Archive for March 2010

TREACHERY AFOOT

March 31, 2010

“Hear His words this week.”   That’s how I ended the last post.    Hear  His words;  it’s time to make a decision about Him.

Jerusalem has chosen her Lamb, and the Lamb walks among them, making Himself known to them, speaking out openly now;  and the people are examing Jesus:   listening,  inspecting, testing,  questioning…scrutinizing.

Three categories of people here:

1.  The people, the multitudes, listened to Jesus, heard His words, and were attracted to Him all the more.

2.  The religious authorities, who questioned Him publicly, challenging Him to expose His errors, to reveal the spots and blemishes in his doctrine, and yet they knew that somehow His answers exposed their own faulty hearts.    (Mt, 21:45, 46 ” And when the chief priests and the Pharisees had heard His parables, they knew that He spoke of them.    And seeking to lay hands on Him,  they feared the multitudes, because they held Him as a prophet.”  )

3.  Third, there were many people who didn’t care either way.   These were the ones who, a couple of days later,  were quite happy to be told how to think about this Man…and what to shout out at the right time.

Helping the authorities:

On this Wednesday, as these days of Our Lord’s teaching and being examined comes to a close,  Judas had already made up his mind, that this Jesus is a poor excuse for a messiah.

One can plainly see what this world needs, with the unfairness of poverty, disease, and lack of political power.    The true messiah ought to be able to make this world a Better Place!

The authorities wanted to “lay their hands on Jesus” — then Judas will just offer his help.   

This is treachery in the heart of a friend of Jesus.     The Church, from its earliest days, knowing that the capacity for such treachery lies in everyone’s heart, has set apart Wednesdays as a day of fasting and penance – in remembrance of and reparation for Judas’s act.    

It is practiced now by anyone who studies  the words of Jesus and then knows that his own heart might yet be faulty.      “Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.”   (Psalm 53:3)

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PASCHAL MOON, PESACH, PASSOVER

March 30, 2010

It’s an eerie night ourside my window.   Full moon.    The  Paschal Moon.  Pesach.  Passover,  2010.    14th/15th/ Nisan,   Year 5770.

This is the same full moon that shone down on Jesus in the Mount of Olives almost 2,000 years ago. on the first evening of that year’s Passover remembrance.

And what had been “passed over”?    Some people.    Some people who were under Divine judgment, who deserved death, but who by their faith and obedience put themselves under the blood of lambs.

Not magic, but mercy

The blood of those little lambs was painted with hyssop branches onto the doorframes by the trusting Hebrews.   But it was not “magic blood.”    Its effectiveness was only because it was joined in God’s plan to the Blood of the Lamb, which would be poured out centuries later.

In God’s eyes “the life is in the blood,”  and so the little lambs of Passover substituted for the lifeblood of guilty humans.        Merciful.

So important was that first Passover night that the LORD God said: “This month (Nisan) shall be to you the beginning of months;it shall be the first in the months of the year….On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses….and it shall be a lamb without blemish….and you shall keep it until the 14th day of this month….(Exodus 12:1-6)

The family chooses its lamb.   Now it lives among them for a while.   They are getting acquainted with each other, and the little lamb is proving its purity and its worthiness.

Centuries later a little Lamb will be born, in Bethlehem, destined for the Altar;  destined to be chosen by His people in Jerusalem on the 14th of Nisan, celebrated wtih palms and olive branches and welcomed with cries of Hosanna!

After Palm Sunday,  for us, comes Monday,  Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week;   days when Jesus is living amongst His people,  showing Himself to them;   teaching, healing,  warning;   proving that He is the Son of Man, the Lamb of God.

Hear His words this week.

THE RETURN

March 29, 2010

“First Robin of the Year!”

My Mom casually remarked on the phone several years ago, one winter, that she had been watching a flock of robins on her lawn.  “Robins?    Robins!    So THAT’S where they go in the winter!”       We share our robins with the deep South;  and it’s always an “occasion” when we see the “first robin” return.

Our visitor today seemed to enjoy our back yard.   All the way to the water’s edge.

And he was…..thinking about it!

And finally he went over the edge, and all I could see were ripples.   Happy little ripples, I think.   He made it all around to the other side of our pond where I could see him on the shore again, hopping in and out of the water, making little splashes.

So what’s wrong with our birdbath?

Eeeooow.        I’ve got to get busy in the front yard next.   Looks like we need cleaning and filling.

The return of Spring….The orbit of the Earth, combined with the angle of its axis, gives us our seasons, and the return of the seasons.      In the same way, the Liturgical Year, developed over 1,900 years, gives us a yearly cycle that reprises the story of our Redemption.       

