Posts Tagged ‘ sacrifice ’

A Brief Respite

I think my post-Vatican II head has stopped spinning. Maybe the mayhem wrought by those seeking to hijack The Church has merely slowed? In any event, the recently concluded Synod on the Family has seemingly stuck a stick in the sand; tho maybe only a small stick. Maybe only an effort to change the water and not throw it out with the baby?

When I entered The Church, the altar boys had to learn Latin. Going to Mass now, it is unusual to see any males up there, other than the priest (thank GOD, that hasn’t changed). Nobody was trying to water-down Catholicism – attack, demolish, eradicate, maybe – but not transform it into the namby-pamby pablum that other (heretical) Christian sects are trying to do. You see, for me, the “old” Church fits. I sang “kum-by-yah” at one time, I don’t now.

The quintessential counter-cultural figure of all time was Jesus Christ. He founded an institution based on the frailties of the creatures it exists to save. Pretty much a mandate of “You will come close to drowning many times; but I won’t let you. Furthermore, while you are trying to save yourself, you must also save others.” Rather much the antithesis of: “if you see someone in distress in the water (in the old days that would be “drowning,” but of course we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings now-a-days), the first thing you do is NOT jump in.” The modern version is more like: “if you want to be in distress in the water, don’t bother me.”

So, based on the Founder’s example, The Church is also counter-cultural. When it discards all it stands for, it stops being The Church. This is not religion of any kind: this is logic.

I want a corpus on a cross. I want a Crucifix. Sure, it is fabulously wonderful that Christ conquered the Cross, and celebrating the empty cross is a good thing. But, not at the expense of recalling what it took to get there. In the Garden of Gethsemane, remembered as the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary (for those of us blessed to pray the Rosary – sorry about you other heathens), Christ cried. Very poetically, “like drops of blood.” Why did He cry? “For being done too soon,” as Neil Diamond sang? Perhaps. Maybe more out of frustration that His sacrifice (wanna talk “mortification of the flesh”?) would not save us all. Oh, it could, of course. Let there be no doubt that, if it wasn’t up to us (us and our damnable free will), that Crucifixion would have been more than enough to save us all – all of us, forever.

And so, I wear a Crucifix on a chain around my neck. I have a short memory; I need the reminder. And, I wear it on the outside of my shirt; I don’t want anybody asking me if I’m Catholic (obviously, if I was a lot more saintly, others would know I was Catholic by my behavior and they would not need a chunk of metal on my chest to tell them. What can I say? I’m a sinner. Sue me.)

I want a Church that helps me not be just another lemming, following the crowd, obsessed with sensual gratification, instant reward (and the less I have done to earn it, the better), the accumulation of toys (news flash: the person with the most toys definitely does not “win”). Yeah, I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays; but then, I try to avoid eating meat every day. The other six days, I try to avoid meat for me, for my health, for consciousness of how little others around the world have to eat, for awareness that the American love affair with beef is not environmentally sustainable. I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays not for what I am, but for who I am. Six days a week, I am concerned about physical health, one day a week I am concerned about spiritual health. (Actually, if the truth be known, I am not a foodie: food is only a fuel, not a life altering event. Honestly, I seldom think about food. Sorry, Scott.)

I’m all for priests not marrying. I do love the irony: looking at my life, it is clear the only way I could have kept my jeans zipped was to die trying. So, it’s something else? Yeah: lack of distractions. I have tried keeping one foot in the secular world: being married, providing for a family (i.e., having a job, even a job I detest); and trying to put the other foot into the camp of salvation: more prayer time, more study of the Bible and other writings (sometimes called “commentaries,” or Tradition – no, the capital T is not a typo; old Catholics know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout). The day just is not long enough for me; but then, I’m slow.

Y’know, when your tooth aches, you want your dentist right now. You don’t want to hear an answering company say that he/she is taking a much deserved holiday in the Bahamas. When you get a letter from the IRS, you don’t want you accountant to shuffle thru his calendar and tell you he’s got an opening on April 16th. When you go to the emergency room at 2 o’clock in the morning with a racing, pounding heart, you don’t want the single on-duty receptionist (in the old days, that would be a fully qualified nurse) to take her time finding the right forms for you to fill in. I don’t want my priest, my spiritual advisor to have other things on his mind. Laser-focus, that’s what I’m after.

