Friday, February 08, 2008

The Story of My Life.


This is no joke, I've always wanted to write my autobiography, even from a very young age. Since it is Lent, and I have to be charitable, I decided I'll write about myself directly, rather than in veiled references to other people's lives and actions. At the moment I can't remember where I read it but a philosopher or psychologist said every man should write the story of his life, which made me realize one doesn't have to be famous to bore people with the details of one's life - in this case, the documentation of what made me like this.

Of course this isn't going to be great literature by any means, far from it, more like notes from a psychiatrist's couch than anything. I have no idea why I've wanted to write something autobiographical - but it seems I have had the same ambition since childhood. Omigosh! It was the Diary of Anne Frank that did it! No wonder I had gender identity issues when I was little! Or maybe it was the Little Flower's Story of a Soul? I never read a guy's story of his life until I met Holden Caulfield in Catcher In the Rye - which may explain some other stuff about me - but we will get to that latter.

I attempted to write about my life several times in really funny "novels" - nothing printable at all, mind you - and they were only funny because they were so badly written, pretentious, completely dumb. The first one was titled, The Cardinal In the Bushes - a direct rip off from Salinger. My mother found it and freaked out completely. I burned everything. The second novel, I Am My Own Experiment (LOL!), was burned immediately before entering the monastery. I just burned the last one a few years ago, just in case I died and my family found it. I can't tell you the title - it is too insane - and to think I read it to my writing class. I'm pathetic - but I make myself laugh - and hopefully you will too.

So anyway - there is no escaping it - I've decided to write my life story on the blog, and hopefully it will be made into a movie - starring Aaron Eckhart naturally. Okay! That was funny! More seriously, this may answer the one question many people have asked me over the years, "Wha' da' hell wrong wit' you?"

(Now remember, if I really decide to follow through with this and actually post, it will simply be 1st draft stuff. I have never written beyond 1st draft stage.)


“Your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw.” - Isaiah 58
Be careful not to take on too much this Lent.

Thoughts on the Rule of St. Benedict...

St. Benedict is quite clear that outward conformity doesn't count.
When Benedict talks about handling (the monastery tools) with care, about reverence and respect for material things, he does it in a way that is immediate and specific, and therefore difficult to evade. The Abbot hands out the work tools to the brothers, and he keeps a list, recognizing that these items are on loan and that everything matters. At the end of time, whether it is when the harvest is finished, or at the end of one's life, or the day of judgment, they are to be collected back again and "recollegenda." The Latin word carries a sense that when work is done and the harvesting is complete, the tools are to be gathered in again. They are only on loan, and they've got to be returned. Since the Abbot is the exemplar of Christ for the brothers, I see that Christ has lent me all the good things in my life. This includes the earth, everything.
Benedict tells us to enjoy these things-- and return them. We don't possess. He is telling us about attitude, about the attitude of detachment-- or better non-attachment. This is about the interior disposition of the heart. Benedict is quite clear that outward conformity doesn't count. There must be unity-- this theme is a keynote-- between the exterior and the interior.
St. Benedict gives us a specific example from a particular time and place-- behavior in choir. When singing the psalms, the heart, voice and mind must be in harmony. At times I've lived guided by others expectations. Put on the mask; pretend that something is there and in place when it was not. Benedict blows this sky high when he says that our handling of things can come out right only if the starting point is the right attitude. In my case, this has applied particularly to my sons as they've grown up. I have had to realize they are on loan. I mustn't seek to control; I mustn't possess; I mustn't try to organize their lives, telling myself that it's for their own good and that I know better than they do. No, I have to let them go free. I have to handle them with care, respect and with all courtesy of love. - Esther de Waal
I need an attitude adjustment.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Did you love your dad?

God as Father.
"The holy Fathers consider even heroic deeds as acts of a hireling. They claim that the fear of suffering is the way of a slave, and that the desire for reward is the way of a hireling. But God wants us to come to him on the path of a son; motivated by love and zeal for his glory, we should conduct ourselves with honor and enjoy his saving presence in our hearts and souls." - The Way of A Pilgrim

I lived a great part of my life trying to please my dad. In nearly everything I did, I consciously or unconsciously sought his approval and favor. But most of all, I wanted to please him to avoid his wrath - his punishment when I displeased him. That was what I called "loving my dad". I never realized how much I tried to gain his approval until after he died. After he died, I understood my love had been subservient. That was a crisis for me.

Loving God cannot be the same way. I hope to love him for himself, because he is lovable in himself. Obviously I am not there yet.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

On the observance of lent...

"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting." - Matthew 6

Offline for Ash Wednesday.

"Are those pussy willows?"

Customs for Ash Wednesday

In places where palms can't be found for use on Palm Sunday, it is often the custom for Ash Wednesday to bring pussy willow branches inside and place them in vases of water -- in the same way that cherry branches are brought in on the Feast of St. Barbara -- so the catkins will bud and stay fresh for use in place of palms on the Sunday before Easter. Even where palms are available, this is a lovely custom that reminds us of where the Season of Lent is headed... - Fish Eaters

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lent starts tomorrow...

I don't know what to give up.

Should I give up blogging? Probably.

I like to do things for Lent, rather than give up stuff. But I will do both this year.

Oh. I can't tell you what it is though.

However, here is a list of things people may want me to give up:

Blogging about gays.

Commenting on other blogs about gays.

Blogging anything.

Commenting anywhere.

The Internet.

Driving to the liquor store drunk.

Monday, February 04, 2008

More on the sexual abuse scandal...

Sex Abuse and Denial

Everyone is posting something on Philip Lawler's new book, "The Faithful Departed" which deals with the clergy sexual abuse scandal. (I posted on it here.) Gerald from Cafeteria Is Closed has a very good post on the subject as well. Gerald pretty much focuses upon the denial involved - which some people seem content to perpetuate.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

And so I told her...

And so I told Cathy - "Yes, one may either wear a hat, a scarf, or a chapel veil to the TLM." She opted for a hat, after I convinced her it didn't make her look masculine at all. (Was that mean?)

Police state...

Nanny state.

Virginia Beach - where is that? Is that 700 Club country? Anyway - the cops raided Abercrombie & Fitch and confiscated "obscene" advertising stills, charging the manager of the store with displaying obscene images. LOL! I KNOW! - all the religious bloggers will agree with that one; even though plumbers have been displaying the same butt-shots for decades, and don't forget Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions of whose got the nipple. Blogging moms hate A&F. (I am listening to A&F's playlist as I write this. Really fun music.)
Okay fatty!
I read where Mississippi wants to pass a law prohibiting restaurants from serving food to obese customers - hungry or not. LOL! I think the rules for mildly obese people will be that they are not allowed to order dessert.
Arm the kids!
West Virginia considers giving gun lessons in public schools for children. I know a pastor in St. Louis Park, MN who might agree with that proposal. It does make sense for more efficiency in school shootings, a well trained shooter would have a better chance of getting the people he wants.

Remember - carnival only lasts until midnight Tuesday - then we have to be good. And lighten up, remember the proverb - "There is no problem we can fix."