Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sloth. Hypocrisy. Lying.

"We were born in the land of Vain-glory, and are going, for praise, to Mount Zion."

Friday, June 27, 2014

I was going to post something today but decided not to...


I was going to post something about Gay Pride.  It's Pride weekend in Minneapolis.  I deleted a post I was working on because it was coming off preachy.  I hate preachy - especially from me - I'm not a preacher or a teacher.

A few days ago I wrote about envy - how envy is such a gay sin.  It's related to pride.  Pride is a capital sin.  It's a big sin.  It's the devil's sin.  Envy is derived from pride.  Anger too.  Vainglory emanates from that base.  It's really about inordinate love of self.

So watch Gay Pride festivities and you will note that it's a huge display of these things ... as well unbridled concupiscence of the flesh.  Such as gluttony or intemperance - which gives birth to all sorts of vice and foolishness - or camp.  Not to overlook lust.  Gay people put examples of all of this on parade - in their parades.

As Garrigou-Lagrange notes, from lust proceeds:
Spiritual blindness, poor judgment, impetuosity, inconstancy, love of self even to hatred of God, attachment to the present life which destroy hope of eternal life.
Hence, many may not see or understand what is so bad about Pride.  There are a lot of sins which flow from inordinate love of self - or another way of saying it, disordered love of self.  Religious groups and churches which support Pride, neither serve God nor the people they seek to minister to.  Perhaps this Scripture could be applied to them: "You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves." - Matt. 23:15

Self knowledge.

When gay Catholics say it isn't important to figure out why they are gay, they are quite wrong.  It is very important to try to understand the roots of sin, and the inclination which can lead us to sin - or, the predominant faults which disposes us to sin.  (Homosexual inclination is not a sin in itself of course.)  Giving up, giving in can be another vice cloaked as virtue.  It can be linked to what spiritual writers call 'acedia' - spiritual sloth.

Again, Garrigou-Lagrange tells us:
Acedia (sloth) begets hatred of spiritual things, whence are born: malice, rancor, pusillanimity, discouragement, spiritual topor, forgetfulness of the precepts, seeking after forbidden things.

That's the stuff which underlies the principles of Gay Pride.

Art:  Vicious Circle* - Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929)

*Did you know the word 'vicious' is derived from 'vice'?

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place all my trust in you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

President Obama and the Francis Effect

Go out and make a mess, Poodle!

President Obama is right now, right here in Minneapolis!

He will be here for two days!  Two days!

He is just like Pope Francis - he comes down to the little people!  He's one of us!

Crowd control.

10:00 am ET || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:50 am ET || Departs White House
12:25 pm CT || Arrives Minneapolis, Minnesota
2:15 pm CT || Hosts a town hall meeting; Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
7:30 pm CT || Delivers remarks and answers questions at a fundraiser for congressional Democrats; private residence, Minneapolis

While in Minneapolis, the president will also spend time with Rebekah – a woman who wrote him a letter – her family and community members and discuss issues they care about, according to the White House. - Source

Song for this post here.

We didn't start the fire...

We just throw ourselves in it.

Lately I've been considering the Gospel story of the 'possessed' young man.  The boy was described by his father as possessed, with episodes of falling to the ground, rolling about, foaming at the mouth and then becoming rigid.  At other times the demon threw him into the fire and then the water, almost killing him.  Christ reprimanded the disciples who were unable to exorcise the demon, or heal the young man, for their lack of faith, their lack of trust, explaining after the healing, that this type can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.   Jesus is emphatic that "everything is possible to a man who trusts." [Luke 9:23]

Mystics tell us that Christ is deeply saddened by our lack of trust, he tells them that his heart is wounded by our lack of confidence, and that trust is the vessel needed to receive his mercy, his grace.  Yet today we are told many sins are incurable, or that God made us this way...  Some inclinations may seem natural, but we forget about fallen human nature and our propensity to sin - which is fallen naturalness.  We forget that we need supernatural grace.  It is obtained through prayer and the sacraments.  Prayer and fasting - fasting from sin first - that is a penance God requires.

In and out.

It is fashionable to disparage prayer today.  When scoffers say things like, 'you can't pray away the gay' it can be intended as a disparagement against those who reject the LGBTQ identity and seek to live a chaste and celibate life, relying upon the grace of God.

