Folks like this knock on the side doors of the Church, by asking ignorant questions about the Faith, or by starting conversations that annoy or disturb us, or by arguing and criticising the Faith. They rattle and bang on the side door, even though the front door is open. What should we do?
Art basically exists because of us. We’re the ones who fought back hard against the idea that the body and its senses are inevitably at war with the soul. Our whole thing is clarity. I don’t mean to be cute, but the word “logo” comes from the word “logos,” as in “En archē ēn ho Lógos.” In the beginning was the word, and the word was not ongepotchket.
His mission wasn’t to bestow salvation on them, but to help restore them to a life of dignity that they deserved as fellow human beings, by teaching them about Christ, by helping them to take care of themselves, and most of all by becoming one of them.
The music of Bach is not something that, say, Barry Manilow could have achieved if he simply put in more hours. You can gather tinder all day and stack it like an expert, but without a spark, there will be no flame.
I used to fret over this problem a lot as a child. I obsessed over a book of saints, where the common thread seemed to be that these people had been different from the very beginning. Tiny Ludwiga could lisp the Pater Noster long before she even learned to say her own name; pious Edelbert would toddle away from his nurse every chance he got, only to be found once again sound asleep under his favourite spot, the tabernacle in the village church.
“How the heck can I compete with that?” I used to think.
Why isn’t Lucia being canonised along with her cousins?
The cute answer is: Our Lady is to blame.
This plea goes for sinners whose souls are heavy with old-fashioned sins of the flesh, and also for sinners whose souls are heavy with the even older sins of pride and presumption.
The elderly gentleman thinks Pope Francis is some kind of pinko hippie, and there hasn’t been a real Pope in Rome since Giuseppe Siri, and he will tell you alllllll about it if he can get you cornered in the foyer.
The nun next to him is headed to a pro-choice rally after Mass, and is chilling some champagne for the day when women priests will finally be approved.
So … why are they at Mass?
Because Jesus is here, and He’s giving Himself away.
Most of us realise we’re not supposed to live in a state of constant fear. It isn’t any fun, for one thing; and we can see it leads us to make bad decisions. Jesus came right out and told us, “Be not afraid!”
How, though? Much as we’d like to, we can’t just decide to stop being afraid.
They discovered, as expected, that people initially had a strong emotional and neurological response to lying; but as they continued to lie, they felt less and less emotional response (flushed cheeks, racing heart) and, accordingly, their brains’ amygdalae responded less and less.
The study is especially interesting because the participants’ brains were reacting not to conditions outside their control, but to their own free choices. So, yes: Lying gets easier with practice.
It’s hard to know what to say about a study like this, other than, “Well, duh.” The Church already has a word for this phenomenon — and a cure, as well.
I have endless tolerance for boring sermons, weird sermons, silly sermons, scary sermons, tiresome sermons, corny sermons, uninspired sermons, irrelevant sermons, rambling sermons, goofy sermons, and sermons that make me wonder which will come first, the end of the homily or sweet, sweet death.
But I don’t complain! Most of the time. I do, however, have a short list of things I could do without, which I offer out of sheer, self-giving generosity, as your respectful daughter in the Faith.
Image: By BPL (originally posted to Flickr as Preaching) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons