Archive for the ‘Saints’ category

GOING BLUE: COSMIC CONSIDERATIONS – 2

July 8, 2018

 

A story of motion,  of moving,  of constant movement . . . . a journey.

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I guess I really did need that ambulance ride last week.  I guess my body really was bad off for a while.    It’s still reverberating with the physical stress, and I’m not quite in command of the way my body is acting.    Yet.

So —   “cosmic considerations”  are very much in  order.    Part of achieving good health is  proper, targeted,  strong,  even intense meditation.    (Sounds like a battle zone.)

BLUE HOLE

So I’m doing that.    I wake up to this scene in the mornings.    Blue summer sky behind deep green trees, lit up by the silvery light of the sun.     (I can’t tell right now if the colors in the photo are as vivid as I see them  because it’s nighttime and the Blue Light Filter is “On” on my screen. )

I don’t have to get up right away.  It’s a good time to think and pray and . . .  meditate, inspired by the blue  green, and silver lights.    Natural colors.

And perhaps inspired by all the space and cosmos programs I watched while at Son’s house recently,     I  imagine   Movement.   That little hole in the middle of the photo is a glimpse of the sky above,  the  heavens.

I imagine myself moving up towards that patch of blue,  higher and higher into the heavens.     If you go high enough, into the blue,  you will reach the uppermost part of our atmosphere, and it will eventually turn darker and then black,  about the level of the ISS.

Those blue heavens will have become a deep velvety black and you’ll begin to see the stars.    Still moving upwards and outwards,  the stars will take on distinctive colors and sizes.

If you   keep  moving   out,  you may be lucky enough to graze past some of our beautiful planets, all so real and “alive” with patterns and colors . . . .

Stars,  then  nebulae,  beautifully lit clouds of gases,  colors and light,    galaxies.

Still moving on outwards, your spirit passes unnamed, undiscovered objects and shapes and “colors.”

And then — far enough away from our home planet —  it seems as though your spirit loses hold of its connection to Earth,  the connection is stretched and thins out, and still you move . . .  approaching the boundary into the spiritual realm.

You can leave the physical behind,  and perceive glorious and beautiful powerful intelligences there,   surrounding the Source of Love and Beauty and Goodness.   You can begin to see the Holiness of Heaven.

Intuition tells you this is a place of pure Holiness.

Angels and archangels are there.   Cherubim.  Seraphim.    The Mother of God is there.  A multitude of (human)  saints,  named and unnamed.   Life and the Source of Life that cares deeply for all other  life in the universe,  including you.

You can go no further.   You perceive  the Creator is there,   the Maker and Sustainer of all things;   you can feel  your neediness and you can make your petitions there,  you can ask for help,  and health,  and above all,  you can ask for Mercy.

At that point,  you know deeply that Mercy is the only thing you need.   Ask for the little things like help and health —  but in the end it is Mercy that you know  your soul needs.

Petitions made,  you can begin a retreat, back to Earth where you belong for a little while more.    Back down through the beautiful cosmos,  down through Earth’s heavens,  down to  Earth.

And you will understand with St. Augustine who wrote so long ago that “Every beautiful thing is meant to draw you to Heaven”   from which Mankind’s Redeemer came so that heaven can be our true and everlasting Home.

Every beautiful thing.

Marble Caves of Patagonia

Blue marble caves of Patagonia

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I cannot travel anymore.   For the time being it would mean the formation of more blood clots.

But we  don’t need to travel.   We don’t really even need the Internet.

We just need to look around us.    We can look up  into the morning sky as we wake up,  or  look around as we water our lawns,  or see things as we take a walk.   There is Beauty all around us —

— and we can go traveling upward.

Anytime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A LITTLE GIRL AND AN OLD MAN

April 21, 2018

Ark in Heaven

(Revelation 11:19 – 12:1)   

I’ve observed that the new, modern version of the Church doesn’t seem to present the saints very well,  nor to teach us the important things they  have for us.    We shouldn’t lose knowledge of them,  because then we really will be “orphans of history.” 

They are there.