Year after year we re-encounter  our Fall, our resulting destruction, and the promises of  mercy and restoration in Advent;  the story of the descent of Wisdom to our Earth, in the still of the night at Bethlehem;    the harrowing events of Holy Week which teaches us the horrific consequences of our sinful state;  the Sacrifice of ther Lamb of God on our behalf;   His journey through suffering and death into the Victory of Eternal Life;  the long season of the Holy Spirit “bringing all things to our minds”;   all the way to the end, the celebration of All Human Souls, the celebration of All Redeemed Souls, and the celebration of Christ the King over us all.

Along the way, all year long, we welcome the return of each of these seasons….

THE MIND OF THE LEFT

March 29, 2010

 

A brief interlude as Gloomy Gus takes a peek at today’s news stories  and observes the “mindset” of the Far Left:

“Harry Reid’s supporters”  (that would be those on the Far Left, folks)  “throw eggs at a Tea Party bus”  today.”     I guess they don’t agree with the opinions of nice,  ordinary Americans on the bus.  

This is the same mindset that has recently  hurled bricks, stones, and sticks,  bullets and false accusations of spitting and racial slurs and “casket threats”  at people they don’t agree with.     And have burned their opponents in effigy.

And don’t forget the Far Left male actor, a Mr. Baldwin,  who called for his enthusiastic audience of thousands to “Let’s get up and march to Washington and  stone  the (vice president of the other party) and his family ….”

Let’s see;  they threaten, they make up lies, they throw stones, bullets, sticks, bricks….and THAT’S WHY the Far Left is warning others not to do violence?

But don’t expect any protection from the Leftists:  

This hits close to home:   A young  man in Sweden, my son’s age,  who is Jewish, as is my son-in-law, has announced he is leaving Socialist Sweden because of serious threats on his life.   He figures from 285,000 Jewish refugees to Sweden after WWII  there are now only about 700 left.

It’s not the Swedes, as a whole, who are anti-semitic;  that’s coming from another religion who has taken over much of Sweden.    But the Swedish government, who are Far Left,  do not have the honesty or decency to protect those who are being threatened.

(Links?):  Check out Malmo, Sweden, today.    All these stories are so common in the news now that it will be easy to find links all over the place, even in the American Far Left media .    The only things that are hard to find are the retractions.

 

 

RIDING THE PALMS

March 28, 2010

 

 ” RIDING THE PALMS

Or:     DID LAZARUS, MARY, AND MARTHA ATTEND THE FIRST PALM SUNDAY?

Sometimes the “scripture readings for the day” take me longer than a day.

I’m still stuck on Lazarus….and struck by Lazarus and his sisters:  by their  love for each other;  the depth of their grief;  the  depth of their of their rejoicing;  and the depth of their gratitude and eternal adoration of Jesus their Messiah.

But today I wonder if they were actually among the crowds in nearby Jersualem, the crowds who had heard that the Messiah was entering the City, riding on a donkey as the Scriptures said, rumored to have performed miracles as the Scriptures said He would, and full of the wisdom of God as His teachings seemed to demonstrate.

Okay, then!

This is our KING!   This is our MESSIAH!   The people gathered about to observe the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and a wave of excitement and enthusiasm passed through them.   More and more began to hope that this is the Messiah, and then  to believe that this is their Messiah,  and then to express shouts of joyous praises:  Hosanna!      And they laid their cloaks and palm fronds and other branches to create a “royal road.”

Preaching today:

I’m sure there will be three elements in most Palm Sunday sermons today:   the description of the scene and the events;  the happy crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem;  and then a reminder that most of this same crowd was calling for His death one week later.

(Sorry about that last preacher.)   Although we are supposed to feel pretty satisfied with ourselves that “we know the truth, that Jesus actually is the long-Promised Christ, the King and Creator of the Universe,  I can’t help wondering if Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, and even the Mother of Our Lord was there day.

Why would they be there among the crowds?

Crowds have a way of becoming a “people” who are all participating in the same enthusiasm for some cause, whether it be a celebrity, an event, or to express an opinion.     It is collective thinking.     It is commune-ity.  As part of the group, you absorb their emotions and attitudes.   You rejoice when they rejoice;  become outraged when they are outraged.  

This is great during football season  (…ahem..)  waving banners and pom-poms.   It’s also a great tool for political leaders, getting the crowds waving banners and posters.

The Palm Sunday crowd waved their palm branches in the air, right?    But it was really they who were waving in the air, back and forth,  “Hosanna to our King;  crucify Him!”     as the collective enthusiasm directed them.   Political Correctness.

CHRISTIAN TEACHING:

Here is a dignified picture of Jesus entering Jerusalem:

Jesus really did enter Jerusalem riding on ” the colt of an ass.”   The people in the crowds around Him really did feel a wave of pious joy for the One they thought could be their Messiah.

Back to Lazarus and his sisters and the relatives of Jesus; and back to all those who have endured life’s joys and sorrows with Jesus Our Lord.     That is the awesome miracle, that God would descend to our level to teach us all things and to provide the way of Peace between God and Mankind.  

