Friday, January 10, 2020

The Forgotten Catholic

Recently I put out flyers for a Catholic conference being held in our area.  The people behind the apostolate are good, solid, loving members of the Catholic Church.  They are family oriented.  They are loyal to the Magisterium.  They understand that Faith means more than just belief; it means an assent of the will.  They are Dominican.  Their only real flaw, as far as I can tell, is that they are Raider fans.

They have chosen to focus on the family in Catholic life.  They believe (and I agree) that a strong Catholic family means a strong Catholic Church.  And strong Catholic Church means a strong community at large, because to be a strong Catholic means we care about society as a whole.

I am a bit of thorn in their side, however, because I constantly remind them (like, you know,  any chance I get) that there is a segment of the Catholic Population that is growing and largely forgotten.  To forget about them is to undermine the Family as a whole, because theologically the Family is more than just the domestic church; rather, it is the Body of Christ.

I am aware of this growing population because I belong to it - we are the Baby Boomers who are back in the Pew.

We lived scandalous lives and then got our heads out of our armpits.  We killed our own children because we mistakenly believed we didn't HAVE a choice - much like Michelle Williams we honestly believed that unless we killed our child we would not be able to go forward and achieve in our careers, or we were told by the 'him' in our life that we would be left alone and so unable to care for ourselves and our child, or we were forced into the abortion clinic through physical or mental coercion by well meaning parents who thought their child couldn't have a child.  Whatever our reason most of us did not really have a choice because we didn't think we had any other option, and now we are reaping what we have sown.

We have our houses.  We have our dependable cars.  We have our bank accounts.  We have our dogs and our cats.  We can bake, crochet, create beautiful artwork, cook an amazing meal, decorate a lovely home.  We read, we are well educated and up on current affairs.  We volunteer in and outside the Parish.  We have those bank accounts the parish Administrators love to tap.

What we don't have is family.

We have no grandchildren to hold, no daughter to pass on that wedding dress in our closet to, no son to dance with at the reception.  We have no child to congratulate when they get the promotion, we have no one to sit with at Mass.

We have to hire someone to put up those outside Christmas lights.  We put jerseys on our dogs during football season.  We pray for all of you every day before the Blessed Sacrament or in the privacy of our bedrooms and then we read your online posts about what you think about post abortive women  and we cringe.

Our favorite Scripture passages have to do with returning sinners, because that is who we identify with the most.  We know what it is like to come to the realization that society lied to us, that we BOUGHT that lie hook, line and sinker, and now we just want to come home and be a part of The Church.

So....what happens....

We sit in the pew and look at all the people around us who we think lived life the right way and now their entire family - Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad and all 15 of their perfectly scrubbed children - fill two pews and we think.....look what I did....forgive me....look what I did.

Now, of course we are not completely right in this - it is envy and jealousy on our part and that is a sin. Besides I don't know any perfect families with perfectly behaved children.  I don't care how cute they are in their matching outfits and how many pictures you put on FB I know there are times when the moms in those photos want to run screaming from the room or the dads think about faking their deaths and moving to France. I am not na├»ve.  I get it.

I also know that there is a beauty to my life that they do not share.  It is not a BETTER beauty but it is a beauty none the less.  I can spend all night reading if I want. I can binge on Netflix.  I can say, "No" to attending a party or I can attend three in the same evening.  I can go to the Adoration Chapel whenever I feel like it and I do not have to cook if I don't want to and all I really HAVE to do is make sure I am a good steward to my animals and to the environment around me in the ways the Church teaches.

However, I am aware that we as a society often have a hard time integrating issues.  We think Pro Life only means being against abortion.  As important as that issue is we forget that being Pro Life means so much more.  It means working towards clean water and air, providing a good solid education to all, the availability of good jobs (not just minimum wage ones, either, people), affordable and safe housing, care for the sick and the elderly, reaching out to the poor and the mentally ill, supporting law enforcement and our military and first responders and otherwise working towards a society that supports the Dignity of the Human Person at ALL stages of development.   We think family means ONLY the domestic church and we forget that it also means caring for and loving those who have fallen short but by golly they are back and they are trying to be a part of the Body of Christ.

