Remind Me Not to Do This Again

YesterdayI went to Lenten day of Reflection. I need to jump start my Lent as I’m not sure what to do, i.e. give something up, take some action. It really shouldn’t just be a time to go on a diet.

Well, it was pretty awful. There were 14 of us and the priest had all these rules. Mainly, you couldn’t use the word “you” and you couldn’t preach. His idea of preaching was hard to understand. At the beginning, a woman raised her hand and said, “Excuse me, but I work in logistics and I think the chairs would be arranged better if they were in a circle.”

The priest chastised her, “Don’t you think I know the chairs are arranged badly. I’ll take care of it. This is what I mean by preaching. Stop preaching.” Another man questioned his terms, “God has a ruthless love for us.” I don’t think anyone understood what that meant. He was told not to let one word trip him up. Well, all the words we were supposed to respond to were such gobbled gook that no one knew what to say. After lunch someone asked if the priest if he’d enjoyed his lunch and got snapped at. “You don’t have to worry about me. I am able to take care of myself. I’m here for you all.” (Right.)

Later one man really spoke from his heart describing how he’s come to a point where he felt that while he did all the things a good Catholic should, he was a hypocrite and his faith lacked depth. Every time he slipped and said “you know,” he was chastised. (You can be used to mean other people particularly or like the French use “on” as a generality, e.g. Where do you buy tickets?) This man was in no way offending anyone other than the priest with his use of “you.”

I decided 1) to never attend another event there and 2) not to share with the group.

One surprise of the day was that a woman I went to grade school with was there. She was the meanest terror of my class. I hope I get some points for having lunch and conversing with her husband and her. I was astonished that a seemingly really nice man married someone who’d been so vicious. I think that encounter was the blessing of the day. The program itself was an endurance test. I wound up leaving an hour early. I just couldn’t take any more. The priest is good when he gives homilies, but dealing with actual people is not his forte. How does the Catholic church march onward with these types as their leaders? Truly that’s the biggest miracle of all.



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