penitentialI’ve noticed a peculiar shaping of the introductory rites when I go to Mass over the past few years. It seems that ever since the new and improved English missal was released in 2012, it has been pretty commonplace to skip over the Confiteor prayer from the Penitential Rite.

What is the penitential rite, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s where, at the beginning of the liturgy, we confess our failings and sins to God. Then we ask for God’s mercy on the sins we’ve just confessed in a general formula. Then the priest recites a prayer giving general absolution which absolves venial sins. It is a touching, compact, and powerful rite.

What has become common since the arrival of the new missal is to omit the Confiteor and plow right into the Kyrie, or an ad libbed close estimation of it. I’m not a degreed liturgist, I must admit, but I’m enough of a practicing Catholic and amateur in the classical sense of the word to care enough and know what I’m talking about.

When you’re dealing with the Catholic Church and her liturgical documents, order plays an important part. If something is listed first, it normally means you should use it often. So when the Confiteor is listed as choice A, and not choice B, or C, there is a reason. With whichever choice the priest makes at Mass, as long as they’re not ad libbing or adding things that aren’t there, they are on solid footing. I don’t dispute that. But the fact that the Confietor has fallen on hard times since 2012 grieves me. Because I know what is going on. At least I have my suspicions.

Here is the Confiteor as it was recited from about the early 1970’s until 2012:

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
That I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
And I ask Blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
And you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

In 2012, it became thus:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

This is because the previous version, pre-1970’s, existed thus:

I confess to Almighty God,
to blessed Mary ever Virgin,
to blessed Michael the Archangel,
to blessed John the Baptist,
to the holy apostles Peter and Paul,
and to all the saints
that I have sinned exceedingly
in thought, word, and deed,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin,
blessed Michael the Archangel,
blessed John the Baptist,
the holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
and all the saints,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Do you see the similarities between the first and the last? Do you see what was left unsaid in the middle one? It seems that pastors of souls are reluctant to have the congregation recite the self-abnegating words “through my fault” etc.

I don’t know why.

But I do recognize, as do most of the rest of the parishioners in the pews, that we’re being cheated out of our opportunity to express culpability in our personal sins.

Hey, listen…

I’m okay with the Kyrie in it’s stand alone form.

What I’m not okay with is the impression that is given, that their is something wrong with the Confiteor. For over a thousand years, the Confiteor, the Kyrie, and the minor absolution were recited at darn near every Mass in the Western Church. For good reason: It’s good theology, and it is good pastoral practice.

I’m mildly concerned also, that the third alternative, option B, is almost completely ignored. It is a beautiful summary of penitence and has deep roots in the Church:

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord

℣ (Priest): “Have mercy on us, Lord.”
(Congregation): “For we have sinned against you.”
: “Show us, O Lord, your mercy.”
: “And grant us your salvation.”

While not as theologically all-encompassing, it is to the point and heart-felt. I’ve not heard it used once in four years. Why is that?

As a single parishioner in the pew, I’d make the following request:

Option C is included in Option A and Option B.  Please stop using Option C in exclusion. At a minimum, could you please rotate them so that 1. each is used one-third of the time and 2. parishioners get used to reciting all three? Or just alternate between Option A and B. Again, Option C is already included in A and B.

There is a peculiar genius in moving from the Confiteor, to the Kyrie, to the absolution. It flows. It “seals the deal” in a more determined manner than any other option. But even Option B with the Kyrie is better than just the Kyrie. Give us a break here, eh Fathers?

I’m at another one of those in between places.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. That place where the spaces between the lines get wider and you feel like you might fall through the words of your own story. Or maybe it’s like when the pebble you’ve been kicking down the street falls into the storm drain.

I’m about to make a decision that will possibly decide what I do for the rest of my working life – until retirement (which isn’t far away for me).  Or maybe only for a year or two. That’s how I’ve been living for the past ten years…taking short gigs that only last a year or two. I’ve cobbled together such a wide skill set that I really can go a lot of places and do a lot of things well. Recruiting. Management. Plans and operations. A range of what could be considered human resources functions.

I’m closing in on final round interviews on several widely different jobs and the contract that I’m working right now is about to be renegotiated by the middle of the month.