I challenge all Catholics and all our Parishes to look at the Whole Life idea of being Pro Life.    Look around you - who is at Mass every week that you see but to whom you have never said hello.?  Are they wearing a nice pair of earrings?  Compliment them.   Do they have a Raiders jacket on?  Commiserate with them.  Can you shoot them a smile as you get into your regular place in the pew?  Double dog dare you - shoot out that smile.

Let's not forget these members of the Body of Christ.  They are special, they have a worth that may be unnoticed and they have so much to offer.

And if you are one of the Forgotten, make some noise.  Become a Catechist, attend classes, contribute to the bake sale, haunt the office and make yourself available to help.  More importantly?  Look for that family that doesn't have a Noni or a Nono and make yourself available.  Don't have grandkids? GO GET SOME.

Let's reclaim our lives - and let's show the world what being prolife really is!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY NEW YEAR AND OH MY GOSH THEY WON THE WEST!

This has been a very interesting Christmas season so far.  I have been sick, off and on (more on than off) with some sort of bug or virus or bacterial bronchitis since Thanksgiving.  The woman who always has tons of sick leave 'on the books' now has none and while it is lovely to have a boss that says, "Oh no please stay home and take care of yourself so no one else gets sick" the reality is that I don't work, I don't get paid.

I am on day two of a five day cleanse.  I chose to do it because I have had to take so many antibiotics and so much otc cold medicine just to get through the holidays that I feel like my body is full of sludge.  So it is Dr. KellyAnn to the rescue and as I sip lemon drink (hot...I love hot lemon drinks) and down green smoothies, I hope that this 64 year old woman can get some relief from the perils of winter illness.

My team won the NFC Western Division.

I am still trying to soak all that in...MY team - the San Francisco Forty Niners who have been on a downward spiral for so long that winning 4 games last season was a victory  have a Bye Week and are the #1 Seed in the playoffs.  And while people are buying those 'The West is Not Enough' tee shirts, I am just grateful for such a magical season.  Gosh it was fun.  Only losing three games and losing those by a very close score?  It was a fun season, no matter what happens.

I watched every game but one (I attending one this season) with my Mom who, at 98, is a real football fan and Forty-Niner Faithful from 1946.   It was a blast building those memories.   I had such a great time this season.  I am forever grateful.

I learned a lot this past year about trusting God and asking for help.  First the hip problems and the surgery made it necessary for me to acknowledge that sometimes you DO service and sometimes you ARE the service commitment.  My 12 Step sponsor has spent a great deal of time on the road this past year and while I can call her when she is in town I have had to look to other resources for help.

This past December, being so dang sick, I had to really dig deep.  I had to confront that self centered narcissistic whiny part of me that can upend relationships and really make an alcoholic needlessly suffer.   I felt awful most of the time.  That must mean no one loves me, right?  Uh, no...wrong...but that is how the mind can go crazy.

I lost two long time friends this past two months.  One had been one of my sponsees and the other a friend I met through my cousin when I first moved to the valley.  Neither death was expected.  Both people were good, solid people.   Losing them around the holidays was difficult.  It made the struggle a bit more difficult.  Being deliberate in my choices of how to behave and how to focus my prayers and thoughts was what I had to do in order to avoid the pit of depression that can lead to drinking.  Even after 27 years sober it is something that can happen.

The new year is upon us.  I want to do well this year. I want to be proud of my work and secure in my belief that I have acted as God intends someone like me to act.  I want to be solid, fair and real in all that I do.

I am going to do my best to live as a Catholic Out Loud - to vote my conscience instead of what Catholic Radio tells me to do and to stay true to the Teachings of The Church in all aspects of my life.

And I want to model this for the kids - I want them to see a laughing, happy Catholic woman who takes her Faith seriously and does everything with love.....

A tall order, right?

Well, these are my resolutions for the new year - to be the best Leslie I can be and to love loud and have a life that sparkles......

oh yeah....and GO NINERS.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Away in a Manger

Amazing.

Another Christmas as come upon me and I am more than just okay.

I am sober.  I am solvent.  I am rooting for a football team that is exciting and fun to watch.  I am ready to see the new Star Wars movie.

Yes, we have had some bumps in the road.  Friends have died.  Friends have drank again.  Family have had accidents that put them in the hospital. I have bronchitis. We lost to the Atlanta Falcons.

