Archive for December 2015

A BRIEF ASTONISHMENT

December 31, 2015

The New Year, 2016

From a  thought inspired by GK Chesterton:   Here is the challenge –  “to be astonished at the world while at the same time feeling at home in it.”

We hear lists of the things that happened in 2015 and we each have our own list of memories.   With a bit of surprise,  we realize there is yet another whole year presented to us  in which more lists will be created.

A thoughtfully alive person will be astonished at what a year brings — and that a year brings anything new at all.   Possibilities!  Unknowns!  Challenges!  Opportunities!   Surprises, good and bad.

And always, always the fundamental suspicion that there is a God who cares about all the things we care about.   He leaves subtle hints of Himself sometimes, and pretty big hints at other times.   The hints are available for us to take up.

But what will we do with those hints this year?    What will  happen this year?     What things will befall us?     What things will we do?

Another year!

Astonishing that we have yet another year in which to feel astonished, if we so wish .    Astonishing that we are “quite at ease” with the idea of receiving another year.

“To be astonished at the world, and yet to feel quite at home in the world.”

Our world.  Our new year.    Ours for the taking.

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THE BABE AND THE HAZELNUT

December 27, 2015

 

They’re quite small —

Hazelnuts at chrstmas

Of all the nuts we can buy at Christmastime,  the hazelnut is the smallest. Maybe one third the size of a walnut.   Most people don’t even think about hazelnuts and other little things like that.

But at Christmastime,  something big happened to our world,  something “earth-changing.”

julian earth dawns

We understand that God is Love,  loving, and full of love for us;  and that He is Great and we are so small but He came down to Bethlehem with  power on our behalf.

We celebrate that first Christmas in many ways —  many busy, tiring,  schedule-disrupting ways!   —  and then it’s over,  it happened —

after christmas

The difficult things fade from our minds,  and  we have a few  good memories,  and now things slow down — slowly but surely,  things slow down.

The Church, in her wisdom for us,  gives us Twelve Days of Christmas in which to absorb all the things we’ve thought about and learned.  Each year we are given  time to process some hopefully more mature insights.

What was all this about?     We’re told, today,  that the world is just an unimportant third-rate planet, somewhere near the outside edge of a somewhat insignificant galaxy.  And the inhabitants of this planet?

Physical,  “galactic”  forces so great surround the “insignificant’  inhabitants of this earth — one of several  “species.”

A little while ago,  a few centuries ago, actually, but what is that in “cosmic” “galactic”  time?   . . .   a few centuries ago,  a lady named Julian sat and thought about just these things.

Julian and Hazelnut

She pictured herself holding something small — like a hazelnut — in her hand.  Small and fragile — she could drop it at any moment.    It could shatter,  and who would care?

She had been very sick and almost died — and who would care?

And she received the insight that the whole world lies like a little hazelnut in the hands of God.

Julian 4  and world

Just small and insignificant and breakable — and there are plenty of other worlds.   Who would care if this world shattered?

A shudder of vulnerability passed through her.  The world’s people are broken and sinful and confused, and can’t ever seem to do anything much about it.

S0 . . .   toss the hazelnut?

But the One who was teaching her these insights showed her Love,  the eternal Love that He has for mankind in this world.   And in His power,  He came to earth at Bethlehem to search us out, to invite,  to “seek and to save that which was lost.”   To seek us out.

Here is something St Francis de Sales taught me,  in his writings:   We always want the ones we love to love us in return.     The One who loves seeks to be loved in return.  This is what Julian of the  little city of Norwich learned too. That’s how much we mean to Him.  He wants us.

God won’t let that little hazelnut go.   He has the desire and the power to keep it safe.   And “all will be well for that little hazelnut.”

Julian and all well

“I shall keep my word in all things, and I shall make all things well.”

That plan to give us hope and assurance began at Christmas.   The Christmas Baby grew up and sought us out:

JESUS  and child

Small and fragile, understanding no more than a little child, He seeks us out and shows us His love and care,  and assures us that through Him and in Him,  all will be well for us.

Love came to earth to conquer evil and disorder and danger for us, and to assure us that — in Him —  we will be “all right.”

Here are some of the  words of Julian of Norwich —

     I saw that [our Lord] is to us everything which is good and comforting for our help. He is our clothing, who wraps and enfolds us for love, embraces us and shelters us, surrounds us for his love, which is so tender that he may never desert us. And so in this sight I saw that he is everything which is good, as I understand.

