Category Archives: Jesus

Homily 2017 09 28 Identity Politics!

“Who are you anyway?” — Hahaha! Excuse the bad language of this video, which has nothing to do with the Gospel or sermon except by way of the most remote and ridiculous analogy, and it’s just that I’ve constantly heard this question proffered to me from about every government / military / intelligence services / Law Enforcement entity anywhere, and so it makes me belly laugh, although, again, the analogy is almost inverse as I’m about as inept at anything and everything as anyone can be:

The rough language is appropriate however because this is surely the spirit with which Herod asked this question about Jesus.

SORRY! The audio level on the homily is pretty low, so you’ll have to turn up your speakers to max. I forgot the recorder, so recorded on the phone, uploaded that to Google Drive, downloaded it to my computer, put in in “Audacity” audio program to dumb down to a lower grade MP3, uploaded it to WordPress and finally in this post. That’ll teach me not to forget the recorder.

What’s a good podcast audio program to use?

1 Comment

Filed under HOMILIES, Jesus, Politics

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Ziggurat Donkey Pope Bridge edition)

flores one lane bridge

This flowery bridge picture was taken the other day out near the hermitage where I often go on my day off for a bit of quiet time (after all, it’s a hermitage) and not so quiet time (Seals and FBI qualification courses for fun).

We hear quite a bit about bridge building, consensus building, not being divisory, and that the Roman Pontiff is, by name, a bridge-builder (pontiff…). The SECOND bridge we read about in the Scriptures is a ziggurat, a kind of ladder for the angels, for the gods of Mesopotamia, Jacob’s ladder (from his famous dream). There are exemplars throughout Mesopotamia, including through rarely, those of the circular type:

ziggurat 3

There are remains in Babylon and Basra, for instance:

ziggurat 1

At the top, the god might pitch his tent among us, as it were. It was around such structures that the people had to gather yearly to hear the Enuma Elish read from beginning to end, which is no small feat when you’re reading from cuneiform tablets, when you are reciting the most nuanced presentation of philosophical and theological and anthropological and metaphysical theories of day, including the latest impositions of the political and sociological and economical and military theories of the day.

ziggurat 2

This was the bridge between heaven and earth, a two way bridge.

Meanwhile, the FIRST bridge mentioned in the Scriptures is actually the Tree of the Living Ones (the Tree of Life). That tree, that bridge came back with Jesus, we not going to Him (we’re blocked by the Cherubim), but Jesus coming to us. You’ll remember His chat with Philip under the fig tree, you know, the bit about the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man, who is Himself the Tree of Life, who gives us the Fruit of that Tree, the Holy Eucharist. You’ll remember the Cherubim protecting the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, where one would find the presence of God pitching His tent among us. But Jesus is only a little while lower than the angels, as we read, and then He’s back up to heaven, where He draws us into His goodness and kindness and living Truth.

Following up on original sin, the supreme arrogance and divisory spirit of the Babylonians in building these ziggurat, a kind of control of the angels, of the gods, which is pure insanity of self-serving power, brought about the multiplication of languages and lack of cooperation as we read way back in Genesis.

We do have a bridge in Jesus. We do have a bridge in the Roman Pontiff particularly in his infallibility on matters of faith and morals pronounced to the Universal Church as the Successor of Peter. But such a bridge is one way. There’s no democracy involved, no voting that controls an outcome. Jesus is our Savior. We don’t save ourselves. Jesus protects the truth in His Church. Peter is not left on his own. We are not abandoned to our fickleness. We would jump off the bridge or be thrown off it much like the donkey in the fables of the days of yore. I recall the thanksgiving at the beginning of my ecclesiastical thriller novel called rather irreverently: “Jackass for the Hour.”

It is with gratitude that I dedicate this book to the many men and women who have generously read the manuscript, making many suggestions. They represent a dozen countries and almost as many language groups. They have the most diverse backgrounds, cultures and levels of education that I could find among those with whom I could entrust the work. Their patience and humour have, I hope, stripped the manuscript of at least some of my ineptitude. Yet, I apologise for still managing to make what is easy into something difficult, a defect of one who has little understanding. Seeing how assiduous I was in taking suggestions, the comment was made that the book shouldn’t become like the jackass who trotted into a spurious collection of Aesop’s Fables – you remember the one – who, depending on the suggestions of passers-by to his owners, carried nobody, or did carry the little boy, or the old man, or both, or was carried by them, ending up being drowned in the river which flowed, appropriately, under Market Bridge. What a jackass does is not acceptable to everyone. It makes life interesting for the one who insists on being a… Jackass for the Hour.

Anyway, our Lady was the bridge by which Jesus came to us. She doesn’t take Him back. She instead intercedes for us that we might also become one with her Son, she becoming our Mother. Then, by grace, we already have one foot in heaven. Ha! The angels also ascend and descend upon us, they see the face of God even while they help us to be one with the Son of the Living God, our Holy Redeemer, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flores, Jesus

Unction of Goodness and kindness

jesus baptism

A parishioner painted this the-eyes-follow-you-everywhere portrait of Jesus as He would be just after His baptism by John in the Jordan. Note the reference of Mt 3:17. Note the angels ready to serve Him in the desert after the 40 days and nights of fasting. Note the crucifixion with the Father holding His Son, and then the burial (in the folds of the garments below the neck).

In fact, to fulfill all righteousness as Jesus set about showing us mercy founded on justice by being Himself baptized, even while being the innocent Divine Son of God, He took on the death we deserve because of original sin, effectively saying to our Heavenly Father that He, Jesus, should be treated as if He had enslaved everyone in sin from Adam until the last man is conceived, and should therefore be punished with the death we deserve for actually enslaving each other in sin, deserving to be put to death much like the charioteers and soldiers of Pharaoh were drowned in the Red Sea for having merely enslaved the children of Abraham unto physical labor for so many centuries.

The goodness and kindness of Jesus as He takes on His Passion and Death… A face which is peaceful as is right for the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. He’s the One I follow.

2 Comments

Filed under Holy Spirit, Jesus

The pearl of great price. That’s you.

spider

When we hear the parable of the pearl of great price, you know, the one that the merchant sees and sells everything he has so that he can purchase it, and that’s like the Kingdom of Heaven, at least I am tempted to think that that’s me, or should be, you know, the merchant who finds the pearl of great price and sells everything he has to get it. But imagine that for a second: sell your car, your house, your computer, everything. Well then, now I know that that’s not me at all. I’m so bad at all this that if I see such a pearl it’s just as likely to be me looking at a dead spider. Then I think I could never be the merchant. Wait a minute….

Jesus is the merchant of the Kingdom of Heaven who buys me, the pearl, at the great price of Himself. He sees who I can be in His grace by redemption and salvation. I may be like the dead spider above, but He makes me who He wants by His grace. Thank you, Jesus.

