Archive for the ‘Christendom’ category

“CLOTHING” FOR ADVENT

December 2, 2018

lavender splotch

(A necessary “pause”  from current events today.)

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A giant turn of the wheel on this day in the Christian calendar;   a big click!  into  the notch that brings the rotating gear back to its beginning point.

gear

As you guys know,  a gear is for turning.  This may be a cog wheel, but I don’t really know the difference.    Things act on it and then it turns, notch by notch, each notch slipping for a moment into its proper (and useful) place.

And as we all know,  today is the first day of Advent.   Christians follow a Liturgical Year not too far in concept from a gear:

Liturgical Calendar Worksheet Worksheets For All | Download And with Blank Liturgical Calendar Wheel

As the world revolves around the sun, so have we devised calendars to mark the passing of time – with religious significance.    God, through various instruments, acts upon the universe, and with each revolution of our calendar year, there are stops or pauses as these divisions rotate to the top, and they are useful to us.

I put a blurry black dot at the top of this circular calendar where that dark vertical line is.   Proceeding clockwise,  this upcoming season is called Advent, represented by the four candles.

On this first Sunday in the Advent season, we light one of the candles on an Advent wreath.

Clip Advent 1

Just one candle.   It’s just the first week and there are many things to experience, to think about, and to learn during this first week of Advent.  You’d miss out if you don’t keep Advent.   You’d miss out on all the new insights and  wisdom that you could receive . .  .     You’d miss out on the possibility of having having faith,  increasing your faith, enjoying your faith in God.

So don’t.     I care for all of you.

You’d also “miss out” if you lump the whole season together without pausing at each week to see what the Church presents to you.

It can be  “clothing” I think, this week.   Advent (meaning the Coming)  is a purple (penitential) time to prepare ourselves properly for the First Coming of Christ.  According to the Readings from the Bible, we are to “clothe ourselves”  with Jesus Christ Himself:   “Wake up!  Pay attention!  The End is sooner than we thought!   So cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of Light.  .  .  Walk honestly,  not in immorality and sinfulness but put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

put on Christ

That’s what we heard in church today.   “Put on”  refers to an act like that of “putting on”  clothing.

What are we to wear now?

 

put on christ 2

Both the word “Light” and the words “Lord Jesus Christ” refer to the same Being,  the Second Person of the Trinity —  “I am the Light of the World.”

 

learn christ

Learn who He truly is.

If any of us are going to call ourselves a Christian and claim  safety and salvation at the end of our life,  then now is the time to learn of Christ,  learn what He is truly like, get to know Him,  form a relationship with Him so closely  that it is like we are “wearing” Him every day.

Because,  even though this is the “beginning” of a year and it seems like we have a whole year ahead of us,  we don’t.   In the full words of the beginning of our Reading today:

“Brethren, knowing that is is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past and the day is at hand…” 

 

apoc

We’re really kind of just about out of time.   The Gospel Reading for today makes that very very clear.

That apocalyptic picture means that the Second Coming of Christ is approaching:

seeing his coming

It could be good — if you have a good Advent!

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CORRUPTIO OPTIMI PESSIMA

August 27, 2018

Are you among the Best?  Or are you among the Worst?

Unsolvable Problem  – 3    Pederasty in the Church

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(Pardon the absence.    After that traumatic month of July, the death of my younger sister, and the discovery of four deadly physical conditions in my body,  two of which have been known to cause  sudden death –   most likely not in me – after all this,  sometimes I withdraw and retreat, just to process everything.   Then I come back all okay.)

(One thing a period of time like that produces is a desire to speak truth plainly.  Just put it out there.)

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CORRUPTIO OPTIMI PESSIMA

Once a well-known saying for anyone who was educated,  it means, roughly, “the corruption of the very best is the very worst” (that can be done).

I will get back to my series of “Unsolvable Problems”  in a minute,  but all weekend,  I wanted you to know that there is a purpose to such “gloomy”  writings.  There is a solution.   If your feet are on  Solid Ground,  you will discover the wisdom and receive the power to effect changes for the better.

So we’re not stuck.

It’s gloomy only if you don’t know what’s going on.

Are you among the Best?  Or are you among the Worst?

To all nations that have been formed (in their past)  by Christianity,  it is common knowledge  (not accepted by all,  but known by all)   that “The Church is the pillar and ground of our Truth.”     (That’s in the Bible, for you Bible-only type Christians.)

That firm foundation for action in our lives,  that Solid Ground for us, is the Church.

Corruption of the best is the worst.

Today the Church stands in the mists.

Church in the Mist 390

After the Great Infiltration of the Church by the World in the mid-Twentieth century,  Church leaders took a GIANT step to the Left, taking with them the majority of Catholic laymen — who did not so deeply understand their faith anyway.

As one Church theologian said:  “We have accomplished the French Revolution  in the Church.”    (That’s not a good thing.)  (quote from Cardinal Suenens)

We have to look back to the fourth century to find a similar march into heresies by the bishops, cardinals, priests, laymen, and perhaps even the aging,  somewhat confused pope.    At that time,  St. Athanasius consoled his people by saying “They have the buildings and the institutions;  we have the Faith.”

Among the things that entered the Church in the last century is the sexual deviances of the World.    Let’s call it  “sexual practices that stand in opposition to the firm, unchanging teachings of the Church.

Step away from those teachings and you no longer stand on Solid (safe)  Ground.

So today, we read the headlines:   POPE REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE SODOMITES IN THE CHURCH WHO PREY ON TEENAGE BOYS.”    Something like that.

A shock?   Nope.   Given  the Extreme Left politics of the man  who is in the office of the pope,  this is no surprise at all.    Do not the Left in our own country praise and promote those who are openly homosexual in our entertainment media?   then why should he take a heavy hand remove the sexual corruption in the Church?

Pope John Paul II is reported to have pounded his fist on the table, shouting “WHAT is going  on with those Americans?”    after receiving a report of rampant homosexuality in the  seminaries. Pope Benedict XVI demanded to know how bad the sexual activity was in the Catholic world.     Is there really a Lavender Mafia?  Is there really a St. Gallen Mafia club?      He received a 200-page summary of the study that was done . . .  200 pages never made public . . .  after which he suddenly and perhaps  contrary to canon law “resigned.”   St. Gallen wins?

Are you among the Best?  Or are you among the Worst?

Fish in greek

Every field of knowledge seems to be saying that the world cannot go on much longer the way it’s going.   The financial world.  The military world, with super weapons that can destroy human life.  The natural world with earth changes and perturbations.     The social world, with increasing chaos, totalitarianism,  and impending civil wars.   And Christianity in general,  co-opted by the World it was meant to bring the message of salvation to.  .  .  .

Things will end.  Quite badly.    The Age of Pisces is ending.

Jesus told His Church,   “When I come back,  will I find any faith left in the world?”

If anyone can, He can –  and He expresses doubt that He’ll find any!   Or at least not much.  The corruption inside the Church is very severe.   The lack of knowledge inside the Church is very severe.   The lack of faith inside all Churches is very severe.

What about  “. . .the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church . . .”?    Well, first of all, think about what that means.  A gate.  Gates don’t rise up and march against its enemy.   Gates provide a kind of barrier.   Perhaps it’s the Church itself which is supposed to knock down the Gates of Hell.

Whichever way you take it,   those Gates can rise to predominance pretty far, and by the end of the World,  it will seem that they have prevailed.   The Church seems not to be able to tell the World anything!

In case you don’t know The Age of Pisces,  the Age of the Fish,  that ancient sign of Christianity,  here is an explanation:

Fiah

Pisces seems to be ending.   It was predicted.

When I say we have “unsolvable” problems,  I mean they are unsolvable without supernatural aid.   We cannot do it by our own physical power,  our own brain power,  our own good will.

They are unsolvable to us alone.

“There is only one name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”

So don’t despair. . .

We won’t know where to start if we don’t know what’s going on!

Are you among the Best?  Or are you among the Worst?

 

 

A REFRESHMENT BREAK

July 24, 2018

c perc

 

“What’s this blog all about?”    Well, I don’t know,  you can read the column to the right:  it says  “random.”  Random thoughts.    That’s because my mind is like a kaleidoscope —  it’s made up of a thousand bright sparkly colors, each representing something very interesting in this life!  And each one taking “center stage” for a while.

My favorite childhood poem:     (by Olive Beaupre Miller)

The world is so full of a number of things

I’m sure we could all be as happy as kings!

I wish you a kaleidoscope mind too!

So –  some refreshment tonight,  thanks to the good Pope Clement VIII a few hundred years ago. . . .

C outside door

A “necessary”  trip to one of my favorite stores.