The depth of our feelings resides in the bedrock of   Truth.    It’s a solemn, steady, and joyful foundation to stand on.

Did Lazarus and Mary and Martha attend the first Palm Sunday celebrations?   Maybe.       But if they did, it wasn’t because they were going along with the crowd.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A DEAD MAN…

March 27, 2010

                                   …WHO IS NOW ALIVE AGAIN?

 

“We HATE you and we want you dead again!”   is the surprising answer, concerning Lazarus.

 

“The enemies of Jesus   had come to that pitch of hatred that robs a man of his senses.”      Elegantly put by Dom Prosper Gueranger, and chilling.                                

And so the Gospel Reading, assigned for us today, demonstrates for us the hatred of the authorities for Jesus and for everyone associated with Jesus, as Lazarus was.  Lazarus lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and everyone had heard what had been done for him.There were outpourings of love for Lazarus and relief, gratitude and wonder; and a sense that the Messiah walked among them.  

And the authorities couldn’t hold them back.   “Do you see that we prevail nothing?   Behold, the whole world is gone after Him!”   John 12:19.      How will they stop this?   “Anything it takes…..”

The Authorities represented not so much religion, but rather the Power Over the people of that day — and power needs to grow, not give way to rivals.     “Anything it takes…”  Get rid of Jesus;  get rid of the evidence: Lazarus, walking around now, after four days a dead man in his own tomb.

These events happened right around this time of the year,just before Palm Sunday, almost 2,000 years ago, but things have not changed, really.   Sometimes it gets easier, but sometimes the hatred rears up again.   St. John reminded his friends in a little letter:  “Wonder not that the world hates you!”    (I John 3:13)  

Don’t be surprised, John is saying, because  Jesus has already told us, “If the world hate you, know ye, that the world hated me before before  you.   If you had been of the world, the world would love its own;  but because you are not of the world, but  I  have chosen you out of the world,  therefore the world hates you.”  (John 15:18,19)

So that’s that.     

Today is Saturday, the day traditionally set apart to remember the “day after the Crucifixion” when Jesus is “gone” and there is desolation and grief for those of Jesus’ friends who are left behind.       Then we are directed to the Mother of Jesus, and look to her for a model of patience in suffering, hope amidst grief, the faithful assurance of things unseen.

It’s not just “her problem.”    The way of the Christian is the Way of the Cross.   The World despises those who take their love for Jesus seriously.   What will they do to show their hatred?   “Anything it takes….”     and then we will look to Mary to know how to endure these times.

TUNNEL BREATHING

March 25, 2010

Whew!    That’s enough of that kind of posting!

Back to the Spruce Tunnel:

The Interior LIfe:

I tell my classes, my friends, that the interior life is the most important, that place inside you where you and God meet together and experience sweet communion.  

It’s where your spiritual “living” takes place,  and where your spiritual life is when you are “born again.”  (John 3:3-6)     It is filled with Living Water, Our Jesus.

It’s  hard to hang on to something so invisible, so it’s good to find – or make – for yourself a physical, material place where you can get in touch with your interior life.

And look up…. physically and spiritually…and breathe.

The tall white spruce invites  attention upwards.    That’s what does it for me.  

History flows

I’ve studied history long enough so that I can see that history flows, just keeps moving forward, rolling over the people that experience any given “present” along its timeline.    To some people it is given to be the instruments of the course of history;  but for the vast majority of us it is given to be the substance of history:  witnesses, victims, or simply unconscious carriers of history to the next generation.

I am a “Spenglerite.”    Civilizations are born, grow, mature, and die, all along observable, repeated patterns.    Some shoot up like a magnificent rocket and fall down rather quickly, within a matter of a couple centuries.     Some civilizations take much longer to come and go.    The pattern of the rise-and-fall is remarkably predictable, as pointed out by Oswald Spengler..

Unintended Consequences

I intended to feed the birds, of course.    I saw the need.   I had the desire.   I knew how.  AndI made the investment.   

But I’m feeding more than  birds.  I’m giving more than intended.   

In the life of my back deck, it’s kind of cute.    I can accept  him.     However, in the “life of this blog”   straying from my intentions may have unintended and unacceptable consequences.

So that’s why I’m taking a deep breath in the Tunnel for a while.    Back to my “roots” and back to my original pathways.     I’m not  “about” current events.    I don’t want to give my life for the exigencies of the Present.

I want to be like this man:

His interior life was never brighter than when he got caught up in the “historical events” around him:

They thought they were going to eliminate people like him….

….People like I hope to be, having an interior life in communion with the Living God, no matter what comes my way.

They thought they were “ending” his life.

Blessed Miguel Pro.    Victim of the socialists in Mexico.   His Faith was in their way.

But the Faith is larger than the progress of historical events.

