Saturday 20 December 2014
Over the past few days, I have been thinking about discontinuing the blog. I wanted to wait until I had a real community instead of a virtual community, but it is getting more difficult to blog for several reasons.
I am praying about this. I honestly do not feel that my blog is necessary for news, as there are so many Catholic news services, and people like Michael Voris do a fantastic job.
I have said much of what I want to share with people and have realized that there are limitations as to what I can write. The only thing I have not shared, which I think is important, is more commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas.
Also, the danger of blogging has become more and more real to me since August of this year. Governments, and some individuals, hate bloggers, as we are free of the moneyed and other influences with whom large media groups have decided to cooperate.
In addition, my numbers are down, as people want zazzy political Church gossip which I am not going to push on this blog. Religion is not the same as Vatican politics.
So, dear Readers, pray for me in this time of discernment.
I am also called to more prayer and quiet. I have to find the balance here in this type of ministry.
What is wrong with Western Culture? I have met so many people, men and women, who will be spending Christmas alone. One man is having Christmas with friends, his first invitation in years.
I cannot understand this. When I was in graduate school and could not get home for Christmas because of the horrible weather, I would invite all those other students in for a meal so that no one would be alone.
And, when I had my own home, we always invited single people who had no families in for dinner and the day.
I cannot understand why families do not invite those who are alone for the day.
Christianity is not merely to be practiced in the immediate family.
Are you aware of people in your parish who may not have anyone with whom to celebrate Christmas or New Year's? Hospitality is a virtue under the larger category of charity.
As a single person, my heart breaks for those who have no place to go. I shall be eating out, with a special person, as neither of us have a place big enough to cook or convenient for company.
How sad that neither one of us was invited to Christmas dinner.
Catholics under persecution will be worse off than this. It is time to reconsider what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
Many good priests have been preaching from the pulpit the necessity for preparation for Christmas in matters spiritual and not merely material.
I am afraid that too many events create four weeks of celebration, instead of penance. I am also afraid that some priests deny that Advent is a penitential time, hence, the purple vestments. Most of the sermons I have heard have emphasized this time of penance.
If we do not make room for the Incarnate God, Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, we cannot celebrate His Coming. If we are busy going to concerts, baking, cooking, shopping, and decorating, we end up like the innkeeper who told Mary and Joseph there was no room at the inn.
Inns were built with courtyards, which filled up with noisy animals and people who did not mind sleeping "rough" as long as they were behind the closed door of the inn. Mary and Joseph needed the quiet, silent place in order for Jesus to come into this world.
Are we making a silent place for His coming? I have some friends who are doing this-taking time daily to read daily prayers, going to extra Masses, and so on.
But, too many are doing less spiritual preparation, and they will end up like the innkeeper. Christ wants to come to them, but there is no room in their hearts, minds, souls, imaginations.
The will has decided that other things are more important than preparation.
We all have habits of self-deceit, because humans do not want to face that they are lacking in some thing, or doing something wrong. To say "I wish I could go to daily Mass, but I am too busy" when one can do so, or visit Christ in Adoration, and read the Scriptures, is self-deceit.
We create our own busyness. We can say no.
I have done little but pray. I have met a few friends who are going to other countries for Christmas and I shall not see them as I shall be gone when they return.
If I were here permanently, there would have been no need to meet up for lunch before Christmas.
I know families who do not have Christmas trees but trees which look like Christmas trees. I call them Advent trees. These family members tell me the trees were put up and decorated weeks ago and will come down right after New Year's day.
I asked these people whether they knew about Epiphany or the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The answer was "no". Sad that such riches of our heritage have been lost. The identity of the Catholic way of celebrating Christmas has been washed away by consumerism and parties in Advent. I refuse to go to concerts or parties. I have said no to years, and people who know me now ask me to come over after Christmas. Many weeks exist for celebration after Christmas.
To go back to work right after Christmas is a creation of both the Puritans, who hated celebrations which were based in Catholic identity, or by the secular pagans, who worship another god-Mammon.
To hold on to Catholic identity in the world is difficult, but not impossible.
I sincerely hope that none of us are like the innkeeper who had no private rooms for Mary, Joseph and the coming Jesus in his inn.
Christ will come to those who have made space for Him. He will manifest Himself to those who are paying attention, waiting for him.
Too many inns are full.