Archive for August 2010

HE WON

August 30, 2010

His tomatoes:

There are lots of steps to take when growing tomatoes, lots of things to do over a five-month period of time.      Son and I kept our eyes on each other ever since we found out we were both going to have a garden this year.   It wasn’t exactly competition…but it was.   

My seedlings were planted first;   sometimes his caught up with mine.  Sometimes I was ahead at outdoor planting,  but then he was first at getting the outdoor planting completed.

All summer long:  “How’s YOUR garden doing?”

See his tomatoes in the photo?

Here’s mine:Yeah, little green tomato marbles.   

Nice big tomato plants though

…with tomato marbles.   The size and shape of them haven’t changed for about two weeks now. 

Churned up soil;   special heritage seeds; nice tomato plant food;  a little manure;   a steady supply of water;   some sunshine.    NOT the secret to tomato growing, apparently.  

I think you need a “farm.”      Here’s the Little Red Car visiting my son’s “farm” –

The “farm” is in the city, about a half-mile walk through the woods from his main house.  This has a big white farmhouse, the red barn, and the “crops” –

That was early on in the summer.  It’s probably a jungle now.   With lots of good things to eat.

Thanks, Son, for sharing your bounty.

(Otherwise, we’d starve.)

WAR OF THE WORDS

August 30, 2010

Nope; didn’t spell that wrong.   “Words mean things”  I’m always saying. 

 

If you’re inexact about the meaning of the words you use, it will be hard to think clearly.

If your words are ambiguous in definition, you can make your sentences seem to mean one thing to one person and another thing to another person.

But if you control the meaning of commonly used words, you can control the direction of society.

In Aldous Huxley’s 1984, Big Brother watches over the masses of humanity by means of ubiquitous surveillance technology.

Big Brother is watching for compliance and also evidence of non-compliance, which is a criminal offense.   The population  has been tamed and pacified and controlled by drugs and propaganda.  One of the most effective tools of  propaganda was the use of a new vocabulary called Newspeak. 

If you haven’t read the book, or if you haven’t read it in a long time,  it would be good to locate a copy and read it.   Alternatively, you could look at the world today – but the book really helps you understand what you are seeing.

Example:   The Department of Justice has issued a new list of definitions, a sort of Newspeak vocabulary for us to conform to.    It’s called a Glossary, or, in their words:  Investigating Terrorism and Criminal Extremism –Terms and Concepts.    It lets you know just what they think of you, the American citizen.

So what does an American citizen love?  His country?   Yes.   His flag?  Yes.   The U.S. Constitution?    Uh –

According to Merriam-Webster, “a constitutionalist is a person who adheres to a form of government according to constitutional principles.”

But “The Newspeak glossary which is intended for Federalized law enforcement agencies describes the word “constitutionalist” as a ‘generic term for members of the ‘patriot’ movement. It is now often used to refer to members of the sovereign citizen or common law court movement. Sometimes the word ‘constitutionalist’ is also used.’

The “patriot movement,” of course, being those who skirt the edge of criminality in their  resistance to … Big Brother.

                X           X           X           X
 

 

Search Terms, if you’re interested:  DoJ Extremism Guide;   Glossary Investigating Extremism;  Criminal Extremism Terms 2005-2009.

The 200-page Guide to Extremism is chilling, which is, I suppose, its intended effect.   Words that you know are given both the aprroved, propagandized meaning and also a twisted meaning that makes the users of these words sound downright menacing to society.

BIRDS ON THE HORIZON

August 30, 2010

Sure hope I don’t dream about any more birds. 

Not that I believe in my Grandma’s superstition, of course, as I mentioned in the last posting.     But…just in case….

I call my Dad in Florida about once a week.  I ask him if he’s noticing any “problems” because of the Gulf Oil disaster.   I know I’m asking the wrong person.     He’s aware of it and he’s very intelligent;  it’s just that he doesn’t have a TV and he doesn’t have much eyesight left and he doesn’t go out into his own backyard.  He’s very busy with other things….

So I don’t take his “No” for an answer.

I read several articles today from people who live down South;  today they were from news reporters, scientists, lab assistants, residents, and policemen.    One article haunts me.   North of Tampa the people are reporting illness related to the chemicals from the Gulf waters.    One example:   there is a family that has a swimming pool in their back yard.    The husband has become sick after mowing the lawn and after using his own swimming pool.   Fortunately, they were able to afford a chemical test of the water in their swimming pool.  

It’s full of poisons from Corexit, both kinds that are being used.    His illness is known to be caused by these specific chemicals.    It’s not “illness.”   It’s cell damage and soon to become  DNA damage.    And since this has become known, other people in the region are speaking out about similar symptoms.