To an extent, those who say 'you can't pray the gay away' are right, in so far as their focus is misdirected.  Whether striving to overcome the gay, or deciding to accept the gay - the emphasis is on a gay identity, an identity based on an inclination toward something the Catechism describes as intrinsically disordered.  Even for those who refuse to identity as gay, some may struggle to defend their decision against the world and contemporary culture which says it is senseless to deny their sexuality in the first place.  (Chastity is not loved.)  It's no wonder so many can be tempted to vacillate in their commitment, sometimes falling in and out of the fire.

Reparative therapy isn't reparation.

(I'll get into reparation later.)  We are told so-called reparative therapy doesn't work and is damaging to people.  I'm not convinced of that - I think it is important to try and understand what causes a person to be gay - even if one believes himself to be 'born that way'.  Those who work in psychology have been very helpful in broadening our understanding of same sex attraction.  I'm convinced reparative therapy can help those motivated to seek it, and that it may be successful for some.  Others, not so much.

To be sure, I do not believe it is mandatory (nor does the Church) and I certainly do not believe it is the only alternative for those who experience unwanted same sex desire.  Not everyone has access to therapy, nor can everyone afford it, and therapists may have their own agenda in mind - bent on success and building a reputation.  Likewise, everyone has free will - one can choose not to act on the inclination - relying on God's grace and guidance, perhaps with self-therapy, one can attain a certain freedom of spirit: To the point the inclination is no longer the 'predominant fault', as it were.

At one time or another, many people who actually struggle with same sex attraction focus all their attention upon getting rid of the attraction, avoiding temptation - anxiously worried about sexual sin.  They don't want to be gay - or better put - they don't want to commit gay sins.  Despite what they say - deep down, they might be just fine with being a little different, and entertain the idea, 'if only it wasn't a sin' ...

So they pray - really, really hard, frequent the sacraments, go to adoration, seek spiritual direction, follow a sort of horarium of prayer, doing all the right spiritual stuff.  They suffer through temptation and the near occasion of sin, agonize over falls, anguish over every inclination or attraction, and sometimes pine away in emotional desolation and self pity - self abuse.  Some join a group for fellowship and support - but still sleep alone.  (That's a Cher song BTW.)  In the meantime the world, pop-culture, gays, gay-Catholics are screaming come out, come out, come out and stay out.  Be gay because it's now okay.

We have to do more for gays.

We are hearing that a lot these days.  Evidently no one suffers as much as gay people do.  Science can claim a genetic connection to legitimize the inclination, civil laws can be changed to allow gay marriage - but it doesn't change anything.  Because homosexual acts are sinful.  Defects and disorders are the effects of the Fall - fallen human nature.  Catholics tell you that you need to accept yourself - that the old teaching teaches self hate.  Priests and nuns minister to the gay and Catholic, echoing science and the popular culture - theologizing the disorder.

As I suggested earlier, no wonder so many of us second guess ourselves when it comes to acceptance and nondiscrimination.  No wonder the Church can sound schizoid as regards homosexual teaching.  Churchmen say you can't discriminate while they fire gay employees.  So, you start thinking you are wrong in your understanding of Catholic teaching - or that you are going about everything the wrong way.  You study, you read the old and new gay-studies, gay literature in the light of Westian Theology of the Body and the witness of gay to straight converts who eventually come back out, accepting themselves as gay.  You begin to see the need for getting rid of negative terminology such as mortal sin and intrinsic disorder...  And you feel yourself on the threshold of a new freedom, a new acceptance of self...

The temptation to compromise.  

Like the crazy kid in the Gospel, we go from our peaceful state of wholesome 'self-denial' and suddenly decide we aren't any better off than we were before.  We aren't 'fixed'.  We're still miserable, unhappy, and lonely.  We slip into the chaos, roll about in anguish; fearing we may compromise, in one final valiant determination - we react - we resolve to get hold of ourselves - to conquer the beast.

Grating our teeth, we resolve to stick to the rules so firmly - we become absolutely rigid.  We force ourselves to follow our rule of life, the commandments, adhering with clenched teeth to the letter of the law - and we become rigid.  When we are rigid we condemn, we do not love, we are not humble.  We can't stand ourselves, nor the others who seem to be so happy with their sexuality.  Unable to tolerate even ourselves, we can end up throwing ourselves back into the fire.  We hurl ourselves into the old ways of behavior, the old escapes, the favorite occasions, convincing ourselves we will not fall - and yet we are fallen.  Our love dissipates like polluted water - flowing down the drain, as it were.  We thrust ourselves into the fire and the water, like a demoniac.  A fire we didn't start - but it feels as if it is our fire and we feel we belong there.

Falling and rising.