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bernadette youngLast Monday we remembered a young, ordinary, unimportant, not well-educated,  poor and unhealthy French girl named Bernadette.   Bernadette Soubirous.*         And today  we remember a very well-educated and venerable old man who defied kings and wrote books  which we still read and marvel at today.    He is St. Anselm  (Anselm du Bec). anselm

As I read  (re-read)   some of his writings today I was amazed at how much I’d forgotten what it was that he taught.     I knew this stuff but I forgot that I knew it – and it’s important “stuff.”  ( Pardon my vernacular.)     It’s not old age.   It’s just . . .  well, one thing is I’ve put so much other “stuff”  into my brain, so much unworthy stuff  that  there was nothing to build upon from St. Anselm’s writings.   (mea culpa)

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Besides being canonized saints, what do these two –  separated by 800 years! –  have in common?

St. Anselm,  amidst all his sanctity, his learning and writing and teaching,  his exemplary life and holding firm against  two kings of England  who tried to exert their legal control over religion  —    amidst all that he received insight and firm knowledge about the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of God, and he advocated for a feast day of celebration for that attribute of Mary.

St. Bernadette,  in 1858,  amidst all her poverty and ill-health, and ignorance received knowledge of the Immaculate Conception in a series of visions, or visitations.    I do not say she received “insight,”  because she had no idea what those words even meant,  but her own Church authorities were amazed that she spoke of something which the Church had just recently defined  into safe and secure, understandable dogma,  something she could not have known or understood.       The vision she received confirmed the Truth of this teaching.

Ark with HS present

The Church has always believed that Mary,  conceiving the Son of God in her womb by the action of  the Holy Spirit of God,  was herself created, made, constructed, conceived in such a way  so as to be the only human able  to hold the Body of Christ from His own conception to birth.

Constructed of fine, beautiful acacia wood and covered with pure gold,   untouchable from then on by human hands  (upon pain of death;  see Uzzah’s experience)   and containing those foreshadowings of God:  the Word,  the Bread,  and the Staff budding with Life —     again,  never to be touched by man,  Ever-Virgin   —  **

This is the Immaculate Conception that we remember, a couple thousand years later,  because the full meaning is still impacting us today,  and whether we are wise and learned  or   uneducated and rather ordinary,    we belong to those succeeding generations of  “two thousand years later, ”  of which Mary spoke:

“Behold, all generations shall call me Blessed.”

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. *    This is the same Bernadette Soubirous who had her vision at Lourdes, the source, now, of a fountain of physical and spiritual healing:

lourdes

 

.  **   The Ark of the Covenant was a foreshadowing,  a Type, of the Virgin Mary.

holy of holies

The Jewish people of the Old Testament  venerated the Ark with fear and awe at its power and the glory that came from it (at times) and treated it with utmost respect,  respectfully concealing it  from the eyes of worshipers behind the veil of the Holy of Holies,  because of what was inside the Ark..

 

 

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A short excerpt from a sermon by St. Anselm  (Oratio #52)   as an example of his writing, for you:

 

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.
God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.
Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

(“Hail,  Full-of-Grace,  the LORD is with you . . .” )   (spoken by the Angel Gabriel as recorded in the Bible by St. Luke)

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“NUNCA MAS!” – A VERY PERSONAL DAY

October 10, 2017

(A meditation recorded for myself.   Important info.)

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October 10.      The day the Christian world remembers that remarkable man, St. Francis de Borgia.

The training of St. Francis:

Born to a family of status and responsibility with the wealth and royal connections to be able to carry out those responsibilities,   Francis was brought up in a loving family under stern tutors and attentive spiritual directors to train him in the abilities – and attitudes – that would make him a good leader in his area of Spain.

He was trained in the courtly skills of competitive physical games,  swordsmanship,   dancing;   he loved music,  he really loved ball games (alas,  not football exactly,  but the equivalent of it – and I understand him!  I take that personally! )  He loved literature, and above all he took his faith seriously, which,   by my own personal experience,    enhances and adds new enjoyment to everything you like to do.

The character of St Francis:

You can give a child a lot of good opportunities, a lot of good attention,  a lot of good education,  but you can’t make him become a good person,  unless the young man is wise and willing and disciplines himself according to the worthy things he’s being taught.

What’s more important?  Where do you find a balance between demanding,  severely demanding,   that a child learn well and develop a good character, on the one hand,  and giving him the freedom to develop himself, on the other hand?    That is called the Art of parenting,  the Art of teaching,  the Art of spiritual counsel. . . .

