Category Archives: Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Retreating: Duc in altum!)

Seen at the retreat.

All the priests of the diocese are here.

This is a great location in the church to make a thanksgiving

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Flowers of violence edition)


Wild flowers near the hermitage. Beautiful, eh? Just behind them, between them and the trees you see in the background is a marsh that’s, say, four feet deep at the deepest and maybe ten feet deep when the drainage is in proper order.

It’s said that some old guy was murdered and thrown in there long, long ago. And then there’s the kid that was killed just there, held under water by his “friends”, but he escaped their grasp only to be held under a second time, and then a third time, and didn’t come up again, though it was, of course, as all such things, declared to be a suicide, you know, because we’re all nice people and those kinds of not-nice things don’t happen around here.

Meanwhile, flowers for the Immaculate Conception grow in abundance, not as if they ignoring such gratuitous violence and the denying of it, but so as to say that Jesus came into this world so as to make all things new, taking all that violence on Himself.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (nevertheless flowers were found ed.)

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Two of tiniest lilies I ever saw…

On the day off, when only mushrooms and lichen and moss could otherwise be found.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Just be an insect edition)


Situational awareness for flowers for the Immaculate Conception demands that one be like an insect. An insect like the one above is always aware of flowers for the Immaculate Conception. It’s just built into their nature. But we have free will. Situational awareness is a matter of choice. Walking (flying) with the Holy Family is also a matter of free will with the grace of God.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Like Mother like Son)


October and still blooming. All for Mary, that’s what I always say. All for Mary. But giving her flowers… is that too easy?

I recall another exclamation: “All for Jesus!” Behold, a conversation in which this comes into play, when the words have to be put into action. This is my absolute all time favorite video of Mother Teresa reprimanding a priest and bishop:

When it comes down to it, if we actually believe that it’s all for Jesus, all for Mary, it’s all just as giving a flower created by Jesus to Mary. Yep.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (He’s risen! I must decrease! edition)


Morning glories are glorious, greeting the sun as they do, well, until it is the time that THE SON rises, and in humility, they decrease, bowing to Him, their Creator. And we look forward with great eagerness to the second coming of His will indeed come to judge the living and the dead and the world by way of the Fiery Truth of His Charity. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (All ducks in a row edition)


Our Heavenly Father speaks the Word. The Father is not a liar. The Father speaks the Truth. The Truth is reasonable. Let’s say that the Logos (the Word) is logical. There are laws to that which is, the One who is Truth. One notices this logic, this reason in Creation. All ducks in a row, one might say, as above, as below…

ducks in a row

The Virgin Immaculate Mother of God is Mother of the Incarnate Logos, the Incarnate Word, the Incarnate Truth. With her purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision – given her Immaculate Conception – she is herself able to appreciate the Speech of the Father, the Logos, the Truth. She can see Him reflected in the creation of the Creator.

Because she sees the standard of Truth, of the logic of the Logos, if you will, she also sees all that which does not come up to that standard in this fallen world with all of us who are fallen. But she sees the logic in her Son being born into this world where He would be rejected and tortured to death for being too good, too kind, too truthful for us in our fallen human nature to tolerate. And so, in taking on the death we deserve for the chaos, for the unreasonableness, for the sin, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, He, her Son, has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. It makes the hell of the cross reasonable, as reasonable as God’s love in heaven. Indeed, it is from the Cross that we see the glory of God shining.

Meg told her father, Thomas More, that getting his head cut off for not betraying the truth was unreasonable. His answer was that, instead, love makes it reasonable. And heaven will be unto the eternal glory of God. Love makes it reasonable. All ducks in row. And all is right once again, reason in the midst of chaos, light in the midst of darkness, life being brought from death, the kiss, on the cross, of mercy and justice being one in Jesus, Mary’s dear Son, of course.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (much mush edition)

As I found out at the hermitage yesterday on the day off, there is much mush in the form of mushrooms around (such as the one above right next to where I was doing some target practice) but there are very few flowers to be seen.

So… Mush… Let’s think about that in these days of ambiguous mushy gray speak, also about ambiguous mushy gray speak concerning the Immaculate Conception, good Jewish Virgin Mother of God, with all of her purity of heart and agility of soul.

I saw a video in which two Catholic web warriors, icons of orthodoxy (and some of the better ones at that I must say, all due respect to them), were mocking those who are all the time putting up posts about Immaculate Mary’s purity of heart and agility of soul, Mary being the good mom of Jesus, Virgin Mother of God that she is, and that’s it.

Well… hell… as one reader put it. Why, I ask, would anyone do that? I’ll put myself in that untoward category of thusly condemned people. Why would I put up Flowers for the Immaculate Conception in all the various editions all the time so as to mention Immaculate Mary’s purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision, good mom of Jesus that she is, Virgin Mother of God that she is? Would that be done just to be saccharine, to be sappy in superficial niceness?

