Want People Back In Pews, TRADITION!

Holy Ghost

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That’s right darlin, Tradition, just like they that word that we remember from Fiddler on The Roof.  As music coordinator for the local church and one who had made a journey back home to the faith, I have done a lot of research as to what not only millennials are seeking, but in general those who would want to come back to or come to the church, also what they don’t want.  This would also apply to non millennials, the gist of it.

What don’t they want? What they don’t want is the church to be a rock concert, night club, cafe, lounge, opera stage or anything besides a church.  They also don’t want hip and cool man, so if you are looking to become a star and liver out your dreams through the church, they won’t appreciate any of that.  They won’t appreciate it being a way for you to feel good about you, or for you to be some hero, and they will see right through.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away, but he honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  The articles I have been reading make a similar point, which is that you do not go to church to be entertained to “feel good”, you go to reflect, contemplate, to hear truth, even if uncomfortable.  

What do they want?   They want traditional Mass with traditional song and liturgy, dynamic homily.  As for the arts, they are fine with the creative,  related to scripture, faith formation.   If you are creative and you do it out of true love of teaching scripture and all things of God, teaching that to them, hey by all means. They want the homily, the teachings to be authentic brutal, but authentic, Jesus presented in both his humanity and divinity.  They want a God,  Trinity that is not so pie in the sky they can’t ever relate.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away.  Be honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  They want the church to be a second home, to guide, point the way, to know that even the apostles, the saints struggled with temptations, with anger, with people opposing their expression of faith, throughout their lives, and that faith is not easy.  One article I was reading pointed this out:  Recent research from Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network found that 67 percent of millennials prefer a “classic” church over a “trendy” one, and 77 percent would choose a “sanctuary” over an “auditorium.”.  That says a lot.  In that same article blogger Amy Peterson put it this way: “I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly ‘relevant.’ I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”  Again, they want to feel embraced and safe in the church, but they also don’t want to be lied to and not receive authenticity, so finding that balance is crucial.  

Catholicism in particular has such rich traditions and to try and modernize and all that blarney is silly and dumb and no it should not change its’ doctrines of truth on anything in terms of core teachings, but each church must do a much better job of catechesis, formation, apologetics and application of it all to life and community, internally and externally.  Sadly not everyone wants to hear get back to basics, get back to tradition, to catechesis and all that jazz, and so the church pews stay empty, as the secular and all other marvels are tried in order to grow the church instead of getting back to basics.  These articles I found interesting and hope you do to.

https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2017/04/local-parish-leaders-gain-insights-reaching-millennials/

http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/millennials-at-mass-to-whom-shall-we-go/33000

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jesus-doesnt-tweet/2015/04/30/fb07ef1a-ed01-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html?utm_term=.b2fcdb9b9994

 

 

 

Majesty, Sacred Again Revealed

Most PRecious Blood

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As I witnessed the Corpus Christi Mass and the participation for the first time of one of the Italian Societies of one of the saints of Sicily, it brought home the beauty, reverence and majesty of the faith.  No need to shout or get rowdy about God’s word, or in communicating it and a few realizations hit home.

We must honor the sacred etc… of the faith in every aspect, even the music, even when we seek to bring in anything secular, it must be in line with reverence etc… for the Great Commission, the mission of the Gospel, related to the beauty of the faith, teachings of the faith.  We mustn’t water down the faith to fit the world or the church to fit the secular, that is not love, that is not loving souls to do so.  It is not loving nations to say you must not have strict borders, strict sovereign control over your borders, and enforce them uniformly, consistently, wisely.  We must truly understand that when Jesus said we were to partake of his flesh etc.. we wasn’t whistling dixie folks, this was serious stuff.  The church understands as does God that all fall short of the glory of God, that doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility for your actions, you do.  There is an understanding of Justice with mercy and all that.  There is a beautiful majesty that the church has of truth in its’ teachings, but it is not doing a good job in sharing that day to day with the world, the community, not doing a good job evangelizing, not doing a good job with apologetics. If those in key positions in the church do not see the amazing aspects of tradition of the sacred and of setting a solid foundation for all and to welcome all back to the church, then the church can not grow, the church started by Christ when he gave Peter the keys those thousands of years ago, which has such reverence for the Mass, order of the Mass etc… will not grow.  I also caution the church not to pander to illegal immigrants and all that jazz just to fill the pews, but rather to focus on being much better in creating traditional Mass, strong cultural identity of Catholic faith and strong bible study programs within the church, encouraging laity to become strong in their understanding of the Bible and the Catholic faith and to host bible studies on a weekly basis.  One thing I think that we Catholics have going is that we are not dooms day sayers, we don’t have an apocalyptic view of the bible, the future etc…, not in the way others do, other Christian groups do.  We have lots of hope and optimism to be found, that can be renewed and revived, if we can get back to our roots.  That is what I saw on Saturday at the Corpus Christi Mass.