    And in this he showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand….

    In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? It is that God is the creator and protector and the lover. For until I am substantially united to him, I can never have perfect rest or true happiness, until, that is, I am so attached to him that there can be no created thing between my God and me.

    Sin is necessary, but all will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.

 

Something good to know during these Twelve Days of Christmas.

 

 

 

SILENT NIGHT – 2

December 25, 2015

 

The Silent Night Memorial Chapel:

Silent Night Chapel

It was a time of fear, political turmoil,   cultural changes,  economic uncertainty, the likely takeover of Europe by an emperor —  and yet a tenor, a bass, and a guitar brought forth one of the loveliest hymns in the Christian  world, on behalf of the actual birth of this world’s Messiah.

“Silent Night.”

The hymn testifies to the power of the Holy Infant to bring peace into men’s hearts.

I was in pursuit of that song tonight, I wanted to sing it with other people,  but I didn’t find it.  That was a minor thing.    I found the power and reality of the Infant Jesus, wanting, desiring, longing to commune with us.

Deo gratias.

Merry Christmas everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

SILENT NIGHT – 1

December 24, 2015

Christmas.

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It all comes down to midnight.    “when the night was in the middle of her course.”      One midnight, long ago, “when all things were in quiet silence.”  (book of Wisdom, chapter 18)

At midnight, in the still of the night, in silence,  the Christmas Baby was laid in a manger, in a shelter for animals, a cave, a stable, whatever.

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It was Jesus:    Victor, Savior, Conquering Hero,  King of All the Kings, come down to Earth in the guise of a Baby.

How perfect!

In the midst of a busy, bustling, striving,  fidgety world,  we often stop to look at a baby.

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An innocent baby gets our attention — a baby is so much outside   our usual busy activity, and is so much not a part of the concerns of the adult world.  What does a baby know of all the things that keep us adults on edge?   We look in wonder at the peaceful innocence.

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I took a walk one night at the end of a long busy day with too much to do,  too much to think about,  to much to worry about.   In the dark, along the edge of the streets, the Christmas lights around the neighborhood seemed to float in  the darkness.       It was a windy, slightly drizzly night, undecided whether to become good weather or bad weather.

And I took the worst photos ever  of Christmas lights as I walked along.   The wind was pushing me around and it was too dark to see where the edge of the road was, so sometimes I stumbled and the pictures aren’t too clear.

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But the lights drew my attention.

It was Christmas everywhere,  outside people’s houses and inside their houses.

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The “Christmas Baby”  has drawn our attention.   In the deep darkness of this evening,  everything was still,  and I heard only my own footsteps,  only my own thoughts . . .  which were slowing down now, after my busy day.

Soon all the preparation for the holiday will be over,  no more time to do “more,”  only time to experience the remembrance of Jesus, come to Earth to be with us.

sil

The long-awaited beginning of Everything.

 

TODAY IS LIFE

December 22, 2015

(A little posting of explanation for my absence) –

Almost finished preparations for Christmas.  Just a few more pieces to go:

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But I had a little setback.    Blindsided by a 5-year anniversary.

We think we  “know ourselves.”   But the “knowing”  is really just  familiarity.  After “many”  decades of life,  you’d think I’d know myself by now.   I thought I knew me:

Descendant of Vikings.  Daughter of a Marine.   Rough and tough tomboy, playing football and “war” with my friends.  Emperor Frederick II of Prussia was my hero during high school;  he’s the reason why I drove myself to manly excellence in academics and physical strength and  . . .  well,  flute.  I can intellectualize my way out of anything.  and I thought I was pretty well self-disciplined . . .  .

But I had an unexpected setback.  Blind-sided.  Emotionally.

The 5-year anniversary?    Is this:

Grandpa and Cooper

I write about Hubbie here.    I write about Cooper.    Five years ago,  one of them was just arriving;  one of them was just leaving.   An unexpected early arrival;  a very unexpected early departure.   (Again,  I chronicled all this in the November 2010 archives here.)

So I’ve pieced my life together;  reinvented my household, as all of us have to do from time to time.   Stayed true to the one who departed and “inserted” into my life the one who arrived.

That’s how December began,  with the residue of “feelings”  I had thought I had managed fairly well but had to wrestle with again.

