Category Archives: Mary

Not Three Kings, but Three Wise Women?!

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!

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Filed under Christmas, Humor, Jesus, Mary

Co-Redemptrix unnecessary for faith? Un-architecting “relational signifiers”

jesus faces

A rather anthropologically inhumane comment arrived to the blog stating “co-redemptrix as a title […] is not necessary for the faith,” and that “‘Co’ seems to be too strong of a relational signifier.” – That’s from a doctor of philosophy in theology, as it were, so to speak, who’s trying to architect Catholic faith with big words. Oooo! Big words! So, he says:

  • The “‘Co’ [of co-redemptrix] seems to be too strong…”

I guess he’s a man of his time. Are we all supposed to be absolute individualists, with no “relational signifiers” that are, you know, too strong, nothing that would disturb our faith so much as to be, like, actually related to others, to God?

Bwahahahaha…. Sorry. This is actually sad.

Let’s see what Saint Paul says about what kind of “relational signifiers” are appropriate:

  • “He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love. So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous…” (Ephesians 4:11-19 nab)

Get that? No? Try this:

  • “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.” (Colosians 1:13-29 nab)

Let’s see, Christ the Head, we the members, one Body of Christ, Mystici corporis Christi.

But all those “relational signifiers” – like “he” – are jussst toooo haaaard!

But wait, that one line there… “Filling up what is lacking…”

Let’s pray about this:

“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself.” (John 12:32)

I mean, that’s on Calvary, during the Redemption, Jesus on the Cross, and we’re supposed to be with Him on the Cross. We, with Him, on the Cross. What’s Jesus talking about? It’s as if while He is laying down His life, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us – He is also laying down our lives, like His whole Body, Head and members. There’s a highly “relational signifier” if I ever saw one. But, here’s the methodology of it: “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Luke 7:23), and “He must deny himself and take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23 – passim…)

But let’s go back to the outrageous Saint Paul, just to make sure we understand and it’s not tooooo haaard. I mean, “relational signifiers” is certainly tooooo haaard for me.

  • God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-12 nab)
  • Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? Of course not! (Or) do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.” But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20 nab)

So, let’s go back to Genesis, where the Mother of the Redeemer is singled out in battle with Satan. Then there is a parallel of sorts in the battle between her Seed and Satan’s seed, that is, her Son and those who belong to Him, over against Satan and those who belong to him. Lot’s of “relational signifiers” going on there. If you want to know about who crushed the serpent on the head, see my conference and thesis.

It really is the Mother of the Redeemer’s Son.

Sometimes the “relational signifier” was in the feminine, so that the Mother of the Redeemer is presented as crushing the head of the great deceiver. This points to how our lives are laid down with that of the Redeemer, whose heel is crushed (and He dies) and we with Him. One Bread One Body. All that.

I would love to see an advance in artwork. I would like to see Mary crushing the serpent on the head with her heel (not just a gentle caress with a couple of toes), and I would like to see how the serpent’s head is being crushed even while that serpent is crushing the heel of Mary in all violence. More on that in a Flower for the Immaculate Conception…

Anyway, to those who think they can quote Cardinal Ratzinger from the Seewald interview, think again. At the time the great Cardinal was burdened with his utter rejection of original sin, and therefore his complete misunderstanding of the import of the Immaculate Conception. You can read about that in a homily reprinted in In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall. Get the German. For him, at that time, it’s all about original sin not as original sin, not with propagation, but by way of imitation. This isn’t hard. Moving ahead – and this is all a long story which deserves to told at length – now Pope Benedict XVI gave his Angelus address in Lourdes on Sunday, September 14, 2008, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Suffice it for now to say that he reversed a lifetime of thought about original sin and the immaculate conception. Follow the French. Stare at it long and hard, repeatedly. It’s inescapable. Really. This goes to the heart of a lifetime of thought for him. This is not a small thing. He just didn’t get how close it is that Christ makes us members of His Body. But since then, he does. A gentleman. A scholar. Does he himself quote Saint Paul as I have. Yes. But, at that time, a bit from the outside. But no longer.

Look. Christ is our Redeemer, alone. I know that. But try to go deeper into the intimacy in which He unites us with Himself, His Body. There’s a couple of pages in the thesis dedicated to the great Cardinal. I made it easy for you in the link above. You don’t have to go to the Pontifical Biblical Institute to peruse it, after you get your degrees there.

I can’t resist, one more from Saint Paul, as I just can’t get over this guys usage of “relational signifiers”:

  • “For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:23-32 nab)

Talk about “relational signifiers”… HAH!

