Archive for December 2013

PORTRAIT (FROM) AN ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN

December 31, 2013

Really, the artist-photographer as a VERY young man!      As in:

“Grrrrma!   Can I use your phone?  I want to take some pictures. ”    

    “Yeah, sure.”      He’s been taking pictures since he was two years old, so. . . why not?       Which results in a few surprises when I turn my cell phone back on.    Like this . . .  something.   Something very pretty:

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Hmmmm.    Very pretty.   Whatever that is.

And the next picture:

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Well,  hmmmm.   Whatever that is.

Photos were taken from a 39-inch perspective.

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Rather instructive for us big people.     It would be like being on our knees all the time.     We might feel a little differently about our world.

Little things become very, very important.   “Here!  Hold this,  Grrrrma!”   –

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That was worth a picture.

And then “we” took some pictures of very important people,  like, for instance,  the very BEST part of our favorite Uncle.

SAMSUNGHe likes to play and he always smiles.   What a great Uncle!

And then there’s Grrrrrrma  in her favorite shirt:

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And, finally —  the Self Portrait.   The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (with apologies to James Joyce) —

CP 1 SelfPortrait

Don’t be afraid of technology!   Go ahead.   Give your cell phone to a three-year-old.   They’ll show you their world!

ALL AS IT SHOULD BE

December 31, 2013

Christmastime for families:

The Little One is here:

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Cooper’s boots and Grandma’s bo0ts.    My little California family has been here for Christmas week, and so has Cooper’s Uncle.   We have a happy full busy house, “as it should be”  for the holidays.

We have new floor coverings:  wall to wall toys. “as it should be.”

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The Christmas Tree is decorated   – and many hands and  little hands have played with hanging things and knocked down portions of the lights, so there is a bare space,  not quite perfect   “as it should be.”

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And the manger is arranged with all the important things, like polar bears, reindeer, and dinosaurs, “as it should be.”

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I hope your Christmas was just as it should be.

A DARK AND LOVELY MERRY CHRISTMAS

December 27, 2013

Hello again:  lights,  water, heat, internet connection, and some bodily energy restored –

We saw only Ice and Darkness for a few days:

Snow Falling from Tree

 

There was beauty in this Midwestern Christmas Ice Storm –  All our trees  became sparkly silvery white.

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In spite of being plunged back into the cold and physical labor and fatigue of the 1870s, it was difficult to walk through a parking lot without clicking off photo after photo of  familiar things made enchanting.

One morning the sun came out.   For a little while, anyway.    We saw creamy white sunlight, white clouds, pale blue sky,  and the trees had formed giant chandeliers of crystal light.  SAMSUNG

While writing this short post,  we lost power again…for two hours…  We live in the dots and dashes of power fluctuations, so I’ll sign off for now while the electrons are flowing, and say:

        “a dark and lovely  Merry Christmas to you all.”

merry christmas dark

We don’t need electricity to visit the Holy Family . . . . .

PYTHAGORAS AND RISK ASSESSMENT

December 20, 2013

I’m “brooding” a little tonight.   Or stuck in a thought pattern.

Pythagoras:  “We can know the world. ”  And the world can be described in terms of numbers.  Amount.    Harmony.   Proportion.  Relationship.      Intensity.     Risk….Intensity of risk.

roads

We have a “Winter Storm Advisory” this weekend.   60% chance of sleet and icy rain on Saturday afternoon.    80% chance of icy stuff overnight, into Sunday.    60 and 80;   the numbers that will affect my decisions about driving this weekend.

But the snow and ice and cold rain produce a different set of numbers, a set of numbers that also indicate Risk.    My little grandson, Cooper, will be arriving in a couple of days, so I thought I’d check the . . . numbers for him.

I stepped a little bit out onto my deck:

SAMSUNGThat’s my Geiger counter, checking Counts Per Minute.   The snow just outside my door is about twice normal.

I walked across my deck to the railing:

SAMSUNGThe ice melting on the railing,  the snow far down below,the melted surface of the pond. . .  About three times normal CPM.    Not too good.

I came in and measured my moccasin:

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I measured the sole because I know you’re not supposed to walk around the house with radiation from outdoors on your shoes, because with the type of radiation I’m measuring also comes, randomly, occasionally,  some really, really dangerous particles.

