Lent Day 25: Suscipe

The Annunciation should be a bigger feast than it is.

The chocolate chip cookies at lunch were especially good, but I assure you I say this for theological reasons.  I mean seriously, kids: It’s the Annunciation!  It’s the re-beginning of EVERYTHING.  Sheesh.  Festivate!

Also: St. Ignatius is the man.

More also: We’ve got some mighty good priests in this country.

And that’s all for now, back to the feast.  Have a good one!

 

File:Caravaggio - The Annunciation.JPG

Of course I picked the Caravaggio.  I couldn’t be expected to do anything other, once I learned it existed.  View the image detail, the better to feast upon.  [Public Domain, via Wikimedia.]

Wikipedia, by the way, has a nice article on the word suscipe.

Lent Days 21 & 22: St. Joseph Delivers the Goods

St. Patrick may have declined on the green candy, but St. Joseph came through with Krispy Kreme.  He came Monday afternoon, in the guise of our crazy-happy-Catholic friends who stopped by to pick up a child from a homework-date, and held out a dozen hot-doughnuts-now.  Can I help it if the Church in her wisdom made Monday a solemnity?

No I cannot.  If you’re going to observe the fasts, be in on the feasts, too, or you aren’t so much a Christian as a Stoic.

So I was obliged in Christian duty to welcome the doughnuts with delighted gratitude, and you’ll be glad to know I did my Christian duty wholeheartedly.

Would St. Joseph Bring Home Krispy Kreme?

There are of course wrong-headed people in this world who have been deceived into believing Some Other Doughnut is a better doughnut, but that is not the question I mean to address.  All we can do for those people is pray; reason has nothing to do with it.

We can, however, reason out the question of: Was St. Joseph the kind of father who’d bring home the doughtnuts?

[Insert for the word “doughnut” the 1st-century counterpart: Some kind of scrumptious but utterly uneccesary low-budget treat that young Jesus would have jumped up and down when He saw it coming, and the Blessed Mother wouldn’t have minded if she did, thank you Joseph, what’s the occasion?]

I argue that he was.

Mary, being preserved from sin, would have been careful with the money.  When she shopped, she would have had in mind the hours and strain of the work Joseph did to support the family.  She would have looked for ways to make the feasts festive, yes, and she may well have had some small savings from her own work that she used for the odd splurge for the family.  But I don’t imagine the Holy Family was overloaded with junk food.

And that, in turn, would give St. Joseph his opening for bringing home the doughnuts.

He who put in the long hours, and worried about savings, and was well aware he’d need money for lumber to patch the roof next autumn — he was a normal man.  Mostly he’d want to make his wife and child happy by providing the daily necessities; but sometimes he’d want to show up at the house at the end of a long day and pull out the donuts.

 

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, original, out of the oven and on the conveyor belt about to be glazed.

Photo by Neil T [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.  FYI if you like less-sweet doughnuts, when the “Hot Doughnuts Now” light is on you can request a dozen “Original Glazed” un-glazed and they’ll pull them off the line for you at the point shown in the above photo.  Take them home and top them with whatever you like.

 

Lent Day 20: The Things You Learn About Yourself

 Just woke up the boy. Called through the bedroom door, “You are 6 feet, right?”

Tired boy, awake but not ready to join civilization, “Ymnf.”

“Need to know for your passport application.”

He is. Minus one inch for E (they just went back-to-back last night), and the two littles are a mystery.  We’ll have to measure.

[I am, meanwhile, praying the youngest gets tall enough before our trip to no longer require a booster seat in Switzerland.  One less hassle.  So if that prayer is answered, she may be traveling on an already-outdated passport.  All kids do, one hopes.]

Held my breath and put down “brown” for E’s hair color — I can never decide if it’s dark blonde or light brown.  Put down blonde for myself, which it is, mostly, but with the amused awareness that it’ll no longer be that by the time the new passport expires.  My eye color was debated for years — blue or green? — but at 15 standing in the passport office we all agreed on grey with a yellow circle around the iris pupil, hence the confusion.  Grey they are still.  Also I’ve grown half an inch (taller) since my last passport, I know because last fall when we were measuring kids we measured me too.

