Category Archives: Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (St George vs Κηλεος Dragon edition)

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Can you see the challenge to Saint George in the picture above? It has to do with the breath of dragons:

saint george fire breathing dragon

Let’s get a bit closer, but don’t get burned:

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This fiery color of fuschia (pronounced with the Bavarian soft “sh” sound[!]) is of a flower called “Dragon’s Breath” taking a hint from the original Greek name Κηλεος (burning). Sorry about the blurriness; digital cameras just can’t capture anything with red except, oddly, the pupils of eyes.

Parishioners from Florida (half the year) and here (half the year) have finally returned for the cooler mountain temps, and went to buy flowers the other day. They saw this Dragon’s Breath flower and thought of me, you know, Saint George who slew the Dragon and all that. I guess this is an appropriate parish for me to be in, what with the world-famous “Dragon’s Tail”, quite the ride for motorcycles and mini-cars. [Riders beware. I hear the lead-up road speed limit just dropped from 55 to 40.] If you look at the very top picture, you’ll see it planted directly below the Saint Anthony of Padua statue by the front door of the rectory.

Going back up to the Icon, take a look at Holy Mother Church (the woman) and the Lamb of God. Do they look scared? Nope. Is George really saving Her or is She calmly praying for George, you know, so that he is successful in bearing witness to Jesus even as a Roman Soldier? George is being given the opportunity to be Saint George. He’s thankful for the support and encouragement of the whole court of heaven. It’s the one Body of Christ at work. His being a good Catholic was a capital crime for which the Dragon, the possessed-by-Satan-Roman-Emperor, would have George put to death, the very manner by which, persevering to the end, George would become a martyr, a witness, laying down his life for his friends, for Holy Mother Church, Saint George.

Giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception isn’t so much about us doing something; it’s about the support and encouragement of Holy Mother Church for us to follow through with an occasion to do just that. We’re one big family. We rejoice together, even in adverse circumstances.

BTW: As you see from the very top picture, no flags are out as there are torrential rains predicted, but I also need to work on the flags. The 3×5 American Flag is in tatters and needs replacing. I’m thinking, though, of putting up a 3×5 blue-line flag.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (There’s a donkey somewhere edition)

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It’s the perspective. You’re looking at these flowers from Jesus’ perspective. Through these flowers, do you see the donkey, there, out in the field far below, looking up, there, to the left half way up the picture? We’re all that donkey. That donkey is giving these flowers to Jesus to give to His good mom, right behind you, so that it’s all like, you know, Jesus receiving “flowers” from this little boy to give to His mom:

shepherd boy

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“I’M SPIRITUAL” edition) Pffft

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Whenever I hear the exclamation “I’M SPIRITUAL!”, you know, with a superior, bullying, brow-beating, I’m more sophisticated that you damn religious people” attitude… whenever I hear that exclamation I immediately feel indignant for our Lord Jesus, who was born with a very corporeal body of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who suffered in His corporeal body under Pontius Pilate, who was crucified, died and was buried, but then who, and this is important, rose bodily, a true resurrection from the dead, not just spiritually, what the “I’m spiritual!” crowd would say is hysterical imagination, but actually bodily. The “I’m spiritual” thing allows one, one pretends, to ignore Jesus and the commandments of love of God and love of neighbor, you know, because one is more sophisticated. Clever, that. But not good enough. It’s like taking flowers for the Immaculate Conception and, with real malice darkening that ever so spiritual spirit of the “I’m spiritual!” person, and then throwing them at her as if they were stones. They ain’t a gonna hurt her, only oneself.

It’s great how the great Ezekiel (36:26) says this:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Notice how he does NOT say “a spiritual heart”…

Here’s the deal: a spiritual heart cannot suffer, but a heart of flesh can suffer.

sacred hearts

That’s what those flowers at the top of this post remind me about: hearts of flesh that can love with reality. You couldn’t even see a “spiritual heart.”

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Cute bullet holes? edition)

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Top-middle of the lower-left leaf. No. Not a bullet wound.

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No. Those are not bullet wounds above either. I mean, how could you think such a thing?! Nor is that a bullet wound below. Sorry for the foreground blur.

