Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The More Things Change...
Did I mention we are back to normal?
We are back to normal. Sister St. Aloysius has returned and Sister Nicholas has shuffled off to Buffalo.
We can't find anything. I should have followed her around while she was cleaning.
Suddenly, fall is upon us. School has started. The air smells of crayons and pencil cases and sweating children. Sister St. Aloysius is already mulling over Halloween.
What did Alice say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Probably Alice did not say this. More likely, someone said it to Alice.
Here's a question for you! Surprise! Our priest retired at the age of 80 last month, and was replaced a middle-aged priest who has made some changes. I don't know the Magesterium all that well, so I'm betting that things needed to be tightened up a bit at our little country church, but folks are grumbling. Some are saying they may leave the church over matters that seem trivial to me--who announces hymns during the Mass, moving furniture, that kind of thing. Having returned home to the Catholic church fairly recently, I just don't want anyone to leave--especially for something stupid! What should I say to them? Some have a protestant background, and protestants follow personalities instead of dogma. We're Catholics; we shouldn't be doing this. I don't want things to get ugly over this kind of stuff. Shower some wisdom on me sister--please? --Mary Ellen
It isn't just retiring priests that cause things to get shuffled around. Must be that time of year, or that time of the decade. My mother's beloved pastor, who has been there forever and knows every single person in his parish and every single thing about them, just left last week having been transferred. I know another priest who was just moved.
Any of us could get our marching orders any day. That's our job.
It's a shame that people can't get their brains around why these changes take place in the first place. Oh sure, it's true that in this case the priest has retired. But priests are moved around all the time for a lot of reasons. Your new priest has caused a domino effect. Wherever he came from, he has to be replaced.
But more importantly we must remember our vows of obedience. Our job is to become completely attached with Christian love to our parish, our flock, our school. Our job is also to leave and give that same unequivocal love and attention to the strangers that will become our parish, our flock, our school.
We love everyone. We are attached to no one. Our relationship to you comes only through God, as we are all his children.
You are absolutely right that these matters of the hymn announcers and the furniture arrangement are very trivial. Leave the parish?
So....why are we in a parish? You know how when you go on an airplane the stewardess (are they still called that?) tells you that if that little oxygen mask drops you should make sure you have yours on before you assist anyone else?
We are in a parish to get to Heaven. My job is to get myself to heaven and to assist you in getting to Heaven, in that order. If I'm not working to get myself to Heaven, I won't be able to help you. I'll just pass out and die.
So we sit in these pews together. We pray together. We eat pancake breakfasts and attend funerals. And someday, we hope to be in Heaven together.
If you can't even be in the same church building with Joe Schlemmer because Joe got to read the hymn list instead of Mary Bernbrock, how are you going to stand being in Heaven with Joe?
I'm not sure if this helps you. What can you say to them?
"Get a grip, people! If we can't go to church together, we can't go to Heaven together."
Your patron saint: St. Catherine of Sienna, who kept the Church together while we had two Popes and then three Popes and finally, one Pope again.
Sister, I live with a chronic pain condition. Which Saint can I turn to for intercession when I don't think I can take anymore?
St. Bernadette of Lourdes.