Archive for the ‘saint’ category

ALARM! A “NEW REALITY” IS COMING!

October 8, 2019

alarm clock

There are natural consequences, attested to by philosophy, history, sociology, and religion that when a nation turns away from God,  the nation will be plagued by bad leadership.   This has happened in ancient pre-Christian cultures too.

(You can put a photo of a contemporary political face next to each one of these):

Women (will rule over you)

The effeminate will rule over you

The young and inexperienced will be your leaders 

Old men and parents with the wisdom of the past will be ignored and disrespected.

And so on;  all outlined in Isaiah chapter 2, among other places.

I guess that’s  all-purpose, general alarm #1.

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For more detail, we have to look at the various reports one at a time, more closely.  So,  alarm # 2  —

Apparently the current pope did not read the list in  Isaiah 2.  His recent words:

POPE Talk Rigid priests

Well.    He’s talking about me and a lot of other ordinary Catholics.    I don’t think I’ve often seen a priest who does NOT wear a black cassock in his off hours,  even as I traveled all over the country.

bl young men.jpg

All over there are serious, mature — and fun-loving young men, in cassocks.

I’ve seen many photos of these young men in their cassocks running, jumping, playing, building things, skiing, ice skating,  playing basketball . . .

bl soccer

None of these men wear stiff black clothes or are rigid in their thinking!   I’ve never seen a hat in the shape of planet Saturn.  And the “serious problems” the pope is speaking about have their origins in his attempt to transform the Church into something it is not.   He once said:    “I am going to change the Church so much that it can’t be changed back again.”

Yikes.   You see,  when a marxist/socialist/progressive doesn’t like you, he begins to call you names and ridicule you for what you believe in.

And he looks happy doing it:

Pope necklace

He proudly wears his  new Amazon native necklace, and he has a new black ring representing both paganism and Liberation Theology.

Reporting from the Vatican these past days show us:

AM PLANTING BOWING

It seems as though many American  Christians are unaware of this pagan ceremony celebrated recently at the Vatican in honor of Mother Earth.    The little tree at the left in the photo was planted to honor . . .   earth things.

And, oh, yes,  he participated!

AM PLANTING YES PARTICIPATED

A whole slew of native Amazon dancers processed by the pope with drums and flutes,  bowing up and down to him, acknowledging his “togetherness” with them.

AM PLANTING 1

The Amazonians placed a pictured rug on the ground upon which they placed various totems.    I cannot even tell you the blasphemous explanation for these two female idols:

AM PLANTING 4

Now,   this is sacred ground.     Two millennia ago,  Peter,  St. Peter,  preached against the idols of Rome and gave his life to tell the Romans about the Gospel of Christ.   In this same area,  St. Peter was hung – upside down –  and thus gave his life for the sake of ridding Rome of the false worship of idols so that they could turn to the God who is above  all gods.

Now we bring the idols back to Rome.

That’s why they dance for him:

Amazon Tribal Protest

 

And that’s why they pay him homage.  In a pagan sort of way.

AMAZONpope dancing

 

alarm clockThe “Amazon Synod”  is gong on right now this week.     It’s taking place in Europe, not in the Amazon,  but the Amazon natives are being used as a prop to illustrate the inadequacy of the Christian faith and the righteous wisdom of pagan people.   The working document, otherwise known as the instrumentum laboris, outlines the goals of this synod, which is to change the Church’s practices (and thereby the teachings)  about marriage and the priesthood.

Anyone can be a priest.  Anyone can get saved.  Any religion will do the trick.

The words of this preliminary document are intentionally vague and ambiguous.  When asked about this, the pope replied:  “I want the confusion so a new reality can be born.”

We ought not to be too “rigid”  about things like that,  I guess.

Bar Cross in middle

Many,  many are praying and fasting because of this.   At least talk about it.  Get the word out.    The world needs the True Faith.

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JACKBOOTS ON THEIR FACES

July 15, 2019

Take a trip with me to Socialist Great Britain:

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July 14th is the day we honor St. Bonaventure.     Wow!  So much to his life!!   But I won’t take the time here . . .

St.  Bonaventure wrote:   “The fear of God forbids a man to give his heart to transitory things, which are the true seeds of sin.”      (Not “sin” as in doing bad things;  but sin, as in neglecting God in general, keeping Him out of your life.)

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St.. Bonaventure is right;  but then again,  “transitory” issues are an important way to indicate where our heart is.     We don’t  “give our hearts to God”  and then sit back and think pretty thoughts;  there is work to be done, wrongs to be righted,  people who need our aid and comfort.

The “jackboots” in the title refer to the well-known comment by George Orwell: 

Jackboot

In today’s America,  with so many mis-educated younger people flirting with the empty promises of Socialism,   we need to keep this warning from George Orwell in mind —  every day, especially as we are approaching another election.

Although this image is Socialism  ( either right away or as it breaks down eventually )   as awful as it is,  try now to replace that man’s face in the poster with the face of good, gentle elderly folks, living right now in the UK.

An elderly woman or man’s face, under the jackboot.

Jackboots history

hobnails on the bottom of jackboots

Sweet old people who lived their lives, did their work, raised their children, and are now living out the “rewards of old age” with their family, friends, and pets.     Socialism makes it nearly impossible to save for your future, so these elderly people are living in “pension houses” – government subsidized apartments.   They keep their apartments neat and clean, and often grow gardens to beautify their surroundings as well as to grow herbs and small garden vegetables.

Garden 3 old man

Here’s one “pensioner.”  Notice his “garden” behind him.  Or what’s left of it.

When a young socialist is given a position of power,  even a small amount of power,  that person feels compelled to use that power over others.    In this case, in the UK, that person was a young women who is a city councilman has decreed that all these private gardens must be destroyed:

“She Who Must Be Obeyed” *    — because she is a Socialist official.

Garden 6

This was once someone’s garden.

And this, two elderly sisters walking on what was once their prized garden.  The women in the white top is 86 years old and nearly totally blind:

Garden 4

Plants were just trampled down  and discarded . . .

Garden 2

Flowers, herbs,  fresh fruit and vegetables.

Garden 5 patio

Friends visiting,  next to the no-more garden.

I know how much effort it takes to create and maintain a garden, even a small one.   Never thought much about the “effort” when I was younger,   but as you grow older you do indeed recognize the physical effort required.     And you take great joy in it.

It is heartbreaking to watch these people speak of how much they’ve lost.  **

We Americans were taught that “The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance.”  Neither sinning against others nor any emerging authoritarianism  can stand a spotlight thrown on them.      The elderly people and their friends formed a little protest group to call attention to the totalitarian new rule, and the good news is that the decree to destroy more gardens has been rescinded — temporarily.

Rescinded with the smarmy socialist phrase:    “Oh, we like people to beautify their own surroundings.”      Throw your own spotlight on the sincerity of that phrase!

“The price of  freedom is eternal vigilance.”     Or,   more accurately, from the pen of Irishman John Philpot Curran:         “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

These elderly people in the UK have everything to do with your life,  with our lives, even here in America.    Though the UK must solve their own problems and injustices,   if we in America do nothing, we will have more and more of these injustices thrown upon us, as we lose our personal freedoms.   A little rule here, a little regulation there, doesn’t affect me yet, doesn’t affect me yet,  doesn’t affect me . . . . .

I’m glad to hear with increasing frequency that those who want to conserve traditional American values (and it’s happening in the Church too)  are more and more telling each other that we have to STOP sitting back and letting things happen to us – we need to resist; we need to fight back;  we need to assert traditional values which work and which built up Western Civilization.

