Thursday, July 29, 2010
Now I have the opportunity to try and keep the five pounds I lost from returning. I wonder if Weight Watchers has discovered the food poisoning weight loss program.
Of course, I don't have to worry about my 'figure'. But with a lightened load I do have more energy. Do nuns have to think about such things as their figures, their hair-dos, if their shoes match?
Yes, in a way. We are called upon to stay healthy, if at all possible. And we try to have a neat appearance. You know if you run around looking like a maniac, you lack credibility. Have you ever seen a nun with dirty fingernails? I haven't.
In any case, credibility is important.
Dear Sister, my question for you is: how did you know you were called to be a nun? I'd love to hear about your discernment, was it hard? was is easy? Was it difficult to tell your parents? How old were you? I'd love to hear about it. Also, what's the difference between a nun and a concecrated woman?
I've talked about this before:
"People have often asked me how I heard the call. Here's another confession. I didn't. Like dozens and dozens of other girls who entered the convent when I did, I was just a homely girl with no prospects. I could be a spinster or I could have a career of some kind. The convent seemed like a good choice. And like St. Augustine, my calling grew on me."
But your question brought something to mind that I had totally forgotten. Was it difficult to tell my parents? No. Because my vocation meant an all expenses paid one way ticket to heaven for them.
To begin with, it was a different time. I know there have always been parents that didn't want their children to enter the clergy or become nuns. But there weren't that many of them. It was common that is large families one boy and one girl was sent off to serve the Church, way back when.
Parents were exceptionally proud to boast of their daughter the nun. There could be no argument that they had done a fine job in their own vocation, which is to bring their children to Jesus. They could definitely put a check in that box on the to do list. But when I was a girl there was another perk: if you had a child who became a nun or a priest, you went straight to heaven.
I don't know who made that announcement, looking back on it. Was it an actual pronouncement or some kind of Sacred Tradition (like the word that Mary was Assumed into Heaven, which wasn't actual dogma, but was, but wasn't but was, but wasn't, until fairly recently), or was it just another one of those things the nuns made up.
Because they did make things up from time to time. And if it was something they made up, what happened to all the people who thought they had a free ride to the Pearly Gates. Do you suppose God would honor the half baked musings of a fourth grade nun?
I would hope that any Catholic who had done such a fine job of raising a child in the Church that the child grew up and married the Church would be a good enough Catholic to realize that a mortal sin will still send on to Hell. Because otherwise we could have some real parental havoc on our hands.
And a nun is a consecrated woman.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I have talked about Mary and Martha before, though. I am quite attracted to poor beleaguered Martha. I think anyone could understand that she must have thought she was doing exactly the right thing with a houseful of hungry dinner guests and her sister was doing exactly the wrong thing, lolling around listening to Jesus blab on.
The story doesn't end there, though, does it? No, it doesn't, because Martha is the first person to actually figure out just who Jesus really is. On top of that, when Martha announces that she believes Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God, she says she has always believed that. That means she knew she was waiting tables for the Messiah and she thought that it was important to give the Messiah a nice dinner.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I try to stay current. I suppose one of these days I'll have to break down and read some Harry Potter books, just so I can keep up with the discussion. I don't really mind, I just have so much reading to catch up on that I hate to take the time reading something that doesn't interest me. Maybe after I actually start reading it, it will interest me.
I'm not holding my breath. I have never been able to read any of those books about the hobbits. I have tried.
But in order to address the concerns of those in my actual instructional care, I think I'm going to have to hold my nose and read that "Twilight" junk, just so I know exactly how to combat the madness. I mentioned "Twilight" other day, just in passing. I thought the youth should be steered away from that silliness because it is all about teenage sex. My readers have informed me otherwise with responses that went more or less like this:
A slight disagreement about Twilight, sister. While I agree Twilight is worth being avoided, it's not an issue with teenage sex--after all the main character and her vampire beau don't ever become intimate until after they've been married. The issue I think Christians should take with the novels is that the main character is so readily willing to risk her own soul to be with the vampire. (That said, the clearly fantastical part of this series is that Edward, the vampire beau, is so stubbornly unwilling to risk his girlfriend's soul by letting her become a vampire or by sleeping with her. Teenage boys are rarely that concerned with their girlfriends' souls. Usually they're concerned with other parts of their girlfriends.)
It's still about romance, isn't it? And isn't romance, in novels, all about sexual tension? And then on top of that the guy is a vampire, which is an evil thing that lives forever by drinking the blood of others. Unless he stays out too late and the sun turns him to dust.
At least he has a curfew.
At least he can't loll around on the beach.
There is just no "upside" to reading "Twilight" that I can see. It really isn't just a fun fantasy book, as I imagine Harry Potter to be. It's a creepy temptation. A teen tittlation.
And if that isn't enough for you, check this out.
Have you ever heard of such a stupid thing? No, you haven't.
I am not one to run around with my hair on fire, crying out that the youth of today are going to hell in a handcart. They may be doing just that, but that is the nature of youth of every generation.
Each generation has it's own handcart, is all. We still have to get them out of it.
Biting each other to show affection. Indeed.
It's a tricky situation, though. The other hallmark of youth, besides finding a handcart in which to travel, is that if you tell them not to get in the handcart, it makes them really, really want to get in it.
That's why I think I'm going to have to read it. Ugh. Because the other thing they like to do, is be critical of whatever everyone else likes. They love nothing more than to think something is "stupid". I think I can light that fuse. Once you poke a hole in the story, they descend on it like vultures, tearing it apart. And once they think it's stupid, we've won.
Maybe I'll have them write an essay about what married life would actually be like with the vampire, once they never see each other because she has a day job.
