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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, December 07, 2007

May the Dear Boy Saviour Bless Our Behaviour

You know I love St. Nicholas Day! I've been busy all day springing surprises. Here are some from our mailbox:
(Referring to our last post on the War on Christmas)
I can see the humor in this post, but also please remember that some of us work in an environment where we are not allowed to display any signs of a Christian Christmas -- trees are OK, creches are a big no-no. I work at a large university and displaying a creches or other Christian symbol would be hugely frowned on and could be grounds for disciplinary action. So for some people, the "war on Christmas" is very real and goes beyond a mere happy holiday vs merry Christmas debate.

I would say the war on Christmas would be very real if, when you put out the little Nativity set on your desk, someone set your desk on fire or hauled you in front of a firing squad while the students stood around cowering.

I'm assuming a Menorah would also be frowned upon. Did I miss the war on Hanukkah?

There's a really big difference between being deferential in a multi-cultural, multi- faith environment and a very real war. Unfortunately we don't have to look very far to find the real deal.

Put up a little tree on your desk in that case with a sly smile, knowing that to some it is an old pagan symbol, but for us it is a symbol of everlasting life.
A slam dunk against this nasty war on Christmas.

Sister, I have what is probably a very dumb question, but I really want to know: is there any specific devotion to Baby Jesus? I mean, we all love Baby Jesus, I know that, but with Christmas coming I've really been meditating on the Christ Child and I've come to realize that I REALLY love Baby Jesus! It humbles me immensely to realize that when God chose to come to earth and become a man he came as a helpless baby! And not a helpless child born to wealth and riches, but to a poor family who couldn't even get a room in an Inn and had to give birth in a stable! Again, I know we all know this, but it's just hit me in a profound way recently. Anyway, other than the Infant of Prague, I don't really know of anyone really praying to Baby Jesus. Is it ever done? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I really am curious. Thank you for your always eye-opening answers!

Gosh! You must have been a poor public school kid. We go HOG WILD for the Baby Jesus all the time. Christmas is just the tip of the iceberg! One of our dear readers has already tipped you off to the Holy Child of Atocha. You've at least seen the Infant of Prague. Then there's the Holy Infant of Good Health...which looks suspiciously like the Infant of Prague.

When I was a child in grade school we had a club called the "Boy Saviour Club". We had little buttons and everything and we learned "Robert's Rules" to run the club. I was the secretary, I think. I know I had some position. We were in the second grade saying, "I second the motion!", etc. Just another reason Catholic school is so very wonderful. Take note, homeschoolers. It's pretty tough to go through Robert's Rules with 5 children ages 2 months to 12 years. The baby will never second the motion and nothing will pass.

The motto of the Boy Saviour Club was "May the Dear Boy Saviour Bless My Behaviour". I have told countless people about the club. It seems as though my second grade class was the only chapter of the club ever in existence. I could never find the buttons for my second grade class when I began teaching.

It I had second graders today, I could purchase a button maker and go to town.

I happen to be a fan of the Dragnet episode where the Baby Jesus is missing from the manger and Friday and the dull guy....what was his name?...are on the case. The priest is wringing his hands and everyone is up in arms about who would do such a terrible thing as to steal the Baby Jesus right out of the manger. The detectives are quite judgmental. Hitting a dead end, the detectives are standing around with the depressed priest when a little Spanish boy shows up with the Baby Jesus in his wagon. He took the Baby Jesus because he had asked the Baby Jesus for a wagon for Christmas and, when he got the wagon, he took the Baby Jesus out for a ride in it.

Sargent Friday and his pal arrest the boy, take him away in handcuffs and deport him back to Mexico.

No, they don't. Lou Dobbs isn't in that episode, so the boy is safe. Everyone is misty eyed. The end.

Dear Sister,

For the love of our Lord, would you please speak to us about the "Golden Compass" and the terrible things the author has said about nuns. Specifically in the book there is a woman who gave up being a nun because she realized God was a hoax and she wanted to have sex and study science instead!

This is just terrible!! The movie opens this weekend and I'm afraid good parents do not know how pernicious this story is and poor little innocent souls will be hurt!

I'm sorry. I just can't. I really don't know a thing about it, except there are two billboards near our house. I noticed Nicole Kidman is in the film. I never gave it another thought as I don't have $10 to spend on Nicole Kidman.

