This is a bumble bee, as we called them when I was a kid. But there are also now honey bees that have discovered the garden with its myriad flowers. The bees and the wasps and the humming birds vie for October Bean blossoms (above), making for quite the entertaining playing out of strategies of warfare, you know, among Flowers for the Immaculate Conception. It’s only July, but the beans are getting big:
The Spaghetti Squarrrsh also have their battles on their flowers though they don’t bother me at all, as they are all too busy:
The promises of Spaghetti are being fulfilled while other promises are being… um… squarrrshed… Here’s a picture from a while back:
Today, that too close proximity resulted in this happening:
The Tomatoes, having not been helped by my incapacity, have nevertheless bounced back. The tiny tomato flowers are wildly fruitful now.
Just one tomato plant has fully 28 tomatoes on it, helpfully, at different levels of development to be sure, but, I mean, 28! You can’t count them all here. Some are tiny. Some are hiding behind leaves.
The Morris Rose has experienced another blossom then no blossom cycle, and is back to blossoms:
I don’t know if there will be anything for something like rose-hip tea.
The asparagus patch has a zillion tiny flowers, which will turn into red berries. Some of the plants are foresting already at just under seven feet high:
Meanwhile, the few minutes I take to pull a weed there, tie up a vine there, or perhaps ever water the plants is an extremely welcome break from the chaos in the world and, right now, ferociously in the church. I believe that grabbing a few pictures of flowers in honor of the Immaculate Conception is a wholesome, restorative activity, and I do not believe that this is despised by our Lady, even while she has much to do while the chaos continues. Hail Mary…
In that spirit, just for nice, for the Immaculate Conception:
And another interloper out front with squarrrsh:
But my favorite flower for the Immaculate Conception is the most simple, pure, a Jasmine Cross. Do you see it?
The Jasmine is growing over “Brake-Man”, an image made out of brakes, an image of Adam, who put the brakes on grace with original sin, but he now being given the gift of being able to give such a simple gift to the Immaculate Conception, that little white cross.
This was taken while on a trip to the doctor after my bout with Covid, then Pneumonia. A good friend was driving me, and of a sudden, on a back-ridge mountain road, I yelled out, “Stop! Stop!” I had to get this “Flower for the Immaculate Conception.” This fellow says a zillion Rosaries a day. He thought my antics to be most appropriate.
Texted to me specifically to put up on the blog as a Flower for the Immaculate Conception, even though the DNC is hysterically – “beyond even what Putin would do” – wanting to politically, as the government no longer for, of and by the people, wanting to censor text messages, that is, phone to phone, whatever about SnotBook, Twatter and Pacham-Amazon. Phone to phone. How did they not stop a Flower for the Immaculate Conception? Do they not know that Consecration to her Immaculate Heart will militate against the errors of Communism now spread throughout the world. She, the dearest Virgin Mother of Jesus, will bring souls from self-entitlement and only-a-cog-in-a-machine oppression to the joy of belonging to the Son of the Living God, Christ Jesus. But they let it through. Bwahahahahaha.
The one who texted me this Flower for the Immaculate Conception has been asking Mary Immaculate’s intercession for my recovery from pneumonia, and indeed, I started feeling better. This is a thanksgiving. And I thank all who said a prayer for me. You’re all very good and kind.
I had another seven hour saga with the doctor the other day. Much blood was drawn as this was also my yearly physical. He’ll call me later today or tomorrow with the results. But I feel better. Still a little tired, but much better. On that note, I started Keto yesterday, 13 July, 2021, at 231 pounds. I’d like to make it to 189, the same ideal weight my dad’s doctor gave him back in the 1980s. I got to 190 last time I did Keto in a serious way. I know how to do it now.
Meanwhile, I’ll be giving a series of lectures on the women of the New Testament, including our Blessed Mother, ending with an exposition of Genesis 2:4a–3:24. But I needed my health back as a gift from Mary so as to give all that a flower back to her. For now, this flower for you, dearest Mother.
None of that will be texted, so I guess it’s safe from DNC censorship. ;-)
Thems is October beans. Unfortunately, so far, it seems that the flowers haven’t been much pollinated, so that the beans per flower ratio is only about 1/100. But if these mature, I’ll have a handful to attempt more next year.
The problem is that I’ve not seen even one honey bee. The pollinating is being done by, of all things, Tomato Wasps, you know, the ol’ Braconid wasp, since I had lots of tomato plants just at this spot last year. But what happened to the honey bees? I do see plenty of hives around WNC, but I don’t know if they are active anymore. I’ve never seen people tending to them, and they look to be relics of the past, before the catastrophe. Most honey bees were wiped out by a honey bee plague quite a few years ago, threatening agriculture.
Hey! An opportunity to do a service to the neighborhood! In a long distant previous life – many decades ago – I used to care for a half dozen hives with bees of the Italian variety.
There’re a zillion references to honey and bees in the Sacred Scriptures, and right throughout the history of the Church. I’m tempted to get one hive. This will take some research and planning and placement logistics.
MY QUESTION IS THIS: What’s the variety of bee that is the best for a tiny operation nowadays, after the catastrophe?
Regarding Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, there’re a lot of logistics going into any flowers, wild or domesticated, especially including honey bees…
Analogy: When giving souls as flowers to the Immaculate Conception there are logistics in the background that have to be taking place, as in priests who provide the sweetness of the Mannah from Heaven, sweet as honey, from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments even and especially during times of idiocy such as the Covid-19 lockdowns. Any good wrought by any priests is actually through Mary’s intercession with her Divine Son, Christ Jesus. But there seems to be very few priests who are willing to be the worker bees.
