Friday, October 31, 2014

Fortitude and Magnanimity

"The principal act of fortitude is endurance, that is, to stand immovable in the midst of dangers rather than to attack them." - St. Thomas

"Fortitude and magnanimity. They are like the two opposite sides of a pointed arch, supporting each other.

Fortitude is the moral virtue which strengthens the soul in the pursuit of the difficult good so that it does not allow itself to be shaken by the greatest obstacles. It should dominate the fear of danger, fatigue, criticism, all that would paralyze our efforts toward the good. It prevents man from capitulating in a cowardly manner when he should fight; it also moderates audacity and untimely exaltation which would drive him to temerity.

Fortitude has two principal acts: to undertake courageously and to endure difficult things. The Christian should endure them for the love of God; it is more difficult to endure for a long time than in a moment of enthusiasm, to undertake courageously something difficult. 

Fortitude is accompanied by patience to endure the sorrows of life without being disturbed and without murmuring, by longanimity which endures trials for a long time, and by constancy in good, which is opposed to obduracy in evil.

To the virtue of fortitude is also linked that of magnanimity, which leads to the lofty practice of all the virtues, avoiding pusillanimity and effeminacy, but without falling into presumption, vainglory, or ambition." - Garrigou-Lagrange

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Disordered affection ...

Gay people hate the word disordered.  

It is one of the single most objectionable words used in Catholic teaching regarding homosexual acts.  It was even mentioned at the Synod - as hurtful language.  The use of the word disordered is one of the objections to the CDF documents regarding pastoral care of homosexual persons.  It is why not a few gay-Catholics dislike Cardinal Ratzinger - Pope Benedict - simply because he was in charge at the time and responsible for updating the Catechism as well as issuing the following clarification:
Since “[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (aforementioned) declaration..., an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good”, the letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. - Some considerations ...
The supreme pontiff, St. John Paul II, signed off on all of it - meaning the CDF or Ratzinger did not step outside Catholic doctrine.

Inordinate affection.

In the spiritual life - which every Christian is called to - terms such as disordered and inordinate are frequently used to describe obstacles to 'our perfect union with God'.  Recently, a meditation from Archbishop Luis Martinez appeared in Magnificat magazine, which may help us understand better the meaning of such terminology and the reason why it is used.
Whenever the affections of the heart are not an expansion of divine love, they are an obstacle to our perfect union with God. (an obstacle to sanctity)
Although every affection that blossoms from the love of God is holy, and increases our perfection rather than impedes it, the same is not true of any other affection that has purely human and natural roots; for from affections of this kind come forth sins, both mortal and venial.
Inordinate affections are the root of sin ...
When at any time an affection rises to the point of taking complete possession of our heart in such a way that it causes us to place our happiness and our final end in a creature, then mortal sin is committed; for mortal sin is nothing else but the triumph of an inordinate affection over the love of God.
Very often a disordered affection does not go to such an extreme, yet it can contrive to live side by side with the love of God.  Then it is a species of parasite that prevents the love of God from developing in all its fullness and in all its glory.  In this case, a disordered affection is the cause only of venial sins or simply imperfections, yet, in every instance, it hampers the perfect development of the love of God. - Archbishop Luis M. Martinez

Spiritual Friendship: See - it really is based on revisionist interpretation...

The Problem of Gay Friendship

For many of his contemporary admirers, however, Aelred’s significance goes deeper than this. The late historian John Boswell, in his classic work of revisionist historiography Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, puts it bluntly: “There can be little question that Aelred was gay and that his erotic attraction to men was a dominant force in his life.  Accordingly, many readers have seen in Aelred and his treatises the possibility of a Christian affirmation of gay partnerships. Aelred’s writings on friendship, in this view, may be read as commendations not just of chaste, intimate same-sex relationships but also of specifically romantic partnerships between men (and, by extension, between women). Aelred becomes, consequently, the patron saint of gay and lesbian love, the historical forerunner of advocates for same-sex marriage in the church today. - Source

Watch for up to the minute - exclusive - coverage 
Starts Friday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pope Francis on Big Bang Theory

"The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it." - Pope Francis

Does this mean he will be on the show or not?