When someone says that such closeness with humanity is just too much, I think of Islam, which is scandalized by the Cross, for God could NOT love the world so much as to send His only Son so that He might make us one with Himself to give us as a gift to our Heavenly Father, through, with and in Himself, again… He having stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us:

  • For the sake of His sorrowful passion (justice)
  • Have mercy on us and on the whole world (mercy)

For Islam, God is tooooooooooo hoooooooooly for such love. But God is love. Jesus does make us one with Himself. When He lays down His life, he lays down our lives with His.

To think any other way is to prostitute oneself to the world. And by the way, the prostitute doesn’t need to be accompanied in her “job”, she needs to be gotten out of that.

And that’s, analogously, why I write such things, also for Pope Francis. I had the time to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He didn’t. We help each other out.

All this is encouraging me to do up the popular version of the thesis. I know that the time has come when people say that it is imprudent to speak of the Redeemer and the Mother of the Redeemer.  (More “relational signifiers” there, btw.) /// end of rant

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Fulton Sheen on the lovely lady dressed in blue who teaches us how to pray

This was put up in these pages many years ago. I think it best to republish this now for many reasons, which should be quite clear.

This video is the most amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing recitation by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen of this poem by a religious sister in Pennsylvania. Don’t just read the poem in a second. Play the video and drink in the truth of it all.

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Teach me how to pray
‘Cause God was just your little boy,
And you know the way
Did you lift him up sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you tell him stories of the world,
Like Mother did to me?
And when he fell, did you lift him up,
And make everything alright?
And did you tell him his prayers at night?

I want to know my lovely lady, lovely lady,
Dressed, dressed in blue
Oh, God was just your little boy,
Your little boy and you know the truth
And did you whisper in his ear sweet lullabies,
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, did he cry?

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Oh, won’t you please teach me how to pray?
‘Cause God was just your little boy, and
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, so teach me how to pray

Teach me how to pray

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Pope Francis rejects seven popes on Co-Redemptrix

I’m going to offer a critique of Pope Francis’ impassioned rejection of Mary as Co-Redemptrix at Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the other day, December 12, 2019. The video above is the entire homily.

And yes, I’m aware through second hand information – I know, “second-hand” – and from a private conversation with then Cardinal Ratzinger – I know, “private” – that the then Prefect’s opinion of the title co-redemptrix could be misleading, but not that it was wrong in itself. Analogously, that’s what Saint John Henry Newman said about Papal Infallibility, right? It’s entirely correct, but maybe that wasn’t the best time to be proclaiming that truth of the Gospels in Matthew 16, what with the sum of all heresies running rampant in both the Catholic Church and the Anglican get-togethers at that time (it’s no different today). I would counter that the best time to preach the truth is all the time: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient [in season or out of season]; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Anyway, that objection of “it’s correct but the wording could be misinterpreted” is all a far cry from Pope Francis’ putting the absolute worst spin on that title for Mary – Co-Redemptrix – that he could possibly ever dream up in some nightmare, having it that not only is it misleading, but wrong, he even saying that efforts with this are “stupidities.”

Lets see what he himself says at 2’17”:

  • “Fiel a su Maestro, que es su Hijo, el único Redentor, jamás quiso para sí tomar algo de su Hijo. Jamás se presentó como co-redentora, no: discípula.”
  • “Faithful to her Master, who is her Son, alone the Redeemer, she never desired to take something of her Son for herself. She never presented herself as co-redeemer, no: disciple.”

Well, that’s all true:

  • She was faithful to her Master, who is her Son, He alone being the Redeemer.
  • She never desire to take something of her Son for herself.
  • She never presented herself as Co-Redeemer. [nor does she have to for this to be true.]
  • She was, in fact, a disciple.

The problem is that Pope Francis contrasts all this with the title Co-Redemptrix, attacking the historical interpretation of that title by, say, the “Servant of God” (first step toward canonization) Sister Lucia of Fatima, and by, say, Pope Saint John Paul II, who used that title a half-dozen times (and also a few more times for all the rest of us, by the way, inasmuch as we are to be evangelizers of the redemption). The title was also used by Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII. Anyway, let’s move on:

In the video, at 2’55”:

  • “Nunca robó para sí nada de su Hijo. Lo sirvió porque Madre. “
  • “She never robbed anything from her Son, but she served Him, because she is Mother.”

