Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas, and celebrating the Lord’s birth, keeping that as the focus, something the world has forgotten and somehow the focus is all about the decorations and presents, big parties, not the meaning of the season I have to point out! However, were it not for Abraham and the Jewish people, their accepting the faith of the One True God, that worldview etc.. there be no Christianity, so I honor sharing also about Chanukah. May we be appreciative of our Hebraic roots and stand with the Jewish people and Israel through thick and thin.
This year my health really knocked me out and I did not get an advent wreath and we only put up the nativity scene, not even the tree, kept it simple as myself and my 93 year old mum have had a rough time health wise. However, if I had gotten the wreath it would have been great to have these prayers to reflect on. You can vary them, modify them to your own heartfelt words, but they are a nice model to work with.
Not too long ago a family member said something to me in reference to my posting my views on facebook and linked in etc.., she said something to the effect of who was I to have an opinion and post it on social media. In other words because I was no great scholar I had no business or right posting anything on social media or giving an opinion on anything political etc…. In terms of faith issues I am the only Christian Conservative or general Conservative in the family really, and get flack on that, and more than once my mom has suggested I just go along and pretend I agree or simply have no opinion, rather not express it, be invisible. Chanukah, The American Revolution, Civil War, people fought and shed blood for certain rights, freedoms etc…, so for me to not fully be able to express my views as a person of faith, and not be able to express conservative Biblical truth would be a great dishonor to those who came before me and I refuse to do so. It may cost me something, but that’s okay, let it. Life’s choices always cost you something, and if you are going to stand strong and tall with truth and sacred truth, you had better be willing to pay a price and have a heck of a lot of faith to the very end, no matter what happens or how it plays out.
To all our Jewish friends a Very Happy Chanukah!
Shalom and Amen
The words on this image are key to the forging of our nation, and the amazing gift we are given in those who serve, the sacrifices made. My Dad was a WWII vet, Air Force, and that is something I will always be proud of. He may not have been the right match for my mom, but despite his leaving when I was a kid, which not surprising, as they were really not compatible, I have the pride of knowing he served his country, never complained, even though he suffered head trauma and was never really the same after. It is because of that bravery that Europe was not overtaken by Nazis forever, as my mom points out because Italy was overrun with German soldiers and they were basically taking over. That is why when anyone says that the GOP is full of Nazis and all that I get angry because those who fought that war, who understand freedom versus the horror of the Nazis, Communists and all that, know we have no Nazis or Dictators in the GOP, we do amongst the Left and other Parties. To say we are Nazi is a total insult to my father and all those who fought that war and wars to eradicate such things. May we be enlightened this Veterans Day to appreciate the beauty of our Capitalist, Federalist Republic and make sure it gets back to that in full.
I came a cross this article regarding All Souls Day by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB and thought I would share it with you.
There are those who fear death, but death is simply transformation from being a physical being to a spiritual being in full splendor and when you are in Christ, living your life ethically etc…why fear something so natural as death, natural when it comes in its’ appointed time, not of course by our own hands since we don’t have that right to take our lives, since we did not create ourselves. I view death from a purely spiritual lens, so there is nothing to fear.
This hymn and the national anthem of our nation matter, along with plaques etc.. that show our heritage, especially in a time when academia and other sectors seek erase any and all traces of our heritage, history and roots. Some will try to say it is about trying to impose Christianity upon all the nation, which is pure bull and bull crap. Offended by such language, well tough because offense is trying to erase the core of our nation, our nation’s heritage, all that our nation was built upon, including the fight for religious freedom, the right to express that. Did the journey happen smoothly? No, but what the heck in life does go 100% smoothly? Pretty much nothing.
There are those who would say that there is no proof of a Christian heritage in our nation, nothing to honor, respect, maintain etc..? Again bull crap. All around us from the beginning, with state constitutions we see God, Year of Our Lord, inscriptions that tell us differently. As for the Confederate stuff, guess what geniuses of America, that’s part of your history also, and tearing stuff down changes nothing, and it was the Republican party that fought based on Christian values to eradicate slavery, the Libs that keep people in a state of slavery, victimization, seeing racism and boogeymen everywhere. Is our history perfect, free of bloodshed and error, hell no, but newsflash, we are human, flaws and all, so our history is flawed, suck it up. Learn from it and suck it up that it is our history, but don’t dare try to erase evidence of it just because you don’t like it.
I spoke in a previous blog about a path, about forging a path, and while a path forward does require some adaptation and some transformation so as to not be stagnant, what have we gained from a total disdain of all things traditional, of Family, God, Faith and Country?
I understand having to have a certain level of empathy and yes Jesus did, but he also said sin no more and said clearly there would be consequence for Sodom and Gomorrah. He may have had tensions and conflict with their legalisms, but he still honored tradition, celebrated the feast days of the Jewish calendar. He did not indicate disdain for the traditions of his ancestors and when they were using the church as a den of iniquities etc… he went ballistic. The Latin Rite and other such Masses are a beautiful, sacred and meditative, contemplative form of the Mass that attract young people who seek an intimate mystical connection to the divine, and a return perhaps subconsciously to traditional values. For this Pope to treat traditionalists and conservatives with such disdain is a stain on him and of great damage to society. He should be celebrating this and encouraging this, instead of what he is doing, which is purging the Vatican of anything traditionalist and conservative, which will alienate people, will lead to a splinter of Orthodox Catholics forming their own group or joining the Eastern Right Church, and if they do it will serve the Vatican, which has become too liberal and this Pope right to have Catholics leave the faith in droves join the Eastern Right, even Orthodox Anglican or for The Catholic Orthodox Church and refuse to recognize the authority of the Vatican due to corruption etc… After all, tradition is the glue that keeps things together, you that, you lose the soul, and the traditions of the Catholic faith are beautiful ones.