Meddling in the lives of others.

Telling people how to live, what they can and cannot say...

That's what we do online.  We might think we are simply clarifying something important - but oftentimes we are setting ourselves up as some sort of authority, judge, arbiter, advocate - or the more holier than thou excuse - exercising fraternal correction.

I had a dream I was in a cellar and there was a basilisk - though dangerous, and kind of scary, it was useful for something I was working on.  It was useful so long as I controlled it.  Suddenly I was distracted by something and it got away from me, I searched the cellar - which was really quite clean BTW.  Crossing the cellar floor, I glanced over my shoulder and saw another basilisk - this one was much bigger and more dragon like ...

Creepy Freudian symbology, huh?

Dreams are meaningless, right?  Maybe.  (I love dreams.)  Actually I know where all the symbols come from.  I could connect each to a certain encounter or something I noticed yesterday.  Nevertheless, as an artist, the symbols do mean more than the data recall my brain processed yesterday...

Without going into detail, just let me warn you: Don't go into the basement....  haaaahaaaaahaaaaa!

Actually - if I had more self knowledge the basement wouldn't be so scary.

What am I getting at?

As Christ told the disciples, "You know not of what spirit you are."

"Do not judge."

"Take the log out of your own eye first."

"The sins which defile a man come from within ..."

"And when the evil spirit returns, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

"How can you judge what is right when you seek the approval of men?" 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Androphilia and Gynephilia in Christ Conference

Actually it is Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity ...

The conference takes place this weekend at Notre Dame.
A two-day conference, “Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity,” co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the Gender Relations Center, will convene Oct. 31 (Friday) to explore appropriate pastoral strategies for Catholic parishioners who regard themselves as non-heterosexual, but who accept Catholic Church teaching on marriage and sexuality. 
According to ICL director John Cavadini, the conference should resonate with much of the discussion of the Catholic bishops who assembled last week for the Synod of Bishops in Rome. 
“I think this is timely, given the synod on the family and its attention to such pastoral issues,” Cavadini said. "The conference is not intended to cover all issues related to identifying as gay and Catholic, but is directed, ultimately, at forming a pastoral strategy for parishes to be able to receive the gifts of self-identified gay Catholics who also adhere to the teaching of the Church on marriage and related issues. 
“Can Church teaching support an ‘exchange of gifts,’ enabling a parish community to receive the gifts that such people bring to us, and, in turn, to make the gifts of ecclesial belonging more securely and fruitfully available to these Catholics? That is the long-term goal of the rather experimental discussions we are beginning here.” - Source

I hope they tape it and/or publish the presentations of the participants.  Personally, I'm looking forward to reading Eve Tushnet's latest book, Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality.

I know someone who will be there and I'm hoping he will send photos of what everyone is wearing - I'm not sure if there will be a red carpet event or not - after all, it is Halloween.

A curious quote from the blog of a former priest - nothing to do with the Gay in Christ Conference, but interesting nonetheless.
"As Jack Donovan brilliantly pointed out in Androphilia, the pre-packaged gay identity is an amalgam of left-wing politics, feminist man-resentment and, eternal victimism."

Disclaimer: No offense intended to LGBTQ-ers.

It could be said the Gay in Christ initiative developed and evolved from
the Spiritual Friendship 'movement' of which many of the speakers at the 
Notre Dame conference are a part of.  This movement, though more intellectual
and theologically Catholic in theory, is loosely derivative of the 
more Christian (Protestant) , Gay Christian Network (GCN).
As that website states:

Through conferences, speaking events, videos, message boards, and more, 
we’re transforming the conversation in the church 
and working to “share Christ’s light and love for all.”

I also think it is proposed as the Courage alternative.

Open mic

Random excerpts from recent emails ...

"He sounds almost typical gay-ssa-Catholic-celibate with issues. "

"It's really hard to find an honest ssa religious guy - esp. one who is in the 'business' or some movement promoting acceptance ..."

"So yeah, I don’t care who they are or how stable they seem:  we got issues."

"Least it's not as bad as the plight of the unwed mother ... what?"