Fine. That’s all true as well:

  • She never robbed [stealing by way of arrogant violence] anything from her Son.
  • She served Him as Mother.

But that has nothing that contradicts her being Co-Redemptrix. With overwhelming irony, all that misses the point of her being the woman and mother that she is, as we will see. Let’s move along…

Then, at 6’07” (he’s mumbling a bit…):

  • “Quando vengan con historias de que de declarala esto a ser trato como un dogma o esto – non la perdamos in tonteras.”
  • “When they come with stories of having to declare this [Mary as Co-Redemptrix] to be a dogma or whatever – let’s not lose her in stupidities.”

“Stupidities.” This, of course, is not a named, but is nonetheless a direct attack on seven previous popes, as well as, it seems to me – and this is perhaps to the point – on Mark Miravale, who has made this title of Co-Redemptrix a life project. He’s done a lot of excellent work on this. What Pope Francis does is simply offensive. If he wants to pick a fight, he should name his adversaries who are alive today instead of hiding behind a bully pulpit. All stupidities about Mary? Really?

Let’s do some reasoning about this:

Pope Francis considers the title Co-Redemptrix to be falsely assigning Mary a function which she steals violently from her Son, as if being a woman and mother wasn’t enough for any woman, including Mary, to have dignity.

But this is missing the point altogether. It’s so dark, so dismal, so unable to see goodness and kindness in being a woman, a mother. Here’s the deal:

  • It is because Mary is a faithful woman, mother and disciple that she is Co-Redemptrix. Only she could be so faithful, such a mother, and such a disciple.

Let’s unpack that a bit…

  • Mary is free of original sin as we know from Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 (see my thesis on Genesis and Ignace de la Potterie’s study on Luke 1:28).
  • That means she has purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision such that she sees the contrast between God’s goodness and our sin. In looking upon her Son on Calvary, she sees all the sin of all mankind wrecked upon her Son. As a woman, as a mother, as His mother, she is in solidarity with Him while He accomplishes our Redemption, He alone our Redeemer. In her immaculateness, with her clarity of vision, seeing what we need perfectly, she perfectly intercedes for us in that solidarity, heart to Heart, with her Son.
  • Here’s the point: it is entirely fitting in justice that one of us mere human beings (only she is capable what with her being free from original sin) asks for all that we need in Redemption. Her request, in all justice, and her Son’s answer as a command to His Heavenly Father (Father! Forgive them), makes of them co-workers in our Redemption. She asks. He provides. That’s what the title Co-Redemptrix for Mary is all about. Nothing more. But nothing less.
  • Being Co-Redemptrix is the flourishing of her being a woman, a mother, His Immaculate Virgin Mother, and ours. She’s not brutally, violently stealing anything from Son to make herself look good. No. How sick is that? Instead, she serves Him in unimaginable suffering as only a good mother could. How could anyone look into her eyes and insult her that her motherhood is not flourishing here under the Cross?

We are also to be co-redeemers of sorts, co-workers with the redemption, evangelizing the redemption. Is that so bad, so blasphemous? No. It isn’t.

I have much to say about this connection between the motherhood of Mary and her title of Co-Redemptrix, foundationally in my thesis, and then more precisely and especially  in the conference on Mary, Mother of the Church Militant, which I gave back in 2013:

So, we pray for Pope Francis and for each other, doing this as, um… co-redeemers… and we ask Mary to show us all her motherhood, you know, as the Co-Redemptrix:

Monstra te esse matrem! Show yourself to be a mother!

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Pope Francis and my “rabbit” mom

just me 04

On December 12, 2019, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis denounced a title of our Lady, with an edge. I started to write about all that to defend that title used many times by Saint Pope John Paul II and which has a history in the Church. But the only thing I could think of was Pope Francis’ deep hatred for women and mothers. I forgive him. I do. But I’ve never heard him repent of what he said.

I know, I should be even more forgiving, especially of Pope Francis, and maybe not ask him for repentance, just a condescending permission for me to “accompany” him. After all, I’m his own Missionary of Mercy, right? I use those particular faculties all the time. I accompany people right to Jesus, not to sin. I hope I don’t lose those entirely useful faculties for NOT being a “Yes man”. Pope Francis doesn’t want “Yes men.” He said so. Therefore, NO. Pope Francis needs to repent like anyone else, with sincerity.

What came to mind for me during Pope Francis’ Guadalupe Mass homily about Mary the other day were comments he made on Monday, January 19, 2015, during the in-flight press conference from the Philippines to Rome, in which he demonstrated just how much he despises mothers and motherhood. Sorry, but that’s the way my heart and soul and mind work, that is, with reality.

