Category Archives: Angels

CIA: “Show time!” Angels: “Show time!”

The lead picture is from actual footage out of one of the windows of Air Force 1. POTUS was being accompanied by multiple F-16s on September 11, 2001. They were there to protect him.

I can’t even count the times I’ve seen such accompaniment from my own window in a commercial jetliner. Most incidents were on the Stateside termination of transatlantic flights. I’m guessing that this accompaniment was not for the protection of anyone inside, but rather to practice being in place for the downing of a commercial airliner if it suddenly itself became weaponized. A common exercise for the fighter pilots, surely. Some examples:

  • Chicago – O’Hare International Airport: With fuel mostly depleted after such an extra-long flight, we were, instead, put in a rather weird holding pattern. The pilot was punctuating the ticking of the clock with apologies. Five minutes, fifteen, thirty, thirty five… Passengers were getting a bit agitated. The weather wasn’t good. That was the excuse. Until the pilot started expressing some distress about running out of fuel, and that the tower knew that, but would not, not, not give permission to land. I think the pilot brought the fuel thing up like three times. I love flying, so I thought it was all good, especially because of the airshow outside, F-16s to the sides of the plane. Cool! It was stunning to me – I’m so naive – that no one could care less about the cool F-16s. The other passengers were too agitated with the flight attendants who were trying to keep people calm by proffering hope for getting to any connecting flights. These were the days of “mere” highjacking instead of the blowing up of planes or running them into buildings. The F-16 on my side of the plane (the left side) pulled away. Momentarily, another took its place. Just practice, surely. We landed. My connecting flight was to the Wold–Chamberlain Field of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. We were diverted mid-flight to what looked to be a small-town airstrip somewhere in a pasture in nowheresville, Wisconsin. After a long delay, everyone was hauled out onto the tarmac. All the luggage came off. Dogs arrived with a multitude of law enforcement… Inside the plane, outside the plane, with the luggage, with us… nothing. That was a fad for some years in my experience anyway. Again and again. Then it was back on the plane. Just training, surely. Great!
  • JFK International Airport: I’ve elsewhere told the story about my involvement when terrorists threatened to blow up a transatlantic flight half way to JFK. I’ll spare you. Needless to say, this was another occasion for accompaniment of a commercial airliner with F-16s. They weren’t there for practice, however. They were waiting for a go-ahead to down the plane if need be. We did land, only to taxi out as far away from the airport as possible, almost in the water of the Atlantic, to be met by a multitude of emergency vehicles and then a storming of the plane by special operators.

I remember the details of these incidents of accompaniment more than the details of others as there were more concomitant circumstances that were… special.

Dad used to train in fighter pilots at Andrews just south of DC as they were putting him through JAG law training at Georgetown University. But how do you train in pilots to down commercial airliners full of innocent American citizens? What’s going through the pilots’ minds and hearts and souls? Unimaginable. But that’s why you train. But the question is always, immediately, Is this just an exercise? And then you hear, No. It’s not. … … … as your heart about stops and then about breaks your ribs pounding so hard.

Analogy: We’re all each of us in crazy changing circumstances every day that are permitted or provided by our Lord who is the Lord of History. He sees all. Our angels see all. We’re expected to be faithful in whatever circumstances, to do what we need to do, whether this means anything from going to heaven when called, promptly, with enthusiasm, or “to protect and serve” as is said. And all in between. Do we think, however, that maybe our circumstances aren’t quite so dramatic, and therefore our faithfulness isn’t really a big deal in those small circumstances, so that – Hey! – we can be politically correct or “get along to get along” or not witness to the goodness and kindness and truth and honesty and integrity that our Lord demands of us every second of every hour of every day?

Here’s the deal: It might be faithfulness in that tiny circumstance that will especially touch the heart and soul of someone and have them turn to the Lord and be on their way to heaven. And that epic saving of a soul is incomparably more dramatic than anything whatsoever that could possibly happen to us in this world. The salvation of souls is about eternity. It’s the small things that are going to draw people in, goodness and kindness and truth and honesty and integrity, always, always, and everywhere, everywhere.

1 Comment

Filed under Angels, Intelligence Community, Terrorism

Exorcism law for Catholics: Instruction on Healing 2000; Inde ab aliquot annis 1985; Amorth; Ecclesia Dei dubia 2015

LOURDES-MICHAEL

This is in Saint Michael’s chapel above the grotto in Lourdes, France.

[[ This commentary has been slightly revised and updated with the addition of the Ecclesia Dei response to dubia. ]]

The four matters commented upon here:

  1. Instruction on Prayers for Healing (14 December 2000) [Feast of St John of the Cross, who hated sensationalism]
  2. Inde ab aliquot annis (29 September 1985) [Feast of St Michael the Archangel (and now Gabriel and Raphael as well)]
  3. A citation from Father Amorth
  4. Response to dubia set forth by a priest to the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” – 26 June 2015 [Feast day of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, which may indicate the provenance of the dubia ;-) ]

The Instruction of 14 December 2000 was approved by the ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and shown to and approved by Saint John Paul II. This document cites Inde ab aliquot annis, which was also signed by Cardinal Ratzinger while Prefect of the CDF under Saint John Paul II.

Why you should read this post: Because we’ll be seeing lots more exorcisms taking place with all the new exorcists coming on board. This will help you keep your wits about you, knowing what the Church actually says about such things amidst all the various opinions. A couple of generations have gone by with almost no exorcists appointed in the entire Church. This means a loss of experiential wisdom, a risk of sensationalism, a risk of pride in going up against Satan. Let’s take a look at what the Church actually says. I don’t apologize for taking no prisoners. This is too important.

========================================

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
INSTRUCTION ON PRAYERS FOR HEALING 14 December 2000

[Let’s skip right to the disciplinary norms:]

Art. 1 – It is licit for every member of the faithful to pray to God for healing. When this is organized in a church or other sacred place, it is appropriate that such prayers be led by an ordained minister. [Since the distinction is about the place in which this happens, the logic is that it would be inappropriate for those who are not ordained to lead organized prayer for healing in a church or other sacred place.]

Art. 2 – Prayers for healing are considered to be liturgical if they are part of the liturgical books approved by the Church’s competent authority; otherwise, they are non-liturgical.

Art. 3 – § 1. Liturgical prayers for healing are celebrated according to the rite prescribed in the Ordo benedictionis infirmorum of the Rituale Romanum (28) and with the proper sacred vestments indicated therein.

