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

 

 

 

The Parent Traps

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

 

When a parent leaves, walks out or passes away and the child is young you can end up with the “parent trap”.  The trap can happen out of caring or out of the other parent being really pissed of at the situation that took place.

The caring parent trap can be where the parent cares so much about the child having a positive image they make the parent that passed away or left a saint, this all encompassing hero, this larger than life person.  I get that a parent wants their kid to have a positive model and good memories of the other parent, but his can be a real negative.  If you create a saint to rival all saints and heroes in that parent, that child is going to feel their whole life like they have to bend over backwards to live up to being like this larger than life saint or person you and the whole family created.  That does not help at all, not them, not anyone who has to live with them or deal with them on a day to day basis.  Truly loving them means giving them a very human parent flaws and all, not some mythical hero with a heart, spirit, soul larger than life.  My dad was by all accounts a nice guy, maybe too nice for his own good some might say.  I am glad I have  a very human picture of him, very glad, one that is a mix of strengths, but also weaknesses that hurt him in his life.  Still, I prefer the very human dad than if I had some larger than life myth.  Then there is the other side of the coin, the one where the parent is so angry, bitter they do nothing but tear the other parent down, creating a lot of chaos within the child, fear and a whole bunch of insecurity.  They create anger issues in the child and through adulthood, lots of stuff that is projected and as a child, that child has no real way to process or understand.  They develop a very warped and negative image of the male or female gender due to that.  A lot of damage can be done by this other “parent trap” as I call it.  I understand that loss of  partner under less than ideal circumstances can be reason for anger etc.., but that is no reason to bring poison into the life of the children.  Whatever war is going on between the adults need to be worked out strictly between the adults.

When one parent gives the image of the other parent, any mythology, needs to be left in the mythology section of literature either way.  It is not in anyone’s best interest to create a false extreme narrative of a parent to that child positive or negative. Best to keep it as honest as one can, keeping in mind the age range.  If a parent has left and the child is young, just say “mom/dad left, we have a lot of stuff to work out and it’s between us grown ups, but it’s stuff that happens with grown ups and sorry that you get stuck in the middle, but we love you”.  Don’t create monsters.  If the parent passed away, even if they were great people, don’t create a larger than life myth or saint, make them as human as possible, no grandiose anything to strive to live up to, don’t ever burden children or anyone with that.  Not fair to them or those around them.

Amen

 

Sometimes, A Sigh and Hope They See

Holy Ghost

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There are times when you can see things very clearly, when the Holy Spirit has given you a clear vision and you are ready to forge ahead. Ahhh but…

You wake up and have a solid vision let’s say in regards to your vocation, to the path to take in that regards and you are well under way and you see in front of you ship ready to sink and the other person also knows the ship is sinking and they need to reverse, chart a new course, but like many of us don’t want to give up on their “child”, their idea, no matter what.  You hate to see them going in circles, bang their head against a wall and you have given all the input you can, so what do you do?  You may have to step back, just step back do you thing, work on what you need to work on, pray and meditate the Holy Spirit will come upon them with the same vision you were given or a complimentary one.  All you can do sometimes because anything else will lead to you banging your head against the wall.  You have to know when that point is to step back, really listen to your spirit, inner self connected to the divine realm.

Another scenario, one wakes up and realizes their soulmate is front of them, and as an intuitive you know they have realized it, so why is there not a moving forward more specifically, an integration socially etc…? If you are a person who wants things said, done, let’s go, get to it, times a wastin, speak up, let the heart flow, let’s go, you might wonder why the other person is not speaking up, letting the heart flow, sharing his or her feelings etc…  For some realizing their twin flame soulmate is right in front of them and they have feelings after they have done everything to numb themselves because of crap they have had in their lives, maybe they have even had a divorce, not an amicable one.  Any number of reasons may make them very reluctant to acknowledge or to accept that they have had this realization or that they are feeling anything for anyone in any intense way, or any deep way.   They have learned to be numb, detached, be butterflies in philanthropy, socially and all that, but as far as making a wham bam wow rock my world connection, twin flame soulmate connection they are petrified of that.  What do you do? Caring, support, not phony tell you what you want to hear support, sincere, from the heart, even if that means saying what they might not want to always hear, but need to.  You meditate, pray, envision the walls they have put up crumbling down, all the unprocessed pain etc… faced, processed and released so they can admit to the twin flame soulmate connection and move on it.  If they can’t, if they refuse to take down the walls for because of life circumstances can’t, then ask for divine sacred guidance and for things to unfold to the greater good of all.