Believe it or not, that's kind of normal.  It really is - for fallen human nature.  Although, as St. Teresa of Avila said, "prayer is the trapdoor out of sin."  So don't disparage prayer.

Yet prayer is not a stern, rigid observance of hours, a hair shirt formula or prescription, much less an appointed therapy session that one follows to achieve this or that.  It is rather a relationship, and it is nurtured in and through the sacraments.  When we find it, through the joy of being forgiven, we must continue to keep praying and fasting from sin, applying the remedy of confession and Eucharist after every fall.  Yet prayer must be free, humble, gentle; a loving attentiveness - filled with confidence in the joy of being loved and forgiven.  It takes time to do God's will, it takes time and patience to find healing.  Healing is a process.  Praying and fasting and avoiding sin while grinding our teeth is not the way to do it.  Confidence and love is the way.  Allowing ourselves to be loved - just as we are, just as God created us - male and female.  The Church teaches that.

"We are created in the image of God—just like everyone else."

Exactly right.

Recently I read an article about an ex-gay who married an ex-lesbian, had kids, and now is back - happier than ever that he stopped trying and came to accept that he is gay and that it's the life for him.  He's John Paulik and his article is To Straight and Back.  He went back - what can I say?  Why did he do it?  I think he begins to explain it rather well in his own words here:
Luckily, it’s true that across our nation, life is dramatically and rapidly improving for gay people, and it’s encouraging that same-sex marriage has found favor in courts across the land, and is coming to be viewed as legitimate by a majority of Americans, according to polls. - Politico
The general acceptance and affirmation that gay is good, or gay is equal to heterosexuality - that general acceptance makes it easier to disbelieve what the Church teaches.  As I've been trying to point out in this excessively long post, this general acceptance is the main reason why SSA persons find it difficult to persevere.  So many stop and start, until they give up like Paulik.

Paulik is correct when he says, "We are not broken, damaged, inferior or throwaways. We are created in the image of God—just like everyone else."

The Church teaches the exact same thing.  It's the behavior that is disordered, the inclination is towards something intrinsically disordered - but they are not listening to what the Church is saying.

Catholics are deeply influenced by that.

Men and women who experience same sex attraction are deeply influenced by this 'new world order' of LGBTQ.  Catholics who leave the 'lifestyle' can be persuaded that doctrine has developed (or will develop) in favor of accommodating gay civil unions.  Many in the Church are convinced more must be done for gay people, because gay is a sort of gender neutral 'third way'.  There is a great deal of confusion generated and the tension is all around us.

Many gay people falter - they go in and out of the Church.  Some leave the Church entirely, others give up the practice of the faith all together.  Most struggle, rising and falling, and through discouragement, sloth or acedia, fall into compromise. It's very human.  Despite all of that, some come back, some keep trying.  That is no small grace.

That's reality.

Those who have long struggled know the ups and downs, the ins and outs.  We know the hypocrisy, the lying, the cover-ups that can go on.  It's amazing that we keep trying, shamed when we do, and shamed when we don't.  But it isn't about success, it isn't about achievement.

One guy I know of has returned to the Church - again - with all his wounds showing.  He's amazing for that.  I recently read something he wrote - I don't have permission to discuss his journey nor what he wrote, but I was deeply impressed by his humility and faith, and his calm resolve to persevere.

Evidently he met someone online and they had a 'chat'.  If I read the post correctly, it seems the conversation was unchaste.  The Catholic fellow repented and evidently contacted the other person to apologize and make 'reparation' - explaining his struggle to live faithfully and chastely as a Catholic, and how sorry he was.

That's reparation.

Not reparative therapy.  The man I speak of has traveled a long hard road.  He was baptised Catholic in infancy, yet became a Protestant minister, married, came out, divorced, returned to the Church, fell away again, came out again and went to the Episcopal church, and finally returned to the Catholic Church.

He's home now.  It seems obvious - to me at least, that he has a new found freedom of spirit - demonstrated by his candor, his confession of faith, his humility ... and more deeply, his sense of making reparation.  He's not ministering or evangelizing so much as he is making reparation.  He is now, more than ever before, a witness to the Gospel and the Catholic Church - who in the name of Christ calls us all to repentance and holiness.

We all fall and rise, but we need to avoid compromise.

(My apologies for such a long rambling post.  It's a personal reflection and may not make sense to readers - and I may be wrong.)

What's he doing?

I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Christian does not announce himself ...

Christ is the important one.

