Category Archives: Jesus
We gotta get this straight: this isn’t a situation in which one says: The Coronavirus is getting out of hand… and… and… meanwhile, I think I’ll give a flower to the Immaculate Conception. No. It’s while we give flowers to the Immaculate Conception that we happen to have the Coronavirus going on. It makes a huge difference. It’s about the spiritual life. The Lord Jesus provides us with a love stronger than death.
- Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.
- The Cross reigns steadfast while the world spins away.
Let’s see… Mary standing under the Cross… So, a flower for you, Mary, always, and also in the time of Coronavirus.
First of all, we are not in any kind of stage of a quarantine of any kind. San Francisco called for a State of Emergency, but that was just a cynical move to release Federal monies they otherwise can’t get at this time for sanctuary cities. It has nothing to do with any COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. No. Demoncrats are self-centered jerks and want to cause panic.
And I don’t say we are any kind of stage of a quarantine YET. No. That also would be to panic. See above.
Having said that, let’s take the worst case scenario – a declared pandemic – so as to point out how to avoid the worst case scenario, which would not refer to any medical condition (more people dying from the flu or smoking or car accidents…), but rather panic, which would be the logistical cause of death for hyperbolically more cases of death. So…
- The other week a reporter asked POTUS Trump whether or not plans were already in place for the quarantine of entire cities if the need arises. He answered yes.
- I’m sure that if this were to be effected it would be done so by the National Guard before anyone knows, including all law enforcement, who will likewise be quarantined in place in their cities.
- Immediately after the National Guard is in place for a no one in-or-out scenario, health officials and law enforcement will be privy to policies and enforcement and rules of engagement.
- It would be extremely helpful if in the same announcement it was said that food delivery trucks to supermarkets will have drop off locations at the border of the quarantine and that other trucks from inside will later come to pick up that food and deliver it to local supermarkets.
- Gasoline deliveries? I guess they would have to be made when the stations are otherwise abandoned.
- It would have to be stated that utilities will continue.
- Extremely severe penalties for price gauging and looting would have to be stated.
- The worst possible thing that could happen is panic. In that case, there will immediately be home invasions of idiots looking for food, not because there is any lack of food, but just because of panic. This will be done by those who have already been spending all their money on drugs. And they are well practiced with home invasions. Not good.
- Panic in this sorry world of ours – the mob mentality which eliminates all “inhibitions” like reason and goodness and kindness and courage and fortitude and justice and mercy – the eliminator of all that is good in the chaos of panic is the demon-god Pan. This is not the too-cute and effeminate Peter Pan of Disney, but rather the ancient demon of all demons, Satan, who, as Jesus says, is a murderer from the beginning. Panic is the worst thing that can happen.
- What is most needed in a Pan-Dem-ic is to not cave into panic, to not cave into Pan-Demon-ium. Get it? Pan in Greek means all or everything or everyone: “Everybody’s panicking!!!!!!!”
- To panic is to give reverence to the demon-god pan. Panic makes one a worshiper of Pan. Panic makes one a pagan, an idol-worshiper. “Oooh! Pan told me to worry and have anxiety and to panic, so, therefore, of course, ever-obedient to demons, I will! I will panic! I will! I will! // off sarcasm.
- So, an examination of conscience is in order. What or who is the most important thing, person, during a pandemic? Christ Jesus. If we have our spiritual lives squared away, if we are actually looking forward to going to heaven, trusting in the mercies of our Lord, we will not cave in to panic, we will not worship at the feet of Pan.
- For atheists who mock faith in the time of crisis as the opiate of society, know this, the only ones I’ve ever seen help each other out in desperate times are believers. This is especially true in Socialist/Communist/Marxist countries. You know that’s true. I’ve seen it first hand. Believers have extraordinary strength of love and reason because of the love and truth they carry about within them coming from God Himself.
- Where is God in all of this? Look for those who are trying to be helpful in all of this. Look at Jesus’ good mom holding God in her arms…
- But why did God let this happen?
- Let’s call to mind that original sin opened us up to all of this sickness and death and weakness of mind and weakness of will and emotions all over the place.
