I’ve been noticing more and more the things that used to upset, bother, rile me up or even piss me off no longer have a draconian and sin inducing effect on me anymore. I’m getting old. It’s not an accomplishment that I’ve earned its one that comes with breathing. In my 20’s and 30’s other drivers gave me deep insight into the mindset of mass murders. My lack of patience and frequent cursing was an almost weekly conversation at Confession with my Priest. At some point venial sins commited over and over begin to resemble family members more than behavior to be restrained. Now that I am well into my 50’s I’m Blessed in so many more ways than I was as a youth. It’s interesting to see how frequently the Bible talks about the folly of youth and how with age comes wisdom and understanding. Grace is a gift we are given almost continuously it is strength unmerited and freedom unearned.
When I first noticed this I began to become concerned that I was not being compassionate, empathetic anti-social. Nothing could be further from the truth. I care more deeply as I get older but not in the way I did when I was younger. I look to the longer term. if you’re making choices that aren’t healthy I’m less inclined at this point to correct you directly and more inclined to suggest, pray and trust. My Will imposed on you is of no use to the lesson God is trying to teach you. I have learned God knows better how, when and where. He doesn’t need my help getting you to a closer relationship with Him.
These are just some of the thoughts playing around in my head tonight. I wanted to get them online to see what You (dear reader) have noticed in your lives and walks with God about getting older. Please comment and share, lets have a conversation.
I have some thoughts about this and I’m not sure they’re going to be popular. I’ve always been taught and belief to this day that the sanctity and inviolability of the Confessional is not something up for secular policies to dictate. It’s one of the Traditions in Catholicism that is uniquely Catholic. This being said I absolutely think that everyone, priests, church officials, religious and well, everyone that harms, hurts or in someway violates a child, should have to answer in the here and now. People in positions of power and authority to my way of thinking really should be accountable to an even Higher standard. Can you imagine what it would look like if the State gets a say on what happens in the confessional? Do you think that people would simply stop availing themselves of this Grace we’ve been given if they can’t be sure what their confessor is going to do with the information they’ve just told him. The bottom line is that the confessional is for answering to the Judge of All and receiving absolution there not for answering to Secular laws. In some ways the confessional is a bit like Vegas, what happens in the confessional should stay in the confessional. What are your thoughts, please remember be charitable and kind in your responses to each other.
LA Archbishop says amended confession bill still targets priests, Catholic employees
Catholic officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession that is advancing in the state legislature.
So I have been a bit on the negligent side when it comes to posting and I feel that I owe everyone an explanation. My life like a lot of you has been in a state of flux since last October when I decided to leave my 9-5 to pursue writing and my Wellness Coaching Business. Things have worked out better than I expect but as is the case with all things, God had more in mind than I anticipated. It’s only now that I find my life reaching a place that doesn’t feel like I’m running crazy. The second thing also was that I had no idea what to blog about, sure I have lots of ideas, but ultimately I really had to get in touch with the direction, the mission if you will of what I want 13pastmidnight.com to be. After much prayer I’m pretty clear I want this site to be about and for those, that like me are a part of the LGBTQ community and also find themselves still drawn to Catholicism. I want to share those things, books, articles, meditations, ideas and software that are helpful to me and that you may find helpful as well. I very much would like to see you’re ideas, books etc that have helped you so that ultimately this site can be communal in nature. I welcome all Thoughts and Ideas as long as they come from a place of Love.
To this end, you will start to see new posts. I plan to post every Sunday following the Liturgical calendar with my thoughts from the readings that day. I also plan to start posting articles from other online Catholic publications that I find interesting and useful. Lastly, you’ll start to see software, gadgets and event listings. If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see, or if you’d like to post something yourself to the site, I’d love to talk with you. Do you have a poem you’d like to share or an article, idea, theological question you’d like to see explored? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]
Last night wasn’t a good night. We’d left the bedroom window open, fan on full blast to cool off the room. At some point in the evening, the first Santa Ana’s start blowing. Somehow I had ignored the Government high wind weather warning blaring on my iPhone. Sometime around 3am Mr. Fancypants started barking alerting us to what sounded like a Tsunami happening outside our bedroom window. Lonnie even woke, mumbling out something about closing the window. I somehow managed to roll my half-shut eyes at the idea of getting up. I was still not fully awake from a somewhat disturbing dream. I recall it involved frogs and other amphibians in a mishmash of Halloween images. Mr. Pants was insistent, as he often is about such things. There was something not right happening and he was going to keep guard even if we weren’t going to pay attention to him. Lonnie rolled out of our bed to close the window, which now struck me as the logical thing to do, why I hadn’t thought of it earlier? peculiar. Fancy calmed a bit and settled down on top of the covers spooning with my hips as he likes to do when he feels safe. He sighed and settled into sleep. Lonnie returned to bed and returned to noiseless slumber. I, on the other hand, remained in and out of sleep, thoughts turning in my now overly agitated mind. Of course just as I finally manage to shake the thoughts, Lonnies’ alarm blares in the background. It’s 6:15am, I’ll have to get up soon at least that’s what the years of working a 9 to 5 are telling me, Pavlovian response indeed!
My iWatch blares a text message about an online personal development course I’m doing. The two other participants are having a conversation. “So are we doing the DH training this morning. I bolt out of bed, “Oh shit did I forget?”, I don’t remember it being on the calendar. Lonnies asks me too many questions, what’s wrong, I’m not awake to answer, coffee hasn’t happened yet. I have enough juice to get to the machine to press the brew button. Thank God, he got it ready for me the night before. One scoop of dry dog food, refill the water bowl, open the back porch door. I immediately close the back door, the winds fierce angry and hot. Santa Ana’s are called the Devil winds for a reason. Fancypants incidentally backs away from the back door as soon as I open it not even curious to go outside to pee. I log onto the Zoom room, no one’s there. I tap out a quick iMessage, “I’m here, where is everyone”. No response. Coffee is brewed, sugar-free hazelnut, heavy cream, I feel better already. The Morning ritual is complete and the gods are happy.
