Saturday, March 17

New Blog

I'm not even sure if I have anyone who reads the feed of this blog anymore, but if you do, I've moved.

My new home is:

If you are into feeds, the new feed is:

Sunday, December 24

New blogger is finicky

I was wanting to blog the other day, but there's something about the Blogger Beta that doesn't work at work. Maybe it can't get past the firewalls. I'm not sure.

Being a member of the Cathedral Guadalupe parish, I found this NY Times article quite interesting:

Nuevo Catholics
- The Hispanicization of American Catholicism

My parish is I'm sure at least 95% Catholic. I'd be willing to guess that 60%+ of the parishioners at the Noon mass, the one I normally attend, is of Hispanic origin, and the Spanish-speaking masses are always amazingly overfilled. The dedication to the Virgin at the Cathedral is amazing. If you want to see dedication and beauty, come to church around December 13th, the feast day of the Virgin Guadalupe. The stage of the church, a very large area, is completely covered with roses and carnations and every kind of flower. The smell is amazing.

My church is affected by its Spanish-speaking members in other ways, too. I've read that the Cathedral has the second-highest weekly mass attendance in the country next to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. We have one English and one Spanish Vigil mass, and on Sunday, we have two English and four Spanish masses. At the 3p mass, they have a mariachi band that plays. Virtually all of the programs are for Spanish-speaking members. There are many social services that are available for Spanish-speaking members, such as tax assistance, tutoring, and special dancing and choral groups. There is an English speaking choir that sings at the Noon mass, and for the first time, an English study group is going to be forming in January, and I am very excited about that.

I had a commenter ask why I like the Cathedral as opposed to the other places I have tried going to church. Well, first of all, the Cathedral has the big benefit of being the closest Catholic church near me. Parking is a nightmare, but my husband drops me off and picks me up, which is not a huge inconvenience because it's so close to our loft. Secondly, the church is fairly moderate. It's not too liberal, like the guitar masses at Holy Family of Nazereth. I wish it rang bells when the sacrament was served, like St. Thomas Aquinas does.

Other than St. Jude, there haven't been any churches I've just flat out disliked. Each had their benefit. Holy Trinity has an excellent choir. St. Thomas Aquinas has a very orthodox view and lots of programs for English-speakers. It's just so far away - 15-20 minutes through busy city streets is a very annoying drive for me.

I absolutely loved going to the Tridentine Masses. But the problem is that it is a VERY tiny chapel, and I always felt like I was taking up space there that was best suited for someone more devoted to the traditional liturgy.

The homilies at the Cathedral are also pretty good - not too "God is Love" fluff, actual thought-out homilies. The Deacons and the priests both put a lot of preparation into their weekly thoughts. I miss Father Ramone's sermons. We have a Dominican priest at the Cathedral now, though, which I really like. I like the way that Dominicans preach, and it makes me happy to have one in my parish.

The Cathedral has many different advantages over St. Jude. First, it has a choir at the Noon mass, and music is a big part of how the Mass takes me out of the mundane world and brings me into a more spiritual realm. The priest at St. Jude tells jokes, which to me is an insult to the Liturgy of the Word. There's a difference between having a line in a homily that induces a snicker and putting in a "So two priests are walking on a golf field" joke. From what I understand, it's very popular for many of the parishioners, but I find it's not my taste.

One thing I like about the Cathedral over St. Jude is that at the Cathedral I can receive both the body and blood of Christ. St. Jude stopped serving both species when the Dominicans left.

I think what it boils down to is that after much thought and much prayer, I kept being pointed to the Cathedral over and over. I don't know why I'm supposed to be there yet, but I know that the Cathedral is where I am supposed to be. It's hard to describe - kind of a gut feeling about the whole thing. I know that's where I'm supposed to be, so I don't fight it.

I do know that if St. Jude ever gets a new priest, and I still live downtown, and if he's halfway decent, I will most probably switch to going to St. Jude. But I just find the new priest intolerable with his jokes.

Monday, December 11

St. Jude Chapel makes me sad

Have you ever seen a boyfriend/girlfriend/close friend that you used to be really tight with, but have been apart from for quite some time? There is still a sense of intimacy, of familiarity, but there's just something that really reminds you "you can't go home again."

I went to St. Jude chapel today. Being there makes me so deeply sad. There are parts of me that still love so much about that chapel. I have a very special bond with that chapel - it's the chapel where I solidified my love for the Catholic church. I spent many intimate hours with Christ there, worshiping him at the tabernacle as I prayed or meditated or worshiped during Mass. Going there always makes me feel comfortable and safe. For a bit.