The Corexit is coming from the evaporated Gulf waters which rains down on Florida;  and it’s coming from the airplanes that are continuing to spray the Corexit along the coastline, in the dark of night.    No, the oil companies are not spraying;  their contractors are.

I’m rather glad my Dad stays indoors a lot.

No more “birds in the house,” please, in dreams or otherwise.

To my friends in Europe:   We’re not “letting this happen”  and we don’t want the multi-national corporations to chemically potion anyone anywhere in the world.  American citizens are victims too, and seemingly powerless and haven’t, as a whole, found a way to get our country  out from under their control.            So far.

“BEHOLD THE BIRDS OF THE AIR”

August 29, 2010

Odd, how little images come together, go back and forth in your mind, and then create a full circle.

My Grandma was a great believer in “signs.”  I suppose it’s part of growing up with the wisdom of the Old Country.  Or maybe with its superstitions.

 I visited her house one day when I was young, and she was in a tizzy.   A bird had flown into her enclosed front porch,  like a sunroom,   and she was certain it meant that someone she knew would die.

A week later, her best friend in town died unexpectedly.

She knew the bird had foretold this and she said it was  a good thing the bird didn’t come all the way into the kitchen, because then someone in our family would have died.    I listened and wondered as she told me that the day her father died, a bird had flown into her kitchen and perched on the faucet of her kitchen sink.   

I thought of this yesterday morning, because during the night before I had had a very brief dream of two little brown birds flying straight through my house, one big one, one little one.   I smiled when I remembered my Grandma’s superstition.

And then later in the day I discovered Dr. Waters had died, the philosophy professor whose mind and voice had become nearly a daily experience for me via CDs of his lectures.    I really cared about that man.    

And later still, I called my Dad, as I usually do on Saturday evenings, and among the things he told me is that his good friend had died…unexpectedly.  The friend is the (upright) bass player in my Dad’s band and they had been good friends for the past seven or eight years.   

The two birds in my dream, quickly  passing through my “space”?    Some “coincidences” need never be explained. 

Lilies of the Field

 And now today, Sunday, the 14th after Pentecost, when traditionally the Gospel Reading is from the Sermon on the Mount.   And  Jesus tells us:  “Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap….”    Such a familiar passage.   One of the lessons in this passage is to not devote your life  to those things which will soon pass away with our own death, because God is taking good care of us and He well knows what we need.  

And the Gospel  ends with this:    “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” 

But the Church doesn’t leave us floundering around, wondering just how to “seek.”    The Epistle had admonished us to “Walk in the spirit” and not spend our lives striving after material goods and finding ways to please our “flesh.”    St. Paul gives a warning list of consequences if the desires of our flesh governs our lives and another list of results if we live according to the spirit, seeking the Kingdom of God, as in the Gospel.

And then, the explicit instructions for those who follow Christ into the kingdom:   “And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with its vices and concupiscences.”

So….that’s how.   Tame and defeat your longings for the comforts of this world and don’t devote your life to satisfying your material needs here on earth.  Such things will impede your flight to Heaven.  Life is short.   Death comes unexpectedly. 

Two little birds in a dream reminded me….     Reminded me to get to work!

A GREAT LOSS – Raphael Waters R.I.P.

August 28, 2010

 

I just found out some very sad news.   Dr. Raphael Waters has died.  He was a great philosopher, a Thomist, a great friend to all his colleagues and students, a great teacher.   He held to the original Faith of the Church, being able to see clearly with his well-trained and disciplined mind the devastating effects of the “modernization” process which has entered all Christian churches. 

He is responsible for founding and promoting the Aquinas schools for continuing education through free classes and through a series of recorded lectures which are available on CDs for people like me who cannot travel to Canada, New York, or Australia.   

 

These CDs on Philosophy (Metaphysics and Philosophical Psychology)  have been my constant companion whenever I drive the Little Red Car; and I’ve come to look forward to driving  any distance because of them.  Dr. Waters’ voice has become the voice of sanity in my everyday world, and he is the closest to having a professor to teach me things  that I have ever come, including my former six years of  university “studies.”       Thanks to Dr. Waters I can see that St Thomas Aquinas is accessible to everyone and is understandable by everyone, but even more importantly, he is seriously needed by everyone today in our self-destructing modern world. 

Dr. Waters’ writings and lectures can be found at the Aquinas School of Philosophy and also through the Website of the Oltyn Library Services.      There  is a brief but nice tribute to him there at the first link (and copied below). 

I am sad with the loss of him, but I know my only chance of meeting him is in the next world.   I beg his prayers to help make that possible.    May God have mercy on his soul, and keep him in peace.  