"Some people online have serious mental problems and they may not always be on medication."

"How do you find this stuff?"

"I came across a site which actually charges a registration fee just to comment on the blog posts."

"I wonder if many of us who engage in social media will be saved?" 

"I don't get it. I don't whine about my parish. "

"Just curious if you receive my comments or if there is something you find offensive and decide not to publish them?  Just curious why my comments don't show up."

"Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well.  I won’t bother you for a while."

Some day I'll publish some of the comments I deleted from blog posts. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

I still love this ...

Unusual Ex Votos ...

"Doña Josefa Peres Maldonado offers this monument of her gratitude to the Most Holy Christ of Encino, venerated in the Church of Triana, and to the Most Holy Virgin Mary of El Pueblo, in perpetual memory of the benefit, due to her piety, that resulted from an operation that took place on 25th of April 1777, when the surgeon Don Pedro Maillé removed six cancerous tumors from her breast, in the presence of the gentlemen and ladies depicted on this canvas. Although the wound closed perfectly on the 25th of July 1777, other accidents befell her from which she died on Friday, the 5th of September, at 3 p.m., with clear signs of the patronage of the Holy Image and of her salvation." - Translation of what is written.

In thanksgiving for favors granted.

Ex Votos are often small to shoe box size paintings on tin depicting a miracle or answer to prayer, created and offered in thanksgiving to a particular saint.  Such paintings are left at shrines and altars in churches - especially in Mexico and Latin America.  Canon Law (Can. 1234 - 2) states that ex votos and such must be kept and maintained by the shrines.

I found a few even more 'unusual' ex votos on Tumblr ...

To see more and read the translations go here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More about Irish Step-Dancing Spirituality ...

Abbey Tower of St. Meg the Mad.

Step-Dance Prayer.

It's a little known Irish tradition of monastic contemplative prayer.

Much more ancient than Centering prayer or the labyrinth, or even the green rosary beads with the Celtic Cross, and most assuredly long before the Claddagh.  The tradition quite possibly predates St. Patrick when Ireland was first Christianized by vagrant, Arian, gyrovague monks from Sicily - who incidentally were searching for four-leaf clover to harvest.  It is worthy of note that some non-Catholic historians have speculated that Sufi Dervishes may have been influenced by the same group.

It's quite a simple form of prayer, once the footwork is coordinated - it becomes automatic - and after about a quarter of an hour the subject is raised above one's senses, in a form of ecstasy, and a sort  'rapture' propels the dancer for several minutes.  Every succeeding session, or dance, if you will, raises the subject's consciousness to what some have described as total union in oblivion of all sensibility, a complete and total flight of the spirit.  St. Meg the Mad, the little known anchoress who once lived off the south coast of Ireland is said to have uttered prophesies while in such a state.  One is most famous, but rarely attributed to the Saint.  It should be noted the darkest part of the prophesy, the last three stanzas, are frequently omitted as well:

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
I danced on Earth

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He! 
Here we have the end-times prophesy concerning the tsunami:
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
Keep on dancin' (keep on)
Keep on doin' the jerk right now
Shake it, shake it, baby
Come on & show me how you work
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea! 

Many religious communities are opening wide their doors to step dancing gurus in what has been termed the perfect marriage of action and contemplation - the dichotomy of prayer and activity no longer existent in this ancient form of liturgical/contemplative dance. - Excerpt from the hard to find treatise: The Step Dance Ladder of Monks and Nuns, Sr. Mary of St. Joseph O'Shea, AA

"The more rigid, the more holier than thou."  - Ven. M. Maria Ansa Da Foen

Choral recitation of the Office
 incorporating Step-Dance.

Here's something to think about ...

“Loving the truth isn’t the same thing as arguing about it; when we argue, we are so bent on getting the other person to see our point of view that we hardly mind whether it is true or not; we become advocates. 

Loving the truth isn’t the same thing as preaching it or writing about it; when we preach it or write about it we are too much concerned with making it clear, with getting it across, to appreciate it in its own nature. 

Loving the truth isn’t even the same thing as studying it, or meditating about it; when we study it, we are out to master it; when we meditate about it, we are using it as a lever which will help us get a move on with the business of our own souls. 

