Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The (koff, koff) Mental Health Day

Is it a sin to take a sick day when you're not....quite.....sick?

It's compelling to re-examine ALL aspects of one's life when you fall in love with Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church. In that first happy rush in a deeper conversion experience, you tend to take care of tithing, not sassing your mother, not stealing office supplies, no nooky outside of marriage, you know, the big stuff.

The little things take years to be illuminated. Recently, I thought about the unkindness of not letting someone into traffic, even if they are big pig hogs who should have seen the "merge" sign two miles ago. Then there's the issue of ANY gossip or repeating of knowledge, not lying, truth-telling but about things that are not mine to repeat, much less spend any time judging or regarding.

Here's the latest little spark in the stubble: if I have separately defined vacation, sick and personal days, and only unused vacation days can roll over to the next year, and I plan to use all my vacation and personal days, but next week one day I wake up over-tired, can I take a "sick day" because I don't feel "well?"

I don't have diphtheria, I just didn't sleep well, I worked too hard at home or at work. I know my work is caught up and I won't inconvenience a customer or a co-worker. I really DO feel crummy, but I have no temperature. I will probably spend the day doing laundry, making soup and sun tea, napping on the couch and enjoying "Martha Stewart Living" and "Jeopardy!"

Is this moral? Should I submit to Caesar, who has power only because God has given it to him, and take only the time Caesar has rendered unto me? Or can I shift the definition of "sick" to suit my needs?

If it's moral, then it would be better not make up any illnesses, wouldn't it? The excuse could be limited to "I don't feel well," which is probably enough detail for the boss. I know that in my managerial life, I've heard WAY too many details about people's visits to the bathroom in the middle of the night when staffers have called me to report they're sick.

I think I know the answer, but I might be slicing this too fine....

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Holy Spirit at the Movies

There's not much difference between sucking and blowing, when you read the early critical reviews of The DaVinci Code. Can't help but enjoy the critics' disillusionment with the product of two powerful and popular actors and moviemakers. Enjoy it? I love it!

Why is this movie such a mess, such a dreadful mess of cliche and lowering turgidity? You can answer the question when you remember the beauty and strength of The Passion of the Christ. There's tangible grace in that movie, the joy promised and given to us by the Passion, Death and Resurrection. The passion of Mel Gibson flowed from his love for Jesus, and flowed back out in the movie. I think the only passion inflaming Ron Howard and Tom Hanks (both of whom I really like and am really disappointed by) was to make a sensational film, a lot of money, and that type of passion shows in the final product, at least per the critics.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for showing us Your Divine Breath in the arts and in literature. You are the source of all Beauty and all Truth, and You've given us another visible sign of Your Presence.

Monday, May 15, 2006


God has promised forgiveness to your repentenance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.

- St. Augustine of Hippo

What's worse, procrastinating so that nothing gets done, or directing and re-directing your energies and attention so that everything gets done (including lining up the cinnamon sticks by height in the bottle on the spice rack) instead of the thing you really must do and don't want to do?

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow

- Mark Twain

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lector Challenge

I am a lector at morning Mass twice a week. No, not the kind of lector who is on his way to priesthood, I'm a lay lector. We are actually installed in our posts by the bishop, who designates his power to the parish, who makes sure that we can read intelligibly and clearly.

In this day's readings, we find a classic in the "what did I just say?" category of Scripture. The First Reading is Acts 13:13-25:

From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”

Besides enjoying the truly exciting day-by-day diary of the Church between the Resurrection and the Ascension, did you spot the "lector challenge?"

It's this: With uplifted arm he led them out, and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert...

He put UP with them? (Yes, we all just said in our hearts, God does put up with us...) I do pre-read these, but who knows what will fall out of your mouth when you get into the pulpit? I have the "with" underlined in my daily Missal so when I hit that reading I get it right: "He put up WITH them."

Now, if I can overcome my fear of saying "prostate" for "prostrate."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I've made a million!