So, we need bee hives, Seminaries, that don’t churn out compromised candidates, but rather young men who are well formed to be dedicated unto death to Christ Jesus, all the doctrine, all the morality, all goodness and kindness and fortitude and conviction and ability to lead, you know, without being given over to the disease of Modernism and all the catastrophic doctrinal and moral heresies of the day wiping out the bees, as it were, and because of that, eliminating the sweetness of the harvest of souls for our Lord.
Jesus commanded that we are to pray the Harvest Master to send out laborers to the harvest. So, we need to get the Rosary going, all those Hail Mary roses, flowers for the Immaculate Conception.
Here in Charlotte Diocese, we have a great Seminary with the best seminarians, best formators, best staff, best administration, best diocese. That’s taken many Rosaries. And we have to sustain them. Hail Mary…
Anyway, back to encouraging giving actual flowers to the Immaculate Conception, and the logistics for that: What’s the variety of bee that is the best for a tiny operation?
Thanks for what you said. Accepted. Thanks for best wishes and the medical advice. Thanks for the multiple phone numbers.
On the other hand, and complementary of that…
We need to have a rather serious extended sit-down in coming months. I want to see you in heaven.
Update: BTW, my “Shadow”, “a rather serious extended sit-down in coming months” doesn’t refer to any time in the immediate future, and certainly doesn’t mean that the location will be at the parish or at the rectory. At this point, that would be terribly imprudent for you, particularly if you brought some associates. Let’s just keep this moving in a positive direction. I think we would both like that, right?
These are October Beans. As you can imagine, they won’t be ready until even late October, perhaps November. My old neighbor to the hermitage will enjoy seeing that these finally took hold and are growing well. You can’t get them anywhere except from someone who has kept some of the beans from the previous years. Not all of them will take hold. But you only need, say, five to make a nice soup, so big are they.
July 1 was the Feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus, and July is the month of the Precious Blood. October Bean flowers are quite appropriate for Flowers for the Immaculate Conception to honor the Precious Blood, don’t you think? They remind me of what happens with the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land.
Our Lady knows something about those drops of the Precious Blood:
REV. JAMES PARKER PASTOR OF HOLY CROSS PARISH June 15 , 2021
My dear Faithful of the Parish of the Holy Cross,
As this Mass has ended, and I have invited all of you to “go in peace”, I wanted to communicate to you the faithful present, and all the parishioners of this Parish, that my term of appointment as your Pastor has not ended.
Why, you may ask, am I going into this detail regarding my appointment? Because all of you need to know and have a right to know that canon law, specifically canon 522 of the Code of Canon Law provides the following:
Can. 522 A pastor must possess stability and therefore is to be appointed for an indefinite period of time. The diocesan bishop can appoint him only for a specific period if the conference of bishops has permitted this by a decree.
This means that if a Bishop does not set forth in his letter of appointment of any pastor that his term is six years, then the universal law of the Church holds that the term of years is “indefinite”.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops clarified on September 24, 1984, with the recognition of the Holy See, that a bishop can appoint a pastor for six years, but it never said that a bishop can legislate 30 years in advance any six-year terms of appointment without the Bishop even making reference to such definite term in a specific letter of appointment of a pastor.
Canon 538 provides the following:
Can. 538 §1. A pastor ceases from office [inter alia] by lapse of time IF he had been appointed for a definite period according to the prescripts of particular law mentioned in can. 522.
When my service as your pastor began on July 1 of the Diocese of Rockford, the Most Reverend David J. Malloy, did not stipulate in his letter of appointment that my term would be six years. In fact, there was no stipulation whatsoever of any term of years. This fact has been confirmed to me in writing by Bishop Malloy himself in a letter he sent to me dated June 8 , 2021.
2014, almost seven years ago, the Bishop
The key word here is “if” – “if” he had been appointed for a definite period of time. I, as your Pastor, was not.
When I communicated to you recently that today would be my last day as your pastor, it was following the orders given to me by Msgr. Steven Knox, the Vicar for Clergy, who in turn received his from the Bishop. Now, however, that I have read the provisions of the law itself, consulted with some of the world’s foremost experts in canon law based in Rome, and prayed earnestly for guidance from the Lord above, I have formed a decision in conscience that I am juridically and therefore morally obligated to remain as your pastor if and until the provisions of the law of the Church have been duly observed and determine otherwise.
Regarding Fr. Jared Twenty’s appointment by the Bishop as parochial administrator of this Parish beginning tomorrow, I refer to the following terms of canon 539 of the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 539 When a parish becomes vacant or when a pastor is prevented from exercising his pastoral function in the parish by reason of captivity, exile or banishment, incapacity or ill health, or some other cause, the diocesan bishop is to designate as soon as possible a parochial administrator, that is, a priest who takes the place of the pastor according to the norm of can. 540.
Since His Excellency the Bishop of Rockford has not legitimately appointed Fr. Twenty as parochial administrator of this Parish of the Holy Cross, I cannot and do not recognize his appointment as having any canonical effect. He is welcome to pray in the Church, but not attempt to usurp my ecclesiastical authority as your pastor and govern the Parish, its employees, or its parishioners, because his decree of appointment, once again, is predicated upon a vacancy of a parish that does not exist.
Please know that this decision on my part to observe the law of the Church rather than the illegitimate fiat of my diocesan Bishop was not taken lightly. All of those who know me, know that I am the last person on Earth who wishes to have a disagreement with anyone, least of all that which concerns my sacred ministry to you.
Please, in your spontaneous expressions and communications of any support towards me, always, always, remain respectful and prayerful towards all ecclesiastical authorities.
Please pray for our Bishop, that he may exercise his episcopal ministry in this matter in conformity with the law of the Church.
Please pray, my dear faithful, for me, your true pastor of this Parish of the Holy Cross, so that I may bear a cross that indeed has not been sought, but instead imposed upon me to carry for as long and as far as the Lord and His Church will decide.