And then I put some old photos up on the wall —

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Yep.   Me.   And Hubbie.    (A “few” years ago.)   December 21st is our Anniversary.

A lot of years were to follow on after that photo was taken.

And then it’s . . .   history.   Just history.

I was a history major at the university.  I still study history,  but somehow I didn’t expect my own life to become . . .  history.

So that’s where I’ve been lately – away from The Spruce Tunnel.    Perhaps I should get back in and get on with things.    Some busy cheery things have happened this month too.

Today is Life.

There are still a few more pieces to fit together in my puzzle.

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

 

WE DON’T LIKE BEING MOCKED

December 11, 2015

At least I don’t,  and the people I know don’t like being made fun of,  being mocked.   But mockery can be a powerful tool, so this is a photo-rant against such mockery:

The ongoing programmed invasion of the Third World, non-Christian cultures into the First World, Christian-influenced cultures – with the intention of breaking down the First World Christian-influenced cultures –  will continue on in the near future.

I don’t know what the outcome will be.  I’m a historian.  I’ve seen civilizations come and go.   I’ve seen what happens when good people “do nothing.”   I don’t know if there will be enough people today to rise up and defend their own cultures.

But I do know that good people who are defending their lives have been mocked.    We have been told by an  anti-American leader  that we, the American citizens,  are “afraid of women and three-year-old children.”  Remember that?

We are afraid to let these little guys “immigrate” into our country:

I  5 yr old

Okay,  he might be a little older than “three years old.”

 

 

Palestinian-girl-stab

Well, okay, that’s a pretty big knife.   She might be older than “three years old ”  too.

 

But how about another children’s class with  teddy bears and cute stuffed animals?

muslim-kids-animals

The video had been “removed” —  i.e. censored — off the media,  but the accompanying article described a class in which very small children were being taught how to hack off the heads of all kinds of “cute little stuffed animals.” And some  were “three years old.”

How about the “moms”?

Mom

 

Nothing to fear there?      There are moms;  such moms.

Ask the ladies:

Islam ask the ladies

The “ladies”  come with papers.  That proves they’re friendly, right?.

(Headlines today:  “ISIS found with passport-printing machines.)  Or as the media said, “may have.”    They  don’t want to scare us too much.

Or you can ask the Muslim-friendly leaders if we have anything to fear:

The three islamists

And you’d better know who the Muslim lady in purple is.  She rules the one who was placed in the office of the American presidency!

Do we have anything to fear?  You can ask the guy in the middle who is bowing really low —  oh, never mind.

O bowing to many

Can’t ask him.  He’s the one who mocked us in the first place.

This is the season of Advent.   We look to the coming of this planet’s Messiah,  the first phase of it and the second, final,  phase.  We hope to understand more during each annual remembrance.

The Bible, both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament  indicate that the Babe in the Manger had come down from Heaven as a conquering Warrior, into this Land of Doom,  this Land of Destruction,  and He will defeat all that has given us reproach and ruined us. *

And the Word of His mouth is like a two-edged sword.

I asked my class this morning to design a new kind of Christmas card . . .

We had a good laugh.

But we were not mocking.

{Advent}

 

  *     (see Zephaniah 3:14-18  and Wisdom 18:10-15 and Hebrews 4:12)        “Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory.

 

 

 

 

 

THE VOCABULARY OF HEADLINES

December 8, 2015

Short one today:

After reading headlines today from various news sources,  I began to think that perhaps the word “dhimmitude”  is not really understood.

One headline:  

 DHS Secretary to Hold Press Conference at Mosque Tied to Muslim Brotherhood:       Jeh Johnson to hold brief with imam tied to organizations with links to Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas

 

question mark . . .  does this man, this “secretary,” not understand the word dhimmitude * and how it operates?

 

Another headline:

Democrats to Attend Prayer Service at Radical Mosque
Former home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.

 

question mark  . . .  do they think they are serving “multiculturalism and diversity”  by ignoring their dhimmitude?   Do they know what that word means?

 

Then I moved over to a religious news service and found this headline:

          Dalai Lama: “We Must Dialogue With ISIS”

Okay.    He is a grown man and has chosen his religion.    It’s a religion that says (later in the article)  that  “each of us is responsible for universal harmony.”    

