Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Praying for the Victims

(by Ana Marx)
Different people react to situations differently. Were I a sniveling, cowardly, politically correct person, I would probably present this as my "opinion," but as I'm not, I'm presenting this as fact. I can even prove it using scientific methods! ...Okay, they're just pictures...
I give you exhibit A: Edward and Bella. For those of you not familiar with the story, in the beginning of the book (before Edward and Bella get so melodramatic that they make soap opera stars look realistic), Edward sneaks into Bella's room to watch her sleep. Let me repeat myself. A strange man sneaks into a 17 year old girl's bedroom. To watch her sleep. Without her knowledge. When confronted with this truth a few weeks later, Bella responds ecstatically and the two go on to become "soul mates."
I give you Exhibit B: What I would do if I were to find an acquaintance had broken into my house to watch me while I slept. This is to be followed with an immediate 911 call, and probably the request of a restraining order. I think it's safe to say that Bella and I reacted differently to the same situation. However, there is something that we both share in regards to out responses: we both reacted with passion.
As a poor, almost-college-student, I have to conserve my money, and sometimes that means making sacrifices. For example, I know I'm going to be doing quite a bit of driving this week (as I have for the past week), so I decided to go to a local Mass that's five minutes from my house, rather than drive two communities over to the parish wehre I usually attend Mass. It's only one time, I thought. I can make it through one of the liberal parish's Masses. At least it's still Jesus.
Though the homly was short, the priest had an excellent point. Jesus could have reacted differently to the money changers in the Temple. He didn't have to get angry to get His point across. After all, this is the Man who (fairly) calmly tolf the Pharisees where they were going if they didn't change their hypocritical ways. This was the Man who consorted with Samaritans and sinful women, gently guiding them to repentance. In our time that would be like Jesus hanging out in the ghetto with gangsters, or chilling in the park with publicly acknowledged cafeteria Catholics.
But He didn't react the way everyone expected Him to on this. Those times where He was correcting people on their behavior; on their lack of respect for God; for their offensive practices; He was able to do so calmly, and without judgment. Until He sees the money-changers in the temple.
Now, granted, the money changers were blatantly cheating the poor Jews of their coin. History 101:
Because the Jews were under Roman rule, their currency was Roman. However, the money that was to be given to the temple was supposed to be of Jewish currency. The purpose of the money-changers was to exchange the Jews' Roman coins for jewish ones, so that the money could be tithed. Now, what the money-changers were actually doing was giving back only a small percentage of what should have been given (i.e., robbing people). Same thing with the sellers of doves. Not to mention they were doing this in the temple, rather than outside of it. Id such a forgiving and patient God reacts this way to offensive behavior in His temple, a place where He is so intimately present, doesn't that tell you something? I'm not a very smart person, but even I can see that this is a special place, and should be treated as such.

So back to how this is relevant! Since I had arrived too late to pray before Mass, I had resolved to stay afterwards and pray a Rosary. Unfortunately, my Rosary was delayed. Five seconds after the preist reached the vestibule, the entire congregation began talking. It took almost fifteen minutes for the crowd to disperse from the building. Now, I'm not talking about one or two couples quietly whispering a few words. This was more like the conversationists were trying t talk loud enough to bring King Arthur back from the dead. Sorry, Sire didn't mean to wake you. Yes, Sire, it is a ptiy. I think it's the plague.
As I was saying to King Arthur, this leads me to believe that they were all suffering from some kind of illness whose symptoms include word-vomitng and short-term memory loss. Seriously now. If Jesus was righteously angry that His Father's house was a den of thieves, doesn't it follow that He could also be upset if His church was turned into a den of gosspiers? While I really wanted to sprint across the church to the light switch in the hopes that they might be cured of the illness by the sudden shock of being plunged into darkness, I thought that since I'm not God (and therefore I don't quite have the same rights as He), it might be a better approach for me to pray for them instead. So keeping the Gospel in mind, I've decided to offer up my trials, joys, and prayers this third week of Lent for the victims around the world who suffer from this dreadful disease. Being blessed with a gift for words, I thought I might convince you to do so, too. After all, two people praying is better than one.


  1. People need to be taught the church is like the library. You never speak loudly.

  2. I've always wanted to plug in some audio of some chanting monks into the church's sound system before Mass figuring it would quell the noise. I wonder if that would work for the cacophony after Mass.