We don’t  “give our hearts to God”  and then sit back and think pretty thoughts;  there is work to be done, wrongs to be righted,  people who need our aid and comfort.

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. *    “She who must be obeyed” is, of course, the only appellation  allowed to be used when referring to the dread queen in H.Rider Haggard’s  book “She” —  great fun to read!

Not so fun when you come across these harridans in real life

 

. **   Among The Four Sins That Cry Out to God for Vengeance is  “the oppression of widows and orphans.”     This comes pretty darn close.

Again:

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

 

 

ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATORS

June 30, 2019

Women — before women’s  “lib” —

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Whether it’s the sun, the moon, the planets or the stars above:

CALCULATORS what they calculated

Mankind has always studied the universe and what’s in it.

In order to describe what’s observed,   theories have come and gone, and  mathematics of ever-increasing complexities have been created.

EQUATIONS and Man

There was a huge increase in such knowledge in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.   More than a century ago scientists were working with “advanced”  equations to calculate the speeds and distances and masses of the heavenly bodies.

Very advanced calculations.      We are still trying to understand and use these equations today.

And how was the demand for these many advanced calculations fulfilled – in the days before any computer was invented? 

By an army of “advanced astronomical calculators”:

MATH Analysis

I forget what university these women worked at,  but they were the vital astronomical “calculators”   who worked with the advanced equations  which furthered our understanding of the universe.     There were thousands of them around the world.

“Skirts”  are no barrier to acquiring scientific or mathematical skills – and they never were!     The minds of men and women are certainly different, in general, but they’re not that different.

This is a good thing to remember since we just honored St. Etheldreda a few days ago — one of my favorite saints.   She was eventually a princess, or queen, at a time when Europe was just reorganizing itself  and becoming that “Christendom” which brought so many material, mental,and spiritual benefits to the human race.

The Catholic Church was, of course, the primary organizing force of all aspects of society.  Etheldreda was a strong woman, capable, intelligent, and very devout.   She was born in Suffolk, England, and married to a prince  who was also very devout, very Catholic.  By mutual consent they agreed to live a chaste life, as brother and sister,so that they could devote their lives to the service of God.

ely

Ely

The prince died young, and for political reasons Etheldreda was married to the very young king of Northumbria who also agreed to that same type of marriage – for a time.   Queen Etheldreda’s further life was full of complications and adventures which eventually led to her moving into a monastery where she became the chief administrator over thousands of men and women who lived in the double-abbey of Ely.

(One can wonder how mediocre her life would have been had she not been devout.)

The Church honors her as capable  administrator, ruler, queen — and saint.

And we can believe there is no shortage of strong women in the Church’s past.    The true history of “men” and “women”  is not at all like the marxist history propounded today.

(Unless you believe that “women aren’t good at math” and there were no female “astronomical calculators.”)

BRIEFLY – COVER-UPS

August 29, 2018

 

Just one more word on (humanly) Unsolvable Problem #3 —     *

sodom

I guess it’s fashionable now in Europe and America to blame the sexual scandal in the Church on “an abuse of power.”    However,  90 to 98 % of the victims of the crimes are  teenage  boys;    so that is homosexual men “bothering'”teenage boys.

There is a bishop in St. Gallen diocese in Switzerland who declared publicly  to his parish that to blame “abuse of power”  or “clericalism”  for these crimes is to cover up the fact that the grown men are sodomites doing homosexual acts on teenage  boys;   and therefore homosexual activity is at the root of the cause.

Common sense?

He is receiving heaps of criticism for his statements.    Nope, they say,  it’s just an abuse of power.   “Don’t you dare criticize anyone’s sexual practices!”

Interestingly,  today is the day that the Church remembers the beheading of John the Baptist and honors his life.

johns eyes of fatih

John, gazing upon Jesus with eyes of faith

The mission that he was called to, in his mother’s womb,  was to prepare his world for the soon-coming of the long-awaited Messiah.    And although he perplexed and disturbed the religious leaders of his day,  the “crime”  for which he was   beheaded  was the public criticism of King Herod’s  sexual lust —  fornication and adultery.

“You shouldn’t say that any type of sexual activity is wrong.”

john rebuked for sex

Well,  God hasn’t changed.  Nature hasn’t changed.

Humans were created in two different sexes for the purpose of   participating in the  further Creation of new human beings.    Therefore,  God the almighty Creator is present during every sexual act.  

This is a dignity given to human  beings alone.    To deny this is to believe in a different kind of cover-up.

God hasn’t changed.   Creation hasn’t changed.

But the mighty domain of Herod Antipas has changed:

johns location

These flattened ruins are all that is left of the palace where John the Baptist was beheaded.

John himself is more glorious in Heaven than that palace ever was.

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.*   Picture of Sodom

THIS OR THAT; EITHER/OR

March 13, 2018

I need to do a “computer dump”  and post a lot of blogs and use up a lot of waiting photos.  My monitor is giving every sign of breaking down, and I’m afraid I’ll get caught with no monitor at all in the time between seeing black and getting a new one.   

I was perusing Scandinavian news again, and came across a report that more and more in Sweden (and elsewhere, I know for sure)  are reconstructing the ancient religions and reviving knowledge of the Old Gods.

If you ndon't believe

Yeah!    Looks like Viking warriors to me!    Before Christianity got to Scandinavia.     Only these are modern men worshiping that . . .  thing and the gods represented by that . . .  thing.     Presumably educated modern men.

(Well, no –  modern “education” is not education.  Modern “education” teaches you just enough to become strongly opinionated about various issues.    But that’s for anothoer post when I talk about bulldozers . . . .)   

But we’d expect men in this modern world to be educated.   And women:

if you don't

A Daughter of Freya.      (Of the Odin-Thor family of gods.)

There are some women in Scandinavia who take the Old Gods just as seriously as American women like to take their reconstructed and wholly imaginary version of the Druids and the Celtic gods.  Goddesses, actually.

Years ago  (years and years ago – before the Leftists began to dominate the universities and “reconstructed a wholly imaginary version of history” —  I remember a history professor who demonstrated – from historical records – that wherever there was a matriarchal society with goddesses,  there was extreme human cruelty and oppression, death and the early collapse of that society.

When goddesses are in charge,  it’s not all sweetness, with young maidens running around with . . .

Music Notes Line

      ” . . . .  with flowers in their hair . . .”   

GK Chesterton is one of the greatest observers of modern Western culture, and he writes with humor and wit.       One of his observations is that “When a man stops believing in God, he does not believe in Nothing,  he will believe in Anything.”    (see the men – and women – in the photo up there.)

Now, Chesterton was referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob –  revealed at last through Christ, the Son of God,  Creator.

(Traditional) Christians know and teach that the Creator created everything, all that is real and good and true.   If you reject that Creator,  then according to Chesterton,  you open yourself to any other story –  any other story that you yourself want to tell yourself, or any other reconstruction of wholly imaginary ancient errors.     Including “no gods at all” as some  Greeks and Romans tried.

On March 12th we celebrated the life of St.Gregory the Great.  By all accounts,  contemporary and modern,   he became  “the Great”  because he was Good.   In everything he did he manifested his lifelong subjection to the  Goodness of God.    So much was placed on his shoulders,  but he retained his dedication to the Good.

Again, he was Great because he was Good in his words and actions.

(Reminds me – as an aside_  of de Toqueville’s assessment of  America when it was new,   fifty or so  years old.  His observation was that “America is great because America is good.”     As a whole, in general,  her citizens were good people.)