3 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Spiritual life

White Lies and Truth Telling – In praise of Lillian Carter and Jesus

lillian carter

Southern Gentlewoman Lillian Carter gave an interview to Barbara Walters during Governor Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, during which Jimmy promised that he would never lie to the American people.

  • Barbara Walters: “Has your son never told a lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, he’s probably told a few little white lies.”
  • Barbara Walters: “What’s a little white lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, Barbara, you remember when you came here a few minutes ago and I told you how pretty you looked and how glad I was to see you? That was one!”

These kind of conversations carry the baggage of a universally understood societal convention of mental reservation. Such mental reservation, when accompanied by even the slightest note of sarcasm, immediately betrays explicitly what everyone knows even without the help of the sarcasm: “You look pretty [in your own eyes].” So, it’s not even meant even as a little white lie, just an understood mental reservation, which can be even sharper than what is otherwise considered polite.

barbara walters

A mental reservation shouldn’t be used very often by us fallen human beings as we can ever so incredibly very easily turn into habitual full-on liars of the worst sort.

Having said that, Jesus Himself used a mental reservation: “I’m not going up to the feast in Jerusalem [publicly]” (see John 7:8-10). This isn’t even a “white lie.”

In the Nazi era, good Germans used mental reservations to save the Jews: “There are no Jews hiding in my basement [that I want you to know about].” Great! This isn’t even a “white lie.”

jewish yellow star jude

Not helping people to prepare to go to heaven when it is quite certain they will presently be going before their Creator and Redeemer stating ever so “nicely” to them that “Nothing is wrong! All is well! We have no worries! La di da!” — all that is simply a great disservice and shows zero leadership and lack of depth, lack of conviction, lack of character, love, respect, faith. Don’t be afraid to pray with people.

If I were always to have told people lies about their state of soul while they are dying, lying to them that they are presently on their way to meet their Creator and Redeemer, I would never have witnessed innumerable and absolutely peaceful and joyful deaths, people now happy to be on their way to meet Mary’s Son. To be at the ready with all the Sacraments and Papal Blessings and Indulgences, and then just stand there telling them that they are nice and everyone is nice and no one will ever get sick and die and that they should just forget about any kind of eternity would, on my part, be diabolical. Right?

anointing

Confessors who lie to their penitents, telling them that their sins are not sins at all are not helping them know the goodness and kindness and forgiveness of Jesus (which is why they are there at Confession but are denied). That’s never a good thing. Ever.

confessional

People want to say that actual lies or any sin whatsoever, even those of the worst kind, are not sins at all and are even praiseworthy because there are reasons, you know, mitigating circumstances that make it all alright. They do this because they are scared to death, being members of communities which have a preacher-man screaming hell-fire and brimstone Puritan-esque threats at them, bullying them into thinking that all are condemned if they have ever even once sinned, so that they are all going to hell no matter what, that is, unless you can think of some rationalization for why one sinned. Catholics can be like this, with self-indulgent pride which acts as self-salvation. I saw this in Australia, which, instead of being like the “Old West” of the USA, was extremely Puritanesque on one level, while, on another, there was an extreme attitude of being laid back, the kids, for instance, being sexualized in school as kindergarteners, with those same kids committing suicide astronomically disproportionately more than other youngsters anywhere in the world. That Down Under country generally has the idea that if it’s a sin, it cannot be forgiven, for there is no real forgiveness. God cannot forgive. So, they rationalize that they have so many mitigating circumstances that they could never be responsible for a sin, and so go ahead and sin on purpose, you know, telling themselves little white lies.

Here’s the deal: We need not be afraid to share with others the greatest love of our lives, Christ Jesus, who, in fact, does forgive us, and does provide us with grace so that we don’t “have to” sin. We can be on our way to heaven. Why do we have to be afraid of Jesus? He laid down His life for us. He loves us. He’s not the Puritan-esque preacher man. We do that because we are afraid to be good friends with Him, giving Him control of our spiritual lives. We would rather die a tortured physical death than do that. Allowing Jesus, by His grace, to bring us up into the life of the Most Holy Trinity demands that we be crucified to the world and to ourselves. The otherwise most gentle nice pious person will turn into a monster of bitter cynicism before they let go and let God if they are depending on themselves instead of on God’s grace. They will rationalize anything which keeps people away from that good friendship with Jesus that they themselves are afraid to have. Pope Francis rightly says: “Humility, humility, humility.”

pope francis confession

In heaven, there is no self-serving lying about telling people that they look pretty (see above). Instead, everyone will have the splendor of the Most Holy Trinity shining out from within them. It is not evil to turn people to this hope. We can be good friends with Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. He is good. He is kind. And I don’t mind telling people about Him, whether in or outside the Confessional, whether at the moment of death or any other time. Jesus is our All in all. He is my Savior, our Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Confession, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy

Mountain Lion of the Tribe of Judah takes up residence at the hermitage

mountain lion 1

My neighbor just down the ridge at the hermitage looking at the claw-sharpening marks above his head on a telephone pole. It seems this cat is living under the hermitage up the mountain. Hey! That’s my hermitage! Anyway, they sent this picture below as well of the paw prints in their garden. Note that this represents two overlaying prints, but that, nonetheless, the one on the top is fully six inches across. This is a monster cat. This isn’t the panther I saw twice and had a rather frightful experience of a third time. No no. This is a mountain lion. Very large. Very heavy. As heavy and big as myself. On the ruler, go from inch 3 to inch 9. Mature cats have 5 1/4″ prints. These are six inches across. Yikes!

mountain lion 2

This paw print thing has been going on for some weeks. I’m sure he’s been watching me target practice with the Glock 19 and thinks that I’m useless enough not to worry about. Goodness! There’s a super honest comment about my shooting I didn’t care to get! ;¬) I’m sure he’s thinking that I would be a good menu item for breakfast on my next day off. Believe me, the last thing I would ever want to do is to kill one of these beauties. That would just break my heart. Anyway, I’m really happy that he’s at the hermitage. It makes me think that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the last one standing after the epic battle of Calvary, full of scars in hands and feet and side and brow, scars covering His body, but victorious, still standing though as slain… is with me at the hermitage when I’m there. (See Revelation 5:6, the lion as the lamb, standing, but slain).

LEO

And He is with me at the hermitage, as I bring Holy Communion to grandma neighbor just there below the hermitage. And then I am reminded that I’m no Saint Jerome.

saint jerome albrecht durer

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Jesus

Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, πάτερ – I am being one Word with you, Father (Mt 11:25)

cherub-sword-eden

Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, πάτερ (Mt 11:25) – Let’s see… Is that, “I praise you, Father…” No, no. How about “I thank you”? Or “I confess you”? Or “I profess you”? No, no, no. It’s more like “I am intensely in agreement with you, Father.” Quite literally: “I am being one Word with you, Father.” One Word, The Word of the Father, now Incarnate, with the darkness finally grasping at the Light on the Cross (see John’s Prologue) because of His walking among us until we walk Him to the Cross.