Thankfully the State Department knows better than to ask your weight.

Oh, you wanted to talk about Lent? Scott Reeves has you covered, as usual.  Self-examination of the deeper sort.

Passport application from 1922.

Scanned passport application, circa 1922. US passport office (US passport office) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Click through on the Wikimedia link to see whose it was. Ha!

Lent Day 19: Is it Pink Yet?

My deep thought for the weekend: I wish it were Laetare Sunday.

Nope.  Not yet.  But it is the feast of St. Joseph, so I was practically obliged to have some of that Lenten cheesecake.

Also, I wore my pink sweater to Mass in solidarity with all the people who think it would be nice if we sprung forward a week.  Which led to me to thinking, during Mass, that sometime we should organize a practical joke in which everyone shows up wearing the color associated with a holiday that is not on that day.  Red on a week that is not Pentecost.  Green on July 4th.  Something like that.

Someone do it and report back, please.

Also: I should be paying better attention during Mass and not thinking up practical jokes.  Even if they are related to liturgical or saint-themed colors.

Brown and grey-black floppy-eared rabbit. File:Mini lop.jpg

If the rabbit sees his shadow, four more weeks of Lent. Photo by Franie Frou Frou [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

Lent Day 18: Catholic Childhood Memories

From St. Patrick’s Day:

Child climbs in car, we’re driving to the Catholic homeschooling co-op for drama class.  Late and having rushed out the door, as per usual. “Mom, are you wearing green today?”

“Yes I am.  I have my green sweater on.”

“Shoot.  I’d better find something green.”

Mother, feeling resourceful: “Want to borrow my green scapular?”

“Um.  No thanks.  I’ll clip this green hand-sanitizer holder to my belt loop.  That’ll work.”

 

More St. Patrick’s Day:

Same child, having solved the green problem and moving on: “St. Patrick was supposed to come last night and leave us candy.”

Skeptical mother: “Oh was he, now?”

“Or green toys or something.  Or a leprechaun comes.”

Mother, still skeptical: “Oh I see.”

“It’s okay.  He can come tonight instead.”

 

Then, Saturday morning . . .

“Mom. St. Patrick forgot to come last night.”

Mother: “St. Patrick doesn’t come to our house.”

“Or a leprechaun.  All my friends get candy from the leprechaun on St. Patrick’s day.”

“All your friends, eh?  What are the names of those friends?”

Hems and haws for a moment, then clarifies that it’s actually her sister’s friends.  “All of A’s friends at St. Urban’s get candy.”

“Oh do they?  What are the names of those friends?”

“Um. Well there’s Benedicta.”

Mother is not surprised.  Benedicta’s mother is like that.  “Anyone else?”

“And Assumptua.”

“Isn’t she Benedicta’s sister?”

“Well, yes.  But they both got candy. The leprechaun comes to their house.”

“The leprechaun doesn’t come to our house. Good try.”

 

Good problems, Catholic School edition:  When your child is sobbing and begging to be allowed to go to school, and swears she really isn’t that sick.

 

Weird problems, Saint Books edition:  

Bored child: “Mom, do we have any of those little saint books but that aren’t about  someone who becomes a monk or a nun and all they do is pray?”

Mother chooses not to argue, though there may have been a slight eye roll.  “Um.  Let’s go look.”  Thumbing through the shelf that contains middle-grades saint books, Mother pounces on St. Isaac Jogues, who was neither a monk nor a nun.  “How about this one?”

Child frowns and shakes head.  “No.  I want one of these saint books.”

Ah.  Well.  In that case . . . “How about this one?”

“Is it boring? What did he do?”

“He got tortured by Indians.”

“Okay.”

