Archive for the ‘Christian Love’ category

DO GOOD; A REMEMBRANCE

August 3, 2019

I needed to take a walk in the actual Spruce Tunnel recently, just to think, to clear my mind, give me some time to . . .  breathe.  I often write that I hope each of you have a place to go to like this;  although in the undisturbed quiet, you have to be prepared for  any  thoughts that arise.

Here’s how you enter the trails that lead to the Tunnel.  A nice, inviting, lush green trailhead:

ST Entrance 380

July begins a time of the year for not-so-good anniversaries for us.

My thinking on this day:    We like to think that when we leave this world,  someone will care.     We don’t wish our family and friends  unbearable grief or unending sorrow,  but it would be nice if we are remembered for something . . .  something good, some good effect we’ve had . . . .

And since there is someone who left us who really did have a “good effect” on us,  I want to pay tribute to her.    She left us almost a year ago,  way too young, it shouldn’t have happened  (from our point of view)  and we keep bumping into little “anniversaries” of our last months, weeks, and days with her.

Oh, dear.  This has to be “brief.”

This is about Meghan.  She was a bundle of energy, busy, busy, busy,  always doing something good,  doing some good for other people,  wise about other people’s needs . . .  how can I explain?

Her flowers 370

She made the earth around her a better place. The flowers she planted last year to beautify Son’s front yard — came up again this year – gorgeous and glorious.

She was wise and very  observant about just exactly what a person needs.  She seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of how to improve things and how to fix things;  but she had the ability to know when she should back off a bit too.

 

She was always there for the needs of any of her friends.   I don’t think anyone in her circle of friends ever did as much for her as she did for all of  us.

About a year ago,  I brought her a drink that she liked:

Her Drink 400

There it is.   Just a Peach-Pear smoothie, sold at our local coffee shop.  I go there to buy some of the white packages you see in the background.  Coffee of every variety you can imagine.    She already wasn’t feeling very good,   but I just thought she might like a smoothie, maybe.   We all knew she needed to eat more.

A small thought on my part but she was so happy with it.   Such a little thing,  but it made her happy.    Looking back,  she delighted in giving to others many unexpected little “surprises.”  but I don’t know how many spontaneous little “gifts”  she received from other people         How grateful she was to be the recipient this time.

ST Tall Trees 338

The Spruce Tunnel will last longer than I will.    It will be there longer than the thoughts I was thinking.    But one day it will be gone too.

Some of you will hear a passage from Ecclesiastes read to you this Sunday:   “Vanity of vanities;  all is vanity . . . .”    Everything we commonly strive for will actually  come to nothing.      It all passes away.    All our effort is in vain,  in the end.   Only the good we do for others will count for anything in the eyes of God.

Love.  And do good.

Jesus a man at His feet

It’s what He taught us.

It’s what Meghan seemed to be striving for.  Love people.  Cheer them up.  Do for people. Help them out.  Have fun and make fun.

If you want to live forever and have all your efforts count for something,  Love and Do Good because God is Love, and you count for something in Him.   It is something you learn and then grow slowly into until it becomes instinctive.

You know me,  I’m  a teacher – by nature, by profession, by habit;  I teach but sometimes I just give advice.   So my advice to all of  you, my dear Readers:    Do good.  Do good to all you know so that you don’t some day regret not doing  enough good things for the family and friends you will lose some day.

We did not love her back — enough.     Or, we did not show her enough that we love her.

Jesus enfolded at His lap

We can hope that she is now enfolded in all the love she deserves.

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I John 4:19 –    “We love, because He first loved us.”

 

Crucifix

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ABSENT BY TIMIDITY

April 29, 2019

This is an Afterthought to Easter Week.  Life goes on, people still exist after an event,  and the Apostles chosen by Jesus still existed after Easter.   What about them?

Eleven Apostles were absent at the Crucifixion.   Ten Apostles were absent at the empty tomb.    They were afraid and timid at the Crucifixion.  They were too disbelieving and timid to run to the empty tomb.

Absent because of their timidity, no matter what caused them to be timid.

Timid, but not rejected.

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I chose this image of Tissot’s  famous painting of Jesus exhorting his disciples because it’s rather fuzzy and indistinct,  just like our memories of these men.   We don’t know them too well, even though their work established the Christian church throughout the Middle East, and Turkey, and Europe .

In those days,  a teacher  (a  rabbi)  was not “distant”  and outside of the family or group, appearing only when needed to  “teach.”       A teacher was part of the family  —  intimate,   caring,  loving;  watchful.     The Disciples  (the students)  followed their teacher, lived with their teacher,  followed and imitated their teacher, walked, slept, and ate with Him.

The Great Teacher did not reject the students He loved.

