Locking Down the Father of Lies

Every few days or weeks, a wave of new rumors sweeps through the Parish about something or other. It’s always something like “What’s this I hear about St. Jane and women priests!?” followed up with”You must do something to address these rumors!” And it always comes from the same sources, which I pretty much know by now, depending on the subject of the rumors.

The latest is that St. Jane is only allowing Communion in the Hand which, for some reason, is a hot topic of conversation and for some other reason – or lack thereof – has people up in arms over absolutely nothing. If it were an isolated incident, and if it were not so predictable, I’d probably be bothered by it.

It’s a steady stream of dreck, and figuratively speaking you just need a fly swatter.

But Who would say such a thing?!

The questions never asked, during our COVID-stressed existence are, “Who said that?” Or, “Why did they say that?”

Most of the rumors I hear are false. Some I haven’t been able to address because I haven’t known the facts. (And you might ask yourself why I did not know the facts, which is a good question, and one which I’m usually able to find out.)

The Source

In Boy Scouts years ago a rumor started that our Scout Leader was resigning. We were all shocked and surprised. That very night my scout leader called me and asked where I’d heard the rumor, and I told him quite honestly that I’d heard it from my David. He then called David.

David took the fall because I think at that point it was so generalized in some large group setting that no one knew who’d started the rumor. It wasn’t much of a fall, our Scout Leader just set the record straight.

But it was a lesson. Never take rumors as true until you know more. And always question the source.

The Father of Lies

 You belong to your father, that is, the devil, and are eager to gratify the appetites which are your father’s. He, from the first, was a murderer; and as for truth, he has never taken his stand upon that; there is no truth in him. When he utters falsehood, he is only uttering what is natural to him; he is all false, and it was he who gave falsehood its birth. And if you do not believe me, it is precisely because I am speaking the truth.

John 8:44-45 Knox translation

Very beautiful things start in the Church, things truly started as a fruit of the spirit, which get torn down and destroyed by the works of the flesh. They’re stolen, to go off elsewhere and start on a foundation of sand, deceptions, and intrigue. In the inevitable frustrations that develop, rumors and blame start, to deflect attention from where it actually belongs, and sometimes to assuage guilt.

That’s when you know you’re dealing with the father of lies, and not the Author of Life.

A Toxic Brew

It’s all unnecessary.

So I started tracking rumors to their source. Instead of answering questions, I asked them. I started giving advice instead of asking for it. Instead of watching the Parish get trampled like a doormat – that applies to groups across the board, and to no one group in particular – I re-established boundaries. People hate that kind of thing.

Toxic people are usually unhappy, and it’s usually not a lifelong way of being. Some may be going through an unhappy phase of life, just miserable in their lives. Some might not have grown up yet, and consider acting like a spoiled teenager is the norm for those approaching or past middle age.

Frustrated souls start rumors constantly.

Conclusion

Be at peace and occupy yourselves with the Father of Life, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus never started rumors, though he did end many of them.

It’s easy to mess with a priest or a parish – the stupidest people are more than capable of doing it. Tho in these bizarre times, maybe it’s better to remember that age old adage – never mess with the people who know where the bodies are buried.

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The Feast of Ignatius

The Ordinary Form of the Mass, at 8AM

During the Mass, I was amused to see one of our altar servers go into the sacristy, wash his face, and blow his nose in the hand towel (start about 3:59 in). Then he busted out a few moves and did his hair. My guess is that he didn’t realize we were live-streaming.

He came back and got back on track, though – one of those “I’m still waking up here, man!” kind of moments one occasionally goes through at the daily Mass. 🙏🏼

Blessed Feast day.

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Facebook is Exhausting

My Facebook Header

As much as I’ve enjoyed Facebook over the years, I have to say the last few months it’s grown to be exhausting.

Do I really have the energy to put up with all of your complaints during Corona-stress? 😎 For a time I did as I have a genuine concern for all of you. But there’s a time to refresh one’s batteries and ‘deactivate’ for awhile. My old Facebook profile is still there… just resting.

Music

A college choir I was in worked on a choral piece last month for which we each videoed our part and sent along to the producer, a fellow alum. They’ll be put soon enough into the grand whole where we’ll all sing together, once again, “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.”

Several of us commented that going through it, the piece was achingly slow. Back when we sang it in the 80’s the pace was fine – easy, relaxed, meandering like the lazy Mississippi. It never felt slow, or lazy.

Letters

Around the same time last month, I was organizing some things in the Rectory and came across an old stack of letters from pen-pals through the years. I was struck by how much everyone had written, and thought about how unoften I actually write things anymore, except to take notes during lectures, classes, meetings. I remember spending evenings writing thoughtful letters, poems, silly stories. My grandmother Allen and I wrote all the time, big newsy things that were always fun.

But the choir-song-that-seemed-slow wasn’t slow at all; it’s the world that’s sped up. And the reason I don’t sit around writing letters or stories or newsy items is because of things like Facebook, and the Internet – which can produce just as much of a dopamine high as anything else.

Basically, what I’ve found to be a good way to relax during corona stress is to slow down.

Entering into His Rest

Turn off the tv, turn off the 24/7 everything, turn off the internet, the video games, the whatever, etc. Eat well, rest well, stay away from caffeine, alcohol, all the vices. A month of doing so can help reset dopamine sensitivity, you know, and bring about renewed peace and enjoyment of life. Everything has speeded up, and everyone’s complaining about nothing. Especially on Facebook. And it’s all because we’re depleting out dopamine stores I tell you, living fast and non-stop.

It’s a great time to get back to basics, and to make better time for prayer, also.

With that, I’m off to do some reading.

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