Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Lament for New Orleans (or some other devastated place)

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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Lament for New Orleans (or some other devastated place)

Adapted from Jeremiah’s “Lamentation over Jerusalem” (NIV)
See suggestions at the end for praying this lament today.

1:1  How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! 
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! 
2  Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
The roads to New Orleans mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts. 
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, 
her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.

4 The French Quarter mourns, for no one comes to her appointed feasts. 
All her gateways are desolate, 
All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Louisiana. 
Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; 
in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.

7  In the days of her affliction and wandering 
She remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. 
When her people fell into the hands of her enemy the sea, there was no one to help her. 
Her enemy looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
12 "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. 
Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, 
that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?

Listen, all you peoples; look upon my suffering.
My young men and maidens have gone into exile.
19  "I called to my allies – my protectors - but they betrayed me. 
My priests and my elders perished in the city 
while they searched for food to keep themselves alive.
20  "See, O LORD, how distressed I am!

2:1  How the Lord has covered the city with the cloud of his anger ! 
He has hurled down her splendor from heaven to earth;

5  The Lord is like an enemy; he has swallowed New Orleans up. 
He has swallowed up all her palaces and destroyed her strongholds. 
He has multiplied mourning and lamentation for the Daughter of Louisiana.

7  The Lord has rejected his saints and abandoned his sanctuary. 
He has handed over to the waters the walls of her palaces; 
they have raised a shout in the house of the LORD
as on the day of an appointed feast.
8  The LORD determined to tear down the wall around the Daughter of Zion. 
He … did not withhold his hand from destroying. 
He made ramparts and walls lament; together they wasted away.

9  Her gates have sunk into the ground; 
their bars he has broken and destroyed. 
    Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations, 
the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from the LORD.

11  My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, 
my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, 
because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.
12  They say to their mothers, "Where is bread and wine?" 
as they faint like wounded men in the streets of the city, 
as their lives ebb away in their mothers' arms.
13  What can I say for you? With what can I compare you, O City of Music? 
To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, New Orleans? 
Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?

18  The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. 
O walled city, let your tears flow like a river day and night; 
give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.

19  Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; 
pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. 
      Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, 
who faint from hunger at the head of every street.
20  "Look, O LORD, and consider: Whom have you ever treated like this?

3:17  I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.

21  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22  Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail.
23  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24  I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26  it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
-- there may yet be hope.

40  Let us examine our ways and test them, 
and let us return to the LORD.

54  The waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to be cut off.
55  I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit.
56  You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief."
57  You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear."

4:4  Because of thirst the infant's tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth; 
the children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them.
6  The punishment of my people is greater than that of Sodom, 
which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her.

5:1  Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us; 
look, and see our disgrace.

14  The elders are gone from the city gate; 
the young men have stopped their music.
15  Joy is gone from our hearts; 
our dancing has turned to mourning.

16  The crown has fallen from our head. 
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
18  for New Orleans lies desolate, 
with jackals prowling over it.
19  You, O LORD, reign forever; 
your throne endures from generation to generation.

21  Restore us to yourself, O LORD, 
that we may return; renew our days as of old


Suggestions for prayerful lament:

Scriptures of Lament are helpful to teach us sympathy, humility
 and repentance, to give us perspective … and ultimately hope. 

1. Pray this prayer in solidarity with the people of New Orleans
Weep with those who weep.  This is intercession.

2. Pray for the cities of the world that are wracked by poverty, crime and suffering; 
        for refugees whose homes and villages have been wiped out

3. Pray this prayer for our city - and our physical and moral vulnerability.
Jesus said, “Do you think they were more guilty than others?
        I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”  Luke13:4-5

4. Pray this prayer for the church, the city of God and consider how swamped and                          paralyzed we are by affluence and self-interest
            how no one comes to our appointed feasts
                how secularism has engulfed us.


