Archive for the ‘Holy Days’ category

LENT BEGINS WITH A SWORD

February 5, 2018

(The season of Lent begins with the contemplation of a Sword):

I didn’t write about this right away, and then I left another related issue unfinished – so I’ll have to tie up some loose ends today;  rather important loose ends.

It’s starts with a Prediction and a Sword.

roman sword

This is a Roman gladiator’s sword,  used around the time of the Prediction.    It’s meant to kill by piercing . . . .

A few days ago,  February 2nd, we remembered the events when the Child Jesus (Infant)  was brought into the great Temple at Jerusalem and certain sacrifices and  rites were performed according to the Law.

old prophet  Living in Jerusalem at the time was a man named Simeon,  an old man who visited the Temple every day with a special desire – to see the long-promised Messiah.   He had a long, long wait,  a lifetime of waiting expectantly.     When he saw the Holy Infant Jesus,  he knew immediately  – internally –  that this was the Messiah.

He adored.  He thanked God.  And he had a revelation that shook him with the power of its inspiration.    He saw here before him  a  contradiction of Israel’s expectations.   “This child is marked out to produce the Fall and the Rising of many in Israel.”

That’s one way to put it.  “He came unto His own and His own received Him not – but as many as received Him,  He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.”   

But then the sword came into play.   Old Simeon looked at the Mother and said –  And thy own soul,  a sword shall pierce,  so that out of many hearts, thoughts shall be revealed.”   (Luke 2:35)

And this Mary pondered:

sword pierced with asword

Truly, a mother feels her son’s every pain.  Every disappointment, every slight,  every indignity, every unfairness,   every time he is misunderstood, rejected, and hurt . . .  even unto death.

Mary had a few more years to “ponder,” the birth of her Son, her Savior,   but soon, three decades later,  she would start in motion the events that would  lead to the Passion of this Christ, her Son.

She had brought to Him the needs of the people at the wedding in Cana –  and for a moment He asked her “what does this mean to you and to me?”   And she went ahead anyway   —   Every love and joy would be accompanied by a sword in her heart.

So much to ponder each February 2nd.     Around that time we enter into the three Sundays that anticipate Easter:  Septuagesiman,  Sexagesima,  and Quinquagesima.    That is,  Seventy and Sixty and Fifty days before, and then starts the Forty Days before – the Forty Days we call Lent.

The three Sundays are like taking a deep breath before the serious  ponderments of Lent.

No Christian would not consider the seriousness of these next few weeks.

 

 

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FRIDAY’S “SCHEDULE”

February 2, 2018

 

In ascending order of importance to us as individual souls:

February 2nd –      Ground Hog Day, of course.

Groundhog

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

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

football happy

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

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

statue

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

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

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

dec

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

We have plenty of catching up to do.

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

presentationThe Presentation at the Temple,  Jesus and Mary.     

Yes,  it’s an actual, historical event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

pid

Ceremonial coins for Pidyon Haben

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

Their  words  deserve a post of their own.

 

Meanwhile —  it’s a busy Friday!

“DOING” SOMETHING – LIKE THIS

January 7, 2018

 

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

holy family the

Feast of the Holy Family

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

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

 

st theres familyThe family of St. Therese of Lesieux –

 

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

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

 

her whole family

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

 

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

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

HOLY FAMILY and st therese

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

2018 – FIRST DAY

January 1, 2018

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

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

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

According to my last post:

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

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

circumcision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

motherhood

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

December 27, 2017

Wise Shepherds watch and Wise men seek . . . .

WISE MEN Invis Blue

 

There are Twelve Days in the Christmas Season for us to experience  . . . .

“DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?”

December 12, 2017

Nah, I just wrote the title that way because it’s the name of a song . . .   Really:  Do you believe in the supernatural?    That would be the name of this little story,  for you.

a rose

Is there really a supernatural, a God, a Heaven,  saints, a spiritual dimension alongside ours?

Think  about a “painting”  of a beautiful young pregnant Lady which was so well done and detailed that scientists who use a microscope can see the reflection of three or four men in the room looking at her — in the pupils of her eyes!!!

pupils

 

How about the beautiful blue robe that Lady is wearing had been “painted” with stars on it, showing the accurate position of stars and constellations right above the location of that painting — almost five hundred years ago.

stars

 

How about that “painting”  showing up in a place in Central America that just happened to contain all the icons and symbols and colors and elements of the pagan religion of the area – being trodden under foot by that Lady.

How about that “painting”  was done on some cactus plant fibers that crumble and disintegrate after ten or so years, at the most,  but somehow still fresh and new-looking after almost five centuries.

How about a bomb that  detonated in the building where this “painting”  is kept out in the open, no protection –  and the bomb blast broke windows and benches and walls around it,  but there was no damage at all to this portrait of the young pregnant Lady,  nor was there sign of scorching or smoke on it.

And how about a “painting”  that shows no sign of paint or vegetable dye or any other known way of putting color on fibers that today’s forensic scientists can discover, and yet the color looks fresh and new and seems to float somehow just above the cactus fibers.

That is supernatural.

Today is December 12th, the day the Church reminds us to think about this cactus fiber tilma  (like a poncho)  that belonged to Juan Diego in the 1530s who spoke with the young Lady in the portrait, and who told him to go to his bishop and tell him to build a chapel there where the young Lady appeared.

Of course this peasant man was not believed by the bishop!

But that winter day he went back to the place where he saw her a couple times, and was amazed to see roses growing on the hillside.   He took it as a sign . . .  he picked the abundant fresh and beautiful roses,  made a sort of pouch or apron out of the tilma he was wearing . . .  and carried the roses to the bishop.

“See?”   he was going to say.  “See –  these are roses blooming in the winter, out of season, so something special did really happen  –“

OLG and crescent

But the bishop and his assistants weren’t listening.  They were staring in awe at the tilma that Juan Diego had opened up for them, and what they saw was this beautiful picture of the young pregnant Lady, whom the church officials recognize as Our Lady,  the Virgin Mary, so beautiful, so well-portrayed,  so full of information about Church teaching and about the local Mexican culture.

And the amazed Church officials dropped to their knees, knowing who it was they were looking at.

True story?

Of course.

No doubts,  because you can travel down to Mexico City,  and you can view the actual tilma owned by Juan Diego with the wondrous image of Our Lady,  and displayed for almost five  hundred years.     It’s there.  It really exists.

church

If you’re a scientist of some sort, you can get permission to perform yet more tests  on it;  but you will not find any explanation for the portrait.

Or you can read books about some of the scientific findings on this miraculous tilma.

December 12th,  Our Lady of Guadalupe, a word that sounds almost identical to the early Mexican-Aztec language for “slayer of the  serpent god.”   The pagan winged serpent.  the one that will be once and for all finally crushed by the heel of Our Lady through her Son,  Jesus Christ, along with that crescent moon god symbol under her feet.    Hmmmm.

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HOLY DAY DEMO, HIDING IN JERUSALEM

December 8, 2017

Not  24 hours ago I wrote about   Jerusalem,  King David’s capital city of Israel,  3,000 years ago, and the U.N.  vote to create Israel in the 20th century, with Jerusalem as its capital;   and then Bill Clinton’s Act to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Jerusalem:  “over there.”

I never thought it would have anything to do with me,  over here!

IC words

Today we must go to Mass to recognize (and to honor)  the Immaculate Conception of Mary –  because if we don’t, we will surely diminish its importance and eventually forget.  We humans are like that.

So, on my way,  leaving my house just in the nick of time, as usual,  and driving through our local Big Ten campus,  I saw a “disturbance up ahead.

Demo up ahead

Stop and go traffic.   (Just so you know, I took that photo when I was stopped.  Don’t scold me when you see me next.)   We crept up ahead ten feet at a time.

Demonstrations are fairly common among the college kids, though not like it was during the Sixties.  I wondered what this one was all about.  It was pretty cold out there, just over 30 degrees.

Demo flag

Well, so, it’s an arab-type flag up there.   Hamas?  Palestine?   Something like that,  because the signs said something about “occupation.”     One sign must have said  “Honk if you like —- “  (fill in the blank)  because there was one honk, and the crowd broke out in applause and cheers.

Only one honk, kids, among many hundreds of cars.     Car stuck   in your traffic jam.

I got to church just in time,  breathing loudly after my run from the car, knelt down in the quiet church, and whooosh!   Mass began right then.   But it was a good Mass.

in case you don’t know what we are really celebrating today,  just think of the beautiful, powerful,  holy,  golden Ark of the Covenant.

ark

Moses was told to have it built just so, with the fine-grained, precious acacia wood, totally covered in pure gold, and then holding the three signs of God-Most-High:  the mysterious “food from Heaven” called Manna which sustained the Israelites in their wilderness trek;    The stone tablets that contained the Ten Commandments, which is the Mind of God;  and then that staff of Aaron’s which came alive and budded, proving that God works through priests and Aaron was God’s chosen first priest.

Though the Presence of God inside was a powerful and mysterious  miracle,  the Ark  was also holy  and precious,  made just so, so as to be a worthy container, and  able to hold those three mighty signs of God’s Presence.

No   human on earth will ever be holy enough to stand in God’s presence – not until Heaven.   “See God and die,” as the Bible implies.   Instant annihilation.     But the Virgin Mary had to be able to hold within her the Son of God;  so she was created at the instant of her conception in such a state so as to be able to hold within her God in His Incarnation, taking on human nature to be able to reprise all the stages of our development . . . .

IC

Mary was “saved,”  so to speak,  at the instant of her own conception.   Saved and made  holy, without original sin, well-prepared to give birth to her own Divine Savior.

Needs more than a few paragraphs in a blog to contemplate that.  More than a blog, more than one day,  more than a book or many books,  more than . . .  a lifetime, I guess.

So.    Good thing I “had to” go to Mass today.   I would have missed a lot, left to my own decisions.

CAPITOL PARKED UNDER

Afterwards, I found my car, parked under a lovely late Fall capitol dome.

