Stalking a Vietnam Vet with repeated complex desecration of his USA Flag

american flag upside down

One of our elderly Vietnam Vets in my parish territory (up in otherwise ultra-conservative Graham County) has been subjected to multiple nightly attacks on his American Flag. In the morning he finds that it’s been damaged, turned upside down, rehoisted, but with the ropes tightly knotted so that he has to cut it down. He now stays up at night, waiting to catch the perp, who, apparently, watches the watch, and so hasn’t yet been caught.

This isn’t just a prank. This is well thought out in advance and is insisted upon; it’s ideological. There’s a difference between once-off insulting of the flag by way of emotion on the one hand, and stalking people on the other hand. And it seems to me that this is stalking. This is meant to de-spirit this particular Veteran. Stalking is a crime. This perp needs to be put in prison.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Thanks, Mother Mary, for… edition)

flores prince of peace

Thanks, Mother Mary, for…

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In defense of mercy: it’s about justice

sacred heart

Seen in “The Barn” – the priests retreat house in Hanceville, AL

  • “For the sake of His sorrowful passion…” [“for the sake” – that’s called justice]
  • “… have mercy on us and on the whole world.” [There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.]

The reason people are skeptical of mercy, cynical, with bitterness, is that they cut mercy off from justice and run after mercy alone. That doesn’t work. There is no mercy without justice. Mercy is founded on justice. Aquinas puts mercy in its place in his commentary on the Sentences, saying that mercy is a mere potential part of the virtue of justice, yet also speaking of mercy as the greatest revelation of the glory of God. It is Christ Jesus standing in our place, taking on what we deserve for sin, original sin and our own, death, the worst we can give out, which makes the mercy real, majestic, the weight of the glory of which brings us to our knees, has us go prostrate before this most Sacred Mystery, and has us walk in humble thanksgiving with the Son of the Living God in our daily lives, at every moment of our lives, one with Him as members of the body are one with the body.

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I thank you today, President Reagan, Sir

Make the analogy with this ecclesia militans, with each united to the One Warrior, Mary’s Divine Son, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. Go to Confession. Go to Communion. The Church must win this war. Fight as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on you alone because you are one with the One Warrior. Act in His goodness, His kindness, His Truth. And be close, very close, to your guardian angel, who sees the face of the Most High, the Living God.

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Republished: John the Baptist’s birthday, because he was sanctified in his mother’s womb

visitation from peregabrielcom.png

[The painting above is from peregabriel.com. A very cool site!]

Remember that the easiest way to pray the rosary is to recognize that Jesus and Mary and Joseph are with you right here, right now, as they are in heaven, not as they were a couple thousand years ago. Sure, take a look at what they did for you and all back in the day, but, in our Lord’s grace, with a spirit of humble thanksgiving for them, right here, right now.

Remember, it’s not about your imagination that you are in their presence, which Pelagian effort of imagination is a lot of hooey. Rather, your act of the will in our Lord’s grace to humbly thank Him and our Blessed Mother is what the prayer of the rosary is all about.

Clever meditations, whether in “rant” style such as in this article, or, later, please God, in a style presented in a more genteel manner, don’t get anyone anywhere. The only way what is presented on this blog is going to help anyone is if that someone, by the grace of our Lord, uses these words as an occasion to humbly thank the Holy Family right now for what went on back in the day.

* * *

For this preliminary “rant meditation” on the second joyful mystery of the most holy rosary, let’s leave off Luke 1,5-25 (the scene with Zachariah) and Luke 1,46-80 (saving those for future meditations!), concentrating on Luke 1,39-45, for which a summary interlinear comment will be provided, based on my own in-your-face translation from the Greek, with an eye to the Vulgate. I’m not into the esoteric practice of translating one word for one word, as if, magically, all languages had absolutely perfect one word for one word equivalents. Such pretension cannot ever provide a great translation, unless you’re in a position to create the language, as was the case with the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which made up a goodly number of words, but paraphrased the rest. Instead, trying to avoid coining any words, I’ll provide a translation with more in-your-face accuracy than any one word for one word translation could ever present. Note that the “perfect” verbs, with their continuing perfection, are not easy to translate! …

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days, went out into the hill country with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah, 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed. 43 And how has this come about to me that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.”

O.K. Let’s try some interlinear commentary:

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days [“these days,” not “those days.” This speaks to what is happening to Mary interiorly. She’s immediately thinking of Hanna’s words, and singing the “Magnificat”. But, more on that in a, please God, future meditation.], went out into the hill country [which is also way up from Nazareth] with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah [Just a couple of miles down from Jerusalem: “enthusiastic haste”… I remember walking from the Sea of Galilee down to Jericho with enthusiastic haste the day before the first Gulf War with Saddam Hussain. I had intended to go up to Jerusalem past Saint George monastery, but the military nicely, but forcefully had some of the settlers crowd drive me the rest of the way to Jerusalem. Anyway, just to say, I was about twice the age that Mary would have been. It took me one day to do that. Her enthusiastic haste bore the Son of God, giving wings to her feet], 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. [What a greeting! Mary was filled with her “Magnificat” already, her heart and soul bursting with the praise of God…] 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb [This is traditionally understood as the sanctification of John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth. This is why the birthday of John the Baptist is celebrated, along with that of Mary and Jesus. He was already holy in the womb, as were Jesus and Mary.], and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [This cannot but give great joy to our hearts and souls!]. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation [to be repeated countless times in later centuries] and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed [which completes the first part of the Hail Mary, the earlier parts being those said by the angel Gabriel to Mary, a very biblical prayer…]. 43 And how has this come about to me [such humility, which can always be had before the greatest goodness and kindness, so far beyond us, and yet with us…] that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? [“The Mother of my Lord”… A prophecy to be noted today: the blastocyst is not implanted in the uterus in the mother until about nine days after conception. Give Mary and all her enthusiastic haste, very likely traveling alone, about – what? – a day, two days, three to get to Elizabeth… At any rate, before implantation of the conceived Child, just a few cells at this stage: “The Mother of my Lord”… Pius XII instructed us that the just conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary embraced the entire Mystical Body of Christ from, in fact, the first instant of His conception.] 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb [Not the normal “kick”!]. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.” [Elizabeth… What a great saint… So filled with the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Holy Spirit… knowing the truth of it all. Wow! The two of them! What joy they would have had during those months with Mary helping Elizabeth. Our Lord Jesus, always foremost in their thoughts… Just so awesome… ]

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Getting shot by my “Shadow” at four years old, and other times I was shot at

just me 05

Far from four years old in this picture. But even at four years old I was still just a little kid. My “Shadow” was the same age. He wouldn’t become my “Shadow” for another fourteen or more years. But already the “fun” was beginning.

