Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and terrorism victims

aerosmith dream on

Lots of terrorism going on these days. People have different responses to terrorism. For anyone who is Catholic, the setting of the above response is really creepy, however well intended by the participants. This is obviously an ex-Catholic Church perhaps in Boston and they are singing this as a kind of requiem for the victims of the terrorism of the Boston Marathon Bombing. It would be incomparably better if the requiem was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I wouldn’t watch the above video if I were you. Having said all that, there are some good things, great things even, exceptionally superb in the original song. This is the best version, with just lyrics:

Aerosmith: “Dream On” [correct lyrics below]

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay [“Dues in life” is a reference to justice in a stanza filled with honesty and humility before the consequences of sin as serious as death. Truth be told, not many are so honest, even among religious leaders. Moveover, there is a leveling out here, not one who is more or less guilty. This is very close to a description of the consequences of original sin.]

Yeah. [He’s answering objections about how we know about the consequences of what? Original sin?] I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes [“it” = mysterium iniquitatis, the mystery of iniquity, because it truly is a mystery, as mentioned by so many of the Fathers of the Church and in Magisterial interventions (such as with Saint John Paul II), for how can we fathom how evil was chosen over good, and how can we even begin to fathom the damage as this specter marches on in slaughter right through the ages and epochs of the full length of time]
I know it’s “Everybody sins” [That’s one incomplete but effectively correct way to put it]
You got to lose to know how to win [There you go. Very cool. Just be humble and realize what the situation is, not futilely attempting to run away from it, not denying it, but facing it, and so now ending the losing and beginning to win, as it’s only with such humility that one can turn, or better be turned to that which is right.]

Half my life
Is in books’ written pages [humanity is so similar, with other peoples’ lives acting like a mirror to our own lives, and yet we have individuality, free will, choices…]
Live and learn from fools and
From sages [as there is much more going on with each of us, the currents running deep with each of us, regardless of whether others correctly or incorrectly label us as fools or as sages, it being that we’re a little of both.]
You know it’s true, oh
All the things come back to you [Yes, we always have opportunities to reflect, to learn.]

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today [all this being reminiscent of the Preacher, Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth: there’s a time for…]
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [But have you been humble?]

Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [Repetition: encouragement]

Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true [the dream, the aspiration, the desire, is that in being humble, that is, honest in the face of what life has become after original sin, we can hope that the Lord will take us from this vale of tears and away to heaven.]
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on, aw…

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [I like it; I like it a lot.]

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (little kid style in prayer edition)

shepherd boy

As it should be for all of us.

But it’s not.

Oooo! I’m not worthy! I’m too… you know… or not enough… you know… whatever!

So let’s take a more emotional example. How about being about to die?

rescue by helicopter

Now you might object in saying that the two scenes are different, so that the little boy, without baggage of self condemnation was able to run up and make his little offering out of love, but that the person being rescued, with however much baggage of apologies for not being a good swimmer or whatever other non sequitur nevertheless just gets over it and allows the rescue to happen, you know, because it’s forced.

And then you might object further in saying that while not being forced in prayer by such a dramatic rescue in progress, we who do have baggage of self condemnation and so don’t allow ourselves to run up to our Lord with flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and that there is no way out of this.

And you know, of course, that the lack of motivation comes from a lack of humility, a kind of self blinding, in which we don’t allow ourselves to see that the urgency of being humble and the urgency of running up to our Lord with a flower for the Immaculate Conception is just that urgent as a life or death rescue, and that our Lord is rescuing us by having us run up to Him with a flower for the Immaculate Conception with the simplicity and hope and love and eagerness and awe and wonder of that little guardian of the flock.

Note that in both cases there is eagerness on the face of Jesus and the first responder. And that eagerness is still there even if and especially if we are in full recognition of our unworthiness and nevertheless just get over ourselves and allow ourselves to be rescued whether in the turbulence of a storm or in the simplicity of a lazy Summer day.

Think about it. The two scenes are exactly identical. There is the same eager thanksgiving on the part of the little boy and the person being rescued. Right?

The question is, how does one get that humility since we can’t give ourselves what we don’t have: Nemo dat quod non habet. Fine. We can ask for this by grace. We make a little offering of ourselves, our gift being allowing ourselves by grace to be rescued by grace.

