So, my hospital requires a COVID-19 test before surgeries and other procedures like the colonoscopy scheduled for me tomorrow. Found this out Saturday, so I scheduled testing for this morning at the hospital’s drive-up facility.

It wasn’t as horrifying as I anticipated; the nasal swab wasn’t quite long enough to scrape the surface of my brain, but even with the 10 seconds it took to swab, it was still uncomfortable.

In any event, I tested negative for COVID-19. Never have I been so relieved to charge ahead with extended intestinal purgation.

Celebrating the Word on our own

Looks like Magnificat has ended its free “Celebration of the Word” PDF distribution to help families pray along with the Liturgy of the Word on Sundays. I can understand why: More dioceses are allowing public celebration of Mass again, and it’s understandable to encourage Catholics to return to Sunday Mass. Many of those same dioceses (including ours), however, haven’t reimposed the Sunday obligation, given that plenty of people remain wary of collective worship for fear of COVID-19 infection.

As I mentioned last weekend, I’m starting to return to Sunday Mass at our parish; however, with no Sunday obligation for now and all the COVID-19 complications, I had resolved to keep F home for now and set aside time for us to go through the Celebration of the Word together.

The end of the Celebration PDF distribution complicates that plan, of course. So, I went ahead and created a Celebration of the Word document template, based on the basic Magnificat-created PDF structure, and added this Sunday’s readings and several prayers to align with the liturgy (but not replicate all of it word-for-word, as much of the Mass liturgy requires a priest). Included are the Apostles’ Creed, an Act of Spiritual Communion, and the Hail Mary and prayer to St. Michael the Archangel at the end. F needs to learn the Apostles Creed and the St. Michael prayer anyway, so it seemed a good way to introduce her to those.

Meanwhile, I’m registered for tomorrow’s 7 a.m. Mass. (Registration is intended to help the parish ensure manageable, socially distanced attendance.) Not my favorite time to attend, but I’m still looking forward to it. Then, Lord willing, I’ll come home and F and I will have our own Celebration and connect with God together. Pray for us.

Gratuitous Shiny Weedle is my new favorite band name. #PokemonGO

My long, hellish work week is over.

Next up: a 4-day weekend, most of it bracing for Tuesday’s colonoscopy. After this past week, I’m thinking Tuesday will be a relative snap.

Sigh. At least we finally got her to go outside.

None of us still blogging do it for clicks. We do it to leave our traces, because it feels good to us, and because complete statements are better than tweets or facebook updates.

~ Warren Ellis (quoted by @AustinKleon)

That KBO cheer song for ESPN’s Karl Ravech has been threading its way through my brain for several days now. I know that, theologically speaking, there are far worse definitions of hell, but this is mine at the moment.

There is a world of hurt and awfulness out there, but apparently not enough to avoid social media speculation over a cartoon sponge’s sexuality.

In New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton says that retreating into solitude should not be used as an escape from the world but as a means to live more fully in it. “Go into the desert,” he wrote, “not to escape other men but in order to find them in God.”

~ John Dougherty, “Don’t feel guilty about taking a retreat from Trump,” America

Next read. Already read the intro online, and I look forward to being schooled further.

A good time for comebacks

It somehow seemed appropriate to return to Mass on the feast of Corpus Christi (or the eve of Corpus Christi, as I attended the Saturday vigil Mass). Our parish, under guidance from the archdiocese, began offering Sunday Mass last weekend, but I didn’t feel ready to return then. But it was time this weekend.

Started out my Saturday afternoon at church in a makeshift confessional, set up in the parish cry room, I guess to allow for easier disinfecting after each confession. After four months in an inert spiritual state, it felt good to “get back on the wagon,” as the priest put it, and start fresh with God’s grace.

I was allowed to stay for the 5 p.m. Mass, and that gave me a half-hour to sit and realize how much I missed being in church. I also realized how much I need a more breathable mask.

The experience wasn’t ideal in a few respects: I couldn’t really hear the priest well, I forgot to wear the beret headcovering I use in church, I forgot to bow before receiving, and I received in the hand (like the archdiocesan rules said I had to) when it turned out that plenty of people were able to receive at the communion rail on the tongue, as I prefer. I felt out of practice. But I was still glad to be back.

The Sunday obligation remains suspended in our archdiocese, but I’m going to try to keep going – and I might even try to hit a weekday Mass here and there. In the meantime, I’m not going to take F with me until the obligation is in place again and the pandemic rules are relaxed a bit. And then I have to set up time with the pastor to see when she can begin receiving the Eucharist.

F and I have been using “Celebration of the Word” handouts and her new subscription of Magnifikids! from Magnificat magazine each Sunday morning to read through the Liturgy of the Word, pray, and learn a bit about feasts and other things that I thought she learned in her Episcopal Catechesis of the Good Shepherd lessons (but didn’t!). She seems to be connecting with this Sunday time more than she tended to at services in our old Episcopal parish, so I’m in no hurry to stop it.

It’s been a good weekend to contemplate God and start over with Him. Deeply grateful.

Tried to spend some time on the deck while C and F went out on a forest preserve jaunt, but (1) it was too damn hot, (2) the dogs refused to join me, and (3) hip and lower back pain still persisting. Back in the home office with books, dogs, and KBO rerun streaming.

I wasn’t kidding about quality time this weekend with Merton and Day. Found some other worthwhile things to review for these times. (Under the books: a printout of Merton’s “Letters to a White Liberal” dating back to 1963 and 1964.)

Hunkering down this weekend to make sense of the world with Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and the Psalms. My brain needs a little peace right now.

Been a rough week, physically and emotionally, personally and on the job. Tweeted and retweeted a fair amount. Tired. Grateful for family and the weekend.

Dreamed I spent half an afternoon deciding where to park in downtown Chicago because I was back to working for the AP. And then I ran into people from my college paper in a parking lot and was profoundly embarrassed.

These stress dreams are getting weirder and weirder.

“Donald J. Trump has proved to be the Nosferatu of American politics: heartless, partial to Slavs, beneath grace and thus far impervious to destruction.”

Happy to see a Republican with a spine. Thank you, Pierre Delecto.

Meanwhile, the sign behind him alludes to one of my favorite Bible verses:

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Awake but angry. Finding it hard to shake my frustration and despair. Over everything.

Went spelunking in a neglected pantry cabinet this morning. This product won the prize for “Most Likely to Be Older Than Our 12-Year-Old Daughter.”

Good morning.

The world I want to live in has a big library, a campsite with pizza, and dancing cartoon animals.

The Onion: “‘This Face Will Be The Last Thing You See Before You Die,’ Says Trump In Healing Address To Nation.”

The Nebraska Expression of Genuine Racial Outrage Exclusivity Zone, or NEGROEZ, is a ten-foot by twenty-foot parcel of land off of State Highway 61 between Merriman, NE, and Hyannis, NE. The United States government has earmarked this area for the specific purpose of giving Black Americans a place where they can demonstrate their anger at the injustice they experience every day in America in an appropriate manner. At the NEGROEZ, and only at the NEGROEZ, Black Americans are allowed to express their rage in any way they see fit, provided it involves some form of primal screaming that nobody else can hear.

~ Carlos Greaves, “The Only Acceptable Form of Black Protest Is to Stand in This Field in Rural Nebraska and Scream Into the Void,” McSweeney’s

Spotted on Twitter (per @CarolYMorrise1 on @TheRickWilson’s feed).