David Knight, September 6, 2005



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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Modest Dress at Mass What I Wish I Had Known by Karen Lynn Ford - August 27, 2005

 In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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21.  Modest Dress at Mass What I Wish I Had Known by Karen Lynn Ford - August 27, 2005

CHURCH ETIQUETTE SERIES

Respect, Reverence, and Charity in Church

What I Wish I Had Known

Unfortunately, she also believed much of what she saw and learned in the real world.  She thought that to get attention she needed to dress to impress provocatively.  To look good, or what she thought was good then, and to get a tan on her northern Ohio body in April, she entered the children's fantasy-land in short shorts and a bikini bathing suit top.  Thank God for the good sense of the Disney World employee who promptly told this young woman that she needed to wear a real shirt because Disney is a family park.  She had a t-shirt and put it on, and felt pretty foolish.

            That young woman, now 34-year-old me, grew up to regret the way she used to dress.  As a mother of three with a fourth on the way, I now realize that modesty is not just beneficial to the girl or woman wearing the clothes.  It benefits everyone who looks at her.

            As a cradle Catholic, I experienced a deepening of my faith early in my marriage.  I learned a lot that I wish I'd known, or listened to, while I was growing up.  One of the most important things I have learned is that as a woman, it is my responsibility to protect myself as well as anyone who looks at me from the near occasion of sin.  Many women or girls will say that it's not their fault if a young man looks at her lustfully when she's exposing twice as much flesh as she's covering.  St. Maria Goretti, on whose feast day my husband and I celebrate our anniversary, disagreed.  When her childhood friend turned lustful and sought to violate her, she chose to die rather than lead Alessandro into sexual sin.

A Detraction and Distraction

The clothing styles available to our young women and teens today aren't exactly helping us to dress modestly.  Even many of the maternity styles are exposing much more chest and midriff than when I was pregnant with my first child.  So some might justify what women are wearing these days by saying there aren't any modest styles available in the department stores.  Indeed, it takes a lot longer to shop for modest clothing, but there are some modest styles out there.

Obviously, I am not impressed with today’s styles, but where I find them most inappropriate and offensive is inside of church.  When I was growing up, we didn't wear jeans or shorts to Mass.  We certainly didn't wear micro-mini skirts and cropped shirts.  It's one thing to see bare-bellied girls walking about the mall or the park.  But week after week I go to Mass and see as much flesh as I would expect to see at the beach, and this is on a 55-degree drizzly day in New England!

I watched as three young girls sang beautifully in the youth choir last weekend.  Unfortunately, they probably don't realize that the way they dressed actually detracted from rather than enhanced their natural beauty.  They looked like Vegas showgirls as they circled a microphone shaking their barely-covered bottoms, three pews away from my eight-year-old son's gaze.  The choir is a focal point of our children’s Mass.  The music is up-beat and truly an occasion to praise God.  Unfortunately, the view is distracting, not reverent.  My grandmother once told me that in the 1950s and'60s, pastors publicly chastised women who wore shorts on church property when they came to pick their children up from Catholic school.  They were in the parking lot, mind you, not the sanctuary.

Stop Being So Mousy about It!

Today, a majority of priests seem to be so afraid to say anything that might offend anyone that people come to church in clothes more suited for mowing the lawn or a day at the beach than to receiving our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  If Disney World can give a young woman

a warning about her immodest dress, why won't our church set some parameters for acceptable dress in the church?  One shrine I have been to does have posted guidelines and makes robes available for Mass-goers who show up in shorts or inappropriate clothing.  But this is the exception, not the rule.

Does our Lord care how we are attired?

Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.  A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."'

Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.  The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.  The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.  Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.  Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.'  The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.

            But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?'  But he was reduced to silence.  Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'

Many are invited, but few are chosen." (Mt 22:1-7)

We are invited to the Eucharistic banquet every day, most especially Sundays.  We do a grave disservice to our young people by not teaching them that though you should not judge by appearances, people do.  Going to church in skimpy clothes shows disrespect for the people around you and for Jesus Christ, our Lord.

© Copyright 2005 Catholic Exchange

Karen Lynn Ford and her husband Michael have been married for nine years. They live in Western Massachusetts and there they attend Holy Name Catholic Church.  Karen and Michael are the parents of an 8, 6, and 4 year old, who recently welcomed their youngest sibling on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. Karen is a Content Editor for Catholic Exchange.  👈

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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

----------------------------------------------------------------

© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Règles du discernement des esprits de la première semaine - Selon Saint Ignace de Loyola, fondateur de la Société de Jésus au 16e siècle

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from...