"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. At any rate after a short halt go on he did..."
102 days in between Masses and...
From back in March until now, it was exactly 102 days in
between Masses at my local parish. It was about as I expected. As I frequently
say, “expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.”
We arrived the mandatory 15 minutes early to avoid being
locked out. The church was allowed up to 30 people (technically more, but I won't get into that). Some people were spaced
out, gasp, with one pew separating themselves from others. They were promptly
told to move to a gap of two pews before Mass could start. That was pretty awkward.
Mass was 55 minutes long. Approximately 26 minutes of that was
chatter about COVID-19 and regulations. At the last second, we discovered that
for those wishing to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, the priest was to
wear gloves (to go along with his mask). They were super cheap hospital gloves
that crinkled and touched the side of the mouth (without the priest knowing
it). That’ll have to be the last Holy Communion we receive there for quite some
Apparently Mass attendance has dropped significantly around
the world. Places allowed, say, 30% capacity are scoring far below that number.
After this past Sunday, I now know why. It was all so dehumanizing. I’m not
overstating it when I say it felt like we were not welcome at all. A nuisance
at best. The whole process was more about bowing down to “Science” and “The
State.” People left visibly upset. As did we. Our 6-year-old son asked at the
end, “Dad, can we just go back to you doing the Mass prayers next week?” I
think we will, actually. But we'll look around first. And no, we cannot get to a TLM. The nearest one is 2.5
hours away, at 8am in the morning. Talk is cheap. Getting four little kids up before
5am is not doable.
So there you have it. 102 days. What have we learned? That there
are far worse things than a virus. “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28).
An update of my thoughts on Exodus 90 can be found HERE . Exodus 90 is underway for many Catholic men. It is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days these men will take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, along with various other spiritual tasks. I applaud such a penitential spirit. The inevitable…. HOWEVER… However, I do have two concerns about Exodus 90 which could use some explaining. 1: Sundays The Church already has a wise, if not perfect, system of fasting and feasting. Catholics are encouraged to do penance on Wednesdays and Fridays (some add in Saturdays as well). In addition, there are specific periods of penance (Lent, Advent, Ember Days). Feasting occurs on Sundays as well as on major Feast Days and Solemnities (e.g. the Assumption of Mary). There is a built in balance to life. My problem with Exodus 90 is that, from what I hear, Sundays and F
There is always a certain amount of fear and trembling when I begin writing a piece on a somewhat unfamiliar subject. Perhaps all that will be demonstrated here is my ignorance and incompetence. To which I suppose my wife would reply: “You’d think you’d be used to that by now.” But I write this piece simply for the fact that Catholic trends, even good ones, need sober reflection and refinement. I refer to the Exodus 90 program. [i] Earlier in 2020 – simpler times to be sure - I listened with interest to a podcast on Exodus 90. In it I heard that this program, which was founded in 2013, is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days men take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, meet weekly with a small group of participants, exercise regularly, all the while following a regimented prayer schedule. I applaud such a penitential spirit (though it seems that cold showers in the de
The following is a talk I recently gave at a Catholic men's group: Let’s begin by examining the secular “wokeness” on fasting. Gone are the days of weight loss programs like Weight Watchers… where you simply eat less each meal! Sounds simple, right? Fewer calories means you lose weight. The problem is that it never worked that well. The reduced number of calories per meal also reduced one’s energy as well, dipped into muscle storage, and offered frugal results. Science now shows that full out fasting is the perfect method for proper health. The secular world’s latest trend is intermittent fasting . One builds up how long a person can go in between meals. The ideal is to eat one meal a day. The meal could consist of almost your regular day’s intake (say 75%). What happens is that your body, when full out fasting, actually dips into fat storage for energy. You maintain your energy, lose weight, and it’s perfectly healthy, if not natural. Science shows that intermittent
Mark Twain once mused that “all you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” These seem like fitting words to begin as I, quivering with emotion, scribe a few words on the death of the fictional (and yet real) Susan from the Parish Council . Her ignorance was inestimable, her confidence impenetrable, and her success undeniable. Not that I can confirm Susan has indeed passed from this life to her eternal… reward. To further cite Twain, perhaps reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated. I suppose Susan can rise from any alleged demise. Truth be told, if Susan is not cremated first, I imagine her funeral as such, with the priest requesting additional “ministers” of Holy Communion, and Susan rising from the casket to pump the Purell and serve Jesus to all her sisters and brothers. But for now, I will dare to speak of Susan as having died. Her online “group newsletter” via Facebook/Twitter has gone silent. She warned recently she was sick
It is our first full day on our family vacation. After being imprisoned far too long in our little area due to COVID regulations, we are bursting at the seems to traverse and climb the Rocky Mountains. But first, a night in Drumheller, Alberta. The scenery is stunning, yet we are perhaps too excited to see the mountains to give Drumheller its due respects. Also of note, we are a little rusty at camping. It's been a few years since we went on a major trip. This being the first full day, we are disheveled already, and misplacing items left and right. Never mind. It is morning, and before we pack up the campsite I decide to go for a quick jog. I take out my combat rosary , place it on the picnic table at our site, and head out for some exercise throughout the stunning landscape. What a beautiful place. Alas, I return, and our packing up begins in haste. Soon enough we head into the van, eager to hit the highway. Suddenly I slam on the brakes! "Where's my combat rosary!?!"
951 Songs/Psalms/Commentaries $17.09 USD Oregon Catholic Press Every now and then a book comes along which is rich in wisdom and beauty, and profoundly enlightening to all who encounter it. The latest Breaking Bread 2021 hymnal is not one of those books. Tiresome, inane, fluffy, fruity, and worthless are all words that come to mind when I consider the latest liturgical offering from our bishops. 2020 was a rough year. 2021 is already off to a mortifyingly awful start. Enough with the suspense. Let's dive into it. Behold a few examples of what to expect at a church near you in 2021: At first I misread this title and thought it was Guns & Roses with Knocking on Heaven's Door. And then I thought of Paul McCartney singing "Someone's knocking at the door...." Sadly, it is neither. I love the juxtaposition though. "Somebody's knock-in' at your door," versus the Stabat Mater . I can just see the choir director, "Hmm... shall we meditate on t