Inside the house, just to compare,  just to see if my detector was working correctly,  I took a reading near where we would be spending a lot of time –

SAMSUNGThere.   Normal.    26.    We’re okay indoors.

But the little guy likes to ski and snowshoe and he wants to go ice skating on Grandma’s pond.

SAMSUNGHow do I explain to a three-year-old that Pythagoras gave us the understanding that our world can be described in many ways,  with numbers,  and the numbers aren’t looking too good —  and Grandma has something on her mind?

On December 5th we passed the 1,oooth day after the initial  explosions at Fukushima.    At this point the ongoing nuclear  processes  increase vastly in intensity and in output of dangerous radiation, into the skies above us.    Scientifically speaking,  this increased intensity will continue for about 10,000 days, before entering another phase.

That knowledge is part of the “brooding”  I’m doing tonight.    I’m okay.   I’m just getting a new appreciation of the intensity of the troubles  that mankind can create — and the intensity of our need for that Light which we wait for during Advent.    He came,   this Light of ours, and He will come again.

Deo gratias.  Gaudete.

Got any other remedy for the sadness of human evils?

 

COMING OR GOING

December 18, 2013

Like many of you, I’m sure,  I’m putting in some long, happy days, preparing for Christmas.

  • Candles 3rd week

As a matter of fact,  days here in The Spruce Tunnel have been about 18 hours long — which puts us just about at Sunday morning.    Even if the calendar says Tuesday.

So I’m  just not late in my little remark about the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

In this happy world of Christendom (which is open to all) we light three  candles all this week, the third one being pink in color; pink for rejoicing,.    Gaudete all!

In this midst of all my physical activity, my mind is busy too – and one sudden thought caught me up short.   I’m preparing my house . . . as though I’m marching on towards Bethlehem, a journey which reminds me of the Magi, their long years of study, watching, preparation, and then their journey.

Camel Magi Silhouette

I remembered John the Baptist’s words (in Readings recently) telling us to “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight his paths. . . .”   So I’m preparing inwardly too, spiritually, as best I can . . . as though I’m getting ready to come to the manger to meet my King, lying for a time as a small baby.

Manger blue silhouette

And that’s when I stopped in my tracks.     It’s not me who is “coming.”   It is He who is coming.  Coming down to us.   The plans laid from eternity, the Plan incarnated nine months previously;  it is He our King that’s coming to his first home on the earth He made.

He’s doing all the coming!   It was His initiative.   We dimly perceive what this means, so we prepare, and we eagerly await all the Joy that results from his coming . . . and we make plans to Go!   To go to his manger, to go to Him.   He’s coming;  we’re going.

We’ll meet at Bethlehem:     O “come”all ye faithful.     Gather together, then we’ll go together to worship and adore.

star falling

He is the great Light come down to mankind, to be our Light and Life.   It’s His great first Coming that we prepare for, foretold for centuries by the great prophets.

All our preparations are just fine , as long as we . . .  go, then, to Him.

PARTY TIME

December 14, 2013

It was time for the annual Christmas-Movie-Pizza-Party this week!

2 days prep;  2 days to party;  2 days recovery!    Not too many Christmas decorations were up yet;  but  the “purple”  Advent lights were ready –

Advent Lights

But then came the serious party prep.   Carefully backed in Hubbie’s car for unpacking:

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The bags in the back from the grocery store  somehow had to be turned into party food (mission impossible, almost):

SAMSUNGThe place for all the meats was waiting:

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The soups were all simmering:

SAMSUNG(That’s oxtail soup,  mulligatawny soup,   corn chowder,  and a good cheese soup, on its way, being made elsewhere….)   To complete the fragrances mixing in the kitchen air –  gingerbread cookies, ready to accompany the Swedish glogg –

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Next the tables had to be set, one for each day:

SAMSUNGTable One set,  ready for use:

8.5 meat eatingMy countertop took a photo with me included in the picture (so here’s a very rare photo of me):

8.75 eatingTable for Party Two is set:

SAMSUNGSoup bowls, this time….notice the round of cards in the middle, for use once again.