And then the priest walks in. He walked in today at 12p, no vestments (the mass starts at 12:10p). The "lighting" of the second Advent candle was comprised of the priest sticking a velcro candle flame onto a banner hanging from the front of the altar. While they have managed to get a new cantor, no one sang. No one at all.

The priest has yet to stop his amazingly annoying habit of saying a joke before his homily. Here's how his homily started out: A man finds out that he has leukemia. He decides to fulfill his life's dream and become a painter in the short while he has left on this earth. He gives his paintings to a gallery to sell. He calls the gallery a little later in the week, and asks if the paintings sold. The gallery owner says, I have some good news and some bad news. The painter asks to hear the good news first. The gallery owner said that someone looked at the paintings and asked if they would be worth more when the painter died, I said yes, and he bought every one of your paintings. And the bad news, asked the painter? The gallery owner said, the man was your doctor. Now, it was supposed to be a joke, I'm sure, but out of the pews came this huge "Awwwww ...." It was hilarious!

At any rate, it breaks my heart. It used to taste like spiritual Steak to me, and now it tastes like cold Chicken McNuggets.

I have found that I do enjoy going to the Cathedral. I've been going there for months now. I've made a few friends. Now that I'm a member of the congregation, however, some of the flaws are more apparent. But I still go, as I feel like it's where I need to be spiritually.

Monday, September 18

Hello from the Ghost Blog

Hello everyone! I got a comment today asking if everything was Ok with me, so I thought I'd give a quick note telling everyone how I am.

Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah ... after a couple of months of church hopping and a month at the Tridentine Mass, I started going to the Cathedral every week. It's a nice church. I still hate going to confession there because the priest doesn't speak hardly any English. But the masses are Ok.

This week, I didn't feel like dealing with the parking garage down at the Cathedral, so I went to St. Jude Chapel for the first time in 2-3 months. Things were ... a little better than last time I went. The chapel was pretty full this time, the cantor was back (apparently she had been on some kind of European tour), and the priest kept it to one joke in his homily. I just hate going into the Nicene Creed after the priest ends the homily on a joke. And not a very funny joke. He transitioned from suffering into a long spiel about the yearly CCA fundraiser. The "goal" of the fundraiser is to raise $53,000. Whatever they don't raise comes straight from the chapel coffers. I hate that the diocese puts that kind of pressure on that little chapel. Last year they threatened to shut down the chapel if there wasn't enough money. There was a generous donor who came through in a pinch to cover almost all of the debt (who, by the way, is no longer there), but it's scary to think the diocese could pull that stunt again.

On personal news, my husband broke his arm a few weeks ago in a bicycle accident, but it looks like he's healing fine. My job is still eh, but what are you gonna do, you know? I have been accepted into the MBA program at Texas A&M Commerce - Universities Center campus, but I have to wait until my job stabalizes to start taking classes - apparently a year and a half of "special projects" has made my job very unstable. Every time I start a project, I'm told "We're not sure what we're going to do with you when this is over." I'm ready for them to say "We know you're Special Projects, so we won't worry about your job we'll just keep you."

My spiritual life is very quiet. I do my day to day things, but it doesn't permeate my life like it did when I was investigating. I know it is right, and right for me, and I pray and do what I am supposed to do. I go to church every Sunday, although I haven't gone to a Daily Mass in weeks, not like I did when I first was baptized. I have a side hobby now which occupies much of my Internet time, so I don't get on the Catholic boards much.

My husband and I are still delightfully happy, and he's still very sweet. Today it started raining after Mass started, and my husband walked down to the chapel with an umbrella so I wouldn't have to walk home in the rain. My husband rocks.

Anyway, so I'm not dead. Just quiet. :)

Saturday, August 5

Surreal experience at the Cafe Brazil

After church last Sunday, my husband and I went to Cafe Brazil on Cedar Springs for some tasty migas. (There's still a little Mormon part of me that feels guilty eating out on Sunday. Is that keeping the Sabbath day holy? I've never heard anything about that on the pulpit since being Catholic, nor have I read about it. I'm not sure.)

Anyway, so my husband and I were sitting there, and started hearing the words Mormon over our shoulder. In our little area of the restaurant, we could hear the two people sitting next to us having a "get to know each other" type of conversation over their breakfast. The gentleman started slowly divulging his past. He was born in Salt Lake City, BIC ("born in the covenant", meaning his parents were sealed in the temple before he was born - basically a "cradle Mormon"), married in the Temple, divorced, married multiple times, and now he was gay. It was interesting hearing his stories about how his family would not let him see his children after he came out and the struggles he has had since coming out. (He was kind of loud, and verbose. I'm really not that nosey).

