is often the case, however, people sought him out all the time. Hermit monks have to keep moving further away from people to stay hermits. We all have our crosses to bear.

Things really didn't get interesting for St. Charbel until after he died. His body started to secrete sweat and blood, for one thing. And he performed surgery on a partially paralyzed woman during her sleep. This isn't some ancient rumor, by the way. This was in 1993. The woman had a dream that a hooded monk, later identified in a saint line up as St. Charbel, made a small incision in two places and she woke up from her dream fully recovered from her paralysis. The best part: She had two small incision marks on her body like the ones in the dream.

I often wonder what heaven is like for saints like St. Charbel. I think about things like that when we get stuck in traffic because a Dodger game just ended or the Hollywood Bowl is having Tom Jones sing and 30,000 people, a drop in the bucket compared to the population of heaven, are all trying to get in front of each other to go home. It's amazing to see over 30,000 people at once. Next time you're stuck in traffic and want to swear at them all, please remember that you'll be next to them all in heaven, too. Still want to go?

Maybe that's the reason St. Charbel is still sweating.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Soooo.....I'm new to this party! I just found your blog (I've been busy on Townhall.com trying to defend my 53 years of being Catholic)! You are a breath of fresh air--my 5th grade nun, Sr. Adjutora, would be proud of you! I know I am!!! Twelve years of "s'tirs," and I learned so very much from them!

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I'm in southern California too, and we've been hitting 107 to 110 for the past week. But today (Thursday) was blessedly cool -- probably only about 90. At one point in that infernal heat I remembered to "offer it up" but forgot to mention it specifically on the other days.

Sister JEM said...

On an unrelated topic, Sister - I have a question.

A young (30-something) friend of mine teaches in a Catholic School - middle school aged children. She teaches religion, among other subjects.

On a recent retreat, she admitted that, while she calls herself a Catholic, she doesn't believe in The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Pope's infallability, celibacy for priests, male-only priesthood, Purgatory, Saints, offering sacrifices... the list goes on and on. She feels if "it isn't written in the Bible, it isn't from God." Can you tell she went to a non-Catholic Bible college?

My eyes must have been bugging out of my head - because she took offense at my reaction.

SO - in this day of poor catechesis - what's a person to do? Beg her not to fill children's heads with inaccuracies? Talk to her principal? Ask her why she thinks she's a Catholic? I am praying for her, and her students - and ask that others do so as well.

Anonymous said...

Tell her Martin Luther started a church for her. I would be really an upset parent if my child's religion teacher was saying anything contrary to the church's teaching.

Andy said...

Sister Jem,

As far as I know, you have to be a Catholic to teach religion at a Catholic school. You weren't clear if she was indeed (technically) Catholic. She calls herself so, but is she baptized / received into full communion?

Sister JEM said...

Hi Andy -

Yes, she is baptized - she is a cradle Catholic with an elderly mother.

Please do pray for her.

Sister JEM said...

Anon -

I am trying, instead, to love her. I don't agree with her - and she well knows it - but I am trying to love her.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe she wants to teach Catholic children about their faith if she doesn't even believe most of it. It's sad for her and especially the children if she is indeed filling their heads with heretical ideas.

I loved the comment by anonymous about the Lutheran church. I was a Lutheran growing up, but became Catholic 11 years ago. It's beautiful here (in the Catholic church) . . . although the comment is funny, the charitable thing to do is pray . . . and find out why this person doesn't believe. It's our duty to remind and show the beauty of the faith.

I'll be praying!

MissJean said...

One of my catechism teachers taught us that "we can't rule out reincarnation". I asked him, "So... who was Jesus the reincarnation of?" That stumped him.

He's still a cantor at my hometown parish. I don't know if he ever came around, though.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are many catechists who are out there and have no idea about what the Catholic Church teaches :(
My husband and I (married for 31 years) spent so many years on so many committees trying to continually reiterate proper church teaching. *sigh* Now we just refer to them as, "Church people."

Anonymous said...

Sister, I do think you should inform either the young woman's priest or her principal. If nothing else, they need to make it abundantly clear to her that she needs to be teaching the faith and just the faith.

Anonymous said...

As someone just finishing RCIA (I am to be received fully into the church tomorrow!!!! YEAH!!!! It has been a long 16 months waiting for this day, but I digress....) I can tell you that questionable catechesis happens not just in the schools but in the adult programs also. More than once I left the class knowing that some of the information presented was the leader's opinion and not official church teaching. If not for the fact that I read a great deal and get information from a group of conservative Catholic friends, I would be totally confused about some Catholic teachings (Any want to pray to God our Mother?)

Angela

Anonymous said...

Angela:
Ah yes! Poor St. Francis and his brother sun, sister moon! Translated by some: Mother God
Yikes. Congratulations and welcome home!!! I'm telling you, converts make the best Catholics!

Anonymous said...

Regarding my "Converts make the best Catholics," no offense Sr. Mary Martha!!! Darn--I'll bet you're already looking for that ruler! Open confession: I once made a nun cry :( I was smarting off in class one day in high school and (I'm sure she was menopausal but--who knew?)Not like I'm not still feeling guilty 36 years later....