Archive for the ‘Christian Love’ category

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.      

 

 

 

 

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(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.

 

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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”) 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

THE MONTHS OF JUNES – R-RATED

June 2, 2016

Still contemplating which R word to use (Recover, Restore, Rebuild) —  but in this post I really mean   R-Rated,  and unless you’re a child of the 20th century and inured to perversion and immorality,  please don’t go on.      I wouldn’t let my family read this.  It’s not . . .  ladylike.

So,   don’t.    You’ve been warned.

JUNE # 1

June to fix

The lovely month of June is here!     Blooming Gardens,  Brooding Birds,   and Blushing Brides .

Good things that celebrate love and life!

June was named for the Roman goddess Juno who represented  matrimony and childbirth.   Families are the foundation of any healthy society,  and the Romans honored family and family connections.

In Christendom,  June is also known as the month of weddings,  *    a time to celebrate Holy Matrimony,   the foundation for family and the setting for rearing children.    The Church adds one deeper dimension:     June is the month dedicated to the celebration of The Sacred  Heart.

When I entered the Church, this symbol –

sacred heart

–   with its red heart surrounded by a crown of thorns,  burning flames, and dripping blood   was “embarrassingly”  overly sentimental.  It took me a little time to accept the Intense (burning)  Love that Our Crucified Lord actually had – for me!

Now I understand the symbol,  but  like any human being,  I also . . .  forget.    I know,  but I don’t feel it all the time.     Sometimes I remember when I used to roll my eyes at such a symbol –  and then I have to think about the True God that came to die for me in order that I may have eternal life in God’s good Heaven, where no sinner deserves to be.

So the Church, in her wisdom,  has developed the tradition of  appointing the whole month of June for us to think more deeply on these things.

A God who loves and cares!   Deo gratias!

JUNE  #  2

Now, we live in two worlds.   St. Augustine called it Two Cities.    We leave the City of God now, with its Natural Seasons and Natural Law,  and look briefly at that other city;    it’s temporary and R-Rated,  much to our sorrow.

An attempt to command –

 

O Not gonna have mine

The man they have placed into the American White House has –  in  diabolic defiance to Nature –    “ordered”  this country to celebrate un-Natural acts.

(Want the official White House proclamation?    Go   Here . . . )

Defying Nature is Un-Natural,  as in a roaring lion rolling over on its back, exposing its throat to a bunny rabbit . . .

Lion sent

A bunny coming?

. . .     Un-Natural  as  a butterfly swimming under water;

. . .    as  a hippopotamus “boinking”  a giraffe –  or trying to.    (Boinking –  you know  . . .  poking into.)

Each creature is made with certain characteristics for which it is Natural to do the things it was designed for.   An ear is for hearing.   A mouth is for eating.   Other parts of the body fit into other parts of another body.

Yet this man who is known to have been a  member  of two   (TWO!)   gay bath houses in Chicago,     has taken this lovely month of June and is trying to PUBLICLY  besmirch it . . .

(TAKE NOTE:  I’m writing about observable, objective undeniable  practices) — 

. . .   encouraging practices  which place a human mouth on another person’s . . . place where it’s icky to put it.     Or thrust one’s hand inside in order to find . . .   squishy substances.

Practices which always  result in damage to delicate tissue.      (As I said a few posts ago,  I worked in a hospital for four years.   Pediatrics, yes,  but sometimes I was pulled to help out in the emergency room.    You wouldn’t believe some of the things one man can do to another.)

Practices which encourage the spread of disease from one person to another.

Practices which according to government studies have increased the cost of healthcare and   burdened the economy with lost work days and lost productivity.  Government studies;  not someone’s “opinions.”

Practices which result in higher rates of depression,  psychological sickness, and violent abuse (statistically speaking)  of one’s partner in shame.    (so-called “spouse abuse”)   Just according to statistics.       Objective numbers.

Practices which violate the sanctity of the Natural family.

Practices which therefore a healthy society has always regarded with shame and  then outlawed – and punished.

The man encourages practices which violate his own religious preferences –

O presofus

—  and wishes citizens of this country to violate theirs.

Two Junes.   Two Months of Junes.

The contrast is clear.     And we can let it go,  or we can choose to live as human beings, repairing and rebuilding and  elevating our society into a state of dignity and respect.

bar dissolve er

Okay.  So maybe this post was X-Rated.        It’s hard to be ladylike and truthful about a 20th century-type society.

