Road danger: catching up to yourself

road danger pass wrong way1

Wide open on his right lane, this guy just wants to smash the other guy out of the way in his left lane even though oncoming traffic, me, had to severely swerve out of his way. I was happy enough to do so as I knew no one was next to me. Note that this battle between the blue and red (actually only the red is raging with him/herself) is happening in a turning lane to the left coming up to a traffic light.

road danger pass wrong way

He successfully shoves the blue car out of the way. But then, not wanting to turn left after all, severely swerves in front of the blue car, miraculously not smashing into a handicap transport who is turning to the left. A shot from the rear window camera as the red car squeaks in between the blue car and white transport into a normal traffic lane:

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Yawn. I had already said my guardian angel prayer. Yawn. No worries on my part. It’s a good idea to pray this prayer every time you buckle up. Also at other times!

  • Angele Dei, qui custos es mei, Me tibi commissum pietate superna, hodie (hac nocte) illumina, custodi, rege, et guberna. Amen.
  • Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, ever this day (night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

I said a prayer for the driver of the red car. That’s always a good idea. Running from yourself is never a good idea. You’ll never win the race. You’ll only catch up to yourself.

Other clips were already automatically written over by the time I write this. Another guy, at a stop light, didn’t stop, but screamed around everyone through an adjacent parking lot and back out onto the intersection full speed in a cloud of dust. Really lucky no one was walking in the parking lot. This is just wanton disregard for human life.

I’m sure you all have similar experiences every day, and not just in traffic.

I have them one right after the other.

They say not to drive faster than your guardian angel can fly. Ha ha.

By the grace of God, we can let our guardian angels be the ones who catch up to us instead of just ourselves. The angels will introduce us more directly to Jesus in whom we find our identity. Better, we find that we are found by Him.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)

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Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!

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Homily 2018 04 20 Mass & persecution

Saint Paul Conversion Damascus Caravaggio

It’s all about Jesus: “Why are you persecuting ME?” Because: “Unless you eat…”

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Setraco Group “hit list”, Main State, my “Shadow”, terrorism, and me.

beirut setraco group

never look in my spam box, ever. But I did now so as to retrieve a registration link from a D.O.C. communications group so as to set up an account enabling me to connect all the more easily with Father Gordon MacRae, right from his cell. Very cool, that.

But there were just a few other spams in the box, and one caught my eye, as it involved the name of my “Shadow”. I did NOT open the message, but a preview pop-up revealed a hit list targeting Setraco Group out of Beirut, a construction company in 30 countries with 20,000 employees. There were hints as to the sender. There was a picture of the target. Setraco’s world offices are in an ultra-ritzy suburb, of course. They’ve suffered quite a number of very specific, directed, assassinations from ISIS elsewhere.

As I write this, my “Shadow” is going ballistic, as I simply mentioned the word Setraco to him. Nothing else. He instantly – instantly – launched into a diatribe about Syria (his favorite stomping grounds) and Putin and WMD and the Mossad and terrorism and on and on. How did he know that would actually be precisely on point, not having heard of Setraco and not having even a second to look them up before responding? Meanwhile, as I write this and text him, I get a call from Mexico (his other favorite stomping grounds) giving me a name. This is boring. I need something more exciting. I need to pay some car insurance.

The parting shot of my “Shadow” is that I am a terrorist. He’s really fuming. I said nothing in all this. I just mentioned the name Setraco and all hell broke loose. But, as I always say, nothing is as it seems.

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Blame it on Pope Francis & my Glock

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  • The FBI QIT target is 285 square inches.
  • The 3.5 inch radius foam dessert plates above are 38.5 square inches.
  • The foam dessert plates are fully 7.4 times smaller than the FBI targets.

Distances are 3, 5, 7, 15, 25 yards for the FBI course.

At 7 yards there are three targets 3 yards apart each for the pre-2001 FAM TPC.

After the trip to Rome my percentages dropped to the 70s for both courses. I blame it on Pope Francis for making me go to Rome for so long and get out of practice. ;-)

Or I could blame it on the targets 7.4 times smaller than regulation.