Recidivist

From my last post, I caved.  There are too many apps that connect through Facebook; when I went “offline” it made it harder for me to get stuff done.  I did enjoy the weeklong reprieve, though.

Happy Fourth!

I feel for people who have pets or combat vets in the family when the fireworks start going off.  Fact is they’ve already started going off – weeks early.  Because some people are asses and never think about anyone but themselves.  But if you have a dog, instead of complaining about how everyone else’s right should be restricted, try buying a thunder shirt and getting dope from your vet to zonk your dog out during the high festivities.

For your combat vets, buy them lots of alcohol and a good pair of flanged earplugs. They probably still have the pair for which the Department of Defense paid four hundred dollars (rough estimate) so help them find those. I’m not taking away your right to complain, just offering practical solutions.

Feeling lost

I’m in a weird place because the first part of the year saw Aaron the eldest and I going hiking every weekend. Rain or snow or shine, we were out there kicking up leaves. Since he accepted a position with Amazon in Texas and started his training, we haven’t been able to get out. I’ve got to craft another game plan because this is not something I’m giving up.  I’m planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail at the earliest opportunity and I want to keep my feet on wilderness paths. You’ll see more pictures from me once I get back into a groove. Miss my hiking buddy! I’ve asked Steven a few times if he’d like to go, but he’s uninterested. That’s okay if it isn’t his thing, but I can’t stay away from it.

The inbetweenies

I’m currently unemployed! We discovered that my contract ended on July 1st and not August 7th, when I hired in at JFHQ-IN, but it couldn’t have happened at a lousier time. We just got a new provost marshal, who roughly translates to “my boss” and the incoming officer really has his plate full.  They won’t be able to sit down with my contract company reps until Wednesday after the holiday weekend, and it may be a couple days after that before everything is inked. So I’m in a weird place. My holiday weekend may be a lot longer than yours! But that, too, is okay, as it will give me the opportunity to knock out a few more local trails.

I have pulled the Facebook plug. Never in all my born days have I run across something so time consuming, mindless, and zombifying. It is worse than TV. Good riddence! 

I have described myself elsewhere as a Boy Scout with ADHD and no filter. Unfortunately over the years that has affected my attitude toward money. And so I haven’t always made the wisest financial decisions. My wife does much better. I’d have been well served had I given her the check register of “the Garlits estate” but you know how that went, I’m sure. ADHD. “Ooh, shiny!”

I am getting wiser with age. I think. I hope.

I’m surrounded by opportunities at present, but I think I’m staying put. You see, ten months ago I took a job in Indianapolis with a lowball first year salary after the previous job situation became unmanageable. Went from a 5 on, 5 off 12 hour watch analyst schedule to banker’s hours. In northern Virginia. With the family still in Indiana because we told the kids when we moved back to Indiana from northern Virginia back in 2010 that we were putting down roots until they all graduated from high school. We did very well with that, except for me having to commute from Virginia for awhile.

Disclosure: I’ve been taking contract gigs since 2012.  Year to year at will employment. That means they can let you go at any time for any reason, and you can quit at any time for any reason.

I had taken the job in Virginia specifically because it was a 5 day on, 5 day off gig. I could go home to Indiana every 5 days. And spend five days there. I took the job in Indianapolis because they dumped the 5/5 schedule and my goal was to quit as soon as I had landed a job. Any job, really. Well…as long as it was in emergency management or a related field. That’s what I do.

My painful task once replanted in Indiana was to right size the personal finances so we were living within our means. That didn’t go so well. Over the past couple years we’d financed three vehicles. I know! They weren’t expensive vehicles but, I know! I also ran up credit card debt trying to steady the good ship Indiana Finances. And made some dumb decisions which left us with a good bit of tax debt. And I made a really stupid decision concerning my master’s degree capstone paper. I allowed them to bully me into signing up for the class when I couldn’t really devote the time to it, couldn’t really afford it, and really didn’t want the professor they assigned to us.

So I did something really smart and really stupid. I sat down with the wife and told her that I wanted to be out of debt. That I wanted her involved with the week to week finances. That I had cut up all the credit cards and cancelled the accounts.

That I wanted to cash in the 401(k), deposit it into her personal checking account, and give her the control of paying off all of our debt with it. And beefing up the emergency fund. Showing her when the mortgage and utilities are due. And basically giving her veto rights over all of my financial decisions. Historically financial mis-decisions.

