Category Archives: Dogs
Out of the blue my favorite State Department Diplomat (now retired) has sent in some doggie-treats for both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog.
As you can see, Shadow-dog is doing his happy-dance in the freshly fallen snow. Laudie-dog doesn’t much care for the snow, but retains her most photogenic happy-smile:
But don’t be fooled. Both are fiercely protective of yours truly. The happy-dance of Shadow-dog is actually a battle drill, seeing if he can be as aggressive in the slippery snow as he is on dry packed soil:
Yes, I should think so. Those paws are about as big as Laudie-dogs whole face. Good thing they are friends.
Meanwhile, I apologize for having disappeared for some time. Sooooo busy doing the priest thing. I love it. There are many emails and comments I have to get to. Sorry if it seems I’ve not been getting to these. No intention to snub anyone. If I were to give a rundown of my day yesterday, absolutely running from 3:00 AM to 7:00 PM it might be more understandable.
Yes, Shadow-dog does get hosed off. He likes that as much as getting muddy. He likes to bait Laudie-dog into playing, and she shows him who’s really boss, boxing his ears with both front paws at the same time, though not baring her ferocious fangs for a second. They really are best friends. She’s just cleaner, and wants to stay that way.
In an effort to change out mud holes, I restricted Shadow dog to being closer in to the house, as there is still an old fence to use. But his hopping from side to side in front of that fence when making his usual commentary on passing events has made for some embankments. As I kid, when I did that for downhill skiing up in the North Woods: moguls. I got good at it, enough to get little impromptu audiences. But maybe they were just waiting for the crazy-insane-kid to be out of the way.
The anomalous all-black GSDs have a slightly different genetic structure, closer, I would guess, to wolfdom. They have what some call a straight back instead of the back sloping down from shoulders to tail. But Shadow-dog’s back actually is higher. The speed factor is amazing.
He can go from the not-lying-down-but-actually-crouching-attack-position – closely eyeing a potential enemy who needs to be vetted out – to full speed racing as a test-attack to see the reaction of the would-be enemy, the ol’ going straight from zero to a hundred thing in bare nanoseconds. I like that. A lot. Even if the enemy is a squirrel, a cat, the neighbor’s therapy pony or the next-door neighbor’s dog. Sometimes, though, it’s a possibly nefarious human who instantly understands the instruction not to come over the fence to do up a home invasion. To see the speed, I only need to open the side gate to let him go in the bigger back yard.
Laudie-dog is much calmer. But she knows that she doesn’t need to prove herself to me. She’s already saved me so very many times from monsters: bears and lynx and coyotes and snakes and red wolves and now grey wolves, and even a panther. That last one was a fright.
- Dogs are the best. Cats are… cats…
- Dogs are man’s best friend. Cats are… cats…
- Dogs protect you and yours. Cats… watch the worst go down…
- Dogs are eager to learn. Cats think they know it all…
- Dogs watch birds. Cat’s eat the birds for whom you put out bird-seed…
I mean, if you can add to the list, or defend cats (which I would be interested in seeing), drop a comment. Let me put it this way, although dogs and cats are equally God’s good creatures, my fallen human nature says:
Dogs are better than cats. Change my mind.
There were both dogs and cats around the house when I was a kid. I have dogs now, but no cats. Am I therefore wrong to even voice an opinion? Do I need to get a cat to be able to legitimately express my inner creation commentary?
If I were to get a cat, it would have to be black (to match priest-clothes), have short hair, not shed, be content with dry cat food, not scratch-attack, purr really really really a lot, and loudly, get along with both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog without scratching their eyes out, and otherwise not be “catty”… or is that something cats absolutely have to be?
Finally, I know, I know: there are anomalies…
Shadow-dog, if taunted and aggressed upon by a home invader who was beating me to death could, I imagine, tear any beast, animal or human, right in half, quite literally, within seconds. That’s a quite limited circumstance. He’s been shot by pellet guns a number of times, but he’s never jumped the fence, never taken revenge. Goooood daaaaawg! He’s totally socialized, having grown up for his first year and a half eating at the high school cafeteria. I’ve never seen him not be friendly with visitors to the rectory, who, mind you, stay dutifully behind the gate. Smart, that.
Shadow-dog might look ferocious in the two second video above, but this is simply an inviting squeak-bark to play offered to the back-fence neighbor’s dog, who has learned to look bored and not deign to respond (though in this video you can hear that other dog in the background offering his own weak-bark commentary, not having mastered the squeak-bark).
This exchange could also be characterized as baiting, by either dog, challenging when you know that actual consequence will come about. One of the parishioners once brought Blue-dog (a Weimaraner). We tried to socialize them with the fence between them and they both realized that they were beloved dogs to their owners, and that their owners were there. Then we put them in the yard together. Soooo, that didn’t work at all. They are both alpha dogs. They are both extremely protective and neither is willing to share anything, least of all space on the earth, unless of course, with, say, Laudie-dog, who is about a third the size of them and given over entirely to deescalation.
But even Laudie-dog, if pushed, can be equally ferocious. Maternal protectiveness even for the likes of this human being kicks in like male aggressiveness never could. She’s proven it, having actively saved me from snakes and lynx and coyotes and red wolves and a grey wolf and bears galore and even – extremely traumatically – from a panther. All that was in the hermitage. She can discern who’s bad and evil among human beings, having gone into protective mode (though without attack, just warning) twice, among the hundreds of human beings she’s met. I didn’t see it the bad and evil aspects of those involved, but she sensed it. I wouldn’t put it past the two she did this with that they likely killed a dog just before coming over. She knew. Goooood daaaawg! Actually, the neighbor to the hermitage confirmed that he wouldn’t have put such malicious violence past them. Mostly, Laudie-dog is calm, content, happy, always a smile, even if, sometimes, woken up and drowsy, just for a picture:
We usually get upset when we’re frustrated, which is when things are out of control, when we get nervous that the spinning of worldliness is spinning away while the true pole of the earth is tossed as irrelevant. However, it remains true that the Cross remains while the world spins away:
Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.