It made me think of how my life has journeyed since leaving the Mormon church. When I first left I was passionately anti-Mormon. Most ex-Mormons who left because of doctrinal differences get this way for a while. It's a good way to vent the feelings of anger and betrayal that most exMo's have. I then was agnostic for years, but still trying to find a "center" in all of it. I learned about wicca for a while, and went through a wild phase. In my mid-20's, I came back to the church for a bit, and felt more hollowed and betrayed after I left again than before I came back in.

It's odd how my Mormon past comes back to haunt me in odd ways and in the weirdest times. Like the breakfast thing earlier. Is it a sin to eat out? I don't know. I feel mischievous sometimes when I drink a Coke. I've never had guilt drinking tea since leaving the church, but I still get a thrill every time I drink a Coke. I don't do it often, but when I do I feel like the kid who swiped a cookie when their mom wasn't looking. I still am very reserved about cussing in public and have an overdeveloped sense of public dignity. I can spot a missionary a mile away, and my husband has gotten where he spots them too. On random occasions and with no provocation, I get "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" stuck in my head.

It's odd hearing how much hurt ex-Mormons have about the betrayal that they feel when they leave the church. I could hear the obvious hurt in that diner's voice, about how he could not visit his children because of the Bishop, and how his family had shunned him. One of my favorite blogs is Joseph's Left One, an exMo whose family is still strongly entrenched in the Mormon church. Other than talking to my best friend (whose family is still all Mormon but him), and my mom, I don't have anyone talking about Mormonism to me. It's pretty much behind me. But he's dealing with it on a daily basis. His wife is feeling pain because of his loss of testimony.

It's so confusing being an exMormon. I've been getting a lot of random out-of-the-blue comments about my blog from what I assume are God-Fearing active Mormons. Most of the comments are like, "If you'd just feel the spirit, you'd still be Mormon" and "why do you criticize the church, you don't know what you're talking about!" Things like that. What is the point of criticism like this? Do they think they're going to guilt me back into the church? "Oh my Gosh, I was lost, but then this person said I was making false assumptions about the church and all I need to do is pray and I'll come back. Why didn't I think of that?? I'll go pray right now!" What good do they think that negativity is going to do me? Or them? Does it make them feel better to put down people with differing opinions than them? It's one thing to share personal feelings about something in one's blog or in one's circle of friends. It's a totally different thing to go into someone else's home or blog uninvited and attack them for their beliefs.

I was asked by someone whose opinion I greatly respect if I brought anything good out of Mormonism. I thought about it for quite a bit. And you know, I did. Some of my best memories from my tween and teen years were with my Mormon friends. I met my best friend at a Mormon church, and my life wouldn't be the same without him. I learned lots of homemaking skills, like how to iron a shirt and how to cook. I learned how to study, and I learned how to defend my beliefs by learning everything I could about a subject. Much of my family is still Mormon and they have not had the kind of amazingly hurtful things happen to them that I have read about on the RFM boards (well, that's not totally true, but they were able to move past the hurtful things and remain faithful members).

But doing this evaluation made me realize something else - I learned nothing about God while Mormon. Everything I learned was false, based on the claims of someone whom I have come to believe is a liar, and the things I did learn didn't move me with passion. The temple was boring (and heartbreaking - it kept getting thrown in my face how single people were less worthy than married people and I hated that), sacrament meeting was amateur hour. Fellowshipping for me simply didn't exist. Doing endowment sessions didn't move me nearly as much as attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist does now. Every single Sunday I look forward to communing with God in the most intimate way possible. I looked forward to the Temple because I liked dressing up, and feeling like I was doing what God wanted me to do. But I never felt close to God. I always walked out of there feeling lonely. Every time. I often cried in the Celestial Room because I couldn't understand that if I was supposed to be doing God's work, why did I feel so alone? When I'm in Mass, praying in front of the Tabernacle, I never feel alone, even though sometimes I'm there by myself.

And here's another thing - I love being Catholic. I love going to Mass, I love hearing the homilies, I love receiving the Eucharist. I love wearing my St. Benedict medal, and I love praying the Rosary before Mass. I love blessing my food before I eat, and I love learning about saints. I love the feeling I have when I pray to God in gratefulness for the sacrifice that Christ made for me. I love the calm, centered feeling that I have now, whether I'm in church or whether I'm sitting at work. Sometimes it washes over me in waves and makes me just genuinely happy about life. I love feeling my prayers, if that makes sense. It's all so good. It's like being raised on fast food, and then being introduced to Vietnamese Pho, and Enchiladas, and Spaghetti, and Chinese Stir-fry. There's a world of good things out there that exist outside of the circle of Mormonism, and I'm experiencing all of them that I can.

