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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Less is More

What did Jesus mean by "the least in the kingdom of heaven"? Was He referring to Angels? We are all born of woman, so how is it referring to us as those in the kingdom of heaven? Also, John must be in heaven now, so how would some smelly, nasty person here be greater than him?

You do realize that John the Baptist lived out in the desert and pretty much never changed his clothes?  I'm sure everyone back then pretty much wore the same clothes but I imagine his were especially rough, filthy, torn and smelly.

Good thing he stood around in the water all day. That might have been his saving grace, socially speaking.

You also realize that Jesus kissed a leper?  There's a smelly nasty person for you.

Why did he do that? To show that He was not above them.

Remember when He washed the feet of His disciples? To show that He was here to serve, not reign.

All God's souls are the equal of all of God's souls.  

I know a lot of people don't like the idea that sinners and goof offs are equally loved by God. Remember the story of the Prodigal Son?  That's what that story was was about.

Angels aren't the least in the kingdom of Heaven. They serve God directly.  They are the first circle of Heaven.  After that, I don't know how it works. The Catholic Church does believe that people that were holier than others enjoy a closer relationship with God in Heaven.  I suppose you could call that a hierarchy. 

How a person appears or smells has nothing whatsoever to do with holiness as evidenced in the multitude of desert hermits, pole sitters and anchoresses. I'm sure not of those people smelled very rosy.

St. Rita smelled so bad because of her festering stigmata wound that she had to be locked in a room by herself for her whole life.

I'm sure everyone in Heaven smells like roses, since that's the scent they leave behind when they visit. St. Rita's old stinky room has smelled of roses since her death.

I'm going with "Whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers, this you also do unto Me."

Now if he would just convert....

Monday, June 24, 2013

Prepare ye the Way

Today I had to trudge up to the Walgreen's to buy toothpaste.  Our Walgreen's stands on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in the Los Angeles area.  Across the street is a 7-11 and a sports bar. And right next to the 7-11, the sports bar and a doughnut shop is a bus stop. It is the filthiest bus stop I have ever seen. If I thought it would do any good, I would personally get out there with a bucket and a scrub brush. But truthfully, between the spilled 7-11 slurpees, ground into the pavement doughnut holes, spilled coffee, spilled beer (sometimes  already been ingested) and half of the students that attend Venice High school, I'm sure my efforts would be unnoticeable in about a day and half.

Because so many people congregate there, and because so very many cars have to stop at the intersection, the corner is also a mecca for the lowest of the lowlife.

Today on my way to find some Colgate, or even better Aquafresh, which is often only $1, I saw a man walking toward me. What mess this character was. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants. He was very thin and his shirt was completely unbuttoned, revealing his scrawny chest. His pants looked like they might just drop to the ground at any second. He had the red leathered skin of someone who is always outdoors combined with someone who will drink anything he can get his hands on. His eyes were glassy.

And I thought, "Here comes Jesus."

I might not have thought that on any other day. I might have worried a little about his menacing eyes. Just last week a homeless man stabbed a woman to death in Hollywood because he asked her for a dollar and she didn't give it to him.  I might have written him off as a pathetic rummy, which he most certainly was, unworthy of help or consideration. Surely if I gave him money he would use it to buy booze. Isn't that the way it goes?

He didn't ask me for money.  He just tromped on by. Later I saw him sprawled by the outside wall of the doughnut shop, a few feet from the bus stop.  

But today I read about St. John the Baptist. Today is the feast day of the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.  Happy Birthday! or..."Solemn Birthday."  We all know about John the Baptist. It's because of his efforts that we have the sacrament of Baptism, since Jesus went to John to be baptized. We always remember John saying that he should let Jesus baptize him and they sort of argued about that, like when people fight over the check at dinner.

What we don't talk about all that much is one of the things that Jesus said about John:
 “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).

It's not easy, or even normal, to think of smelly filthy people who wander around with glassy eyes and vacant stares, who are rambling and abusive, or sullen and nasty, as greater than John the Baptist, but Jesus wasn't normal. He message is entirely radical.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Boys

in response to So many pure saints... Only sometimes I, as a male, may ask: what about some patron saint of "male" chastity? I mean, I do take St Cecilia, St Maria Goretti, et al. as patrons for my own purity... But sometimes I would like an example of my same gender. May I think in the great St. Joseph. Any other ideas?,

Of course St. Joseph is a fine idea. He comes with aspirin and tools. What man doesn't need those things?

But there are others. There is St. Aloysius.  He wouldn't even look at girls. Even his mother. Not that you shouldn't be polite, shake hands and look people in the eye, and girls are people, but St. Aloyisus wished to avoid any temptation. I hope that was the reason. Because if it wasn't, he had very bad manners. He took a vow of chastity, much like our female patrons of purity. He was 9 years old. After he died three of his sister founded a religious order called "Noble Virgins of Jesus".  They were noblewomen, so I don't know if they meant for the order to be for noblewomen or they were just calling their order noble.  I suppose it works either way. The order is still around. It has two members left.