 

The notificiation on the Aquinas School Website:

RAPHAEL WATERS, RIP

It is with great sadness that I write of the death of our dear friend and professor, Dr. Raphael Waters.
He died at St. Mary’s hospital in Lewiston NY at 4:00 this morning (Thursday, August 26, 2010).

It is an incalculable loss.

He was 86 years old.

Last Friday, when a number of us (his students) visited his house, he seemed to sense his time was near. He said, “If the Lord takes me soon, be assured that I will be praying for you.”

A day or two before, he had been taken to the hospital and placed in intensive care. He had been battling cancer and various other ailments for a number of years.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of our own dear Dr. Waters.

In JMJ

John Vennari

 

   

 

   

higher than the glories of valhalla 
   

     

JERUSALEM IN UNITY WITH HERSELF

August 27, 2010

Friday meditation….

This is the photograph framed and hanging above my kitchen sink.    (I’m not sure if architects and home builders understand the psychological effect on putting a “blank wall” behind the sink, but I found a way around it.)   It’s  a relief map of the Holy Land, taken from a very old book of maps.    If you know that’s the Dead Sea in the middle, right side, then you can probably find Jerusalem.   At least, you should be able to;  Jerusalem is the Center of the World…the City God loves.

And…why?

Well, think of Jerusalem on Fridays.   Every hour of that Good Friday, 2,000 years ago, was marked by a monumental event in the fulfilling of all Scriptures.    From sundown on what we now  call “Thursday” until sundown of what we now  call “Friday” — 24 hours that makes Jerusalem the Center of the World.

It’s possible to “pray the hours” of the day based upon the events that happened during this 24-hour period.  And many do, and have been doing so for many, many centuries.   Only recently have the children of the 20th century forgotten to do so.

In  the Little Office of the BVM, at the hour of Terce, which begins the third watch of the (Roman) day, we commemorate  the point at which Jesus has become  an outlaw;  that is, condemned and beyond the protection of the laws of society.  Anything goes.  Anyone can do anything to Him, short of death, because there was a Cross waiting for Him a little later.   He is in for some very rough treatment as well as  the torment of mockery, ridicule, and rejection by the very people He has come to save.

…He has come to Jerusalem to save.   So it is at Terce we  recite the 121st Psalm, among others.   (“Jeruslaem, quae aedificatur ut civitas; cujus participatio ejus in idipsum.” )  “Jerusalem, which is built as a city;  that is in unity with itself….”   

So beautiful.   And what is this “unity”?  How does a city be “in unity with itself”? 

From earliest times  (was Adam buried here?) there were hints  (this is the place of Melchizedek) and foreshadowings  (the place where David was given the threshing floor where mercy had stopped  the Angel of Death)  and nearby a  miraculous birth (Bethlehem is not far) and then the Word of God preaches the Word to the city;  and then finally the Son of God presents the Ultimate One-and-Only Sacrifice to the Father, just outside the walls of the city built on Mt. Sion.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you…”(Zech. 9:9)

From her beginning to her end, a city built to be in unity with itself, past and present,  all its parts, all its history, chosen to be the place of the Redemption of Mankind.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem….”

PIE FOR CAR

August 26, 2010

Much obliged, Hubbie.   I discovered your Good Deed today.

If “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…”

Then the way to this feminine heart is through her Little Red Car….all clean and shiny!

The apple pie’s for you.  

The pecan pie is an afterthought –  can’t throw good pie crust away just because there was too much made.

Now we can both enjoy your Good Deed.

It’s what married love is all about;   apple pies and clean Red Cars!

OF TURKEYS AND KINGS

August 26, 2010

 I know some “favored regions of the country”  are graced with beautiful birds like flamingos.    Well, we have turkeys.The Little Red Car and I were driving through our country roads to get to the city, when I noticed these guys.   Apparently it’s not only our yard they like to strut in.

And apparently they didn’t mind when I stopped the car for a closer look:

Eventually, they just strolled on down the driveway:  

So I think I know where all the turkeys are coming from.   I think I know where they live:

Going home…..

Lest we forget:   Benjamin Franklin is said to have wanted the Turkey to be our national bird.       They were quite important to our forefathers.    And delicious.

This has been an odd week, with two “themes,”  turkeys and kings.     I guess there are turkeys and kings and turkeys who are king-of-the-roads and kings who are turkeys,  and one of those is for the next posting:  King Jeroboam II –  the Bible gives him short shrift and not much space.  History books call him “great” and give him a whole chapter of his own.     But  I think I know who the real turkeys are…..

HEARING ST. LOUIS IX – WITH HOPE

August 25, 2010

I’ve long been deeply stirred by King Louis IX, saint.   There is so much to say about him and to learn from him, that I can’t let his feast day pass without noting his personal and public greatness.    I suppose I’m writing mostly for  my own desire to pay tribute  to this most Christian king.

