Archive for the ‘Christ the King’ category

HIS LIGHT IS LIFE

July 2, 2017

(Where I am on Sundays)

There are four Gospels in the Bible, each Gospel represented by an icon:  a man, an ox,  a lion, and an eagle.

Gospel 4

At the end of every Mass we are privileged to read and to hear  the first part of chapter one of the Gospel of John.   Every Sunday, over and over.      The words we hear each Sunday demonstrate why John is the Eagle, whose thoughts soar over and above this earthly life and point us to eternal things:

John 1: 4,5  (speaking of Jesus,  the Son of God,  the Word of God, come into the world)  (4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.     (5)   And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

His Life is the Light of men!

Heaven smaller

No other source for  our  Light-filled Life that enlivens and blesses our everlasting souls!

Made possible for us,  of course,  by the sacrificial  act of Jesus on His Cross,  which we can enter into, like refreshing nourishment for our souls  —

—  which is why I too enter into that sacrifice to the Eternal God –

ALTAR Only One Reason for the Mass

All for Him.

Sometimes there is an astonishing flood of holiness into a person during the Mass . . . a sense of that Light which Christ truly shares with us.

Verse 5  says   “. . .  and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

Of course I cannot fully comprehend what happens.

_________________________________________________________________

But that is very different from the world refusing to comprehend it.

A man can live in pleasure and ignore the great Source of Light and Life.  Men can turn churches into restaurants,   but it will not go well for the  world.

Things will end badly

Things will end badly.

In darkness,  confusion,   despair,  and death.

 

Gospel 4 in glass

( You can check with this guy.)

 

 

 

COURTNEY LOVE AND SATURDAY’S HOSPITAL VIGIL

June 10, 2017

It’s Saturday night, another anniversary of that one appalling Saturday a couple thousand years ago,  when Jesus, after having consented to His death, apparently abandoned  this planet Earth.   And why did He consent to die? )

I can tell you.
tomb

_____________________________________________________________

I’ve been confined to a relatively small space these last three days, a hospital room where Son and I spend our days keeping vigil. (See two posts ago.)   My life has been encompassed by a 20 X 10 foot room, filled with machines keeping our dear loved friend alive – and stable, so far.

Today every rare fluttering of her eyelids, every attempt to maybe cough,  every entry and exit point of the tubes and wires coming out of her body seemed almost painful to see.    Every so often as the nurses and patient care technicians would come in, my mind would shout out “Don’t hurt her, don’t hurt her.”      “Don’t bother her.”  Don’t . . . Even though they were there to help.

Love red    The word is “cherish.” Or “care about.”   “Be solicitous for.”    We all care about someone, maybe more – when life is normal – than we realize.

Conversely, each person is cared about and loved by someone more than that person might realize. Humans are precious.

It is horribly painful to think about all the beloved people who are in pain and terror and in danger today.     It’s horrible to think about . . . pain.     But, so, when I came home tonight, I read the news – anyway.

On this Saturday,   reminding me of the world the Savior had seemed to  abandon, I read about the demonstrations this weekend  against the establishment of Sharia around the world  and I read with great dismay about the rude and  violent opposition to those who were demonstrating today

Demonstrations not against Muslims   —   against Sharia.

They were demonstrating against the Sharia system that is anti-freedom, anti-free speech, anti-religion, anti-woman, and which allows and promotes child marriage,  sex slavery and rape.

But there were people who were trying to shut down their demonstration.   Here is one anti-demonstrator who missed the point:

lover to cr

People across the country  who are apparently  for  Sharia identify themselves as feminists, ACLU-types, and the ever present liberal-progressive-leftist-democrats.

Hate to cr

Perhaps such people didn’t read enough news today.

Perhaps they didn’t read about  all the young ladies who are subjected to the Ko* ran’s permission to rape girls and young children (provided they are “able,”  as they’re told) and women when they are spoils of war;    and the women  must comply or they are to be killed.    Right?

Here are 19 sex slaves this week who tried to refuse their rapists:

Islam-women-400x267

They were placed in a locked cage.    Then burned.     To death.

Surely it must have seemed as though God has abandoned them.

I didn’t want my young lady friend to suffer anything in her hospital room today.    My empathy was aroused.   I was primed to  hurt for these young ladies in a cage too – how they must have hurt . . . .   How their families must have suffered for them.

Don’t our leftists know this? Don’t they know what Sharia is all about?

poster islam dominate

 

The Courage of Courtney Love

Have these people  only selectively read that Ko* ran?    These leftists listen to a moslem woman named Linda Sarsour whose words mark her out as an anti-semite and a promoter of Sharia in the United States.    Courtney Love called her out as “a vile disgrace to women and all mankind.”

This is not the first time Courtney Love has had something important to tell her generation. Just as Kurt Cobain had much to tell us in his short life.   And that is pain is real and uncomforted pain leads to death just as surely as this “vile hatred” that comes from Sharia supporters also leads to death.

So.     Let me tell you why Jesus consented to His death; and why He had to die:    It was the ONLY thing that could address and defeat such pain and hatred (and indifference) and violence against someone who is loved and cherished by someone . . . .

From  the first Passover sacrifice to Easter to now, the remedy has been the same.

Jesus loving the world

His love overcomes.

Going to His love overcomes.

Reading the news will give you reason enough.

 

DAY 9 – RULER OF OUR RULERS

October 31, 2016

This is Topic #3 of my “Interlude”  in my angry countdown of days until the election results are in;  and though it’s  a happy interlude,  it has some bearing on our upcoming election.

Today is one of my favorite days in the entire Liturgical calendar  –

glory

It’s  the day the Church celebrates Christ the King !!     

I write often about our “Rulers,” meaning those unelected powerful people who make the important decisions about our nation,  our government, and our very lives.   They are super rich, super powerful, and they pull the strings of most of the officials that (we think) we elect.   They give some elected officials so much money and so much protection that these office holders sometimes seem to be above the Law.