So, we cashed in the retirement account and are furiously paying down debt. Yeah, I know, with the retirement account. It’s cheating, I know. It may require a ten percent penalty, I know.

But by the end of this month, the only people we’ll owe are the mortgage people and the bank because of one final car payment. By the end of the year that final car will be payed off, too. And within about four years, the mortgage will be paid off, too. Then we won’t. Owe. Anyone. Anything. Except the debt of love. We’ll be living far beneath our income. Well within our means.

I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. Here’s to not living hand-to-mouth. Here’s to financial freedom.

 

Over the past several months I have been trying to come out of the Army retired reserve and come back as an enlisted. I was looking at the geospatial engineer career field. Found out yesterday that I can’t get back in since I have my 20 year letter. 

I tried. Oh well. 

I am in rejigger mode now. My priorities are changing. The world is changing. I’m changing.

It’s a good thing for my part.

Stay tuned.

 

IMG_1799

Utility service road. Yeah we hiked it.

Hey, Greenlight here!

Coming off of two section hikes of the AT inside of a week, it took some “gettin’ used to” being back in relatively flat Indiana.  Aaron and I continue our weekendly expeditions over at Free Range Hiking and he is closing in on halfway toward his goal of fulfilling 40 hikes this year. My daughter-in-law Britni also joined us. She’s been hiking with Aaron for several weeks now and hopefully will continue!

On Sunday, we hiked about seven miles of the Depauw Nature Park, which is managed by the university of the same name. They advertise “well maintained trails.”  I give them that.  If by “well maintained” you mean “covered with gravel.”  I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just saying that my boots like mud.  And rocks. And roots. And steep hills and inclement weather like rain and snow and heat and humidity. And, well, I’m just weird that way, but HYOH, right?

I did a light shakedown and resupply the night before and hiked with a lighter pack than I what I have been training with, but I make it a point to hike with my full pack as much as possible because I’m training for that glorious AT thru-hike somewhere in the not to distant future.

We had fun at DePauw Nature Park.  You will too, if you go. There are some camping spots off the creekside rail trail.  I haven’t completely figured out what their trail designations mean, but since they consist of interconnected loops, you’ll find the campsites eventually if you keep hiking.

The best part of this hike for me was when we came to the end of a loop and followed a trail that dead-ended at what appeared to be a service road.  That led to the cryptic “Prindle Institute.” I joked that maybe it was a driving school.  You’ll either get it or you wont.  That emptied out onto an asphalt road on the edge of Greencastle, but there was another gravel service road that looked like it ducked back in to the woods.  I was using GaiaGPS and the map showed that if we kept walking in that direction we would intersect the first trail we took from the trail head.

That led us back to a utility cut that with a steep and overgrown descent into a creek, and back up  onto the trail near the trailhead.  I was sorry to be back on well maintained gravel paths, but all in all it was fun. And we were only halfway through hiking.

Back near the trail head, we decided to hike along the abandoned quarry site, past a retreat

IMG_1806

Looks sorta like Washington Monument

center shaped much like Washington Monument on the Maryland AT at the top of Monument Knob.  I’d hiked past that on my way back to Indiana from DC a couple weeks ago and hadn’t gotten to climb the spiral staircase because the monument had been struck by lightning and was engineer taped and closed for repairs.  This DePauw retreat center also had a spiral staircase so I ran to the top and enjoyed the view for a few moments.

The bluffs of the quarry presented picturesque views of the lake below, and geese were bellowing and the males were showing off to the females.  It is that time of year, you know.  It began to mist a bit during the last hour of our hike, and we stopped about a mile from the trailhead to drink some water and snack on the food we’d brought.  I pulled my JetBoil out and had a steaming cup instant coffee, some Skittles, and a foil packet of Mango Habanero Salmon.

Back at Aaron’s house, I played with the dogs for a bit, Aaron and I drank some Dragonfly IPA from Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington and laughed over YouTube videos. They still had to drive a couple of hours to meet up with one of Aaron’s high school buddies in Marion, so I pointed the hood ornament east and headed back to the house for a shower, dinner, and some DVR’d COPS episodes.

Not a bad day, hiker trash, not bad at all.  Head on over to freerangehiking.com and join us for an upcoming hike!

-G