No, we have got to love the truth with a jealous, consuming love that can’t rest satisfied until it has won the allegiance of every sane man and woman on God’s earth. And we don’t, very often, love it like that. We are God’s spoiled children; his truth drops into your lap like a ripe fruit—Open thy mouth wide, he says, and I will fill it. There is a sense, you know, in which the false thinkers of today love the truth better than Christians do. Their fancied truth is something they have earned by their own labours, and they appreciate it more than we appreciate the real truth which has dropped into our laps.” —Ronald A. Knox

From his book “A Retreat for Lay People”.

Jackie teaching step-dancing in the
nuns visitor parlour at Toonces Abbey, Ireland.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The unique compassion and pastoral care of Cardinal Burke for SSA persons ...

I keep trying to convince people that Cardinal Burke is not the cranky old guy MSM and social media paints him as.  He does not hate gay people.  He is not unwelcoming or intolerant.  Far from it.

Badger Catholic posted this story:

Cardinal Burke and the 1998 conversion of one of "Wisconsin’s most outspoken gay activists"
The story is from 2011 but the actual conversion happened in 1998 in the La Crosse Diocese.
From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.*
To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.
As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.
My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms....
A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return. - Finish reading here.

Matt's account ends with an anecdote not so edifying.  The author, Eric Hess mentions a priest who attempted to convince him that 'gay is good':

Despite the blessing of Archbishop Burke and priests like him, I want to stress that there are others who lead souls away from eternal life and happiness.
For example, when I recently went to confession, a priest told me something that is both a contradistinction from and a contradiction of the truth that Archbishop Burke taught me.
The apostate priest told me: You’re gay and the Church calls us to accept our sexuality. I am an ethicist—a scholar. And the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very close to this position—and this is the position—am I going too fast for you? If you are attracted to members of the same sex, that is natural for you. And for you to deny that and resist that is to go against natural law. I believe, as an ethicist, that you can have a male roommate and be intimate—of course without genital expression. But if you do slip in that regard, it would not be a mortal sin. - Badger Catholic

I've often heard similar things in and out of the confessional over the years.

Matt commented that he wasn't sure that it was true that the USCCB is really all that close to the position cited by Hess, but I suspect it could be true for many involved in the organization.  I actually think it is priests and activists like the priest Hess describes who really have it in for Cardinal Burke.  It should be no surprise that not a few gay Catholics reject the 'language' Cardinal Burke uses when speaking of same sex attraction and family - which conforms exactly to Catholic teaching BTW.  Opponents say the 'language' is harsh and therefore a 'language barrier' to those who already feel 'unwelcome' by the Church.

Cardinal Burke's actions, his genuine pastoral care, contradicts those who seek to discredit him.

*I know a few guys who did the exact same thing.  This story sustains my hope they will one day return.

Funny stuff ...

Jazz hands!

Just David!  Just Jack!

It could happen.

'Cranky' Cardinal Burke.
(I saw him called that on a news site.)

Did it hurt?
When you hit the ground?
You know, when you were thrown out of heaven?

I like these dancing priests the best.

Michael Voris wanna be.

More on friendship ...

While friendship itself has an air of eternity about it, seeming to transcend all natural limits, there is hardly any emotion so utterly at the mercy of time. We form friendships, and grow out of them. It might almost be said that we cannot retain the faculty of friendship unless we are continually making new friends. - Robert Hugh Benson

And that's just sad.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ignored by the Synod Fathers: Overlooked ... dissed .... how do you think I feel?

We didn't even get a vague-sounding 
one liner in the relatio.

Fighting the stigma of the unwed cat dad.

I go to Church alone.

Always have since grade school.  My family is not religious.  I was rejected as religious freak at the age of 7.

I never married.  I couldn't... wouldn't

I have no kids.  Thank God for them.

I had a dog when I was little.  My parents drove him out to the country and left him.  My dad said he needed a farm family.  I watched him running after the car as my dad drove away.

I was alone.

As an adult in my first apartment I found a cat.  I named him Pasha.  I didn't want him in the apartment though, so I left him in the hallway.  He left me.

