Sunday, February 18, 2007

Let's Clear A Few Things Up

There have been a number of things on my mind in the last few days that have kept me from posting much of anything. I struggle to determine how to articulate what it is I wish to say about things and with the hours at work, I just decided it better nto to say anything at all. But for my peace of mind, here it is:

1. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) are to be used in extraordinary circumstances. Many churches abuse this position in the liturgy. I am personally of the opinion that we should be instituting acolytes. (I was so thrilled to see Matt's attitude about receiving this ministry! I wish I saw it more often...)

2. EMHCs, though used quite often unnecessarily, are not the sole reason for the lack of belief in the Real Presence. The lack of faith and the decline in true believers is, in my opinion, due to many things, among which would be poor catechesis.

3. The laity are allowed to help with the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

4. The solemn blessing that happens on Ash Wednesday is the blessing of the ashes, not the people. The people are certainly blessed by the reception of this sacramental, however, the words that the priest or other person says in the applying of the ashes is not a blessing in and of itself. (I can explain further if anyone is curious.)

5. As SFO Mom mentioned, every Friday is penetential. It is not longer required that you abstain from meat on Fridays, however it is an old custom and certainly (at least in my opinion) a beautiful one.

Enough with the list, eh?

There is one more thing I want to touch on before I wrap this post and settle into a peaceful rest and that is this:
But anyway, the issue at hand really is: if they really LIKE shrimp marinara over linguine, or Spanish Garlic Shrimp, or sauteed tilapia, or even pizza, where's the sacrifice?
This was posted by SFO Mom in the same post as was mentioned previously. I suggested in the comments box what I want to suggest here: If you struggle with penetential food selections, I would suggest another act of penance during mealtime that would make it penetential without wasting food. (Her worry was that she would make food that they wouldn't eat if she tried to make the food selection penetential.)

There are a number of things I can think of that would be penetential, though not every family would be comfortable with it I'm sure.

When we go on retreat we always indulge in what is called a Desert Day. On these days of silence, meal times are spent listening to a spiritual reading. One person (often times our retreat leader) will sit at the head of the table (or in a central location) and read as everyone eats. It is a time of reflection and solitude, even amongst so many other people.

When I was in New York, we listened to a reading from the Life of St. Francis every day before dinner. The table would be set when we approached and, standing behind our chairs, we would say our blessing. Then we would all sit quietly except for one who would read to us from the book. After the reading had been finished, she would sit and we would begin the distribution of food.

These are similar customs and certainly both could be seen as penetential acts, especially if you come from a rambunctious family!

I have some more ideas and will most likely be compiling them for a post later this week.

Final note: I'm currently working on three blog templates and have a number of other activites happening this week. If you don't see me around, throw up a prayer for me, would ya? I have a feeling I'm going to crash before this is all over.


Blogger DilexitPrior said...

5. As SFO Mom mentioned, every Friday is penetential. It is not longer required that you abstain from meat on Fridays, however it is an old custom and certainly (at least in my opinion) a beautiful one.

Yes, but we should point out that during Lent it is required that you abstain from mean on Fridays.

Since every Friday is penitential I find that abstaining from meat is an easy way to observe this since if I'm consistent in that practice I know I will observe the penitential nature of Fridays. If I just think to myself. . . "Today's Friday, I need to do something penitential." most likely I'm not going to consistently be observing every Friday.

2/20/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Daughter of St. John said...

Good list. I've been at the end of my rope with those issues lately. Sometimes a lack of charity prevails when I get tired of fighting.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the no meat thing, it seems rather trivial in our modern culture where meat is not a luxury and there are plenty of non-meat substitutes such that we wouldn't even miss meat!

As for meals as you've described, picture this, a meal in silence with lots of teenagers, me sitting next to my spiritual director, and the monk reading flipping through the book looking for something to read settling on....the Holy Father, as in JPII, blessing race car drivers in St. Peter's Square. (lots of stifiled laughter ensued!) Then, from that the monk went on to read about some gathering of youth with the pope in the late 1970s. The pope's address went something like this, "I'm so glad to be with you young people who have chosen the theme of your gathering to be, "Hello, we're here too!" The laughter wasn't so stifled this time and I leaned over and begged Father to RING THE BELL to make the monk STOP reading!!!!

But in all seriousness it's a great way to pass meals and especially during lent when we're not used to it. It can be a real shocker at first, but eventually one comes to be at peace with the silence of oneself at what is normally a very verbal time!

Be holy! DSJ

2/20/2007 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it is my understanding that abstaining from meat still is required but that if you don't you are required to observe some other penance in it's place. I do not know where this is stated but I have heard several priests and religious refer to it.
Pax Christi,

3/05/2007 01:17:00 PM  

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