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To me, Trilliums always look like they are flying. Anyway, all the Trilliums are being eaten up right along where I do up the FBI and pre-2001 FAM courses. Bugs, not bullets.

Anyway, these flowers are for our Lady, even if they are not haphazard bullet holes, and even if they are bullet holes. Shocking?

Mary’s pretty tough. She doesn’t disagree, for instance, with John the Baptist, who encouraged the military guys to do their duties with integrity and honesty, but to go ahead and do their duties.

By the way and just to say, the Archangel Gabriel of Annunciation fame has a name which basically means “War-hero of God” or “Special Operator of God” or some such. He’s the one, the military guy, the only one most appropriate to announce to Mary that she is the Immaculate Conception and is to be the Virgin Mother of God.

Oh, and by the way and just to say, Mary is singled out as THE WARRIOR in Genesis 3:15. Right? With the Redeemer, her Son, she’s the one.

So if these were bullet holes coming from one of her adopted sons practicing with his Glock 19 Gen 4… No, she would just think that that was, um – how to say it for a mom – she would think that that was… you know… cute. Surely. Moms are outrageously understanding like that.

How is she a warrior. Well, not by mere guns. Something much more violent. By way of taking in all that happened to her Son as He was tortured to death on the cross, and using all that to substantiate what her intercession for us was about as she stood there in solidarity with her Son as He was in solidarity with us, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty.

Bullet holes in flowers for her? That’s merely cute compared to the real violence of epic, universal proportions of what God did what He did for us there on Calvary, what Mary did for us by way of intercession in solidarity with her Son.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (making me laugh out loud edition)

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Here’s how I look at it: Jesus created flowers for the Immaculate Conception, His good mom. Flowers then, are an expression of the imagination of God in all love, coming up with something that will please His good mom. Firstly you see a cross, with the four petals. Then a symbol of the Most Holy Trinity, with three other petals. Oh, and then there are two more petals out back for the two natures of Jesus, a divine nature and a human nature making up the Divine Person of Jesus, making His mom the Mother of God. God: an artist with His palette of color. All about love. All about truth.

I don’t know. It’s all so good, so different from the dark ways of the world that it makes me laugh, out loud, in joy. Laughter because I know in myself the darkness that there can be, well, I’m just barely unafraid enough to know a bit of what could be without the redemption and salvation of Jesus. I could know more of that which I and the rest of humanity is capable of doing, coming to know then all the better the wounds of Jesus. But, I admit, I’m a coward when it comes to truth that hits home hard, slamming into my chest, my heart, though hardly as violently (coward that I am) as the spear of the Roman Soldier on Calvary slamming into the side, the heart of Jesus, Mary’s Divine Son. But Mary, with her fearless pure heart and fearless agile soul saw all the darkness that tortured her Son to death, our sin. But then, Jesus, giving this flower to her. Hah. That’s just so cool. I love it. He’s so enthusiastic to snatch us out of the clutches of Satan. So, joyful. This is so utterly different from the ways of the world. The contrast is stunning. It makes me laugh out loud. It’s so good. I totally love it.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“rape” edition)

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“Weeds”, I guess. Not sure what these fields of wild yellow flowers are, now in bloom everywhere here in the mountains. Not dandelions. It looks like a kind of mustard, a kind of rape flower. But isn’t rape a cross of turnip and kale? What a name. The flower is cool. The English connotation of the name “rape” isn’t so nice, not that this is rape.

Why give anything that might seem to like a “rape” flower to the Immaculate Conception, she who conceived the child in her womb by the creative action of the Holy Spirit? Well, because the flower is independent of the name we might give it in any given age and place and culture of mankind. The flower is created by the Most High. That’s why.

But then again, also because the flower right here right now goes by then name “rape”. I mean, when I was in the seminary in the dark days of past decades, we were introduced to knucklehead “exegetes” (blasphemers, really) who suggested that Mary was actually violently raped say, by a Roman soldier, you know, the “angel” they mock. Yep. People can be so full of hated and bitterness, trying to go out out of their way to offend people whom, surely, they wish they themselves could rape, and do rape with this kind of impish scandal, so dark are their hearts, so egotistical, so cynical.

