The Rosary I carry with me is one she gave me. The beads are white pearls and the medallion contains a black and white photo of St Therese. It occurred to me that if my bag is ever stolen the Rosary will go with it so I traded it out with the one I keep on my night table which is a Carmelite Rosary with brown beads. I bought if because it reminded me of the kind a nun might carry. Anyway that simple little St Therese Rosary was always very dear to me but even more so now as the reality that my mother will not always be with me on this earth sinks in with a sudden closeness.
Complicating the matter is the fact that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia pulled the rug out from under my parents' parish. Despite the fact that theirs is a thriving parish in very good financial standing, Archbishop Chaput is reducing it to a worship site. That church was my mother's life and with no warning it will cease to be as she knew it. The pastor was also caught off guard by the news and went so far as to say that the decision "cries out to Heaven for justice." The appeal to the Archbishop was denied.
I know Bishop Chaput was left with a financial mess but it is nonetheless disheartening to see politics rear its ugly head in the Catholic Church. I can understand why people become disillusioned and lose their religion.
The deterioration at my own Novus Ordo parish could also make one lose their religion. Our reverent and holy pastor was replaced last summer with a pot-stirring priest whose Masses have struck some who are less orthodox than me as invalid. His sermons never mention the Sacraments and they end with a rock and roll trivia question. He turned the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a free-for-all by substituting his homily with a gripe session about previous pastors and their spending habits. The recently restored pipe organ sits idle, the rubrics are ignored and anyone who questions or criticizes is mocked to scorn. He has turned the parish bulletin into a battleground for warring factions - those who favor a secular Mass where the people are the center of attention and those who want an orthodox Mass with music appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice. The latter are ridiculed and even challenged to meet on the steps of the church for a fight.
While this priest works very hard to keep the financial aspect of the parish afloat, he has deprived the faithful of much-needed graces. Many of them are too ignorant of their own faith to know it. I do not want to see a Catholic Church close but what's happening at this parish is anything but Catholic. I can only thank God I also belong to a TLM parish.
I placed a matter of practical importance entirely in God's hands. It was something I very much wanted and was lead to believe was going to be mine with just a little inconvenience and perseverance. Imagine my bitter disappointment when the person who strung me along delivered the blow on Monday. I asked God to let His Will be done and when He did, I was still bitterly disappointed. He gave me two gifts - the sadness of being refused and the humiliation that comes with being betrayed. After I got over the sting, the graces of these gifts started to sink in and brought with them even more graces.
The priest who celebrates the Mass I attend on Saturday mornings is entirely devoted to the Blessed Mother. He gives long sermons and I love them. Today I swore he must have been reading my mind.
I have little to discuss with the people I work with and am often patronized by them because of my faith. Yesterday I thought I would lose my mind listening to a never-ending stream of chatter about clothes, shoes, cars, restaurants and vacation destinations. Father said during his homily that these topics are all some people care about and that preoccupation with such materialistic interests are devoid of God. I wish he gave some advice on what to do when one is held captive in such situations.
Last week my nighttime reading was a little booklet I got at the Carmel written by St Alphonse Liguori. I knew from Our Lady's words to Sister Lucia that St Joseph practiced an austere life of personal poverty. What I learned from St Liguori is that the Virgin Mary did as well. He wrote that all she had at the time of her dormition were two old gowns that she left to the woman who became her care-taker. She saw poverty as a necessary means to keep God as the center of attention and the focus of devotion. So between her embrace of poverty and humility and the example of St Therese in making every aspect of her life a sacrifice, I feel I can't go wrong if I try with all of my will to emulate them. Like everything else in my spiritual life this is a work in progress.
On a more shallow note, I really got into the World Cup. I love that the finale has papal overtones. Truth be told, while I wish B16 was still Christ's Vicar on earth. I will be rooting for Argentina. Sorry Germany!