The whole little city is getting ready for Christmas and looks “lovely” too.  I drove around the front of the capitol building.

CAPITOL FRONT

Pretty ride home.  Pleasant thoughts of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, to accompany me.

The demonstrators were no longer in front of campus,  but the grassy median area where they had been was covered in litter,   paper cups,  papers,  parts of posters . . . .    Not very “immaculate,”  but I suppose they went home happy,  thinking they could change 3,000 years of history.

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_______________________________

That’s all for a couple days;  big Christmas party at my house tomorrow.

 

 

 

NEW . . .

December 4, 2017

 

thinka nd do llue

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always moving towards  each  human born, as individuals:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“CHRIST THE KING” DAY – FOR SURE

October 29, 2017

 

Today, all of  Christendom celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.

Christ the King

From the ancient times of  King David,   people understood that the Messiah would be King over all the kings on earth.    From all Eternity He was Sovereign King, and when he came to earth,  then Jesus the Christ was hailed as King of Kings  –  over everything and everyone.

Many didn’t understand.    Or they couldn’t.     Or they didn’t want to.

Today,  the world in general doesn’t understand either:

christ world doesn't understand

And so, rejecting the Supreme and Sovereign King,  the world gives Him a crown in the worst way it can:

christ diff crown

 

God is Love, and tends His Love towards us.   He radiates His Love towards us.

And we have a King to draw all men towards Himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW MOON, NEW LIFE, AND BIRTHDAYS

September 20, 2017

Been distracted lately.  Too many hurricanes;  too many earthquakes;  too much end-of-summer physical work on your property!  

Spent the day today outdoors,  digging,  hefting a shovel,  throwing dirt around,  moving a wheelbarrow around,  raking,  hoeing,   leveling new surface soil:

New Moon front

 

(And just how do you know when the surface is level?    Level enough to plant new grass?     Will have to try again  tomorrow.     Maybe then I’ll be satisfied.)

And planting:

New noon back

That’s an ugly picture!   But there’s nothing wrong with my grass.     Small areas of thin grass have been given a shovelful of new topsoil, grass seed laid down,  and straw laid on top of the seed.    Not a pretty sight,  but some day it will look nice!

While I was doing all this back-breaking work today   ( I know why they call it back-breaking!)  I was letting my mind go free.

Hey!    There’s a new moon today!     Good day for planting.    0 %  light from the moon, but as the moon grows a bit bigger each day,  new life from the seed is drawn out and grows larger and larger.    At least,  that is ancient wisdom.  Plant your crop during a new moon.

New moon

New moon – in September!     Today, then, is Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year!   And the first day of  Jewish High Holy Days, ending with the joy of penitence, the offer of reconciliation to one’s neighbor, acknowledgement of sins,  and the joy of God who has made a way for forgiveness   (Yom Kippur).

This also begins my  “new year”  too.   In one week I will have a whole new possible year laid out for me,  and, God willing, I will live it.    That is,  my birthday,  which often falls within the Jewish New Year festivities.

One more week to be this “age.”     I don’t really care what number anymore.  I’m already old enough to go to school,  to drive, to  drink, and to vote.   But I rather like ages that end with a zero,  and there are only seven more days for this one.    I might have only a couple more “zero years” in my lifetime,  so I tried to consciously enjoy this one from time to time.

Here’s something about birthdays I’ve noticed as the years pass:  When you’re young,  other people celebrate your birthday for you and then with you.   But the older you get,  the  more you celebrate your own birthday,   with an appreciation for all the good things that make up your life,  things that only you know.

birthday

Your parties may look the same throughout the years,  with cake, gifts, cards, friends and family,  candles, singing, decorations – more or less from year to year.

And it’s all fun.   

But inside,  internally where you “live,” where you think and observe and feel and plan and know . . .  inside yourself,     when a birthday comes,   it’s you yourself that makes good cheer for the day that is your day,  special to you alone.

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.

 

 

ASCENSION CONSIDERATIONS

May 26, 2017

Ascension Thursday this week.  40 days after the Resurrection.   (40,  not 43.)  It’s a Feast Day of Hope.

The older I get,  the more I realize “I’m not getting out of here alive.”   I’m leaving this planet via my death.   Here’s that picture again:

“Will this be me?”    —

SAMSUNG

I’ve already been the one sitting at the bedside of a dying man,  worrying and praying.   Soon, possibly,   it will  be my turn to be the one in bed.      And yours too.

(Sometimes some of my friends hear me say  “Pray for my healing; pray for my health.”   I say it offhandedly,  but few realize how serious I am.)

But though I am a Christian,  and my health matters aside,   I live a somewhat safe life in this country.    My Christian brothers and sisters around the world are not so “lucky.”

A little while ago in the Philippines,  where lovely, peaceful,  beautiful,  friendly Christians live in a sort of tropical  Paradise,  nine Christian  men driving in  cars  were stopped by the   Muslim-“extremists   who are gaining power-by-force on their  beautiful islands.   They were stopped,  dragged out of their cars,   their hands were all tied together,  and the nine men were shot to death.

