Life is tough. But Nuns are tougher. If you need helpful advice just Ask Sister Mary Martha.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
A Few Doozies
After all the fuss about being allowed to have nativity sets wherever you want them, I thought we might visit some of the reasons it's not necessarily a good idea.
I have always been a big believer in just about anything to remind us of Jesus. I never fuss around about sacramentals: 3-d holy cards, St. Joseph real estate kits, glow in the dark rosaries, St. Claire television statues, St. Francis of Assisi bird feeders...whatever. If it works for you to bring you closer to God, go for it.
But then I stumbled across this mess and I am eating my words. (Luckily, I still have some eggnog with which to wash them down.)
For starters, you know I have a problem with the idea of animals in heaven. I don't mean to start up an argument again, but I do think people take their relationships with their pets much too far, far too often, as evidenced here. Chihuahua angels? Somebody needs their head examined while inside a confessional. That is just wrong.
Cat people can be just as bad. Maybe these cats will run over
and eat these birds.
And in as much as Sister Mary Fiacre loves marshmallows, I don't want to send her to heaven early by letting her get a load of this.
You can make these. What fun for the children! Especially when it comes time to eat them! Until then...
...you can keep them from getting stale by stashing them in this thing.
But if you really want to stick it to those people who stopped you from putting up a Nativity set down at the city hall, you can blow this giant inflatable version up on your front lawn. Take that, city council!
I've eaten my words and they were delicious.
People. Keep in mind what sacramentals, which would include the Nativity set, are for. The Nativity set has a particular purpose. I'll let Father Zehnle explain.
Meanwhile, our question of the day, which is a doozy:
Sister, is it a sin to pray for God to kill someone? If so, are there exceptions?
Good thing you are anonymous with a question like that. Otherwise I may find myself questioned by the DA from somewhere.
Yes, that would be a sin. I can't think of any exceptions. You can pray that people are protected by God from the person you think should be killed. You can pray for the person to stop doing whatever it is that makes you think they should be killed. You can pray that God alleviates the suffering of someone who you think ought to be dead, maybe, by calling the person home to heaven. Praying that God kills them is just a breath away from killing them yourself, as sin is all about intent.
Wanting to kill someone, even if you want God to do it for you, is almost as bad as actually killing someone....some might make the argument that it is as bad, but I wouldn't say that. But once you actually pray for God to do it, you are trying to kill somebody. You may as well ask a hit man.
Happy New Year!
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My goodness. Well, I don't wish anyone dead, but I do have a question about prayer. It's a serious question, so if I come across as being facetious, forgive me. Why do we pray? For the living, specifically. I understand why we pray for the dead in purgatory.
When I think about praying for my self, it seems very selfish. Even praying for others, for example, praying for better health for someone who's sick, seems like a lack of faith. Shouldn't I just pray for God's will and give prayers of Thanksgiving for good stuff that happens? Also, should I really believe that God was going to let someone die of cancer until people prayed for that person. Did God change his mind? What if people don't have anyone to pray for them?
I actually do believe in the power of prayer, I'm just not sure how, or even if I should, direct it.
Thought I would get through the holidays without being "baited" into defending my faith...these statements were made:
1 Wicca was based on Christianity...or the other way around, I can't remember...
2 The Catholic Church kicked out the Free Mason's because they were too powerful and that's why they hate Catholics...
I didn't take the bait, I prayed for them instead...and changed the subject. Didn't really know how to defend...the statements seemed so ridiculous.
Any ideas or thoughts on these topics??
TC wrote: "I understand why we pray for the dead in purgatory."
Purgatory? What's the Biblical basis for this? The holy scriptures at Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10 and John Chapter 11 say the dead are sleeping, and Romans 6:7, 23 say that the dead have already paid for their sins. Purgatory is purely a fictional idea encouraged by the Catholic Clergy / priests as a money making scheme! Do your research!!
The idea of "scripture alone" is not Biblical, it was invented by the protestant reformers.
However, since the Bible is the only source you will accept, I shall show you where scripture refers to it.
While the word "purgatory" is not in the Bible, neither is "Trinity." Both are words invented to describe something already believed in.
"Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny" (Matt. 5:25-26).
"Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor. 3:13-15).
"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey . . ." (1 Peter 3:18-20).
"But nothing unclean shall enter it [heaven] . . ." (Rev. 21:27).