Full circle back to the Old Gods of Northern Europe:  It is said that when Gregory was still a bishop,  he was walking through a marketplace and saw two young children,  a boy and a girl,  on sale.    He stopped to look at them because they were unusual in appearance,  very fair skin, light yellow hair, and blue eyes.   Like the stereotypical angelic beings.

We know the commonly told story:  “Of what race are they?”  “The children are Angles.”    “Oh, they look like angels!”

“Of what province are they?”   “From Deira”  (Which breaks down into de ira:  the anger of God)    Gregory’s playful response was:  “Then we must rescue them from the wrath of God.”

“And what is the name of their king?”   “He is called Ella.”     “It is well.    Alleluia must be sung to God in their land.”

And so was sent Augustine, a great missionary,  with other Christians to Angle-Land to teach the Angles to worship the Only True God, the True God.

Without Truth there are lies, and lies bring confusion and division and dissatisfaction and all the other things that make us ill in this modern world because most have been led away from God.

It’s either/or.    Lies can’t prevail when the Truth is known.

In our modern world,  the Big Lie was Liberty –  but we lost true freedom.       Now our cultures believe in Anything and Everything, and so far there is no St. Gregory the Great to send teachers to show us the Truth.

It’s not impossible to seek after the Truth and to learn,  but it is well-nigh impossible.

 

Viking w

You would need the determination and strong spirit of a Viking Warrior!!

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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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2nd DAY – GONE!

January 3, 2018

Notice all the dire predictions for 2018?

2018

“Each year will bring us changes and trials . . . .”

I expected to write yesterday,  “the 2nd day of January,”  but that day is gone!  Circumstances surprisingly changed and  ironically,  that was to be the theme of Jan. 2nd,  the saint for that day being a man who remained courageously faithful despite changing circumstances all his life.

St.  Fulgentius.  All the lessons I was going to bring out about his life came back like a boomerang onto me.  So maybe  I  better pay attention!

st f.jpg  Fulgentius’s first job as a young man was as a procurator,  in the days when the Roman emperors were still appointing procurators to do their minor administrative tasks.   It was like today’s equivalent to going to Washington DC to join the bureaucracy there.   Job security, if you don’t mind the tasks.  But a nice entry level job.   Who knows how high you can rise?

 

But Fulgentius was a good young man,  observant,  thoughtful, and of good character.  His main task was to collect taxes for his region –  but he began to hate the job.  The Empire was merciless and unforgiving about getting your taxes paid,  and the use to which those taxes were put   troubled the young man.

One day he heard a talk given by St. Austin,  a scholarly treatment of the Psalms.   Fulgentius immediately understood the truth of the words,   the historical plan of God for Jews and Gentiles alike, and above all,  the worthiness of this God to be worshiped and glorified and served, made clear in the Psalms.    Fulgentius became a Christian.

Now his service was to the Church, first, and not to the Empire, and he should have had a clear and easy pathway in his life,   but there were powerful enemies against the Christians,  the Arians who had their own idea of what Christians should believe in, and they had come to power.    At every turn, for many decades,  Fulgentius was blocked,  his plans thwarted and stopped,    made to move to another area,    falsely accused, and finally brutally punished, left bloody and bruised.

beatin g  Nearly half-dead,  the Arian leader of the area came to see him and offered to prosecute the man responsible for his nearly fatal beating.     Fulgentius would at least have his legal redress.

But by this time of his life, after all of life’s twists and turns, after all the negative challenges, Fulgentius had become a mature Christian,  holy, and Christ-like.  He replied that  “A Christian must not seek revenge in this world.   God knows how to right his servants’  wrongs.   If I should bring the punishment of man upon that priest,  I should lose my own reward with God.   And it would be a scandal to many little ones that a Catholic,  however unworthy he maybe,   should seek redress from an Arian.”

After this,  Fulgentius retired to a quiet island, and died shortly after.

The lesson of his life?   I quote Fr.  Alban Butler:      Each year may bring us fresh changes and trials;  let us learn from St. Fulgentius   to receive all that happens as from the hand of God,   and appointed for our salvation.

This year will bring may unexpected changes of circumstances. Even just paying attention to the news will be unsettling.     Our plans will not come to pass, our hopes and dreams will not come true,  and not all our work will  have rewards.   And other people will be the cause of it.

Anyway –  we work how we can,  when we can,  where we can —  the important things happen inside you, between you and God.

So what happened to my plans for an efficient new year, getting everything done just right?     Now that I am no longer in bed, doubled up with pain,  no more wobbly legs,  and able to eat a little,    I guess I just adjust to a couple lost days and accept:  I’m not really in charge of everything that comes to me.

It’s okay.  I’m still cheerful.

God is in me, and Him I serve.    No matter what happens to this planet.

HUNCHBACK REDUX

April 27, 2017

 

Anybody remember who this man was?

jimmy pic

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

Well,  wait a minute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jimmy

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

 

 

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

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

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

Here’s Blessed Margaret of Castello now:

marg incorruptible

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

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

She’s beautiful.

 

 

 

March 28, 2017

winking
(I hope I didn’t melt any Snowflakes in that previous posting ) 

I really was just musing about how important that “warrior” spirit is to building up and maintaining a  ccivilization.      Included in that term “warrior spirit”  is a very high system of ethics and morality,  without which warriors would devolve into barbaric free-for-alls.   Might makes right, etc.

In a nice serendipitous point on our calendar,  we are directed today to look at St. Gontran.   I never heard of him.  (Or I probably read about him before as I cycle through the yearly saints – I simply don’t remember him.)

St Gontran de Bourgpgne
In that last post,   I had just referenced my study of Merovingian kings,  and here is one for today!    Gontran was the son of that first great Merovingian king,  Clovis, a pagan Frankish warrior  who converted to his wife’s Christianity to save his life in battle  and then went on, with God’s help,  to establish a stable Frankish kingdom which contributed to the development of Western Civilization as we  know knew it.

His son, Gontran, was raised Catholic from  birth and probably had an even  better understanding of Christianity than his father.    He was devoted to Christ,  and when grown was given the land of Bourgogne to rule,  that is,  the big area we call Burgundy,  which played such an important role in our  history.

St Gontran king of lotsA dignified and respected leader, King Gontran

Although King Gontran has an interesting biography,  I’ll just give you this partial  summary   from  Butler’s . . .  “The prosperity of his reign,  both in peace and in war,  condemns those who think that human policy cannot be modeled by the maxims of the Gospel,  whereas, in reality,  nothing can render a government more flourishing.  . . .  He was the protector of the oppressed and a tender parent of his subjects.     He gave the greatest attention to the sick.   He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day  . . .    He was a severe punisher of crimes . . .   and by many wholesome regulations he restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops.”   He lived to 68 years of age, after reigning for 31 years –  a great long life span!

Note that this freedom from the godless barbarism of the day came with the application of the Christian notion of the warrior of high moral conscience.   Fighting for what is right.      Only a people who are willing to be free and who are willing to defend their freedom will be free.

Now, today,  as we saw,  that warrior spirit is on beer bottle labels.    Or we put our warriors in the land of make-believe and give them  imaginary, unrealistic and superhuman faculties, confining them to  movies or games.     If  warrior spirits dare to emerge in elementary schools,  we suspend those young boys.   Even if their “weapon” is a munched-on Pop-Tart!  College males go around apologizing for who they are.   We’re content to come home from work or school,  kick off our shoes,  and rest in an electronically induced somnolence, while our Rulers silently consolidate their power over us.

deep

Again,  freedom isn’t free.   Freedom didn’t come to us for free.    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”   Not just a sentimental phrase from history.  And though we don’t know for sure who first stated it,  the truth of the matter is that  we won’t keep our freedom without paying a price.     Perhaps we only need to pay attention – and do our duty appropriate to our station in life and to the circumstances around us.