Some are shy of saying, “I love you” to Jesus and Mary, thinking that their baggage, their weakness, their temptation, their chaos, their distraction, their ineptness, their dullness, their… whatever… makes this assertion no more than rank hypocrisy. Some push through anyway, knowing by grace that Jesus and Mary love to hear us say “I love you,” knowing that we are being saved and so it’s not hypocrisy but is really O.K., even good, even very good.

Personally, I’m still a little bit shy of saying such a thing as “I love you” without asserting a preface: “Thanks for saving me, rescuing me; I love you.” Same difference but it’s just a lot easier for me, and helps me to notice the wounds on Jesus, and helps me not to emphasize myself, pointing out that my love is His love given to me, His love which rescues me.

“Here’s a flower for the Immaculate Conception; thanks for rescuing me, Jesus; I love you both.”

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This is why KRYPTOS should be easy

brennan gowdy

“I don’t do evidence,” Brennan replied, speaking instead of “intelligence.” Gowdy gets the distinction perfectly. Brennan replied with perfect clarity. Great. Now, if we could only get all the field crowd of the Company to deeply understand that, we would have something. I always fall back on the perfectly logical statement of Donald Rumsfeld:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Laudie-Dog Thunder-Rain-Dog edition)

mary shrine backyard rain

It was only some hours that had gone by after the shrine of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception went up when torrential rain came down with all sort of thunderous carry-on in the heavens echoing in and around the mountain valleys. Normally, this would make Laudie-dog frantic with fear, hyperventilating, shaking, freezing in place with nowhere being good enough to hide, but this time she has such a winning smile:

laudie-dog smile

Now that’s a lesson we can all take to heart.

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Casting light on my Shadow’s Shadow

This is just one of those boring, cryptic, unintelligible “for-the-record” posts which, this time, is about my Shadow’s Shadow, a really nice lady. I’ve been terribly baiting her to see who she could possibly be, saying outrageous things, knowing I could be terribly wrong. But, hey, mysteries are mysteries, and this method of madness has always worked for me. She’s just a couple years older than myself, the same age as my own Shadow. She did extraordinarily well at “tough” and “technical” universities and institutes. She is incredibly good with guns, is a super devout Catholic, is a medical doctor while at the same time being a world-class bio researcher who has an eye to international implications of her discoveries. And, besides all that, she’s really, really smart, has almost perfect recall, and is a computer genius. I’m guessing she got picked up by the CIA way back in the day through Main State’s bureau for political/military affairs recruiters (the bureau that’s connected with yours truly), and has worked her way into the “Administration” with high clearances which she already had another way. At this point in her career, I’m guessing she’s a consultor for the really tough cases. My own Shadow is a really tough case. Hey, maybe I am too. And another mutual friend as well. It’s actually not true, but, there’s no convincing some people. Anyway, she definitely has two lives going on, one cover for the other and most of her time spent at her day job is spent on what that’s a cover for. I’m guessing she’s a Patriot of extraordinary measures, who is on the cutting edge, as it were, of information collection, using her talents on subjects who are willing and those who have lost their right to say whether they are willing. There’s a lot of dead times. Anyway, she seems to have liked my comment on irony so much in my last related post that she flew away 2,565.19 miles (to be exact) from where she was near my own Shadow. Maybe there’s a replacement. Time to go see my Shadow, maybe, perhaps. Anyway, I recommend KRYPTOS. ;-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Not my usual day off edition)

mary shrine backyard

It’s been raining pretty hard at the hermitage with all sorts of flood warnings, so I wasn’t able to make it there. Sticking around home on the day off provided a perfect opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  And since the new rose bush is really pushing out lots of blossoms (I’ve already removed about 15), it was high time to make a first attempt at a little backyard shrine for our Lady. We can’t let the perfect get in the way of the merely O.K., at least for starters. If I waited for perfection nothing would ever happen as I would procrastinate in hopes of future whatever until the moment I was six feet under. While getting older, time is flying faster. Pictured are some tiles in front of three rows of concrete blocks brought in from the hermitage some months ago. The statue is made out of some sort of polymer and so is fairly light and susceptible to be knocked over with a gust of wind. Solution:

mary statue backyard anchor

The hole was gorilla taped, the statue was flipped right side up and brought outside with the screws still sticking out about three inches from the bottom. Those were slipped in between the concrete blocks to provide some stability until the time comes to upgrade the shrine to something a bit more appropriate.

