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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1st Communion, a Personal Struggle, and the Pope.


The little one has been preparing for her First Communion. Not only is it a photo-op, but more importantly shows that she has reached the age of discretion. She understands about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She understands the respect that the consecrated bread and wine deserves, that the Catholic Church teaches that the spirit of Christ resides in the consecrated bread and wine. That spirit of Christ is taken into the body when we receive the Eucharist. The Eucharist is 'an outward sign of of an inward grace instituted by Christ'. The Eucharist is not necessary for salvation, according to the Roman Catholic Church.

She is able to state 'yes', when asked if she wants to continue in the way of Christ. This is always a choice for us, every moment of every day: We can say 'yes', or we can say 'no'. For now she chooses 'yes'. Both girls are quite amazingly spiritual - - even though the example provided by old Grizzly Mama is not always the best. I have my doubts and struggles and what with my cussing, spotty Mass attendance, and none too happy thoughts at times, I'm just not sure where they got it. I separated from the Catholic Church for many years - over a decade. Troll and I were married in the Catholic Church - - much to my dismay. He insisted and he is a good Italian Catholic - 'Just do what the Father says and don't ask questions' type of Catholic. When it came to baptising the girls I was in the middle of a full blown spiritual crisis. I always believed in God, and yes, Jesus. The Catholic Church? Not so much.

I couldn't proceed with the little one's baptism until I had this resolved in my mind. We didn't send the girls to Catholic school for a reason. That reason being I didn't want their heads to be messed up about God the way mine was as a child. The Church in my day was more of a punitive place for me. I was scared of God, scared of the Devil - and for good reason. Put one foot out of place and BLAM! Struck down on both sides. You were just screwed, y'see? You could never be good enough, God was never going to be happy with you. Nothing about forgiveness, love, grace and redemption. Nothing about a personal connection with the Creator and protection or the powerful forces of pure truth, love and rightness. It was all rules, rules, rules and regulations - - - and you're bad. So, anyway, I had to get this off of my chest so I spoke to Father down at the local Parish back in the old neighborhood. He was great. He didn't excommunicate me like I feared. (I was told by one priest in my childhood that doubt was a grave sin...) In fact, he understood. He shared that his experience of the Church was nothing like mine and we talked for a long time about it. Years ago, someone had heard that a child's perception of God is colored by their perception of their father. It made a lot of sense to me when I compared my perception of God to how I felt about my father. Perhaps my experience of the Church was all mixed up with my insane family and the fear, terror even, of growing up in that abusive environment. So I am approaching the Church from a different angle now. Did something change in the last 30 years? Because I now experience the Catholic Church in a completely different way, one that aligns with my understanding of God. People criticize the Church, that's okay, but many have a terrible misunderstanding of it. I've even had people say to me that the Catholic Church has nothing to do with the Bible. That's a lie, as we hear three scripture readings at every Mass. We contemplate the Bible, and meditate on Jesus as the Lamb of God.

Anyway, I have a renewed committment to attend Mass and take in the spiritual aspect of it all. I love the incense, holy water, familiarity with the order of Mass, and the rites of passage. Rites of Passage are important. My little one will be experiencing one this coming Saturday. She's got her white dress and veil, a new rosary and will be receiving her first communion. The entire parish will be there to help us celebrate this important moment.


As for the Pope, well. He's no John Paul II, is he? He is the Pope, though. The leader of my church. I am actually pretty excited that he came to America and had a taste of American Catholicism in action. He saw many tens of thousands of American Catholics who came from far and wide to see him. I am glad that he went to Ground Zero and said that prayer.

16 Comments:

Blogger tweetey30 said...

Sounds wonderful. Good luck little cub... And Grizzly Mama I am still struggling with what we learned. The church we chose we havent been to in months again. We wont even let the girls go to Sunday School because the Pastor seems to tell us something different than what they teach the children. Like last time we went we were told women arent allowed to cut there hair but he refuses to tell me where in the Bible that it says that. Ok. what ever... I am not putting up with them telling us adults one thing and then telling the children another. Then the separating of the girls. I have never believed in that one really. Kora and Brianna have always been together. I dont think they would like being apart.

21 April, 2008 11:41  
Blogger Abouna said...

Wow! Very good post. As you may already know, I was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church as an infant and made my First Communion and was Confirmed in that Church, but following Vatican II and all of the drastic changes in the Church and the Mass, I left because (at age 14) to me, the Roman Church lost much of its spirituality an I felt I was lacking something. You are right, it all seemed to be based on fear, fear God and fear the devil.

Any way, I turned to Orthodoxy and have been extremely happy ever since, as the Orthodox Catholics have a very spiritual attitude toward God and a very deep relationship with Jesus and the Theotokos.

