Category Archives: Nature

Be the turtle: patience x 3


I’m guessing this is a mama box turtle, or maybe a snapper, out near the hermitage. She’s looking to lay a few eggs in the unusually warm late Winter weather. She’s taking her time, wanting to get the placement of the eggs in the ground just right. I’m told the eggs can last two years, waiting for just the right conditions. Turtledom survives, slow but sure, getting it right.

I got a bit of practice with all this while doing the thesis on Genesis 2:4a–3:24, four years of slogging through every letter of every word with brutal historical philology, right back into the cuneiform, correcting revered technical dictionaries, certain that I was doing the right thing but not seeing where any of it was going until the end: patience, patience, patience. I think it goes along with Pope Francis’ humility, humility, humility and Father John Neuhaus’ fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.

These are just some basic foundational aspects of our lives. Just to say: just because I got a bit of practice with some of this doesn’t mean that I’m any good at it. It just means I’m starting to see the supporting scaffolding and thought I’d use a turtle to write about it. Saint Teresa of Avila says that it’s good to make analogies of the spiritual life with the things we see in our daily lives. Yes. I like that. I like it a lot. Nature is very cool altogether. Do you see analogies with stuff in your daily life?


Filed under Nature

Elevation of the parish: in heaven


The Appalachian Trail crosses the road just here. Just 3,165 feet. The peaks in the parish go up 5000 feet plus. Not far from the hermitage the peaks can get well beyond 6000 feet. On the other side of Asheville, the next big city over the way, some peaks edge on 7000 feet. These are the tallest mountains in the Eastern United States. Mount Washington up in New Hampshire comes in below Mount Mitchell here. Of course, there is nothing as high as the Himalayas or the Rockies or Alps or Andes or Atlas Mountains, nothing like that. No, no. Just humble mountains here. Heck, the tallest of the megatall buildings like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai seem to be about to get in the competition if there is one.

But, in Jesus, you can touch heaven from the deepest valley as well, right? Right?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“You duped me O Lord” edition)


This large, expansive tree is just down the street from the rectory. Full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. And here’s another, right next to the rectory. Full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. They will all freeze to death. And they were only doing what they had to do.


Tulip trees and red bud trees are in hot pursuit, almost in full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. Not good at all. They will all freeze to death. And they were only doing what they had to do. Winter will return.

“You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.” (Jeremiah 20:7)

We say:

“But Lord, I followed you. I tried my best. And THIS is what you throw at me? My finances are a wreck. I lost my job. My spouse ran off. I get my food from a dumpster. And all because I was faithful to you, dear Lord. I didn’t have to be faithful to you. But I was faithful. And THIS is what you throw at me? You tricked me, duped me, and I let myself be duped. You are stronger than me. You win. But look around. Everyone laughs at me, making stuff up, or just because I’m down and truly totally out. Everyone mocks me. My friends dismissively turn their backs on me. Dear Lord. Dear Lord.”

And then, in a quiet moment, we say:

“Thanks for keeping me faithful to you, dear Lord. Thank you. I’m with you. You’re with me. Dear Lord, take me.”

And then our Lord says:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. […] Come, share your master’s joy. […] Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:21.34).

And then we say:

“We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:10)

And then we are brought in, and we see God face to face, and we rejoice. We are at home. At home. At home. Why? Because…

Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. And it is HE who will come to judge living and dead and the world by fire. Amen. And Amen.

Oh! And the Immaculate Conception? She said “Yes!” She brought Jesus into this dark, cold world for us, doing only what she had to do: “I am the maidservant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” And then the dark, cold world returned. Winter returned. Jesus was in her arms below the Cross. “You duped me Lord, and I let myself be duped.”

Thank you, Mary, for letting yourself be duped with such love. Thank you. Teach me how to be duped. I am so proud, without humility. Thanks for being such a good teacher.

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Filed under Flores, Nature, Spiritual life

1 in 4 washed away without a trace


It’s been raining and raining and raining. The stream next to the rectory rose up and grabbed one of our new Holly trees and threw it into the river on the other side of town. And then the water went down again, like it never happened. But the tree remains gone.

And so I think of so many who have gone on their way to the next life in such a way, in waves of violence, waves of sickness, waves of war, waves of accidents, waves and waves. We can look to what would have been, what could have been. Or we can look to what might be, what may be, what we hope will be in heaven. Life is changed, not ended.

