- Bit the head off a bat
- Crazy Train
- Former front man for Black Sabbath
- Married to Sharon
- Had a reality show on MTV
- Incoherent speech
- Heavy drug user
By a landslide, the January 20, 1982 bat-biting incident, a rather infamous moment in rock & roll history, received the most mentions. Infamous as that moment is, only recently did I learn that it happened at Veteran’s Auditorium in Des Moines. Des Moines, as in Iowa, as in the Great State and the only one I have ever called home. A friend even told me she was on duty the night Osbourne was rushed to Broadlands Medical Center for rabies shots. Now that’s no ordinary day at the office.
I am a proud, very proud, lifelong Iowan and I appreciate all the charming little facts that make this state so great — the historical roots of the cities, geography of all ninety-nine counties, the locations of the best cafés and diners throughout the state, political landscapes, famous landmarks, and major employers. Don’t mess with Texas? Shoot, don’t mess with me. So how in the world didn’t I know that Ozzy bit the head off that poor bat here in Des Moines? Even as I write this, I’m still a little amazed that I only learned about it when a Groupon daily deal promoting an event at Veteran’s Auditorium arrived in my in-box. Come and spend a day in the same place where Ozzy bit off a bat’s head! The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau may want to get ahead of that cart before its horse takes off.
As I thought about how this piece of trivia has been right under my unsuspecting nose for the last thirty-one years, I also started to think about my faith practices. I’m a cradle Catholic. Meaning, I grew up in the faith never having to make a choice in the way adults who come into the church though RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) have had to choose. The Church and the Mass are so familiar that I often failed to understand the “punch” of Catholicism.
During my early to mid-twenties, the height of my “bad catholic” years when the only Masses I attended were for weddings of friends and family members, something mysteriously clicked. I don’t know what it was precisely; I only remember waking up one Sunday morning with a deep desire to return to Mass. And so I went. And going back felt like coming home. I couldn’t articulate it then, but I longed for the fullness that the Catholic Church offers, with both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. All that greatness right under my unsuspecting nose for all that time, and I didn’t appreciate it. How did I not recognize its beauty before?
Even though I never had to make a choice in the way converts do doesn’t mean that I can’t now choose to take steps to become a more faithful and educated Catholic. Here are a few steps I’ve taken the last ten years to explore what’s behind that “punch,” so to better know, live, and share my faith.
1. Read a good book about the Mass or attend a teaching Mass with a priest who celebrates liturgy well. Through Joel’s deacon formation classes, we had a course on the liturgy and basically went through every aspect of the Mass, word by word. Throughout the course, many a-ha’s were exclaimed by me and others in the class. Oh! That’s why we do that! A sure way to renew your faith and ignite or deepen your devotion to the Eucharist is to learn more about the Biblical roots and gestures we experience when celebrating Mass.
You may not have a similar opportunity to enroll in a class, but there are several books that offer great analysis. Here are a few recommendations:
- A Biblical Walk-Through the Mass** by Dr. Edward Sri
- What Happens at Mass by Father Jeremy Driscoll
- The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Dr. Scott Hahn
**Only Sri’s book is based on the revised translation that went into effect Advent 2011.
2. Sponsor a candidate journeying in the RCIA process. Why are those new converts so fired up? Well, go find out why. By stepping into the RCIA process, a cradle Catholic will learn many of the “whys” behind the actions. When Joel journeyed into the Catholic Church, not only were the weekly catechetical meetings quite enlightening, but the conversations we had after each class were beneficial and encouraged me to explore deeper.
3. Call upon the saints. We ask people here on earth to pray for us all the time. Why not ask those in Heaven to do likewise? The Church makes it easy for us to get to know the saints, too. Nearly every day of the calendar year, we honor and remember a saint. Subscribe to a saint-of-the-day email or RSS feed and spend five minutes each day learning a bit more about that person and asking for his/her intercession.
4. Waste time with Jesus. How much time did I spend today just talking and listening to Jesus? How much time did I spend today reading His word? If Jesus were asked those same questions about me, how would he answer? You “waste” time with the people you love the most, right? My motto as of late: If I want to know Jesus, I simply must “waste” time with Him. How that looks for each of us will depend on our state of life and vocation. For me, I strive to read the daily Mass readings and talk to Him throughout the day amidst the domestic smells and bells.
5. Plug-in to podcasts. From Mark Hart the Bible Geek’s Beyond Words Sunday Scripture reflections, to Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism series, to the popular Catholic Answers radio show, there are many audio resources available for thirsty and curious souls. Before retiring to care for my kids, I had an hour-long commute and used that windshield time to listen to a variety of podcasts that quenched this thirsty soul. As a cradle Catholic, I highly recommend Father John Riccado’s Catholicism for Cradle Catholics or RCIA for Catholics series.
And there you have it, a post about how Ozzy Osbourne has made me a better Catholic … or something like that. Is this a first in Catholic blogosphere history? Now it’s your turn. What helps you explore what’s behind the “punch” of the Catholic faith?