Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hope vs. Optimism

For a variety of reasons, it's been a very busy Lent.

I'm spending more time in prayer, Adoration.

More time with friends and on my treadmill. :) My daughter's wedding plans, other family weddings, new babies being born to family and friends. Watching Romney purchase the nomination with lies and destroying the reputation of real pro-lifers. Watching daffy women debase the beauty and vocation of women to that of a mindless whore. The wars. Insurrections.

Observing. Praying.

I went to a Frank Kelly prayer service this week. Frank is a...let's see, how would I describe Frank?! A humble, faithful, prayerful man with a gift of discernment. He prays over you, discerns your weaknesses, strengths. Gives you specific Saints to pray to for specific graces, physical/ spiritual healing. I've always wanted to go, to get guidance from our invisible friends as a "woman with blog"...who needs all the help she can get.

There was a Mass, magnificent homily which I'll talk about in a minute, and then hundreds of people lined up to be prayed over. He asks your first name and instructs you to ask Christ to come into your heart as he prays over you.

My few minutes with Frank went something like this..

He prayed over me as I opened the door to my mind, soul. He told me he felt my peace and to preserve it but that I should stop trying to control God, that He leadeth me, the saint to pray to for graces and assistance with that particular foible (St. Teresa of Avila). Then, almost as if he had just been hit with a bolt of lightening, and with absolute certainty, he said "WHOAH!!...YOU'RE A WRITER!" Though he needed no confirmation, I nodded in amazement. He acknowledged Christ's omnipotence, in knowing all things. We both smiled, acknowledging His presence in the encounter, and he asked me to pray to St. Francis de Sales for counsel in writing. Good luck to that guy. Aquinas must be pooped out? I wore out the ox.

There were a few other things he said along with the Saints to pray to for graces and intercession - all-in-all, an amazing experience. If you ever get the chance - just do it.

Before Frank's prayer service, the priest at the Mass gave a great homily. What he didn't say was as profound as what he did say. He casually mentioned some of the things happening in the world, said times are going to get tough. We are on the edge. He was on fire. Advised us to be watchful and to pray that God will raise prophets. Pray God raises the watchmen, who can see the signs, interpret, understand and alerts us to the trajectory in the public square. It raises consciousness and we all do what needs to be done.

He gave what I believe is the wisest counsel on how to navigate through the storm. Be joyful. Zealous. Keep your energy and focus on the many good things are happening and will continue to happen as it unravels. See Him high and Lifted Up, shining in the Light of His Glory, pouring out His Love as we sing Holy, Holy, Holy. These are the days. I really believe this is where we need to be. Where we need to go with it. Always giving a reason for our hope and joy.

I had already been thinking about all of this after reading Fr. Rutler's prophetic reflection this week (below), and especially in light of Romney's advances in the election. What the worst case scenario really is if it comes down to Obama and Romney.

With Obama, the people who are conscious at least know what is happening to them. The Church is responsive. Prophets rise. Political forces gather and take action.

Romney will roll out an agenda that is nearly identical to Obama's, but he will lie about what he is doing. The worst part about this scenario, the narcissists on our own side in positions of influence and power, lie right along with him. Most people do not scratch the surface of the lies. I remain unconvinced that for the purposes of Christendom, any of us should participate in this charade. And, it is a charade. The people are much better off knowing what is happening to them and taking actions accordingly.

That's where I am with it, at this moment in time.

I pray you are all having a great Lent. Blogging will be a little slower than normal. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Here's Fr. Rutler's piece. It's a whopper.

March 4, 2012
by Fr. George W. Rutler

In March of 1938, when the na├»ve among his contemporaries still thought they might cut a deal with the National Socialists, Winston Churchill saw his country “descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf.” A gulf beckons today, and no amount of forced optimism or self-conscious jollity will stop the descent to its shadows. There is nothing inevitable about what lies ahead, but providence will overcome fatalism only if people absorb what Pope Benedict XVI said last January: “…it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.”

Those words would probably confuse the comfortable man who objected to me about a prayer that mentioned “enemies of the Faith.” He said with suburban unction that “there are no enemies anymore.” He was unaware that somewhere around 200 million Christians live under daily threat in 197 countries. Last year, nearly 100,000 Christians were killed because of their Christianity, in lands from North Korea and China, to Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia, Laos, Sudan, and on and on, including some supposed allies of our nation, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt.

The man who saw no enemies might plead with good reason that the media have, to put it mildly, inadequately publicized these persecutions. That kind of plea, however, can no longer be sustained when elements of our own government have declared war on the Church, and persecution both subtle and blatant has gone domestic. Catholics have not been prepared to deal with this, and some have even been compliant. If we rely only on institutional bureaucracy to be our line of defense, we may find it to be a Maginot Line. The Allies were unprepared when Churchill spoke in 1938 because people wanted butter not guns, but found soon enough that butter was being rationed, and guns were pointing at them.

Pope Benedict spoke of “a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” It is not possible to look through stained glass windows, so the man who saw no enemies outside his air-conditioned and centrally heated church will be surprised if he tries to visit a Catholic hospital two years from now and finds that there is none, only a dark gulf. The Archbishop of Chicago has considered that possibility if the Health and Human Services regulations are not rescinded.
Hope is a theological virtue. Optimism is not. The wise have warned that pessimists are unhappy fools and optimists are happy fools. But the hopeful are not foolish. Christ began his war with a forty-day battle in a desert filled with wild beasts, but as they prowled about, He could hear angels.


There's a Star somewhere in the distance,
But the clouds make It hard to see.
I know you'll find the Sun
as fast as you can run to Me.
So many times I wondered, how you made it through the night
How do you choose the darkness
when I can be your Light
Come in from the rain to a Heart that's warm.
When tears start to fall, I'll be your shelter from the storm.
Tonight in these Arms of Mine,
Let me be the One.
Time will stop and stars will shine
for you
That's what Love can do.
If you want a Love that leaves you breathless,
It's so reckless to stay so far away.
I don't want to live without you
waiting for another rainy day
Come in from the rain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May God protect me from gloomy saints," Teresa said, and that's how she ran her convent. To her, spiritual life was an attitude of love, not a rule. Although she proclaimed poverty, she believed in work, not in begging. She believed in obedience to God more than penance. If you do something wrong, don't punish yourself -- change. When someone felt depressed, her advice was that she go some place where she could see the sky and take a walk. When someone was shocked that she was going to eat well, she answered, "There's a time for partridge and a time for penance."

Great Saint to pray to in these last days..