|"For where two or three are gathered together in my name,|
there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20 NABRE).
Bear Gets By With the Help of His Friends
Today, the Bear would like to talk about those who accompany us on our Lenten journey. (Yes, the word "accompany" and references to "journeys" and "gathering" are Catholic cliches, but the Bear will use them when they're useful.)
Some of them provide opportunities to exercise heroic Christian virtue. Others help us in more direct ways.
This morning, the Bear did not want to get out of bed. A toothache had kept poor Bear awake much of the night and he was not in a good mood. He just kept telling himself it was extra Lenten penance for the sins of the day. (Which didn't stop him from slamming the screaming nerve endings with painkillers and lidocaine.) However, his guardian angel rolled his carcass out of bed and he settled down to pray Lauds.
The Devil always tells him to snooze a bit, or "wait until you're fully awake, for, you know, the glory of God." Bear caught on to that trick a long time ago, like, last week. So he usually says a pretty sleepy Lauds, but imagines real Benedictine Monks are sometimes sleepy at prayer, too.
As a wonderful surprise, Red Death, his driver, bodyguard and factotum, and beautiful, lawfully wedded spouse, joined him. (She doesn't like anyone to know, but yesterday was her birthday.)
It made such a difference. Singing Lauds with her, instead of all by himself, was wonderful, and the Bear felt less sleepy. How lovely when a couple is equally yoked in Christ, be they even human and Bear! Then he shared the readings and reflection from his Word Among Us app. (Please don't roll your eyes; it has actually been very nice for Bear this Lent.)
A Different Mass
We attended Mass at the Newman Center since the Bear was not ready for the single 9 a.m. Mass at our regular parish. There was holy water in abundance and the Bear happily splashed in it for several minutes until he realized a long line had formed behind him.
By the way, a friendly Public Service Announcement for the ladies, especially younger ones, and especially during Lent:
|A can of gray spray paint is cheaper.|
Bear understands many females do not own full-length mirrors and probably have no idea what they are, um... sharing.
People are encouraged to add their own prayer intentions at the Newman Center. ("That ladies wear clothes, Lord hear our prayer."). Bear is sure it seems like a good idea in a gathery way. In practice, however, they can be rambling, impossible to hear, and the whole thing drags on in a blathery way. Likewise, the birthdays and anniversaries shouted out at the end, each demanding its very own round of applause made the Bear feel very ungathery. They dragged on so long he would have gnawed a leg off to escape if he could have.
Especially since he had skipped breakfast.
Why can't we just do the Mass right out of the can(on)? It's all written out, Bear understands. He has even seen it with his own eyes. The "Novus Ordo" Mass does not bother Bear until people start thinking up "improvements."
Then he came home and did Midday prayer and was again surprised: this time by some nice donations of salmon. (If you contributed $18.99 or more, the Bear will send you an autographed copy of his Lenten Companion for Bearish Humans, but he must have your address! Shipping is free for single copies in the U.S.)
One of the greatest things about blogging is that, over time, you become close to certain faithful readers. The Bear has received marvellous gifts. Even a first-class relic of St. Maurus, the original Benedictine Oblate, complete with its impressive bull of authenticity. He lives on a little shelf in our icon corner, where we keep an oil lamp burning 24/7.
Yesterday the Bear received a book from a dear reader that is so perfect, it must be providential, or perhaps evidence of the Communion of the Saints.
But, no matter what the gift, the Bear gives thanks. Even the private emails sharing what this ephemeris has meant to readers are precious to him. He is grateful for his friends, who are helping him to Lent, and hopes that God can use even a Bear to help them in return. He prays for all of his readers every day, for their safety and well-being, but most of all that they be edified by something he wrote, and never be caused to stumble by some stupid Bear thing.