Pope Francis said: “I believe that the number of three [children] per family, which you [the reporter] mentioned, is important, according to the experts, for maintaining the population. Three per couple.” Then, after citing an example of a woman having more than three children he says that this is a “form of irresponsibility.” Would that be a sin, perhaps an ecological sin that he’s accusing that woman of committing, publicly? And then he speaks of rabbits: “Some people believe that – pardon my language – in order to be good Catholics, we should be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.”

So, any woman who has more than three children is irresponsible, perhaps sinful, and a rabbit.

That makes my mom an irresponsible rabbit. Mom had two daughters with her first husband, and then, when he was killed in plane crash, she remarried and had two boys, including me, the last. That makes me child number 4. Last time I checked, 4 is more than 3. So, my mom is an irresponsible beast, and I’m the son of an irresponsible beast, according to Pope Francis. And she was probably sinful in her irresponsibility.

I thought it was bad enough when my “Shadow” called my mom a “b*tch.” A “b*tch” is a female dog. I’m not so sure how that’s so different from a rabbit. But this is the Pope.

So, that seals it then, right? He’s the Pope.

So, my mom is surely the most god-damnedest irresponsible beast.

Is that right, Pope Francis?

How about an apology?

There are plenty who follow this blog in the Holy See. They can give this to Pope Francis, who, as it happens, follows American blogs through his minions closely. I don’t want a phone call with an apology. I want to see him publicly repent of his remarks.

Now, I’ll set about writing about how a particular woman, Mary, can be more than a birth-robot. Stay tuned.

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How to make a processional litter as traditional Catholic life sees resurgence

img_20191213_091540~31488306294191494814..jpg

The two wooden outlines of the bottoms of the statues of Mary and Juan Diego are meant, of course, to keep the statues from sliding off the litter while it’s being carried by four men (of the same size!). When the statues are in place, I would recommend sliding a couple of pins through the wood and into the bases of the statues, just in case there’s an emergency.

And a close up of the brackets which hold the pipes as supports for the array of flowers that arc over our Lady:

img_20191213_091558~25708523740308509187..jpg

 

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Guadalupe procession and dance

Starting the procession with blue light accompaniment above. Then below, passing by the rectory:

You can some singing and instruments in the video above.

After Mass at church there was a bit of dancing…

And a short video of that…

Then there were festivities in the social hall.

Lots of prayers and preaching and confessions and celebrating.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

guadalupe-

GUADALUPE

Update: at 5:00 am at las mañanitas:

Followed by 6:00 am Mass.

At 4:30 pm procession from end of town to the other.

Then 6:00 pm Mass.

Festivities follow.

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Immaculate Conception, Mother of the Church Militant in her motherhood

LOURDES-GROTTO

IVE GENESIS IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONFERENCE 7 FEBRUARY 2013

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Filed under Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Immaculate Conception, Mary

End result of Mary’s enculturation

Jesus crucified passion of the 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?

pieta

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.

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Becoming upset with the chaos. “Beginning the Church’s downfall”

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!

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Assumption Chapel where I grew up

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The rectory was visited by a locust the other day. I haven’t seen as healthy and big a grasshopper as this since I was a kid up in Minnesota. It’s twice as big as the biggest that I’ve otherwise seen around here.

Assumption Chapel instantly came to mind. Would we have the faith to do the same today in the plague of faithlessness we are witnessing in the midst of the Church?

The story behind Assumption Chapel – the Grasshopper Chapel – right next to where yours truly grew up, is amazing, well worth a look see at Wikipedia’s Assumption Chapel, well worth visiting if you’re just passing by the middle of nowhere Lake Wobegon.

The most practical thing in the world is do something like this. The most practical thing in the world is to get to know the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, Joseph. And don’t forget the angels.

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Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians now with us. How about your parish?

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We’ve been saying the rosary and other devotions nightly while we have the icon of Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians. Dozens of copies have been making their way around so that parishes might better be in solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters.

our lady help of persecuted christians icon pope francis

Pope Francis blesses the “Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians,” as Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a member of the Knights of Columbus, looks on. (L’Osservatore Romano Photo)

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Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue. It’s May!