We are in exile here. Exile, I say. Far from home. So very far. And yet, God is with us, right with us, the indwelling it’s called, of the Most Holy Trinity, so that we are tabernacles of the Most High, the one thing that is important, and it cannot be ripped away from us by anything, by anyone. Jesus loves us.


Filed under Death, Nature

Ever ancient, ever new, we are in exile


Peter Strzok would call this a hillbilly house. This is one of the extremely few stick-built houses in the northern region of my parish that I past by at the tops of the ridges of these mountains on Communion Calls. Dwellings are mostly mobile homes of the extremely tiny variety, although there are longer ones that fit the description if not the reality of single-wide and double-wide.

Just in the 4 1/2 years I’ve been racing around the mountains here this house has decided to disintegrate markedly. When they get to this stage they collapse altogether before you know it. I’ve seen quite a few houses and barns simply fall under their own weight, weighted down as they are by humidity and mold, weakened by rodents and carpenter bees and termites.

Such dwellings would be filled with memories, but their owners are long gone as well. The forest reclaims the house and the Forestry Service reclaims the property. We think we keep such houses alive with imagined memories, but they just continue to cave in to the inescapable pressures round about. And they don’t even do that. They just fall down.

We, however, think that we are as young as we feel, that is, not regarding our health situation (for we can have all the aches and pains and misery anyone could ever experience), but regarding the state of our minds. If we have discarded past baggage of whatever, and we feel free, and we set about having a second childhood, well, maybe then the reality sets in that good memories in the dwelling that these bodies are don’t quite give us back the health we once had. I have great memories of insane extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean I can do them up again.

If we have the wonder of a child before the entire universe and God Himself – hey! – we are in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new. But our bodies can’t quite keep up. Walking through life in the stability of being with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, provides a youthfulness that does not shun the grave, but rather, with living hope, in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, one looks forward to heaven, knowing that, in that present friendship, it is already starting.

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Filed under Nature, Spiritual life

Nature… I never cease to be amazed

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Moss and ferns in the frozen high ridges of WNC don’t care about frigid temps, but are as green as ever you might find in the Spring.

Meanwhile, WNC, at least at the hermitage, has by far – no comparison – the longest hoarfrost in the world. Looking at google images, I see nothing like it, but hoarfrost it is. These ice crystals grow out of the always saturated with water forest floor (where there is a break in the ground on a steep ridge). They can be two inches long, or three, or four or even more inches long, breaking up the ground by carrying chunks of the ground out into the air.

Just to say, Saint Francis appreciated nature so very much because nature just “obeyed” the will of God for it, while we, endowed with so very much more spiritually, have gone ahead and become weak through original sin and our own rubbish. Nature is like an exam of conscience, shining a light on our lack of promptitude in following up on the will of God for us, that is, goodness and kindness and truth.

We can think it is easier to go the way of weakness. But, instead, that is so very difficult and full of anguish. Looking to the Lord as little children in humble thanksgiving, with prompt enthusiasm, brings one into amazement before the throne of the Most High. And that’s just awesome… awesome.


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The luckiest priest in the world


The various seasons of the year here in the mountains lift me up into the profundity of all that is ever ancient, ever new, Him who is ever ancient, ever new, the Creator of creation, Jesus, who wants us to be like the littlest of children so as to enter the Kingdom of God. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit autistic, but I like doing things such as counting the ridges on the mountain chains when they have a light layer of snow on the trees. I count 25 vertical ridges in the picture above. I’m amazed at things like light and darkness. The scene below grabbed my attention. Brrrrrrr!


Bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to the shut-ins is always a great joy. He’s my companion while wandering through His creation. I love it.


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Nature

Stop! Look! Mountains to climb!


Traffic lights stopped me dead after returning to Andrews from Airport Road looking for furniture for an elderly lady who just moved to Andrews from out of state and is dirt, dirt, dirt poor. So, there I was, just sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there. It’s a long light. And then I saw them like I’ve never seen them before. Being in Andrews is like being in a small mountain town in Colorado. I had to take a picture.

I met a really old guy, you know, older than me, in the supermarket parking lot the other day, who, in pointing to those very mountains, said that he was going up in a few days to do some trail hacking, that is, for the Forest Service, that is, making the trails more passable for crippley old people like me, much younger than him. He was older than me by a good ten years.