Sunday mornings, when I’m on my way back into town from across the mountain, pretty much every Sunday, I slam on the brakes in favor of a guy who is running red lights in town going perhaps three times the speed limit. I watched in horror as he nearly T-boned another vehicle the next street down. That I just happen to see him like this at varying times on Sunday mornings means that he’s probably running up and down main street running streets lights just to do it, actually wanting to hit someone or get hit. But, for some reason, we still have no police.
Also on camera are a very large group of just-graduated High School Seniors who just destroyed the school (just up from the rectory) both outside and inside. Perhaps the administration doesn’t want to bring this matter further, you know, because hopefully this doesn’t speak to the character of students (or the type of education they dished out to them) but it was just a being caught up in the situation kind of thing, you know, like those who raped and killed and committed arson during the riots all over the country. And anyway, for some reason, we still have no police.
I think I saw some of this group the other day at the supermarket. It was not a good scene. I was fully expecting they were going to start throwing all the products onto the floor all over the store. It sounded like they had started a fight with a customer just one aisle over from me. Very loud. Very obnoxious. Full adrenaline for them, like they had also just snorted up cocaine. One of them got a pack of high-energy drinks. Not sure if he bought them. Then they were gone, just like that. Thank goodness they didn’t escalate stupidity. And anyway, for some reason, we still have no police.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Meanwhile, here’s a picture of flowers that are next to the statue of the Immaculate Conception out on the front steps of the rectory, you know, also next to the Thin Blue Line flag (most appreciated by county law-enforcement). Why is that?
Because Mary was immaculate, had purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision and profundity of understanding, she saw all the horror of her day and ours. She knew that while secular policing was necessary, it is conversion of heart and mind and soul to God which is the only way, and it is for that which she interceded. Remember the (one time) Chinese Communist Party guy who said that without God society needs an almost infinite number of police just to barely be able to survive, while a society with God needs very few police, as people police their own actions by the grace of God. But anyway, for some reason, we still have no police on active duty, not even one officer, and that’s not because everyone in town is a believer, that’s for sure. We need police.
And while Jesus’ dearest mother is surely interceding for the conversion of souls, she is also interceding with her Son that have our police department restored. Here’s flowers for you, Mary.
This the entire homily of Pope Francis on Pentecost, 23 May 2021, from the papal altar of Saint Peter’s. [with my comments] ///
“When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father…” (Jn 15:26). With these words, Jesus promises to send his disciples the Holy Spirit, the ultimate gift, the gift of gifts. He uses an unusual and mysterious word to describe the Spirit: Paraclete. Today let us reflect on this word, which is not easy to translate, for it has a number of meanings. Essentially, it means two things: Comforter and Advocate.
The Paraclete is the Comforter. All of us, particularly at times of difficulty like those we are presently experiencing due to the pandemic, look for consolation. Often, though, we turn only to earthly comforts, ephemeral comforts that quickly fade. Today, Jesus offers us heavenly comfort, the Holy Spirit, who is “of comforters the best” (Sequence). What is the difference? The comforts of the world are like a pain reliever: they can give momentary relief, but not cure the illness we carry deep within. They can soothe us, but not heal us at the core. They work on the surface, on the level of the senses, but hardly touch our hearts. Only someone who makes us feel loved for who we are can give peace to our hearts. The Holy Spirit, the love of God, does precisely that. He comes down within us; as the Spirit, he acts in our spirit. He comes down “within the heart”, as “the soul’s most welcome guest” (ibid). He is the very love of God, who does not abandon us; for being present to those who are alone is itself a source of comfort.
[And our comfort is to be formed by the Holy Spirit to be members of the Body of Christ, who is the unmanipulatable living eternal Word of the Father, Living Truth, whom the world cannot accept, who lays down our lives with His own. We rejoice to be untied with Christ Jesus even as He lays down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty. Let’s see if we can come up with an image of that… Oh yes! The Comforter does this for us, wherein we begin to see the very glory of God being manifested in our lives as The Paraclete unites us with Jesus:]
Dear sister, dear brother, if you feel the darkness of solitude, if you feel that an obstacle within you blocks the way to hope, if your heart has a festering wound, if you can see no way out, then open your heart to the Holy Spirit. Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “where the trials are greater, he brings greater comfort, not like the world, which comforts and flatters us when things go well, but derides and condemns us when they do not” (Homily in the Octave of the Ascension). That is what the world does, that is especially what the hostile spirit, the devil, does. First, he flatters us and makes us feel invincible (for the blandishments of the devil feed our vanity); then he flings us down and makes us feel that we are failures. He toys with us. He does everything to cast us down, whereas the Spirit of the risen Lord wants to raise us up. Look at the apostles: they were alone that morning, alone and bewildered, cowering behind closed doors, living in fear and overwhelmed by their weaknesses, failings and their sins, for they had denied Christ. The years they had spent with Jesus had not changed them: they were no different than they had been. Then, they received the Spirit and everything changed: the problems and failings remained, yet they were no longer afraid of them, nor of any who would be hostile to them. They sensed comfort within and they wanted to overflow with the comfort of God. Before, they were fearful; now their only fear was that of not testifying to the love they had received. Jesus had foretold this: “[The Spirit] will testify on my behalf; you also are to testify” (Jn 15:26-27).
[All good! That’s all exactly right. Great preaching, Pope Francis!]