Perhaps we’ll be called on to do more.

Not necessarily with battle-axe and sword.

So,  I’m not sure,   but it would seem that  if a  foreign “warrior spirit”  threatens our freedoms or even our very existence, . . .

Slay and Butcher

        . . .    then it ought to be matched by an equal or great warrior spirit coming from us.

Unless our culture is suicidal.

History will record . . . .

WIKI AND THE SWORD OF DESTINY

March 17, 2017

 

(I have to repeat this yet again:  “There is something wrong with the passage of time!  It is speeding by too fast” —  too fast to take in all the things that each week offers us.)

And so this post is still thinking through the things of March 15 . . .

_________________________________

March 15,  on this day we remember the life and martyrdom of St. Longinus –  the name given to that Centurion who thrust the spear into the side of Jesus after He had died on the Cross.

Longinus Card 220

      The story makes sense:    The Jews in Palestine at the time knew the Law:  “Cursed is anyone who hangs from a tree”  (i.e.,  a criminal, executed);     and if the criminal is allowed to hang there overnight,  then the whole land is cursed.

       The three men executed had to be killed before sunset and taken down from their  “trees”     or else the large Jewish population would revolt against the Roman authorities.

      The Jews in Palestine would also have known that any lamb to be sacrificed had to be perfect,  unblemished,  and never to have any broken bones, before, during, or after.

To fulfill the Law,  then, the Roman authorities sent out the order to the Centurion in charge to break the bones of the three so that they would die quickly, before sunset that day.    But the Centurion found Jesus already dead.   Probably.   It looked like it.   To make sure,  he thrust his spear into the side of Jesus.

The Catholic Church was born that day,  from the water and blood,  (the spiritual meaning of the Water and Blood)  that gushed out of the side of the dead body of Jesus.*      Eerie, un-explainable phenomena had taken place in the natural world that day;  and now at the sight of this Water and Blood,  it was remarked, then,  “Surely this   (actually) was the Son of God!”

All parts of this Day have been preserved and recorded –  including  the part that this Centurion played and the lance that he used.    The tale was told in Greek and Latin and in subsequent languages of Europe.    Thus, in Greek:   λόγχη   –   meaning “lance”  which is not too far from the name  “Longinus”  now given to this Centurion.  For his part and for his conversion to the faith of Christ,  he is called St. Longinus.      The remark attributed to him,  (surely, this was the Son of God!)  has confirmed the faith of many.

It’s a tale well worth pondering – and internalizing.      My Roman Martyrology for March 15th begins with this short statement about him:  ” At Caesarea in Cappadocia the martyrdom of St. Longinus who is said to have pierced our Lord’s side with a spear.”   

____________________________

SED CONTRA   (but contrariwise):    (just in case you haven’t joined the cynical modern-day scoffers,  religion-wiki offers you that chance!)    —

I had time to look around on the Internet for some more information –  and eventually came to the odd and sometimes untrustworthy site of Wikipedia,  which carries the predictable words:  doubt, doubt, doubt,  unreliable sources,  apocryphal,  legend, pseudopigraphical,  perhaps,  been asserted to,   folklore,  local tradition, etc., etc.

And then this odd statement:   In the Roman Martyrology he is mentioned, without any indication of martyrdom, in the following terms: “At Jerusalem, commemoration of Saint Longinus, who is venerated as the soldier opening the side of the crucified Lord with a lance.”

Wait!  But my Roman Martyology  said he WAS martyred.

He was mentioned along with an indication of his martyrdom . . . .

It’s not a big thing, except as it is part of a subtle rewriting of the history of Western Civilization that is going on all over, all around us, and at breathtaking depth and speed.

We truly live in an age of Fake News,  Fake Information,  just about Fake Everything.  There is a reason for this,  a methodology,  but that’s not my point here.      Right now, these days,  I am more concerned with something called The Tipping Point,  as well as the growing  movement towards Totalitarianism.

The stakes are high.

spear of destiny

We have this spear from almost two thousand years ago.      It was the “Spear of Destiny” given all sorts of supernatural powers by those who believe in . . .   anything.    (“When one stops believing in God, one doesn’t believe in Nothing;  one will believe Anything!”  (GKC))

And such we have personified by the man who last led a portion of our world into Totalitarianism.    Hitler.   He truly believed that the two   “spooky, supernatural”  items from the time of Christ  (the Christ Figure, I suppose),  which are the Spear and the Holy Grail, would give him the godlike powers he tried so hard to attain.

The bridge to our day and a new totalitarian way of thinking?

Hitler (and his companions) were masters at managing the attitudes and enthusiasms of millions of people.     He was a master of propaganda  and mass mind control (of the “scientific”  or “psychological”  kind – I’m not referring to any spooky supernatural mind-control),   and of manipulating the minds of crowds and masses of German people.  There were subtle changes made to their history,  their culture,  their “destiny.”

Studying the minute details of how this was accomplished day to day in Hitler’s Germany will reveal chilling similarities to what is being accomplished today.    From  subtle and not-so-subtle changes in our textbooks and other sources of information,   to entertainment which entices us to enjoy the new morality and agree with the new mindset,   to  Fake News that knows it’s Fake but also knows its lasting effects even when it gets caught out,  to the “children” on campuses who will not allow any other opinion but the one they’ve been propagandized with – and will become violent to shut out any diverse opinion . . ..

We have it all – and so much more.

I watch this growing trend towards the Group Think of the totalitarian mindset –  and I wonder:  When are we going to reach that Tipping Point – and experience the fulfillment of consequences that we didn’t even realize we were forming.

The Tipping Oint towards the full reality of Totalitarianism.

Bar Cross in middle

.*    It was His death that was the Sacrifice, offered to the Creator,  God the Father,  that enabled the many benefits of salvation and grace to pour out into the world.      (This Teaching has been a bit mangled in the last few decades – but that is our fault,  it’s not the Teachings that have changed.)

  To Abraham it was said that one of his descendants would bring Blessings upon the whole world.”    These Blessings refer to the future one-time Sacrifice of Christ which effected the  sure possibility of Salvation offered to anyone in the world who wants it.     Thus, at the time of His death,  Christ’s Church begins.

Quicumque !!!     

QQ 150

  (for those of you who have visited my house and seen the wall above my computer!)

………

A BIRTHDAY & A SAINT ALMOST MURDERED

May 22, 2016

The birthday celebration table:

BDay  Tab;e sr

Steaks.  Salads.   Presents.  Card.   Cake.   (  . . . and a big arm waiting.)      It’s fun putting on a birthday spread, especially for someone very important!

It was Son’s birthday this weekend.    (Oh, yes – the whole weekend;  three-day weekend, as a matter of fact.   Since his profession requires him to work some weekends, and since  so many people wanted a piece of him on his birthday the celebrations will take  three days. )

Which brings me to my point:  so many hours worked!   So many people to see!    Oh,  Son is not complaining,   but I do observe  people who have busy-busy lives.  I once had an impossibly busy life too.

Has time speeded up or are we trying to cram more into our days?

Or are we trying to avoid facing the deeper issues of Life by activity?

Or all of the above?

But this question is nothing new . . .

Complicated

Human life has long been busy and complicated with great challenges and no easy answers.     Many times everyday life prevents us from sorting out Good and Bad;  Right and Wrong;    Duty;   Virtue;  our relationship to God and each other.    We are distracted, willingly or not willingly,  from the serious issues of Life.