"A Christian does not announce himself; he proclaims another, prepares the way for another: the Lord. A Christian must know how to discern, must know how to discern the truth from what seems to be the truth but is not there - a man of discernment. And a Christian must be a man who knows how to lower himself that the Lord may grow, in the heart and soul of others." - Pope Francis on the Nativity of John the Baptist

It seems to me this is the purpose of 'messages from Heaven' as well - to prepare the way of the Lord.

Art: Illumination, Nativity of John the Baptist. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Something to think about: Envy - a very gay sin.

Thinking about the 9th and 10th Commandments.

Many people who struggle with chastity get themselves stuck on the 6th Commandment - but sins of the flesh are often rooted in sins of pride, envy, jealousy, unchecked concupiscence and covetousness.  A sin against chastity can be so shameful to the penitent, he doesn't always understand the dispositions surrounding the fall - sometimes that is why certain sins become habitual.  Maybe I can write a little more about it.  In the meantime, I'm pondering the sections of the Catechism regarding these two Commandments.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's. 
Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 
2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.  In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.
You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor's. . . . You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's. 
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

2534 The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. "Lust of the eyes" leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth commandment.  Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three prescriptions of the Law.  The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

It isn't just a gay sin, but it is one often overlooked by 'gay pride'.

You want the same rights as heterosexuals - that is to marry and adopt?  Though laws are changing, the desire is a form of covetousness - the married state is proper(ty) of male and females.

You want equal rights?  You already have the same equal rights afforded to anyone.  If you need 'special' rights, you can get a lawyer to draw up legal papers for power of attorney, inheritance and so on.

If we really examine ourselves we may discover that we want to obtain or be something that is not ours to have, or that belongs to another.

Sometimes we lust after someone because we want what they have...

Males sometimes want a guy to 'complete' them - they envy the masculinity of another, his good looks, his success.

Just think about it.  Sins against the 6th Commandment may not be the biggest ones in our lives - the type of sin which conflicts gay people isn't always limited to acting out sexually.

We can be very jealous of others who advance in virtue as well.

Like I said, think about it.  As St. James asks:  "Where does all this enmity amongst you originate?"

Tuesday update:

Coincidently, Fr. James Schall published an essay on Envy titled On Inequality just today.  It seems to be a more pervasive problem these days than we thought.

Pope says torture is a mortal sin.

Pope Francis is urging Christians to work together to abolish every form of torture, condemning the practice as a grave sin. 
Francis told the public in St. Peter's Square Sunday he wanted to reiterate his "firm condemnation of every kind of torture." He sought united efforts to work for torture's end and to support victims and their families. 
Francis said it was a "mortal sin, a very grave sin, to torture people" and noted that Thursday marks the United Nation's day for torture victims. 
Torture was a powerful tool of the military regime ruling his native Argentina from 1976 till 1983. The local church hierarchy then openly sided with the junta. 
Francis has been credited with saving lives of political dissidents while a Jesuit priest in Argentina. - Source

Mark Shea will be happy. 

Just a reminder about locutions and private revelations from St. John of the Cross.

The Church of martyrs.

Sunday evening, 60 Minutes Bob Simon did a story on the persecution of the Coptic Church in Egypt.  One of the Bishops interviewed said that Egyptian Christians have always been persecuted and the Church has always had martyrs.  He said that his flock have always expected suffering and persecution - in every age.*

We Catholics today seem to worry about chastisements and persecutions and martyrdom as something to fear and fight against.  Many search scriptures and accounts of private revelations and locutions for signs and warnings - attempting to read the signs of the times.  Some people have lived their entire lives in expectation of the warning and chastisement.  Some people prepare and stockpile food and ammunition to defend themselves when the Global economy collapses.  The worst is when we seek out every new mystic and locutionist who claims to have messages from God - sometimes it is difficult to see the difference between these people and nonbelievers when they consult mediums and psychics.

However, we can know chastisements and corrections are coming on our own, as John of the Cross makes clear:
"And likewise supernatural events and happenings may be known, in
their causes, in matters concerning Divine Providence, which deals most
justly and surely as is required by their good or evil causes as
regards the sons of men. For one may know by natural means that such or
such a person, or such or such a city, or some other place, is in such
or such necessity, or has reached such or such a point, so that God,
according to His providence and justice, must deal with such a person
or thing in the way required by its cause, and in the way that is
fitting for it, whether by means of punishment or of reward, as the
cause merits. And then one can say: At such a time God will give you
this, or will do this, or that will come to pass, of a surety.'" - Ascent of Mt. Carmel