Well, it all worked together in the case of St. Francis de Borgia.

The adult life of St. Francis:

Born in 1510, in Catalonia, by the time Francis was 33 years old  he had taken on adult duties, was a trusted and valuable government official,  married and  fell  deeply in love with his wife, and had eight children,  never turning away from God or his Catholic faith in all that he did.

Being a good man does not keep tragedy away,  and soon, in his young adult life,  tragedy struck.   His beloved wife died,  in spite of constant fasting,  supplications,  prayers and mortifications in his private chapel.   Those particular prayers were not answered.    As we can imagine,  it caused some very deep thinking.

Francis had continuing duties in the court of Charles V, including accompanying the beautiful Empress Isabella at various times.   She was well-loved and respected.  St. Francis admired her  piety but was also impressed by her beauty,  her popularity,  her skill at carrying out royal duties.

Nunca Mas (*) ! –

This is the famous statement of St. Francis.   It came about by this:   the beautiful Isabella died.    A national tragedy and  a personal one for St. Francis.    After a state funeral,  her body had to be transported to the royal burial city –  transported through hot weather, for several days, through uncertain roads, and heavily  guarded .   St Francis was given the honorable and serious responsibility of not only helping to guard, but also to be the one trusted royal courtier to identify the body once it arrived at its destination.

After hot jiggly days in the wagon that had carried her coffin,  St. Francis had to look upon the beautiful Isabella – who was by now a half-decomposed corpse.   Of course Francis knew what he might see  . . .  but actually experiencing the horrifying disfigured face of the Lady he had served . . .  that is what changed his life.

If all the beauty and riches and power of this world come to . . .  this terrifying and revolting object,    then St. Francis decided to put away all the time and effort that he had used to serve the things that this passing world  thinks is important.

Career?  Career advancement?  Education?  Sophistication?   Beauty?   Riches?   Talent?

It all becomes what St. Francis saw in the coffin.

From then on his attention changed;  and writings and his influence became, by our standards,  severe and stern, and focused on our preparation for the Next World.

It is at that point in his life that I became acquainted with St.  Francis de Borgia,  shortly after I finally  entered the Church.     It took me way too long to go in,  but when I did,  my mind, my life, my opportunities, my future,   everything opened up for me!   (Much to my surprise!)

One thing upon becoming Catholic, is that all the saints before you,  named and unnamed,  canonized and uncanonized,  all become available, as inspiration,  guides,  teachers,  helpers,  coaches,  encouragers,

Two came to my mind:  St. Francis de Borgia was one.  Stern,  severe words that point the way to the loving faithfulness of God our Savior.

What’s not to like (for me?)     Music,  literature, a thorough education,  a career in which you’re responsible for the well-being and development of other people.  Football!  (or ball games),   sports and vigorous physical training,   but then the Reality that put it all in perspective:   “Nunca mas”   St Francis tells us….  “No more” – “No more of this” –  No more putting these things first, all these things that lead only to death and corruption.

I’m going to die, personally speaking.  Might be at an outdoor music concert.   Might be out on the “wild western roads” I love to drive.   Might be an  accident or a disease.    I had a dream a long time ago, a dream-vision of being shot in the chest by a small Chinese man in a brown uniform.    Don’t know what that means.  The dream ended abruptly.

St. Francis has told me, reminds me every day,  that some things are not so important,  not as important as making sure you that you will  go to heaven.  No more try to please the world –  Nunca mas! –  but live so that you are pleasing to God, the One who gave you your life in the first place.

Omigosh!   Life in this world becomes so much larger then!

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And another big thank you to Mr. Y for sending me a third-class relic,  which  “warns”  every day . . . .     (I miss your blog.)

 

*  Nunca mas voy a servir a un maestro que conduce a la muerte . . .  (something like that)

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PHYSICAL LOOK AT ST. VALENTINE

February 14, 2017

St. Valentine!

heart-red-75

 

We have St. Valentine’s Day.   A cute,  fun, innocent opportunity to show affection for our friends and “sweethearts.”        Teachers use this day to teach their children to have respect and caring for all their classmates.    Other people enjoy a reason to share fond feelings with some activity like special meals,  special notes and cars,  special . . .   smiles.  make your Mom or your Grandma or your aunt feel special!