For now, until the next handcart comes along.
Monday, July 12, 2010
As a nun, I often find myself in uncomfortable situations. Everything from suggestive billboards to a backyard party where double entendre "jokes" are flying fast and loose. (Please forgive that double entendre joke.) I am, of course, a major wet blanket, just by standing there in my nun garb.
I often find myself in the middle of situations where I'm not entirely sure how I should behave. I am in uniform and I can't just fade into the background. On top of that, I've noticed that people are looking at me to see how I am reacting, when, in fact, I'm not actually reacting, but trying to figure out how to react.
Everyone behaved themselves. As usual.
But when my friend stepped on the little stair, he slipped. The air was full of arms and legs and down he went with a sploosh. The crowd gasped. I'm sure we all thought for a second there that he had cracked his head on the steps. But he was fine. Wet, but fine.
He had just baptized himself, sort of. And...it was really comical. Really, really comical. The combination of being a fish out of water there myself, the outrageous pratfall into the drink, the gasp of the crowd proved, to be too much for me. I tried not to chuckle, smirk, smile, grin or grimace while trying not to grin. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Sister St. Aloysius squeezing her face together so as not to laugh.
Laugh! Oh, please no! Don't laugh! Not here! Not now! Not two fully uniformed devils laughing at a Baptist baptism!
We are nuns, after all. If nothing else, we are disciplined. We both chuckled. As quietly as possible.
At the reception afterward my friend bounced over to me. "Sister!" he said. "Thanks for coming! I bet you laughed when I fell into that pool!"
The rule of thumb, for both of us, is "when in Rome..." You only have to refrain from the sacraments and the only sacrament at the Mass is the Eucharist. You can sit, stand, kneel, pray, sing, shake hands, and go up for the blessing.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Dear Sister,Due to a recent discussion among some good Catholics I know the whole witch/magic thing has been on my mind lately and I'M SO CONFUSED!!!! I feel like everyone has their own adamant opinion of where the line should be drawn with reading that kind of stuff and I can't figure out where the line should ACTUALLY be drawn. Like is Harry Potter okay? What about Twilight? I feel like you have the Bible on one end of the spectrum and the satanic bible on the other and somewhere in between a line has to be drawn but I don't know where! Oh and if witches aren't real then why is this stuff a problem at all? HELP!Clare
As I have mentioned before, "The Wizard of Oz" is all about witches, too, but I don't hear anyone sqawking about that delightful fantasy. Fairy tales are full of magic and sorcery and witches, too. Is anyone talking about banning the Brothers Grimm. Let me answer that: no.
Perhaps the Jehovah's Witnesses, on second thought.
If you want to dress up like Harry Potter or the Wicked Witch of the West for Hallloween, great! Have fun!
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Some evil plot.
He could beat you with sticks and take your holly hats away (which is what the nuns would have done), but instead, he tells you about the love of Jesus and says, "Your holly hats remind me of Jesus. The green leaves stay green all the time, ju;st as His Love is always with you, while the berries appear bright red as did the blood He shed for you."
When you become a Christian too, you're still going to be wearing your holly hat, only now it's because it reminds you of Jesus.
So that's one way they could have have gotten confused.
Another way is the fact that other ancient cultures had virgin birth stories and many modern pagans believe that this is what happened with the Jesus 'story'. That would make Jesus and his apostles people who are based on a myth.
But even if we go along with that idea, within a few years of the Christian movement (pretending it was based on a myth that began in 1 AD), we are going to find a seemingly endless number of real people who did indeed live and sometimes die for Christ. We have their letters and their bones and hairbrushes (St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Therese the Little Flower). We have people who knew them that are still alive (St. Padre Pio). We have police reports and jail terms (Maria Goretti). We have the impeccable record keeping of the Nazis (St. Maxmillian Kolbe).
The problem you are facing, dear reader, is that once people have these half baked notions, it is just about impossible to convince them otherwise. Ever meet someone who thinks the moon landing was faked and that it was all done in a studio in Hollywood? Good luck convincing them otherwise.
I believe that's what you're up against here.
But. I'll try.
Here's what I would say (after taking a big deep breath and counting to ten):
"What makes you think that?"
You'll get, I think, one of those two answers that the Church co-opted pagan practises or that the Jesus story is a myth.
Neither of those things have anything to do with the very real endless list of saints.
I would then have to ask which saints they believe to be based on pagan myths and such and I would name a few. St. Augustine, author of "Confessions"? St. Thomas Aquinas, world reknown philosopher? St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, founders of religious orders?
And then I would not mince any words in saying, "Your blanket statement, which I hope is not an actual belief, is absurd. " I would stop short of saying, "If you'd stop dancing around in the woods and read some actual history, particularly European history, you'll find that a lot of that history was formed by very real people, some of whom are called saints."
As for St. Patrick. Sigh.
I'm guessing the same thing has happened. This is the sad excuse for logic and proof: St. Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland, which is a myth, but like all myths is based on a 'truism' or symbolism. In this case, many believe that the snakes symbolise the pagans, or paganism, being driven out of Ireland and somehow that has translated to these poor birds that he killed them all.
With what, I'd like to know? Did he have an army? Or did he act alone? I don't ever remember hearing one word about '"St. Patrick's Army", so he must have acted alone. Was St. Patrick like some sort of ninja killing machine like in the movies where 40 people attack one man and he ends up standing in a pile of bodies with his shirt torn a little?
Thursday, July 01, 2010
While we decide on whether to have S'Mores or Apple Pie at our Fourth of July cook out, I'll let our archives answer this easy breezy lemon squeezy question.
Who is the patron saint of both selling your house and finding a new one?
Thank goodness for St. Joseph.