Let us go another step. We too are called to testify in the Holy Spirit, to become paracletes, comforters. The Spirit is asking us to embody the comfort he brings. How can we do this? Not by making great speeches [like this?], but by drawing near to others. [What about drawing others to Jesus to offer worship in spirit and truth?] Not with trite words [“trite words”], but with prayer and closeness. Let us remember that closeness, compassion and tenderness are God’s “trademark”, always. [Now THERE’s a “trite word for the faith: “trademark,” you know, reducing the faith to that which is sold, an ideology, reducing the Eternal Word to a mere human idea, smashing down being brought into the reality of the Eternal Word by presenting the mere fallen human idea of… what… dialectical materialism? Believers, instead, don’t have a “trademark”, but rather The Sign of Contradiction, the Cross, which shakes people up, lifts them up, you know, to the heights of the Cross, where you cannot trade in the faith, where you cannot serve both God and mammon. It is true “testifying” (the translation of the word martyrdom) that brings the comfort of the Cross, in which the Little Flock of Jesus rejoices.] The Paraclete is telling the Church that today is the time for comforting. [Yes, today is the time for be formed into Christ crucified, carrying about the death of Jesus within us, as Saint Paul has it, that His resurrection might be manifested through us, who, in this way, become tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. Yes, today is the time to be rid of “trademark” prostituting of the faith to the highest bidder. They are “trite” words which proclaim that…] It is more the time for joyfully proclaiming the Gospel than for combatting paganism. [Ooops! These are not mutually exclusive. Throwing the demonic pagan death-cult Pachamama into the Tiber river is entirely consonant with God’s life of grace that will not have us tolerate a fear of our own death in testifying that Pachamama is straight out of hell. Is it really no longer a time to call out the brood of vipers, the sons of Satan, who hate God and man? Why is that?] It is the time for bringing the joy of the Risen Lord, not for lamenting the drama of secularization. [Wait, wait, wait. Pope Francis, bringing the joy of the Risen Lord is in and of itself part and parcel of lamenting the drama of secularization embodied in, say, Pachamama, which you promote. What the hell are you talking about? This is the first time you’ve offered Holy Mass on this altar after enthroning Pachamama there quite a while back. Is this your bid to excuse yourself concerning Pachamama?] It is the time for pouring out love upon the world, yet not embracing worldliness. [God’s love IS truth, right?] It is more the time for testifying to mercy, than for inculcating rules and regulations. [Just say it, Pope Francis: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS? It is you who are juxtaposing mercy (and therefore forgiveness of sin, and rules and regulations) which in this context must mean such as the Ten Commandments.] It is the time of the Paraclete! It is the time of freedom of heart, in the Paraclete. [But the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, and lives lived morally, with integrity, honesty. Have you never read Saint Paul on these matters, like, ever?]
The Paraclete is also the Advocate. In Jesus’ day, advocates did not do what they do today: rather than speaking in the place of defendants, they simply stood next to them and suggested arguments they could use in their own defence. That is what the Paraclete does, for he is “the spirit of truth” (v. 26). He does not take our place, but defends us from the deceits of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings. [Whoa, whoa, whoa: “feelings”? This is where Ignatius and Freud meet up, and where Ignatius is killed off with a discernment of spirits of fallen human feelings that do not follow reason and which are part of the cross we now carry after original sin. “Inspiring… feelings.” The feeling that I’m being inspired with right now is this: barf barf barf. In grace, we follow right reason to make an act of the will to do what is honest before God and man, often very much against any fallen “feelings.”] He does so discreetly, without forcing us: he proposes but does not impose. [Actually, the Holy Spirit quite forcefully puts us next to the Blessed Virgin Immaculate Mother of God so as to have us look upon the wounds of our Savior. That‘s what the Holy Spirit does. Sure, we can reject this, but this is what The Holy Spirit does. We don’t make existential decisions in the Holy Spirit apart from Christ Incarnate and Crucified.] The spirit of deceit, the evil one, does the opposite: he tries to force us; he wants to make us think that we must always yield to the allure and the promptings of vice. Let us try to accept three suggestions that are typical of the Paraclete, our Advocate. They are three fundamental antidotes to three temptations that today are so widespread.
The first advice offered by the Holy Spirit is, “Live in the present”. The present, not the past or the future. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancour or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future. The Spirit reminds us of the grace of the present moment. There is no better time for us: now, here and now, is the one and only time to do good, to make our life a gift. Let us live in the present! [“The grace of the present moment”… What does that even mean? Mere advice? I’m waiting for Jesus here. We are to live in Him by the sanctifying of the Holy Spirit. God holds all of time in His hands as just another creation. We are with those of all time as we are all brought in that one hour before Christ Jesus on the Cross. We are all of us in all times in the present moment, and we are all in that present moment through all time inasmuch as we are in union with Christ as the members of the Body of Christ. Without Christ, this “live in the present” thing is mere existentialism. This is not what the great spiritual writers speak about. Instead, any present moment, say, with Jesus in Holy Communion, puts us right before all the members of the Body of Christ. Or am I being ideological, using “trite” words like “trademark”?]
The Spirit also tells us, “Look to the whole”. The whole, not the part. The Spirit does not mould isolated individuals, but shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. There, in the whole, in the community, the Spirit prefers [“prefers”…] to work and to bring newness. [Because individuals who are redeemed and saved and made into tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, who carry about the death of the Lord in them, that most glorious death in all love, are nothing? It’s all about “The People”, “The Proletariat”, not about us individually being brought into the One Body of Christ? The Holy Spirit sanctifies individuals, all of them with free will and a conscience. Not a Body Politic.] Let us look at the apostles. They were all quite different. They included, for example, Matthew, a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans, and Simon called the zealot, who fought them. They had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world. Yet once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the “whole” that is God’s plan. [No, no. They didn’t keep their fallen human drama. They abandoned all to follow Christ. They didn’t carry secondary anti-Christ ideology but now were simply giving a bit more primacy to Christ. No.] Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. [Oh, yes we will. If any of those labels regards doctrine and morality – and they all do in our common parlance – we will reject all that lacks integrity and honesty. Yep.] When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit. [No, no. I’ve remembered the Body of Christ, of which we are the members, you know: “What you have done to the least of these you have done to Me.” Therefore, no contraception, no abortion, no euthanasia, no homosexualist “civil unions” or “marriages” etc., etc., etc.] The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another. [Again, what about the BODY OF CHRIST? You can’t say, can you? Try it: “BODY OF CHRIST.” That demands truth and morality that is identical. The Holy Spirit, as Cardinal Siri says, speaks univocally. Yep. Read Gethsemane.] Let us look to the whole! [We will all look together to Him whom we have all pierced through, men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, to Him who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Just say it.] The enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies. Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole. [Say yes to the Body of Christ, for all else is ideology.]
