Because We Need Sheets, Even If We Think We Don’t

On Sunday, my family and I made a trip to a little college in a little town near the peach capital of South Carolina. We did so in order to drop my daughter off at a camp that her lacrosse team was attending. After a lunch stop at a local eatery, we wound our way through the town on our way to the campus. As we did, we passed by an old, impressive looking Baptist church, established in 1878.

Up and down that same street were a number of other churches with impressive steeples, and my daughter asked the following question. “Dad, how is Mass different in these churches from ours?” A short question, and as we were getting close to our destination, and as I was navigating for my 16 year old son, a freshly minted driver, I just gave her a few brief answers on basic Protestantism like this.

“Well the first thing to know is they don’t have a Mass, actually. See, they don’t believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist, like Christians have believed since the very beginning. Also, in most cases Protestants, which means “to protest,” believe that if something isn’t written down in the Bible, that it isn’t true. Only if something is spelled out clearly in black and white in the Bible, will they believe it. Keeping in mind that there were no Bibles for hundreds of years after the Church began, that makes you wonder, right? We believe in the Bible too, Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church.  Also, most Protestants don’t revere the Blessed Virgin Mary, despite the fact that in the first chapter of Luke, right there in black and white, she proclaims that “all generations will call me blessed.”

And that was about all I had time for, as navigating which way to turn, and where to find the registration building for the camp put an end to her query. In the back of my mind though I was happy that she had asked the question, and I figured we could revisit the issue at some point in the future as a topic to discuss during the summer before CCD classes picked up again.

As it turned out, events would conspire to bring this topic back to the fore much earlier than that.

We got my daughter checked in at the registration desk, were issued keys to the dorm where she would be staying, and then we headed off to check out the room. It was in an older wing of the dormitories, but nice and clean. Bonus! Her roommate from the team had already moved in, bed made and everything. Mom stayed back as gear guard while the kids and I headed to the car to unload her stuff, and head back to the room to settle her in. We saw her coaches dropping their daughters off, exchanged pleasantries, etc.  All was well.

Safely in the room with her gear I say, “Well, let’s make your bed. Where are your sheets?” There had been a checklist on what to bring, see, and sheets, blanket, pillow, or sleeping bag, had been on the list of items to bring. Noting that she had her pillow and her quilt, and not a sleeping bag (like she had brought the previous year) I was surprised, nay, shocked (!) to learn that she had not brought sheets. “I don’t need them. I didn’t have sheets last year.”

“But you had a sleeping bag last year, and this year you didn’t bring it. You will not be sleeping on this mattress without sheets, honey. That is impossible.”

Clearly, it’s not impossible. My daughter seems to have an austerity streak going that shocks her Mom and me sometimes. This girl can rough it with the best of them. Now, though, I’m doing my level best not to turn into Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Weathers, reading her the riot act for deciding to ditch bringing her sheets to camp. My wife was not too happy about the sheet situation either.

What to do? Take action! “I saw a Walmart on the way here from lunch. The boys and I will go get her some sheets while you two stay here, unpack, hang out with the other girls etc. Also, let me know if there is anything else on that check list that she forgot, okay?” Actually, the tensions had risen to the point where the boys had high-tailed it out of there at the first intimation that the check-list hadn’t been followed to the letter. I found them outside, rallied them to the cause, and headed to Walmart which, love them or hate them, would have sheets a-plenty standing tall and awaiting purchase by me.

As my son piloted the vehicle through the unfamiliar town, and we passed by the big Baptist church again, the idea hit me that ditching the sheets on the checklist was another answer to my daughters’ question earlier on how we Catholics are different from these other churches. My mind is weird that way.

Long story, short, we bought a set of brand new sheets, learned that we also needed to pick up some hand soap (sheeesh!), and then we beat feet back to quarters. Upon arrival, sheets and soap was distributed, and the naked bed was clothed with brand new sheets with that smell that probably only Marines can understand when I write the phrase “smells like Cash Sales.” In other words, so new, they haven’t even been washed. You know the smell.

The lack of sheets crisis had been averted! Bed now made, and ready to hang out with her teammate/roommate, it was time for the parents to depart. Kisses and hugs all around, but I asked my daughter to step out in the hall so I could tell her something before I left.

“Remember how you asked me what makes Catholics different from the Protestant churches? And I told you some things that, as protesters, they decided to get rid of? It’s kind of like how you decided to not bring any sheets. You didn’t think you would need them, but you did. They too have decided that they didn’t need sheets. And now, though they may find themselves living in sumptuous mansions, the beds inside their rooms do not have sheets on them. Isn’t that strange? Beds need sheets, whether you live in a shack, or in a palace. The fullness of the Faith is found, and lived, in the Catholic Church. We haven’t decided to ditch what we have been given, and what we have needed, from the very beginning. Understand?”

She did, of course, because how much simpler can you put it?


Because On this Ship, I Don’t Have to Decide Everything UPDATED

There has been a lot of fur flying around lately regarding prodigal groups (possibly) coming back into the fold, while others get a solid scolding, etc. Since the season of Advent, Catholics have endured changes to the Liturgy and a new version of the Missal, and we’ve had to relearn lines we had memorized since forever. And lately the HHS Mandate has been seen as a galvanizing moment by many, me among them, and only as a distraction by others. In the immortal words of  Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” [Read more…]

Because God Is A Crazy Farmer, Thankfully! UPDATED

I’ve been working in the yard around Casa del Weathers. One thing I’ve been doing a lot of lately is weeding. Not that I have some sort of pristine yard that I need to keep up so I can one up the Joneses, or anything. But I like my flower beds to contain flowers, and not weeds. As for my yard, which out back (especially) is pretty much a random assortment of weeds and grasses that are shade tolerant, I pretty much follow the dictum to live and let live.