While getting shot at much less actually being shot is never a fun experience, it is surely formative in one’s life, especially if one is young. I recalled events in my own life the other day when I was at the ammo desk in our local Walmart (as there were especially low prices). As the clerk went to the back to the warehoused ammo in back of the store, a family of great grandfather, grandfather, and father with twin four year old daughters stopped to see about getting an extra small .22 rifle for the girls. It was clearly a military / law enforcement family and they wanted to familiarize the little ones early in life with that which they otherwise saw on a daily basis. Whatever one might think about that – and I myself think that four years old is too young to process what this kind of danger is all about – it served to trigger my own memories of being four years old.

I was out at Two Rivers Lake some miles from Saint Anna (of Lake Wobegon fame) with family and friends including the kids of my dad’s friends and associates. One kid my age had a C02 rifle and started shooting at me, utterly unprovoked, for target practice, no one having taught him gun safety. He was about 35 feet away and wasn’t a good shot, but I could hear the ammo flying next to my head. “What are you doing? Don’t you know those could hit me? Stop it!” Just more shots. There was a corn field just ten feet away from me, and it was late Summer, September 4, 1964, Labor Day, so the corn was already tall. I remember everything when I was a kid, provably, back to one year old, but I digress. I’ve written about that before. Anyway…

This was my first time being in full escape mode, my first time chasing through a corn-field. I fully remember learning on the spot in that very instance to strategize escape, running among the stalks with the rows until there was a space through which I could pop over sideways into another row without slowing down, making sure not to move the stalks of corn as that would give away my position, noting that my adversary could not keep up with me and was angry with himself that I had simply disappeared, he not having a clue about how to track his prey (even with my footprints in the soil). That I could play on this lack of his made me laugh, until I noticed that this particular gun was powerful enough to shoot ammo right through the corn. Run!

I can still hear the ammo ripping through the field all around me: shot shot shot shot shot shot shot. Some stopped short because of hitting the stalks. Some flew past me having only hit some leaves. “Tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-” Finally: thud… smack in the middle of my forehead, where it stuck, and caused not only a welt and some bleeding, but a bump on my skull and a scar that has lasted to this day. It had to be dug out. “Stop shooting! You hit me!” I said that with a bit of force, enough to scare the kid. I don’t regret that. You gotta do what you gotta do to stop the threat, right? All this – a stategized escape, learning that I could think quickly and calmly under pressure, learning that gun violence can possibly come from emotions with which you can’t reason but which you can possibly control through use of one’s voice and smarts alone, learning to be situationally aware (especially with that kid anywhere near my vicinity), learning that I could be a victim of a crime, learning that I didn’t have to be a victim, learning that being smart is more effective than anything else, learning self-confidence, learning to size up others, and much more – all these were things that I learned at an impressionable age.

That’s the only time I was ever hit by any ammo, well, except by some BBs of a 12 gauge shot gun from some next door neighbors out in the woods from quite a distance, so it was more like getting hit by small pebbles. They had fired perhaps five times, shooting high in the trees but then lowering their aim. No harm done. Whatever. The escape was effected not by running, but simply by walking away quickly. It’s about mind control. Running might have had them shoot directly earlier. That wouldn’t have been good.

I had the same “shoot high” at first but then lower the range thing happen in a coup d’état in Fiji in the year 2000 at the Pacific Regional Seminary. Before the last of the faculty left, leaving me quite alone at the seminary, we had a meeting in a building closest to the parliament where the 21 hostages including the prime minister were being held. Gun fire commenced and one of the faculty members ran outside to see what was going on with the bullets flying through the trees. I ran out to get her to come back inside as she would not listen to reason from us who were remaining inside. I guess she thought she was being brave in seeing what was happening for us. I ran out and put my face in hers, commanding her rather forcefully to go back in. At that point she obeyed. By this time the bullets were no longer high in the trees but were lowering to just above my head, so, everyone else safe, back in I went as well. These were AK 47s. The shots were, I’m sure, just a warning to get out. In short order the rest of the teaching faculty left the country. The Admin and staff and students were long gone. My own bishop left me there. Fine. There were more incidents when I was there alone but there was nothing quite so directed as all that.

I again had the same “shoot high” at first but then lower the range thing happen just some months ago out at the hermitage, when I myself was doing some target practice. My adversary sent half a dozen rifle bullets smashing through branches and into trees just above me. Warning shots. Whatever. My response was not more target practice, but playing Handel’s Messiah on my phone.