Amen

My Culture and My Faith Intertwined

Catholic

Sunday at Shrine of the Most Precious Blood, my parish, The Society of St. Anthony of Padua celebrated the Mass in honor the saint.  Tuesday the church itself will celebrate a Mass in honor of the saint, as Tuesday is the actual feast day of St. Anthony.

As the mix of Italian and English was filling the church, the statue of St. Anthony with lights all around it at the entrance visible when you first came in, the bread blessed and distributed at the end, everyone greeting everyone, even if they did not know each other, and people introducing you to others, it was beautiful.  It also brought home a very important point, maybe more than one.  It brought home to me that Catholicism is a major part of who I am, culturally whether I agree with all of the theology of the faith or not.  It is a very important part of me, what shapes me, who I am, the conservative side of me, also the spiritual side of me.  I have no problem saying I am of Christ, I am Christian, and yes I have had my crisis moments, my questioning moments, but I never turned my back on Christ.  The core of who I am remained the same throughout my journey and my connection the Trinity, the core of the Catholic faith never wavered, ever.  I have been also aware that as was pointed out last night in a Catholic anniversary program there has to be a periodic examination and renewal, so questioning is not problematic within itself.  However one thing I have realized is that the core principles of the faith are perfectly sound, logical and serve me well in my life should I adhere to them.  Appreciation for them and my culture is a true blessing, the church does and has recognized when it has faltered, even if not right away, but then do we immediately realize when we falter?  What are those principles that have guided me, that the saints have shown me?  There are a few:  

  • Make the journey of faith, really explore the Judeo-Christian faith from all facets, come to it and God with an open and willing heart, spirit and soul, and love
  • It’s okay to stumble along the way, just get up and keep going
  • Stand strong for and in who you are, a child of the Creator, and in Christ who gave his life for you
  • Discover your gifts, talents, purpose in that and how to best apply them for the good of society
  • Value family, cultural traditions, while still valuing progress and moving forward
  • Be a shinning example of faith and strength through faith, no matter what
  • Don’t ever be anything but who you are and are meant to be in Christ
  • Celebrate that every day of your life and help others to do so

As I continue in my work as an artist, and music coordinator for the church, I hope to learn more about myself, my faith, my culture all of that and grown in my relationship with the Trinity, as well align my own trinity in harmony, my heart, spirit and soul.

Amen

Catholic Must Always Remain Catholic

Catholic

When I hear of compromise, of reform in regards to the Catholic faith, I get a bit antsy.  I know some would find it quite amusing since I have never been religious, spiritual, philosophical about my Catholicism, not very religious about it.  

Due to the fibromyaltia, I have often watched Mass on TV, as I was crashing and not feeling very well, or went to the nearest church to home, and it has been a long and winding road to make my way back home to the Catholic church.   When I felt a call to minister I even went to a “Catholic” church that ordained women, did not really follow Church teachings because I thought call to ministry had to mean priesthood, which now I understand is not the case.  I am now back home and I am realizing the gift that Magisterium and the teachings of the Magisterium are to us, if we are truly willing to learn, to understand and seek to apply those teachings to life.  I hear people say that the Catholic Church should be run more like other denominations, should do things like other faith groups, like the Jews and Protestants do it.  As my we used to say to kids “If so and so jumped off a bridge would you do it to?” I would hope the answer would be no.  I recently posted articles that showed that the churches that are growing are actually the conservative ones, not the liberal ones.  

