punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to Respond to Mean Moms

Once a week I am catechist assistant, and the other day, after class, I met her. 

She is a Catholic mom, who obviously cares enough to enroll her kids in religious education classes, with a baby on the hip and six more beautiful look-a-likes in tow.  Based on appearances only, she struck me as quite a good profile of where I’ll probably find myself in a few years.

One thing I didn’t anticipate though: she was mean.

I’ll spare you all of the gory the details, except to say that she was very put out by having to fill out the paperwork required for the program for all of the children (which is tough when you have more than two, granted, but you know, that part is not really our fault or anything) and she practically slammed the binder out of a good nun’s hands as she wrote in it.  But you get the picture: she was mean. 

She was angry, no, livid, and she was going to let the other adults, know it.  And she was going to do it in front of her kids right after catechism class where they just learned about becoming saints.

I have to confess, the tragic irony of the scene made me chortle as she stomped away closed fisted, with a set of small heads trailing behind her (but the best response award goes to the nun at my side who called after her cheerfully, “God bless you!”).

As is the case with most disturbing scenes that strike someone as just plain wrong, the incident stayed with me and forced me to pray.  How could someone who professes to be so Catholic act so poorly?

Something a priest said from the pulpit has always remained with me: that the moment you dislike something about someone else, it’s because they are showing you something you don’t like about yourself.

I realized the incident affected me so much because, I too have been bitter and resentful and have complained about my crosses.  Yes, I have critiqued parish catechism programs and bemoaned certain  hoops I’ve had to jump through to complete them.  In general, I too have been overly angry and behaved in a way that has embarrassed my children as well as my spouse.  Yes, I have vented anger and harmed myself and my relationships with others.

In short, I have been that mean mom, maybe not in public, but at different times; in private, in prayer, to my children and those who I should love the most.

The whole week I struggled with the incident, “Lord, what was her problem?  It’s not like anyone is forcing her to be in the program.  It’s not like we’re the ones that made her have that many kids.  Her crosses certainly aren’t heavier than all the other big families I know where the mom is actually kind hearted and nice to people.  What a grouch, what a -, and those poor kids!”

As you can tell, I too was venting.

God’s classic response to me: “What’s your point, Marissa?”

You have to imagine it a bit like an Austin Powers moment, where you’ve just elaborated some important point in detail and were only met with a shallow, “And?”

It was perfect. 

It forced me to consider: what was my point anyway?  A mom was mean, so what? The lesson was simple enough: learn from her example, don’t imitate it, and move on.  

And lastly, love her.  This is God's response to mean moms and un-peaceful souls everywhere: love them.

This was also so eloquently worded by Mother Theresa when she wrote."People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”   I realized that dealing with one frustrated parent certainly wasn’t the last time I was going to encounter illogical behavior in my life…or even within that week.  So I moved on.  In all my venting, I really didn't have a point – but God did: love those who have no peace, and you will have found your own.

So I prayed for her and for myself and I was able to wish love and peace on that mom, in the end. And yes, in doing so, I was able to have peace myself. (And the good news is she did come and apologize later!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

During This Year of Faith, Pray for Supporters of Same Sex "Marriage”

As someone who lives in the Bay Area, it’s tough to be apart of the decided minority of those who revere marriage as a sacred institution, designed by God to be between one man and one woman for life.

It’s crummy to constantly be accused of being hateful and fearful and so filled with animosity that I will be content with nothing else but ruining the lives of a historically oppressed people.

But it’s even more difficult to watch such a large number of folks, many of them Christians, completely misunderstand Church’s position on marriage as bigoted and somehow oppressive of secular society (they miss the whole point of marriage by doing so, I would argue).

Instead of becoming angry at them, however, or retreating to the emotional gush of “Mine is the just cause and everyone who disagrees with me is just a mean-spirited poo-poo head,” I’ve decided that, during this year of faith, I’m going to pray for supporters of same sex marriage in all seriousness and charity.

And I invite you to do the same.

Pray for them, because supporters of same sex “marriage” whether they are gay, straight, Catholic or otherwise are doing more harm than they probably realize.  In fact, they don’t see it this way at all, which is exactly why they need prayer.

Pray for them because not only are they abetting the federal government’s efforts to “redefine” marriage for everyone, they’re enabling it to take it’s sledgehammer to our religious freedom, which will eventually affect them personally.  More on this in a minute.

Pray for them because, while many simply want their same-sex oriented friends and family to be happy, they are actually harming those same loved ones.  Supporters of same sex marriage are essentially handing gays a death sentence by remaining silent on the topics of early death and disease, which come lock, stock and barrel with the practice of homosexuality.  They are therefore, even without wanting to be, actively complicit in the self-destruction of other human beings.

I haven’t even mentioned the spiritual harm being caused.

Pray for supporters of same sex marriage because, whether they want to admit it or not, they are causing our gay brothers and sisters to fall into and remain in a state of mortal sin. By doing so, they are causing scandal to the Body of Christ and their own children (and recalling Christ’s words about  how one would be better off flung into the ocean than doing so shows just how seriously God takes such an action).

Society’s already gnashing intolerance of the Church has been swelling with confidence due to their dissent from Church teaching.  The world is content to stop at nothing to destroy us on this topic – and all, it seems, with their blessing.

What will happen when their side wins, I wonder?

Will they joyously be celebrating each blessing of gay nuptials when their Churches can no longer perform any marriages or hold receptions on their own grounds, which will, of course, impact their children’s ability to marry in the Faith?

Will supporters of SSM’s zeal for equality and compassion extend to those who no longer have the right to express themselves in public because the side of ‘tolerance’ won?  Or will they enjoy watching the Christianity they profess to love maligned to the fringes of society? 

Are they going to rejoice when their fellow parishioners are perpetually at risk for losing their careers, their money, their businesses and their ability to adopt children because of their beliefs?  Will they ever be able to truly build any sort of community with them knowing that they are in part responsible for tying up and leveling the heavy burden of oppression on their fellow traditional marriage supporting Christians?

I wonder.

Our opponents are going full gusto, and doing so by support of those in favor of so-called equal marriage rights and their assenting silence to the bullying of all those brave enough to speak out in favor of true marriage.

So pray for them.  Dedicate a family rosary for them once a week.

Do so, because they are inviting more harm than good to come upon our nation, upon their fellow Christians, upon the homosexuals they claim to support, and lastly, upon themselves.

What does it say when you have to look to secular society for consolation, while you fling the tenets of you Faith as far as you can throw them?

Hint: it’s called being led by the Evil One away from the Truth.  Pray for them and everyone in this battle that we may all resist the devil’s snares and enticements to reject the Truth, no matter how delightfully enlightened, progressive and ‘tolerant’ he makes them sound.