Hey! It worked to get rid of the panther going after Laudie-dog a couple of years back at that same place, so why wouldn’t it work with some freaky human guy? Gun fire makes even the insects stop chirping and buzzing. He was close enough to hear the speakers of my little phone in that deathly quiet forest. It worked. Heh heh heh. I’m certain that Handel’s Messiah is not what was expected. Anyone who likes the Hallujah chorus that much can’t be all that bad, right? Or he must be harmlessly crazy, right? It was to laugh. Again, using your brain is always the best strategy. Had I reacted differently, not seeing him but him seeing me, things could have ended very differently very quickly. And he was there for a fight to the death. You don’t shoot at someone so many times in these mountains and not intend to fight to the death. Anyway, I’ve never given it a second thought. I’ve never had a problem since. I’ve probably made him mutter to himself until this very day: “It’s just that he played Handel’s Messiah on his phone… the Hallelujah chorus…” Heh heh heh.

sniper 2

Oh, I just remembered another time I’ve completely forgotten about until now. This was a sniper shot in the Autumn of 1999 over in Rome. I was up on the top floor of where I was staying, about 85 feet up from street level, a recreation room surrounded by picture windows. I was standing at this window with the exit door directly behind me. I loved to stand there and look out over the city of Rome while mulling over a doctoral thesis I was writing at the time on textual criticism of papyri manuscripts. I was getting creeped out by a window on the far side of a little valley in the city, enough to be distracting, and it was unrelenting. Wanting to think of things more academic, I simply turned to leave out the door onto the roof-patio on the far side of the building where I would pace back and forth to think in peace. But just as I turned out the door to the patio, that nano-second, I heard a sharp crash-crack sound and came back to investigate. I saw a small hole in the window where I had been and some bits of glass round about, but figured it was just someone who had thrown a rock up at the building just to do it, and that it was no big deal. Back I went to the patio and pacing oblivious to the world, thinking of manuscript symbols and dates and the “Reformation” and present day Church politics. But the next day and the next I would be back at that window, as was my custom while deep in thought. I let myself be distracted and noticed that a picture on the far wall from the window, just to the side of the door, has been broken by what I didn’t know, perhaps rough-housing while playing ping-pong. But then I looked at the window again. It was double-pane. It was then that I realized this had to have been a bullet. I followed the unmistakable trajectory (lining up the hole in the two panes), and it went directly to the hole in the picture inside the room. With that I followed the trajectory the other way, and that led me to a large-windowed room (one window always open) on a roof of a building (quite exactly the height of the one I was in) which, now using google-maps distance measuring tool, I find was 427 feet away.

sniper 1

I had always gotten a super-creepy feeling from that particular window. Now I knew why. Left-of-bang advice from those experienced in combat is that you should always take note of those super-creepy feelings. Your senses pick up on things that don’t register in your conscience brain except by way of such warnings as they are things so small you would never pay attention to them even if you did outright notice them. Anyway, no harm done. That didn’t stop me from hanging out at that window to check out the skyline of Rome before my usual pacing. I won’t be able to go back to that building if I’m ever in Rome to dig the bullet out of the brick wall since the building was sold some years ago. As I think of this, I have to wonder if this was a self-admitted terrorist from West-Africa whose confidence I had gained by befriending him by telling my always impossible stories. He couldn’t help himself. I’m so evil and bad that I know how to make friends with the most evil and bad people. I just have a knack for it. I’m sure he reflected on this later and knew he had said too much. He indicated the same to me when I had started to press him again for more info a week or so later, though I was being very clever, and he gave me even more info. I guess this was a way to take out a risk to his plans. I let the FBI know, as his plans involved these USA.

Anyway, there were plenty of other times I’ve had plenty of guns trained directly at me, rifles and AKs to pistols – not only in other places around the world but right here in Andrews – but nothing ever came of those incidents, so, whatever. I don’t care.

As long time readers know, I’ve only very recently thought of getting a concealed carry permit, since self-defense is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice and I actually had the possibility, now being Stateside, now having a place to practice, now knowing people who could give me some good advice.

But, just to say, my own personal history in all this has taught me that smarts are by far the best defense anyone can have. Learning to be a good shot is one thing, but learning how to escape or at least deescalate is by far the most important. Being disarming – charming, calm, smart, even using a rather commanding voice depending on circumstances – can actually work to disarm someone. That’s not always the case. But I’m happy to have been in some adverse circumstances, as close to being deadly as you can get, to know the difference, at least somewhat, as all circumstances are unrepeatable.

When all is said and done, the best thing to do is to be good friends with your guardian angel. He sees the face of God.

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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Guns, Intelligence Community, Terrorism

Excommunication of Mafia by secular courts? What’s this about? Anecdotes…

MAFIA OMERTA

“Hello Fr. George: I had a doubt if excommunication of mafia is also extended to those co- cooperating directly or indirectly by running  illicit businesses like gambling dens and bootlegging. — With prayers [Priest friend from India]”

We’ll have to see the language, which I imagine will be quite filled with legalese. As it is, more than fifty prosecutors, bishops, United Nations representatives and victims of organized crime have just tried to come up with a new legal doctrine concerning “the question of excommunication for corruption and mafia association.” “New” is right.

The novelty in this is that Pope Francis is seriously thinking of moving forward on entirely handing the Church’s own judicial processes of imposing excommunication over to the State regarding the Mafia, so that the opinion of the State as to the guilt of someone in, say, racketeering (a conviction), is what effectively imposes and declares the excommunication. Or is there to be an “administrative process” in some Vatican “Pontifical Council for the Excommunication of the Mafia” whereby the poor fellow has his State conviction rubber stamped by some Vatican office worker? What a sick joke against both justice and mercy. This seems to be insanity, real evil, putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

mafia

The State is often the enemy of the Church in various countries. What do you do if you are a kind of Henry VIII and you have a troublesome cleric like John Fisher or a troublesome Chancellor like Thomas More? Just trump up charges of racketeering and the poor fellows will be not only be convicted by the State but also excommunicated by the Church based solely on that secular conviction. It’s no longer Saint John Fisher but damned John Fisher. It’s no longer Saint Thomas More but damned Thomas More. The Church would no longer has any voice in the public square with this kind of pressure for ecclesiastics to be sycophants of the State. The U.S. Department of State is having a celebration, along with so many governments in other countries.