“Father, Lord of heaven and earth: you have hidden these things from the sophisticated and the clever and uncovered these things to mere infants.”

Back in 1990 Cardinal Ratzinger gave a conference to the bishops of the United States down in Texas. In my opinion, which I shared with him in our exchange about my thesis back in September of 2008, this was perhaps his most significant theological / anthropological intervention of his life. He spoke of two memories that we carry with us in our souls, weighing upon us with all the glory of God,  whether we realize it or not:

  • There is a memory of the pristine state of mankind, a memory now buried underneath all the weakness and darkness consequent to the sin in what was a Garden of Paradise (Eden) but now is more apt as the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • There is a memory of what Salvation, Jesus, brought to us at the Last Supper (“Do this in memory of me.”) When we call this to mind, this Truth because of this Love, this putting our fingers into the nail wounds and our hands into the side, the Heart of our Lord, we are made one with the Creator of everything pristine.

The great theologian said that we don’t move from the memory of what is pristine to the memory of what our Lord has done for us, but rather, go in reverse, necessarily, our Lord taking us by the hand and guiding us to be in touch with the Heart that would make what is pristine one with the Most Holy Trinity, through Him, with Him, in Him.

We are all cowardly and nervous before our weakness consequent to original sin. The sophisticated and clever condemned by our Lord reject His Truth and His love and entrench in rationalizing their being of one word, as it were, with the world, the flesh and the devil. Those who are mere infants don’t trust in their own strength they know they don’t have, but rather allow themselves to be drawn to Him while He is lifted up on the Cross (see John 12:32), gaining the memory of what He has done for us at the Last Supper (given for in sacrifice… poured out for you in sacrifice), and thus gaining not only the memory of whatever pristine being renewed, but so much more in being made one with the Mystical Body of Christ, Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

On a personal note, today, I don’t know why, but I am utterly blown away by Jesus “being one Word with the Father” and us being one with Jesus… and… oh my… with the Father.

lamb of god

5 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Spiritual life

Republished: John the Baptist’s birthday, because he was sanctified in his mother’s womb

visitation from peregabrielcom.png

[The painting above is from peregabriel.com. A very cool site!]

Remember that the easiest way to pray the rosary is to recognize that Jesus and Mary and Joseph are with you right here, right now, as they are in heaven, not as they were a couple thousand years ago. Sure, take a look at what they did for you and all back in the day, but, in our Lord’s grace, with a spirit of humble thanksgiving for them, right here, right now.

Remember, it’s not about your imagination that you are in their presence, which Pelagian effort of imagination is a lot of hooey. Rather, your act of the will in our Lord’s grace to humbly thank Him and our Blessed Mother is what the prayer of the rosary is all about.

Clever meditations, whether in “rant” style such as in this article, or, later, please God, in a style presented in a more genteel manner, don’t get anyone anywhere. The only way what is presented on this blog is going to help anyone is if that someone, by the grace of our Lord, uses these words as an occasion to humbly thank the Holy Family right now for what went on back in the day.

* * *

For this preliminary “rant meditation” on the second joyful mystery of the most holy rosary, let’s leave off Luke 1,5-25 (the scene with Zachariah) and Luke 1,46-80 (saving those for future meditations!), concentrating on Luke 1,39-45, for which a summary interlinear comment will be provided, based on my own in-your-face translation from the Greek, with an eye to the Vulgate. I’m not into the esoteric practice of translating one word for one word, as if, magically, all languages had absolutely perfect one word for one word equivalents. Such pretension cannot ever provide a great translation, unless you’re in a position to create the language, as was the case with the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which made up a goodly number of words, but paraphrased the rest. Instead, trying to avoid coining any words, I’ll provide a translation with more in-your-face accuracy than any one word for one word translation could ever present. Note that the “perfect” verbs, with their continuing perfection, are not easy to translate! …

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days, went out into the hill country with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah, 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed. 43 And how has this come about to me that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.”

O.K. Let’s try some interlinear commentary:

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days [“these days,” not “those days.” This speaks to what is happening to Mary interiorly. She’s immediately thinking of Hanna’s words, and singing the “Magnificat”. But, more on that in a, please God, future meditation.], went out into the hill country [which is also way up from Nazareth] with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah [Just a couple of miles down from Jerusalem: “enthusiastic haste”… I remember walking from the Sea of Galilee down to Jericho with enthusiastic haste the day before the first Gulf War with Saddam Hussain. I had intended to go up to Jerusalem past Saint George monastery, but the military nicely, but forcefully had some of the settlers crowd drive me the rest of the way to Jerusalem. Anyway, just to say, I was about twice the age that Mary would have been. It took me one day to do that. Her enthusiastic haste bore the Son of God, giving wings to her feet], 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. [What a greeting! Mary was filled with her “Magnificat” already, her heart and soul bursting with the praise of God…] 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb [This is traditionally understood as the sanctification of John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth. This is why the birthday of John the Baptist is celebrated, along with that of Mary and Jesus. He was already holy in the womb, as were Jesus and Mary.], and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [This cannot but give great joy to our hearts and souls!]. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation [to be repeated countless times in later centuries] and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed [which completes the first part of the Hail Mary, the earlier parts being those said by the angel Gabriel to Mary, a very biblical prayer…]. 43 And how has this come about to me [such humility, which can always be had before the greatest goodness and kindness, so far beyond us, and yet with us…] that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? [“The Mother of my Lord”… A prophecy to be noted today: the blastocyst is not implanted in the uterus in the mother until about nine days after conception. Give Mary and all her enthusiastic haste, very likely traveling alone, about – what? – a day, two days, three to get to Elizabeth… At any rate, before implantation of the conceived Child, just a few cells at this stage: “The Mother of my Lord”… Pius XII instructed us that the just conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary embraced the entire Mystical Body of Christ from, in fact, the first instant of His conception.] 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb [Not the normal “kick”!]. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.” [Elizabeth… What a great saint… So filled with the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Holy Spirit… knowing the truth of it all. Wow! The two of them! What joy they would have had during those months with Mary helping Elizabeth. Our Lord Jesus, always foremost in their thoughts… Just so awesome… ]

6 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Terrorizing terrorists: DON’T DO IT!

adoration

Jesus, Terror of Demons: Have mercy on us!

When demonic hatred and lust for demonic power is admitted into the heart of man, creating terrorists where there was none before, there seems to be no possible limit to the lusting hatred that is thought to be absolute power.

One calls to mind the mountains of dismembered bodies of the Sinaloa cartel, the burning, beheading and crucifying of children by ISIS, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and on and on in the entire history of fallen mankind.