But they themselves,  those “Rulers,”  are merely players in this world’s human drama and they  act only with the authorities and abilities given to them by our Creator and only for His purposes.

It happens like this:   The Creator, a Living Being Whom we know is of Love,  existed, always.    And since “Love is diffusive of itself,”  the Creator  created.      He “thought things   up”  and then He loved the idea of those things  and then He made them to be.

He is outside the created material world;  outside of it and independent of it.   You’re here because He first loved you, and then you were made to be.     It’s complicated, at least for us.

Things are as they are because He is the Designer and Creator and Presider, or Ruler, over everything that is.   And then, when His own creation defies Him,  He is the Savior of His own creation.    No matter how it appears to us in time,  it will all be His in the end.

Thus,  ultimately,   He is the  Ruler of all the Rulers;  He is their King, and that makes Him King of all the kings of the world.

No one has the ability to affirm this or deny this.     No one was there at the beginning.

No one but Christ,  the “Son” of God;   Christ the Right Hand of God;   Christ the King.

 

4. IOWA CAUCUS – CONCLUSION

February 1, 2016

 

So after the political contest in Iowa and I suspect after the political contests in the other 49 states,  I think this is what we will know for sure:

 

Questions Book

 

Because mankind cannot give itself the answers.

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

 

 

 

 

 

VIEW FROM A SPEEDING TRAIN — OCTOBER IN REVIEW

October 27, 2015

Normally,  I’m pretty unflappable.

But I’ve been “flapped”  by a lot of things lately.    It’s not Writer’s Block here at The Spruce Tunnel.   I’m writing a lot.  It’s just that by the time I try to post something, days have gone by because more serious issues have come up.   And I thought recently that these “issues,”  both public and private,   both in my personal life and issues out there,  have all kind of knocked me “off the rails,” as the saying goes.

The whole month of October has been like watching the world go by from the windows of a speeding train, ready to go wildly off the rails.

train tracksI’ll be all right pretty soon.   That I’m posting at all is a sign that I’m hanging on to the rails.

But meanwhile,  I’ve missed a lot.     I’ve missed writing about important personal and historical anniversaries and events . . .    Sometimes I say,  ‘Join me for a walk in the Spruce Tunnel,”  and then I show you pretty pictures from the Tunnel.  But now I’m going to say,   “See those black windows in the little train?   Join me for a wild train ride as I try to catch up with the world before October is completely gone.”

It all started with my birthday, at the end of September.  With my cake, specifically:   (with a darkened view out of those “black train windows.”)

 I remember it!      Beautiful, no?    (No.)     “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”    Not only was this the very, very tasty, rich chocolate cake that I wrote about previously, home-made for me,   but it was also “home-decorated.”     Yeah.     Beautiful.

It is the memory of this that sustained me through the following weeks.

October is a month of significant religious significance.  Here is a painting of a great battle —

Train Lepanto jammed ships—   wall-to-wall battleships at Lepanto, off the coast of Italy,  not very many of them Christian.   Yet another Islamic onslaught against Europe in their never-ending Wars of Expansion.    Europe won.    Otherwise Europe would be worshiping at the sign of the desert crescent moon god —  the image which got the young men at the time of the Maccabees into so much trouble.

The battle was won with the help of prayers and processions called for by Pope Pius V —  Saint Pope Pius V —  which included a call for prayers with the help of the rosary,  that great retelling of the Gospel and personal immersion in its power.

It is said that there was a business meeting at the Vatican on the final day of this battle, and that the pope got up from the table, walked over to a window, and said with great joy,  “This is not the time for business”  but for great thanksgiving and rejoicing, for the battle has been won.      This,  long before there were technological means of up-to-date communication.   He knew.

Train rosarySo, from the dark windows of that speeding train,  I was aware that October is the month dedicated to the rosary, and to its power.     It’s a serious dedication, meant to deepen our habit of prayer.

Then there was another anniversary that I watched, passing by without notice here:

Train fatima70,000 witnesses present in the fields that day,  and an additional estimated 20,000 who saw the Miracle of the Sun from the peripheries, from  windows in houses in nearby cities;  witnessed by believers and witnessed by very decided unbelievers, scoffers of everything Catholic,  determined to prove that a so-called miracle could be explained away by scientific thought.

But they couldn’t.   Of course we don’t think the sun actually approached the earth on that day,   but something happened that looked very much like it.    It was so much more than an optical illusion,  and given for the very powerful, fearsome mystery of it.    More happened that day to the people, to their clothes, to the muddy fields . . .   but I’ve written about it before, and the story is easy to find on a Search Engine:  October 13,  1917.   And the warnings accompanying the strange miracle.

Warnings which involve the dissolution of our civilization,  witnessed by “me”  as that black-windowed train sped through October, 2015.

Today,   the clear teaching of the Catholic Church has not changed,  but it is very much out of focus —  especially if you get your news from the entertainment-news media on television or through bloggers.

Train st peter'sSt. Peter’s is still there. . . but sometimes those within it can blur and obscure that spiritual authority and that moral voice which ought to be crystal clear.    “Those within it”  took part in a synod on the “Family.”     It was not about the family.    It was about “how far can we change church practice to make it resemble the socialist disruption of the family” — a necessary task,  because  strong,  intact  family units  get in the way of strong, centralized governments.

(That would be the old “divide and conquer” —    Divide the families into individual demographic groups, and then control each demographic group:  men versus women versus teenagers versus children versus babies and above all:  parents versus their own unborn children.    Then make it all “fun” and “modern”   — Promote  sexual fun and liberation,  sexual immorality of all kinds,  sexual envy, sexual perversion, and sex-without-consequences.)      Presto!!   No strong  families!!

(Uh,  you have read the Communist Manifesto, haven’t you?   The Humanist Manifesto?     They told us about all this ahead of time.  They needed to break down society before they could “transform” it.)

Not a pretty picture from out of those black windows . . .   but if the train goes fast enough,  we won’t be too troubled by all this.