Always with you

From my favorite comic, Toothpaste For Dinner

Saturday, July 22

Hot in herre

Hello all! So answer your questions yes, I am still Catholic. :) I've been attending the Tridentine Mass for about a month now. I'm still leaning towards going there. The only problem that I have with the experience is that it's in a beautiful but tiny little chapel. I usually get there before 9a for the 9:30a service. The rosary starts at 9a, and every pew is full by the second decade every week. Then people start squeezing in, and then men start giving up their seats to women, so the chapel is lined with men. It's crazy how packed that little chapel gets.

It seems like each pew has already been "claimed" by a family who sits there every week. And there's maybe 24 pews total that seat 4 adults each. The first few Sundays I ended up sitting on the same pew as a family of 5 (one baby), which was pretty tight but not too bad. Last week I ventured out a bit and moved over to another aisle, only to be told that the choir sits there. I thought I had sat up enough not to be in the choir seats, but I was mistaken. I don't know where I can claim "my" seat in that chapel.

And apparently it's hard to keep the place cool when it's packed to the gills with people. Last Sunday it was over 90 degrees outside when church started. As soon as I walked into the church, I felt the heavy, hot air surround me. And it got progressively worse as the place started to fill up. Men in formal shirts had huge sweat stains, and babies were pink from the heat, their little hair matted up from the sweat. It was very old school.

It's uncomfortable enough being crowded in a cool building, but to be packed in like sardines in a hot chapel was almost more than I could bear. I offered it up the best I could.

Now, I'll endure sweltering heat and awkward seating situations to be able to worship in such a sacred and spiritual environment. But I don't want to feel self-conscious while I'm there because I'm afraid I'm sitting in someone else's seat or that I'm crowding a family who has always sat in the same pew.

Monday, July 10

Embracing weaknesses

Reading II for Sunday, July 9, 2006
2 Cor 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

I’ve been going to the Tridentine Mass in Dallas for the past few weeks ago, and enjoy it immensely. But I needed to go to confession before Sunday mass, so I went to my little chapel down the road, St. Jude, and attended Vigil Mass on Saturday night. I’m thankful I did because I got a lot out of one of the scripture readings for the mass.

The message in the Sunday reading really hit home for me. I so often feel weak. I felt like I was very strong when I got baptized, like I was where I needed to be spiritually. But lately I’ve felt off. I’ve been dwelling on what I will simply state as my “weakness” more than I feel is appropriate.

I want to be content with my weaknesses. I want to be accepting of the parts of me that I know will never change. There are parts of me, behavior patterns, ways of interacting with people that have been there since I was old enough to remember them and will be there until I die most probably. These traits can often be frustrating, and I, like so many people before me, just simply want to be “normal”.

But I will do my best to embrace my weaknesses. I’ve been trying to pray about these weaknesses lately, and to offer them up to Christ in union with his suffering, but the context of my weaknesses seems so far removed from anything spiritual. It’s hard putting certain traits of mine into a spiritual context. It’s like trying to put my dislike for raw tomatoes in a spiritual context. Does my like or dislike of raw tomatoes make me any less or more of a spiritual person? It’s a trait I’ve had since I was a child – I do not like raw tomatoes. I don’t see it changing. But it’s a small yet significant part of who I am. I hope this is making some kind of sense.

I don’t want my weaknesses to affect my relationship with God, or with my husband, or with my friends. I don’t want my work to get neglected, or my home. I’m struggling with the balance between embracing my weaknesses and trying to overcome my weaknesses at the same time. It’s a hard struggle. Thank goodness, when I’m in church, I feel stronger. I feel the importance of those weaknesses in my life melting away. In church, I feel whole, and “normal”. When I leave, it’s like I’m battling those demons yet again. I feel solace in prayer.

Friday, July 7

Adding Gravitas to the Nicene Creed

So how the heck is everybody??? And what the heck have I been up to? Well, to be perfectly honest, I've been watching way, way, way too much of this guy, Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report". In keeping with the topic of the blog, I've posted a clip of when Colbert recites the Nicene Creed in its entirety on his show, adding a healthy dose of gravitas on the way.

Colbert is the youngest of 11 children, and was raised in an Irish Roman Catholic family. He has said in an interview that:
I love my Church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.

He also said in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR's "Fresh Air":
We're, you know, very devout and, you know, I still go to church and, you know, my children are being raised in the Catholic Church. And I was actually my daughters' catechist last year for First Communion, which was a great opportunity to speak very simply and plainly about your faith without anybody saying, `Yeah, but do you believe that stuff?' which happens a lot in what I do.

