The Donegal Express

The calling of the Rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

He helped Joshua fight the battle of Jericho, he helped Daniel get out the lion's den, he helped Gilligan get off the island.

--Rev. Brown

I was reading Fructus Ventris earlier today, when I noticed something interesting.

Over at Open Book, I read a comment that basically opined that the song "My Way" was the most anti-Christian song of the last several decades. I am inclined to agree.

I disagree. This whole thing brought back a high school flashback. The most anti-Christian song of the last few decades is Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All".

I went to a "Catholic high school". I place that in quotes because although there were religious brothers, I don't believe I actually learned one Catholic thing at the school. Actually, I take that back. I learned about the lamest, most insignificant form of "white martyrdom" you can imagine.

One of my "religious studies" classes was taught by Ms. X-Nun. Before we get to Whitney Houston, I'm going to try to remember what we were "taught" in this class:

The highest rule is one's conscious.

Playing basketball can be considered "holy".

A "totem" is a an aboriginal depiction of a trait or quality prized by a tribe to the extent where it is paid homage. Said quality or trait is then embodied in a physical/spiritual form, usually an animal, which is believed to represent the aforementioned quality or trait. (Gee, do you think she drilled that one in much?). Any attempt to correlate a "totem" with a "totem pole" was met with a stern rebuke. Please God she would have defended the Catholic Faith nearly as strongly.

We don't roll like that in South Philly.

Let me share the three things I remember most vividly from my Catechism in a Catholic primary school (1st-6th Grade).

There are three fingers on each hand of a priest that are consecrated when he is ordained. When the Communists capture a priest, they cut those fingers off. In that way, they hope to deny the Mass to the world, and bring about Hell on earth.

The Story of St. Tarcisius. (EWTN tells it better than I could).

Once upon a time, the Protestants came and tried to blow up our parish with a cannon. When they found out this one church was armed and waiting, they didn't seem so eager to burn it to the ground. It wasn't until they lied and got us to disarm, that they found their courage. Moral of the story? Love our 'separated brethren' but always keep a musket handy.

And now I'm told, "playing basketball can be holy."

Really? Well, we don't play basketball in my neighborhood.

Anyways... so when I went to my religious studies class with a slightly different than normal ear for the subtleties of Catholic Theology. That's why I noticed this one class. At the beginning of the class, Ms. X-Nun strolls in with a tape recorder. When the class quieted down, she played "Greatest Love of All".

The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

So the bells went off in my head. Not the tinkling little bells that ring for the Consecration. The big church bells that ring when the village is on fire, that's what I was hearing. I opened my Bible (We had to buy one for class. We never used it, but we had to buy it), and waited for the song to end. Then Ms. X-Nun starts, "I find this song very moving and spiritual. It touches on many deep meanings. Who would care to share an opinion?"

So I raise my hand. When she called on me, I read:

Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you. I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. (Matthew 15:13-15)

Then I asked, "Is it your opinion that in matters of the salvation of my eternal soul that I should trust in (opening my left palm) Whitney Houston, or (opening my right palm) Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God?"

Principal's Office.

One week's detention.

Being a disruptive influence in class.

Of course, I saw white martyrdom. Me and St. Tarcisius, shoulder to shoulder. And for those Communists out there, never bring a knife to a musket fight.


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