The terrorist latches onto a perspective attractive to him, the idea that he is in control on a universal scale, a conceit deceitfully appearing not to be constrained by time. It is eternal. Killing by way of terrorism those who otherwise live forever is a reality which cannot but suck one into this ever so violent self-referential vortex in which one pretends that one is not spinning about, but one is rather orchestrating the surrounding disturbance.

Until the unexpected comes about. One’s bluff is called. The terror of the terrorist in that moment cannot be equaled by all the other moments of terror had by innocent victims of terrorism. When the terrorist is caught out, the jaws of eternal hell yawn open, and the begging begins. When the Suffering Servant said, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit!” the demon terrorists cried out in terror…

“NO, DON’T DO IT! Don’t die! Come down from that cross! Don’t actually go ahead and die, calling our bluff! No! That’s not what we wanted! Remaining on the cross you will save them and manifest the Love of God! No! We just wanted to terrorize you into caving in to us! Don’t call us out! Don’t die! Save yourself for this world and save us from eternal hell!”

And He did die, victorious by dying, immediately entering hell to reprimand all the fallen spirits, providing them with irony that would make them writhe in frustration for all eternity. The Son of Man will now rise from the dead. Terror, for the innocent victim, in view of eternity, becomes a blip, a nothing. No power in that terror. Hah!

And then, the terrorist, the Roman Soldier who thrust his sword into the side of Christ Jesus, seeing that this battle was between God and Satan, immediately recognizes that the real terrorist is Satan, that the real Conqueror is Mary’s Divine Son. He, the soldier, the “enemy”, now says: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

“Do not fear those who can kill the body,” says Jesus. “Fear Him who can cast body and soul into hell.” That would be God, for only God is the One who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire, judging justly the true terrorists, Satan and those who remain with him, judging with mercy those who come back through redemption and salvation, like the Roman soldier who had been so good at provoking terror becoming the megaphone of believers throughout the ages: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

4 Comments

Filed under Eucharist, Jesus, Terrorism

Violence everywhere? Tell Jesus!

adoration

A reader sent this in from EWTN/CNA:

A priest’s stunning theory on why Juarez is less dangerous now

by Bárbara Bustamante  — Juarez, Mexico, Jan 26, 2017 / 04:59 am

Juarez, located in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, was considered from 2008 to 2010 to be one of the the most dangerous cities in the world, due to drug trafficking violence and the constant struggles for power and territory between the cartels.

However, the city of 1.3 million inhabitants dropped off this list thanks to a significant decrease in the number of homicides: from 3,766 in 2010 to 256 in 2015.

Although this drop can be credited to an improvement in the work of local authorities, for Fr. Patrico Hileman – a priest responsible for establishing Perpetual Adoration chapels in Latin America – there is a much deeper reason: Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

“When a parish adores God day and night, the city is transformed,” Fr. Hileman said.

The priest told Radio María Argentina that in 2013 the missionaries opened the first Perpetual Adoration Chapel in Juarez. At that time “40 people a day were dying because two drug gangs were fighting over the city to move drugs into the United States.”

It was the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, whose former leader Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán Loera was recently extradited from Mexico to the United States.

Fr. Hileman recalled that “the parishes were saying that the war wasn’t ending because a group of soldiers were with one gang and the police were with the other one. They were killing people, burning houses down so they would leave, fighting over the city.”

One of the parishes that was “desperate” asked the missionaries to open a Perpetual Adoration chapel because they assured that “only Jesus is going to save us from this, only Jesus can give us security.”

The missionaries only took three days to establish the first Perpetual Adoration chapel in Juarez.

Fr. Hileman told how one day, when the city was under a state of siege, a lady was on her way to the chapel to do her Holy Hour at 3:00 in the morning, when she was intercepted by six soldiers who asked her where she was heading.

When the woman told them that she was going to “the little chapel” the uniformed men asked her what place, because everything was closed at that hour. Then the woman proposed they accompany her to see for themselves.

When they got to the chapel, the soldiers found “six women making the Holy Hour at the 3:00 in the morning,” Fr. Hileman said.

At that moment the lady said to the soldiers: “Do you think you’re protecting us? We’re praying for you 24 hours a day.”

One of the uniformed men fell down holding his weapon,“crying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The next day at 3:00 in the morning they saw him in civilian clothes doing a Holy Hour, crying oceans of tears,” he said.

Two months after the chapel was opened, the pastor “calls us and says to us: Father, since the chapel was opened there has not been one death in Juarez, it’s been two months since anyone has died.”

“We put up ten little chapels in a year,” Fr. Hileman said.

As if that were not enough, “at that time they were going to close the seminary because there were only eight seminarians and now there are 88. The bishop told me me that these seminarians had participated in the Holy Hours.”

Fr. Hileman pointed out that “that is what Jesus does in a parish” when people understand that “we find security in Christ.”

He also noted that “the greatest miracles occur in the early hours of the morning. “

The early morning “is when you’re most at peace, when you hear God better, your mind, your heart is more tranquil, you’re there alone for God. If you are generous with Jesus, he is a thousand times more generous with you,” Fr. Hileman said.

2 Comments

Filed under Drugs, Eucharist, Jesus

Deescalation of violence not truth

ogre

Sometimes you run across people (or should I put that a different way?) who you know are just looking for trouble of some kind, robbery, murder, that sort of thing. I can’t even count the times in my life I’ve been in such situations.

Deescalation is key. If I didn’t have some of this talent throughout the decades, I think I would have been long dead a thousand times over. Some of that was the kind of deescalation that we all have built in with healthy fear. And that’s O.K. Then there’s the kind you learn, which includes a number of options brought about by true situational awareness.

Then there is what the deescalation of truth in the search for peace, you know, the old dumb it down methodology of making people so stupid that they just don’t care about standing up for any principle or any person no matter what. Whereas they could stop a rape, a murder, or whatever violence, they just don’t, you know, so as not to offend anyone who thinks violence is great. But that only brings more violence.

And then there is the great non-deescalator we call Jesus, who went out of his way to make people so angry in the space of say 30 seconds that they wanted to kill him. Remember the incident of the man with the withered hand that he called in front of everyone, how Jesus glared hard at them, reprimanded them, making fools of them, then curing the guy? He could have done that elsewhere. He chose to do it there in front of his greatest mortal enemies to teach them a lesson, even if that meant really pissing them off. (Oops, sorry for the language, but it fits what Jesus was doing.)

As the Master, so the disciple. If we piss people off (I won’t apologize…) for the sake of the salvation of souls, that’s not only just O.K., it’s true evangelization. Did Jesus get killed for it? Sure. But maybe some repented when they finally thought about it after all was said and done and rivers of red blood were flowing down from Calvary. Jesus didn’t die for nothing. The death of his loved ones is precious to him. It is the greatest evangelization of all. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. The only One. It’s all about Jesus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deescalation, Jesus

Fearful Roman Curia discerning the way of the Holy Spirit in the Beatitudes

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said that those working in whatever capacity in the Holy See (the “Vatican”) are scared. I say that if they are ever afraid, whether priests or bishops or religious, they shouldn’t be. Fear is a sign of the lack of truth, a lack of discernment of the truth, a lack of the Holy Spirit who would instead lead us to the truth. To be established in him who is truth is not to fear. Being one with him who fearlessly says “I AM” cannot at the same time tolerate fear.