The debate will have to rage on without me. William Donahoe is certainly on the case.

I've never been one to worry to much about fantasy books and films, though, I will admit that. I can't think that I've ever met an atheist or an agnostic who said, "Sister, I was a devout Catholic until I read 'The Wizard of Oz', and it got me to thinking how great it would be if I could become a sorcerer of some type and how easy life would be. When none of my spells worked, I realized there is no God and I joined the circus and wasted my life."

Or anything remotely like that.

Everyone will have to decide for themselves if this movie is a near occasion of sin. You seem to be much more knowledgeable than I about the whole thing, so carry on doing the Lord's work.

As for "the terrible things the author has said about nuns. Specifically in the book there is a woman who gave up being a nun because she realized God was a hoax and she wanted to have sex and study science instead!" I think I know her. She teaches at the college.


Anonymous said...

Also, in regards to the employee of the university that forbids displays of creches, is this a public institution? If so, there is a real valid concern of a possible constitutional violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment if the school were to have sacred symbols of one faith and not another on public property; the school could be accused of advocating one religion over another.
We live in a country that does not have an established religion and maintains that the government cannot appear to endorse one religion over the other. I for one believe it is an acceptable trade-off for the religious freedom that all enjoy here.

Anonymous said...

Sister, I share your annoyance at narrow-minded Christians getting into a snit about every new children's fantasy series, but these Pullman books are not Harry Potter. The author wrote them for the express purpose of destroying the faith of children and making them hate the Catholic Church. My husband and my son, who are both very broadminded, read them and considered them truly spiritually dangerous. I seem to remember something in the Gospel about a millstone?

Alice Gershom

Sarah - Kala said...

It seems people are looking for ways to offend and be offended these days. Why? We are always asking other people how and what we should think! Why? Common sense is lost! We need to read Chesterton!!! We need to get our common sense back on!

We each make our own decisions. Some would say "you make your bed, so lie in it." I think it was Chesterton who said (if the bed you made isn't right) to not lie in it, but to change it!

Anonymous said...

Sister - see? I knew it was a dumb question! :-) Yes, I was a poor public school kid! Actually, no one in my family ever practiced their faith other than to make sure I received my sacraments. I am only just now coming back to the church and so very glad that I have. Thank you and your alert reader for filling me in on the many vast devotions to Baby Jesus. I will certainly incorporate them into my daily prayer life.

the mother of this lot said...

Sister, there is a lovely prayer to the Divine Child for use in times of difficulty:

Prayer to the Divino NiƱo In Difficult Times
Divine Child Jesus,
In my difficulties: help me
From the enemies of my soul: save me
In my errors: enlighten me
In my doubts and pains: comfort me
In my solitudes: be with me
In my diseases: invigorate me
When others despise me: encourage me
In temptations: defend me
In difficult hours: strengthen me
With your maternal heart: love me
With your immense power: protect me
And, into your arms, when I die: receive me

God bless sister and happy feast day for tommorrow!

Tonda said...

I agree with Journey of truths comments and Sister Mary Martha. But if you would like to see other Catholic Responces to this movies at New Advent.org, they have this link listed. "A Catholic Response to the Golden Compass" http://catholicinformation.aquinasandmore.com/2007/12/06/a-catholic-response-to-the-golden-compass/
From there are many other Catholic Links.
I would hate for this country to take control, and start radical censorship. You are upset about the fact that Nativity scenes are being banned from schools or work places. Can you imagaine bans on the production of Bibles, Books that give biographies of Saints, Books that are Christian oriented. Veggie Tails? Adventures in Oddessy?
"Parents might instead take the opportunity to talk through any thorny philosophical issues with their teens." Quote from a Catholic Paper.

Anonymous said...

What appalls me about that movie is that if you substituted any other term for "God" in Pullman's desire to "abolish God" -- say, welfare, or public schools -- there would be riots. As it is, I find his attitude so deplorable that I can't even begin to think about his actual books.

Sister, a few questions about offering one's sufferings up to Jesus. In doing this, is it proper to make the most of the pain? For instance, if I stub my toe, can I cry out and then offer that up to Jesus and then quickly try to do something to distract myself, or is it necessary to sit down and stare at the throbbing toe and embrace the pain? I mean, are you not supposed to try to make it better in the process of offering it up?