I wish you all the best in your new found relationship with the Church and my blessings to the little on her First Holy Communion.

Be sure to post the pics of her in her Communion dress.

21 April, 2008 22:25  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Thanks, Tweetey. The not cutting the hair thing for women - - that sounds like the Mennonites here. They do not cut their hair, ever. I'm not sure why. I am reading a book that was written for Mennonite children, it is interesting and tells a lot of the history of the Mennonites, but it is also has several references to Catholicism that are untrue. I am okay with people worshiping whatever they want, or not worshipping anything. It's not right to tell lies about a religion though, y'know? I also draw the line at putting up with religions who kill innocent people in order to be martyrs. Anyhoo - I hope that you find a church where you can feel at home and get what you need. Many people I know (all ex-Catholics in fact...) went searching, many for years, to find a place that they could live with - but they did and they are very happy. As to the girls being apart, my girls are the same way. They like each other. Although my 11 y/old is going through some changes and she just needs time away from her little sister sometimes. They get along very well, though - and really are very good to each other. This is something that seems to be true for all of the homeschooling families that I know.

Thank you, Abouna. Another thing I hear is that we worship Mary. I don't know that I worship Mary, but I certainly derive a lot of comfort and strength from her. She was a woman and a mother. It's hard for me to explain but there are times when I feel that Mary understands the wifely/motherly/womanly aspect of life. That feminine element is a plus for me. This parish that we belong to now - the Redemptorist Priests - they are different from what I grew up with. There is so much positive about them that I am not even afraid to send my girls there for a year of school. I always appreciate your input about spiritual matters, Abouna - thank you. I will most certainly post a pic of her in her Communion get up.

22 April, 2008 01:20  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

From what I've read about him this Pope's a pretty damn smart guy with a big intellect. Go Pope! And I'm a Baptist.

23 April, 2008 12:58  
Blogger Mike's America said...

I'm not a Catholic but was very moved by the Pope's visit.

His stand on the importance of freedom and his appreciation for the role the United States plays in the world were fantastic.

26 April, 2008 20:40  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

The not cutting the hair thing for women - - that sounds like the Mennonites here. They do not cut their hair, ever. I'm not sure why.

Might have something to do with the verse about a woman's hair being her crowning glory.

26 April, 2008 21:25  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Congratulations little one!! That's a huge step toward adulthood!

27 April, 2008 08:35  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

I'm still not sure I like this new Pope, DC. I've heard he's a smart guy, too.

Mike, I agree and was surprised. I haven't been paying much attention over the last year or two, but it seems some stuff coming out of the Vatican has been a bit anti-American lately.

AOW - that makes sense. Thanks!

Thanks Tshsmom. It's a pretty important occasion for us. It's now quite a big deal that she can now participate in communion at Mass. PLUS - I mean - the dress and veil is a whole lot of fun. lol.

28 April, 2008 23:54  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Always on Watch, You know I have to say this church is the Apolstolic here in Depere WI. The Pastor wont even tell me what verse it is. They are very similar to the Baptist church in many ways except a few of course.

I got my job too. Yayy. I start Orientation today and tomorrow and then I start start my job on Monday.

29 April, 2008 08:39  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Congrats, Tweetey. I hope that it all works out for you.

29 April, 2008 11:07  
Blogger Jesus H.W. Bush said...

Beautiful post,congrats to the little one !! As for the CHurch,I think we have to get behind the POPE and understand that the Lord speaks through HIM as his annointed leader on Earth. An doubts I had about Him disappeared when he prayed at Ground Zero.

05 May, 2008 09:41  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Good to see you back blogging again, Jesus HW. I was so glad that the Pope visited Ground Zero, too.

05 May, 2008 09:56  
Blogger Mr. Grey Ghost said...

Yeah, the Pope's visit was huge here in NYC, great that he visited Ground Zero too. I've always liked this Pope for the way he speaks his mind without mincing words.

06 May, 2008 03:06  
Blogger CA said...

Working sure cuts into your "Important Things To Do," time, doesn't it? (like blogging) 'chuckle'

06 May, 2008 10:03  
Blogger Kate said...

Wow, that was beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of that. I am sure many people can relate, whether Catholic or some other denomination. Your little one looks precious! Crazy to think how fast they've grown up since I started reading your blog (although I've been slacking from the blog world the past few months!) Hope your summer is fun!

25 June, 2008 10:03  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Thanks Kate - good to hear from you again. I have not found any time to blog at all since I started working full time. I know how it gets, believe me! Hope that you are all well and healthy.

26 June, 2008 08:52  

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