So many times in the New Testament we’re reminded to show love and affection and tender caring for each other.    Jesus is gone now, for the moment,   and we are to be His hands,  showing His love to each other.

This was a common  remark from the Roman citizens about the early Christians:   “How they loved one another!”

st-val-holy-card

Among these early Christians were bishops and priests who both taught and modeled the love of Christ for their people.

There really was a man named or nicknamed “Valentine.”  (“Valentine” for “a valiant man.”)     The story has come down to us that  he converted many to Christianity during the second half of the 3rd century;    that  he worked among the young soldiers of the Roman army,  teaching them and marrying them to their “sweethearts”   so that, as Christians, the young man would live honorably with their wives.

 

. . .  Thus angering  the Roman officials.   He was beaten and then beheaded.   His relics were rescued, saved, and honored – and passed around!    An important part of his relics ended up in modern Ireland.

st-val-relics-cr

How do we know what he may have looked like?     Today there are experts in facial reconstruction, starting with the skull, and knowing how the tissues and muscles fit upon the skull.

st-val-diagram

So now we have a pretty close idea of what St. Valentine may have looked like!

st-val-real

A real, actual,  historical man.   A real, actual saint.

Love is real.

 

 

FEBRUARY 2ND – A VERY FULL DAY

February 2, 2017

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

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

ground-hog-in-sun

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

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

(1)   The Purification of Mary

purification

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

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

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

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

presnetation

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

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

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

pidyon-haben

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

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

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

candles

 

Little Nellie of Holy God:

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

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

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

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

litle-nellie-of-holy-god

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. LUCIAN & THE ROSE BOWL PARADE

January 7, 2017

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

wise-men-big-light

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

scroll

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

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

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

parade

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

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

s-s-sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quicumque.    Whosoever.     Whoever wants the Light of God.

11. STEAM KETTLE DAYS — 1st a Foundation

October 28, 2016

(Of  Jude, Simon,  Evaristus, and Frumentius)

I’m writing these next blog postings for ME !    I want to remember in the years to come just why I am so spittin’ steamin’  angry.    MAD.     Like a “mad dog”  mad.

steam-kettle

Whoa.   That’s a way too pretty steam kettle for how I feel.

I’m writing against a whole lot of kinds of people –   I’ll get to the rest of you –  but right now against all you weak, panty-waist, effeminate, sold-out,  uneducated (and I mean that one!),  social justice warrior catholics and catholic-type priests who are getting money, prestige, attention, and privileges because you  write in your sermons and newspaper articles and internet comm boxes words that do not nor never have represented the Church that you hide your marxist, anti-american,  anti-humanity, global governance-dictatorship opinions  behind.

Don’t you dare ever  throw into my face your Gentle Jesus Loves Peace and No Conflict So No One Should Oppose You   attempt   to shut up actual, thinking people!!!!

The real Jesus has a word or two for you:  “Depart from me,  I NEVER knew you!”   These priests and religious leaders are GOATS and they’re going where goats go.  How’s that for a Gentle Jesus Submit to the Leftists type of Judgment Day?

bar-dissolve-er

So here’s my foundation.  Here’s where I stand.   People have died for this stand.

I am IN a 2,000 year old Church.   The one represented by that fishing boat that Jesus got into whenever He wanted to preach offshore or whenever He wanted to cross the Sea to do His works of mercy on the other side.   Of all the fishermen available,  He jumped into Peter’s  boat.   Undeniable.

Jesus chose to stay in Peter’s house when He set up headquarters on the shoreside village of Capernaum.      Peter’s house.

He told Peter to feed His lambs when He’s gone;   feed His sheep. . . .  The others are fed.

Who ran to the empty tomb first?   John.   Who stepped aside so Peter could be the first to enter?  John stepped aside.   Peter, their leader,  was the first to enter.

I’ll stop there,  I know all the rest of the times He chose Peter to lead, to be the spokesman for,  to make the statements and announcements.    It may not mean anything to a lot of people,  but it means a lot to me,  a historian (sort of historian).  I want the real thing.

Peter’s name means Rock.     Not his faith.    Him, himself.  Peter is the Rock  while Jesus is away.

bar-dissolve-er

There has been NO breach and NO break in the teachings since those early days 2,000 years ago.