§ 2. In conformity with what is stated in the Praenotanda, V., De aptationibus quae Conferentiae Episcoporum competunt (29) of the same Rituale Romanum, Conferences of Bishops may introduce those adaptations to the Rite of Blessings of the Sick which are held to be pastorally useful or possibly necessary, after prior review by the Apostolic See.

Art. 4 – § 1. The Diocesan Bishop has the right to issue norms for his particular Church regarding liturgical services of healing, following can. 838 § 4.

§ 2. Those who prepare liturgical services of healing must follow these norms in the celebration of such services.

§ 3. Permission to hold such services must be explicitly given, even if they are organized by Bishops or Cardinals, or include such as participants. Given a just and proportionate reason, the Diocesan Bishop has the right to forbid even the participation of an individual Bishop. [This, of course, has historical reference to the one time Archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo, who was forbidden to participate in such things in the Archdiocese of Milan. Milingo was “laicized” / dismissed from the clerical state in 2009.]

Art. 5 – § 1. Non-liturgical prayers for healing are distinct from liturgical celebrations, as gatherings for prayer or for reading of the word of God; these also fall under the vigilance of the local Ordinary in accordance with can. 839 § 2. [All of this should be obvious, but the abundance of disobedience requires that this be reiterated. The cry “We can do whatever we want!” is frequently to be heard, just as Satan’s cry of “Non serviam!” (I will not serve!) is likewise frequently heard. When there is disobedience you can be sure Satan is nearby.]

§ 2. Confusion between such free non-liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided. [In fact, I’ve never even once seen anything that was not confused.]

§ 3. Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place. [Jesus doesn’t like hysteria. Really, He doesn’t. Jesus wrought exorcisms with quiet authority. Hysteria is a result of faked authority.]

Art. 6 – The use of means of communication (in particular, television) in connection with prayers for healing, falls under the vigilance of the Diocesan Bishop in conformity with can. 823 and the norms established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Instruction of March 30, 1992.(30)

Art. 7 – § 1. Without prejudice to what is established above in art. 3 or to the celebrations for the sick provided in the Church’s liturgical books, prayers for healing – whether liturgical or non-liturgical – must not be introduced into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. [Wow. There. They said it. Totally cool. This happened and, I think, happens all the time, especially in Confession. That’s extremely imprudent. People recall the practice of Alphonsus Liguori, but not really. There is never a citation. Anyway, this is the legislation of Church now and it must be obeyed.]

§ 2. In the celebrations referred to § 1, one may include special prayer intentions for the healing of the sick in the general intercessions or prayers of the faithful, when this is permitted.

Art. 8 – § 1. The ministry of exorcism must be exercised in strict [“strict”] dependence on the Diocesan Bishop, and in keeping with [1.] the norm of can. 1172 [which I’ll try to present in another post with a document I presented to some 150 exorcists many years ago, but the idea is that the express mandate of the local ordinary is necessitated for an imprecatory exorcism], [2.], the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 29, 1985,(31) [which we will comment on further below], and [3.] the Rituale Romanum (32) [which will need its own series to comment upon].

§ 2. The prayers of exorcism contained in the Rituale Romanum must remain separate from healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical. [Get it? It’s not to be done. No direct commands to Satan in any kind of healing service. That ends about 99% of healing services.]

§ 3. It is absolutely forbidden to insert such prayers of exorcism into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. [And no matter how clear and repeatedly this is said, there will be people who will try to find loopholes. Read it: “Absolutely forbidden.” It is absolutely wrong. Nefas est! And, Fathers, to be explicit to the max: DO NOT DO THIS IN CONFESSION].

Art. 9 – Those who direct healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in the assembly and to exercise the necessary prudence if healings should take place among those present; when the celebration is over, any testimony can be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority. [One might find examples of the correct way of doing this in Lourdes.]

Art. 10 – Authoritative intervention by the Diocesan Bishop is proper and necessary when abuses are verified in liturgical or non-liturgical healing services, or when there is obvious scandal among the community of the faithful, or when there is a serious lack of observance of liturgical or disciplinary norms. [This is a reprimand to Bishops for not fulfilling their role of governance. In my experience, this is because those very bishops were happy to have such abuses take place, thinking that this was the nice thing to do].

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Instruction, adopted in Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, September 14, 2000, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

+ Joseph Card. RATZINGER
Prefect

+ Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B. Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Secretary

============================================================

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

Letter to Ordinaries regarding norms on Exorcism

INDE AB ALIQUOT ANNIS – 29 September 1985

Your most Reverend Excellency,

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of prayer groups in the Church aimed at seeking deliverance from the influence of demons, while not actually engaging in real exorcisms. These meetings are led by lay people, even when a priest is present.

As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been asked how one should view these facts, this Dicastery considers it necessary to inform Bishops of the following response:

1. Canon 1172 of the Code of Canon Law states that no one can legitimately perform exorcisms over the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local Ordinary (§ 1), and states that this permission should be granted by the local Ordinary only to priests who are endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life (§ 2). Bishops are therefore strongly advised to stipulate that these norms be observed.

2. From these prescriptions it follows that it is not even licit that the faithful use the formula of exorcism against Satan and the fallen angels, extracted from the one published by order of the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII, and even less that they use the integral text of this exorcism. Bishops should take care to warn the faithful, if necessary, of this. [“the faithful” – this speaks to individuals. The next paragraph speaks to groups. But in this paragraph 2 one sees that individuals even privately are absolutely forbidden to use the exorcism prayer from Leo XIII or anything extracted from it. That’s clear and strong. Priests generally are included, except for those who have the “special and express permission from the local Ordinary”. Disobey and you will get yourself in trouble. Disobedience is a sign of Satan’s presence. Disobedience is an open invitation to Satan to do his demonic worst.]

3. Finally, for the same reasons, Bishops are asked to be vigilant so that – even in cases that do not concern true demonic possession – those who are without the due faculty [priests included] may not conduct meetings during which invocations, to obtain release, are uttered in which demons are questioned directly and their identity sought to be known. [Priests without the due faculty still insist that because of the language in this paragraph they can still address Satan directly, so as to “bind” him, or some such thing, as if this were not an exorcism when, clearly, as a direct command to Satan, it is the very definition of an exorcism. Let’s just say it: forcing Satan with direct commands to answer questions and to reveal their identity is the very definition what is to go on in an exorcism, those direct commands being exorcisms is and of themselves in the larger exorcism or, in this case, with malicious deceit, the larger “deliverance” (which is actually an exorcism done in disobedience.]