- Let’s call to mind that God so loved that world despite our use of free will that He sent His only-Begotten Divine Son Jesus – basing mercy on justice – to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
- Let’s call to mind that God thus knows all about suffering, and all about combating panic and the horrific demon-god Pan.
- Let’s call to mind that Jesus does give us the grace, His friendship, to be reasonable, to be calm, to be good and kind, not to panic, but to be helpful, pointing people to Him who is that love which is stronger than sickness, stronger than any pandemic, stronger than death, strong enough to bring us to eternal life, to our eternal home, where love and peace reign supreme. Heaven is our home and we are now – in this hell – in exile away from home. But we do have a home in heaven, and we right now carry about the way to that home, grace which St Paul says will turn to glory.
So, no worries then! Jesus, I joyously trust in You.
Meanwhile, I’ve lost 52.xx pounds on Keto so far, and I’m going off Keto soon, transitioning over to something more high protein and not neglecting carbs. Trundling off to Walmart grocery to stock up on non-Keto items, I noticed lots of almost empty shelves, just a few packages of oatmeal, a packet or two of lentil beans, that kind of thing. It looked like panic buying. That’s O.K. Those panic buyers are all set now and won’t be emptying out stores in panic buying. Don’t panic. Instead, drop off real dead weight that holds you back. Go to Confession!
Sometimes people will comment that there is sometimes some piercing insight on this blog. A priest friend made this comment the other day. He’s very clever. And kryptic.
You have to know that many of the more brilliant minds have made it clear that they are sick and tired of “insight” and “the latest thing” and “being up to date”. It’s all too much. Too tiresome. Breathless. And therefore boring.
But this priest friend is so very kryptic that I knew he had something more in mind. Rumination on his “piercing insight” comment was the order of the day. It struck me early on that he was speaking of the insight, quite literally, if you will, that the soldier on Calvary had in looking into the side of Jesus – to the Heart of our Lord – that he had just then pierced open with a wound large enough for – say – Thomas the doubter to place his hand into.
That soldier on Calvary – with this piercing insight, if you will – then immediately exclaimed: Truly this Man was the Son of God.
My own piercing insight, if I have any whatsoever, is that my sin has pierced Him through, you know, like the Roman soldier, just to make sure that He’s dead.
We read in the Apocalypse 1:7 –
- “Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen.”
Have mercy, Lord, have mercy.
This was sent in to Arise! Hmmm… Let’s take a look at that… [The one who sent this in, BTW, has a great sense of humor, and won’t mind a bit that I’m fisking this dish cloth hanging in front of the stove. What I say, although incisive, will I hope, also bring about a wee laugh.]
- Three Wise Women would have ignored the guiding star instead asking directions to a place they had no idea where it was and so couldn’t ask directions and so would get themselves into trouble, at the least being sold into slavery…
- Three Wise Women, in ignoring the star and so arriving in what they themselves think is on time – they being so wise – would have instead messed up the divine providence of the timing so that Herod would have been successful in killing Jesus with all the boys of Bethlehem two years old and under…
- Three Wise Women would have tried to help the deliver the baby, which, instead of being born in the normal way, had a miraculous birth, much like how Jesus Himself walked right through the closed and locked doors of the Upper Room after the Resurrection, and this would have made them upset, because, you know, they came all that way…
- Because of being upset with the miraculous birth, the three Wise Women would have ignored the moment and purposely busied themselves with the feces of the animals, because that’s the most important thing at the moment. We should call to mind that when Jesus’ good mom appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes, it was in the cave filled with pig-feces, symbolic of what was going on in Lourdes at the time. Mary is used to humble circumstances, and in being in solidarity with us, even standing under the Cross in all the violence, in the … feces of our sins.
- Three Wise Women would have made a casserole, ignoring Hebrew dietary laws but bullying their way along, making everyone sad…
- Three Wise Women wouldn’t realize the most practical thing in the world is to pray, not doing the Martha thing running about in frantic mode, but doing the Mary thing, at the feet of Jesus, in this case listening to His baby cooing.
