Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 10

I woke up in a generally pissy mood today. Mondays do that and the high of Buddhism has worn off at this point. Luckily, Catholicism is slowly swooping in and distracting me enough from the gruel of my routine. My wife was already in the shower, so there was no one for me to vent about how much a dislike the start of the work week.  If she was still in bed, it would have sounded like this:

"Ah, balls!"

Vulgar perhaps, but I don't like to curse all that much and I sneer those with a more clever exclamatory vernacular. That pretty much leaves me with anatomy and butchered Korean expressions that I use incorrectly but confidently. Like always, I could hear the shower shoes dragging across our poorly tiled bathroom floor. It's impossible to go back to sleep when that party starts, so I sat up and put my hands together in prayer. I dig the morning prayer. Maybe I'm talking to God or a few gods, but the thoughts have to go through me first. This thought filtering system works to my advantage. I can essentially slap the "evil" person in me around enough and jar my morning laziness to the point that by the time I stand up, I'm on the right path. I try to make sure that path is Catholic.

Acting Catholic is only part of this game. Much of it exists in my increasingly confounded mind. I typically start with a Catholic prayer, but awaking before the sun presents its own challenges and my memory often falls short. I give the Arising from Sleep prayer a solid effort though.

O Master and holy God, who are beyond our understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave us rest through night-long sleep, and raised us up to glorify your goodness and to offer our supplication to You. Now, in your own tender love, accept us who adore You and give thanks to You with all our heart. Grant us all our requests, if they lead to salvation; give us the grace of manifesting that we are children of light and day, and heirs to your eternal reward. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those present who pray with us; all our brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of Your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever. Amen.

It's heavy. I've only been at this for ten days, so give me a little time. There are a bunch of other morning prayers that I'm trying to cram in there as well. After stumbling through that one, I generally pray without the rules. You know, just me and God or Jesus or Mary. In fact, there's a lot of people who try to join my table. They can join the party, but in all honesty, I generally thank Him for my wife, family and health and maybe I slip in a little request for the wisdom and guidance to live as Jesus did.

Buddha was a fan of taking things away from me. He and I would get into it sometimes. Catholics also like taking things away. They took away meat on Fridays, but the trick's on them. My blood pressure took that away already. Penance is nothing new to me. I already wrote in-length about how much I liked the physical reminders of my spiritual sacrifice last month and while they also dig atonement and sacrifice, the Catholics are pretty light on the self-denial business anyways. Paul put it well in Colossians 1: 24:
And now I am happy about my sufferings for you, for by means of my physical sufferings I am helping to complete what still remains of Christ's sufferings on behalf of his body, the church.

The rest of my day goes pretty much as usual. I work, I read and I study the Bible. If I face a situation during the day, I'll refer to the Bible and see what it says about it. For instance, I have to do a mini-commercial tomorrow which I file in the look at the white guy category. My boss told me to dress up really nicely. I don't like dressing up really nicely. I'm a Southern polo-khaki-loafer guy. And while some of these New York/London/Seoul big city fellows might like their square frames, skinny ties, shiny suits with weird-colored shirts (black, navy, green, gray) and tight pants look, it just doesn't work for me.

What should I do?
1 Corinthians 11: 14 tells me that my short hair is alright and the Old Testament rattles on about wool and linen, so I guess I'm going to sport my Southern Televangelist attire tomorrow.

And aside from that, I think I'm going to pull the Catholic card on this one and refer to one of my favorite verses in the Good Book: Psalms 104: 13-15.

From the sky you send rain on the hills, and the earth is filled with you blessings. You make grass grow for the cattle and make plants for us to use, so that we can grow our crops and produce wine to make us happy, olive oil to make us cheerful and bread to give us strength.

And since moderation is my middle name (thanks to Buddha, Jesus, blood pressure AND MY WIFE), I think I just might induldge in a little this weekend.


  1. Not being raised Catholic, I can't comment on the guilt deal (Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa), but this culpability phenomenon does seem huge to most born and bred RC's I've met. Being a Catholic for one month kind of dispenses with the heavy baggage, doesn't it? But that means the whole socio-cultural dimension is missing. You can play at being a Catholic, but it is only pretending, isn't it? Sorry, tough love.

  2. And you're just now getting this? Of course, I'm playing Catholic. That's the name of this game. I'm playing twelve religions. Just because Catholicism is more familiar than some of the other ones doesn't make this project more or less valid, silly or entertaining. The side bar says it all:

    "Each month, I will read the texts, practice the rituals and live by the book. In short, I'm taking a glimpse into the mystics of world religion..."