(Attention New York Post:    Here is an article full of empty “platitudes” if you’re still looking for some.)

These headlines:  “we must dialogue . . .”   Does he observe what “dialogue” means today?  Does he know what politically correct “dialogue”  is?

Let me illustrate:

two bull moose

 

Close up.   Head to head.  Eye to eye.  Unintelligible grunts and groans and meaningless platitudes.

How do you think their dialogue will end?

(Funny how the first “vocabulary word”  will ultimately lead to the next — providing we continue to excite ourselves with meaningless platitudes and slogans.   “Dialogue” leads to “dhimmitude”   which  dictates “dialogue”  which confirms the “dhimmitude” . . . . )

 

DECEMBER 7TH – AND ANOTHER MOVIE RECOMMENDATION

December 8, 2015

(An impassioned rant today)

This is what men fight for:    “Mom, hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball.”

And granddaughters.

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That’s my Grandpa and me, a long, long time ago.     Grandpa fought in WWI.         Navy:

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One of those men is Grandpa –  I think in the middle, back row.    He served on the USS Utah in 1918.  Transport ship.

On the deck of the Utah in the Atlantic.

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Swedish descendant of the Vikings.   I think he enjoyed his time in the Navy.

Then the ship was decommissioned   and brought to Pear Harbor.

USS Utah

There she is.  No longer seaworthy,  but doing her part in keeping the Navy strong and keeping American defenses strong.   Protecting grandchildren — as well as moms and sisters and wives and daughters.

She was used as target practice at the Pearl Harbor naval base.

Until December 7th,  1941.

shps blow

I hope children in school are taught the details of our military strength,  of the attack on us that day,  of the many men who lost their lives that day, and of the many thousands of men who rushed to sign up to defend our country in the Navy, the Marines,  and the Army (and Army-Air Force).

But I fear children have not been taught why we fought in those days.    There is no other reason why a generation or two of people, under age 45,   have not raised a mighty protest at the news last week that young women are going to be placed in Combat  situations.

Combat.   A fine waste of womanhood — because they can’t do it!   They can’t do what men do in battle.  Women have aptitudes and skills and courage and determination and certain abilities that are needed by any society,  and even in some places in the military — but they can’t do combat.

Unless you think that being a soldier just  means “pulling a trigger.”

The strongest and biggest, most well-trained women still have 40% less upper body strength than men.

The strongest, biggest, most well-trained women still have the lung capacity of a 50-year-old man.   Nothing wrong with 50-year-old men;  it’s just that we don’t expect them to do the same work as a strong, young 22-year old warrior.

Women don’t produce much of the hormone needed to be aggressive enough in battle (combat) situations.    There is a level of aggressiveness that is needed in battle — that would horrify most  peace-time Americans.

Our  Marines just spent many millions of dollars  (36 million)  to  determine whether women can perform as well as men in combat situations.      They can’t.     36, 000, 000  — spent on what our grandparents and parents already knew.    The Marine Corps also spent a lot of money to produce female infantry  officers.     No woman passed the course.

Shame on political philosophies which ignore human reality.  Shame on the nation that puts its women in “combat”  situations.   Shame on the society that dishonors its own women.    Shame on the political agenda that weakens our military readiness.    Shame on the generations who allow themselves to be indoctrinated into “gender neutrality.”

Men are important for certain things in a society.  Women are important for certain things in a society.   Men are not women.  Women are not men.

Mankind has known that instinctively —   but as we know,  instincts can be (almost) bred out of an oppressed society.    Political Correctness and Distorted Role Models are hammered into people.

December 7th – and a movie?    I would highly recommend The 13th Warrior.     Don’t fret that it is a classic tale written down in the early Middle Ages and handed down orally from centuries before that.   I suspect it’s based on actual history and it’s very relevant for today.  Perhaps even an antidote for the effeminacy that has been inserted into our society.

Watch it for the comparison of a civilized culture  (the Moors),  a half-civilized culture  (the Vikings).  and a primitive, rather uncivilized culture.    Observe the differences.

Sure, there is blood, gore,  battles, fear, death,  and  mysteries,  but there is also the defense of what is important to human beings:  courage, intelligence,  determination,   comradeship,  earned respect,   men of good character who communicate across cultures.

A brutal, savage attack brings out the best in the men and the attack is repulsed. . . . and civilization can continue to develop in that area of the world.