My  intention is to focus on the “larger things”   —  breathing in the Spruce Tunnel.  

SEE WHAT I TELL YOU TO SEE

March 24, 2010

Yeah, sorry,  Gloomy Gus needs to speak.    It’s just that something new is happening in the news.   Iwalked by a TV that was turned on and was astonished to hear – in story after story – that our  elected dictatorship   (not my words, it’s used by some European newspapers) is declaring that those who oppose them are getting violent!

Well, these are indeed “stories” the “news” readers are reading for you.

New vocabulary word for you — it hasn’t been necessary to know it for several decades, but it is something that is used EVERY time the leftists-liberals-socialists take over someone’s country.

The word is:    Agent provocateur 

Accent on the very last syllable.     Learn this word.   It’s being done to you and to me.    The simplest definition is “You are to see what I tell you to see!”      

When the socialists took over Russia in the early part of the 20th century,  they themselves threw rocks and sticks at…themselves!    They themselves put up large attractive posters…against themselves.   Posters advocating armed opposition.      

Of course, when they were shouting out bad words and emotional political slogans and throwing sticks and stones, they were dressed as the Russian people who opposed them.     When they put up the provocative posters,   they identified themselves as their opposition.    In other words:   They.   Were.   Pretending.  

And the blame fell on their opposition, exactly as they had hoped.

If Americans had been taught actual history, they would know that this has been a successful way to get the “authorities” to put down and annhilate the enemies of socialism, from the time of the French Revolution, throughout the revolutions of the 19th century, and commonly, commonly, commonly in the 20th century socialist takeovers.I’m so sorry this generation grew into adulthood thinking this is a GREAT way to put down the opposition.      “Anything it takes to get the job done!”

And a little excitement…a  little emotional discharge….a little sticks and stones, even if imaginary….and just sit back and watch the results.

So what had I observed on someone’s television set?      A congressman is pretending that he walked by people who were lawfully demonstrating, and he just “heard” some bad words shouted out at him.      (You may watch, apparently, up to twenty YouTube videos of this exact time,  and none of them show what this man says he saw and heard.)

(This reminds me of a certain woman-congressman who not too long ago nearly broke into tears before the cameras as she falsely recalled the violence surrounding the aftermath of a certain sex-revenge killing in her state.    It was a false memory.  People checked.    There never was any violence or threats.   The political assassination was indeed a simple sex-revenge killing.     But she sure told us to expect violence against her and her cause in the present.)

Again, today, someone on a cable channel was very seriously talking about certain threats that were sent in or emailed in or whatever.      Agent provocateurs at work?     Apparently more security laws are being created against something that has not yet been proven.   But such “speech”  is being defined much more “generally” now — and opposition is fsat becoming “illegal”  in this new country of ours.

Agent provacateurs….watch for their work.   Recognize when they come into the news stories.    Don’t let them tell you what you see.   Don’t let them describe for you what is happening.  

The results have been deadly in other countries.

Do not let the socialists ask you sarcastically:   You mean no one at any time has ever threatened violence against their political leaders?       That question is meant to insult you and embarrass you – and silence you.    And nullify your exposure of agent provocateurs.

You and I have more intelligence and capability and dignity to take their illogical question seriously.    The laws may be largely against us now, but  the Truth is not with them.

GLOOMY GUS ASKS SOME QUESTIONS

March 23, 2010

A temporary foray into politics with Gloomy Gus:

That’s me, sometimes.    That “dark northern temperament”  –  a deep pessimism  developed over thousands of years in the gloomy dark of the northern latitudes.   It’s hereditary!   See, I can be hyphenated too:  Swedish-American –   Gloom-and-Doom hyphenated with American Can-Do.    Throw in the Finnish version of the Dark Russian Soul, and you’ll see why Gloomy Gus is my alter-ego…sometimes.

He’s beginning to fade now, along with his sardonic humor, irony, and sarcasm..but first let me tell you why he appeared this week.     I love my country – us –  but its government has been overthrown.      Oh… I saw growing evidence of this about 18 years ago when one man blatantly stopped running for office and patted his “opponent” on the back (literally)  — before the election was over.     Hmmm.    Foregone conclusion here?    The international socialists were on the move.

And now they are out in the open again.

Quote from a South African observer tonight on the radio:   “In any country that became communist, the communists were never in the majority, because they are masters of infiltration and subversion.”       That means they USE THE SYSTEM.    They get in by being voted in.  

The history of the 20th century is an account of their increasing infiltration.    Every major movement that you have read about was funded by some branch of international socialism.

From the socialist playbook:

Anyone daring to expose the socialist agenda is “identified, marginalized, demonized, nullified…”

But who teaches us that anti-socialism is anti-social?   Anti-socialism is anti-social!

Why is lying characteristic of socialism?    “Anything it takes” to get the job done.