Let’s see those absent Disciples from the view point of Jesus while He was still on the Cross:

12 tissot

Looking down from the Cross

Bartholomew (Nathaniel)  was not there.   Jesus remembers that Bartholomew “had no guile” – an honest, faithful Israelite.  Nothing more.   But Bartholomew had recognized Jesus as the “King of Israel.”   Honest and clear thinking.

Philip, not there;   Philip had just the night before said “Rabbi,  show us the Father!”   And then as Jesus was answering him,  there was most likely Philip’s long gaze into the eyes of Jesus where he found infinite, patient Love,   flowing through the eyes of Jesus.

Matthew,  the tax collector, who left his lucrative occupation at the first call of Jesus – and then held a banquet in honor of the Rabbi who had shown such love to him.

Thaddeus — Jude Thaddeus  (Judas) —  whose name is so close to the traitor’s name;   John makes sure to notice  this was “not the Iscariot”  but rather a friend of Jesus with faith so strong that he would one day be  known as the patron saint of “things almost despaired of.”     He was timid on this day, but the love of Jesus continued to pour  into him and strengthen him, endowing him with the ability to bring about mighty miracles.   Confident in Jesus’ love right up until his (terrible) martyrdom.

Simon the Zealot.  Not much is said about him, but since he earned the title “the zealot,”  we can imagine he zealously and enthusiastically embraced  first a political movement which promised victory on earth and then after experiencing the Infinite Love of God, he devotes himself to the Gospel which offers Infinite Love to all, forever.

Love in.  Love out.

James, the relative of the Lord, perhaps also growing up with him in Nazareth.    What astonishment he must have felt as he came to realize that this friend and relative not only had something special about Him,  but was actually the long-promised Messiah.  What love he must have witnessed within his family.   What love he saw confirmed as he followed Jesus around.    And what love he lived within during his manhood, as he provided leadership to the church in Jerusalem — until the religious leaders threw him off  a high roof and then clubbed him to death.

James, one of the sons of Zebedee, abruptly left his father’s fishing nets when he heard the involving voice of Jesus calling him.   Returning that love, this James said he was willing to drink the cup that Jesus said He was going to drink.   “I’ll share it with you!”  And Jesus, lovingly, sorrowfully,  replied,  “Yes, you will.”

Peter was not there at the foot of the Cross.    Peter, the alert,  intelligent, strong fisherman,  whose love for Jesus led him to moments of  unrestrained, unthinking enthusiasm,  yet he was taught individually by Jesus and forgiven for all,  even for his confused night of fear when timidity kept him silent as Jesus was being threatened and mocked.  Patience and forgiveness from Jesus were apparent before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

Andrew, the brother of Peter, who wondered if “anything good could come out of Nazareth” and then followed Jesus to his home along the banks of the Jordan and discovered Eternal Love walked among them.  Later Andrew would bring the Greeks, Gentiles,  during that last Passover week.    And yet Andrew could not bring himself to the Calvary.

These flawed, weak, uncomprehending Disciples were deeply loved by Jesus,  never rejected.    “…He loved them to the end…”

In spite of their occasions of timidity,   Jesus Christ still used them.    And He still loved them.    He was still at “their right elbow” through the Spirit which was sent to them as they spread out all over to teach people about Jesus —  and eventually, down through the centuries, to teach us.     They were good examples of faithful Christians because they were like us.

Timid sometimes.   Timid, but not rejected.

If,  for a Christian,   “every Sunday is a little Easter, ”   we can look to the Disciples who were not there at the foot of the Cross.   We can  call down on us the love they discovered and live in this love, obey the Commandment to “love one another.”   It never stops.

We are never rejected.

 

 

NOT ALONE ON OUR JOURNEY

October 11, 2018

“After a Funeral;  after a Death.”

Hope and Consolation comes in many forms,  but the quiet beauty of a thoughtful poem gives us the time to truly take it into ourselves.

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Jesus,  “Rabboni,”   Teacher,   Master,    told us many things.  He instructed us,  admonished us,  warned us,  and prepared us to understand why He came to die for us.

But He couldn’t tell us everything.   We are not capable of understanding everything.  When He told His closest disciples that He was soon returning to the Father,  He said this:     I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world comes, and in me he hath not any thing.   But that the world may know, that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I: Arise, let us go hence.  .  . (John 14:30, 31)

“I will not now speak many things with you:     For  (Because)  the prince of this world comes . . .

The spiritual ruler of this world is (for now)  the Enemy,  commonly called Satan.  Maybe you think of him as the devil.    This powerful creature will bring about the death of Jesus (through our actions),  but yet has no power over Jesus   ( and in me he hath not any thing.).  They are diametrically opposed to each other, and that “commandment”  that Jesus refers to in this passage is God’s commandment that Jesus come into this world to die for the world, breaking the power that this evil prince of no love has over us.