Let’s look at what makes Roman Catholic distinctly RC, let’s start there.  There five things in particular, core things: Papal Authority, The Eucharist and Transubstantiation, The Immaculate Conception, Purgatory (similar concept exists in Judaism, similar not exactly, similar) and of course there is also and I am adding the Priesthood with all attention given to the Church, marriage to the Church.  These are cornerstones of the faith, the industrial strength glue of the Church, very fabric of it.  These are all interwoven into the foundations of the Church, so what happens if you start pulling at the threads?  If you start pulling at the thread, any thread of a sweater, of anything, it unravels.  We already see how society with all its’ liberalism has unraveled, as it has moved to socialism, marxism, global identity etc.., no national identity, no pride in one’s nation, one’s cultural identity, or pride in a way that is destructive not constructive, a world where borders are being erased, so is law and order, where boundaries in all things are being thrown away.   The Roman Catholic Church with a beautiful uniqueness called the Magisterium that gives us a body of wisdom, when it stays true to conservative biblical principles, is the greatest gift we have for all the world.  

What should the Church do?  Not worry about size, God will determine the size it wants it to be.  It should seek to be strong as a beacon of Conservative values across the board, including politically, stand with a strong Capitalist Democratic Federalist Republic Model and Concept as well as a strong Constitutional form of government model for all nations, as well as strong national sovereignty and borders be honored.  It should stand strong with traditional marriage and pro-life, all of that.  It should show great support for the arts as a way to teach the faith, the conservative values of the faith and these forms of governance as the ideal model.  It should retain the character that makes it always uniquely Catholic, never bow down to the cultural landscape of the moment, but rather influence for God and Country.  Does the church need to reform to have more accountability for the clergy and have greater involvement of the laity? Yes, but the core of what makes us Roman Catholic must never change, and the RC Church must be a shinning light of Conservative values and it must not become a liberal institution, nor must it become a socialist marxist institution, nor a “sanctuary city” break federal law because we are a church so we can institution.  It must be a Church and have empathy, yes, but it must not participate in violating state sovereignty rights of a state to enforce its’ borders and border laws.  It must find a perfect balance between empathy and not violating state sovereignty, between living in the world, but not being of it, being a Conservative institution loyal to Biblical Truth and teaching it, no matter how painful it is for us to hear, with empathy, also understanding that nothing is ever hopefully where there is Christ in the heart.

Whatever happens in society, may the Roman Catholic Church always remain unique and uniquely Roman Catholic.

Amen

 

Metaphysical Look At Acts 6:8-15 and John 6:22-29

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The Journey That is Life.

From a metaphysical standpoint it is first important to know the meaning of the names of those in the Bible, what they represent.  We will begin with that.

Acts 6:8-15

Stephen means “crowned”. and thus represents the head, crown, reason, orderly thought.  Those of balance, even when the Spirit stirs in them, don’t go off in a frenzy, all  balmy, no.   They heed the stirring, but they meditate, they seek to balance the head and the heart, so there is no discord.  Stephen was presenting well thought out logical we could say “law and order” arguments, but that did not well with those of pure emotion.  Unity says it beautifully when they say:  This cry of “blasphemy” is always made by those who are put to rout by the Truth—it is their last resort. So we find in our own minds this tendency to fear that we can go too far in spiritualizing our thought and its environment. When the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, or the Spiritual Man Demonstrated, shows us that this fleshly temple must be replaced by one of incorruptible substance, which will not be under the mortal law (Moses), we are apt to halt in our upward flight. But when the illumined Stephen is brought before the whole consciousness, “All that sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” In the face of all opposition Truth shines undimmed. If we look to the New Testament and to Christ we see a new paradigm.