(over my working life, that is...)

I got that annual Social Security Statement of Earnings that they mail (when did that start?) and a quick eyeball addition of the wages I've made since 1973 ($726 that year) total well over $1.2 million dollars. Goodness gracious, so THIS is what a million looks like - a condo and a ten-year-old car and a little moolah in the bank.

It furnishes food for thought: if I'd tithed 10% of it over the years, I'd have given about $100K to charity. If I'd saved another 10% over the years, I'd have $100K in the bank. IF IF IF. Neither of those happened in any consistent way, and I wonder if I'd have ever missed the 10% of either, since I do more than that now, and have a comfortable cash flow.

Too bad we can't see other totals of our working life or adult life or sex life. How many lies? How many kisses? How many apologies? How many good deeds? How many filthy thoughts? How many gossipy unkind asides? How many Holy Communions? Or the facetious ones: how many Quarter Pounders? How many margaritas? How many episodes of Dick Van Dyke?

Or think of what you can count up on one hand: how many martinis (3)? How many skiing attempts (1)? How many car accidents (3? 4?)? How many Star Wars movies (0)?

While you perhaps ponder those big and little numbers in your own life a moment, I think I'm changing my mind mid-post about whether it IS too bad we can't have that measure set before our eyes.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What I think of Amy Welborn

She's the best. That's not just a flowery buttering-up compliment. When you ask someone in the Catholic blog-world which bloggers they read, they will give you a selection of some of the great variety of sterling writers and commenters online, and then will inevitably finish up with " . . . and, of course, Amy Welborn."

So I jumped up at the chance to hear her speak at a local parish. It didn't matter to me what her topic was. Her writing has a pithy incisiveness that I hoped would be reflected in her speech.

It was. As I menioned in my comment on Amy's post, she was "engaging, energetic, witty, with an unerring eye for the true and the ridiculous and the ability to tell them apart." Unlike some others who also believe fervently in what they are saying, she offered her listeners more than just worthwhile information or contagious fervor. She structured her talk about Decoding DaVinci in a way that not only explained the key issues of the book, but also equipped us for intelligent conversation with those for whom the plaintive cry, "It's only fiction!" is not protecting them from changing their worldview in response to Dan Brown's work of non-scholarship. And she's amusingly engaging. Excellent combo.

It was simply great to meet her and her delightful family. I wish I had met the other bloggers in the room, but we'll just have to look for another opportunity.

Okay, how powerful is this guy anyway?

My house has been on the market for 8 or 9 months now. It's getting down to the wire, because my dear fiancé and I had decided to go ahead and buy our new family home in faith that the Lord would find us a buyer for our houses. I haven't been anxious, but I've been a bit -- let's say, concerned.

On Wednesday, I never got around to opening the mail, even though it contained an interesting, knobby little parcel from my aunt. Back to that later.

Thursday morning, Henry and I were at the closing for our new house. Our realtor stepped out to take a cell call and returned to tell us that an offer would be coming over that day on my house. We reviewed it and accepted it that afternoon. So, amazingly enough, in all the 2,912 two-hour periods since I listed the house, God chose that one to bring me an acceptable offer to purchase my own. I love it when God reminds me that he's in charge.

Back to the knobby little parcel: It turns out my aunt had been concerned about the failure of the house to sell, so she sent me a little statue of St. Joseph to bury in my front yard. I'm quite fond of St. Joseph, though it never seemed particularly respectful to me to bury a representation of him upside down anywhere for any reason; I certainly had been happy to ask him to pray for me. Now I find out that he's such a powerful guy that, no sooner does he cross the threshold of my house, it sells like a hotcake.

I certainly feel well looked-after.


Sample Text

We are grateful ladies with a point of view and a sense of humor. Like-hearted people are welcome. Others, too.

For a glimpse at our lighter side, hop over to In Dwelling.

E-mail us.

Sample text

"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

Pres. Barack Obama, Feb 5, 2009