So it is:  We all must choose either God our Savior in Jesus Christ;  or Satan and all that this world offers.

No matter which you choose,  you and your loved ones will experience that great and terrible consequence of human rebellion against God:  Death.

(And all the things which accompany our  Death:   sickness,  pain,  loneliness,  bad feelings towards ourselves and others,   lovelessness,  doubt,  uncertainty,  sadness, anger . . .  all these things contribute to our Death.)

And so we here in the Spruce Tunnel experienced the Death of a dearly loved one,  our own Meghan.    And here is the Bright Spot:   If we can hear through the spiritual clutter of our lives, through all that strong, insistent chatter from the Enemy,  we can hear words of  Life and Comfort — and Hope that we may be united once again, everyone who lives within the Love of Jesus.  Some day.

Jesus alone has power over life and death.  He said He has the power to lay down His life and to take it up again,  and as surely as He resurrected from His own death,  so  will He do the same for those who live in His friendship.

No easy thing with all that spiritual clutter!   But it can be done.   And we can have real Hope and real the Comfort that we are not alone on our journey.     Some people can testify to this beautifully.     Beautifully in poetic form so that we can enjoy and savor each thought:

 

What God Hath Promised
 
God hath not promised skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
 
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptations, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.
 
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide
Swift, easy travel needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
 
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
 
Annie Johnson Flint
Learn it.  Its words are true.
For this poem of Comfort:   thank you to my Recorder-playing  friend who has brought beauty into my life through our shared music,  setting a beautiful  table afterwards,  and always beautiful thoughts.
Deo gratias.
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LOSING DEAR THINGS

September 20, 2018

Sometimes life is gets tough.  Love what you’ve got right now.

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There you have it:

There you have it

 

Rust.  The killer of cars.    I brought Hubbie’s car into our mechanic because  I thought it was leaking a little oil on the garage floor.      It wasn’t oil.    It was one of the other vital fluids that a car needs to run.

The photo shows you why.     The  . . .  drive shaft thing that bolts onto the thing that turns the wheels from the motor . . .  so rusted that the mechanic could push his finger through it.  And something that holds up the whole chassis off the ground,   badly rusted.   And there are two fluid lines that are so rusted that there are small holes in them, and since they are  . . .  pressurized . . .   lines  (or fluids)   there could be a big spurt of needed fluid – all of a sudden, while I’m driving!!

He pronounced the car unsafe to drive (although he said I could probably drive it home safely, but he was shaking his head while he was saying that).

I know this happens  all the time to everyone eventually,  I know people lose important things,   but this is Hubbie’s car.

It’s nice looking:

Red car.jpg

Hubbie is dead, and while he was getting very sick,  he said “Looks like no more new cars for me . . .”   but I convinced him that the “end” is not so near and he could still run his little supply business and so he needed a car like this, an SUV.

It’s been his,  his “presence” inside;  it’s been needed and convenient and after Hubbie eventually did die, I took very good care of it.

For his sake.

But I can’t hold back time and age and weather.

I’m losing . . .   things . . .  things that remind me of him.

You can lose dear people and dear things –   I’m not confusing the two –  but they both  sure can tug at your heartstrings . . . .

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All this week I haven’t had much time to blog because I’ve spent much of my waking hours at the hospital where our dear young friend M is being taken care of.    Son and she have been close friends for many, many years.   She is part of our family.   Grandson Cooper loves her very much.

She has been receiving “treatment’  from  Medical Industry protocols, and the “treatment”  has nearly destroyed her body.

Various teams of doctors are trying to keep her together.

We shall see.   We may not lose her this time.   We pray and we hope.   And we ask all of you praying people to help us pray and hope.

Losing Hubbie’s car is very hard.  But losing our young friend would be ever so much harder.

I know people lose important things   friends and family members all the time  . . .   but she is ours.

We hope she can be “repaired”  this time.

She is irreplaceable, as are we all.

A car is replaceable.

Red and blue

I’ve got another car  . . .   the little blue one in the garage.    Life will go on . . . .

Love what you’ve got right now.  Especially your people.

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HIM AND THE HURRICANE

September 12, 2018

We’re all looking at the hurricane charts and diagrams now.   (I’ll get to “him” in a minute).

Experts estimate that at least 20 million Americans will be affected by Florence’s arrival.  Perhaps you know someone in her path.

FLORENCE

Objectively speaking,  it’s  a gorgeous, well-formed hurricane.   I am safe here in the Far North;  I can be fascinated with the development and progression of Florence,  but just recently I received a text from my young friend V in Virginia who does not feel so safe.

I’m very fond of her.   She has a husband, a daughter,  another family member or two living with her and a house and a home —  and all will be very much affected by Florence.  Though probably not in the direct pathway,  she’s close enough that there could be some terrible damage.