- Instead of gold for a king as a symbol of His good providence in governance for the poor ones of His little flock, the three Wise Women would have started a much more practical interest-bearing bank account, perhaps with Herod. Who else?
- Instead of frankincense for The Priest as a symbol of how He would offer Himself in sacrifice for us, the Innocent for guilty, and so having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the three Wise Women would have given him Febreze™ Plug In Scents to suffocate the smells of the cave.
- Instead of Myrrh used for the burial of a corpse – such as Jesus would surely be in speaking the Truth and thus being killed off like any prophet – the three Wise Women would have gifted Him normal spices that they could mix up in the casserole they themselves would eat.
And all this – let us be most clear – NOT because they are women, but because these three individual women would proclaim themselves as being wise (which the three kings never did), ending up, in their lack of wisdom, rejecting the entire economy of salvation to put themselves in front of everyone, drawing attention to themselves, you know, all in the name of Feminism, which brings the peace of a mere lack of war, what with everyone being dead already, instead of the sword of division which Jesus in His perfect wisdom came to bring, a sword of truth which instead brings us to reality, to repentance, to forgiveness, and therefore to love and respect for others, unto truth and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and therefore unto the true peace of Heaven. Jesus is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. I’ll stick with His ways so far above the ways of any of us who think we are wise. We have all sinned against Him whom we have all pierced. We have all thought ourselves to be wise… So… Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.
Having said all that, I have to say that that dish towel perfectly sums up the Benedictine sisters I had for teachers when I was kid, that is, after 1968 and into the early 1970s. Yikes!
It’s what priests do, you know, when they are with those who are on the peripheries of society and family or friends are not available for whatever reason. We are called upon to “identify the body” at the mortuary. It’s a legal exercise. There are forms to fill out, IDs to be photocopied and put on record, signatures to be scrawled. I’m sure many of you have had the experience.
Jesus didn’t come to be born among us because we were all effervescent and nice and without the consequences of original sin such as sickness and death and suffering the aggression of others whilst we remain in exile on this earth and away from heaven (as we must hope). He came among us because of the violence and darkness and hell and, yes, death all around us and we ourselves dropping into the grave. He was born in a cave to be buried in a cave, and then rise and bring us to life.
So, does the visit to the mortuary become a downer, as is said, just before Christmas? Not at all. It instead puts an edge on Christmas. We know all the better by experience why it is that Jesus came among us. It’s an occasion to say:
Thank you Jesus for coming into this world amidst all of our death and destruction. Thank you for forgiving us and bringing us close to you, unto heaven. Thank you.
I get terribly nostalgic at Christmas time, as it should be. Wouldn’t the good shepherds who watched their flocks by night recount when the Christ Child was sent, their fear and trembling when they received the announcement and then saw the heavens break open and heard the choirs of angels sing? Wouldn’t they have spoken in hushed tones full of reverence and awe as they called to mind the humble scene of the animals and the manger, the little babe in swaddling clothes, the gentle virgin and attentive Joseph, the singing of the angels still resounding joyfully in their ears?
As they put on some years they would be looking the wood of the manger become the wood of the cross, at least figuratively speaking. They would understand that this Child was, in fact, born to die, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, Himself the Shepherd who doesn’t run away.
I can’t help but put up these videos from a long defunct blog of mine, videos which travel along the cliffs of Mount Carmel that run underneath Elijah’s cave. Ah, yes, the dire circumstances of the cave at his birth, and the dire circumstances of the cavernous sepulcher at His death. But then the Resurrection.
And He is with us with a love stronger than death, a love bringing us through death to heaven, those eternal habitations.
- John is still in the womb at his first meeting with Jesus, who is also in the womb, working His first miracle of grace for John, who is sanctified in the womb, leaping for joy while his mother, Elizabeth, is filled with the Holy. This means that, unlike us, John is born holy, and the greatest among all those born of women for this reason. But Jesus says that the smallest in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. That would be Mary, who calls herself the Immaculate Conception. She was sanctified not just later on in the womb, but at the very moment of her conception. She was already transformed in grace from that very moment, when she is so very small, and so very humble, already rejoicing in the greatness of the Lord. She, as Queen of Heaven and Earth, angels and men, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, is still the Immaculate Conception. Transformed in grace at that instant, she was already doing the will of God and continued that until now. Yes, she’s greater in her smallness, in her humility.
