Saturday, February 24, 2007

When Housekeeping meets theology...

The last few days have been busy with cleaning, painting and spackling the walls of a house that our family has rented for the past six months. On the line is our security deposit- a hefty sum. In other words, we are not working this hard out of the goodness of our hearts, I'm sorry to say.

By far, the most indispensable tool has been the Magic Eraser. This product removes black marks from walls, paint from wood, scuff marks from floors, crayon, fingerprints and pretty much anything you can think of. Whatever you do, don't buy the two pack. You need the four pack and it is worth the money.

While I was erasing the walls of this five bedroom Victorian (and wondering if any of the children EVER washed their hands before they touched the walls) I started to think about how nice it would be if we had a magic eraser for our souls.

And then I realized that of course we do, the Sacrament of Confession. St. Augustine ssaid that the Confession of bad deeds is the first step to performing good deeds.

I was resolved to go to Confession today and begin the start of Lent in the right frame of mind. At 3:30pm, I was at St. Leo's Catholic Church with three of my children, ready to confess my sins. When we arrived we were heartened to see so many waiting for Confession. But we grew concerned that there was only 1 priest hearing Confession and Confession only lasted for one half hour. I think you know what happened. We were not able to go to Confession. At 3:56pm Fr. had to "get Mass going".

Now we can contrast the modern Confession schedule with the schedule kept by St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars. St. John Vianney spent 16-18 hours a day in the Confessional and the result was 300-400 pilgrims a day would come to see him and confess their sins.

We're losing the Sacraments- bit by bit. Priestless "parishes" are run by pastoral administrators (lay people). Baptisms are delayed. Confession is pushed back to a few years after First Holy Communion. Matrimony, Religious vocations- well you know. How many times have we heard stories about the difficulty of finding a priest to administer Extreme Unction?

The Sacramentals have been pretty muched phased out, except among the Traditional Resistance. Rosary- repetitious prayer for simpletons, Holy Water- replaced by sand during Lent, Blessed salt- never heard tell of anyone using it, Medals- called trinkets by the Director of Religious Ed, Religious images of the saints- an example of extremism.

It reminds me very much of this quote by St. Joan of Arc:

“You spoil the sacraments of the Church, you tear up the articles of the Faith, you destroy the churches, you break and burn the statues which were set up as memorials, you massacre Christians because they preserve the true Faith. What is this fury? Or what rage or madness consumes you? This faith, which God Almighty, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have revealed, established, elevated to power, and glorified a thousand ways through miracles - you persecute this Faith, you wish to overthrow and destroy it. You are blind, but not because you lack eyes or understanding. Do you believe that you will remain unpunished for it? Or are you unaware that God opposes your unlawful efforts and will not permit you to remain in darkness and error? So that the more you indulge yourselves in crime and sacrilege, the more He will prepare great punishments and anguish for you."


Anonymous said...

The loss of the sacrament of matrimony through the general acceptance of nonsense is one I am especially horrified by. Where did the six months of pastoral counselling insanity come from? And why don't parish priests exercise any judgement? It doesn't matter what the circumstances are - everyone gets treated like undersexed teenagers. Is the bride pregnant? Too bad, six months of counselling before you can get married. What if a cohabitating lapsed couple in their forties comes back to the faith? I could see requiring a month of celibacy, maybe two - but SIX MONTHS? Is one of them supposed to move out? And if you've got a cohabitating couple with children - you're going to ask parents to find childcare so they can sit in a parish office once a week and watch badly produced videos for six months? You'd think that priests would be interested in helping people stop fornicating, but nooooo.

Anonymous said...

Did you call and speak with the priest about your experience? I certainly would.

I think many priests are depressed and overworked. I really believe it. And in their quest to meet the needs of their people, they sacrifice their prayer time and thus the vicious cycle begins. I think many priests have also lost their faith. Sometimes, they need to be reminded and told that their job is to be there for YOU. And they also need to be told you are praying for them.

I asked my priest the other day what the Archdiocese does to ensure their priests don't experience burnout. The priest looked at me and said, "Wine. Nothing like red wine to fight burnout." My priests live in community so at least they are held responsible for prayer time and receive some support. But the parish priest lives by himself and gets lazy, with little oversight and support from his Bishop.

Dust I Am said...

Magic Eraser: I took a couple over to one of my daughters and she likes them more than I do! Pretty expensive, though.

Confession: Just get there earlier. Fortunately, the KC area doesn't seem to have that problem with the ICKSP and FSSP priests who hear many, many hours of confessions each week.

Joan of Arc: Way to go, Joan! You've told it like it is--many centuries before these modern times.

M. Alexander said...

Getting to Confession earlier won't help. Confession starts at 3:30pm. And even if I got there earlier- the fact is that there were at least 3 people who didn't get to go to Confession that I know of- there may have been more.

To be honest I don't know why Mass could not have started 5 minutes late. I really don't understand that.

Simon-Peter said...

What if....what if everyone went to confession, what then?

They'd be stumped.

I go half-an-hour before confession, it never fails, I am always, but always first in line.

Same faces, week after week too.