This quote (among others) was used:
Any time two adults proceed in a game of Twister, they’re going to need a sense of humor.
As a result, the following comment showed up on that blog:
(comment edited for length)
"...as for the game Twister, which was mentioned–is that really a game that should be played by anyone other than little kids? Am I the only one who sees in that game a near occasion of serious sin, at least for young men? I mean, come on, if we saw people acting like that away from the Twister board we would put an immediate stop to it.
So I wonder–have people just gone insane? Have we, as Catholics, just become blind? Do we really want to be like Our Lady, or St. Joseph, or any other Saint? Or…purest of the pure–Jesus? Read about what St. Gemma Galgani was told by Jesus, Mary, and her Guardian Angel. It was the opposite of ‘listen to rock music, play twister, read books about sexuality, wear clothing that shows off your legs,""
What I love about this comment is, as my sister-in-law pointed out, how he sums up my worldview as "listen to rock music, play twister, read books about sexuality, wear clothing that shows off your legs."
He nailed it. No day for me is complete without a book about sex and a game of Twister.
The charge against me is worldliness, and over the course of a long, hot summer, pregnant with my sixth child, I've realized that he's right. My last blog post was about rock music. The post before that was about swimsuits. All I think about is stuff stuff stuff and Twister.
I read recently that St Theresa of Avila once had a similar preoccupation with romance novels--she thought they might be the one thing that put her under a staircase in hell. Supposedly, she toiled away as a mediocre nun until she was 38 years old, and then realized that these THINGS, were not obstacles to Heaven. They were not some kind of litmus test that marks you out as a bad or good person, whether you wear short skirts or spend too much time chastising people on the internet.
They were distractions.
Maybe, just maybe, I haven't been corrupted by my preoccupation with worldly things, but rather, I've been blinded by Twister and rock music to some of the potential rewards holiness might have to offer.
We had a visiting priest a couple weeks ago at our Parish, a monk from the local seminary, and in his plea for support for his seminarians, he noted that one of the many important roles priests perform for the Church, is to keep agitating for the Kingdom of Heaven, to provide a certain amount of torment among the flock that prevents us from becoming too preoccupied with the things of this world.
And the things of this world are legion. Yes, they include sex, bad books, stupid games, our clothes, the internet, and the rude behavior of other people. Also the summer's heat, depression, fatigue, fear, anxiety about the future, misery over the past, interpersonal conflict, and obsession with performance in our Christian vocations. You cannot be a human being without bumping into the things of this world, because we're soul and body, living for a term in a material world.
The thing I just realized this evening, after watching a segment from Father Barron's Catholicism series, in which he noted that Christ took all the darkness of the world onto himself, is that the particular things of this world that really take hold of me are not actually Twister and short skirts, but maybe too much comfort with the darkness that I'm really not supposed to carry.
I've spent the summer feeling terrible and thinking about the Cross. I've imagined naming this baby St. John, whether it's a boy or a girl because it is the fruit of my own little dark night of the soul.
Well, sometimes you're really blue, and there's nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you're in the dark, however, because that's just where you like to be.
I've always favored Crucifixion art to Resurrection art. The latter is too often cheesy and unbelievable, whereas blood and death are real--they are of this world. It's comforting to realize that God suffered them too, but it's worldly to imagine that suffering is where the story of God's action in our lives ends.
My current worldly distraction may actually be the Cross itself. I don't go far enough in my faith. Preoccupation with death and suffering is a preoccupation with worldly things, and I have embraced them with gusto.
But I have failed to see the end of the story--how Christ takes our suffering onto himself, and then transforms it in ways I cannot imagine.
Sanctity always has two parts--the part we perform, which includes offering, and attempting to ascend to Christ's example, and the part that Christ performs, where he descends to earth and changes us in unfathomable ways.
I don't get to ascend to Heaven like Christ did. He has to take me there, and I suspect that whole surrender-process will be very challenging and confusing.
“Mary’s confusion at the Annunciation reflects her spiritual poverty. We always experience confusion and perplexity when God descends into our lives. These purifications are passive—God is causing the growth by bringing about some crisis in our lives, in the Church, etc. We use these experiences as a trampoline to bounce off of and land in the arms of Jesus.”
“Sanctity is not moral perfection, or success (a heresy of Americanism, he said), or psychic maturity, all of which are focused on the self. Instead, it is the meeting of our weakness with God, who loves us.”
The big surprise about Christianity is that we don't gain Heaven by gritting our teeth through hell on earth. We are loved into it. And when we love back, Heaven becomes present on earth. Faith and pious works to the exclusion of worldly things, becomes less difficult. The Resurrection begins to feel real.