I mean, the flower is still really cool. And giving this to the Immaculate Conception is done in reparation for outrages and sacrileges committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Today’s Saturday. Mary’s day. When’s the last time you made the Five First Saturdays? Can you list the things to do on a First Saturday? Do you know how and when First Saturdays came about?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (never a better name edition)

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Blue-White flowers of Rosemary or Rose-Mary. At least it’s pronounced correctly, unlike the state of Maryland, incorrectly pronounced Merrillund, as if the state were a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. No. It’s MARY-LAND! Anyway…

Mary is often depicted in a white garment with a blue garment over that, and just this shade of blue-white of the Rosemary. White is for purity and… and… a reminder of the meaning of her name, Mary refers the sea , which is blue. The sea, mind you, is bitter to the taste, sharp, spicy.

Because of her Immaculate Conception, Mary, with purity of heart and agility of soul, and with all clear vision – unafraid – saw and understood and took in what was happening to her Divine Son as He was tortured to death on the Cross. We recall Lamentations 1:12…

“Come, all you who pass by the way, look and see if there is any agony like my agony which has been dealt me when Yahweh afflicted me on the day of His blazing wrath.”

But in this way, with her intercession for us in her solidarity with her Son, we become her children, and, please God, we are on our way to heaven. The Rosemary is a good flower to give to her in all simplicity.

 

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (No need to paint her edition)

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I think the statue was donated and put in the flower patch. No need for paint. This is at the neighbor’s house next to the hermitage on the “day-off”. Sorry it’s all out of focus. It was really very late in the evening. Almost no light.

All the Jews I’ve met in my life until 1990 were Ashkenazi or Sephardic, and so – how to say – white people. When I went to live in Israel and study in the West Bank, I met really a lot of Jews from elsewhere, like, say, Yemen. Dark, dark, dark skinned. Totally cool, thought I in seeing a Yemini woman. This is what Mary, Jesus’ good mom, must have looked like. Wow, thought I, smiling from ear to ear.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary’s in Sylva edition)

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Lonicera sempervirens “magnifica” or trumpet honeysuckle. I stopped by to see the great young priest and a new friend at that parish. Watching over our conversation was, of course, the Immaculate Conception. Does your parish or the front of your house have a little shrine to the Immaculate Conception?

I remember making one such shrine, a simple little shrine, unobtrusive, only for it to be knocked down by neighborhood hooligans in a place far from here. I guess for some, Jesus’ good mom, whom the Divine Son of God loves so very much, is to be despised. But that isn’t right. I really doubt such cowards would try do that to her face. I know her Son wouldn’t tolerate it. Much better to honor her as does her dear Son.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (adverse conditions edition: very cool)

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“Eaten by the dog”, specifically Shadow-dog, and then roughly transplanted, and then ignored, the Guadalupe “superabundant” rose bush is doing surprisingly well, as well as the other rose hidden under the eaves on the North side of the rectory. I suspect that there will be some roses even this year. Very cool, that.

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Then, a bit closer to the statue are the above flowers, which appear to have had some sort of acid wash thrown over them. They haven’t given up, but are trying with all their might to do their best. Very cool, that.

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And then, amazingly, there’s these guys, all turned toward Mary, fresh and bright, but facing certain death perhaps even this very day. A wonderful parishioner is back from wintering in Florida, and explains to me that these particular flowers are only for the Winter. Summer is altogether different. They look to be trying to prove just how well they are doing in honor of Mary. But the angels know the time when our souls are ready to go before the Lord as well. Very cool, that.

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Ultra super detailed, these “flowers,” as it were, so to speak, are perfectly fine, except they know that they are at the mercy of an inept weedeater priest who might strip all the bark of the little trunk holding them up from the ground. Ignoring anxiety, they remain steadfast. Very cool, that.