Remember, persons claiming locutions can be deluded, even unconsciously articulating details they have read about or heard in the course of their lifetime. John of the Cross also points out that things foretold do not always happen as we expect.
God desires not that we should wish for such visions, since He makes it possible for us to be deceived by them in so many ways.
Some spiritual persons convince themselves that their curiosity to know of certain things through supernatural means is good because God sometimes answers these petitions. They think this conduct is good and pleasing to God because he responds to their urgent request. Yet the truth is that, regardless of God's reply, such behavior is neither good nor pleasing to God. Rather he is displeased; not only displeased but frequently angered and deeply offended."  - Ascent Bk II, - Chapter 21
Christ promised not to leave us orphans and to be with us - the Church - until the end of time.  Trust him. 

Let us pray for those suffering 
and the new martyrs.

*The early years of the Church’s existence in Egypt were marked by relative peace. Later, the Church experienced twenty-one waves of persecution, with the fiercest one under the reign of Emperor Diocletian.  During his reign, the Church offered countless martyrs – by some estimates between 500,000 and one million. For this reason, the Coptic Calendar begins in 284 A.D. , the first year of Diocletian’s rule, and is based on the year of the martyrs (Anno Martyri – A.M.). For example, the year 2010 – 2010 corresponds to 1727 A.M. - Source

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Monsignor John Esseff tells the world...

Heaven speaks.

Monsignor Esseff releases messages for the world, given to a locutionist under his spiritual direction.

The anonymous locutionist receives messages from Jesus and Our Lady.  They are somewhat detailed and pertain to what is happening in the Church and the world, especially as it concerns the Middle East and the importance of the papacy - even the upcoming Synod on the family.  The messages are curious and interesting to read.  I found them on what appears to be a new Catholic news portal, News and Faith, apparently connected to Relevant Radio?  It appears to be outside the EWTN orbit.

Heaven Speaks:
The Catholic Church has existed for 2000 years only because I have held her in my heart. This happened from the very beginning because I was with the disciples on Pentecost Day.
Now, I must place the Church even more deeply in my heart because of all the events that will take place. The Synod of Bishops looms on the horizon. This Synod does not result from great fervor or a pouring out of the Spirit. It results from the breakdown in morality, the walking away from Church teaching, the new pressures of modern life and the growing secularism even within the Church.
In many areas, the Church is crumbling. Even the foundations are weak. The Synod will be an attempt to patch the Church together, to stop the exodus of its many members, and to usher in a time of return, a welcome-back. This will be the spirit of the Synod just as “opening the windows” was the spirit of Vatican II.
But what will result from the discussions at the Synod? Such discussions, although animated by sincere desires, carry within themselves great dangers. They carry seeds that are not always seeds of new life but of darkness. Such seeds will be present and that is why I must protect the Church from now until the Synod is completed. - June 15, 2014

After Pentecost, as the apostles set out, I went with them. This was a gift given to me by the Holy Spirit. For all these centuries, I have been the Mother of the Church. Nothing has happened in the Church, the great moments and the sinful moments, that have not been recorded in my Immaculate Heart.
Right now, I want to reveal the Church’s present situation, the dangers that surround it, and the events that are coming. I want every Catholic to know this revelation. It is not to be secret and sealed for years, only to be revealed later. This time is short and the whole Church must have this revelation. The more Catholics who see and understand, the safer will be the Church and the world.
The Holy Father heads the Church but the papacy should not just be a teaching office. These events have a role to play in world history. This role has been removed from the papacy over the recent centuries. However, the events have already begun which will throw the world into the greatest confusion. These events will have a secondary result of making the papacy grow more and more important. This will be a surprising shift. Only as events bring the world to its knees, will the world look again to the papacy and the Catholic Church as the one source of light out of the darkness.

I must also speak clearly about the Church which has so failed the gift of Fatima. Sister Lucy was a faithful messenger. As World War II began, she alone knew why. My Mother had told her that this war would break out during the reign of Pope Pius XI if the Church did not listen and heed Her messages.
The work of Fatima and the task of Sister Lucy were meant to be fulfilled during her lifetime, but the Church did not listen to her. She was a religious, who lived a hidden convent life. She could only send messages. When these were rejected, she just sent more messages.
I will no longer send messages to the popes. They have never listened and they still do not listen. Instead, I will send a pope who himself is the messenger. He will need to deliver the message to no one. He knows what he must do.
I say all of this because no one sees the magnitude of what is happening in the Middle East nor how close Satan is to gaining the power to turn the whole world into his hell. - Source
I find this statement rather curious:
"I will no longer send messages to the popes. They have never listened and they still do not listen."