Look who the political “villains” and “bad guys” are in the 20th century.   They are all ones who have opposed the socialist agenda.  Name the worst.    How about McCarthy?   “McCarthyism”?      How have you been trained to “feel” about this?   We NOW know that McCarthy did not uncover even one-tenth of socialist infiltration.  How do we know that?    By reading the Soviet Union’s own documents, released after Perestroika!     People who read them gasped – in dismay – at what they saw. 

Name any other “villain.”    Find out the real story….

Speaking of villains, who tells us that the “older generation” is out of touch and have nothing to offer the modern world?     Who teaches us that their version of “progress” leaves no room for the wisdom of the past?     Who did that to you?    It’s illogical, but parents humbly duck out of the picture and keep silent while “the children” are taught to put social pressure on the adults to mend their ways.

Be careful in choosing what to die for.

Why is religion a “bad thing” if you take it too seriously?     Who inserts their atheistic point of view into our culture?     Who asserts that socialism brings social justice  and religion brings wars and prejudice and injustice?     Who looks upon patriots with suspicion?

Be careful.     You are not going to win.      (From Mao Tse Tung:   “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”)    But what will be the cause of your demise?    Your political viewpoint?    Or your religious faith?  

Did the saints die for politics or religion?

And that’s why Gloomy Gus is retreating a bit.

 

Because we have a choice!

IT’S NOT ALL GLOOM

March 23, 2010

Hey!   “Gloomy Gus”  found a happy spot in our country!

 

Our Congressmen  are  ecstatic!

They’re saying things like: “Eat cake!”

Or: “Let them…” (something, something)

 

  (Those words are from a little song-and-dance number from the 1790’s to tell  the people how to think.   It was  a lie, but it seems to make people laugh.)

I’ll stop not-laughing soon…

 

SCOURGING OF THE BODIES

March 22, 2010

Hello.   Gloomy Gus here again.

Well, our government   (of the people, by the people…)  has been overcome.  If I wanted to, I could write its epitaph with the following elements:

First, we were warned about this in 1917, at Fatima.   “If we don’t…(do this)…then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world.”

And we have seen nation after nation fall to socialism in the last hundred years.

In the eyes of socialism, every human being is an economic unit, or, as in this country now, a budget item.    You;  your wife;  your children;  your needs:   budget items.   Your value is based upon your place in the government’s budget.     Your freedom extends only as far as government regulations allow.   And everything must be regulated.

Call it socialism, or call it liberalism, communism, statism, progressivism, or corporate-capitalism.   By whatever name you use, it has delivered loss of income, loss of freedom, miserable poverty, starvation, and an extraordinary amount of death – wherever it has gone.

Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, the endless civil wars of Africa and South America, the higher death rates from cancer and other diseases that accompanies socialized medicine, the abortions that follow their social agenda:    this is simply the historical record.    Facts.    

Facts which must be expunged from the textbooks (I was a young schoolteacher when I witnessed this in the schools);  expunged from  common (public) discourse.   Facts which must be carefully reinterpreted for you and delivered by television “news” stories.      The failures of socialism must be hidden from the public.

Socialism proves itself with slogans and sound-bites.

They are experienced now, and efficient.   They are “ready.”     They know how to handle the herd so as not to get caught in a stampede.      Good animal husbandry.   Good dominion over the animal kingdom.    Which is, of course, what socialists think of human beings,  just part of the animal kingdom.

Socialism, the scourge of the human race.     A scourge prepared for those who have left the sanity of  True Religion.    

As Our Lord’s body was scourged, so will His Body-the-Church be scourged.

So….I could write our epitaph, but I’m not going to.  It really doesn’t matter.

St. Paul has a good idea about where our real Hope lies.   Funny, he uses the same word as I did above.   “If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable.”   (I Cor.  15:19  KJV)

Man-without-God is a miserable creature.

A NEW NAME FOR A NEW ERA

March 22, 2010

Good-bye:

Hello:

I’ve been trying to think of a name for this geographical territory that we now live in.   

I’ve come up with this:  S.S.U.S.A.  

Or, better:  S.S.U.S.A.

Since the “health” bill provides for socialist style bureaucracies – 159 new ones now – and socialist style “social” directives – some of them involving our doctors –  I thought the S.S.  could refer to   “Soviet Style.”  

But then I see that this “health” bill also provides for the establishment of government controlled student loans requiring “Youth” to do mandatory “service” in the interest of the government — the Youth Brigades that the man in the White House campaigned openly  on (until it got him in trouble) — and that has been compared to the Brown Shirts who enforced the dictator’s policies in Germany…So then the S.S. seemed to be consistent with the Schutzstaffel…

But let’s not acknowledge the extreme occurrence of yesterday.   Let’s just give this name to our “Homeland” (or our “Fatherland” or our “Motherland” ):  The Socialist-Style United States of America.   

