Banging on the window at 1:38 AM like a thief in the night

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This happened a couple of days ago. The first reaction in the pitch dark was to grab the Glock 19 loaded up and chambered with HST defensive rounds (which protect any by-standers, as these stop in the threat instead of passing through, better helping to stop the threat). The second reaction was to check the time. Just a habit I’m in for stuff like this.

The first question that came to mind regarded the motivation of the guy banging on the window: Didn’t he see that “24 HR. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE” sticker all in capital letters right where he was banging on the window? So is this just someone in distress? So, why don’t they say anything, like, out loud?

The first action that was accomplished was not to peak out the blinds to see who was there and what was going on, but was instead to go to the back door to see if there was also someone there, so that the banging on the window out front was a diversion to enable a home-invasion from out back. Sorry, I’m bad and evil and totally think like a criminal. I know something of what Jesus saved me from. No one was out back. There are, after all, two dog-houses! When I did look out front no one was there either.

After Mass last night I mentioned this to a neighbor, and he said that at almost exactly the same time someone was banging on his door. He, being trusting, unlike me, simply opened the door right up. I told him to never do that. He’s got a wife and kids. If whoever it is insists, just call 911, being ready to fend off a home invasion. Anyway, the door was open, and the heavy stench of drugs immediately wafted into his house. The guy was asking for a ride over to his girl friend’s house and other like idiocies. No.

And then, some minutes later at the grocery store after Mass last night, another parishioner told me of other parishioners who were away for a while, only to return to find their house having been invaded and trashed by squatters.

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog were calm and cool through the incident. I went back to sleep. This could have turned out differently for any number of reasons. Say the guy was agitated by the drugs and terribly insisted, breaking windows, breaking in…

Anything can happen anytime, anywhere. And it can be fatal. For us. Are we ready?

Are we ready for Jesus to arrive like a thief in the night? The reaction better not be to get a Glock, but rather to fall on our knees. Are we ready to go with Jesus, to be on our way to heaven? At any moment? When least expected? Be ready! Be eager!

“Bless me, Father…”

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VIRTUS® promoting porn in seminaries while saying porn in parishes is alright

VIRTUS

I’ve been writing about this for years and years. It’s like pissing against the wind. The topic is still so politically incorrect that no one will take this up. VIRTUS®, the education arm of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, all envisioned and run for years by those on record for being homosexualists, promotes porn in seminaries while saying porn in parishes is alright. And then they make payouts. Kind of like creating the problem and solving it, you know, for money. RICO, anyone?

Here’s the deal. The program I witnessed here in the parish was unlike the program that I had sat through at the seminary at which I was teaching, even though the time frame was quite close one to the other.

The one at the seminary offered some guidelines for spotting potentially reportable incidents, offering a list of something like ten things, any two of which (but not one on its own) being enough to report suspicions about whatever individual to authorities. One of those things was showing porn to youngsters. Get it? The message is, catching someone on the Church campus showing porn to kids is just fine and dandy unless there are other behaviors that might make one suspicious.

I objected that this was entirely absurd, that it was way more than enough to report someone on a stand-alone incident if this is showing porn to kids. The presenter agreed with me quietly, saying he agrees with me. And that was it. There was no official correction of the program as offered.

Bloody hell. If I saw someone showing porn to kids on church property I would call 911 and get the recording at dispatch recording, and then I would end the threat of scandal forthwith – whatever that would take – saying the address of the emergency loud enough for 911 to hear, then tell the kids they are not in trouble but they would need to make a statement against the aggressor as soon as the police arrived, not permitting the perp to leave, that not being kidnapping, but rather the stopping of a threat. Then I would call the diocese.

“VIRTUS®”? What a misnomer. (Arch)dioceses really need to stop using VIRTUS® and any other participation in The National Catholic Risk Retention Group.

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Resting Place [1986] Morgan Freeman. Undoing “strict segregationalism.”

 

By the way and just to say, the more I find out about my ancestry, the more interesting it gets. Lots of family were from nearby where I am now in WNC, even though I grew up about 1,000 miles away. I do have Scots-Irish in me as well on my dad’s side. That’s pretty much exclusively who’s here in these here mountains. So, I’m a local boy after all.

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Sgt MacKenzie: We Were Soldiers

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Getting reprimanded by a professional

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“Look! A Squirrel!” Yes, the squirrels in these parts commonly lack color, so much so that there is a white squirrel festival complete with the soup kitchen guy wearing a white squirrel outfit put together by the neighbor to the hermitage.