Interesting that certain days on the calendar occurred this week –  I find them a  consolation and a confirmation.      So . . .  we just had the feast day today of Sts.  Jude and Simon.   Two relatives of the actual Jesus who became his disciples,  loved Him and came to understand Who He actually is.    They spent the rest of their lives telling other people about Jesus and setting up local churches that were associated with the chief of the Apostles –  Peter.

Undeniable and historical –  even to evangelicals.   These two saints died as martyrs  — probably in Persia   ( the fierce Iran of today).

Next came the feast day of Pope St.  Evaristus.   Ever heard of him?   He is the fifth leader of the Church in Rome.     Peter, then Linus, then Cletus,  then Clement,  and then Evaristus.   We KNOW their names and we KNOW what kinds of things they accomplished and we KNOW that each of these died as martyrs.      We KNOW from contemporary writings and descriptions…..

Every time we go to Mass we HEAR these names read out to us.  Oh, not the 200+  names,  but these names,  and after Clement the list skips over to some of the most important ones throughout history    We KNOW all the popes’ names.   So, every time, every Sunday, every Mass . .  .   This 2,000 year old Church has a history that doesn’t change and has teaching that don’t change,  and we are anchored in actual human history.

Saints Simon and Jude were in the mid-first century.   Pope Evaristus, with the same teachings,  same understanding of Jesus,   lived towards the end of the first century, beginning of the second century.

Believe me,  had the teachings changed from the time of Jesus in just one small IOTA,  I would not be in this Church.

Just after Evaristus we had the feast day of St.  Frumentus who together with his brother suffered a “hijacking” of the ship they were in by Ethiopian warriors.  All the adults on the ship were killed and Frumentius and his brother were taken into captivity and used as slaves to the Ethiopians.    The young boys,  Frumentius and his brother,    kept the faith associated with Peter!     How is this possible for young boys,  given what a mess we have made of our youth today,  treating them as “children”  without brains — or consciences?

They lived in the mid fourth century –  and they believed in the same things that had always been taught in the Christian Church, right from the beginning.   Continuity of doctrine1      Actually, the brothers had  an interesting life,  worth knowing,  and, of course, then, both were martyred.

This historic Church which has carried on the knowledge about Jesus,  the Gospel,  has now,  recently,  become  under the public influence of numerous people who have an interest in propounding a “new Gospel” — and “new message”  and certainly a different one from that which was given throughout history.
These are teachings of the new marxist theologians who look like this,  externally or internally:

ag-hip-4

Fried brains.

The new version of the Church which is everywhere, it seems, and is all over the news media,   has made a sharp LEFT turn into social justice leftist marxism,  and is subject to all the evils that marxism has brought to us.   And they are being richly rewarded for doing so.

And what of the “catholics” in this new version of the Church?    I’ve had these people tell me – to my face – that we must toss away the traditional teachings of the Church and get with the modern (leftist)  and murderous, dictatorial agenda.

Goats.

Goats supporting those who wear the jackboots.

They plan to vote in this election to keep the  astonishingly corrupt, dictatorial, elite, politicians in office.       You know, the ones who will deny you your fundamental constitutional rights when it conflicts with their own self-interest and with the flow of money and power into their hands.

Know this.   The actual Catholic Church still exists.   There is a small number of Catholics who have not left the Church,  internally or externally.      You won’t find that out from a corrupt, compromised media which itself donates and votes for,  97% of them,  the corrupt political elite which has brought shame and embarrassment to our nation.

Push back this election?

gloomy-cloud

Effective pushback against you leftist social justice priests who have disgraced your Church and let your people down?  (Vote for Hillary and her corrupt crew because she gives us lots of money for receiving our enemy-invaders called “migrants.”)     (Vote for Hillary because we can’t be one-issue people and save tens of thousands of lives of the people soon to be born.)      (Voter for Hillary because she will –  what?   Bring us Nuclear War with her threats against Russia and China  and enabling Iran to complete their nuclear weapon development?    the ones who promise to nuke us . . .)

Probably not possible.

 

COLUMBUS DAY AND MORE

October 10, 2016

Clarifying the Story:

 

col-3-ships

So,  the national celebration of Columbus Day  (October 12)  is  moved this year to October 10th so that there can be a three-day weekend.