- The second meeting is the baptism of Jesus. John is the greatest prophet. He knows all the prophesies about the Messiah being the Suffering Servant. He knows all about the Lamb in the future that God would provide as the One to take away our sins. But he is stunned – in the moment – that Jesus would come down for his baptism, which was, after all, unto the remission of sin, and the Messiah would be sinless. Jesus’ explanation was brief, and John, being the greatest, understood. The symbolism of the baptism was that people were admitting that they were guilty of enslaving each other in sin, and should be punished with drowning just like the soldiers and charioteers of Pharaoh, pursuing the chosen people in the Red Sea, were drowned for having enslaved the chosen people in physical labor. If Jesus were to come down into the waters He would be saying to His Heavenly Father: “Father, treat me as if I’m guilty for having enslaved everyone in sin, from Adam until the last man is conceived.” John understood: Jesus is the suffering servant. Jesus was then baptized. But then Jesus said that now He longs for the Baptism for which He came, the baptism in His own blood.
- The third meeting between John and Jesus was by proxy. John was now in prison for having preached about Jesus and for having preached the commandments terribly out of season, to Herod. He would surely get his head cut off. So John has a snarky kind of rude question asked to Jesus by his disciples: “Are you really the Messiah, or should we look for another.” After all, it’s just fine for the Messiah to be the Suffering Servant, but – Hey! – what about John in prison?! Jesus lists off all the things that the disciples of John had already seen, the sick cured, the dead raised, all that. But Jesus doesn’t include freedom specifically for John the prisoner, but simply adds: “Blessed are those who take no offense at me” (the subtext being: even those who don’t get something for themselves in this world). John has to figure out what this means, and there is only one possible meaning, that Jesus considers John to be such a good friend that He is going to allow John to share in the Messiah’s sufferings. This is about friendship. It’s a privilege to witness to Jesus even unto death. John was then, of course, supremely happy. His was a happy death.
John is – dare I say it – a Co-Redeemer in the sense that he also belongs to the Body of Christ. When Christ lays down His life for us He also lays down our lives. Thank you, Jesus, our Redeemer alone, but with friends. “I call you friends.”
If bible translators would stop dumbing down the Scriptural text and just give us exactly what’s there we would all be a lot better off. I think that a lot of the lack of preaching about Jesus, the lack of friendship with Jesus among so many in the Church today is because we don’t know Jesus, because we have not been properly introduced to him. Ideology gets in the way. Lets take a look at Luke 19:48 for a good example:
- From the Greek: ὁ λαoς γαρ ἅπας ἐξεκρέματο αὐτοῦ ἀκούων.
- Pedantic translation: for all the people were hanging off of Him, listening. [This is very personal. Jesus is important. He is Emmanuel, God with us. That’s most important. Now that we are enthralled by that, let’s also listen to Him! The message is important because of the Messenger.]
Among dozens of translations, I found a few with versions of that exact translation. It is possible. It’s right there. It’s not difficult. But most have something quite different:
- For all the people were hanging upon his words. [But not Him. We wouldn’t want that, I guess. Better something academic, that we can consider as the mature people we are and reject or not, just words, an ideology, but not at all something so serious as God among us. Right?]
- For all the people listened with admiration. [Again forgetting about Jesus.]
- For all the people were suspended by his words, listening. [Really about the message. Intensely. But the Messenger?]
- For all the people were suspended, listening to him. [I guess they were all hanging from trees, listening anyway?]
- For all the people were suspended from his lips. [That’s the one I like the best. I guess that translator was from the Mursi tribe in Africa.]
This statement of accomplishment is nailed up next to the main entrance of a parishioner to whom I frequently bring Holy Communion. He an Air Force Veteran full of stories and laughter. He looks at sickness and not-all-that-distant death as just another task that he’s obliged to do, you know, like Jesus says:
- “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are useless servants. We’ve only done what we were obliged to do.'” (Luke 17:10)
When we of ourselves, apart from the Lord, dream up all sorts of things to do which are not His will for us, we’re actually just doing nothing. So, we’re pretty useless. At least I can dream up all sorts of distractions to be distracted with.