Enjoying the soup:

SAMSUNGYou know,  the food and the table settings and such things don’t really tell the story of a party, do they?   The party is really small groups of friends, happy to be together,  knowing we all like each other, accepting all our quirky uniquenesses, eager to hear more from each other, and all looking forward to this season of celebrating the First Coming into this world of our Savior,  Jesus Christ, whom we all love and would like to please. . . .  We are in that respect like-minded and for that reason quite fond of each other.

And that makes for a happy time of peace, joy, and togetherness.

And, oh, yes,  the cards:   The cards set around the middle of the table.  a “card game” I called it.   The title of the cards is:  “500 Things To Do Before You Die.”         Draw a card – and read the suggestions on it…and share what you have and have not – yet – done!

SAMSUNGSerious discussions followed –  all of them somehow ending in laughter!    I fear more was revealed about me than I would have wished….which is probably what happened to everyone else too!

More talking, more laughter, more sharing, more togetherness, and we eventually drifted on into the television room to watch one of the best Christmas type movie there is:  the Fourth Wise Man.   Yes, it was funny (Alan Arkin and a young Martin Sheen!) – and it did start out with the journey of the Wise Men….but it was the flow of the movie as the story unfolded that revealed the true meaning of the Christ of our Christmases….He who watches what we do, in spite of ourselves.

It kept our attention –

SAMSUNGMore food and comfortable chairs created a deep state of. . . .contentment:

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Lingering conversation after the movie proved the value of its message, well-received.

Time to go.   I accompanied everyone outside to their cars.   When everyone was gone, I turned around to come  back into the house – and noticed that my driveway had been widened, a bit, from two-car to three-car.

13 widened drivewayAnd so had our hearts,  I hope,  widened and broadened.

Adieu, my friends!   May God bless you all!!

“Caution”  –   Please DO try this in your own homes!

A GIFT FOR MY RULERS – TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE

December 10, 2013

How about a little humor on a Tuesday?   A little sassy humor.

Bears logoWe are Bears fans here in The Spruce Tunnel.   Watching the game last night gave me a huge lift to my spirits.   We had to turn the temperature down at Soldier Field for our opponents from Dallas –  7 degrees! –  but you take any advantage you can.

Which made me feel rather creative too:

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That’s my laptop watching the game.    We ‘ve all read by now that the spy agencies can turn on our laptop cameras without turning on the light which tells us the camera is being used!    (Remember the 15-year-old who hacked into her classmate’s laptop,  turned on the camera and took “compromising”  pictures of her, and then told her the pictures would be posted on the ‘Web if that classmate didn’t “pay up”?)

Makes people really mad to think we can be watched in our own homes by strangers –  for purposes of giving us tailor-made advertising, of course.

So to thank them for their snooping so they can target me with useful advertising,  I thought I’d give them a little treat last night:   They can watch the Bears beat Dallas!

(I’m a little slow with the electrical tape, if you know what I mean.    “If you’re not doing anything wrong,  why worry about what our Rulers can find out about you?”)

My Tribute to Tuesdays – and the ones who told us they won the election.     —   Enjoy the Bears victory!!!

“THORNS AND ROSES” FOR ADVENT

December 10, 2013

Thorns and Roses

I’ve seen a lot of pictures of football players with long stem roses in their mouths lately –   (see my last posting – Go Team!)      Part of me remembers that I never cut a rose from my garden without getting picked by a thorn, so I wonder:   How do our football players do it?   Do they have specially trimmed rose stems?

Roses have thorns.   Why?   Why that particular biological defense?   We are attracted to their beauty and then reminded of pain.

aug cont with We who are alive today are not the first to contemplate this frustrating mystery.     A long time ago St. Augustine said:   “God mingles bitterness with earthly pleasures that we may seek another felicity whose sweetness does not deceive.”

Felicity.   We all want a life of roses.   And so there is purpose in those thorns.

Candles 2nd week

In this second week of Advent we consider the very best that is waiting for us and the very worst that can happen.

On a very first and elementary level,  the Church tells us to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child … in the manger … innocent baby … Redeemer and Judge.