The details of his life are easily found in history books, historical novels, essays, and books about saints, but his impact on us is discovered only by giving him “some time” – that is, thinking about what a man like this means for us.    So I’ll make a couple remarks for the one or two or so of you who will be curious enough to seek him out for yourself.

First, as an example to our personal, private lives, King Louis  was a model of piety;  that is, he evidenced true devotion to God,  he lived humbly before God, and he directed his life towards achieving holiness, whether in prayer, in reading, in carrying out the many, overwhelming duties of his life, or in his relationships with other people.    A person would do very well indeed if he studied the daily habits of this king and copied his behavior.

Second, in his family life, he was loyal, loving, and attentive to all the members of his family.   We have his letter to his grown son, showing us the qualities  he most desired his son to have.     It speaks volumes to us of not only the kind of parent King Louis was, but also the kind of parenting we all should strive for.   I’ll include a link to that letter below.*

(Do we think we are pretty good parents, not too different from King Louis?   I sometimes say to my classes,  we get our children ready to leave the house and send them off by saying  “Have fun!”    Not too long ago, parents knew better.   They sent their children out the door with a loving, but firm warning:  “Be good!”     We are sometimes very far from the wise parents of earlier times.)

Now third and lastly,  what we can learn from King Louis is in the area of governing.  We may all have a need to “govern” people around us;   we govern our families, we may be a leader of some small group,  and this king’s pattern of ruling others can teach us much.  He was well-known for applying justice impartially, mercy often, and caring for the most vulnerable in his kingdom.    

It’s in this last area that I have hope, by taking a very, very long view of this world….a “historical” overview into the future.    The world seems to be collapsing into a kind of economic totalitarianism, brought about by the desperate attempts of the global oligarchy which rules us to try to hold on to as much control as possible.      Supported by rapid technical advances in surveillance and identification of individuals, for the purposes of policing and control,  such a widespread tyranny seems very possible.  

I don’t know what will come next.     I don’t know if we will have the strength and the will to resist, to overthrow the globalists, or if our great-great-grandchildren will have to try to restore personal freedom.   But in the coming centuries, the Faith will survive, and good men will try to live – and govern – according to the principles of the Christian Faith.    As long as we maintain the knowledge of such good kings as King Louis IX of France,  there is hope that there could arise … another.

MEETING ST. LOUIS IX, WITH GRATITUDE

August 25, 2010

To all Kings and Rulers:   “You that are the judges of the earth, think of the Lord in goodness and seek Him in simplicity of heart.”  (Wisdom 1:1)


My thanks to this astonishingly great king begins with certain knowledge that I was committing a sin and skirting the edge of heresy.    I was very young (very, very young, it seems now)  and I was the guest of two loving parents of a young man whom I thought would some day be my husband.   The young man and the parents were committed evangelical Christians.  The entire world was seen through the lens of the King James Bible.

The parents had driven me to Biloxi, MS, to see my intended, and on this day we had taken a little excursion over to New Orleans to see the sights.  Although I was quite shy around these model parents, I remember somehow finding the boldness to request that we stop at a “building” of some historical importance. 

My heart pounded with uncertainty as I entered the “building,” while these parents, in their righteous judgment, remained outside.

                                     The “building”  –

This was a Catholic church, and I felt their disapproval, but also their sense of “indulgence” towards me.  After all, they knew I was studying history at the university….and this was undeniably a “historical” site.  

I opened the door, and for the first time in my life experienced true astonishment: 
I saw the beauty, the glory, the holiness, the solemnity, the awesome sense of Someone present, and knowing instantly that this Presence is what the whole cathedral was built for — with great effort and expense, hopes and dreams, and love for God.

Dimly, then, I perceived that St. Louis IX must have been a great someone to have had his name attached to so marvelous a place.    Thanks to the curiosity stirred inside me, I took one more baby step towards the Faith of our Fathers.

  Today, reality strikes us:

I understand that this cathedral has been deformed, defaced, and dismantled, now, to get the people to look at each other and feel “community” rather than to look upward and keep their hearts and minds pointed to God our Savior.

I saw a picture of its present interior when Katrina brought floodwaters water to the door of St. Louis IX cathedral. 

This cathedral is dedicated to St. Louis IX, whose feast day is today, August 25th.   May he not forget us in his prayers and intercessions for us.

TURKEY HERD

August 24, 2010

Seems to be the Summer of the Turkeys around here:

I glanced out my window yesterday and saw first one, then another, then the whole herd….   They move pretty much in unison, which is eerie (if you remember the opening of Jurassic Park II).