The third advice of the Spirit is, “Put God before yourself”. This is the decisive step in the spiritual life, which is not the sum of our own merits and achievements, but a humble openness to God. The Spirit affirms the primacy of grace. [“Primacy”? Again. What does that mean? We can also have an anti-primacy?] Only by emptying ourselves, do we leave room for the Lord; only by giving ourselves to him, do we find ourselves; only by becoming poor in spirit, do we become rich in the Holy Spirit. This is also true of the Church. We save no one, not even ourselves, by our own efforts. If we give priority to our own projects, our structures, our plans for reform, we will be concerned only about effectiveness, efficiency, we will think only in horizontal terms and, as a result, we will bear no fruit. [Great, but I’m still wondering about the importance of the oft-repeated “primacy”.] An “-ism” is an ideology that divides and separates. The Church is human, but it is not merely a human organization, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. [Whoa, whoa, whoa. The other way around, buddy. The Church is of divine origin, and is Christ Jesus and also us inasmuch as the Holy Spirit is forming us to be members of the Body of Christ. Is the Holy Spirit somehow just an afterthought?] Jesus brought the fire of the Spirit to the earth and the Church is reformed by the anointing of grace, the gratuity of the anointing of grace, the power of prayer, the joy of mission and the disarming beauty of poverty. Let us put God in first place! [Those phrases are psychologized, made into world-views, from a human perspective… Is that what saves us? Is the anointing of grace our perception of power, joy and being struck psychologically by the “disarming beauty of poverty”? So, what about Christ Jesus, really, what about Him and His love and His Truth and His Goodness and His kindness?]
Holy Spirit, Paraclete Spirit, comfort our hearts. Make us missionaries of your comfort, paracletes of your mercy before the world. [Is that inclusive of forgiveness of sin? Is it?] Our Advocate, sweet counsellor of the soul, make us witnesses of the “today” of God, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity, and apostles grounded in your grace, which creates and renews all things. Amen. [But in Christ, right? Otherwise, all this sweetener is cancerous saccharine. Dear Pope Francis, why not speak to us about the wounds of Christ, our being crucified with Him, our being crucified to ourselves and to the world. Why not take a Pachamama idol and throw it in the Tiber river? Without this, your words, ever so sweet, are an ideology. Without this, your words are trite. Without witness to the wounds of Christ, your words are a nice speech, but are a trademark by which the faith is traded in the world, prostituted to the world. This is not what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit forms us into the Body of Christ, with individual tabernacles of the Holy Spirit making up the whole, the church, called by God, whom we, because of that, call the Paraclete. Yes, He stands with us, to comfort us by having us taken so seriously that we find ourselves on Calvary with the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, looking to our SAVIOR.]
This week is seeing crazy mileage put on both Tessy the Toyota and Sassy the Subaru, with hundreds of miles each foray out and about, adding up to 1000+ miles. The Day Off on Tuesday as always, went morning to night. Wednesday was all about Father Michael Kottar, RIP, his funeral. Hail Mary… Saturday there are ordinations to the transitional diaconate. Hail Mary… A couple of Saturdays later we have ordinations to the priesthood. Hail Mary…
The top photo was taken during delivery of firewood. The one just above was seen up in the back ridges of these Appalachian Blue Mountains, because, of course, these are Mountain Laurel.
Meanwhile, it seems to me that it’s a good thing to always have one’s eyes peeled for Flowers for the Immaculate Conception. It’s always an occasion to lift up one’s heart and mind to all that which is good and holy. And that, of course, provides for an occasion for an examination of conscience, contrasting the availability of nature created by God to do what it is supposed to do, and us, in our fallen human nature, whereby we cannot of ourselves be available to do what we are supposed to do with free will, you know, unless we are receptive of the grace God provides. We also have such occasions, even with trips adding up to 1000+ miles:
“If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too. If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea, Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” — Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one. You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity.” Psalm 139:8-18
In other words, we needn’t travel anywhere to get Flowers for the Immaculate Conception. We ourselves with God’s grace can be flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and those flowers are most acceptable, with Jesus and His good mom working together to give us the opportunity…
These flowers, acquired in memory of dearest Morris Gordon, had a rough life, as did he. However, almost dead from freezing and wild conditions, this rose has come back to life. And we quite frequently offer Holy Mass for the repose of his soul and then also for his wife, who is very much alive. Long time readers will remember this video:
Skip to 1 hour 29 minutes: 52 seconds mark (I tried to copy the URL at that time, but I’m not techy).
Morris is Jewish. I can identify with that! By the way, Jesus is Jewish, and so is His Immaculate Mother.
And just to remind people of a couple of things:
“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)
And specifically, for this post on Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, we read this about the dearest Mother of the Redeemer:
“Who is this that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon and bright as the sun, resplendent as an army set in battle array?” (Song of Solomon 6:10)
So, a flower for you Mary, and in this case, a Morris Gordon rose.
Why this post is tagged for Memorial Day when we are supposed to remember the fallen in war? Because we should also remember WHY these men laid down their lives, that is, to save our friends from demonic atrocities.