“Prepare ye the way for the Lord…”  we hear.   And “take that very personally,”  I teach my classes,  “because that Way leads right into your own heart.”

Yes, there are good and necessary things to do during Advent.   There are colorful and festive outward signs of Christmas coming, but we are reminded to be careful that our inward preparation leads us to the real Christmas, the real Christ,  who wants to give us His Joy.

This is everlasting pleasure, pleasure without bitterness,   roses without thorns.

I don’t want thorns for my family and friends.

34 – 24 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 8, 2013

34 – 24 –   Need I say any more?     Well, sure I do!

MSU logo

Great joy and excitement around here in Spartan Land!     It was really Three Games in One –   First time Ohio State had been shut out in the first quarter;  our #1 ranked Defense held them scoreless for the first quarter and a bit beyond.    We looked good for the first third of the game.   But Ohio State had a surge, then, and they looked like the tough #2 ranked team that they are.   And then Michigan State came back and took the lead with great energy and good plays and a good heart for victory.

We’ve earned some roses:

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You can learn a lot about football,  but you can learn a lot from football too.    Coach D’Antonio’s words of pulling together as a team,  loyalty, focusing on the goal, working hard, doing the right thing, and living with dignity and honor on and off the field meant so much more when we saw the results of those good attitudes  in action during the game.    These are “nice kids.”   These are good young men – none of whom were alive that last time MSU won the Rose Bowl!

Son traveled with friends to Indianapolis and was an eyewitness to the behavior and attitudes of the two groups of fans.    It was good to hear his description of the  MSU fans which I can summarize as innocent, joyful , and genuinely enthusiastic.

Of course football is important!

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And MSU fans know just how to celebrate a big win!

And, yes,  “Some couches were harmed” during the festivities last night!

NOT THE STRUGGLE I THOUGHT IT WAS

December 8, 2013

“Life” intervened these past few days,  and so I left The Spruce Tunnel with a thought hanging:  Maybe I should delete those last two postings about the death of Nelson Mandela,  I didn’t like them because I felt so out of step with what I was hearing on the “news” media.   but I had to leave for my class and didn’t have time to hit the delete button.

Well, during that day and later on I  learned that “real people” have thoughts that are independent  and quite different from what is broadcast on the media, and that was comforting.   In fact,  over the next few days I learned more about this man’s life and the troubling difficulties he represents.

I came to learn something.    Nelson Mandela and his A.N.C.  leaves the country of South Africa  in much worse condition than the people were under the system of apartheid.   Humanly speaking, the statistics are dire.   25% of children under six years old show clinical signs of malnutrition, for one example, far more than before Mandela’s reign.   If you’re really interested you can find more statistics like that across the board:  healthcare delivery,  unemployment,  cost of living, racism which is measurably worse. . . .

But I thought it can’t be just a struggle between the evils of apartheid on the one hand and, on the other hand, the evils committed by a communist-backed king of a large African tribe who learned the rhetoric of “reconciliation” after being “changed”  by long years of imprisonment.

It turned out to be more than that.   I heard South Africans interviewed.   I read political analysts.   I read some history.    The common complaint, the common source of South Africa’s downfall in the last twenty years is the takeover by the multinational globalist corporation/bankers.   Policies which help the globalists have been imposed on South Africans, in spite of their wishes as expressed in polls,  letters, demonstrations,  political action. . . .  It doesn’t matter.  With the help of Nelson Mandela, the globalists actually own the resources, human and otherwise,  of this beautiful country, and the people of South Africa are not doing too well.

The fact that communist/socialist/progressive goals coincide with the globalists’ goals are, in the end, just that:  coincidental.

 Perhaps we need to rediscover the warning given to us by President Eisenhower as he left office, his last great speech to a country he really loved.   Perhaps we could be begin to recognize the dangers of this “military/industrial/ corporate complex”   that he spoke of.

It’s a powerful enemy.   Opposition results in “disappearance”  and death and denial of resources.

But people are catching on in small parts of the world.  The people of the Ukraine this weekend tore down the statue of V. Lenin in their central city in a massive protest demonstration.

