Saturday, May 04, 2013

Kay-Kay's First Communion!

We had to go early, if we wanted Confession. I feel compelled to say once again that this is the most misunderstood aspect in the life of the Church by outsiders. It is quite simply the second-greatest gift that Christ can give, after Himself. I have no idea how theologically accurate that is, but it's true.

You'll hear people say, "Why do you have to confess to a priest? Why not go straight to God?" If you will forgive me, you do not know what you are asking. And to be honest, I won't give it back. It is a faithful testimony of God's love in the world that He has left to men His power to forgive sins. With apologies, I scarcely need a reminder of God's saving acts in history, as much as I need him to act here and now. To know that I, even I, am the subject of his loving concern is worth more than all the tent-meetings you care to imagine.

So I prayed a decade of the Rosary, as the priest asked me to do. The penance isn't typically as onerous as people think, either. More often than not, its lightness shows you the greatness of God's mercy and love. Most Christians are more apt to hate themselves because of their failures, and so the sacrament has features to remind you.

I could hardly keep still inside. When you haven't received the Eucharist or gone to Mass in 2 weeks, you notice. I have been sick in more ways than one.

But it reminds me to say that I do not understand these "cafeteria Catholics" as they call them. I can't imagine being or doing anything else. Jesus is Life. The rest is just details. That isn't to say I am never enjoying myself in the world. But somehow, I always end up at the Lord's altar. Almost everything I ever did that was important, He was in the background. Even in the days before I was reconciled to His Church. As the days pass, I am more and more appreciative of the time He said, "After I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself." Draw away, Lord Jesus. I've got nowhere else to be or to go.

I have to think that when Kathryn remembers today, it will be a day she looks through whenever the Lord calls out to her. Sometimes, we get afraid that we've missed the moment for lack of attention. But in God's mercy, that's not usually what happens. He takes you back and says, "Do you remember this? How I whispered to you in the quiet? No, you aren't crazy. I've wanted you to hear me all this time."

Monsignor asked us to remember our first Communion. For me, it was barely two years ago. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. But I felt the grace of the Lord erasing the pain of separation. You cannot understand this if you do not know. But I do. I had a tremendous openness of heart that night; the Church could have proposed for belief that there was life on Mars, and I would've said, "I knew it!" without another thought. This is why they say, "A thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." When you are in love, you don't care about anything. I still don't care. I can think back to a time when the matters of theology were like a problem to be solved, or like a strange zoo animal. But faith changes everything. I can't just make it make sense to you. You'll just have to trust me. Come and see.

This is only a slight overstatement, but trusting Christ and trusting the Church are the same thing. Everyone gathered around the altar is the proof, all the proof I need, that Jesus came in the flesh. I don't really understand being "ecumenical" in a way as to deny what I know. If you want to believe something other than what we confess, I have to wonder, (and you have to ask yourself) "What's it worth?" Because I see the world moving toward a ruthless simplicity. Satan and his minions don't seem to make distinctions.

"Love Is The Answer."

Friday, May 03, 2013


In the course of the post-concert festivities, one of our group briefly told us about this happening to someone she knows. I was, and remain, so mad. I understand that it's more common than we realize, and that it's an opportunity to practice forgiveness in a huge way. And given how much the Lord has forgiven me, I don't suppose I can stand in judgment.

BUT...all I could think was, I will cut you. First off, no one on this planet has had a more difficult time waiting on the Lord as a single person. Seriously, I don't want to hear it. I've got you beat. I'm sorry. No one is less inclined to this time of testing than me. So there's a special wrath that a single person feels at stories like this that I don't think can be replicated. I lament pretty much every day, wondering if there's someone out there for me, and this dude found his someone, and cast her aside?

I cried a little. I don't even know this woman, and I still cried. I'm not going to moralize about it. I just want to say that I really don't understand. I'm not sure I can.

Married dude friends of mine, if you fail like this, don't tell me. I'm liable to break your face.

Audrey Assad

She held us like putty in her hands. When someone really has a special gift, when a musician has some offering to make, the best thing she can do is invite you along. And that's what she did. There's a magic that happens when you trust a musician; there's a special friendship between audience and performer where it doesn't matter what they sing and play; you'll go with them, and them with you. It's more than being a fan, but it's not less than that.

It was mostly new material, but the thing is, it didn't feel like new material. It felt like we knew this, like we understood where it came from. It was a very intimate setting, no band, no guests, no big production. It was Audrey, a piano, and us, her new friends.

And I think I understand that you have to earn the right to ask the audience to sing with you. She earned it. And the thing we sang was off-the-cuff, she said. We sang: "Lord, I need You/Oh, I need You/Every hour, I need You/My one defense/My righteousness/O God, how I need You!"

She pulled it out of us. You're living in a moment, and you realize, "I'm supposed to sing this, right now, right here." Not because someone told you to sing it, but because your heart is already singing it. That's what we call a moment.

The truth is, I am a huge fan. But everyone has those people in popular music. You get it. You feel like they get you. It's a wavelength, and it just works. New, old, doesn't matter. Audrey is one of those people for me. Like George Strait. [You just compared a semi-famous Christian singer to a legend of music.--ed.] Yes, I did. Because she's that good, for one, and because the bond between performer and audience doesn't need outside validation.

Then, I met her. I think I said, "I love your music, and thanks for coming!" I was worried at first what I would do. But my friends all said I played it cool, like I've done this before, which I have. Still, inside, I was going crazy. I don't think she realizes how much good she has done, and how thankful we are for her musical creations. She was genuinely surprised that we came. What? Are you serious? I haven't listened to someone this much since Rich Mullins. And I need to remind you that I hate Christian music.

What a great night! I'm feeling hopeful again, and my love-affair with music is proven once again vindicated.