About Me

My photo
Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tony Tony Two

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony! He is one of our very favorite saints, and when I say "our", I mean "OUR".  Catholics, Protestants, Jews, agnostics and probably some Hindus and Buddhists routinely turn to St. Anthony when something goes missing.

Or some one.  Or cats....
I lost my cat once. I looked all over for him for hours in the middle of the night. I finally started to pray to St. Anthony (St. Anthony, St. Anthony, Please come around, for Bon-bon is lost and cannot be found). After deciding to check the neighborhood for the inth time at 3am, a woman who was talking to someone in a car in the middle of the street stopped her conversation, looked at me, and asked if I was looking for a white cat. When I told her that I was, she told me she just saw one run across the street to the train station. I ran over to the station, called his name, and there was Bon-bon crying for me. St. Anthony, through God's Grace, has never failed me!

Bon-bon thanks you, St. Anthony.

Eyeglasses, keys, documents, cell phones.

And why is that, do you suppose? Because St. Anthony never fails to come through.

"Holy Tony, come around, something's lost and can't be found."

St. Anthony is, therefore, one of the greatest examples of cognitive dissonance, religion edition, we can find.

Here we have people who don't believe in saints, or don't believe we should pray for the intercession of saints, doing exactly that--because it works--and then going right back to not believing in saints and not praying for their intercession.

Just for the record, so you don't have to go look it up, St. Anthony's penchant for finding your other shoe stems from the story that a novice made off with Anthony's beloved Book of Psalms. Anthony prayed very hard for the book to be found. The novice had a terrible nightmare about the book and returned it.

I just...whatever. I think there is a much better case to be made for Anthony's forte. Involving his actual forte. He was one of those people who remembered every word he ever read about everything. And so once, when a speaker failed to show up, St. Anthony was pressed to say a few words and wowed everyone with his knowledge and eloquence. Because he remembered every word he ever read. Which is why he can remember what happened to your shoe.

And if he can find your shoe and your dog, imagine how great your life could be if you turned to other saints for all kinds of other problems and fears and phobias! If you're already calling on St. Anthony, it's pretty illogical not to wade on in.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Active Choice

How do you "honor" the Face of Jesus or the painful wound on His shoulder. There are prayers but that can't be all there is to it. To honor His name, I say "May your Holy name always be praised and adored" whenever I hear the Lord's name in vain. So, I guess that's an active way of honoring His name. And my kids are forbidden from every using the Lord's name in vain. I told them I would prefer them to say every horrific word including the F-bomb rather than use God's name in vain. And it's one of the few rules that I NEVER allowed to be broken. But what can I do to honor His face and the wound of His shoulder? Just saying a prayer just doesn't seem like enough. I want an active way to show I care.

First, let me just say that not all prayers and thoughts to contemplate have to be thought about or prayed by everyone. That's why we have so many orders of nuns. We end up with the Blessed Sacrament nuns, the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, The Sisters of Jesus Crucified and the Sorrowful Mother (that's one order with a long name), Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of the Sacred Wounds, Adorers of the Sacred Blood,  the Congregations of the Sacred Stigmata, and a whole slew of various orders that end with "The Sacred Heart". To name a few.

Many of the prayers we say involve contemplation. Contemplation on a single focus is sufficient. We don't also have to try to paint the face of Jesus (that sometimes doesn't turn out so well) or carry a cross to see how that actually feels (although there have been plenty of people who have tried that).

But if you insist. How to honor the face of Jesus. Let me count the ways.

How do honor the face of your mother? You carry her picture in your wallet. You have her on the mantle. You remember her face with fondness. You don't make fun of her nose. You see her face in the face of your children.

An active choice about the wound on Jesus' shoulder? That wound is from carrying the cross.  The cross symbolizes our sins. Jesus has taken on our burden. I suggest that if you want an active way to honor the wound on Jesus' shoulder, you take up the burden of someone else.

For example, once in a while, for reasons unbeknownst to me (but probably because we haven't gotten around to it), our neighbor sweeps our driveway. I love that. Wouldn't you? Who wouldn't?

I do think you should re-think the idea that other horrible things people can say are preferable to taking the Lord's name in vain. We don't have to create an hierarchy of what's worse to say. Don't say that stuff. Maybe you were just trying to get your point across.

We used to do that with soap. But those days are gone.