RobKPhD said...

There is a movement in the world against faith in general and the Christian faith in particular. It IS less acceptable to display Christian symbols. One need only look at the news. In New York schools, a menorah is OK, but not a nativity scene.

There continues a push to remove Christmas from the holidays, though because many have resisted, we are seeing some headway.

The west is entering a neo-pagan era. We must recognize this and do what we can to resist it. We are already approaching the time when people are losing their jobs for their faith (like pharmacists who don't had out give abortion pills). And yes, people can lose their jobs for showing their faith.

Let us pray that it does not come to executions - but that is not what is required to have a "war", at least a "cold war." If we think that violence is required for the Devil to attack, I am afraid we have already become too numb.

As to the Pullman books - the story is about killing God. That is what the trilogy is about. People should be warned to not take their kids.

Sanctus Belle said...

Well, my workplace has gone the "holiday" route. We're not supposed to have any religious stuff around but I wear my 3in St. Benedict Crucifix most every day (when I wear a sweater), I have 2 states of the Virgin Mary at my desk along with an image of the Sacred Heart, a crucifix, pictures of popes JPII and Benedict16 and a very Catholic calandar. No one has said one word and no, I'm NOT the boss. I just quietly await but do not look forward to the day I'm told to remove it all. I won't by the way....they'll have to fire me. And yes, I mean that. So far the Lord has preserved me from this and I hope He continues to.

Terry Nelson said...

LOL!!!! You are the best.

Anonymous said...

Well, we may not be having a "war on Christmas" but I do believe there is a "chipping away". However slight it may be right now, we just may wake up one day without any religious freedom and say "Gee, what happened?". No use in putting our heads in the ground and not recognizing what's going on.

Anonymous said...

go to you tube 'Christmas with a capital "C"'

Anonymous said...

I was the person who left the comment about the creche. Yes, it is a public university (but in Canada, where the funding situation is different).
It's not a simple matter of banning all religious symbols because other symbols from non-Christian relations ARE allowed.

"I would say the war on Christmas would be very real if, when you put out the little Nativity set on your desk, someone set your desk on fire or hauled you in front of a firing squad while the students stood around cowering. "
Obvious no physical damage, but you could be fired with little hope of finding another position in Canada (there are only less than 10 faculty jobs, ie professor per year in a given research area)

I'm assuming a Menorah would also be frowned upon. Did I miss the war on Hanukkah?"

That's the kicker -- it IS OK to have a Menorah, or other "minority" religion. You cannot however have a CATHOLIC (or, more generally, Christian) symbol.

A faculty member routinely has his students use buddist meditation during class time, but you cannot ask your students to pray.

It is this double-standard that should cause concern for everyone -- and although not an open war, there is definitely an attempt to remove the Christian aspect of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Sister Mary Martha, I find reading your blog hilarious and always look forward to new entries. I also find you NUTS! which I think is good! I'm Catholic, not a practicing one, and when I discovered your blog accidentally, my jaw dropped at how much Catholic stuffs you and and the photos you post (where do you get them anyway) makes me wish I was a practicing Catholic once again. BUT, it's going to be a homongous divine intervention from GOD that will presuade me to change. Meantime, I will keep reading your blog and having a giggle of a good time. THANK YOU! er, are you the DIVINE INTEVENTION then?!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 states of the Virgin Mary at my desk along with an image of the Sacred Heart, a crucifix, pictures of popes JPII and Benedict16 and a very Catholic calandar.

Goodness, do you have any space to do any work?

Anonymous said...

"but I wear my 3in St. Benedict Crucifix most every day (when I wear a sweater), I have 2 states of the Virgin Mary at my desk along with an image of the Sacred Heart, a crucifix, pictures of popes JPII and Benedict16 and a very Catholic calandar."

Wow, just wow. I bet that's more than the pope his own self has on *his* desk.

Anonymous said...

I can't see how anyone who has read Philip Pullman's novels can be worried. The church he mocks and the God he kills are not remotely the church or the God that Christians believe in. So, you could argue that he strikes an effective blow against idolatry (even if that is not quite his intent).