My young friend V has asked for my prayers.   I’m  honored; and I am asking and will continue to ask for intercession on her behalf.     “Prayer changes things” as the saying goes.  It changes things physically,  personally, spiritually,  and prayer can change the course of people and things.

V is a believer in Christ.  I will be merely adding my prayers to hers, but I hope her faith and hope and courage will be increased, and that she is sheltered in this storm.     It is at the worst of times that Our Lord will take us by the hand and “lead us on.”    That’s not my idea!    It’s the experience of countless Christians throughout the centuries.

A beautiful hymn has been humming itself in my head.   I finally had to look up those wonderful and meaningful lyrics which I learned as a child.   I found them.

And that leads me to the “him.”    The King.    I will let “him”  sing them for you:

I hope you will remember this song for our fellow Americans during their encounter with Florence, perhaps, as I had said,  it will be someone you know;  and I hope you will recall this song when you find yourself in the eye of some storm or other.

Humans don’t live in paradise anymore!

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If you can’t view the video,  here is its URL (remove the spaces)  – and there are many other fine singers who do a good job on this hymn:

https : // youtu.be/ThsYX4RBtbw

 
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

 

 

E.T. – COSMIC CONSIDERATIONS – 1

July 6, 2018

(A couple “cosmic”  considerations.     Having a “close call”  healthwise  enlarges your thinking!)

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H red finger 380

 

“E.T.”

“Eeeeeteeee,   phone home.”

“Home” ” H-o- -oh- oh-h- m m m mmm.”

If you saw the movie, you’ll know why this picture made me think of E.T.!!

(If you’ve never seen E.T., the movie, I’d urge you to see it now. If you saw it only as a child or young person, please see it again. You will see it now with an adult understanding of the issues that are presented; but you can choose to see it, for the first time or not, with the open-hearted goodness of a child.  It is a well-made, worthwhile movie. It’s also fun! And funny and sweet and sad.)

So, that’s a photo of my finger in the hospital one night. I’ve been discharged now, so I leave behind  that little red light on my finger. *

I also leave behind a bruised arm, the result of numerous (failed)   attempts to draw blood.  (That’s my arm past my orange sleeve.)

H black 380

Well, I took it home with me,  but no more bruising, I guess.

I also take with me a new understanding of what it means to be alive. What it means to have “time” left in our lives. What it means to have friends whose support was a big factor in my well-being and my ongoing return to normal. I had no idea how much they  would mean to me.  Family and friends.  I will never hesitate to visit friends in the hospital, now.

The Church teaches us that that is one of the Corporate Works of Mercy: “. . . to visit the sick . . .” And you don’t do it to earn favor or merit with God, you do it with God, for His sake, being His hands, so to speak, and for love of the sick person. Then it becomes a Work of Mercy, rather than a duty done so you can (subconsciously) pat yourself on the back or cross that duty off the checklist of your busy life.

As E.T. was full of gentle benevolence, so is the way of God: gentle, benevolent, loving, interested, attentive . . .

Alive, dying, or dead . . . Heaven is God’s intended home for us.

Yeah – I don’t have that red-lighted finger anymore, but I can still “phone home.”

 

cowboy at prayer 90

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.*  Oh!   Ha ha –   I’m not an alien!    In case you haven’t had hospital experience,  the light on my finger was monitoring by oxygen saturation.   OxSat.      

 

 

 

 

(MINI)-TRAUMA ON A WINTER’S NIGHT

February 28, 2018

“Music, a Meeting,  More Snow,  and a Reverse Lesson in Kindness)

(This posting will feel like  a disorganized mess because . . .  well, I feel like a mess right now.)

RECOVERY MODE:

So,  this is me, recovering tonight:

Knitting

Words actually say it better than this photo:   I’m having a quiet, relaxing evening in front of a soothing fire with a bright almost- full moon shining through the window behind me, and I’m so surprised to be able to begin my new knitting project – a thick, luscious white cabled sweater.

(“Every journey begins with a few stitches.”)

It’s a surprise because I have fairly badly injured my right thumb, slightly traumatizing, and I thought I couldn’t start my new knitting project,  but as it turns out,  because there are so many cables in it,  I’m not using the European style of knitting which would have put more pressure on my thumb.   So,  two fingers, not the thumb. . . .

I need the knitting, the fireplace, and the quiet right now.

I injured my thumb yesterday during a meeting in an office of our, uh,  professional advisor,  just a periodic meeting,  with Son by my side.  I couldn’t hide the bleeding which didn’t stop during that whole time, but I had to hide the shock my body felt and the growing pain.

“BE YE KIND”

You don’t give up any of your strength when you are kind to someone:

kind animals

 

It matters, it matters very much if you are kind to the people around you.     Thankfully,  I’ve been surrounded by kindness.   Our “advisor”  who kindly got up several times to give me wads of paper towels to soak up the blood (which I didn’t know what to do with – not thinking clearly).