Saint Isaac and the IndiansSaint Isaac Jogues -- With Burning Heart

For all your tortured-by-Indians needs, book covers courtesy of Ignatius Press and Pauline Media.

Lent Day 17: Cultural Propitiation

Next best thing to selling indulgences* is writing this:

Begging here – if anyone is looking for an alternate penance so you can have your corned beef for St. Patrick’s day, I’ve got you covered . . .

Sure is handy living in a dispensed-with-conditions diocese, when you’re in a pinch for nursery workers.

I’ll probably skip the St. Patrick’s Beast-plate myself.  Reason?  Compared to cheese pizza for dinner, the other prospects for penance are more annoying and less convenient. But it’s nice to have a meat-card in the pocket just in case.
File:Ballinasloe St. Michael's Church South Aisle Fifth Window Sts Patrick and Rose of Lima by Harry Clarke Detail Patrick Preaching to His Disciples 2010 09 15.jpg

If ever there were a day for Catholics to complain about “cultural appropriation” it would be today.  Okay and also Christmas, Easter,  St. Valentines, and Rosaries-as-Gang-Signs, but St. Patrick’s is right up there on the list of Catholic Things People Have Distorted Beyond Recognition.  Hey, guys, a saint!  Who nearly starved to death in slavery!  Who risked his life to evangelize the people who wanted to kill him!  Let’s get drunk on bad beer, that’ll show our love!

Not that Catholics are above that sort of thing, you know  — weirdly slipping into mortal sin just when they meant to be doing something right for a change — but still.  The word saint is right there in the title of the holiday, there’s no real hiding the part about this being a Catholic feast day.

But you know what Catholics don’t do?

We don’t go around saying, “Hey!  Are you actually the slacker child of a late Roman-era British patrician Christian family, who was kidnapped by barbarians, had a conversion experience, escaped with divine aid, went to Gaul to be ordained, and returned to Ireland to fight fire with fire in overcoming the persuasive power of the druids?  No? You’re not??  THEN NO GREEN BEER FOR YOU.”

Okay, so not all of us love the green beer.   What is even in the green beer?  Don’t drink that.  But here’s how Catholics feel about our vast collection of holidays and customs and cultural traditions:  The more the merrier.

That’s a doctrine.

It’s our job as Catholics not to hoard our faith but to share it with prodigious generosity.

Well, yes, if you insist on keeping the feast by breaking the faith, we’re going to have a few words about how to clean up your act.  But we aren’t going to tell you to keep your grimy hands off our religion; instead, we’ll show you where the washroom is.

We don’t keep our faith by carefully guarding it for the pleasure of the select few.  We keep our faith by giving it away.  What we have is so good and so big and so explosively powerful that a trillion-billion people could all be in on it, and it would only be more authentic, not less.

 

File:St Patrick Purgatory.jpgFile:Heidelberg cpg 144 Elsässische Legenda Aurea 338r St. Patricks Fegefeuer.jpg

Here are some pictures of purgatory.  That’s what people used to draw when the topic of St. Patrick came up.  It’s because of this place, which is the pit where we throw all the people who serve bad beer with creepy fake Irish accents.  

Artwork in this post:

*PS: I don’t approve of selling indulgences and neither does the Church.  That was joking.

Lent Day 16: Less Saintly

From this morning’s readings:

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.

Ho yeah, we’ve got that here.  Two weeks into Lent-o-rama it is.  Cat Hodge writes about the second-week lull here, and Scott Reeves writes about it here.

Ashes have worn off, can’t remember where my sackcloth got to, and I’m now in that phase of Lent where even ordinary-time decent behavior seems to have scooted off and left Wretched Sinner to reign.

Lent will do this to you.  There’s nothing like trying to be a better person to make it clear how much worse things are than you’d been lulled into believing.