Drawing attention to these norms, however, should in no way distance the faithful from praying that, as Jesus taught us, they may be delivered from evil (cf. Mt 6:13). [Exactly right. One may ask our Heavenly Father to rebuke Satan, as did Saint Michael himself. And this is how Jesus, the very Son of the Living God, told us all how to pray. Why is it that people think Jesus’ advice should be despised as worthless, or think themselves better than Saint Michael? I think that many have been misled, and that many think that they have to have power by way of doing exoricms, even to the point of disobeying the Church to do this. But such disobedience is to make friends with Satan.] Finally, Pastors may take this opportunity to recall what the Tradition of the Church teaches concerning the role proper to the sacraments and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Angels and Saints in the Christian’s spiritual battle against evil spirits. [Indeed, Confession is so very important. But don’t do exorcisms in Confession.]

I take the opportunity to express my deepest respects,

Your most esteemed in Christ,

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect

Alberto Bovone
Secretary

=========================

At this point, some quote Father Amorth (an old friend), in An Exorcist: More Stories, 189-90 (translated from a book going back to January 1992 in Italian, by the way…), to say that…

official exorcisms are not allowed [by non-exorcists]; they are reserved exclusively for the exorcist. The same holds true for the exorcism of Leo XIII, even though it is now part of the public domain. The private use of such exorcisms is another matter; at least, this is how I understand the above-cited document.

“At least, this is how I understand…” he says tentatively.

  • Are there “unofficial” exorcisms? Any direct command to Satan is an exorcism. Doing an exorcism needs the special and express permission of the local Ordinary.
  • He is right to mock the mere fact of something merely being published widely (“Part of the public domain”). The fact of leaflets spread about by private individuals is not the granting of a special and express permission!

But, let’s see if the much later document of “Ecclesia Dei” in 2015 has anything pertinent to say about anything private:

=================================

Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei
Pontificia Commissio “Ecclesia Dei”
Prot. N. 153/2009 – 26 June 2015*

[…] Thank you for your letter of 9 June 2015 [an instantaneous response], in which you submitted two dubia regarding the use of the Rituale Romanum of the Extraordinary Form (which is in fact the editio typica dated 1952).

In relation to the first dubium, namely “is a priest allowed to publicly and / or privately use the Exorcismus in satatam et angelos apostaticos (the so-called Exorcism of Leo XIII) found in Title XII of the 1956 Rituale Romanum without express permission of the local Ordinary”, this Pontifical Commission would respond as follows:

  • Pursuant to Can. 1172 § 1, no one may carry out an act of exorcism over persons without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary. Accordingly, any use, whether public or private, of the Exorcism of Leo XIII over persons is subject to such special and express permission of the local Ordinary.
  • As regards the public use of said Exorcism in situations other than over persons, such as over places, objects, or in other circumstances, this is also subject to the authorization of the Ordinary, in accordance with the opening rubric to be found in chapter III of Title XII of the 1952 Rituale: “Sequens exorcismus recitari potest ab Episcopis, nec non a Sacerdotibus, qui ab Ordinariis suis ad id auctoritatem habeant”. Indeed, it does not appear that any later legislation ever lifted the rule laid down by this rubric, which therefore remains in force. As for the letter Inde ab aliquot annis of the CDF of 29 September 1985, this letter deals with the question of the use of the Exorcism by laypersons, and is therefore of no consequence as to the situation of priests. It should further be noted that by “public” use of the Exorcism, one should understand any use made by a priest in the name and with the authority of the Church for the benefit of the faithful.
  • As regards the private use of the Exorcism of Leo XIII by priests, i.e. outside of any pastoral context and / or request by the faithful, and simply as a pia oratio, this Dicastery sees no grounds for which to deny this to priests on the basis of the discipline currently in force. That said, the competent authorities of the […edited out…] remain free, should they deem it appropriate, to provide its members with internal guidelines or rules [for further restriction, obviously] in this regard. [“Ecclesia Dei” rules out this exorcism of Leo XIII being used for the benefit of any member of the faithful and for any benefit whatsoever of the faithful such as over places at the request of the faithful if there is no special and express permission of the local Ordinary for a priest to do this as a duly authorized exorcist. “Ecclesia Dei” concedes a private usage that is to be unknown to anyone but the priest himself ( – over himself? or his domicile? – ) and only as a “pious prayer”. But an imprecatory (by direct command) exorcism as is had with the Exorcism of Leo XIII is not, by definition, a deprecatory (by request to Jesus or the saints) exorcism. The latter could be seen as a “pious prayer” such as the ending of “The Lord’s Prayer”. But the Leo XIII exorcism is definitely not that. It directly places monstrous, arrogant, violent Satan under the authority of Christ and the Church, drawing on the merits of Christ and the saints as an imprecatory exorcism wrought be a duly authorized priest-exorcist. Is this concession about using the Leo XIII exorcism as a “pious prayer” saying that a priest can privately go ahead and recite the Leo XIII exorcism, but just don’t mean what you say? I wonder what Satan would make of that. Does not meaning what you say make a mockery both of exorcism and of prayer? I wonder what Satan would make of that. I simply don’t know what to make of this. I’m not privately or publicly going to encourage priests to do exorcisms over themselves or anything of theirs such as private living quarters even privately even a “pious prayer” (whatever that means) based on an utterly nonsensical private answer to private dubia by a Secretary of a Commission, which answer, by the way, does not bear the public affirmation of the Cardinal Prefect of CDF of the time. Sorry + Guido Pozzo. But perhaps someone would like to explain this “pious prayer” thing to me. The comments box is open. Someone suggested that “merely addressing them” (the demons) is just fine as such an address is not mentioned. My question is: Why the hell would you be concerned with addressing demons if you are not doing an exorcism as duly authorized by the local ordinary to do that? Are the demons your good buds? ST II-II 90. ad. 2 is cited to say that it’s all good. Seriously? Muddled application, my friend. The same fellow says that none of the above restrictions are concerned with “adjuring them” (the demons). To be pedantic, “to adjure” is a direct literal translation from the Greek “exorcism” into Latin: To say “I adjure you, Satan” is exactly the same as to say “I exorcise you, Satan”. In their desire to have communication with the demons[!] people are dealing with fire. I fear for them. You should rethink this throw away concession, + Guido Pozzo.]

In relation to the second dubium, namely “can a deacon validly confect blessings which are not expresse jure permitted to him in the 1956 Rituale Romanum”, this Pontifical Commission would respond that regardless of the question of validity, it is clear from Can. 1169 § 3 that the faculty granted to a deacon to confect a blessing must be expressly conceded. Now, it does not appear that any such faculty has been granted to deacons by Church authority as regards the use of the blessing rites contained in the 1952 Rituale. Such concessions indeed exist in the 1984 De benedictionibus, but these are given on a rite-by-rite basis, and therefore only pertain to those particular rites referred to and laid out by that liturgical book, without any influence on the rights to use the blessings of the 1952 Rituale.

