Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Saturday, Part II

I'm joining in again on Jennifer's Seven Quick Takes Friday post.

Father Sean Morris of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary was ordained a priest today at my parish, St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, California. Thanks be to God!

I had never seen an ordination before and I loved this one. Father Sean hurt his leg in some accident a few months ago, and consequently he needed surgery and has been wheelchair-bound ever since, which really made me wonder how the ordination was going to come off. But everything went just fine. He could stand on his own and use crutches to get up and down steps, and when he had to kneel or prostrate himself the altar boys could help. They kept handing him his crutches with the same smooth dignity with which they handed Bishop Salazar his mitre.

Lots of Oblates flew in for the ordination. Here's Bishop Salazar helping Father Sean get his crutches hidden before the group photo.

I highly approved the auspiciuos choice of date, because it is...

2) The feast day of St. Francis de Sales, my confirmation patron! I wanted him because he was humble, loving, and zealous, and as bishop in Geneva he converted thousands of people. He also wrote some famous books-- Treatise on the Love of God, Introduction to the Devout Life, The Catholic Controversy-- none of which I have read yet. I freely admit this is pathetic. I'm trying to carve more time in my schedule to read; unfortunately I can't really take time from anywhere but... the internet.

3) From a letter by Flannery O'Connor: "My cousin's husband who also teaches at Auburn came into the Church last week. He had been going to Mass with them but never showed any interest. We asked how he got interested and his answer was that the sermons were so horrible, he knew there must be something else there to make the people come..."

4) My boss took the entire lab out for dim sum yesterday. That was about twenty-five people-- he's a great boss. :) Sesame seed balls are my favorite but I'm also partial to the sticky rice with chicken wrapped in a huge leaf. And the barbecue pork buns, of course. And by the way, happy Chinese new year!

5) The SSPX! The pope has lifted the excommunications of the four bishops of the SSPX! They were automatically excommunicated along with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (now deceased) as soon as he consecrated them bishops without permission in 1988 (pictured here) because-- oh, forget it. The story's too long for me to retell. Here's someone else's quick summary, focusing on what the recent development means.

When I first heard the rumors I was worried about the bishops being let back in when, far from apologizing, they still say they were doing the Church a favor. But now I'm glad Benedict XVI is leaving nothing untried in the quest for unity. I have many other opinions on the subject but I'm more aware than usual of the shocking possibility that I could be wrong, so I'll trust the pope's judgment here. :)

6) It's a stupid thing, but I'm afraid of deep water in pools. Our apartment complex has one that's eight feet deep, and I seriously felt uncomfortable in the deep end when I swam there alone at night once. In daytime with other peopleit wouldn't have been so bad. I'm not going to drown unless I have an aneurysm or something; I'm a good swimmer. In fact I could swim in a much deeper ocean or lake without worry (given a boat nearby). But the pool scares me, perhaps because I can see how far down the bottom is.

7) During the ordination today we sang the Litany of the Saints, in which the leader sings out the names of many many saints and after each one we all sing "Pray for us." I was so glad that on such an important occasion, we could call on the intercession of those who whose race is run.

Prayer to the saints had been a great objection of mine to Catholicism; it seemed very wrong both to my instinct and to my theology. Now it seems a strong argument in favor of the Catholic Church being true. We ask our friends for prayer all the time, and especially we seek the intercession of holy people. So what could be more obvious and natural than to ask that great cloud of witnesses which surrounds us to pray for us too? When I personally heard it put that way, I had no further logical objection to the practice. But it still seemed strange and I hesitated about it; it wasn't until I'd been in RCIA for six months and was about to be confirmed that I really started praying to the saints myself. A constant theme when I was joining the Church was that my intellect went first and my feelings eventually followed. For others it's the reverse, which means those others are weird and wrong-- no, it means God calls each of us in a different way, the way He knows is best for us. :)


adonela said...

Happy Feast Day! Are these all the pictures from the Ordination?

Rachel Gray said...

Of course! Surely you recall the posthumous appearance of Archbishop Lefebvre, and the beautiful swan dive made by my patron saint into the deep swimming pool...

Okay, the first two pictures are from the ordination. :)

Gary Keith Chesterton said...

Hi Rachel,

I too have a devotion to St. Francis de Sales. I was educated by the Oblates of St Francis de Sales, and one of them is still --thirty years later -- my spiritual director.

Start with the Introduction to the Devout Life. Get the one translated by J. K. Ryan, it's the best. Then do the Treatise. The Catholic Controversy is a very very difficult work which is not available in a good translation. It was written specifically to rebut certain Calvinist claims and is accordingly abstruse.

One of the really great things about the Introduction is that is was written for people like you and me; regular people living in the world.

God bless you and I hope you read it soon!

Rachel Gray said...

GKC, thanks for the reviews! And for rising from the dead to comment on my blog. :) I already own the Introduction and the Catholic Controversy so I can start with the Intro. I might like Controversy even if abstruse... I used to be Protestant and was watered-down Calvinist, and I'm interested in what Calvinism was like in Sales' day and what the Church's initial reaction to it was.

Yeah, must find more time to read!

Gary Keith Chesterton said...

Please don't confuse me with the great Gilbert Keith Chesterton. I wish I was just a tiny bit as clever as that man.

Anyhoo, you'll find that Calvinism in Francis' time was a ferocious animal, much worse than what you find in America today.

My s. d. recommended reading the first part of the Introduction day-to-day. IOW, just read the first consideration on the first day, pair it up with some scripture, and think about it.

But however you want to do it! :-)