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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Joins the Church Triumphant

I've often mentioned that we watch CNN to see who needs our prayers. We were shocked to learn that we have to pray for the repose of the soul of NBC's Tim Russert.

Since Mr. Russert worked for NBC, we switched over to listen to Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell wax poetic about Mr. Russert's life. They all mentioned Mr. Russert's deep Catholic faith and his Jesuit education. Everyone agreed that the Mr. Russert's well prepared interviews and his penetrating questions were due to his Jesuit teachers.

I hadn't realized that I had so much in common with Mr. Russert.

My early education came from the gentle Franciscans or I might find myself chained in protest to a nuclear reactor as we speak. I didn't encounter the Jesuits until I was old enough to handle their preparation and penetrating questions. Also, their ranting and attacks, their turning information on it's head to examine it's underbelly and replacing it on the shelf, never to appear quite the same again.

I'm sure my time with the Jesuits has much to do with my thoughts on the War in Heaven and Jesus in space. We don't care for pat "God will make it all okay" answers. We want the whole story.

My very favorite teacher amongst them was a middle aged fellow with a hippie pony tail and sandals. He taught 'Old Testament". He had a scientific explanation for the parting of the Red Sea and the manna from "heaven", but it caused him not a moment's pause as he went on to explain that the means weren't the miracles, that the miracles were in the timing.

God really IS George Burns.

The real irony here is that the Jesuits were founded by St. Ignatius Loyola because he got stuck in a house with only two books to read and a very, very long time to read them. St. Ignatius had been a soldier. He had no intention of giving up glorious battles, but when he got hit in the legs by a cannonball he had to go sit down for a very long time. Happily for us, the castle where he did his recuperating only had two books, "The Golden Legend" which is the lives of the saints, and "The Life of Christ". The rest is history.

Think of what the rest of history would have been if the two books had been "Martha Stewart's 'Good Things'" and "Battlefield Earth". I realize those two books hadn't been written yet, but you get my point.

We owe a lot to that family's choice of reading material. That and the fact that they did not adhere to Benjamin Franklin's adage, "Fish and guests stink after three days."

We're sure St. Ignatius will welcome Mr. Russert into heaven before too long. We're also sure that he'll be making a stop in Purgatory. He was Irish. The nuns always told us that St. Patrick comes to Purgatory every Saturday and lets 10 souls out. Or was it 30? At any rate, I remember always thinking it would be good, in that case, to shoot for a Friday passing.

Let's pray that Mr. Russert finds the line for the St. Patrick bus to heaven.


Maria said...

That was a lovely post, Sister. I liked Tim Russert very much. I watched an interview on PBS recently with him and he talked about his education, his career, his family, his faith and the time he met Pope John Paul II, his son was a very young and the Pope blessed him. He was still so touched by that memory and it had been years.

May he rest in peace.

Campbell Jane said...

I love your blog!

Rosebud Collection said...

Isn't it nice to be remembered and loved by so many, here on earth..
What a departure.

Anonymous said...

Sr Mary Martha,
Which saint would you recommend to help me find a good catholic husband? And also, any saints that could help a girl whose moving half way across the world?

Anonymous said...

God bless Tim Russert, he was courageous practicing Catholic in a field dominated by secular and liberal views.

"...Also, their [Jesuits] ranting and attacks, their turning information on it's head to examine it's underbelly and replacing it on the shelf, never to appear quite the same again."

Unfortunately, many Jesuits have done the same thing to Church teachings.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to add to Anne's request. I need a good Catholic girl for my son. I also need a saint to watch over him as he wants to travel from Nebraska to New Zealand for a semester of study. All that's left for this mom to do is pray and I can use all the help I can get.

Good Remedy said...

Had no idea about Tim Russert's passing until I read your blog. Thank you for letting us know. Will join in the prayers for the repose of Mr. Russert's soul.

Please help me with this situation: My son likes to visit our neighbors, lots of little girls. He is 7, they are 7 and younger. The wear dresses. Always. because "women who wear pants and shorts and jeans are wicked." We have discussed this from every angle. How can I answer my sons question "are women wicked..." and how to reach out to this mom. Do I have to wear a dress to get to know my neighbor?

Anonymous said...

Is there a GLBT patron saint?

radio45 said...

One thing that came out in all this about Tim Russert is the influence the nuns had over him. I never realized how much nun's had an effect on my life until I grew up. But if there is anything you all should take from all this coverage it is the fact that nun's have absolutely no idea the good effect they have had on the world in molding young men to lead families and to lead the world. Would that we have as many nuns today as we did in 1958. Sister, it is time for you to feel proud!

Anonymous said...