Youd better believe

See their hands all tied to one another?

They were executed because they were Christians who happened to be on the road at the same time as these Muslims  (who were carrying ISIS flags).

The government is trying to  stop the violence and to stop the drug money that finances these Muslim terrorists.

what war looks like

Sometimes strong and forceful  (violent)  measures have to be taken to eradicate the murderous Threat that has taken hold in a country.  This is what such a “war”  would look like in such a country.  The civilian cars must give way so the military can do its duty to protect.

It’s what a government is supposed to be doing:  protecting its citizens with resources that only it,  the government,  can assemble.

Today,  the head of our DHS  (Dep’t of Homeland Security)  stated publicly:  “If you knew what  I know,  you would be afraid to leave your homes.”   If we had his information about the actual  threats we were under . . . .

Again,  so far  I  live in such seemingly safe circumstances that I can afford to stay ignorant of the severity of the danger.   I can ignore it,  if I want to,  even as more and more people are saying things seem to be spinning out of control,  and  it feels like “something”  big is going to happen.

So,  I’ll just repeat:   I’m not going to get out of here alive!

Jesus did not.     Jesus did not “get out of here alive.”     He laid down His life for us;  He took up His life again at His Resurrection.   And He took His Resurrected body  “up” into  the “heavenly  places.”

He who was seen by many is now unseeable.

But Eternity is all around us.  It penetrates this world.   Or, as I kept saying this morning to my class:  Eternity interpenetrates our world.    The spirit in us is able perceive this presence of Eternity.    That is,  Jesus,  Eternal, can now be perceived by everyone, not just those who stood next to Him so long ago in one small part of this globe.   All  of us can,  “whosoever”  wants to.

Ascension

As  He ascended,  He took with Him something very important:  His human nature.   The same as our human nature.    He made it possible for all  those creatures with a human nature can also enter into Heaven.

It’s possible.

I dearly hope those Christian children and mothers on the school bus today and  those  young Filipinos with their hands tied together took comfort in the meaning of the Ascension as they lay dying.

Christians are those who have chosen to follow Jesus,   through whatever and wherever  He leads us.    It’s our cross,  the way that leads us to Heaven.   Executed.   Blown up.   Needless accidents.   Sickness.    Ascension Day tells us that we can follow Him into glory.   It’s possible.

Follow crosses to Heaven

“It’s needful for you that I go.”     Behold,  I go to prepare a place for you.”     “In my Father’s house are many mansions.  If it were not so,  I would have told you.”

We can pray for the souls of our Christian brothers and sisters who’ve left this world so violently.    And perhaps  “before their time.”  And for their loved ones,  left behind to mourn.

 

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LIGHT – 100 YEARS AGO

May 14, 2017

 

“Like crystal,  when the sun shines brilliantly through it.”

It was hard for the little children to describe the brightness and purity of the whiteness,  the white light that the Lady was made of,  like she was made of the sun, but it didn’t hurt their eyes.

OL Fatima

As you’ve probably heard,  this is the 100th Anniversary of the First Apparition that occurred in Fatima, Portugal.    I’ll write much about it in the days to come;  six months we  have.   The Apparitions came once a month for six months,  with one big Fireworks of an ending!

fatima people

That it happened there could be no doubt.  In fact,  among the many in the photograph above who were there on that last day were many, many doubters, skeptics, mockers, and downright nay-sayers.    They were there to ridicule the so-called pious believers who believed the children’s tales.

But for  even those who were convinced nothing would happen – something happened to them!      Why were they so convinced nothing was going on?      Because the ones who were able to see or hear “something”  were the innocent,  the pure in heart,  the honest,  the open,  the pious, and the humble before God.

There were a few, even in this atheistic country!

According to the heart of each person,   some heard only a soft buzzing when the Apparitions occurred.  A few heard the booms.  A few saw the bright flashes.   Some saw a small, soft white cloud.    Two of the three children heard the words of “the Beautiful Lady,”  but all three saw her.

And that was exactly how they described her.    This Beautiful Lady, who was really appearing,   was a Lady with a face and with hair and eyes and clothing, but nevertheless “all made of Light.

In fact, later,  when Lucia, the eldest, was pressed to describe her,  she said even her gown was made of Light.  It was not “folds of white cloth,”  but where there would be folds, it was like the Light was thicker there,  the Light was draped in folds, and at the edges of the  Lady’s gown,  the brilliant white Light became golden,  like an outline of golden Light.

a white

The Beautiful Lady would not identify herself until October,  her sixth visit.

But remember –  she was made of Light.  Clothed in Light.  A Light that made everything beautiful and brought with it the presence of God,   Who is the Source of Majestic Light –

I Timothy 6:16 –  (God) . . . who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

 

DOWN FROM MY EYRIE

April 24, 2017

 

It’s been an intense and  “difficult blessing”  lately, here in my eyrie:

Here:

Panagia_Sumela_monastery_in_province_of_Trabzon,_Turkey_

I’ve been “up there”  for a couple of weeks and I’m so reluctant to leave.

eagle nest

The eagles build their eyries high up in tall trees or on the side of a mountain so they can be still and safe and alone while they participate in the (pro)creative work of their Creator.   They are isolated and productive.