Meanwhile, if we set out to do the Lord’s will for us, He’s not merely going to help us, He’s going to do it, meaning, He will draw us up into His love and goodness and kindness and truth, and this… He… will be the driving force accomplishing what we have to do, what we obliged to do.
What an honor to be able to say that we’ve only done what we were obliged to do, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else, just the Lord’s will, glorious, majestic, with honor, with honor, with honor.
My goal in life, so to speak, as it were, is to do nothing of my own, to do only what I’m obliged to do. That would be a dream come true. St Paul says, crucified to ourselves so as to live for Christ.
The end result of all good enculturation is described for us in the Scriptures:
- Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
- John 19:37 – And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
- Apocalypse 1:7 – Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
The Immaculate Virgin Mother of God is singled out in Genesis 3:15 as one to do battle over against Satan. She does that maternally with us, placing us – of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and, dare I say, culture – before the wounds our Warrior, her Divine Son, Christ Jesus. No exceptions. Mary is the leader in enculturation because she simply places us before Christ’s goodness and truth and kindness and truth and love and truth. Being with Jesus, God, cuts through all cultural expressions of whatever madness. Look at her and tell me it isn’t true. Can’t do it, can you?
Seriously, that reaches across cultural “boundaries” does it not?
God Himself, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, that touches even fallen human hearts unless they have totally given themselves over to Satan purposely.
We usually get upset when we’re frustrated, which is when things are out of control, when we get nervous that the spinning of worldliness is spinning away while the true pole of the earth is tossed as irrelevant. However, it remains true that the Cross remains while the world spins away:
Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.
That’s just a two second video of Shadow-dog above. He demonstrates well my reaction to anyone holding the cross to be irrelevant. That’s my reaction because I’m not as close to Christ Jesus as I should be. So, I get nervous, upset. How stupid is that. We must retain our peace of heart even if we also have anguish of soul. Anyway, I had that frustrated reaction the other day to something someone who should know better said of a proclamation of Saint Pope Paul VI to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council which received something like a dozen minutes of thunderous and unanimous applause in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Try anything more than ten seconds of applause…
Because Jesus is the Head of the Body – so to speak – and the members of the Church are the members of that Body, Saint Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae, which title is no innovation, no heresy, but is instead a title which is humbly bestowed upon her so as to celebrate the reality of her motherhood. She is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and her prayers for us under that steadfasat Cross that we might receive the grace of redemption as salvation directly from her Divine Son appropriately confers upon her such a title, for she is, then, our mother in this way, Mother of the Church.
The nasty thing I heard someone who should know better say is that this proclamation was the beginning of the end of the Church. I was stunned. Perhaps I didn’t hear correctly. Perhaps he meant to say that Mary’s inclusion in Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic decree on the Church, was and is somehow the driving engine bringing all to hell. Or perhaps he was saying that in general about the Council itself and he had no intention of demeaning our Lady.
But this is a symptom of the times, is it not? Flippant statements smashing everything and everyone down? Two seconds to throw all into chaos, and then smirking away. Wow.
But things are not “out of control”. The Lord Jesus remains the Lord of History. And we can remain with Him. He can and does make us part of the Holy Family. He does forgive us. He does fill us with sanctifying grace. He does give us the wherewithal to continue.
If that video above were to continue, one would see Shadow-dog immediately lie down and peacefully oversee his domain. A good example. Goooood daaaawwwg!
Yours truly on a day-off, of sorts. Smiling and what all. The gall. A snake-handler preacher man ruint with longevity. Way too snarky. Having waaaay tooooo much fun. And who ever heard of a day off for a priest anyway? Sounds demonic. Anyone who casts out Satan must be doing this by Satan, and is a devil himself, a downright snake in the grass. And… and… I’m the Son of a Devil Dog. So, that seals it.