Son is an intelligent person, and sometimes he perceives this dilemma too.

Appropriately,   the saint we remember on the day of Son’s birthday is a man named St.  Hospitius.   (“hoss – pish – us”)      He left the high (and complex, busy) culture of Egypt, sometime after the fall of the Roman Empire, in order to find a quiet  place to understand the meaning of life and to work out his relationship with God.

He traveled to the less populated regions of Gaul,  what we’d call France,  today.    He needed time to think and to figure things out.   He chose to live in the ruins of an old tower where he hoped to see not very many people.      Peace and quiet and freedom.

st h and tower ruins

He had quiet time alone, away from people;  time to think, to learn, and to pray.      He knew this much:  that he was certainly a sinner before God, and he wished to atone for his sins,  to do penance,  and to develop a deep friendship with  his Savior.

And as often happens:  we seek,  heaven rewards.     St.  Hospitius was eventually rewarded with wisdom and understanding,  and the power to prophesy and to work miracles.  Once he warned the villagers around him that they had better flee,  because the fierce tribe of Lombards were on their way to attack, pillage, and destroy.

They left,  but he didn’t.   A small group of barbarian Lombard soldiers found him and saw the chains that he usually wore around his waist, to remind him of what a great sinner he was.   The soldiers thought he was some kind of criminal.

He agreed with them!     Yes!  In the eyes of God I am a criminal.    A great sinner.”   So since he was a self-admitted “bad guy” and an obvious outcast,  they were free to kill him.

Stospitius in chains

A soldier raised his sword to strike,   but the soldier’s arm became paralyzed.   St.  Hospitius made the sign of the cross over him —  the soldier’s arm became “un-paralyzed”   — and the soldier realized this is a holy man of God, and soon converted to Christianity, along with his (military)  friends.

His life is over now.   He died in 581 A.D.      But the relentless demands of busy, everyday life is still with us, as well as the serious need to sort out  Life and Death issues and make our peace with our Creator before we die.

St.  Hospitius is in Eternity right now.    Our Eternity is still before us.  It’s coming.

 

JOHN WAYNE AND GOOD ST. NICK

December 6, 2015

JohnWayneI saw a small portion of this movie today,  between football games.    It’s called The Quiet Man, a classic,  and a pretty good study of character,  with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

john wayne pow

John Wayne plays an American who inadvertently kills a man during  a boxing match.   He comes to Ireland, his homeland,  to find peace, but finds Maureen O’Hara instead.   The two have a turbulent relationship at first, etc., etc.

In the “turbulence” and fighting right during the celebration right after their wedding,   her dowry of gold coins gets knocked over and spilled, but the new husband, young and proud, just wants to take his bride out of there, without stopping to gather the coins.

gold gift

She is distraught beyond reason, or so it would seem to us Americans.   After all, this isn’t an American tradition, so it’s hard to understand why she was so upset. She bewails all the things she will no longer be able to buy for her new home.   She will be poor, now, even in marriage.

A dowry.    Who would want to even marry a girl who is without a dowry?    It used to be a very important issue.   And so it was in the Near East, many centuries ago, when  three young sisters of marriageable age had no dowry, no hopes of  a decent marriage, and most likely, a life of  abject poverty and probably prostitution where they would be given money in exchange for their honor.   Their father was beyond hope for them.

It so happened that their bishop was known for Christian love and compassion and generosity.

St Nich golden bags

When the plight of this family of three daughters came to his ears, he one night, without letting anyone know,  carried a bag of gold to their house and threw it into the open window.  The first daughter now had a dowry to present to a husband.

He did the same thing the next night,  and the next.    In a sense,  he ransomed these three daughters from a seemingly hopeless future.

gold pawn

( This is why three golden balls are the sign of a pawn shop –  one temporarily sells one’s possessions, with the thought of “ransoming” them back again some day.)

There are many more accounts of this bishop’s kindness and self-sacrificing generosity.   His name is Nicholas.  We call him St. Nicholas, in one form or another,  and today, December 6th, is his feast day.

He is a favorite, even among children, and his Christian love  is often expressed in material gift-giving.   But what is really more important, to those with adult maturity,  are  the examples of his strong faith,  his keen understanding of Catholic teaching, his courage in the face of imprisonment by a secular world,   his  firm love for  people, and  personal kindness.  Those  are his gifts to each of us.

st nick with children

I wrote in the last post about working and being productive and useful — keeping that in mind even while watching football!

st nick and angels

The loss of a dowry in The Quiet Man and the lack of a dowry centuries ago when St. Nicholas was alive represent very real deprivation and dangers that many people face in this world.   There are material needs which Christianity teaches us to alleviate wherever possible.   And there are also needs for friendship, comfort, compassion,  encouragement,  teaching, counsel.

The needs are abundant.   “Work!  for the night is coming….”

St.  Nicholas’s time for working is over,  but what rich gifts of examples he left behind for us!

We give each other “gifts” at Christmastime.

 

 

 

LIGHT GROWS

November 5, 2015

SAMSUNG A few days ago we celebrated All Saints Day, and a few posts ago I wrote about saints.   Like the light that shone within the tree across my street,  so does the Light of Heaven,  the True Light of God,  shine inside each saint.

I had written that the saints are our models to show us just how to live in that Light.  We’ll need good models if we expect to live in that perpetual, holy Light which is in Heaven.

So here’s a saint who died on November 3rd, a few centuries ago,  but there are plenty of people who are born just like him in today’s  world..

Porres brown robeBorn of a black woman, a former slave,  and a white man –  who were never married.   Illegitimate.  Half-breed (or do we call them “mixed race”  today?)   Father ran off for good when a second child was born.   Poor and disrespected.    Lived in abject poverty before there was any welfare state.

Went to work at 12 years old for the town barber. . .  but learned the trade, both haircutting and bloodletting,  two activities of the professional barber.    He’d be able to support himself as he grew older.

But there was more to him than that.    He had been taught the teachings of the Catholic Church, and believed in God.    He sought out good company,and rejected the crime common to desperate people.   By age fifteen he was helping the local Dominican missionaries. He worked with them among the poor, the poorest of the poor, and among the sick,  the sick and the dying.

But there was more to him than that.  He was not a glorified social worker.

Porres and  man

He turned his thoughts to God and to God’s greatness and glory and holiness, and worshiped and adored.   He prayed often throughout the day.   God’s majesty was always in his thoughts, and he lived in true humility before God and in service to other people.    This is what a saint chooses to do;  this is how a saint chooses to live.    These are choices we all can make.

For the sake of God he continued to use his talents to serve the poor and the sick all around him,  both from the city and in the Dominican residence where he lived.   He became known for his skill with the sick and also for his personal kindness and holiness.  People sought him out and found wisdom in his words.

His name is St. Martin de Porres.

The Light of God was within him and he nurtured his faith and the Light grew.

Porres and lightIt is said that at times people could see him surrounded by a light.   He is said to be able to appear where he was needed, even through doors that were thought to be locked,  even when he was thought to be elsewhere at the time.

He need not have become a great saint.     He started off with much less than most of us have;  he came from a broken home and he endured the ridicule and insults from his own society because of his mixed race.    And yet, we have the same choices to make as he did, and we have the same opportunity to become great saints.

God is good.   November is good!   It’s the month set aside to remember all those saints and all those believers who came before us.   It is a great communion of friendship.    That  Light of God is ready to grow within each of us.

THE FORGIVENESS PART — FOR WHAT PURPOSE?

