Corona Days, Part 2

Oddly, restrictions in my state are still being lifted, despite a rising number of deaths from COVID-19. I suspect that even if the restrictions were not being lifted, or if different ones were being put into place, people would not stand for it. They are getting bored. Upon hearing about the George Floyd shooting and subsequent madness that broke out all over the United States, I first thought that people are so thoroughly frustrated, angry, and bored. People do not like being told what to do for so long. Authority is difficult to follow when it is so hard to tell truth from lies.

The news is getting even more painful to read than it normally is; I hate seeing the COVID-19 death toll blazing across the top of the screen every day. Now I hate seeing all the pictures from the protests (violent and nonviolent) everywhere. To top it all off, my local news station ran a story this past weekend about how more than 10,000 cats and dogs will be euthanized throughout the state’s animal shelters if no one adopts them. Ah, the guilt.

Sadly, the library is not yet open (at least in my county). However, materials can now be requested online, which I don’t enjoy doing as much as browsing through the shelves and picking up books at random. My son also enjoyed looking at (i.e., trying to chew on) the board books in the toddler section, but now I’m stuck reading Little Blue Truck over and over. (I know it by heart!) On the bright side, I have plenty of reading material at home (current read: a biography of the Kennedy men; a look into the past is always nice when the present and future are scary).

In our diocese, the Sunday obligation is still suspended. Some parishes have many more restrictions than others, which brings confusion into an already stressful situation. The lifeblood of Catholics is the Eucharist. We need this spiritual food for survival, especially when the battle we will have to fight in the coming days is largely a spiritual one. Even so, there is a need to protect the vulnerable. Mass is being celebrated online, outside, or even inside, but people are allowed in only every other pew, with a host (no pun intended) of other restrictions. I suppose we are all doing the best we can to balance the need for spiritual sustenance with physical safety. I just wish Mass would be back to normal. I would take Mass over the library. 🙂

So in the midst of all this madness, I hope you are staying safe and sane. Take breaks from the media. If you can, adopt a dog or cat. Write something by hand instead of typing it (I’ve been doing this almost nightly, and it’s refreshing). Show someone you love them (from a safe distance!). Escape into a good novel. Pray, pray, pray.

The Name of Jesus

My son is starting to say words (actually, to be realistic, babblings that sound a lot like words). There is the usual “mama” and “dada,” but I’m not totally sure he associates those words with the concepts yet. He will reliably say “cup” when he plays with his cups and “car” when he sees a car or looks at a book with cars in it (or trucks; at this point, they are the same to him).

My husband got him to say “Jesus” by putting pictures of Jesus all over the apartment and handing him holy cards (laminated, so they are indestructible!). One of the pictures of Jesus is in the bathroom, so when I’m done changing my son, I make sure he sees Jesus before he leaves the room. Now it’s a habit, so he will swing around and say hi to Jesus.

This is not to brag about my son (who am I kidding, of course it is!) but to say that all this repetition of the name of Jesus got me thinking about the name itself and what it should mean. Often, we use it as a swear word when we should be giving honor to the name. I pay more attention to the name now. This past Sunday, I was trying to be super focused on the times when the name would be said in the readings or the homily. It isn’t said a lot. Instead, we use Christ or Emmanuel or the Son of God or any number of other titles. I might have heard “Jesus” once or twice. Would we benefit more from hearing the name spoken in a positive way? I think so. It is a nice reminder.

…at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth…

Philippians 2:10, NABRE

How to Fix the Church

The Catholic Church is messed up. We are dealing with the sex abuse crisis, the financial abuse crisis, people who call themselves Catholic but don’t know or follow the Church’s teachings, all the Pachamama drama that went down during the recent Amazon synod, and a host of other issues.

Some of the “traditional” Catholics are saying that these bad fruits are growing from the seed of the Novus Ordo Mass (AKA the form of the Mass that has been done since Vatican II in the 1960s). They believe that the faith has been weakened because of the lack of reverence that has come about since Latin became abandoned. “Progressive” Catholics believe that the “old ways” represent a lack of mercy and an overabundance of judgment.

This finger pointing seems to be an excuse to justify a variety of sins. I’ve said on here before that it is easy to pick out “obvious” sins like the sexual ones. It is harder to tell when someone’s great sin is pride. Ultimately, God is the judge. Our job is to seek him in all things and to purify ourselves so we want nothing more than to be with him for all eternity. Much of what we think is helpful is actually counterproductive, like writing blog posts like this one or arguing on social media.*

What are Catholics supposed to do? At this point, it needs to be a lot less “armchair politics” and social media/blog time wasting and a lot more direct works of mercy, like volunteering, donating, praying, or sitting in front of Jesus during Adoration. The more we fill our time with productive work for God and others, the less time we have to fill our minds with judgment and news of everything that is going wrong. This approach would work regardless of whether you consider yourself a “traditional” or “progressive” Catholic.

*This might be my last blog post on this subject. The more I sit here ranting about the problem, the more I become part of the problem and the less time I have to help solve it, which brings to mind this quote:

She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it).

Lewis Carroll