Or I could blame it on the Glock, which needs to get some work done on it down in Smyrna. I’m due for a wee chat at the State Department in Atlanta, just a stone’s throw from Sacred Heart church downtown. Maybe I can get both done at the same time.

The Glock doesn’t load, doesn’t eject, doesn’t fire, is all “grindy, just a mess altogether. Yeah, forget Pope Francis; those low scores are the Glock’s fault.

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The tip of the spear, best with bacon

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A most wonderful daily treat as these spears jump up from the ground each day, eager to be ever so slightly browned in bacon grease saved from past extravaganzas. A slight sprinkling of salt is savory. Just ever so slight.

I heartily thank my parishioners who dug the bed and and planted 2-year-old roots one year ago. I ignored those entirely for the year, letting them forest out to get a good hold. But now’s the time to start enjoying them. The same parishioners weeded everything some weeks ago. I’ll have to follow up on their great work and get out there myself.

While I was gone to Rome, my neighbor who was feeding Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog was able to enjoy the spears. He himself was the tip of the spear, as it is said, having been 82nd Airborne. Now he’s out in his yard digging a patch up to plant asparagus roots.

I was taught to cut them about 3/4″ below the ground, careful not to injure other spears working their way up. You can’t let them grow too tall as they get too woody.

Do you have an asparagus patch? How do you prepare them?

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Homily 2018 04 18 – Jesus gives us as a gift to our Heavenly Father even if…

Jesus Passion of the Christ hand nail

Complete with my usual breaks in logic when I’m waaaaaay overtired. I know what I mean but saying what I mean is another thing. Nevertheless, there is encouragement to be found in the Gospel and perhaps in my mumbling commentary.

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Nobody beats him in the kitchen

We have ancient of days Navy veteran in the parish, now down in Erlanger-Murphy Medical Center Physical Therapy Rehab.

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He likes to reminisce as much as I do. Lots of stories. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that no one beats him in the kitchen. On any ship or submarine, he was the one who ran the entire food sector, which, after propulsion, was the largest operation. He never had to worry about getting a court-martial over bad food, especially on a sub. It was prime rib and lobster all the way. Always the best food for enlisted sailors who earned the right to wear the “dolphins” as an SS (“Submarine Specialist”), and those on the way. He was also in charge of a number of aircraft carriers.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Dogs and Poetry edition)

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The Dogwoods are finally in full blossom. So, time for poetry:

In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven.
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of My agony.

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Sitting around in PJs: Delta flight 65 – (Rome – Atlanta) Pararescue Jumpers

A Main State (Dept of State) letter to me back in the Summer of 1992 mentioned that I am subject to a perpetual program of travel accompaniment because of anomalous circumstances regarding my identity. On June 28 of 2017 (reconfirmed June 30), Main State said that because the program is interdepartmental all instances of the program are destroyed from the beginning except a basically unmaskable summary kept only by the Director of the CIA and the Secretary of State. The program can run without anyone accessing that summary. Whenever I travel, I’m accompanied. Period. I’m just a “package” to be delivered. The guy making the assignments doesn’t have to know anything, nor those who carry out the assignment, just that I’m the “package.” People ask me if I’m harassed by the TSA or whatever. Never. Just the opposite. They treat me very well indeed. All very polite. The FBI underlined that perpetual travel accompaniment program for me four years later overseas when speaking to me about that letter (1996). Outside of the summary (which would never be seen) no one knows why the accompaniment order is in place, whether I’m a good guy who needs this for whatever reason, a bad guy who is nevertheless valuable for whatever reason, or anything whatsoever. It is what it is. It is actually fairly common. I always have interesting travel companions when I fly. Always diplomats, intelligence services, air marshals, military, operators. Only. Always. Same on this return trip from Rome to Atlanta.

