#1135 – Dick Bernard: A Christian, A Moslem and A Jew

This morning I was in line at my daily coffee place in Woodbury, Caribou at City Center.
The lady two persons ahead of me, in Hijab, was chuckling. “I’m cheating”, she said. She apparently had seen something in the pastry case…. (For the unaware, Muslims are about midway in the month of Ramadan).
Her gentle admission reminded me of an e-mail exchange yesterday.
My friend, Joyce, from Jewish roots in New York, had sent the e-mail, subject line: “Bacon & God’s Wrath” with a link to the New Yorker. Joyce’s message was brief: “Absolutely delightful; watch the video. I love this woman, especially when she talks about using “the google.” “
I didn’t connect with the video, initially. This is about 8 minutes, and it is as advertised, “delightful”.
The e-mail led to my response, as a lifelong still practicing Roman Catholic:
“So…payback…As you know, I’m Catholic.
Back in 1965 the rules for Catholics were no meat on Friday, and I was an observant Catholic.
My wife had died two months earlier, and I was broke, and on three consecutive Fridays, inadvertently, I’d eaten meat (Ex: I was invited to someones house and they had hot dish…what was I to do?)
So, being a good Catholic and feeling guilty I decided I had to go to confession, and did so in the church in [a nearby town] on the way to my second job.
I confessed, and the Priest “threw the book” at me – a larger than normal penance, in the Catholic way.
It was so out of the norm that I left the confessional and walked out the door and haven’t been to confession since….
There was another rule: when you went to Communion, it was believed that we were receiving the body and blood of Christ. So you had to Fast from midnight on, till after Communion in the morning. When you received Communion wafer, there was none of this chewing and swallowing. It was supposed to melt in your mouth, pretty literally. Eight or more hours is a long fast for a little kid, and my sister, Flo, quite often fainted. But the rules were the rules.
And so it went.
They still try the “no meat on Friday” during Lent some places, but nobody seems to care; and Confessional booths are used as broom closets and coat racks for the ushers and where the candles are kept. And there are no rules about fasting before Communion.
Still, I suppose, some purists complain about this.
I’m still a very active Catholic, but it has nothing to do with doctrine. I just like going to Mass….
Here’s to Bacon!”

Back to Caribou…my new Muslim acquaintance tarried a moment, and I shared a bit of my story. She said she was going to an all day workshop, and she excused herself from the fast. It was strictly common sense.
I know it’s Ramadan now, and I asked her when Ramadan concludes: This year, it is July 5.
Do watch the video. Have a great day “wherever you are at on your faith journey” (the every Sunday mantra at Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis – my Church).

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