I pointed out in a previous post about the beauty of the dignity of the Catholic Mass, but there is also a beauty in the in depth reasoning of the theology of it all.  Reason must accompany faith, just like it must accompany even a dream one is to pursue.  The New Testament takes us from Law of the Flesh, what in metaphysics is referred to as Mortal Law to Spiritual Law. Now the law of God, in and through Christ, Salvation is written in the heart, and the sacrifices etc.. are Christ centered not me centered.  Even though Stephen knew he had reason on his side, he got goaded into a fight, false accusations against him came up and he got goaded into full emotional outpouring and “I’ll show you” kind of thing.   It’s easy for that to happen to us, when one or the other, the head alone or the heart alone rule the moment etc..  What this is meant to show us is that we must never be goaded into going into either mode, pure academic or pure emotion.  Rather there must be a coming together of the head and the heart, which I will say is not an easy thing, far from it and is a lifelong journey of grasping.  However it is worth making the effort.

 

John 6:22-29

Substance, where does that come from? Think about the process of something coming to life.  First you have the idea, the thought, then you might write it down, or speak it to someone, then after that it begins to take shape in the physical realm of things.  God spoke it all into existence, the Word was with Him, was then made flesh.  That means God had this idea in his head already for creating a world.  It originated in God’s psyche.  Christ is the eternal life and bread sent to us, and we are to gnaw on him, which you can imagine seemed pretty barbaric to some, that notion.  The holiness of God, the wonders of the creator, the teachings of Christ, in Context please, not just hippie love kind of context.  He was clear about law and order, adhering to God’s moral laws, and sinning no more, so let’s keep that in mind always.  We must live in full consciousness that we are created by the Word of God, and the great gift given in Christ in the Word made flesh who willingly, this is key, willingly gave his life so we could gnaw and have eternal life, always have that sacred Christ to look upon dead, buried, resurrected as an example of God’s amazing grace.

Every Life Has Potential!

By Jordan Sheppard, LCA sophomore – Her Aunt Kerris always took little Monica to Santa Monica’s New Shiloh Baptist Church. Even though Aunt Kerris was not wealthy, she always gave 50 cents to her niece to buy something after service from the local store. Things were cheap back in the 70s and 80s, so you […]

via She almost aborted him — Mustard Seed Budget

Mass of Remembrance, Testament To My Heritage

Life and Liberty, God Bless America

The light shines within., going out in connection to the Divine Creator.

Yesterday we had a Mass of remembrance for the victims of Triangle Factory Fire in NYC, which took place in 1911 at Most Precious  Blood Church.  I would have liked to have seen more people there to honor the memory of these people, some as young as 14, but it was a moment of beauty and sadness both for me.

The beauty of the Mass, of the faith in the Risen Christ, in knowing that in their memory they have life and in Christ they have eternal life was a beautiful thing. I have explored spirituality from different pathways in my life, even most recently Judaism and I guess also when I see the evangelicals all excited prayer and all that it has a certain appeal for someone who is an artist, a songwriter, poet, all that.  Yesterday, I was reminded that faith and The Faith, living it, is not about being entertained, though I think a good Homily is always a good think and a great homily delivered by Priest with a great delivery, awesome, but rather about wisdom.  It is about remembering that we are Catholic, not like other denominations.  We place emphasis on reason, on inductive and deductive reasoning to understand the faith, the Bible, God, the Trinity, life, all that, as much as we do faith.  The core of what makes us Catholic, unmarried religious, sacraments, the structure of the Mass really matter, Lenten traditions and within that cultural traditions all matter.  As I participated in that Mass yesterday and as we then read the names of those victims, with Amazing Grace playing in the background, it made appreciate the beauty of my heritage, of my Roman Catholic heritage.  Does the Institution have flaws, yes, do individuals within the institution have flaws, hell yeah, for remember we all fall short, all, of the glory of God.  I don’t expect the Institution or individuals in it to be perfect, people of overall ethics, integrity, yes, perfect, hell no.  I don’t believe in unicorns or any of that, haven’t for a while in life.  I do believe in the Risen Christ and appreciate my heritage, the Roman Catholic faith included and beauty of a Mass with dignity, not a lot of shouting, clapping etc.. needed, but rather beauty and dignity.

Amen