The above video is the most amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing recitation by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Teach me how to pray
Cause God was just your little boy,
And you know the way
Did you lift him up sometimes,
Gently on your knee
Did you tell him stories of the world,
Like Mother did to me
And when he fell, did you lift him up,
And make everything alright
And did you tell him his prayers at night

I want to know my lovely lady, lovely lady,
Dressed, dressed in blue
Oh, God was just your little boy,
Your little boy and you know the truth
And did you whisper in his ear sweet lullabyes,
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, did he cry

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Oh won’t you please teach me how to pray
Cause God was just your little boy, and
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, so teach me how to pray

Teach me how to pray

Monstra te esse matrem!

GENESIS THESIS GEORGE DAVID BYERS

IVE GENESIS IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONFERENCE 7 FEBRUARY 2013

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (The very flames of hell, edition)

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Rhododendron calendulaceum or Flaming Azalea is native to these mountains in WNC. This one is next to the Samuel the Angry Donkey pasture some miles down the mountain from the hermitage. A “snitty” florest on the internet calls it “Satan,” as if Satan has rights over anything to do with flames. No.

God is love, and God’s love which we witness with Jesus is ardent. We poetically speak of the ardent flames of love. The Scriptures speak of the flames issuing from the majestic throne of God. Those flames are symbolic of God’s love. God’s love does not itself change for the recipient. It is the receiver whose changing capacity to take in God’s love which put’s a limit or less so on God’s love.

  • In heaven all receive fully of God’s love and rejoice in those ardent flames of love.
  • In purgatory those very same flames of love, so to speak, instruct those preparing for heaven, purging them of their lack of thanksgiving, and in this they also rejoice as they know they are on their way and are progressively more capable of thanking the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. They are learning, but, mind you, they are also holy, as they are in the state, as we say, of sanctifying grace.
  • In hell all are also provided with the ardent love of God, but they, fallen angels and damned souls, have chosen to have no capacity to take in that ardent love. They perceive that love as punishing flames, writhing in spiritual and intellectual frustration even while choosing to be that way.

How to say it? God’s love is God’s love.

But what about Mary, the Immaculate Conception? She was free of any need for purging so she knows nothing of our weakness and anguish and struggles, right? So, she can’t actually be a good mother to us, right? Wrong.

It’s because of her purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of spiritual vision that she saw exactly our need in all it’s horror, much more than we could even begin to know, and at the same time she was in solidarity with her Divine Son in His mission to redeem us, and, if we so choose to cooperate with His grace, to save us. Mary knew all about the ardent flames of God’s love from the perspective of those on earth, those in purgatory, and, analogously, as one fully in grace that is to turn to glory, as Saint Paul says.

So, whatever it’s called, a fiery flower for you, Mary, Jesus’ good mom.

shepherd boy

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“Don’t mess with mother” – analogy

Sorry, I couldn’t help but make the analogy…

pieta

Of course, Mary’s ferocity is to get us to go to Confession and go to heaven.

Anecdote time – and this does NOT break the Seal of Confession!

When I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes and hearing zillions of Confessions of the 12,000,000 pilgrims that 150th anniversary jubilee year in the “Confessions Chapel,” the last penitent left the confessional leaving the door open. Another pilgrim appeared and, before coming in, declared before God and everyone else in ear shot (really a lot of people as it was jammed) that he didn’t know what he was doing there, that he didn’t want to be there, that he hated this, but it was just that after some moments in the grotto he felt compelled to come into the Confessions Chapel, and there he was, hating the whole thing, surely with his guardian angel smacking him down hard. And then he came in, closed the door, and…

That’s how our Lady works. Don’t mess with Jesus’ good mom. She’ll get you every time.

P.S. I have not ever, not now, nor will I ever, as far as I know, ever own an iPhone.

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The Necessary Co-Redemptrix

SISTINE MADONNA detail

While preaching this Palm-Sunday on what would be an appropriate meditation for this Holy Week for my parishioners – the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the 4th and 13th Stations of the Cross: Jesus meeting his mother after getting smashed down by the cross for the first time and then Jesus being lowered from the cross into her arms, ever so dead – in preaching on all that… well… I mean… I suppose I could put the audio of the homily up… It’s just that it’s embarrassing as I got entirely choked up a number of times, entirely unable to speak for at least what seemed like ten seconds… thirty seconds…

Here’s the deal: Not that it at all came out in what I said necessarily, but it was in preaching on Jesus and His good mom that I “understood” – beheld quite directly, if you will – the dynamic, if you will – by which it is entirely necessary that Mary be Co-Redemptrix. To me this wasn’t just an “insight”, but rather an invitation to behold what’s really going on with our Redemption, ever so personal for Jesus about Mary, the good Son of a good mom. It was like seeing Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son.