 

eagle soarer

The  eagle descends so swiftly and smoothly, down from his hidden home– but for me, these last weeks have been a slow and reluctant climb downward,  with frequent looks backwards . . . .

 

All this,  a metaphor, of course.    I had an intense and deeply personal  Holy Week and Triduum,  followed by a surprisingly glorious Easter and following days.   (It’s still the Easter season,  I suppose just for experiences like this . . .  we need a couple of weeks to take it all in.)

I tell my classes   “The better Lent that you have,  the better your Easter will be.”    Well, that backfired on me this year.    I mean,   the words just turned around and fired right back into me.  But  this is not unique to me.

We are all so much more than our everyday lives!

We are all capable of experiencing, knowing,  being so much more than we’re used to!

eagle soar

Two births:

We who are born alive can know and interact with many things,   (We can read, for instance.)     And we know that from the moment of  birth we do, in effect,  begin to die.  Might take six or seven or eight decades,  but we’re on the pathway to our deaths.

One day, an intelligent, well-educated man on the leadership council in his society learned that there is another birth – an actual, real, second  birth into full and abundant life.   His name was Nicodemus,  and being a private person and maybe a little embarrassed,  he came to Jesus one night, in the cover of darkness,  to ask some questions about this true life.

He was surprised to learn that to enter Life one must be born again and from above,  it is God’s work in a man –  and without it,  the man simply proceeds with a dead spirit on to his own death — living  his everyday life, enjoying the ups and suffering the  downs, but proceeding on to his death.  Into deep darkness.   A just and deadly separation between God and sinner.

But Jesus went  on to explain  that a man receives this new birth by the work of the Holy Spirit,  through the means of water,    hereby indicating baptism –  which soon the young Church will understand to be a  re-birth of the already naturally born person into new and actual,  abundant life –  truly and everlastingly alive.    The “dead” spirit of the person is vivified!

The person is no longer on his pathway to  death and everlasting separation from God.  A person, then, is capable of so much more — more Life! —  than before.

And it all doesn’t work unless there is  a Good Friday and a day of Resurrection.

That is why these recent holidays are called the defining event of Christianity.

 

green

I needed to go up into that truth,  way up,  into a personal eyrie to experience more of that truth,  because  it’s necessary for us  humans to remove ourselves from this world and its turmoils and noise and complex confusions; to  find a  place of solitude where you can hear the voice of God.

You might not choose that  beautiful monastery in Turkey in the first photo above,  high up in the mountains,  but your imagination is capable of creating another place of quiet beauty where it’s safe for you to . . .  think . . .  to grab onto that second birth.

____________________________________

 

Down from my eyrie,  observing, once again, things going on around me.

 

 

BY MEANS OF MEN

April 14, 2017

(At the 9th hour):        “It is consummated.”           It was.

CROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

“By means of men and their actions,  God governs the world.”*

___________________________________

.*  “What Jesus Saw From the Foot of the Cross”

by  A.G. Sertillanges

RADIATION AND PERTURBATIONS – I

April 9, 2017

 

Sorry I couldn’t get back here right away after the storm.  I’ve been “perturbed.”

But we’re still here:

2nd Tree and moon

That tall tree that twisted and turned so menacingly in our big storm is still standing.  The sky the next day was gloriously blue.  Innocently blue:  “What?  What storm?”   The pond level remains high but the raging torrent has returned to a normally high spring-level creek no longer uprooting trees and gouging out the creek bank.

Nature is calmer,  but this week becomes one of “perturbations”  and turmoil in the spiritual world,  during which Christians try to enter into the experience of Holy Week,  Jesus’ last week of life on this earth.   Try to enter into;  try to figure it out;  spend time  uniting in the experience, the story, the details.

The time approaches.

2nd Tree and Fist

 

Next to the photo of the top of the tree is a moon becoming full.  Not just any full moon;  the Paschal Moon,  for it is always full on Passover, and therefore on the Thursday of this particular week.    I put up my fist to measure the height of the moon.   One fist = 10 degrees.  The moon was about 50 degrees high in the sky.   As Thursday evening comes, it will be about that high,   but it will be just about at its highest point later in Gethsemane,  where Jesus had his  unspeakable agony,   sorrow beyond our understanding.

“Perturbations” 

2nd Waves

So, the storm that Mother Nature gave our area is past, but the wind still blows little waves and ripples across the pond to accompany our unsettled feelings during our Holy Week meditations.

And now there is the storm our politicians are giving us in international affairs.    “Russia threatens war,”  the new headlines say.     Well,  yes.   We attacked a sovereign nation.   One which Russia was working with to defeat ISIS.   They would be “perturbed.”

And   “Perturbations in Egypt.”     Palm Sunday today, and 43 Christians were killed in their churches by Islamic bombs.    “Innocent children and women  should not be killed in that manner”   . .  .  to use the words of the American president commenting on events in Syria.    I hope he is not so perturbed that he takes advice to retaliate against Egypt.   And if not,  why not?