Good Remedy,
You may see it as a problem now, but with four little boys myself, just think ten years down the road. Chances are, the girls next door will turn into just the kind of sweet, modest young women you'd like your son to end up with. Have you tried introducing yourself to your neighbor? Most women who consistently wear dresses do it for themselves, and honestly don't really care what others wear. If she won't talk to you because of what you're wearing, chances are, she isn't the kind of neighbor you really want to get to know. On the other hand, once you get to know her well, you may find her reasoning for dresses is much more complex and reasonable than the black and white way her daughters see it (they are, after all, 7). Still, in the end, if your son enjoys playing with the girls, and dresses is the only issue (not such a big issue, especially when you have a son), just say, "no, pants aren't wicked, some women just prefer not to wear them," and leave it at that. If he's anything like my sons, he's forgotten about the question already. I will tell you that for the past few years, I wear dresses to the point where my husband finds it strange when I wear pants. I don't think pants are wicked, but I do think that skirts are prettier, more feminine, and more modest, as well as being more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

What about St. Onuphrius (Sant Onofrio in Italian) for a GLBT patron?


And for moving halfway around the world, perhaps St. Francis Xavier?



GardenGirl said...

Hi Sister,

I have a question about saying the Lord's Prayer at church - are we supposed to stand or kneel? I thought kneeling was for private prayer, and standing was for communal prayer - a cattegory in which I would include the Lord's Prayer.

What do you think?


James G said...

Anne and 12:03 Anon; if I may be so bold I recommend St. Raphael. He’s a patron of travelers and those seeking marriage. Read Tobias in the Bible to know why.

James G

Anonymous said...

James, I should have thought of St. Raphael. I have asked him so many times for healing I forgot his other specialities. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips on finding spouses for our children. My oldest son turned 18, is a fine young man and is followed around by "hot chicks". It freaks me out! This is not why I wrote, however.

I recently returned to the Catholic church after being away for 25 years. I'm drawn to the rosary though I'm not sure why since I haven't had a tremendous devotion to Mary. Still I say my rosaries, especially when on long car trips, and I say them for "the Blessed Mother's Intentions", or "the Pope's Intentions" or "the Salvation of Souls" or this kind of thing, because I don't know what to pray for, and I'm wondering, would it be better to pray for a particular soul or a particular intention instead of lumping them all together? Does it matter? Am I crazy to bother with the details? Am I just crazy because I have teenagers at home? Help me please!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, how could I have forgotten about St. Raphael? I used to pray to him almost every day. Thank you so much! God bless you

antonina said...

Mary Ellen, LOL! :-) I also wondered at some point if my prayers "dilute" if I offer them for too many people/intentions. Honestly, I don't think so. I don't think prayers get quantified in the same way as all the other things we are used to. When I do have someone/something very special to pray for...I do it unilaterally and wholeheartedly though. I am sure either way works just fine. God knows your heart and what is in it!
Peace and All Good!

Lola said...

Sr. thank you for mentioning St. Patrick and the story "the nuns told" about him letting souls out of purgatory on Saturday.

I too will aim for a Friday passing.

beez said...

I take a little exception to the title of your post, Sister. We all hope for the soul of all the departed, and Mr. Russert is surely no exception.

However, to declare that he has "joined the Church Triumphant" is a little premature. I don't think his cause for canonization has even been opened, and surely he hasn't yet been beatified, let alone canonized.

We know he's no longer in the Church Militant, but that's really all we can say.

Caramore said...

My prayers are certainly with Tim Russert and his family. Thank you for thinking of him, Sister.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
Tim Russert was not ashamed of his affiliation with the Democratic party. By voting Democrat, one votes in favor of abortion. Explain please how you can be so certain that a man who voted in favor of abortion year after year is a shoe in for heaven.

Anonymous said...

actually he became Independent later on and was when he died

Anonymous said...

Here's a segment from one of his shows where he rips Al Gore to shreds on abortion:
RUSSERT: When do you think life begins?
GORE: I favor the Roe vs. Wade approach, but let me just say, Tim, I did—
RUSSERT: Which is what? When does life begin?
GORE: Let me just say, I did change my position on the issue of federal funding and I changed it because I came to understand more from women—women think about this differently than men.
RUSSERT: But you were calling fetuses innocent human life, and now you don’t believe life begins at conception. I’m just trying to find out, when do you believe life begins?
GORE: Well, look, the Roe vs. Wade decision proposes an answer to that question—
RUSSERT: Which is?

Anonymous said...

hmmmmm are we certain that any catholic should admit to watching CNN, let alone a religious?

Praying for Mr Russert and all the faithfully departed.

Anonymous said...

Beez -- Sr. opens with mentioning that she now prays for the repose of his soul, which is what one does to alleviate the suffering of those in Purgatory. So relax.

Anonymous@3:29PM, Sr. watches for a good and exemplary reason: to learn who most needs her prayers. Who could think poorly of that?