I was thinking of removing the Fukushima links from the right-hand column.      Nuclear power plants are an expensive and  suicidal way of getting “power” but no one seems to mind very much.   How about the results of all the accidents around the world,  poisoning, now, our rivers and our ground water?  how about the mind-boggling ongoing radioactive pollution spreading out from Fukushima?   How many October stories told us about the death of fish and mammals in vast areas in the Pacific Ocean. . .

How about a dolphin —

Train dolphin deadPoor thing.    Lots of other specimens that look just like him.

It isn’t only the oceans at our feet:

Train Skies PoisonedMore and more people are photographing their skies above,  stripes of fuzzy white trails, sometimes intersecting,  sometimes curving  (all this against FAA laws);  sometimes analyzed and examined for their chemical and heavy metal components…  But we’re not really allowed to do anything about it.    The Project is too big.    Meanwhile — breathe in that aluminum.  And cadmium.    And barium.    etc.          Shhhhh.

Then I saw China’s  “Practice Cities” —    Little areas built in China, with great care and accuracy,  for Target Practice!

china targetsSatellite view.   Nicely done.    They’re practicing   b* om * bin *  g the Eiffel Tower?   An Interstate exchange?   And then “America”  says “You’d better not use those islands in the South China Sea” — and they did –  and then . . .   nothing.    But three Chinese warships have been invited to a harbor in Florida.   Act of good will.       Inscrutable.

I saw, from this speeding October train,   ongoing acts of violence against Christians and Jews:

Train Joseph burning

I thought this view was “odd.”    Sad and odd.    This is the tomb of Joseph — you know,  Joseph of the Coat of Many Colors?   Joseph,  the Patriarch who saved Egypt and the surrounding Middle Eastern area from the severe seven-year famine.    Joseph,  whom God appointed to be the protector of the Israelites during this famine, and thus assure their continuing existence.

What was odd is that I came across a news article I had printed out several years ago.   Same thing.    Same Islamist hatred against Jewish  shrines.      And other historic shrines and archaeological sites.    I understand  Palmyra lost some valuable historic sites. .  .      The ongoing War of Expansion.

These people are still “in the way”  and so there is a new “meme”  going around.    See if you can catch it from the two following photographs:

STAB -school-lessonsSo you get instructions,  lecture and visual aids.

And students:

I want to STAB

Nasty view from out of those black train windows.   I take offense at this.     Two people who are very near and dear to me,  two people in my own family, whom I love very, very much . . .  are Jewish.

The world, in general,   does not take offense at this, though.     Or maybe they have lost their moral authority,  their sense of right and wrong,   their spiritual strength.

Maybe we haven’t reached a Tipping Point yet.    I wonder about this.

When I went to church this weekend,  I didn’t know that just a few hours later,  others like me would be going to church too,  in Syria.   Only during their Mass,   as people were getting ready for the actual Communion,   a bomb was lobbed onto the roof of their church building.    400 people inside.

The roof held, and only a few people were injured.    Had it not held, it would have been a massacre of great proportion.    People, just like me,  doing what I do.

Here are some words of the report:

OCTOBER 26 – A mortar shell last night hit the Latin church of Aleppo dedicated to Saint Francis, in the Aziziyeh district, while mass was being celebrated in the building. The grenade, coming from areas held by anti-Assad rebels, hit the roof, tearing its dome, but did not penetrate inside the church, . . .   “Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, the apostolic vicar of Aleppo, said that ‘if the grenade had exploded inside, there would have been a massacre.’”

So,  things are getting dangerous,  because that’s only one report of the almost daily attacks on Christians.

I didn’t even want to look outside that “train window”   and see the Invasion:

Death of EuropeA small portion through Europe’s fields.

They leave behind tons of garbage and throw garbage and feces and obscenities at the relief workers:

Mig Iitaly Austria dump

This video and others like it made the rounds in October.

Look what I stoleHe is boasting about the things he stole from the stores in his “host” nation,  the one that invited him in.   On the table in front of him,  obscured by the black frame,  are a half a dozen or more  iPhones.   Proudly stolen.

I take this one personally too —    It happened this month in Sweden:

All your women belong to usThe Islamist is shown hitting the Swedish woman,  then knocking her down and kicking her,  injuring her severely, as it turned out.     The video that this photo came from says:  All your women are ours.”

Want a European video?  I think I can make it happen.  A short one:      It’s here,  if you want to see what happens when you realize you’ve “lost”     —     I think it’s called “Meanwhile, in an average German city.  ”    https://youtu.be/-VJyKRwQHHM

Well,  whatever,     Civilization rose on the Natural Law formulated by the Greeks, and consequent understanding of Natural Morality and Society and Politics administered by the Romans;  then fully developed by Judeo-Christian moral foundations, and brought into being by Christendom.

Toss out any of this,  reject Christianity, for example,  and then civilization – civilized life, as it’s commonly understood — has no leg to stand on.  Anything goes.   Might makes right.     You lose.   Even if you’re one of the Powerful,  because  the Powerful always eat their own.    Anything goes.

But to preserve what is familiar to us:

“Itaque fratres, state : et tenete traditiones, quas didicistis, sive per sermonem, sive per epistolam nostram.”

The operative word being:   sta’te    (two syllables)   —  Stand fast!       (The above quotation from II Thessalonians 2:14)

Stand fast,  hold fast to the teachings that have been handed down to us;  so things don’t fall apart.

So that was my October.    Flapped.

I’ll get off that train now,  and turn to other things, closer to home.   Domestic affairs.   Domestic treasures.     Watched over by Christ the King,   whose feast day we just celebrated.   The King is not absent.   Viva Cristo Rey!

Time to re-watch the movie:  For Greater Glory.    Pretty difficult scenes from that train too.

MARTYRS, THEN AND NOW

September 16, 2015

“There are many different forms of martyrdom.”   I’ll probably start a few more blogs in the future with that sentence,  but for now I’ll be writing about “the usual”  — giving up your life because of your faith in Christ.