(Maybe an unnamed “chemical gas”  is supposed to perturb us more than a more familiar bomb-attack.)

“Perturbations” as Islam advances apace in the Western world.

This week, after a few months of listening to a lecturer from Yale present Late Ancient and Medieval history,   he suddenly began giving lectures falsifying  (and sanitizing)  the history of Islam —  I could have thrown fifty books at him that tell a very different  history,   and consistently different throughout the centuries of experience with Islam,  some of these books written long before this man was born.   I suppose he has to agree to say these things or else lose his tenure.

But, gee — if you can’t trust a history professor from Yale,  who can you trust?   (That’s a joke, my friends.)

But again, “Islam advances apace.”     Look up that word “apace.”

ASHES TO ASHES

March 1, 2017

An almost two thousand year-old practice . . .

ashes-lent

. . . in an almost two thousand year old time-tested, time-proven  Church.

Why ashes?   Because we’re all toast!     We’re all already toast anyway.    As in burnt toast,  burnt-to-ashes toast.

That was our choice, as a human race.

earth-circle-destroyed

That choice resulted in a cosmic breach between the Creator and all of Creation.

Doesn’t matter if it happened last week or if it happened aeons ago.    Each son or daughter  is born into an already condemned human race onto a cursed planet.

Ashes.    In the wisdom, might, and just judgment of a holy God,  we have separated ourselves from Him and He;s given us our wishes, sadly and reluctantly.    The resulting “separation”  is described in human terms as an agonizing sense of never-ending fire . . .  burning . . .  ashes.   The intense pain of a soul separated from God.     Forever.

The Church carries the Means of Healing this separation for me.

ashes-man

But first I must acknowledge that God is right,  and I am wrong.

Sure, I’m part of that today, with ashes on my forehead.

____________________________

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 2ND – A VERY FULL DAY

February 2, 2017

February the Second.    I actually had no idea, when I woke up this morning,  how many lovely and supernatural Mysteries are remembered on this day!

Of course,  first,   I woke up to the radio announcing  “the ground hog has seen its shadow.”   An extended winter –   yay!     Trivial, silly,  traditional,   fun —   but . . .  trivial.

ground-hog-in-sun

But there are deep and important Mysteries for us to attend to on this date, coming to us from Western Civilization, and the wisdom and knowledge of those who lived before us.

One is the three-fold remembrance of   (1)   the Purification of Mary,   (2)  the  Presentation of Christ in the Temple,  and (3)   Candlemas.       This is a part of Western Civilization;  it’s a part of our history, celebrated continuously from the time of the earliest Christians.    It was old when the first written account of this celebration was made just after 300 AD.

(1)   The Purification of Mary

purification

The Holy Family lived under the precepts of the Old Testament.    One of the precepts refers back to the Creation of mankind,  the Fall of mankind (and Original Sin falling upon everyone thereafter), the provision of sacrifice to “satisfy”  the infinite offense against the Creator – and His act of Creation that accompanies every “marital act.”

So, according to Mosaic Law,   Mary presents herself to the priest in the Temple  (there was only one Temple for the Jews) and provides two turtledoves for the sacrifices:  a sin offering and a ritual,  liturgical “cleansing,”  called “purification.”   (This does not refer to the worth of a woman.)

Mary needed neither.   If she had needed either,  she could not have contained the Holy Child,   the Son of God,  in her womb.   She had been prepared in such a  way so as not to actually have needed “purification,”  but   she humbled herself to the obedience of Old testament precepts.  Her holiness is all from her Holy Son.  Her salvation is all from her Holy Son – and His Cross.

(2)    2nd on this day,   the Holy Child is presented to the priest in the Temple. 

presnetation

Every human child  is from God.       He made it;   the child is His.   But in a charming and loving ceremony,  (written down in Leviticus),  the parents are allowed to “redeem”  the child,  to buy it back, so to speak, for a price, (today it’s usually 5 gold coins – or gold-type coins)   and they are then allowed to take the child back to their home and to love the child and raise the child in the knowledge of God.gold-coins

Two people present at the Presentation of Christ were Anna and Simeon,   both of whom waited in the Temple most of their long  lives for the coming of the Promised Child.   They were rewarded for their faithfulness by being allowed to see – and to know –  that this was indeed the long-promised Messiah.

Today, this “Presentation”   ceremony is  not necessary because Christ has redeemed all mankind on His Cross.  However . . .

pidyon-haben

. . . .  today’s Jews sometimes continue the practice in a ceremony called Pidyon Haben – you can look it up on any Search Engine. The intention is the same.  God created this child, the child is God’s,   we offer to redeem it back and raise the child in the knowledge of You, his Creator.

(3)      So,  we have on Feb. 2nd,  the Purification of Mary,  the Presentation of Christ in the Temple,  and now:  Candlemas.

