Homily 2018 05 21 – Mater Ecclesiae!

mater ecclesiae

The above was taken by Father Jerabek on his trip to Rome earlier this year.

Nota bene: Lumen Gentium 1964. Here’s the Chapter on Mary:

CHAPTER VIII

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

  1. Introduction
  2. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, “when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman…that we might receive the adoption of sons”.(283) “He for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary.”(1*) This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory “of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ”.(2*)
  3. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.”(3*) Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.
  4. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence both the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. It does not, however, have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us.(4*)
  5. The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation
  6. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin.(284) Likewise she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel.(285) She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.
  7. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.(5*) Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace”,(286) and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word”.(287) Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”(6*) Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.”(7*) Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,”(8*) and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”(9*)
  8. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother.(288) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi. When she presented Him to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother’s soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed.(289) When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things that were His Father’s business; and they did not understand the word of their Son. His Mother indeed kept these things to be pondered over in her heart.(290)
  9. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning, when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah.(291) In the course of her Son’s preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed(292) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing.(293) After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,(294) grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: “Woman, behold thy son”.(295) (11*)
  10. But since it has pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery of the salvation of the human race before He would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the apostles before the day of Pentecost “persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren”,(296) and Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation. Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin,(12*) on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory,(13*) and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords(297) and the conqueror of sin and death.(l4*)

III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church

  1. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, “for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all”.(298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.
  2. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. She presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.
  3. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.(15*) By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.(16*) This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.(17*)

For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.

  1. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren,(299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.
  2. The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.(20*)
  3. But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. Hence the Church, in her apostolic work also, justly looks to her, who, conceived of the Holy Spirit, brought forth Christ, who was born of the Virgin that through the Church He may be born and may increase in the hearts of the faithful also. The Virgin in her own life lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.
  4. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church
  5. Placed by the grace of God, as God’s Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honored by a special cult in the Church. Clearly from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities.(21*) Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: “All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me”.(301) This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place, and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful has approved, bring it about that while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell,(303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed.
  6. This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed.(22*) But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God.(23*) Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.
  7. Mary the sign of created hope and solace to the wandering people of God
  8. In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come,(304) as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.
  9. It gives great joy and comfort to this holy and general Synod that even among the separated brethren there are some who give due honor to the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, especially among the Orientals, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin.(24*) The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints, until all families of people, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Saviour, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s on November 21, 1964.

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CIA’s Gina Haspel’s Oath to… God

Gina just took her oath as Director of the CIA. Her enunciation was clear, crisp, strong.

I bid you, compare and contrast Gina’s oath taking with the haphazardly spoken “oath” of POTUS Obama, so mumbled, so fumbled, so mismanaged, so ill-spoken, that it was feared to be invalid. So, taking it again, off to the side, somewhat hidden, and as a bit of a joke[!], it only got worse.

Thank you, Gina, for not being afraid to take an oath to God.

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WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Haha!

WWJD What Would Jesus Do

The question “What would Jesus do?” can easily be asked in the taunting, brow-beating manner of a niceness-bully, thus providing the ultimate ultimatum: either stop doing what you are doing in creating a scene, or know that you are condemned to hell forever and ever and ever, you know, with singing: “Nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah!”

Jesus is not our plaything to use to beat other people up with such fake niceness. Instead, remember what Jesus said of Himself:

JESUS I AM

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Amazing fireworks edition)

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You know, we congratulate ourselves on coming up with amazing fireworks for our celebrations right around the world. I dare say that we haven’t anywhere come up with something so perfect as this light filled silvery explosion in the heavens as this one pictured above, filling up the entire sky in perfect symmetry.

I took this picture with my phone during early evening, when it was still quite light out. This dandelion did take up the entire sky, but only because I was right next to it. Strange what a flash will do to a picture. But imagine at the bottom of the picture some little silhouettes of people sitting on the ground pointing up into the sky, watching fireworks in front of you. You would really be amazed that we could come up with such a perfect explosion, right? But Jesus makes these all the time for his good mom. Hah!

