Scales Falling from the Eyes: A Retention Experience

Eyes are basically testicles that sit in the middle of your head. Show either too much disrespect in the form of squeezing or prodding, and they will punish you for your impertinence in ways you won’t soon forget. I learned this, or at any rate the apart about eyes, on Tuesday night. The experience constituted one of those miniature Dark Nights of the Soul that, I’m starting to believe, should mark the change of every liturgical season.

For a couple of days, my right eye had been itching. A mild itch, it bothered me no more than a mosquito bite on the arm would have done. But by early evening, I decided the eye had earned a rest. (Of my two gimped eyes, Righty is by far the better and harder-working.) With the usual difficulty, I peeled off my brand-new soft contact lenses and lay down for a nap.

But sleep wouldn’t come. In part, I might have been at fault for drinking three 44-oz Thirstbuster cups of Diet Mountain Dew — cue the Bolivia song from Scarface. But I’ve managed to nod off on the high wire before, so I blame the itching eye. After rinsing Righty out thoroughly, I poured him a dram of OptiFree Pure & Moist Multipurpose Disinfecting Solution and rubbed him with a ferocity fit for a Turkish bathhouse.

I don’t guess Moe Green felt much when the Corleone hit men drilled him through his right eye. For that matter, I’d bet the Hun sniper in Saving Private Ryan floated off to Valhalla pretty peacefully after Barry Pepper put a slug through his. When Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon king of England, caught an arrow in the peeper, courtesy of Normans who’d decided to make his country snooty and class-conscious, he can’t have said much more than “Oh, scite!” before going the way of the Aethelreds. My own luck was both better and worse than theirs. After putting Righty under the knuckle for a bare 90 seconds, my head felt like someone was frying bacon inside it.

In terms of invasiveness, I’d rank an eye-ache right below a toothache, and right above an earache. That kind of pain is impossible to ignore, but pointless to dwell on. The only way to deal with it, I’ve found, is to make it the soundtrack in in an internal discussion of some subject that causes emotional pain. I had just such a subject handy, and it had to do with religion.

This late conflict between Obama and the bishops has me wondering whether I really belong in the Church. I’ve heard it argued persuasively that Obama’s revised guidelines put enough distance between Catholic employers and their employees’ use of contraceptives to make those employers innocent of cooperation in evil. Morever, since the mandate to cover contraception applies to all employers and seems, at least, to be tailored fairly narrowly, I don’t see why it wouldn’t pass muster with the Surpreme Court. For the bishops to claim otherwise, in an election year, and so stridently, gets a little close to partisanship for my tastes.

Of course, this is not how I’m supposed to see things. The bishops are successors of the apostles, princes of their dioceses, and enjoy the exclusive right to speak for the Catholic Church. I’m not sure whether disagreeing with them makes me a canon criminal, exactly, or a latae sententiae excommunicate; but it does make me a dissenter — something I’ve never particularly wanted to be. More than that, ir creates ethical dilemmas for me as a Catholic writer. Do I go on saying what I think, or do I take a dive in the name of team spirit? And anyway, where does team spirit end and careerism begin?

When I first launched this blog, I was eager to speak from the perspective of a convert who found the value systems of Church and World equally attractive and had come to enjoy living in the tension between the two. I imagined I’d be addressing a vast and hungry Catholic center — people who lacked the stomach both for open rebellion and for culture war; who wanted, simply, to form their own consciences quietly, in their own time. Judging by my numbers, these people represent a niche market, at best. At least on Patheos, the top earners are the people who — as I’ve bitterly observed to a few friends — “toss out red meat like tennis balls from a machine.”

If these thoughts flow coherently now, they did less so when I was thinking them, backed by the beat of a throbbing eye. Pain makes me cranky; to do justice to the crank factor, I’d have to re-type the last two paragraphs in caps, in boldface, having stricken all punctuation and inserted at least enough cusswords to form a paragraph all by themselves. For a couple of hours — though I could be wrong here, since pain blunts my sense of time — they replayed themselves in a continual loop until, finally, I dozed off.

When I awoke, it was still dark. The pain was still there. Righty, now swollen shut, let out what felt like a scream whenever the weakest light fell on his lid. Unable to get back to sleep, I tried to start the thought loop again, but this time it couldn’t sustain itself. Every single thought in it now bored me. All that big-font rage and anxiety had collapsed into a dull, small-font murmur.