But NOTE AGAIN:   I speak of Practices;  actions,   not of persons.    Practices happen and can be objectively observed.

bar dissolve er

 

. *     Please don’t fall for the anti-Christian myth that puts forth June as the month for weddings because in the Middle Ages people were dirty and took baths only once a year when the weather got   warmer and so their bodies were less offensive in June.

Gullible college professors should be ashamed to continue that slanderous story in front of their uneducated students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 12-YEAR OLD GIRL DIES (I)

May 25, 2016

Here’s my involvement:

. 1.  Once I was a 12-year-old girl.  I know what it’s like to be a girl with her whole life ahead of her.

.2  I worked my way through college, four years, in a hospital.   Pediatrics.   We were very understaffed.  Sometimes it was only an RN and myself for 30 – 40  young patients.  If it became life-threatening, of course they’d send over another person;  a “floater”  who could do some of the routine things.  I got to learn a lot of medical procedure in those days.

One summer evening  there was a terrible accident on a lake shore.   Parents had tucked  their children into their sleeping bags;  hung  the kerosene lantern up high, out of reach;  and when the two children were sound asleep,  the parents left to go out for a short rowboat ride,  staying close to shore.

Not close enough.   Somehow the tent caught on fire and the parents couldn’t get there in time.  The 12-year-old girl and her 4-year-old little brother were rushed to the hospital,  to us.  

I saw them when I came in on my next shift.  They shared a hospital room.    They were burned pretty badly, but at this stage their burned skin was only pink.  The blackened skin had been scraped off, but even the pink skin was dying.   They had to be scraped down every few hours, and a silver nitrate solution poured over the open skin.

Many nerves had been killed, so they  felt horrifying pain only while the scraping was going on.   Brother and sister even talked to each other.   I don’t think they realized how seriously they were burned.

One day,  the little boy was talking to his sister, his sister answered,  but the little boy didn’t answer back.   He died – just like that.    Shock, they said.     The sister did not die,  but . . . .

I was young.  19 years old, I think.   I was in shock too, and I’ve never forgotten this event

. 3.  (of my involvement)   I am a Christian,  and here’s what happened last week to a fellow Christian, a sister in Christ:

Radical-Islamists in the Middle East have stated they want to wipe out all Christians who live in their territory.    Their words,  not mine.    Spoken fairly frequently.    Those who haven’t been exterminated yet are, for now,  paying a very, very high tax.  Ruinously high – unless they convert to Islam.

It’s called the Jaziyah, in case you aren’t familiar with that term or that concept.   Many Christians can’t afford to keep their homes or their businesses.

And one family  missed a payment.   They didn’t pay on time.

So their house was set on  fire with the family inside.     The mother and her 12-year-old daughter escaped out of their burning house and were taken to a medical center.

Now I have seen a 12-year-old girl who has been badly  burned, lying in a hospital bed,  quite close to death, and yet able to talk a little.   I can imagine . . .   this one.    She was about to die;  she wasn’t going to make it.

She  was a devout Christian.    She spoke a little to her mother.   And  “with her dying breath”   she spoke her last two words:

    (“Forgive them.”)

A Christian who is devoted to his Lord will say The Lord’s Prayer daily;  or twice or three times or more daily.    “. . . And forgive us our trespasses   as   we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I think this little girl in the Middle East got it.

Have  any Americans heard about this incident on their entertainment-news media?   Because it’s important.   Because it’s emblematic.     That is,  it’s a signal event, a symbol,  of what is happening   in general,  commonly.     It illustrates the dangers that Christians face all over the Middle East;  It illustrates the brutality of those who are intent on conquering the known world.

They are on the move again.

Which brings me to a question and to the next post . . . .

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

Many sources have carried this story:

One here.

Another here.

Another here.

There’s more, but it’s not necessary to dwell on this story.    Oddly – or horrifyingly – enough,  there are worse stories out there about what the Radical-Islamists are doing to Christians.

But I can’t let my imagination start going to “dipping Christians in acid.”

Et cetera.

 

UNREASONABLE – TO NOT WANT REVENGE

February 17, 2016

If I go back to bed I’m going to know how much I hurt all over…   it’s not just “laryngitis”  — it’s whatever comes with a 101 temperature – and it’s not coming down yet, and so I just want to go away from my bed where I feel so terrible.

Might do a little feverish rambling tonight.    But this posting has been waiting,  and I’m going to mean what I say.