GOD love him if he wants a wife and kids; Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding (yes, beyond doubt, a heterosexual wedding). GOD love him if he just can’t devote every moment of his life to the greater glory of GOD (GOD knows I haven’t). But, if he’s going to claim to be a priest, I want a priest of the old school – the order of Malchizedek. He’s going to be dependable. Maybe not instantly available; but when I call (e.g., every Sunday), I know what I’m getting. And what I’m getting, I’m getting only in a Catholic Church. The last thing I want to hear from the pulpit is “I’m ok and you’re ok and that’s ok.” For Heaven’s Sake: I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner, now what are we going to do about it?”

I want to be associated with an institution that says that ending human life is always a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad. Period. End of discussion. As a Marine, this is the most difficult Teaching I have to deal with. But, I never killed a child, or to my knowledge, an unborn baby. Small consolation perhaps; but also reality. So, it makes me want to reach for my Kabar when someone wants an abortion because that human life yet unborn is inconvenient. You want “inconvenient”? You might find your blood on the floor terribly inconvenient.

Who you fuck is your business, just get it out of my face. Dunno which is worse: current society’s obsession with sex, or making it the most important thing in the world. Beyond the constant reminder that some people define themselves by their “sexual orientation,” I find homosexuality both revolting and interesting. Kinda like the “mad scientist” who enjoys watching rats in the maze he’s constructed, but would never want to be in that maze himself.

Revolting because as a supremely devout heterosexual, I can’t imagine anything more disgusting than having sex with another man. And this, keeping in mind that GOD did not make every woman to look like Angelina Jolie. I mean, projectile vomiting comes to mind. Ok, so you say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to. Fine, just get it out of my face. Puh-leez.

Interesting in that supposedly intelligent people can think it could possibly be intelligently rational. Whatever else you might think, each and every species of every living thing there ever was needed to reproduce itself. (The opposite of reproduce is “extinct” – in case you slept thru 9th grade biology.) Granted, some species don’t need other members of their species to reproduce; but it might be safe to say those species were, um, shall we say, anomalous? Statistically, there just aren’t many of them. And, scientifically, there might be some justification for that ability (like: simple lack of mates – something I submit is not the case with human beings).

Which leads us to the question of how homosexual human beings propagate. Physically, they don’t. Pretty simple. Absolutely irrefutable. If homosexuality is somehow “normal”; how come they can’t “normally” make more of their own kind? Think about it.

Birds fly, fish swim. This is called “natural law.” Every creature, plant or animal, has characteristics, or attributes. Human beings are intelligent enough to fabricate flying machines and swimming machines, but it is still a machine with a human in it. And, frankly, I kinda like that. And, I think my wife kind likes the idea that when we go to bed, I’d rather be with her than a goat. Or, duck-billed platypus. I like a church that says I might enjoy observing, or preserving spotted owls, but I am not one.

While I make my way thru this thing called Life, and I am assaulted with things that just don’t feel right, I like the rock that is my Church. Was it ever perfect? Did it ever do everything right? Hell, it doesn’t now. But, as a believer, I believe there is more than just “this Life.” Unlike an atheist who spends his life looking at this shoes, I spend by life looking at the stars. Unbelievers believe in the finite; I believe in the Infinite. Meanwhile, I have to roll up my sleeves; I have work to do. Thanks for reading. I hope to see you again. All comments are always welcome – life is a dialogue. And, eternity is a long time.

Happy New Year

I’ve just completed something of a ‘marathon’ Star Trek session. Only the latest two films, but I paid money for them (unusual for me); and that makes this significant.

First, I’d like to say that, somehow, the ability to gather together incredibly incompetent acting has not left the Star Trek Franchise. Nothing at all against the persons who act the characters – I’ve never met an actor/actress – but it is really remarkable and astounding that ineptitude has been part and parcel of Star Trek since William Shatner. Either that or, I just do not appreciate the actors that are selected. Or, more likely, I don’t appreciate the direction they receive. At least the Star Trek Franchise is consistent, and that is apparently what the chattering classes desire. More power to them. And the James Bond Franchise. And, I guess (never having seen any) the “Fast and Furious Franchise.”