And just to the left of that photo is the actual entrance with welcoming signs:

c welcoming entrance

Much to my surprise, the insides had been totally scrambled around  since I was last there.  That is,  they moved the tables and chairs towards the front, so it looks more like a comfortable coffee shop;  and where I was heading is now in the back section:

C whole shelves 380

Hundreds of little white bags of every flavor of coffee you can imagine!     Here is a sample from a previous trip, a few years ago, actually:

coffee-trip

This time I got only three bags:  Toasted Almond,  Mackinaw Island Fudge,  and Almond Coco  (which says it taste like an almond joy . . .  and kind of does.)     With the Toasted Almond, I can slant the flavor to the almond side with a few beans.  Or I can make it taste slightly more chocolate by adding a few Fudge beans.

Oh, I like plain coffee too.   Guatemalan is my favorite –  and Light Roast to retain the good enzymes and antioxidants that coffee beans offer.

Before I left I purchased a treat for my young friend which is also sold there —

c smoothie

Peach-Pear smoothie.    With  whipped cream.

They’re delicious!  But I didn’t get one this time.

Although I didn’t drink coffee until I was really old,   old enough to . . .  well, to be someone’s grandmother,   Daughter started me out on espresso, which is still my favorite.   Regular coffee is fun.    But I’m more into juicing nowadays:

c juicing

Blueberry juice today.

I need every bit of concentrated nutrition that I can get.   Everyone does, really.    How grateful we should be that in this country we can get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables,  eat them, juice them,  use them to heal our bodies and give us health and energy!

Coffee beans are vegetables.   Or a fruit.   Or plant material, at least.  Full of nutrition!

And, yes,  at one time, when coffee was new in Europe, it was controversial.    How can something this good and this energizing and coming from the Arab world be  anything less than sinful?

So when coffee finally reached Venice in the early 1600s,  1605-1615,  these scaredy-cats brought their coffee troubles to the pope who refused to condemn the new drink until he had first sampled it.

It gave him a good smile, just as it does with many of us today!    He blessed the rest of the  beans they had brought to him and pronounced it Good.

Deo gratias.

 

 

 

PART TWO: REFUGEES ON THE MEDITERRANEAN

February 8, 2018

I ended the last post about slavery with a brief reference to quantum physics  (thinking chiefly of  Light Entanglement)  and the interpenetration of the seen and unseen worlds, the co-existence of the material and the spiritual.

john's cross do you know 60

And, therefore,  of our spiritual and material duties:  To love God with our whole heart and mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

 

Today, February 8th, is the day we are reminded to celebrate the life of St. John Matha, a man who lived those two Great Commandments.   He lived in the 13th century, that century which is designated by many as the “Greatest Century”  of Christendom, for all the advances in human understanding and achievements it had made.

John was a good young man,  caring of the poor, though not of the poor.   He was popular and trusted among his friends, and soon came to wonder if he ought to become a priest.    He became a priest in his thirties,  a little later than most. . . .

During his First Mass – an important milestone in the life of a priest –  he had a vision,  recorded by many artists:

john first mass gradient 6

Further above in the upper left-hand corner,  this artist  (de Miranda)  had shown the relevant portion of the vision –  a youth, probably an angel, wearing a red and blue cross and holding out his arms, crossed, with a hand on a Christian and a hand on a Moor.

(I didn’t show it because I wanted to accentuate the artist’s understanding that above any Mass, even today,  there is no line of separation between the spiritual realm and the material realm.   No dividing line.    The entire spiritual world pays attention to what we do and how (and if)  we worship.)

John, in his forties, after much studying,  consultation,  preparation,  growth in holiness,  and permissions obtained,    established a group of young men dedicated to the rescue of slaves from those Moorish lands I wrote about in the last post,  based upon the meaning he had gleaned from his first vision.

These men did their work  among the North African Islamic nations and were called Trinitarians.    They wore that red and blue cross on white robes.

john b r red blue cross St.  John of Matha

St. John  and the men collected alms from the Europeans, peasants and rich people alike.  He used those alms to purchase the freedom of slaves in Africa, after negotiating with  their Moorish captors:

john negotiating

They ransomed hundreds of thousands of slaves – an endless supply –

john's chr slaves woodcut

The work was hard and dangerous.  John walked among the slaves,  consoling them,  reminding them to be faithful to Christ,  encouraging them to be patient while he worked for their ransom.

One time,  sailing back to Europe with 110 former captives, the boat was attacked by  a small group of Moorish sailors.  The sails on   John’s boat were torn and shredded,  the rudder was damaged and unusable.   They were left to drift.

aerial med

 

Heaven saw and then answered their prayers.  The survivors offered their cloaks and blankets,  sewn together to make new sails –  and even though rudderless,  made it back safely to Europe.

From one of the accounts:

The saint, full of confidence in God, begged him to be their pilot, and hung up his companions’ cloaks for sails, and, with a crucifix in his hands kneeling on the deck, singing psalms, after a prosperous voyage, they all landed safe at Ostia, in Italy.

Their work continued for many centuries, inspiring another young man,  St. Peter Nolasco,  (also in this “greatest” 13th century)  to begin a group with a similar mission,  the Mercedarians.

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These  groups exist today, somewhat, in this not-so-great century and as part of the New Version of the Church.   We don’t hear of their work among slaves today . . .

But perhaps . . .   their work can continue, at least in our prayers.

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PART ONE: REFUGEES ON THE MEDITERRANEAN

February 8, 2018

(Don’t let your history be taken away from you!)

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Any idea what this kind of cross means?

Trinitarian Cross

. . . .   red and blue . . .  ?

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 john boast people ref   If you read the news today, you’ll have heard of all the M os le m  “refugees”  fleeing    terrible conditions, risking their lives on rickety  boats, crossing the Mediterranean to find refuge.   The “news” articles regularly include admonitions (demands, really)  to Europeans to not reject these refugees  (few ever do) and to give them tax money and welfare aid,  giving preference to them over the Europeans (commonly done) .

If you read further,  you’ll see that the “refugee” camps where the boat people land are frequently places of crime, rape, revolt, and anger against the Europeans who are “rescuing” them.  (Not 100%, for those of you trained by marxist rhetoricians.  Of course not 100%)

The end point for these African “refugees’ of military age?     Often scenes like this:

DECENAS DE INMIGRANTES ENCARAMADOS A LA VALLA FRONTERIZA DE MELILLA

Africans invading Spain (recently)  from out of a “refugee” landing point.

And elsewhere, one of thousands of photos:

ref

 

But it wasn’t always like this.  To call these militant young Islamists “refugees” is to pervert the word itself.    They have a different purpose from the millions of refugees throughout the centuries who were rescued across the Mediterranean from actual slavery and torture in Moslem  lands.

Let’s call them Moors, as history does.

john slaves being taken to mors

(Christian boat people)

Over the centuries,  millions of Christians from Europe (some of your ancestors)  were kidnapped from their homes and brought to, well,  Moorish countries, especially in North Africa.

Just as Christians who live in Africa today are being kidnapped from their homes,  sold into slavery,  married into another kind of slavery,  and never heard from again,  these Christian captives were  also never heard from again.    You live if you gave up your Christian faith – lived for a while.

The problematic evil of slavery has existed even before written history began – and it exists today:

Slave Women

It’s a real tragedy from the entertainment-news media that the nations excoriated for the evils of slavery are those very nations   (the White, European and European-derived nations)   that have eliminated slavery,  and  long before our great-greatgrandparents even lived!

This simply diverts attention from the real problem of modern slavery.

I don’t mean to imply that only women are taken as slaves.

Little boys . . .  (not for working “in the fields”:

peeking between fingers

And young Christian  men:

peek boy slave 400 dollars

The accompanying article said he was being sold for $400.   (equivalent American.)

What do you care about this young husband and father?    About the little boys?  About the young women?       What should we care?   What can we do, anyway?

john's cross do you know 60   What does all this have to do with that red and blue cross?

Well, lots, actually.      And it has a lot to do with what you think about the separation of this life from the next;  of the material world from the spiritual world,  and the knowledge that there is no separation . . . .    Whether this knowledge comes from from the advances in quantum physics  or from religious writing,  or  the experience of Catholic teaching  —  the spiritual world pervades and co-exists with the seeable, material world.

And our duty to God is co-extistent with our duty to our fellow-man.

This post is not getting written as I thought it would, so I’m going to have to do a Part Two so it doesn’t get too long. . . .

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FRIDAY’S “SCHEDULE”

February 2, 2018

 

In ascending order of importance to us as individual souls:

February 2nd –      Ground Hog Day, of course.

Groundhog

Restless last night, so I got to hear the report from  Gobbler’s Nob right as it was first announced.   (Guess they call that “morning.”   It’s going to be a long day without sleep.)  And so, according to the Prognosticator from Pennsylvania,    (one of his official titles) our winter will be –  six weeks longer.