Delta likes to look like it likes the U.S. Military, especially when they are boarding. Like little kids, those in wheel-chairs, those who need extra time to board, service men and women are invited to board early. The invitation was made like a half dozen times, that is, to the military, twice as much as the others. No takers, but they were there aplenty. If they don’t want to be known to everyone on the flight, Delta shouldn’t point them out. After the flight is over it doesn’t matter. But while boarding it does. In the same way, Air Marshals also hate it when they have to look the part and do stuff which makes it obvious who they are. It’s easy to look for tell-tale signs of “carry” if you know what to look for. But anyway…

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While boarding I said to the huge guy pictured above: “Oh, only two engines.” He then proceeded to tell me the make and model and horsepower and history and pros and cons of that particular engine, saying that we could last on just one engine for some nine hours with this particular plane with the load we were expected to have. I asked if he was avionics in the Air Force. He said that he was. As it turns out, there were a number of avionics guys (I was personally introduced to just three) and others of the group in the Air Force on the flight, a very particular, cohesive crowd, sitting next to my seat and all around me (as always). One of the guys, a couple of rows ahead, on an aisle seat, older, clearly the leader, stood up after we got up to altitude, turned around and stared at my face with the wryest, most subtle smile ever, I guess successfully distinguishing me from my “Shadow.” Yes, I was the “package.” Sigh. As I once told my “Shadow” that this seems to be such an enormous waste of money and resources, which he immediately dismissed as being only the tiniest part of the program and was no big deal. These guys weren’t in uniform, but I got to know them as the flight continued on for its 10 hours 31 minutes.

The guy next to me was pretty open about what he did and the kind of training he had and pointed out who in the group would know what about whatever. Very cool, really. Very competent operators. All very friendly. It seems that they were all PJs, that is, Pararescue Jumpers, that is, the rescue crowd the Navy Seals and Seabees and Army Rangers and Green Berets et alii call when they get in trouble and need some help. The PJs are the only operators dedicated only to rescue in the U.S. Dept. of Defense. I’m guessing they were coming back from a mission further away to the East from Rome, and it was just as easy for them to get on a civilian plane in Rome as it was to get on a military transport running through Germany.

Of all the logos of all the groups of all the branches of the entire Department of Defense and beyond, the PJs have far and away the best logo:

USAF Pararescue That Others May Live

Who knows what their mission had been, but the guy next to me, a really nice guy, I suppose because he saw that I was a priest, said they were all on a “Follow-In-The-Steps-Of-Saint-Paul” pilgrimage. I didn’t ask. He just went ahead and offered that, it seeming to him that their rather special group needed an explanation. Which is interesting in itself. Anyway, I’m unrelentingly bad and evil. And hearing such a thing as that, and being ever so cynical and doubting as I am, I did up a little interrogation with him:

  • Me: “Oh, so, while you guys were in Rome you must surely have gone to Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, where Saint Paul is buried?”
  • PJ: “No, um… we didn’t go there.”
  • Me: “Oh, so, I guess you went to the Mamertine where Saint Paul was imprisoned?”
  • PJ: “Mamer… What?”
  • Me: “Oh, so, I guess you went to Tre Fontane, where Saint Paul was decapitated?”
  • PJ: “Um… No… Never heard of it.”
  • Me: “But I mean, you must have gone to Malta, where he was shipwrecked…”
  • PJ: “Um… Where?” [He honestly knew nothing about the nation of Malta…]
  • Me: “Or you must have gone to Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Sicily, southern Italy… you know, the steps of Saint Paul…”
  • PJ: “Those must be on another Steps of Saint Paul trip…”

I stopped there with that. Too embarrassing. So, he lied about the purpose of the trip. No big deal. Obviously they were up to something else. Hey! If it was the steps of Saint Paul maybe they went to Syria and did some stuff. Anyway…

He told me that his big passion in life right now is historical architecture. So, I showed him this picture…

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I soon found out he knew absolutely nothing about the most basic things about historical architecture. Nothing.

Anyway, he said he was a photographer for the group, and had been a photographer for the Air Force, specifically also for the PJs, and not just photos, but also a number of promotional videos for the PJs, going with them on actual rescues, which, as he said, had him either dropping into the sea with them or hanging from razor-edge tops of mountains. I couldn’t resist asking him about that too.

