Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

God Breathes - Man Receives - and Reciprocates

It occurs to me upon watching August Rush for the umpteenth time (I'm a slow learner), that the pipe organ scene that makes me cry EVERY TIME I watch it has a deeper meaning.

I connect it of course to the Mass, for as a teen I was a cantor mostly accompanied by the Pipe Organ, always wondering why my Mom was head-over-heels for it. In my life it seemed merely consequential. In fact, at the time, I hated cantoring for the Organ and  preferred piano for its unwavering 5th grade simplicity. It didn't challenge me, ergo I could sing with it, without ever being challenged beyond the level of elementary music.

Now, as I hear the gloriousness of the Pipe Organ through August Rush, even though my own parish has the premier Pipe Organ in the entire Archdiocese, I so rarely hear it.  Every time I do, via film or in real life, I am brought to my knees, and when is my own parish, and I hear it during the Sacred Liturgy, I am not just brought to my knees, but to tears for it so brings me to God as it is designed.

You see, the Pipe Organ hearkens back to gives back to God what He gave to Man (to US as humanity for the theologically-challenged among us).

God gave us (Man) life by breathing into Adam and therefore, all his progeny (US!).

The Pipe Organ is man expelling that breath back to God in holiness, a response of thanksgiving, supplication, praise, and sacrifice in ultimate worship.

Take a deep breath. Now expel it with all your force, knowing others are doing so the same time as you during Mass - all over the world, in every time and every century, including now and eternity beyond us all. 

That is what the Pipe Organ represents and why, as described in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document on the Mass, holds it in such high and necessary regard.

When such a noble instrument falls silent we lose our liturgical life and the worship due unto God in its complete fullness.

Explains a lot about our sad liturgical times, doesn't it?

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Surprising Revelations

I haven't written in AGES because, well...I just haven't felt like it.

It's always bugged me that various bloggers announce a hiatus, as if expecting an alleged "adoring public" to miss them (us). And bloggers announce every change they make to comments, moderating or not, allowing comments or not. Apparently this is a topic of serious importance in blogging.


We're BLOGGERS. We have a BLOG, not a professional COLUMN. We don't do anything professional in the way of writing and no one actually PAYS us to know our innermost thoughts, so why does "our public" CARE if we take some time off?  (Personally, I think the paid columnists are far overrated, too, but that's a different topic).

I never understood the "I'm taking a hiatus" announcements, and actually, since I've taken my own un-announced hiatus, I've noticed my readership has grown! Seriously, people, if I'd known I'd get more followers by shutting the hell up, I would have shut up YEARS ago, before I said anything stupid! It's not like I've ever had that many comments, and I don't expect my regular commenters to  announce a hiatus from their own commenting behavior on my blog.

Truth: the public doesn't give a rat's ass if we take some fancy-sounding "hiatus".

Now, all that said, let's discuss the topic at hand: surprising revelations.


I started my blog on the backbone of religious discernment and over the years, revealed my heart and soul. Eventually I found where I thought I belonged and it came to a dead-end.  So far, I simply am not free and I'm not willing to discuss, anymore, my innermost thoughts or what is going on with regard to my state in life. Ergo....I have nothing to say.

Until now. 

The other day, at work, a priest I know, one who was helpful to me in various ways when he was assigned to my parish, appeared again. It's been a few years and he remembered me and my parish, but not my name. No problem - I suck at names, too.

When he found I was working for another parish he asked me how I liked it.

I was taken aback - I couldn't lie and I couldn't tell the truth. I felt like a child who had been caught making up a story.

Immediately, I knew I couldn't tell him, in a place where others would hear, that I hate working for a parish and wish I had run away screaming, which is what I want to do every single work day. And if I gave that answer, I know doing so in public wouldn't be wise, for it is guaranteed something would be overheard, taken out of context, and spread to the general public.

Instead I took a breath, and actually, gave the most honest answer politics would allow: I made a face, scrunched it up and said, "I don't know."

I watched the expression on the priest's face, as he was also trying not to react, realizing immediately upon watching my involuntary expression as I'd tried to figure out what inoffensive thing to respond, that his question was perhaps not going to obtain the reaction he'd expected.

Are you confused yet? Good. Join the club.

My "formal" response to his question, realizing anyone  might pass through the public area in which we spoke, was to say that I know I am not called to my current work. Out of the blue, although I haven't discussed it in ages with ANYONE, I told him I'd discerned my Vocation and the door was closed. I knew where I wanted to go, but am not free to go.

He looked askance, no words, so I added the fact that ever since I've worked for the Church, my credit debt has skyrocketed, including student loans, and in the last year, I nearly lost my house. Because I work for the Church.

Ironically...the Church is my greatest obstacle to following Christ.

Except that she is not, because, as I told Father, I have learned a great deal and it is clear that HE has me where He desires, and I will submit to His will in that regard.

I was surprised at myself for being so blunt with a priest whom, yes, I knew in the past, but isn't my Pastor now.  I was surprised at myself, and actually have abused myself since, for I should have prepared for such a question as I know any priest may cross my path as long as I am a parish worker.

It Gets Better

The next day, while I was already kicking myself for being so unprepared and therefore so HONEST in response to a question from a former mentor, I found myself under a microscope.

My friends, know well that the ranking Officer in any parish is the Receptionist. When she speaks and demands, YOU STAND DOWN!

I'd gone to the office to pick up mail and found myself on the receiving end of the Receptionist's glare. She said she needed to speak with me and I should remain until she was done with her current task. Dutifully, I remained, shaking in my shoes. This was not a woman I wanted to cross.

To compare:  A parish worker in any capacity is to the Receptionist as to how a rookie Police Officer is to the Dispatcher:   This is your lifeline and you are to submit to her authority. Period. No matter WHO you are! 

So I stood and waited to meet the Great White Shark of a Dispatcher, uh, Receptionist, and SHE demanded to know why a particular priest was present the evening prior.

As it turned out the Priest who arrived and to whom I had poured my heart (in a limited way) was actually not supposed to be there at all!

It was a total mistake!

Yet I see God's hand, just the same. I see His hand in the priest arriving, one who demanded my honesty, to him, to God, and myself. I know God worked through this priest that evening in our shared goal but I see something greater. Something more important, and it's not something I can speak here.

God is very good and doesn't make mistakes.

I spoke, honestly, with a priest who understands my plight (as he revealed in our conversation), and didn't judge me for my thin veil of revelation: that parish work isn't for me.

I feel so guilty that I so desire to leave Church employment, but there is nothing here for me. I can better use my education as a volunteer, but I can't volunteer unless I leave my paid position.

So there it is. I live a  conundrum and make no apologies for it. What random readers make of this is up to them.

Do I have a Vocation?


Am I free to pursue it?


So, for now I submit to God's will knowing He knows what He is doing and will not leave me orphaned.

That's all I have, and it is enough.