June 22, 2015

Although I just wrote in the last post that the issue of what goes on inside a murderer is “complex,”  and although I watched carefully the face of Dylann Roof while he heard his victims’ families forgive him,  I do not mean to suggest what his fate should be.   However, a duly-constituted*   State authority has the right to impose the death penalty on a man convicted of a serious crime against society.

This is permitted because it’s the State’s duty to protect the rest of society.    But an execution?   To what effect?

African-Methodist-Episcopal church building:

ame

The families of the victims in Charleston forgave Dylann Roof.       Although their denomination split off from a denomination which split off from a denomination which split off from the Church,   one of the things they  carried with them is the effect of forgiveness upon the forgiven person.

A historical example:

About 113 years ago  (our modern era, actually)  three women were found dead in an apartment in Paris, France.    Well, two women and a young girl.     I’ll spare you the photographs,  but they were savagely murdered and mutilated by a jewel thief.   Here he is:

Henri PranziniHis name is Henri Pranzini.  He was quickly caught, arrested, and convicted, and sentenced to death.

Henri convicted

His crime was a newspaper sensation.   (Nothing has changed much, has it!)

Pranzini headlinesAll the media at the time (newspapers)  picked it up, even the New York times.

Everyone talked about it!

Henri affair

Among the followers of this crime story was an innocent, holy,  somewhat sheltered young teenager,  14 years old,   known to us now as St. Therese Of Lisieux.    She was a normal, happy, healthy young lady in every way, but in addition,  she felt the call of God, the call to holiness, and more importantly,  she answered that call.

Henri's therese

She didn’t follow the story of Henri Pranzini for the sake of the sensation;  she followed it because she had compassion on him and prayed for his conversion.   She, too, knew Hell is real and final.   Here are her words explaining her interest in this man, a stranger to him in every way, as she wrote in her autobiography:

“Everything led to the belief that he would die impenitent. I wanted at all costs to keep him from falling into hell, and to succeed I employed all means imaginable, feeling that of myself I could do nothing. I offered to God all the infinite merits of Our Lord.”

Indeed, Pranzini was a gruff and unrepentant man.

St. Therese was a concerned and persistent young lady!

Her prayers were for his conversion to God,  not for escaping his punishment.      But it seemed like a lost cause.   The media reported that Pranzini refused to talk to a priest, right up to the end.  St. Therese prayed all the harder for him.

On August 31, 1887,  Pranzini was led up the steps to the guillotine which would take his life.

guillotineTherese read about his execution the next day in the newspaper.     Eyewitness reports said that Pranzini bent down, began to put his head under the blade — and then quickly turned aside to the priest that was assigned to him, and took the crucifix, kissing three times the wounds of Christ in a heartfelt sign of his trust in Christ and in Christ’s forgiveness — even for a hardened, guilty sinner like he.

St. Therese, even at this age, took this to mean that he had repented and accepted forgiveness, and she wrote of him as her “first child” — the first conversion her prayers had brought about.    It appears that this “terrible” man is going to Heaven!

Jesus answers prayers.   Jesus forgives the best of us and the worst of us.     And followers of Jesus must do as He does, or we are no followers of Him.   Yes, I think I understand the families who forgave last week, and I understand the power of prayer to bring someone to forgiveness.

Intercessor or victim or criminal:   forgiveness is everybody’s business.

bar simnple graded gray lines*   Duly-constituted governmental authority,  whether democratically elected or monarchy,  but not a governing force created by revolution and imposed on the citizens.    Revolutionary governments, though powerful,  must kill off their ideas of political enemies,  as for instance in the 20th century where the murder tally of revolutionary governments exceed one hundred million.    This is not “capital punishment,”   this is murder-by-government.

JOSEPH, WHO IS WORTHY

March 19, 2015

Today is a rather big day in Christendom:  It’s the feast day of St. Joseph, the man given the responsibility to be the guardian, the protector,  the provider, and the head of the Holy Family.

jOSEPHE jESUS CHEEK

Could we not look for a moment at the man chosen for this role and wonder about his qualities?

The man who protected the Madonna during her young motherhood —

who protected the madonna during her young motherhood

Often shown with lilies,  a symbol of purity.    It is a great thing to be associated with purity.   Hard to remember nowadays what that even means, and yet there has been only one Holy Child.   Pure.     Purity recognizes Purity.

pure enough

Purity in love,  St.  Joseph,  a man who could truly cherish the Christ Child:

who cherished his

Ever present in his family’s life:

who protected

The original  “home schooling”  —  all members of the family present for each other,  in harmony, at work and play:

home schooled parents present

St. Joseph, the man entrusted with the raising of the Child Jesus —

who taught Him a trade

St. Joseph, watching over the prayer life and education —

who taught Him how to pray

We can  speculate, to our benefit,  about the qualities of this holy man.  We can meditate on his life for our sure example.   We can invoke his example and his intercession as Patron of Family Life and Households.

We do not know when Joseph died,  but we do surmise , in faith, and with logic,  that at the time of his death he had the Blessed Virgin Mary truly at one side and the Son of God at his other side.   Again, in faith,  we believe this is a companionship in death that is attainable by all humans.   Not a certainty,  but attainable,  depending upon how one has lived his life — and with Whom.

It is a big day in Christendom.    It’s like a Treasure of knowledge that is waiting to be picked up and possessed.

crossThe artwork above is artwork,  not photographs, not history.   It is meant only to convey what is truthful, in beautiful images that speak to mankind.

 

 

A VERY UN-IRISH ST. PATRICK’S DAY

March 18, 2015

Scotch Shortbread from my oven:

SAMSUNG

I know.   They’re not Irish.

Slow down and have an un-Irish St. Patrick’s Day with me.

shamrock

A very strange St. Patrick’s day it was….  I felt quite estranged from all the happy little traditions of the past.   It’s innocent fun “to be Irish” on St. Paddy’s day, of course.  Get a pinch if you don’t wear green.  Hear the Irish music played on the radio.   See an Irish movie or two.  Drink something green.  Eat corned beef and cabbage and make some good Irish soda bread.

None of these things have anything to do with St. Patrick,  but they’re so fun and innocent anyway.  However, I did none of those things this year.

The times have changed.  We’re not a happy society,  at peace with who we are,   and fun is rarely “innocent.”     Never before have I seen such a divorce between a holiday on the calendar and the reason for the holiday.

So I baked what I wanted to bake.

SAMSUNG

And, yes, that’s 1:04 on the clock.  After midnight.  My friends know my body lives in the “Hawaii time zone.”    I still have a few hours left.

I’ve been making shortbread all my life, but this was a new recipe.  A new recipe for new times, I guess.  At least I kept thinking about the loss of this fun, family holiday;  it’s gone, and so why not move on…  with someone else’s recipe.

Cold dough from the fridge:

SAMSUNG
We don’t really celebrate the nice things of America’s past anymore.   Ireland is no longer Catholic.   The big Boston “St. Patrick’s Day Parade”   has been stolen by those who are opposed to the teachings of St. Patrick’s  church.    Those who drink green beer couldn’t care less about the part of Christendom that the Irish represent.  Not just for this day,  but for always.

tea cup

Nothing like “tea and shortbread”  to soothe the nerves.

So,  I’m thinking this new development is kind of sad in a nostalgic way;   but, on the other hand,  the Church still has the real St. Patrick.    He was just a teenager when he was kidnapped,  brought to a  rough pagan country and enslaved there.  Then followed years of 24/7 workdays,  out in the open with herds of sheep,  never enough food,  enough clothes,  enough protection from the weather, enough human companionship.