Candles that are going to be used in the coming days are blessed on this day.   Were blessed on this day.    The twentieth century is a century of shortcuts,  drop-offs, and the evaporation of meaning.    But Candlemas is still practiced . . .  somewhere.

candles

 

Little Nellie of Holy God:

There is a second  “event”  that we can remember on this day,  and this event is the  death of a very young child whose whole life had supernaturally pointed to the Mystery of Christ’s Cross – and His coming to us in each celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

This death brings us into modern times:   Feb. 2,  1908,  the day  “Ellen Organ”  died at age four years old.    Her life is one of hardship, poverty,  and pain,  not so uncommon among the Irish poor,   but also a life of extraordinary and unexplainable knowledge of the presence of  “Holy God.”     Her knowledge far exceeded whatever the nuns had ever taught her,  what they knew and what they could have perceived.

Little “Nellie” recognized a consecrated Host from an unconsecrated host.   She could tell whether or not someone had taken part in Holy Communion that day.     She spontaneously called her chapel the House of Holy God.      She knew, vaguely, in a childlike way    about putting men in prison lock-ups, and so when she saw the Tabernacle in her church which contained the consecrated Hosts,    she  thought that Jesus had been  “locked up in prison.”

Here is a commonly distributed photo of her, not long before tuberculosis of the bone painfully took her life away.

litle-nellie-of-holy-god

To the nuns in the convent-hospital where she lived out her last months,   she became known as “Little Nellie of Holy God.”      You can look her up – you can even go to Wikipedia,   where although they tell  her life story at arm’s length away from anything supernatural,  they do a fairly good job of summarizing her life.

The Spruce Tunnel would like to keep all this in memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. LUCIAN & THE ROSE BOWL PARADE

January 7, 2017

It’s still the season of Epiphany:  The Light of Heaven made accessible to the Gentiles.     The Light that   “dawns” on us.    Now salvation is for “whosoever”  comes.

wise-men-big-light

One of the Wise Men’s  sources of information about the birth of Christ is the Jewish Scriptures,  written in Hebrew, and then later in the Greek language that the Hebrews generally used in the culture they lived in.

scroll

These Greek scrolls which made up the “Old Testament”   Scriptures   were used by people in  Palestine at the time of Jesus and afterwards.    But, over time, they were subject to variations and errors which became apparent and troublesome.   Among those scholars who were educated enough to compare manuscript to manuscript and eliminate the errors was a man named Lucian,  the saint we honor on this day.  (His biography is muddled and obscure,  but at least we know about  this one work that he did.)

So,  note:    Historically speaking,  the Church has always   put the Scriptures in the hands of “the people.”     When fewer people used the Greek language and more knew Latin,   then the Church sponsored the translation of the Septuagint, that early Greek Bible,  into Latin.          (And so on down through history as languages developed.)

And here’s where this year’s Rose Bowl parade intersects with the historical record.

parade

So this year on January 1st,  not feeling too healthy,  I laid down in front of the Rose Bowl parade, something I don’t usually do,  but the parade turned out to be surprisingly very interesting this year.      Such skill and precision and effort and beauty!!!

And then, towards the end,  I saw one lovely float created by —  I won’t name the religious group who made it —  but it was proudly stating “Scripture Alone”  “Faith Alone”  and  “Grace Alone.”

s-s-sign

Well.     Well . . .   I’m a historian  (by university study)    and this is not a  historically accurate statement of belief — unless your church has a short history and fairly recently created this new doctrine.     Scripture Alone is not really  found within Scripture, anywhere,  (there’s a challenge for you!)  but  if Scripture Alone is so crucial,  then that eliminates the possibility for salvation for all those early Christians who lived in previous centuries who had no Bible and who had no need to read!

In the last posting I referenced the Apostles Creed and a smattering of writings by the Apostles in those first decades after Christ left this earth.      The process of gathering these writings and deciding which were valid and which were part of the canon took  a couple centuries.

Did Christianity spread during that time?  Of course.    ( By proclaiming,  by preaching,  and by careful  instruction, person to person.)    Did Christians learn the teachings of Christ during that time?   Of course.   Did Christians grow in personal holiness during that time,  drawing closer to God?   Of course.    Did Christians read the writings of the Apostles, the epistles and the Gospels during these first three centuries?   A few did,   some could,   and more and more did as these early  centuries passed on.

That’s why the church was concerned that the translations be accurate.

St. Lucian lived in the early Fourth Century.  His work was used by St. Jerome who translated the entire Bible into the language of the people (Latin),  both the Scriptures and the writings of the New Testament.     That was a monumental human endeavor,  but it was so well done,  so accurately done,  that the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome is still the official Bible of the Church today!

During Epiphany we contemplate the Light that came into our world, and which finds Its way into our lives in so many ways, by the grace of God.    It comes to us by  hearing about it,   by example,  by specific instruction,  sometimes by supernatural infusion  . .  .  and also by reading Scripture.

Quicumque.    Whosoever.     Whoever wants the Light of God.

DEC. 8th – OF WOMBS AND WITNESSES

December 8, 2016

The movie  Indiana Jones . . .   had it    a   l  m   o   s   t     right.

ark-indy

The real Ark of the Covenant contained the enormous supernatural power of the Holy Almighty One.      And no human dare mess with it or take it lightly.