That’s just a two second video of Shadow-dog above. He demonstrates well my reaction to anyone holding the cross to be irrelevant. That’s my reaction because I’m not as close to Christ Jesus as I should be. So, I get nervous, upset. How stupid is that. We must retain our peace of heart even if we also have anguish of soul. Anyway, I had that frustrated reaction the other day to something someone who should know better said of a proclamation of Saint Pope Paul VI to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council which received something like a dozen minutes of thunderous and unanimous applause in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Try anything more than ten seconds of applause…
Because Jesus is the Head of the Body – so to speak – and the members of the Church are the members of that Body, Saint Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae, which title is no innovation, no heresy, but is instead a title which is humbly bestowed upon her so as to celebrate the reality of her motherhood. She is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and her prayers for us under that steadfasat Cross that we might receive the grace of redemption as salvation directly from her Divine Son appropriately confers upon her such a title, for she is, then, our mother in this way, Mother of the Church.
The nasty thing I heard someone who should know better say is that this proclamation was the beginning of the end of the Church. I was stunned. Perhaps I didn’t hear correctly. Perhaps he meant to say that Mary’s inclusion in Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic decree on the Church, was and is somehow the driving engine bringing all to hell. Or perhaps he was saying that in general about the Council itself and he had no intention of demeaning our Lady.
But this is a symptom of the times, is it not? Flippant statements smashing everything and everyone down? Two seconds to throw all into chaos, and then smirking away. Wow.
But things are not “out of control”. The Lord Jesus remains the Lord of History. And we can remain with Him. He can and does make us part of the Holy Family. He does forgive us. He does fill us with sanctifying grace. He does give us the wherewithal to continue.
If that video above were to continue, one would see Shadow-dog immediately lie down and peacefully oversee his domain. A good example. Goooood daaaawwwg!
GSD’s, being wolves, are baiter-hunters. Domesticated just enough, Shadow-dog, for instance, thinks he sees something not entirely irredeemable in me, and so is forever trying his loyal best to teach me about the baiting game, because proper counterintelligence techniques are what anyone who’s not entirely naive would want to have in their toolkit for life, you know, what Jesus mentioned to us all – commanded us, really – that we are to be as clever as serpents even while being as innocent as doves what with being sent out as lambs in the midst of wolves…
So, there Shadow-dog stands in front of me, his instruction for me being in the form of play. That one plays does not mean that one is not deadly serious. Competitive fun as a form of instruction makes learning enjoyable, and therefore naturally memorable.
Shadow-dog is not cross-eyed, but he is that ever so slightly at this moment, trying to guess how I will take up his challenge to take his bait. He’s electrified, and like a contained explosion, is instantly ready to burst in whatever direction. Do I lunge to the left or right or straight ahead?
- If I go straight ahead he lunges at me and we collide in less than a nano-second.
- If I go to the left, he also goes to the left, just way faster than I ever could, and is that a dog-laugh I heard?
- If I go to the right, he also goes to the right, just way faster than I ever could, and is that a dog-laugh I heard?
You would think he would chase off in the opposite direction, but, no. He enjoys a good dog-laugh. And this is the instruction Shadow-dog provides. Trying in every which way to indicate that I’m going to lunge in a different direction, he always is way ahead of me, reading me like a book.
But then, rarely, randomly, after having taught me to lunge in a direction I think he’s going to lunge in, Shadow-dog will instead head off in the opposite direction from which I’m lunging. After just a few steps, he then instantly turns, and, now all relaxed, having done his work in instructing my stupidity, he calmly stares, entirely happy with himself. The dog-smirk is unbearably humiliating. And then it’s time to get petted for a job he knows has been well done. He trots right over to me. Gooooood daaaaawwwg! “Unbearably humilitating” is also great learning territory. And he knows it. We make a good team. Someday, perhaps, I will learn.
The problem with finding the right people for counterintelligence is in finding those who have some humility. Counterintelligence baits people to be arrogant: “I’ve got them now! – I’m in control! – Look at me!” Pride is the enemy of counterintel success. Humility, humility, humility.
Let’s see what that looks like in a counterintel situation. Let’s see what that looks like in the chapter of the Father Brown stories of G.K. Chesterton called The Secret of Father Brown in the volume also by that name. Chesterton uses the Father Brown character to go out of his way to humiliate (with good intentions) all law enforcement and our intel services. All in good humor and in good faith.
Here’s the deal: When the police chase a criminal they try to think like a criminal. But thinking merely “like” a criminal is not good enough. Meanwhile, the criminal is desperately trying to think “like” the police. But thinking merely “like” the police is never enough. Such scruples on both sides are to be avoided. ;-)
If you grapple with this simple story, it’ll be an occasion to enter deeply into the reality of life, making you quite successful with counterintelligence:
THE SECRET OF FATHER BROWN
FLAMBEAU, once the most famous criminal in France and later a very private detective in England, had long retired from both professions. Some say a career of crime had left him with too many scruples for a career of detection. Anyhow, after a life of romantic escapes and tricks of evasion, he had ended at what some might consider an appropriate address: in a castle in Spain. The castle, however, was solid though relatively small; and the black vineyard and green stripes of kitchen garden covered a respectable square on the brown hillside. For Flambeau, after all his violent adventures, still possessed what is possessed by so many Latins, what is absent (for instance) in so many Americans, the energy to retire. It can be seen in many a large hotel-proprietor whose one ambition is to be a small peasant. It can be seen in many a French provincial shopkeeper, who pauses at the moment when he might develop into a detestable millionaire and buy a street of shops, to fall back quietly and comfortably on domesticity and dominoes. Flambeau had casually and almost abruptly fallen in love with a Spanish Lady, married and brought up a large family on a Spanish estate, without displaying any apparent desire to stray again beyond its borders. But on one particular morning he was observed by his family to be unusually restless and excited; and he outran the little boys and descended the greater part of the long mountain slope to meet the visitor who was coming across the valley; even when the visitor was still a black dot in the distance.