There is the divide, one not easily reconciled, if at all. Culturally, being Italian the Roman Catholic faith is a central part of the identity, but I have never, even as a kid been comfortable with it.
I remember even as a kid being resistant to confession, the whole notion of Papal authority and all that. As I got older, the whole annulment thing, different things, no matter how it was explained, how logical it was presented, didn’t jive, even veneration of saints and icons. It didn’t jive. I find myself now with a disconnect between my cultural heritage and my theological, heartfelt belief. The cultural heritage is Italian and Roman Catholic with distinctly southern traditions of the faith and theological heartfelt beliefs along the lines of two things 1. The 39 Articles of Faith of the Anglican Creed and Christ Consciousness, that means something very particular to me, which I will explain. Christ Consciousness to me means understanding the various layers of meaning to the teachings of Christ, heart, spirit and soul. One thing that strikes me is that he dished out both Agape and tough love, didn’t shy away from calling out the missing of the target, he did it. As I seek that home that aligns with me spiritually, theologically, creatively and can also help me to still honor my heritage, my Christ Conscious is invaluable as are my Italian-American identity, as well as my love of God and Country.
When our Monsignor said we needed a Pastoral Plan, I agreed because it made sense, perfect sense, so I got right on it, whatever the church needs in order to be saved, to be a church once again, we need to fight for tooth and nail. We can’t do that unless we have a plan, a solid pastoral plan, so that is what I created, put together. I send it to my colleague, thinking he wanted to make the church a glorious church of renown for the Italian American and Traditionalist communities.
Today, I got sucker punched, when I was asked why I cared about what the church needed, why I cared about what the Monsignor needed from us. Then came the clear rejection of any intention of working any any such plan. It was beyond comprehension to me that one would not realize how crucial it is for the survival of a church to bring back the sacraments, Mass on a regular basis, a full time vicar so on and so forth. It boggles my mind that anyone would not realize that though the arts have a place in the church, the church is not an arts center, it is a place for the Sacraments and evangelizing, not for the showcasing of artists, unless you tie that in with fundraising for social services and other things such as structural improvements for the church. It really struck me, hit my heart and soul in a way that I am not sure I can describe. I asked at the meeting recently with the Monsignor what was needed for the church to thrive, to be saved, and I was given an answer, but when I shared it with my colleague I got a response that seemed to me like a “screw that, I am going to do what pleases me for the church, focus on the activities I want to do for the church, and screw what is needed or the Monsignor says we need, screw that” If I am wrong, if I read it wrong , God forgive me, but if I didn’t, I thought well what do I do with this.? I do do care, and I gave my word that a pastoral plan would be presented. I know my colleague is a good man, but his focus is not on the big picture, not on the whole pie, rather on slices of the pie. That does not help the church, we have to first look at the whole pie, how to create a whole pie that will appeal and sell, then the individual slices within that pie. I also wanted to make sure that the people, key people at that meeting knew I had done my part, had presented the plan, made it clear the necessity of that plan, that things must be interconnected. I had to take again matters into my own hands, not to hurt my colleague, as I don’t want to do that, but to make sure that they knew I had kept my word and done what I had said I would do. In my communication to my colleague I let him know that I assumed he would communicate to the Monsignor that I had submitted a rough draft of the plan, but he had rejected it and had no interest in pursuing such a thing. I also let him know I would be notifying key people on my end of of that as well, along with other information I needed to relay to them about a meeting being postponed.
It pained me that my passion for wanting to restore this church to a liturgical glory with a permanent vicar, and more, and the assessment of the Monsignor were not shared by my colleague, that he could not understand my caring. I have great passion for saving this church, for bringing it to liturgical glory, making it a center of conservative liturgy, Mass regularly and so much more. I had hoped my colleague would be on board to that, to reaching out to campuses in tandem with the Societies that are with us, to evangelization efforts through our church Missa Cantanta monthly that I have in mind, all part of the pastoral plan. It hurts that this person does not have this passion and desire to bring full liturgy and so much more to this church, vespers perhaps. I refuse to give up, refuse to give up on a Pastoral Plan, getting sponsors, bringing this church to full glory of liturgy!
St. Rocco Mass. It got to standing room only. Once again in contrasting this to the secular concert events we have had or months, with empty seats, the message was clear. What was the message and what is the message with conservative, traditionalist churches and diocese thriving and liberal ones dying?
For one, wake up church, stop with the stupid, which is trying to be modern and hip and with it so to speak, stop dumbing down and stooping to the low level of secular. Second, people don’t want secular stupidity, what they want is traditionalism, whether they consciously realize it or not. Tradition, structure, they want it and they need it. They need good old fashioned tradition and structure from the church, and it doesn’t have to be dull, it can be pure majesty, beauty, awe inspiring, filled with love, but though it can be Agape Love, like any good parent, it also has to have it’s element of tough love. It has to have both and it can. When I saw those pews filled and that we had to add folding chairs and then people having to stand, it just reinforced that the priority of funding and securing funds, priority for the arts program has to be a cantor, pianist and choral ensemble, the Mass, Concerto Masses, Latin and Italian Mass, these have to be the priority, not secular concerts, not the secular. This Mass yesterday reinforced my resolve to bring that truth home in my meeting this week with our Monsignor and the Cathedral’s Music Director. Not that one can’t do secular stuff, but that is not what ought to be the priority, even for funding. It really made me want to be a part of the faith even more, find a way to be part of the arts within the faith even more, coordinate events related to the faith even more. It really was a beautiful thing and though, due to work I had to do, due to a glitch of sorts that came up, so I couldn’t participate fully in the day, it was still a beautiful thing and a reaffirmation that what I need to focus on is the sacred, the traditional because that is what people crave, want and need.