While the USMC in general has a nickname of Devil Dogs, dad was a commander of the Checkerboard Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of gullwing F4U Corsairs (VMFA 312) each sporting six 50 Cals and having the logo of a Devil Dog carrying the same. But the idea that the Marines are Devil Dogs isn’t that they are demonic. Here’s a one minute recruiting commercial about that:
The idea of extreme violence of a Devil Dog is not that goodness and kindness and truth are suppressed. No no. Instead, it is to bring goodness and kindness and truth to those who are happy to receive it even if it means battling in hell to do it, and looking, for that reason, finally coming out of hell, very much like the devil himself for having fought battles in hell over against the devil, that serpent who, for all his bluster, has been vanquished by Christ. I mean, isn’t it true that Christ Jesus looked demonically criminal on the Cross for having battled all of that hell that was broken out all at once against Him on Calvary?
One of the greatest defeats of contemporary mankind is the loss of a sense of irony. We don’t see behind the truths plainly spoken to see… the truth! What to do when we are just learning to live with Him who is Truth, but who for all intents and purposes and constructions looks to be Untruthfulness. He did that for our sake, by the way, laying down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. I might have said that once or twice before… ;-) Jesus is very much the Devil Dog Himself. You don’t think so? A blasphemy you say? Let’s review something I’ve many times posted, but not in a while. It bears a re-reading. We MUST get a sense of irony back if we are to be Christian, if we are to have a sense of identity, a solid base from which to work, that is, a oneness with Christ Jesus, Himself Irony Incarnate, as it were, so to speak, a Devil Dog. Let’s turn to the great historian Hilaire Belloc once again, for, after all, we bear the burden of being naive, or, as he says, “young”, “pure”, “ingenuous”, so easily thrown into fear, unthinking, cowardly fear. Enough of that! Behold: irony!
“To 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).]
If there’s any proof that I’m a Devil Dog, it’s that I love such irony in the face of my being the most naive, the “youngest”, the “purist”, the most “ingenuous”, the most stupid idiot in the world, unable to appreciate such truths until they smack me down with such extreme violence that I gotta pay attention. It’s like Thomas the doubting Apostle. I’m forced to put my finger into the holes the nails made in the hands and feet of Christ. I’m forced to put my hand into the side of Christ, where I touch that beating heart, still pierced open. “My Lord and my God,” I blurt out. The irony is, I’m the absolute last person who would ever say that. Not me. I’m the one who put those wounds there. But the truth, “vivid with ironical power”, shines the light, and makes me a Devil Dog too. Thank you Jesus, you who want to make us all Devil Dogs.
This is a rare Cecropia Moth, as big as a bat. They don’t bite. They don’t even eat, surviving only for some days after caterpillar stage. For all of his fake eyes, this guy surely doesn’t even see me. I’m not in his purview. He’s on his way out. This picture was taken just down the way from the rectory at the gas station pumps, in the way of everyone, not long from death. Everyone was busy talking on their phones. No one else noticed him. Perhaps such things are not in their purview.
Are there other things not in our purview? Think about it. We can’t really know if we have no time or desire to see whatever it is we don’t even know we are not seeing.
So, we can ask whether Christ Jesus is in our purview. What a dumb question. As if we would even know what that means. We would ignore Him if we were without His grace even if He had His hands on both of one’s shoulders, trying to get us to notice Him. Our ineptitude of purview is total. What’s important is that we are in His purview. That’s what counts. We’re on our way out. But He sees us. Salvation is then wonderful to behold.
I was once assigned to a parish (not this one, not this diocese) in a far flung place on the other side of the world. The throw away comment – always the important one – was that I was not to make waves; I was just to be a warm body filling the position of pastor; I was just to ensure that all kept moving along nicely, getting along to get along. Nice!
Of course, if one is faithful to Jesus in whatever way – however otherwise weak, however otherwise sinful – one will then embody the sign of contradiction, which is goodness and truth, kindness and truth, charity and truth, that for which Jesus was crucified. Everyone who is not with Jesus, not with goodness and kindness and truth, hates Jesus and anyone who would in whatever way be attempting to be with Jesus.