I remembered the two trips we took to Turkeyville this summer.   The first trip was our first stop on our way out of state for our summer Road Trip.  We shared a hot turkey sandwich.

“Turnabout’s fair play,” the saying goes.    The herd visited us and found good eating at our place.  

Our second trip to Turkeyville was during Hubbie’s birthday:  musical performance and a full turkey dinner….

I zoomed in on one of them — sure enough…”turkey shape.”       Turkeys they are.

Earlier this summer I had been delighted to see a couple turkeys strutting across our neighbor’s yard:

I didn’t know the whole bunch lived nearby.

LEPER HANDS – RECAPITULATED

August 22, 2010

I lost my corkscrew photo, somewhere in my PC, so I’ll have to borrow someone else’s photo.    I use the corkscrew idea in my classes to teach the value of repetition, or, more properly, recapitulation.     Nothing fancy,  just …  when you come across a story or a lesson that you already “know,”  do it again;  don’t skip over it.   Even if it’s the exact same lesson,  each time you go over it  you yourself are a different person, however slightly;   you yourself are perhaps softer,  more fertile ground , and like a corkscrew doing repetitive turns,  the Word can be planted a little more deeply into you.

Today, I’m the one who got a lesson in the value of recapitulation.   This 13th Sunday after Pentecost brings us again to the story of the Ten Lepers, only one of which returned to thank Jesus for his healing.   Ho-hum – almost.     I remember coloring Sunday School book pages for this story….I remember teaching it to littler kids when I was just in  high school.    And I’ve heard it and let my mind skim over it many times since.   But today –  the corkscrew turned, went a little deeper, and stirred something up.  

What’s the story about?   Ten lepers who were cast out of their community and desperately needed healing.   Ten lepers who cried out to Jesus as he passed by:   “Jesu, miserere nostri !!!!”  They were told to go and show themselves to their priest, presumably for his judgment of whether they were clean or unclean.   

Of course they were “unclean.”  They were lepers.  So this command from Jesu was just odd enough to make them think something was going on.    

 Hope.     They had hope.       What did we say today in our Offertory?   “In Te speravi….” In Thee I hope. 

Faith.    They had some faith in Jesus.   In our Collect today we were led to pray for an increase in Faith, Hope, and Charity…that we might be made worthy….

Leper hands:

 Ugly, distorted leper hands.   We can call it Hansen’s Disease today,  but let’s notforget to also call it leprosy.     Many in other parts of the world still struggle and die with it.      Throughout the Bible it is used as the perfect illustration of what sin does to our souls.    When the lepers called out, Jesus, the Son of God,  saw the disfigurement of both their bodies and their souls.

We  know all ten were really healed.    And we know only one came back to give thanks.  But is this a lesson about saying thanks?   About gratitude?  Only at first, at the first levels of understanding.  

The Epistle helps a little here:   The Law can tell you what’s right and wrong, but it is only a Promise.   Even if you do everything right and keep the Law perfectly, all you will have is “no leprosy.”     You are still you, apparently all right.

See, the first miracle of this story is that the ten lepers were healed.   The greater miracle is that the one who came back to thank Jesus, came back a changed man.  He fell down to the ground before Jesus,  full of thanksgiving, humility, faith, realizing his utter dependence on this Man.    It is then that Jesus tells him:   “Your faith has saved you.”

“Saved,”   not  healed.     Our sermon today mentioned Eternal Life many times.  Happy, healthy people who do everything right may not be on the road to Eternal Life.    Only those who have been healed – saved – in their souls by a personal miracle.

Year after year, until I can no longer hear the Gospel Reading for this Sunday, I will be hearing this story again….only now I see that “corkscrew” went a little deeper today, and if I’m truly humble, maybe next year I’ll be ready to profitably hear it again.

A DAY OF MARY IN THE AGE OF MARY

August 21, 2010

Just a little co-incidence of dates today,  Saturday, Aug. 21. 

 
Saturday is the day traditionally given to honor Mary.  As Jesus lay in the tomb after the Crucifixion, many dozens of His disciples  gathered together on that Saturday  to pray, to ponder, to await the  meaning of this “loss of Jesus.”   They gathered in Jerusalem, around Mary, the mother of the Son, to wait for things to unfold.

August 21 is the day given to the recognition of the first Apparition at Knock, a renewal of respect and attention paid to the three closest to Jesus during this time on Earth:    Mary, Joseph, and St. John, the beloved disciple.