[…] + Guido Pozzo – Secretary

[*This 2015 letter was published years later in 2018 on the internet only in pdf form by Rorate. The transcription and interlinear commentary is mine].

Finally, just to end on a literary / film analogy, here’s a bit about power that was meant for good being corrupted into that which is evil. What do we become with fake authority? This is just a few seconds long:

Be careful, my fellow priests.

3 Comments

Filed under Angels, Exorcism, Priesthood

Getting reprimanded by a professional

img_20190521_113458~21289784993254480750..jpg

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

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

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

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

1 Comment

Filed under Angels, Nature

Road Danger! No, no. It’s just Michael!

00000portrait_00000_burst20190422190614401~2455153143801035463..jpg

Update: What’s in this post was on Easter Monday. It’s now Easter Tuesday. I’m rushing off again. There are those who have questions. I’m praying about these. Patience! ///

This was in the middle of nowhere, on the steep downhill coming off the top of the mountain after the border of Haywood and Jackson Counties. I only had a millionth of a nano-second to decide to stop as Mike was standing on the far side of his cab trying to wave people down and there was almost nowhere to stop. I blame my Guardian Angel for inspiring me in that instant to slam on the brakes and pull into the ditch (already knowing there was no one right behind me what with situational awareness and all that).

I never met Mike before. But, hey! He was in distress. Should I just pass him by? Mike said everyone else did for a full hour and a half before I stopped. Even a county sheriff zipped on by. Not his concern. Not anyone’s concern. We are not our brother’s keeper and all that, right? Mike said truckers used to be pretty tight knit and some might actually help out back in the day. Now everyone’s entitled to be wrapped up in themselves alone, entitled to be miserable, all alone.

Mike’s an oldster like me, same age, late fifties. There’s no way he could have walked the distance even one way, never mind two, and on the way back carrying many containers of many gallons of fluids. That was mid-afternoon. I got home at midnight.

I was having a blast. We spoke of the spiritual life. Trust in God. Wanting to go to heaven. Guardian Angels. Lots of guardian angel talk. Mike thought that this was the best thing ever. Catholics aren’t so bad, not at all, he said. Though he’s not Catholic, he’s been to Mass many times. He’s very close to his family, getting calls from his wife all the time to check to see if he was alright.

Of all things, it was the emergency poncho in the first aid kit someone sent into Holy Souls Hermitage years ago that saved the day. I should have taken a picture of how we both fixed the engine with the poncho and Gorilla Tape. No, really! What a hoot. It really worked.

Mike had other things to worry about. This was the least of his worries. After a couple of weeks, one boy in the family is still in ICU. He showed me a picture. He was shot five times. Still critical, but still alive. Hail Mary

By the way, if you think that this was a nice thing for me to do, and, yes, I’m sure Michael appreciated it to no end, you have to know that, instead, this was no event of condescension. Instead, as I say, it was an entirely enjoyable experience. When we participate in life, we are brought more fully to life. I was the one receiving help.

As I made clear to Mike, I blame my guardian angel for my helping him out. Guardian angels are great. Thanks, Guardian Angel.

5 Comments

Filed under Angels, Road danger

My angels flew away

img_20190312_195439~24282342972413604761..jpg

They’re now hanging in the front window of the neighbors to the hermitage.

Angel of God, my guardian dear

to whom God’s love commits me here

ever this day be at my side

to light and guard, to rule and guide.

Amen.

5 Comments

Filed under Angels

Shadow-dog Guard-dog Surveilling

img_20190120_163529481~271126176617804490..jpg

Yesterday, just down the street, multiple law enforcement agencies were at one of the many smallish assisted living homes for hours on end. There looks to have been a drug dog as well. And then the Parole Officer’s vehicle arrived. Yikes! I have no idea what was going on there, but I’m guessing that there may have been some home invasion activity. I mean, what better place to get prescription pain killers from defenseless elderly people?

Meanwhile, in my own neighborhood, copper junk was found strewn about, obviously someone cutting across yards with a haphazard armful of copper rubbish stolen so as to sell at the various junk yards, which pay top-dollar for copper.

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is playing Guard-dog. He’s sitting on the back steps entrance into the house looking out into the back neighborhood and streets for anything suspicious. I thought he might be wanting to come in – as it’s really cold out – but no.

I tried to distract him by making all sorts of noise, but no. He did look at me once for a nanosecond as if to say, complaining: “Oh, keep quiet! Don’t you see I’m trying to protect you?” I mean, if you could have seen the look. He was very much at attention. A picture hardly conveys this. He’s not just sitting there. It’s like the whole city could vaporize in front of him so much explosive energy does he have. Very, very impressive.

  • “Goooood Shaaaadooow-daaawwwg!”
  • “Oh, keep quiet!”

And then, an analogy:

  • “Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to…”
  • “Just say the Angelus!”

1 Comment

Filed under Angels, Dogs

Shadow-dog Gladiator-dog: Teaching session

img_20181207_154333539_burst000_cover~21354812363336560812..jpg

The heavy knotted short-rope, which is like, say, an enemy intruder (I have a good imagination!), is a good demonstrator tool for Shadow-dog who makes me his student in his gladiator school. In the above picture we see how one is to toss ever so calmly one’s adversary into the air with a gentle side-spin so that, in follow-up, one might put one’s entire weight and strength into viciously ripping in the opposite direction, which violent ripping could easily shred to pieces whomsoever the adversary happens to be:

img_20181207_154333539_burst001~27647674058882854394..jpg

This ripping spinning motion will spin Shadow-dog himself about 180 degrees and the adversary round about some 540 degrees, and back and forth multiple times so very violently in just nanoseconds, so that I’m thinking he himself is going to be ripped in half, growling so loudly that all the neighbors either laugh with glee at the protection against home-invasion that they all have with Shadow-dog in the neighborhood, or half die of fright with the show that is put on. Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is the friendliest dog around. And the neighbors know that too. He’s so smart. Gooooood dooooggiieee!

You can always tell how good a dog is by how willing they are to teach you their tricks in their justifiable efforts to make you part of the team. Part of being more alpha than a forever alpha dog like a German Shepherd wolf is to be a good partner with him in the job that needs to be done. That’s when they’re in their element.