I’ve missed a lot of important dates on the Church’s calendar.   Not in my private life,  but here in The Spruce Tunnel.   They’re actually important dates, and I’m sorry I haven’t shared them with you.   So today,   I’ll look at the man who is on our calendar today:  St. Cyprian.

cyprian 258 ad

He lived a while ago.     He lived in North Africa,  priest and bishop,  witness to Christ,   shepherd of his people,   scholar, writer.     (d. 258 Anno Domini.)

Of course, he attracted the attention of his Rulers (the Roman government).   Uneasy about their power,  they regarded Christianity with suspicion.    The Emperor Decian and the local governor under him,  Paternus,  ordered all Christians to make a “patriotic act”  of sacrificing to idols.  These were gods that most of the Romans didn’t even believe in anymore.

Nevertheless,   St.  Cyprian must refuse an act of sacrifice to the cultural gods,  sham ceremony or not,  symbolic or not.

The result is his arrest, torture, questioning….    Then he was taken to the nearby Mediterranean coastline of northern Africa,  Carthage area.     And beheaded.

cyprian

North African coastline.   Beheading.    Beheading a Christian just for his faith in Christ.

We’re all familiar with the long line of men in orange jumpsuits, marched along this same coastline,  with men in black behind them, carrying knives,   forcing them down into the sand,  and  then beheaded.      Just for their faith in Christ.

Cyprians today

These modern martyrs were simple, law-abiding employees,  and gave no one any trouble.    They were just Christians.

Recently an African man spoke out and said that he recognized his friend among the orange-suited men photographed in that line.   He said:  I know him!     He was not a Christian then,  but he watched as  his Christian friend was arrested, jailed, tortured, and killed, and all the time would not give up his faith in Jesus, Who died for him.    He would choose Christ too, even if it meant his death.

This man witnessed his friend’s courage and steadfast faith and said he wanted that assurance in his own life.  He wanted that strong faith and love for God;  and so he became a Christian.

And so this man became part of the “line-up.”

cypr skull

St. Cyprian’s feast day is shared by St. Cornelius who lived during the same time.    He was elected to be pope in around 250 A.D., although political turmoil around Rome gave him a rocky start to his position.

cyp corneliusThe chief controversy in the Church during his time involved the question of what to do with people who denied Christ when they were arrested because they  were so afraid of torture and death;  and then when the danger was over,  should these  people be allowed back into the Church,  no questions asked?    Could  they re-enter the Church?    Should they?    Ever?

It wasn’t an idle theological question.     St. Cyprian chose mercy for these people, after sincere repentance and a period of penance.   St. Cornelius backed him up.   A few years later St. Cyprian would be martyred.   And a few years after that,  the pope was arrested:   St.  Cornelius would join St. Cyprian and  many others in martyrdom.

Many, many others, even down to today, along the northern coast of Africa.

We’re not finished with our martyrdom,  there, here, then, or now.

St. Paul wrote to us Christians:   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.   (I Corinthians 15:19)

Yeah.   It’s not this life that we must save.    If we live only  to try to save this life of ours,  we’ll lose the everlasting one in the next.   That’s what Christ told us.

Martyrs are not “miserable.”

“RIGHTLY DIVIDING” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – 21st CENTURY STYLE

September 14, 2015

(I don’t think we’ve fully entered into what historians will call the “21st”  century — it does not yet appear what the full consequences of the 20th century are.  But I’ll go by the calendar.)

judge agreeableJudges deserve respect.  Of course they do.    But if the man who is appointed to be judge knows nothing about civil law,  ethics,  a just society,  and the objective  and unchanging principles of human philosophy,  he has, then,  only popular opinion to be  stand on.   Or: “He is being responsive to the changing times,”  which, of course,  means he has only popular opinion to stand on when making his “decisions.”

Popular opinion is not a benign force.   It evolves out of the power some people have to influence others,  and  money that exchanges hands to create that influence;  and it produces confusion, unrest,  discontent,   changeableness,  servitude,   loss of choices, and eventually loss of freedom.

And someone or someone’s agenda is usually behind the development of some “popular opinion.”

Judges left(I don’t lean that way.)

Listen to an American Supreme Court judge writing about a matter of supreme moral importance:    “The core of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe,and of the mystery of human life.”       (Justice Kennedy) 

Yep.  Pretty much covers every topic that might come up.

You get to define things the way you want to.   (Except if you disagree with these people.   No tolerance for you if you disagree.  And, as Kim Davis found out,  no freedom either.    She will never be a quiet, anonymous citizen again.   She will always be watched by the media “in case” she acts against popular opinion again.  She will never be really safe.   The most vile, the most horrid, the most pornographic and violent threats have been made against her.    )

Again — this is what you have to believe:  every man for himself,   every man his own god,   and there is no way to discover objective moral standards that keep our society safe and strong:         “The core of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe,and of the mystery of human life.” 

Here is what another American Supreme court judge commented on that (majority) opinion:   This “mystery of life” principle kicks the struts out from under the rule of law and makes it impossible to resolve conflicts of rival moral visions — except by imposition of power.     (Justice Scalia)

No.   Way.   To.  Resolve.  Conflicts.

“Except by imposition of power.”

That would be “power over you.”   There is no appeal if you’re on the losing side of the conflict, unless you have enough to offer the ones who are currently in power. 

“Imagine a world where there is no”   Ten Commandments?      No.    Better we should all be “rightly dividing”  the meaning and application of an objective set of Commandments that transcend human intellectual invention.

That’s a lifetime of humble work.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM

July 5, 2015

“SIC TRANSIT”   —  (So passes….)       I wrote about my baby cardinals nesting on my front porch light (“Henpecked”),  from their hatching to their sudden going away;    going on to a presumably happy adult cardinal life.

Bluebird  I’ve been watching another nesting family just ten feet outside my front door, in a birdhouse in a small tree.    I’m fairly sure this was an Eastern Bluebird.  The blue wings were s shimmering blue,  very pretty in the sunlight.   Her eyes, seen through binoculars, were larger than expected and quite vigilant.   She was busy and attentive and faithful to her eggs and then to her hungry babies.