It “ruined”  his teenage years, we would say today.   But God didn’t abandon him, and more importantly,  Patrick didn’t abandon God.   When he was released and found his way home,  he instantly entered rigorous training so that he could bring – in an official capacity –  the Gospel of Christianity back to the land of his captors.   What an abundant field of souls he saw that were ready to learn about the One True God!

We can stand side by side with the real St.Patrick today,  and have faith in the same Christ,  love for his same Jesus.  We can read his writings,  read his biography,  read about the strong faith of the Irish people which started with him.   We can be happy for the good work he did, and we don’t need green food and green noisemakers.

Yeah, this was an okay St. Patrick’s Day.   There’s still time left to read a prayer that presents St. Patrick’s faith.   It’s  one  I read often,  nearly every day.   No wonder this kind of faith has lasted through the ages!

bar simple green divider

If you have time, enjoy the language.  Observe the strength of Christian faith.

St.  Patrick’s Lorica  or:  The Deer’s Cry

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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Legend says that this powerful prayer was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. He was aware that there was an ambush to try to kill him and his group en route to the King’s court. It was during the march that they chanted the sacred Lorica or Deer’s Cry – later known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate.

As the druids lay in hiding, ready to kill, they saw not Patrick and his men, but a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns.

St. Patrick and his men were saved.

There are different versions of this, of course, and the modern ones seem to lack rhythm and depth, so I give to you the traditional version.   Copy and paste it somewhere for your own use.   Honor St. Patrick, really.

ANCIENT BEAUTY CALLS IN WINTER TWILIGHT

March 8, 2015

I wanted to say that this beautiful snow white curve caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks one day.  I wanted to write about it —

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—    how I had just gotten out of my car and was rushing into the house with an armful of stuff,  full of plans for my next errand,  and how I almost missed the pleasure of light and shadows on my snowy front yard.

Just low sunlight and shadows and crusty snow that seemed to glow.

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I wanted to say something about Beauty being everywhere, if you only took time to look, and the pleasure of Beauty can draw you to the Source of Beauty,  Beauty Itself.
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But the memory of the words of a man who lived before me overshadowed my relatively small thoughts, and his words lifted me even higher than I could have gone by myself.     He too was stopped in his tracks by Beauty, and he cried with words of sublime longing for union with the Source  — and with regrets for how much time he had spent looking for It elsewhere. . .

His words:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.”

From errand to errand I rushed around that day, thinking I was doing good, doing well;  but I was only preoccupied with the things of this world,  using up lots of the precious time allotted to me in this life.   “You were with me, but I was not with you.”

“Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.”

The created things of this world  keep me from their Creator.   This man knew what the ancient Greeks knew,  that everything is sustained within the Creator,  the Source of Beauty holding everything from moment to moment in a state of existence.

I crunched around in the crusty snow of my front yard, finding the right photographic angle:

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“You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

This is the strong cry of a man for his Creator, and after that first taste, the courageous cry for more, the manly willingness to hunger and thirst and  long for his Creator.   (I’ll give you his words all together in a minute here.)

The man’s name is St. Augustine,  and I took his mother’s name for my name as I entered the Church.    Because I too have a son.   So similar in many ways.
And my son was experiencing the Beauty of the same day’s twilight from within his own home.  It wasn’t snow white and contrasting shadows,  it was a beautiful Purple light that poured through his windows, and landed on the floor in amethyst.   It must have been remarkable in person.

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St. Augustine:    “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.    Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.     You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”  (from  Confessions)

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My dimwitted intellect can hardly break through my daily tussle with created things and see beyond,   but sometimes something points to the wonderful Beauty that must wait for all those who long for God,   “Ancient Beauty.”

“Thy altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God!  Blessed are they that dwell in Thy House, they shall praise thee for ever and ever.”     (Prayer said on the Third Sunday in Lent during Holy Mass. )

WHAT … MOON IS IT?

January 5, 2015

What time moon is it?    Well, it’s a Full Moon tonight.   Did you know each full moon has a name?    People before us who lived closer to nature often gave the full moon of each month a name appropriate to the season’s activities.

moon tonight

There are several traditions of naming,  but the most common and the one I like the most are the names that were used by the North American Indians, for a long, long time, before the Europeans  wrote about them in the 16th century.     I also have a great respect for and devotion to St. Isaac Jogues, who was martyred by some in the Huron Nation in the 17th century, and so these Indian names keep their memory and St. Isaac Jogues faith alive in my mind.  ( Hmmmm.  I thought I wrote more about him.   I plan a summer trip to the site of his martyrdom this year. . . .)

It’s extremely cold outside my house tonight,  and we’re having intermittent clouds;  Lake Effect snow from a Lake that is over a hundred miles away.    Most often I look out my window and see only this:

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Not much through a lens but it’s . . . nice.  Nice to see a full moon.    Tonight’s extreme cold reminds me why January’s full moon is called the Wolf Moon — everyone was hungry by now, so far from harvest, so deep into winter, so cold that game was scarce and even the wolves were hungry.    The howling packs of hungry wolves name this month’s full moon.

Here are all the traditional names, for the use of your imagination:

January:  Wolf Moon,  for the common sound of howling, hungry wolves

February:  Full Snow Moon, named for the often heavy snowfalls experienced in the northern United States.

March:   Full Crow Moon,  because as the winter weather moderated a little bit,  crows were heard

April:  Full Pink Moon,  because in April the  herb moss pink ( wild ground phlox)  began to be seen as the snow melted

May:  Full Flower Moon  for the abundant Spring flowers.  What a happy sight that must have been!

June:  Full Rose Moon,  named after the color of the strawberries that grew during their short but important season

July:  Full Buck Moon   This is the month that antlers grew out from the heads of the bucks, soft and velvety,  itchy and irritating!

August:   Full Sturgeon Moon     The sturgeon became easier to catch during August in all the Great Lakes

September:   Full Harvest Moon,  because this is when the corn can be harvested, and the moon late at night extended the light for longer harvesting times.

October:    Full Hunter Moon  (also a European name) because now is the time to store up food for the coming winter

November:   Full Beaver Moon.  Time to set your beaver traps!   The beaver get busier now too to prepare for winter

December:   Full Long Nights Moon.      This is the Cold Moon or the Long Nights moon,  both describing the moon’s trajectory during undeniably winter nights

Usually there is one full moon for each month, but sometimes February doesn’t have time to have a full moon, and sometimes the dates fall just right so that there are two full moons in one month.  The second moon in the month is called the Blue Moon.    And because the Harvest Moon is tied to the autumnal equinox,  sometimes it has to occur in the month of October.

God grant that knowing the names of the full moons is just an interesting option for us and never becomes a helpful necessity.

 

 

A TEXAN, A SAINT, AND A BRIGHT RED JAG

October 6, 2014

First of all, a message to my friend in Texas:

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It’s a real pleasure to watch the Redskins this year, especially with our Kirk Cousins at QB.

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I know he’s young but he did all right for us! Hope you grow to like him, even after RGIII returns to the game.

MSU in action:

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It’s that time of the year.    It’s that time of the year when the world’s temporary  pleasures call my attention down from  important and eternal things.

St. Francis de Borgia sits ever heavy on my shoulders, leading me to imbalance, teaching me that one cannot live with the world and heaven in equal proportions.  I know that.

St Francis Borgia and skull

He might seem like a very severe and stern saint to choose to listen to in this modern age of pleasure seeking, but, really,  he only wanted to always do what is exactly right and pleasing to his Lord Jesus.    Since I would like that too,  I listen to him, learning from his life and his example.  He was a good man and a good teacher.