  • Me: “So, a lot of that must be online if it’s promotional, recruiting stuff.”
  • PJ: “No, actually. None of it is online.”
  • Me: “But anyway, it’s all very interesting. I mean, you must have had a lot of the same training as the operators.”
  • PJ: “Oh, no. Not really. No.”
  • Me: “But I mean, in jumping into a stormy ocean or hanging off a precipice while manipulating a camera, during actual rescues, you will surely want to be accomplished enough where you absolutely will not ever for an instant get yourself in trouble as you would then drastically lower the chances of the success of the mission because you have to be rescued instead of the guy originally in distress. So, I mean, you really have to be as good as PJ operators, because, really, you’re doing the same stuff as them.”
  • PJ: “Well, it’s just that I don’t bear the wounds on the inside that they do. I mean, I’m an avionics guy as well, and I’ve had jet engines fall on me half ripping my arm off (as I was looking at his arm which was missing a huge chunk of flesh just below the elbow, with massive scars the length of his arm). [And on and on he went describing stuff he had been through in the action one does see in avionics, but he insisted, rightly, that this was nothing compared to what his brothers went through in being in direct battle and seeing really bad stuff as your brothers lay down their lives that we may live.]

And so it went. Lots of lies. (It’s always that way. Always.) Really of lot of sincerity. (It’s also always that way. Always.) I have no right to know anything. I know that. I’m guessing that they had no idea who Saint Paul was, and that they were returning from a pretty wild mission.

The PJs are the best there are for rescue. I’m happy I didn’t have to get any green feet tatted on my posterior, five toes on one foot, six toes on the other foot if you want to be precise, a tradition for PJs and those rescued going back to rescue choppers landing in rice paddies in Nam. But I am happy that they were there on the plane to do some field accompaniment for me. I wonder if they could use a chaplain for what Pope Francis calls a field hospital even while being in one of the PJs’ field hospitals (stretchers, harnesses and choppers). Can Missionaries of Mercy do that too? I was very impressed with these guys. Of course, I knew something of the PJs beforehand, having a good friend who was invited to be one of them when he was just picking up the phone to call the bishop to ask to be admitted to the seminary. He chose the seminary, but later discerned out and got married. Lovely wife. Great kid. Still the best Catholic ever.

Of course, if I were a PJ chaplain, that would mean I would also have to do the same training. Um… that ain’t gonna happen… :-)

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“Never go to war especially with yourself.” My “Shadow” is at it again.

For those who know, this is another one of those “for the record” posts. My “Shadow” is back to the monetary bribe / extortion thing. Coincidentally, he mentioned that he’s been robbed of the computer on which he does all his analysis of Syria. Interesting, that. His missive came in after stepping off the plane. But I digress. The plane thing is for another post.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“day off” in this priest’s life edition: from Father Gordon to a cemetery)

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Getting up at 12:00 AM for the day, the needful was done, the editing and preparing of the devastatingly staggering article of a guest writer (Ryan MacDonald) on the betrayal of Father Gordon (About), getting this ready for publishing over on These Stone Walls, and now published on TSW as:

#MeToo & #HimToo: Jonathan Grover & Father Gordon MacRae

I’m sure that story brings back plenty of traumatic stress to Father Gordon because of the enormity of the betrayal and who it involves from the beginning, right through the decades, to this very day, on a personal level, and in both Church and State. That post really needs to be shared far and wide as this could be what will change some attitudes against priests who are merely accused (that DOES NOT mean guilty) and have their throats slit, cast out of society and the priesthood and, for many, the church, and for some, life.

After that, starting about 4:30 AM, feverish preparations had to be made for a funeral Mass in a trailer home up in the backsides of the back mountains (this with a standing permission of the Bishop for that particular residence), with a burial in a private family cemetery (someone else’s) which was even more remote. Not even a minute to spare.

But first, at 6:00 AM, it was off to Asheville’s Subaru, a two hour trip, to get a major overhaul on Sassy the Subaru Forester (the 60,000 mile mark, and now 2 years old), costing me, because of additional stuff to all that (including a change-out of dangerously un-treaded tires[!] (the third change-out with, of course, 85,000 mile guarantees[!]) and a lack of headlights[!]), close to $1,700. Since that would take the whole day, they gave me a loaner car for the day. Being in the lounge for about one minute while the paper work was prepared, some treats needed to absconded with for later consumption.