By the end of a few weeks I was really rooting for these little ones.

During these weeks we had Midsummer, the celebration of the Summer Solstice,  when the sun ceases to “move” northward and begins its southward “journey” away from us in the Northern hemisphere, a movement which will eventually bring the longest, darkest days.

My Scandinavian heritage makes me very aware of this time of year.

Bonfire

Bonfires were lit (for various reasons,  depending upon myths and legends)   My Grandma’s Finnish word for this is kokko, with the K’s sounding more like a hard g sound.      I remember this time of year as a time of fun outdoors in the dark,  with roasting potatoes, hot dogs, and marshmallows in the little family fires dotted all around the main bonfire.

By the time I was young,  the bonfire had drifted later to coincide with the Fourth of July —  but the meaning was the same.:  The Year Is Dying!     From now on the days will become shorter, with respect to the amount of daylight.   I don’t believe in evil spirits, witches or dragons  (well, maybe dragons;  who knows?) that rule this darker half of the year,  but the darker things of life must be accounted to.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDUM

That’s the common Roman phrase.   No matter how much we achieve in this life, the glory of the world will  “pass away”  with our own passing.  Our lives, like each year,   reaches a glorious climax with warmth and sun,  but then turns the corner at the Solstice and approaches its own deep darkness of winter’s death.

Sir Walter Scott once wrote:

               And come he slow, or come he fast,

               It is but Death who comes at last.

No, that doesn’t have to be gloomy!   It doesn’t even have to be scary.   It is the way of all things.  We all have a cycle.

My thought is:   There is a world beyond, so live now in the company of those who live in which  “world”  you would want to live in forever.         (As you can see,  I am no Sir Walter Scott with a poetic tongue.)

Let me try it again:   If you want to live forever with the God of Peace and Love and Beauty and Safety,  then live with Him here,  now.      If you don’t care about Him now,   then you certainly won’t live with Him then.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM

Avum:  the birds.   I came home one day to notice more debris on the bricks in front of my porch, and thought   “I’ll have to sweep those bricks again soon!”

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But there was something “colorful”  about that debris —

Upon closer inspection:

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Small blue feathers were scattered all over.   Too soon for molting.   This is a sign of tragedy.    Death to the little birds before they even had a chance to finish their little lives.

So soon their little lives “passed.”

In their place,  an empty hole —

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That was their home.   For such a little while I watched that birdhouse swing with activity when Mama came home to feed the babies and when the babies got big enough to make it swing by themselves.

It feels “empty”  around here.      Empty-Gone.

Humans have always known that our lives are short and we are all just passing through.     When the elderly Patriarch Jacob met the great Pharaoh of Joseph’s time,   the Pharaoh asked him:  “How old are you?!” 

Jacob replied:  “The days of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years . . .”   (Genesis 47:9)     Pilgrimage through life.  Sojourning.   Traveling.   Passing through life.

SIC TRANSIT

We’re all    “transiting.”      There is much to enjoy here, birdwatching and bonfires,   but we enjoy such things as we pass by, watching “out the window”  as the vehicle of Time carries us on to the next world — a happy place for those who serve the King who is waiting for us.

PALM SUNDAY TIME AND NO MORE TIME

March 29, 2015

This will be a different kind of Palm Sunday story.   I had a brush with physical weakness today,  which made me think of time,  the use of our time, and time running out.

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Just like the best known image of the Palm Sunday event seems obscured through the palm branches,  my  Palm Sunday was obscured by a curtain of amazing physical weakness.

Palm thru donkey

I wasn’t sick with a sickness,  but my body was more than half asleep,  it was numb and vibrating at the same time,   my eyes burned,  and I was suffering from very low blood sugar, alternatively feeling faint and feeling nauseated.

Kneeling, sitting, or walking,  whatever was close to my hands,  I clung onto for dear life,  hoping not to attract attention by whapping down onto the floor.

The words of the Gospel that were read to us, the words of the prayers and of the sermon all seemed far away and rather muted  —  but here’s what occurred to me:   I knew the story well enough so that I could dimly follow along and reaffirm my choice to accept my King — but it might not have been that way if I hadn’t learned the story well, when I could, when I was feeling okay.

The event (of Palm Sunday)  happened almost two thousand years ago, and  I’m sure there were many in Jerusalem then who were totally unaware of what was going on.

And there were those who chose to be indifferent;  that is,  uncaring or even hostile to  “all that noise”  coming from that crowd over there.

Palm  Branch
But there were those who went close to the event, the ones that threw palm leaves or olive branches or even their own outer cloaks down on the ground so that the King could ride over a royal pathway.   They expressed whole-hearted enthusiasm for what this Man could be.

Make no mistake!   That Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey   (an ass)   meant one thing to the people of Jerusalem:   This man Jesus was entering Jerusalem just as the great King Solomon once entered,  also riding on a donkey,  cheered by the crowds and received by them as their King.

It was His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Triumphal?    Yes.   And no.   Yes,  He entered Jerusalem, received that day as  King.    But no,  not yet fully has the world realized he is King, that at His name “every knee shall bend, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is King.”

That time is coming.

Meanwhile,  we are given time to choose our response.  Oblivious?   Indifferent?   Hostile?     Welcoming and cheering?    Joyous, hopeful, accepting  . . . ?

The crowds in Jerusalem had a chance that day to choose where they stand with respect to Jesus.   And every successive year of remembrance of this event gives us all another chance to choose where we stand . . .  until our years run out . . .  until our time runs out.

coming

Until we have physical difficulties and our senses our clouded and there will be no more opportunity for us to wonder about the coming of the King — and its implications for our everlasting soul.

Rejoice!    on Palm Sunday,  while we can.