I was alone.

I lived alone and never did very well... For I was ... lonely.

I got more cats - but I had to put them to sleep.

Alone again.

Then I got new cats and became attached.  I loved them so much.  They lighted up my life.

I cared for them, hugged them, cuddled with them, talked baby-talk to them - they even prayed with me.

But they weren't allowed in church.  I went to Mass and adoration alone.

I didn't fit in.  My cats weren't accepted.

No one understood what it was like.

Even priests made fun of me for being a cat freak - unmarried, creepy guy with cats, sits by himself at Mass.

I felt alone.

Frequently I was embarrassed by the cat hair on my dark Polo cashmere jacket with the crest on the pocket.  People ignored the nice clothes, the sales tag hanging from the cuff, but laughed at the cat hair.  Why should I even bother going to their Christmas Craft Fair?

Do you people even understand what it is like to be a single cat dad?  Where do I fit in in the Church?  Cats are told they have no souls, that they are going to hell - or no where.  As a cat-dad how can I deal with that sort of invective and hatred?

People have no idea of the responsibility involved in parenting cats.  The spaying, medical bills, Fancy Feast and treats bills, accessories,  Cat school.

Then the loneliness.  I get lonely too.  Cats can't speak English or human language.  My cat meows and hisses and runs to the cupboard when she is hungry - that's my only communication - except when she licks my legs after I get out of the shower - otherwise I have no intimacy in my life.

Oh, sure!  Make fun of cat people.  I'd have a dog, but I would still go to church alone.  They don't want animals at church.  Married or single pet parents - our pets are not welcome!

FYI:  I'm a stay at home cat dad too!  So - don't you dare tell me I don't work.

And yes, I get lonely too.

Deal with it.

Song for this post here.

Signs and signals that the church may be shifting its position on homosexuality always make headlines, but behind the scenes ...

The Catholic Church is changing and celibate gays are leading the way?

Let's be clear, here—the recent softening of the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality hasn't happened in a vacuum. The church has opened itself to change because the general public's attitudes have shifted so profoundly that its condemnation of gays has begun to seem heartless and out of touch. - Source

Oh I don't know - it's not just celibate gays who led the way - c'mon - give New Ways and Dignity some credit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thank heaven Fr. Z is in Rome! A Michael Voris intervention forthcoming?

This really is serious.
A Seersucker jacket in October, Michael? In Rome?

See - I'm not the only one who cares about Michael's appearance.  How many times have I said he looks better with a dark jacket and tie - clean white shirts - even a dark blue or stripe on occasion - no pastels, always with a classic tie?  Don't listen to me though - check this out here.   Like I said, he looks great all the time, but he has to be careful about seasonal clothes and fabrication - and color.  Perhaps he could do a stopover in London on his way home and get some new clothes from Hackett?  In Europe and in the States - rules continue to apply - for men.  Classic is best - check out the very well dressed De la Renta.  No Seersucker after August.

Where is Christine Niles when he needs her?

The very first Feast Day of St. John Paul II

My second favorite Pope who is a canonized saint.

Holy Father St. John Paul, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death!

(Remember the letter I sent you.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More thoughts on friendship.

We can't go on meeting like this!

"... a most severe evil, I have no friend ..."

As a follow-up to my earlier post, On friendship, I want to add a few thoughts from Enbrethiliel's Book Club post on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
"Something that I didn't expect to find in Frankenstein was the theme of friendship. It shouldn't have been too surprising: I had been aware of the Monster's great loneliness at being the only one of his own kind. But now I see that it is more than just an aspect of the Monster's character; it is something that can be felt by all men.  And we first see this longing for a true companion in the loneliness of Robert Walton, who lives and works among men whom he admires but cannot truly consider his peers.
'. . . I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother! I am too ardent in execution and too impatient of difficulties.' (Walton)
What complicates matters is Walton's worry that he himself is not up to snuff. He didn't receive the same education that he imagines sympathetic souls did--and one reason why he wants a true friend from this class is that he believes only one such as these could "endeavor to regulate [his] mind." And whether or not he is right to wish so, he gets exactly what he asked for in Victor Frankenstein." - Enbrethiliel

That is so insightful.