One more interesting quote in an interview in the New York Times says:
I have a wife who loves me, and I am oddly normative. I go to church. I would say that there would be plenty of Catholics in the world who would think of me as not that observant, but for the world I move in professionally, I seem monastic.

Becoming Catholic has been an interesting journey for me, and I have found that trying to find where I belong in past parts of my life has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. Comedy has been a part of my life since I was a small child. I remember listening to my comedy vinyl albums over and over. Artists like Stephen Wright, Emo Phillips, Bill Cosby, and "Weird Al" Yankovic became part of my daily inner monologue. I loved comedy, I loved listening to comedy and reading about comedy. I was an SNL junkie, and loved stand up on the new cable stations that began streaming into my home as a teenager.

As I got older, I began to learn about things such as improv comedy, late night television show comedy, and sketch comedy shows. Comedy Central became my favorite network as I absorbed more and more about comedy. I began learning about the Second City family of players, and how the different players would go on to do so many things in the comedy spectrum. I would watch and learn about new sketch comedy shows the way others would learn about their favorite sports team. While some people could tell you about the new rookie on the basketball team and tell about their high school and college ball career, I could take a writer from SNL and tell you their career history as well, from stand-up or Second City, or possibly the Groundlings in LA or the Hasty Pudding at Harvard, to smaller cable shows to becoming head writer on a popular show. I knew all the big players, and where they had come from and what they were doing now.

But being Catholic, I found my sensibilities changing. What's safe to laugh at? How do I take this passion and incorporate it into my new wineskin? It was a struggle, and I found myself missing that part of my life.

Enter Stephen Colbert. He's successful, he's had a long career in comedy, AND .... he's a professed Catholic. While he would most definitely be considered more "progressive" than most of the Catholics I associate with, on the other hand, he also truly believes in the Church and treasures it in his life. He makes constant references to the Catholic religion on his show, but never in a mean spirited way.

So I've found a new comedian to learn about. And that makes me happy. So I watch him.

Friday, June 23

Carnival of the Veil

Carnival of the Veil, the ex-mo blog carnival is being hosted by Heart of Darqueness this week. Go check it out!

Obligatory smaltzy anniversary post


It's been a beautiful four years, and I love you so very much.

You're my sweetie and I love you. Happy Four Year anniversary!


Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, Goodbye

There's been lots of talk around the Dallas Diocese about the imminent retirement of Bishop Charles Grahmann. The weekly church bulletin of the Cathedral has been announcing the big mass celebrating his Triple anniversary (75th birthday, 50th as a priest, 25th as a bishop) on July 7th for weeks now. But Bishop Grahmann's service has not been a smooth one; in fact, it's been littered with problems for many years. There's an interesting article in this month's D magazine that discusses the Grahmann issue.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Miserere Nobis

This month Charles Grahmann will resign as Catholic bishop of Dallas. Even so, he thinks he’ll stay on for two more years. He’s wrong.

by Wick Allison

On July 15, a birthday will be celebrated that has been awaited by local Catholics with as much anticipation as Christmas. On that day, Charles Grahmann will turn 75. By long-standing protocol, he will offer his resignation as bishop of Dallas to the Holy See.

But before anyone pops a champagne cork, I must report—it is my duty—that there is little likelihood he will step down this year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he will be replaced sooner than he expects.

Rome has been embarrassed by the good bishop four times. The Rudy Kos verdict in 1997, of course, leveled against the Church the largest judgment ever against a diocese. In 2002, the Dallas Morning News called for the bishop’s resignation when he refused to dismiss Rev. Ramon Alvarez, rector of the bishop’s own cathedral, for sexual misconduct. (Alvarez abruptly resigned this April; no reason given.) In 2003, after even more embarrassments, a large and formidable lay group made national headlines by petitioning the Holy See for his removal. Then last year, there was the district attorney’s investigation. It’s not for nothing that the authoritative named Grahmann one of the 10 worst bishops in the United States.

Full Article

Now, I've only been participating in masses in the Diocese of Dallas for less than a year. The main beef I have with the leadership of the Diocese is the fact that orthodoxy has a tendency to get punished, especially when it involves Latin in the mass. For example, when one priest began doing the Novus Ordo in Latin, he was quickly disciplined by Bishop Grahmann. He went to the Vatican with his case. He was allowed at that point to use Latin, but he got exiled to St. William, a small church in Greenville, TX (on the outer edge of the diocese). I also remember when Fr. C at St. Jude was dressed down for using as much Latin as he did in his masses, and was forced to use no Latin whatsoever or risk being moved from the chapel. He ended up being moved anyway due to health reasons, and the Dominicans completely lost control of the Chapel.