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Francis: A Pope from the New World [Documentary K of C]

  • I was impressed by the timing of youngster Jorge’s call to the priesthood from Jesus.
  • I knew I would instantly have been friends with seminarian Jorge, as I can relate similar stories I learned from this documentary. Happiness. Joy. Service. Very cool.
  • There were things which made me laugh out loud that I didn’t know about Father Jorge, I guess because they had such resonance in my heart and soul. Indeed, I thought immediately of various things in my life as a priest that were parallel. No, really, many things indeed. Yikes.
  • There were some things which put the fear of God in me about Bishop Bergoglio because I immediately thought, “Yes, of course. Absolutely. Perfect. Well done.”
  • Then, when it comes to Pope Francis in the documentary, well, I’ll stop here! I know too much in other ways. But I’ll say this. This man does impress me. And I’m learning from him in ways I totally never expected.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (I’m just an ant edition)

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Like an ant beholding a flower for the Immaculate Conception, we can hardly take in all the beauty of the Lord’s creation nor the reason why He made it so beautiful. But – Hey! – we can thank our Lord for what we can understand here upon this earth in our lowly fallen state, and we can show this thanksgiving with flowers for Jesus’ good mom.

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Homily 2018 05 18 – Peter’s love – brotherly or self-sacrificing? Translations of Bishops Conferences

black sheep head white sheep

No audio. No homily. No sheep at Mass. That’s the way it’s been for some weeks. Those few who were able to assist at daily Mass are now busy with doctors and hospitals and people needing care at home. They’re in their late 70s and early 80s. This is a really, really, really tiny parish. Per capita, we do have a super high attendance rate, relatively speaking, proportionally speaking, when even one person shows up, but, with circumstances, they might not. We’re averaging just one daily Mass with attendance at the main church and at the mission church. We are dwindling in this “retire in the mountains fad” parish since that fad began and ended decades ago. Those who came then are now on their way out. But I digress. Regarding the Gospel from John:

(1) Peter is asked by Jesus whether Peter has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus and Peter says that he has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus.

(2) Peter is asked yet again by Jesus whether Peter has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus and Peter says that he has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus.

(3) Peter is asked a third time by Jesus whether Peter has a… a…. Ooops! Jesus changed the question this third time through. We recall that Peter denied Jesus three times. This time, Peter is asked not if he has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus, but whether Peter has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus. That hurts. Peter is deeply grieved not only that Jesus pointedly asked him a third time, but lowered the stakes so as to say that, no, Peter didn’t even have a brotherly respect for Jesus. But Peter answers in the affirmative not about the past, obviously, but right now, before the risen Jesus. Obviously, because of his grief, Peter wants to say that he now has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus, but how can he? Jesus is sporting those wounds on His hands and feet and side, in His heart.

But Jesus then encourages Peter, telling him about the self-sacrificing death by which Peter is to show his self-sacrificing love for Jesus. Mind you, Jesus giving us the opportunity to witness to Him by laying down our lives is an encouragement.

That’s all really cool, right? Not all think so. I remember one priest to whom I described all this from the Greek text of John’s Gospel instead of the dumbed-down stupid translations, and he objected ferociously, saying that it’s wrong to say all that, to follow the inspired text, that I should just follow the translation prepared by committee of some bishops conference, because we are not a complicated people and need to have texts that, because of being so ambiguous, so able to be manipulated, can reflect whatever flow of culture there happens to be at the time. In other words, Peter’s denial really wasn’t so serious. Jesus really didn’t reprimand him all that much. But if you dumb-down the sin and the reprimand, you also dumb-down Jesus’ encouragement of Peter and the heights of love to which Jesus wishes to bring Peter. So, let’s just stick with the inspired text. Why be dark and dumbed-down? Jesus’ love is most glorious. Thank you Jesus.

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Democrats: Abortionists, MS13, Cartels

So, I won’t put up comparative pictures of D&C abortions and MS13 butchering of their victims. They look exactly the same. Democrats love abortionists and MS13 activities.