GIFTS OF THE MAGI

January 13, 2015

Today is the Octave of the Epiphany.  We draw our awareness of the Epiphany to a close today ,  with hopes that we know more, now,  on this Eighth Day than we did before this season began.
This revealing, or epiphany, of who the Christmas Baby really is was given to witnesses in three separate events, and there is a threefold trinity of meaning to plunge into.

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In the first event,  the Wise Scholars from the East witnessed the special Sign in the heavens above and followed it to the One the Creator had sent.   They came, they adored and worshiped Him.   And they paid homage to Him with Gifts.

Gifts that acknowledge  the true identity of the Holy Infant.

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(Why choose gold?)

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(Why choose frankincense?)

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( And why choose myrrh?)

Knowledge of these three gifts would instruct our minds.   The understanding of their meaning would mold and shape the essence of who we are as individuals.

The three gifts will set the pattern for our behavior as Christians.

So I do not put these facsimiles of the gifts away with my Christmas things,  because I’ll have to honor Him with  these gifts too in the coming year.

CHRISTMAS EVE – “GOD REST YE MERRY”

December 25, 2014

“God rest ye”    —  God gives rest to you all.

Gentlemen.  Ladies.   Sons of Adam.  Daughters of Eve.   Rest and Comfort comes at last.

stable

“Comfort.  Comfort ye my people.”  (Isaiah 40:1)

Does any other ruler, does any other god care what goes on inside of us,  inside where we  laugh, love, fear, worry, live with ourselves?

I would   look deeply into the eyes of this Child.    Deep,  dark;  knowing me;  eyes of eternal peace.

Eternal God comforts ye;  God rest ye merry.

And who this night first received the comfort?

night light

Who did?    The least.  The lowest in status.   The poor.  The ones who worked alone .. in darkness.

Whoever you are, you are not lower or more unworthy than they.     But God knew them and He knew their work.   Their work was to guard and to protect the flocks outside of Bethlehem,  not far from the Great Temple in Jerusalem.   The sheep and the lambs they took care of were for the daily sacrifices– offered to God for our offenses.

Comfort.  Rest ye now.   The Lamb has come to be the one and only Sacrifice needed to bring the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve into Eternity.

 

Deo gratias.

 

 

MY DEFORESTATION INTERLUDE

December 4, 2014

     –   Just briefly – because my “interlude” is taking all my attention:

Tonight is my last Bible History class for the year 2014.      I’m giving them a Surprise Exam on “Lot in Sodom.”    (This ought to be interesting.  We don’t generally have exams.)

In preparation –

Jesus reading           –      I’ve been studying and reading and learning all I can.

(That would be me, among His hearers.)

 

 

CENSUS-TAKING ON ALL SAINTS DAY

November 1, 2014

 

There are many reasons to take a census — and one of them is to Collect Identities.  Taking the Roll.  See if everyone is there.

All Saints Day –   

saints in heaven

You already know that your soul doesn’t get destroyed when you die, right?   It goes somewhere,  one of two places, as the Creator of your soul decides.    Today, on All Saints Day we honor those souls which are in Heaven forever.

The Offertory prayer instructs us thus:  The souls of the just are in the hand of God and the torments of malice shall not touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise they seemed to die,  but they are in peace.  Alleluia!      So important is this to us  that the Church has said we must collectively and publicly honor those saints in Heaven once a year, on this day.

So who are the ones in Heaven?    I found it fascinating to hear one of the Readings appointed for today.  It comes from the last book of the Bible, and it says that the human occupants of Heaven are a “great multitude”   and then  a kind of Identification  Census is given to us:   The saints in Heaven  are described as belonging to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.    The Tribes of Israel represented God’s  people, of course, before Christ;  and after the Resurrection and Ascension,  God’s people are all kinds of humans who trust in Christ as the Messiah,  their Savior.  The  multitude seen in Heaven are all the people who belong to God.

So, sure, we know that at the Coming of Christ, when all this world ends,   all God’s people will be taken to Heaven and will be known and accounted for — but how interesting that there was also at Christ’s  First Coming,  another Census taken.    The Roman Emperor decreed that a Census be taken of all the people in his Empire.    We know that;  that’s what required Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem at a seemingly inconvenient time.

Taking a Census is a sign of   authority over a population.     The  King  wants to know His own.       We humans know about all kinds of “kings” —   why do they want to know us?     Well, today is All Saints Day.   Look again at the words of that little prayer:   “. . . and the torments of malice shall not touch them. . . .”

No malice.  No torments.   No torments coming from malice.    What, then, is waiting for the saints who are in Heaven?

Beatitudes

Goodness;  mercy;   comfort;  their longing for righteousness – fulfilled;  belonging;   peace and safety,  love and joy — everything in the whole Kingdom is theirs!

The Beatitudes come from the Gospels in the Bible,  Matthew 5, specifically.   It’s fitting that we heard them read today.    The saints in Heaven possess all this in perfect fullness.    God is good.     We can only hope that our names will be found on that final Census.

Deo gratias.

 

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE – TO OUR PAST

September 16, 2014

It’s Tuesday,   time for a tribute to the hithertofore unimaginable,  but I think I’ll take a different tack today.

Rays from Cloud

I took this photo sometime this summer when I was on the road out West.   I took it because it was “pretty,”  but when I  saw it on my computer screen,  I really didn’t know what it meant.

The cloud was between two storms,  heavy rainstorms as only the Great Plains can give them to us.    It’s a heavy cloud at sunset, so is this a portend of the sun setting on us?  The ending of important things?

Or is that bright sunbeam a portent of things looking up?   God is “up there”  and in control,  and if we keep our minds on Him,  then all will be well through the coming night.

But for God  the human race is doomed.   Left to our own ways,  the default position of the human race is a self-seeking state of rebellion against all that is good.    We seek to have Power Over others for our own benefit.  We see to rule, but most of us are ruled.   We tyrannize but most succumb to tyranny.

This brings us to politics.

Historically speaking,  Christianity gave to us the possibility to break that pattern of relating to other people:   to dominate or be dominated.  Good Christian kings — and there were many — knew  they were subject to the same laws of God that everyone else is,  and we all must account for how we carried out our duties..

