Sunday, April 27, 2014

Answer Me This - Vol. 3

Linking up with this week's Answer Me This over at Catholic All Year!

1.  Do you hate happy clappy church music?

No.  I hate church music that becomes a performance over being a form of worship.  That can be any kind of music.  If you chant with a prideful heart, seeking recognition over praising our Maker, it's no better than the happiest, clappiest of music sung as a performance.

I love all forms of music in Mass (maybe love is too strong a word, I have a hard time with older hymns sung in a pitch only those of us with classical training can reach - take it down three steps choir director!!!), but I hate clapping for a musician at Mass.  If you're clapping for the musician, you lost focus on who we were all praising together in that moment.  We are praising the Maker of all music, not the musician, when we're in Mass.

If you've ever had a hard time nailing down why you prefer some music over others in different churches, perhaps it's been the presentation/attitude with which the music was offered as part of the Mass.  It is first an offering, a praise, a way to give thanks.

Praise God that we have wonderful, talented people offering their gifts for all of our benefit at Mass, but I don't find it any more appropriate to clap for the musicians than I do to clap for the lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, or even the priest.  I've been one of those musicians many, many, many times in my 3+ decades, and I've been uncomfortable every time someone clapped because of something I did at Mass.  I know I can sing an Ave Maria that'll make you cry.  But, you're not crying because of my voice, you're crying because of the beautiful gift I am sharing that brings you a moment closer to God.

Sing joyfully to the Lord - in chant, in old hymns, out of those Glory and Praise books I grew up with, with newer praise and worship songs.  Sing to Him.  Sing for Him.  Stop worrying about what you're singing and start rejoicing in who you're singing for.  Also, I don't want to hear it that you think you sound like that warbling pelican in Little Mermaid, open your voice and do it.  Give back to God what He gave to you.  If it's not pleasing to your ears, it's still pleasing to His heart.

*steps off soapbox*

If you're looking for inspirational, beautiful music to listen to on your way about town, I heard this musician at the Behold Conference 2014 and was so inspired by her gift.

2.  What is your priority?  Eating or sleeping?

Sleeping.  Sleeping is my favorite.  My babies start sleeping at night between 6-8 months.  I don't sleep well in pregnancy and life stresses tend to give me insomnia, so by the time I've found out I'm pregnant and then gotten the baby to sleeping through, it's usually about a year and a half between full nights.  If there's any silver lining to infertility, it's that I'm sleeping all night these days.

3.  What type of milk do you drink in your house?

Whole milk.  I read something, somewhere that talked about the fat solubility of certain hormones, and that removing them basically unbalances the hormones in what we're eating when we go for low-fat/fat-free options.  I don't know where I saw the study, or even the scientific validity, but the premise stuck with me.  We should be eating our food the way it comes.

Even if there wasn't research suggesting low-fat milk isn't the way to go, it makes sense to me to eat food as close to its original form as possible.  We eat butter, not margarine; whole milk, not skim milk; home baked goods over pre-packaged.  We are by no means the ideal health foodies, but whole milk is part of my effort to make our food choices as natural as possible.

4.  What is a book that changed your perspective on something?

Not precisely a book - shorter in form and about ten times harder than a normal book to unpack the knowledge - Mulieris Dignatatum changed my life and my marriage.

I read it with a group of women as part of an Endow study group.  Which is probably the only way I really could have gotten so much out of such rich and complex materials.

Mulieris Dignatatum is a letter from St. John Paul II (first time I've said that!!).  It's in on the nature and dignity of women.  It gave me a new understanding and appreciation for who am I and who I was created to be as part of God's design.

I have a new understanding for myself as gift to my husband and children.  For the beauty and unique genius of woman.  Mulieris Dignatatum has made me a better wife.  It has given me an appreciation for the strength that it takes to truly be what I'm called to be as a unique and beautiful creation.

Even if you don't follow the study from Endow, get together a group of holy women and read and discuss this together.  It's beautiful.

5.  Who is your favorite saint?

This is kind of like picking a favorite sibling....or exactly like picking a favorite sibling in the "brothers and sisters in Christ" perspective.  St. John Paul II is especially beloved.  His feast day is October 22nd, and is the due date of our little saint.

When I was in college, I went to Rome for the Jubilee with a college group/pilgrimage.  Our group was recognized by name and received a special blessing from him.

Mother Teresa is another especially beloved of mine.  Her dark night of the soul lasting decades, through which she still an inspirational voice of peace, life, and love.  She so vividly lived out God's love, she was invited into circles and beloved by groups of people who wouldn't give a typical Catholic the time of day.

That's amazing.  That's my goal.  I want to so vividly radiate the love of Christ into all those around me that they are drawn into seeking that joy and love in Him too.  I want to be a face of joy in the midst of hard times.  That I so markedly fall short so many times is a reason I look to the life of Mother Teresa.  It is possible.  Mother Teresa is a reminder to get up and do it all again today, even if it's the same thing I did yesterday and I feel no closer to achievement.  That lifetime of love, doing the same things over and over again, that adds up.  Do it with joy and you can be a radiant light of love with others to find their way home.

6.  Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert.  My exact personality trait list is INFJ.  Here's a section from the Portrait of an INFJ.

The Protector

As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system. 

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types. 

INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world.  On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. 

Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk. 

Really, my personality type isn't an excuse, I need to clean this up!


  1. I loved your perspective on the first question as a musician. Really great. I never know what to do when people start clapping, especially when they're led by the priest!

    1. I'm not uncomfortable with clapping at a concert/recital, but during praise and worship, it's always made my skin crawl to be drawing focus. I know people are generally applauding with the best of intentions, but a thought to the circumstances and true focus of the event will be welcomed by the musicians, as well.

  2. Wow....your desk looks JUST lke my dad's desk!!! Seriously, just like it! That is too funny!!

    I love Mother Teresa too! She is one my favorite saints, for sure.

    1. I had the best of intentions to tackle it today, but it only looks *slightly* better today. I have a few friends who are having anxiety over my desk situation, so I'll have to put it on the to-do list. My dad's desk looks the same too, and I vividly remember weekends spent at his office trying to clean the place up :)

  3. As a fellow musician I love your response to question no. 1! Amen!

    1. So glad to know I'm not the only musician who feels that way about it!


I welcome positive, supportive sharing in this community. God bless!