In this year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima I get nostalgic regarding the pilgrimages I made to Fatima at 16 years old in 1976 with Father Robert Fox and then in 2009 if I remember rightly with an entire busload of other permanent chaplains of the sanctuaries of our Lady of Lourdes.

A sense of urgency comes over me regarding the need to write something about Nostra Aetate and the true translation of the Latin regarding Islam. That’s really important.

An even greater sense of urgency comes over me regarding the need to write something that I’ve been pursuing with imams and terrorists right around the world, that is, the meaning of Sura 37:100-113. If understood correctly – and I do think I have a handle on it – that passage of the Qur’an goes to very heart of all that is Islam for any Muslim of whatever sect. It is the tell all passage. I think the time has come. Of all things, that latter commentary would center on something which will be a surprise: the Immaculate Conception.

Ahh! But doesn’t that sound sweet and nice and irrelevant!?! Sure. But being so dismissive about what goes the very heart of what it means to be Jewish, to be Catholic, and, in a much, much different way, to be Muslim, is a fatal mistake of catastrophic proportions. Why would our military and intelligence services ignore that which gives them the key to understanding the very mindset of the Islamicists they are trying to figure out so as to be able to conquer them?

Anyway, the backyard shrine scene, bucolic except that it is missing only a sheep (oh, wait, that would be little Jesus) and perhaps a donkey (oh, wait, that’s me), is not just a nicey nice setting. It is, instead, an inspirational reminder to write something about what is pictured in the header of this blog:

arise-header1.png

So, the day off was a day of inspiration. Oh, and I finally installed those 24/7 security cameras someone gave me. :-)

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Main State’s “Shadow” of mine

money order

This is one of those boring, cryptic, unintelligible “for-the-record” posts, which are as often as not about my “Shadow”. Maybe this is a voluntary offering for a kind of blog subscription, though that’s not requested nor expected in any way on any level from anyone whomsoever. Maybe I shouldn’t be so suspicious and just consider this an offering made in good faith, though, since I’m so evil and bad, I am tempted to think of bribery on his part (for what?) or of my being accused by him of extortion or some sort of blackmail (for what?), all of which would be fictitious on every level, perhaps in order to protect another scenario altogether. Nothing is as it seems in the murky world of shadows. Just for the sake of irony, I think I’ll spend this on ammo to practice up for hostage scenarios. ;-)

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Recipes (Bacon Monster edition)

bacon

For the sake of a diet (I’ve been stuck at 252 since Eastertide began), I’ve given up on pasta, though bacon has re-entered my life. Not very consistent. It’s just that someone gave me ten pounds of the meatiest bacon. And it’s really good. Since I’m only just beginning to learn how to cook, it’s getting fried. I’m told bacon is best baked. When the asparagus grows it will be wrapped in bacon and baked. Really good. Anyway…

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401) The Christian in the world

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They Continue reading

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Father Kenneth Walker edition)

father walker fssp

  • Note the smile of joy and peace on face of Father Walker, and that of our Lady.
  • Note the Rosary in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.
  • Note the red rose of martyrs in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.

After writing this post the other day – (USCCA exam results: Master Defender. BUT that’s never good enough) – a reader sent me a link to the very detailed obituary of Father Kenneth Walker, and offered to provide the USCCA package for close-quarters defense training that may have been a help to Father Walker in his effort to save his fellow priest. You’ll remember that Father Walker lost his life in doing just that. Of course, when it’s our time to go there’s no arguing about it with the Lord. Of course, that doesn’t mean that prudence is no longer a cardinal virtue. Just because you train doesn’t mean that you’ll be successful. But that doesn’t mean you don’t train.

murderer of Father Kenneth Walker

  • Note the smirk on the murderer of Father Walker. The perp was only just sentenced to life in prison a few weeks ago (April 2017).