Are they all animals? No. They are less than animals. So say the great saints of the Church. Animals do what they are meant to do by our good Creator. Abortionists and MS13 members do not act like human beings, making them less than everything in creation, making them less than animals.

Sure, our Lord redeemed us. He would love to save us. But we should not praise sin nor the sinner. Our Lord wants us to repent, agreeing to be turned by Him to Him, away from sin, away from the way we were, so that we become one with God.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (God is a mathematical God edition)

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I think I read that over in the comments of a post about the stars and our ability to see the stars in all their meaning in the mystery of creation on These Stone Walls by Father Gordon MacRae (About).

If we were to do up a mathematical it would surely be utterly boring, utterly sterile, utterly… utterly… nothing, just imaginary numbers. We would never get around to love, to goodness, kindness, wanting to bring joy to others.

Look at that flower above. Is it dirty, nasty, imperfect? No. All those “stains”, if you will, are beasts of the animal kingdom, part of the ecosystem in which flowers thrive. Seeing that, and rejoicing in that, we see the enormity of the mathematics. Oh my God! Yes, that’s exactly right. And God saw what He had done and it was good, it was very good.

Those with some purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision because of accepting the grace of a life of humble thanksgiving to our Lord and God will rejoice, as does the Immaculate Conception. And we can, in some small way, with her.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (snake vomit barfiness edition)

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Picking up garden snakes as a kid, I noted close up that their mouths sometimes had a bit of foam like that pictured above. So, in seeing this on plants, I always thought it was snake barf. Stupid me. My neighbor at the hermitage says that it’s actually a kind of mushroom. Yes, well, that reminds of a mushroom so named for vomit:

vomit mushroom

So, you might ask, even with me having given some pretty outrageous flowers to the Immaculate Conception, how could I with any kind of conscience give such as flower laden with, um, I guess, mushrooms, to the Immaculate Conception? Would she just not laugh, or perhaps turn up her nose at them? How dare I do such a thing !! How dare I !!

Well, it’s like this. If I should be able to gather a bouquet for our Lady, I would also include the yellow flowers with the foam above (because its super-interesting, at least to me), you know, to be in the midst of another outrageous collection of say, cattails, old milkweed pods, whatever. The barf mushrooms in the picture below would be crumbled up for a “floor” for handmade pottery wide mouth vase, with soil as a “holder”. Earthy.

Just my opinion, but I think it would make our Lady smile, and, perhaps, laugh a little.

Just my opinion, but I think she’s seen much worse with those who try to be just a bit too fancy in presenting her flowers, perhaps kind of congratulating themselves. I bet I’ve done that plenty of times, stupid as I am. But, hey, my barfiness isn’t overlooked by her. She sees my need and intercedes for me, for us, right? She’s a good mother. So, I just try my best, even if I don’t see how inept I am in doing all of this. :-)

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THIS guy? My hero. Like Thomas More fighting for his life. Awesome.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Foresters amazed by nature edition)

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If you know what you are looking at above, you’ll recognize not just the purple flower, but also the leaves of orchids, etc., the whole wide variety you’ll find just about anywhere for many thousands of square miles in these back mountains of Western North Carolina.

I was with a bunch of Foresters last night and part of the discussion was about the relatively recent arson inspired fires in the multi-state reason. One lady exclaimed that she saw a trillium recently, and was ecstatic because, you know, it was where one of the fires had passed over. But, goodness gracious, nature is strong! God is the Creator! There are now arguably more trilliums than there were before. Anyway, there are zillions out at the hermitage, not to mention those orchids and such.

I’m very happy to see that nature is appreciated and provides such a thrill for people. That speaks, actually, of a yearning to know more about the beauty and goodness of the Creator, Jesus, without whom nothing that has been made was made. Just another step from there we have flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

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Seeing goodness in all, even in…

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Hanging from a spider web, very much alive, jaws ready to clamp down on anything or anyone who comes near. Some people would say, “Eeeeww!”, and have to deploy a parachute, you know, the kind drag racers use to slow down after a race. Some people, like me, would say, “COOL!” and examine whatever it is all the more closely, provoking this monster in particular to get its jaws moving. “COOL!”

