Let us be clear about what happened.
An evangelist took the time to promote a more intimate relationship with and respectful treatment of the Divinity in the Eucharist. Another evangelist read about it. His reaction was to author a piece to undermine the effort and discourage Catholics from a more superior treatment to Christ. If I understand him, his reasoning was people who promote reception of Christ by mouth make people who prefer to drop the properties of His Divinity onto the floor, where He will be ground into the carpet (because 'THEY' do it 'reverently') feel demonized.
A group of women said they just want everyone to feel welcome! This welcome wagon caricatured people who want their devotions returned to them and their children as 'traditionalists' who are not welcome. They caricatured Catholics who wish to promote deeper intimacy and respectful treatment of Christ, mentally ill, hostile, stupid, insane, filthy blasphemer, people who need a team of psychiatrists and exorcists.
These women were shocked, shocked I tell you when they were called bitches. Pandemonium ensued.
Fr. John Higgins of Los Angeles, California, chimed in to soothe the hysterical women by telling them there is no Divine properties in pieces of the Eucharist that they find on their hands, clothes and the floor- and encouraged them to continue to do it.
I have no idea what would posses David Gray to respond to the promotion of Catholic practice by telling people not to respond because it will demonize them. But if he is tired of the promotion of devotions that make people feel demonized, he's got a lot of writing of articles ahead of him.
When God or His Mother, their Church, their Sacraments or devotions are adored, glorified, venerated, treated with respect, obeyed or promoted, there will always be people who feel demonized.
People are demonized by Catholics who promote Adoration and the Rosary, Marian devotions, holy water, oil, salt, charistmatic healing. A lot of Catholics feel demonized when they're told they can't have a sexual relationship outside of the Sacrament of Marriage, they can't use abortifacients or abort their children, kill their sick relatives. Others feel demonized when the Sacrament of Confession is promoted.
Let us be clear about what is expected.
When a Catholic promotes a devotion - be it to stop dropping pieces of Christ onto the floor, the Rosary, the Sacraments, Adoration, Sacramentals - or whatever have you - David Gray should be authoring pieces in support of these practices rather than telling people not to. End of story.
Our priests should support these undertakings and explain them to the women who have been trampling and undermining them for forty years. Women should be teaching it to their children and witnessing to it in their parish and community.
The reason being, Christ may be working through the person promoting to the devotion to bring a person into a closer union with Him. A deeper intimacy. You've got a lot of nerve to interfere with that undertaking. It is a disservice to Christ and the souls who could have benefited from it.
If you do not feel called to treat Christ with more respect because your respect is grounded in your own posture and emotions, have the decency to keep your pie hole shut.
Those of us who are sick and tired of the people who are sick and tired of Catholics who promote devotions of the Catholic Church will really enjoy this timely piece as Eye of the Tiber:
Nation's Catholics Demand Better Catechesis to Understand What Teachings to Ignore.
She went on to tell reporters that ever since she finished reading The Compendium of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that she felt she was being called to help enlighten the minds of others who were “unconsciously” denying the teachings of the Church. “Now when I tell people that I only attend Mass on Christmas and Easter, I know it’s because I just don’t care, and not just out of sheer ignorance of ‘my’ faith.”
That's why people feel demonized. They have to face their own shallowness and disrespect or self absorption. Those of good will who were doing it unconsciously, or in ignorance, will change the practice. Those who just don't care - won't. They may not like having everyone know they don't care but it is what it is - and everyone knows it. Almost everyone in that thread was in latter category. I'd be mighty scared as an evangelist, to see the people in my audience in that category.
The spoof at Eye of the Tiber came just in time for me.
A reader sent me a blog post she was scandalized by with the latest conspiracy theory about our prayer life. There is a person who is purporting that Catholics who express they are praying for people, assuring people of your prayers, lifting people in prayer, are somehow attributing to ourselves too much perfection, or somehow undertake the offer of prayer because we believe we, not God, are the author of the outcome. The hypothesis goes on to say this is the valid reason why our enemies hate us, we are holier than thou types - etc.
Please, do not ever stop assuring people of your prayers. Assuring people that you have remembered their petitions and intentions in prayer, or lifted them in prayer is not a sin against the first commandment, as this conspiracy implies.
People need to hear that you are supporting them in prayer. I know many people whose prayers are more efficacious than my own. I will often go to them and ask them to pray for this or that, because it seems that Christ finds their petitions much harder to resist than my own. They bring results swiftly and powerfully. When they tell me they are praying for me without my asking, I am thrilled.
The most powerful of all, of course, is a priest who offers a Holy Sacrifice dedicated to an intention or petition.
Fr. Lucas Ogbonna's message today was the following:
I remembered all of you at Mass today. Today is the Last Sunday of the year. May the Good Lord who has brought you thus far continues to bless and protect you all. Each of you is in my mind and prayers. I can assure you of the fact that.... - You are loved !
What a pity, truly, that there actually Catholics who make even these glorious expressions ugly (for themselves and for others)
When people assure me of their prayers, I will sometimes bank them. I may not have a specific intention at that time -- but I reserve that power. Inevitably, somebody will tell me of a sick relative or a situation and ask for my prayers. I do pray for their intention, but I also go to my bank and tap into the power of the prayers of a person with whom God finds favor. I would never have that resource if I were ignorant that prayers were being offered for me.
Sometimes, I will receive courage, peace, joy from such an expression.
99.9 of people who express that we are lifting a person in prayer are returning those favors received - so that others can benefit in these same ways.
We are not all equal. Christ spoke of his favorites while here on earth -- John and John. His mother. Nor are out gifts the same. One person may have a charism another does not posses. One healing. Another prayer. These gifts are precious. All of them.
There are many souls, both living and dead, whose petitions are more powerful than our own. There is nothing disordered about this reality. If you are such a person, do not ever be discouraged or intimidated from expressing your assurances of prayers to another Catholic. Ever. It may be a special gift that has been given to you and that Christ wishes you to use. Praise God in the outcome and use your gifts like there is no tomorrow.
Alternately, if you are a person who does not find favor with God, do not ever be discouraged or intimidated from expressing your prayers for fellow Catholics. God may be calling you to a closer communion with him by sending people who need prayer to you. In prayer, you benefit, Christ benefits, the person asking for prayer benefits.
Even when an enemy has deliberately said they will 'pray for me' in an effort to make themselves feel morally superior, I make use of those prayers. Moreover, God will make use of them.
Any and every time we express to a person that we will join the entire communion of souls - on earth, in heaven and in purgatory who are praying together, those prayers can be used.
In other words, there is never a circumstance or a person in any kind of situation to whom you should hesitate to express that you are praying for them, are lifting them in prayer.
ADDENDUM: Somebody sent me this article written by Danielle Bean at NCR. Our friend Danielle is giving up on Communion on the tongue because of the lay ministers giving out Communion.
HA. That is the sillies thing I have ever read. Like giving up on sex because there are crying children in the house.
All you have to do is get in the line with the priest in it.
Usually, I know the priests habits and learn what side he stands on, sit in those pews. But in the event I forget, or I do not know, or there is a switcheroo, I just very discreetly cross over into his line.
Always give witness to the holiness of what we are receiving. Quietly, or not so quietly. Whatever we have to do to testify and witness.