Some things I note from the obit of Father Walker:

  • Lots of significant dates happen on the 13th of the month, Fatima anniversaries.
  • Both my dad and Father Walker died on the same day, June 11.
  • In looking at the locations and dates… if, as a kid, he ever went to confession and I’m guessing he did, and if, as a kid, he ever served Holy Mass and I’m guessing he did, he may well have been a penitent of mine and served Masses for me.

I’m forever praying that those boys who serve Holy Mass for me will, according to the Lord’s will, receive a call from Jesus to become priests. I wonder if I prayed for a youngster called Kenneth. I’m guessing I did.

UPSHOT: Prayer for good, holy, strong vocations to the priesthood, young men who will be priests with the very Heart of our Lord Jesus, who will be good sons of Immaculate Mary. Hail Mary…

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When the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit radiate from earthen vessels

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

Today’s Gospel from John 14:15-21 — Jesus said to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Jesus doesn’t say: “Manifest the fruits of the Holy Spirit!” No. You know why? Because those come about naturally, as it were, when we are tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, so, O.K., we can learn about all the fruits, love them, assent to them, but it’s really stupid to try to bring them about on our own as if we ourselves were the Holy Spirit. Rejoice in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but don’t put the cart before the horse.

Jesus doesn’t say: “Give yourselves the gifts of the Holy Spirit!” Although you would think He did say that the way some people think that they can go about acquiring those gifts if only they are really smart and prudent and whatever all without the Holy Spirit. No. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts, and like any otherwise gratia gratis data (grace freely given) such as the gift of tongues or the gift of prophesy, cannot be practiced because, you know, they are a gift. They flow naturally, as it were, when we are tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. We can learn about them, love them, assent to them, but it’s really stupid to try to bring them about on our own as if ourselves were the Holy Spirit. Rejoice in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but don’t put the cart before the horse.

Jesus did say that the Holy Spirit would teach us all things, everything that He taught us, and Jesus also gave us the way to be available to the workings of the Holy Spirit. We are, with the Holy Spirit, to set about keeping the commandments. Then we find that that is impossible for us on our own and, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are to assent to dying to ourselves, crucified to the world, to live only for Christ Jesus. And this battle ground is the field of action of the Holy Spirit who sets about forming us into the image of Jesus, making us members of the Body of Christ. And in all that mayhem of the battle, that is when we see the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit shine. The horse is keeping the commandments with the grace of the Holy Spirit; the cart is the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Living the fruits and gifts are hugely encouraging for us to keep the commandments, yes, but they come from the Holy Spirit.

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USCCA exam results: Master Defender. BUT that’s never good enough.

USCCA Master Defender

I like that: Master Defender. That would be “Alexamenos” in Greek, you know, the donkey boy who worshiped the crucified donkey in that ancient graffito of the Imperial School in Rome. I wrote a novel of some 750 pages about someone named after him. I’ll have to revise that and publish that for real.

Anyway, O.K. So, this is all a brilliant marketing ploy, with the USCCA (of which I’m a platinum member thanks to a wonderful reader) betting that you’re going to fail some of the questions and then they can more convincingly sell you on their training packages which look to be worth the cost regardless. If you fail the questions, you can even retake the exam right away. I didn’t need to. I got all the questions right. Some were a little tricky. BUT, I agree with the BUT. One has to stay sharp. Especially about the “close-quarters” bit. Even though I practice with scenario based events, they are all so far at a distance as distance shooting under pressure is more difficult. But very close quarters training is also necessary. They are right.

And this goes for the spiritual life as well. Things are tough, are they not, when Satan is on the attack and we’re befuddled and cognizant of how much nothing we are, you know, a close quarters fight like that? That’s when training comes in handy, that is, training in God’s love, which cuts through Satan’s mind games as God’s love is on another level altogether and is stronger than our weakness, our befuddlement, stronger than death. Saint Paul speaks of us carrying treasures in ultra-weak earthen vessels, so easily shattered, yet giving us the dignity of being called the very tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, tabernacles that can have the purity of heart and agility of soul to follow the Holy Spirit whithersoever He would bring us. And He does bring us unscathed right through the worst battles with Satan, that is, if we have no fear. Why have fear. Love conquers all fear. The Holy Spirit brings us right across the battle ground of Calvary in close quarters battle with all of hell broken out, right there to Jesus on the Cross, to be with Him in all solidarity as He is in solidarity with us, watching, praying, as He draws others to Himself also with our intercession.