And Son,  glancing at me once in a while in the office,  and then his kind attention and (distracting) conversation as we went out for a nice lunch afterwards;  and his helping with needed yard work which I couldn’t do, and patient conversation afterwards.

The kindness of these two men was not unnoticed, and I’m a bit embarrassed to say, but  it was very much needed.

And kindness today:

RECORDER

It was Recorder Practice today.    I didn’t think I could use my thumb.   It hurt.   I was unaccountably tired.  And I felt a little tense and shaky all over.   But I like my friend and I like playing recorder together with her.    So I went.     (“Music hath charms to soothe the “traumatized”  breast.”)    My friend kindly listened to my tales of woe and said we could stop when my thumb said to stop.

And look what was waiting for us after we played our music!

Table Whole 380

A beautiful table like this just doesn’t assemble itself.   My friend is an artist, with color and composition.   Those little  flowers grow on her property, and they’re called Snow Drops,  arranged beautifully.    They were so charming in the little crystal containers  that they actually soothed and cheered my body.

Table

When you do something like this for a friend,  that is an act of kindness.     It’s actually a command from our “Master.”

(Ephesians 4:32)   Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Snow Drops bring me to another whole set of considerations:

Not too long ago I woke up to this outside my window – an Ice Cage!

Icicle Cage 250

Long icicles had formed across my house.   It was the aftermath of lots and lots of snow –

Snow Banks 380   –   I had shoveled the snow up into four-foot banks.

Snow BENCH 370

Everything was deeply covered .

But then the ice on the pond turned “green” signaling a change in the weather.

sea green pond 370

We had a couple days of very warm rains, causing the creek back there to rise into a raging river,  a couple days of flooded roads and detours,  and now,  though it’s “Indian Spring”  or whatever this warm weather is called,   we have some snow predicted.

A measly three inches.    Can I get back on my skis again?

Grandson Cooper has four to eight feet of snow predicted this week.    He lives right on the shore of Donner Lake,  here:

Donner Lake

And up in the pass?   Donner Pass:

Donner

It will be a white-out again.

Lucky Cooper!    He’ll be able to ski!

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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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IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST . . .

January 20, 2018

 

So the saying goes:  “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it,  does it make a sound?”

If the Right to Life March happened in 2018 and there was no one from the entertainment-news media (CBSABCNBCFOXCNNMSNBC,etc.etc)  to cover it,  did it really happen?  

A march for women’s rights:

Many hundreds of thousands (which was translated to the word “thousands”)  marched for women’s rights:

right to be born

Do we not have at least the right to be born?

I’m probably not the best one to ask how much coverage the Right to Life March got yesterday;  I simply won’t get my news information from television.  Nevertheless,  I do watch and read  quite a bit of current events, from this country and from others.  Every other year past I have easily found information about the annual Right to Life marches; but not this year.

Brief mention of “antiabortionists,” maybe.     And dishonestly stating “thousands.”

According to our history books,  a couple thousand years ago, when a women gave birth, within a day or so the infant was taken to the husband, laid at his feet,  and he decides, then, whether to keep that baby in his household or to reject the infant, which would then be discarded.  They say the dumps at the edges of Roman cities were filled with the carcasses of little babies, rejected by their fathers.

(Early on,  Christians got in trouble for roaming these dumps, rescuing any infants who were still alive.   Christians were know to have a different morality, one that placed value on all humans, no matter their condition.)

I’ve been an adult for “many decades” now;  there have been adults in my classes for many, many years.    Never, until the last twenty years,  have I seen so many good men and women who have never been married.

As this one man has noted:

one third missing

Can’t find a good date?  Can’t find someone you’d  trust with  the rest of your life?    Chances are fairly good that your Soul Mate was killed in the womb.

All the little babies — more than Stalin killed in his massacre of  millions; all the little girls and boys;  all the young men and women . . .  gone.

I think I will start a one-man campaign for coverage for those who went to Washington DC and protested their disappearance and the ongoing “disappearances” of so many new little babies.     As many others do,  I will wear outside on my clothes little baby feet:

baby feet

Well, not real baby feet . . . that’s for their mommy and daddy to love.

These:

Precious feet

Little gold-colored feet of an unborn baby, so young that sometimes the mother isn’t really sure she’s pregnant!    But she is!    And the little baby exists!

You can find  these little feet by using a Search engine and typing in Precious Feet.

That will  my  news coverage.

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

For those of you who know God exists,  you can pray for the Right to Life marchers and workers;  those who stand and pray outside of those places that do away with little babies;   you can pray for the little babies;  you can pray for the babies who exist today but are as yet unborn;  you can pray for the physically damaged women who have had abortions;  you can pray for the psychological damage and horrors that go on in the minds of the men and women who would have been mothers and fathers.