I see goodness in all things, even in Satan. Does that make me bad and evil? Well, not in and of itself. One can appreciate how God created this once good angel with extreme intelligence, with infused knowledge. He hasn’t lost that, just the wisdom that should go along with it. That changes everything for him. But I can still praise God for Satan’s awesome attributes which Satan did not acquire, but were given to him, like, say, determination, like, say, well, it’s difficult to think of anything more than that!

This goes back to the clarity of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who insisted that evil was not something, but a lack of goodness that ought to be there, so that the good that remains, though out of context and bound to be unappreciated by that sinful subject, is still nevertheless good in itself. And in regard to Satan being in hell forever and ever (where he himself wants to be, with all the damned), we will praise God because of that, that is, for God’s justice and power and majesty.

Indeed, God’s love is everywhere. There are those who don’t like God’s love, those who suffer because of God’s love for them, such as those in hell, who perceive that love as incrimination and therefore their damnation, but it is only God’s love all the time, just like in heaven, but those in hell don’t see this. They lack the foundation of the wisdom they ought to have. But I can still appreciate whatever good it is that they have left in order for them to exist. That goodness comes from God.

Just to be clear, let me say this: Satan truly is very bad, and, so to speak, evil. Get it?

Saint Michael Department of Homeland Security

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“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” – Take of “ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists”

The movie is released in theaters wherever it is today, May 18, 2018. The Trailer seems innocent enough. I haven’t seen it. I don’t think it will be carried in theaters in the back mountain ridges here where there are literally only a handful of Catholics.

I only do this once every year or two or three, but I looked at a couple of the video responses of the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, that is, until I didn’t. I could only stand a few seconds of each:

(1) The first I looked at for a few seconds immediately cut to sleazy soft-porn excerpts of other films which have nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So, yuck. No. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, soooo impure. Just. No. Never again. Again, all of that rubbish had nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So dishonest.

(2) The second one I looked at, presenting itself more as a documentary, opened with some video of the magnificent and traditional and indeed chanted-in-Latin with the traditional text Exsultet, you know, that long and glorious piece sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil by the priest or deacon. The scenes in this case were from Saint Peter’s in more recent years, but still the Exsultet of old, beautifully chanted in Latin. The video kept flashing on the screen some of the final words of the Esxultet which twice include the word “lucifer,” used, however, not as the name of the fallen angel, but for what it actually means in Latin, which refers to the Easter Candle, which refers to Christ: “lucifer” literally means “light-bearer” in Latin much like “Christopher” means “Christ bearer.” The idea of the video was to make it seem that under Pope Francis the Catholic liturgy is singing to the fallen angel Lucifer, but that is not at all the case. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, sooooo impure. Just. No. Never again.

But, I’ll tell you this, those kind of presentations are about the only ones that conservative Catholics (I know; “conservative” is a mere political term, but is appropriate in this context)…. those kind of presentations are about the only ones that “conservative” Catholics will follow on the internet. If what is presented is full of hatred and vitriol and lies, that is exactly what will be followed. It’s says more about the “reporters” and their avid followers than about who the report is supposed to be on.

And, yes, I am also dissed and mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists because – even if very rarely – I call them out on this kind of hatred which smells of the evil one.

Anyway, I’m guessing that this is NOT a documentary on Pope Francis. It simply amounts to whatever personal take it is that the director has. So, whatever. It’s not infallible, is it? No. I’m sure there are inspiration shots of meeting up with those who are suffering, who are in the darkest of existential peripheries, but even that kind of thing is totally mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists. Why?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (snowballs everywhere edition)

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These are now absolutely everywhere in bloom in these back mountains, high and low, far and wide, cliffs and the flats, next to streams or out on the rocks, just a sprig or two or wildly spreading bushiness.