I asked a specialist in psychology and priests about this fault of mine, getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness, and even worse. He knows me well, and is my spiritual director. He straight up laughed at me for stupidly even asking the question, saying that Freud would say that it all has to do with an unresolved conflict with my own mom. But, then he said that Freud has been discredited on saying everything like this must be a “conflict,” adding that surely this was, in fact, for me, a valid religious experience. And then he went on to mention some of his own like experiences.

I say all that just to rid some of such unnecessary distraction so that they might pay attention to what is important. Here are some points spelling out a bit what I didn’t entirely spell out in the homily because of my getting choked up:

  • Only Adam was responsible for the “breath of the living ones” which was only given to him with its intention that he and his offspring be alive and then reaffirm this life should he eat from the tree of the living ones, that is, living with good choices, instead of eating, as it were, from the tree of knowing good mixed with evil, a kind of epistemology of dumbed-downness by which the power of his agent-intellect was corrupted not only for himself, but for us. Adam changed the intention of the breath from life to death. We no longer have the wherewithal to keep matter and spirit, body and soul together. We start to drop into the grave the moment we are conceived.
  • Any offspring have a share in the breath of the dying ones, and are dumbed-down, weakened, unable to love that which, the One – God – whom they don’t know, as they otherwise should, and so are immediately in sin, what we call original sin.
  • God creates the soul which is concomitant with that life, that dying life at the choice of Adam, not of God. God is just respecting Adam’s choice for himself, for us. We are created good up to the point Adam chose. And that’s the point: up to the point that Adam chose. Adam chose to descend to the level of where his wife bid him to go, not more nor less.
  • In justice, in our Redemption, Jesus should redeem us, recreate us only inasmuch as, only to the point that one of us would ask for this, Mary’s intercession for us.
  • Mary, free from original sin, and therefore with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of (spiritual) vision so that she could see exactly what we needed as she looked upon what sin has ravaged on her Son. She was in perfect solidarity with Son, her Immaculate Heart, His Sacred Heart.
  • Jesus followed up on her intercession for us, and only up to the point she desired this for us, which, of course, was perfectly. She’s the perfect mother. Our mother.
  • That maternal intercession of hers was necessarily for Him. It is this to which He looked. And only this. Jesus had a human nature. In justice, He should use this human nature. It is in His human nature that He received the intercession of His mother for us. He was going to do exactly what she wanted for us (which is, of course, exactly what He wanted for us precisely as her children, with Him).

Just to say it:

Our Redemption by Jesus is equal, not more, not less, to the maternal intercession of Jesus’ good mom for us. He looked to her, the Son to the Mother. Just as Adam looked to his wife as to just how far he should fall, so did the new Adam look to The Woman to see just how far He should lift us back up. Being Immaculate, she saw our need perfectly, and, in perfect solidarity with her Son, interceded for us perfectly. Having said all that, it is she who set us before our Redemption. Jesus would not have done it without her indicating that Redemption. Mary is entirely necessary as Co-Redemptrix for our Redemption.

Academically, the point is entirely valid with all my years of doctoral studies on Genesis 2:4–3:24 (including 3:15). I have much to say on all this, drawing out all the implications, drawing out the incisive ironies. I am overwhelmed with the entirely and very personal dynamic, if you will, of what is happening with our redemption, Jesus looking to His good mom: “Woman! Behold! I make all things new!”

Finally, this provides me the engine – how to say it? – to draw out a popular version of the thesis. I pray that I’m able to accomplish this. I pray that this works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma.

Now it’s more personal than it ever was. It’s like a project with Jesus.

I entirely realize that making it personal makes me look to be the fool. Delusional. An idiot. Fine. Whatever. I know what I know. It’s all come together. Whatever authority by which I write anything has nothing do with me. It’s to be judged on consistency with the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterial interventions of the Church. It’s to be judged on the reasoning. Yes.

All I can say is that, right now, at the start of Holy Week, I’ve been shaken to the core of my being before God that Mary, our good mom, is necessarily Co-Redemptrix. It has to be that our Redemption in entirely involved with Jesus looking to His good mom. And, yes, she was singled out in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and The Woman [in context, the future Mother of the Redeemer].

In saying that, what is left to say? Just this:

Jesus, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, has done all things well.