I am fortunate because, by complete accident of state-of-life and no smart planning ahead on my part, I picked an intermittent personal penance.  You know the type — get to Adoration once a week, or say a Chaplet on Fridays, or some extra odd or end that you couldn’t do every day if you wanted to, because your life is like that, but which you could manage once a week or on certain days.

Serendipitous help: When that day of the week comes around, you’ve got a built-in ‘reset’ button.   If you’ve fallen into Apathetic Christian Mode, the ridiculousness of performing some superlative act when you can’t even hold together normal Christian life will, perhaps, slap a little remorse and repentance into you.

Lenten Implosion Syndrome is not a bug, it’s a feature.  Lent prepares us for Easter, and Easter is not the day when we saved ourselves.

Franciscan Monastery, Peru.  Stone building lit up against black night sky.  Complejo San Francisco, Arequipa, Perú.
Photo by Diego Delso, of course.  Guessed that as soon as I saw it on Image of the Day. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.  Click through and scroll down for the brief but enlightening description + implicit exhortation.

Lent Days 10-15: No Silence

Monday evening SuperHusband walks in the door and he’s got a business call, important.  The children know what that means.  Time for quiet in the house.

They are finishing up the evening clean-up, but thoughtfully withdraw from the kitchen so their dear father won’t be disturbed by the clatter of dishes being washed.  Two children, surveying the mess in their bedroom, decide the old sheets of bubble wrap need to be tossed.  Immediately.  Which means bubbles need to be popped, immediately.

Well aware their father is on the phone, they cross the hall to the bathroom, shut the door, and start jumping on those bubbles.

Children never cleaned so vigorously.

I knock and open and thank them for their consideration, but explain that one mustn’t pop bubble wrap at all while someone is taking an important phone call just meters away.

***

And that summarizes the State of Lent, Days 10-15.  FYI the reason for the radio silence here was not a fit of holiness but a significant computer problem which required the services of Senior IT Guy, who was out of town.  Seems to be fixed now and we are back on track.  Perhaps Lent is likewise. We’ll see.

Trappist monk, back to the photographer, sitting at his desk attending to spiritual reading.

Photo by Daniel Tibi (Own work) [CC BY 2.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons.  If you enter the search term “Trappist” in Wikimedia, most of the results are for beer.

Lent Day 7: Evangelizing Key Chains

I have a guest membership at the local Baptist mega-church’s gym.  Before you get scandalized, a “guest” membership means you are not a member of the church.  It lets you use the gym, walking track, and exercise classes, and lets your child attend certain activities that require a gym membership.  It costs $10 the first year and $5 thereafter.

The extra $5 the first year is because you receive a bar code membership tag to put on your key chain, which you check in with when you arrive.  The YMCA has a similar system.  So do grocery stories: You use the loyalty-program membership card to earn rewards either for yourself or the school of your choice, depending on the grocery store.

Last week when I handed over my keys to the oil change guys, there flashed Local Mega Baptist Church.

My gym membership card doesn’t specify what kind of member I am — I suppose if I became a proper member of the congregation, I’d keep my card and just upgrade my status.  (I won’t though — not going to forsake my birthright for unlimited access to the weight room.)

Today when I stopped at the downtown specialty grocery store after dropping off the 5th grader at St. Urban’s, I again handed over my keys in order get my store loyalty-points.  Once again: LM Baptist.

I feel a little bad about this, because sometime I am impatient and cranky at the oil change place.  Sometimes I am not the picture of extroverted cheerfulness at the grocery store.   It makes the Baptists look bad.  I’m sorry, Baptists.  Thank you for letting me use your gym anyway.

File:Ehrenstetten - Ölbergkapelle6.jpg  - Small, picturesque chapel among the hills of vinyards in either southwestern Germany or northeastern France, depending on which unreliable image-description you believe.

Photo: By Taxiarchos228 (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons.  I don’t know if I belong to this church or not.  I was unable to easily get hold of the particulars.  But I might.  I belong to this giant mega church with all these locations spread around the world, nearly every one of them containing people as cranky as I am.