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Monday, September 24, 2012

Jesus Continues to Transform Me and Sometimes THAT HURTS

This morning LAUDS I prayed Psalm 5:2-10, 12-13

To my words give ear, O Lord,
give heed to my groaning.
Attend to the sound of my cries,
my King and my God.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

As always when I open iBreviary for my daily prayer I am struck by how appropriate the prayers of The Church are that very day to my restless soul .  It happened again this morning.  I needed to be heard and I needed guidance and I needed the power that comes from a Liturgical and Sacramental Life to lift me above the previous three days so I could look upon them with a better attitude and a clearer eye.

Nothing bad happened - except for the Niners' poor performance on Sunday against the Vikings.  What was THAT about? - to me.  I want to make that perfectly clear, even if the rest of what I write seems shrouded in generalities and vagueness.  I am fine. 

I am just very, very sad.

I spent the weekend in the City by the Bay, a place I have loved since I can remember.  Its physical charms and beauty continue to excite and transfix me.  I love the views, love the restaurants, love the fact that one can be gazing over the Sutro Baths one minute and five minutes later be peering through the fog to find the car (San Francisco, the city where you can experience all four seasons in ten hours).  I love sitting in a restaurant in the Outer Richmond enjoying my Abalone when the chef/owner runs out of the back shouting, "If we strike out this next guy, the Giants will clinch the NL West!" and have the whole place erupt in applause when it happens and the owner buy everyone a drink on the house.  I love that St. Patrick's Catholic Church (established in 1851 by the Irish Immigrants of The Mission), across from the Yerba Buena Center and up the street from the Folsom Street Fair, was packed to the BRIM for noon Mass and that the priest gave a homily that was orthodox by any Catholic standard worth having today.

What I hate is that the traffic still sucks despite a pretty cool public transportation system.  I hate that the City's government allows for naked people to walk up and down the street (no, not scantily clad people - buck ass naked people, some of whom have not said, "No" to a slice of pie in years) while requiring restaurants to provide seat covers to 'protect' the rest of them from their naked genitalia being plopped on the chair we now want to occupy in order to eat our crab salad.  I am so sad that the homeless street people now look like the precursors of the coming Zombie Apocalypse.   Seriously, these people look like they are rotting from the inside out.  Whatever the new brand of street drug is now out there?  Man, it is killing them in a whole new way.

My visit to Baghdad by the Bay was to catch up with an old friend and catch up we did:  I was informed by this old OLD friend that they were coming to terms with their sexuality and so would be exploring that aspect while resisting being put into a category of "Lesbian".  I am not sure why that would offend the person, but from what I gathered it has something to do with wearing overalls and playing softball.

And their pronouncement made me sad, even while I know they were afraid to tell me and it took a great deal of personal courage for them to do so.

Despite accusations from some extremely left wing people who read this blog simply to try and post profane and nasty comments, I do not want to live in a theocracy.  Nor do I believe all homosexuals are going to hell simply because they ARE homosexual.  That is not what The Church teaches and I believe She has the Holy Spirit guiding Her in Her Teachings.  I do not know if people are born homosexual or not; however I do not believe that being a certain way gives one carte blanche when it comes to behavior.  I believe that, if one is homosexual and wants to live as a Catholic then they are embracing a life of celibacy.  A Celibate life for a homosexual is living a chaste life according to their station.  As an unmarried Heterosexual I am required to embrace the same behavior.  I could get married again, that's true, but the reality of that does not mean that right NOW that I get to assuage loneliness or sexual desires by having sexual relations with someone outside the parameters of Holy Matrimony.  Nor does it mean my cross is the same as their cross.  What it means is that, as Catholics, we need to accept who and what we are and give it to God.  It means we have to pick up our cross and follow Him.

I state all of this because I want people to understand that I have chosen to live as a Catholic and I do not want the GOVERNMENT telling people they have to live as a Catholic.  However, I also want people who know me to understand that I believe people who are not living as Catholics are depriving themselves of a Sacramental and Liturgical life that is second to none.  I want them to know that no sexual pleasure or political stance or feminist ideology is worth walking away from Jesus in the Eucharist.  It is why I am a Catechist and it is why I am a Dominican.

It is my belief that any theological teaching that states one is allowed to do whatever they feel  or that Christian Dogma should be decided upon by a democratic vote or that The Eucharist is not REAL and necessary for salvation is one that is leading people into error.

The friends I had for so long still cling desperately to the ideology that truth is relative, and that if they do not believe something, it is no longer true.  Whether it is the truth of Apostolic Succession, the Real Presence, the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome or belief in God Himself, I have friends and relatives who still believe that if they say, "No" then the Truth shall be no more.  POOF! 

While I know one cannot force anyone to believe anything, and I do not want a governmental agency telling people what they can and cannot believe in terms of religion or politics, it makes me terribly terribly sad when people MY age deliberately chose a life of sin.  It makes me even sadder that they chose it and are worried if someone like me will accept them, because I am a Catholic.

I have explained and explained until I am blue in the face that I respect everyone's right to be themselves, to be wrong or right, as long as that choice does not impede on MY freedom of religion or thought.  Just as they do not want me to impose my morality on them, I do not want them to impose THEIR morality on ME. 