And you can pray  God has mercy on our nation when He ultimately, inevitably rains down His justice on us.

HE CAN’T HELP IT . . .

January 17, 2018

(America,  between two weekends)

 

He can’t help it that he’s so small. 

 

Cuddle Up, Baby Boy

We should be cuddling him by now.

When I was in college,  I worked in a pediatrics ward in a nearby hospital.    Occasionally we received a premature baby, and although we didn’t have “modern” technology, we  did everything we could, including holding and cuddling and encouraging the little thing to breathe and drink.

One day they brought to me a baby who weighed one pound, eight ounces.  I held  him in my hands —  my one hand, really.   His little head fit in the palm of my hand.     The doctors said he wouldn’t live,  but I gently touched him, stroked him,  cuddled him with my fingers, massaged his cheek so he would suck on the specially-made baby bottle nipple.    Well, he did live and he was transferred out in a month or so.

I more than fell in love with him –  I fell in love with life;  with  the tenacity of a living child holding on to life;  I fell in love with the fragility of life.     He had been in the womb for less than six months – and he made it.

The baby in the photo above didn’t make it.  Didn’t even make it out of the womb.

We can’t help it that we start out so small.

cant help it that hes small

It’s the way Nature works.    It’s the way God works through what we call “nature.”    It is His providence that we start so small and protected.

Protected in our mothers’ wombs.

We are between two weekends that are very significant to American citizens.   Yes,  I know all about the “dark side” of “Dr.”  Martin Luther King –  those facts have been around long enough — but you know what?   His message has been around a long time too.  His message has endured, and I’m kind of an MLK kind of girl:   You look at the character of a man,  not at the color of his skin.

It’s just part of our country now,  unless you listen to the desperate fiction that comes out of the drama-dependent  entertainment-news media.   American everyday life isn’t like the furiously angry people you see on television.    And it doesn’t have to be that way in small pockets of inner urban areas.

Martin Luther King was a minister of a protestant church,  and most of his family still believe as he did and still try to get out his main message.     It’s okay to celebrate his life and his message,  as we did last weekend.

Now there’s another weekend coming up:

mlk babies in the womb

Alveda King bridges the time between these two weekends,  one honoring King and one honoring and advocating the safety of our unborn American citizens.

Is that being broadcast on the entertainment-news media televisions stations?

Because the March For Life people have a message too.

life love

 

Holding that tiny little baby boy confirmed my Love for Life.   I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about him – and all his tiny fellow-citizens waiting to be born.

God bless these people:

life3 poster

 

SUNDAY VIEW

November 12, 2017

Here’s a view down the aisle of our “basement chapel” as people were coming in,  before the Mass began.

sunday view 370cr

I was going to write something “teachy” today, but after I came out of Mass, with a lot of different kinds of happiness for the things I experienced, I was thinking about something I saw today after the Mass was over; and I wanted to memorialize it here in the Tunnel.

What I saw was young,  growing families!    Young pregnant wives, looking surprisingly mature and confident; and then their young husbands, beaming; happy and glad, as though they had something wonderful to present to the world.

I’ve heard it said that new little babies are God’s vote of confidence for the world.   I think, rather, maybe babies are God’s confirmation of His love for the human race.
As I tell my classes, God thought you up; liked the idea of you; and then brought you into existence at the optimum time and place for you . . . (so that you have the very best chance to find your way back to Him).”

He has high hopes for you:    For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you a future and a hope.”   (That’s in Jeremiah 29:11  —    good memory verse!)

silhouette child

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_______________________________________________________________________________

We are the baby in our mother’s womb.   We are the child.   We are the young adult with the world ahead of us!    We are the adult,  figuring it all out, gathering wisdom.  We are the old one,  looking for the End of our Journey.

We are all of those things at once.

 

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.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, R.I.P.

August 4, 2017

Beloved son.    

Today is his first birthday.   He’d be one year old.

charlies face

 

Mother and son.

charlied and medal

 

Cherished and wanted.

charlies parents

 

His name is Charlie Gard, and his “mistake”  was to be born with a mitochondrial disease  which makes him  “unwanted”   and “not”  valuable   —  to the State.  Doesn’t matter which country  because this kind of State authority is developing in all Western nations where Christian values are being destroyed.

(In Judeo-Christian cultures,  the helpless, the poor, the sick, the needy, the unwanted are given attention, love,and care.    “As you do it unto the least of my brethren,  you do it unto Me.”    Undeniably, that teaching originated with Jesus.    Remove Jesus,  and you invariably lose  His  teaching. )

This loved and cherished son was dying of his disease,  but the State would not allow his parents to take him to doctors in the United States where there was the possibility that his life could be saved.  U.S.  doctors are researching this disease and hold out some hope.