Here’s the deal: we don’t have heroes just to say, “Look at them! And I’m pointing them out!” an exercise in virtue signaling. No, no. That’s all hypocrisy unless we strive to follow the example of those who were ready to lay down their lives for their friends, and then did just that. Love of God, love of neighbor. It’s all Judeo-Catholic. And we will fight for that. Thanks to the fallen in war. Thanks to Morris. Thanks to Jesus’ good mom, who as a supreme warrior, stood next to her dear Son, who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Paying one last visit to the cemetery Memorial Day just before nightfall, I noticed a statue of Saint Therese that I never noticed previously. Her full religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, recalling childlike simplicity of holiness and integrity and honesty so fierce that being in solidarity with the sufferings of Jesus for us is possible, and with enthusiasm. Her nickname – the Little Flower – is due to her description of herself amongst others of Jesus’ Little Flock. She’s depicted as cradling a crucifix in a bouquet of flowers. Mind you, these flowers are for Jesus, in His childlike obedience to the Father regarding His Passion and Death, so that He might give these to the Immaculate Conception, His dearest Mother and ours, as she stood under the Cross. You know the drill:
Mary is the warrior with her divine Son, in a battle, a war, over against Satan, the fierceness of whom all warriors do well to carry in their souls. In laying down their lives for the good of mankind, they will have Jesus’ good mom to welcome them into the eternal habitations. Flowers for you, Mary.
These October Beans are catching on now, though they had a very rough start with white mold, etc. They are already putting out blossoms. Uh-oh. There must be something about October Bean blossoms that attract murderous wars of the creatures pictured below (an older picture from near the hermitage of yore) …
As the vines grow up high and wide, hopefully, there will be perhaps a hundred some blossoms (with future beans), and that will attract Humming Birds. I’ve never seen more frightening “dog-fights” than Humming Bird dog-fights over October Bean blossoms, and my dad was a highly decorated USMC fighter-attack Corsair Squadron Commander.
Just some entertainment supplied by Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, Jesus, for her.
What? You think Jesus’ good mom wouldn’t appreciate her Son’s good creation?
Memories of Donna (R.I.P.) include a zillion times that she supplied actual flowers for the Immaculate Conception. They would go in the little chapel of the hermitage next to the statue of the Immaculate Conception. Donna got us the Monstrance for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that you see above. She also got us our chalice. She got us the votive candles right through the years.
Meanwhile, Jesus called her home. After the funeral, I stopped at the homestead, where I took a picture of this as her husband spoke to me about her comments on these continuously flowering flowers on the trees out front. He said that this picture better show up on my blog:
Nice. But here’s the truth of it: Donna prayed the Rosary, a lot, and for priests, even for yours truly. I am forever indebted. Thanks, Donna. Those Rosaries are really lots of most acceptable flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
So, of course, Jesus, without whom nothing was created, nothing exists, did create the universe in view of His Immaculate Mother. It just cannot be that the ecosystem we have was not wrought in view of her. How could it be that we who notice such beauty in nature do not immediate offer all of this to Jesus’ good mom, so that Jesus provides us the opportunity to give something to His mother? The flowers above were seen the other day on Communion calls in axle-breaking gullies in between ridges. I love it.
But there are more flowers for the Immaculate Conception than mere flowers. There are flowers of suffering while remaining in trust of Jesus’ mercy based on justice.
Mankind experiences wretched suffering and death because of Adam’s bad usage of free will. God didn’t “create” suffering and death. It is justice that such wretched consequences of original sin be experienced as these effects of sin are freely chosen with the sin.
To bring us back around to be the good children of God and be on our way to heaven, to elicit our assent to goodness and kindness of God, our assent to receiving mercy instead of remaining cynical, God Himself has to satisfy His own justice, coming into this world to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the death we deserve, the worst we can give out.
Reception of that mercy, of that forgiveness, which Jesus offers us so very credibly from the cross, with this mercy founded on justice, He bearing the wounds of hate we inflict on each other, doesn’t mean that while we are in this world the effects of sin chosen with the sin will be removed from us, you know, before we get to heaven and all these wretched effects of sin will be removed from us, providing us with the fulness of the freedom of the children of God, bearing without any burden the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, we being then the tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. But while we are here in this world, although we are forgiven having been out-of-friendship with God because of original sin, and because whatever of our own sin, we still suffer through weakness of mind, weakness of will, feelings and emotions in chaos, sickness and death.
Whatever of all that weakness and sickness and death, we can choose to the right thing with our free will, keeping the commandments, loving God and neighbor, even if tempted in such darkness. This speaks to us of the greatness of the love of God within us, stronger than temptation, stronger than our weakness, stronger than sickness and death, strong enough to bring us to heaven out of this hell of chaos.
And bearing the life of God within us in this fallen world, His light shining out from our otherwise-would-have-been-darkness, everything in fallen human nature militating against us, but bearing this life of God amidst it all, already having a foretaste of heaven in this steadfastness, we can also experience an enthusiasm which we are bidden to have in the last exhortation in the Apocalypse: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! Let’s get this done!
Get what done, you ask? Here’s the deal: we are so very blind to how far our Lord had to reach to get us, and this blindness is His mercy, for if we were to see what His wounds mean all at once we would be crushed by the wretchedness of our fallen human condition and crushed by the weight of the glory of God’s love for us. Jesus only very patiently introduces us to the truth of it all. The task of the spiritual life is to see in all humility just how far Jesus had to reach to get us, all the way into the hell into which we were running as fast as we could go. This is training for heaven, training us up to give the biggest thanksgiving to Jesus in heaven, for that will be our joy, to thank Him. But we can only thank Him if we know what He has done for us, how far He had to reach to get us. If we are humble in His grace, we receive clues, exactly what He calls the cross He commands us to carry, all those effects of original sin chosen with the sin, all the effects of our own sin chosen with the sin, all the weakness of mind, weakness of will, all peripheral chaos of feelings and emotions, all the sickness and death. Great! Let’s do it! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
But there is more, so much more. In the Apocalypse, those words crying out to Jesus to get through all the apocalyptic battle of hell over against heaven so that we are on our way to heaven is set in the aggression of those who entrench in the cowardly “power” they think to have with Satan. We also suffer the aggression of others, horrific aggression. But even in that aggression we can rejoice in the security of that love of God which cannot be ripped from us even in the worst of circumstances, that love of God being strong enough to get us through all suffering and death right unto heaven.