Yet all in all, I look at today and see a Christmas of good tidings.  I see a chance to be of service and to have fun, to forgive and be forgiven.  I see a time in which the miracle of our Salvation begins its Liturgical march towards the Gates of Heaven swinging wide and the extraordinary gift  of The Eucharist being handed to me through the Church He founded.

I have a chance to pray for others, to be a part of the world in a way that is vital and I get to influence children in a solid fashion, handing onto them The Truth so that they can go out into the world and be that light Jesus has asked us to be - a Light unto the World.

Fabulous.

Have a Merry and Holy Christmas, everyone.  May God bless you with exactly what you need.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The American Solidarity Party and the Whole Life Movement

In 2016 I was in a pickle as a voter.

I could not support the platform put forth by the Democrats.  Their blatant lies about supporting women by pushing for no restrictions on legal abortions in this country had really gotten to me.  It was obvious that the far left had a stranglehold on that party and that people like me - pro life and willing to support restricted access to abortion (IF a huge push is made to make that the last possible choice a woman would ever feel the need to make when faced with an unexpected or difficult pregnancy) were no longer wanted.  I had been erased from their base.  In fact, they think I am stupid.

The GOP on the other hand has a candidate that I did not like, did not support and could not even fathom being the President of the United States.  I could understand the argument that he would support pro life judge appointments but I am a student of history and having a 'conservative' court judge is not a guarantee that one's political agenda will be advanced.

The candidate bragged about sexual assault.  I know, I know...EVERYONE in Hollywood 'does it' but I am a survivor of that environment and I know what it does to a person's soul.  Whether you are a man being advanced upon by a homosexual predator with power or a woman being advanced upon by a heterosexual predator with power, the results are the same: the victim feels less than human no matter what choice they make when faced with the situation.  I am hardly a snowflake and I have taken full responsibility for the lifestyle I lead while an actress but being the perpetrator of an assault is not something one should brag about, whether on the set in a dressing room trailer or in a locker room.  Anyone who does that kind of bragging should be spurned and cast into the outer darkness until they properly repent.

So there I was; between a rock and a hard place.  I could not believe him when he spoke any more than I could believe her when she spoke and, as a result, I was really in a pickle.

I found the American Solidarity Party and joined.  I joined, really, for two reasons:  I am still a rebel when it comes to politics and I am a Faithful Catholic.  I wanted to be able to vote without holding my nose AND I wanted to thumb that same nose at all the Kool-Aid drinkers and status quo holders.  Don't expect ME to okay your choosing the lessor of two evils - you are still supporting evil, Buster Brown.

The American Solidarity Party (https://solidarity-party.org/) is not a 'Catholic Party'; rather, it is a political party closely modeling the Christian Democratic Movements found all over the world.  The Party welcomes anyone who believes it is possible to shape policy in such a way that one's individual rights and freedoms are maintained while the common good is supported.

The members do not agree on everything.  Most of our members would like to see Abortion completely outlawed while some, like me, think that horse has left the barn and want to approach the question in a different way:  why do women choose to end an pregnancy when they know perfectly well they are ending the life of a child?  LISTEN to their answers - fear, economic and educational problems, housing issues, domestic violence, sex trafficking, drug and alcohol issues - and address THOSE problems.

The Party is against the Death Penalty - which mirrors the majority of Americans today because of the problems we are seeing exposed in the Criminal Justice System - but again there is room for discussion.  What is in place to insure that this is the penalty imposed only when it is completely certain it is a penalty that fits the crime and that the RIGHT criminal is receiving it?

The Party supports a strong military - but suggests that the Just War Doctrine be used to determine our Nation's entry into a conflict.

Immigration is a huge issue today - okay, let's look at the system we have in place.  Are we taking into account the refugee as opposed to the immigrant?  How are we helping people by supporting a global economy that allows them to stay in their own country and live a good life?

The American Solidarity Party believes that being pro life is more than being anti abortion; rather, it is approaching problems in the modern world with an eye to allowing the individual and the family to flourish.  It is a Whole Life approach.

I am often told I will be siphoning votes from the conservatives and so will be helping the liberals take control of this country.  I disagree. First of all, the largest group of people in this country right now are people who are disgusted with both political parties.  You don't like us?  You might consider LISTENING to us.  Because you won't, we have decided to let you know what we think by turning our backs on the lot of you.

Don't think that matters?