A priest is to be all about being a sign of contradiction by being good and kind in a truthful manner, however weak and sinful he otherwise is. To demand that the priest is to be nice, a sycophant, with no truth and therefore no actual goodness and kindness, no Jesus whatsoever, is to entrap such a priest faithful to Jesus for failure in the eyes of those who assigned him. That priest cannot but be a sign of contradiction; that priest cannot for a second be simply “nice.” The failure was foreseen and desired, and vengeance for the failure will be swift and vicious, not nice at all.
The second there is a complaint about the faithful priest not being “nice,” but rather good and kind and truthful, that priest is ripped out of that parish for having had the audacity to be faithful to Jesus, but the accusation, of course, is that that priest wasn’t nice, and couldn’t fulfill even one simple assignment to just keep a parish running with no problems by just being nice.
On the one hand: God the Father so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son among us, to reveal to us the goodness and kindness and truth of the Father, knowing that we would consider that all to be not nice, knowing that we would torture His Son to death, but this so as to take on what we deserve for sin, death, so that He, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
On the other hand: Those who entrap others by assigning them to be nice so that they can later crucify them for not having been nice, but “merely” good and kind and truthful, style themselves in a CYA manner as those who are like God the Father, you know, tough enough to assign those under them to go ahead and be crucified.
There are so many problems of logic with all that, as many as there are with being “nice” while not being good and kind and truthful.
My assignment in that parish was to be “nice.” However otherwise weak and sinful I was, I wanted instead to be good and kind and truthful. I couldn’t publicly condone and vocally bless violent racism and “strict segregationalism.” I was therefore accused of not being “nice.”
I’m happy to be accused of not being “nice.” ;-)
How’s your Italian? Pope Francis spent his whole homily on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul talking about Jesus and us getting closer to Jesus by receiving His forgiveness for our sins. Stunning, really. There was no ambiguous reference to non-repentance or half-hearted conversion as a process, meaningless accompaniment, blah blah blah… No. Just receiving a proper absolution and walking in friendship with Jesus.
That continued in the Angelus message:
I mentioned this to another priest and he said that if I say anything good about Pope Francis I will be dumped by any followers and dumped on as I have been when I say that I’m standing in solidarity with Pope Francis by saying that I’m going to continue praying for him. He’s always asking for our prayers. Anyone in his position as successor of Peter needs our prayers. Does that mean that we agree with everything he says about anything everywhere all the time? No.
But people are really maliciously stupid about this. Jesus says that He prayed for Peter that his faith might not fail. Jesus also called Peter “Satan”. Peter did deny Jesus. Three times. Are we to say that Jesus is stupid for praying for Peter that when Peter turns he is to confirm his brethren in the faith? No. But people effectively do this, becoming themselves agents of Satan over against Jesus. Don’t do that. Pray for the successor of now Saint Peter. Get it?
Hail Mary x 3.
SHADOW-DOG: I’m getting to know how to use my phone-camera with a video option. I held up the phone, a small black object, in front of my face and aimed it at Shadow-dog. As you can see in the video, he has to do a double-take, not believing what he is seeing. He then ran around the fence and right up to me to be sure that I was still the same old me, and was not malicious against him, trusting that it just can’t be that I would betray him, trusting that he can still be absolutely loyal to me. But he had to make sure, immediately. “We’re still friends, right?” Yes, Shadow-dog, we’re still a team. We still work together. We’re still friends. We’ll still stand up for each other. Trust is still the only way.
Shadow-dog has never been suspicious of me. His reaction to the camera, the small black object in my hands, instantly brought to my mind that – I had forgotten – he’s been shot at with a pellet gun a couple of times…
His fur is so thick that it didn’t do much damage, just mashing the skin into a glob and making the fur stand straight out at that spot for, say, about four months. But that image of someone with a black object in their hands held up to their face and pointing it at him is an image that is obviously frozen in his memory.
He absolutely just could not believe that I would be doing the same thing with him, and he had to know the truth of the matter… immediately. Having ascertained the truth of the friendship and team effort, the bond was all the closer between us.
