Archive for the ‘Liturgical Reading’ category

ST. PATRICK TODAY

March 17, 2017

When the Roman soldiers withdrew from Ireland —

Romans in Britain

—    their protection,  their Roman administration,  and much of the Christian religion  also left the island.      Warring tribal clans ruled.

They left behind ruins in this beautiful green place –

roman fort

It’s still a beautiful green place with distinctive scenery.    This has become one of the most famous places to visit.

pat mount

Especially on March 17th.

pat climbing up

People walk up this mountain,  which gets impossibly steep the farther you go.

It’s a difficult, steep,  stony path.

pat dfifficult

Many people,  mostly men,  make the trek  barefoot.

pat barefoot

They know they’ll shred their feet,  but many still do it in spite of discouragement from the officials.   They want to climb the mountain  in whatever way is meaningful to them.

The mountain is Croagh Patrick,  and St. Patrick is said to have climbed it to look out over his beloved island at “the end of the earth.”

He had been a boy living in Scotland,   then  kidnapped by pirates and sold to some clan chieftain in Ireland to tend the animals way out in the countryside.  The boy was lonely.     Unprotected from the elements.   Cold.  Hot.   Wet.   Unsheltered.     Uncared for by his master.

The rest of the story is familiar:   During these years young Patrick  turned to the God he had heard about when he lived  in his own father’s home.   By his own free will he chose to believe in the one Triune God,  and   God filled him with such love and grace that Patrick responded with complete loving surrender.

pat boat The story of his narrow escape from Ireland,  another kidnapping, another escape,  study and recognition, and desire to bring the knowledge of Jesus to the people of Ireland  would make a great movie!

 

pat st patrick

But what leads  all those people to climb Croagh Patrick  is his love for the Catholic faith,  his dedication to the Irish people,  his insights and instruction in his many writings in which we can see the heart of this great man.

Ireland became a Catholic land and sent out many missionaries to other lands that needed to hear the gospel.

People want the kind of faith that he had.    People want to be close to him and to be like him.    People want to understand what St. Patrick knew.   People want to become as close to God as St. Patrick was.

 

pat cathedral tribute to him

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, a  tribute to the real St. Patrick.

Green beer,  green rivers,   shamrocks,  and snakes,   leprechauns and rainbows are all fun ways to remember this country,   but what is truly fulfilling for a human being is to rest in the peace and love  with the God that St. Patrick loved and taught us about.

That is a goal  worth climbing a mountain for!

 

pat past cute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

HAVE A HEART!

February 4, 2017

(Kind of a stream-of-consciousness post –  one thing leads to another . . . )

I was checking out what  Readings we’re  going to hear tomorrow   –  they are the same Readings that have been appointed for this Sunday   (the Fifth Sunday after the day of Epiphany)    that people have heard for many, many centuries.

church-vicenza

I chose this picture because it shows the ancient basilica that my friend grew up in, in Vicenza, Italy,  and she told me how these Readings were commonly  handled every Sunday.    There is a myth that    (use a deep, serious voice):   “The Catholic Church kept the knowledge of the Bible away from the people . . . .”

The truth is, as my friend testified,  we get two good Readings from the Bible every day,  as well as every Sunday;    the priest will give a short sermon showing what the Readings mean and how they fit into the day;  and then often – it used to be common – the people would come back to the church and received a deeper, more extended lesson.  (The Mass is not for having Bible studies!)

So, what will we learn tomorrow?    The Christian person behaves with:  “. . .  mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection . . . .  (from Colossians 3) 

heart-in-blue

Whew!    There could be a lot of teaching  (and learning)  in that partial passage!)   But it ends in “charity” –  something we now call “love.”    Are they the same thing?

Pick any one of those adjectives listed above,   humility,   modesty,  patience, etc.,  and any individual person would have a lot of hard work, introspection, and determination to make such things a part of his life,  but they all lead up to some aspect of charity (loving others).