Ted Cruze was elected over Beto O'Rourke.  There was a 1percent margin between them and that 1percent?

The Libertarian candidate got their vote.

If you think people like Cruze and O'Rourke are unaware of that you are mistaken.

Just as the Democrats are mistaken when they think EVERY women in America wants to wear vulgar pink knitted caps and march up and down the street and just at the Republicans are mistaken to think EVERY woman in America thinks their candidate is God's Gift to the United States, the pundits are starting to become aware of people like me.

We do not want to vote holding our nose.  We want to vote with dignity.

If you want to do the same, check us out.

https://solidarity-party.org/about-us/platform/



Monday, November 25, 2019

Dressing for the King and Being 10-1 in the NFL!

This past Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King and we (my parish) celebrated by having our Tabernacle moved back to its proper place - in the center of the Sanctuary.  When you walk into our church now, your eyes are first drawn to the large rendition of Our Savior on the cross, crucified (1COR 1:23), then to the beautiful marble altar and then to the Tabernacle behind the altar.  To the side is a red Sanctuary Lamp, lit to show that the TRUE Presence of Jesus Christ is there, in the Tabernacle.  We genuflect because we acknowledge this Presence - HIS Presence.  The King of the Universe, He who holds it all together for us and who loves us with an amazing love.

Our pastor, Father Sam, gave a solid homily about attending the Niner/Seahawk game (oh the disappointment!) and having to go before the game to a store to buy a hat.  He did so because he knew he was going to a game, that he was going to root for the Niners and that he needed to dress appropriately in the Red and the Gold.

Father Sam tied that in to the idea of how one should dress when attending Holy Mass.

Now, I am not the clothes police.  I absolutely understand that not everyone can afford a Sunday Suit or Dress wardrobe.  I also get it that styles change and sometimes we do not have someone in our lives that can guide us as to proper dress.  I have to send home letters to people all the time asking them to tell those whom they have chosen to be their child's Godparent to dress as though they are going to a job interview at a bank.  If I don't I will be stuck with telling someone wearing baggy shorts and a baseball cap that his clothing is inappropriate for Church.  I have, on the other hand, been fine with a clean white shirt and a pair of clean jeans.  The key is compassion and being willing to not get stuck with a set of rules in your head that chase people away.

The point it to show respect to Jesus, Our King.  I ask myself if how I am dressing shows Him that I understand He is my Lord, my King, my Guide through this world.  If it is not, I ask myself why?  Is it personal rebellion or is it because I want to prove a point?  Either one means He is no longer occupying the center of my soul which should be the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit - God.  I try to convey this to those I am charged with shepherding through various Rites and Rituals.  I relate it to my love for my football team.

It is no secret to my students that I am a huge football fan.  There is nothing weird or idolatrous or wrong about my love for the San Francisco Forty -Niners.  My goodness, this has been an exciting season and we are 10-1!   My question would be how can you NOT be a football fan?  I mean...come ON....

What I hope I convey to all of you is this:  In my heart I put God first, His Church that HE founded second, my sobriety, then my family and then football.  I know that without Him, my life is nothing.  I cannot love Him without choosing His Church (no matter how inconvenient it may be).  Without His Church I do not receive the grace I need from the Sacramental Life offered to stay sober, one day at a time.  Without sobriety, I have no family and certainly no football....

I am having a lot of fun this season because my team is successful.  I stuck with them through many a hard year.   I have a full LIFE, however, because I stick with Jesus no matter what.  His Church has gone through some pretty ugly scandals.  I do not leave.  The successor to Peter is not my favorite Pope.  I do not leave.

I do not leave because my eyes are focused on the image of Christ Crucified...and drawn to the Tabernacle centered behind the marble altar.

I do not leave because of Him.


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Are you tired of being told that you are a bad Catholic because you cannot stomach voting for the present choice for a specific party?

Are you tired of being told that issues like immigration, housing, healthcare, military issues, education and the job market are not important because the only issue that matters is 'pro life'?

GOOD NEWS:  being Pro Life is so much more than being ANTI Abortion!  If you feel left out of the political process there is an alternative to the two main political parties  and it happens to line up with our Catholic Faith.  Check out:

 https://solidarity-party.org/

Look for us on Twitter, with the hashtag #WholeLife

We are a party that you may be able to call home!