An absolutely inadequate and inappropriate analogy for which I beg the pardon of my guardian angel, who guards not a dog but me, nor learns from me but rather instructs as John was instructed: “I am a fellow servant of yours” (Revelation 22). But also our guardian angels are in their element, so to speak, when we are with them as fellow servants, fellow slaves, co-workers of our Lord. They teach us how to be warriors, so to speak, in this Church militant, where we fight as best we can to keep the faithfulness and hope that are given to us, the purity of heart and agility of soul that are given to us, the love of God and neighbor that is given to us. We are made into a show, of God’s goodness, really, as Saint Paul has it. Gladiators for God. Shadow-dog is a good example in his own way.

1 Comment

Filed under Angels, Dogs, Spiritual life

Homily 2018 11 18 Angels & 4 last things

saint michael

Rather ferocious about the angels. Don’t be afraid.

4 Comments

Filed under Angels, HOMILIES

Last day of the retreat

This was a spectacularly good retreat. What remains is to ask our Lady to trample that crescent moon under her heel.

Your situational awareness is good enough whereby you see that sliver of a crescent moon in the picture above, right?

But who’s the most terrible enemy these days? There are enemies from outside and enemies within. There is the world, the flesh and the devil.

Saint Michael! Defend us!

Guardian angels! Protect us!

1 Comment

Filed under Angels

Guardian Angels – Every day

IMG_20170430_164430

Gotta repost this.

  • Guardian angels see the face of God. Quite a perspective, that. They also see us, and in comparison to seeing the face of God, you have to know that they are amazed at the love of Jesus for us, letting Himself be tortured to death for us as He takes on what we deserve so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • The angels cannot forgive us as they have not become incarnate and cannot stand in our place to have the right in justice to forgive us, but they can rejoice in the Lord’s forgiveness of us. There is no greater joy for the angels than this.
  • But when we are not interested in such forgiveness, any angel is at the ready to end our lives at the command of the Most High. Just one angel – one, mind you – took on the Assyrians and, in one night, killed 185,000 soldiers. We might wonder about our access to them, amazing the angels who have plenty of access to us.
  • To have some awareness, so to speak, of the angels is not about being a tender snowflake who thinks he is entitled to being some sort of gnostic new-age guru channeler of self-importance.
  • Being aware of the inspirations of the angels, who see the face of God and who want us to have the reverence before the Most Holy Trinity we as members of the body of Christ are to have while we are given as a gift to our heavenly Father through, with and in Jesus by the fiery Holy Spirit, being aware of the inspirations of the angels isn’t about us trying to control the mechanism by which we are aware of the angels but about following their lead in humble thanksgiving, the reverence of a creature before His Creator, of a friend before the One who makes us His friends.
  • When we talk to our guardian angels making this request — Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide —  when we make that request, are we not asking to be inspired, that is, to be enlightened (to wit: “to light”), thus admitting we are not inspired, not enlightened, in need of their assistance but that we can nevertheless receive that help?
  • Are we not asking to be guarded (to wit: “to guard”) because we know we are so ridiculously unguarded in every way, so that we are even asking to be smacked down – whatever it takes – so that our souls are first of all protected, admitting in this way that we can, in fact, allow ourselves to be guarded?
  • In asking to be ruled (to wit: “to rule”) are we not saying that we can recognize that and allow that, unruly as we might otherwise be, so that we have some sort of capacity to follow up on that being ruled?
  • And if we are asking to be guided (to wit: “to guide”) are we not admitting, finally, that we are out of control without their guidance, and that we can nevertheless recognize and benefit from such guidance?
  • To put it Thomistically, the angels can use the same mechanism to inspire us that is used by supernatural faith which our natural brains cannot otherwise grasp, that is, that which the conscience founds itself upon in order to make judgments that we can either go along with or not. This can be recognized readily by any soul in the state of grace who therefore has some purity of heart, some agility of soul. This is not gnosticism, not anything special, just the normal state of affairs in the family of God.
  • Guardian angels can also use other means to help us along. They can intervene to manipulate the physical universe in whatever way according to the will of God. They can make an impression of an apparition upon us even as we are very aware of their presence, even to just about bring about our deaths, crushed by the weight of the glory of God that they reflect (this being the experience of Daniel and John…).
  • Having said all that, is one to reject what seems to be an extraordinary intervention? Discernment is a good thing as John of the Cross points out. If it is something that makes perfect sense in view of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Sacred Magisterium of the Church, and if it is not something about spooky future events, about anything that would push the self-importance of the human subject, or is about otherwise unknowable things about times and places and people and the thoughts and motivations of others, if it is that which would have one recognize oneself for the fool one knows oneself to be but at the same time if it is that which places one in profound humble reverence and thanksgiving in all friendship before Jesus, if it is that which makes one all the more want to regularly participate in the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, if it is that which smacks one down for the sake of the Kingdom of the Heavens, one might go ahead and take it for what it’s worth. Thus, John of the Cross didn’t have himself or Teresa of Avila excommunicated by the Inquisition.

Example One: Before beginning the Genesis project, I made brave and asked my guardian angel if it were possible to figure out the mechanism of the transmission of original sin by propagation instead of by imitation using the most ferociously pedantic scientific historical philological examination of the ancient texts to date, and thus giving honor to the Immaculate Conception, showing how she is that woman, the mother of the redeemer, in Genesis 3:15. There was no verbal answer, but I must say I did take note of the weight of the glory of God in all my darkness, feeling terribly unworthy but that it is possible, but I had better make my number one objective in the present to be the tiniest little child, following Jesus, with the rest falling into place. In other words, the answer wasn’t about the future, it was about what is happening starting now if only I would remain in reverence before Jesus.

palestinian donkeyExample Two: I’ve told this story many times before, but it is ad rem, to the point. This happened in the Summer of 2010 on Highway 65 between Lebanon and Indianapolis, Indiana, on the way back to the Josephinum from an Extraordinary Form practicum up in Mundelein. As usual, for the hundred millionth time over the space of very many years, I was asking my guardian angel to assist me in having the same reverence before God as he did, it being that he sees the face of God and I don’t. What I was asking was incorrect theologically, impossible in reality, and simply a rejection of the present economy of salvation. He answered me while I was driving. It didn’t cause an accident though I did want to drop to my knees should that have been possible in a car while wearing a seat belt. It’s not that I heard words at all, but the communication was crystal clear, full of irony, full of humility on his part, full of putting me in my place, but with the most tender solicitation for my welfare. John of the Cross may well be annoyed with such events, but they do happen, and he admits that, adding, however, that this is usually done for souls who are so weak and such asses that they need this extra help. This was his answer:

“I’m an angel. You’re not an angel. I see the face of God directly. You don’t. I’m to have the reverence before God that I am to have as an angel. You will never have this kind of reverence before God that I do. I’m an angel. You’re not. [Sounds pretty dire, right? But watch what happens now…] You’re to have the kind of reverence before God that you are supposed to have, and which I will never have, because you are a human being, but I’m not. I see the Most Holy Trinity directly, but right now, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, you are to see God the Father, but through, with and in Jesus, for you are a member of His Body of which He is the Head. He sees the Father for you, for you one with Him by grace. This is the kind of reverence you are to have before God, a reverence you can have but I cannot ever have, for you are a human being and I am not.”