On the “Day Off” I spent some time in town at a friend’s house, parking in the shade of a massive tree. Before going in, I sat in the car with the windows down for a few minutes checking emails and such. This girl didn’t like it one bit, parking herself on the tree just a few feet above me, scolding me continuously for minutes on end without a break. I thought I had better just go in so that she could get back to her young squirrels.

We fallen human beings thrive on being reprimanded when this is done for a good reason, is reasonably carried out, is consistent, predictable. And we learn. And we recognize that as a good thing. That’s when it’s all reasonable. But it needs to be met with reason on our part as well, a bit of humility. The Lord has given us commandments. As He said, if we love Him, we will keep those commandments of love of God and love of neighbor.

The reprimands for our lack, we have to know, will be as continuous as a mama squirrel. Our guardian angels will make sure of that. Count on it. Don’t discount it. When it happens, don’t get frustrated, upset. It’s best to thank our guardian angels for doing their job and helping us get to heaven.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (PSO Medal of Valor, edition)

public safety officer medal of valor

Among those receiving the Medal of Valor two were already no longer living in this world. It’s about doing what you should do. You do it, and it’s almost never recognized. No thanks. In fact, just the opposite. Many condemn you to hell for laying your life on the line… for them. Guaranteed: the contentedness in the face of the young man above isn’t about himself. Instead, this is about seeing things the way they should be, whereby the whole country is recognizing what is right, what is of all honesty and integrity. And that’s good. That’s very good.

I recall some priests from Columbia speaking of all the normal pastoral things that any priest gets into for the sake of his flock, and I stupidly said that they were doing so much. The immediate response of one just ordained priest was one of anger: “No! We’ve done NOTHING! None of us has been killed like so many of our priest-friends in Columbia. We’ve done NOTHING!

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Another guarantee: those who have been killed in the line of duty and are standing before the Lord to be judged on what they did in laying down their lives as the greatest act of love will instead stand aside and point to Jesus’ wounds, and then to Jesus’ good mom.

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It’s when we realize that even those of us who have laid down their lives as the greatest act of love have done NOTHING. The love, the generosity, the honesty and integrity and humility by which that is done is not our ours, but rather our Lord’s that we’re drawn into. Mary was always in solidarity with Him as He laid down His life for everyone, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Jesus, in doing this, laid down the life of His mother for us as well. He died, and you gotta know, she was totally crushed for us. A flower for you, created by your Son, dearest mother Mary.

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Homily 2019 05 22 NOT as the world

grape vine-

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Mesmerizingly not twilight zone, ed.)

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People misunderstand why I like giving flowers to Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception. This particular flower can act as a kind of entrance way into the reality of it by way of the seemingly surreal, a kind of narnianesque or twilight-zone portal, but not into unreality, but to the fullness of life.

Take a look at the very center and keep staring at it. Notice the optical illusion trick that our Lord plays with geometry for you? God is ultimate mathematician. Better done than our meager efforts at optical illusions. It also has to do with six-sided shapes, making the bees feel right at home.

The gargantuan, monstrous backdrop of flowers for the Immaculate Conception is the dark chaos that we’ve made of this world with all the stomping on others, all the arrogant sin, having it over on someone else, in a word, great suffering all around. But whatever level of agonizing to which we’ve arrived – if we have allowed ourselves to notice any suffering amidst our escapism – it is Mary precisely because she is the Immaculate Conception, who has seen it all, taken in all in, who has made the entirety of the suffering of the world her own. When one sees, say, a flower, created by her dear Son, one rushes to give it to her. The two worlds – (1) hell on earth, (2) dearest mother Mary – go together because of her maternal love to be in solidarity with her Son.

After attending Handel’s Messiah done in its entirety with Saint Pope John Paul II in attendance, I mentioned to the Cardinal who invited me way back in the day that throughout the concert in the Paul VI Audience Hall I was thinking of Cité Soleil in Haiti, of the bishops and priests faithful to Rome being tortured in Chinese labor, reeducation and prison camps, of wars and refugees and the Holocaust, of forced prostitution and human trafficking, of… And he interrupted me saying that I should not, must not think of such things, but rather of the beauty of the music. But the entire production was precisely about such things and the glory of God walking with us through the hell so as to bring us to heaven. He was, of course, silenced. The glory of God is seen when Jesus breaths His last on the Cross, making the wounds still present at the Resurrection majestic.

