I’m a priest, and some think that it is odd, even untoward of me, even evil and bad of me, even making me suspect, if I step into the dark world of professional assassins and black ops operators, so that these few who criticize would resent my taking a day-off with some friends of mine. Why?
Have these critics been watching John Wick flicks and they think that that is what it’s all about? I didn’t even know who that fictional strained character was until someone [a fellow priest] expressed surprise at my total lack of cultural awareness when the name John Wick came up in conversation, and until I saw some scenes portrayed on youtube. The actor seems to have some street cred in that he actually trained to do what he puts out. Anyway…
Pope Francis told us, his Missionaries of Mercy, that we are to go into the darkest of existential peripheries (not that these are the darkest of anything). Ever prompt in my obedience to the Holy Father and wanting to be a good son of the Church, and certainly not wanting to do anything in half measures, I often head off into this world of “nothing is as it seems” – even beyond the borders of mere peripheries, in which the efficiency of death dealing betrays the falsity of apparently somersaulting loyalties.
A prostitute (now an activist invigorating laws against prostitution and getting girls off the street, who I introduced to now Saint John Paul II at Castel Gandolfo) once told me that, when she was still a “working girl”, a clergyman came into her working room while taking off his collar and putting this in his back pocket, as if this would make it all not matter. Later, as an activist, she met that guy in public and she asked him why he did what he did, and he answered that he didn’t think it mattered because people like her never convert anyway. You know, just like you can’t do anything for professional assassins and black ops operators… right? (I don’t mean to lump them all together so as to imply some sort of moral equivalence which is not there, but others do lump them all together, and that’s not right).
On my “day off” just the other day, the conversation of very many hours ranged widely. This was with the blackest of black op operators with the Military and The Company:
- We discussed how some individuals are sloppy in their work of assassination, including some recent visitors to the parish who are known to me and how their mistakes are making for conclusions that are actually based on double-reversed baiting in that crazy and frenzied world of “nothing is as it seems.” He was quite disgusted with the state of affairs of field work with […].
- We discussed, at length, the ill-forged empire building so despised by Bill Binney and a term which this guy brought up on his own. The technical phrase “empire building” has been thrown around with well founded cynicism for decades, and refers to preferring the most expensive solution so as to build more buildings, hire more people, buy more toys and more elaborate ways and means, ensuring one’s relevance to one’s own position of power, but has nothing whatsoever to do with national security, but in fact manipulates a lack of security (with purposed catastrophic consequences) toward the end of empire building. There are assassins, of course, who do nothing more than protect empire building. That’s too bad. And if that’s not in and beyond the darkest of existential peripheries I don’t know what is. Ah, but then there’s this:
- We discussed analogous situations in the Church, where, for some, it’s only about power. Indeed. I’ve seen really a lot of that. Wherever people are to be found with a fallen human nature, there is where you will find at least a temptation to power for the sake of power cut off from service, cut off from love, cut off from truth, and therefore only an apparent power. A mirage having catastrophic consequences.
- We discussed humility. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. A lack of humility is all so typical. Fallen human nature is so predictable. We could read it like a book, even if as a sliced palimpsest in purposed Kryptos, if we were but humble in being redeemed, seeing firstly in ourselves the lack we think we may find in others. But who has that humility? No one. Except by the freely given gift of our Redeemer. Humility is of absolutely essential importance. Power corrupts when there is pride which blinds.
- We discussed a panorama of fires started by firemen, so to speak, involving wars and destructions of societies (I discovered more just how naive I am), all for the sake of coming up with a supposed need for empire building. This hit home, I must say, as I have had questions for many decades about various entirely anomalous and inexplicable, impossible situations that I saw firsthand in various countries, and now I know the rest of the story. How many have to die for empire building? I have friends who have suffered greatly until this day because of empire building. How very naive I have been. This priest learns from those who others overlook.
- We discussed, mind you, the heights and depths and width and breadth, so to speak – respecting the Mystery, of course – of the Most Holy Trinity, that eternal dance of love, so to speak, and the living truth and love of Jesus walking among us, and the wherewithal therefore of us walking in God’s presence even in this world even as we step into the darkest of dark places. I let him bring the discussion around to the Most Holy Trinity. That’s all his description. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Do you think it’s impossible for certain people to know God? Pffft. Take a day-off!
Then, of course, the conversation turned to guns, which are, for me, more of a recreation than anything else, though a proper self-defense is indeed proper and sometimes needed, even by me. Pictured above is this gentleman’s mid-1980s Sig P226 variant. It’s what he’s used since it came out, you know, for work. I walked away with the gun of this best shot in the world (at least for a while, at least among our operators of all branches and groups of the military and our intelligence crowd here and abroad), you know, just to compare it with my Glock on the next day off. I will give it back, perhaps by means of a third person. I did get a few rounds out the other day just before nightfall. Yikes. I was instantly 1000% more accurate. Like coming home.
Anyway, I described to him what I enjoy doing with timed courses, SEAL, FBI, FAM… and he shook his head in disbelief, impatience. He said that each timed stage should be about 60% faster than what those courses dictate. He told me how to take the next step beyond these mere courses and how not to miss with multiple moving entirely way too small targets. Extremely counter-intuitive. I’ve seen a couple of others do this. It works. But I digress. That would all be a second step in gunslingery, with me stuck in the first. But there’s a third stage, more physiological/psychological. But I digress again.
I stopped writing here, yesterday, as it was then time to bring one of my elderly, poor and without family shut-ins to see her doctor, some hours away in these back mountains. It’s the Missionary of Mercy thing to do on my “day-on.” When we got back, she gave me a chair to fix, as it had collapsed on her.
Now, having spruced up the above writing with some pictures, it will go out on the blog. But my question for you is this:
- Have you ever written anyone off?
If you have a talk with that very person about Jesus and humility, you might be surprised. You might learn something from them. I’m learning all the time.
Post-script: Oh. I almost forgot. The title to this post has something about the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We recall – don’t we? – that these fierce crusaders, the special op operators of their day, overflowing with experiences of kills, after their duties of crusading were accomplished, went to Mount Carmel to do prayer warfare. But, mind you, this was for six months of the year in their little hermitages (I’ve been in them) and their common church (I have a piece of the cross that went over the entrance that the Discalced Carmelites let me have when I showed it to them). But, mind you, the other six months these “hermits” went down the mountain and throughout the greater Israel to preach up a storm, crusading again, this time with the sword of the Word of God. Don’t think for a second that they were somehow not on speaking terms with their friends of the crusades, their fellow “operators”, who had stayed on to watch over the re-establishment of civilization in the Holy Land, or that they somehow underestimated anyone’s capacity to walk in the presence of our Lord. The Brothers of the BVM didn’t underestimate our Lord’s work with anyone. Again, the question, do I? Do you? Yikes!