“Thanks”  from the Far North where it is current  9  degrees, with snow predicted all weekend.    At least we were also told that the Ground Hog is right 39% of the time.

football happy

February 2nd –  Time to be thinking about what to have for your Super Bowl experience, whether it’s a party or simply private enjoyment before a fireplace and a big screen.      corn Looking at email newsletters from Kraft,  all grocery store flyers,  and I suppose television ads,  you’d  think there was only one meal, ahead of us!

I have my favorite team.   Predicted to win by four points, and it’s not the underdog.  I hope those prognosticators have a better than 39% record.

statue

February 2nd –    The day of the publication of the Summary of wrongdoings and questionable practices in the collusion between the Justice Dept. and the political appointees at the FBI,  erroneously called The Memo.

Who is it that famously said  governments fall from within?     Well known to historians is the fact that  republics last an average of 200 years.

I hope we Americans can prove both “prognostications”  wrong.

dec

Are we serious about this?   Are we happy that we Americans are (supposed to be)  self-governing?  That means self-correcting too.   Read what it says:  we have the DUTY  to overturn our government if it becomes a tyranny.    It’s our responsibility to be on the watch for signs that it is becoming a tyranny.    (Lois Lerner anyone?  Weaponizing the IRS against the political enemies of the radical Left?)

We have plenty of catching up to do.

February 2nd –  A busy day in Christendom!   It’s Candlemas today.   Candles are blessed in church today, a token of our acknowledgement that something Supernatural and Sacred is possible and existent in our world.

presentationThe Presentation at the Temple,  Jesus and Mary.     

Yes,  it’s an actual, historical event.

Mary has given birth 40 days ago, and this is the day she presents herself at the temple for the formal end of her  ritual seclusion from public and religious activities.

(Can you imagine how kind and gentle it is to allow  (to require) a woman who has just given birth to stay at home,  rest,  recover,  and have time to bond with her new child?!

When my Filipina friends told me how kindly the Christian culture there treated their new mothers,  I nearly cried for joy.   How they honor the one who labored to bring new life into this world!

Do not let the God-haters tell you that women who give birth are shamed and isolated and are looked down upon as “unclean” (as American s understand that word)  until some “white male priest declares her all right again.   Rather,  this whole ritual is an affirmation of the sacredness of the whole, process of the co-creaion of  a new human being.

The second thing that happened back then   – that we remember, for our instruction –  is that Jesus was presented to the Temple –  with a sacrifice of a lamb and a little bird.  Id you were too poor, the family could substitute a second little bird    (usually a dove)  in place of the lamb.

You have a baby,  you make sacrifice to God to  acknowledge all life is in His hands.  Sacrifice the dove, not the baby.    You GIVE the baby back to God –  but you can Redeem him for a small price and raise him as your own.     Jewish people will recognize this as the ceremony of Pidyon Haben,  which is returning to modern practice in many places.

pid

Ceremonial coins for Pidyon Haben

Two very old people who were living at the Temple at the time of the Presentation saw and recognized the Messiah they had been waiting for all their lives.

Their  words  deserve a post of their own.

 

Meanwhile —  it’s a busy Friday!

“DOING” SOMETHING – LIKE THIS

January 7, 2018

 

Well, yesterday’s post was a little complex – and serious.    I still mean every word – even all the words I didn’t write  so it wouldn’t become extraordinarily long.

holy family the

Feast of the Holy Family

I meant just to say,  “Look around you, look at the world around you – and although there is much to learn and study and analyze,  yet still in a small way,  each of us is called  to actually act upon what we know.

Today’s remembrance within  Christendom centers on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, put before us as our model of family life.   Our sermon was about what makes up a family in general;  I would have wished to hear more about the qualities of the Holy Family, but that’s okay,  that was his choice,  and nothing stops me from finding out more writings about these qualities on my own.

 

st theres familyThe family of St. Therese of Lesieux –

 

But that’s my point from yesterday, I guess.   Find out something in society that is good, that makes life strong and stable, and since we can all acknowledge that we don’t have that commonly anymore,  find out what went wrong, and what  can be done about it.  That’s a doable task for each individual person.

Take “family,”  for instance,  the theme for this day.

 

her whole family

The entire family of St. Therese, mother on left, father on right.

 

I’ve had lots of decades of TV viewing under my belt.   (Lots!)    I can truly say with sorrow that I’ve witnessed the disintegration and degradation of TV families,  so until now we hardly know — or rather we hardly dare define what a family really is.  We must be “politically correct” and “inclusive”  — so “they” tell us.   *

But “they” are wrong.   I’ve witnessed the sorrow and regretful longing implicit in so many movies and television series of the past two decades . . .  almost as though the writers know they are missing something precious, and this society can never have it  back.

HOLY FAMILY and st therese

(I have this painting at home,  but this photo  is apparently from “Restored Tradition.”   It shows St. Therese visiting the Holy Family – to learn as well as to pay homage.   Of course, she is separated by many centuries from the Holy Family,  but there is truth here:  we can all “visit”  this model of family love,  and also learn.  But as she,  the visit must be on bended knee.)

It’s not just sadness among  young adults because their family was messed up.      There are serious and dangerous society implications too,  all reflected in our entertainment that seems rudderless, pointless,  and rather despairing.

How do we turn around the loss of Family?    Can we repair this mess we’ve made of family life?       We need a model.    What is the “real dollar bill”  and what is the counterfeit?   We need to know the difference, and we need to know what difference it makes.

Then in our small way, one person at a time,  make our family a good one, perhaps modeled after the Holy Family.

 

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.*   This presentation of devolving family life is also seen in children’s books, especially their school “readers.”      My Grandson Cooper loves reading the Dick and Jane books of the 1950’s;  he finds them interesting and logical,  fun and safe.     By the time I was teaching school, “they” had taken away wholesome family life and substituted all the politically correct wrong ideas about what the word family could mean.

That generation of children grew up imitating the broken families that they had read about their schoolbooks.

Their children know “something” is wrong with the way their parents lived, lived apart,  broke up their families,  blended new groups together . . .

And their children’s children wish to do something about it.

2018 – FIRST DAY

January 1, 2018

No one wants to put the first mistake onto a brand-new  sheet of blank paper.   No one wants to let the first drip of spaghetti fall onto a clean white shirt .    And no one wants to goof up the first day of a New Year.

But I did NOT want to get up this morning in the middle of a deep sleep,  super physically tired, feeling  like I might be coming down with something, and  feeling slightly depressed after saying good-bye to Cooper at the airport, and then facing a long drive to church in 3 degree morning temperatures    . . .

But I also didn’t want to  miss the first Mass of the year.

According to my last post:

New Year’s Resolution #3 is  foundationally related,  simply to put forth God,   God’s Christ, and God’s Church . . . . throughout this Liturgical year –  365 days, each with a reason  — 

So.    It’s January 1st.    Christendom unites in celebrating the Feast of the Circumcision,  which falls eight days after the birth of Jesus – of course.

circumcision

On its surface,  the rite of circumcision welcomes the child into the nation of Israel.   The child is an Israelite.  The child is a Jew.

A little deeper –  the separating away of  the flesh is an outward sign that  the child (the man)  is separated  away  from the world,  separated unto God.

A little deeper still,  circumcision on the eighth day is a physical symbol of the separation of a man’s heart from sin,   prefiguring  that complete cleansing from sin that will occur after his Resurrection, and thus circumcision is connected to our Judgment.

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,      circumcise your hearts,
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire     because of the evil you have done—
    burn with no one to quench it.     Jeremiah 4:4

The act of circumcision is used this way in both the New and the Old Testaments.

In the Church’s Feast of the Circumcision, we remember that Christ Himself was subjected to circumcision, not to separate himself from any  actual sin,  but to demonstrate that He has come to fulfill every part of the Law of Moses.

And furthermore, more deeply:    A small amount of blood is shed during a circumcision.     This is the first time Jesus, the Son of God, shed His blood – a foreshadowing of  pouring out His lifeblood on the Cross for all  human souls.   

One more thing happens at a Jewish circumcision:  you are given a name.

“Jesus.”    (The meaning is “Savior.)     Or:   J’shua   (  God saves.)

motherhood

Closely related to remembering the Circumcision on this day is remembering the Mother of the Child who was circumcised –   Mary,  the Mother of Jesus,  the Mother of the Son of God,  the Mother, therefore, of God.

Her   Yes   to God  (“Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.“);   her faith and love;  her role;  her total giving of herself;  her motherhood;  her universal motherhood, as her Son would have it from his Cross.

