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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Birds and Squirrels

Who's the patron saint for those of us faithful Catholics who work for social justice and the marginalized but are surrounded by conservative Catholics?

I didn't know there was a difference. There better not be, or there are some sorry Catholics who have forgotten the Corporal Works of Mercy.

Are these conservative Catholics impeding you in some way? Telling you to go sit down and say a rosary? What am I missing here?

To answer your question, however, I'd go with St. Francis of Assisi, the most radical of radicals. Mr. Shockingpants, as his former friends would have called him behind his back. That is, if he even wore pants. He didn't.

In fact, his whole exciting saintly life started because of clothes. For one thing, his father was an extremely wealthy cloth merchant. Francis decided he wanted to be a soldier, so he bought himself a soldier suit. He had the dough to really deck himself out. I imagine he bought himself chain mail and a hat with a plume. I bet he had his horse all decked out, too, in a horse soldier suit.

But he didn't really care too much for soldiering as it turned out. Typical of a wealthy kid who can afford to do anything he wants and then can't ever figure out what he wants. I'm sure that's what's happened to those poor children like Brittany Spears and company. Francis encountered a bum on the side of the road and, itching to ditch his soldier suit, traded his duds with the bum.

Now think about that for a minute. That's a little out there, don't you think? Say you were coming home from your job one day in your three piece pantsuit and matching pumps. Maybe you were thinking about how much you hate your job and your boss and having to wear this three piece pants suit with the matching pumps. Suddenly you spot a homeless woman. You slam on the brakes jump out of the car and ask her to trade clothes with you. Think her clothes are clean?

The two of you strip right there on the street and you put on her filthy, stinking old clothes and she walks off in your pumps. When you see her all dressed up, you have another great idea. You give her your car! Hey, you can't get back in your car in those stinking clothes anyhow. You'll ruin in the upolstery. You'll never get that smell out, even with a little cardboard pine tree hanging from the rear view mirror.

Francis was not a normal person.

Of course, his father blew up at him when he finally returned home and told him to take those stinking rags off. What his father meant was, "Get those stinking clothes off and put on your real clothes that I paid hundreds of dollars for!" But Francis just dropped his drawers and walked off naked into the sunset.

So again....you get home in the stinking rags of the homeless woman (who is now at Starbucks in your car and pantsuit having a soy latte that she bought with the change in your car seat)and your husband says, "Get those stinking clothes off!" And your response? You strip completely and walk out the door, never to be seen again in any type of normal setting.

The next thing anyone knows you are talking to birds and squirrels and getting the stigmata.


Meanwhile, I suggest you lighten up on the "conservative" Catholics. You have to share heaven with them, too.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sister Mary Martha! I love your blog, I read it about as often as I pray my rosary (about 1-2 times a day). I have a question!

I grew up under super conservative traditional catholics. I was always taught that rosary's are NEVER to be worn as jewlery, yet lately i've been seeing everyone from Madonna to the "cool kid" down the street wearing rosary or rosary type jewlery, and even "catholics." Am i wrong? Is there a special clause that allows us to wear a rosary as jewlery? And the religous candels and jewlery with pictures of jesus and mary, and the saints. It it sacreligious to wear/use those also if you're a non-believer? or am I just being way too uptight?

Rosebud Collection said...

I like my little St.Francis..Have a statue of him in my garden..

ams550 said...

Dear Sr. Mary Martha, I now know you are NOT a Franciscan! I am a postulant in a Franciscan community. My classes have never been presented in the way you described Francis' conversion. (It is rather funny, though--keep up the good work. I do enjoy your blog.)

Teal Chic said...

Hi Sister Mary Martha! I'm really interested in checking out your blog. I was raised very conservatively, as a Catholic who is also Hispanic! Thank you for checking out my blog, please visit often :)


Anonymous said...

Greeting Sister Mary Martha,
Just stumbled upon your blog- very stimulating reading! I look forward to keeping up with your future posts!

industrialpoppy said...

Love this post-St Francis is my favorite!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Paul Hanly Furfey will someday be made a saint for his work in social justice.

Anonymous said...

Question for you: When we are judged by Jesus at the end of our lives and/or at the end of time, will our confessed sins be also reviewed, or just the unconfessed? I've heard that He "forgets" all confessed sins...so I was hoping to avoid this review and having everyone at the general resurrection knowing everything I did.

Anonymous said...

There isn't any such thing as a conservative Catholic. Unlike politics, which run on a spectrum, Catholics actually have to buck modern trends and assert that there are right beliefs and wrong beliefs when it comes to faith and morality.

So a person is either an orthodox Catholic, acting in accordance with Church teaching, or they're not. There is no spectrum of conservatism and liberalism.

Of course, people can express their faith in different ways. The world needs "Marthas" who serve actively, and "Marys" who serve more contemplatively. Neither group should denigrate the other because both are necessary, but neither group can take it upon themselves to reinterpret Church teaching, which is often what is going on when people complain of being bothered by "conservative Catholics."

Ela said...

Dear labellarouge,

FYI, young kids who are wearing rosaries are imitating (and at times belonging to) gangsters who have adopted various coloured rosaries as identification of belonging to a certain gang...i.e. The Bloods wear red rosaries etc.

Kath65 said...

St. Francis is wonderful. Such an example of love. Sister, I love your blog! You don't shy away from the truth but always make your point in such humorous ways. What are your thoughts on Thomas Merton? His writings and life are inspiring, but I'm told that he'll never be named a saint--too rebellious.

Lola said...

"Weirdo" or "Fool for Christ" either way he is interesting. And the way you've described him made him come alive in a realistic concrete way.

Have you ever thought about "Sr. Mary Martha's guide to the Saints" Children's Edition? I confess I sometime check your store description on a saint before I check "Lives of the Saints".

Thanks also for the reminder that registered Democrats and Republicans are hopefully going to be up in Heaven.

Do you have any suggestions on Humility? How to grow it in our own soul?

Anonymous said...

I love St. Francis, too. Also, I just read today that he spoke in other tongues. Is that correct? I wonder if the Celtic monks did--like St. Patrick, St. Finian, St. Columba.

Do you know, or could you please direct me to a reference?

God bless....

Anonymous said...

Dear sister mary martha,
I think that you should be a saint!!!!!!!!!