The black dot gradually increased in size without very much altering in the shape; for it continued, roughly speaking, to be both round and black. The black clothes of clerics were not unknown upon those hills; but these clothes, however clerical, had about them something at once commonplace and yet almost jaunty in comparison with the cassock or soutane, and marked the wearer as a man from the northwestern islands, as clearly as if he had been labelled Clapham Junction. He carried a short thick umbrella with a knob like a club, at the sight of which his Latin friend almost shed tears of sentiment; for it had figured in many adventures that they shared long ago. For this was the Frenchman’s English friend, Father Brown, paying a long-desired but long-delayed visit. They had corresponded constantly, but they had not met for years.
Father Brown was soon established in the family circle, which was quite large enough to give the general sense of company or a community. He was introduced to the big wooden images of the Three Kings, of painted and gilded wood, who bring the gifts to the children at Christmas; for Spain is a country where the affairs of the children bulk large in the life of the home. He was introduced to the dog and the cat and the live-stock on the farm. But he was also, as it happened, introduced to one neighbour who, like himself, had brought into that valley the garb and manners of distant lands.
It was on the third night of the priest’s stay at the little chateau that he beheld a stately stranger who paid his respects to the Spanish household with bows that no Spanish grandee could emulate. He was a tall, thin grey-haired and very handsome gentleman, and his hands, cuffs and cuff-links had something overpowering in their polish. But his long face had nothing of that languor which is associated with long cuffs and manicuring in the caricatures of our own country. It was rather arrestingly alert and keen; and the eyes had an innocent intensity of inquiry that does not go often with grey hairs. That alone might have marked the man’s nationality, as well the nasal note in his refined voice and his rather too ready assumption of the vast antiquity of all the European things around him. This was, indeed, no less a person than Mr. Grandison Chace, of Boston, an American traveller who had halted for a time in his American travels by taking a lease of the adjoining estate; a somewhat similar castle on a somewhat similar hill. He delighted in his old castle, and he regarded his friendly neighbour as a local antiquity of the same type. For Flambeau managed, as we have said, really to look retired in the sense of rooted. He might have grown there with his own vine and fig-tree for ages. He had resumed his real family name of Duroc; for the other title of “The Torch” had only been a title de guerre, like that under which such a man will often wage war on society. He was fond of his wife and family; he never went farther afield than was needed for a little shooting; and he seemed, to the American globe-trotter, the embodiment of that cult of a sunny respectability and a temperate luxury, which the American was wise enough to see and admire in the Mediterranean peoples. The rolling stone from the West was glad to rest for a moment on this rock in the South that had gathered so very much moss. But Mr. Chace had heard of Father Brown, and his tone faintly changed, as towards a celebrity. The interviewing instinct awoke, tactful but tense. If he did try to draw Father Brown, as if he were a tooth, it was done with the most dexterous and painless American dentistry.
They were sitting in a sort of partly unroofed outer court of the house, such as often forms the entrance to Spanish houses. It was dusk turning to dark; and as all that mountain air sharpens suddenly after sunset, a small stove stood on the flagstones, glowing with red eyes like a goblin, and painting a red pattern on the pavement; but scarcely a ray of it reached the lower bricks of the great bare, brown brick wall that went soaring up above them into the deep blue night. Flambeau’s big broad-shouldered figure and great moustaches, like sabres, could be traced dimly in the twilight, as he moved about, drawing dark wine from a great cask and handing it round. In his shadow, the priest looked very shrunken and small, as if huddled over the stove; but the American visitor leaned forward elegantly with his elbow on his knee and his fine pointed features in the full light; his eyes shone with inquisitive intelligence.
“I can assure you, sir,” he was saying, “we consider your achievement in the matter of the Moonshine Murder the most remarkable triumph in the history of detective science.”
Father Brown murmured something; some might have imagined that the murmur was a little like a moan.
“We are well acquainted,” went on the stranger firmly, “with the alleged achievements of Dupin and others; and with those of Lecoq, Sherlock Holmes, Nicholas Carter, and other imaginative incarnations of the craft. But we observe there is in many ways, a marked difference between your own method of approach and that of these other thinkers, whether fictitious or actual. Some have spec’lated, sir, as to whether the difference of method may perhaps involve rather the absence of method.”
Father Brown was silent; then he started a little, almost as if he had been nodding over the stove, and said: “I beg your pardon. Yes. . .. Absence of method. . . . Absence of mind, too, I’m afraid.”
“I should say of strictly tabulated scientific method,” went on the inquirer. “Edgar Poe throws off several little essays in a conversational form, explaining Dupin’s method, with its fine links of logic. Dr. Watson had to listen to some pretty exact expositions of Holmes’s method with its observation of material details. But nobody seems to have got on to any full account of your method, Father Brown, and I was informed you declined the offer to give a series of lectures in the States on the matter.”
“Yes,” said the priest, frowning at the stove; “I declined.”
“Your refusal gave rise to a remarkable lot of interesting talk,” remarked Chace. “I may say that some of our people are saying your science can’t be expounded, because it’s something more than just natural science. They say your secret’s not to be divulged, as being occult in its character.”
“Being what?” asked Father Brown, rather sharply.
“Why, kind of esoteric,” replied the other. “I can tell you, people got considerably worked up about Gallup’s murder, and Stein’s murder, and then old man Merton’s murder, and now Judge Gwynne’s murder, and a double murder by Dalmon, who was well known in the States. And there were you, on the spot every time, slap in the middle of it; telling everybody how it was done and never telling anybody how you knew. So some people got to think you knew without looking, so to speak. And Carlotta Brownson gave a lecture on Thought-Forms with illustrations from these cases of yours. The Second Sight Sisterhood of Indianapolis —— ”
Father Brown, was still staring at the stove; then he said quite loud yet as if hardly aware that anyone heard him: “Oh, I say. This will never do.”
“I don’t exactly know how it’s to be helped,” said Mr. Chace humorously. “The Second Sight Sisterhood want a lot of holding down. The only way I can think of stopping it is for you to tell us the secret after all.”
Father Brown groaned. He put his head on his hands and remained a moment, as if full of a silent convulsion of thought. Then he lifted his head and said in a dull voice:
“Very well. I must tell the secret.”
His eyes rolled darkly over the whole darkling scene, from the red eyes of the little stove to the stark expanse of the ancient wall, over which were standing out, more and more brightly, the strong stars of the south.