I hope that what the article says is true, and that we will get an orthodox, Latin-loving priest as a Bishop when Bishop Grahmann retires.

Here kitty kitty

Moneybags wrote an interesting post yesterday about Saints and their pets which you should go check out if you're an animal lover. Here's a excerpt:

St. Don Bosco had a pet dog in his youth while St. Philip Neri had a cat in his old age. St. Francis of Paola had a pet fish that was cooked one day. So, St. Francis of Paola raised it from the dead by the power of God.

Saint Brigid even tamed animals. Back in her time, the law stated that if a thief was in a Church no-one was allowed to arrest him. One day a group of hunters chased a wild boar into Church and wanted to come in and kill it. The men said that the Church refuge rule did not apply to animals. Saint Brigid said the rule did indeed apply, and so the hunters were forced to leave. She then gave the exhauated boar a drink and it ended up living on her personal farm with the cows she owned.

Our house is a zoo. We have three kitties (Lance is the white kitty, Lorenzo is the orange tabby, and Arianna is the cute dilute calico above), two figure eight puffers, and a tarantula. We had two little read ear slider turtles that were about the size of a silver dollar and the cutest things you've ever seen, but we returned then when we looked them up online and found out that they'd need either an outdoor pond or a 100+ gallon tank in about two years. We can't have a tank that large on our 100-year old wood floors. They sure were cute, though.

Thursday, June 22


[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin passi, passin-, sufferings of Jesus or a martyr, from Late Latin, physical suffering, martyrdom, sinful desire, from Latin, an undergoing, from passus, past participle of pat, to suffer. See p(i)- in Indo-European Roots.]

n 1: strong feeling or emotion [syn: passionateness] 2: intense passion or emotion [syn: heat, warmth] 3: something that is desired intensely; "his rage for fame destroyed him" [syn: rage] 4: an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action [syn: mania, cacoethes] 5: a feeling of strong sexual desire 6: any object of warm affection or devotion; "the theater was her first love" or "he has a passion for cock fighting"; [syn: love] 7: the suffering of Jesus at the crucifixion [syn: Passion, Passion of Christ]

A blog of a person found in my not-so-distant past wrote a post recently about passion. I won't get into the details of the post, but the post actually got me thinking. The post's definition of passion was something to the effect of "anything that affects [your] life in a large way or occupies even a portion of the majority of the days in any given year." Meaning, basically, you may really like kayaking, for example, but does it mean so much to you that you devote much of your life to it on a daily basis? And what is that fine line between interest, passion, and even love?

I think there's a difference between passion and love. Love is satiable and simply "is", passion is not. Passion, to me, is an insatiable desire to participate and revel in a certain task or thought or person in a way that cannot be satiated. It's like being hungry and never being full. I can understand passion and appreciate it. But then I also think that love is also very rewarding. It's good to feel the emotions from the passion, but love is the byproduct of a healthy passion.

And, of course, it's impossible to think of the word "passion" without thinking of the Passion of Christ. Now, this is different from the noun in quite a symbolic way. I never understood what was meant when I saw the movie title of "Passion of the Christ" before I became Catholic. Christ's Passion was his death for us. Not just his giving up of his life, but the entire process of being condemned to die, his beatings, the carrying of his cross, his nails being driven into his hands, and his suffering for three hours hanging on the crucifix.

I decided to do a little bit of investigating on the Catholic interpretation of Passions when I came across the New Advent definition of "passions":

By passions we are to understand here motions of the sensitive appetite in man which tend towards the attainment of some real or apparent good, or the avoidance of some evil. The more intensely the object is desired or abhorred, the more vehement is the passion. St. Paul thus speaks of them: "When we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death" (Romans 7:5). They are called passions because they cause a transformation of the normal condition of the body and its organs which often appears externally.


The chief passions are eleven in number:

* Six in the concupiscible appetite -- namely, joy or delight, and sadness, desire and aversion or abhorrence, love and hatred -- and
* five in the irascible -- hope and despair, courage and fear, and anger.