As you might imagine, my response, first stunned, then full of joy, then laughing with glee, was this:

“So, O.K. Guardian Angel, therefore, help me to have the kind of reverence before God that I am to have, through, with and in Jesus, for you see the face of God in heaven right now, and I’m so weak in walking with Jesus who sees the Father for me. You are strong and I’m not. Help me to live the reverence I’m to have in humble thanksgiving.”

I’ve told that story to plenty of skeptical theologians, you know, that my guardian angel told me something, and they are eager to hear the story so as to pounce on me for being an idiot visionary. And then as they listen you can see them turn right around and finally say, “Well, yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly what you should do.” What they were impressed with is that it was just so normal. Nothing esoteric, nothing gnostic, no new revelation. Just. Normal. Logical.

Remember Mary’s meeting with Gabriel. Joseph’s meeting with the angel. Zechariah’s meeting with the angel. Remember that Jesus said he could call on more than twelve legions of angels to assist Him in Gethsemane (well over 60,000 angels), but did not. And remember that just one angel can in one night take out 185,000 soldiers. Just one.

3 Comments

Filed under Angels

Today’s Politics of the Sistine Madonna UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

SISTINE MADONNA full

M.T. sent in a postcard sporting the Sistine Madonna by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael). The postcard itself arrived a bit damaged, as postcards do, so the above is a Wikipedia file.

I’m thankful for a reminder of the Sistine Madonna (with its wild history of locations both for the real painting and my mom’s copy) as it throws me fully into nostalgic mode. But that would be known from what I’ve written over the years. This was my mom’s favorite painting which always graced the “living room” of whatever house we lived in. Her copy looked like the real thing (to a kid like me) and was very elegantly framed. My mom made the frame and “antiqued” it. All very stately.

I would stand before this painting in wonder as a kid. It was my secret way to peek into heaven. There was heaven, right there, for all to see. How is it that the angels in the background allowed me to live. Even the angels are bored down front as they tolerate my presence. Did others see the treasures to be found here, in heaven? For me, these were mesmerizing sacred moments, so many, but always the same right through the years and in different houses: I would be racing about as a kid but then, in passing this painting, I would stop, instantly transported to the gates of heaven. Out of breath in my running. But absolutely still. “Look!” thought I, “There are all the angels!” straining as I was to see not so much the two angels out front, but the zillions in the background.

“Wow…” constituted the extent of my art appreciation at the time, though I imagine that that word was inscaped with more of a Hopkins’ umph than most grownup critics could ever muster with all their ulterior motives.

I remember being miffed that I didn’t know who Pope Sixtus was, or, as such a little kid, what his tiara was, and that I didn’t know who Saint Barbara was. But no matter. I happily gazed into the faces of Mary and her Son Jesus. M.T. shared his thoughts about these faces with me. I suppose I should return the favor with some of my own musings at this stage in my life.

SISTINE MADONNA detail

M.T. says he sees something “stern” in the face of Jesus. The way I myself would describe that is something of dread determination in the face of what is to come for Jesus during His life upon this earth, yet joy for what the result will finally be when He comes to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Jesus and His good mom are totally in solidarity with each other and mean to accomplish that which they set out to do for our redemption and salvation. But as with all such paintings, you have to follow the eyes, and in context. What’s said with just this detail is not wrong, but it’s all out of context. So, let’s move back to the full painting.

You’ll notice that young Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, is looking down at the two angels who entered heaven, as did she, by the right choice to follow the Son of Mary. We have to remember that about angels. They, like us, had to say “Yes!” They expect us to use our free will correctly as well.

You’ll notice that Sixtus is bidding Jesus and Mary to look out from heaven to those here upon the earth. It’s as if Sixtus is saying “Look at what they are saying about me!” with “they” referring to those at whom he is indiscriminately pointing. And Jesus is looking over him – indeed over the viewer of the painting – and Mary is scanning the crowd also in back of the viewer of the painting (her eyes just a bit askance). As Sixtus makes his complaint, Jesus has already gone through His passion and death, and has risen from the dead and has ascended into heaven. But here Sixtus is addressing Jesus as a child. That surely refers to what Sixtus is complaining about.

There was a vicious gossip columnist in Rome at the time – given no credence by anyone – who wrote about Sixtus in such manner – repeating without discernment all that he heard – that you would think that gossip guy is writing in late 2018, all stuff about interfering with kids and young men.

Again, back to Jesus and Mary: there’s a certain foreboding, a certain sorrow, but also and more importantly a certain joy for those who will make it to heaven. Note as well that Sixtus himself is canonized in the painting. He’s up in the clouds of heaven. Is protected by the bored angels who would happy to do some janitorial work over against enemies if called upon, and can speak with Jesus and Mary at will, and they are right with him. But the gossip? Horrible. But the truth? That’s what Raphael is painting.

Lots to think about there. To M.T.: Again, thanks for the postcard.

UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

14 Comments

Filed under Angels, Jesus, Mary

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (3 + 3 + 3 angel choirs rejoicing edition)

img_20180828_103018208~27107229826016423173..jpg

As you can see, we have three sets of three here. Nine. I immediately think of nine choirs of angels, ordered into three sets of three, as pointed out by the Angelic Doctor, the Common Doctor, the great Saint Thomas Aquinas. See Question 108. The angelic degrees of hierarchies and orders. A good read, even for this most un-well-read priest.

There is no greater rejoicing of the angels in heaven than over one sinner who converts. It strikes me that they express this joy by, for instance, giving flowers of sinners like yours truly to the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Angels.

We can rejoice in their rejoicing. It’s important to rejoice. Even and especially in stormy times. Always. If we can have, by grace, some bit of purity of heart and agility of soul, then we are immediately brought to this rejoicing, for we see just how far the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception had to reach into this world to get us, which is cause for rejoicing. He had to stretch His arms in both directions on the cross, under which stood His dearest mother and ours. The angels are agape. And then they rejoice.