“The secret is,” he said; and then stopped as if unable to go on. Then he began again and said:
“You see, it was I who killed all those people.”
“What?” repeated the other, in a small voice out of a vast silence.
“You see, I had murdered them all myself,” explained Father Brown patiently. “So, of course, I knew how it was done.”
Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion. Staring down at the other he repeated his incredulous question.
“I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,” went on Father Brown, “I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was.”
Chace gradually released a sort of broken sigh.
“You frightened me all right,” he said. “For the minute I really did think you meant you were the murderer. Just for the minute I kind of saw it splashed over all the papers in the States: ‘Saintly Sleuth Exposed as Killer: Hundred Crimes of Father Brown.’ Why, of course, if it’s just a figure of speech and means you tried to reconstruct the psychogy — ”
Father Brown rapped sharply on the stove with the short pipe he was about to fill; one of his very rare spasms of annoyance contracted his face.
“No, no, no,” he said, almost angrily; “I don’t mean just a figure of speech. This is what comes of trying to talk about deep things. . . . What’s the good of words . . .? If you try to talk about a truth that’s merely moral, people always think it’s merely metaphorical. A real live man with two legs once said to me: ‘I only believe in the Holy Ghost in a spiritual sense.’ Naturally, I said: ‘In what other sense could you believe it?’ And then he thought I meant he needn’t believe in anything except evolution, or ethical fellowship, or some bilge. . . . I mean that I really did see myself, and my real self, committing the murders. I didn’t actually kill the men by material means; but that’s not the point. Any brick or bit of machinery might have killed them by material means. I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to the action. It was once suggested to me by a friend of mine, as a sort of religious exercise. I believe he got it from Pope Leo XIII, who was always rather a hero of mine.”
“I’m afraid,” said the American, in tones that were still doubtful, and keeping his eye on the priest rather as if he were a wild animal, “that you’d have to explain a lot to me before I knew what you were talking about. The science of detection —— ”
Father Brown snapped his fingers with the same animated annoyance. “That’s it,” he cried; “that’s just where we part company. Science is a grand thing when you can get it; in its real sense one of the grandest words in the world. But what do these men mean, nine times out of ten, when they use it nowadays? When they say detection is a science? When they say criminology is a science? They mean getting outside a man and studying him as if he were a gigantic insect: in what they would call a dry impartial light, in what I should call a dead and dehumanized light. They mean getting a long way off him, as if he were a distant prehistoric monster; staring at the shape of his ‘criminal skull’ as if it were a sort of eerie growth, like the horn on a rhinoceros’s nose. When the scientist talks about a type, he never means himself, but always his neighbour; probably his poorer neighbour. I don’t deny the dry light may sometimes do good; though in one sense it’s the very reverse of science. So far from being knowledge, it’s actually suppression of what we know. It’s treating a friend as a stranger, and pretending that something familiar is really remote and mysterious. It’s like saying that a man has a proboscis between the eyes, or that he falls down in a fit of insensibility once every twenty-four hours. Well, what you call ‘the secret’ is exactly the opposite. I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside the murderer . . . . Indeed it’s much more than that, don’t you see? I am inside a man. I am always inside a man, moving his arms and legs; but I wait till I know I am inside a murderer, thinking his thoughts, wrestling with his passions; till I have bent myself into the posture of his hunched and peering hatred; till I see the world with his bloodshot and squinting eyes, looking between the blinkers of his half-witted concentration; looking up the short and sharp perspective of a straight road to a pool of blood. Till I am really a murderer.”
“Oh,” said Mr. Chace, regarding him with a long, grim face, and added: “And that is what you call a religious exercise.”
“Yes,” said Father Brown; “that is what I call a religious exercise.”
After an instant’s silence he resumed: “It’s so real a religious exercise that I’d rather not have said anything about it. But I simply couldn’t have you going off and telling all your countrymen that I had a secret magic connected with Thought-Forms, could I? I’ve put it badly, but it’s true. No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how much right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about ‘criminals,’ as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; till he’s got rid of all the dirty self-deception of talking about low types and deficient skulls; till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees; till his only hope is somehow or other to have captured one criminal, and kept him safe and sane under his own hat.”
Flambeau came forward and filled a great goblet with Spanish wine and set it before his friend, as he had already set one before his fellow guest. Then he himself spoke for the first time:
“I believe Father Brown has had a new batch of mysteries. We were talking about them the other day, I fancy. He has been dealing with some queer people since we last met.”
“Yes; I know the stories more or less — but not the application,” said Chace, lifting his glass thoughtfully. “Can you give me any examples, I wonder. . . . I mean, did you deal with this last batch in that introspective style?”
Father Brown also lifted his glass, and the glow of the fire turned the red wine transparent, like the glorious blood-red glass of a martyr’s window. The red flame seemed to hold his eyes and absorb his gaze that sank deeper and deeper into it, as if that single cup held a red sea of the blood of all men, and his soul were a diver, ever plunging in dark humility and inverted imagination, lower than its lowest monsters and its most ancient slime. In that cup, as in a red mirror, he saw many things; the doings of his last days moved in crimson shadows; the examples that his companions demanded danced in symbolic shapes; and there passed before him all the stories that are told here. Now, the luminous wine was like a vast red sunset upon dark red sands, where stood dark figures of men; one was fallen and another running towards him. Then the sunset seemed to break up into patches: red lanterns swinging from garden trees and a pond gleaming red with reflection; and then all the colour seemed to cluster again into a great rose of red crystal, a jewel that irradiated the world like a red sun, save for the shadow of a tall figure with a high head-dress as of some prehistoric priest; and then faded again till nothing was left but a flame of wild red beard blowing in the wind upon a wild grey moor. All these things, which may be seen later from other angles and in other moods than his own, rose up in his memory at the challenge and began to form themselves into anecdotes and arguments.
“Yes,” he said, as he raised the wine cup slowly to his lips, “I can remember pretty well —— ”
After all that, I wonder if I have to the humility to be the dog, Shadow-dog, not just “like” a dog, but, you know, a dog, and learn what Shadow-dog has to teach me.