In the spiritual life we can never rest on our laurels (as we have none, as Jesus is our Savior). It’s misleading to give ourselves titles like Master Defender or to guess at what level in the spiritual life we are at such as by saying “I’m in the dark night of the soul now!” That’s all totally self-defeating, as that is giving into pride and emphasizing ourselves and making of ourselves our own saviors. How many want their spiritual directors to say, “Ooooh! You are now at this level!” That makes the spiritual director into a kind of palm reader and puts the directee at risk of going to hell. That would be as bad as the USCCA telling me that I’ve arrived (which they didn’t). I’m very wary of wearing that badge of Master Defender as all I did was answer questions the right way. There’s a difference between sitting in a chair and calmly answering questions on the one hand and then on the other hand being in the heat of battle when you don’t have the luxury of thinking things out. In the spiritual life, with God’s love saving us, we can be solidly before Him even in the dark night of the soul (however dark, however befuddling), and know always and be grateful that He alone is our Savior. Jesus is the one. He is the Master Defender of our souls.

P.S. Of course, our Guardian Angels bear the title of Master Defender.

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*BANG* (Ha!) Jenny the Jeep TOUGH

jenny the jeep pulling 1

Jenny’s back. She runs good. Can’t take her anywhere yet as the steering has to be fixed up a bit. But she’s good for down and dirty donkey jobs like pulling out concreted-in 4″ diameter metal poles the previous owner had put up for laundry and now redundant because of the metal fence over which things can be put.

There are those who thought Jenny wasn’t up to the task, but at the least bit of a gentle tug at one one-millionth of a mile an hour from her and… and… *BANG* – which is the sound made when metal is ripped apart from metal suddenly.

jenny the jeep pulling 2

I’m sure Jenny didn’t even realize she had gone to work yet and is wondering why we quit so early. Both poles broke cleanly about 4″ below ground level. I took a hammer and smoothed out any rough bits and knocked a bit of dirt down. Done. Thanks Jenny!

I’m sure she misses being a woods truck, um, woods jeep. I’ll have to see about a finding a small wood stove that would pass local stringent environmental laws and statutes.

“Can do!” attitude. Good to have. Not because we can do anything, but because all things are possible with God. Jesus makes the impossible easy. It’s the difference between our non-existent determination and His love dwelling within us.

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This isn’t a sandwich. How do you…?

lobster

From last night… The last time I had lobster was on Prom night after the dance (in the school gym) at a fancy restaurant overlooking the Mississippi river in central Minnesota with a wonderful Canadian girl from the famous Ecumenical Institute at Saint John’s Abbey, my home parish at the time. This girl and I had put in lots of horse back riding together there in the southern most reaches of the northern woods. We talked about how many kids we would have. She said she had dreamed about twelve. I said that I thought that honestly a good number would be sixteen. We both agreed that God is the one to decide. She went back to Canada and I went to the seminary. The memories! Funny what you think of when you have a meal you’ve only had once before in your life.

This lobster was eaten in the company of a fellow priest and his parents. His father was ordained a permanent deacon in the same Mass that the son was ordained a priest, and this was the tenth anniversary. So, four lobsters, still very much alive before being put into pots to be steamed. Steamed, it seems, is the only way to make lobster. I didn’t hear any screams from the lobsters. I usually just eat toast and think that to be extravagant. So, what do I know about recipes?

I hope people aren’t scandalized by this. But there are things to celebrate. It’s good to celebrate. Catholics do know how to celebrate. Though others do as well. I’m sure you remember a favorite of many (the final scene of Babette’s Feast):

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Requesting Martyrdom edition)

flores papist

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

That’s today’s Gospel. Jesus is commanding us to ask for the grace of martyrdom, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest love, how He loved us. That’s the logic of that passage. Inescapable. Totally. This is what we are to ask of our Heavenly Father. I’m guessing that that request would make our dear Mother Mary most happy.