Most people, including many Catholics, may not know this, but prayer is a great way to pass the time. The most pious period of my life coincided with the beginning of my catechesis, when I was working a second job as a night watchman at a construction site in Scottsdale. Underwhelmed by the beauty of the achitecture, I kept myself awake by smoking cigarettes and praying the Rosary. Jiggling beads seemed an insult to the uniform, and finger Rosaries were still unknown to me, so I counted out the Hail Marys on my actual fingers. By the time I decided that one job was enough for me, I’d trained myself to the point where I could say fourteen or fifteen Rosaries in the course of a single shift. (This was before I learned about spcial intentions, so if Russia takes that much longer to consecrate itself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, well, izvinite.)

In a spirit of one for the road, I prayed. Starting out very simply, with “God, take the pain away,” I moved to “St. Lucia, pray for me,” and eventually to repeating aloud that I was joining my suffering to the sufferings of Christ. It seemed like a fair enough deal: Jesus’ eyes might have been the only parts of Him that made it to Golgotha unbruised.

Call it the hypnosis of repetition, but I went back to sleep. When I woke up, I found I was able to consider my engorged eye and its insistent pulse with a new objectivity. Light makes pupils expand — or maybe contract; at any rate, to do something that requires some strenuous movement. If the eye’s inflamed for some reason, that movement is going to hurt, much the way walking with a charlie horse woud hurt. It was a perfectly natural and predictable reaction, and there was no reason to infer from it that Righty would soon fall out of my head.

The sun was coming up then. To protect my eye from the beams slipping through the cracks in the blinds, I pulled my pillow over my head and faced the wall. As I dipped back into prayer, it occurred to me that prayer is one of those habits I was in no hurry to give up. Catholicism, for me, might not have become a series of convictions, but it has become a very thorough chain of habits and associations. It had come to form a big part of my life’s intellectual, artistic and social fabric. Ripping it out now, as I’d have to do if I were to leave the Church formally, would mean starting again, from nowhere, with nothing, and with no very clear idea of where I wanted to go.

The fact that I’m pissed off at the Church’s leadership and have nothing very relevant to say to the greater part of her reading public means I’m no less at home than I was in banking and home finance. There, I did my job, ate lunch alone and went home. Here, I go to Mass, make spiritual Communion (the equivalent, as I see it, of making salary with no added commission or bonus), kick over a few bucks and go home. Neither of these barebones approaches comes anywhere near the ideal (or the respective ideals), but both are better than nothing at all.

With my eye semi-healed — with the scales gone, you might say — those conclusions seem even more sensible than they did originally. I probably won’t be able, in good conscience, to keep blogging about the the Church much longer, but I intend to remain a member — one of those conflicted people in the pews with nothing much to say, but, occasionally, “Thanks be to God.”

  • Karen LH

    Max,

    First of all, I hope your eye feels better. Don’t rub it like that again, though. You can do yourself some serious damage.

    Secondly, please don’t stop blogging. You’re a good writer. And you have sort of a different perspective that’s fun to read. Everyone’s upset about the HHS thing right now. It will settle down eventually. I hope.

    On the moral implications of the HHS accommodation, I think you’re wrong, though. To me, the issue seems very clear. But disagreeing with the bishops doesn’t make you a dissenter (you don’t really think that, do you?). I’m pretty sure that a particular application of the principles of material cooperation with sin doesn’t quite fall under the charism of infallibility. Teaching the faith is their job, though, and when all of the bishops (not just the conservatives) are in agreement on the point, maybe they know what they’re talking about. They pretty definitely aren’t engaging in partisan politics.

    Why not write about other things: why you converted, what you’re conflicted about, even why you think the bishops are wrong about the accommodation? But please don’t go.

  • Jim Cork

    Max, long time lurker, though I’ve only commented once. But this post really hit home for me. I converted back in 1995, and was a really convinced, gung-ho Catholic until a couple of years ago, when it seems like I just woke up one morning and wasn’t convinced of anything anymore. (Even worse, I was teaching catechism to 4th graders at the time. Talk about awkward.) One thought that has really comforted me is the thought that I really don’t need to have all the answers–that God is willing to give me the space I need to work things out with him, even if sometimes it feels like some people in the church aren’t willing to do so. Finding a good parish for me really helped, as does finding friends who are willing to listen to my rants without giving me a solution. So please, don’t stop the blogging.

