Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mass Chat: Ordinary time.

The lounge singer.
My parish is having it's annual Fall festival this weekend, including an outdoor Mass - why outdoors? I don't know.  Anyway, I went to another church for confession and Mass Saturday evening.  It was at a first tier suburban parish.  A really ugly church, but the priest is very good. 
The church was packed - with seniors - like really old people, not just retirees.  I sat in back of the semi-round gathering space.  All I could think about is how close to death many of us could be, some apparently closer than others.  I think about that a lot, death I mean, and so I wondered if the people at Mass do so as well; obviously many of them have been retired for an awful long time, it just seems it would be a natural thing to contemplate.  Or is it?  Maybe we can't allow ourselves to think about the reality of it?  Whenever I think of death these days, I catch myself wondering things like, 'why do we live so long anyway?',  'what if there is nothing on the other side?', 'what's the point?',  and that kind of stuff.
If it hadn't been for the pianist and cantor, I would have been terribly depressed.  The church was just so ugly and the liturgy so ordinary.  But the singers had really interesting, smokey voices, and they were rather good entertainers.  No lie, they actually sang the same way as lounge singers do - like in Vegas or some hotel bar, they had a distinct style.  Seriously, the hymns sounded like piano bar songs, I never quite heard hymns sung like that before.  As I was leaving I noticed the one female vocalist looked a lot like Liza Minnelli, she appeared to be the same age too.  I had to smile. 
That said, I am so very grateful to have been able to go to confession and assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion.  It is all I have.


  1. You wrote, "All I could think about is how close to death many of us could be, some apparently closer than others." .....

    Yeah, I think about this every time I work at the election office - a place where promotions come easily.

    I also think about dying -a lot and I have for years. Perhaps it's goes along with the same kind of thinking as when the saints of old would carry a skull around with them to remind them of their end goal. Perhaps I'm just weird though.
    I think some people live so long because first - it's Gods will which is always a mystery but many older people don't have it all together yet. I remember once when a very old woman came to confession and complained to me that Father told her to sit back down because she couldn't think of any sins. Old doesn't equate with - ready to meet your maker.
    The other side is real. I promise. Dont have a single doubt.
    It's all you have?
    - Not even close... It's all you appear to have.
    Liza with a "Z" I would have ran.
    Antique stores depress me and so do some garage sales.

  2. We really don't live that long. 100 years is nothing.

  3. Terry...I have been haunted by thoughts of death lately...maybe it's because my heart has been doing some strange things...maybe it's because I've been googling what "hung, drawn and quartered" is (our Holy Father being in England, after all!)...but death is scaring the crap outta me...
    not in the usual way...but I do wonder, contemplate and meditate upon what death will be like; if I will be prepared; what will happen...
    and if I will die a painful death (like the martyrs) or just fall asleep.
    I know that sounds horrible for a priest and religious to actually admit; I just pray a LOT of "Hail Marys" and entrust myself to the good Lord.
    I just appreciate Holy Communion and confession, as you do; and pray I won't be in a "horrible way" when the time comes...and it will...
    I feel a horrible "portent"; don't know why, don't know is really bothering me...

  4. Same here Father! Seriously.

  5. I am plagued, more and more, about the way we as Catholics, overall, approach God, in the sacred Liturgy...and it's not because I'm a "rad trad"...believe me...I can't stand most of that you-know-what...
    but really...for a lot...
    God is just like an over-indulgent Father/Mother (for those who are so into-IT!)...
    but that's not reality...
    God is Truth and Justice...Holiness, Mercy and...
    how can we "dumb-down" our Lord God, Who makes Himself so absolutely vulnerable in the Most Holy Eucharist but is the Lord of all Creation, of Heaven and Earth?
    Sing all kinds of whatever, folks.
    God is God. He is the Lord.
    He became an Infant; He died Crucified drained of every ounce of His Precious Blood.
    But He ain't no Fool.
    Uh uh!!

  6. I am not really fearful of death..I guess because I was in combat zones with the military for many years, where each breath could be your will happen sometime, guaranteed.

    However--I really have faith in the wonderful Bible passsages or Jesus' love, of redemption, I love being a servant of the Lord, and really try my best to live as I should. As my dear priest says--god is not expecting us to be perfect, as we cannot be perfect, but we should try really hard. Yes we will trip up, but we have the graces of Confession, the Eucharist, Our Blessed Mother, the Divine Mercy, and the Communion of Saints on our side.

    I don't really expect to go to hell--but I do expect to spend a fair amont of time in Purgatory, both in this life and the next. But bit by bit, day by day, I grow in holiness, as I labor in the secular world for God's Kingdom. I spent too many years consumed by Protestant guilt, too many years beating my breast bemoaning the fact that I'm a damned sinner, instead of accepting God's love and forgiveness, learning from my mistakes, and moving on.

    So yes--i'm the "happy happy joy joy " Catholic, but I am drenched by His blessings every day of my life, and I cannot help but BE happy :)


    P.S. I didn't snoke any peyote this weekend..promise :)

  7. Sara: That's wonderful.
    I have no idea why I'm so's not an anxiety, per se, it's not really an "angst"'s just...
    what will I actually do/say when "it" happens?
    I so want to give myself to Jesus; I did it when I was going in for spinal surgery when I could have been paralyzed or dead; no problem there...the Sacraments of Anointing and Penance assisted me...
    but when my heart goes crazy; when I wonder if it is my last few moments and I'm totally "distracted"...will I give myself to Jesus completely; and then, what happens?
    I know, it sounds like I'm having a crisis of faith; but I'm really not...I'm just existentially aware, if you will, that death is such an absolute mystery and I'm overwhelmed;
    the martyrs in England have taken over my consciousness...for heaven's sake, they were hanged, drawn and quartered...their bowels ripped from their bodies as they were conscious; I've read about and watch depictions of this...and I'm so absolutely overwhelmed; and what our men and women have to deal with in war zones...limbs blown off; decapitations; absolute incineration of bodies right before men and women who fight with and love these's just overwhelming.
    I probably need healing and prayers.
    But this whole thing is just freaking me out!

  8. Father, just before your blown to bits, or decapitated, God will give you the graces you'll need to get through it.

    This faith of ours has always been on a "need to know"/need to receive basis. It's much like the manna in the desert when only a days worth of rations were allowed to be gathered as the rest would have spoiled and gone to waste. We get what we need and when we need it - generally not before.

    The more the suffering - the more the grace and you can't "out suffer" Gods grace and when the turmoil is over we get to keep the knowledge of what ever had transpired as our gift. (Example- horrible labor and delivery stories, I get to keep the lessons I had learned to share with the rest of the body of Christ - lucky you ;)


    I had a premonition about my own death and I'm told it's the only time in my life when I actually wont have anxiety. Wow, that alone is stunning.

    I don't think I'll end up in hell- well for very long anyway. (miracle though) but my dream of purgatory wasn't very positive either. I'd like to figure out how to avoid that place too. Purgatory frightens me.

  9. Suffice for the day, are the troubles thereof. I don't know if that's scriptural or a line from a protestant hymn ha-ha!!

    But I do know this, we won't be tested beyond what we can stand. That is a biblical promise. And God keeps His promises.

    1 Cor 10:13

    No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


  10. Shadow, I heard that twice this morning. I love it!


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