Yes, I’m glad I didn’t put the first stain on this bright and blank New Year.    I’m  glad – pretty joyful –  that I had gotten out of bed and driven through the deep freeze, and that I had united myself to all this in the Mass of this day.

In fact,  there’s a lot more here that can be contained in just one Mass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADVENT’S STATE OF THE WORLD – CHURCH DISSOLUTION

December 7, 2017

Another data dump posting –  I must clean up all the waiting stories on my PC!

December 6th:

3 gold balls

Most in Christendom used to know what these three gold balls have to do with the date Dec. 6.        (So much information has been [deliberately]  withheld from modern people!)

Many centuries ago, a good Christian man was persecuted, pursued, beaten, and threatened,  but courageously held fast to his Christian faith.    He  eventually became  a bishop in the Church, wise and good and full of compassion.   Contemporary accounts tell of his saving of three unmarried girls of a very poor family who faced a future of being sold into slavery or prostitution, as was the custom of that pagan day when a family did not have enough money for their dowries.

st nick beloved bishop

As each came to marriageable age,  Bishop Nicholas of Myra in Lycia secretly tossed a bag of gold into the house of the three young women,  thereby making it possible for them to marry with a decent dowry.

The three gold balls which we find on the signs of pawn shops, then, remind us of the generosity and kindness of St. Nicholas,  whose Feast Day is December 6th.    And of caring and giving that arises naturally from the heart of true Christians.

True Christians.  True Christianity.

A slap in the face

There is another thing St. Nicholas is remembered for:  As always,  the Church has had to fight enemies without and enemies within.    Heresies and heretics have always risen up to dilute the teaching of the Church.

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”   (written by St. Paul,  II Thessalonians 2:15)   “Whether by word of mouth”  (that would be oral traditions, not written down in the Bible);   “or by letter” (that would be words of the New Testament and other early letters and sermons).

What happens when an official of the Church does not “hold fast” to the teachings that are supposed to be handed down?

Well, when St. Nicholas confronted the stubborn heretic Bishop Arius who continued to teach heresy, even at the great Council of Nicaea,  he slapped Bishop Arius in the face –  in a public affirmation of the heretical teaching!

“Is the pope Catholic?”

Ha ha ha  ha not.     Used to be a joke because the answer was so obvious.   Today, not so much.    Everyone, Catholics,  Catholic   bishops,  leaders of other religions,   and some heads of states are asking publicly what’s wrong with the present pope?

This has happened before, with a pope or a group of bishops turning away from the teachings of the Church,  but it always produces confusion and dismay, turmoil, uncertainty;  more seriously, a loss of souls.

HImmerod Abbey

Himmerod Abbey, West Germany.   Scarcely can we create a huge building like this today.    We do not have the will – and perhaps no longer the knowledge.   After existing for 900 years,  it is now abandoned and most likely will be torn down.   Demolished.   Unused. Unneeded.      Loss of souls.

A symbol of the slow dissolution the Catholic Faith.

“When (I)  the Son of Man returns,  do you think He will find faith (left)   on Earth?”  asked by Jesus, recorded in Luke 18:8.

Maybe.

But we don’t get to define our own version of faith.

Everywhere in the Western World,  there are savage attacks against the symbols of Christian faith.     In Belgium,  the Red Cross can no longer use the symbol of the cross of Jesus.     Belgium’s  Red . . . , I guess.

in France, the statue of a modernist pope who helped deconstruct the traditional Catholic Faith may stand in its public place – but the cross now  has to be taken down.

Here’s a “before”  photo.

Cross No Pope Yes

But what’s happening internally among Catholics –  the Catholics-in Name-Only?    This is a most important question because sometimes in history it was only the lay people, ordinary Christians, who “held fast” to the traditional teachings handed down from the Apostles II Thessalonians 2:15 again.

Sometimes it is lay people who must wake up!,  stand up,  slap some faces (so to speak), and promote and demand  the spiritual and moral teachings that made the Western World great and strong:

decent m ovies

Ordinary people, demanding decent movies.   

Ordinary people,  We the People,  we the lay people,  people of faith –  people who know our culture was safe and stable when Christian principles aided government policies.    (Not merely a “movie”  issue.)

Church dissolution is very real and quite advanced today,  crime is rising;  greed, bribery, and deception run the economy;   crime, greed, bribery, deception, and lust seem to motivate our political leaders;   fear and distrust grow among people in general.  Cultural Marxism has demolished all the good points of our history, leaving us disoriented and weakened, without heroes and role models.

Church dissolution has consequences.

It also has a remedy –  us –  but as Jesus asked:    “When I come back,  will I find faith anymore?” 

Bar Cross in middle

Such is the uncertain State of the World without Christian faith.

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NEW . . .

December 4, 2017

 

thinka nd do llue

Some of you may remember the old Think and Do workbooks that we had in school to help us learn how to read.      It was an excellent way to learn reading skills such as phonics,  spelling, and composition.      It taught us to take time with the details.

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Well,  I think I’m having a “Write-and-Do”  problem –  I’ve been doing so much, I haven’t been able to slow down and write . . . .

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Clip Advent 1   However, I cannot let the start of this New Year go by!   St. Augustine has praised God with the phrase:  “Ever Ancient, Ever New.”      Exclamation point, I think,  because as a grown man,  he was deeply astonished!  to discover the reality of God and of all His attributes as taught to Him by the Church, when Augustine lived, 1,600 or so years ago.

Ever Ancient, Ever New!       God-Most-high, Ancient of Days,   is also Ever New to every part of His creation, at every place, at every moment.    And we poor humans,    living in time and space,  must take God in each new day, each new year, and hence –  the cycles of the Liturgical Year,  which emphasizes God’s closeness and the necessity of a response from us.

Advent begins the Liturgical Year,  and so today was the first day of this new year.

For what purpose?      Advent is ad + vent;   that is, ad ( to, a movement towards)  and vent/ venire (  He comes,  He comes to,  He arrives).      God, Ancient of Days,  yet Ever New,  comes (again)  (and again and again….)   to each person, as prophesied  by the ancients,   as foretold by the great prophets,  in a threefold advent:

Always moving towards  each  human born, as individuals:

One time, moving towards us by His incarnation, taken on our human nature to teach and to act for us;

And in the future, sooner or later,   very soon or a little bit later,    to enter this world once again as Great King and Judge,  ending this world system, putting all things to rights.

Advent,  but a Threefold Advent.    Moving towards us;  unstoppable.

We have more than three thousand years of witness to this movement-towards-us, and much written down for us to read.

The first day of Advent –   time to start.     Time to learn the details.   But there may not be much time left!

 

 

THE UNKNOWN ASSUMPTION

August 15, 2017

What I wouldn’t give to  know for sure that I’d be reunited with my own son in Heaven some day!!!!!

Bar Cross in middle

 

To “assume”  may mean to make a mental leap,  an educated guess;  but it can also mean something in the physical world.   That is, the physical taking up of something.

This Assumption is largely unknown outside of Christendom,  and rapidly disappearing from even the vestiges of Christianity.    But there are those,  surprisingly many,  who still choose to recognize the Assumption on August 15th.

The Assumption of Mary:

assumption

There are so many beautiful works of art about the Assumption of Mary –  Centuries and centuries of trying to get it just right!    I like this one because it shows movement.   The Virgin’s hair seems to be moving, or flowing,   because of the upward motion,   and people seem to be reaching.

The Church doesn’t teach one way or the other whether Mary, the Mother of Jesus actually died or if she  “fell asleep”  and was taken up in to Heaven,  but it doesn’t matter.   The teaching,  based on contemporary writings, is that her body totally disappeared from the place where she lay in a deep trance?  coma?  sleep?

Everything about her physical presence is just gone.  No relics.    No pieces of cloth or hair.  No “bones.”  No vials of blood.   Nothing.  Most unusual, for even the least of the martyrs had some relics saved.    It’s what they did in those days.

The Assumption of Mary into Heaven is clear.

assumption crown

Just as we will go “some” place when we die,   so did she.

The Love of God in each lover of God unites,  and separation is only temporary.

So  just as Death will not end our love and will not separate us from our Loved Ones,  in and among this wonderful Community  of Saints,  dead and alive,  we will still love and care for each other,  and so does she . . . .

mary nearby

Heaven is not a matter of time and distance.  It’s Eternity,  an eternal now that permeates the physical world.

When Jesus (on the Cross)  gave His mother to be ours,  He means now.