Message to my Rulers:  I’m just a little old lady, actually sitting in a rocking chair as I write this.  I’m voiceless and harmless, and I won’t live much longer.   And I’d like to stay here in The Spruce Tunnel for a while. . . so I’ll just sit back and watch history unfold.    I won’t learn too much from South Africa.   What do I know?

 

MOURNING THE STORY

December 6, 2013

(Cognitive Dissonance in the midst of the Revolution.)

History can be made

History can be made up.   As it’s made up,  the Story develops.  

Any narrative that enhances the Story is “programmed” into the communication system of the nation.  Objecting to that Story, then, is like touching the proverbial Third Rail.    

The Story is built up to enhance the Revolution.   Wherever the Revolution  advances,  the story is told and the “Transformation” of the people can occur.    (Everything for the “People.”)

The Revolution wins and takes on power and might, and Might makes Right. so no wonder whenever they take over a country the doctors and lawyers and engineers and scientists and  teachers and military officers are purged.    The educated and the older ones were witnesses to what really happened.

For the next few days we can watch the frenzy of revolutionary fervor unfold before our eyes.   Watch the self-conscious emotional pageantry presented to the world.   

Watch the honors we rightfully give to George Washington be extended over to a man who managed to stay in office for a long time.    All fathers of their countries are not alike. . . but then that’s nearing that Third Rail.

The Spruce Tunnel will not go there.

Truth is not alive and well  and we have a Story to learn and we have some mourning to do.

 

WHICH COUNTRY AM I IN?

December 5, 2013

Before I go to bed tonight,  I want to lay out my bewilderment in The Spruce Tunnel.

United States  #1 –   Major newspapers and news magazines published stories of racial wars  stirred up by the global world socialists,  usually in the form of communist-inspired violence.     The violence,  tortures, rapes, and murder were condemned.   The United Nations called a certain leader of this violence – and his wife – a terrorist, and their organization, the “African National Congress,” was named a terrorist organization.

That leader was put in prison, although his wife,  “Winnie,”   carried on the work, becoming known for  her special favorite method of torture,  the infamous “necklacing.”    I remember seeing, in a major news magazine  (Life?   Look?)  a photograph of a young teenage boy, hands tied behind his back, and an auto  tire filled with gasoline placed around his neck – and then lit on fire.   There were photographs of the bodies of others who had been victims of this.   I’m still sick when I remember. . .   It is said that “Winnie”  not only gave the orders but showed up and watched many of these horrific torture and murder sessions.

This couple was responsible for much of the murderous social chaos that lasted for many years, all in the name of “liberation.”    Hatred, they preached!   Hatred for our oppressors…etc., etc.      Black against white.   Female against male.   Poor against rich.    It is the way the socialists (or now the tamer “progressives”)   advanced their cause.

United States #2 –    I hear on the news tonight that this old man has died.   The same murderous communist-backed socialist whose organization was declared outlaw has now died.

And he is being called a hero.

Is it that our Rulers think The End Justifies the Means?     Is it that when you get very old and very sick you are forgiven everything?

Who changed the story?    Who is holding up these two as though they were role models for our children in school?   How do you think the families of the victims feel?

Perhaps propaganda trumps decency.

CICERO PAYS TRIBUTE THIS TUESDAY

December 4, 2013

As you may know, I frequently pay tribute on Tuesdays to that one fatal Tuesday, 11-06-12 —  a fatal blow, perhaps, if there are not enough Americans willing to engage in recovery operations.     I so much don’t want to keep paying tribute to  those who want to “transform”  America.    Perhaps I can end this with a New Year’s Resolution. . . .

cic orating

So today  my reluctant self will let Cicero pay tribute to their success for me.   Cicero was that skilled orator (and much more) of the Roman Republic who used to be well-known to American students when America still had a worthy and top-rated educational system.  (New reports from this week show that American students are now ranked last – “dead last”  one report put it – in education in the industrial world. )    Routinely, students were taught a smattering of Latin and a good dose of history, ancient and American.    I know this from my own family, and I know this from having random, delightful conversations with a black man who was raised in the poorest of poor places on the coast of Maryland – who had gotten all his knowledge from the school he attended.   Barefoot!     In the 1940’s and ’50’s.

