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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I realize that I have invited readers to ask questions and I do welcome them. But I must admit when I am in over my head. In the first place, I don't have the answer to everything. But more importantly, armchair analysis based on a few sentences is a very dangerous thing, I think.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you tell me that your brother is a very sweet man but is somewhat neglectful of his wife. You go on to explain that he loves her very much, he is always there for her when it is really important, he's a good bread winner, a good provider. He just misses a birthday sometimes or shows up really late for family gatherings and his wife is embarrassed and it causes them to fight.

What do I say? I would say, keep your trap shut and say a rosary in his behalf and thankthe Good Lord that they are more happy than not, that he is there where he really needs to be, that he loves her and that maybe she is being a little needy. If I had to talk with his wife, if she told me about all the things she needs from him, I might say, "Drop some needs."

But you've neglected to tell me, in your question, that the reason your brother is late is because he is being detained by the police, that his nickname is "Sonny"(always a red flag) and that his good behavior always coincides with the periods in which he is on the wagon.

Now my advice is really, really bad.

That's why I can't touch this:
I've been in a rocky relationship for over half a year now. Lately I've been wondering what it is I am supposed to do. Do I stay and stick it out even though I am suffering right now because God wants us to persevere through the dark times for what is important to us? Or is the fact that I'm so unhappy lately a definite sign that I'm not on God's path for me? Nothing at all seemed odd to me but then I tell my best friend about my dilemma and she looks at me like I'm nuts to think about it that way. So I started wondering if God really does work that way. Does He have a specific plan for each of us? Or just some of us? Or is it more general like 'do good, be good, love God'? Is He really concerned about my love life? Or just the condition of my immortal soul as in I can date whoever I please so long as there is no sinning? I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter, Sister. I feel sort of ignorant at the moment. Thanks.

Unhappy for the entire year and a half, or just the last six months or just last couple of weeks? Unhappy because he makes you feel unsafe and unloved?

He makes you feel unsafe. Because he's been known to fly into a rage? Or because he's never on time to pick you up from work?

He makes you feel unloved. Because he is cold and dismissive? Or because he forgot to get you a birthday card?

Or unhappy because he doesn't do what you think he should do?

He doesn't do what you think he should do. He can't hold down a job? Or he doesn't pick up his socks?

Is his nickname, "Sonny"?

My question is: Why ask me? You should be telling him this stuff.

But what do I know? I'm a nun. Jesus doesn't even wear socks, so that's never at issue.

I don't mean to be dismissive to you. I understand that this is a very real and a very important problem. I just what to explain as fully as I can why it would be bad for me to try to give you dating advice. You can see how this could really go right off the rails. I could be doing you serious harm.

As for God's plan. .... He does have a plan and He does care about every aspect of your life. Unforunately, He doesn't mail you a copy of the plan. But that's why we have the Catholic Church! So you and God can be as close as possible.

And His nickname isn't "Sonny".


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sister. I was mostly interested in the God's Will aspect of it. I want to follow the path that he has set for me but I also know he doesn't necessarily make the path easy. Hence my confusion. And I very much understand the perils of advice giving and I hope I didn't sound like I expected you to tell me what to do. I appreciate that you took the time to consider my question. Thanks again.

ColleenD said...

Sr Mary Martha, I have a few questions that have been bugging me for a very long time. They are not life threatening, just distracting, unless having these distractions during mass would threaten my eternal life.

Maybe they will be a little easier for you to answer than today's question. Here goes:
1. Why does the priest bow to the altar on his way to the ambo? I can understand bowing to Jesus present in the tabernacle behind the altar, but he is definitely bowing to the altar (with his back to Jesus in fact)and not the tabernacle. Why?
2. Why do we bow our heads as we say "and became man" during the creed? While I am honored that Jesus chose to humble himself and become a man for me, I am even more awed at some of the other things He did that are mentioned in the creed, like "was crucified, died and was buried." or "rose from the dead." Why an act of reverence for "just" becoming a man?
3. When we say "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" during the Hosanna, who are we talking about? The whole prayer seems to be referring to God without specifying Father, Son or Spirit so I was wondering if this line speaks about someone other than God, or if the prayer is made to God the Father and this line is referring to His son.
Thanks for any insight you will offer.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that even your "non-advice" is always excellent and spot-on!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the mouspad you have for sale!

Sparki said...

Can you help me with this Bible question, Sister?

An evangelical protestant person I know insists that when Jesus cleared the Temple (John 2:12-17), He beat the offending moneychangers with His hastily made whip, which gives us evidence that it's okay to whip our children with a switch, execute people convicted of capital crime, etc.

I think that the passage is pretty clear that Jesus used the whip to move the cattle and sheep from the Temple, which is all that He had to do because the moneychangers would have run after their valuable inventories. I also think it would be a huge inconsistency of Jesus' character to start attacking people with a whip because He was appalled at their behavior.

Of course, this evangelical is all about "personal" interpretation of Scripture, but is there any way I can find out if I'm thinking about this passage properly? Any book or something?