Anonymous said...

I'm with the others in saying that "war" may not be the appropriate word but there is certainly a chipping away at anything Christian. And from what the poster in Canada mentioned it sounds even worse there.

Shig said...

The people at work who tell you you can't have a nativity are not the one's killing the true meaning of Christmas. The big corporations who try to convince you that the only way to show your love is to spend more money are. Instead of worrying about how Walmart Greeters say "Happy Holidays", perhaps you should consider the unChristian-like behavior of a company that locks their employees in at night and sells products made by children and convicts.

radio45 said...


U made me laugh out loud. That in itself is an acheivement since I had a bad week. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello Sister,

This is my first time commenting, but i love your blog. I have a question, totally unrelated to your post, btw, i love the lou dobbs line in the dragnet part! anyway, is there anyplace online that broadcasts Sunday masses? doesn;t have to be live, but a place where one could perhaps watch and take part in the mass, especially if one is a sick elder parent? In my home country, which is Italy, you can always find a mass on TV on Sundays, so this is why I ask. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hey HappyChristmas,

EWTN broadcasts the Mass every day, several times on their cable/satellite station. I think you can see some of their Masses (maybe not every day) through their online video feeds. You might check their website for more info: www.ewtn.com

One of the networks broadcasts Mass from Notre Dame University on Sunday, but I don't know when and not every station belonging to the network has to show it.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

you've been tagged!


unknown anon said...

I am a government employee, and we had a "snit" here a few years ago about the "war on Christmas."

Many of us are Catholics, and some are other kinds of Christians. We are allowed to have religious items in our private workspace (I have an office, but others have cubicles, and even open desks for the receptionist) so long as they are not considered "prosyletizing." (Things like advertising your particular church, or distributing tracts, etc.) It's a policy that works well for MOST of us. Then one of the "War" people tried to set up a creche in the public waiting area. She was told that since that was not her workspace, she could not do it. You cannot imagine the drama; she even called in the news stations.

In the end, the county policy was found acceptable. I was honestly afraid that because she created all the trouble, we would ALL be told that there would be nothing religious allowed anywhere.

I SO agree that we need to get our common sense back on!

Sanctus Belle said...

Ok,ok...to clarify, the statues are small. The crufix and sacred heart, pictures of the popes and the calander are on the WALL. And my desk is rather large (and no, I'm not important, just a large desk) so there is plenty of room to work!

La Bibliotecaria Laura said...

This is just a thought, but the Catholic Church has made some mistakes in the past, or rather the people who are in the church, since the Holy Mother Church is--well, Holy... perhaps all this "we can't put a big Christian symbol on our desk" is a cross to suffer for the purification of these sins?

So I'm with Sister. Gird up thy loins and let's go forth... Let folks know we are Catholic by our deeds and words--by our lives --and not by the big glow in the dark Baby Jesus on our front lawn...

Think of Maximilian Kolbe, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and the many other Saints who show us how to maintain our faith in the face of true institutionalized hatred.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Boy Saviour Club: I, too, thought perhaps my grade school (St. Mary's in Ft. Madison, Iowa) had dreamed up the BSC, because none of the other Catholic school kids in the town (or the state, or the planet) seemed to have heard about it! I was the Vice-President, charged with maintaining the rules of order at our weekly meetings that occurred every Friday after lunch, and making sure that every fourth-grader had maintained his or her BSC scrapbook (recording one's moments of Jesus-like behavior). We were issued buttons with a painting of juvenile Jesus that were manufactured (not home-made) and must have come from some national distributor. Each kid got a button with a ribbon, and the officers got two ribbons. But after high school my classmates seem to have forgotten how we'd stand and face a picture of young Jesus, salue smartly and say "My captain, Boy Saviour, bless my behaviour!" And if I try to explain this to ANYBODY else -- Catholic or not -- they are both clueless and incredulous. I'd about given up. Thank you for validating a very weird but pleasant memory!

Anonymous said...

I was also a member of the the Boy Saviour Club (St. Anthony School, Union City, NJ.)during the early to mid 70's. I remember my 3rd or 4th grade class saying: "My captain, Boy Saviour, bless my behaviour." I still have a small instruction book and medal with the Boy Saviour on it.

Man time flies.