“United”?  you ask?    You’d better believe it.    Just learn from history how “united” by law a dictatorship can be.

“United” — or else.

(Didn’t any of you wonder why we were told to call our country The Homeland and submit to ” Security”?)

 

(P.S.  –  soon as I track down the source of that photo above, that came in my email, I will post it here. )

PASSION SUNDAY

March 21, 2010

Passion:    pain,  agony, suffering of the victim.

As early as the 200’s A.D., the third century, we have writings that show that the Christians celebrated this Sunday and the following days with an increasing sense of the coming suffering and death of Christ.   

“Teach me Thy ways”:

In the words of the incomparable leader of liturgical reform, Dom Prosper Gueranger:   “This Sunday is Called Passion Sunday because the Church begins, on this day, to make the sufferings of our Redeemer her chief thought.”  (Vol. 6, p.107)

I choose to unite myself with those earliest Christians who joyously followed Jesus, “through His Passion and Death,”  to join Him in the  “Glories of His Resurrection. ” 

This is a sobering and instructive time of the year.

SATURDAYS

March 20, 2010

Saturday:  A day for dealing with Reality….and preparing for a better day.

I was one of the original “latch-key” children of the Fifties.    My Mom worked way off in the city, and I was pretty much alone for about twelve hours every day during elementary school.   (I loved it!)    (Mostly.)  

Somewhere in my desk nowadays I keep coming across a 6th grade school picture of myself.  I had forgoten to tell my Mom that we were having school pictures taken that day, so I am dressed in my white gym blouse — with the metal key chain around my neck which held my house key.   Very unfeminine!  

I looked “different” that day, different from my girlfriends whose mothers were their full-time mothers and who could take care of little details like how you’re supposed to dress.  

But somehow my Mom managed to carry out most of the household chores, and Saturday was the “big” day.    It was a day of all-out housecleaning, laundry, and shopping.    My own freedom was totally disrespected!   I was expected to help clean and polish and wash and…whatever else slaves do.

And all for what?    To get ready for Sunday.   Because Sunday was a big deal.   My parents did NOT attend church  (although they “sent” me to one) — but they knew that the idea of Sunday, of setting aside this one day for God, was bigger than themselves and their own smaller needs and  desires.

 They didn’t work or shop on Sundays, but they thoroughly enjoyed the “difference” the day makes.

It still does make a difference.   And Saturdays still are for “preparing” for Sunday, to clear the way so that we can keep Sunday?

“Keep Sunday”?   To honor our Risen Lord.  To rejoice together with Him.    To worship Him.  Give thanks, give praise, and above all to commune with Him.  

And to rest in confidence and in enjoyment of the day….

SKIES ABOVE: NIGHT AND DAY

March 19, 2010

NIGHT SKY DELIGHT

As class ended last night, we walked down the stairs together, out the door, and then…found ourselves in the parking lot, still some things to say to each other…One man asked what time it was – because “around this time” we were supposed to be able to see a satellite go by.

But there was only a two-minute window for us to see it!

Well – we SAW it.  We actually saw the satellite pass over, a bright star, gliding smoothly overhead.   It really did take about two minutes.  It was beautiful, like a tiny white gleaming jewel.  

Memories of Sputnik came back to me;  my teachers’ serious responses;  our secret pride at human achievement, for our country was not far behind.    Last night none of knew which satellite this was.  I went home and tried to find the specific one that went over us but found only this Java screen of the 90+ satellites that are orbiting the earth – not including all the geosynchronous ones.

Beautiful!   Than you, my friend, for mentioning the satellite.

DAYLIGHT BRINGS A DIFFERENT SKY STORY

I had hoped to get new wheels for my Rollerblades today.     But I stepped off my front porch and looked south:

It was a little messy up there.

They had our latitude and longitude targeted.   X marks the spot.

With the giant X they can look down from satellites and determine just where to shoot in the energy waves; notice the parallel ripples through the top half:

There was so much reflective barium and aluminum that it was hard to get a good contrast in the photo.   I don’t know….maybe a  close-up:  

Nah.    No Rollerblading today.    They made a mess out of our skies.     If somebody had come up to me and puffed that stuff into my face, I’d be pretty mad.   And I wouldn’t hang around to breathe it in.

Satellites:  for good and for evil, in the hands of man.

STRANGE WORLD: The Amish and UFO’s

March 18, 2010

“Quid es veritas?”

My son and I were traveling together, a 400-mile trip home.   In the afternoon we stopped at a restaurant and sat by the window for a little meal.      As we looked across the street, we both did a double-take.   

Oh, we’re both pretty intelligent and practical minded; we had some good speculations about this photo.   But, nevertheless…..

Afterwards, when the horse was done doing what he was doing, it pulled its driver over to the gas station’s cashier, and when he was done, horse and driver “looked both ways” and pulled out into the street.