Fewer and fewer know the story of the journeys of Columbus to the New World.  Four or five journeys, I think.    Might be hard to look up the real story of faith and courage and intellectual curiosity that has inspired people for centuries.  You’d have to look it up in older books, before the Global-Socialists got ahold of American education and inserted a false narrative into the story of Columbus.

The Old Broad beats the red, white, and blue –

False history.jpg

You must, now, accept the false narrative that European Whites are bad, bad, bad.   We are told we should be ashamed and embarrassed about our past — and we, today,  must make amends, and apologies — and that isn’t enough –  we must make “reparations”  to people who live hundreds of years ago!

This is an intellectual fad,  but a very destructive one.

Modern “presentations”  of the story of Columbus will not tell you the reason that a new trade route to India and China had to be found.  (The savage Muslim pirates had cut off trade routes to the Middle East and the East.   Tens of thousands of Christians along the Mediterranean coastline were being kidnapped and enslaved or forcibly converted.)

Modern tellings of the story will also  insert tales of   greedy and violent intent and even “genocide” and against the Caribbeans Indians,   who have received a total makeover in modern books,  obscuring the fact that by the 16th century the Caribbean Sea had become home to warring tribes who killed and enslaved and . . .  ate …  each other, and were rapidly dying off from warfare,  diseases,  and human sacrifice.

Stick to Columbus for a moment.     He was not an evil, greedy,  violence-prone leader of a murderous expedition out to conquer unsuspecting, innocent indigenous people!  He was a Catholic gentleman with an interest in sailing uncharted ocean waters because he had a belief that it was possible to sail far enough west to find India, where much of the desired trade goods had come from.

I’ve studied history for many, many decades and have never found any serious writings or teachings that the world was “flat.”   Or that “if you sail too far, you’d fall off the earth”!  That didn’t come about until the so-called “Enlightened”  people began to re-write history with the purpose of making the Medieval World (i.e., the Catholic World)  sound ridiculous.  *         Another deceitful intellectual  fad.

Columbus:   I have his captain’s log.    Not the Starship Enterprise,  but the Santa Maria  Logs:    Contemporary writings,  “as they happened,”  and so I can say:   Don’t let the Old Broad in the green dress in the cartoon beat you down until you submit to her ideology. 

 Be free to look at the whole picture, the good, the interesting, and the bad. 

Here’s a start:      In 1537,  it came to the pope,  Pope Paul III,  that the explorers were finding a “new type of human,”  with a culture very different from Europeans.   So different were they that the question was raised whether or not they were fully human.  They certainly were savage and dangerous.  When the question came to Rome,   Pope Paul issued a decree,  binding on all Catholics, about the matter.  It was called Sublimus Deus.

You can read it today (in English, if you like).   It was one of several similar decrees, but in this particular one you will find  that the Church opposes the enslavement of indigenous peoples and opposes the destruction of their culture.  

“The said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.” —Pope Paul III, “Sublimus Deus”

Later, similar decrees EXCOMMUNICATED any conquistador,  colonist,  governor,  or explorer  that abused and subjugated the “Indians.”      **

Again,  the story of Columbus is an inspiring story of faith and courage and the desire to solve a common problem for  his native Europe.    Children should know the basics of Columbus’s voyages.  Then older children should be told of some of the complexities of the issues raised by finding new societies.

And adults should be able to ponder the lessons that can be learned from exploration and pathfinding  and developing relationships with people who are different from you.

The Truth truly does allow us to be free to think!

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!

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“COLUMBUS DAY AND MORE”:   Today,  October 10,   is also the Feast Day of St. Francis de Borgia – the saint that sits so heavily on my shoulder.   Among his many achievements was to assist Rome in defining and clarifying what the missionary policy should be towards the indigenous peoples that were being discovered.

His directions were in line with the papal decrees of the time,  and he outlined the method of caring for and instructing native people, as well as practical means for improving their physical conditions.

 

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. *   (Anyone who lived along the seacoast could see that when a ship approaches land,  you will see the tip of its tall sails first, then more of the sails, and then finally the boat.   People in the Middle Ages were not blind.   Nor dumb.    Especially when the works of the Greek scientists and philosophers became known and studied,  it was common knowledge that the earth is a globe — that revolves in the heavens as other planetary bodies do.  Long, long before Galileo came around,  the scientists, working under the auspices of the Church,  were speculating that the earth revolved around the sun.   They didn’t have the mathematics, yet, to explain the motion of heavenly bodies — but neither did Galileo in his time!)