I think there may be much here to consider as regards the cultivation of disinterested, non-sexual friendship.

Understanding one's feelings, as well as one's desires, is critical these days when so many seem inclined to equate, and sometimes incorporate, romantic affection and casual sexual intimacy with friendship.  18th-19th century notions of romance and friendship differ completely from our contemporary understanding and experience of affection and intimacy.  We see the exaggeration most often in the way many gay-history-revisionists misinterpret some of the most noble same sex friendships of history.  The friendship of Cardinal Newman and Fr. Ambrose St. John comes to mind.  Recently I read a revisionist's take on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, suggesting Francis had a 'special' friend in his youth and that he and Br. Elias may have been an item.


Lonely? Hug someone at the sign of peace.  What?

On friendship.

Praying for a friend?

A friend told me not long ago that he was praying to find a good friend - or just any friend.  He's SSA and  strives to live a chaste, celibate life - and it gets lonely and boring at times.  All single men and women know how that goes.

Anyway, he prayed and evidently God listened.  A man from the Men's Club at his parish came up and asked him to join.  Some other guy may have come along as well - I can't recall the details.  Long story short - he wasn't sure he'd be a good fit for the Men's Club, and the other guy - wasn't a good fit... maybe even not his 'type'.  Long story short - he felt he might not fit in, or feared he wouldn't be accepted - and I'm just guessing here - when they realized he was SSA, they might reject him or keep him at arms length.  (I may be reading too much into it - maybe not.)

I told my friend that I know the feeling.  I was just like that.  I prayed so often for a good friend, who understood and accepted me - someone simpatico.  Someone who would accept me just as I am and could be a good prayer buddy, a BFF.  I surveyed the landscape, looking for a healthy, balanced, normal friend to hang out with, to be a support to live chastely, and so on.

Just like my friend, God sent along some really great guys to hang out with.  But they weren't the type of friends I expected.  This guy was too old, that guy too simple.  This guy was really conservative, that guy too liberal.  One guy was a recovering alcoholic - that couldn't work out well if I wanted to stop someplace for a drink.  Another guy wasn't very sophisticated, not very cool, you know ...

Years ago I was invited to be part of the Young Adults Group - but I didn't think I'd fit in.  A few years later a guy asked me if I'd like to join the Men's Club.  Again, it just wasn't a good fit, you know what I'm saying?

What I figured out later, and tried to explain to my friend, God sent the friends - and ample opportunities for friendship and even 'community'.  I just didn't accept the opportunities God provided.  They didn't meet my standards.

Joey and Ross nap - "Friends"

So what did I want?

Just a buddy.  Maybe someone just like me.  A friend to hang out with, meet after Mass, maybe get together for a few drinks - maybe go out night clubbing once in awhile ... Someone who looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch model maybe?  Polo would do.  Know what I'm saying?

I know it now - but I wouldn't admit it then.  As they say, if I knew then what I know now... if I could turn back time.

So maybe my friend, who feels like 'friendless in Seattle', really has the opportunity to have a good friend, but the candidates just don't suit him?  It doesn't mean God didn't send them.  I think he knows that.  It's how 'we' grow - we have to go through this stuff, you know?

The following is a story from the Desert Fathers which may help explain more simply what I've tried to say here:

A brother said to great hermit, 'Abba, I want to find a monk who agrees with me and I'll live and die with him.'  The Abba said, 'Your search is good, my lord.'  The brother repeated what he wanted, not understanding the irony of the hermit.  But when the hermit saw that he really thought this was a good idea, he said to him, 'If you find a monk after your own heart, do you plan to live with him?'  The brother said, 'Yes, of course I want this, if I can find one who agrees with me.'  Then the hermit said to him, 'You do not want to follow the will of anyone, you want to follow your own will, and that is why you will be at peace with him.'  Then the brother saw the sense of what he said, and prostrated himself in penitence, saying, 'Forgive me, I was very proud of myself, I though I was saying something good, when in fact there was nothing good about it at all.' - The Desert Fathers on Discretion


Song for this post here.