On first read through of today’s reading from Revelation, this is what came to mind:
14 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
Perfection was hung on a cross 2,000 years ago. – Mike Shannon, St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster.
We Americans, particularly women, are held in a sort of prison of perfection. From all quarters of our lives,we are expected to strive for perfection: meet incredibly high – and arbitrary – standards of behavior and beauty set by Lord only knows who in order to be considered as beautiful or worthy of love. At least that is the way many of of us feel.
Naturally, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes it really does seem that way.
From the time we are born in the United States, we are compared to a set of numbers. Birth weight and length are the main two on the first day, but APGAR scores are measured – Appearance, Pulse, Grimace,Activity, and Respiration – to be sure that a newborn is ready for the rigors of the world.
As life goes on, our growth progress is charted and compared against other children our own age. We are considered to be of the such and such percentile when it comes to height and weight. How and when our teeth come in is tracked. What age we are when we walk is deemed important.
In our primary school years, we are tracked against a set of standards. Do we cooperate? Do we get frustrated? Are we assertive enough? Do we listen in class? Early progress reports actually ask the questions. Later on, we receive letter grades for our efforts. A is perfect, and, according to all higher wisdom, what we should strive for. Standardized tests are administered to track our progress against everyone else. The higher the score, the better.
In high school, those letters are matched with numbers and averaged to give us a grade point average or GPA, an indicator of academic success regardless of the class load taken or the rigors of the system of study. For those who are college bound, we take standardized tests to give college recruiters an idea of our aptitude in any one area. Whether or not such information was taught in our schools is not the point.
Socially, we are judged, rightly or wrongly, by how we adhere to fashion standards, filling out clothing just right and coiffing in a particular style. Our teeth are straightened to match the ideal of a beautiful smile. We learn to be sufficiently snarky toward people not in the social set considered to be at the top. Not accepting those who are different.
Once out of college and in a real job, every year our employers review our performance. How well did we perform against the expectations laid out for us. The grades are not letters, sometimes are numbers and always include the words “needs improvement.” Whether or not help is available to achieve this improvement is rarely mentioned. At least not in the reviews.
We are encouraged to see a physician every year as our physical condition is tracked: height and weight which are then ratioed and compared against an “ideal” body mass index or BMI which famously does not take into account body type. Doesn’t seem to matter. A lot of us are too short for our weight.
In all of this, we are trained to think of ourselves in terms of numbers. How are we doing against what is considered the ideal? We are judged against that. Not how we treat our family and friends. Not how we respectfully disagree with others without insulting them. Not how we give of our time and talents to help others. We Americans are a social security number with a height and weight that might get a 2 on a scale of getting along with others in the workplace.
It’s enough to make a person really depressed. Especially women who take criticism to heart and internalize it.
It takes a while to accept, but there is no such thing as human perfection. Christ and His Mother are our only known examples – and that may well have been simply perfection of the soul. None of us are perfect. None of us ever will be. Even a baseball pitcher needs the other eight people on the field for a perfect game.
As God creates us in His image, and not physically or academically perfect, He tells us that it is acceptable to be human. It is acceptable to fail. It is acceptable to be who we are and not apologize for it.
None of us are just a number in God’s eyes.
14 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
Peter’s Rehabilitation and Ours
3rd Sunday of Easter – April 14, 2013
The readings for the 3rd Sunday of Easter are Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41; Revelations 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
Today’s dramatic Gospel story (John 21:1-19) is set against the backdrop of the Sea of Galilee. Much of Jesus’ ministry took place along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1) and the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).
12 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
The following, originally posted by 'Latinitas' on http://forums.catholic.com/, and subsequently on some British blogs does, I think, make interesting reading. Time of course will tell.
As a strong traditionalist, I have been somewhat concerned about what Francis has done in his pontificate (washing women's feet at Holy Thursday). However, today I received consolation from the Holy Spirit and have come to draw an interesting comparison between our Holy Father, Pope Francis and Pope St.
06 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
The following picture is taken from a presentation of the “Extremism and Extremist Organizations” training for the US Army Reserves.
Picture Source: Patheos.com
Report by Lachlan Markay, Washington Times
The Defense Department came under fire Thursday for a U.S. Army Reserve presentation that classified Catholics and Evangelical Protestants as “extremist” religious groups alongside al Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan…
30 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
Professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta have published a book with the results of some chemical and mechanical tests which confirm that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century
(Vatican Insider) New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1stcentury AD.
Text of the 2013 Good Friday Sermon in St. Peter's Basilica, preached by Capuchin Friar Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher of the Papal Household:
30 Mar 2013 4 Comments
Vatican: Passion of Our Lord Sermon
(Vatican Radio) In silent procession, wearing red vestments, Pope Francis made his way down the nave of St Peter’s basilica as the sunset over the dome on Friday evening. There before the High Altar, he lay prostrate in prayer. This was the opening act of the liturgy of Our Lord’s Passion, the central commemoration of Good Friday, the memorial of Christ’s suffering and death for the salvation of mankind.