Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Immaculate Conception Meme, suggested to me

I've got three hours and two minutes to post this and have it still qualify as an "Immaculate Conception Meme." Actually, it is down to two hours and 57 minutes now. Here goes!

Rules: Each tagged person must post 8 random facts or habits about themselves on their blog. At the end of the post, choose 8 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment telling them that they are tagged and to read your blog. Have fun!

1. A tiny bit of the guilt that I habitually carry around with me was removed when the Ironic Catholic recently discovered that some folks have found out who she really is. A year or so ago, I accidentally revealed her identity to a whole bunch of bloggers. What I discovered from that is that people don't read my emails very carefully since only one, trustworthy, person picked up on it and her secret had remained secure, til now. You see, I'm the only blogger who has met her. Boy is she tall! I still have a crick in my neck from looking up.

2. 30 Years ago I was a paid organizer on the election campaign of one of the most liberal and pro-choice politicians in the State of Minnesota for the U.S. Senate. And in the U.S. for that matter. We lost. I wouldn't be blogging in St. Blog's Parish if we had won, that's for sure. I still admire the man for his integrity. I thought I was pro-life then, but secretly. It was very uncomfortable for me hanging around with the Grand Dames of the Feminist Caucus for whom abortion was their sacrament.

3. I've been in the hospital three times with heart problems, starting in 1984. I finally seemed to have learned that it is important to take the pills as prescribed. No surgeries. A stent in 2004. Things are fine, more or less, since then. Now if I could only exercise more and eat less and get my weight down.

4. I've been doing my family history for a very long time and one of the things that bothers me most is that nobody but me seems to be REALLY interested other than in looking at a chart and asking "Which one is me?" Was this all a waste? I hope not. But who will take it on after I'm gone? I finally figured out a place to put it, for free [Rootsweb FreePages], so that even if it might be a couple of generations before some relative appreciates all my thousands of hours of work, all of it will be there for them. Barring a comet collision or the Second Coming.

5. I'm a closet charismatic, also. Tears!

6. For about ten months I have been volunteering at the local Veterans' Hospital as an EMHC a couple of days a week. This has been the singularly most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life. It makes up for a lot of my wastrel history. Most of what I do is just check in with them, chat a bit, pray with some and give Holy Communion to those who request it. I never would have thought that I would have the interest or ability to do something like that. I thank Jesus for the Grace He gave me to allow me to do this. I've always thought that looking at wounds and scars, incisions, amputations, tracheotomies, etc. would be difficult. It's not. I'm looking at human beings.

What's most amazing to me is that of those who take Holy Communion, 40 years after Vatican Two, 95% or more take the Host on the tongue. And they know how to do it. I also occasionally serve Mass and do stints as lector. I find it mildly uncomfortable to be able to touch the sacred vessels (we could never do that when I was an altar boy) and more unworthy to personally touch Our Lord in the Host. But I understand that without me, it would not be possible to have many patients receive Communion regularly.

7. I started out this meme by using the word "guilt." I suspect that I am not that different from those of you who are reading this. Even though I've been to confession and know that I have received absolution, I still have twinges of guilt for some of the things that I did (or didn't do) during my lifetime. Some of them were in days before the onset of the "age of reason." So, last Spring, I made a General Confession. I spent a month or two preparing for it, writing down a list of all the things, some confessed, some forgotten to confess but forgiven anyway, some probably not sins, but still "shameful", etc., etc., etc. I'd put it down for a week, review it and make changes. Then do that again.

Then I called up the priest who I wanted have hear my General Confession and made an appointment. We just went into his office, sat down in chairs (it could be done in a confessional, but I needed to read my list) and I just went through the items on my list, one by one, for maybe an hour. Father occasionally asked clarification questions, but let me lead the way. At the end, after giving me absolution, he said that had not ever given a General Confession before but thought that I had done it well. Today, I've got guilt for things that I did or didn't do this morning. But all that guilt from years and years ago is gone. Try it, you'll love it.

8. One of the best things that is available in the Twin Cities is UHF Channel 19 where you can get 24 hours of EWTN for free if you are more or less in sight of the IDS Tower where they have their antenna. I used to volunteer there. You will need a "rabbit ear" antenna. But your "clicker" will allow you to turn off your cable and watch a UHF Channel. Only quite rarely, during weather "emergencies" [only the people selliing ads call them "emergencies", few actually are] do I watch network TV. Of course I don't watch that much EWTN, what with my wrists being permanently bonded to my computer keyboard as they are.

OK, you know who you are: Terry (I think Cathy has done this); Sue Vigilante (one of the funnier and more literate bloggers), SwissMiss, Veritatis Splendor (the "Roamin' Roman"), Father Andrerw Dickinson; Sanctus Belle; I'd love to have Vincenzo on here and I would be willing to post it if he doesn't want to reveal his identity; And dare I mention it? Father Z? I'll give it a try! The worst he can do is ignore me or embarrass me to tears or castigate me publicly in front of all the orthodox Catholics of the world or . . . It's for Our Lady, Father.


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Good list. Way better then mine. You really shared a deep part of yourself. You've told me you struggle with humility. I disagree. You did not mention all the volunteer work that you do for Holy Church. You are a soldier for the Faith. Thank you for your service.

swissmiss said...

Love your suggestion about a general confession, but I just couldn't do it face-to-face! My father had the same confessor for years and always went face-to-face. Not this sinner!

I can relate with the genealogy concerns. I'm pretty much it on my mom's side and on my dad's side it's the opposite with a few cousins competing (and not sharing!) to see who can piece the tree together. You could always put your tree on Rootsweb, as you mentioned, and also leave your photos/trees/info with a local historical society in the county where your family settled.

I second what Cathy says and thanks for tagging me...I already did this meme too about a week ago...guess you haven't been to my blog in awhile...hmmmmm?

Unknown said...


I visit so dang many blogs that I can't remember what has been posted or not. Although I do admit I have just been reading a lot of titles off the RSS feeds recently.

I'm not sure where to put my genealogy stuff in Duluth. It probably will go to the NE MN Research Center at UMD.

I'm going to talk to them in January and give them some Polish newspaper articles relating to Duluth and vicinity. The problem with Universities is that they are very protective of their collections. I suppose if I give them a really great index that they can give to people, that might encourage them to make it more public.

Anonymous said...

What a very thoughtful Meme, Ray! I enjoyed reading it. I agree with Cathy, you are a soldier for the Faith -- and a treasure to the Church!

I also had done a General Confession some years ago after a shortened version of a St Ignatius retreat. Like your experience, it was very rewarding and deeply healing.

God bless you always, my friend!


The Ironic Catholic said...

Wow! What a great list!

And goodness, Ray, please stop feeling bad about your slip of the email. No harm done and it was an accident! I just had this conversation with another blogger (who inadvertently outed me online), and if you do this sort of thing you have to accept that someday, the truth will come out. The mystery identity is mostly all in fun...I don't say things that I wouldn't say to people's faces.

And, uh, I'm 5'6". That line made me laugh out loud. Way to try to throw them offtrack!