I give flowers to Mary Immaculate because I have my face in all the hell, as much as I can take. And she’s seen it all. I run away. I wish I wasn’t so lacking in generosity. I wish I would stop trusting in myself. I wish I would stop wishing, thrust that trusting in myself aside, and fully trust in Jesus, Mary’s good Son. So, a flower for you, Mary. You saw all the hell in me, and you didn’t run away. You beheld my evil cast upon your Son on the Cross, and you interceded for me. A flower for you, Mary. Thank you.

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“Day Off” at the hermitage

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img_20190521_172306~2-17681136628144419326..jpgWhat that means is three shots (2 body, one head, pictured below according to the SEALs measurements 21 feet out) in 0.26 seconds starting at 1.14 seconds starting out of a locked holster. So, 0.03 hundredths of a second faster than last week. Another group came in 1.25 seconds (which group may have had the first shot out in less than a second from a locked holster), but I don’t want to claim that group as validated as I hadn’t marked previous shots on the paper and couldn’t be sure if all three were precisely accurate. Mind you, that’s the flukey best. I’m NOT that good. Not at all.

Meanwhile, a good chat was had with the neighbors to the hermitage about the priesthood. They suffer for priests. They pray for priests. They are in solidarity with priests. Such a good crowd. Meanwhile, we spoke of a particular priest. They are an inspiration. And besides, they made a delicious meal, complete with monster cookies and ice cream. I am unworthy.

Meanwhile, having had a good chat with a priest writing this next week’s guest post for These Stone Walls, I read his revision up in the hermitage itself, as was only fitting, and responded again. Awesome. He touched the Heart of Jesus for us all.

Meanwhile, I spoke with another priest, the one whose case I brought to Pope Francis. He’s doing extraordinarily well. It’s the stuff of the lives of the saints. What a great joy. What a great joy.

Meanwhile, conversation was had about yet another priest who has a case parallel to the one whose case I brought to Pope Francis. He’s an amazing, faithful, devout priest – an excellent faithful Thomist – now nailed to the cross, for years. Plotting about how to go about things to be of assistance was wrought.

Meanwhile, logistics errands for the neighbors to mechanics and banks were accomplished, at the end of which…

Meanwhile, I finally spoke with… […] It is such a blessing to be able to tap into first hand wisdom of the best of the best of the best. A good “Day Off.”

Oh, and, of course, tons of pictures of flowers for the Immaculate Conception were taken. That’s the undisputed best part of a “Day Off”.

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“Now you’ze can’t leave.” Line crossed.

The fuller scene is avoided because of continuous bad language, but what happens is that the Mafia crowd,  end the threat of the biker crowd who were trashing the Mafia crowd’s establishment.

The dark side lives for the time to hear those words – “Now you’ze can’t leave!” – crossing the line as often as they can on so many levels and in so many ways on so many occasions, pushing, pushing, pushing, until finally their dream comes true with some push back coming their way, not that the dark side enjoys that rather painful teaching moment, but relishing nevertheless the learning experience which no one else has been able to provide them throughout their lives, an instruction which they know they must endure in order to be brought out of their deep hell hole of escapism into rotted arrogance. We all know that that’s not the place to be. If only someone would help out.

Of course, we don’t want to hear those words – “Now you’ze can’t leave!” – just after entering hell. Anything that can get us to learn a bit so as not to go to hell is welcome, at least from the perspective of one in heaven who learned from his own smack down of whatever it takes, whether that comes from guardian angels or those who in the Lord’s providence are sent to do the necessary.

A word to the wise. This is true for everyone’s life. We all have a lot to learn. It’s best to avoid crossing the line and meet up with the Lord Jesus. He might have us thrown down from our high horse like Saul who would become Saint Paul, but Jesus means to bring us to heaven, you know, whatever it takes. He is the Lord of History. He’ll make the learning experience happen. It’s what we do with it that counts into eternity. It’s good to have our souls ready to go to meet Him at any time. A word to the wise.

If you think you’re immune, that you’re aloof, that you’re above all that, don’t. That attitude only proves that you’re ripe for a smack-down learning experience.