It’s because Mary, in all her immaculateness, could clearly see what we needed under the cross, where she is then, because of that, mediatrix of all graces, co-redemptrix, thus fulfilling her virginity in becoming also the mother of the members of the Body of Christ. Jesus provides redemption and salvation. But it is appropriate that one of us, Mary, asks for this perfectly. She could do that because of her immaculateness. She had the clarity of vision to do so, the purity of heart to do so, the agility of soul to do so.

So… What…? Is there some gaping hole in my theology? Am I missing something? Am I insulting the Immaculate Conception? As I look into her eyes, I just can’t see what I’m missing. In doing the same, can you help me out? I mean, I don’t want to just be all mushy. I want to give Flowers to the Immaculate Conception for a reason. I can think of an almost infinite number of reasons to do so. Is that so bad?


I mean, have I ever put up this picture before? Like a million times?



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Amidst the chaos edition)


Meanwhile, amidst all the chaos, with all hell broken out, some flowers to give to the Immaculate Conception. These are out front of the Church. Inside the Church, on the very day this picture was taken, just the other day, all hell broke out. Call to mind that Holy Mass is the Last Supper which is united to Calvary: This is my body being handed over right now in sacrifice; this is my blood right now being poured out for the many in sacrifice. All of hell was broken out on Calvary, and it is at the Last Supper that Satan entered into Judas. All that, in your calm, peaceful Mass at your parish Church. Mary knows all about it. She was there. It will happen again today at Mass. So, flowers for you, dearest Immaculate Conception.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Roasting on an open fire edition)


These were seen near the hermitage this past Tuesday. It’s late September. The chestnuts are maturing. Christmas is coming soon. Christmas is all about Mary’s Divine Son. Surely a branch with some chestnuts in a bouquet for the Immaculate Conception is most appropriate.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (That depends edition)


As a seminarian I used to keep a half dozen hives of bees, supplying big jars of honey for the refectory. Mmm mmm good!

shepherd boyOur good Lord didn’t just create flowers for the Immaculate Conception, His good mom, but rather integrated them entirely into the vast and unimaginably complex ecosystem. We need merely to call to mind the most obvious fact that most need honey-bees to be pollinated for the next season’s explosion of life. The flowers and dependent creatures. When we give flowers to the Immaculate Conception we give her the entire universe of her Divine Son. In doing so, surely we feel extra super tiny before such great mysteries of creation and love. It is then a special joy before all of God’s majesty to give a flower to His good mom.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (If these were chickens edition)


These were seen near the hermitage on the last kind-of-day-off. (I haven’t been able to target practice for the last number of weeks, so any day-off isn’t really a day-off.)

If this is a dead red oak tree (hard to tell because the mushrooms are so thick) there’s a good chance that these are little baby Laetiporus sulphureus, otherwise known as Chicken of the Woods shelf mushrooms. “Chicken” because, just like rattle snakes, they taste like chicken. They can get big (from Wikipedia:).

chicken of the woods

Each shelf is like a chicken breast, prepared just the same way. Delicious. I used to fry these up on the wood stove in the hermitage.

O.K. These are not quite “flowers” if you have to be technical about it. But, if these were Chicken of the Woods and I was a kid with a chainsaw, I would cut the tree so that it wouldn’t quite fall all the way down. I’d get the bed of the truck near to one end and tie up the log with a chain to the back of the truck so that when the rest of it fell it wouldn’t hit the ground except for just the far end. Then I would drag it back to the house and prop it up on one end with some other logs, and then watch the proliferation of chickens, as bright as any flowers could ever be.

Then, when the chickens are all eaten up, the log is still great for firewood if you chop it up right away. Otherwise the roots of the mushrooms will rot the wood fast.

I don’t think Jesus’ good mom would object to such a monstrosity in her garden. It might even put a bit of a smile on her face. Sometimes a little imagination, a little thinking outside the box goes a long way.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (For those in the storms edition… Florence and Francis)


All is calm in Andrews, NC. The above was seen on the day off. All calm. Away from the storm (although the storm of “normal” life goes on, of course). It’s not a bad thing in the world of solidarity to have thoughts and prayers for those more directly in the midst of the storms besides the “normal” storm of life. We have two major storms.