  • sjay

    I feel like you do — I think I converted a little bit further back — 2000 — and up until this, I was supportive, or at least, sympathetic to, the positions the bishops expressed, even the times those positions are contrary to my lifetime leaning to the Left. For reasons I’ve vaguely outlined on other people’s blogs, I’m not going along this time.

    I hope you continue blogging, though. Not least because you do seem to come from a stance close to my own. You’re a good and humorous writer, too. I would respectfully suggest that your numbers may be lower than others partly because you’re not putting up as much as others do. I only check in every couple of days or so because that seems like the frequency at which you update. The Deacon — he’s putting up half a dozen items a day and, if you don’t get over frequently you’ll miss things as they scroll off.

  • Fr. Frank

    I enjoy your blog very much and I hope you continue to write. It is a real treat to read you!

    Regarding the Church and your place within it, I believe the first and most important question by far is what you think of Jesus. All the other questions and their answers depend on that.

    The Devil (pace Sen. Santorum) does not like people who attempt to live their faith, and he certainly doesn’t care for those serious enough to struggle and fight with their own questions and doubts about it. If he cannot succeed in making a man stop being a Christian altogether, he is perfectly content for him to simply be a very miserable one. Rarely does the Evil One make a frontal assault and attempt to steal a soul directly. Rather, he attempts to steal one’s peace and joy. Having done that, a man is at the mercy of all his own worst memories and may eventually begin to wonder if his faith was ever real in the first place.

    I hope that for now you can be content with prayer and whatever consolations come from the habits and associations that have found a home in your heart. I think that in the wreckage that followed the Fall, far more damage was done to our emotions and passions than to our intellect. I hope you will be able at least to postpone your questions about your place in the Church until your passions are more serene. It’s never a good idea to deal with such important things while one is in a state of great disquietitude. In the meantime, I hope you know that the cross you carry is a source of great grace and hope to many people you don’t even know.

    I’m offering my rosary for you tonight — while, as usual, smoking my Camel Blues. (The BVM really has a thing for blue, you know.)

  • Lee-Ann

    Thank you so much for your honesty. Tonight was my first time browsing Patheos and I fell across this entry. I found myself smiling and nodding all the way to the last paragraph. There my heart sank upon reading you didn’t think you would write about the Church for much longer.
    I had a very powerful conversion, a St.Paul scales falling from my eyes experience back in 2000. But a couple of years ago, pregnant (unintentionally) with my 4th baby in 6 years, utterly exhausted…I became so disillusioned with the hierarchy. Now I simply obey because I believe that’s what Christ wants of me. But I have lost a lot of the gusto and fire in my belly that I used to have.
    I am trying to understand this whole HHS opposition as well. I am Canadian and healthcare (including abortion) is funded in most provinces. Are we to boycott taxes because this is what the government chooses to do with it? I understand that all of the US bishops are opposed, so I am going to conclude that they know more than me, but I fear they are going to burden themselves with fines or shut down services needlessly. All this to say, I hope to read more from you. Your style is very unique and we need more openness about the internal struggle.

  • MJ

    There are always going to be things you disagree with in the Church. Faith is more than “issues.” It’s also more than liberal and conservative. You wouldn’t know that from being in the blogosphere, though, not because blogging is bad, but because it is, by its nature, issue-oriented. For my sake, I hope you continue blogging, because I enjoy your writing, but for your sake, do whatever you need to do to maintain your faith. Best wishes.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Heya Max,

    Karen HL took every last word right out of my mouth, except I wouldn’t have sounded like a mom about the eye thing.

    I don’t think our bishops are being too partisan about this one, man. Remember, they were down with Obamacare when it was being debated. I was irate about that then (I pay their salary, and they had the cheek to give the President their blessing to raise my taxes “to help poor people” when I already tithe to help them, too) and now I am chagrined that they are finally seeing what anybody with eyes could see then. As it is, big anti-Obamists the bishops have not been, much to the bewilderment of many in the pew. Now they are crying foul, much to the bewilderment of pretty much everybody. All the same, when nobody gets what you’re up to, you might actually be acting like Jesus.

    I suck at being a Christian, and I know my bishop is pretty good at it. I’ve met him. So I’m just gonna have to trust God that a great big hole isn’t gonna open up and swallow us over this.