BTW and just to say, not all smack-downs are because we are lacking. Some are because we are close to our Lord. It is a powerful intercession for souls here and in purgatory when a soul who is close to the Lord is smacked-down, brought to nothing, humiliated, in pain and devastation, but remains in good friendship with Jesus. So, don’t curse those smacked down. They might be great saints. I call to mind that Jesus was smacked down, giving His life as a ransom for many, and that His good mom was in solidarity with Him regardless of Him being treated as a criminal on our behalf. The question is, are we also in solidarity with her?

pieta

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Spirit of Blue Police Tribute – Paul Harvey – Good Day

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It’s the boy at 3’50” Stay in the Fight – Hallelujah LEO Tribute by Chase Curl

We pray to come home to our families when we leave at night.
We pray for comfort, pray for safety, and for peace of mind.
We face the demons in the streets while you all sleep tight.
People meet us with their anger from the 6 O’clock news.
People hurt and people maimed by the boys in blue.
No one looks into the story like they all should do.
No one airs all the officers who save our lives.
They’d rather cover all the issues to increase their dime.
It’s not a story and to them it’s just a waste of time.
Another officer is down.
Do they hear us now?
Another day of being blamed.
While we bear the pain.
We’ll continue to stay in the fight.
In spite of all of this we’ll do what’s right.

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Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams

Memorial Day is coming up. When I was a kid, my idea of a cemetery was that it was filled with people who died of old age. It was one of Ronald Reagan’s many speeches at Arlington National Cemetery which set me straight. They’re all boys, teenagers, some out of high school, some just married, all of them giving all.

In this sorry world, we are all of us living on borrowed time bought and paid for. We must be thankful.

Meanwhile, Jesus, lays down His life to bring us to eternal life. He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, mercy bought and paid for in His own justice. We must be thankful. Humbly thankful.

Meanwhile, did you notice all the crosses in the cemetery? Can you pick out the Stars of David? I see two.

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Call the PJs! That others may live…

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When’s the last time you volunteered to visit an “old folks home”, a nursing home, a rehab, a hospice? When I was a little kid my sister encouraged me to go to “Saint Joseph’s Home” up on 9th Avenue in my home town. I would ride my little bike there and bring a smile to the residents there. I was only, like, say, eight years old. They thought it was great. Some just couldn’t believe I was there for them, that I had to be mischievous. But they got over that.

On my last trip to one of our rehab/nursing homes, I saw the Pararescue patch that was handing outside the door of David. I immediately went in to thank him for his service. We had a good chat. The history of the PJs (Pararescue Jumpers), is wild. They are the only group in the entire Department of Defense that is dedicated solely to rescue. When the SEALs and Green Berets and the rest get in trouble, it’s the PJs who come to the rescue. I owe them, enough, I think, to get green feet tatted on my posterior (see the patch above) for having saved my ass (so to speak). But I haven’t done that.

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Road Danger: Amidst the beauty…

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This was in the newspaper yesterday. This is a particularly dangerous section of the famed Nantahala Gorge, on the outer reaches of my parish. It goes from two lanes to one in the one direction, and the other side only has one lane, meaning people pass on the double yellow. So dangerous. A good place for a speed camera.

There are lots of rafting buses, adventure seekers with Kayaks, people just driving slowly to try to take in the stunning beauty all along the way. And then there are those who are locals, just going to work, annoyed with all the beauty, wishing it were all a ten lane interstate so that they wouldn’t be slowed down by others.

When you live in the paradise, it’s a good to enjoy it! Of course, if you have to say that, it means that it’s not all paradise in paradise. We are fallen human creatures, and external beauty fades into insignificance. On the flip side, this also means that what is most significant steamrolls over both external beauty and that which is less so, so that all, anywhere at any time, can rejoice in being redeemed, and, please God, saved, by our Lord Jesus.

There’s plenty of talk – going on forever it seems – about putting in a four lane highway right over the mountains so as to avoid this most dangerous gorge. Even if they do put that in, I imagine that I will be happy to take the dangerous and most beautiful route.

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Scars of mistrust after being shot? Me, Shadow-dog, Laudie-dog, Frankie-dog.

SHADOW-DOG: I’m getting to know how to use my phone-camera with a video option. I held up the phone, a small black object, in front of my face and aimed it at Shadow-dog. As you can see in the video, he has to do a double-take, not believing what he is seeing. He then ran around the fence and right up to me to be sure that I was still the same old me, and was not malicious against him, trusting that it just can’t be that I would betray him, trusting that he can still be absolutely loyal to me. But he had to make sure, immediately. “We’re still friends, right?” Yes, Shadow-dog, we’re still a team. We still work together. We’re still friends. We’ll still stand up for each other. Trust is still the only way.