FRANKIE-DOG: You’ll remember my neighbor’s dog getting shot with a pellet gun in the shoulder. Had Frankie-dog had his leg forward it would have been a kill shot to the heart. It was a hunting pellet. It’s inoperable. They tried. An ex-ray shows it clearly in the shoulder bones. Here’s Frankie-dog posing for a picture a week after the operation:
You can read about that episode in the neighborhood: Shooting my neighbor’s dog. Frankie-dog had a hard life in the past but is now ultra-super-pampered by his new owner. He took this all in stride though he was in bad pain for quite a while. Before this he was exclusively an outside dog as he had under his previous owner suffered so much inside a house and refused to go inside another house, ever. But now his bonds of trust with his new owner are such that he has braved to also go inside at night. Gooood doggie!
LAUDIE-DOG: When Laudie-dog first adopted me some seven years ago, she appeared to have been shot between the shoulder blades perhaps a month previously with bird shot of a .410 shotgun. That made her pretty timid. She’s such a gentle dog. She had a bit of mange and was severely flea-bitten. With some care and lots of love she got over all that pretty quickly. Having been reduced to starvation when she had been so abused, she became a voracious eater until this day, happy as ever. She’s risked her life to defend me any number of times over against bears and wolves and a panther. The latter happened at night. I had seen it close up twice previously. Laudie-dog and I are, to say the least, good friends and a team. She’s been with me so long that she doesn’t have to do a double-take with me even after getting shot by someone… again…
Laudie-dog was shot in the neck, just in the back of her skull, again, this time by a pellet gun. Fortunately, she has super-thick fur, a kind of mane around her neck, and of course, really loose neck skin. But the skin was all mashed up and ripped to the side and temporarily infected. The wound is healed over now. It was tender for a while, as the slightest whimpers she would emit upon inspection of the wound attested. The vets say she’s just fine. Here is is healing up…
Considering that, I’m guessing this is the kind of hunting round that was used:
That’s what the x-ray shows for the pellet buried in the shoulder of Frankie-dog.
Both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog got a working over by the Christian Veterinarians Mission up in Graham County the other day, which was composed of Dr Joe and many veterinarian students. Both Shadow and Laudie got their parvo and rabies shots and another combo-shot for seven other things, and a blood draw for heart worms. They’re both in great shape. Both happy happy doggies.
But what if a human being gets shot at? Is there trust to be had after that?
I’ve been shot at in my life, perhaps as much as some other non-military, non-law-enforcement civilians:
- I honestly don’t know how many times I was shot at and hit by a BB gun as a kid.
- I was shot at many times and hit once smack in the middle of my forehead with a pellet gun as a kid. I had to pry out the projectile from being embedded in my forehead.
- When I was twelve or thirteen my family was shot at by a crowd armed with 12 gauge shot guns one particular day. We were pretty far away, with the BBs showering the trees around us, first up high, but then right at us, with the BBs hitting us, but not drawing blood, though one hitting my mom’s neck might have drawn a little blood.
- Perhaps on three different occasions as a teenager I was shot at exactly 300 yards out by a .22 rifle, with bullets whizzing by all around me. That I wasn’t hit was accidental. It’s not that the shooter didn’t try. The proximity of a bullet whizzing by your ears is unmistakable also as to distance. Too close! On each occasion the entire barrel magazine was emptied out against me, 15 bullets each time. Yes, I know what type of gun.
- A sniper guy sent out a bullet which, because of instantaneous circumstances, just missed me. It would have gotten me smack in the heart. This was after I was ordained a priest and was studying in Rome.
- At the hermitage on a number of occasions a hunting rifle similar to a .30-06 / 7.62×63, with a handful of rounds each time. I was out in an opening of the forest and the shooter was hidden in the forest on the ridge behind me. He could see me. I couldn’t see him. There was no escape. He had no intention of hitting me, just scaring me. I just don’t get scared in such situations.
That’s it, so far. It’s a good idea never to trust any fallen human being because, as it is, all human beings are fallen. We can, however, trust in Jesus. After all, look at His track record. Jesus entrusted Himself to us. Look at what we did. Look at how He still entrusts Himself to us. We can learn to trust Him, that He wants what’s best for us, that He wants to get us to heaven. Jesus, I trust in you.