Sunday, October 29, 2006

Praying while clueless

On Friday I decided to try something new: a real Catholic fast. Fr. Zuhlsdorf suggested it on his blog, because some very good news is brewing in the Vatican, but it's still a little early to publicize it. So his idea was that we should make a fast, and offer it in thanksgiving to God for a good that we don't exactly have or know yet. This sounded like a good idea to me, and I actually did it - the "official" rules for a Catholic fast being so close to what I'm doing already on WeightWatchers, I took it a bit further: a usual breakfast of cereal and an apple, then clear broth for lunch, and only liquids until suppertime. And no stimulants, like tea or coffee. It went well, but I carried it on a little too long; I should have eaten supper at 5:30 or 6:00, but I had to drive Emma to karate, so I couldn't get home until 7:00, and by then I was STARVING. Food doesn't taste right when you're that hungry.

Anyway, yesterday I went to mass in the evening, and picked up a copy of the latest "Catholic Ottawa", the newsletter from the archbishop's office. Our archbishop, Marcel Gervais, is retiring this year - he's reached the mandatory retirement age. I don't know anything particular about him, I assume he's a good man, though he did close the very, very conservative downtown parish St. Brigid's, and that caused a lot of hard feelings. But I was reading his letter to the diocese, and he wrote about necessary improvements to the cathedral that will have to be addressed: it needs a new roof, in particular. Then I read this part:
For the past few years, certain projects involving changes to the sanctuary of the cathedral were very dear to me. These plans were widely known, the press covering the issue extensively as some individuals and organizations were trying to convince me to abandon the projects. These projects which included the establishment of an altar of celebration in line with the liturgical changes brought about by Vatican II, and the introduction of statues of significants women from the Bible and from the history of the Church, will not see the light of day. In September of last year, I set the plan aside and I leave it to my successor to either proceed or not.
It appears that our old cathedral has narrowly escaped what Gerald Augustinus calls a "wreckovation". So I feel that my first experiment of thanking God for I know not what has proved successful; my little day of mortification didn't CAUSE this, of course, but I got the news of it hard upon, so it did actually work the way I'd hoped it would, even the good news came from Ottawa instead of Rome.

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