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Day Off: guns & spiritual conversations – Jesus bragging on His mother in hell

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Not having bought any ammo since, I think, sometime in late 2018, the “long-way” was taken to the hermitage, passing by a number of Walmarts with variously stocked ammo desks, some desk managers being more on top of things than others. Then, after hitting the UPS Store, it was up and up and up “the mountain.” BTW, can you spot the huge cross made out of I-beams partially hidden by the trees towering above the driveway in the picture above? The neighbor to the hermitage is a master welder.

After a couple of hours of quiet time – a day off after all – energy returned, prayers were said, protection of angels was requested, targets went up, mags were loaded, timers were set, “ears” were adjusted, adrenaline was forced, trigger fingers, left and right, were steadied, concentration was narrowed…

The first course consisted of some six stages of drills, supposedly of a SEAL team, surely dumbed down and from “back-in-the-day.” Here’s a picture of the first stage, just three yards out, from cover/holstered, with an 8 1/2 x 11 target of the usual “body” (inside the two vertical lines: 5:3/4″ x 10:1/2″) and “head” (consisting of a 2″ x 4″ box at the top, an eye-forehead shot instantly “stopping the threat”). The first stage is just one shot from holster to the “head” ≤ 1.5 seconds. Dunno why, but this time I was much more accurate and quick for all stages of all courses, coming in mostly (way) under time and with smaller more centered patterns, mostly inside the “inside bottle” representing the spinal cord. Prayers for priests and the bishop while moving, marking, changing out targets.

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The target then moves further away for different stages until 75 feet away up the ridge.

DIGRESSION: Someone had given me some massively oversized targets (23″ x 35″), I guess to poke fun at my aim, the comment surely being that I’m not able to hit the side of a barn… from inside the barn! I took those dozen or so roll of wallpaper-esque targets just to see if there was anything superimposed. Nope. Having ascertained that, those targets will now go back to the giver. As of a couple years, the most recent policy really is no gifts from intel, ever, zip, zero, zilch… can’t happen. I’m guessing the targets are for zeroing in rifle scopes, say, from a mile out. But I’m not a sniper. I don’t own or use rifles. Not my thing. With a Glock, as the saying goes, aim small, shoot small.

After that, it was time for an FBI course with reduced QIT 97-99 inside bottle targets (that partial detail fitting on legal paper), and then the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal courses (that target consisting of foam dessert plates propped up by pigtail wires), and then some swinging breakfast blend plastic coffee buckets on ropes and filled with dirt (out to about 15 yards), totaling for day I’m guessing about 175 bullets. Not much, but enough. It was a good day for review and keeping edgy.

With the Glock thoroughly cleaned and oiled and the target-ammo changed out for appropriate carry-ammo, I was eager to go to the neighbors of the hermitage. That’s when the real happiness of the day began.

The spiritual conversations after plinking are becoming a thing, as it were, something that’s expected and to which we all look forward. We spoke of judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, witnessing to the point of martyrdom, suffering, angels, Jesus, our dearest Heavenly Father, the state of the Church, the state of our souls, the patience of our Lord with us sinners, and being happy for Jesus that after all He has gone through for us, He is now in heaven with our Heavenly Father.

But most of all – at length – we spoke about our Blessed Mother, Jesus’ good mom, about what she went though in this world, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul and clear vision confronting this fallen world, how it is that she was in solidarity with her Divine Son Jesus as He was tortured to death right in front of her. If recorded, these conversations would be good material for an ongoing series of blog posts.

A repeat-topic about our Lady came up, you know, which of the 14 Stations of the Cross would be most – how to say? –  involving to Jesus. The neighbor said it would surely be the meeting with His mother. I agreed, but in another way, saying that it may well be when Jesus is taken down from the cross and put in the arms of His blessed mother.

Aquinas says that the divinity of Jesus never left His body even when that body died and He, with His soul, descended to hell to preach to the fallen spirits. It struck me then, devastated as He would be in His soul that His mother was so devastated holding His dead body, that He would be bragging on His mother to the fallen spirits: “Look at her! She’s the mother-warrior who crushes you, Satan, under her heel. She’s remained faithful in the most adverse circumstances, all of hell attacking. You have failed! She has won souls for heaven!” These are the words, so full of love, which will torture those fallen spirits, so full of hate, for eternity.

Much better to have our souls in order, frequenting the Sacraments, to go to heaven and rejoice to be happy that, after all they went through in this world for us, both Jesus and our Blessed Mother are there.