 

 

“REACHING UP TO SLAP GOD’S FACE”

August 13, 2017

(Pardon the slightly blasphemous metaphor —  truly  random, rambling Sunday talk today):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bozeman Trail

The whole quotation (in the title of this post)  is  spoken about a man who held himself apart from the group,  his opinions,  his rights,  a little more worthy than the others, he thought:  “Look at him,”  said Rusty Karnes under his breath, “if he could reach high enough, he’d try to  slap God’s face.” 

boseman trail

(We saw people like that in Charlottesville yesterday –  people who think they are so right that they can throw rocks,  fire, pepper spray and tear gas,  and foul liquids at those whom  they disagree with and want to silence.)  

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God does NOT change.    The world doesn’t change.   Right-and-Wrong doesn’t change.   Honor doesn’t change.   Men don’t change.    And Danger doesn’t change.

bozeman exposed

Exposed on the Bozeman Trail

We’re all mighty vulnerable in this world.    Even when we band together with a few friends and relatives,  we’re always a small band facing the forces of evil and random uncertainties that the world gives us.   It’s a humbling thought.

Bozeman single

We’re alone,  with only one guidebook and only one Church —  a thought for those who don’t intend to “slap God in the face.”

Along the Bozeman Trail you had to deal with snowstorms,  thunderstorms,  lack of shelter or water, Indian attacks, accidents with your horse or wagon wheels,   assorted outlaws and thieves waiting for their chance at you,  and the possibility of losing your way and making the wrong decisions.

I’ve crossed the Bozeman Trail several times – in my car – and I plan to do it again this month.  I’ve dealt with snowstorms,  black ice,   concern about thieves or muggers (as a woman traveling alone),   strong summer winds blowing such hot air that you feel you’re being sucked dry just trying to put gas in your tank;  and I’ve made some bad decisions about which way to go – that turned out all right.    No problem with the Sioux or Pawnee, though.

B protection

Modern times,  about a century later,  there are still perils in our world, and especially now in these times we must think clearly about our “traveling” companions in life.    That is,  who and what values and what attitudes will accompany you?

You must choose your companions wisely.   You want to be sure that the ones who are with you are true and honest and have the ability to protect you.

Bozeman Wagon box

You don’t want your “traveling companions”  to be those who are so sure of themselves that they can’t see any other point of view and cannot allow anyone to think differently;  leastwise you.    You have a right to think things through in your own way.

 

Micah 6:8  —  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.        And what does the Lord require of you?    To act justly and to love mercy   and to walk humbly  with your God.

One way of looking at it,  there are still only two postures:    (1)    “walk humbly with your God” – or “before your God,” as some versions put it,  knowing that you don’t know everything on this journey through life but you’re on a journey to meet Him and He’s given you a Guide.   Or   (2),  try to reach up to God and tell Him you’ll do it your own way,  the “slap in the face.”

A book and a little story:

Here’s the book I’m reading –   plain, clear  thinking  in it . . .

Bitterrot Book

I might not go all the way to the Bitterroots this month,  way up north in Montana,  but I’ll remember the things I’ve learned from this book.

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Here’s the story I love to tell – and you don’t have to read through it,  I just really like to think about it:

The word “faith” is important to a lot of Christians, and the Bible tells us that the Pillar and the Foundation of our faith is the Church   (not the Bible).      Took me a while,  but I studied that Church and  understood enough to know that that’s where I belonged.

So one day,   a particular holiday that we all must recognize,  I went to church,  went to Mass, along with many hundreds of others in that church building.   Standing room only by the time I got there!   That meant kneeling on the hard stone floor for quite a while.

The crowd had pushed me, elbow to elbow, next to a man whom I recognized as the governor of our state!     There he was, kneeling on the stone floor,  next to me.   Except for a nod of recognition,  I didn’t speak,  and neither did he,  because we were both silently kneeling at that time to  the Lord Jesus,  the Son of God, Who  was present on the  altar, way far away in front of the church.

kneeling

That’s it.     That’s the story.    I disagreed with that governor on a few things,  but we seemed to be both on that same  “trail” in life,  humbling ourselves before our actual, present God.

Neither of us, nor anyone in the church that day,  appeared to be telling  God that we’ll do it our own way,  reaching  up to His face and . .  .  you know.

Our souls are safer that way.

 

HUNCHBACK REDUX

April 27, 2017

 

Anybody remember who this man was?

jimmy pic

He was a celebrity, to be sure,  but he was a kind and wise fatherly figure to me . .  .

Well,  wait a minute.

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Yesterday I wrote to you about two ugly people,  hunchbacked, blind, hobbling around, apparently useless — indeed,  rejected by society.   The story of the  first one, the hunchback who lived in Notre Dame cathedral, packs a powerful punch and it takes courage to read that book.

The second hunchback is a real person,   Margaret of Castello,   and her story will fill you with outrage and pity –  and astonishment.

The first figure displayed heroic Christian courage,  constancy,  loyalty,  love and tragic action. marg  The second figure,  Margaret,  all her life showed wondrous Christian  love and forgiveness,  wisdom,  virtue,  goodness and kindness.

I wanted to revisit their stories a little bit because I’m not sure if I told their story well enough.    The one common point that these two figures have is that their interior lives were both made good and wonderful and valuable by the power of God which they allowed to work in them — in spite of great difficulties. 

Our world is full of serious, even life-threatening problems,  and maybe in our personal lives we have serious problems.    That old saying is pertinent for our difficult world:  “Change the world?  Change yourself.”

The effect that Margaret of Castello had on her surrounding world was profound and life-changing for many, many people.

Okay,  the man in the first photo above?     Jimmy Dodd!

jimmy

Even as a child I could tell that he was a good man,  a wise man,  and that he genuinely cared that we grew up to be good and caring people.  He sang to us, as he taught us and he taught us his lesson by teaching us to sing.  Here is “Doreen”  from  the original (and very good)  Mickey Mouse Club singing his song.     It’s less than a minute:

 

 

“Beauty is as beauty does.”        To the one who follows Jesus —   who knows Him and loves Him, and so therefore follows Him,  there is a real change inside,  no matter what the outside appearances are.

It comes out like this:   (Galatians 5:22,  23 ) –  “. . .   the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. “

A follower of Jesus gets some “gifts” too.  Among them are wisdom and understanding, discernment.    With these we can help solve the problems around us.

Here’s Blessed Margaret of Castello now:

marg incorruptible

Her body is incorruptible after several centuries.  But it doesn’t matter what her body used to look like.

She’s no longer ugly,  hunchbacked, and blind.

She’s beautiful.

 

 

 

TIPPING POINTS TO DANGER

April 1, 2017

I think this relates to “Saturday,”   as I said last week,  the day when Christendom remembers that absolutely  desolate feeling of being without the Christ who was just crucified and placed in His tomb.

It relates because just as the first  Christians were without Christ on that day,  so are today’s cultures largely without Christ.   When a culture takes a giant step away from reason and truth,  it gets  desolation and  confusion,    barbaric violence and anarchy.

tipping egg

Before Western Civilization  (that is, Christendom)   there were centuries of barbarism.  And now,  post-Christendom,   our Western Civilization was strong enough to imitate the values of Christendom  without Christ for a while,  but it’s reaching a Tipping Point now.

tiping earth

How?  In what manner?  How soon?    I’ve looked at the idea of Tipping Points,  read about them, observed them.    It’s a complex arrangement of elements that waits for just the right circumstance – and when that last component comes into being –  boom!

What was before is now gone.

The culture has tipped irrevocably into another existence altogether.

Not all changes are Tipping Points, of course, and not all Tipping Points are called by that name.

bubble

Sometimes we call them “bubbles, ”  as though using a name for such a delicate ephemeral thing means it can’t hurt us.   (Student loan bubble,  currency bubble,  debt bubble,  derivatives bubbles,  housing bubble . . .)

Statistics,  statistics,  statistics –

tipping graph

 

Statistics can show us some things,  but it can’t tell us where on the graph we are – just that we’re getting close.     BEFORE  a Tipping Point s reached, it’s theoretically possible to pull  back from the brink,.  but I worry that it’s not likely.

Well, you get the idea;  let me just give one example of a Tipping Point that is forming,  but I don’t know what’s coming next.    What’s forming, from historical human experience,  are all the elements that will tip us over into  a deadly,  unfortunate,  all-encompassing violent Revolution.    All it will take is one surprising, unthinkable act of violence against,  say,  our president.

Celebrities, comedians,  and the actors and actresses who read news scripts and give us their opinions in front of  a camera have commonly and frequently called for the as^ sas sin nation  of the president.    It’s actually NOT funny and it’s not really “forgivable.”

How much of this can our society take?

The president has been in the crosshairs of the extreme left   (the progressives,  the radical democrats the socialists)   for quite some time now.

Even before the inauguration,  the leftists speculated and fantasized about his death.  Even  television  “news”  cable channels were  having irresponsible  discussions about “what would happen if (the president was dead and who woudl take over the government?”      And to justify making such a suggestion, the leftists are  speaking of “Trump Carnage”   and predicting that Trump will cause the “extinction of mankind.”       This is silly –  but it has also successfully placed this vocabulary into the minds of rootless,  unstable people.

