There is an excitement in the air today. I am getting things togeter to take to Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Tomorrow morning, at 3am, I meet the rest of the gang (looks like there will be 16 people from the Parish going) in the parking lot of St Joe's. Together we will pile into cars and head up to Sacramento Airport, where we will catch a plane and fly to Pittsburgh. Then it is into more cars and off to five days of fun, study, prayer and learning with some of the finest minds the Catholic Church has to offer.
Because I have purposefully stayed away from that intellectual quagmire that is The Hive, I have felt as though my spirit is being renewed. It has dawned on me more than once that I am beating a dead horse, so to speak, with LOM and others that post there. It is not simply becoming discouraged with their faulty logic, their determination to behave like schoolyard bullies towards each other and their inability to exchange ideas with anything but virtrol and spite. That discouragement was the catalyst. I have discovered that it is impossible to have a decent conversation with people who are anchored to the idea of victimhood and being right despite historical reality or philosophical exploration. They cannot do it. I don't know if it their fault or not and, quite frankly, I know longer care. Whether they are doing it on purpose or doing it because they are intellectually challenged in some physical way doesn't matter. It is what it is - and they are what they are, and there is no place for someone like me with those people.
There are some people who are gifted in the area of communication with what I term the 'unwashed brains' of the world. I am not one of them. I just get too frustrated and it ends up an exercise in futility - kind of like trying to herd goldfish or teach ants to fly. You can set up arguments, you can find resources, you can point people to secular historical fact - the reality is, an ant cannot fly unless it boards some sort of flying vehicle and most of them do that only by accident, never because they look up from smelling their way to the outdoor cat dish one day and think, "Gee, I wonder if this is how the ants do it in Australia? I think I'll go there and find out".
I have been given a tremendous gift from a friend - they are handing over their old G4 Mac to me today. I have wanted to switch from PCs to Macs for years because I not only can't stand their unreliability and the cost it takes to keep them in good shape but because I am one of those 'Apple People'. Deep down, I cannot stand Bill Gates' creation because it never works like it is supposed to - but, like the difference between driving a Honda and a Ferrari, I could never afford the initial outlay of money to purchase a Mac. Getting one from Sarah and John (Go Bears!) is such a lovely gift. My dream is to get it set up, go to Bosco and Redding and Boston, and then - when I get back take the G4 to MacDaddy here in Modesto and have my PC stuff transfered to the G4. I am then going to make my old PC available to either Terra or Maureen.
Probably Terra because she has two kids in school and could use the machine.
This vacation has been nice. I had one food pig out day and that will be the end of that for now. I heard a fifth step and went up to Sacramento for NCCAA. My mom got mad at me and I have been soundly punished but what else is new?
The St John Bosco Conference is a chance for Catechists from across the globe to 'gather at the feet' of theologians, philosophers and other catechists for five days. of study. The entire purpose is geared toward making us better at what we do - passing on The Fullness of Faith to those who are open to receiving it. While there is a part of me that will always feel sorry for those who stubbornly resist Truth, as well as the Sarah Palins of the world who walk away from The Eucharist because the music isn't good enough, I will be eternally grateful that God handed me the gift of Wisdom at my Confirmation and it never really left me.
I was thinking about this - I came of age in the 1970's and 1980's. There were enough religions and sects forming at that time that if I had been drawn to God solely through the emotional woop-de-do of 'born again' nonsense or the political leanings of whatever was the position du jour, I could have renounced Truth long ago. I never did. Isn't that funny? I was sinning like a starving cat dropped through the window of a fish cannery, but I never EVER told anyone I was a 'recovering Catholic' or a 'former Catholic' - lapsed Catholic? Oh yeah, you bet - but never did I walk away from Holy Mother Church to the point that I renounced Her Teachings. I just ignored them.
So, why did I do that? Well, here's what I think.
The Sanctifying Grace one receives from Sacraments never leaves. There was a real change made to my soul and my psyche at my Baptism, at my Confirmation and every time I received Holy Eucharist. When it was my turn to rebel and head for Darkness and Heresy, those gifts Jesus gave us through His Church did not leave me....the fires were dampened to barely discernable embers but the heat never went completely away. When it was time - when I saw my Church being unjustly attacked and Her Teachings reviled both within and without - they flamed up.
I am guessing now it is a steady flame - not too hot, not too cold. It can flare up when God needs it to be white hot and passionate but most of the time it just fuels the engine that is my soul and my heart and I just keep achuggin along.
I am grateful fot all I have been given and I am grateful for all that I lost. I learned some stuff at NCCAA and I will be taking it before the Blessed Sacrament for meditation while at Franciscan.
I sure hope Father Cash is there.