image Answer Me This

Things are getting busy in my house.  I’ve entered the third trimester of pregnancy number three and for me this is the first time I have to make pregnancy exhaustion and homeschooling work.  Because of this my next few posts may just be the question and answer kind – which you know you love anyway. 😉

Who doesn’t like getting to know other people this way?  I know I do!

1. Do you hate happy clappy church music?

Hmm.  Tricky question.  Happy Clappy Church music?

In the most general of terms, no, I don’t hate it.  Who doesn’t like fun music that you can dance to?  I love the kind of uplifting songs that are simple and make daily tasks bearable and fun.  I like to whistle while l work!

But I absolutely under no circumstance want to hear it during a Catholic Mass.  For me it’s grounds for walking out and finding the next Mass in town.  This is one of the things the Latin Mass has helped me avoid for the last ten years, and I’m still grateful.  I was running out of Masses in my previous town…

That’s me on the right.

After all, Gregorian chant is to have the pride of place at Mass as it is specially suited for the Roman liturgy – and happy, clappy is suited to something much more simplistic and mundane.

Catholics aren’t Baptists or Pentacostals (or insert your chosen denomination here) and having come from that background it makes me livid when Catholics use lesser things.  Why dumb down our own musical heritage and why disrespect God by giving him something that doesn’t take much thought or talent?  That’s not giving Him the best we have to offer, a requirement in the Old Testament, if you remember.

While we are not bound to the Old Covenant rules, historically Catholics prided themselves on giving God the absolute best, following in the footsteps of what the people of God had always done.  Let’s look at the history of the Church.  Art, of any form, could and was made as an offering to God (ex voto offerings being one form, though there are many others).  Would Catholics have let a five year old paint the Sistine Chapel?  No offense to the innocent, purely-intentioned and loving art of a child, but…no.  Catholics would have not.  I don’t think God would be that impressed either considering that it is talented grown men that build and decorate these buildings; in this case simple isn’t as good as we can do.  We can and should give the best.  The better it is, the more effort and work on our part, the more glory it gives to God; we are giving of our best qualities and talents in return for having been gifted with that talent and ability in the first place.  When it comes to music during the most powerful prayer on Earth, the Mass, then I am not happy with watered down music that a child could have written (but was actually written by an adult…gah!).

Simple is good, I’m not knocking happy, clappy music’s simplicity.  Plainchant, for example, is the epitome of simple.  But plainchant has a beauty that far surpasses happy, clappy protestant style music.  And it’s Catholic.  For someone such as myself who strives to keep Catholic heritage and tradition alive in the generation of children I am raising, this is very important to me.

Happy, clappy music with my kids, in my house?  Yes.  Perhaps not often, because as you may have guessed I may just be a music snob; but children love it, it’s helpful in memorization of things such as Bible stories and catechism, and it’s not evil in and of itself.  I just find it inappropriate for Mass.  Catholics have long had their own version of happy, clappy – and I do listen and sing them because they are fun!  But you may still also catch me singing certain Gospel hymns from my time in the Baptist church, as well as the little happy, clappy songs from my Assemblies of God days.  I just don’t want to see them at Mass because Catholics do better music writing…  We can do better, which means we should.

I also find comfort in his holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict’s address on Sacred Music and the Liturgy.

2. What is your priority: eating or sleeping?

Right now, at six months pregnant, it’s sleeping.

3. What type of milk do you drink in your house?

Typically almond milk.  Right now it’s plain whole milk due to the expense and my current consumption rate of milk (which is very weird for me, but let’s chalk it up to pregnancy).  If we use dairy products (which we attempt to limit to cheeses – I ❤ good cheese) then it’s whole milk dairy all the way, as natural as we can get it.  We’re lucky to be able to get fresh raw milk here.  That being said we do try to limit dairy for a number of reasons, and we usually only have cheeses in the house.