Here are some of these unstable people acting out what they are hearing is now  “possible,”  acceptable behavior:

In recent  news,  shots were fired on Capitol Hill.
A day or two ago, a woman jumped over the fence around the White House.
 Two secret service people took pictures of the president’s young son – while he was sleeping.    (?)
A secret service  person parked her car in a Brooklyn neighborhood,  did not lock her door,  and left her laptop inside as she walked away, so that it could be stolen.      (?)
Another  man jumped over the fence and was on the front porch of the White House for 16 minutes before anyone did anything.  (? )   According to reports he lingered around , looked into windows, stopped to tie his shoes . . . .
How many fence jumpers have there been?    Again,  recent  news –  the alarm on the fence surrounding the White House had its sensors removed — by the secret service.    (?)  The alarm sensors had been removed!
An intruder was found inside Pres.  Trump’s  Florida home (at Mara-Lago.   (?)             There are numerous reports of air space violation over his home,  planes and drones . . . .
There was a female secret service person who publicly stated that she would not defend the president, as is her first duty.
The secret service is not using its dogs anymore to help them secure the White House grounds.

What’s happening?     How many “intruders”  have tried to get into Trump Towers?  how about the one who was found with a pistol inside there?   

The narrative against the president is becoming increasingly outrageous.   The Bill Maher popular celebrity:    “It Looks Like Russia ‘Installed’ ‘Trump and His Crime Family’ ‘To Loot and Destroy America.”

That’s not funny, Mr. Comedian.     That’s incendiary.       That’s marginalizing and demonizing a man –  justifying an  extreme response in the minds of some,  and it’s putting the president of the United States in jeopardy.

Given the daily all-pervasive violence Americans generally experience in their favorite television programs,  local news programming,   and careless office gossip,  violence-as-a-solution is becoming less and less surprising,  more and more commonplace.

tipping glass

It’s almost inevitable that we will reach some kind of  Tipping Point.

And we can   “cry over spilt milk”  but we can’t put it back in the glass.

As a teacher with “experience,”  as a mother with “experience,”   as a historian with a lot of study under my belt,   it seems to me that we might not be able to stop what we’ve started.   Not enough of our society will return to the values that built UP civilization in order to prevent the complete pulling DOWN of this civilization.

Pessimistic?   Yeah,  well,  there’s always hope.   Right?   No.   Not on our own.

A Saturday without Christ;  a Saturday with Jesus “dead and gone” into his Tomb:    It could have turned out badly for the first Christians.

Not on our own can we save this culture.

WHAT IS LOVE.

March 25, 2017

Period.  Not a question mark in that title.  We owe the invention of the question mark to Charlemagne and his renaissance of Christian learning which helped to create the European civilization we’ve inherited  (and perhaps squandered).   Charlemagne notwithstanding,   I choose a period after “LOVE”) 

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On this day,  a  Saturday,  Christendom keeps in mind that one Saturday long ago when Love Itself was defeated.     It was mocked, ridiculed,  demonized, crucified,   done away with – finally! –  then shut away in a tomb – boom! –  out of sight forever!  It seemed that Love had been conquered.

tomb

Friday evening,  Saturday, into the wee hours of Sunday morning,  three calendar days;   it certainly seemed like a defeat for the Gospel.    A dark time for the followers of Jesus  in which all that “religion talk” from God’s chosen people  ended.

That Man,  that Son of Man,  had talked of  love between God and man,  God’s love to man through man,   and an eternity of Love, loving and being loved.

Humans  have always been  capable of the motivating factors  which we’ve called “love”:      parental love,  filial love,  friendship love,   spouse love  —  the love we have for a certain kind of pizza!!        Apart from God, the source of Love,    we can get quite distracted with loves of various kinds.

Should I give the four  Greek categories?     Storge,  Eros,  Phileo  . . . 

freud long (Beware:  the “modern” lists of “Greek”  love using six words from popular culture or seven words from  psychologists who seem to be trapped in the perspective of 20th century agendas.    They elevate minor subcategories into unwarranted importance and are certainly not time-tested throughout human experience.)

. . .    And the fourth:     Agape,     which human beings do not seem to be capable of – on their own,  on their own strength,   on their own willpower.

We need no instruction in the first three categories.    dad and sonBiological forces,  affections fondnesses,   familiarities make these first three loves common and natural to us.

They can be  very powerful,  of course,  overwhelming us sometimes.

I’ve just finished another book by Michael D . O’Brien, the last in his series which speculates whether our current events and personalities might indicate the formation of the last one-world governance with the antichrist at its head.   It’s a deeply thoughtful book – I’m going to have to read it again and take notes this time! –  but I was struck by his definition of that Agape love:

     Dr. Abbas  (the blind Christian Arab)   paused to clear his throat.  He then resumed his story:   What is love,   . . . ?   Do we not love most what is best in another but lacking in ourselves?  to see in someone else what we should be?     That is a part of it.

Another part  is to have one’s eyes opened to the gift that each person is. Subtract him from existence and the world is poorer.   When he is present, the world is richer – and full of wonder, really, if we can sustain that vision.    I’ve had glimpses of it . . .    (from Elijah in Jerusalem)

 

Yes,  this thought from Dr. Abbas is only a glimpse.    He  knows he’s seen only a glimpse of Love.    Love from the Christian definition is to desire the best and highest good for another – and to be always ready to act on it.

It is a deep-seated self-sacrificing commitment to that other person.     “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for another.”

(“It is a far, far better thing . .  .  than I  have ever done.”)  —

tale of two

 

And:  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.”   How did Christ love the church?    He died for it.

To step up and die for the good of another?     Yikes!    Occasional heroic acts of self-sacrifice to save the life of another occurs,  of course,  but it is especially Christian to  die for the good of the other person’s eternal soul.

Or to live for the good of the other person’s eternal soul.   Most of us are not required to prove our love by our deaths;  but we’re required to live with that kind of love.       This kind of original Christianity is not for half-hearted sissies, but it is rather the defining characteristic of a true follower of Christ.

not afraid to love

Nor are we capable of it without  that gift of Love being first given to us.   The Bible puts it simply:  “God is love.”      God created out of Love.  God loves His creation.   Dr. Abbas had a glimpse of this:  “. . .   to have one’s eyes opened to the gift that each one is.”   God opens our eyes;  he gives, we receive.

Perhaps the Bible, Charles Dickens,  and Dr. Abbas can say it better than I can,  but I do try to frequently explain it to my classes this way:    God is.   God is love.  Before the universe was created,  He thought you up.   He liked the idea of you!   And then, after He created the universe,  he created you and put you down into the best and most optimal time and place so that you’d be able to find your way back to Him, and to His love.

anthony

Hold Him.    Hold Him in your heart.

You love God back,  and you love all the human beings that He loves, and hold each one  in your heart so that you can act,  with sacrificial love,  for their  welfare, here and now.

Period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEXAGESIMA: ENEMIES WILL COME

February 20, 2017

( I felt safe this morning, in a dangerous world. )

I went to church this morning,  and didn’t even give a thought to my safety:

purg-1

Christendom had always seems so big and  strong.   I’d like to take my safety for granted,  but I know time is running out for us.

I  kept in my mind this morning that some Christians were not so safe going to their church services a couple Sundays ago.

uganda-attackers

Right in the middle of their services,  angry men surrounded the church building,  burst in through the doors,  locked the doors so no one could escape,  and then proceeded to beat and rape the men and women inside.

Because they were Christians.

(Our Rulers who are creating and then using chaos and confusion,  are moving the enemies of Christianity into Christian  (formerly Christian)  nations.     Now why would they want to bring in our  enemies? )   

we-are-death-for-you-2-jpg

Christians have always had enemies.    The Christian world has always had enemies.

It’s “Sexagesima Sunday”  today,  the second of three Sundays that get us ready for the season of Lent.    These three Sundays are a thoughtful reminder of how serious this world is, how necessary Good Friday and Easter were, and that happiness in this world  is incidental,  but not our goal.

One of the Readings attached to this Sunday is a sort of short  autobiography that St. Paul gives us, concerning the enemies he faced.       This great man,  this Apostle to the Gentiles  —    What all did he face?

Here is a portion of what we heard today,  from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:     He did his work as a Christian missionary   ” in many more labours, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. [24] Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes, save one. [25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea.    [26] In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren. [27] In labour and painfulness, in much watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness . . .”