But there is a false charity too.    “Love thy neighbor”?     Who is my neighbor?     The example Jesus gave was the story of the Good Samaritan.    I hope the details are familiar to you,  but notice that the injured man was right there next to the Samaritan.     The Samaritan could see the injury,  he could see the need,  he could see the whole situation and, with some inconvenience and cost to himself,  the Samaritan . . .  showed love.

good

He was ready.  He had charity in his heart.

In Finland and Sweden  there is a quaint holdover from the time when they used to be Christian nations.     They are colorfully painted  little statues of a “poor man”  or  cute little old ladies or sometimes of animals,   and somewhere on the statue there is a little  slit into which you can make a donation – to help the poor.    Tourists like to take pictures of these little statues,  but most often they don’t know what they’re for anymore.

heart-poor-man-statue

The Poor Man boxes are to help you make donations that will aid the people in your town or in your parish.   Your loving and sympathetic help is for your  neighbor, your  proxima . That’s who the subject of your charity should be:    Someone you know.   Or someone whom you trust knows.  You can help him help a needy person.    Or maybe – maybe, maybe – an organization that you know who actually works among some  actual needy people that you’re thinking about.

But watch out for evil hearts!!!

evil-heart

They are the ones who have a need for your money and for your support and they will TUG on your heart strings,  arouse your sympathy,  and make you feel responsible for situations that are not in your “neighborhood.”

Perhaps you haven’t read “Rules for Radicals” yet.   Perhaps you don’t know their very successful Rules to accumulate money and powerful for themselves.     I’ve read the Rules,   don’t know them very well,  but here is from Rule # 13 :  (paraphrasing)    “. . .  talk about people,  not institutions;    arouse sympathy for individuals without revealing the context;   focus on difficult cases to create a free-floating guilt without reference to the truth of the situation. . . . ”

We can be easily fooled into giving up our money or our  position or our land – if we are led  to feel sorry for something and to believe that we are responsible for some faraway situation.

Is this your fault?    –

waiting-to-come-to-you-from-kenya

Is this your  doing?    Should you  give up your land and your culture and your safety  because the leaders of these people have made these people into victims?

Nearby  people and government leaders have great  monetary and land resources to help these poor people.  It is said that Sa^   udi  ^Ar ab- ia alone has millions of air-conditioned tents, already set up,   but empty for nearly the whole year.    The tents are used only a few weeks of a year for a short holiday.     But they are not used to help  nearby people in need.

No,  in the United States,   government agencies masquerading as “charitable” institutions, are asking for our money and our towns;   and as government agents they are receiving great amounts of . . .  our money.

Here is a  partial list of these government agencies:

Church World Service (CWS)
Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
World Relief Corporation (WR)

Mo ham   ^med told his followers to not only make war,  but also to migrate into other lands in order to spread is^  lam and create the World Cal  ^i phate.      Today,  they are being given a tremendous  helping hand to do just that.

But how far away these  Migrant Invaders are from the poor injured man whom the Samaritan found on the roadside!

………………………

 

.*  The manual that puts forth successful, tried and true methods for Leftists,  Progressives,  Communists, Socialists, etc,  to overcome an existing society.

It would be good to at least know what’s being done to us – and how.

WHY DO EASTER WEEK?

March 30, 2016

 Why do Easter Week at all?    I thought of some reasons:

Banner Easter Wed
I  “do”  Easter Week along with the Church,  (not the New Version, by the way, but the original, ongoing Church) because it affords me the time to savor the things of Eternity that we may come to know while still here on Earth.

bed of air
The things of this Earth change and pass away so quickly that there is nothing solid to hang on to.  Placing all your hope in this world is like resting on  a bed of clear Jell-O — really! —  it’s comfortable and easy and kind of fun at first,  but you sink down deeper and deeper and deeper and you begin to struggle for air, for the sight of other people,  for something firm to grasp onto — and there is nothing, because the things of this Earth offer no solid foundation.
Christ died on the Cross to give us a firm foundation to grasp onto –  an eternal foundation that will not change and that will always be benevolent and full of personal love for us.

