Saturday, October 13, 2012
This morning began with mass at Our Lady Help of Christians in Abington, a few miles from the hotel. Like last year, the Holy Name Society was on hand to pray the rosary outside after mass.1 And just like last year, I forgot to bring a coat, a penance on Our Lady of Fatima. There was still frost on the grass as we walked along a circuit of stepping stones in front of a statue of OLHC. I caught sight of a banner stretched near our path which declared our prayer intention, for the traditional family. One cannot be too careful when casually joining other Christians in prayer.
At the completion of five decades, someone interjected a request for a sixth decade - never heard of such a thing! - for the "deceased and living members of OLHC." Well, fine but this is going to make me late for my 9 am appointment!
In fact, I was able to remain for the pope's intentions then cut out as the prayers switched to birthright. I just feel the pro-life intention is well-covered and my voice isn't needed.
My friend presented this morning on Col. 1:24 - 2:15. Her worksheet was handwritten. She nailed the main points of the passage, a very long passage, and I had nothing to add. Maybe I was just tired from thinking too hard the day before. After her, someone shared on Col. 2:16-3:4. Her worksheet was also handwritten - in pencil - and I began to suspect that these were prepared only last night! Imagine writing out five or six copies of the same thing! The final question asked for a real world example of the passage. Our friend left this question blank because she did not want to offend anyone. However, this one who grew up in the "Roman Catholic tradition" - her words - claimed that she was told to pray only to saints and never to God or Jesus. This deprivation won her a great deal of sympathy with the others. "'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!' I've lived this!" she declared.
If I'm raging now, I wasn't then. There's nothing to say that doesn't sound defensive. And I've no reason to be defensive. Instead, I thanked God for the time at adoration yesterday and mass with rosary this morning, activities that gave me assurance of truth. I was just a little amazed that my friend didn't even throw me a compassionate glance or afterwards ask how I felt. Maybe she believes I'm not really Catholic deep down.
More than this, though, the former Catholic expressed concern for all her neighbors who are Catholics. She wants to witness but can only think to criticize their devotional practices. The study leader, who was also Catholic once, said it's better to allow Jesus to bring a halt to such activities. "Just introduce them to Jesus." I had to agree that there's nothing offensive about speaking to a Catholic about Jesus.
After a noon meal that felt initially tense, I presented on Col. 3:5-17 after another woman presented on the same passage. Ideally, two participants cover the same passage but with one no-show and a desire to go over most of the epistle, ours was the only redundant duo. Her presentation was well-done and I couldn't improve it. I received no feedback on mine, either. Maybe everyone was tired, a drawback of going last.
I had read the passage aloud from Msgr. Ronald Knox's translation which is available online. Everyone asked which translation it was, so I said "Ronald Knox" to distinguish from John Knox. But no one understood so I added his title and everyone clammed up. In the ensuing silence, I told them that the translation was made in the 1950's but that the version will be republished soon. I didn't say the translation was made primarily from the Vulgate. The cat had mostly taken their tongues but the study leader affirmed how good to read from numerous translations.2
1 Two years ago, a small group of us prayed the rosary indoors and it was the first time I'd ever recited a decade aloud in public. A wonderfully inclusive group of Catholics there.
2 Of course I compared Knox's translation with, say, the ESV and it checks out. Baronius Press seems a bit behind on their fall release of this republication, as usual. Thanks to Matt for tipping me off.