The moral virtues are to regulate the passions and employ them as aids in the progress of spiritual life. A just man at times experiences great joy, great hope and confidence, and other feelings in performing duties of piety, and also great sensible sorrow, as well as sorrow of soul, for his sins, and he is thus confirmed in his justice. He can also merit constantly by restraining and purifying his passions. The saints who reached the exalted state of perfection, have retained their capacity for all human emotions and their sensibility has remained subject to the ordinary laws; but in them the love of God has controlled the mental images which excite the passions and directed all their emotions to His active service. It has been justly said that the saint dies, and is born again: he dies to an agitated, distracted and sensual life, by temperance, continency, and austerity, and is born to a new and transformed life. He passes through what St. John calls "the night of the senses", after which his eyes are opened to a clearer light. "The saint will return later on to sensible objects to enjoy them in his own way, but far more intensely than other men" (H. Joly, "Psychology of the Saints", 128). Accordingly we can understand how the passions and the emotions of the sensitive appetite may be directed and devoted to the service of God, and to the acquisition, increase, and perfection of virtue.

When I began thinking of my own passions, I realized I only have a few that really affect my day-to-day life. First, I am passionate about being Catholic. I'm passionate about going to church, and reading the prayers, and spending time in contemplative worship. Finding my place with God has changed my life, and the more time that I spend dedicating my life to God, the better I feel in my soul. I love praying the Liturgy of the Hours, praising God and being thankful for all that I have been given. I'm thankful for all of the many opportunities that I have every day to praise God for his goodness in my life, and He rewards me with a peace I have been searching for all of my life. The first thing I do in the morning is rise, set eyes on my crucifix and pray, and the last thing I do at night is to look on my crucifix and pray before I go to sleep. It boggles my mind that this force has been around me my entire life and only now have I tapped into it.

My second passion is the environment, and the world around me. This passion affects many small and large decisions I make every day. I don't throw paper away, I put it in the recycle bin. I walk to the grocery store to save the atmosphere from a few blocks of my driving. I eat organic foods. I buy products that are recyclable or are made from recycled material. I make my own cleaners. I also talk a lot about how important it is to be aware of the daily choices made by each and every one of us. One person can make a difference. These daily actions take up quite a bit of my time, but they have become a part of who I am. In context of being Catholic, I'm going to steal a line from a commenter on an earlier post and say that being a steward of the Earth is something we are all called to be. I take my role as a steward of this planet very seriously.

My third passion is knowledge. I'm like a sponge. I read, I peruse the Internet, I have discussions, I go see films, I listen to what other people have to say. I refuse to stew in ignorance. I also find that being passionate about knowledge goes past simply learning so as to not be ignorant of a topic, but also to learn the depths and layers of a topic. It's one thing to, for example, go to Mass and learn about its meaning. It's another thing to learn specifically about what many of the learned saints have to say about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Tridentine Mass vs the Novus Ordo mass, Vatican II, the meanings behind the symbolism of Mass, etc. I have been Catholic for less than two months and investigating the Catholic church since October, but I have dozens of books on multiple different topics within Catholicism. It's important for my faith for this desire for knowledge to be fed. I also have bookshelves full of different books about a ton of different topics, and I read on average a book a week, sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction. I encourage the pursuit of knowledge with people around me and enjoy learning new and interesting things.

Since converting to Catholicism, I find that my passion towards loving and serving God has fulfilled a need in me that I was aware of but never quite understood. I searched high and low my entire life trying to quench this internal thirst I had. I tried to fill it with passion for music, for literature, focusing this desire on television shows or musicians or boys or hobbies. But it always felt like I needed more. The passions I had were consuming and destructive to me. But that insatiable craving is gone, filled with the happiness I have found in the Catholic church. I know now what I was craving.

Tuesday, June 20

Oddly grieving

I never thought I'd be so heartbroken over the loss of a basketball game.

I need a little time to grieve about it, I think.

Sunday, June 18

Carnival of the Veil

Carnival of the Veil is being hosted this week by Mormon Truth if you'd like to go check it out!

Latin Mass

My Tour of Churches last Sunday let me to the Holy Trinity Church in the Oak Lawn neighborhood in Dallas. It was a wonderful choice for Holy Trinity Sunday.

This Sunday's church experience actually started on Saturday. I have been seriously considering going to a traditional Latin mass, or Tridentine Mass. I've been to Latin Mass on a Saturday before, but I haven't been to a Sunday mass. To make sure I wanted to do this, I first went to the Saturday mass at St. Thomas Aquinas. I got there early enough to be able to go to confession, and had a wonderful confession with the priest. It was very thoughtful and he helped me quite a bit with an issue I've been struggling with. I've been looking for a decent confessor, so I'm extremely happy that I found one.

The Saturday Latin low mass was beautiful, as the previous one was, so I decided I'd take the plunge and go to the High Mass on Sunday. I went to Sacred Heart, my favorite little Catholic bookstore, and got a veil and a little red Missalette. I studied it last night so I could at least get a general idea of what was going on during the Mass.