I “do”  Easter week because as I catch myself growing older,  I understand  how much for a greater purpose is the time that is given to each one of us.   Time is fleeting!   Time is passing!
As you’re sinking deeper into that  bed of clear, comfy Jell-O,  there are many distractions offered on the way down.   Seems like fun.   Seems important,  for a moment in time.
How precious is the Time given to us?   Here is a quote  from Mother Angelica, who died just recently,    as she lay on her death bed, hanging on to life, hanging on,  hanging on.  She was asked why do you want to keep on living?   . . .  “Because I will have suffered one more day for the love of God… It will exercise you in virtue. But most of all I will know God better. You cannot measure the value of one new thought about God in your own life.'”

One.  New.  Thought.   About.  God. . . .

That’s what Time can give

I  “do”  Easter Week because I want to understand the difference between God in His Heaven, on the one hand, and this Fallen World, on the other hand.   It’s a clear choice.  The more I understand, the more my soul will choose God truly and rightly.  It works this way:  the more you know God, the more you love Him;  the more you love Him, the more you want to know;  the more you know God,  the more you love Him . . . .
One knows his loved one better by spending time together.   At least an Octave of days,  right?  And then every day of your life.

Finally,  “I do”   Easter Week because of the real contrast between Time and Eternity.   Nothing final happens in Time,  but I’d rather not spend my Eternity in a permanent state of Hellish, agonizing regret and despair and self-hatred (I should have known!).  I’d rather not have an Eternity being a plaything of the Enemies of my Soul,  the Enemies of God, who themselves are in such torment that not even tormenting me can ease their pain – but they have an eternity to try.

Time.  An Octave of time.   In the Epistle reading given to us today,  Peter is giving some powerful teaching about time.  He says,  You all, in the audience here,  the God who loves you so much worked through your ancestors to prepare you for Christ, and then, in your ignorance of Him He was put to death.  You denied the Holy One and the Just – and desired that a murderer be granted unto you. . . .  I know that you did this out of ignorance,  but now there is Time to repent – time to think,  time to come to Christ for forgiveness and for your salvation.

A paraphrase, of course,  emphasizing the use we can make of our Time remaining here on Earth.   The Truth dawns on us,  the Un-Truth becomes unworkable, intolerable, the desire for something Good and Lasting grows, and the Will comes into play — Time,  Time to choose!

That’s what having an Octave of Time is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – IOWA CAUCUS

February 1, 2016

The Iowa caucus CAN BE an occasion to lift our thoughts above our usual superficial thinking, and above the thoughts that others give to us.   We can ask:  “What in the world is going on in Iowa?” So, in three parts,  I write for you some political thoughts;  that is,  thoughts that concern the Body Politic.

Initially, my first thought on a portion of  the Iowa caucus was this:

1.  SUPERANNUATED CHILDREN  GET TO VOTE

This is not the general population of Iowa!  But they say that the many supporters of Bernie Sanders there and elsewhere are mainly “young people.”    Though mentally and intellectually underage,  they do get to vote.

He is a self-declared “socialist,”  we have heard     These children who support the romantic notion of socialism have  NEVER been made to study or read or even become remotely acquainted with the effects of any political or social revolution, and so they believe the “socialist” revolution that they can produce by their enthusiasm will bring about a “better world.”

“Enthusiasm!  High hopes for change!  Our leaders will transform us into a better society!”     It sounds appealing.   But there is nowhere in the history of this planet that shows evidence for the success of socialism;  but everywhere it has been attempted, you will find its failure, especially in terms of over-extended and failing economies..

The children-voters don’t know.  They are uneducated.   But they are well-informed and  well-trained in the propaganda that brings about  “hope and change” in the context of Big Brother type governments which promise everything to everyone.