Shadow-dog has never been suspicious of me. His reaction to the camera, the small black object in my hands, instantly brought to my mind that – I had forgotten – he’s been shot at with a pellet gun a couple of times…

His fur is so thick that it didn’t do much damage, just mashing the skin into a glob and making the fur stand straight out at that spot for, say, about four months. But that image of someone with a black object in their hands held up to their face and pointing it at him is an image that is obviously frozen in his memory.

He absolutely just could not believe that I would be doing the same thing with him, and he had to know the truth of the matter… immediately. Having ascertained the truth of the friendship and team effort, the bond was all the closer between us.

FRANKIE-DOG: You’ll remember my neighbor’s dog getting shot with a pellet gun in the shoulder. Had Frankie-dog had his leg forward it would have been a kill shot to the heart. It was a hunting pellet. It’s inoperable. They tried. An ex-ray shows it clearly in the shoulder bones. Here’s Frankie-dog posing for a picture a week after the operation:

You can read about that episode in the neighborhood: Shooting my neighbor’s dog. Frankie-dog had a hard life in the past but is now ultra-super-pampered by his new owner. He took this all in stride though he was in bad pain for quite a while. Before this he was exclusively an outside dog as he had under his previous owner suffered so much inside a house and refused to go inside another house, ever. But now his bonds of trust with his new owner are such that he has braved to also go inside at night. Gooood doggie!

LAUDIE-DOG: When Laudie-dog first adopted me some seven years ago, she appeared to have been shot between the shoulder blades perhaps a month previously with bird shot of a .410 shotgun. That made her pretty timid. She’s such a gentle dog. She had a bit of mange and was severely flea-bitten. With some care and lots of love she got over all that pretty quickly. Having been reduced to starvation when she had been so abused, she became a voracious eater until this day, happy as ever. She’s risked her life to defend me any number of times over against bears and wolves and a panther. The latter happened at night. I had seen it close up twice previously. Laudie-dog and I are, to say the least, good friends and a team. She’s been with me so long that she doesn’t have to do a double-take with me even after getting shot by someone… again…

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Laudie-dog was shot in the neck, just in the back of her skull, again, this time by a pellet gun. Fortunately, she has super-thick fur, a kind of mane around her neck, and of course, really loose neck skin. But the skin was all mashed up and ripped to the side and temporarily infected. The wound is healed over now. It was tender for a while, as the slightest whimpers she would emit upon inspection of the wound attested. The vets say she’s just fine. Here is is healing up…

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Another angle:

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Considering that, I’m guessing this is the kind of hunting round that was used:

pellet gun brass ammo hunting

That’s what the x-ray shows for the pellet buried in the shoulder of Frankie-dog.

Both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog got a working over by the Christian Veterinarians Mission up in Graham County the other day, which was composed of Dr Joe and many veterinarian students. Both Shadow and Laudie got their parvo and rabies shots and another combo-shot for seven other things, and a blood draw for heart worms. They’re both in great shape. Both happy happy doggies.

But what if a human being gets shot at? Is there trust to be had after that?

I’ve been shot at in my life, perhaps as much as some other non-military, non-law-enforcement civilians:

  • I honestly don’t know how many times I was shot at and hit by a BB gun as a kid.
  • I was shot at many times and hit once smack in the middle of my forehead with a pellet gun as a kid. I had to pry out the projectile from being embedded in my forehead.
  • When I was twelve or thirteen my family was shot at by a crowd armed with 12 gauge shot guns one particular day. We were pretty far away, with the BBs showering the trees around us, first up high, but then right at us, with the BBs hitting us, but not drawing blood, though one hitting my mom’s neck might have drawn a little blood.
  • Perhaps on three different occasions as a teenager I was shot at exactly 300 yards out by a .22 rifle, with bullets whizzing by all around me. That I wasn’t hit was accidental. It’s not that the shooter didn’t try. The proximity of a bullet whizzing by your ears is unmistakable also as to distance. Too close! On each occasion the entire barrel magazine was emptied out against me, 15 bullets each time. Yes, I know what type of gun.
  • A sniper guy sent out a bullet which, because of instantaneous circumstances, just missed me. It would have gotten me smack in the heart. This was after I was ordained a priest and was studying in Rome.
  • At the hermitage on a number of occasions a hunting rifle similar to a .30-06 / 7.62×63, with a handful of rounds each time. I was out in an opening of the forest and the shooter was hidden in the forest on the ridge behind me. He could see me. I couldn’t see him. There was no escape. He had no intention of hitting me, just scaring me. I just don’t get scared in such situations.