The Latin Mass for Dallas is held in a small chapel attached to a cloistered Carmelite nun community in Oak Cliff (for more information check out the Mater Dei Latin Mass community home page). I left my house at 8:48a this morning and parked at 9:05a, so I made really good time getting there. The chapel is BEAUTIFUL. It's super tiny, but the altar is super ornate with lots of statues and woodwork. It was interesting seeing all of the other women there, all veiled. My veil kept shifting and I was really self conscious that it was crooked the whole mass. I was amazed at how many children and young parents were there. There were eight (!) altar boys helping the priest and all were in the traditional black and white garb.

I got there right before the Rosary started, and the place was already almost full. By the time Mass started, the church was packed and there were people standing. The mass started, and then the music kicked in ... Latin! Yes! Beautiful chanting by the priest, the choir, and the schola.

There was a LOT of kneeling. I'm going to need to toughen up my knees something fierce if I plan on going to mass on a regular basis. There was also a lot of up and down, which I didn't mind.

After Mass, there was a benediction and a procession with the monstrance and the body of Christ. Oh my gosh, it was beautiful! We all followed the procession, and when it doubled back on itself to go back to the tabernacle, we all knelt on the asphalt in adoration. Other than slightly flashing the people behind me because my foot caught my skirt, I did ok getting up and down. The asphalt hurt

I want to go back again. Bad. I think I might just become a Latin Masser.

I'll need to get a missal, but it's a small price to pay to be able to participate in such a beautiful mass.

"An Inconvenient Truth" - Review

I must preface this review with a bit of a disclaimer - when it comes to the environment, I am a tree-hugger 100%. I have been for as long as I can remember being old enough to make a conscious decision to be one. The environment to me is a very important cause, and I do my best to be informed about issues when I can.

This being said, I would like to heartily recommend the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Let me get a few things out of the way first hand. The movie is basically a slide presentation that Al Gore has been giving on the environment to groups for years. There's a lot of slides, a lot of charts, and a lot of statistics. It's dry in parts, and feels a bit choppy at times. There's also a few bits about his personal life which if you're not an Al Gore fan, you might have problems swallowing. He talks about his political career, his loss of the 2000 election, and the loss of his sister to lung cancer. He also seems to have forgotten to brush his teeth before filming, as he has a very distracting bit of green detritus in his lower teeth.

Now, once you get past these facts, the movie will scare the living crap out of you. It shows photographic evidence of glaciers disappearing, of Antarctica melting, of drought and floods being brought about by global warming. It shows chart after chart, evidence after evidence of the horrible things that mankind is doing to the planet, and is showing how much damage is being done. He takes the comments that are given by naysayers about how global warming is simply a "theory" and blows them all out of the water, over and over.

The movie only makes one or two comments about the "current administration" and those comments revolve around America's neglect to ratifying the Kyoto agreement and the doctored environmental report that was given to Bush during his first term, both of which are heavily documented and can be easily found with a simple Google search (as my links will attest to).

I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat, I highly recommend seeing this movie. It is important in a very global sense. And go out and get some energy-efficient bulbs. And walk to the grocery store once in a while - it's only a few blocks and it's good for you!

Ok, let's try this one more time ...


The A1 Thick and Hearty Burger is BACK!

My husband and I were journeying out to Grapevine Mills mall yesterday afternoon, when I looked over and saw a billboard with an amazing announcement. As I feasted on the beautiful picture in such gigantic proportions, I swear I could hear the angels sing its glory as I squealed in delight .... The A1 Thick and Hearty Burger from Whataburger is back!

If you are anywhere near the state of Texas (or any of the other great states lucky enough), you need to get yourself to your nearest Whataburger and partake of the most artery-clogging unhealthy burgers ever to be combined between two freshly toasted white bread buns. Why is it worth your health, and possibly your immortal soul???

My friends, we are talking about two 100% American raised All-Beef patties, two slices of melted cheese, a mound of fresh grilled onions, three slices of crisp, smoky bacon and a layer of tangy A1 steak sauce, surrounded by a toasted grilled bun.

Yes. It's as good as you could ever dream of it being. It is, quite simply, the best burger on the entire planet.

They only have it available about two months out of the year, and I know they've had it for at least three years off and on. I think there's a cycle where they introduce the burger about this time every year. Last year, during my vegan phase, I was on about Month 3 of my journey, when I saw that the A1 burger was again being offered. All moral fortitude went out the door as I ran as quickly as I could to get a taste of that smoky, saucy goodness.

I'm not kidding. Go, and support one of the greatest treasures we have in Texas - the Whataburger chain of burger restaurants. You can just picture yourself with a burger right now, can't you?