After all that, I wonder if I have the humility to be understand just how bad and evil I myself can be, and thus think not just “like” a criminal, but as the criminal I am if I am without the grace of God, and thus be able to catch the criminal, because, you know, I’m him. Of course, when I catch a criminal it’s to bring him to the confessional. The best priests in the Confessional hearing confessions of others are the very priests who also make a practice of regular confession.
Or, heck, instead of all that I could just bait and wait for the counter-bait… and then counter-counter-bait, and then wait for the…
// Hey, I lost track of what’s being reacted to. PAUSE… Then…
// Pause… whew! Time to get out of counterintel…
So, let’s see, maybe there is something to just looking in oneself when looking for any and all criminals, any and all terrorists…. If we ever say, “I would never do that,” we’ve already lost the game. Honesty and integrity and humility admit that even if psychologically I probably wouldn’t do… you know… those crimes… because of my upbringing or whatever… nevertheless I probably would if given the circumstances that others have suffered and I were without God’s grace. Yep. There but for the grace of God go I. A bit aphoristic, I know. But so very, very true. Actually, people can change pretty fast. If one has the purity of heart and agility of soul to see that even one’s very self can do such things, it’s that person that will not do such things because of looking to God’s grace with honesty and integrity and humility. God doesn’t save me because I’m good. God saves me because I need saving and can’t save myself.
Then, when that Living Love who is God and that Living Truth who is God are with me, I can easily see the contrast of what would be bad and evil in myself and therefore what would be bad and evil in others. For law enforcement and counterintel this is also a boon to catching the criminal and the terrorist, regardless of culture, regardless of religion or none, regardless of anything else.
For a priest it’s all about more ably bringing people to Jesus. We priests need to get out of Jesus’ way and let Jesus be the priest in the parish.
We all need to let Jesus work through us, and with us, and in us. Needed: HUMILITY!
A Pit Bull is on the loose… For the first time I saw the mane stand up on Shadow’s shoulders. Very impressive. That added another inch or two to his height, and he’s already taller than the average maximum height for German Shepherd.
If that Pit Bull attacked Shadow-dog, or me, I’m afraid it would have been a bloody mess, but it would definitely be the Pit-Bull that would be entirely ripped to shreds, literally shaken to pieces. And it wouldn’t be Shadow’s fault. He’s definitely the protector, and when dogs are not on their own property, they are supposed to be on leashes here in town. No leash, no collar.
He looks to be well taken care of. But from this other angle he looks to be emaciated.
He seems friendly enough. Until I approached him in the friendliest manner I could. He bared his teeth.
He then went over to terrorize the neighbor’s dog – Frankie-dog, a Basset Hound, who took refuge in his dog house, until the Pit Bull insisted. Frankie-dog then chased his off the property. Gooood Fraaaankie-doooog!
I’m all for treating all animals well, but when a Pit Bull is emaciated and on the loose and baring its teeth, it’s time for animal control.
Or not. What think you?
In the unfair analogy of the account of the Syro-Phoenician Canaanite Greek “Dog-Woman” whose infant daughter was severely possessed, her take was that it might do the Apostles, the little dogs some good to eat the crumbs of faith, their witnessing of the exorcism, even though they don’t deserve to witness this, dogs that they are.
I gave the Pit Bull a doggie treat.
But that’s it. Animal control doesn’t open until 11:00 AM. Too late for me. I’ll be busy with priest-stuff. We’ll see what happens.
Cameras and pictures are weird.
- Digital cameras can make their own edits, tweaking things. Part of the rope is made to look like a shiny green viper by the camera all on its own.
- Pictures with no context can give the wrong impression. This is not Shadow-dog throwing up, but rather opening his jaws to grab what is actually just the rope.
No, Shadow-dog is not possessed. He’s a good dog!
Meanwhile, I know people all over this country who are being attacked by Satan’s minions, for real. Prayers for them, please: Hail Mary…
Shadow-dog plays at ripping imaginary beasts apart all day. He does have some of the biggest canines I’ve ever seen on any dog anywhere ever. Meanwhile:
That’s the normal state of affairs for Laudie-dog. How sweet. But she also knows how to play with Shadow-dog, even if she does get her paw stepped on and even if she does get gently nose-butted in the shoulder:
Notice that no one is baring any teeth. Just play. The good-old days for the doggies.
Analogy: Is this not an example of how to go about helping each other to be more rounded out, so that Laudie-dog becomes more trained up in self-defense, even while Shadow-dog learns to become more of the gentle-dog? Do we allow ourselves to be trained in to be more rounded out by others in our lives?
STATUS QUO is wrongly perceived in received meaning to refer to the state of affairs in which something persists without change, such as the “Status Quo” of the holy sites in the Holy Land. And that could be an understanding of the ablative case in Latin (“in quo”). However, it instead actually refers to another ablative use of another understood preposition in Latin (“ex quo”), so that one is referring to a state of affairs that is a base-line, a starting point, that from which circumstances will now begin to change, hopefully for the better.
What’s your status quo? What are you doing, with the regular use of the sacraments, to better those circumstances? If we have the wherewithal to improve, these are the good-old days for us.
SHADOW-DOG: I’m getting to know how to use my phone-camera with a video option. I held up the phone, a small black object, in front of my face and aimed it at Shadow-dog. As you can see in the video, he has to do a double-take, not believing what he is seeing. He then ran around the fence and right up to me to be sure that I was still the same old me, and was not malicious against him, trusting that it just can’t be that I would betray him, trusting that he can still be absolutely loyal to me. But he had to make sure, immediately. “We’re still friends, right?” Yes, Shadow-dog, we’re still a team. We still work together. We’re still friends. We’ll still stand up for each other. Trust is still the only way.
Shadow-dog has never been suspicious of me. His reaction to the camera, the small black object in my hands, instantly brought to my mind that – I had forgotten – he’s been shot at with a pellet gun a couple of times…
His fur is so thick that it didn’t do much damage, just mashing the skin into a glob and making the fur stand straight out at that spot for, say, about four months. But that image of someone with a black object in their hands held up to their face and pointing it at him is an image that is obviously frozen in his memory.