This Age.   This Apparition at Knock calls to mind the other great apparitions, clustered together in a relatively short span of time in the modern era:   1830, 1846, 1858, and 1879.  The 20th century continued with Fatima, with Akita, with Kibeho….and others.  These two centuries have seen the greatest strife between good and evil, with the forces of Progressivism and Liberalism warring against the success of the age-old plan of Redemption from Adam to Abraham to its fulfillment in Jesus.

Is this, now,  an “Age of Mary” to support us in this struggle, until Jesus returns?

“BUMPER CROP”

August 20, 2010

Don’t ask me “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

My name’s not Mary.

And apparently I’m not a gardener.

Potatoes:    The potato plants grew tall and lush for two weeks.   Then, when we came back from our Road Trip,  they had laid themselves flat down on the ground.   Oh, they’re still green and “growing,”  but they’re now about two inches tall.     And they are pinning down the nearby tomato plants, which are now also horizontal. 

Pepper plants.     Can’t find them.   Or can’t identify them anymore.

Tomatoes in the two other garden areas:     Growing…growing tiny little green marbles.  I don’t think they’re going to be edible.    Frequently watering doesn’t make them any bigger.

The little yellow apples on the apple tree…..have all disappeared.    They’re not even lying on the ground, under the tree.

Raspberries:  I think we had….twelve.

BUT WE HAD A BUMPER CROP!     According to several neighbors:

(In my rhubarab patch):

(In one of the garden areas):

And everywhere you look:

According to all our neighbors who have come over at various times, they have identified these enthusiastic leaves as Poison Ivy.  

So……just so you know….because Hubbie and I sure didn’t know.

JESUS WAS ‘BUSY’ TODAY

August 20, 2010

Using a common (colloquial) phrase, Jesus was “busy” today, 2,000 years ago, and every Friday is like a little formal acknowledgment of it.    It’s something we’re not supposed to let go of, and our weekly remembrance of Good Friday thanks Him and honors Him for what He was doing.

“Being busy at something.”   When I hear someone say that, I know they are doing something that is important to them.   They have chosen something to do that defines themselves at the time….   It may be housework, taking care of your children, going off to work, fixing something,  busy reading a book, or busy praying.

The word “busy” just seems to imply that a person is occupied for the moment with something that he has judged to be more important than any other activity – for that moment.

Jesus, in Jerusalem, once said:  “Don’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”      The realization of just what this “business” is was like a blade that pierced the heart of His mother, Mary.    The blade was a sorrow;  and the sorrow would be fully manifested on Good Friday, when there was much to do.

CHARACTER – ON YOUR OWN!

August 19, 2010

An interesting definition of “character” is it’s what you do when you’re sure no one is watching.     I’ve tried to work my way around that one, but I can’t. 

That’s a rather Sunday-School-ish picture of the young King Joas on the left.  Actually, he was probably presented with a crown, a scepter, a scroll or other insignia of royal office, and he was probably placed on a dais or some platform near the pillars of Solomon.

Nonetheless, he was presented to the people of Israel as the rightful heir to the throne of David, he was about seven years old, and the people joyfully acclaimed their new king, after dealing with several years of an evil queen who had usurped the throne.

Great “stuff” for movie-making!!       Great plot for a riveting historical novel!

Even better, it was the lesson for our Tuesday night class.   

I’ve got to leave out all the dramatic action and just get to an interesting point to ponder in this king’s life.    We can speculate what kind of training he received in those first seven years of his life, in hiding, while he was being prepared for the throne.  He had taken much advice and training from the High Priest of the Temple, as is fitting for such a kingdom as Israel was, and the High Priest was his advisor through young adulthood.

Joas is recorded to have been a fairly good king,  doing good things and giving  public indications of his faith in God.     He was fairly good, that is, until the death of the High Priest.

Friends of his moved in on him, flattered him, “soothed him,” as the Bible says, and turned him in another direction.   Once again, led by the example of the king, immorality and idolatry increased, foreign countries attacked successfully, there was political turmoil and unrest until finally, Joas was assassinated – in bed.

A sorry end to such a good beginning.   With all the right training and education, what went wrong?      Peer pressure?   Psychological reaction to an overly suppressed childhood?    (I jest.)  

I think, plain and simple, Joas had received all the right education and training – but as one commentator put it, he had not taken ownership of all his training.

Conformity is a good and worthwhile first response to good training, but “character” is what happens when the outside pressure to do good is removed, and freely and in private you choose your thoughts and actions.

Sow a thought – Reap an Action

Sow an Action – Reap a Habit

Sow a Habit – Reap a Character

Sow a Character – Reap a Destiny.

 

DREAM*TIME

August 17, 2010

As a rule, I just don’t believe in messages or omens, or at least I don’t expect them to come to me, so that’s what made those  dreams in yesterday’s posting so noticeable.  A little follow-up:  I deliberately had some carbohydrates before I went to bed, and that seemed to keep me asleep a bit more deeply.  I dreamed, but I don’t remember those dreams, so that’s all right.