But, to get right to that which will have us truly crucified to ourselves to live for God alone, the need that such others have of God is brought to our souls. It’s not that the despair of others, the darkness of others, the cross that others still must carry becomes our own. NO! NEVER! That would be unjust altogether. Instead, the need of others is brought to us by having us, ourselves, carry our own crosses all the better. What that means is that our eyes will be all the more opened as to how far Jesus had to reach to get us. We can always go deeper into this mystery, more deeply into noticing the depths of hell that is to be for all of us except that Jesus is reaching into that hell so as to bring us to heaven. When someone, in the Lord’s good grace, is this humble, this trusting in God, utterly dead to trusting in ourselves so uselessly, this is when such a soul is so growing in saintliness, in the very life and friendship of God, that the very fact that they are in this world and still nevertheless with God itself becomes an act of intercession for the whole world, even for those who are otherwise lost to hell. They also can be snatched from hell to become the good children of Mary, with Jesus, and with Him be given as a gift to our heavenly Father.
We ourselves become flowers for the Immaculate Conception in this way. The trick to see these flowers even in the worst of sinners is to never write anyone off, saying that Jesus’ hard won grace of redemption is impossible for them to receive. That would be to insult Jesus, Mary’s good Son. Interceding for all those whom God wants us to intercede for – and what do we know? – we leave that up to God – is to give flowers to the Immaculate Conception. We have zero idea, methinks, about the multitudes who will make it to heaven because of our meagre intercession for them. We might never see it in this life, with them perhaps turning to Jesus, sincerely, at the hour of death, but we will see it in the next life. So many flowers. So, flowers for you, dearest Mary.
Would you like to see such human flowers for the Immaculate Conception, always and every time? You think this is beyond you? Don’t think that way. That would also be an insult against Jesus’ patience and grace.
Start small. Ask your guardian angel that when you see any flower, anywhere, anytime upon this earth, that you will recognize this as your opportunity from Jesus to “give” that flower to His good mom, the Immaculate Conception. When you got that as part of your God-given spiritual life – this being a grace – go ahead and ask your guardian angel to smack you down such that you see fallen human beings as at least potential flowers for the Immaculate Conception and treat them with the knowledge that Jesus also won for them the grace of redemption (even if we do not know if anyone will also assent to receive the grace of salvation). Regardless of that, our meagre intercession but in Jesus’ grace will be magnificent flowers for the Immaculate Conception. So, again, flowers for you, dearest Mary.
Dearest Donna was called by our Lord to the next life the other day. This was a sudden death. Her funeral is this coming Wednesday at 11:00 AM (April 6, 2021) at Saint Dorothy’s Catholic Church in Lincolnton, NC. Donna was a best friend, as is her husband John, and their son, John Brian.
I should like to write more at length about these great witnesses to our Lord and our Blessed Mother in future.
But for now, a humorous story. It is NOT a canonization of Donna. And I’m not saying I’m some sort of visionary. No. I think that no matter what we are to pray that those who die be released from purgatory forthwith and be on their way to heaven, and if they are already there, our prayers will go – in their honor – for other souls to be on their way. It’s all good.
To preface this story you have to know that for a million reasons, one more far reaching than the other, I think that donkeys are the coolest of all God’s creatures, ever. They can sing, they only do what they understand, they are always with the Holy Family, they are the hard-working symbol of Israel from time immemorial. I could go on for volumes, and I have written at great length quite innumerable times about the glories of donkeys. I believe that the Lord’s Little Flock must have shepherds, priests, who are guard-donkeys, for donkeys protect the flock from the wolves, a swift kick, and then suffocation by crushing of the esophagus and then a quick side-to-side, ripping their throats right out.
Know that St Corbinian’s bear on Pope Benedict’s Coat of Arms is actually a donkey, and that Pope Benedict fancied himself as that very donkey. So very many stories in my own life, from the seminary to the Pontifical Bibilical Institute in Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to…
So! Donna heard my praise of donkeys for years. My hermitage where I wrote on the Immaculate Conception of our Lady was on a back ridge on their back-woods property John and Donna had in the heart of Appalachia. Donna was not so impressed with donkeys. Donkeys stink. Donkeys are “stinkers”, a nickname Donna gave to all and sundry good troublemakers, you know, those who are somewhat too clever in getting done what needs to be done. For Donna, I was often the stinker. “YOU, STINKER!” she would exclaim with joy, laughing at how subtly outrageously guard-donkey-esque I had just been for the good of the Church anywhere right around the world and right into the Holy See, from my little mountain hermitage or now in my tiniest of all parishes. It was and is to laugh, me being perhaps too happy with myself in getting done what needs to be done while quite miraculously escaping the wrath that otherwise might be expected from those more politically correct than ourselves. Good times.
In all these years of knowing John and Donna, they got to know very quickly that when anyone needed the Last Rites, I would rush to whatever junk vehicle I had at the time – even Jenny the Jeep – and chase off at breakneck speed to the the home or hospital or rehab bed of the one in dire straits. The Donkey-Priest must go quickly!
