Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Went to confession at my "home parish" of St. Odilo back in Berwyn, IL at 11:30-ish or so, then got on the Blue Line to get back to St. Ben's in time for evening mass at 5:00PM. I arrived at around 1:30PM, which was, unfortunately, too late to help out for the set-up for Fr. Steve's "Auf Wiedersehen" reception (I still can't believe it's his last weekend here!). I did get a chance to chat with him a little before mass; looks like the conference with the FOCUS missionaries went very well! He's going to be in good company when he starts his new assignment at the Newman Center at UIC!

My singing voice was practically non-existent for the 5:00PM mass today. I think it gradually improved as the mass went on, though. Throughout the entire mass I kept wondering if singing in the "choir" (which for tonight was just me) is really the best way to be a witness for Christ during the mass. There was no need for extra servers, Eucharistic ministers, or lectors tonight, but I wonder if just sitting in the pews would actually be a BETTER witness. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being an attention-seeking neo-clerical seminarian; other times, I think of the excerpt from "Diary of the Country Priest" where one of the "old school" priests chastites the main character for being part of the "choir boy priest" generation. It reminds me also of the priest character from Gran Torino, a character I find to be far from the ideal priest (even if he is leagues beyond the idiot malcontent passive-aggressive, sexually perverted depictions the media tends to bestow upon priest characters in movies and TV shows these days); when I saw the movie in theaters, I saw a character that reminded me scarily of myself - in all the wrongs ways, and for all the wrong reasons. Miss Marge actually said something to that effect a few weeks ago, when school hadn't quite finished for the summer yet. She didn't mention the association in the same negative light I just did (in fact, I'm fairly certain she wanted to compliment me, for which I thank her!), but I made no secret of my displeasure in being compared to the "Father Gran Torino."

The whole "am I doing the right thing?" was especially prominent in my discernment today for other reasons, as well. Having just received the sacrament of Reconciliation, I was determined to "sin no more," which naturally turns on the "scrupulosity alert" to its maximum setting; having just arrived back at St. Benedict after a day and a half off of work didn't help things, as I felt obligated to get some meaningful work done after accomplishing virtually nothing during my time off.

Luciano invited out to ANOTHER priest's "farewell" reception at another parish after mass; I thought about it, and I fear that I did so for the wrong reasons, but I decided to stick around for Fr. Steve's reception here at St. Ben's instead. I'm glad I did, as I was able to help out with the take-down and various other odd jobs that inevitably result from these kinds of parish events, but I still wonder if I declined Luciano's invitation simply because I didn't want to go to a parish function where I:

a) didn't know anybody
b) wouldn't get back home until late;
c) wouldn't be able to enjoy the company of other St. Ben's parishioners
d) wouldn't get much to eat

As I said, it's probably just scruples. Dear Lord, protect me from the scourge of this spiritual disease! St. Louis Du Montfort, pray for me! Grant that I may find my solace and strength within the comforting caress of the Blessed Mother, as you did! AMEN!

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