I understand that some people have not been brought up to recognize Truth.  The Church speaks to the idea of 'invincible ignorance' whereas someone, through no fault of their own, cannot accept Truth.  They are not to be held to the same standards as I am, which is where the infinite Mercy that is God comes into play.  He does not ask more of us than we are capable of giving or doing, but He knows that some of us are blocked from our full potential and never really test our strength.  For instance, I would never think of myself as a strong woman.  People who meet me and find out I have never remarried, have no children, have been sober for 20 years and celibate for 12 as a result of a powerful spiritual awakening about who and what I am called to be (a Faithful Catholic and not a Lukewarm, Kinda Catholic whenever it is convenient) remark all the time that they could never live like I live and I am incredibly strong.

No, I'm not - I am incredibly weak.  HE is incredibly strong.  I get easily discouraged and sad.  He comforts me and strengthens me.  I get angry and disgusted with people around me.  He points me towards compassion, tenderness and love and gently reminds me that He scanned the horizon for me for a long, long time before I came into view and then He ran to meet me with open arms.

To me the answer is not to provide people with paper seat covers when they want to impose their naked lifestyle on me (it's ok to do what you are doing, just please don't leave a stain on my sofa).  To me it is to accept that in their world walking naked down the street is considered an alternative lifestyle and in my world it is immodesty (and ugly) and a sin.  It is, therefore, my choice whether to enter their world or not and it is my choice whether to allow them into mine without a pair of pants on their butt.

I can love the sinner because I am a sinner.  I can hate the sin because I know what that lifestyle did to me, to my psyche and to my soul, to my heart and to my mind.  What I am very sad about is that someone I do love is choosing to enter that lifestyle and they are being told by their 'church' that what they are doing is just fine and dandy.

That makes me very sad and very angry at that church.

It also drives me to my knees.

St Margaret of Castello, pray for us!


Leslie Klinger said...

I received this comment from a dear friend:
I read Same Sex Attraction by the priest who started Courage.. He quotes the Catechism in where it speaks about how homosexuality can be biological or psychological or both depending on the family dynamic. It was a great read if interested., there are still some Catholics out there who think this attraction to the same sex is just a choice.. I can clearly say through the many colorful people I have know over the years, have not chosen.. It's as clear at a very young age as it was my attraction to boys.. Beautifully written and I feel you. Day in and day out I see people I knew drop like flies from their choice to not be celibate.. The amount of disease from their sexual encounters stuns me, and makes me wonder how anyone could possibly say, "I'm not hurting anyone." Clearly it has hurt some so much it causes a devastating death.. But I agree with you, I do not expect someone to uphold my moral standards, especially if they are ignorant.. and more and more I find these people claiming tolerance, to be extremely intolerant of me, even though I have never judged them or forced upon my belief system on them.. I feel we are all in the same boat.. Sinners in need of Gods mercy, love, and friendship. Also it amazes me how if a straight man did some of the things a homosexual man can do, he would be arrested.. If one is not right for a heterosexual, why is it accepted for a homosexual.. It's an interesting can of worms and I love all my homosexual friends as much or even more as my heterosexual friends because their self inflicted suffering is so much greater.. Great blog dear

Robert said...

Maybe the public nudity phenomenon is about entitlement, self-centeredness and ego. Sounds kinda funny, me saying those words. I suppose I must have a master’s equivalent in self-centered thinking. But not at restaurants; at least get them to put on some Tyvex clean suits so they look like extras from THX-1138, searching for a Unichapel to hole up in.

My best man was gay. ( when I got married up in Tahoe by an old gent in a shiny black suit who was a minister in the church of the great cosmic unconsciousness or something.) That was in 1992, and I still had not had enough. I have known at least three female friends that discovered they were lesbians when they hit middle age. Boom, and that was that.

I love California, but this place is ripe for the future zombie apocalypse. I am trying to toe the line these days, living by a different set of rules handed to us by Jesus, and it’s hard. Especially for a hardcase like me. I used to think that if I could look at myself in the mirror every evening, I could sleep in peace. But with this new life, the bar has been raised considerably. In fact, each year gets more challenging. Some days the world looks like the false fronts of a movie set. Nothing but two by fours and McDonalds’ wrappers once you get past the facade. On those days the only thing real is the tabernacle and flame.


Leslie Klinger said...

Robert, you hit it on the head. The choice you, Kelly and I have made to walk towards Heaven via the Catholic Church does not in and of itself make us better people. The difficulty of the journey might make us better eventually; the trick is to love the unloveable and keep walking towards Jesus Christ. I sometimes with it was easier, but it is the life I have chosen and I intend to give it my best shot.

chimakuni said...

Our willingness not to offend has caused insanity. I am told I must not offend someone when I point out that they, as a member of a community, need to wear clothes. Quite frankly, their nakedness in a public place offends me. HOWEVER, I am not permitted to voice my opinion; lest I "offend."

GEESH!!! No, I am no better than that person, but at least I know that there is such a thing as communal responsibility and it has nothing to do with religion or faith or ... fill in the blanks!

I am grateful for God's mercy - for His love...all saints have had a past - all sinners a future and I will focus on my future and my prayer is that somehow we find some sort of sanity in our communities.

God forgive us all for corrupting Your goodness!