Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So the word is out. The Vatican is saying NO Thanks to sexually active gay men applying to seminary. That seems a little unfair if you ask me. Word on the street is that seminary's are loaded with sexually active people. One of my favorite priests married a girl he met in seminary. They eventually realized their mistake and that they both were actually called by God. They parted ways. If the Vatican is going to demand homosexual men be celibate for three years before entering seminary then they'd better ask the same of the heterosexual men.

Truth be told, I think my beloved Holy See has mislabeled the issue. This isn't a gay issue. This is a people issue. Sadly, community agencies are loaded with cases of hetero men abusing children. Some lonely people will take what ever they can get.

Long gone are the days when one's parish priest was a part of one's family. When he appeared at the dinner table on a weekly basis. When families wrestled over who would get to host a holiday dinner complete with a real blessing by a real priest. Now our faith is passed along to a once a year Easter celebration. For some, it's a weekly Sunday visit. But rarely do people get involved in their faith community.

But the faith community is what Jesus was all about.

Our faith community involves supporting our religious. Priests and nuns too. So many nuns have given up the habit (sadly) that they aren't recognized for the holy people they are. So they're passed along as another teacher, another secretary. Not as a consecrated person who may not have a local family to spend a holiday with. It's up to us to look after "the least of my brothers (and sisters)" as Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.

I cringe when I hear people say they've lost their faith over these abuses. If that's true, then we are guilty of what the Protestants have accused us of. Idol worship. If we've put our priests up on such a pedestal so as to make them some kind of god. They are just people. Like us. Loaded with flaws. Their battle is a lot more difficult than ours. As such, we must support them.

I also cringe when I hear people say celibacy is the reason for the priest shortage. Well, then how do they explain the same shortage in Protestant denominations where marriage is allowed? Again, truth be told, the shortage is due to the fact that America worships the mighty dollar, not the Mighty Lord. Over and over again I hear young people say they feel God's call but their parents want them to be a doctor/dentist/scientist - and make a lot of money.

It's too bad really. This country was founded out of love of God. People who fled oppression - looking for the ability to freely express their faith. And now, if the ACLU has it's way - faith will never be expressed in public.

From an article by Joseph Farah:

William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims, studied the Hebrew scriptures. The Pilgrims took them very seriously. The idea of giving thanks to God with a feast was inspired by that knowledge of the Bible. In a very real way, the Pilgrims saw themselves, too, as chosen people of God being led to a Promised Land.

At the table, they acknowledged "God's good providence" and "blessed the God of Heaven who brought us over the furious ocean." For "what could sustain us but the Spirit of God and His grace?" asked Bradford. He then quoted Moses, "Our fathers cried unto Him and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity" (Deuteronomy 26:7).

Here's what George Washington proclaimed Oct. 3, 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the twenty-six of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that Great and Glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, previous to their becoming a nation; for the single manifold mercies, and the favorable interposition's of His providence, in the courage and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private institutions, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us) and to bless them with good governments, peace and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us; and generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Later, in 1863, with the nation torn apart by the war between the states, Lincoln reinstituted the tradition for two years. Again, in 1941, with a global war threatening, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as the day for Americans to thank God.

So - thank you God for my freedom, my family, my friends, my health, my good job, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, the ability to walk, to laugh and to love.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

1 comment:

lopez-sfo said...

Hello Sister,

I was instantly attracted to your title: secular franciscan Hermit.
I myself am a professed secular franciscan and... I have been discerning the consecrated life in one of two forms:
a)as a canonical hermit (following a Franciscan contemplative spirituality among other ones like the Desert Fathers, Carthusian, Camaldolese, Cistercians etc....Living in the city as the modern desert where Christ wished to place me.
b)as part of a secular institute.Particularly the Franciscan Missionaries of Jesus Crucified. FMJC. I actually completed the long application yesturday and sent it this morning. Please keep me in your prayers.
A secular Institute is really a neat thing. You have the freedom to grow in any way Jesus calls you to while being a secular consecrated person. Yes i Know it sounds contradictory...secular and consecrated but believe me it becomes simple once you understand.As a secular you remain in the world, live in your own place, pay rent yourself, take care of yourself. As a consecrated individual you profess the 3 solem vows of poverty chastity and obedience. In the FMJC we need to give an annual report of how we spent our earnings.You cannot get married and you are under obedience to the Pope, bishop and so forth down to your general minister of the secular institute.
I chose the FMJC because most of the members have a physical or mental dissability or handicap. This particular secular institue was started to give people with dissabilities an opportunity to become consecrated and follow a path to holiness. I myself have a dissability but another story. a member of the FMJC which by the grace of God I wish to become I am forbidden from wearing a habit. What I do is I wear the same brown polo and khaki pants and brown sandals every day like a uniform, this helps strengthen my faith. How did you get permission to wear a habit??

I plan to follow a contemplative schedule including the seven hours, lectio, centering prayer, spiritual reading, study, the rosary, daily mass, adoration and other things mon.-fri. sat. and sun I just say lauds and vespers plus daily mass rest of time is spent in fraternity with family and friends.
I know i talk tomuch ! Feel free to contact me at


-jorge a lopez sfo