Do you have flowers for the Immaculate Conception, even in this world? By the way, the Rosary is called the Rose-ary, I imagine, for a reason. Very cool, that.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Lots of potential edition)

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About a trillion little buds – give or take a billion – are getting ready to explode into flowers in honor of the Immaculate Conception, but right now they are just in potentia. Though what will be a flower is already a flower, right? Anyway, this miracle of joy is taking place right in the backyard of the rectory, despite Shadow-dog stripping some of the low branches that are in his way while he chases about.

When I was a kid, and right through my life, I always heard the nice compliment that I have a lot of potential, really really a lot of potential, I mean, wow, really a lot of potential, you know, with the emphasis on potential. Of course, what that means is that I haven’t ever actuated much of that potential at all. But, hey!, encouragement is encouragement. I guess this is pretty much true for us all.

But Mary was actuating, as it were, her potential right from the beginning of her Immaculate Conception, speaking about this much later, in Lourdes, calling herself the Immaculate Conception even as the Queen Mother of heaven and earth, angels and men, being the good mom of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, for, after all, she was fully transformed in grace from the first instant of her conception, instantly bearing within herself the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity.

Saint Paul says that we are also transformed in grace (see Ephesians 1:6), though after suffering the effects of original sin as we continue to do while we are in this world. We always have a lot of potential until that grace turns to glory in heaven, but by grace it already is what it is, right? Even we, in all our weakness and darkness and temptation, bear within us the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. And dearest Mary Immaculate interceded for us that that might be the case. Thank you, Mary. Thank you, Jesus.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (We can make an idol of truth edition)

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We have our faces in the beauty of the truth all day every day, but often don’t see it, ignore it, busy on purpose with many other things, but we congratulate ourselves because, hey!, we know the truth! And with that we can smash others down that we think don’t know the truth as well as we do! Yay! We’re great! That’s all idol worship of oneself at the price of truth which we use for that end. Mary saw all this when she saw her Divine Son tortured to death by our obtuseness, even with so many of the greatest religious leaders of the day standing about the cross, they who were the guardians of the truth, so as to mock the Living Truth. And the Immaculate Conception interceded for us all. Thanks Mary. Thank you, Jesus, for putting up with our darkness. We are blind. Please, bring us into the light.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)

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Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Dogs and Poetry edition)

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The Dogwoods are finally in full blossom. So, time for poetry:

In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven.
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of My agony.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“day off” in this priest’s life edition: from Father Gordon to a cemetery)

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Getting up at 12:00 AM for the day, the needful was done, the editing and preparing of the devastatingly staggering article of a guest writer (Ryan MacDonald) on the betrayal of Father Gordon (About), getting this ready for publishing over on These Stone Walls, and now published on TSW as:

#MeToo & #HimToo: Jonathan Grover & Father Gordon MacRae

I’m sure that story brings back plenty of traumatic stress to Father Gordon because of the enormity of the betrayal and who it involves from the beginning, right through the decades, to this very day, on a personal level, and in both Church and State. That post really needs to be shared far and wide as this could be what will change some attitudes against priests who are merely accused (that DOES NOT mean guilty) and have their throats slit, cast out of society and the priesthood and, for many, the church, and for some, life.

After that, starting about 4:30 AM, feverish preparations had to be made for a funeral Mass in a trailer home up in the backsides of the back mountains (this with a standing permission of the Bishop for that particular residence), with a burial in a private family cemetery (someone else’s) which was even more remote. Not even a minute to spare.

But first, at 6:00 AM, it was off to Asheville’s Subaru, a two hour trip, to get a major overhaul on Sassy the Subaru Forester (the 60,000 mile mark, and now 2 years old), costing me, because of additional stuff to all that (including a change-out of dangerously un-treaded tires[!] (the third change-out with, of course, 85,000 mile guarantees[!]) and a lack of headlights[!]), close to $1,700. Since that would take the whole day, they gave me a loaner car for the day. Being in the lounge for about one minute while the paper work was prepared, some treats needed to absconded with for later consumption.