A response from my Mentor, “We hadn’t put it on the calendar, will reschedule. I’m thankful and feel guilty at the same time. I love this training, but the early mornings tests my ability to focus. I’m halfway through my first cup of coffee. I’m now able to process, Todoist is open, I’m plugging in my day. All those things that will make me feel accomplished as I get to check them off as done, karma points received.
Lonnie futz’s around the kitchen making his Keto coffee, putting his lunch together. I barely notice. I’m lost in what I’m doing. He announces, “I gotta get to work” it’s his way of telling me, I still find it adorable because in my head I wonder if he thinks I have any doubt about what he’s doing. It’s almost as if he’s announcing he’s going out to slay a dragon and save the Kingdom. That is how I see it and now I’m guessing you’re finding it funny too. I kiss him good-bye. He says goodbye to Mr. Pants. He leaves, its quiet, 3/4 of the way through coffee number one.
Ok time to be productive. I have a paid article I’m supposed to write. I start writing and find a million reasons to get distracted. I refocus by brewing coffee number 2. I read my mail, nothing important. I read the news, looking for inspiration for Technical articles, a few ideas well up, I record them.
It’s 8:45am I get my delivery order for the day. It’s a good one, one delivery. It’s a big order and a good payment. In between the writing and my other online businesses, I do corporate food delivery. It pays really well, I enjoy it immensely. I get a call from one of my business partners. We start talking about her business. We talk about my business. The call ends abruptly when she realizes she misses an important call. I go back to my writing.
Around the end of coffee number two, I get ready to pick up and deliver the food. It’s for a doctor like most of them are. I’ve already walked Mr. Pants, we avoid the falling Sweet Gum Balls. They are like projectiles blown about by the angry winds.
Dressed, say goodbye to the Pants. The pickup was easy, delivery even easier. I’m heading home, It’s 11;45am. Mass is at 12:10pm, “You can get home, change and make it in time” I think to myself. Part of this new journey was to be able to attend daily Mass. A mini-debate happens in my head that I don’t feel like I’m a part of. The going to Mass side wins out. I’m sure it was because today more than any other day feels and smells like Fall for the first time. It was because I believe that what I don’t know isn’t as important as what I do. I vacillate between wanting to be open, inclusive driven by a Faith that recognizes everyone where they are at, Loving them where they are at and the one that still lives in a more conservative world. The irony is, of course, I don’t live in that world. I’ve yet to reconcile myself completely to who I am and what I actually Believe with what the Church teaches.
This conflict of Faith ebbs and flows throughout the year. As I get older, the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Love has mellowed my desire for black and white. He has allowed me to see Him in the in-between spaces where all the grey lives. My life right now has taken a turn for the good. I’m following what I believe I’ve been called to do. Whatever side of the Glass you’re seeing “All That Is” just recognize He is looking back, He Loves you and calls you to be all that you can be and that’s all that matters.
It’s evening, the winds have calmed down. Lonnies back home, Mr. Pants is happy as a clam. He has me, Pappa and Daddy Lonnie home. I open the porch door, he ventures out to inspect his territory. All is good, he heads in curling up on the couch between us happy as a clam and in my mind more confident of Life than I imagine I’ve ever been. Animals and children see God so much more clearly than adults.
After the recent Pennsylvania report that has come out once again a gaping wound has been opened for all to see. I have a few thoughts about this and the reactions from both inside the Church and outside. I’m horrified not only that Priests, Bishops, and others would sexually abuse children but that the Church would knowingly allow it and just shuffle them around to repeat their sickening behavior. It further boils my blood that the Church is supposed to be the moral compass for its members, how can the Church be trusted to provide any moral teaching when the very people espousing the teachings are living a morally bankrupt life themselves. I’m mad, I’m mad as hell about this and deeply pained that the Church I Love has yet to take responsibility, has yet to have a Mea Culpa moment. Still, there is a shifting of blame to individuals but only when there is incontrovertible evidence She cannot deny.
Many have left the Church over this and sadly many more will continue to leave. This too is deeply painful, how can change happen if you do not stay and be the Change that must happen for the Bride of Christ to be all that she must be. If the Church and Her teachings are true (and I believe they are) How can people as deeply angry and pained as they find a way to leave? How can you leave if the singular most important teaching that Jesus is Truly Bodily Present in the Holy Eucharist? is True?! What comes to mind is once again Simon Peters response to Jesus, “To Whom shall we go?”. I was raised to Believe that the Roman Catholic Church possesses the fullness of Truth and that all others, by comparison, are but dim reflections. So I find myself in an awkward place, aligned with my Brothers and Sisters who long for the Change, who long for and must demand (quite frankly) for that Mea Culpa without reservation. She must declare herself guilty of betraying the Trust and Faith that has been placed in Her. It is my opinion that it will be only then that Trust can be regained, Forgiveness offered (to the Church) and Healing begins. You cannot heal without first acknowledging you are in need of healing.
My last thought. I’ve done a lot of reading recently about this and one of the things I keep reading from those inside the Body of the Church some of whom complain that there is too much attention being focussed on the Catholic Church. So what! It’s not the attention being focussed on the Church that’s the problem, it is the acts that were done and covered up that are the problem. The Church is not the victim here, She is the perpetrator and the one in need of forgiveness and Penance. The Sooner she realizes this the sooner, forgiveness, healing, and growth will happen.