“But what should we do? Give us clear direction!”

So, I guess you missed it the first time around. Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“But you don’t get it, Father George, that’s considered Pharisaical, Pelagian, Promethian self-absorbed idol worship.”

“Really? Are you making that application? Even if that were true on whoever’s part, so what? Since when did we lose sight of the Beatitudes? Since when are we to mope about, have nervous sweats, panic attacks and ulcers instead of rejoicing and being glad that great is our reward in the Kingdom of the heavens because we love Jesus and want to share the greatest love of our lives, namely, Jesus? Is not Jesus the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will be the one to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit? Yes, that would be him. He’s the One who said: “I AM.” So what are you afraid of? Amen.

P.S. I mean, really, what are these protestations of fear about? Is this a way of making an excuse? “Oh! I’m so fearful that my fear acted as a coercion forcing me to do something I otherwise would never do! It’s all the fault of fear! I’m soooo afraid.”

To which I say, grow up, love Jesus, and be a good son of his good mom. Also, and I don’t say this lightly, have some respect for your guardian angel who sees God in the face.

2 Comments

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Jesus, Marriage, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Spiritual life

Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

John’s Baptism in the river Jordan called to mind the soldiers of Pharaoh getting drowned in the Red Sea as they pursued the Israelites. Those soldiers deserved to be drowned for unjustly enslaving the Israelites in physical labor. When everyone went down to the river Jordan confessing their sins and getting smashed down under the water by John to symbolize the death they deserved for having enslaved each other in sin, this was an occasion to have a humble and contrite heart, and was thus a baptism that was an occasion for the remission of sin. When Jesus was baptized, He wasn’t saying he was a sinner, but that, as the innocent Son of God, he was playing the part of the worst sinner of all, the One who enslaved all people of all time in sin, from Adam until the last man is conceived. He was thus saying to his heavenly Father: “Treat me as being guilty, as being worthy of death.” Right after that baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and our heavenly Father spoke thunderously: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” But straight after that, Jesus said that he longed for the baptism for which he came, that of his own blood, by which he would fulfill what he did in the baptism of John by taking on the guilt of all our sins. By standing in our stead, the innocent for the guilty, he would have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us: “Father forgive them,” he now commanded from the cross. He wants to give us as a gift to our heavenly Father in heaven.

Meanwhile, John says that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The fire is the very love of God who God is. The Holy Spirit makes us one with Jesus, who is the Head of the Body of Christ while the Holy Spirit forms us into being the members of the one Body of Christ. As the Holy Spirit introduces us to who we are in Christ Jesus, we see Jesus as the Standard of Truth and Goodness and Kindness and we then see ourselves by way of a comparison we could not previously make that we fall short of that Standard, and we are brought by the Holy Spirit to have a humble and contrite heart before the Divine Son of God, who in all his majesty lays down his life for us, standing in our stead. It is then that we make our way to Confession (as the people were doing at John’s baptism) and we receive sacramental absolution, being reconciled to God and all the other members of the mystical body of Christ simultaneously, getting the grace directly from Jesus, but by the words of the knucklehead priest (like this donkey priest) who, by his ordination, represents all other members of the Body of Christ. We then hear the absolution, which includes something about the Holy Spirit, that he was sent among us for the forgiveness of sin. That is how Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit.

The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit build on this baptism of the Holy Spirit. Other special gifts are totally secondary to all of this. The main thing is being one with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will – do not be mistaken – come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Confession, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy

Being civilized: Can’t I just, like, you know what I’m sayin’, like, be a priest?

place setting etiquette

A priest in a far away place, a friend, thinks that any priest is terribly odd and ill-equipped for dealing with the real world if he does not always and at every time have a dinner table in a dining room dedicated to the purpose set for, say, ten guests, and in the exquisite fashion pictured above (and more so). He’s actually an excellent priest, very dedicated to everything priestly. And yet, I feel utterly foreign to all this non-barbaricness. Mind you, my mom could dress up a table for Thanksgiving much better than this and I was enthralled as a four year old little boy, feeling very special indeed to be sitting at such a table. The kids sat with the important grown-ups for Thanksgiving. But having this all the time puts me off. I feel foreign to it. It’s almost insulting. I’ve always thought that manners that were all too proper were self-serving and meant to kick others in the face. That’s not always the case, of course, just how I feel (’cause feelings are important!).

In the South American country of Colombia there is an “American Restaurant” which only serves chicken, which is served without utensils. You have to eat with your hands, because, you know, Americans are barbaric and it’s ever so exciting to go slumming every so often; it’s what cultured people do, but, you know, not really. The Colombian cultured elite could never ever eat with their hands, and so, instead of utensils, plastic food prep gloves with which to eat are supplied to the customers. I kid you not. If I ever ate there, I wouldn’t use the gloves. I just couldn’t, being, you know, a North American. My Colombian priest friends joked about going there. Ha ha ha. Even they thought that this was too much in the way of manners.

When I was teaching up in the Pontifical Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, an etiquette course was required of the seminarians. Ugghh. But, I must say, the seminarian who introduced that is now an excellent priest, very dedicated to everything priestly. I rather appreciate the manners, however, of another seminarian who was the cause of all this etiquette, for he would, say – elbows on the table – twirl a whole pork chop on the end of his fork, chomping on it occasionally as he twirled it about. I mentioned this to an old priest in Maggie Valley last night, and he said that he had the same etiquette course when he was in the seminary in the earlier part of the 1900s (he’s really old), and he liked it a lot. That he was a military chaplain his whole life didn’t take that away. I’m amazed. I must be missing something somewhere.

A South American Cardinal friend back in the day took me under his wing, with me being pitiable and uncultured. He would bring me to museums all over the Italian peninsula in an attempt to make me a man of culture. Ha ha ha. He was no match for this North-woods and now back ridge mountain boy. He was a Scripture Scholar there in Buenos Aires and environs, edging ever so slightly in the direction of marxism, surely having a certain Jorge Bergoglio as a protégé. The whole culture thing didn’t work on me at all. It’s not easy to have manners when one speaks of, say, El Che (as we did, a lot, as he knew him really well). At any rate, this Cardinal was very appreciative of – of all things – proper table manners. I think I’m just a failure with all this, never knowing which fork or spoon or knife to use when, or which glass to pour water into.