I’m thinking that I’m out of shape, and let getting hit by a bus some decades ago over in Rome be a good excuse for me to let myself get out of shape. Perhaps I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. Perhaps I’ve been sucking in all the consoling words of those who saw me in a wheel chair for the longest time, and then, forever it seems, on crutches. That’s not good for the body or the spirit. Perhaps in my own small way I could learn from the Navy Seal guy who was pretty badly hurt but wrote this sign to put on his hospital door:


An old codger, full bird, the Shadow of all Shadows Gray Man, a good friend, told me that any hero we might look up to is NOT just to be looked up to, for that misses the point altogether. A hero is someone you strive to be like.

Going to the “absolute utmost” and then going 20% beyond that. I like that. Perhaps I’ll give it a try. Can you hear my reluctance. Gotta get over that. I should go back on my diet. I lost 20 pounds in a  few months and then plateaued out as people do. Then gained about five pounds and stayed there for about a year. Time to start down again. I could stand to lose about 55 pounds. I’ve given up on the BMI thing as it was made for only one body type and not like mine. According to that I should lose about 100 pounds and be as thin as a toothpick. Not going there. At least I don’t drink at all and don’t smoke at all and try to stay away from sweets. I gotta tell the Church ladies I’m going back on a diet.

Oh, and the spiritual analogy? A mountain to climb? And it’s getting dark out? The spiritual analogy is easy, right?

“I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself” (Exodus 19:4).


Filed under Diet, Nature

Laudie-dog, snakes, tears and tech


When getting back last night from a second trip to graham county Laudie-dog noticed a snake coming out on the back porch of the rectory, despite the cold, and she was immediately in protective aggressive flurry mode. Poor snake.

Here’s the summit of the Trail of Tears, Tatham Gap Road, which basically starts in my parish church and makes its way out to Nebraska. The government of the time killed off thirty million bison so as to starve to death those Cherokees who survived the death long death march.

tatham gap summit info sign trail of tears

I would like to know how to turn my 770 ThinkWare clips into a YouTube movie so that you all know where I go on my screamingly beautiful Communion Calls with Jesus. This is paradise here on earth.

tatham gap washout

Perhaps there is a techy trick to this. Anyone?

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Filed under Dogs, Nature, Road danger

Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

appalachian bobcat

This isn’t my picture but it’s exactly what I saw near the hermitage the other day, an Appalachian bobcat, except that what I saw seemed to be much bigger with much darker spots. Also, the back feet seemed to be ever so much bigger and the hips much higher than the shoulders. Everything seems to be bigger and more spectacular in this most remote of places in North America in WNC. I thought I was looking at a cross between a Siberian Tiger and some sort of sasquatch on all fours. I mean, the back feet were really huge, something more like the Canadian lynx:

canadian lynx

Anyway, that’s now multiple times I’ve seen a lynx, besides panthers and bears and coyotes and red wolves and a grey wolf and have seen tracks for a massive mountain lion. Some think that panthers and lions (so very much bigger and different in so many ways) are the same as a lynx and bobcat, but not:

black panther

The above might be a melanistic jaguar, but what I saw two separate times was taller, much more lanky with a longer neck, definitely a panther, which has a narrower paw print than a mountain lion, which is a heavier, stockier animal.

mountain lion

Anyway, I am reminded of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the last One standing after the deadly battle with the evil one. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is always with us, watching over us, fighting for us:

lion of the tribe of judah


Filed under Nature

Fall at the Hermitage on a “day off” but paradise is carried within


The Hermitage water fall. And then there’s this above another water fall:


And, of course, content as ever, my friend, close to the river starting not far away at the continental divide:


I was at the hermitage twice on the “day-off”, the second time to make sure that “grandma” would be getting her diabetes shot since the neighbors were gone to the funeral for her brother, making her the lone survivor of the family.