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Flores

Angels and dangers of complacency

angel face palm

I confess. This is my horrid sin: complacency.

Complacency is so horrid because it stops one from growing. It makes one overconfident, which is when mistakes are made. It’s a manifestation of pride, arrogance, self-absorbed, self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethean, Pelagian. Yuck.

It all started when I was a kid, with escaping kidnappers and winning at fights otherwise to the death, and then with death-defying extreme sports. I figured I was indestructible because of thinking I was clever enough to get out of anything perhaps too happy to depend on guardian angels when I should not be testing them in the first place. So, how stupid was I? Answer: well, I think only my guardian angel could answer that adequately.

And then, even worse, complacency manifested itself with vehicles. In mid-teenage years, getting my first “cars”. The first I think was $50. A standard shift that was jump-started, meaning I had to park it on the downward side of a hill so that, in starting it again, I would run alongside the open door and jump in, throwing it into gear. Anyway, it took about a nano-second to go from (1) pushing the car around with the accelerator to (2) being one thing with the car so that it was like an extension of one’s body. That has one go to the limit with the car being just as immortal as I thought I was (at least acting that way much of the time).

I’m older now. I try to be somewhat self-aware. I try to be honest with complacency. This is not easy as by definition complacency militates against that honesty. Only God’s love, God’s truth can break through complacency. It’s a sign of complacency to think that we can successfully try to be somewhat self-aware, to be honest. But only God’s love and God’s truth can break through complacency. Well…

Yesterday, this “being at one” thing came up again. Not for any particular reason except my own deep-seated pride. But it just hit me that this is what just happened, a paradigmatic shift psychologically speaking. Here I am, complacent, once again.

This time, it occurred on the “day-off” at the end of shooting some courses  (FBI, Federal Air Marshal, DEVGRU, etc.). “Being at one” with one’s firearm, a step beyond “having” a gun (women, apparently, “wear” guns). The temptation with this is to be overconfident, which is when mistakes are made, such as thinking one doesn’t need to keep on edge by shooting courses (how many people do that?), keeping up on best-practices for deescalation, etc. (how many people do that?).

Mind you – and this is the stupid thing about complacency – it’s not that I had a spectacular day with shooting courses, like getting 100% on each course. Far from it. I sometimes go overtime. I sometimes miss.

An appropriate analogy might be getting the first level of a black belt, which is equivalent to what we call sophomore, a “wise-fool,” who is a know-it-all who is therefore unteachable. A first level black belt often looks for trouble. The top level guy, instead, will do everything he can to hide his skill, and then use it as little as possible so that he can just quietly walk away. A big difference, that.

Fortunately, recognizing the dangers of complacency was simultaneous to the temptation to be complacent. Credit for that goes, of course, to my guardian angel.

It would be good not to be complacent about recognizing the temptation of complacency. Psychologically, that’s basically impossible to our fallen human nature. So, I’ll ask my guardian angel about that. I’m sure he will be happy to smack me down in all charity.

When’s the last time you asked your guardian angel to smack you down with God’s love regarding otherwise unrecognizable complacency in any area of your life?

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Guns

Double reverse psychology trick

img_20180625_204854878_ll~24408802217420479725..jpg

Shadow-dog is slightly larger than Laudie-dog. But Laudie-dog is, apparently, smarter than Shadow-dog. She successfully took over Shadow-dog’s wolf-cave. She is just so laughing on the inside at her brilliant pawipulations. Shadow-dog looks bewildered that he’s been had in his own wolf-cave by someone who’s not even a wolf. Laudie-dog has the run of the whole house, so I told her to come out, and she did, happy to show me, however, that she’s definitely top dog. Shadow-dog was content that he had his own kingdom once again.

Mind you, it’s not that Laudie-dog wanted to take over Shadow-dog’s cave. It’s that she wanted to make sure that he’s jealous of his wolf-cave, so that he insists on staying there and is not tempted to cry to have run of the house as well. Hah.

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is no fool. He plays the game, letting Laudie-dog think that she has tricked him so that she is content now to stay out of his wolf-cave, banished to life outside the wolf-cave. Double HahHah! His bewildered look above is instead a pleading with me to play along with him in his double-reverse ploy. Yes. Fine. I’m good with that.

Meanwhile, they’ve both teamed up to manipulate me… pawipulate me into thinking that I’m the true landlord of the house. At any rate, everybody’s happy.

I have to wonder how our guardian angels deal with the likes of us. Jesus says that they see the face of God right now, and then… and then… there’s us. Goodness!

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Dogs

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:

road danger pass wrong way3

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.

img_20180410_193713442_hdr~21532123985..jpg

5 Comments

Filed under Angels, Road danger

Conquering the world flesh and devil with the cross and Jesus

My hero Pope Sixtus V (but am I his favorite son?) put this up with the cross in top and these bits at the base:

I had a good chat with a guy who was finding a great deal of consolation in these words. That should tell you something about the suffering he was in. But a good chat. A real connection.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Jesus

Mention wanting to go to heaven and some people say “Go to hell!” Yikes!

byers dance paul vi audience hall

I never said I never bait people about spiritual stuff that matters for life eternal.

When I put up this post (Ask your Guardian Angel to help you make a good confession. I did. He did.) If you haven’t read that post, you should do it now. What a fright! I knew that post would get some reaction, and I did, immediately, in email, basically with the idea that I should just go to hell just like all other priests. That’s O.K. Their guardian angels will catch up with them and explain the matter to them. And that’s a good thing.

If you think I’m mean in doing that, baiting I mean, I beg you to read the Gospels. No, really! Be prepared to be amazed. Jesus is baiting people all the time, pushing them, antagonizing them. They hated Him for it, tortured Him to death for it. He knew it would happen. He did it anyway. It’s what got and gets the most to heaven: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Do priests go to Confession? Yes. Or they should. Is every priest guilty of all sins of all priests in the history of the world? No. But that’s what lots of people actually think. And they say it. With dark bitterness. Not fair. But it’s to be expected.

Priest penitent: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. My last confession was last week. As you know, I’m a priest, and since last week, well, it’s not that I said anything, but I let myself get a bit impatient in my own feelings with someone who said I was guilty of all sins of all priests of all time because I was also a priest as if guilt by the association made in the mind of whoever is a real thing. I’m weak, Father. I could spend my time better. I’d like to include all the sins of my past life.”