Both king and peasant stand before the same stern judge.

The Founding Fathers of America seemed to understand this,  that Christ is King over All.
Free S  nation's duty

The Founding Fathers had some concept of the dignity that Christianity offers to all men, and they knew that a government governs best under the laws of God, equally applied to both ruler and ruled, governor and governed.

The American colonists perceived that they were not being treated with dignity, and they were not safe under the tyranny of the court of King George III.

Geo III DC Occupier
The wisdom of the Founding Fathers together with the courage of the colonists created a new nation which, at the outset,  intended to throw off a foreign dictator and be guided by the principles of Christianity which keep a nation safe and strong.

Bar wavy

 

Historically speaking,  when  kings were bad (Christian in name only),  then the people were not safe, and the laws of the land were subverted for the needs of the king.   Heavier and heavier taxes are levied because a corrupt king is inefficient and wasteful.   Revenue is diverted away from the needs of the kingdom.  The people suffer, and often live in fear.

Kingly arrogance is costly.  Dishonesty is costly.    Corruption, bribery, and cronyism is costly.   Immorality is costly.  Ignorance is costly.  Etc.

To reject God is to pay a heavy price, both personally and publicly.

RECRUDESCENCE: THE EXPLANATION

August 31, 2014

This closely follows the last post – so it will be shorter, again in two parts –  but take warning against the second part.   Spare yourself and don’t read it.

Part One:   Recrudescence is the rising again of something that has had a period of abatement.

In this case,  Hilaire  Belloc applied it to the rising again of Islam as a threat to the Western Christendom — even though when he lived,  Islam had long been weak and practically dormant;  people living in mountainous or desert areas of the Middle East,  working hard to keep themselves fed, charmingly and fondly described by Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad.

Here are Belloc’s words, written in the first part of the 2oth century:

[T]he recrudescence of Islam, the possibility of that terror under which we lived for centuries reappearing, and of our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years, seems fantastic. Who in the Mohammedan world today can manufacture and maintain the complicated instruments of modern war? Where is the political machinery whereby the religion of Islam can play an equal part in the modern world?     . . .  I say the suggestion that Islam may re-arise sounds fantastic—but this is only because men are always powerfully affected by the immediate past:—one might say that they are blinded by it.    

This is the threat that he warns us about.

He goes on to discuss the apparent rejection of Christianity and observed the resultant  weakening moral force in our civilization:

Neo-Paganism grows prodigiously . . .  Paganism once erected into a system, once having taken on full shape, and proceeding to positive action, must necessarily become a formidable and increasingly direct opponent of the Catholic Church. The two cannot live together, for the points upon which they would agree are not the points which either thinks essential…. I have suggested that the threat of Paganism returning among the white races, and the strength of Paganism when it shall have returned, will be presumably enhanced by a sort of moral alliance between it and the exterior Paganism of the East, of Asia and not only of Asia, but, for that matter, of Africa too.

The recrudescence of Islam and the rise of neo-paganism are not unrelated.   Both excerpts are taken from Belloc’s book:  The Great Heresies.

End of the first part of this post.   Stop here.   

Because tomorrow (today?) is SUNDAY.   As Saturday was  Our Lady’s Day,  Sunday is Our Lord’s Day.   But it is only for the brave and the strong.   In order to live honorably through a Sunday, you must realize what had to happen in order to get to  Sunday.    What Christ had to go through.   And what Christ came to conquer.

Bar wavy

Part Two:

Yes, the enemies of Christ crucified Him,2,000 years ago;  it was us, all those who chose to oppose Him.   And the enemies of  Christ crucify today,  by the thousands, according to the news reports — and photos.

Hilaire Belloc knew who the enemy is,  knew who he was warning us about.

But they don’t always crucify:

Recrud  Baby girl

In Belloc’s words:   … our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years.

This is what Christ came to conquer:  sin, evil, wickedness,  violence and murder;   oh, yes –  and cowardice and capitulation.

RECRUDESCENCE: THE PREQUEL

August 30, 2014

This is a post in two parts.  I give you fair warning:   Don’t read the second part, if you’d like to stay comfortable.     Please don’t.

The first part is this — We are probably going to need a few of these:

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Yes, he’s a crusader, honored because of his role in saving Europe – and Western Civilization –  from a powerful approaching barbarous army.    We’ll actually need quite a few of them.

Any men out there to fill his shoes in this century?    Of course there are.    Enough men?

I don’t know.   If I were the enemy,  I’d spend a few years convincing the West that they need not be worried,  that if they’d just make nice,  everything will turn out well.     “If you wage peace,  you’ll get peace.”   (heh heh)     Perhaps enough would believe that – and then there wouldn’t be “enough men”  to resist.

SATURDAY  is Our Lady’s Day – in Christendom.    Western Civilization is inextricably linked with Christendom,  lose one, you lose both; and so I think of Our Lady today — and all those who were able to rise and fight for her and for the continued existence of Christendom.  Over and over again.   Every few centuries.

And now, again, in the early part of the 20th century,  there was one man who was paying attention;  one man who looked past the rise of Hitler’s national socialism, looked past the murderous dictatorship of t Marxist socialism, and saw the real threat to civilization.   His name is Hilaire Belloc, a well-respected literary figure of Great Britain, and he warned that in the latter years of the 20th century we would see the recrudescence of Islam which would prove to be an even greater threat than those two enemy-ideologies that caught our attention earlier last century.

220px-Hilaire_Belloc_Portrait     In this photo it looks like he’d make a good knight-crusader, ready to take up arms as the man of the statue above had to.         Educated at Oxford,  England;  honors in history;  master of the English language which suggests he thinks clearly and well.   Quite a sportsman too.

Belloc knows war, he’s a veteran of WWI.     This is no sissy living in his books,  making up theories and  principles about society which don’t work in the real world.    His writings prove him to be a good analyst of the challenges we face.