4. What is a book that changed your perspective on something?

I really enjoyed Kendra’s answer to this question.  She has a way of summing up my own feelings on certain matters.  I wish I was half as eloquent!  I spent many years struggling with the exact same feelings on the subject that she brings up, and it was a wonderful priest who finally put my mind at ease about it.  Yet, Kendra sums it up even better.  Plus it reminded me of a wonderful book I had long forgotten about.  It would be a great book to pick up to read to the girls while still pregnant.

Ok, on to my own experience with a book.

I’m well-known among my friends and acquaintances for my book reading habits.  I’m a bone fide bookworm, but I read history, how-to’s and fact based books that I feel I can apply to my life, like, right now.  Ever meet one of those odd ball people who reads the dictionary and the encyclopedia?  Yeah, that’s me.

I don’t read a whole lot of fiction – I don’t really know why.  I know I feel a bit guilty reading fiction sometimes because I could be doing something more necessary, like folding laundry, and I do feel like I’m not wasting my time if I’m reading a how-to book or a textbook.  So when it comes to a book that has changed my perspective – I have to say it’s a tough question to answer.

I approach reading from the perspective of learning.  In that way I feel as if I’m always open to new ways of thinking, so it’s hard to pinpoint a book that changed my perspective on anything.  I feel like I had little perspective to begin with – hence the textbook and fact-based reading genre.  I read to learn, not just verify what I think I know.  Things that change my perspective on topics such as, say, abortion happened not through books but through experiences.  I’m not one of those people that can point to a specific book and say “It changed how I thought about the issue”.  At least, not yet.  Hopefully that day will come!

The only book that comes close is the one that Fr. Harry gave me to read during the debate/fight with my husband (question 4), which gave an account of the Early Church Fathers in their own words.  And for me, it didn’t really change my perspective.  However wrong I had been I believed myself to be Catholic.  The writings of the Early Fathers simply pointed out my mistake in history, perspective and ultimately my Church preference.  Once that was done I simply needed to realign myself with the correct Church, and listen to it’s defense of doctrines and practices.  Does that make sense?  That book changed my perspective, and yet it didn’t.  It is almost better to say that it changed the direction in which I was looking.  That book is currently packed due to our move, but if I remember correctly it was called Foundations of the Faith by Bishop William C. Wantland.

Catholicism And Fundamentalism was the next book I picked up after my decision had been made.  It helped me to put into words my own thoughts on the subject, and it pointed out my errors in thinking and reason.  It was the second most useful book to me after deciding to become Catholic and it helped equip me to word my defense to friends and family when we finally made our announcement.  From there I have read countless other books to help flesh out my own understanding of what the Church teaches.  Again, I tend to approach it from a “student” point of view and I keep myself open to learning so that I can easily let go of mistaken ideas.  I do like to play devil’s advocate on subjects during conversations, etc. but it’s not necessarily my opinion I’m defending, it’s simply a tool to learn and you’ll find me reading all kinds of funny books in order to do that.

5. Who is your favorite saint?

St. Hildegard Von Bingen, Doctor of the Church.

I’ve been an herbalist for many years (by hobby, not by profession) and she has been a huge inspiration.  Had I been more prepared for my Confirmation into the Church I would have chosen her, along with St. Benedict, as my patron.

Together, these two saints represent what is important in my own life – study, work, prayer and caring for others.  St. Hildegard stands out especially for her wonderful mystical experiences, her fascinating music, her interesting herbal/natural remedies, and her place in the Church at a time when women typically could have never hoped to accomplished as much as she did.

6. Introvert or extrovert?

According to this and this, I’m an introvert.  But my husband could have told you that!

I make few friends because I can’t handle large groups of people for long periods of time.  I know *tons* of people, but only a very few actually know me.  However, in complete contradiction to my own claims I actually thrive in a Customer Service environment working to serve others.  For someone who claims to be an introvert you may find it surprising that I used to work for Gallup as a phone op.  I was that annoying call you received at dinner, but chances are I could charm you into a survey.  I’m most definitively a person made to serve, and I throw parties and host classes on subjects to share my skills and knowledge with others.  Serving other people is where I find my happiness.  But I still need and crave my alone time, most of the time.

I should have been a cloistered nun.  It is the perfect fit for me.  LOL

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