But I’ll squelch my passion for pedagogy now and let Cicero speak:       (May you enjoy and consider what American students used to know)

cic head  “There is an old saying, gentlemen, among the merchants in the Macellum, that a fish rots from the head down, and if there is something rotten in Rome today — and who can doubt that there is? — I tell you plainly that it has started in the head.  It has started at the top.  It has started in the Senate.” 

(Loud cheers and stamping of the feet, as his words struck a chord.)

cic fish rotting

“And there is only one thing to do with a stinking, rotten fish head:  throw it out! . .  . But it will require quite a knife to sever this head, for it is an aristocratic head, and we all know what they are like!”

(Much laughter.)

“It is a head swollen with the poison of corruption and bloated with pride and arrogance.  And it will need a strong hand to wield that knife, and it will need a steady nerve besides, because these aristocrats have necks of brass;  these aristocrats, I tell you, are brassnecks, all of them!

“But that man will come.  He is not far away.  Your powers will be restored, I promise you, however hard the struggle. . . To you now falls the greatest test of being worthy of this fight!   Take courage, gentlemen.   Make a start today! “

And you can read on in the history of the Roman Republic that courage was found and the corrupt heads of the Republic were taken down, and the Republic was restored to its original purpose….for a time.    For a time,  because freedom must be guarded and continually fought for.

The Republic of Rome eventually fell, to be replaced by a long string of Emperors.  Rome lived under the tyranny of imperial rule, until, at last, that great civilization collapsed.

cic city rot

The history of Ancient Rome has much to do with our country today.  And if enough of us know this history – and take courage and take action – then we will not be condemned to repeat Ancient Rome to its bitter and horrific end.

 

 

 

REJECT MOUSE BRAINS FOR ADVENT

December 3, 2013

mouseIntellect is a wonderful gift to humans.

We humans get bored with superficial information;  we are made for deep intellectual thoughts that excite our imagination and nourish our souls.  Intelligence and education has nothing to do with it.    What we have in common is the ability to delight in ideas that help us confront truth and reality and lead us to greater understanding.   That is soul-satisfying!

wreath 1st sunday 70 During this Advent season I’d like to go beyond the superficial information about Advent  –  “what is Advent all about?”  —   and learn the deeper, vital, and more exciting reasons for this season.   I’ll share my sources with you later, but right now I just want to illustrate my point about “superficial”  and “deep.”

Superficial:    In some spare time recently I read a short to-the-point article about the “three comings of God.”  The author listed the three comings:

The coming of God in Creation;   the coming of God to Bethlehem;  the Coming of God at the Second Coming of Christ

He listed these and added a sentence or two about each one, and I thought,  Hmmm, that’s interesting.  Three times…  Check that off…   Okay, now I know.  A mouse brain could handle that.   And off I went to other things.

(I don’t fault the author.  He probably knows his audience; we do not habitually take time to think things through, so he offered no ideas to engage our minds.)

More deeply: 

man reading

(From a little book of advice to seminarians):

“We will distinguish (during Advent)  three comings of God into the world” –

1.  The coming of God the creator.  From eternity empty void had been awaiting the all-powerful Word that would create the world.   But we have continual need of God’s creative power to preserve and renew his creative act.  Hence we should recall our absolute dependence on  God.

Oh.

2.  The coming of God the Redeemer.  For thousands of years he was expected.  He came and the Church wishes us to draw him to our hearts.   But all have not received him.

Oh.     So much meaning in each of those phrases.

3.  The coming of God the Rewarder and Punisher.  At the end of time our Lord will come in the glory of his majesty to reward the good and punish the wicked.  In view of this coming we ought to rejoice, accept the trials of this life, and arouse our watchfulness.

Yikes!  I’ve not…quite…come up to this level of being.

It would take me ALL of Advent to understand these three comings.

I’d need the intellect of a human being to achieve this higher level of awareness.

Am I man or mouse?!!  

I can’t wait to learn more!

studying

I hope you will enjoy and appreciate those words in blue, too.

ADVENT – NO TRICK

December 1, 2013

None of us want to be tricked, right?   To find out that we’d been wrong?    To find out that what we had waited for turns out to be not quite what we’d expected?