  • Pope Francis and his advisers and appointees. If the idea is that the bishops involved on the dark side are faultless and have done all things well because they were chosen by the Lord, I don’t buy it. I say “if” because Pope Francis wildly goes from saying that those who don’t report abuse are “caca” [shit: his language] to saying that those who criticize bishops are going against the Lord. What is it? Just to say, the Lord also chose Judas. Judas is in hell through his own fault. The Lord respects our free will and we can choose the wrong thing. Our Lord does not approve the wrong thing. Any bishops on the dark side because they’ve done abuse themselves, or covered up abuse, or called themselves heroes for being tough on abuse because of denying due process to priests, thus encouraging false reporting and more self-hero worship, well, they remain on the dark side regardless of whether or not they are held to be living saints no matter what they do. I am in solidarity with actual victims. This is a storm. It’s very good to be in the midst of the Holy Family, say, giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception, in the midst of such a storm. I believe that all the “brothers and sisters of Jesus” who were not provably His cousins were street kids, orphans, throw-aways, surely some of whom who had been abused. Mary knows the score on all this. She pays close attention. Hail Mary…
  • Hurricane Florence. The rain will be starting soon in Western North Carolina. It’s a sunny day today. But hundreds of people are being caught out in chest high flooding and are being rescued, we hope, as I write this. I don’t judge those who stayed when told to evacuate. Some people simply are so poor or in such bad health that they cannot travel. Period. Thoughts and prayers for them and those who care for them and for those who rescue them. Perhaps there should be a registry for those who are too poor or too sick to travel in an emergency so that they can be transported to safety before conditions are dire. Hail Mary…



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Leaving stormy Rome edition)

Those are for the Immaculate Conception. This is at the gate of the Monastery. But then it was time to run for the bus.

It’s a dark and stormy trip to the airport. Rain. Lightning. Thunder. You know the drill.

It may be stormy on the outside.

But I’m happy to be a priest.

All for you, Mary.

////// I hope none of us forget that Jesus rose from the dead when things are dark and stormy.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Throttling Satan edition)

Across the tracks from the Anzio Train Station there’s this mosaic of Mary who is holding the infant Jesus who is throttling Satan. And yes, there are flowers in the mix.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Wiping the Stomping edition)

This is at the Tyburns, just outside the adoration chapel. Just below are the flowers.

The wounds can’t be wiped off, of course.

Some might object that this is the infant Jesus. I answer that the Word of God had the intention to lay down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, before He was born.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (A “prime” example of reason edition)


Nerds will appreciate this bit about prime numbers, in this case, 5.

There are laws in the universe, in physics, in maths. Prime numbers are really cool. Creation is all about reason, about math, about beauty, about goodness, about pointing to the one God and Lord of all. Hey! I know! How about a flower for the Immaculate Conception, this time with five petals? After all, it’s prime.

Moreover, her dear Son had five wounds. Those wounds forever take the place of the ransom for a boy which was to be paid when he was a month old, it being fixed at five silver shekels according to the sanctuary standard (see Numbers 18:16). After all, by His wounds we are healed. His five wounds are primary.


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


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

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

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


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Stars by the name David edition)


Seen on the “day off” at a friend’s house. Sorry, but I insist. It is good to always and everywhere remember that we are actively part of the Holy Family while we walk with the Lord through this world according to His providence until He sees fit to call us out of this world, to call us home, to call us by name. My mom wanted to call me David (Beloved), but that became my middle name. My dad won out with George (Tiller of the ground), a name used for God the Father by Jesus: my Father is the “tiller of the ground” (the vinedresser), Georgios. At any rate, Jesus has a name for each of us that only He and each of us individually will know. I hope to hear it when my time comes. I hope to hear that name. I long to hear that name. And should each of long to hear the name that He has for each of us. But for now, there are Stars of David everywhere to give to our Lady.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (This is how it works edition)


These are unfurling right next to the statue of Mary out on the front steps of the rectory. My neighbor donated these as he was stepping up his landscaping game. A parishioner transplanted them for me (midsummer too) and they just kept blooming, happy with their new home. It’s so easy for me to put up flowers for the Immaculate Conception. But, just to say, this is always the case. If, with the grace of Jesus, we set our minds and hearts on showing Jesus that we love Him by keeping the commandments (all like flowers for the Immaculate Conception in love of God and love of neighbor), it is then that He makes it all possible with a flood of His grace. We merely have to be, in His grace, in humble thanksgiving mode, thanking Him for the grace, His presence, His love, His truth, His goodness and kindness, because we can’t do it, ever, but He can. He makes it easy, His burden being easy, light, because He is friendly and humble of heart. Do we say that we want, in His grace, to give flowers to His dear mom and ours? Jesus makes this possible. He creates them and puts them where we can find them, even bringing them to us – we being too dull to do anything ourselves – so that we can give them to His mom. So, I know I’ve put this picture up before, but what I’d like for you to do is to understand what is really happening here. Jesus has just now given flowers to the shepherd boy with the instructions that the shepherd boy can then give those flowers to His good mom.

shepherd boy

By the way, I note that these are yellow, and that they have six petals, like the Star of David. I’m thinking about that a lot these last few days. More on that later.


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