That was last year. Maybe they're gone by now. So there is a whole pile of purity there for you.

And St. Thomas Aquinas.  His parents were thrilled that he would follow the family plan of joining the priesthood. With the Benedictine order.

But Thomas wanted to become a Dominican (they were relatively new to the scene). His family kept him prisoner, locked up in the family castles for two years. At one point his brothers sent a prostitute to seduce him and Thomas drove her away with a fire iron.

I've never been able to fathom how sending a prostitute would have helped Thomas be a Benedictine and not a Dominican, since that was the issue. They wanted him to be a priest. I don't get it. Is there something I don't know about the Benedictines?

I jest.

I'm sure our readers will have a few  ideas for you! They always do.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Atheist Heaven

My apologies for my absence. Our internet connection died and went to heaven from whence it came, for surely the internet is heaven sent.

I jest.  But we've had quite a time lately discussing the Pope's recent statements. Leave it to a new Pope to say things. He's been very busy saying things. He actually gives a pep talk every day. Of course, since this is the Catholic Church we don't call them pep talks. We call them "fervorinos", which is Latin for "Sermonette".  A little sermon. A pep talk.

So the Pope got very enthusiastic about the idea that Jesus came to us with love and redemption for everyone.  He excitedly reiterated the "everyone" part saying, "even, atheists".

That led everyone to go viral with the news that the Pope said atheists will get to go to Heaven, with my internet connection device.

But the Pope did not say that atheists will go to Heaven. He said that  "Jesus has redeemed all of us." Which is true.  

It was a sermonette, though, so Pope Francis didn't clarify that, because we have free will, we have to choose redemption. You are not redeemed if you do not accept God's gift. Like any gift, if you don't sign for it when it's delivered, the UPS man takes it away. It isn't gone. It sits at the UPS store until you come and sign for it. You could always go get it. That's what the Pope meant. God's gift is waiting at the UPS store, even if you're an atheist.

There is no controversy or problem with the Pope's statement. But I do wonder why he choose to crack this particular theological egg open in this format where a further explanation is necessary.

Because this particular theology is some extra heavy lifting. It's at the heart of why the separated brethren are separated. Redemption vs. good works.  Some pundits went so far as to extrapolate that what the Pope meant was the if a atheist was a good person who did good works that that was good enough to get your Heaven ticket punched.

I have to think that the Pope was tickled to kick the hornets nest. It causes our heads to rise, our ears to open and the next thing we know we're all talking about Truth.  

I can't wait to see how he peps us up next.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

The list of how not to name your baby grows ever longer. The newest entry for your consideration is to also consider what you have named other children and make sure the new baby's name does not rhyme with the old baby's name so you don't find yourself introducing your children someday by saying, "This is Huey and Louie, Kimmy and Timmy."

I think it deserves a place on the list.

Meanwhile this website came across my eyeballs. Not only are the name suggestions kind of hard to take (for me, because there isn't one saint in there), but the comments section made me want to remove my head and set it in my lap for a while. The names are to your right and if you click on the picture it takes you to the next pretend name. Enjoy. Or cringe.

The picture of that cuter than cute little girl in a tutu reminded me of another article I read recently that I found rather surprising and wonderful. And wonderfully surprising.

I plead guilty.  But I also agree. Although the author needs to put some clothes on.

Since I've given you a lot to digest, I'll leave you to discuss.

Also, we have a lot to discuss about what the new Pope has had to say. Maybe we'll pay him and his pronouncements a visit next week.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Rules for Naming the Baby

Our wonderful readers have expanded our "How to Name the Baby" guidelines. Besides my rules of thumb the list has grown. Now it looks like this:

1. Mary if it's a girl. John or Joseph for a boy. Or pick a good patron saint.

2.  Consider how the name will be shortened or what the kid may end up being nicknamed.

3. Avoid telling people the names you are considering. Their reactions may upset you.

4. Try to avoid this year's "name of the year".  This may involve ESP.  Or at least a google search.

5.. After you pick the name (and the middle name), check and see if that spells something silly,
embarrassing or filthy.  Lawrence Oliver Lynnly.

6. If you're having twins, and one is a girl and one is a boy, don't name them Mary and Joseph. As another rule of thumb, don't name your twins after any famous couple. Little Lucy and Desi will be a lifelong joke. I'm assuming no one would name triplets, "Larry, Moe and Shemp".

And here's a really good one I never thought of:

7. How does the name look on a resume? If you're Catholic, you don't want all those kids living at home all their (and your) lives.

Some of our readers disagreed with my feeling that your should have a couple of names in mind and wait to actually name the baby until you've actually seen the baby. You name pets after you've seen them, not before, and your child should get at least that consideration. But at least one reader pointed out that babies all tend to look like Winston Churchill.  Or angels.

Yes, it's a lot to think about. But so is having a child. Good practice for the rest of your natural life.