Monday, September 15, 2014

What We Face

Here's a little example of what we face in some parishes, perhaps many.

A large and active parish wanted programs for an ages 60-plus monthly luncheon (with program following).  Nothing offered to present a short program on angels, including a fun angel story that was published a few years back in a well-established, religious magazine called Guideposts.  Then nothing mentioned sharing the various functions of each choir of angels and how they interact in our world, with us, and with God.  There is a rare book on the topic in the book boxes, and in a notebook are various notes that would give the nitty gritty of each choir and everyday examples.

It could be fun!  It could be illuminating!  People could be encouraged to share, if they wished, encounters.  If not, they would be reminded at an age (when we could use all the help possible) of our angels' assistance and more.

But no.  The parish lay employee jumped into the pitch with all kinds of hoops through which to jump.  Needed to review it all, needed to go over it with the priest, needed to see the hard copy of the published article.  Needed to see a write-up of what would be said. Needed to see the rare Catholic book on angels.  The tone of voice was wary, wary, and yet more wary.

She said "they" only want light topics and community ones.  "Nothing" noted that as a person over 60, many such cannot go out and be active in the community but rather maybe would be desiring to learn more of what will help us as we age, for our souls and spirits.

But no, that is not what they, the people in charge at the parish, want for us.  She mentioned that older Catholics don't like to hear about such things as they keep their faith private and are not into evangelizing.  Well, reviewing the choirs of angels and discussing the various saints' guardian angels, and that we have them, too, is not so much evangelizing...or is it?  Maybe?  Hopefully so?

Nothing mentioned that personally, especially in the aging process, there is concern for the growth of the soul and spirit, and thankfully do have some older people across the country who are interested in such.  Guess these are rare older and younger Catholic people "nothing" thankfully knows and enjoys.

Regardless, the lady did not like the angels idea, and she mentioned the parish book discussion group that meets once a month.  (The books thus far are rather light in content, which is good as many people are at various levels.  But why not offer a separate book discussion for those who desire another level?  Do schools keep students in the same grade year after year?  No.)  Nothing mentioned the parish monthly book club sounds lovely, but already have two book discussions going now, one with a woman of 86 years who turned on to some great classics of the spiritual life.  Yes, it did take some encouragement to get this friend interested in reading John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, and then Elizabeth of the Trinity and now Catherine of Siena, but she is seriously and joyfully hooked.  She is fascinated, growing, pleased and ready for more.

The other book is being read with a young mother of two little girls, again across the country.  We discuss weekly over the phone, and today's discussion of Scupoli's Spiritual Combat helped each of us.  We are praying for one another now to practice strengthening our wills and not leaving the battle field when our passions and vices try to wage war.  Scupoli gives specific battle instructions; not the least is to be aware and to pray, to call upon God all the more, as He can give assistance Himself and send angels--yes, angels--who can always overcome Satan and legions of dark angels.

It just seems that time and again, as Catherine Marshall (the famous Presbyterian minister Peter Marshall's wife) titled one of her best-selling books, Something More--something more is not wanted in many parishes.

Are we being dumbed down as Catholics by priests and other employees in charge of parishes?  Is it akin to the common core curriculum woes sweeping the country?

So these parishioners will continue on with the same old programs--history of the local zoo, importance of physical exercise, what food to eat....  Sounds like a YMCA or government-run, senior center roster.

But, nothing has offered, and prior to offering had prayed not to be surprised if there was to be negative results, for a negative is not really anything other than a positive of something other that God wills.  And "nothing" prayed that whatever occurs would be an indication as to God's will.  But when nothing did ask the parish employee if other offered programs go through such a process, the lady did admit others did not, but that this one was of particular concern to her due to not being like their usual programs.

Angels a concern?


This is what we face.

Postscript:  Awoke in the night with the question:  What would Jesus prefer?  Would Jesus prefer that elderly people meeting for lunch and a program in a church prefer them to learn about His angels and saints, or about how to do exercises in a chair or how many glasses of water to drink daily?  Are life-long Catholics (or life-long Christians) ready for more given they are but a short step from passing out of this life?  Why do others insist on feeding them milk rather than solid food for the journey, particularly at their ages and situation near earthly life's end? The answer to these questions reside in each soul, but this soul desires something more than that which is of earth and already easily known from years of living on earth.  This soul wants union with God and any information that will help reach the heavenly goal.

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