Except for the dandelions. [Read more…]

Because Everything Matters, When Christ is Our Center

Back in the Fall, I shared a post with you about fallen Hollywood heroes asking for mercy. Does Hollywood matter? Does anything, given the finiteness of our earthly existence? I’m reminded of a title of an album by John Cougar Mellencamp: Nothing Matters, And What If It Did? [Read more…]

A Contrarian Way To Invest Like A Catholic

See what I discovered: God made man simple, but they get lost in their many thoughts.—Ecclesiastes 7:29

Just in time for the year-end wrap ups, I saw an article the other day over at Our Sunday Visitor about Investing with a Clear Conscience (and earlier this year over at Crisis Magazine was a similar one called How to Invest Like A Catholic, to which this post was initially addressed). Being a former stock broker, one who let my Series 7 License (and all the rest of my assorted licenses) lapse as soon as I left that field (1995!), Joe Six-Pack, USMC knows a little bit about investing. So reading the articles, to me it sounds more like “How to be neurotic about investing, like a Catholic.”

As if there weren’t enough things to get ulcers about. [Read more…]

Because Christ and His Church Are the Light of the World

No longer does the Church exercise temporal powers over domains. The Papal States are back in the hands of secular powers. The saintly soldiers of the military orders have all laid down their arms. Rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s, then, what is the role of the Church in the world today? [Read more…]

A Few Thoughts on the Political Dimension And Some Homework

The gospel precept of charity enlightens Christians as to the deepest meaning of political life.

Lately, I’ve been “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.”  I’ve also been exploring the task of a Catholic layman in the political order. As I said in a previous post, politics generally isn’t my bag. It takes a lot of time, and basically leaves me unfulfilled. Surely I’m not alone in this regard. [Read more…]

Because the Saints are “Hard Corps”

For Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity in Action at the Risk of Life, Above and Beyond the Call of Duty . . .

As a kid growing up, I had a lot of daydreams floating through my head. Daydreams of Glory! The lines above (from the beginning of the citation for the Medal of Honor) would be read to throngs of adoring, thankful citizens as my exploits and heroic feats of daring-do and close-combat were read and celebrated throughout the land.

Is it any wonder that I was drawn to the vocation of a warrior? [Read more…]

Because St. Barbara is the Patron Saint of Artillery

Yes, yesterday was Sunday but you know what else it was? It was the Feast of St. Barbara. As a former member of November Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, let me tell you something: This is a feast day celebrated throughout the entire US Armed Forces in the Artillery Community. Knowing that, doesn’t this prayer intention make more sense? [Read more…]

To Help Make A Movie, Part Deux!

Ian Higgins writes,

Hi Frank, 

I just wanted to personally thank you and all your readers who have so kindly donated and shown their support for our movie “All That Remains”. It has been overwhelming to witness such support in such a short space of time.

It is thanks to the kindness of all those who donated that we now have enough funds in place to film the crucial interviews in Japan. We’ve managed to raise enough funds to fly out to Japan and film the necessary interviews for the documentary aspects of the movie – thanks to everyone who rallied to our cause!

We didn’t reach our total, but we still consider our campaign a huge success and have decided to launch a second campaign – this time with the goal of raising the necessary funds for the drama sequences that will help bring this amazing story of a remarkable man to life with all the emotional power that a film has.

I would also like to add, to all those who chose to contribute anonymously on our previous campaign, remember to please get in touch with us at with your email addresses (that information is not given to us when you donate as anonymous) so we can send you the links to your perks as and when they become available. Your personal details will be treated as strictly confidential.

Thanks again for your kindness and support!

Huzzah! Ian and Dominic can wing it over to Nagasaki now and get some digital film in the flash drives! Very cool. Guess what else?

Frank, Dominic and I also would like to give you a producer credit on the movie. I know it’s not on the perk you purchased (Ed. a cheap one!), but I think as one of the job descriptions of a producer is to help raise funds for a production – that qualifies you.

Warmest regards,
Ian Higgins

Gulp. Know what that means? I’m now no longer just the chief fan boy or über cheerleader, but an honest-to-goodness movie producer now!? I gotta tell you, the Lord works in mysterious ways because I sure didn’t see that title landing beside my name EVER. No way, no how.

But this is a remarkable story that needs to be told, and told again. It never crossed my mind that I would be denominated with a title like producer on my résumé. And it never would have happened without the generosity of giving readers like you. Folks who live out the words penned by St. James (2:14-17) two thousand years ago,

What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

Know what else it means? That’s simple: I need to make some more rain for the project! And I’m a beggar-thy-neighbor type, long on faith and prayer, but short on cash. But God will provide, and of that I am sure. And it looks like I’ve got some new stuff to learn. Maybe Tom Cruise can help.

Takashi Nagai, praying the rosary

Remember that little post I shared with you about how Words Matter? Well they do. As I thanked you for your generosity before, I will thank you for it again and ask that you share the news on this project via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, etc. Heck, by any means possible. And give, give, and give some more —in any amount!

But I won’t brow beat you about it either. Shakedowns? We don’t need no stinking shakedowns! Instead, you can keep track of the fundraising progress right here at YIMCatholic. If you have a gander at the right-hand sidebar (up topside), you’ll see I’ve added a little widget showing the All That Remains Phase-2 IndieGoGo page where you can easily share it, see how many shekels are in the jar, how much time is left to give, etc., etc. How neat is that? Here’s an idea: put it on your blog too!

With prayer, action, faith, hope, and love,  I’m sure that Phase-2 of fundraising for this project will be a rousing success. All it will take is the following…