Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Singing Cookie Recipe Song; or, why I can no longer sing a certain hymn with a straight face

I just now realized we’re singing “Gather Us In” at Mass tomorrow.

And ever since I wrote the Singing Cookie Recipe Song, I just can’t sing “Gather Us In” with a straight face.

So if my IRL friends and family see me fighting back giggles during the entrance hymn, this is why:

The Singing Cookie Recipe Song

Here in this place, the oven's preheating,
Now is our hunger banished away,
See in this space, the mixer is whirring,
Making us snacks for to brighten the day.

Gather them in, the sugar and butter
Gather them in, the eggs and the flour;
Wash and prepare each cute cookie cutter
Have them at hand for the time and the hour.

We are the young--and baking's a mystery,
We are the old--we've done this before,
Careful, say moms throughout human history:
Sugar's a mess to clean up from the floor.

Gather them in, the salt and vanilla
Gather them in, the rest as you know;
Add soda too, but just a scintilla,
Stir it and make it to form a soft dough.

Here you must chill the dough till it's ready:
Here you must roll and cut--the next phase--
Here you must bake, with hands that are steady,
All of the shapes in the oven on trays.

Give us to eat the golden-brown cookies
Give us to drink some milk with them, too,
Nourish us well, the chefs and the rookies
Make everybody clean up when we're through.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the death of a suicide activist

I wrote this on Facebook, but am sharing it here by request (just slightly altered for the format):

I won’t be reading any of the gushing congratulatory MSM articles about the death of a certain suicide activist.  Instead, I have only this to say:

1. Suicide, in Catholic teaching, is a terrible sin. If committed with full knowledge and sufficient consent of the will its eternal consequences can be dire. Many if not most suicides are operating under diminished capacity due to fear, mental illness, etc. and we pray that God will have mercy on their souls. But we don’t owe a pro-suicide activist/advocate this level of pandering publicity.

2. Euthanasia, also in Catholic teaching, is a grave and horrible sin. Not only those who “choose” to die but those who participate in those deaths are complicit in this great evil. In countries which have adopted “voluntary” euthanasia it is only a matter of time before involuntary euthanasia of the elderly, the unconscious, children or the mentally impaired becomes a reality. Catholics must stand unequivocally against this evil and be united in our opposition to it.

3. When the medical principle is, “Kill the PAIN, not the PATIENT,” the innocent are safeguarded and the sacred value of human life is affirmed. The cry of the euthanasia advocate is, “Kill the PATIENT to stop the pain.” But suicide doesn’t end pain--no, not even the pain of the deceased, who must now live with the eternal consequences of that act (and, again, we hope for diminished capacity and pray for God’s mercy). But the pain of those left behind, whose increased grief and suffering due to watching a loved one die by his or her own hand, can hardly be expressed. Suicide magnifies every pain it pretends to heal, and it is not uncommon for the loved ones of a suicide--even a “mercy killing” suicide--to attempt or succeed in committing suicide themselves during episodes of intense grief.

4. Let Catholics understand this clearly: at Mass today our priest spoke beautifully about the Anointing of the Sick and the graces it can bring, including the remission of sin. But a Catholic who commits the great sin of “assisted suicide” or euthanasia will not be permitted to receive this Sacrament, as you cannot pretend to have sorrow for a sin you are fully and intentionally planning to commit in the near future.

5. In our prayers let us remember all who suffer pain and are tempted to commit this sin, whose temptations will be increased by seeing all the accolades and approvals showered on this person who has killed herself. For them we should show our utmost concern, and never cease our reminders that their lives are worth living, that their pain should be addressed without killing them, and that every moment of their earthly existence is precious in God’s eyes and in the eyes of all those who love them, including ourselves.