Both morning and afternoon – I couldn’t but do it – I did up some target practice, this time replacing the QIT-99 with my 7″x9″ targets, not getting 100% anymore with the targets just a 1/3 the regulation, but still passing with 80% and 85%. Grandma, herself a crack shot with both a pistol and a long rifle, said that all that target practice is useless since, if you need to shoot, you just shoot and it’s done. But she’s a natural at it. I need to keep sharp with practice. And… and… for me it’s really fun, and it’s a real distraction, and it gets me outside and in the forest, making me feel at home, though in exile…

WNC is paradise. But, here’s the deal… you carry paradise within you (2 Cor 4:6-18 nab):

For 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. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

donkey blessed sacrament


Filed under Donkeys, Guns, Nature

Laudie-dog Eclipse-dog; Islam and the crescent moon; Jesus and me.

laudie dog eclispse dog

So, there I was, sitting in a chair, head back, eclipse glasses on, staring at the moon crossing the sun, with Laudie-dog trying to get my attention. So, I took a number of pictures of her, including this one. Mind you, she is not blind, this moment was just a millionth of a nano-second in length in which I somehow managed to take the picture just as she also looked up just before totality. She wasn’t just imitating me; she was trying to tell me that something weird was going on, like, um, me sitting and staring at the sun, because, how dumb is that, right?

During totality, Laudie dog was shaking with fear. But the shaking wasn’t, mind you, in fear of the celestial events. Rather, the town of Andrews was playing super weird spooky music even while others were shooting off fire-works. Laudie dog has no liking for that activity. Anyway, here’s the totality to my naked eye (and naked camera):

eclipse totality andrews nc 2017-

I loved going to the planetarium in the Twin Cities as a kid. It’s totally different when you see things happening in front of you. When the moon started blocking the sun, the first thought that came into my mind and heart and soul was: “God exists! God is so very wonderful! God loves us!”

But this wasn’t just an intellectual thing. I suppose people will make fun of me for saying this, but this was a spiritual event for me, very very very peaceful. By that I mean something beyond Saint Paul’s chapter one of his letter to the Romans. All creation speaks of the glory of God, yes! But more… It was as if Jesus was with me watching the eclipse, which, although He is creating that eclipse, although He is creating me, He can come in His wonderfully condescending love (in the absolutely best sense) and be in His own creation (He is incarnate!). And, by the way, He can also give a flower to the Immaculate Conception.

eclipse beginning crescent andrews nc 2017

Meanwhile, with the crescent sun a thought came to mind about the crescent moon and Islam.

While I was studying the Syrian language I came across a cultural tid-bit well known to every Muslim in that part of the world but not to someone like me from the North woods of Minnesota: the moon is a man, enlightening in difficult circumstances, helpful and kind, never threatening, even while the sun is a woman, always threatening, burning, hurtful, unrelentingly cruel. During a solar eclipse, the moon beats down the sun. The phases of the moon are actually just the sun trying to escape on the other side of the earth. Once in a while the moon hunts down the sun and shows the sun who is boss. The crescent moon is lifted up above every mosque/cultural center. The meteor rock in mecca is part of the moon come to earth, right? In that part of the world, the received mythology treated various celestial bodies as the gods, that is, the sons and daughters of the original deities which progressively became more material as time went on.

Meanwhile, the woman clothed with the sun in the Apocalypse (and our Lady of Guadalupe) has the crescent moon under her feet. Heh heh heh.


Filed under Dogs, Nature, Spiritual life

Preying caption call. Note eyes.

Caption call. Note the eyes.


Filed under Nature

Day off – part 2 – Bambi

Mother doe and her little bitty fawn – at her right shoulder – had their antennae up near the Hermitage. I wonder if the lion will get them, or the wolves, red and grey, or panthers. Or..  or..  they could be OK.

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NASA comes to my parish: Eclipse 2017 Full Corona Andrews North Carolina


eclipse map august 21 2017 Andrews NC USA

NASA has rented out an entire abandoned strip mall here in Andrews NC to get ready as we’re directly in line with the center of the eclipse on Monday August 21 2017. [NASA will be at the middle school.] So, this is the official place to be. Of course, the moon doesn’t care about anything “official” but runs it’s course where it will. On the map below, the vertical moons show the extent of the corona that you will see depending where you are. You can see the full corona in the greyed out path:

eclipse usa map.png

Here’s the timing and duration. You’ll be able to see the full corona for a just more than two and a half minutes if you’re in Andrews, North Carolina:

eclipse north carolina.png

The hotels are all booked out on that date already months ago. But bring your own vittles and fixins and drinks and you should be just fine. We’ll have an extra big supply of food after the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 214 Aquone Road (see map above). Monday you’re on your own. Be sure to get your eclipse glasses. Someone gave me a pair today. They sell them in City Hall for $2.50, or for lots less if you buy many:

eclipse glasses

I think the population of our little town is something like 1,700, but “they say” that there is an estimated 10,000 people coming, with some saying 20,000 (from as far away as Europe) and some saying 100,000. That’s a lot of porta potties for 2 1/2 minutes! But it might well be a three day event.