There is also support in Maccabees, a book which Luther removed.
"For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin" (2 Macc. 12:44-45).
Those are deep questions about prayer. For some beginnings of answers, I recommend C.S. Lewis's "Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer."
As for the Purgatory issue...how about Revelation 5:3 "And no one in the heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look thereon." Seems there are 3 distinct places.
If not Purgatory, what is "under the Earth"? No one in Hell would be able to open any book, much less one in Heaven!
Perhaps so called "research" should include times and authors before the "reformation".
As always, I have to make sure I do not eat or drink anything while reading your blog, or it will end up in the crevices of my monitor and keyboard :)
I've been poking around your archives again and see that someone mentions having to bury all blessed things, like broken rosaries. I have been wondering about my advent candles. They were blessed, and didn't completely burn up. I will admit to sweeping up and tossing the zillions of bits of broken wax that my kids spread everywhere. Perhaps I should have tossed them into my garden, though I hear that lipids kill the worms.
Do I need to bury what's left of the candles? Would it be okay to light them during prayer until they are gone? I am spending a lot of time meditating on the Incarnation lately, so it seems like that might be appropriate.
All the best from a recent adult convert,
About the question from Anon. who wanted to know if it was ok to pray that someone would be killed. I find it significant that it came around the Holidays. Oh what fun, Christmas and Family and a few too many cocktails!
I still find that if I have a mass said for someone who really ticks me off I start to feel better just writing the petition. Imagine, the best possible gift I could ever give anyone is a Mass. And writing one out for a person is the ulitimate in Christian Charity. I don't feel like doing something nice for them, but just doing that is a form of prayer. If I'm really short on change, I say a decade of a rosary for them. (A whole rosary? No, I don't want to spend that much time on them. Now maybe a little time in purgatory we'll clear things up a bit.)
Oh, I just sent in 10 requests for people I do love so I don't just do it for the people on my personal naughty list.
God Bless you Sister , Merry Christmas and may 2008 be wonderful for you!
Would it be okay to light them during prayer until they are gone?
That would be a perfect way to "dispose" of blessed candles - sacramentals should either be buried or burned, and modern candles are often (unless you get the pure beeswax or soy candles) not suitable for burial due to pollution issues. Burning them is fine.
Speaking of burying blessed things, do we have to burn last year's Palm Sunday palms or can we just throw them into the trash? I face this quandary every Palm Sunday, as I always stick the palms we pick up at Mass behind a crucifix--and then I don't know what to do with the palms behind the crucifix from last year. Burning them--as I've read is proper protocol--would constitute a fire hazard in our house as we have an electric stove and no outdoor barbecue. One year, having read that Ash Wednesday ashes are made from burning last year's Palm Sunday palms, I volunteered our palms for that use, but the pastor turned me down. My current compromise is to throw the palms into the trash, but in their own Ziploc bag. Is this all right or is it disrespectful to holy objects?
tc, if you pray for better conformation to God's will, or for grace to love others better, or the like -- you can be sure you are praying for yourself and in a completely charitable manner.
Oh, dear! I have to admit to having purchased the very nativity bake set you picture, Sister. I was planning to do it as a craft with my little ones for Epiphany. Of course, we weren't going to EAT them!
Also, one of the coolest nativity sets I've seen was made out of Legos!
I guess I'm tackier than I thought!
After seeing these I am tempted to join the camp of people who believe that Bad Taste is a Mortal Sin. Though I have been tempted by the gingerbread nativity. My mother has a theory that bad taste of this calibre both drives people out of the church and keeps people from entering.
What? No HITLER exception?!
I'm planning to save the last advent candle drips in some designated place until we get invited to a bonfire. Maybe your palms need a similar home, until the next wienie roast :)
I was searching for a Nativity picture to put on my blog and was amazed at the absolutely, um, well, "tasteless" and "clueless" are the politest words that come to mind.
And I've seen pictures like this in catalogs for "Christian" merchandise. (And I don't know how I got on their mailing list!)
But I'm afraid I don't feel any outrage at making nativity themed cookies. If I'm making stars and angels, I don't see a problem with going on to camels, kings, sheep, and even the Holy Family. As a retired homeschooling mom, I firmly believe that for very small children the best way to assimilate theology is through the stomach.
Oh, I finally ended up posting a picture of my own Nativity set. (Plaster statues, not cookies.)
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