The world is strange.     Just when you have figured it out and are working hard to obey the “rules,” then “the world” presents you with a new way of looking at things.   Sometimes it’s humorous and charming, like the photo above.

Sometimes — and more often it seems to some — the world pulls the rug out from under you and it’s not very funny.  It’s destructive, hurtful, hope-killing, fearful, and even deadly.    As I quoted from the Irshman yesterday, who I think was quoting Yeats, the world will “break your heart in the end.”

And the world has no answers for you.   Sometimes it’s annoyingly inexplicable.   Every Sunday I pass by this farm….

But I can smile at that.  

Pilate asked Jesus, “Quid es veritas?”     He didn’t want to  know the answer;  he was expressing a cynical statement:      There is no truth!    Everybody knows there is no “truth” in the world.

The pinnacles of Aryan and Asian philosophies, the heights of Greek philosophy, the skills of the Roman philosophers, and the current sophisticated philosophies that are the offspring of the Enlightenment offer no “truth.”   Pilate knew that 2,000 years ago.   

And still we strive, we work, we hope, we hurt;   we need Truth.     

We had some signposts in the past.    Some hints along the way.

But only the Man, Jesus, the Promised One, the Christ said that the Truth is not an idea,  not an answer, not a philosophy.  The Truth is a Person.   And He is the Person.

“We do not understand so that we can believe;   we believe so that we can understand.”

The Truth is a Person, a Friend, a Rescuer-Redeemer, and the One Who already knows you best.

And then life can get interesting again:

TO THE IRISH – WITH YEATS

March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my Irish friends and to all those who have been blessed and enriched by the Irish.       ( That would be me, too.)

Growing up in Chicagoland, nearly all my teachers were Irish.    Miss Eastman;   Miss Fitzpatrick;  Miss Beahann;  Miss Corrigan…. I loved them all.    Today,  I miss the green of the Chicago canal….I thought everyone colored their rivers green on St. Patrick’s Day.   

Two highly recommended books:    How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill;  very funny, very informative.     Secondly:    Sea-Kayaking Around Ireland, a true story by…..(sorry).    It’s  a great adventure and very informative.   Each overnight stop provided an experience with either historic or contemporary Ireland, and sometimes the two were the same!      The first book has given me a deeper appreciation of the Faith;  the second book has given me an enjoyable “hobby,”  enjoyed vicariously, of course.   There are many magazines, journals, books, and Websites on sea-kayaking.

I’ve never been to Ireland — but my ancestors have.    Exactly why do you think we associate blond and reddish-blond hair and blue eyes with the Irish?    The western Vikings sailed up their rivers and “took a few things” and “deposited a few things.”

By chance, a friend and I have plans to have lunch together today.  Whether we’ll go to an Irish place or not, I don’t know yet.    I like the place that has live Irish music.     Being a “college town,”  we have an abundance of folk music groups around here.

Which reminds me — our colors are Irish too!

Our local and very popular radio host is Irish – all year round! –  and proud of it.  This is his day.    I woke to his voice on my radio this morning discussing “the Irish” and their “temperament.”    One of his guests said that the Irish are people who love many things, “but they know the world will break your heart in the end.”     Drama, trauma, emotion, and the Gift of the Gab to tell us about it….

Today would not be right without frequent page-turning in my Yeats.

Here is the BEST poem about love from William Butler Yeats that almost makes me see things from a male point of view:

BROWN PENNY

I whispered, “I am too young,”

And then, “I am old enough!”

Wherefore I threw a penny

To see if I might love.

“Go and love, go and love, young man,

If the lady be young and fair”

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

I am looped in the loops of her hair.

 

And the penny sang up in my face

“There is nobody wise enough

To find out all that is in it

For he would be thinking of love

That is looped in the loops of her hair

Till the loops of time had run.”

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

One cannot begin it too soon.

 

Indeed.

YOU OWE: 5.4 MILLION DOLLARS

March 15, 2010

A STORY.    AN ANCIENT STORY:

I think my last posting, about our esteemed councilors plotting how much control they can take over our daily lives, was about 47 years too late.    Only we wouldn’t have had the wits to see it then, nor the courage to believe it.

Here is some conversation among some ancient men who observed the fall of their Empire, and who had the courage to discuss it….and then plan for it.

*  “Merchants like us can no longer afford the risks (of business).    The moneylenders and the bankers have closed their coffers and are only concentrating on collecting bad debts.   Even the Seneca family have closed their operations, and they were our bankers, worldwide.

“In other words, my friends, the Empire is out of the trading business.   And you know what that means.

“No, I don’t.  What does that mean?

“It means dissolution, my friends.   Gradual, at first, but definite, progressive disintegration.     Breakup.   The end.

“The end of what…?

“Of everything!   The chain of supply…The end of the web of commerce that keeps us from collapsing.   The end of the status quo.   The end of the Empire’s dominion.