He absolutely just could not believe that I would be doing the same thing with him, and he had to know the truth of the matter… immediately. Having ascertained the truth of the friendship and team effort, the bond was all the closer between us.
FRANKIE-DOG: You’ll remember my neighbor’s dog getting shot with a pellet gun in the shoulder. Had Frankie-dog had his leg forward it would have been a kill shot to the heart. It was a hunting pellet. It’s inoperable. They tried. An ex-ray shows it clearly in the shoulder bones. Here’s Frankie-dog posing for a picture a week after the operation:
You can read about that episode in the neighborhood: Shooting my neighbor’s dog. Frankie-dog had a hard life in the past but is now ultra-super-pampered by his new owner. He took this all in stride though he was in bad pain for quite a while. Before this he was exclusively an outside dog as he had under his previous owner suffered so much inside a house and refused to go inside another house, ever. But now his bonds of trust with his new owner are such that he has braved to also go inside at night. Gooood doggie!
LAUDIE-DOG: When Laudie-dog first adopted me some seven years ago, she appeared to have been shot between the shoulder blades perhaps a month previously with bird shot of a .410 shotgun. That made her pretty timid. She’s such a gentle dog. She had a bit of mange and was severely flea-bitten. With some care and lots of love she got over all that pretty quickly. Having been reduced to starvation when she had been so abused, she became a voracious eater until this day, happy as ever. She’s risked her life to defend me any number of times over against bears and wolves and a panther. The latter happened at night. I had seen it close up twice previously. Laudie-dog and I are, to say the least, good friends and a team. She’s been with me so long that she doesn’t have to do a double-take with me even after getting shot by someone… again…
Laudie-dog was shot in the neck, just in the back of her skull, again, this time by a pellet gun. Fortunately, she has super-thick fur, a kind of mane around her neck, and of course, really loose neck skin. But the skin was all mashed up and ripped to the side and temporarily infected. The wound is healed over now. It was tender for a while, as the slightest whimpers she would emit upon inspection of the wound attested. The vets say she’s just fine. Here is is healing up…
Considering that, I’m guessing this is the kind of hunting round that was used:
That’s what the x-ray shows for the pellet buried in the shoulder of Frankie-dog.
Both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog got a working over by the Christian Veterinarians Mission up in Graham County the other day, which was composed of Dr Joe and many veterinarian students. Both Shadow and Laudie got their parvo and rabies shots and another combo-shot for seven other things, and a blood draw for heart worms. They’re both in great shape. Both happy happy doggies.
But what if a human being gets shot at? Is there trust to be had after that?
I’ve been shot at in my life, perhaps as much as some other non-military, non-law-enforcement civilians:
- I honestly don’t know how many times I was shot at and hit by a BB gun as a kid.
- I was shot at many times and hit once smack in the middle of my forehead with a pellet gun as a kid. I had to pry out the projectile from being embedded in my forehead.
- When I was twelve or thirteen my family was shot at by a crowd armed with 12 gauge shot guns one particular day. We were pretty far away, with the BBs showering the trees around us, first up high, but then right at us, with the BBs hitting us, but not drawing blood, though one hitting my mom’s neck might have drawn a little blood.
- Perhaps on three different occasions as a teenager I was shot at exactly 300 yards out by a .22 rifle, with bullets whizzing by all around me. That I wasn’t hit was accidental. It’s not that the shooter didn’t try. The proximity of a bullet whizzing by your ears is unmistakable also as to distance. Too close! On each occasion the entire barrel magazine was emptied out against me, 15 bullets each time. Yes, I know what type of gun.
- A sniper guy sent out a bullet which, because of instantaneous circumstances, just missed me. It would have gotten me smack in the heart. This was after I was ordained a priest and was studying in Rome.
- At the hermitage on a number of occasions a hunting rifle similar to a .30-06 / 7.62×63, with a handful of rounds each time. I was out in an opening of the forest and the shooter was hidden in the forest on the ridge behind me. He could see me. I couldn’t see him. There was no escape. He had no intention of hitting me, just scaring me. I just don’t get scared in such situations.
That’s it, so far. It’s a good idea never to trust any fallen human being because, as it is, all human beings are fallen. We can, however, trust in Jesus. After all, look at His track record. Jesus entrusted Himself to us. Look at what we did. Look at how He still entrusts Himself to us. We can learn to trust Him, that He wants what’s best for us, that He wants to get us to heaven. Jesus, I trust in you.
Alright. Alright. I really like to see any Malinois at work. Exhilarating. Kind of like a ballet with gymnasts with teeth. BTW, I’m guessing those are metal “canine” teeth inserted into busted out teeth in the still shot of the video. Hint: Don’t bust the teeth out of a dog. Just sayin’…
Having said all that, when you want a bite-dog worth his bite, the Shepherd, along the lines of Shadow-dog is where it’s at. I asked a lady in the parish who raises King Shepherds for police work, for bite dogs, if she’s ever seen a Shepherd break the bones of the forearm and rip the arm right off in one bite, like a shark…
Shadow-dog and I are good friends. He’s loyal. He might seem like he’s the friendliest dog in the world – the prize for that going to Laudie-dog – but if pushed and he sees mortal danger… Yikes! The same for Laudie-dog.
If I could get a little phone video of Shadow-dog protecting the perimeter, you would know what I mean. If I could get a picture of him with his jaws engulfing the entire head and neck down to the shoulders of Laudie-dog, all in play, you would know what I mean.
And then there are cats. Mind you, I’ve been around panthers up close near the hermitage. But more than that, there is Jesus, the last One standing in any case:
Be afraid of Him who can cast body and soul into hell. Only Jesus is the One, the Only One, He who is to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.
God summoned a beast from the fields and He said:
“Behold! Man created in my image.
You shall protect him in the wilderness,
shepherd his flocks,
watch over his children,
accompany him wherever he may go, even into harm’s way.
You shall be his companion, his ally, his slave.
I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts:
understanding surpassing that of man himself.
Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.
Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of man.
Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words.
Your eyes shall convey the truth of your heart.