2014 Catholic Press Association Awards

Conratulations Mr. Winters!

A08c: BEST ONLINE BLOG - Individual
First Place
National Catholic Reporter, Kansas City, MO, “Distinctly Catholic” by Michael Sean Winters

I didn't know they did that.

Give out awards, I mean.  I went through the list of categories and publications and surprised myself how 'illiterate' I am about Catholic publications.  I don't really read much current Catholic stuff - which may explain why I've been able to keep the faith, and may also account for why no one reads me.  (That's a good thing, BTW.)

That said - I found it interesting to whom the awards went to - I didn't notice many representatives from the blogosphere - although congratulations are due to First Place winner, Elizabeth Scalia - I did not know she wrote for Our Sunday Visitor.  (See, I don't read up on people either.)  I also noticed a Catholic mom blogger from Hawaii won a blogging award as well.  I'd call these 'real' awards.

Joan Chittister won an Honorbale Mention I think.  I laughed because I didn't think people thought of her as Catholic.  (See - I don't get out much.)  What was most interesting is that National Catholic Reporter won Best something or other and received high praise in a couple of categories.  What does that say?  As did America magazine BTW.  I've read people say it's not even Catholic to link to them.  Other publications/writers not normally endorsed by most bloggers I link to, and definitely not endorsed by the Pewsitters/Pulpit/New Adventist/EWTN affiliates, received awards as well.  No Fr. Z awards though.  I know he won't mind of course - I think he is like me and disdains awards and honors.

I'm so far outside, I'm even outside the outsiders.

I like it like that.

M05a: BEST REGULAR COLUMN - Spiritual life
First Place
“Ora Pro Nobis” by Elizabeth  Scalia

It is a very diverse Church in the United States, isn't it.

I guess Team Patheos rocked a panel on digital media.

Praying with the Ethiopians

How I imagine myself, 
praying and watching from my kitchen window.

Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God. - Ps. 68:31

I am so edified with the Ethiopian Orthodox who use the church across the street from me on Sundays.  I really believe Our Lady sent them here.

As I mentioned before, the men and women wear white gauze shrouds over their street clothes when they are going to communion.  The women use the covering to veil - and many of them wear traditional dress-like robes.  Both men and women also remove their shoes.  But what strikes me the most is how they do half prostrations and make the sign of the cross even before entering the church.

Today many were outside the church on the steps during the 'consecration' - I'm not sure how they term it.  The words were recited by the priest in a low solemn chant - the people outside faced the door, bowing.  I united my prayer which I did at my kitchen table - a vantage point to watch them.

It seemed to me I followed the liturgy today.  I'm only guessing, but I think they have a sort of pre-liturgy, then the readings or liturgy of the Word - it seems to follow our Mass, or at least that is how I followed it.  Then the homily, litanies, and then the Eucharist.  As in every Orthodox church, it seems people come and go for various reasons.  After communion there is low, solemn chant with rhythmic claps and soft drum.  It builds to a crescendo and the women make that sound of 'tongues' we associate with Middle Eastern women.  It impresses me as the thanksgiving after communion, with the vocals elevating in praise - similar to a charismatic prayer session.

It is very impressive.  Their liturgy seems to encapsulate the classical forms of prayer as well as correlates to the Roman Rite.  They have simply retained the primitive purity and it is obviously well accepted, understood, and participated in by the people.  As I always say, I can see why the Orthodox resist union with Rome, fearing they may be obliged to change their liturgical rites.

Watching and listening to their Mass gives me a much deeper appreciation for the Extraordinary Form of Mass, and a deeper longing that the Ordinary Form will become more reverent and even return to Latin.  I hope our devotion to the Eucharist will become more manifest and the practice of outward devotion return.  I also respect the idea of woman veiling for Mass.  How I wish reverence will be restored in our churches - some people no longer genuflect in church, yet the Ethiopians bow, make prostrations and sign themselves on the church steps - even before entering the door - and when they enter - they remove their shoes.  They perform these devotions in a protestant church they are simply using/renting for Mass on Sunday, thus demonstrating they have a profound understanding of sacred space.  I doubt they would ever permit a profane concert to be held in one of their churches.

Some Sunday after Catholic Mass I will ask to attend their Mass.  For now I feel like an anchorite attached to their church... an anchorite praying with them.

In thanksgiving to Our Lady Holy Mary for 
sending the Ethiopian Orthodox here.
"Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should visit me?"