The flowers I put up for this post are in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception at the rectory. They are yellow and white, the colors of the Holy See, a tad bit Papist of me. Yes. This really makes people angry. It makes Islamists upset. It makes ultra-traditional-ism-ists upset. It makes the filthy liberals upset.

It is most Catholic to support not only the idea of the office of Peter (which support, cut off from Peter himself as so many do, is a heresy for the reason that the Church is founded on Peter and not on a mere idea of an office), but it is also most Catholic to support Peter himself, his very person, which filthy liberals, ultra-traditional-ism-ists, Islamists, etc., are loathe to do. I take a lot of heat for supporting the very person of Pope Francis. And that’s just fine with me.

Just because one is supporting Peter himself doesn’t mean that one is supporting everything that Peter says. That would be absurd. Peter himself wouldn’t stand for it. I couldn’t care less if Peter bets on a certain horse for the Kentucky Derby. I’ll bet on my own horse, or actually not bet at all. But I will pay attention when the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ speaks not just for himself but as the head of the Catholic Church, and not just to some group or another or as part of some dialogue (such as is the case with Amoris laetitia), but when he is speaking to the universal Church, to everyone, and as a teacher, not a mere participant in ongoing dialogue, and also, conjoined to this, when he speaks on a matter of faith or morals as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (or in the natural law for that matter), especially when this is deciding a controverted point.

But not only. I will also pray and stand in solidarity with Peter to the point where I feel that it is true that he who insults Peter insults me. Indeed, he who insults Peter insults Jesus who established Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built. He who insults Jesus insults me. Why? Because Jesus did the same for the likes of horrible, sinful me. Thank you, Jesus.

But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, I’m aware of that and about a million other things you haven’t even thought about. I know. And so I ask: “So? Does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? That I shouldn’t be a good son of the Church? Does it mean I can’t do my best to be the best priest I can be, teaching the best I can, praying the best I can, encouraging the best I can? I stand with Peter. I’m Catholic. I’m a priest.

 

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Preparing the shot that can’t be taken: “Terrorism” hits my parish territory

juice bottles

Recently I was at the hermitage for a quiet day, part of which was putting out a few rounds from the Glock into my homemade dot targets. The pattern was about the same as it had been previously at 27 feet, all 15 rounds in the space of the palm of a hand. But this time it is the same number North or South, East or West, which isn’t anything to be proud about, as there should be no directions, just 10-X every time, right? But at least the grip is as it should be with no predominance in any direction.

This was all done with what my practice had morphed into, that is, looking away from the target, spinning about at the screams of some imagined altercation while assessing the situation (type of threat, delivery system of the threat, opportunity), unholstering the gun, shouting some commands drawn from that assessment, drawing the gun up (it already being chambered) and pulling the trigger as soon as the front iron post comes into view IF that’s what the assessment still entails, what with circumstances changing even radically every nanosecond, including what’s next to or behind the target. These were all double taps.

target smiley

But then I added something, just to make the adrenaline flow a bit more freely as it would in the time of some always totally unexpected crisis. In the picture at the top, also 27 feet out, you’ll see two juice bottles side by side on the stump. That represents a hostage situation. When the guys train up for such things, as you can imagine, they are totally disqualified for one stray bullet, as that would defeat the purpose. One just has to be better than that. One has to be the best. I’m far from that. Obviously. But one has to start somewhere. So, up the juice bottles went. The idea is that under pressure at the maximum distance one might expect there to be while still being in the dynamic of such a situation, one hits only the one and not the other, and that the one one is hitting is actually hit. To miss both is just about as bad as hitting the hostage, as you’re not likely going to get a second chance unless the first one hits where it needs to hit. In the meantime, it’s all over for the hostage. Things to practice also include closing the distance if this won’t spook the hostage taker, all the while angling to gain a clear shot and a clear backstop.

The reason to train for such an eventuality that will pretty much never ever arise, it that in training for the more difficult one is training for the less difficult by default.