. **   Examine the crewmen on the ships captained by Columbus.   Where did he get his crew from?  What kind of men were they?     (They were no more Catholic in thoughts or actions than were the native peoples they came across in the New World. )

Killing of the indigenous people, enslavement,  destroying their cultures,   all this was ANATHEMA.     You’re OUT of the Church, unless you stop and repent.

Obedience to the decrees of the Church?     The pope and good church officials of the time could no more  “control”  the conquistadors than the pope of today can control some of our very “uncatholic”  and personally immoral supporters of sodomy and abortion that we find in the US Congress.

All a good pope and good church officials can do is define what the church teaches and to propound church teachings.       The choice to obey lies with individuals.

 

 

40 Patriotic Military Heroes

March 10, 2016

If I were king,  these are the kind of young men I would want in my army:

The 12th Legion:   They are strong, brave,  experienced in warfare, patriotic, pious – comrades in arms,  brothers,  ready for battle ;   and one time they saved the whole rest of the army nearby through their courageous actions and by the coincidental help of a powerful lighting storm,  earning for themselves the nickname:  The Lightning Legion!

soldiers

Young men,  like these.  40 of them in the Lightning Legion.  An emperor should be proud.

But this emperor had a personal grudge against Christianity.   These 40 men were young Christians,  faithful to the teachings handed down to them,  loyal to the bishop in Rome,  and above all,  believers in Christ Jesus.     The Emperor Licinius wanted them to pledge their loyalty to the Roman gods.

The year is 320 A.D.  in the dead of a very cold  winter  — and no, Constantine did not convert to Christianity and make the whole Roman Empire become Christian!    Didn’t happen.     In 313 A.D.  all religions were decriminalized, including Christianity,  but not including everywhere,  and this was the province of Armenia,  and it was time to get rid of the Christians here.

 

roman soldier

Each young soldier was told to pay homage to the Roman gods,  and one by one, each Christian young soldier that made up this Legion refused.

So, one by one,  each young man was chained to the prison wall, and asked again.   When they refused to give up their faith in Christ,  rocks were thrown at their faces, until they were badly bruised.

They were cajoled, implored, promised good things,   warned, and threatened with death.   Deny that Jesus ever lived!  Deny that Jesus is the Son of God!   Deny that Jesus died for your sins!    Deny that Jesus has prepared a place for you in Heaven and awaits you there!

All 40 young men were then stripped naked, forced to walk to the center of the frozen lake and made to stand there until they died of exposure.    They had time that night to write to their families. Good-byes.  Be joyful for us.   And one young man wrote his parents to take special care of his younger brother so that he doesn’t fall into the temptations of the world, and so lose his eternal soul.   Very touching.  A heart full of love, just before his own awful death.

Here is the lake today,  but not in winter.

lake not in winter

Imagine it frozen, though, and very, very cold.   I don’t even visit my own back yard pond in the winter with bare arms.     Imagine the 40 young Christian men standing on the ice together in the center.

Temptations and promises were thrown at the soldiers.   A large and very warm bath was set up on the shore so that the soldiers could see their relief – if they would deny Christ.  And many hours later,  one did.   Maddened by the effects of the cold winter winds on his body,  one young man ran for the bath’s steamy warmth.

As our physiology would have it –  the shock of the warm water killed him instantly.

The emperor’s men standing guard around the lake watched it all, and were moved by the steadfast faith of the  Christians.    What God is worth courage like this?    What God can strengthen His followers with joy amidst such suffering?

39?    One guard-soldier saw what looked like angelic creatures,   shining spirits hover overhead, placing beautiful crowns on the heads of the 39 soldiers, who were singing and praying out loud.    He began to understand.     The guard-soldier took off his clothes and ran out to join the young men   Now there are 40 again.

40 martyrs

By morning some of the men remained alive, somewhat.   The other guards were told to brake their legs and then throw them in the fires along the shore.     The bodies of all the martyrs were burned and the remains thrown into the lake.