Best lines of the movie:   The refined and cultured Moor asks, “I don’t suppose we have a plan . . . ”      The rough Northmen:  “We ride until we catch up to the enemy and then we kill them all.”

That’s a virile, courageous answer.   That’s what’s needed when men are called upon to be defenders.     That’s what protects “Mom, apple pie, hot dogs, and baseball. ”   Or whatever is your way of life.

Women,   children,  families,  your tribe, your clan, your ethnic group,  your nation, your empire — whatever it is,  you protect it in order to continue on with the best your society offers.

December 7th, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day,  when America also was attacked — and men rose to the occasion in combat.

(Please don’t play the marxist conversation-stopper game:  “But what about the . . . .”       “But what about women, don’t leave them out; they can do things for the war effort too…”    Of course they can.   That wasn’t the point. )

Let us keep Pearl Harbor Day as a “Day of Infamy,”     yes,  but also a day to be proud of our fighting men who answered their country’s call.   Our enemies meant to defeat us,  but our soldiers pushed back and fought back.

I wish we would stand up and push back and fight back and take our country back.    If not, if we don’t blush with shame at out Rulers’ agenda for us,  to confuse us and weaken us  with their agenda of “gender neutrality,”  we’ll lose it all.

In the real world,  men are not women and women are not men.

 

 

JOHN WAYNE AND GOOD ST. NICK

December 6, 2015

JohnWayneI saw a small portion of this movie today,  between football games.    It’s called The Quiet Man, a classic,  and a pretty good study of character,  with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

john wayne pow

John Wayne plays an American who inadvertently kills a man during  a boxing match.   He comes to Ireland, his homeland,  to find peace, but finds Maureen O’Hara instead.   The two have a turbulent relationship at first, etc., etc.

In the “turbulence” and fighting right during the celebration right after their wedding,   her dowry of gold coins gets knocked over and spilled, but the new husband, young and proud, just wants to take his bride out of there, without stopping to gather the coins.

gold gift

She is distraught beyond reason, or so it would seem to us Americans.   After all, this isn’t an American tradition, so it’s hard to understand why she was so upset. She bewails all the things she will no longer be able to buy for her new home.   She will be poor, now, even in marriage.

A dowry.    Who would want to even marry a girl who is without a dowry?    It used to be a very important issue.   And so it was in the Near East, many centuries ago, when  three young sisters of marriageable age had no dowry, no hopes of  a decent marriage, and most likely, a life of  abject poverty and probably prostitution where they would be given money in exchange for their honor.   Their father was beyond hope for them.

It so happened that their bishop was known for Christian love and compassion and generosity.

St Nich golden bags

When the plight of this family of three daughters came to his ears, he one night, without letting anyone know,  carried a bag of gold to their house and threw it into the open window.  The first daughter now had a dowry to present to a husband.

He did the same thing the next night,  and the next.    In a sense,  he ransomed these three daughters from a seemingly hopeless future.

gold pawn

( This is why three golden balls are the sign of a pawn shop –  one temporarily sells one’s possessions, with the thought of “ransoming” them back again some day.)

There are many more accounts of this bishop’s kindness and self-sacrificing generosity.   His name is Nicholas.  We call him St. Nicholas, in one form or another,  and today, December 6th, is his feast day.

He is a favorite, even among children, and his Christian love  is often expressed in material gift-giving.   But what is really more important, to those with adult maturity,  are  the examples of his strong faith,  his keen understanding of Catholic teaching, his courage in the face of imprisonment by a secular world,   his  firm love for  people, and  personal kindness.  Those  are his gifts to each of us.

st nick with children

I wrote in the last post about working and being productive and useful — keeping that in mind even while watching football!

st nick and angels

The loss of a dowry in The Quiet Man and the lack of a dowry centuries ago when St. Nicholas was alive represent very real deprivation and dangers that many people face in this world.   There are material needs which Christianity teaches us to alleviate wherever possible.   And there are also needs for friendship, comfort, compassion,  encouragement,  teaching, counsel.

The needs are abundant.   “Work!  for the night is coming….”

St.  Nicholas’s time for working is over,  but what rich gifts of examples he left behind for us!

We give each other “gifts” at Christmastime.