And besides,  in his younger life,  he started out really liking ball games!  I shall deal with football in my life — as he did.

Which brings me to the bright red jaguar.

red jag

I had a really strange encounter on Sunday morning, with a man and his bright red jaguar.    Believe me, that photo does not do it justice.   Seen in person and close up,  that car is a work of art!

This car was parked right across the street from mine on Sunday, after “church,” and the man who owned that car and I arrived at our parked cars   right at the same time.   Since I could not drag my eyes away from his car, I gave him time to notice me staring at his car.   I said something, like, “That’s a real beauty.”    And I meant it.

But he has apparently dealt with his beautiful car before, and on another level.   He said thanks,  but he went on to explain that he knows how expensive it is, what a luxury, what an indulgence,  but he said, “I donate lots of money to places like Haiti. . . .”    putting his purchase, I suppose, in context.

I don’t mind at all that he has lots of money for big donations to poor people in Haiti and still have enough left over to buy a beautiful jag.   I didn’t doubt his generosity at all.    Then, since he had mentioned Haiti,  he opened his gray sports coat and pointed to his beautiful black sweater and said it  cost   $xxx   (but I don’t hardly believe a sweater could cost that much!)  and he said he knows that is more than most people in Haiti make in a year, but . . . .    I’m not sure what he said next, but since I didn’t find any fault with him at all,  I agreed that God had been very good to him in material things and although it’s a good thing to share with the Haitians,  I also assured him that God has given Americans a different set of challenges.    He seemed to understand what I meant.

Nah….  I didn’t sound all schoolmarmy  like that  —   it was a natural and very short conversation.   I thought about that conversation all the way home on Sunday – and beyond, apparently.

I’ve just begun to make big changes in the house I live in.    I didn’t realize how shabby it had become after 40 years of neglect.   Well, I knew it was old and shabby,  but I didn’t know how bad that was.  And now I have to put a lot of money into my house,  more money, of course, than a typical Haitian makes in a year.

I suspect, like many of you,  I don’t worry about staying warm this winter or where my clean water will come from.   I’m grateful for all of that,  for a safe house and for a reliable car, even though it cost one-fifth of that red jaguar!    I do have material riches, relatively speaking,  but there are other, very serious, challenges to sort out.

And that’s where St. Francis de Borgia returns.    Wealthy, handsome, noble son of Spain — he had everything this world could offer, and he knew that nothing this world could offer was of lasting value.

For a human being,  for a created creature, nothing is more important than the Two Great Commandments:   Love the Lord your God (your Creator) with all you heart and mind and strength;  and love your neighbor as yourself.

Material wealth is immaterial.   In a hundred years, we will all know what was important here on earth.

CULINARY ROAD TRIP – WITH FASTING

August 9, 2014

Well,  my road trip eventually included a Sunday.    And based on my experience in the Far Far North that day,  this will be a beautiful but sad posting.

It starts with  a parking lot!

SAMSUNGI “had to”  park  alongside beautiful Lake Superior.    It was a bit of gray day just then, so the Lake seems less blue than my car, but usually it’s the other way around.   (I’ll show you that in the next posting!)     So, this Sunday started with a parking lot, but it continued with the nearby cathedral.

I love cathedrals!

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I love the size and the beauty and the art work and all the soul-enriching things that I’m not wealthy enough to surround myself with.    This cathedral is made for everyone to enjoy in all its immense-ness.

SAMSUNG This is the home of the very brave and hard-working, holy man we know as Bishop Baraga.    He walked all over this territory in the Far Far North,  bringing the knowledge of Christ to the Native tribes who lived up here.    Many were receptive to the Faith and freely entered the Church.    I personally know some of their descendants today.   Those that have kept themselves inside the Church have become well-educated, self-sufficient, decent citizens, who love their families and work for their communities, both in their professions and in their personal time.

Other  descendants of these first Catholics have left the Faith.   Many are wards of the State… we support them with our tax dollars.    I wish they knew who Bishop Baraga was.

There is a sign on the side of the cathedral building, telling us a little about the good bishop.

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And there is a statue of him on another side.

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It’s tempting to just walk by,  thoughtlessly.

Around the back of the cathedral I noticed a little chapel dedicated to Bishop Baraga:

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It was peaceful back there.  Restful.   It was Sunday,  a time to slow down a little.  I peeked inside the glass windows, then put my camera up to the glass:

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Accidently left my flash on,   but you can see a nice stained glass window telling a little of his story, and there, by the other stained glass window,  is the place where his body has been respectfully laid.    There are kneeling benches in front,  in case you’d like to linger, and think, and thank. . .  .

I didn’t enter into the cathedral by those big front doors.  I chose the modern entrance.

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Garden.  Nicely done.

When I finally got inside,  my thoughts came to a stop.    SAMSUNGIt was dark inside, but very beautiful.

It was time to experience the presence of God.     And pray a little.    Me and God.

And it was time to wait.    I felt pretty happy.   This is what I came for.     To commune with God.    To receive the Son of God into myself as Jesus said to do it.      That was the reason for the fasting.    You don’t mix something important and holy with. . . .ham and eggs.     You know?    So you fast for a  while.   Until a bit afterwards.   “Man does not live by bread alone,”  Jesus said.   It’s a  “culinary road trip,”  but food is not always so important.

Other people were there.    We all waited in the beautiful church.   The beautiful dark church.

The lights never came on for us.    The clock went past the time that we were here for.     I said this was a beautiful but sad posting.    Ten minutes.  Twenty minutes.   A  half hour.   Oh, we were quiet and patient.   We read our Readings for the day, we read our missals, we prayed…. and some of us began to make a “spiritual communion” — it’s what you do when you can’t have the real physical communion.

Eventually, the people began leaving.

It was like we were fasting not only from physical food,  but from our spiritual food.

Some were sad and quiet, some were annoyed,  but none of us were really surprised.    We were going to worship in the way people worshiped here at the time of Bishop Baraga.  The same way our grandparents worshiped.  And their grandparents.  All the way back in time, the same way of worshiping,  all the way back to the first century after Christ.   But these beautiful cathedrals have been taken over now by people who worship another way.    They sometimes make room for what they used to be,  but sometimes . . .  things happen.    They’re not too particular.    They’ve abandoned what was.

SAMSUNGI looked up at a statue of St. Joseph, reminding us of his loving care for the child Jesus;  reminding us of all the good qualities he had that made him a good choice to be Foster Father of the child Messiah.   Patron saint of families.   Help of families.  Protector.   Provider.   Father.    What would he think of the Child he loved and cared for being abandoned today?

Then I saw the Mother:

SAMSUNG“Blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  her cousin cried out.  “And blessed are you among all women!”        And Mary understood:    “Behold, all generations shall call me blessed.”   And I understand a little too.  I understand that she was made especially to carry the Incarnate Son of God.   A privilege, a joy, a piercing sorrow.     How sorrowful would she be today to see her Son abandoned by a different sort of generation.

It was not a “lost” day,  though.

A little boy came up to me, next to his parents.     He was about six years old.   He looked like he was trying to be mad.      He said to me, “We drove all morning to get here and then there is nothing!   I wanted to see Jesus!”    I looked at his parents.    They said it was a 3 1/2 hour drive to get there that morning.   (Yes,  there are great distances between places in the Far Far North.)

I told the little boy that it was okay.   “Jesus knows you came here and you tried.”        The little boy brightened up and said, “Oh yeah!   He can see me!”    He went away,  happily, to watch his mom take photos of the interior of the cathedral.

Sad, indeed.   Disappointing.    But all was not “lost.”    We hadn’t fasted for nothing.