Sunday, February 6, 2011

Called to Holiness, Not Stupidity

I didn't get to Mass today. Or yesterday, when the rest of my family celebrated Mass. The Super Bowl is, indirectly, responsible for the latter. Soo Bahk Do class was rescheduled to 1:00 this afternoon, to give folks time to get home for Super Bowl coverage — which would have made for a very tight midday schedule today.

Maybe not the best reason in the world for using the option Catholics living in America have for counting a late Saturday Mass as fulfilling the Sunday obligation — but it's accepted. ("Apostolic Letter Dies Domini of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Catholic Church on Keeping the Lord's Day Holy" (May 31, 1998))

I'd particularly wanted to celebrate Mass this weekend, since we were doing the St. Blaise blessing. His feast day was February 3 — and the blessing of the throat is part of our regional Catholic culture — not just ours, of course. There's more about St. Blaise in the sidebar of a St. Blaise novena on the EWTN website.

Does that mean I have some superstitious notion that magic candles will ward off sore throats? No. I've been over this sort of thing before:
I like to participate in the St. Blaise throat blessing — and was particularly looking forward to it this year, since there's been a bug going around. Several members of my family have been coughing and sneezing — and I haven't been feeling all that hot, myself.

Which is odd, since yesterday I was running a fever of over 100° F. That was good news, in a way, since it explained why I was feeling the way I did. I figured it wasn't a particularly good idea to celebrate Mass.

Sunday Obligation, and Getting a Grip

Maybe you've heard somewhere that Catholics think we'll go to Hell if we don't go to church every Sunday. That's — almost — true. Sort of. In a way.

The Sunday obligation — to celebrate Mass each week — is important. It's central to the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church says it's very important. The Catholic Church also says to not be stupid about it. Not in so many words: but that's the gist, from my point of view.

If you want a more detailed — and authoritative — discussion of the Sunday obligation, check out what it says in the Catechism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3 | The Third Commandment, 2180-2183, particularly 2181)

Where was I? Running a fever. Right. I figured maybe a good night's sleep would fix me up, and I could celebrate Mass today.

I could have gone — but my fever was a little higher than it was yesterday. Throat blessing or no throat blessing — I figured it'd be prudent to stay home. Which I did.

Considering how cold I've felt, off and on, today: I think that was a good decision.

Am I happy about skipping Mass? No.

Am I scared silly that God will strike me down for skipping out? Ah, no: and that reminds me of another post I've been meaning to write. Which is another topic.

Aiming at Holiness, Working for Health, and Using my Head

Instead of wringing my hands in histrionic agony, I went online and got a list of today's readings (Isaiah 58:7-10, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, and Matthew 5:13-16). I've read those, thought about what I read, took it easy today, chatted with #1 daughter — who's been visiting for the weekend — and gave my body a chance to deal with whatever's ailing it.
Maybe that doesn't sound 'spiritual.' And that's yet another topic.

The bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, is what I've said before in this blog: We're called to holiness, not stupidity.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.