Monday, June 25, 2012

We Pray For Freedom

I spent part of yesterday evening outside, between the parish church and rectory. Several minutes after I arrived, my son showed up. We'd both heard that folks would be praying there at 7:30.

Freedom Rosary, Marian garden, Our Lady of Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. June 24, 2012.

Flowers, Vines, and - a Sound System?

I'd wondered why the family who had suggested this series of prayer meetings had a sound system set up. A few folks clustered together can generally hear each other well enough, particularly in a quiet spot like our church's Marian garden.

Over 50 folks came, not quite a 'capacity crowd.' I could have made myself heard in the back rows: but I wasn't leading the prayers, and a good sound system helps anybody speak audibly to that many people.

Most of the prayers were familiar: I recognized the Litany for Liberty; and an appeal to St. Thomas More, the Patron of Religious Freedom.

Saints, Prayer, and Being Catholic

In my dialect of English, I could say "we prayed to St. Thomas More," and an informed Catholic would know what I meant. "Praying to" Saints is verbal shorthand for saying "asking Saints to pray with us." I've been over this before. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 823, 828, 946, 1090, 2113)
Briefly, I'm a practicing Catholic, so I worship one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Catechism, 232-260, particularly 253) Worshiping any creature, knowing what I do, would be daft.

Being Catholic, I realize that there's more than just 'me and God.' Quite a lot more.

I 'pray to God.' Some of these prayers are formal, like the "Our Father." Sometimes I 'just talk to God.'

But, since I know there are people who are a lot 'closer' to God than I am, I think it's just common sense to ask them to put in a word about my concerns, too.

'Knowing Someone at Headquarters'

I believe that eternal life is real. (Catechism, 1020-1050)

Some folks have "lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord." (Catechism, 2156) After the end of their life, they "are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is'." (954-959) Over the course of two millennia, the Church has documented quite a few of those folks.

The Saints in Heaven aren't little gods. They're people, creatures like me: except that they're dead and 'at headquarters,' with my Lord. I think it makes sense to ask them for help. (Catechism, 956)

Do Numbers Matter?

Where determining what is real, and what isn't, I think asking lots of people what they think has limited usefulness. Someone involved in product development and marketing, or politics, must pay attention to opinions about cheeseburgers, perfume, and haircuts.

But, like I've told my kids: 'If three hundred million people really believe in a stupid idea: It's still a stupid idea.'

That's not the same as believing that if 'the masses' believe something, the opposite must be true:
"By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition that a masterpiece may be unpopular to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular it cannot be a masterpiece."
"On Detective Novels," Generally Speaking: a Book of Essays, London: Methuen (1928) via "Quotations of G. K. Chesterton," The American Chesterton Society
(and see National Library of Australia Catalog)
I've been over that before, too:
Over 50 folks showed up to pray yesterday evening. I intend to be there again at 7:30 this evening, and hope that others decide to do the same: and are able to come.

But - do I think it matters, how many folks are there? Sort of, although the threshold seems to be pretty low. Matthew 18:20, and all that. What's important is my Lord:
"For where two or three . . . midst of them: the presence of Jesus guarantees the efficacy of the prayer. This saying is similar to one attributed to a rabbi executed in A.D. 135 at the time of the second Jewish revolt: '. . . When two sit and there are between them the words of the Torah, the divine presence (Shekinah) rests upon them' (Pirqe Abot 3:3)."
(Matthew 18, Footnote 17)
Will my faith be shattered, if 'our prayers aren't answered?' No. (Catechism, 2728) If my faith depended on 'happy endings,' I'd have left the Church when Elizabeth died. (June 4, 2011)

Praying for Freedom

These evening prayers are my parish's response to the call to prayer, fasting, repentance, education, and action called Fortnight For Freedom. I'd have been at the earlier meetings, but didn't hear about it until Father Statz Mass yesterday. By the way, he said this is the sort of thing Vatican II was talking about: the faithful acting at a 'grassroots' level, coming up with ways to achieve the Church's goals.

"Fortnight For Freedom" isn't about me and the rest of the parish forcing everybody in America to be like us. What we want is the freedom to not pay others to kill innocent people. There are nicer ways to put it, but that's the bottom line.

Fortnight for Freedom

I've posted link lists to resources that tell about what the Catholic Church really says, and what we can do. This one is still 'current:'
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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

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.