Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Modest Proposal: "Traveling with Kids" As A Rich Source Of Indulgences

For the record, I think purgatory is a great doctrine. It just makes so much sense to me: purification of life before God is reasonable, necessary, and geez people, before God's blinding holiness and perfection, realizing our ingrained sinfulness may well hurt. But I have to admit I have never gotten into the "this indulgence for this many days for that person" language. I pray for souls in purgatory and I value the doctrine. I'll leave it at that and trust God on the rest.

However, I had to admit that on my long trip home from Alabama to Minnesota, by planes, (monorail) trains, and automobiles, the idea of mentally ticking years off from purgatory increased in value exponentially. So if I used that kind of language, this is how I would suggest the Church measure the pains suffered in traveling with small kids:

  • Child developing 105 degree fever on plane: one year off
  • Child screaming 30 minutes straight: one week off
  • ...for one hour straight: one month off
  • ...for two hours straight: ten years off
  • ...the entire time on both flights while people turn around with "I wish you death" glares in their eyes: 100 years off
  • Getting screamed at by TSA agents because you can't hand over the boarding passes while also holding your sick toddler, your driver's license, a diaper bag, the camera, and the ziploc baggie of three ounce shampoo and toothpaste: one month off
  • Having your shoulder dislocated by the monorail poles: one month off
  • Running through the airport to catch the connection: one year per child dragged along
  • Missing your connection anyway: three years off
  • Children getting bored with books, crayons, and soduko books lovingly bought especially for their enjoyment ten minutes into the flight: six months off
  • Child spilling complimentary juice all over only outfit on flight: six months off
  • Getting a flat tire in rural America without a cell phone on the last leg home: five years off
  • Getting a flat tire under those circumstances and realizing your have lost the owner's manual to your new used car: twenty years off

And, of course, all these things together in one trip? Well, let's just say you are covered and really need to be actively offering this for the souls who have no one to pray for them.

All I can say is...if the Church adopted this formally, I'd be sitting pretty.


Peter said...

Thanks for the laugh! A bishop I know says that he asks every child he meets under 7yr old to pray for their teachers, and for him. His reasoning? They have not yet reached the age of reason, therefore they are not able to sin, therefore their prayers are like the prayers of saints.

His cunning plan to convert the teachers of Catholic schools is to ask all these little saints to pray for them.


Ray from MN said...

Other than that, I.C., how was the vacation? Same place next year?

Or might you sign up to teach a half dozen summer classes.?

Dad29 said...

They're close, having just yesterday issued the 10 Commandments of How To Drive.

Maybe next year!

Intrepid Mother of the Front Pew Crew said...

I used to think that I would need to spend a lot of time in Purgatory, then I had children. ;)

It sounds like you need a spa day.

CMinor said...

Boy, I'd really like to see Time Child Spent Screaming/Term of Indulgence plotted out in a graph!

s said...

Funny stuff.

FYI, that "time off" that you often hear in connection with indulgences is not time off from Purgatory, it refers to time off of standard canonical penance. So, you know, instead of wearing sackcloth and ashes and beating ones breast outside the church for 40 days, you get an indulgence "worth" 30 days, you only need to do the sackcloth thing for 10 days.