 

If you’re thinking about skipping church tomorrow,  this might be a good man to know –  and then think twice about chucking Christianity, avoiding the real hard issues we face.

And that’s all for part one of this post:  “Recrudescence; The Prequel.”       Stop here.

Unless you have a willingness to prepare,  mind, body, and spirit . . . .   Prepared to fight.

Bar wavy

Part Two begins:

Because the enemy is prepared, and they have a Map and a Method.

Here is there  Map – Phase One:

MAP  Caliphate

If you don’t know your history,  you will not understand.   If you do know history  (or are learning it)  you will recognize the territory that is being claimed.   Phase One.    More phases to follow.

By “rights”,  the whole world “belongs to”  the crescent moon god.

That was the Map;  here is the Method:

crucifixc

The Method is called by that T word…  I’ll not get the spider bots activated by spelling it out just yet.

The T word is a noun in the dictionary.   You don’t fight dictionary words;  you fight actual armies who do these kinds of things and have you on their To-Do-Next  list.

Why is there blood on their faces?     Because commonly  before the crucifixion the eyes are gouged out.

Recrudescence.  Let us understand that dictionary word.

 

 

OUR WORLD OF SLIDING ROCKS

March 28, 2014

For Friday, in Lent:

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The reason that we take time out, in  Christendom,  to mark Fridays is because of this short verse from the Bible:   “There is only one Name, given among men,  by which we must be saved.”

Saved.  Saved from what?  Traveling to Pike’s Peak is a good place to start thinking about this world.

Pike's Peak

The first time I was there I was expecting a “mountain top,”  like solid rock and firm soil.   I was so surprised to find that the top was mostly small broken-up rocks.   Of course I walked all over, every place I could, looking out in every direction over the edge, way down into the great valleys.

My parents were forever telling me to stay closer to them because the rocks under my feet were slipping and sliding against each other.   I suppose if I did get it wrong, the rocks under my feet would begin sliding down, taking me along for the ride!     Maybe I was challenging that mountain top, wondering how far the sliding would go, feeling the thrill of a little danger.

There was no sure ground to stand on, on the edge of Pike’s Peak.   It kind of feels that way, now, in all the world around us.   I don’t need to list all the things around us that are crumbling, all the things that we are at the edge of, nearing the precipice; we can study all the dangers in the banking world, in our economy, the world-wide build-up towards war, the failing health system, growing crime of all kinds, an inability to come together to solve our problems….

When the ground is slipping under your feet it’s hard to come up with solutions.   Fridays point us to the only sure ground we have – the one Name given among men,  to save us:

cross cling

The paradox is that as we acknowledge our weakness and “cling” to the Cross, we become stronger.    It always works.  It’s always worked throughout the last two thousand years.    As individuals we are not alone at the foot of the Cross, and we find firm ground there.  we find the  Rock,   not shifting sand, not sliding rocks.

That’s a much better way to face the problems of the world.

cross cling hand

Christ is the Light of the world;   the King of the world;   the Light and Wisdom of our minds;   the Savior of our souls;  the sure Foundation that never fails.

Even as the world is sliding down on the broken rocks.

 

 

 

II. ON THE EDGE – COME INTO MY HOUSE

January 26, 2014

I’ve been “On Edge,” as I wrote in the last post.  I’m sure you’ve all felt “on the edge” at some time before too.   One good thing about looking at things from the edge, is that you can turn around and look off in another direction:

Et respondens centurio, ait: Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer meus.

JesusAndTheCenturion

“Domine, non sum dignus. .  .”   Three times every Sunday we say these words first spoken by the centurion who asked Jesus to cure his daughter….but it was not necessary to come all the way to his house to effect the cure….and besides,  the centurion did not feel worthy that Jesus should “enter his house.”     “I am not worthy  (non sum dignus).”

(There is a good reason why “three” times  but that’s for another time.)

The words are from the Bible (Mt. 8:8), and that particular passage was our Gospel reading for today.   Of all the readings and verses from today that I thought the sermon could be about,  I was surprised that this one was chosen.

Surprised and edified.

Because I had always been focused on the “I am not worthy.”    A  “worthy”  thought,   but it also keeps me stuck on “me;”    seeing the story from “my” perspective.   We were instructed in our sermon today to see it from the point of view of Jesus.

Jesus the carpenter.

house bilding

Of course, the “house” is not the structure we live in.   It is our Self.    Our life, our soul, our hearts.    What a mess we can make of the “house”  we have!

Come into our house?  All we can think is, “No, Lord.   Not me.  Not my house.   It’s not ready for you.  It’s not . . . worthy.”

Of course,  He’s the carpenter.  He can see that.   But can you imagine, with a carpenter’s heart,  how much He’d like to come in and rebuild, repair, make the “house” all clean and new again!

Just like the problem in the centurion’s house, the sickness there,   Jesus did not have to go physically to the house because this is not a story about material things, it’s about spiritual things.   Jesus fixed the house,  cleared it of the sickness that was there.

He has this power.   He is the “carpenter”  for us.    And as I look out over the world from my “edginess,”  I know He is the carpenter in charge of the cleansing and the rebuilding and the timing of it all.

To know that we are not worthy is to let Him be in charge.   Come into my house.  (Please.)

 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

January 20, 2014

This will be short because my little laptop seems to be heating up.  (I’ve been busy – heh heh.)

So, not necessarily my own choice of words, but . . .

Dogs save

First,  I don’t understand dogs….

Second,  the writer uses the word “was” in spite of the subjunctive mood. . .

But, third,  this little bit of humor is offered to all my friends who are on their way to the Right to Life March this week, to all my friends and readers living in difficult  and dangerous situations,   to all my friends and family who don’t realize they are living in difficult and dangerous times….to all those who wonder if God is still in charge. . . .

Take courage.    However we understand it,  God is on his Throne ,  “let all earth keep silence before Him,”  (Hab. 3;19) — and make sure you’re on His side!   He’s got a Plan.