Motel 6 and the US Catholic Church: “We’ll Leave the Light on For Ya”

Do y’all (“y’all” is in the dictionary, I promise) remember the television advertisement for Motel 6?

Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett  is an American author, voice actor and radio host. He was the spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6, whose commercials end with the phrase,

“I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for ya.”

light-is-on-for-you-color-large-webWell, somebody in marketing for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came up with a similarly memorable slogan for a campaign to get us back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which immediately made me think of Motel 6:

“The Light is on for You.”

For many of us Catholics, both those brought up in the Church since childhood and those formerly of Protestant or non-Christian faiths, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can seem a bit frightening. Perhaps it has been a long time since we’ve made a confession. Perhaps we struggle with disbelief, with despair, with human weakness, with addictions, or with lingering resentment or grief. And yet, how wonderful it would be to be freed from these chains!

Here in Atlanta, the Archdiocese is participating in this USCCB nationwide “campaign.” In addition to the regular parish penance services, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is promoting a Lenten Day of Reconciliation: Friday, March 22nd from 3pm-7pm. All Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Atlanta will provide an opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of penance. Catholics, especially those who have been away from the Church or the sacrament, are invited to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington has put together wonderful resources for their parishes they’ve made available to all parishes across the country, which includes homily assists, graphics, flyers, downloadable marketing pieces.  “The Light is on for You” is not actually a “campaign.”  It’s an invitation.  It’s an invitation mainly sent to those who have been away from the Sacrament for years and want to come back.

Here is a 3 minute video the Archdiocese of Washington  put together to explain what this effort it’s all about.  Here is a link to an Examination of Conscience we can use to prepare for the Sacrament.

I know I will be sure to get to the Sacrament before Good Friday but today, during this Light is on for You campaign isn’t going to work with my schedule.  If this nationwide effort brings even one fallen away Catholic back it will be so worth it!

Here are “general intercessions” from the Archdiocese of Washington concerning this effort:

  • The Lord desires that all be saved through his life, Passion, and Death. May we all take advantage of his forgiveness and mercy by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, you did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but sent her away forgiven and in peace. Help us not to fear your justice but instead to come to you in humility to seek your mercy and healing love
  • Lord, your Cross has redeemed us, your Death has given us new life, and your Resurrection raises us to glory with you. Help us to seek your healing love this Lenten season by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance . . .
  • That we all may be attentive to God’s Word, confess our sins, and receive his forgiveness this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, we often feel heavily burdened with the difficulties of life and our sins. Help us to find the grace to return to you and to receive your peace in the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • That we might have the grace and power to turn to Christ, Our Savior, and to confess our sins with humble hearts, that we might be cleansed from all that separates us from him . . .
  • Father, you know our sinfulness and many weaknesses. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways this Lenten season and always . . .

7 Quick Takes: 7 Greetings of “Happy Women’s Day” from a Politically Incorrect Full-blooded American Woman

Here we go again with our 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary. We reciprocate links to her blog and then post 7 “quick-takes” on our blogs.

Solomon-with-babyInternational Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year.  Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In the West, however, the political and human rights theme of the policies of the United Nations takes over—The UN as usual messes up a good thing.

1.  Happy Women’s Day to the American women that have been persuaded and lied to by a so-called “feminist movement,” which tries to convince them having an abortion will solve their “problem.” These women have suffered emotional and spiritual consequences because they believed the lie that abortion was a simple “choice,” one choice among many choices. Abortion is harmful to women. As a mother of two American boys, I re-commit today to raise them to support and love women. And instruct them if they God forbid get a young woman pregnant before marriage they are to encourage and love her, support her financially and never give her a reason to abort her baby.

WomenSaintsPoster6352.  Happy Women’s Day to the women in Africa who are being inundated with representatives from our country and the United Nations with slogans like, “Reproductive Rights” and “Reproductive Healthcare.”  The push to infiltrate developing countries with the “solution” of condoms and the morning after pill will no doubt create the same failed scenario we have here in the US—record numbers of abortions, children being raised without fathers, more poverty for women and children and deteriorating attitudes of men towards women sexually. And more importantly, these reproductive “rights” policies harm women emotionally and spiritually. Condoms have not solved America’s AIDS or STD problems, but we still push it on African women because we believe the lie.  I recognize the “good intentions” of these programs (to curb sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies) but the “results” are staggeringly unsuccessful.

3.  Happy Women’s Day to all the young girls and women here in Atlanta, who have been swept up into the sex traffic trade.  Atlanta is one of the top US cities for sex trafficking of young girls (and boys).  Despite valiant efforts of local and national authorities only a little progress has been made to stop this horrific situation. Prayers and money and an all-out assault on the organizations that engage and profit from this industry is greatly needed. And let’s publish the names of the men who are the “customers” of these abominable acts.