    There are lots of good non-controversial things to write about. The rosary, lent, why Starbucks is beautiful, why Starbucks is evil, your favorite bit of art, some piece of “art” you cannot stand, an old X-file rerun, and so on. There are so many things that we can write about, and just by being Catholic, our writing is going to be from a Catholic point of view, more and more. Just today at dinner a friend said to the group that he noticed between himself and his girlfriend, who is in RCIA, a sort of gap. He was raised Catholic; I can relate. Both of us come from families that have been Catholic for more than a thousand years. His girlfriend, though, is a newbie. She worries that she didn’t genuflect right; he doesn’t remember to say grace before meals half the time. She isn’t sure if Halloween is a holy day of obligation; he hasn’t missed Sunday mass in decades. She has her special rosary in a special pouch that she keeps on her at all times; he has a banged up old rosary he keeps losing, replacing, and finding again.

    There’s a certain ease that converts begin to experience, say, 6 months to 60 years after their confirmation. To outsiders, it can be confused with apathy, but to someone who knows the cat well, it is the settled, contented love of old lovers. Marriages go through sturm und drang for some time, and then again sometimes after that, starting sometime after they get married. Why should spiritual lovers of Jesus and the Church experience the same thing?

    Hang in there, pal. Sounds like you need some ice cream :)

  • http://pannoneappetit.blogspot.com/ jp

    Hey Max,

    Longtime lurker — all I can say is to echo what the others have written above. Goodness knows I’ve had my disagreements with the hierarchy over the years, but to lose the Eucharist, Confession, and the riches of the Church is a thought that I cannot bear. Sometimes faith is all that carries you through, as God weans you off the warm fuzzies and all that isn’t Him. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Maybe you’re entering into a new stage of your relationship with Christ and the Church. That’s okay. As Ryan Haber wrote — if it happens in human relationships, why not as well with Christ and His Church? But whilst you’re in the throes of it, it’s not much fun.

    I really do enjoy your blog and its refreshing take on the world. The world would be duller for me if you went silent, though I would understand if you need to do so.

  • Christine

    Max
    I am a Lutheran, not a Catholic, and I love your blog. Please keep going–you can even expand out past the Catholic church to all things Christian. Or stay with the Catholic stuff. I enjoy that too! Your writing is magnificent with all its subtleties, twists and turns and raw honesty. With your gifts and passion for ministry, you offer much to all of us, struggling with a rough world.

  • DWiss

    Max, every Wednesday morning at 6:30 I attend a men’s bible study meeting. I’ve been doing this off and on for six years, and during that time our little group has grown to about twelve if everyone shows up. We’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, so, as you might expect, we have some liberal leaning men in the group. There’s one dude, I would call him holy, who is a fire breathing, Nancy Pelosi supporting, Democrat. I believe that many of his political positions are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching; he does not. One thing is certain: our bible study meetings are much more productive for the difference in viewpoint.

    You’re right about the red meat chuckers. But there are lots of them and they all throw the same meat. We need you to write more moderately – even more conflictedly (if that’s a word) – about your Catholic experience, about lost Basset Hounds and stolen internet access. It’s all part of the lives we lead and opportunity for spiritual introspection. My blog reading routine would be less enlightening without your voice.

    As Catholics, we get our butts kicked around the so called Public Square quite a bit. We deserve some of it. The Bishops seems to have found their line in the sand with the insurance hoo hah, and I support them. I still want to hear what you have to say about it.

    When you, my bible study buddy and I are all knocking at the pearly gates, then we’ll know what’s what.

  • Tim

    Can’t say I agree with some of what you say here, but damn, that was the best opening sentence I’ve read in a long time. I think you have plenty contribute to the Church, disagreements and all (though I don’t think church bulletins are ready for your inguinal metaphors).

    Hope your eye gets better.

  • olav

    Hey Max
    I hope you don’t stop writing about the Church. That would be a real loss. I don’t always agree with your take on things, but I respect your fierce honesty, and commitment to telling the truth. Being within the institutional Church isn’t always easy, especially not for an apologist who finds himself in disagreement with the Church over issues of public policy. But I would caution you to remember that the heart of the Church is Christ, and that all the rest is in some way, folderol, necessary perhaps but not essential to being a Catholic. In my own case, once I stopped focusing on the externalities of the Church, in particular the low grade civil war between liberals, traditionalists, and conservatives, I found great joy in the practice of being a mere Catholic. Confession, the Eucharist, Our Lady, the Saints, all that is truly important and right about the Church are there for you, whether or not you agree with the US Bishops Conference. Your voice is important and we need more passionate moderates to carry us through these unsettling times. If I may offer a suggestion, take a look at John Allen’s book length interview with Cardinal Dolan, Dolan comes across as a mensch, more than as a Prince of the Church. He’s got some interesting things to say about the need for dialogue, and the importance of the Church being open to all of its children. It’s good stuff.

