Saturday, February 10, 2018

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

Happy Saturday night or, as it is in New Orleans, Happy Samedi Gras!

I just posted my feelings about Mardi Gras on Facebook; I can't wait for it to be over and I dislike the whole idea of getting involved in so much crazy.  I mean floats roll by, throwing penny trinkets and people defy the weather, fight to clutch and grab and come home with a bag of junk worth about $ 1.98.  Now I know of which I speak.  Until I got wise, I was Mr. Carnival, Captain Mardi Gras.  I would chase parade after parade, grovel for cheap plastic throws, collect doubloons and plan my next parade adventure with gusto.  For me, it has grown old.  Look, it is an incredibly rich tradition in New Orleans, and other places too, but not like New Orleans, and it was given to us from France.  But as usual, we have taken the original religious, deeply Catholic traditions of Carnival, farewell to the flesh, and have made it a literal circus.  Mardi Gras was a day, Carnival season reserved for traditions, not the now 4-week long litany of parade after parade, around 100 in the greater New Orleans/southeast Louisiana area.  To each their own: I would never want to see a "no" Carnival season and I wish profound happiness to those who get joy at going to the festivities, but for me, a big fat no thank you.  Yes, I catch the local and small parade that passes by the church, and I will watch a major parade or two on local TV, but that is all.  I often wonder, my so many people, not all but many, would not make the same extraordinary effort to get to church, learn the Bible, receive the Eucharist and worship God as they do to catch a silly parade.  But like I say, to each their own!

By the way, there is one real major reason, in addition to my logic displayed above, to miss out on this parade frenzy, it's called the Winter Olympics 2018.  I love the Olympic games, be they summer or winter.  Now we have the winter games from South Korea. I admit the winter sports is an education for me as I do not know a lot about such things.  And I also like Olympics because I cheer for the good old USA and I want them to dominate in medals.  Sadly that won't happen in these games but is a must in those summer games.  Like ABC used to say every Saturday afternoon, it is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

While Wendy and I avoid all things Mardi Gras and embrace all things Olympics we are desperately trying to recover and rehab.  Wendy is still dealing with the aftermath of nasty stomach ulcers and blood loss.  Then I caught a nasty cold, head gunk and cough and naturally, Wendy gets that too.  So she has been really struggling with recovery and I must admit, slowed by this nasty stuff.

Ministry will change dramatically in the days and weeks ahead as we enter Lent.  Ash Wednesday will see me assisting at Mass and bringing ashes, hopefully, up to the men at Rayburn Prison.  I also have some duties in Lent that will take me back to Most Holy Trinity Parish (served there from 2011-mid 2015).  One event is the Rite of Election, part of the RCIA process leading to the great Easter Vigil where dozens of thousands, if not more, will be welcomed into the church; converts, a great gift to Holy Mother Church.  And I'll be back again to offer an evening of reflection as part of the parish's Lenten devotions.  And all through Lent there will be opportunity after opportunity to properly prepare for Easter, reflect on our own sinfulness and ask God for His abundant mercy.  Stations of the Cross will be offered every Friday evening at our church so please come by.  We also have a big parish mission in March, details to follow.

So this tired and recovering Deacon is home, comfortable and at peace, recovering and praying for Wendy to recover quickly as we also await the birth of our new granddaughter, expected to arrive in about 2 weeks now.  Yes, no Mardi Gras for me but plenty of Olympics, where we will indeed witness the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

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