Be careful of the pickpockets and be aware that the end of the world people come out of the woodwork at such times. Be situationally aware in these weird times we live in.

A spiritual note: Jesus said that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights. There was a full eclipse when He died on the cross. That passed and the sun came out again. That’s one day and night right there. Then Friday and Saturday night. He rose on Easter Sunday.

Mass Schedule: On Sunday, 11:00 AM, Holy Redeemer Church 214 Aquone Rd. Andrews. We have a “Social” afterward with lots of food. All welcome.


Filed under Nature

Rejoicing in Rainbows?

rainbow church

I always rejoice when I see a rainbow because I love how nature works, including natural law. This double-rainbow was seen the other night with a good sized group of young priests over at the parish church where we were. Some of them had suffered in the seminary or in their priesthood from the lavender mafia, as it is called. All of them were happy to see the symbol that the castigation is over and the promise of good things to come has arrived. None of them thinks of God’s promise of goodness symbolized by the rainbow as a symbol of continued sin, but instead find such an interpretation of self-congratulation for sin to be disgusting, blasphemous. All would agree with this:


For myself, in this year of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, of Our Lady of the Rosary, of graces and mercy, I think of another splash of light across the otherwise threatening skies:

fatima lucia trinity mercy

And with much emphasis on Divine Mercy we recall this light coming from the Heart of our Lord and Savior:

divine mercy

As a priest who hears confessions, I don’t care what sin it is that people confess. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever other sin, right? I only care that people turn away from sin by turning to our Lord and His Divine Mercy. I rejoice in that Divine Mercy for all who want it, who want to be on their way to heaven. I know that His Mercy is a sign that the castigation is almost over, with the clouds dissipating, with the floods receding, with the promise of goodness and kindness to come. So, I hope I haven’t made the LGBTQetc crowd too upset. That’s not my intention. I’m just saying that mercy is for everyone who wants it. Is that a bad thing to say?


Filed under Divine Mercy, LGBT, Nature

Air Quality Index for parts of my parish: Extreme health hazard: 423 out of 500


The perigee moon the other evening in an otherwise cloudless sky, except for the suspended particulates. I guess on the scale of 0-500, 500 equals choking on spoon fulls of dust. The past couple of days have seen what appears to be clear enough air as there is a breeze carrying some of the smoke away. Of course, that also fans the flames. 1/2 dozen of one or six of the other. We’re trying to catch a sixth arsonist. They get to pay for firefighters from all over the country, not to mention the equipment including the helicopters, EMTs, logistics, lost homes, etc. But, that’s when they get out of prison.

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It’s definitive: the dreaded serpent

brown snake

This is a common brown snake, otherwise known as a city snake, a garden snail eater of all things, which I picked up in the back yard of the rectory. Sigh. This is the dreaded serpent because, well, it’s definitive then. I’m no longer a mountain hermit. I’m domesticated, a city slicker. Sigh. Oh, for the days in the hermitage with timber rattlers and water moccasins and copper heads and whatnot, where even the rat snakes and Eastern Racers got six feet long and over. But here in the city the snakes are all measured in inches. Sigh. And what’s worse, I’m even busy with Spring cleaning. Sigh. I’m so domesticated. It all just makes me long for the days of my youth with extreme sports knuckleheadism. But, O.K. I’m domesticated. So be it. Heaven will be different! O.K., maybe I should make something of this, like an encouragement, gentle as it is, to get to my popular version of the thesis on Genesis 3:15, you know, about the crushing of the serpent on the head, something like that.


Filed under Nature

Analogy for Divine Mercy: Waterfalls!


This above picture is utterly deceptive. These falls are about 1/4 mile long. The width of the falls at the bottom is about 150 feet across. I’m sure this would count as a level 6 for serious knuckleheads, if not just an outright portage (good idea). I’m guessing all kayaking is forbidden (good idea). I took this picture the other day on way to the house exorcism.


The picture above is utterly deceptive. You would think cars can’t drive under waterfalls. You would be wrong. That is a roadway. I took this picture the other day on my way to the house exorcism.