That’s it, so far. It’s a good idea never to trust any fallen human being because, as it is, all human beings are fallen. We can, however, trust in Jesus. After all, look at His track record. Jesus entrusted Himself to us. Look at what we did. Look at how He still entrusts Himself to us. We can learn to trust Him, that He wants what’s best for us, that He wants to get us to heaven. Jesus, I trust in you.

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Analyzing Strzok’s capacity to lie. The deadpan declaration: “I am America.”

Analysts love declarations. There are certain declarations that are stand-alone, and which simply cannot be voiced unless you mean them in any and all contexts or regardless of any particular context whatsoever. They reveal a helluvalot about a person.

Here’s Peter Strzok declaring away to Tray Gowdy at 5’38″…

“The American electorate I respect in their decisions and their right to vote is absolutely a cornerstone of our democracy so at no time did I insult or call into question the judgment or the power of the American electorate.”

And he later repeats a version of that. It’s ingrained into him.

It’s all in the “so.” The “so” inescapably indicates that Peter Strzok believes that he, personally, is America. But this is not the Patriotism of which he thinks he is the definition. Instead, this is, for him, about his inability to do wrong. This, my friends, is as cynical as it gets. It’s a licence to kill. It’s a licence to betray one’s country as doing so could not possibly be considered betrayal by him: he IS America.

There are plenty of false patriots who say: “I love America and I’m the most patriotic person ever and I embody all that America is.” No. That doesn’t work.

It needs to be added instantaneously that there is an ever present possibility that we can fall short, we are able to betray. It is this honesty and humility which keeps one sharp, frosty, and, indeed, able to see ever so easily how it is that this or that person is at the verge of or has already betrayed America and is a danger.

Anyone who embodies the “so” principle of Peter Strzok cannot be trusted.

Do the analogy. The person who, in the spiritual life says to himself that he is doing just fine and is strong because he hasn’t killed anyone in a long time or ever and that makes him all good is a fraud. The person who by the grace of God is in humble thanksgiving before the Lord gets it, knowing that he could fall at any time into whatever lack. Holiness is about the Lord creating us as His friends: “I call you friends.” The trust is not in ourselves but in Jesus. Jesus I trust in you.

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Homily 2019 May 19 Working for Jesus

angel face palm

When I got to the part of the story in the homily about the man ready plunge the butcher knife into the heart of the priest, pretty much everyone did a guardian angel face-palm.

But then…

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Our perception of time is surreal until

salvador dali persistence of time

Salvador Dali calls this The Persistence of Time. That’s our fallen human perspective of reality for sure. Surreal.

Meanwhile, time is drawn into one hour upon the Cross where we find the very Creator of time, time being drawn together in our redemption, He drawing all to Himself right through that hell of Calvary.

This is where we find the mercy of forgiveness, mercy being a dirty word for many these days, you know, for those who have no need of mercy whatsoever, so self-righteous are they.

But it is good to rejoice in mercy in humble thanksgiving, which becomes the engine of any firm purpose of amendment. This is most beautiful in contrast to the arrogance of self-righteousness to which so many run ever so breathlessly, congratulating themselves.

Confession!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Square root is the cure, edition)

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Ground Ivy or Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederaceae) has a visibly and – to the touch – a markedly SQUARE stem. This ivy is extremely common, found in North America and Europe and right through Southwest Asia, that is, including Israel.

If you pick a heap of it and stuff it tightly into a quart jar so that there’s pretty much zero air, and then fill up the jar with what vodka[!] you can pour into it right up to the brim, screwing on the cap tightly, and then turn it upside down and downside up day by day for at least six weeks, you’ll then have a very effective home cure for plenty of types of annoying and long term, even years-long coughs. And it’s surprisingly and happily effective beginning from the very first sip. This is the experience of many. It is NOT for women of child-bearing age as it is also an abortifacient. See the “Safety” section for the article on this plant in Wikipedia HERE.

The brothers and sisters of Jesus – using evidence from the Gospels – are absolutely not the blood children of Jesus’ virgin mother. Everything points to them being “throw-away” kids, “street” kids, homeless orphans whom the Holy Family took in upon return from their exile in Egypt after Jesus’ miraculous birth in Bethlehem. Surely they would come to the security and care of the Holy Family sick and miserable. Surely Mary would be able to provide them with home-remedies. Surely something to do with this herb was part of that home remedy in some way for those youngsters.

So, a flower for you, Mary. And we’re happy to be adopted also into the Holy Family.

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