While on the way there I did something that, in a negative subjunctive but not an absolute prohibition, in the words of the great Cardinal Sarah, “should not be done.” So, this is a confession. The breviary for the day was put up on the speakers of the ailing Subaru Forester because I knew that I simply would not have the time that whole day to get to it otherwise. Maybe that speaks to my faithlessness and total lack of priorities, but I’m weak and useless. That takes usually less than an hour and a half in that phone app // blue tooth method. I went from the first hour to the last non-stop. This is NOT the way it should be done. But I knew my day-off would not afford me even one free minute.

Meanwhile, the next stop after Subaru with a loaner car for the day was Brevard Hospital to get a yearly blood draw for levels of all sorts of things, so fasting since the previous evening was necessary. Having done that, those treats from Subaru were scarfed down. Then it was off to the UPS Store for everything that piled up since being in Rome.

Then it was right off to the mountains for the funeral and burial and reception. That was very touching altogether. Lots of friends. Lots of memories. Tears and laughter. All good. This trailer-house funeral Mass (where I had offered Mass many times previously) was, well, I must say, it was like Jesus was right there. He was, of course, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It was Holy Mass, after all. But, well, you know what I mean. This was a real consolation that our Lord will afford to us once in a while if it is good for our souls. This was good for my soul, and I think all there would heartily agree with that for themselves as well.

Then, startled at the racing clock, it now being 2:30 PM, racing down the one-lane, no-fault gravel mountain road with its washouts and downed trees and drive-through creeks, was a necessity so as not be late for a doctor’s appointment down the mountain and in Brevard, a 3:00 PM appointment. I made it, to the second. All well. The two orchids in this post are from the doctor’s office.

Subaru called for further permissions for stuff they found, and it was back off to Subaru to drop off the loaner and get Sassy back. Then the trip back home to meet up with a hungry Shadow-dog and a hungry Laudie-dog. I’m guessing Shadow is now well over 100 pounds, more than three times the size of Laudie.

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They are now quite the item. When it’s cold they sleep together in the same dog house.

It “shouldn’t be done”, but I’m very happy to have gotten my entire breviary in for the day, since, as soon as I sat down in my chair in the rectory at 9:00 PM, I was out like a light, like someone hit me on the head and knocked me out, until 6:00 AM the next day, today, when Father Gordon called as per usual.

I’m happy to be back on American time with this nine-hour sleep after a 21 hour day-off. The doctor was a little bit worried. The blood pressure was great, 117 over 77. But the pulse was over 100 when it’s usually at 60. I told him of my post-Rome overtiredness and what the day was like so far, so that calmed him down. He says that being way overtired can bring the pulse right up.

Anyway, and just to say, there is, nevertheless, always time for another flower for the Immaculate Conception. I mean, her dear Son really does have quite the imagination.

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Please read and share:

#MeToo & #HimToo: Jonathan Grover & Father Gordon MacRae

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Since I’ve been gone edition)

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Since I’ve been gone these past weeks, these guys, whatever they are, are bursting into all their glory for the Immaculate Conception in front of the rectory. I like that. I like that a lot.

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Sanctuary islands… for… Donkeys?

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While I was gone in Rome some parishioners were also gone. They went, of all places, while on vacation, to a donkey sanctuary in Aruba. Who would have thought? They brought me back a donkey coffee cup, because, you know, donkeys are the coolest animals in the world, right? They’re intelligent, only doing what they understand. They can sing, alone or in choir. They work hard. They are the symbol from time immemorial of the Israelites. They are always with the Holy Family, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt to Nazareth once again. One lucky donkey is at the crib. Another brings Jesus to His Cross. Donkeys are loyal, even under torture (recall Balaam’s donkey: Numbers 22:21-33). This is my favorite coffee cup.