The real ark was made of hard and finely grained precious acacia wood,     and then completely covered inside and out and all around with gold.

Of course there were prequels to the Ark,    inklings in the pagan world that a real ark would be built some day to hold a divine something.    You can find archeological examples all over the Middle East.  But one day the real Ark was indeed built, along with gold rings at the corners and two long gold-covered acacia poles to put into the rings so that the Ark could be moved and carried without the touch of human hands.

After the Ark was filled . . .  the top was shut . . .  and no man – ever –   could ever open it again,  ever.    Nor could the Ark be touched,  not only not by profane (common) hands,  but neither by ordained, consecrated priestly hands.

ark

The Ark of the Covenant contained a “trinity”  of objects*,  each representing the holy presence of God-Most-High.     Centuries later,  when a young virgin was addressed as “blessed,”    she then “contained” in her womb the Divine Presence;   Mary is like the Ark of the Covenant and her womb “contained”   God.

How can this happen to a human girl?    How can this be?        “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God, ”   Gabriel told her.

The  “Son”   was the Son of God-Most-High, and as such,  as “son,”  He too was of the same eternal substance as the Father.      It didn’t take long before the example of the Ark of the Covenant was understood to have been a foreshadowing of Mary,  “Blessed,”  called by God for a special purpose,   and  Ever-Virgin,  untouched,   never opened by man,  never to be opened.

On December 8th we acknowledge and celebrate Mary,  created without blemish,   just like the Ark of the Covenant,  perfectly made,  perfectly created by an act of God so that as soon as she was created,   she was conceived,   and she was conceived without the blemish, the macula,  the stain of sin because she was,  so to speak,  “saved”   by her Savior,  her Son,  from the first moment of her existence.

Yes, she is human, she needs a Savior **,   she has a Savior,   but in this special, one-time unique act of creation,    she was made to be the perfect Ark,  the perfect container,  the perfect womb to hold  the Son of God.

Her human body could “touch” the Holy  Son of God without annihilation.

Christians have written about this for many,  many centuries,    nearly 1,800 years;  and then, during a certain crisis in history,   the church decided it was time to formally define this doctrine so that people would know what Mary’s  “Immaculate conception”  meant and also what it didn’t mean.

No new doctrine, just a clear definition –   but not many knew what had just been written in Rome.   No cell phones in those days.   No tweets.

But an affirmation was sent, in the form of a visitation from the Immaculate Conception herself.   And to make sure it was a heaven-sent apparition,  Mary appeared to an unlikely witness:   an illiterate,  unschooled, rather ignorant peasant girl who could not have imagined nor understood the new definition, even if she had heard about it.

bourn grotto.jpg

It’s an interesting story,  a lovely story, really,  and told very well in the movie  “Song of Bernadette.”       Though her family, her town, the authorities,  her priest and her bishop resisted her testimony,    when she reported that the “beautiful lady” in the apparition had called herself “The Immaculate Conception,”    they began to listen.    Was this an inadvertent confirmation of the Church’s definition of an age-old doctrine?

How could Bernadette have known?

But what is also interesting is what happened to this ignorant,  uneducated peasant girl after the visitations.

This is a photo of her, a few years later:

bourn-alive

She became a very private person;  a nun;   holy;   humble;   serene.

And this is what happened to her after her death-

bourn-casket

 

Oh – how about a close-up —

bern-in-death-30-yrs

30 years after her death  they wanted to move her body, and, as was the practice,  they opened her casket.    Beautiful.    Her body untouched.   She had beheld a holy and heavenly visitor,  conversed with her,  and it changed her spirit,   her personality,  and even her physical habitation.

We do not celebrate Bournadette on this day, nor her apparition at Lourdes,  but we celebrate the reality of the Immaculate Conception,  a young virgin,  created to be the perfect, holy vessel for the Incarnated Son of God;     the real  Ark of the Covenant.   (See Revelation 11:19  and 12:1)

bar-gold-with-cross

 

.*      The three objects are:    A sample of the Manna which fell onto the people, from Above,   to be their food and sustenance for forty years of wilderness travel.

The second “object”  was the stone tablets which contained words given to Moses,  which represent the will of God,  the Word of God,   and since He is God,  His word is Himself.    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . ”

The third object was the rod, or staff, of Aaron,  the brother of Moses,  which, though a dead stick,  budded to manifest the   Affirmation of God’s presence and approval during a crisis among the Israelites.

Three objects, all containing and representing the Presence of the Living God,  and more specifically,  His Presence among us in the Person of His Son, threefold for emphasis:  Life,  Word of Life,   and Bread of Life.

 

 

.**     Mary is human,  like us,  and as such,  she is never to be worshiped as God is worshiped.     Any goodness in her comes from God, her Savior,  just as any goodness in us is the work of God.    Mary is receptive to God’s working,  just as we must be.

Any honor given to Mary is because of her Son and is due her Son.   “Behold, all generations shall call me Blessed . .  .”      because —  not because of her,  but because of her Son.   (There are some who don’t want to call her Blessed,  but this is not biblical.)