Any classroom training for such an event consists of 99.99% of the instruction being aimed at why never ever to shoot no matter what in such a situation, which is the same thing that is said also to law enforcement, the SWAT team crowd, et al. But then it is mentioned that it might just be the case that in the it-never-happens-anyway situation, you might just “have to take the shot” regardless of the safety of the actual hostage, though taking every precaution that the hostage not be hurt, which also includes putting oneself at risk. The idea, in that case, is that the perp must be neutralized, even if there are innocent bystanders round about the perp along with the hostage and also in back of the perp in the line of fire. In that case, the situation would be, for instance, that the perp is shooting quickly and with success at many people, killing as many as he can. But that’s the moment you wish you had practiced up for the more difficult case as a way to practice up for that which is easier. You don’t want to miss. You don’t want to have to take more than one shot. Anyway, that never happens. Anyway, I’ll practice for it.

As it is, the local Graham Star newspaper just put out a front page story on a possible budding terrorist in these most remote of back ridges of our national forests. It’s a bit of a joke, but at the same time it’s not. Here’s the evidence of a fevered but not lacking in reason mind of a terrorist:

terrorism bomb making

O.K. He’s an amateur, thinking he’s clever. This was at the dumpster site. This could be an attempt at terrorism, but I really doubt that. I think what’s happening is that a prescription druggie guy rooting around inside the many dumpsters at the site in search of discarded but still potent prescription opioids is sick of competition from other druggie guys rooting around the insides of the dumpsters. So, he’s created some sort of booby-trap meant to take out or at least hurt a fellow dumpster diver.

However, that kind of meanness, paranoid about everyone coming into the dumpster site, thinking that any of them could be there to steal “his” opioids in the dumpsters, might just accost those who are there to recycle and dump their trash: “Gimme your meds, or else!” That kind of thing instantly turns into a hostage situation if the wife is taken and he then notices that the husband is there. Dumpster sites are not lonely sites. They are pretty heavily trafficked. This is actually not an unlikely scenario, especially since the perps will be extra nervous what with talk of upping the penalties for dumpster diving (which usually results in all the contents of all the dumpsters being spread out over the lot so as to more easily comb through the rubbish for the drugs.

And we might be thinking, what a bad guy that terrorist druggie bad guy is. But did not our Lord allow himself to be taken hostage by our sins? Did He not lay down His life for us? Thank you, dear Lord. Thank you for saving us bad guys, us really bad guys.

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Many sacraments at once: doing it right in the age of Amoris laetitia

wedding

John was already baptized, so we brought him through the ceremony to bring him officially into the Church prepared by Reconciliation. He was then Confirmed, was Wedded, and received his first Holy Communion. I couldn’t but snap the picture above at the reception as it speaks of the colors of the flag of the Holy See. We went through the process with the Tribunal of the diocese of Charlotte and, in fact, a previous “marriage” of his bride-to-be was declared null from the beginning, leaving them free to marry. In preparing John for the big day there was no hiding truth or making excuses for the cross. Instead, the boast is in Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Both Bride and Groom cried about through the whole day, for joy. It was one of the best days of my own priesthood, very much feeling to be the father of the parish family.

If I might say this: To date, on the one hand, I have not met anyone who is interested in doing things the way our Lord commanded to also be interested in Amoris laetitia‘s ambiguity and rejection of the cross and of conversion. If one loves our Lord, one wants to keep His commandments. Period. It’s a matter of love, and love makes it possible.

On the other hand, I get the impression from anyone who is interested in rejecting the commandments that Amoris laetitia has only made them terribly bitter with the Church. What they really wanted was a steadfast hand up but let themselves be thrown down at the first opportunity by which it seemed they could sin and please God at the same time, finding out that that just isn’t the case; they feel terribly betrayed by those who should have helped them and instead gave them Amoris laetitia, and thus they let those dark emotions entrench them all the more into being alienated to the peripheries which they were mistakenly led to believe was ‘accompaniment.’

People are thirsting for the truth, that is, the Living Truth, Jesus, divine Son of the Immaculate Conception who loves us so very much.

Also, just to say, we’re getting ready to set a time when John will be able to give me some pointers about how to shoot my Glock the right way. :-)

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Fr MacRae’s request of Padre Pio: help!

Father Gordon J MacRae is not one to ask for prayers for himself, ever. But now, it’s different. He’s asking, with reason. For two reasons, actually. Continue reading

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison, Vocations

Medjugorje: Malum ex defectu

pope francis return from fatima

There’s an old saying: “Bonum ex integra causa malum ex quocumque defectu” — (It is good because it is integrally good, but it is evil by way of any defect).

