Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Letters to the Editor
(From the April 8, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)
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Father Rolheiser’s column in the March 18 issue about pleasure and guilt is something we Catholics could hear more often. He’s talking about the differences between spirituality and scrupulosity.
We think everything we know about our faith comes straight from heaven, or at least straight from the altar. Well, some of it does, some of it doesn’t. It is a mixture. We have God, spirituality, religion, church, culture, and upbringing all rolled up in a ball together.
Some of it is not God. Father Rolheiser put it well: “We should not confuse Hamlet with Jesus.”
Pleasure is good (unless you’re stealing it). God made it. Just say thank you.
Ed Reading, Walla Walla, Wash.
A few Registers ago, Father Jan Larson said that the reason God does not answer our prayers, when offered (even to the Saints) is because we fail to ask them through Jesus.
I use as my authority for this reply the Benedictine Scholar Cipriano Vagaggini and his magnus opus, Theological Dimensions of the Liturgy from the Liturgical Press – no longer in print, last I checked. The standard for “liturgical prayer” is that we pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. If you pay attention in the Mass, which all of you do, you’ll see that sometimes the Father is not explicitly mentioned at all – he is just assumed to be there: as in “We ask you this” (see, the Father is not specifically mentioned) “through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit....” These variations naturally flow from the nature of liturgy, and literature, which introduces variation to keep things fresh and the listener engaged. And although we do pray in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this is stamped throughout the New Testament (e.g., there is no other name, either in heaven and earth by which men are saved), the same variations are found in prayer referring to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who is concurrently, Lord, God, Savior, Son, Redeemer, Son of Mary, not to mention the Old Testament titles we give him: Wonder Counselor, God hero, Father forever, etc.
Now it stands to reason that we, joining our prayers, however humble and imperfectly fashioned, to those of the saints, who, being saints, are in heaven and behold the Godhead gloriously revealed to them, will know how to present them to God in a way that he will accept them.
So, Father Larson, whose recommendations I pondered, has incompletely thought out his argument. Lest we forget, we do start and end all prayers with the symbol of the faith, the sign of the cross, which invokes the Godhead. So, all bases are covered. It’s not that we can do anything to make God hear our prayers. A careful study of Scripture and tradition show us that God listens to our prayers because, for utterly mysterious, gratuitous and unmerited reasons, he has chosen to bless us by doing so.
Marilyn Carr, Newport, Wash.
I understand Rome’s inquisitional investigators will soon be our guests here in Spokane, trying to ferret out why women Religious are wearing slacks. I’m wondering whether canon law allows the laity to appoint some women Religious to investigate the Vatican. I’m thinking specifically about male leadership wearing skirts and those hiding behind them.
For a sense of humor, we pray to the Lord.
Fred Warmly, Spokane
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