Priest Confessor: “For your penance, Father, you are say the Memorare one time for the souls in purgatory. Now, say a good act of contrition.”

Pundit: “What?! Impatience?! He should confess being a chainsaw murderer! After all, there’s a picture! And he’s surely guilty of everything anyway!”

GEORGE DAVID BYERS CHAINSAW PICTURE

;-) Look, we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever of our own sin. People shouldn’t think they will be justified before the Living God – who alone will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire – justified just because they condemned everyone else of everything else.

So, here we go again. I’ll say it again about why I go to confession:

I want to go to heaven. I don’t want to go to hell. Heck, I don’t even want to go to purgatory, not even for the tiniest moment. I want to rush to heaven and thank Jesus, the Eternal Word of the Father, for being my Savior, He having become, after all, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, His dear mama and ours.

Terrible baiting, that. I mean, after all, I do not deserve heaven, but rather hell. But Jesus is good and kind. Really, He is.

But more than this, Jesus took on the punishment for all our sins. If we condemn people for wanting to go to heaven by throwing themselves down before Jesus begging for His mercy, do we not, then, condemn Jesus Himself? God will not be mocked. Aligning oneself with Satan, the Accuser, just ain’t gonna work out at the judgment.

  • We should be happy that Peter repented of his denial of the Lord.
  • We should be happy if Judas would have repented of his betrayal of the Lord.

bike stingray schwinn

It was with a bike just like this that, as a kid, I left even thirty foot skid marks and longer on sidewalks in front of people’s houses, dozens, overlapping, making designs, where they would remain for a good half year or more, lowering property values, making for angry comments while I would then speed away, perhaps on one wheel, getting me reprimands from my parents. It was a bit of a thing. I was a real brat as a kid. And, come to think of it, that’s something I’m sure I never confessed in my entire life, including today when I was really trying to include everything. O.K., well, maybe next time in the confessional if I remember it.

If you ask your Guardian Angel to remind you of things you didn’t confess for whatever reason, or were ambiguous about it, or making excuses for everything, he will let you know so that you can confess well. Don’t be afraid.

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

Ask your Guardian Angel to help you make a good confession. I did. He did.

confession sacrament

Recently I asked my guardian angel to smack me down and let me know if there was any sin in my life which I had left un-confessed for whatever reason, or confessed in a bit of an ambiguous manner, or with WAY TOO MANY excuses in my own mind or even as verbalized to a confessor.

I want to go to heaven. I don’t want to go to hell. Heck, I don’t even want to go to purgatory, not even for the tiniest moment. I want to rush to heaven and thank Jesus, the Eternal Word of the Father, for being my Savior, He having become, after all, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, His dear mama and ours.

Here’s the deal: when you ask your guardian angel something like this he will take you seriously and he will do it. Long story short: he did. Stuff came to mind from decades ago, as a kid, even as a little little kid. That I remember pretty much everything makes any of my obfuscations in the distant past and then never quite totally suppressed quite evil and bad. Having said that…

There is no greater rejoicing in heaven before the angels of the Lord than when a donkey like me runs to the mercy of our Lord.

My penance: A Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

So, have you ever asked your angel to do something like that?

I think smacking me down is an extreme sport in which my guardian angel delights.

Hint: when your guardian angel smacks you down you’re supposed to say, ever so politely, and mean it:

“Thank you, Guardian Angel.”

The mercy of the Lord is most wonderful to receive in confession.

What was it like to be smacked down by my Guardian Angel? Good question.

The revelation of whatever sin from so many decades ago was so incredibly clear, but not as a memory. It was an event, as in dying, and, in that first nanosecond after death, being confronted with that sin as a present possession, and all of eternity in hell yawning wide before me. It was like a lightning bolt. Clear as clear as clear can be. Angels are like that. All this, but still being held by my Guardian Angel. After all, the point in this kind of smacking down isn’t for the guardian angel to wipe out his charge, but to get him to confession safely and then off to heaven.

guardian angel

Thank you, Guardian Angel!

Dear reader, at this point you are supposed to be saying, “Hey! If that donkey priest Father George can be brave enough to ask his guardian angel something like that, then I can do that too. I want to go to heaven too. My guardian angel wants me to go to heaven too. Dear Guardian Angel, if there’s anything which I had left un-confessed for whatever reason, or confessed in a bit of an ambiguous manner, or with WAY TOO MANY excuses in my own mind or even as verbalized to a confessor, can you please smack me down and get me to confession and then, when the Lord wants, to heaven? Please!”

Hah. I tricked you into saying all that to your guardian angel.

You won’t regret it. Just say, Amen.

“Amen.”

;-)

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Purple Archangels Army edition)

img_20180316_153237256~21764070632..jpg

A dear reader once said, me-thinks, that this is a purple archangel. There are armies of them everywhere round about the rectory, finishing off Lent in grand style.

I’m not sure why that name is what it is and there are plenty of weird interpretations of any and all kinds. I feel free to give my own interpretation (colors not being quite right, but I don’t care):

saint michael police officer down

Anyway, have no fear, our Lady always sees such flowers with purity of heart and agility of soul and sees flowers created by her Divine Son for what they are. Meanwhile, she also sees all the inane interpretations. It’s enough to make you want to give more flowers to the Immaculate Conception.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Flores

Road danger: invisible is for angels

road danger cop blocks road

This State Trooper is a nice guy. He’s been helping out with some too rambunctious drivers since we don’t yet have a North Carolina certified Police Officer, just a Chief certified down in Georgia. He’ll be regularized soon.

The Trooper suddenly pulled out directly in front of me on the highway, perpendicular, as if he were going to try to cut across the median, but he changed his mind and raced to the U-Turn just a couple hundred yards up. He was frantic.

My first thought in seeing this is that he had been shot by the guy in the truck and needed to rush to the EMS station which is right nearby. There was no one behind me, so I just stopped dead right there on the highway and out-waited the guy in the truck who had been taking off at the same time as the Trooper, until he saw me. Sorry, but in these circumstances I just didn’t trust him. He finally took off.

All this happened because I guess I was invisible to the Trooper. It happens. I guess the Trooper had a long day. “Routine” traffic stops can be exasperating when people have guns, are drunk or on drugs, have warrants, are uncooperative. Who knows. Anyway, I figure this Trooper owes me one for wearing down my brakes and not T-Boning him on the driver’s side. ;-)

Perhaps I need to ask my ever invisible guardian angel to make me more visible to others. Being invisible has its benefits, but not always. The angels always see us, as does God Himself, of course, He being the One who holds us in existence.

1 Comment

Filed under Angels, Road danger