 

 

 

THAT’S NOT NOTHING

December 6, 2015

It’s the Post-Thanksgiving Football Season now.        I’m not a “man”  and this  is not my “cave,”  but I live alone, so I CAN put a turkey in front of me . . .  in front of the TV.

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I began the season enthusiastically with football on my TV and knitting needles firmly in hand . . .

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. . .   and now  I’m coming near the end of the season – with football on my TV and knitting still in hand.

A couple of you have asked how my projects are coming.  Here they are:

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I’ve just about finished Cooper’s bear sweater – just the sewing together.   And I’ve started on a pretty  sweater for me.   Not pink.  It’s “Iced Orchid.”     Very pretty and soft.

Well.  And one more  –

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I did the green vest too.  Almost finished, just a few more stitches.   (Might take those buttons off and put different ones on.)

Uh —  I suppose this indicates I’ve spent a lot of hours watching football!

My great-grandmother would not approve of sitting in front of a television set, watching football games — and “doing nothing.”     (That’s her in the right-hand column somewhere;  Hilda Larsen.  Farm wife.  Hard worker.)

My grandma would not approve of me sitting in front of a television set, watching football games — doing nothing.   She was always busy and occupied.

My dad would not approve of me sitting in front of a television set, watching football games — doing nothing.    He had  very high standards for behavior and productivity.

So I knit.   That’s not nothing.   And I generally do housework during half times.  I clean things when the teams are taking a break.    Because I’m “driven.”       Hard work;  keeping busy;  be useful and productive.

I let my Friday class “loose” in their discussion last week.    I joined in, and the Advent discussion about Christ’s first coming meandered off into His second coming and what conditions will be like when He does come back.   These are Advent themes;  we were being “productive.”

And we discovered how lucky we have been.

We concluded that we have no experience with how bad things will be getting, soon perhaps,  and we were all struck with the realization of how very sheltered we’ve been in these last seventy years of upward material prosperity and relative peace — relative peace, because none of us have ever experienced war on our soil.  We don’t know what it’s like to be invaded by a foreign army.   We don’t even know domestic civil war.

We’re grateful for this.    I’m personally grateful because these many decades of relative peace and relative prosperity have given me time to learn; to reflect; to feel gratitude;  to prepare;  to discover what is serious about life; maybe to grow stronger in faith and character so that when things change for the worst,  I will not be surprised, but I will be ready to do my part and to be useful to others;  and to meet Christ, my Maker,  if the coming Bad Times result in my death.

So that’s why I watch football –  to take pleasure in some small things of this world and to show gratitude for leisure time,  while we have it.   And that’s why I knit and clean during the games – to show that there is always work to do that each one of us owes.

It’s not my great-grandmother;  not my grandma;  not my dad.   It’s   Jesus, my Lord and Savior, who said:

I must work the work of Him that sent me, while it is day the night is coming when no man can work.   (John 9:4)

So,  work!    Don’t do “nothing”!

“Work for the night is coming. . . ”     Oh, dear.   And that’s the first line of a wonderful old hymn.

piano happy

And now I want to go waste time at the piano!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RITA RIZZO: A WOMAN WORTH KNOWING

December 3, 2015

(A little interlude for those with enough humility  to   know that every honorable life offers something for us to admire and perhaps to emulate.)

This person could be a man or a woman,  the sex doesn’t matter;  it just happened that she was born a woman, and named Rita.

She was born into poverty, a broken home, and social ridicule.    But she lived in a time before people were taught to blame society, blame the “rich”  —  blame anyone because you’re a “victim.”   She knew she was pretty much on her own, and her life was her responsibility.

Her circumstances brought her into danger sometimes, from criminals and crooked people who prey on the poor.   She developed quite a feisty personality, outwardly, at least,  in defense.

But through a miracle of grace and by her own intelligence which gave her the sense that God is real and He loves,  she listened to her instincts and became a nun, which was the right path for her to take.

But it did not exactly lead to a life of “peace” in her new world.   She still had a  willful personality,  and the Church itself was going through a time of what has been called “auto-destruction”;  Catholics observing in horror what other (c)atholics were doing to the Church.      Modern liberals had somehow taken control of the direction the Church was taking.

Nevertheless, Rita Rizzo, who was now known as Sister Angelica,  had a strong sense of right and wrong and wanted to get the truth out about the greatness of the Church and what the Church really taught.   With $200, and a little sweat equity,  she began a  television show, broadcasting from out of the convent’s garage!

