Saturday, February 19, 2011

*Abbey of Gethsemani (Trappist, KY)

Images of a recent trip I took to Tom Merton's old place, The Abbey of Gethsemani.

I just heard that one of his old pals, Fr. Matthew Kelty, passed away yesterday.

Fr. Matthew was the guest chaplain for a number of years for Gethsemani retreats, and I was fortunate enough to hear him give a number of nightly talks where he included art, poetry and literature references in discussing the human endeavor and interaction with the divine. He also used to do an early morning 4am Mass. He was brief and direct saying this Mass and it would last all of 20 minutes.

Here is Fr. Matthew reciting (nearly) everyone's favorite Merton prayer (and then my pics below that...)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

*QUEENS: St. Mary Gate of Heaven (Ozone Park)

Address: 101-18 104th St.
Phone: 718.847.5957
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm
Sun: 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Sat: 8:45am (in Chapel)
Sat: 12:30pm-1:30pm
First Fridays: 6:15pm-7:15pm (Spanish)
First Friday Devotions (Spanish): 
6pm: Exposition
7pm: Rosary
7:30pm: Mass
About the Organ

"Do you know what it's like to fall on the floor,
and cry your guts out 'til you got no more?
Hey man, now you're really living.
Have you ever made love to a beautiful girl,
made you feel like it's not such a bad world?
Hey man, now you're really living.
Now you're really giving everything and you're really getting all you gave.
Now you're really living what this life is all about...

Have you ever sat down in the fresh cut grass,

and thought about the moment and when it will pass?
Hey man now you're really living...
Now what would you say if I told you that everyone thinks you're a crazy old cat?
Hey man now you're really living...
Just saw the sun rise over the hill, never used to give me much of a thrill,
But hey man, now I'm really living."
- The Eels

God never lets us down; the cross never fails.

But everyone else down here besides us on this miserable planet always will.

I use "miserable" affectionately, often loving this place, especially during the winter: barren, dark, frigid, snow falling. The night forever cold and lonely, yet the falling snow brings hope, as if it's very manna from heaven. It's only on those hot summer nights when I truly despair; perhaps the winter's cold keeps me from going completely rotten, like some bad fruit forgotten in the back of the fridge.


I've begun snapping out of whatever fog, or hiding, or hole I had actually climbed down into after that last relationship ended, that whopper, that doozy.

A few weeks ago I dated the sister of a friend.  It's an understatement to say I was disappointed with my friends' reactions, in fact I was goddammed angry. The brother felt it would all end badly for him. Three of my closest friends told me pretty much the same thing: it was reckless and I was being lazy for dating within my friend circle as opposed to... (What? Fucking internet dating? Having such and such dot com tell me who to sleep with?) I was in complete shock at the lack of sympathy and support.  What had been feeling like excitement quickly turned into a thick sickly ball right in the pit of my stomach. Sadness and fear ensued (as they always do,) and then just general pissed-off-ness.

And so my melancholia sets in, or perhaps it's madness, which gets me thinking about another thing. Much how the craziest person in the room often turns out to be the psychologist, having felt drawn to the study of psychology to figure their out their own crazy shit, I realized recently that the Church, too, is full of a different sort of crazies.  I know this because I now work for the Church and I know I am one of those crazies.  We are drawn to it, those of us who know we need God the most, seek Him more than anything else on the planet, even that calming manna that falls when we most need a sign. It's true that everyone down here needs God the most, but those of us actually drawn to it in the day-to-day were fortunate (or unfortunate, not yet sure,) enough to catch a glimpse of something somewhere in our past that pushed us a little harder than most.  Or maybe we're just weaker.

I love the Church.  At least I thought I did.  Recently I attended a Lutheran service at a Brooklyn church with friends. It was Reconciling in Christ Sunday, and there was a wonderful girl preaching, an openly gay female friend of mine.  It got me to thinking about how backwards the Church is, and how discriminating.  Against gays.  Against women.  Against married men.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before in this blog, but if priests were allowed to marry I would sign up in a heartbeart. 

And so like my friends sometimes do, I realized that the Church, too, has let me down.  And I have to wonder in that scenario of the afterlife when we reach the pearly gates and St. Peter stands greeting us, won't he ask, (us Catholics,) "how could you be part of an institution that so openly and adamantly persecuted your brothers and sisters?" And what will we be able to say?

Don't I, as a Catholic, let down those as a Church we persecute?  And in my own personal scenario where I feel my friends have let me down, haven't I possibly let them down by jumping recklessly into relationship after relationship, sinning from the heart, awkward consequences and fallings out that ensue? All of us, other men and women, my friends, those I admire most, and the Church will always let me down, let us down, but God shall never.  That being said, when all of us let each other down and seem to forsake one another, isn't this is all part of the Divine Will anyway; an intricate part of the works; all in God's plan?   Should we seek to find God in the hardships as well as the happy?

'The king's taken back the throne. The useless seed is sown.
When they say they're cutting off the phone, I'll tell 'em you're not home.
No place to hide. You were fighting as a soldier on their side.
You're still a soldier in your mind, though nothing's on the line.
You say it's money that we need. as if we're only mouths to feed.
I know no matter what you say, there are some debts you'll never pay.

Working for the church while your family dies.

You take what they give you and you keep it inside.
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone."

I can taste the fear. Gonna lift me up and take me out of here.

Don't wanna fight, don't wanna die, just wanna hear you cry.
Who's gonna throw the very first stone? Oh! Who's gonna reset the bone?
Walking with your head in a sling, wanna hear the soldier sing.

Working for the Church while my family dies.

Your little baby sister's gonna lose her mind.
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone."

I can taste your fear. It's gonna lift you up and take you out of here.

And the bone shall never heal, I care not if you kneel.
We can't find you now. But they're gonna get their money back somehow.
And when you finally disappear, we'll just say that you were never here.

Been working for the church while your life falls apart.

Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart.
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone."
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone."'
                                                 - The Arcade Fire