But Charlie’s State authority would not let him take advantage of the research.   The parents applied for “permission”  to take their own son to the United States,  and they did not get any answer other than no,  until Charlie’s condition had become so much worse that even modern research would likely not be able to help.

Both British and European Union  Court authorities imposed the full strength of their authority against Charlie and his parents.

So Charlie was dying.

The parents wanted to take him home, in a comfortable, personal, loving  environment for as long as his little life would last.

But the System  said they owned Charlie.     There are no parental rights.   The State-run hospital system refused to allow the parents to care for their own son.

ch medal

Charlie died,  just days short of his first birthday.

His parents,  Chris Gard and Connie Yates,  had enough money to use to travel and treat their son.   Now,  instead, they are using that money,  one and a half million dollars,  to set up a foundation to help others who struggle against both children’s disease and the loss of parental rights.

In this country,   the Barack-Hussein person and his followers put forth into our laws the Unaffordable Health Control Bill, which has far-reaching consequences,  among them the State-prescribed death of the unborn,   the very, very sick young,   the very,  very sick,  and the very, very sick elderly.      It’s too expensive to help the helpless.

The State is in control.     A very, very “sick”  State is in control.

 

 

 

A HEARTBEAT AWAY

June 9, 2017

(Blogging has given me some bad habits;   it’s created an urge to take a picture of everything and blog blab about it.)

We’re  all only a heartbeat away from a very serious crisis —

Hospital cr

Chances are you’re having  ordinary days right now;  some good days and  some bad days in which you have to deal with a flat tire,  a lost checkbook,  a missed text,   a bad attitude from a friend . . . .

Today we here in The Spruce Tunnel were struck with a very serious crisis.   Someone we love, someone so close to our family she may as well be a part of it,  someone far too young to be in critical condition,  is on a ventilator and many other machines in the photo,  seemingly  overnight.

Cause soon to be determined.

One day she is interviewing for a brand-new job;  less than two days later she’s in ICU fighting for her life.

Out of the blue,  unexpectedly, we are all reassessing our lives,  our relationships,  our loves,  and what’s really important.     We have a God-given need to make sense out of things.

And the honest quest for answers will lead back to God.

 

________________________________

 

Please pray for the young lady.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”) 

________________________________________

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

“IN THE BEGINNING . . .”

August 30, 2016

 (a brief break from the world’s problems)

Know what these are?

Grapes

So fun !!!

Son brought these over today – to eat!

It works like this:  every  cell of our body is made of molecules, atoms,  whatever;   and all of our cells  are alive and need replenishment (food)  to maintain life —  and the food we eat is made of molecules and atoms that come from . . .  the earth!     The very earth that provides the “molecules and atoms”  that make up our bodies!   We use them up – we put them back in!

Plain history:    Mankind had a definite beginning point of Creation.   On this Earth.

Plain Science:   The microscopic things of the Earth gather together to form plants that provide the microscopic things that our bodies need to stay alive.

Plain fun:    (Or maybe  delight.)      “Love is diffusive of itself.”    (Remember that word.)  That means that one who loves just loves to give  towards all the ones he loves.    You love “something” and you love to share yourself and what you have with the one you love.  (Or else it’s not really love.)

Plain vocabulary:    Diffusive:  spreading out in all directions,  dispersing and  intermingling, sharing, becoming part of  . . .   Like fireworks, exploding out in all directions!

(What do you do with a dandelion that’s gone to seed?)

dandelion

Plain theology:       The Creator loves His creation – including us – and loves to give to us freely of all the good things He has made.  No end to delightful things that are ours – –

That photo above?        That’s me holding a fun variety of grapes!     Actually,  they are slightly more reddish than green,  blame the lighting,   and I’m holding what could be an ordinary grape to compare its size and shape.  *

This variety of grape is called Witch Fingers.    We can now buy them locally.   I like grapes and these are gently sweet,  mild, with no tart after-taste, not even in the skins.

How many variety of grapes are there for us to eat?    How many kinds of healthy fruit?  How many kinds of vegetables and grains and spices and herbs . . .?

“In the beginning”  we were put into a paradise . . . ” And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of . . .”

If all you see in this verse from the Bible  (Gen.  2:9)  is that we got good-looking food to eat,    you are missing the love from God and you’re missing His loving care and you’re not seeing that He too delights when we delight in His creation.

“Love is diffusive of itself.”  God is Love.   God gives us an endless sampling of His goodness – even when it comes to all the varieties of the food we eat.

It’s delightful to really enjoy natural food “from out of the ground”!    It’s fun!      It’s an honor to God when we enjoy His good things!

Witch Fingers make me happy.

Thanks, Son.

Deo gratias.