Those officially examining Medjugorje went into their work already knowing that they would find plenty lacking in integrity, plenty by way of defects. But, ideologically desiring to say that Medjugorje is just fine, they placed arbitrary and self-serving limitations on their judgments so as to come up with something good to say, you know, the old “I’ll take the good and throw out the bad” methodology, which, to apply that way of going about things in this case one has to be willing to swallow that 99.99% is evil so that one can go ahead and gleefully jump up and down and say that 00.01% looks like it’s not fully contradictory to the teaching and morality and praxis (on every level) of the Church. Yay! We did it! We get to say that Medjugorje is… um… what it is… right?

The Commission voted on just the first seven “apparitions”, saying the rest are trash, but hey, maybe we can say the first seven are, like, apparently not like the rest. That’s like taking one drop out of the ocean and saying the ocean is bad but maybe that one drop is kind of, you know, maybe, like, O.K. But that drop came from that ocean, right?

Then, whether or not the behavior of the seers and spiritual fruits is included, the judgement is confused and divided. That’s really telling.

Amazingly, it is said that the seers have always lacked spiritual guidance and are now scattered to the winds, meaning that in their opinion organized pilgrimages can be made and the parish church should be made into a pontifical sanctuary. In other words, so much damage has been done to the faithful with the imposition of such chaos that, for pastoral reasons this should be done. They insist that this is to avoid “parallel churches”, meaning that such diabolical division is the extortion that Medjugorje uses to get approved even while insisting that such moves as organized pilgimages and a pontifical sanctuary status is not a recognition of the supernatural nature of the apparitions. Uh-huh. And I’m absolutely certain that that’s the way it will be perceived as well (sarcasm). They say that this will provide clarity of economic issues, but the perception – excuse me – is that one should check the bank accounts of those involved for ongoing kickbacks.

At least Cardinal Müller is doubtful about the “apparitions” and the “report.” We will see what happens by Summer of 2017 for any “pastoral initiatives.”

By the way: The “Commission” has no power to do anything whatsoever. They might have an intramural vote among themselves that is as important as any intramural balloon volleyball in Kindergarten, but it has no effect. They are merely consultative, just to say you did it. Remember the politics of this: many commissions are chosen for their contrary value. Once they are done, the Church makes it’s own decision, often flying in the face of whatever commission. Case in point: Humanae vitae commission.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Holy See and Swiss Guard edition)

IMG_20170516_094108

A Green-Thumb Lady of the parish has removed the other flower buckets and replaced them with white Geraniums and Blue somethingorothers for our Lady, along with some flowers signifying one of her special prayer intentions, the successor of Peter and the Holy See, the yellow and white flowers in the lower right (those being the colors of the flag of the Holy See).  On the corner of the yard she added what she calls Swiss Guard flowers in honor of our Lady, as they are the color of the uniforms of the Swiss Guard. Because of the angle of the sun right now I couldn’t get a shot with the papal flag and the statue of Mary in background, but, in the future… Here’s a closeup:

IMG_20170516_094258

I’m sure that the Swiss Guard are also a prayer intention close to the heart of our Lady. It’s wise to share her special intentions. To that end: Hail Mary…

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The druggie girl strikes again: fried

fried brains drugs

A while back I wrote about the lady who almost T-boned me as she raced out onto the road without looking, how she then drove to a known alleged drug house, all without a licence plate on her car. Well, just yesterday, she was parked on the road outside the rectory (about 20 yards away), straddled across both lanes, moving a few inches when she saw me coming, but then staying there as if defiantly. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting her. But, of course, I realize that she was totally wasted on drugs. She finally moved after a stare down inasmuch as that is possible: her vacuous blank stare really made me feel so sorry for her. I should have reported her but we don’t have a drug dog anymore in town and she would probably register no alcohol on a breathalyzer. I suppose our LEOs would easily see she was totally wasted, and could haul her in for a blood test after an easily made traffic stop, what with her being all over the road hardly knowing where she is. I really should call that kind of thing in…

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Filed under Drugs, Road danger