November 17, 2012 – It’s Not So Bad After All

Well none of us are immune to having “one of those days” or “one of those weeks”.  This week was my turn to have “one of those weeks”, at least the latter part of the week.  I was so excited when I got home Thursday because my new modem had arrived in order to switch internet providers.  I installed everything the way it was supposed to be, and no internet.  Me without internet is like a fish without water.  So I call the tech people and they tell me a bunch of things to try, and of course none of them worked.  She finally tells me that it must be something in the wiring and that she would open a service ticket.  Ah, the old “I’ll open a service ticket so this guy will get off of the phone” routine.  So Friday comes, and before I come home from work I have to stop to fix someone’s printer.  What I thought would be a five-minute job turned into a 2-hour marathon.  Then I come home and still no internet.  So another call to the tech people, who tell me that they are working on the problem RIGHT NOW, and if the internet didn’t work in an hour, to call them back.  One hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, still no internet.  I did not call back at this point knowing that I would probably say something I would regret later.  Thankfully, a technician came this morning and got me hooked up – thus the reason that I’m late getting the blog up.  Then, as I was getting ready to leave work I get a call with a laundry list of problems that need to be fixed, so I fixed enough to get them through until Monday and I leave over an hour later than usual.  Before going home, I had to stop at the drugstore.  The cashier asked me if I was having a good day.  I said “NO!, I can’t tell a lie,  I’m not having a good day.”  The cashier got a startled look on her face and said “Dang!  I hope things start going better.”

After I left the drugstore I regretted the answer I gave her.  Yes, some nuisances got in my way, but they were nothing more than nuisances.  There are many people who are dealing with problems of much more consequence than my own.  People on the east coast are still suffering because of Hurricane Sandy.  People in the Middle East are seeing another round of violence.  People are suffering with cancer and other serious ailments.  People at Hostess are suddenly left mulling their futures.  I have many things to work on, and one of them is definitely keeping things in perspective, especially when it seemed like things aren’t going my way.  Perhaps all of us need a reminder of this.

OK, now on to some church business.  This past week the Bishops of the United States met for their Fall Assembly in Baltimore.  I’ll touch on a few of the noteworthy items that came out of the meetings.  The week began Sunday with a dialogue between Bishops and Catholic bloggers (and I wasn’t invited?!?! WHAT?!?!).  Anyway, the discussion focused on how the church can more effectively utilize social media.  The fact that many people utilize the internet cannot be ignored.  A recent survey showed that 62% of all U.S. Catholics have a Facebook profile, and that 58% of Catholics age 30 and under share information on social media ay least once a week.  Also, almost a third of those surveyed said that they would like their pastors and Bishops to blog.  One blogger went so far as to say that “Facebook is the new parish hall”, where people meet each other and search for spiritual guidance.  So these tools of communication are definitely here to stay, and will hopefully be utilized even more within the church.  Here is a link to the full story about this session:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204773.htm

Another focus of the assembly was on Penance.  Cardinal Dolan used his Presidential address to emphasize the need to return to regular participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, calling it “the Sacrament of the New Evangelization.”  Dolan challenged the Bishops to their own conversion of heart, saying that “We cannot engage culture unless we let him (Jesus) first engage us, we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with him, and we cannot challenge unless we first allow him to challenge us.”  Reconciliation “brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance — a repentance from within that can then transform the world without,” Cardinal Dolan said.  The Bishop considered a statement to be released in time for Lent of 2013 encouraging Catholics to return to regular celebration of Penance.  The statement also makes the connection between Reconciliation and the New Evangelization.  One of the ideas brought forth was to re-emphasize Fridays as days to focus on Penance, including a possible return to meatless Fridays throughout the year, not just during Lent (does this mean the KC will have to have a Fish Fry EVERY Friday?).

In some other tidbits from the proceedings, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said the work of defending religious liberty would continue despite “setbacks or challenges.”  The Bishops also gave their approval to the first document on preaching in 30 years. The document was prepared by the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and
Vocations, chaired by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, with subsequent review and comment by eight other USCCB committees.  The document states that “The homily is intended to establish a ‘dialogue’ between the sacred biblical text and the Christian life of the hearer … Preachers should be aware, in an appropriate way, of what their people are watching on television, what kind of music they are listening to, which websites they find appealing, and which films they find compelling.  References to the most popular cultural expressions — which at times can be surprisingly replete with religious motifs — can be an effective way to engage the interest of those on the edge of faith.”  And the Bishops endorsed the sainthood cause for Dorothy Day, who co-founded the Catholic Worker

That’s a wrap for this time.  Have a great week and a great Thanksgiving!  Don’t eat too much (NOT!).  Peace.

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