  • Fr. Seraphin

    Hi “Wimpy”:
    I really enjoy your Blog and look forward to it. It is great writing and quite funny at times. If something is causing you pain or confusion just let it go until it passes……works for eyes and etc.
    I will add my rosary to Fr. Carl’s….but no blue cigarettes.
    God bless!

  • Steven

    Greetings from a lurker in Canada:
    Although I am in no way affected by the issues around the Health and Human Services Act, I read about it profusely in the various American blogs I review (Patheos, Religion Dispatches). I suspect that if I were American, and if I were Roman Catholic, I would be just spitting at the debacle it has become. I hear people talking about the rights of the church, but they never comment on the impact on the employees of the institutions affected. I could say much more about it, but I won’t.

    First of all, stop rubbing the eyes! Cold compresses, flush with saline, and rest. Maybe stay away from the contacts for a few days.

    On the subject of your continued writing, I hope you will. For one thing, you seem to be one of the few more progressive voices among the Patheos RC Blogs. A much needed voice. The other reason to continue, is that it is most helpful for me, as someone outside of Catholicism, yet within the Christian realm, to hear from the spirituality, and outlook of someone within Catholicism. When that voice is conflicted, and honest about the questions, it comes across as authenic. That is valuable. It offers a place of connection. We need that within Christianity, if not among people of faith, even people simply of good will.

    Hope the eye feels better soon.

  • Melody

    Max, I would like to echo the previous commenters and say that I hope you keep blogging; we need more moderate voices and not just a binary right-left (for want of a better expression) push and pull. I enjoy your humor and your honesty.
    You mentioned writing for “…people who ….wanted, simply, to form their own consciences quietly, in their own time.” I think there are a lot more of those people than you realize.
    I hope your eye is feeling better; I loved what you wrote about joining your sufferings to those of Christ.

  • Jerseydan

    Max,

    I look forward to your posts: a day without Wimpy Catholic is like a day without sunshine. Dont stop writing! Please. My iPhone will get a whole lot less use without your posts. So will my conscience.

    You are a gifted writer, and many times I have found myself asking “how did he write that…so eloquently, so pointedly, so honestly?” Your posts amaze me. Not only are they well written, but they are challenging in a way that the red meat bloggers can never be. When I read your blog I feel as if there is a very intimate conversation going on between us. You write, I ponder and question. You challenge me to think about my faith and my relationship with God and the Church in a way that no bishop ever has. (Well, with the possible exception of +Tim, with whom I definitely don’t always agree.)

    We don’t always agree but somehow your center (left?) conversation and questioning as you walk on your journey has been a blessing. Please don’t stop writing.

    And by the way, I can’t figure out how to weave this into this note, but I LOVE to diagram your sentences. Yeah, that’s twelve years of catholic school.

    Please write. Write about what you love. Write about what you hate. But don’t stop writing.

    And God Bless.

  • http://far-above-rubies-and-pearls.blogspot.com/ Alisha

    Hi!

    To echo the chorus, please keep writing. You are an incredibly gifted writer. I just found your blog yesterday, and I’m hooked already.

    Maybe a break is necessary, or at least a break from “hard” topics. But not a complete, long term stop. Also, I wanted to add that there is a quietness and intensity about your writing which might not at first lead to huge clicks, but brings you a solid, intelligent and loyal readership.

    Also, I’m not even Catholic, but Episcopalian, and you’ve got a new fan here. God bless!

  • RebeccaK

    Coming out of lurkdom to say please don’t stop writing! As others have said, you are a gifted writer. Take a break from certain subjects if you need, but please keep writing. Your writing is thought-provoking and interesting; I subscribe in a reader and make sure I have the time to read and think.

    Don’t be discouraged by subscriber numbers or pageviews in comparison to others on the site. Your writing is personal and honest and often something to chew over for awhile; not everyone is looking for that. I sure am, though.

    On the other subject: didn’t Obama enact the mandate *without* the compromise?

  • Fr.Michel

    Please,please, Max don’t stop -continue writing.
    Your voice is needed in the Church.Indeed, you bring a breath of fresh
    air .You and your writings are a gift and a grace.