But there are so many insurmountable problems that I doubt Pope Francis will be successful in moving forward with this kind of legislation for State sponsored Catholic excommunication, this delegation of investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing to the State. If he is successful, I can only imagine the immediate wholesale convictions of racketeering followed by death sentences for church leaders in countries that are terribly annoyed with the Catholic Church (and there are many which are just that violent). And what’s the Church to do if all those church leaders are also said to be excommunicated?

Some important personal anecdotes:

(1) For quite a long time I lived in the same house as the head legal liaison between the Italian Department of Defense (Ministero della difesa) and the Holy See. He approached me with the request that I agree that he might arrange an assignment for me as pastor in a parish in Southern Italy so that he might better deal with the Mafia in that region, my anti-Mafia activities apparently being known to some. I knew exactly where he was going in the conversation and got him to admit easily enough that his purpose was to go ahead and put listening devices in my confessional box so that they might have evidence to convict whatever mafia went to confession. The Mafia do go to confession, but not with the purpose of being forgiven, but so as to shut the priest up, for the priest would then feel obliged by the seal of confession even if he otherwise heard the information outside of confession as well. This liaison was quite blunt about this, quite open, even telling me the procedures they use to set this already well established policy into practice. This happens all the time. In these USA the FBI has done this numerous times in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. I asked him what would happen if I actually did my bit as a priest and did not give the mafia guy absolution, but told him to get his wife and kids and skip the country taking nothing with him so as to get out of the mafia altogether and then get absolution elsewhere. The response was that I would, of course, be shot right through the confessional screen. Of course. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): none whatsoever.

(2) A good “friend”, one of the very top anti-Mafia investigators in Italy for DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia) wanted me to spy for him on who else but the Cardinals who are resident in Rome. He was offering me all sorts of favors toward this end, even putting local law enforcement at my beck and call, regardless of how long I might take them away from their duties. The thing is, I did know very well and have been in the houses and various main offices and back offices and off to the side offices of many of the Cardinals. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): None whatsoever.

(3) A bishop in southern Italy, a close friend with no fear in publicly and continuously denouncing the mafia in his diocese, was threatened with death numerous times to no effect. Finally the mafia, in this case the ‘Ndrangheta, got a hold of the Pontifical Family to pass along the message that if the bishop was not moved by the next morning he would certainly be found dead. He was moved to another diocese that very night. In other words, the church revealed that it will not back up the pastoral initiatives of those who stand up against the mafia, but will just do the expedient thing, showing what respect there is for actual courage: none whatsoever.

(4) A mafia priest, a pastor in a large parish in the western region of Rome, has constant contacts with the Pontifical Family, making personal visits. He’s got many of the big political mafia bosses in his parish. They are taken care of very well by the parish, favored members of the parish. What does that say? (I did try to do something about this at one time. Response? None whatsoever that I know about.)

(5) My own case worker (let’s call him J.J. for short) in the U.S. Department of State surely has everything to do with this legal conference of Pope Francis and is likely the instigator and provider of legal language for much of it. He has everything to do with the law, with the United Nations, with the Hague, with this kind of legal maneuvering by teams for or against individuals on an international level in such manner that international relations between countries are affected. I smell a rat in all this. There is a difference between the Holy See and the Vatican, a difference which, if not protected, will bring damage to Vatican City State fairly quickly. This conflation of prosecution of the Mafia by Church and State could well be a precedent. This effort has been going on for many years in many ways also by way of powerful ecclesiastical figures who bow down to those at the United Nations and other diplomatic / legal organs… Maybe the legalese will provide a way out of this conflation. Maybe not. We will see. What are the tangible benefits? None whatsoever that I can figure out. Everything can go wrong; nothing and no one is better off with this sort of action. Quite literally this would set up the Holy See / Vatican City State for extortion by the U.S. State Department, forcing what the DoS would call “policy” decisions, or assignments of bishops, or whatever. Not a good position to be in.

(6) A little test of all this before any promulgation of any decree by Pope Francis might well be in order. What I have in mind is to […].

(7)  I should mention the Archdiocese of Malta, where C.S. resides, and also the little town of Salem, New Hampshire, USA, where E.A., “thick as thieves” with C.S., is continuing to serve out his prison sentence…

Et cetera

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Filed under Holy See, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

I’m hunting the next assassin of GOP members of Congress. Join me.

political assassination

To me, it’s obvious. And I bet he’s already been nailed. Field agents just haven’t collected him, you know, so as to find out more about him and any associates while he thinks he’s free, but ready to move whenever things start to get dangerous, the typical m.o. for dealing with terrorists.

Note that investigators insisted that instantly-killed-Hodgkinson was working alone even after more threats came in. Good obfuscation. He worked alone, but that doesn’t mean he never discussed it with like minded individuals of which there are plenty. Anyway, he was a political hack working for a hack political party.

After Hodgkinson’s death, the prank threats can largely be dismissed, except, in my opinion, for one, in an “email” of all things to Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., which proclaimed “one down, 216 to go,” and asked with an incredulous tone: “Did you NOT expect this?” Take note of the rest:

“When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.”

Now, let’s do some commentary:

“When you take away ordinary peoples very lives…” — This “very lives” phraseology is unusual, only showing up in literary communication. Here, “very lives” quantifies and defines the existential meaning of the group one sets apart and identifies with, namely, ordinary people who are oppressed by those who have power to remove that existential meaning. That meaning is not something profound, but rather merely equated with possessed property which can be physically removed “in order to pay off the wealthiest among us,” namely, those who are in cahoots with the person who has such power. This is perhaps the most succinct expression of the foundation for violent dialectical materialism ever penned.