Bar wavy

 

. *    It “could” be a regular grape,  but it’s not.   I grabbed a nearby fig that happened to be a good model for a grape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION – WHERE HIAWATHA LIVES

July 21, 2016

The Spruce Tunnel has reported many times that our Land,  this USA, is so empty.  One can drive for hours without seeing anyone, and many times during this past week I’ve been the only car in my lane for a half hour, sometimes  an hour at a time:

Hour W out cars

HIAWATHA’S LAND:

But it  is  beautiful in the Far Far North where Hiawatha lived (lives).

GG Driving Island  Sunlight through the forest,  Nature speaks deep within you with concepts of Beauty:   colors, pleasing proportions,  compositions, contrasts, harmony . . .  all the classic elements of Beauty, which testifies to its Creator.

GG Driving 2 400

Curve after curve,  Hiawatha’s forest views.

But of course he didn’t have a car to ride in!  So I went into the forest –

GG Forest floor 400

Ferns on the forest floor.    Easy walking, because ferns aren’t really thick underbrush.  They’re very soft when you walk through them.

GG Forest path and wild 400I found pathways.   I’ve walked miles along these pathways during this past week.   All the time I was thinking about Hiawatha’s small village,  one of many, many, maybe countless villages that existed throughout this Land.    Many millions of people lived in this Land, long before the Vikings and the Italian exploreres came to it.

I kept “seeing”  these villages:

BR new goods

And wondering who was “seeing” me:

BR coming

Hiawatha’s forest was not only a location, of course,  an “address” for his home;  it also gave to them everything needed to sustain life.

GG Forest Deer 400I drove by these deer one afternoon.   Probably descendants of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century deer that provided many necessities for Hiawatha and his people.

I couldn’t help taking a picture of this:

GG Forest Birch

We all know that the white birch  has bark that is stripped off to make canoes.  What I learned this time is that each strip of bark has five, six, or seven layers, and each thin layer is waterproof and very strong,  perfect for making  a lake or river canoe, among other things.

GG Canoes from Birch When I was a child I tried making a small toy boat with birch bark.  I also tried making “paper”  with the birch bark.   I failed.   I really didn’t know about the “layers”  in a strip of birch.

But it was important to know these things for Hiawatha because his land borders the Great Gitche Gumme,  and I walked many pathways to get to that Lake.

GG Forest Edge Path 400

If you could see across that Lake,  you would see the shores of Canada.

Gitche Gumme claims the land, in a constant tussle between land and water.

GG Forest Edgge Dropoff 400

The pathway along the edge seemed to be about a half mile long.  Finally,  I got to my destination,  the destination for this whole week-long, more-than-400-mile journey:

Black Rocks 400

It’s here.  This was my destination.    It’s an area called Black Rocks,  a singularly unromantic name for an outcropping of “rock”  that is estimated to be 1.3 billion years old.  This is some of the oldest known rocks on the surface of the earth.

On the shores of Gitche Gumme
By the shining Big-Sea-Waters

Yeah,  here is where I needed to be,  I thought.    These were the first waters I saw at the very beginning of my life . . .  and now,  with the end in view,   I needed to see these waters again.

Black Rocks into lake.

It was the end of land of the Far Far North in view, anyway.

Black Rocks far 400I climbed all around Black Rocks,  and finally looked for a place to sit.

Black Rocks Seat

And I did it.   I found a good rock ledge to sit on and I put my camera away, and then I began to . . .  well,  brood.   I divided my life into five-year segments . . . .

And, well . . .  with each and every scene from my memory huge wounds of negative emotions leapt out at me.    Private, powerful emotions.

It would have been tough that day . . .  it would have been a tough whole life . . .  but for one thing.     With each sudden emotional blow,  I asked myself,   “Well,  what did God want me to learn from this hardness?”     And why is it that each emotional “blow” I felt seemed really rather feeble in my memory?    And how is it that I’m not unhappy,  but indeed,  full of hope and joy and love for those whom I know?

“What did God want me to learn…?”    There was a lesson in each stage of my life.   I suppose.    But I wasn’t that broody, actually.   I probably was taught something during each stage, and then incorporated the learning into my assurance that God was in control.

And so I don’t need to know any “answers.”  I don’t need to come to any conclusions.

What I learned from my brief three hours of “brooding”  sitting on those rather hard rocks is that,  in a big way,  I’m not that baby,  that toddler, that child,   that adolescent,  that young adult . . .  anymore.

I am “me”  only in this Present Moment.  That’s all I ever can be:  Me  Now.     I am identified by what I am Now.

In a big way,   what matters is what kind of person I am Now.

Forgiveness  and Forgetfulness available for the past;   hope and healing available for the future.

That’s the way Gitche Manito works.   Ever Present- Ever Now.     What’s NOT to be joyful about?!

I think I actually did reach my “destination.”

Deo gratias.

 

(Next post:  Why Hiawatha knew this too.)