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Homily 2019 01 20 Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. John 2:4. *The* Wedding. Priests are married.

wedding of cana mosaic lourdes rosary basilica doors

These are the massive central portals to the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes, in front of which the candlelight rosary procession is led nightly in Lourdes, France. The artist attempts to get us to understand that the two scenes are one by distributing the jars of water now turned to wine at the Wedding in Cana on both sets of doors. He also has us pointed to where the real “Wine” is to be had, as well as Mary’s solidarity with Jesus at His Hour, where she is to intercede for us in the redemption of the image of God, as Genesis has it, one man and one woman for marriage and family.

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου (John 2:4).

  • Mary’s statement: “They have no wine.”

After all, we have to celebrate the image of God as to be found in marriage and the family when the Redeemer of the image of God within us is present. All the Sacred Scriptures point to this. She, who is the Mother of the Redeemer of Genesis 3:15, knows she can go to her Son who is set for the rise and downfall of many in Israel, He who is the Light unto the Nations.

  • Jesus’ title for His mom: “Woman”

Some think that this is an insult. Since when is being a woman an insult?! Anyway, this is the epic title of the Woman in Genesis 3:15, the War Hero over against Satan, and the Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, the War Hero by way of her maternity of “her Seed.”

Then we see the Woman below the cross who, already having given birth to the Head of the Body, Jesus, becomes mother also to the members of the Body, that is, by way of her perfect intercession for us under the cross, with all the “birth pangs” as it were that that entails. This is when all of hell is broken out. This is when she is successful in the battle with her Seed, her Divine Son, Jesus, who crushes the power of Satan over us and is crushed in His human nature for us.

Then we see the Woman in the Apocalypse, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under he feet, and crowned with twelve starts, she, again, depicted as victor over Satan by way of her maternity.

For Mary to be entitled Woman is not an insult!

  • Jesus’ question: “What is that to me and to you?”

That question refers to both Jesus’ good mom and Jesus. Jesus wants to draw out the truths that are taking place. The Vulgate gets it exactly right: “Quid mihi et tibi est?” “What is that to me and to you?” It’s a real question, seeking the deeper truths to be spoken publicly. Great!

The Holy Spirit inspired the words to be the way they are. If we rewrite the Scriptures, bad things happen. Thus:

The Catholic NAB translates this if not with true malice, then with sheer incompetence: “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” That makes it sound like Mary just wants more alcohol for everyone, and that Jesus couldn’t give a hoot about anyone there, so that He wants to point out her stupidity publicly.

The KJV is even worse: “What have I to do with thee?” It’s like these rebels are having Jesus disowning His mother. That’s bad, really evil.

One of the Spanish translations simply has “déjame,” “Let me take care of it” (which leaves Mary out of it altogether. No good, that. And that’s only if we give it the far-fetched best sense, which would otherwise be: “Leave me alone!” Sigh… The Lectionary version we had was this: “¿Qué podemos hacer tú y yo?” That puts way too much emphasis on stuff to do instead of what the real question was about, namely, the explication of the deeper realities at hand.

  • Jesus’ hint for the answer: “My hour is not yet arrived.”

His Hour is when He is on the Cross on Calvary when all hell is broken out and the battle is on, when Mary’s hour of intercession for us is to be in full operation.

Let’s do the analogy: Cana has a wedding banquet. The Last Supper is Jesus’ wedding banquet. His vows refer to the epic battle for our souls mentioned above: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice.

If Jesus wants Mary to make the realities of our salvation more apparent by this question, if Jesus wants to point out that we are to celebrate such a marriage at Cana because Jesus is set to redeem all marriage and the image of God within us by way of His own marriage with His Bride the Church at the Last Supper and then on the Cross, then we understand Mary’s “response.” She simply has to turn and say to the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”

We priests and bishops MUST understand this, that we are married to the Church by way of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer, by way of the wedding vows that we recite in the first person singular: This is my body… my blood. And we have to be just that ready instantly to lay down our lives for the flock just as Jesus, that is, by way of the love and truth and goodness and kindness of Jesus granted with sanctifying grace.

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Homily 2018 12 08 Immaculate Conception

LOURDES-GROTTO

  • You knew, of course, that the grotto was the pig sty of the town, right?
  • You knew, of course, that in Sacred Scripture, pigs are symbolic of demons, right?
  • You knew, of course, that the universe was made into a pig sty by Adam’s sin, right?

God: “I shall put enmity between you [Satan] and the Woman [the Mother of the Redeemer], and between your seed [Satan’s followers] and the Seed of the Woman [Jesus and those who belong to Him as members of a body to the head of the body].

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