Have you seen the movie yet?      The“Revenant”?   I highly, personally recommend it.  (As long as you have a strong stomach —except, you’d better,  because the themes in this movie are as real as real life and we all must deal with them,  eventually.)

You know the movie has a grizzly bear in it:

Grizzly Drawing

I saved this picture because it’s a drawing, and I want to draw.   Draw a bear.

But those of you who know me,  know my history with  bear attacks, and you know why I consider bears to be  a metaphor for those things which stalk us, and then all of a sudden rush out and attack.      (Like a few million viruses in me right now.   Trillion?)

bear talking to you

You can’t always see the bear,  but by the time you do,  they’ve decided that you’re prey.   You’re the victim.

No way to fight:

Bear Trees a Man

Just endure,  for the duration.     Whatever the “bear”  are in your life.

Now, you know the story behind the Revenant movie is a true story.   There really was a Hugh Glass,  he really was a trapper;  he really did get attacked by a grizzly,  and two of his friends were really ordered to stay behind with him until he died (real soon), in order to give him a burial.

cowboy  Glass was featured in a recent issue of my Cowboy magazine:

Since the two companions were hungry and cold and being pursued by a small group of Indians who were intent upon revenge,   they really did leave Hugh Glass out there in the wilderness,  more than half dead.   And they buried him, slightly,  and moved on.

A lot of the movie is spent on Mr. Glass kind of getting himself out of his grave,  and then with determination and grit,  motivated by revenge and hatred for the men who left him behind,  he crawled and then limped his way to Fort Kiowa,  where he’d find out where those men are – and go after them.

If that’s all you see in the movie,  then it’s a pretty good,  sort of an okay adventure movie  with beautiful scenes of the wintry rugged West.  (Mostly Montana and South Dakota.)  I’ve driven through there.  It’s all true.   The scenery is beyond description.

(Not South Dakota,  but the scale is right.) —

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But along the way there are some pretty powerful Christian themes.

For those of you who know the Bible,  doesn’t St. Paul say that this life is a very hard journey,   and you have to undergo many hardships and much pain and loneliness,  and you’ll have many enemies in this world, who’ll wish to do you harm.   We suffer in our Christian life as Christ Himself suffered,  humiliated, abandoned, and bruised.     (Is the servant better than the Master?)    If we don’t have it so bad,  we just shake our heads at how really tough and desperate some people do have it.

Hugh Glass just keeps living.  He just keeps going.  A lesser man would have laid aside his goal . .  . .

But beyond that just general and vague sort of metaphor,   there is the accompanying theme in this movie of revenge – and the choice between revenge and forgiveness.  That conflict actually drives the images and the action in the movie.

Hugh Glass was married to an Indian woman.   One of the more peaceful tribes.

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Their enemies were the French trappers and soldiers,  the English (Americans),  and most of all, the other Indian tribes who bore down on them in frequent massacres.   The more violent tribes were in the process of driving out the gentler tribes during this time.

And so his wife was killed.   But she didn’t “leave” him.   She was a gentle soul, loving and  protective of him, and– she was taught by the Catholic missionaries.   She often “hovered” over him during his trek back to Fort Kiowa,  whispering to him both encouragements and restraints on the hatred in his heart.

Unreasonable!   Unreasonable to not want revenge!  After all,  that was the only thing that kept him alive.

And then she came to him once in a vision;  and this time she brought the unconditional love of God, the deep love upon which their (sacramental Catholic) marriage was based.     His vision took place in the ruins of a Catholic chapel – right out there in the midst of the wilderness.

 

desmet ruins

When his wife led him further into the ruins,  (they looked worse than this in the movie), he had eyes only for her,  but behind him you could see the ruins of beautiful and instructive paintings at the front of the church –

Michelangelo frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, Rome

You could see the crucifix,  in dark, faded paints,  Jesus,  angels,  Mary nearby, and many other images that help us remember and meditate on our teachings.   I knew instantly that this was a ruined mission chapel left behind by Father DeSmet.

