Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let Summer Begin (finally!)

Die, To-Do List, Die!

This has nothing to do with weather, nor really with the kids finishing school this week. This is about me finally finishing (practically) the massive to-do list that was dogging me since... well, since for too long! How frustrating is that! How great it is to finish things. The things that were bugging me the most were, first of all, the taxes - yes, the taxes. Don't judge me. I think being a prof means that every tax time is going to be oppressive. Basically finished the floor in the front hall - hey, visitors, I know you always come around back, but you can use our front door now. Pretty much finished the course I'm taking through Christendom. The paper is 99% done, I just have to let her go. The most significant work on the yard is done. The garden is all planted. (Pictures to follow soon.) Rejoice, O Jerusalem!

The most important work for the rest of the summer is class prep and writing. Need to get published!!!

This is the post of exclamation marks.

Rebecca's Graduation from Kindergarten.

Funny, I didn't know how to spell that word till just now. Yes, her graduation from kindergarten means more to her than, well, all my degrees but the PhD mean to me. She wrote her dissertation on which was more nutritious: white glue or crayons. Her findings: it depends on the colour of crayon.OLSWA could really learn a thing or two from their teacher - the total ceremony was under 30 minutes.Rebecca was joined into the ranks of the learned elite with two other OLSWA children - Thomas Nicholson and Claire Freeburn. Pictures hopefully to follow.

On To the Mennonites

As promised, the Mennonites at mass story. Again, long story short. I saw this young Mennonite couple in teh parking lot on our way in, he casually and non-descriptly dressed and she in her typical blue dress with a black headdress, something like this stock photo:

As, I've said, there's something quite lovely about this type of dress, reminiscent of our own dear women religious. But I kind of want my wife to be an individual. I guess all men dress alike, pretty much. So, so what?

Anyway, I forgot all about our unusual young lady visitor until the homily began and I heard someone speaking who obviously wasn't Fr. Shalla. He was very close to Father. From what I could tell - and he wasn't angry sounding just decently loud - he was objecting to Father's interpretation of the Petrine Commission, saying that the Greek text suggests something different. Father simply said that most scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic see it his way, but that they could discuss it after mass. The man said something else, with Father repeating his 'after mass' urging. Again, I really don't think the man came bent on disturbing mass. I think that they must do this dialogical thing in his church, and figured we'd benefit from his (more sincere) devotion to the actual teaching of Scripture.

He kind of picked the wrong church, if he was bent on attacking Catholicism, but again, I don't think that was his intention. I say that this was the wrong church because this has got to be one of the most catechetically competent parishes in the whole country. There were half a dozen Catholic College professors there, not to mention a great number of very Catholicly-literate others. I think the funniest part of the whole thing was the deluge of well-wishers who surrounded the young couple right after mass. A lot of folks at our parish love apologetics! You know who you are...

Anyway, poor Father Shalla, who was delivering a very good homily, and who, I've got to say, handled the young man very well, was quite understandably thrown off a bit by these interruptions.

Papist Mass

After the interruptions during the homily, I sat there thinking about how the holy mass must seem to someone like that. My mother's side is Baptist and Pentecostal, so I have a bit of experience with that world. I can't help feeling that our mass must be an abomonation to them. It's at such times that I am conscious of how ceremonial our mass is: kneeling, bowing, bells, incense, hymns to Mary, prayers to St. Michael. I was thinking about how best to explain or justify all this to a Bible-Christian. The central point I'd make was that just as the flesh of Christ is a sacrament of the hidden God, and would have to be worshipped and adored, and that that was how God wanted it - would you not worship Christ in His humanity? - so too did God set out this sacrament of bread and wine for worship and adoration. It is no less fitting for assumption into God than was the flesh of Mary so long ago: compared to God, all ashes. It is all absurd, but it is what God has done. Yes, we Catholics can sin and can loose track of the thing (God) out of obsession for the sign (the sacramental form), but it is still what God has done. Any argument against the fittingness of the sacraments is an argument against the fittingness of the Incarnation.

Nevertheless, we must always engaged Scripture, fully and seriously. And, we must develop a totally Jesus-centred life. We must never forget these two important things that really constitute the whole of the Protestant faith.


  1. Isn't the Jesus-centred life and devotion to Scripture what often leads those protestants to Rome especially when the mass is understood and recognised as so incredibly biblical? And, regarding the Mennonite dress, I was relating the incident to my fathe and I said, "She was wearing one of those Mennonite sort of dresses. The only problem is that in our parish some Catholic women also wear those dresses so I wasn't entirely sure if she wasn't Catholic at first." When I tried to describe the dress, he said, "Ah yes, classic Frump." Sort of like chic or grunge.

  2. The dress wasn't the decisive clue - it was the headdress.

    I think our frumpoes should wear a headdress too. The Our Lady of Combermere one that flies up in the air!

    Be nice to the frumps!

  3. Colin, Thought you might be interested: Dianne Westen told me that they had the Mennonite couple over last night (I would say for drinks but imagine that wasn't the case). They are not Mennonite - they are evangelical and belong to the Church of Vienna (if I heard correctly). They had tried St. LO'T before us and Fr. C wouldn't talk with them. Apparently Chris (as they called Fr. S) helped them immensely to understand that Catholics have faith and are not a cult and the Westens helped to seal the deal and intro'd them to a good foundation in Mariology and NFP. Who knows? Oh, one more thing, the desire to evangelise Catholics while on their honeymoon came from staying at a cabin that had many crucifixes but was run by a shacked-up couple - essentially, they were scandalised.

  4. those Westens are amazing, and so is that couple. So interesting. Kluke told me that Shalla talked to them for 1 & 1/2 hours that day after mass. I figured they were just married b/c they had no kids.