Almost immediately  their story spread;   and they are honored as true martyrs ever since.  March 9th and 10th are the days various Christian honor them.    Poems, songs, churches and shrines arose in their name,  but most important of all,  their legacy is that it is possible to endure the worst that the world can give and still hold onto the Faith that has been passed down since the time of Christ.    And is certain that you will receive your reward, for ever.

Bar Cross in middle

 

Your nation can turn against you,  even the nation you love,   but Jesus never will.

 

THE BABE AND THE HAZELNUT

December 27, 2015

 

They’re quite small —

Hazelnuts at chrstmas

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

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

julian earth dawns

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

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

after christmas

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

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

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

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

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

Julian and Hazelnut

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

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

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

Julian 4  and world

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

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

S0 . . .   toss the hazelnut?

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

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

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

Julian and all well

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

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

JESUS  and child

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

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

Here are some of the  words of Julian of Norwich —

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

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

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

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

 

Something good to know during these Twelve Days of Christmas.

 

 

 

MARTYRS, THEN AND NOW

September 16, 2015

“There are many different forms of martyrdom.”   I’ll probably start a few more blogs in the future with that sentence,  but for now I’ll be writing about “the usual”  — giving up your life because of your faith in Christ.

I’ve missed a lot of important dates on the Church’s calendar.   Not in my private life,  but here in The Spruce Tunnel.   They’re actually important dates, and I’m sorry I haven’t shared them with you.   So today,   I’ll look at the man who is on our calendar today:  St. Cyprian.

cyprian 258 ad

He lived a while ago.     He lived in North Africa,  priest and bishop,  witness to Christ,   shepherd of his people,   scholar, writer.     (d. 258 Anno Domini.)

Of course, he attracted the attention of his Rulers (the Roman government).   Uneasy about their power,  they regarded Christianity with suspicion.    The Emperor Decian and the local governor under him,  Paternus,  ordered all Christians to make a “patriotic act”  of sacrificing to idols.  These were gods that most of the Romans didn’t even believe in anymore.

Nevertheless,   St.  Cyprian must refuse an act of sacrifice to the cultural gods,  sham ceremony or not,  symbolic or not.

The result is his arrest, torture, questioning….    Then he was taken to the nearby Mediterranean coastline of northern Africa,  Carthage area.     And beheaded.

cyprian

North African coastline.   Beheading.    Beheading a Christian just for his faith in Christ.

We’re all familiar with the long line of men in orange jumpsuits, marched along this same coastline,  with men in black behind them, carrying knives,   forcing them down into the sand,  and  then beheaded.      Just for their faith in Christ.

Cyprians today

These modern martyrs were simple, law-abiding employees,  and gave no one any trouble.    They were just Christians.

Recently an African man spoke out and said that he recognized his friend among the orange-suited men photographed in that line.   He said:  I know him!     He was not a Christian then,  but he watched as  his Christian friend was arrested, jailed, tortured, and killed, and all the time would not give up his faith in Jesus, Who died for him.    He would choose Christ too, even if it meant his death.

This man witnessed his friend’s courage and steadfast faith and said he wanted that assurance in his own life.  He wanted that strong faith and love for God;  and so he became a Christian.

And so this man became part of the “line-up.”

cypr skull

St. Cyprian’s feast day is shared by St. Cornelius who lived during the same time.    He was elected to be pope in around 250 A.D., although political turmoil around Rome gave him a rocky start to his position.

cyp corneliusThe chief controversy in the Church during his time involved the question of what to do with people who denied Christ when they were arrested because they  were so afraid of torture and death;  and then when the danger was over,  should these  people be allowed back into the Church,  no questions asked?    Could  they re-enter the Church?    Should they?    Ever?

It wasn’t an idle theological question.     St. Cyprian chose mercy for these people, after sincere repentance and a period of penance.   St. Cornelius backed him up.   A few years later St. Cyprian would be martyred.   And a few years after that,  the pope was arrested:   St.  Cornelius would join St. Cyprian and  many others in martyrdom.

Many, many others, even down to today, along the northern coast of Africa.

We’re not finished with our martyrdom,  there, here, then, or now.

St. Paul wrote to us Christians:   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.   (I Corinthians 15:19)

Yeah.   It’s not this life that we must save.    If we live only  to try to save this life of ours,  we’ll lose the everlasting one in the next.   That’s what Christ told us.

Martyrs are not “miserable.”