Spiritually Whining

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

"That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

Or us saying that to God?

We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

If this is the case—if any one of these "heavy" scenarios are present--then you might be "spiritually whining," as I like to call it.  I spiritually whine all the time, so don't worry if you do. I'm not judging you.

Our opinion might be that our present situation is unfavorable.  Hence we say, "The Lord's way is not fair!" as the House of Israel said in the first reading (Ezekiel 18:25).  We think we've been given a raw deal.  We're dissatisfied and we ease that frustration through one of those heavy outlets mentioned above (anger towards people, anxiety in prayer, etc.).  Ultimately we resent the cross.

The fact is that we indeed might have an unfavorable situation or a raw deal.  But that doesn't mean we're entitled to complain.  We can certainly acknowledge pain, but feeling pain is very different than complaining.  Whining 'that's not fair' is a shirking of the cross.  Accepting the situation and not complaining but instead looking to God for strength is the better avenue.

This is what Jesus did.  He "did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself" (Philippians 2: 6-7).  May we too.

In last week’s homily I gave out A Litany of Masculine and Feminine Maturity.  We’ve reprinted it here in the bulletin and included it in the eBlast.  You might add this to your spiritual repertoire.

 

This Saturday, September 26th is the Diaconate Ordination of parishioner Tom Dombai.  Congratulations, Tom, on being ordained a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church.  Tom and his wife Marie have been preparing for this monumental sacrament for the past four years, taking classes and fulfilling other assignments around the parish and Archdiocese. Deacon Tom's first Mass of Thanksgiving will be Sunday, September 27th at the 9:30am Mass. 

The Saint Juliana Parish Book Club will meet this Saturday, September 26 at 9:15am in the back of the church to discuss The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  If you are interested in being part of the discussion but would prefer to meet virtually, please email me and I will send you a Zoom invite.  Our next book will be A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, to be discussed on Saturday, October 24.

If you are interested in being part of Teen Ministry, please let me know.  We will be joining the Mary Seat of Wisdom Parish teen group called Crux. You can find more information, the full calendar, and register here: https://www.mswparish.org/crux-teen-ministry.

Next Sunday, October 4, we are adding back the 11am Sunday Mass.  We will now have three Masses Sunday morning, in addition to the Saturday 5pm Mass. 

Also, following the 11am Mass next Sunday, October 4th, we will have the socially-distanced pet blessing, it being the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Bring your animals to the area outside the church.  I will probably do the blessing at 11:45am.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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