It’s interesting to note that “dreams” and “time” are the two things scientists don’t really have a definite explanation for, although several theories seem reasonable.     And yet, in the Bible, both can be very, very important opportunities for mankind. 
          You will remember many stories of people in the Bible who have had dreams, dreams with messages, dreams that are visions;  from Pilate’s wife to Jacob’s ladder, they are interesting and instructive, but the one thing they have in common is that they come unasked for!    Just … leave the dreams up to Heaven.

Time is the other great unsatisfactorily undefined concept.    I’ve posted before about my delight at discovering the new word:  “hyperchronicity.”    The rapid (and sometimes uneven) passage of time has a name!   But it’s just part of the mystery of Time.

Someone once wrote:  “Each heartbeat is like a footstep taking us closer and closer to Heaven.”   Now that’s an enviable attitude!!  The Grim Reaper himself is pictured holding something very precious in his hands:  it’s a golden key.  Think of the possibilities of that!   (NOT a classical representation of the Grim Reaper!)

Although I don’t think welcoming death was all that common in bygone centuries, any more than it is today, the Grim Reaper figure certainly reminded people that the Time they have is limited and so very precious.

We’ll be studying the young king Joas tonight in class.   His life and his efforts were a gift of “time” to the early people of Juda.    They were becoming more and more influenced by both the increasing immorality, idolatry – and prosperity – of their brothers in the northern kingdom of Israel and also by the pagan culture around them.  Over and over again, both Israel and Juda were given “time” to repent, turn back to God, amend their lives, and become who and what God intended them to be.  So much was at stake!

I still don’t know what time is, but I do know that it’s a blessing.  What we “throw into” our time here on Earth matters so much.

ONE HOUSE – DISASSEMBLED

August 16, 2010

Well, this will be a very strange posting tonight.  It’s mostly for me.

It was a birdhouse, disassembled, that greeted us a couple mornings ago.    Hubbie had bought this nice birdfeeder on a tall post.   He gave me the “house” to fill with birdseed, which I did.   But it didn’t get put back on its post that day.   The raccoons liked it and took it apart during the night.  More pieces are on the grass, fifteen below the deck floor.

Hubbie doesn’t think it’s worth saving, but I think it can be saved – with a little “clear duct tape, also  known as packing tape.  Ha!   That stuff is really, really sticky, and permanent wherever you put it!   Anyway,  it’s holding my big Bible together, so it ought to be okay for the birdhouse.

So…not a big story, but — I don’t know.     For the next two nights I had very vivid dreams;  unlike me, usually.   I’m not sure I sleep long enough to have memorable dreams.    Both nights involve  “small animals.”     One was me not living up to what I should be doing and almost bringing terrible harm to…the small animal.  And I don’t want to write about that.  

Last night was more vivid, more insistent.    We were driving in Georgia,  a good place to get lost in if you leave I-75, which we found out many years ago.   We had left the interstate to find Andersonville Prison, found ourselves on a two-lane road….then a narrow blacktopped road….then a dirt road….then a narrow dirt road…then we followed it up a little hill and the narrow road had become a red clay trail, and by the time we got to the top of the hill, the trail ended.    Just like that.    We turned around and went back the way we came.

Last night’s dream was like that, but we ended up at a hotel-type private home, invited into the living room, which was filled with small animals of all kinds.    More than one family would have as pets.   The animals seemed interested in us.  I noticed there were even mouse-sized animals in the nap of the carpeting, just at the same time that I noticed the animals were nearly all sort of white, and all sort of not real animals, and all sort of intelligent…and something was going to happen if we stayed at that “hotel-house.”  

And then I was wakened up by bird noises and little thumping and creaks….I needed to go to the front door which was open, just the screen door closed, but I felt like I had to go around the “long way.”    I saw a small bird inside the house perched on the horizontal  bar of the screen door.  My eyes were blurry, but I really think it was indoors.  

I did “something” to make sure it wouldn’t come into the house any further…but I don’t know what I did.   I wanted to close the wooden door, but that would have scared the little bird, and I didn’t want it flying around in my house.   I wasn’t dreaming, but I felt like I should just go lie down – and wait.  For “twenty minutes.”

More thumping and bird calls, high-pitched little cheeping.  I got up again and the little bird was hanging on by its little claws on the outside of the screen door.    (I apparently hadn’t closed the big wooden door, but it had maybe gotten outside.)   It was so small that it looked like a fuzzy brown moth, but it was a bird….I saw it up close.