Note well that, as with martial arts and guns, you can actually never be “the best,” which is a danger. For instance, I can easily put everyone to shame with their pride in etiquette and culture by recalling being invited to a dinner at “The Bishop’s House” in Lourdes. Besides the table setting pictured above, there was a little rack next to the plates to be used to cantilever a knife after it was used, as it is never placed on a plate (which would indicate that one was done eating). At this point I start to think of the police rolling into the little town of Lourdes when the Pilgrimage of the Gypsies would take over the Sanctuaries, the fights they would get into, blood and broken bones… I would think of anything but etiquette and manners and being civilized, thinking that such things are themselves a bit surreal and odd and meant to amaze. It bores me.

Trying a different tack to get me civilized, one of our parishioners just the other day, noting Laudie-dog at the rectory, bought a pooper-scooper so that I might become a civilized dog-poop-slave. I resisted, of course, but there comes a time in life when resistance is futile. I caved. And I notice that this is happening with many aspects of my life. Am I heading in the direction of etiquette and manners and being civilized? Perhaps I am just learning not to be the odd man out so as to become all things to all men, as long as faith and morals are not jeopardized. And that’s perhaps not a bad thing, all things being equal. It’s a slow process, so I beg the indulgence of others. I hope it is not a step in the direction of political correctness.

I hope I would still do the priest thing of being a man who, by the grace of God, at least tries to be a man for all seasons, preaching the truth in charity with no respect for persons, that is, with respect for all persons, whatever office they hold, offering them what is the best of our faith and sharing the greatest love of my life, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, regardless of the consequences.

There is, however, one aspect of this barbaric child that I’m guessing that, with the grace of God, will not ever be ripped out of me, a certain cleverness that some might see as being bad and evil and be perceived as having too close an affinity to Bre’r Rabbit, who was born and bred in a briar patch, which was scorned by others but loved by himself:

Ah yes. Such a trickster. That clip was sent in by a very classy lady, who has the blessing of having all the best of etiquette and manners in the very best of ways, that is, with real class that hesitates not one second to be concerned with the likes of me, who am rather on the darkest peripheries of whatever is defined as culture.

One may indeed take such a scene to make an analogy with the irony which must be lived as a priest, the irony which explodes any pretense of out-of-place self-referentiality, the irony by which one will always be marginalized by others as being the odd man out, you know, as a way to be kept safe, away from having to bother with the irony he presents to all and sundry, both rank and file. We priests must have a sense of this irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate, made to be sin for us, truly the odd Man out. I haven’t cited this for a while, so now’s the time:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

Even Jesus was made to be sin, right? ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν (2 Cor 5:21).

Irony is what priests are supposed to do. It’s what Jesus did. It’s the charitable thing to do. Something about justice and mercy being one in God.

Now, what was that about holding one’s pinky out when sipping a cup of tea at 4:00 PM? Perhaps the 3:00 PM experience is more important…

5 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Priesthood, Vocations

Donkeys that don’t float downstream. Blast from the past: Fish that swim.

donkey floating

This floating donkey, seemingly with no hooves whatsoever, was seen in the pasture next to The Barn in Hanceville, Alabama. He’s not floating downstream, as it were, but purposely lets himself be drawn to the donkey whisperer (that would be me). A distantly analogous post on another long locked down blog comes to mind. Don’t be afraid. ///

fish dead floating downstream

Floating downstream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You end up in sedentary pools on the sides of the stream, clogged with other fish as effectively dead as yourself.

Mind you, it’s not that masses of people float downstream because there are no benefits. Political correctness brings it’s own perks. First off, don’t think that one doesn’t get used to floating downstream, or even to getting caught stuck in fetid eddies with fellow fish. For selfish motives, such as job advancement and popularity, the feeling of power one has with being “successful”, a “consensus builder”, one can get used to anything, and then, in fact, fool oneself into thinking that one is actually enjoying oneself. The power of it all!

I mean, just think, one only has to look at the few dead fish within one’s self-imposed, extremely limited horizon, those who are with you, floating, unmoving, pretending not to be the floatsum these have made of themselves, insisting that, if anything, in a victim mentality, they are simply jetsam, getting along like everyone else, cleverly doing what one has to do to get along as a victim in this fallen society of ours, pretending all the while not to be depressed and falling into despair, because, in all actuality, one might no longer be reclaimable again by way of confession, by way of bearing the fruits of repentance, but lost forever as derelict, beyond the mercy of God and God-inspired compassion of real men (all of which is never the case as long as we have breath: Dum spiro spero!).

I mean, just think, it’s not so bad, after a while, even if it’s a good while. Not only can we can get used to anything, we can even start to rejoice in the good points of one’s fellow rotting fish:

  • Their scales glint in the sun, a rainbow of colors. Such distraction!
  • Their stench is actually kind of sweet, complacency of lifestyle!
  • The antics of the little parasites crawling in and around them are fascinating to watch, a great passtime. I want some too!
  • There’s no stress, no change, no challenge to grow. I’ve arrived!

And besides, “Everyone floats downstream!” — which is the useless defense before the judgment of God concerning whether we go to heaven or hell, a defense made by someone who is falling into despair and calling out for help.

bear salmon

Swimming upstream is altogether different. One is swimming, sleek and agile, exercised, full of energy, in the middle of the stream, in clear, sky blue, sparkling waters. With deft, lightning movements, one navigates not just around the few dead fish one had been with, but around countless others, always more. Not a pretty sight, but one is instead enjoying enthusiastic freedom, darting in and out, here, then there, always in the clear waters of God’s grace, always in humble thanksgiving. In exhilaration, one leaps out of the water and into the sunshine, high into the air, taking in the view: Wow! Look at those mountains! How tall the trees are! Yikes! A Kodiak Bear! A monster! A demon! An agent of Satan! The bear, of course, eats whatever fish forget humble thanksgiving and trust in their own talents, conglatulating themselves for being good, putting others down as worthless, and so rejecting their own redemption by the Son of Man, the Son of God.

There are even more benefits, mind you, to swimming upstream with humble thanksgiving for God’s grace, not only avoiding the bears and avoiding dead fish (though giving them good example and wishing that they turn around), but also — and this is not selfish — but also rejoicing in the height and depth and breadth, the entire expanse of God’s intimate, joyful love for us. We come to know Him as THE FISH, in Greek, Ichtus, ιχθυς, the letters of which stand for Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior, with the last word being a translation of the first word.

fish ichtus jesus christ gods son savior

Traced out in the forest next to the hermitage. As mentioned in another post, a Baptist who grew up not far from the hermitage and is now Catholic did the same next to the hermitage the other day. He’s wanting to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Charlotte. Outreach to the local Baptists back in the days of the hermitage is bearing fruit. Thank you, Jesus.

In early centuries under Roman persecution of Catholics, the faithful would get to know each other safely by way of code… by way of tracing out a fish on the ground with a stick, ever so casually, and if the other did the same, ever so casually, one would know that one was safely in the company of a fellow Catholic.