The sentence continues directly to state the violence to come to those in power: “your own lives are forfeit.” The double genitive sets up a contrasting parallel with the lives of the oppressed, whose “very lives” are therefore judged to have been brought to be forfeit by the oppressors. The oppressed are as good as dead in the opinion of the writer, and so have nothing to lose. Any violence from them, particularly him, is to be expected: “Did you NOT expect this?” This is either a professor or an extremely well read life-long student. What brings this home for me is ultra-literary usage of “forfeit.” Examples of common usage are “He forfeited his property,” or “He forfeited his life.” But you just never see the correct usage of someone’s life being forfeit. Never. This is highly refined usage of language. This screams a profile. But we’re only warming up:

“Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.” The usage of “certainly” admits that, in the view of the oppressor, none of what was stated above is at all certain, but that what follows is certain, and to such an extent, that all that which may have been uncertain is no longer so, at least in effect, for their following deaths will prove the point that dialectical materialism (always involving violent death) is equated with might makes right. Violence makes one right. The usage of the phrase “your souls” is purely, oddly in this context, religious. But not so oddly. Those who fancy themselves to be refiners and appliers of ideology struggle more than others with religious realities, their very struggle being a scintillating irony that is impishly recognized and admitted with a gleeful edge of purposed evil. “Your souls” cannot be used by anyone Muslim, by anyone growing up with zero religious affiliation from the beginning. It’s simply very unlikely that this person has ever belonged to a Christian sect as, by and large, none of them have spoken with such language for a good 50 years. I would say that there is some chance that this person was perhaps brought up as an Orthodox Jew, but he is most probably a conservative Catholic in upbringing, but someone who is bitterly rejecting that religious upbringing and, I would say, in favor of an entitlements mentality concerned, however, not with any lust for wealth (as he explicitly states), but rather other lusts which hide behind that facade, you know, those issues which also by and large divide Democrats and Republicans as much as they divide conservative and liberal Catholics. The contrast between “souls and mortality” is poignantly doubly anguished. “Souls” are immortal, while our now mortal coil is not. But he’s already rejected the immortality of the soul by his existential limitation of the meaning of human life in his opening statement. This is a projection of his religious frustration onto the Representative. He wants to kill his frustration and I have no doubt that he will attempt to kill the Representative in order to kill off what he doesn’t like in himself. The irretrievably intended violence of his unrelenting ideology comes through with the incredibly nihilistic statement of “mortality” being “lost”, for “mortality” is already dead, and entitlement to non-dead mortality for whatever number of years before turning to dust is the only thing at stake, though “only” means everything to him. The shallowness of life reduced to intellectual prowess at the service of violence is stunning, frightening. As Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn put it in his Gulag Archipelago, the frightening thing is not the pain of any torture and death, but rather looking into the eyes of one’s torturer and seeing no conscience there. The last bit about being “lost long before” refers to all this being unalterable, set in stone. The assassination will happen. There’s nothing that can be done about it.

No one who writes this well, this succinctly, this sharply, this intensely, this singlemindedly, with such self-congratulations, such self-importance, such a Messiah complex can be imitated by anyone else. This is not the author of books so much as articles or political analysis for the far left. He’s surely written articles for publication, either internally as policy for a political party or for academic journals or agitator newsletters/websites. He’s simply too well practiced, too good at it to have never published before. The “email” to the political office of the Representative is, I assume, not an email, but rather a contact form. Nevertheless, everything about the computer including the location is instantly known. It’s probably a computer at a university that is open for use to all students (such as in various libraries or department student areas), or an internet cafe near a university or college. But that’s a clue too, right? Easy peasy. Tracking down this guy takes, what, a morning? I wouldn’t let the thing go too long. Such a person can suddenly slip from sight and carry out their purpose. Some might object that this guy is just blowing off steam after the Hodkinson terrorism, his thunder having been stolen by Hodkinson, he wanting to ride the wake of Hodkinson “fame.” But, instead, this guy actually means what he says. So, there’s a pretty complete profile.

 

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Hens and Chicks and donkeys edition)

flores hens and chicks

The Hens and Chicks are wildly blooming at one of my Communion Calls in the back ridges of the back mountains of the back forests. Beautiful. Like Jewels. For our Lady.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Don’t think that our Lady wasn’t as eager as her Divine Son Jesus for the Hour of her intercession to come to pass. Don’t think she wasn’t eager to see the donkey on which Jesus would ride to His crucifixion when those Hosannas rang out. Finally!

Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mother Mary.

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Targets for a “day-off” with “The Guy”

target swinging bottle

One of these days I’ll be going shooting with “The Guy”, literally the best shot in the world, who hates shooting at stationary targets. He’s been collecting junk targets, tin cans and such, thinking that they will pop up in the air so as to provide a second shot at something that is moving. I tried this a few weeks back, but it didn’t work, with the 9mm going through any such things so quickly that they didn’t move in the slightest. So, I’m sure he’s never done that before, but is just humoring me. Perhaps people of yore did this with a 45, as the bullet is more like throwing a golf ball at something. But he shoots a 40, a Sig. I’m sure that’s about the same as a 9mm in this application. What to do? Cheap versions of moving targets are way too expensive (like around $500, which is pure insanity).

Hey! Why not take a bit of string, tie it to a piece of junk metal, throw that over a branch with an embankment behind it, lower the metal down and nail it to the tree, then tie the other side of the string to an old juice bottle filled with water (about chest/head high), having an old roll of duct tape on hand to mend the hits (or simply other pre-filled bottles if people are really accurate, destroying the bottle). Then set the bottle swinging. Like a pendulum, it will swing for a quite a long time, certainly longer than two or three people would take to each empty a few magazines into the bottle, which, spouting geysers, and wildly moving about all the more with any hit, would be quite a spectacle and make for quite a bit of laughter and good times.

Total cost: a few cents. The bullets are the cost for the day. They would at most be less than the price of a movie ticket, whatever those go for these days (I have no idea). One of my shut-ins has the hope of coming with me for the day. But I’ll have to prepare at least enough to have some foundation for the advice that I’ll surely get from “The Guy.” I have the idea that, right now, not ever having shot at a moving target, I wouldn’t be able to hit it even once and so not be able to absorb any advice at all. I don’t want to waste “The Guy’s” time. So, I know one more thing I’ll be doing on my “days off” until I can at least hit a moving target once in a while. We’ll see.