Before I let my “compassion” and concern for it  get too big, I felt like I should lie down again and “wait.”    I did.   The little bird is all gone now.  

Just out our front door, daytime, with a “visiting” cardinal:

That’s what’s outside the screen door.

And this is the very, very loud little bird that serenades all day long.  I think she was singing  to her babies as they grew, and I think this is the home where the little bird came from:

Too many small little animals in the last three days.   The little house disassembled; we are lost in a strange place with many little animals.    Am I off in a new direction in my life?   Or have I had too much restaurant food lately?     Ha!    Why on earth do I feel like I’m missing the message?

I don’t want to sleep tonight.   I’m glad I have a lot of good books at my bedside!

Just wanted to post this – for me – so I know where to find the story of last night, if I need it.

A FEAST FOR THE SPIRIT

August 15, 2010

Feast:  You’ve been invited;  you belong there.  All is well.   And there is more food than you can imagine, all sumptuous, all satisfying, all delightful, all yours.

There are many things offered to our souls today, on this Feast of the Assumption.    I like this visual morsel best of all – at least for now!      The Blessed Virgin is so young, so beautiful, in motion, heading toward the Light, her Son;  and not alone, but  aided by numerous joyful, innocent spirits, taking her into their Realm.

How about a morsel from the Feast that is offered to us in words:   “Come, daughters of Sion, to see your Queen, who is praised by the morning stars and celebrated by the sons of the Most High!     Who is she that comes from the desert, like a column of all the aromatic perfumes?  Who is she that rises like the aurora, more beautiful than the moon, elect as the sun, terrible as many serried armies?     Who is she that comes up from the desert, resting upon her Beloved, and spreading forth abundant delights…?  (Cant. 3)  

And for our spirits to contemplate (and feast on):  Where did she go?

Where?   In the words of Isaias and of St. Paul:  “…neither mortal eyes have seen, nor ears heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him and Hope in Him.”  (Is. 64:4;  I Cor 2:9)

From the Feast table,  sumptuous morsels of theological truth to ponder:  Mary, Virgin, Specially Created in Perfected Beauty and Holiness, worthy Ark to bear the Living Word;  Holy Mother of the Son of God;  Tireless Advocate….

“My soul doth magnify the Lord…henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”   The soul of Mary, when we ponder its beauty, is a magnifying lens for us, through which we see only her Son.    Our eyes don’t stop at the lens;  it searches naturally for what is beyond the lens.    Our mind doesn’t stay with Mary, but soars naturally to the Glories of Jesus.

If your “idea” of Mary is limited, your knowledge of the Majesty of Christ will also be limited.    

I have a hunch Jesus knew that our hearts would work like this.    At the Cross, He said to the youngest disciple, whom He didn’t name so that we would be included too:   “Behold thy Mother.”       Behold her, indeed, and she will illuminate Me.

Jesus hinted at this truth when His exhausted body, at its death, could say no more.    As He gave up His soul to His Father,  He laid His head, downward, toward His right side – just where the inspired artists place His Mother.   His last act on the cross, for our instruction, was to position His head so that He could gaze at His Mother.

A Feast for our eyes, which are the windows, into our souls.

A SUNDAY FEAST FOR THE INTELLECT

August 15, 2010

Intellect – and senses.    (Post Pentecost – 12th Sunday:  “Blessed are the eyes which have seen the things you have seen.”)

Whenever I  (or you, I’m sure )  spend time looking at “world affairs,”  it is unsettling.   The “feathers get ruffled.”   But I assure you, “the bird is sound.”   To show you what “this bird” is resting on,  I joyfully present these paintings from the Russian painter Mikhail Nesterov.    Pardon the poor quality, but I think the theme will come through. 

In no special order:

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Each of these paintings were meant to place you, the person who views these, into the scene.   

The last two feel familiar, like me.   The scenes I would most like to be in are the one with the men by the birch trees overlooking the lake….and the one with the village people, with Christ in their midst.

Which of these paintings most resemble you, as you wish to be, at your best?

Which of these scenes would you most like to be part of?

That these pictures  are of such poor quality is purely my fault.  The paintings were photographed by someone, then the photographs were photographed again, then they were put together as a YouTube presentation, then photographed again….finally to me, who photographed some of the slide presentation, and uploaded it for the Spruce Tunnel.

I became aware of the slide presentation (with beautiful music) at the site of Father Stephen’s blog , which you can go to  here at:    “Glory to God for All Things.”

Mikhail Nesterov is a Russian painter.  The world he painted was soon to be destroyed by the forces of the Leftist movement that swept across Mother Russia.    The people in the paintings had no idea of what was soon  to come into their world.    I identify so strongly with these people.    I’ll deal with that in a later posting.   Soon.