While on the way there I did something that, in a negative subjunctive but not an absolute prohibition, in the words of the great Cardinal Sarah, “should not be done.” So, this is a confession. The breviary for the day was put up on the speakers of the ailing Subaru Forester because I knew that I simply would not have the time that whole day to get to it otherwise. Maybe that speaks to my faithlessness and total lack of priorities, but I’m weak and useless. That takes usually less than an hour and a half in that phone app // blue tooth method. I went from the first hour to the last non-stop. This is NOT the way it should be done. But I knew my day-off would not afford me even one free minute.

Meanwhile, the next stop after Subaru with a loaner car for the day was Brevard Hospital to get a yearly blood draw for levels of all sorts of things, so fasting since the previous evening was necessary. Having done that, those treats from Subaru were scarfed down. Then it was off to the UPS Store for everything that piled up since being in Rome.

Then it was right off to the mountains for the funeral and burial and reception. That was very touching altogether. Lots of friends. Lots of memories. Tears and laughter. All good. This trailer-house funeral Mass (where I had offered Mass many times previously) was, well, I must say, it was like Jesus was right there. He was, of course, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It was Holy Mass, after all. But, well, you know what I mean. This was a real consolation that our Lord will afford to us once in a while if it is good for our souls. This was good for my soul, and I think all there would heartily agree with that for themselves as well.

Then, startled at the racing clock, it now being 2:30 PM, racing down the one-lane, no-fault gravel mountain road with its washouts and downed trees and drive-through creeks, was a necessity so as not be late for a doctor’s appointment down the mountain and in Brevard, a 3:00 PM appointment. I made it, to the second. All well. The two orchids in this post are from the doctor’s office.

Subaru called for further permissions for stuff they found, and it was back off to Subaru to drop off the loaner and get Sassy back. Then the trip back home to meet up with a hungry Shadow-dog and a hungry Laudie-dog. I’m guessing Shadow is now well over 100 pounds, more than three times the size of Laudie.

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They are now quite the item. When it’s cold they sleep together in the same dog house.

It “shouldn’t be done”, but I’m very happy to have gotten my entire breviary in for the day, since, as soon as I sat down in my chair in the rectory at 9:00 PM, I was out like a light, like someone hit me on the head and knocked me out, until 6:00 AM the next day, today, when Father Gordon called as per usual.

I’m happy to be back on American time with this nine-hour sleep after a 21 hour day-off. The doctor was a little bit worried. The blood pressure was great, 117 over 77. But the pulse was over 100 when it’s usually at 60. I told him of my post-Rome overtiredness and what the day was like so far, so that calmed him down. He says that being way overtired can bring the pulse right up.

Anyway, and just to say, there is, nevertheless, always time for another flower for the Immaculate Conception. I mean, her dear Son really does have quite the imagination.

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Please read and share:

#MeToo & #HimToo: Jonathan Grover & Father Gordon MacRae

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Since I’ve been gone edition)

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Since I’ve been gone these past weeks, these guys, whatever they are, are bursting into all their glory for the Immaculate Conception in front of the rectory. I like that. I like that a lot.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saturday edition)

I remember learning as a teenage seminarian that Saturdays were – as everyone knew but me – dedicated to our Lady. I would look forward to Saturdays for this reason. With enthusiasm. Saturdays were totally sacred, belonging to our Lady as they do. So why these Flowers for the Immaculate Conception? Because it’s Saturday. :-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (sharpening one’s vision edition)

I mean, you do see them immediately, don’t you?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Maternal severity edition)

Today’s the great Solemnity of the Annunciation and verily of the Incarnation of our Lord. But it’s always the time to put up Flowers for the Immaculate Conception. The above is at Saint Mary (Major Basilica). Let’s take a closer look:

Nope. Not good enough. Let’s make our way past the machine guns and airport-like security and go inside:

Hail, Queen of Peace. She’s looking very severe. Rightly so. She is NOT happy with the war. Neither is Benedict XV.

The Holy Spirit, pointing out Jesus and His dear mother to us (that is just so awesome) indicates the point of the severity of the Immaculate Conception. We are to give the hell recreate a break and take notice of and live out the peace Jesus brings to us, deadly serious.

Because they love us and want us in heaven. It’s good to be reprimanded by a good mother.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Happy to be with mama edition)

And she’s happy to be with her priest sons.

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