Ahhh,  the life of a serious Christian!     Most likely none of us will ever have to go through that much in order to fulfill our mission on earth,  but it does remind us that Jesus said if we want to be followers of Him,   we have to be like Him and to take up our cross too  . . .  and then we can follow him.

lent-our-crosses

Christ first.      Then us.

He faced enemies and opposition from this present world system –  and so will those who love Him and follow Him.

It’s sobering to list all the enemies there are,  both external and internal.    Safety is an illusion,  a temporary illusion,  but we have each other for friendship,  encouragement,  and prayer for such as those in Uganda,  facing such enemies as in the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

SATURDAY: ABANDONMENT BY PAPA

February 19, 2017

(It’s been a bad month of accelerating violence.)

This post will read like a fine plaid.

plaid

Many individual thought-strands woven together in a pattern that  makes sense  when you see it as a whole.

(This plaid is quite like the one associated with Hubbie’s last name (and now mine and our children’s),  so I will mention him too.

So,  strand #1:    It’s Saturday today,  the day Christendom remembers that Jesus lay buried in His tomb, leaving us with the awful sense that evil has been winning and we’ve been abandoned by God.    A good day for quietness, extra prayers,  reparations,  penance, holy remorse for our offenses that actually led to the death of Jesus.

ol-and-peter-on-saturday

Grief stricken and alone.    Even the strongest and the best felt  desolation and abandonment on that Saturday.  And looking about us,  today,  at current events with the cacophony of confused cries from every quarter,  it’s easy to feel . . . rudderless.  Leaderless.   Abandoned.

I’m not going to tell you you’re not  (abandoned).

It’s a historic fact that for a millennium and a half   (1,500 years !!) civilization grew on the bedrock grounds of the Church that Christ founded.    Not every single person was happy with that, of course.    There were rules against doing things that harmed you and harmed society.     (Where’s my “freedom”?!)

speeder-turned   Another strand of thought:    My husband  ( usually known here as   “Hubbie”)   was a driver’s training teacher  in his younger life.   He enjoyed it  (weird);   and I think he was good at it.    Oh, boy, do I have some stories to tell!     One thing he told me, one day,  was that a police officer who had been invited to speak to his class made the statement that  there aren’t enough policemen in our country to keep us safe if the number of lawbreakers reached a critical point.   Just 10%.     If that many citizens all of a sudden decided to break the traffic laws, for instance,  the streets would become dangerous.

Society would become  very dangerous if just around 10% of people disregarded the Law – or didn’t know the Law. 

That Civilization –  that Christendom –  that Church  that provided guidance and “laws”  that built a safe and orderly society  (more than would have been without it),   is supposed to have a Voice,  a one leader that represents that  supernatural Voice.

So here’s another  “strand”  in that plaid of my mind.

Struggling against the supernatural:

no-miracle

Some of you may know what particular miracle almost always happens up to three times a year – unless some disaster is pending  –  or some disaster is present.     It’s associated with Saint Januarius.

For two years in a row, now,  the supernatural sign did not appear.

This man seems not to be the one to have kept a supernatural  connection with the Church he leads.   He is NOT the Church;  but he should be its leader,  guarding against strange, new, or alien teachings.   However, almost daily,   he seems to be working hard to abandon the teachings of Christ.

There are implications of the Church losing her voice, allowing the world to become  rudderless,  leaderless –lawless.

This man,  who should be Papa,  has inexplicable declared that there is no terrorism today inspired by a religion.     “Islam is a religion of peace.”

But. . .

My inner being is still reverberating from the horror of  a recent video showing a man beheading his wife – in public,  on a street, with onlookers,  and with the local police protecting his action.   I watched as the woman was knocked to the ground,  yelling out her fear and protests,   two of the man’s friends helping him hold her down . . .    one reached into her burka and pulled out her long hair, subduing her and bringing her head down to the pavement,  where he then was able to strike  down with his large knife,  abruptly cutting off her yells. . . .

The police helped the traffic and bystanders   move on as her body was moved away.

Then I read of a man who boarded a bus in Austria last week along with many other passengers.    As the bus  drove off,  the young man put his head back and fell asleep.  the man behind him yelled various “Islamic words”  and reached over and began cutting the neck of the sleeping man . . .

“Islam is a religion of peace.  There is no terrorism.”

I’m glad I’m not an old woman in Sweden….

swede-lady-raped

Once  popes called on Europeans to protect themselves against invasions . . . I hope you can see the “plaid”  as a whole.     Christ is gone after the Crucifixion.  We’re seemingly abandoned on that Saturday.   Abandoned,  we become leaderless.

And a leaderless people suffers the consequences of Lawlessness.

Only knowledge can begin to turn us around.    Knowledge of the real world.  Knowledge of actual Truth,  as it’s come to us for two thousand years.

You’d better stop reading here, if you don’t want to think about what is confronting us..      Because the world can get real bad if we don’t DO anything.    The Founder of the Church taught meekness, mildness, forgiveness, and charity.    And He demonstrated His love by dying for us.

___________________________________________________

The world in general seems not to know this.

I’ve watched a video of a teenager girl being stoned to death.   Amazing and horrifying.

I’ve watched many videos of beheadings.   I’m not afraid to see the truth.

I’ve witnessed the actions of a brutal people . . .  who are on the move.   And you’d better not try to escape them:

hung-and-burned

These are not animals that are hanging.    These are SOME of the humans who tried to get away and were caught.   Tarred.   Hung over fire.   Eventually they died.     May God have mercy on their souls.

Migrating.   Invading.   On the move.

Not  everyone is executed if they are called guilty.   Just,  this:

he-did-not-cut-off-execute

Sharia on the move.

I sorrow for the many women who – even in our own country – are victims of genital mutilation,   of acid thrown into their faces,  and are victims of “honor” killings –  killed by their  fathers or brothers.

It’s Saturday.    There are so many things to mourn for.    The sum total of human evil.   The consequences of “good men doing nothing….”

It almost feels like we’ve been abandoned by the Good God.

But tomorrow is Sunday.    The more we understand Saturday,  that dark day right after the Crucifixion,  the more we will experience Joy and Hope on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEJA VU HISTORY – 15th CENTURY –

January 31, 2017

First,  a  little Rant –

“Deja vu all over again” ??   No!  I’m not going to state that culturally -imposed knee-jerk reaction which trivializes the actual (quite rare) phenomena.

“He who is ignorant of history is condemned to repeat it...” ??    No!    We hear that so often that we’re oblivious to its serious meaning.

But humans are always humans and similar events do come up again and we should learn from those who  lived before we do,  because they really lived in this world and gained experience.

It is arrogance, narcissism, and hubris to reject what they have learned;  and it is criminal negligence for government schools to keep a knowledge of history from us and to pass on a version of history that was rewritten by current political ideology.

bar-fancy-line

So.  Now.    I’ll just be matter-of-fact.      Factual.

It was my intention to re-study the 16th century because I know I’ll have to answer many questions about it  during this fateful year of multiple anniversaries, one of which is 1517, the reputed beginning of the “Reformation. ”

(Book recommendation:   “The Unintended Reformation”    by  Brad S. Gregory.)

But I needed to know some background and I got “stuck” in the 15th century –  an amazing and interesting century all over Europe  (anyone familiar with Game of Thrones?),  but unfortunately  a century with familiar circumstances to us in the 21st.

Let’s just do Spain.     After repeated attacks, robberies, knifings,  killings,  banditry,  political assassinations, courtroom disruptions committed by the Moors who were resident in Spain,    it became clear that Spanish citizens, the “indigenous” people of Spain,  were presented with life-and-death danger every day.

The Moors claimed Spain for their worldwide Caliphate and wanted to re-start their war of conquest.   The Moors were the “conquistadores,” so to speak against  the Spanish people.

If this was your home,  you were somewhat safe:

guadamur-castle

But if you had to travel somewhere,  or if your  home was a smaller “suburb” or remote village, or if you were a farmer,   then you faced death or capture and forced slavery and conversion to the Moorish religion.    (We call it Islam today.)

(By the way,  for those of you who have learned the re-written version of history,   the truth is that the Church forbade forced conversions to the Catholic faith.  In writing.   In documents.   All over the world.     And the penalty for those who tried it was excommunication from the Church.  And many were.   The real Church teaches that you don’t force anyone to become Catholic. )

But the Moors did force Christians to convert, according to what is written in their book.

So here is the likeness between that time and ours:     As more and more protective laws were developed in 15th century Spain,   restricting the movement of the Moors,  more and more Moors pretended conversion to the Catholic faith.    It’s in their  book that you can do that if it advances the cause.

images-rejected

I doubt if many 15th century Moors ever understood the images in this painting.   I’m sure many   Moors were repulsed by it,  including some converts.

Many more Christians were killed because of these new “Christians”  being given the same  advantages as the Christian Spanish citizens.

