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10:39 p.m. - 2011-02-12
Holy Guacamole.

My religious training was an amorphous thing, during the hippy dippy early 1970s when I was in Catholic school the Church was going through a big upheaval. The edicts from the Pope sometime before I reached the Age of Reason had changed everything. As per the edict of Pope Paul VI starting in 1969 I didn't have to cover my head in church, I could eat baloney on Friday and not go straight to Hell, and best of all I could understand what the heck the priest was saying since mass was now conducted in English. Not that I got a lot out of it, my mother was far too concerned about how we all looked ie: whether my tights were bagging at the knee and whether my outfit was nicer and somehow holier than every other 5 year old girl's, was of way more importance than actually understanding why I was there in the first place. I couldn't really attend to what was going on up front, I was too busy obeying my mother's hissing sotto voce directions to sit up straight, pull my dress hem down and to stop making faces at my little sister. Far too busy obeying the mother to get much out of Sunday mass, even in English.

School didn't make any more of a dent in my sublime ignorance, during my tenure at Our Lady of Terrible Vengeance the denim skirt wearing nuns were too busy rehearsing for guitar mass and dickering with the diocese for a new station wagon to bother with teaching us anything more about our faith than to shut up and behave so we could show up those rotten public school CCD kids on Sunday and perhaps do some recruiting by example amongst their overwhelmed and frustrated parents. Overcrowded as Our Lady of Terrible Vengeance was- scoring another paying tuition kid ranked well above scoring another soul for Jesus. There were 45 kids in my 3rd grade class and it still wasn't enough to satisfy the tuition quota.

So what did I take in as I established my moral code? What was the basis for my life's other directed reasoning?


Guitar mass might have been dopey and just a passing phase in American Catholicism, and honestly to this very day 'funky' burlap banners with felt cut-outs make me cringe, but the music spoke to me. We weren't taught the traditional hymns, no soaring multi-part acapella Agnus Dei stuff, during mass circa 1970-1974 we sang Simon and Garfunkle, Norman Greenbaum, Cat Stephens, and, of course, The Beatles.

I don't think I've ever believed in GOD. That smiting bearded dude. And whether he was the Son of God or whether he was simply the hippest, kindest, most loving rabbi ever, the 1970s version and interpretation of Jesus' word is what stuck with me. I don't care about Christ's divinity, it's moot. What counts is the message.

Through the music and the occasional teaching of the word I came away with:

'Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'

'When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all.
I'm on your side.'

'And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.'

'And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.'

Fairly non-denominational, no Messiah given or insisted upon. No belief required except that of giving out what you want to get back. And being okay anyway when even that small quid pro quo isn't met.

Blessed are the peacemakers, ~LA

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