“But what about the government?    Can’t they do anything to help? “Ah, yes;  the government.   They have a lot to say about helping us.    They have ordered us to remain in business, to continue trading, to continue losing all our investments, to continue to pay them taxes;  and they threaten us with  seizure and confiscation if we refuse.    Then they will have the merchants to blame (for the economic mess).

“The signs are all around us, worldwide.     Rome has finally starved the world into rebellion.   And the population of Rome, the Mob, wants to be fed and clothed by the government as normal.     The rest of them exist to feed them, and they think that is their right!     To think that the SPQR was once the greatest symbol of freedom and the rights of free men everywhere!

“We have bankrupted ourselves to feed the maw of the citizens of Rome, and to make things appear to be normal!”

Hmmmmm.      What does all this have to do with the 5.4 million dollars more you and I owe today?

According to the New York Post today, Mrs. C. and her State Dept. is charging up 5.4 million dollars worth of  crystal for us to pay for.    The crystal is made by Swedish workers —  in Sweden.    Swedish jobs.  

It’s so important that our embassies offer brand-new  fine crystal for their guests, so that things appear to be normal.

And the U.S. citizens?    They will be databased, regulated, and legislated enough to watch for any signs of….disorder.      That’s what our councilors are deciding about this week.

*  The italicized words come from a book called The Skystone by Jack Whyte.    More about the book at The Reading Shelf.     (Sorry about the gloomy mood today.)

ARE WE PRAYING ENOUGH?

March 15, 2010

Email these guys.   Write them letters.   Call them on the phone. 

Do they look like they’ll listen to you?    Or do they hear something else in their heads?

Right now – today and this week –  our Evil Council in Washington is deciding how they can “pass a bill” that will change our lives forever, and, I believe, end the way the U.S. operates as a country.

The bill will open the floodgates of the Fascism that has been building for quite some time.

If you believe Fascists-with-power listen to “the people,”  then there is still time to email, write, and phone;  but I think the threat is so dire, that only the power of prayer will protect us now.

Good people have been praying, I know that.  

Jesus sent His disciples out to do good, to heal, to comfort, to teach…and to cast out demons.   That last one they couldn’t do.   They came back to Him to ask why they didn’t seem to have the power to rid the human victims of evil spirits.   (See photo above!)

Jesus says this kind of power does not go out from your efforts except by fasting and much praying.

And we’re already fasting for Lent, right?

“IN QUIET NOOK”

March 14, 2010

In keeping with my new-found indolence following this Vicious Virus, and  instead of managing an “original thought,”   I’m going to just share what I’ve read tonight…courtesy of Father LaSance’s  My Prayer Book.    Here it is:

Seekest thou for bliss?

Lo!   Here it is —

In quiet nook

With well-loved book.

I’m not sure I have “nooks”  in my house, but I have plenty of books.    Here’s the matching one on the other side of the wall:They are our only decent-looking bookshelves,  “dressed up” for company.   All my others are simply stuffed with books…ones I use frequently and keep sticking untidy bookmarks in.   Very….unphotographable.

Reading further in LaSance:   “One of the greatest blessings that can come to any life is the love of books.”

“Apart from the influence of our holy religion, there is no one thing which enters more deeply into the warp and woof of our character than the books we read.”

Father LaSance is quoting FatherM. Sheedy here and both men are holy and wise — and certainly not unaware that there are different kinds of books.   “Be scrupulous in your choice of books….”   “Good books are not only our friends, they are our best teachers.   But bad books are a curse and do a world of harm.”    

There followed, then, a fatherly discourse about the harm bad books do to souls;  but we know that now, as 100 years later we are constantly bombarded with Best Sellers that teach us impiety, skepticism, hatred of religion, and contempt for Christianity.   

But I was thinking tonight, we can acknowledge all the cautions, but I hope we don’t   just stop there.    In order to steer ourselves and our children to the really good books, we need to reaffirm what good books can do for us.  

So…further in Fr. La Sance’s little section on reading:   “The practice of keeping, especially before the young, growing mind, beautiful and uplifting images and bright, cheerful, healthy thoughts from books is of inestimable value,.”  

“The horizon of the reader broadens, his point of view changees, his ideals are higher and nobler, and his outlook on life is more elevated.”

“The importance of having great models and high ideals held constantly before the mind … cannot be overestimated.”   

And what of novels?    “…elevating the reader…enlarging his knowledge of man and of nature and its mysteries….arousing the soul to strive after ideals worthy of a man’s mind and heart….the novel would play a most desirable part in the betterment of men.”

Now there is some worthy criteria to use when judging whether or not to read a book! Enlightening the mind, broadening your horizons and your understanding of the things around you –   spiritual light and  intellectual bliss in a “well loved book”  — in a quiet nook, of course.