November 30 – December 1

wreath 1st sundayThe season of Advent begins today, but I’m still making the transition from the end of the last Liturgical year  to the beginning of this new one.    Just as Christendom in Advent ponders the meaning of  Great Darkness longing for the Coming Light, so I am moving from a time of darkness and difficulty to, now,  this time of looking for the Coming of our Savior.

I’m quite aware that the Advent Wreath is a rather new custom,  brought to this country by the German (Lutheran) immigrants, and then adopted by others in this, their new country.  But even though this wreath does not have a long tradition in our Church,  I think it’s an appropriate symbol.   As one more candle is lit on each Sunday of Advent,  the light increases, just as the Light of Christmas draws nearer.   It’s beautiful.   It’s meaningful.   It’s a visual aide to our reflection and increasing insight.

Everyone’s experience with Darkness is a personal experience.  Everyone’s longing for the Light That Is Surely To Come  is a reflection of his own unique needs.

Here was my Darkness  —  in November.

SAMSUNGIt’s the pond in my backyard.     You don’t get an icy hard surface like that unless there are freezing cold temperatures,  a steady bone-chilling breeze,  and a light snow to find its way into the crevices of the ice. . .and your neck and wrists and ankles. . ..

That was the weather we had for a week after the big Midwestern storms of two weekends ago.  That was the weather we had when we lost our power due to those storms.     No electricity for five days.  No lights.   No heat.   No water.

“Tricked out of my Adventure”

A dark, dangerously cold house.   It could have been an adventure under normal circumstances,  but even my “circumstances”  were dark:    I had a mild bronchitis.   I had developed painful shingles in and around my right ear…(feeling somewhat like an ice pick jammed into the ear drum).   And I had a slightly broken right hand.

There was no “adventure”   in my feverish sensitivity to the cold.    No “adventure” in running in and out of the house to get more firewood for the fireplace or more heavy buckets of water from the creek for household use.   And my hand began to ache with the weight of those buckets and bundles of firewood and my ear ached more from the cold wind.

By the fourth day, I looked upwards and cried “Uncle!!”  – figuratively speaking,   but He didn’t hear me instantly.   Even another day had to pass.

And I began to really understand my weakness and vulnerability, my alone-ness, my Hope for rescue.     My need to get out of this Darkness gave me an acute longing for relief.

But how tiny were my troubles!   How small I am, compared to the Great Darkness that the world lives in.    How much greater is the need for Light  to bring rescue and relief to all precious, vulnerable human souls,  really and actually unable to help themselves.

With what great faith and hope we can enjoy these Advent candles as, one by one,  during these next few weeks,  we experience the Advent of the Great Light of God approaching!

When He comes we will not be “tricked.”

To be tricked is to have your hopes and dreams – and needs – confounded.

As the priest begins the actions of the Holy Sacrifice on the First Sunday of Advent,  listen to his Offertory prayer:     “To Thee have I lifted up my soul;  in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed. . .for none of them that wait for Thee shall be confounded.”

I will hope and wait and prepare for His coming, and no power outage, no sickness, no broken hand,   no tricks or subsititutions will trick  or confound you or me.    The future is indeed bright!

Light those candles!

Adveniat, Domine Jesu!

NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOO

December 1, 2013

I promise to write about Advent in a few hours….what can be more vital?

But for now…let me just mourn awhile.   How painful. . .

bear dead

. . . this intense afternoon of prolonged tension, of high hopes, hopes dashed, surprising misses,  unexpected calls – things the referees see that no one else saw….

Life – ugh.   You think you’re doing all right,  you think you did okay — and then someone points out something you missed and before you know it — the ball is taken away from you.

I knowIknowIknowIknow….   St. Francis de Borgia,  the saint who has his heavy hand on my shoulder,  caring that I don’t stray too far.   In his youth he really loved his country’s 16th century version of football.    And he tells us the reason that he gave up attending football games:     As he matured, he understood there was a bigger prize, a bigger game to win,  and he turned his attention to the Only Game In Town, and away from the lesser games.

And what did it matter in the end?  Does anyone in his country, today,  even remember the names of the teams that played in his century?    Do we even know which team was his favorite?

bear losing

Does it even matter?

We must not let the ball be taken away from us.

I suppose.