And this is what’s so cool about how Jesus created all this: It’s one after the other. Just when whatever is ‘over’, then some other takes its place, even while times change, temperature, length of sunshine, amount of precipitation, always something for the greater glory and honor of God because being given to Jesus’ good mom. Lots of love there. Lots of joy. But this is even in tough times. Nature has a way of just doing what it supposed to do, but we get scared of rough times, looking only for easy times. But with grace, we can become more like the lilies of the field.

Recall Saint Paul’s way of putting it:

Philippians 4:11 I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. 12 I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. 13 I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

Or, to abbreviate that:

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work for good for those who love God.

It’s like picking whatever flower in whatever circumstance of God’s providence or God’s permissive will, whatever form that flower takes, and giving this to Jesus to give to Mary.

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Homily 2018 15 17 – Fired up. Yikes!

saint paul martyrdom

For some reason I was really fired up at the homily today. Just seven minutes or so for the actual homily. But… Yikes!

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Everyone’s a critic (It’s a donkey!)

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Some parishioners were down to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration down in Alabama and, when they saw this in the gift shop, thought of me. That’s very sweet. How dare I, then, presume to give the artist some pointers about donkeys! But, I cannot resist:

  • Palestinian donkeys are gray!
  • All donkeys have donkey ears (long ears!)
  • Donkeys are not unicorns…. oh, I see; that’s Joseph’s staff (which needs lilies sprouting from it!)

O.K. Well. That’s mean of me. In reparation, it’s time to come up with some good points:

  • The Holy Family is happy, peaceful, content even as they flee from Herod’s slaughter in Bethlehem trying to kill baby Jesus, even as they make their way through the burning desert going into exile in Egypt.
  • The donkey is super happy: look at that smile on his face. Very nice, that. I love that. This is why I think donkeys are great. They are always in the midst of the Holy Family.
  • The donkey is snarky happy, that is to say, look at the eyes in conjunction with the smile. Wow. The artist is super talented to get this across.
  • The kiss of Mary on Jesus’ forehead is the most gentle kiss the universe ever witnessed.
  • Joseph is taking it all in. Such a heart.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Bowing in reverence edition)

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Not at all sure what this is, about an inch long, a kind of grass, I think. It looks like a cob of corn with each kernel sporting a microscopic flower almost like corn which puts out a tassel, the end of each “string” being the stigma. This picture was taken at the neighbor’s at the hermitage. He said he loves to see these pictures as they seem to make each tiny flower the most important thing in the world. And it is, of course, since this is Jesus giving his good mom a flower. Each one. I love that. Whatever they are. Wherever they are. However they be. They all speak of the glory of the God, the majesty of the Creator, the joy of the Son of God surprising His mother yet again with a gift.

Our souls, so seemingly insignificant in “grand scheme of things” are, instead, noted closely, individually, by God, who says that even the hairs of our head have been counted. Indeed. And they are noted all the more when we bow our heads in reverence before God, right? Kind of like that “flower” in the picture above.

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Unwinding old Glock grip for good

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Lots of stuff going on. I was very happy to have a day off the other day to unwind a bit, have a bit of recreation with the carry, doing up the FBI and FAM courses.

I really had to unwind my old Glock 19 grip in favor of another, and was surprised to see it all unwind and then come together quite immediately with the new grip as pictured in the foam dessert plate target above. This is pumping out a full magazine (15 rounds) fairly quickly at the maximum distance for NC State Qualification.

All the problems with the slide not locking back were, in fact, my “straight thumbs” grip (so that I was touching, even if just barely, the slide-lock), which I changed for a right over left thumbs grip. Wow. That was much quicker for aim, much more solid of a grip, and, because of not touching the slide-lock, the slide-lock locked the slide back when the magazine was empty. Finally. Surprising how habits can lock you into being entrenched in the wrong thing while you think you’re doing the right thing. It’s good to take the advice of others.