Walk by his side.
Sleep in his doorway.
Forage for him.
Ward off his enemies.
Carry his burdens.
Share his afflictions.
Love him and comfort him.
And in return for this, man will fulfill your needs and wants,
food, shelter and affection.
So be a friend to man.
Guide him along the way to this land that I have promised him.
This shall be your destiny.
So spoke the Lord.
And the dog heard and was content.
There are a zillion versions of the above, and it’s to be found in its basic form for all animals in the book of Genesis. God is good.
After I built my little hermitage, Laudie-dog appeared as a gift from God. Laudie-dog adopted me, skeletally thin, shot with bird-shot between the shoulders, with some mange, shy from being rejected. We made friends pretty easily, as she was really very hungry. After treats tossed lightly to her from a distance, and after many hours, she came up and allowed herself to be petted gently on her forehead.
Then, of course, we became a team. She saved me from bears, wolves and, traumatically, a panther (which I had seen twice before).
After doing some writing, and some years later, the local police at the time arranged for me to get Shadow-dog, who patrols the perimeter and has also become part of the team, a good friend.
My reaction to the goodness of Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog is thank our good Lord for goodness of creation.
Even more, dogginess, as described above, becomes an examination of conscience. We fallen human beings would do well to become more like dogs.
The other day, in discovering more about my Jewish heritage, I ran across an account of the Nazi persecution of Jews which, in one town, played out by having all the Jews of a certain town turned out on the street and also all dogs at the same time, you know, so as to make a statement that dogs and Jews are one and the same.
I also call to mind, then, another sociological and statistical fact, that those who abusive to animals will likewise be abuse to other human beings, and all because they hate themselves.
Better to rejoice in God’s good creation, and also to help our fellow fallen human beings to get to know the love and goodness of God.
Dogs give us a good example.
Meanwhile, dearest Charlene, my most favorite State Department retiree, now having returned home from the hospital, made it her first project to send treats to her fur-babies as she calls them. Thank you, dearest Charlene:
The ever amazing Charlene Duline has been sick enough to land her in the hospital. We are all concerned and praying for her. Laudie-dog is anxious since it is dearest Charlene who pampers her, and Laudie-dog will not tolerate any news of Charlene not feeling well. Laudie-dog is her fur-baby. So, a prayer for Charlene, please.
Laudie-dog is pointing out one side of a two-turn race course, the deep banked holes assisting in skidding to stop after flying through the air, and, using the now banked up back yard, instantaneously turning about, flying in the other direction. Landing on the opposite side of the yard, there is the same skid to stop banked up hole, exactly the same, identical, just in reverse. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Laudie-dog looks bewildered as this race course of changing of course doesn’t belong to her. This was created by Shadow-dog because Shadow-dog thinks he’s clever. Shadow-dog is a maniac. Behold, Saint Paul speaking of when he was a maniac, running from his good religious plan right into sin and back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, with his good religious plan being the same as his sin, you know, because he is the one doing it under his own “power,” which, of course, is nothing:
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” (Romans 7:14-24).
The idea here is that Saint Paul is critiquing his manipulative usage of religion as a way to congratulate himself. Note the constant mantra of egoism – “I” – “I” – “I” – as in “I myself come up with a religious plan that I think is good for me and I’m clever and I can save myself by my religious plan because I’m so special! Look at me! Look at me! I’m saving myself! /// He’s saying that that kind of attitude is B.S., or better, Chicken S***, inasmuch as what he’s depicted himself as is a chicken with it’s head cut off, running around mindlessly like it’s all normal and good. There are those who don’t get this until they read the last verse which I didn’t include above. You’ll see it below, but don’t read it just yet.
Let me tell you of another crowd who have been a very large part of the crisis of priests not knowing who they are, and of the abuse crisis. They knew the last verse cited further below, but purposely went out of their way to ignore this. There’s a psych institute over in Rome connected to the Pontifical Gregorian University which trains up sisters and priests in psychology to be staff psychologists at seminaries right round the world. Their guru guy, a Jesuit priest, but actually a guru guy, Rulla, cites this passage as the be all and end all of proof that God made a mistake in creating us, or better, that God created us in a way that encourages us to save ourselves with coping mechanisms, you know, to cope with all the mistakes God made in making us. In other words, as I heard one student of Rulla say, “We’re the first ones in the history of the Church to find a way to save ourselves!”
I have very many friends who went to this psych institute and I bought the expensive books of Rulla and the institute, such rubbish, and have studied it all with some intensity. I offered the critique about Rulla’s treatment of this passage of Saint Paul to one particularly close friend who was a student of Rulla. He threw such a hissy fit. He left the lunch table angry and pouting and wouldn’t sit at the same table with me or speak to me for weeks. Finally, he apologized and said I was right. Then, after many years, having become a seminary rector, he contacted me though another friend to repeat that, yes, indeed, I was right. How’s that, you ask?
My critique is that they don’t think of sin, at all, even though Saint Paul here speaks of sin repeatedly. And that’s why they then don’t think of redemption. They don’t think of Christ. Saint Paul does. Behold: after criticizing himself, casting aside coping mechanisms such as is also a manipulative use of religion, Saint Paul points us directly and only to Jesus who is the One to save him, wretch that Saint Paul, on his own, is:
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
Do we change course by running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth? No. Christ Jesus reaches down and grabs us and snatches us up close to His pierced Heart, and we say: “My Lord and my God.” Thank you, Jesus.
/// Having said all that, don’t think I’m against a good and wholesome psychology. If one takes up the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross and Saint Therese of Lisieux, to name but a few, one will be able to glean a well rounded and useful psychology, but this is all based on a good, honest friendship with Jesus Christ our Lord.
I categorize this post with “Missionaries of Mercy” because I insist on all this talk of Jesus to my own peril. One makes enemies in this way. Some years ago over in Rome, while I would ever so quietly mention my opinion, the Rulla-ites, overhearing this, would go so far as to threaten a major public debate. They were actually beginning to plot this as something to be held at the Lateran Basilica of all places, that being chosen cleverly, however, as it is the Cathedra of the Successor of Peter. Perhaps one day.