They knew my continuous stories of what I would say after providing Last Rites with all the attendant Sacraments and Indulgenced blessings and prayers, that when they finally go before Jesus, they are to tell Him that there is a Donkey-Priest upon this earth who needs His special help. This would always bring laughter or faked-politeness, which is also humor:
Some would say that telling Jesus about some Donkey-Priest would be useless, they would have to be more specific, for, they said, Jesus would ask who it is they are talking about, as all priests are Donkey-Priests! Hahaha. It’s good to have good humor when one is on one’s way!
Some would promise that they would, of course, do just this, happy to do it. Great!
Some would absolutely refuse. There is absolutely no way, ever, that they are going to tell any such thing to Jesus, that they love their priests, and pray for their priests all the time – so many Rosaries for priests!!! – and so they are not going to insult Jesus’ priests right in front of Jesus, to His Face, talking to Jesus about Donkey-Priests! No! Donna was one such refusenik. I countered by saying that I have done this so very times with souls on their way that it’s now “A Thing”, so that if she doesn’t do it, Jesus will Himself bring up the subject, asking if there isn’t a Donkey-Priest who is in special need of His help, and she will have to admit that there is a specific Donkey-Priest in need of Jesus’ help.
But in all of this, my emphasis on the great benefits of the Last Rites went deep into her soul. The day before she suddenly died, she insisted on going to Holy Mass at the Cathedral. From where they are, this involves a nightmare of traffic. John wanted to go to Holy Mass at Saint Dorothy’s. But there was no changing Donna’s mind. Off they went. Afterward, she got the Anointing of the Sick from the Rector of the Cathedral. Within hours, through in relatively good health, she was dead. She did have an untoward diagnosis (which apparently had little to do with her death). It was not long after she died that the “EVENT” happened.
Again, I’m not canonizing Donna here. Pray for the repose of her soul. I’m not saying I’m a visionary. No. It just is what it is. My experience. Take or leave it. Whatever. I find it all to be good humor. Haha.
Not very long at all after Donna dropped dead, it seemed that for one split-nanosecond she appeared to me in such good humored manner that I thought my appeals about requesting help for this Donkey-Priest had come true, not because she had brought this up to Jesus, but because Jesus had to bring it up to her, to the laughter of all who met her to bring her in before Jesus. Jesus has good humor. Just read the Scriptures. You’ll find God’s good humor throughout, everywhere you look. Donna had only two words to say to this Donkey-Priest in that split-nanosecond “visitation” if you will, knowing that I would know what she meant with her good demeanor in such good humor. Donna exclaimed, as only she can:
” ♬ YOU STINKER ! ♬ “
It is to laugh. And I did. And I do. Jesus is good and kind, even to the likes of His own Donkey-Priests. Thanks, Donna.
May Donna’s soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Hail Mary… Hail Mary… Hail Mary…
And thank you, Jesus, for giving special help to Donkey-Priests. :-)
Just a reminder. Purple. Advent. It’s royal purple. Jesus is King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace.
But filthy, effeminate, luxuriating Herod, clothed Jesus in a robe of purple to mock Jesus. But Jesus had called Herod a female fox, in Jesus’ words: “Go and tell Herod, that bitch…” you know, to use technical canine vocabulary. Check it out. Luke 13:32. The translation will say “fox” because the translators are chickens favoring Herod the bitch. But Herod would decapitate such tender snowflake sycophants though without the regret he had about John the Baptist. In their political correctness, they are already as good as chickens with their heads cut off by the politicians that be.
And this is why royal purple is used for penitential seasons like Advent and Lent. The King will be placed in a wooden manger and nailed to a wooden cross. How do we perceive the purple?
Meanwhile, all the more purple:
If you’re having trouble with all this – too much reality all at once – ask the Immaculate Conception to help you out. She saw what that bitch of Pontius Pilate and what Pilate himself did to her Son. Just look into her eyes:
Advent. Purple. A penitential season. Because of that bitch, Herod.
I can just hear it now, the Bishop reading a thousand complaints about me in letters complaining that I’m not appropriate, that’s I’ve crossed boundaries:
“Dear Bishop, you gotta do something with Father Byers. He’s so mean. He’s, like, using bad words and stuff – splutter, splutter, splutter.”
These bitchy people… sigh… They should read about political correctness and what God thinks about prostituting oneself to political correctness, say, in Ezekiel 23. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!!!!
You know, what would happen is that the Bishop would laugh, heartily, as he knows I’m quoting Jesus verbatim. He loves that. :-)
Then, I’m quite sure, in his own chapel, he would give a purple flower to the Immaculate Conception. How about you?
But I can still hear it: “Splutter, splutter, splutter….”
Hmmm, three…. a reminder of Faith, Hope and Charity? For me, yes.
And then… the five wounds of the Passion flourishing in our souls, thanks be to God? Yes, another reminder.
Saint Teresa of Avila is all about using nature to remind us of God and who we are before God. There are endless analogies which come to mind. This isn’t fiction or mere imagination. Being creatures of the Creator, we have a sense that creation is created by our Creator. Saint Paul has it that all of creations loudly proclaims our Good Creator (see Romans, chapter 1).
But it isn’t some mere academic exercise. This is personal. I can’t think of anything more manly for a man than to give flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
For instance, the Archangel Michael was not sent to announce to Mary that she is to be the Immaculate, Virgin Mother of God, the one singled out for battle against Satan in Genesis 3:15. No, no. It was the Archangel Gabriel who was sent to her for this announcement from the the throne of the Most High. I get the sense from the Scriptures that Gabriel is the military chief over Michael. The name Gabriel means “the ultra-warrior-hero of God.” Of course the ultimate warrior angel is sent to her who is the one singled out for doing battle over against Satan, she whose Motherhood for the God-Man would have her crush Satan with Him.
I imagine Gabriel coming in fresh from battle, ever so humbly taking a knee before she who is to be the Queen Mother of God, so as to make this announcement. So, yes. Flowers for you Mary.