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Happiness in the parish: Adoration, Confessions, Communion calls…

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My Confessor hates when I do this, but I know how weak I am. I’m still waaaaay overtired as I’ve been going non-stop after coming back from Rome. I knew early Sunday morning that if I didn’t get in my entire breviary I would miss saying even important hours like Vespers, so I did the whole thing during 6:00 AM adoration holy hour between confessions at the parish church before running up to Graham county for the first Mass at Prince of Peace in Robbinsville. As I say, my Confessor hates that. That’s not the way the breviary is to be said. But, it was a good thing I did it all at once. By the time all the Masses were over, and all the Communion calls and Anointing of the sick in the afternoon, I was ready to collapse. Which I did, in my chair, at I think 6:00 PM. I was out like a light. I didn’t move even once until 2:00 AM. I’m a very light sleeper, so this was crazy. I’m one happy priest.

I’m also happy to use a keyboard once again. I was doing all the posts on the blog while in Rome from my phone. I didn’t have a computer with me. I posted a lot during that second Missionaries of Mercy get together. That’s because it was all on the fly, most all posts being written beginning to end while on the bus or tram or subway or walking. Not great for situational awareness, but Italy, mind you, and in particular the big city of Rome, with characters from all over the world, and regardless of all the pickpockets, is so very calm and peaceful compared to my villages of Andrews and Robbinsville.

Anyway, this scene is next to me on the wall of the Confessional:

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  • I look Jesus in the eye as I give absolution.
  • I look at Mary in the eye as I give a penance.

I recall a story which Pope Francis has now told us Missionaries of Mercy for the second time in as many years. He said he knew an old confessor who would hear many hours of confessions every day, and afterward he would go to kneel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and confess to Jesus that he was surely a terrible priest, for he had forgiven really very much sin that day, maybe too much, and he would ask Jesus for forgiveness, a bit tongue in cheek however, for he would then immediately add that it was all Jesus’ fault, for Jesus Himself had given us such a bad example on the cross: “Father, forgive them…”

Communion Calls for me are the highlight of my life. Many priests delegate these to others. I mean, I get it. They are all, without exception, in bigger parishes than mine and they can’t do everything themselves. Only I have that joy in regard to visiting all the shut-ins. Priests are best for this as priests can hear confessions and anoint those in danger of death. There are many saints among us. It is such a day-brightener for the soul to be with them.

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Homily 2018 04 15 – It is Jesus who opened their minds and hearts

Saint Paul Conversion Damascus Caravaggio

If you think you’re clever with the faith, and know stuff, listen to this and let yourself get smacked down. Humility, humility, humility.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saturday edition)

I remember learning as a teenage seminarian that Saturdays were – as everyone knew but me – dedicated to our Lady. I would look forward to Saturdays for this reason. With enthusiasm. Saturdays were totally sacred, belonging to our Lady as they do. So why these Flowers for the Immaculate Conception? Because it’s Saturday. :-)

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Terra Firma!

My parishioner who’s a 25 year retired cop came to pick me up – three hours plus one for traffic, and that’s just one way. So, of course, we stopped for pizza, which has a first course.

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Music to my ears

I like when people do random acts of kindness. I would put this in that category.

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Rome airport security stops this Jewish prodigal son on his way home

Though I’m a Catholic priest, I’m also Jewish. I’m also a prodigal son. In all my travels, I’ve never been stopped by airport security, being given a different kind of treatment. We’ll, I take that back. The Israeli military did stuff to my laptop computers and computer junk like Hebrew keyboards throughout the decades, sometimes in front of me, with, say, flash drives[!] sometimes taking them away to work on them in private. As I say, the life of this Jewish Catholic priest has always been an open book. ;-)

Other than that – which was for stuff- I myself have never been an SSSS (Secondary Security Screening Selectee). But now I’ve seen a fellow Jewish prodigal son unceremoniouly pulled out of line right in front of me. Poor fellow. He was stripped down and given the full going over.

It’s all Pope Francis’ fault, of course, giving us those heavy bronze castings pictured above (a detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica). The lady security officer rendering the examination said (my translation): “Awwww, that’s so good of Pope Francis.”

prodigal-son-maze

Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact. Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors…” But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. But the fugitive’s fault finding frater , faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile. His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.” – Originally composed by Rev. W. O. Taylor

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