Re: Interblogview--Robert Diaz


This is the response to Steven Riddle's interview questions . All of my answers are in bold, except for the last question because I wanted special attention paid to the italics area. Anyway, I just wrote it up without really editing it. Hopefully, I haven't made too many goofs or mispoken on something. Hope you enjoy!

(1) You seem to be in the process of discerning a vocation. Who have you turned to for help in the discernment process? What would you advise others in a similar situation?

I can't say that I've turned to one specific person for help in my discernment process. I would say that my devotion to the saints, St. Anthony of Padua in particular, has helped. Various people, such as priests, friends and a reasonable lack of objection from my parents has helped. Fr. Bob Lewandowski, a man who's passing I blogged about recently, was certainly instrumental in getting me going. I think I've been fortunate to have the right people around me. I know some have to literally hide their vocation materials from their parents and sneak off to Come and See weekends because their parents don't approve of their vocation search. Even if I don't become a priest, I'm happy that I've had the support that I feel I've needed.

For those discerning vocations, I'd say that the first thing one must do is center his or her life around prayer. Specifically, find a devotional that suits you. I have a devotion to Eucharistic Adoration, the Blessed Mother, and all saints, especially confirmation patrons. My confirmation patron is St. Anthony of Padua, and I pray to him for more than just finding lost things.

I think a devotional helps form a person's spiritual life in a way that makes discernment a bit clearer. At the very least, pray to your confirmation saint and Gaurdian angel. If you don't have a confirmation saint, or you forgot who yours was, find a saint who inspires you to holiness. Dedicate at least an hour a day to silent prayer. It can be 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night, but an hour of silence is vital, especially in a world where we try to distract ourselves with noise and sound.

I think I'd also like to take the opportunity that is often neglected by those giving advice on discernment. Often, during the process, we're tempted by those things we won't have when we take our vows. Those who are discerning the priesthood may suddenly start finding women a lot more attractive, perhaps those who are getting married are prone to get cold feet because they're still tempted by the single life that they've known. However, what one must always remember is that value is more important than cost. My vocation may cost me children and a wife, but the value of the religious life outweighs that cost. So it must be with all vocations, a person has to see how he or she is needed in the Church and respond accordingly to his or her call. The rewards will certainly outweigh the sufferings in the end.

(2) What are you favorite hymns/settings of religious music and why?

One of my favorite hymns is Alleluia, Sing to Jesus. There's currently a lot of animosity towards songs that adress the congregation, but songs such as this one show that you can have a song adress the people and still have it worship God. I think that's the missing element in a lot of "horizontal" music. It doesn't adress God, so much as tell everyone how awesome we are to be God's people. Someone once described it as singing a love song to your girlfriend, but the song being about what an awesome boyfriend you were. That, if you think about it, is utterly tasteless, and a quick way to get yourself dumped.

I also like "O Sacred Head Surrounded" "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent" "Tantum Ergo" "Hail Holy Queen, Enthroned Above" and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". I like to rhyme the ends of the phrases in Emmanuel. It throws the rest of the choir off when you rhyme "high" and "mightily". They're supposed to rhyme. Why else would he write it that way?

(3) What are five books (other than the bible) that have been important in your formation as a Catholic?

1. Cathechism of the Catholic Church
2. Pierced by a Sword by Bud MacFarlane
3. St. Francis of Assissi by G.K. Chesterton
4. Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? by Matthew Pinto
5. The Sermons of St. Anthony translated by Paul Spilsbury

and even though it's not a book, I'd like to add Envoy Magazine, who ignited the spark of interest that led me to read all those books.

(4) In your FAQ, you have an interesting array of films listed as favorites. Is there any common element among them? What makes a good film for you?

Interesting that you ask me about my tastes in films rather than my tastes in music. I think just about every film that I listed deals with heroism and overcoming personal obstacles. For example, though very different in genre, plot and moral, Minority Report and Bells of St. Mary's have ordinary men thrown into extraordinary circumstances. It's a common theme in movies, but one that never fails when the plotline is intelligent.

I would say what makes a film enjoyable is how it affects the person watching it. Does the film make me a better person spiritually? Has my thinking been effected in a positive way? Those are the kind of questions I ask before and after a film. Sadly, many films today are self-absorbed, spiritually dead and condescending to the viewer. That's probably why my list tends to have more classic films. However, I agree with Steven Greydanus when he says that Minority Report was the best film of 2002.

(5) What do you think are the most pressing problems for Catholics in the world today, and what is your suggestion for combatting the problems?

I'm hardly qualified to answer this. But, I think the problem is that people don't trust God and His Church enough. They either want their own way by asking for silly things like homosexual marriage and women priests, or they'll go the other way and say that they want things exactly as they used to be. If I were to compare the way that Rad-trads and AmChurch approach descent to how a family raises a child, I'd say that the Rad-trads want to raise a child with stunted growth and severe myopia, and AmChurch wants to make sure their child is as insane and sick as possible.

How do we combat this problem? Again, I'm hardly qualified to give a solution, but I'd say much of the fault lies with Orthodox Catholics who complain about everything, but do nothing. If there's a speaker from Call to Action coming to your parish, WRITE A LETTER to your priest and bishop! Don't just whine or stop going to that parish. If nothing is done, go to the meeting and try to raise hell by asking questions that refute their crap. Don't let little Lefebvrites put their photocopied articles from "The Remnant" in your windshield wipers! Report it and have the priest talk to the people who are doing it.

Here's a bit of advice on how to write letters. As someone recently said on St. Blog's, Bishops hate conflict, and the only way things will be changed for the better is if we give them conflict that tells them we want our parishes to be faithful to Rome and stop sponsoring speakers who subvert her teachings. Here is a step by step process on how to write letters in the Church:

Let' s say they're advertising a Call to Action speaker in the Church bulletin and you don't like that.

1. Write a letter to the person you have a complaint against, namely, the person or group representative that is sponsoring the speaker. Save a copy. Wait for a response.

2. If you get a response, and it doesn't answer your questions, write to your parish priest. Save a copy of this letter and the first. Attach the letter that you sent to the person you had a complaint against and their response. IF they did not send a response, say so in the letter. If your complaint is against the priest, look to step 1 on what to do. Wait for a response

3. If you don't get a response, or the response is unsatisfactory, attach the original letter you sent, the letter to your priest, and all responses and write a new letter to your Bishop! I have a bishop who likes to show the letters to the people who are being written about. He doesn't do anything unless he's really pushed. If you've established that you've written to the man you're complaining about, then perhaps something will be done.

4. Repeat steps over and over again, constantly writing your letters upwards and attaching the letters you sent previously. Eventually, someone is going to get the idea that if they don't handle what's going on in your parish, their boss is going to find out.

Boy Scouts has taught me how to deal with chain of command. Trust me, this will work if enough people do it. Nobody likes having their boss told that they're slacking off in their duties.

Faithful Catholics can accomplish great things if they only put their mind to it. They can take a stand against the various movements that are trying to undermine Christ and center her people towards themselves. Good Catholics need to stop walking on eggshells and start making some serious noise on the parish level. We don't have to join organizations that are made for this purpose. Many faithful Catholics have large families and must dedicate their time to their children. But, I contend that anybody, even a mother of seven, can write an effective letter that can start to change the make-up of her parish for the better.

And yes, I'm even talking to the people who complain about "liturgists". We can have music that's conducive to worship if we just make our complaints known.

But always remember that even displeasure must be voiced with charity!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Robert Diaz, MI published on October 7, 2003 3:12 PM.

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