Amen

 

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

A Relationship Like A Choir

thumbs_light-pink-musical-notes-and-butterflies-background-header

A relationship can be compared to a garden, to different things but I am going to compare it to a choir, might be a new one. I think it might be an apt description.

In a choir you have different vocal ranges, members with different gifts that have to work in harmony with each other.  If the choir members don’t harmonize, don’t understand their different gifts, don’t have good flow with those gifts then that choir will never work. A relationship is like a choir, each of you has gifts and figuring out what they are that you bring to the table and how they work together can be quite challenging for some.  Also, some voices etc.. personalities work quite well together and some don’t, so a good choir director will seek to bring together those that do work well together.  One of the reasons that praying to the Lord to bring one’s twinflame soulmate to them for a life union is important is that he is a great choir director, so he will know which one is your best partner for a lifelong choir partnership.  The flow will be there, that ebb and flow that allows for great collaboration, cooperation, coordination, communication all of that and so much more.  When you have a good understanding of what each brings to the choir, the relationship and the ebb and flow is there you will find a few things happening more and more as it unfolds:

  • presence, the desire for real presence in each other’s day to day life
  • exchange and free flow of ideas, encouragement mutually
  • shared goals, spiritual path perhaps
  • shared personal, spiritual growth and development, even perhaps creative development

These are just some of the things that you would see unfold as the choir that is one’s twinflame soulmate relationship unfolds.  You may even help each other explore gifts, discover gifts and talents you never knew you had. You bring out all kinds of great stuff in each other, lift each other up, a great journey and experience each and every day.   Will there be moments when you sing off key? yeah, but you quickly get back to singing in tune and on key because you understand the gifts you each have and how you compliment each other.  Each day is a great adventure, so that even being in a park, sitting and observing people can be ecstasy because great spiritual stuff can come up, creative stuff. even the simplest things when you are together can turn into a whole orchestra of music.  That happens in a true soulmate union because you are not trying to change anyone, you simply bring out the positive aspects in each other and anything that is detrimental, well with prayer, with encouragement, the greatest choir director of all can take care, though it may take time.  It is worth waiting sometimes for that perfect for you, not perfect because none of us is that, twinflame soulmate, even if they do come along later in life, to create together beautiful music.

Amen

Instant Affinity, Now What?

Holy Ghost

You meet and there is this instant affinity, anointing almost, might not be flashy, balls of fire, it might be like a beautiful spiritual breeze and descending dove that comes upon you.  It might be something where you instantly click, flow, communicate etc.. and it feels like home, they feel like home.  If you are a sensitive you might sense they have that same affinity, same magnetic pull in your direction.  What’s the problem? Why not just assume everything will move at lightening speed and their heart, spirit soul will open up, they will acknowledge this to themselves, to you etc…? Well because it may not happen that way and it may not be that easy.

We have seven levels of consciousness according to metaphysical teaching and if you also look at catholic saints and their mystical experiences you see that we have layers of consciousness.  What does that mean?  It means just that, depth and layers.  For feelings and acknowledging them, well it can be tricky.  Feelings begin at a subconscious and psychic conscious level and work their way up to the conscious.  For some that happens very quickly, nothing blocks it and they have such an openness with the divine, with their own feelings, and the spiritual on every level that they are able to immediately have the subconscious feelings go to the conscious acknowledge them and constructively bring them out into the open.  Others, it is a lot harder to do that due to lack of trust in themselves, in others, in life etc.. due to negative experiences.  If they have had a life pattern of negative experiences, then they will have closed their heart, spirit and soul, not want to love or be loved, even if they do want that, yearn for it.  When they do start to have any deep emotions of friendship, of connection of anything with anyone on a subconscious and psychic level, their immediate instinct might be to block it, resist it, get all intellectual about it etc.., anything rather than face it, embrace it, express it to the other person, act on it.  That terrifies them, confronting anything emotional terrifies them because it might bring pain as far as they’re concerned.

What do you do when you know there is something there, underneath the surface, but they do not have the courage to express it, to speak up, to share etc…? Keep being you, keep connecting, pray, meditate,  hope that any walls that have been put up due to fear will come down and what is in the subconscious, those deeper hidden levels will surface, be acknowledged, fully embraced, fully expressed etc…If at some point you feel you have to let go and in terms of your heart move on, you do so.

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