As one commenter says:  “I’m lazy.  I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s going  to GIVE me everything I need.”

2.  A SOCIAL/POLITICAL REVOLUTION

This is a revolution in American thinking —   a revolution that has been inserting itself into our nation for the past several decades, and which is well under way to undermining our strength and viability in every sector of our society.

To succeed, it must use a generation of “children”  who have been miseducated,   propagandized, intellectually weakened ,  morally corrupted, and made to do all the things which have made humans feel justifiably guilty  for during the past ten thousand years (since at least the end of the last Ice Age).

They must have been made to love pleasure and to disdain hard work and independence — and they must be made fearful of  life and their own capabilities.  And they must not know the fatal  consequences to a nation that is conquered by socialism — after the “hopes and dreams”  become a disastrous reality.

3.  SOCIALISM AND SLAVERY

A pleasure-seeking, corrupted society is one that is easy to lead . . . .   Every socialist knows this.  Destroy the family,  destroy family values, and you have destroyed your strongest enemy.

“I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s going to GIVE me everything I need.”

This is called:    slavery.

These super-annuated useful idiots, as Lenin called them (I wouldn’t call them that),  are indeed helping to bring about a kind of global slavery.

Personally,  I choose to observe the evidence of actual history.  I don’t trust people who smile at me and promise me good things — if only I give them more and more of my money for policies that have never yet worked and give up more and more of my privacy and freedom  for a “bright” future that has never yet begun to come about.

What gives me the right to disparage  our “young people”?   To shorten the length of this posting,   I’ll tell you and  I’ll put forward for you  two dangers,   the internal attack on our nation and the external attack –  both of which we can witness as they happen,  but I’ll do it in the next post.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD: Philosophy 101

April 19, 2015

Today in Christendom is Good Shepherd Sunday.    We join with our ancestors for hundreds and hundreds  of years in learning more deeply why Our Lord is likened to a Shepherd and why we are likened to sheep.

Good  shepherd

Looking forward,  we join today with future generations who will also learn and contemplate Christ the Good Shepherd.   We will teach our children — and observe how they instinctively understand this analogy.

The Shepherd cares for the sheep and does everything in their best interest.  The sheep,  little ones and  older ones,  follow His lead because they trust Him to know best.    They keep their eye on their shepherd,  they go to him for their needs, and we can even  imagine the sheep bear affection towards their shepherd.

This alone is worthy of a lifetime of meditation.

As we become adults and grow older,   it’s a good thing to focus on that very word which children, in their childlike innocence, seem to understand so well:   “Good.”     The tiniest toddler understands:  “Good boy!”    “Good girl.”

And what does it mean when we call the Son of God, our Good Shepherd   “good”?      Wise men with greater intellects than I have said that  God is good, and that the very definition of “good”  is named God,  and that God is Goodness itself.   Fundamentally,  what is good?   God is that which is Goodness.

Do you have a problem with God?    Imagine a “better God” – one that is so good that He is infinitely good —  That is God.    You’ve heard a lot of enemies of God speak about Him.   So can you imagine an even better God than what they say there is?    Then that is the real God.

You can go on and on like this;  keep imagining a God who is even more good,  and even more good than that.    You may go on into Infinity, and then begin to approach the Goodness of the One God Most High — Who is Goodness itself.

“God  is  Good.”   And God is the source and origin of all goodness that comes into man’s thinking.

But is He “real”?        Long before Christianity came about,  The Greeks understood that something that is actually really in existence is greater than the thought of it.   

Christian philosophy adds a kind of definition of God:    “God is that than which no greater can be conceived.”    

So when you say God is Good, and have an idea what that means,  still greater is the real God,  for He actually exists. 

And in His Goodness,   He is actually Good to us as individuals.   

Good shepherd and you

He is our Shepherd,   one sheep at a time.

A child can understand this.