(It’s worth taking the time to learn about this episode in American history:   Some of the Plains Indians had received powerful visions from the Great Father Above.    He told them that He would send men who came from far away to teach them the “whole truth” about Him.  The “rest of the story,”  as we say.    The Great Father Above showed them what the men would look like:  they would be dressed in black,  black robes,  and they would wear crucifixes on their chests.  The Plains Indians kept this in their memories and in their drawings.     Many generations later,  some English  (American) missionaries came to them,   ready to teach them,  but the Plains Indians rejected them.   They had a “book”  but they didn’t have a crucifix.   A little later,  Father DeSmet and his companions, from Belgium,  came to the Plains Indians.  Father DeSmet was instantly recognized and received,  and many Plains Indians became Catholic.   — And this was before the routine slaughter of the Indians by the  . . .  Americans.   They took out many Catholic missionaries too. )

So there, in the movie,  was the evidence of Father DeSmets’ visit and of the beautiful wilderness chapels that were built,  and evidence of the gentle, Catholic teaching of forgiveness, coming through the vision of his wife’s “visit.”

While I watched the movie I saw this loving, too-gentle teaching of his wife who was accompanying him on his terrible journey,  and I also saw the determination for all-too-human revenge inside of Hugh Glass.

As the movie ended,  he had his opportunity, and no one would have faulted him for what he was about to do.

A parallel story of revenge among the savages was playing out too, at the same time.   The movie brilliantly brought together these two parallel stories.

“Do  not   take   revenge.    Put   it   in   the       hands   of    God.      Justice    belongs    to   Him,    not     to   mankind.”    

Father DeSmet brought Catholic teaching to the Plains Indians.    Glass’s wife lived out those Catholic teachings for her husband.     And the savages were the Hand of God.

The word “revenant’ refers to someone who has returned from death, or just as good as death.     He has revived.   Been resurrected.      But see:  what did he “revive”  from?   The physical death he should have experienced,  but for his hate-filled determination?

Or did he revive from the spiritual death that had made him hate-filled and full of vengeance in the first place.

Sure would love to “teach” more about this movie —  but I think you can do your own thinking.

I’m all in . . . .

Bed is looking a little better . .  . .

 

 

 

GOOD OMENS

January 20, 2016

With the loss of my mother-in-law last week,  death on my mind,  grieving,  missing out on the funeral,  issues of past family history,  I needed to take a few days off to get some perspective.   I was open.   And the “perspective”  came.

On Monday morning,   I made eggs for breakfast.   Morning:  “sleepytime”  for me.   I clumsily turned the eggs over in the frying pan and stared down at this, staring back up at me:

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I could have chosen to say,  “Well, hmm,  look at that!  I couldn’t have done that if I tried!”   But instead I chose to take it as a good sign,  a good omen for the time ahead.    My choice;   a Rohrschach pan.  My choice to be reminded of love — God’s love!

A step forward this week with a new understanding of Life and Death and the Meaning of Being Alive, and being loved.   Going forth in a world so full of love and caring from God,  that it can manifest in a pan of eggs!

Sometimes “signs” are repeated, as if to say you’re on the right track.

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I cleaned the kitchen after breakfast,  dusted the shelves… and there I discovered two little coins that Cooper had given me.   Cooper is my five-year-old grandson,  rather remarkable for maturity and spiritual insight.  (His early birth and his presence had brought an aura of peace into  Hubbie’s hospital room during his final days.)

Cooper was visiting here at Christmastime.   We enjoyed each other’s company.   But one day,  in the kitchen,  he stopped and reached into his pants pocket and said,  “Here, Grandma,  because you’ve been very good.”   And he handed me the contents of his pants pocket —  30 cents.

My first thought of course was to say, Oh no, that’s your money,  you keep it!   But he was very solemn.  He was serious.  He knows how things work.  In his mind, I had deserved his coins.  This was not the time to contradict what was going on in his mind and in his heart.  It was his gift to me.

I will never forget the eggs, which my clumsiness had formed into a heart, a message of love.  And I’ll never forget the burst of love that came out of my grandson that day.

I will pay him back manifold, someday, somehow.   And for the rest of my life I will try to live up to his opinion of me that day.

Those two little coins will never be spent at  a store.

 

THE BABE AND THE HAZELNUT

December 27, 2015

 

They’re quite small —

Hazelnuts at chrstmas

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

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

julian earth dawns

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

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

after christmas

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

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

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

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

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

Julian and Hazelnut

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

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

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

Julian 4  and world

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

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

S0 . . .   toss the hazelnut?

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

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

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

Julian and all well

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

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

JESUS  and child

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

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

Here are some of the  words of Julian of Norwich —

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

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

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

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

 

Something good to know during these Twelve Days of Christmas.