Jesus, like Jonas, was in the belly of the whale, the earth, for three days and three nights, but then was spit out, that is resurrected from the dead. He suffered like a dead fish, but death had no grip on Him. Jesus is just that good, just that kind, to us, who have all been dead fish, floating downstream, but whom He has saved, to have us swim upstream, with Him, with agility of soul, rejoicing.

So, what does all that have to do with the seemingly floating donkey at the top of this post, the one willingly drawn to yours truly, the donkey whisperer? Well, it’s like this: Jesus is the soul whisperer, with His quiet voice, speaking into our souls, drawing us to Himself like a Star Trek tractor beam. That’s a matter of salvation and love, not at all of political correctness. We show all of our rottingness to Jesus in Confession, and then He makes all things new. And I’m very happy about that. Very happy indeed.

Also, just to say, and it always happens this way, and I already knew it would be the same this time as well… I knew that being in heaven on earth down in Hanceville at The Barn would be a God given respite, however short, for the times to come in the immediate foreseeable future. I knew I would be extremely busy, literally run off my feet, not getting back home most nights until the wee hours of the morning and having to get up hours before sunrise to start on the run again. I love begin available for my ailing parishioners. I admit I have not been all too available to write some comments about two books I’m supposed to read at the request of some, but I’m getting to that soon!

1 Comment

Filed under Donkeys, Jesus, Spiritual life

The return of this Jackass for the Hour

crucifix

This “Donkey”[!] is found crucified above the tabernacle (see: “Brother Ass” in “The Barn” Mon-Wed) of the absolutely gorgeous Turris Davidica chapel found inside “The Barn” where yours truly went for a day of recollection with “The Very”, the Vicar Forane of the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese of Charlotte. Note the cross inside each of the golden stars of David.

There are, perhaps, nearly 100% of readers who will think that it is rude to refer to anyone as a donkey, and should this appellative be used for the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception that this would certainly be counted as blasphemy. But this is a badge of honor for Jesus, for He did that which is much more “blasphemous” for us, becoming “sin” for us, as Saint Paul says. Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews were always referred to by this symbol of humble hard work by the surrounding nations. Don’t forget that donkeys can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand (really smart, that), not at all stubborn like mules. Also recall that donkeys are everywhere with the Holy Family. Here are some pics from the massive bronze doors of the larger chapel (some hundreds of yards from “The Barn”):

donkey 4

donkey 2

Of course, a donkey also brought our Lord into the city of Jerusalem for His crucifixion…

Thanks to all those who said a prayer for yours truly these past few days. The day of recollection went very well. Priests can stay at “The Barn” for free. Only priests can stay at “The Barn.” Many priests from the Diocese of Charlotte take refuge in “The Barn” on a regular basis. It’s equidistant for me to Charlotte one way and “The Barn” the other way. Another priest, from Saint Anne’s, is there today for the feast of the translation of the relics of Saint Clare. O.K. Those are enough hints. Do you know where this is?

Anyway, the “return” mentioned in the title of this post doesn’t refer to me being back in the parish so much as an advance in the Chestertonian sense of the return of the fallen creature back to its Creator by way of the redemption. I mentioned to one of the wonderfully Catholic priests to be found in the environs of “The Barn” about Jackass for the Hour, saying that everything has changed so very much in the last few years that I doubt if I could even revise such an ecclesiastical thriller novel that goes to the black heart of and offers solutions for the Rebellion so ubiquitously and wrongly called the Reformation, and that the Scriptural commentary on the “Dog-Woman” that I wrote would hardly be able to be received by anyone anymore. I was, of course, gently but firmly reprimanded, being told not to be despondent. Donkeys are quite miserable if they are despondent, and that just won’t do at all. So, joy with the singing of a donkey, a braying which is also praying, on the march, as donkeys do.

And if there are still readers who don’t like it when priests are called guard-donkeys:

DONKEY FOX

And if there are still those who think that it is inappropriate for priests or anyone for that matter to be called any kind of donkey at all, I simply cite Saint Augustine in response:

“Asinus es sed Christum portas” (You are a jackass, but you carry Christ).

And if there are still those who hesitate, I offer this Orthodox kind-of-an-icon (slightly damaged through the years with window-sealer… sorry!) for their contemplation. Remember, that we carry Christ within us. We also carry each other. We belong to the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head and we as the members, with His Most Sacred Heart inflaming ours with the fiery ardent love of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Saint Augustine donkey icon

And if there are still those who hesitate about the appropriateness of all this hopefully childlike joy and not childish idiocy, please feel free to call me the donkey-priest. I will simply laugh with appreciative enthusiasm. I still think I have too much fun.

Oh, and did I mention that Saint Francis called himself Brother Ass?

3 Comments

Filed under Donkeys, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (my mistaken identity crisis edition)

flores trumpet 1

The above trumpetyesque flowers are not the trumpet vine flowers below:

flores trumpet 2There was recently a comment on a blog I do not own which identified Father Gordon J MacRae and yours truly, Father George David Byers, as being one and the same person, I suppose because our names both begin with “Father G.” My first thought is, poor Father Gordon! I mean, that’s a compliment for me but should he have to wear that part about being me? That’s just not right. People have also done this for years with Father Z and myself, even though “Z” and “G” appear in different places in any alphabet. As it is, I’ve never personally met either Father G (you know, the other one) or Father Z, though we have lots of contact with each other.

I stand in solidarity with and have defended (ad nauseam for some) both Fathers Z and G (you know, the other one), not that Father Z nor Father G (you know, the other one) need any defense whatsoever, especially from the likes of this North-woods and now back-ridge mountain boy some call Father G (you know, yours truly). Anyway, this is a problem should yet another Father G (my spiritual director, Father George) make his way to the parish on Highway 64, which is named after yet another Father G altogether (ol’ retired Father George). What to do? Hey! I know! Just call me Pope George, but, oh, wait, that’s taken already: Pope Jorge (George) Bergoglio of Saint Francis fame. Sigh. I have no identity of my own whatsoever. I’m just another Father G lost in a sea of those called Father G.

Or maybe I could just give up finding my identity through the unfixable confusion of others and discover that I find my identity in Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who willingly stood in my place taking on my identity as the worst sinner ever, knowing that I’ve tortured Him to death on the cross with my sin, and He then having the right in His own justice to command His/Our Heavenly Father: “Father, forgive them!” I’m happy that in Italian, Jesus is just another Father G = Gesù = Jesus. ;-)

And should I really need to carry this on to the extreme, the name of our Heavenly Father is also Father G, that is Father George: ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν (John 15:1) — “My Father is George,” that is, the Farmer, the Tiller of the Ground, you know, the Adam of the Adamah. ;-)

I think I just have too much fun. Probably because the Immaculate Conception, standing under the cross, has a big enough heart to take in all those called Father G, and I’m very, very happy about that, and that’s where I find my identity, one loved by Jesus and His good mom even while I’m yet a sinner. I could dance I’m so happy. And I won’t be shamed into stopping dancing by those of sour face fame:

6 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Priesthood, Vocations

Box-in manuevers, shooting cars in my parish: boring druggies but not Jesus

In the same part of my parish where the ol’ PIT manuever takes place with increasing frequency (see: Guns, PITs, yours truly, a new friend), there are those who, being knuckleheads and all, try to do the box-in manuever.