And now it’s known as EWTN, seen all over the world,  and she is known as Mother Angelica.  She’s had many strong disagreements with those who are strongly attached to the New Version of the Church, and yet on she went, not always winning each battle,  but the EWTN network survived, at least in some fashion.

“In some fashion” — because then she had a terrible and massive stroke which silenced her, and couldn’t always control the direction the programming was taking.   And then she had more minor strokes.

And now we hear that she is not doing too well.    One press release:

Mother Angelica

For those of you who understand the power of prayer,  now would be a good time . . .  for Mother Angelica.

a/k/a   Rita Rizzo,  aged 92.

“Into the Land of Destruction”

December 2, 2015

In the midst of our Christmas preparations,  that phrase,  “into the land of destruction”  that I quoted in yesterday’s posting,  got further clarification today,  regrettably.

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We are preparing for a worthy remembrance of the coming of the Messiah as the Babe in Bethlehem,  who, as it turns out,  is this planet’s only Messiah who is able to effectively (and eventually)  destroy evil, wickedness, sin, and death that is rampant in our world — also known as “the land of destruction.”   

This “land” destroys our souls –  or it can.     The Messiah comes to destroy the Destroyer.

An act of terrorism is an evil act of destruction, straight from the heart of mankind’s enemy.    Already this afternoon,  there were tweets identifying today’s Destroyers in San Bernardino.

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Not too far in time from this tweet came  a name:

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As news spread,  fellow “Destroyers” — those who want to invoke in us pain and fear —  were celebrating the news:

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Celebrating, that is,  and giving praise to their ancient desert warrior crescent-moon-god.

Invoking this crescent-moon-god to spread fear into the homes of the Crusaders.   Uh . . .  that would be us.

That would be Christendom, and all of us who though we may or may not be Catholic or even religiously christian,  still enjoy, by force of historic momentum,  all  the benefits  of once-Christan Europe.   Europe,  the New World,  and all the places where Catholic Christianity spread.

As much as anti-Catholic forces in the modern world wish to smear the reputation of the Church by inventing evidence for such things as “Hitler’s Pope,”    it would be much better to explore the close links between National Socialism and the anti-semitic Muslim world.  Closer to fact,  there is a “Hitler’s Mufti.”

hitler lus amin

Close ties.  Close cooperation.  Close planning.  Strategic operations linked.   Mutual material aid.    That photo would be Hitler and Amin Al-Husseini.

The Barack-Hussein person in our country,  his closely-held liberal media,  and anti-Catholics everywhere seem hard-pressed to find evidence of white, male, Christian perpetrators in today’s horrendous crime.    The Barack-Hussein person would like to blame Crusaders who are on “their high horse.”

The language is the same.  The sentiment is the same.

That’s all I ever want to write about this terrible event of Destruction today.

If I may,  I’d just suggest that we all begin to seriously heed the warning of Hilaire Belloc,  who saw all this coming in the early part of the 20th century.   Although he lived in a time of the rise of National Socialism,  he saw that the biggest threat to the West was the rise of militant Islam.  Once  again.   As in centuries past.

If we don’t take him seriously,  if we allow the Destroyers to sneak in with all the Syrian invaders –  as they boast that they are already doing! –   then we might as well join the Hashtag Crowd:

( h a s h t a g a m e r i c a _ b u r n i n g)

Get it?   Because they do.   And Ignorance is not going to lead to “bliss.”

It’s Advent.   Let’s prepare for the first phase of the coming of the Messiah, do Him honor,  and know He will come again to this “Land of Destruction”  and put an end to all that Destroys.

Christmas is serious business.

{Advent}

 

 

 

 

ADVENT PREPARATION — FOR WHAT?

December 1, 2015

So, it’s Advent,  and we put away the funky dark blue skies, as the photos in my last posting,  and look ahead to the birth of the Christmas child. . .

silhouette wisemen and swirly sky

 

I ended the last post with a reminder from St. Bernard of Clairvaux to carefully consider what we’re expecting at  Christmastime.    Or just exactly Who.  “Consider who he is that comes. . . ,”  St. Bernard said.

There is only one Messiah for planet Earth.  It’s a one-time event, and even though it was prophesied and  studied and anticipated for many centuries,  it crept up on us one still, dark night in Israel, and the Impact is still unfolding inside people, because it wasn’t just a Baby.