  • halina woloszczuk

    Dear One,

    Apparently you are getting too good and influencing too many people – and the Evil One is trying to disarm you. So the test is to detach yourself from your own feelings (ask St John of the Cross for help) and to continue blindly in faith. These temptations are so insidious. But when you decide, with a firm determination, to obey the magisterium just as Jesus obeyed His Father, all your doubts will be resolved and you will receive, in wonder, a marvelous understanding.

  • EdL

    Max,
    I want to add my voice to the chorus. Keep writing. Your writing is the real thing, that’s what makes it so compelling. The psalmist kvetched and sometimes got angry with God, and I think that’s why so many centuries later so many people can relate to them, because they’re honest. There are plenty of voices out there presenting themselves as “rock-solid,” unassailed by doubts, 100% Grade-A Truly True Catholics. For me those voices, even if they’re saying all the right things, aren’t quite convincing and seem to be lacking in humility. Other people are struggling with life and faith too and your voice provides the comfort of knowing that we’re not struggling alone.

  • Iris Celeste

    OK, story time! Lets say I have a friend who needs to find a carpool to work. Lets say I know someone she can car pool with, but I also know a deep dark secret of this person: he is a hit man for the mob. Lets say I then approach my friend & I say, “Jane, I know you want to find a carpool into work, and Joe over there in maintenance lives in your area and he also wants to carpool, but Jane, I must tell you something in all confidence. I once over heard a conversation I wasn’t supposed to. Joe has done hit jobs for the mob, so please if you decide to carpool with him, be aware and careful.” Anyway, if my friend then decides to carpool with Joe, and not only that, but decides to bring up the subject of how unhappy she is with her cheating husband and how she wishes she could be rid of him, nudge, nudge, wink, wink… if a crime is then committed would you not think me complacent in the crime? Did I not help to bring it about? Did I not make it much easier for my friend to do something I know to be wrong? Sure, I would not have expected her to use the service, but I knew the individual I was introducing her to was unsavory by my standards and I should have kept her away had I listened to my conscience instead of going with the most convenient solution…

  • Robster

    Goddness, max, what d’ye think Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, et al had to put up with? Nothing new, I guess.
    I’m glad bishops are taking a stand, but the ought to have a long time ago and consistently on a variety of issues. Since generally they haven’t exercised their more authority and abdicated their responsibility of moral leadership for years, when they finally do so, it is strangely ineffective.

    I am a faithful orthodox catholic, attend mass as often as possible, go to confession, read the bible etc. It is often the daily experiences I have of catholicism that is dismaying, or just dissatisfying. Small groups whose members assert a strong faith and confidence I rarely feel. Are they for real? Or have they deluded themselves? Do I believe at all? I have no enthusiasm like they do.

    Or the preacher/entertainer who does a stand up act. Is there an applause sign hidden away? Does he really believe, or is he just playing a game? he’s popular, but says nice pop psychology with little or no substance.

    And so on, numerous dismaying things about current catholicism. I hold on despite all, even when it seems I’m just checking off boxes on a checklist. “Gone to Mass? check. Gone to confession? Check.” Sometimes, habit keeps you going when nothing else seems to.

    and like you, all I can say is, all the alternatives are worse.
    The greatest expression of faith is when, after the rest throw up their hands and march, Jesus asks his disciples if they want to go, too. “Lord, where can we go? you have the words of eternal life.” Even is we dont understand them!

  • LeAnn

    I am a bit late in the game, didn’t read this post until I read the later one where you apologized for calling your readers a niche market.

    Courage Max! It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. I thoroughly enjoy your writing and often laugh at loud. You also make me think and ponder which is needed more and more to fight the good fight.

    I am a convert, crossed the Tiber in 2007. Now I’m a catechist for the RCIA program. I am helping bring in 11 adults to baptism at Easter Vigil! How cool is that!

    Press on. P-U-S-H Pray Until Something Happens.

    [Or, to put it another way, when you're in Hell, keep driving. You've got exactly one year's seniority on me, by the way.]

  • http://Nowebsite Meg Jewell

    It takes real personal courage to lay your thoughts before public view as you do. When I discovered your blog I read every single piece in the archives because they were honest, informative and I love, love, love the words you invent. There should be a Max dictionary someday. I hear you that blogging can be a deeply humbling place to reveal your Catholic journey. Take courage. I just want to say thank you.


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