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Excommunicating the Mafia – part 2 – Missionaries of Mercy to absolve?

You have heard that it was said that Pope Francis is intent on excommunicating the mafia, you know, more officially than did Pope John Paul II back in 1982. You can see how scared Marini was in back of him, surely thinking they were going to get shot on the spot. As it is, the mafia was killing priests, threatening the Cardinal of Palermo, executing judges, and doing all their horrible protection rackets, prostitution, drugs. At the time, at least in the Archdiocese of New York, it was forbidden to provide the sacraments or funerals to the mafia. Now, I don’t know. Perhaps it wasn’t “officially” done by JPII and Francis wants to make it more “official.” There are plenty of mafia priests around, especially in Italy, but elsewhere as well, certainly in these USA.

Maybe Pope Francis will make the excommunication something only the Holy See or Missionaries of Mercy can take away. We will see. I have some stories to tell along those lines which involve the Italian Military and the Holy See, with me right in the middle of the whole thing. Perhaps this is what inspired the brain-stormers, you know: “Let the Missionaries of Mercy be put on the spot.” Fine. Whatever.

It is imperative that a bit of thought goes into advice for those absolving such things. I would not recommend that any priest be allowed to do this. I recommend that the possibilities for absolution are made known at the same time as the excommunication, which is supposed to be medicinal, right?

Unless things have radically changed in Rome over the past number of years in regard to the mafia, I would guess that no one has a clue what the political maneuvering is really like. I will try to write more on this, also to Archbishop Fisichella (my boss in this matter) and Pope Francis.

Perhaps it might be thought that my little parish is out of the way and inconsequential in this matter, but, in fact, it is because it is perhaps the most remote place in these USA that the mafia is to be found in abundance, along with, unknown to each other, those in witness protection.

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Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off

sunset-

The magnificent sunset nearing home after a super happy day-off yesterday. About 95% of the day was spent with the sick and shut-ins in the twilight of their lives, many of them living in far-flung places, with Sassy the Subaru putting on hundreds of miles. I love a “day-off” like this, sooooooo happy to be a priest.

There are plenty of people, however, who have a bitter reaction to priests getting a “day-off”. They may wish to read Mark 6:31-32:

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”

That’s called a “day-off”. Jesus recommends it. Having said that, we move on to the next verse (Mark 6:33), because text without context is pretext. So, let’s see what a “day-off” is actually like:

“People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

Yep. That’s what happens. I love it. Jesus is so very good and kind. He directs all through his beloved flock, who say things like: “Did you hear that so and so is terribly sick today as well?” This is when the “breaking of the bread” means that the Eucharistic Host is broken to be smaller and smaller. They love that Jesus would come to them riding along with a donkey-priest. As Saint Augustine said: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” (You are a donkey, but you carry Christ.)

But then I had a few minutes to spare at the hermitage, so, sorry, but, of course, I just had to relax a little as well. A donkey has to be a donkey once in a while. Triple taps drawing from the holster, trying to draw, point and shoot all three within three seconds. I don’t have a timer, so I assume I’m slow, perhaps 2 1/2 seconds. That’s an eternity in combat. Any suggestions for a timer? Here’s a magazine’s worth, which means five draws with three shots each:

target 3 taps-

And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

target 3 taps

Real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I’ll be the first to admit: this was fairly close range But for me it’s pretty good. It seems that the less aim is taken in favor of muscle-memory pointing, as it is said, the greater the accuracy and certainly the less anticipatory over-compensation for any muzzle-flip. Still, if there’s any risk of a bystander being hit, I’m thinking I would like to combine the point with the aim a little bit. Again, real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? The best shot in the world humbly says that his ultra-perfect aim is nothing special, as anyone would be as good as him if they also threw out a million rounds. Um… I haven’t done that…

Anyway, I just have fun doing this. And it’s not like I wasn’t also answering the phone pretty much constantly. Three shots out, another call. Three shots out, another call. But it’s all good. Shepherds love to hear the bleating of the sheep. As it is, I also bleat quite a bit, and The Shepherd always hears my voice, and, at least sometimes, I hear His.

Oh, and, by the way, don’t think that guns and shooting wasn’t part of the conversation with all the sick and shut-ins that I visited with Jesus. You have to know that Western North Carolina is armed to the teeth. People can move seamlessly from talk of armed combat to the arms of spiritual combat without blinking. I am humbled to walk frequently among the saints of God.

By the way, I make my own targets with poster-board and 3/4 inch sticky dots, mapping out the dots at 4″ intervals so that there are 35 dots per poster-board. Once one board is mapped out, another can be marked on the edges using the same measurements. Easy. Only takes about two minutes for the whole thing. It’s a lot of shooting for one target. The problem is that the targets are not moving, and there is no mayhem. But I have a solution…

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Ordinations: Good men so happy to be of service to the Holy Family

triptych

Dear Father Byers,

Since there is much Byersian influence here, I wanted to send along a picture of a triptych commissioned for priesthood ordination next year on 9 June (the Immaculate Heart!). You are certainly invited!

It came in much earlier than expected, but I am fine with that! I know you’ll understand all the symbolism but NB the Hearts so on fire with love, flowers for the Immaculate, and the flaming sword! I was going to ask for a donkey and a deer kneeling in adoration but I thought of that too late. Note also the particularly New Mexican style of artwork, done by the best NM santera in the state. E.g. In NM St. Joseph always has a hollyhock rather than a lily, since they are so abundant, though the symbolism remains.