But, what I found the most fascinating – truly the ‘what did I take away from watching’ – about current Hollywood is the absolute necessity of living, apparently, forever. I just don’t see the question asked of ‘how do you live.’ But, over and over and over again, it is the basic, fundamental desire to live just one more day; or in the case of one of the incarnations of Captain Kirk, just 12 minutes.

Yet, the final credits roll and we walk. We walk out of the theater, or our living room, back to the same old lives we escaped from when the curtain was raised. Nothing changed in us. It was, after all, just entertainment. Mere entertainment. No wonder that actors were once looked down upon as the most despicable occupation there was, below even prostitution (which, I imagine can have not only entertainment, but also satisfaction involved). I have yet to see a movie that was ‘satisfying.’

This was a weekend of American Football Playoffs. Four games. I watched one entire game at the home of a friend, noticing most of all, the behavior of the dozen or so other watchers. While I did grow up with football, both as spectator and participant, I have since lost the connection. Yes, I wish Greenbay had won, and San Francisco had lost; but I still think the Colts belong in Baltimore. That was enough for me. I understand that the so-called ‘Superbowl’ is yet to come; I will probably watch it at the home of my friend, but only for the sake of our friendship – I certainly have no interest in mere entertainment.

What I do find of interest is the desire of human beings. Persons, if you will. I have a brother who is training for the ‘Wasatch Steeplechase,’ I applaud his efforts to be more than he is. Altho purely physical endeavors are of more worth than watching hours of tv; there is a long way to go to:

Why are we here?

I have struggled for years, as my closest friend(s) know for the path to why. I guess, after years of struggling with this blog, I will have to explore this path here. It will henceforth not be about football or food or petty politics. It will focus on what is important – truly important – and nothing else. Sound boring? What else matters?

In my view, nothing at all.

Memorial Day 2013

I’m still in shock to see people at the recent Rolling Thunder rally in DC that are neither citizens, nor “legal” visitors. Not that I don’t want THEM there, rather, that there aren’t more of “us” there. You know “us”: those born in this country, or naturalized citizens who are just too busy reaching for the next shiny thing to show any sort of gratitude to those who have served, and on this day, those who have fallen.

No surprise at all to see my left wing “friends” (using the word in the Facebook sort of way) completely blowing off the one thing – the one and only thing – that gives them the freedom to utter (or, not) the most senseless bilgewater (if you think bullshit is bad, you ain’t been aboard ship). I’ll betcha there weren’t any Volvos or Suzukis with bikeracks and Obama stickers at the rally.

Memorial Day is a day to be aware of our roots. Oh yeah, the Fourth of July is fine, but it’s supposed to be a party – it’s a birthday for heaven’s sake. Party hearty, Marty. But, Memorial Day, and Veterans’ Day are our opportunity to take a minute out of our self-indulgent lives and look to the contributions that others have made to our way of life. It is no wonder there are no “policitians’ day” – esp considering the present incumbent of the White House.

I fly my flag every day. When it looks tired and torn, it gets replaced; I’m averaging one a year hanging from the front of my house (the worn ones line the walls of my garage). I have a 12 inch Marine Corps sticker on the back of my jeep; if my spare tire was larger, I’d find a larger sticker.

I salute those that I knew. May 26 is the day a horrendous crash occurred on the USS Nimitz; a crash that took 14 lives, and “gave” me a berth on that cruise. Several more, including my best friend on board, would pay with their lives before that cruise was over. Several more have not returned from patrol since then.

I am not an “ex-Marine”; I am not a “former Marine”. I am a “Marine no longer on active duty”. Those who put on the uniform write a blank check to John and Jane Doe, and we have to be satisfied with that. That we are willing to give our all for a largely ungrateful nation and a hostile world. Because we are willing to die – and to kill – to protect a way of life that is the envy of the rest of the world. If you think the US sucks, then you haven’t been out of Kansas.

To all those who gave, to all those who didn’t come back: Semper Fi. We will never forget. Well, some of us, anyway….