Putting up the FBI course, I was getting 100% until out at 75 feet. Then, as usual, some rounds went a bit wide for my reduced targets. So, only 90%. But that’s still a pass. I really should practice at that distance, but I don’t. It’s just so extremely rare than anyone would ever ever shoot at that distance. If someone is that far away, the question is whether you can’t just remove yourself from danger, though, of course, circumstances vary wildly as to why someone would ever do that (mass shooter, etc.).

Putting up the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall course, I finally got 100%. However, it’s all invalid, I think, because I may have gone over some hundredths of a second on some parts of some stages (part one longer than the average, part two shorter, not bothering to do the average). More stages were way under the clock. What surprised me is that the thumb over thumb grip causes one to use more muscles in one’s forearms, so that there is actually noticeably much more control when doing, say, the one stage of the FAM course that had always been an extra challenge for me to do under the clock: at 21 feet out, one round in each of three targets each three yards apart (18 foot spread), starting by spinning about from 180 degrees (looking away from the targets) and from covered holster, spinning in one direction and then another (six rounds total) with 3.5 seconds for each sub-stage. [Disallowed in multiple ways on all non-private ranges.] This time all six rounds found the little foam dessert plates. But, there’s nothing smooth about it, confident about it, consistent about it. A good course is an anomaly. Unless this new grip really did do me some good.

I took a look at the FOIA provided MCOLES Firearm Standards for annual qualification (lots of great studies and advice) since it was mentioned by Mike the Cop. I wasn’t going to bother with it as it can offer stages that can be something like 1/3 the distance with a much larger target with two or three times the timing. But it does offer some some differences and those are always good. We’ll see.

I don’t know at all about the new police in my town, but the previous group, great guys, were all firearms experts with a wide variety of weapons, which is really good. Unprovoked aggression against police such as ambushes and assassinations is on the uptick, and more exposure to firearms practice, scenario training, and especially in situational awareness is essential.

 

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (St George vs Κηλεος Dragon edition)

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Can you see the challenge to Saint George in the picture above? It has to do with the breath of dragons:

saint george fire breathing dragon

Let’s get a bit closer, but don’t get burned:

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This fiery color of fuschia (pronounced with the Bavarian soft “sh” sound[!]) is of a flower called “Dragon’s Breath” taking a hint from the original Greek name Κηλεος (burning). Sorry about the blurriness; digital cameras just can’t capture anything with red except, oddly, the pupils of eyes.

Parishioners from Florida (half the year) and here (half the year) have finally returned for the cooler mountain temps, and went to buy flowers the other day. They saw this Dragon’s Breath flower and thought of me, you know, Saint George who slew the Dragon and all that. I guess this is an appropriate parish for me to be in, what with the world-famous “Dragon’s Tail”, quite the ride for motorcycles and mini-cars. [Riders beware. I hear the lead-up road speed limit just dropped from 55 to 40.] If you look at the very top picture, you’ll see it planted directly below the Saint Anthony of Padua statue by the front door of the rectory.

Going back up to the Icon, take a look at Holy Mother Church (the woman) and the Lamb of God. Do they look scared? Nope. Is George really saving Her or is She calmly praying for George, you know, so that he is successful in bearing witness to Jesus even as a Roman Soldier? George is being given the opportunity to be Saint George. He’s thankful for the support and encouragement of the whole court of heaven. It’s the one Body of Christ at work. His being a good Catholic was a capital crime for which the Dragon, the possessed-by-Satan-Roman-Emperor, would have George put to death, the very manner by which, persevering to the end, George would become a martyr, a witness, laying down his life for his friends, for Holy Mother Church, Saint George.

Giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception isn’t so much about us doing something; it’s about the support and encouragement of Holy Mother Church for us to follow through with an occasion to do just that. We’re one big family. We rejoice together, even in adverse circumstances.

BTW: As you see from the very top picture, no flags are out as there are torrential rains predicted, but I also need to work on the flags. The 3×5 American Flag is in tatters and needs replacing. I’m thinking, though, of putting up a 3×5 blue-line flag.

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