This has never played out on me in my life as I had an experience some thirty years ago when three 18-wheelers mistook me, I guess, for someone else, and boxed me in, putting the crush on with just inches, it seemed, from the bumpers of my car to the back and front bumpers of the 18-wheelers to the front and back of me. The other was just to my left. In order not to be crushed, which was imminent, I would have to zip out on to the shoulder to the right, which was only one car width wide, as there was a guard rail. Just when I was about to jump out – and they knew this (good timing on their part) and I couldn’t see it – there was a broken down vehicle on the shoulder which I would have slammed into at full speed. I knew that that might be the case, and so just avoided it at the last second, but jumped out and slammed on the brakes right afterward, with all three 18-wheelers also slamming on their brakes. But they had to keep going nonetheless. Heh heh heh. That experience stuck with me, and so I notice the possible situation developing when such a configuration on the road arises.

I met a lady, a wonderful pro-life activist, who happened to be at one of my stops on the rounds to those needing accompaniment in one way or the other. Amazingly, she knew a couple of my good friends and heroines from back in the day, Donna Steichen (who had wanted to write about me, of all people, though I declined) and Rita Marker. It was these characters who pushed me to get to know Father Paul Marx when I was just a little kid, a friendship that would continue decades, with him asking me to take over Human Life International (though control had just gone to the board, with the members wanting to go the way of – how to say this – someone more conciliatory than Father Marx, who was always friendly by the way). Anyway, she told me that the box-in manuever has been tried on her in this part of my parish with some frequency, once with the same knuckleheads doing this to her twice in a row, failing both times as she knows how to slam on her brakes and have the whole thing recorded on 911. Heh heh heh.

The idea for the perp is to pull in front of you, that is, right in front of you, just feet away, and then slam on the brakes at 55 miles an hour. You want to pull out to the other lane but cannot because his buddy has planted himself right next to you. Your only other option is the ditch, but on these roads there isn’t much of a shoulder, more often just the white line and a drop off gully that would make your car flip. But even if you try to avoid them, risking grave injury or death to yourself, you still end up rear-ending them while slamming on your brakes as they are just too close. No one is seriously hurt but they collect big time, you know, because you were following too closely. The way out of this for the would-be victim is to slam on the brakes before it happens. That’s what my activist friend does. That’s what I’ve always done. I can’t even count the times. And in slamming on the brakes when I suspect this, very frequently the other vehicle does the same, but then it’s too late for them as I’m already stopped dead out of harm’s way. :-)

I’m guessing that the PIT and box-in manuevers are used by some of the same knuckleheads who take pot shots at people passing by on whatever road. Quite a number of parishioners have mentioned this to me and are pretty disgusted by it, angry even. It seems to be quite the pass-time in a particular region of my parish. Some of those they shoot at are highly decorated WWII veterans who just don’t need that un-American, un-patriotic, inhuman aggravation in their lives. Ah well. All in a day’s occasions to turn to the Lord and, with the Lord’s goodness and kindness, hold out a spirit of forgiveness to the coward perps. After all, they’re probably on meth, right?

Druggies are boring because they can’t drive and they can’t shoot. They’re just boring. And sin is boring. The only One enthralling totally is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, Christ Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, just the one they need to be introduced to all the more. Hmmm…. Maybe that’s why my guardian angel is setting up such scenarios. ;-)

BTW: I love my parish to pieces. One reader suggested my being a chaplain to the local law enforcement. Don’t think I haven’t offered to help start up programs for them in this regard but more on that later.

Leave a comment

Filed under Guns, Jesus

Flores for… JESUS! “I love you to[o]!” Out of the mouths of babes…

flores - babes

A good bit after the homily, a little girl sent this up to the front of the church with the message that this was from her little sister, leaving me thinking just how tiny her little sister must be if she herself was so little and tiny herself. Just to be clear, the “I love you to[o]” message is not for me, but for Jesus.

You have to know that for twenty some years I’ve concluded pretty much every single homily with a reference to Jesus. I go in cycles that last for years. When I was in Rome and offering Mass at I think six different houses of the Missionaries of Charity, I was at the time concluding every homily with: “…because Jesus is so very good and so very kind,” so much so that the Superior nicknamed me “Father Goodness and Kindness,” even forgetting my name in favor of the nickname.

But right now, and for some years, I’ve been concluding my homilies with: “…because Jesus loves us so very much,” to the point where some in the pews will help me conclude. When they hear “Jesus loves us,” they continue with me: “…so very much.”

Of all the things I might say in a homily, I am so very happy that this is the one thing that gets through my clumsy delivery. The drawing above was this tiny little girl’s response to Jesus: “I love you to[o]!” Plenty of hearts and flowers and smiles for Jesus. And I’m just very happy with that altogether.

3 Comments

Filed under Flores, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy

Extra ecclesiam nulla salus / There is no salvation besides the Church!

john paul ii be not afraid

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith promulgated with the ratification of Saint Pope John Paul II the Declaration Dominus Iesus, on the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church. The raging debate has always been about the understanding of the word “extra”.

  • Does “extra” mean merely what most all would grant, that, outside of Christ in His Church, there is no other Savior, such as some martian in a space ship?
  • Does “extra” refer, for instance, to a legal application of positive divine law regarding baptism, indeed, even baptism done within the Catholic Church, so that no other Christians could ever be found in heaven no matter what?

Dominus Iesus is an important doctrinal document meant to be a teaching document settling controversies. It is brief, to the point. Most extraordinary. Well worth the read. There is a paragraph at the end which is interesting:

In treating the question of the true religion, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: “We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people. Thus, he said to the Apostles: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Mt 28: 19-20). Especially in those things that concern God and his Church, all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it”

Obviously there are more refined questions about the phrase “continues to exist” blah blah blah. But I’ll tell you this, if one accepts what is written in that document, there is no way that one could say that Islam has anything whatsoever to do with any kind of religion, even while the revelation which both Jews and Catholics have received is precisely the same in all ages (Aquinas, Siri et al.).

And let’s get this right: religion is part of the virtue of justice, so that one is to render to God that which is His due, which is proper worship, which can only be done through, with and in Jesus, to the greater glory and honor of God in the unity of the Most Holy Spirit. And remember, Christ Jesus, the Son of the Immaculate Conception, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

3 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II