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!”
When there’s illegal gunfire in the neighborhood, Shadow-dog is quick to turn his head and look in the direction of whatever it is, a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle. I’m sure he’s, like, “What’s that and is it coming this direction?” As it is, my neighbor’s dog was shot yesterday, I’m guessing point blank, Sunday morning, when people were in church. Two other neighbors (one a retired minister and one a Vet and Firefighter) want to move away. Andrews and this neighborhood in particular is getting to be way too violent.
No one heard anything because this time it was all subsonic, a pellet gun of some sort. Pretty powerful though. The pellet struck his shoulder bones and ricocheted so as to destroy surrounding muscles and tendons. That’s what a .22 “real” bullet might do. That’s why I say that it was probably point blank. I hate that. The neighbor’s dog is a basset hound, not this one. I’ll have to take a picture of the real Frankie-dog when he gets out of surgery. I’m guessing the guy who shot Frankie-dog is going to pay that bill.
I think I might know the guy who did it. I’m thinking the guy who did it didn’t grow up around here. I don’t think the the guy who did it knows whose dog he shot. You just don’t shoot someone’s dog in Western North Carolina. No. The only one who would do that is a tender snowflake from an entitlement big city. Sorry, I’m generalizing. sigh…
Let’s just take a look at what happened when a Navy SEAL’s dog was shot, this time while he was home. This is harrowing. Kudos to law enforcement for helping him out:
Here’s the deal: people who can shoot animals just to do it can also easily just go ahead and kill human beings. Those are the stats. Yep.
But maybe this is my fault. There’s a weirdness with the mail delivery and unless you know it, it’s a little difficult to know whose address you’re really at, mine or the neighbor’s. I’d hate to think that someone wanted to do in Laudie-dog or Shadow-dog but instead got Frankie-dog. At any rate, our reaction is the same no matter whose dog.
Update: here he is…
This would have been a kill shot if it had been any more powerful.
Whoever thinks I’m mean to let Shadow-dog become Mud-dog, totally soaking wet, totally full of mud, when it’s just barely above freezing so that we didn’t get multiple inches or feet of snow in the last few days like others did in North Carolina, at least right here in town (parts of the parish were socked), well, know this, this is when Shadow-dog is at his happiest. And, don’t worry, he has a nice, dry, sheltered house outside, and comes in at night where’s it’s warm and dry so that he can dry off and get ready for another round the next day. I include the top picture so that you know he’s got plenty of grass to run on but prefers a mud-hole in which to splash about. If you don’t know that about GSDs, German Shepherd Dogs, you know nothing at all about these creatures who are not so much dogs as wolves. They train up like Navy SEALs, doing up all the bad stuff so as to be toughened up, and love it, and never, ever quit. The last thing to do is feel sorry for a Navy SEAL or for a GSD. If that’s how you feel, like feeling sorry, you yourself have to be brought to another level. And that’s the thing about heroes. You don’t say they are great and that’s it. You strive to be like them in what ways you can, and you can. Let’s take some close-ups so that we know what we’re talking about:
Shadow-dog. My hero.
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:
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.
- Step 1: Get a good look at your adversary, individuating and isolating.
- Step 2: Subdue your adversary in any way you can, say, under a paw, making sure that the adrenaline is pumping:
3. Step 3: Chew up your adversary and spit him out.
Situational awareness demands a certain low-level of adrenaline that is at the ready to be pumped up instantaneously; otherwise it’s all intellectual and useless, even hurtful as is a sense of overconfidence. GSDs are always a bit on-edge, made to be that way with super-sensitive sensory receptors: they’re all nose and ears and eyes, with height and strength to carry all that.
Analogy with the spiritual life: We do well to be on edge for the sake of our friendship with the Lord Jesus. We remain weak in this world looking to Him to be lifted up into His strength and truth and goodness and kindness… but we are so weak. To be on-edge over against our triple-adversary – the world, the flesh and the devil – we have to have the humility to realize that we could fall prey at any time and in any way and that there is nothing we can do about that except to lifted up into the strength and truth and goodness and kindness of our Lord, remaining with Him no matter what, that steadfastness in our Lord’s grace putting the death-bite on our triple adversary. It’s the bond of love with God, who is love, keeping us on-edge. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.
Shadow-dog has been racing about on his patrol, looking like the idiot-dog by practicing his spot-turns on the snowy-wet mud path he’s carved into the backyard. This sprays mud into the air as if his paws are spinning knobby off-road tires of a climber-jeep. When the acrobatics get a bit complicated, he gets himself on an intense learning curve… mid-air. And then… crash. But he gets better at it.
My mom once reprimanded me for the doing this kind of thing – being bad in order to be good – she not quite getting the gist of the process, trying to keep me from getting broken bones while she fretting during some of the more complicated maneuvers of my extreme sports. What she didn’t know is that what I was doing was surely keeping me away from broken bones. You have to be bad in order to be good.
Drawing the analogy with, say, prayer, whereby prayer is an extreme sport, whereby you are brought along without being in control of any progress, our Lord accomplishing a friendship with Him which we could not set as a goal or have any helps or coping mechanisms to lean on while He does this in His way. When He is lifted up on the Cross, He said, He will draw all to Himself. That means He’s drawing us through all the hell that was broken out on Calvary. We already know that we’ll be stupid enough to try to depend on our own strength which we actually don’t have ourselves anyway, and therefore in this way we will surely pull away from Him in this way and that, and we will look mighty stupid in all of this. But He is very patient, and we slowly learn in His grace that He is more important than our ongoing distractions, and we allow ourselves in whatever distraction that hell has to offer, to be stably with Him. Have no fear. You have to bad to be good, you know, not on purpose. No. But go ahead and just tell our Lord, in His grace, “Yes!” You want to begin. You will surely confront your weakness of stupidly depending on your own strength. But that’s part of it. You’re name might be mud for a while. Have no fear. That will turn to a name He gives you, that, as it says in the Good Book, is only known to you and Him. When He calls your name, you’ll be standing right before Him, perhaps with mud all over your face, but – Hey! – you’ll have learned to stand right before Him. And that’s where we want to be.