4. Happy Women’s Day to the underprivileged and poor women suffering real in-equality throughout the world. While money is funneled into “reproductive health care” initiatives for developing countries, real women are suffering real discrimination and inequality in places like Africa, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Women are raped, murdered, beaten and suffering from forced genital mutilation by a sick misunderstanding of cultural and religious traditions. If only the enormous resources and funds that go to the abortion industry would be directed to the real suffering women we could possibly change minds and attitudes in other countries. We could save many of these women from these abuses.

5.  Happy Women’s Day to all the tireless women (and there are many of us!) who without resources continue to pray, fight and advocate for women against the formidable and well-funded opponents like the Obama Administration, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the women who grew up believing the lies that abortion is a “choice.”

6.  Happy Women’s Day to the working mothers in our country who struggle to balance work and family life. Tax policies in the US make it nearly impossible for single income households to survive and thrive, so women who would rather work part-time or stay home while their children are young are unable to do so and still make ends meet.  And Happy Women’s Day to the women who do want to work full-time but they stress themselves out and sacrifice so much to make sure their children have excellent, nurturing child-care; and they manage to give quality love and attention to their children despite the difficulties of balancing it all.

women friends7.  Happy Womens’ Day to my five sisters.  All of you are truly my personal heroes.  Each day you work and care for your families in ways that are heroic. Number 2, your tireless work with middle and high school youth to help them combat the pressures on them through your talents as a playwright and artist. Using art and drama, you bring these youth out of their shells so they can face and fight peer pressure and bullying. Number 4, your amazing courage and fortitude, leaving an abusive marriage and raising your son to be a fine young man despite his father’s shortcomings. Number 5, your hard work at the high school planning all the events, running the back end of your husband’s business, and running a household with three children, plus maintaining your ministry to encourage and instruct others on the Faith. Number 8, you amaze me. As young parents, you and your husband have relied on faith and hard work and have raised two amazing young adults who are sure to make a difference out in the world. At the same time you’ve moved up the ladder in your career, gotten a Master’s Degree and achieved so much success. And Number 11, oh my only baby sister! You are a brilliant doctor and your decision to stay home with your girls while they’re little took a lot of sacrifice but you didn’t hesitate to do it! You’re a natural and wonderful mother! You keep up with your continuing ed and are instilling your brilliance into your sweet girls—I am still blown away by how well they can read and their vocabulary at three years old!

7quicktakesSo that’s it. I know I’m not “politically correct.”  And I’m so glad I’m not. I’m so glad I didn’t believe the lie pushed at me growing up that feminism means abortion rights.  I credit my strong mother, her incredible example (she’s a doer–not a talker, like me) of devotion to her Faith, her children and her husband.  I watched you, Mom. I was always watching you. And I am so grateful for the gifts you’ve given me and the worldview you’ve instilled in me without saying a word.  I love you, Mom!

Number 9

Living Sober with A Cloud of Witnesses

cloud of witnesses

Cloud of Witnesses

The Mass readings today are simply wonderful. All of them.  I was going to LD (Lectio Divina) on just one of them but after going through them I wanted to meditate on them all!

First Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4 (partial)

Brothers and sisters: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith…

We truly are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses–the angels and saints (and all the faithful departed–especially my relatives who have passed) are with me, as if they are sitting right here at my kitchen table.  The funny thing is if they were sitting here at my table, I’d probably be less inclined to listen to them. I’d be busy like Martha tidying up, stressing about the fact I haven’t showered yet.

I think especially about Saint Teresa the Little Flower today because I need to remember the direction God is pointing me (with Calix and with bringing the Substance Abuse Ministry to Atlanta) is so much bigger than little me.  I’m just a little worker bee doing what God puts in front of me. If I start to plan and determine how and if it will all turn out, then I will mess it all up.  I am little.  And so God will reveal to me only what I need to do today.  That’s pretty much all I can handle.

Dear God, let me rid myself of every burden that clings to me…  every burden–all of my worries about paying bills, getting health insurance, no one showing up for my first Calix meeting tonight, my son who is sick with the flu, my aching back.  In this passage I am asking God to “let me” rid myself of these burdens that cling to me.  Not necessarily the burdens themselves will be gone, but they won’t “cling” to me anymore.  I ask God to let me not be as attached to them as I am.

And Dear God, let me rid myself of every sin that clings to me… every sin, every bad habit and vice–particularly my alcoholic thinking and my laziness. Thank you for another day of sobriety yesterday. And please “let me” have sobriety today.

One day at a time, thank you very much!

Help me persevere in my obligations and responsibilities today but keep my eyes fixed on You.  Allow me to leave the results to You.  If nobody shows up at the Calix meeting, that is okay.  There’s always next month.  And I’ll advertise better next time.

So many great words: burden, persevere, cloud of witnesses, clinging sins, the perfecter of faith

I’ll write and meditate about the Gospel reading (especially Talitha Koum! and the woman who touched him in the crowd!) later, if I get all of my obligations and responsibilities completed first.


7th Step Prayer

From page 76 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character (propensity toward sin) which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.  Amen.