The above picture is utterly deceptive. This waterfall is next to the hermitage. You would think it’s only about 5 feet across. It’s more like thirty. I took this picture the other day on my way back from the house exorcism.

san clemente mosaicThis mosaic at San Clemente in Rome isn’t utterly deceptive. It’s an attempt at an analogy about waterfalls, using the psalm line: As the hart years for running streams, so my soul is thirsting for you my God.” I used to pass this daily for years while doing my stint in bella Roma. The waters gushing from the foot of the cross depict the exorcism of all exorcisms. Note the serpent escaping just below the cross. He hates that the Lord Jesus has just died for all of us, thus having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the mercy of establishing His own Kingdom to replace the kingdom of the prince of the this world, the ancient dragon, that cunning serpent, the father of lies.

To this day, the one who has best depicted the waterfall of which we must take note is Mel Gibson in his “The Passion of the Christ.” In one of the final scenes on Calvary, you’ll remember the soldier must thrust his sword into the side, into the Heart of Jesus, you know, just to make sure that He’s dead. He does so, and from that we receive the image of the font of the Sacraments and the creation of the Church from the side of Christ just as Adam’s wife was taken from the side of Adam:

side of christ

side of christ 2

side of christ 3

Also His Immaculate Virgin Mother was redeemed at the first moment of her conception so that sin never touched her soul. This vision of this waterfall is not deceptive at all. It speaks of us of the truth of our salvation, the goodness and kindness and truth of Jesus with a love stronger than death, that mocks death, that rises from the dead, taking captivity captive, taking us to our Heavenly Father to give us as a gift to Him. Thank you, Jesus.

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Filed under Confession, Jesus, Mercy, Nature, Year of Mercy

Cardinal sins and me: “You’re so vain!”

cardinal sin

Anything “cardinal” is about the hinge effect (cardo=hinge), something on which other things turn. A cardinal sin spins off so many other sins.

  • The cardinal sins are superbia (hubris/pride), avaritia (avarice/greed), luxuria (extravagance, lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath), and acedia (sloth). The fellow above is surely guilty of all these, but, with myself guilty in every way, who am I to judge?
  • These call to mind seven holy virtues, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. But I’m sure this fellow has none of these virtues. I mean, how could he?
  • The actual cardinal virtues are four in number: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Don’t look to him for any example with any of these, except in the via negativa.

Perhaps you suspect that I am upset with this fellow. The sin of the cardinal or red-bird (toxaway in the local language of WNC) pictured above is not what you might think it is, however. It’s not that he’s vain, looking in the mirror 24/7/365, nor that he’s pooping all over my vehicle, nor even that he’s overly aggressive in attacking his rival in the mirror, nor that he’s surely cracking his beak and giving himself a headache and causing himself spinal injuries so that he will disable himself and won’t be helpful in feeding the young ones in the nest. The sin is that he’s showing me what a bad auto mechanic I am by ripping off my perfectly good gorilla tape (this is almost impossible for a human, much less for a little bird) which holds the windshield frame on, which holds the windshield on, more or less, and thus holds the cab on to the truck and holds the truck together. Here he is, arranging a little piece in his beak before taking off to show his prize for nest strength to his nesting spouse:

cardinal sin-

And then, just to rub it in, after he does that, he sings about it! The gall! The nerve! I mean, look at that top-near-corner of the windshield. It was fine all this time until he, my enemy, my nemesis, the destroyer of my one good vehicle, has appeared. What to do? I think I firstly need to give him a name. We are so afraid to name our enemies these days, you know, like ISIS and such as that. We are our own worst enemies. But in escaping that latter discussion of ourselves being our own worst enemies, I’ll just project all my troubles onto him and accuse him of everything horrible and evil. I suppose I could just call him the Red Terrorist, but that’s more of a title. I need a name, you know, to make it personal. Any suggestions? Any mythic demon from the underworld? And galactic satan from the meta-beyonds?

P.S. Pope Francis vehicles allow you to have some fun like this. ;-) Sometimes I think I have too much fun. This is a benefit of being utterly convinced at each moment that we can be ever so easily catastrophic disastrous victims of cardinal sins if we are without friendship with the Most High God of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them; He has us in the palm of His hand; He has us look to Him in rejoicing.

Oh, and, by the way, the local mechanic shop said they’ll try to attempt to bring Betsy the Nissan Pickup back to life first thing Monday morning. Resurrection in Holy Week!


Filed under Jesus, Nature