The Bible says it was the Word of God Himself, leaving His “throne” in one giant cosmic tearing into the physical universe –

  For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course,  Thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction. *

That’s how the Bible describes that first Christmas night.

leaping down from heaven

What came down to Earth and into the manger was a Fierce Conqueror!  A Mighty Conqueror!  Almighty God!    King of  Kings!      Judge of All Men.

And He came down into this Land of Destruction, with a sharp, two-edged sword, to defeat sin, wickedness, and death itself.

It was in the middle of a dark night,   just as He did long before on the Night of Passover, destroying  a world empire system that He would not allow to continue on, hence the death of all the firstborns.  It was midnight then.   It was midnight in the manger.

It is midnight, now,  once again, in this world benighted  and blinded.

So during Advent we prepare ourselves to properly remember the birth of Christ the Messiah, but keeping in mind, as St Bernard had said,  “… for what end He comes …,”  preparing also for the second phase of His coming to Earth.

Advent has become a time of buying gifts, buying wrapping paper,  buying Christmas cards, buying decorations,  buying holiday food,  buying holiday plane tickets,   and, oh, yes – remember to buy some purple . . .  candles.

purpple xmas

That will prepare you for the obligations of one year’s holiday.

bar dissolve er

The prophets of Israel had a larger, much more serious view of the coming of the Messiah.    Our Advent should match the knowledge they gave us.   The Church gives us four weeks;  but God gives us our lifetime, however long or short,  to come to terms with what Christmas means.

{Advent}

  •  Wisdom 18:14, 15

 

 

 

 

 

LEAVING NOVEMBER

December 1, 2015

Yes, good.    We’re leaving some dark thoughts:

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I must have been in a Deep Blue Funk in November,  more affected by the memory of Hubbie’s death than I realized.  I wanted to write about our last weeks together, I really did,  for they are not only sad, they are sweet — and, well,  very precious.

I wanted to write about the surprise miraculous premature birth of Hubbie’s first grandson —  whom we all acknowledge came early so he could meet his grandfather . . .  and so his grandfather could pass on to this tiny baby all the things that a man passes on to his sons and grandsons, just by being near, living and  breathing in the same air, holding on to each other, which most surely happened during Cooper’s time of nearness with his grandfather, in his grandfather’s hospital bed.

You can read about these remarkable times in the archives, over on the side.  You can even see them “holding on to each other.”  Just go to November, 2010.

I didn’t review all this though in this blog.   Not this year.  Son and I are still going through “adjustments” that I know are perfectly normal, but it just turns out they are darkly internal and personal.

Hence,  the Deep Blue Funk.   I can funk really well.  I can be good at funking.

And then it becomes . . .  over.   It lifts.    I took that deep blue photo from my front yard yesterday, as November was ending.   Son and I were outside in the dark,  doing “yard”  things.    Darkness comes early up here in the Far North in November,  and sometimes there’s still outdoor work to do.

I was doing this:

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Putting up our Christmas lights.  A little less elaborate than in years past,  but they’re pretty.  (Especially when seen in focus.)   I was surprised how the camera brought out the beautiful blue left in the very late twilight.

My eyes saw only a dark, black sky.   The camera pointed out the beautiful dark blue.

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So what do I “learn” from this dark November night?   That there is beauty from darkness.   Beauty out of darkness.  Beauty after darkness.

Beauty waiting for us, after this life.    Because Beauty is eternal and good and holy.   God the Creator is not “beautiful,’  He is Beauty itself.   As St. Augustine cried out, “O Beauty, so ancient and so new!!  Late have I (come to) love thee!!”

What else comes out of these dark November nights?    Advent!   This year as November passes,  Advent begins.

The first candle, of course.

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Hear the admonition of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of a few centuries ago when men’s minds were strong and vigorous.  He tells us to think about what we’re doing during this season of Advent:

 “Consider who He is that comes,  whence He comes, to whom He comes,  for what end He comes,  when He comes, and in what manner He comes.   This is undoubtedly a most useful and praiseworthy curiosity, for the Church  would not so devoutly celebrate the season of Advent if there were not some great mystery hidden therein.”

 

(Taken from “Sermons of St. Bernard on Advent and Christmas.” Easily accessible on the Internet.)

{Advent}