I pray you are well Father. May God bless you! In Christ, Deacon […]

We follow the saints on either side of the triptych to the Sacred Mysteries taking place in the center. /// I like that: “Byersian.” ;¬)

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NASA comes to my parish: Eclipse 2017 Full Corona Andrews North Carolina

eclipse

eclipse map august 21 2017 Andrews NC USA

NASA has rented out an entire abandoned strip mall here in Andrews NC to get ready as we’re directly in line with the center of the eclipse on Monday August 21 2017. So, this is the official place to be. Of course, the moon doesn’t care about anything “official” but runs it’s course where it will. On the map below, the vertical moons show the extent of the corona that you will see depending where you are. You can see the full corona in the greyed out path:

eclipse usa map.png

Here’s the timing and duration. You’ll be able to see the full corona for a just more than two and a half minutes if you’re in Andrews, North Carolina:

eclipse north carolina.png

The hotels are all booked out on that date already months ago. But bring your own vittles and fixins and drinks and you should be just fine. We’ll have an extra big supply of food after the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 214 Aquone Road (see map above). Monday you’re on your own. Be sure to get your eclipse glasses. Someone gave me a pair today. They sell them in City Hall for $2.50, or for lots less if you buy many:

eclipse glasses

I think the population of our little town is something like 1,700, but “they say” that there is an estimated 10,000 people coming, with some saying 20,000 (from as far away as Europe) and some saying 100,000. That’s a lot of porta potties for 2 1/2 minutes! But it might well be a three day event.

Be careful of the pickpockets and be aware that the end of the world people come out of the woodwork at such times. Be situationally aware in these weird times we live in.

A spiritual note: Jesus said that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights. There was a full eclipse when He died on the cross. That passed and the sun came out again. That’s one day and night right there. Then Friday and Saturday night. He rose on Easter Sunday.

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Be smart, especially if you’re a donkey

donkey smart ass

Yes.

  • Donkeys are intelligent.
  • They can sing.
  • They only do what they understand.
  • They are always with the Holy Family, crib to the cross.

Be careful of who you are tempted to look down on.

Every donkey has his hour.

New readers might not know, but this donkey priest thinks donkeys are just so cool. As an omen of things to come, I won a palestinian donkey the day before I went to the seminary way back in 1978. I’ve loved donkeys ever since.

A long time reader sent the picture in by way of email, saying:

“I just received this and I knew had to share it with you.”

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (That’s nice but… edition)

flores zillion pink

In hagiographical lore it is said that there was once a woman renowned far and wide for her captivating beauty and that Jesus appeared to a saint who was acquainted with her and asked him whether he thought that she was beautiful. He said that, yes, she was very beautiful. But our Lord was quick to disagree, and rather sharply, saying that she was quite ugly, she knowing nothing of the faith, she not living in grace, she not being a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. Then, some time later, after her conversion, our Lord again appeared to the same saint and asked the same question, but then answering it Himself, that now, yes, she was radiantly beautiful, for she now enjoyed the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, it being this which made her beautiful.

“The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Meanwhile, the most beautiful of all, Immaculate Mary, free of all sin, radiant in sanctifying grace, said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49).

She knew that also she needed redemption to enjoy the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity from the first moment of her conception. There was no one more thankful than her. It is good also for us who are conceived in sin to now thank the Lord for the grace He provides to us:

“It is good to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night” (Psalm 92:2-3).

 

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (fieriest fiery fire edition)

flores orange yellow

The fiery Holy Spirit forms us to be members of the Body of Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, so that we might see the Father through, with and in Jesus.

Now, one would think that it would be true that it would be easier for us to take note in some small way of Jesus’ enthusiastic love for us if we didn’t take ourselves so very seriously. And, yes, that will be true, in heaven. And the Holy Spirit may indeed grant that we take note of Jesus’ love for us in this way or that for a short or longer period of time, He knowing how to work with us, He being our spiritual director in all things in view of all the circumstances of our lives. O.K. But…

Here on this earth such outrageously wonderful results of taking better note of Jesus as we take ourselves less seriously may be an occasion for us to think that besides taking note of the power of the love of Jesus that is stronger than our weakness, stronger than our darkness, stronger than death, means also that we will automatically – in this world – be nicer, more balanced, more stable, less weak, less tempted, more whole, you know, nicer… apart from Jesus (thus taking ourselves more seriously than ever).

Instead, here’s how the general trajectory of the spiritual life works: the Holy Spirit opens up our eyes to whence Jesus called us, from hell, so that He might draw us across Calvary to Himself, we seeing while He is doing this all of hell broken out on Calvary, we seeing ever more clearly just how weak, unstable, tempted and shattered we are because of original sin and whatever of our own if we would be without His grace, and this, not so that we beat ourselves up, but so that we can take that knowledge and immediately turn to Jesus to thank Him humbly, we now knowing better what He has done for us, not giving us strength and all such good things apart from Him, but drawn up into His love and strength and goodness and kindness.

Jesus ferociously condemns the “I can see all on my own” attitude, and praises those who say that, without God, they are, of themselves, terribly blind and needy, again, not so as to emphasize themselves and beat themselves up and get depressed and despair, but rather as an occasion to be fired up in humble thanksgiving by the Holy Spirit. This is precisely where we find joy in the Holy Spirit. This is where we find mirth, for we then see that even our weakness and temptation and mind games are no match at all for the love of the Holy Spirit which ardently burns through all such nothingness, revealing to us a bit more how much love there is for us in the midst of the Most Holy Trinity.

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Main State and me: a development :¬)

dc-ticket

This is another one of those boring, kryptic, for-the-record posts only a couple of people understand. There’s a development since my last post of this kind the other day. For some reason late last night I felt an urgent need to try to find out a bit more about my “call this number if you need help” instruction given to me back in 1992 by Main State concerning the kind of help they would provide me into the future as occasioned back in the day by my ever present “Shadow” (who, by the way, is making overtures of friendliness to me all of a sudden).