So now in today’s news, I read:   Because the Previous President issued some orders to detain certain people from certain countries and because the Current President has decided enforce those orders,   the entertainment-news media  (in America and in Europe)  are announcing that President Trump is “banning Muslims from entering the United States.”

A falsehood, of course,  but believed by people in those certain countries.    And so, according to some news today,  many Muslims are converting to the Christian faith in order to enter the United States.

Is there anyone in the world who will doubt the sincerity of all these conversions?     All of them?     All?      

Of course not.

Is there anyone who doesn’t know that this was a successful strategy used in the past by other “converts”  and dangerous to the citizens of the target nation?

. . . .

safe-home

My loved ones and I don’t live in a safe home, like this.

And we’re not protected by soldiers looking out for us, like this:

safe-soldiers

But those who have declared themselves to be enemies of the United States are coming . . .

invading-not-migrating

. . .    by the hundreds of thousands.

And some of these have declared their intentions.

islam-willl-dominate-cr

“. . .the WORLD.”

“Freedom can go to hell” ??        Freedom is a Western value.

Deja vu?   Once upon a time there was a mindset to protect Western values:

fight

The Catholic Church has said that every nation has a right to protect itself, its citizens,  its borders and culture.    Every nation has a right to exist.

I hope indeed that this part of history repeats itself.

 

COLONIAL BEAUTY

January 16, 2017

 (  Just one observation to correct our “modern” prejudices.)

“The development of Western Civilization  has allowed for the greatest manifestation of the highest human values.”

sao-paulo-church-400

My daughter visited the above church in Sao Paolo,   Brazil,  an actual result of  Western colonialism.   It’s an attempt to glorify God and show the beauty of His Kingdom with the use of higher philosophy leading man’s spirit upward,  with order and hierarchy,  and an architecture intended to reflect the beauty of heaven, focusing the eyes on the presence of God at the altar.

Yes, those floors are mirrors!   The edges of the pews are decorated with sweet smelling flowers for one of the many weddings that take place in that cathedral.   Hopeful promises of better things to come.

Western civilization is the culmination of Greek thinking and  Roman law and governance in combination with  Christian principles.       The enemies of the West have prevented nearly every citizen from knowing what those Greek philosophies are,  what the genius of Roman government was,  and the actual Truth mediated to mankind through the Kingdom of Christ.

In fact, each of these three elements are so thoroughly denigrated today, that it seems impossible to have anything good to say about them.

Now,   real Truth is identical with Beauty and with Goodness and with Purity and with Holiness  . . .   with God the Creator.

Historically,  wherever Western Civ has spread,  there has been the spread of  kindness and respect for the dignity of the human being:

Hospitals

Hotels and Hostels   for travelers

Safe, free traveling

Universities,  schools,  and literacy

Orphanages

Commerce and common methods of bookkeeping,  common laws of interchange

Advanced technology:  Farming;  Beer and Wine-Making;    Irrigation;  Grinding Mills

Scientific   inquiry,  discoveries, and knowledge

Architecture that uplifts the human spirit

The ideal of honesty in politics and peace treaties

Equality before the Law and the presumption of innocence when accused

 

Exterminate the Church and the Christians;    destroy knowledge of the past.

Then cross out all those things in red.   Because all those things in red don’t come to humans just because they are humans.      They existed here and there, perhaps,  but not all together in one civilization.

 

Just one geographical example:     When Christian colonialism came to   African nations, for instance,  it brought with it all those things in red.     (Please  don’t look to an imperialism divorced from Catholic Christian principles.)     When Christianity was kicked out by the enemies of Western Civilization,  African nations collapsed into anarchy, chaos,  poverty, starvation, and the rule of whichever tribal despot could gain power.

And anarchy can happen anywhere.

To follow after the dystopian future vision I wrote about in the last post,   how long do you think it will take for all our institutions to also collapse – without a firm commitment to the principles and values of Western Civilization?

To my Foreign Readers:  Perhaps this explains why supporters of Donald Trump are cautiously optimistic;  not that Mr. Trump will lead us into some wonderful future and solve all our problems.    He has very little power, in the face of our anti-West Rulers behind the scenes.

No,  there is optimism because perhaps the social and political climate will now allow those who understand the value of Western, Christian, European, American ideals to live freely and without fear of reprisals and destructive opposition.

Optimism.     Hard work,   but optimism.

Something for all of us to do!

 

SOUR BERRIES, GOLD STRIPS, AND TOILET PAPER ROLLS

January 13, 2017

The “lesson” today began with a curmudgeonly encounter with sour berries,   two gold strips, and a toilet paper roll.

Lesson # 1 –  “New”  doesn’t always mean better.

new-tricks
In fact,  in this benighted century,  “new” almost always means worse.   Or greatly diminished.

“New” ways of doing things,  “new tricks,”   almost always means cutting corners, cutting quality  — and caring more for the Bottom Line than for people.

 

My first encounter with the “new” came in the form of many, many pints of berries,  raspberries and strawberries.   Good price.  Good for juicing and freezing in little cups.

1-juice

I did it.  I did all the work.     Then I  tasted the juice.    Ick!     Sour, tasteless berry juice.  I know berries grow in the summer . . .   but if they sell them now in the winter, doesn’t that mean they’ve come from warmer climates?  Southern places?   Greenhouses?   Aren’t they still berries?

It’s “new” to be able to buy berries out of season . .  .  but what are these?     Maybe the “new” way of growing doesn’t give the berries the ability to include their natural sugar.

The second encounter  was with the gold strips.

2-gold-strips

I was putting away Christmas cards – and envelopes – and was delighted to see a couple envelopes made with a heavy gold lining,  like the “good” cards we used to send to special people.

Only the gold lining didn’t go all the way through.

1-5-pretty-envelope

Just two little strips on the back and front, inside the envelope,  to make it look like the envelope was just as elegant as they always used to be.

Not a really big deal, I guess,  but the “little girl” in me felt tricked by this “new” way of saving money.   I felt a little sadness at this diminution of quality.

Third encounter?

3-toilet-paper-rolls

Yeah . . .  the “new”  toilet paper rolls.    The cardboard roll at the right is a sad reminder that the size and thickness of these rolls has also decreased — to the point that my old patterns for using toilet paper rolls in crafts:  Brownies, Girl Scouts,  first-grade classroom art projects,  and those silly little crocheted dress forms that you make to put on a little girl’s bedspread . . .    You can’t use these smaller, flimsier  imitation rolls in those patterns  . . .

And how about having NO rolls at all  (like the white thing on the left)?     Doesn’t work quite as well as they’d like us to believe.

To those people who thought up these “new” ideas:   TREES ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE!!!!     Making paper products employs American workers of many skills!!   Paper companies produce something of worth and add value to our economy.    Don’t be afraid to use paper — it adds;   it doesn’t waste anything!     (Of course, I’m not speaking about thoughtless “wastefulness.”)

Am I being a curmudgeon?   Maybe.    But sometimes I wonder, how much lower do we have to let the quality of everyday things get?     Paying a little bit more for smaller quantities.     Buttons and seams that come unthreaded . . . .    “Newspapers that have one-tenth of the words newspapers are expected to have.    We’ve all had these “encounters.”  What will we see ten years down the road?

Lesson # 2 –

Yes,  this is about Epiphany – the entire season of Epiphany,  the one that has been diminished by the modern  “new-improved”  version of the Church.

epiphany

Wherever you find Christendom today, you’ll observe that today is an important day on the Liturgical Calendar.   It is the Octave of Epiphany.    That is,  the Church (the real, actual Church), has given us eight days to learn, relearn, and more deeply learn the lessons of Epiphany.

After all,  only a child would want to look at the Three Wise Men and then quickly move on to “something else.”   There is much more to Epiphany to the adult mind — and we need at least an octave of days to consider it all.

I didn’t write about the three main points of epiphany this year.   Many others have done so, and I wasn’t physically able to do so.    But just to point out, though,  the three events  that Epiphany offers us are

  1.    The visitation of the Wise Men
  2.     The changing of water into wine at Cana
  3.     The baptism of Jesus

All three events demonstrate to us some aspect of the divinity of  Jesus,  who was presented to us at the very beginning of the Gospels.     All three events have significant meaning for our  eternal life, in the next world.

I’m not writing about those events, however;    I’m just calling attention to a diminished and weakened presentation of the Gospel story which obscures the splendor and majesty of Jesus,  the Son of God.     You can’t squish a whole octave into one Sunday morning sermon on the day of Epiphany.

The “new” way of having just one day of Epiphany is not a better way!    So much we no longer know!!!     So much quality slipping through our hands.

Christendom diminished.

The burden of the effort is on us to recover . . .  quality.