In trying to find out more about the phone number the other week, there was nothing to be found even with brutal searches, not in the Department of State, not anywhere else. I decided to wait until more info was available before calling the number once again. I had called it when I had visited Main State some seven months ago at the end of 2016. A recording provided yet another name and number to call, which only provided yet another recording and this time an invitation to leave a message. I never got a call back. But the message wasn’t unnoticed.

During that visit to D.C., later that same day, I then continued my quest of visiting the national memorials, putting many miles on foot traipsing back and forth along the National Mall. It was impossible not to notice something out of place in the last 100 yards before finally arriving back to my car along the Potomac. There was another car parked behind mine with a nice, very professional, middle-aged Asian-looking couple inside, the unusual thing being their raucous laughter, the kind that’s a show, difficult to keep going, almost as if they were trying to be noticed. Indeed, they were making a spectacle of themselves as if oblivious to the world around them even while making it clear that they were noticing my arrival with interest. It was so odd that it was enough to put one into left-of-bang mode even though I was sure of their entirely good intentions, making me feel foolish.

As I wrote when it happened, it was then that I noticed, heart sinking, that I had a $250 parking ticket, it being that the handicapped spots in D.C. are not marked with either painted spaces or signs over the spaces as in North Carolina, but only with a sign down the street with a tiny arrow pointing in whatever direction tickets are to be distributed. In trying to pay the ticket online (possible only after about three weeks), I found that someone had arranged for that ticket to be cancelled. The Asian couple immediately came to mind, along with the State Department. But I couldn’t be sure. Until now.

Last night, when I searched again for more info on that phone number mentioned above, a “hit” came up, not only with an entirely different name and an office at the State Department corresponding precisely to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” but even the home address of this person in North West D.C. (a little dangerous for him, thought I, as he would possibly have plenty of disgruntled “clients”). In searching for that info a looked-at-by-almost-nobody in-house recruiting webinar came up. “That’s the guy who was laughing in the car behind mine along the Potomac seven months earlier; 100 percent,” thought I, with myself being the one who was now laughing out loud, “and he’s obviously the one who paid my parking ticket. Same guy. Exactly. Unmistakable. 100 percent.”

I’m guessing that his laughter was about my actually being a priest who has such a “Shadow.” They didn’t introduce themselves to me only because he was apparently fairly new to heading up his office in Main State at the time and it had been almost a 1/4 century since the last time I had contacted Main State, so that they needed to find out for sure who I was after all this time before speaking with me. Just to say, when the FBI had given me a false passport for my own protection without me asking for it twenty years previously, that agent had also laughed at my situation of being priest who has a “Shadow,” he knowing that this was all just too very perfect in favor of my “Shadow,” and he being amazed that I knew anything about the situation in the first place. Like my Asian guy (totally unflappable in the webinar), this FBI agent was otherwise utterly serious, he having been in charge of the investigation of the U.S. Embassy bombings back in the day. I’m amazed that the actual director of that office at Main State came out, and with his wife.

At any rate, this Asian guy seems to be a wonderfully friendly guy, and ultra-super-competent in what he does for international concerns. I’m tempted to make the request I’ve been wanting to make for a long time now. Indeed, at one point in the webinar, he almost seemed to refer to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” the idea being to keep such a “Shadow” illegal in appearance in a foreign country but entirely legal in our own, kind of, perhaps. It’s a kind of make-laws-around-an-existing-situation-to-make-something-else-possible thing. I remember the FBI wanting to keep the status quo of my having a “Shadow” going while merely giving me a false passport of appeasement instead of stopping my “Shadow” from using my identity. After all, he said that as far as they are concerned, my “Shadow” – precisely as a “Shadow” was now a good guy.

In fact, as I read over the 1992 letter of the State Department, it’s clear that they have zero interest in tracking my “Shadow,” but have all the interest in the world in tracking me, and that they have zero interest in helping me secure bank accounts out of reach of my “Shadow.” In fact, they simply assured me that the situation would continue into the future.

All of this explains an “incident” that happened on my return to the parish, after Vienna/Fairfax GMU on 66 West, and precisely at exit 296 of 81 South, the latter exit being a triumph of my little vehicle back in the day. Heh-heh-heh. Anyway, perhaps another trip to D.C. will soon be in order. I’m happy to know a bit more about who I’m dealing with at Main State. As I say, he seems very friendly.

P.S. As it works out, this guy also has pretty much all say about what goes on at the Hague. And that means that I could possibly ask him about a friend, a priest, who someone had attempted to trash there, though he came out shining.

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Assassination of US Congress

Fox: “Scalise endorsed President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, and has been a vocal backer of Trump’s travel ban. As leader of the powerful study group, he has also spearheaded the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.”

Without the quick response of police, “it would have been a slaughter” of house members.

Dem Terrorist: “Are these Republicans or Democrats practicing baseball?”

Answer: “Republicans.”

Dem Terrorist: *** — hail of bullets — ***

Je suis GOP. Je suis USA.

Unity? We have a Constitution and Natural Law.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Brake-Man goes on the hunt edition)

brakeman

The “Flower Lady” of the parish came over to the rectory and moved Brake-Man (welded together from parts of brakes) a few feet over into some other flowers. Within just a day or two I see that he’s being covered over with quickly growing vines. He’s a representation of Adam in his post-original-sin condition, Adam, who put the brakes on the glory of God’s creation. Yet, with the promise of redemption and the grace of enmity over against Satan, the ancient dragon, the fallen Oracle, there’s Adam now hunting for flowers to present to the Mother of the Redeemer mentioned in Genesis 3:15, the Immaculate Conception. Good for him, not taking himself so seriously, not beating himself down so much that he can’t see that her Divine Son loves him so very much, but instead taking the enthusiasm of the Redeemer and His good mom seriously, that is, seriously enough to, you know, pick a flower for the Immaculate Conception. Were you Mary, would you accept a flower from the likes of such a creature? We tend to see Brake-Man as depicted above. Methinks that Mary sees Brake-Man like this:

shepherd boy

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