Category Archives: Nature

All things work together for the one who loves God, even…

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There are those who say that they will have a question for God if they make it to heaven, such as what’s the deal with wood-ticks and mosquitoes and wasps and hornets and yellow jackets. Myopic. And not recognizing the perfect ecosystems which we go about destroying. Mostly, it’s just not having a bit of humility, not wanting to open one’s eyes and be directed to the Creator by His Creation.

Meanwhile, this bit of stinging horror pictured above is just under the eves of the carport, just where I open the car door, so that when I stand up, all in black, these beasties think they are under attack, just inches away. I often feel them smashing into the “baseball” cap I wear. It’s their favorite spot no matter what I do, year after year. I’m allergic to such critters, a hereditary condition. Sorry, but I got out the ol’ wasp spray.

People say that Saint Francis wouldn’t like harming such innocent creatures, but that’s only because of the myths that have grown up around Saint Francis. No wimp, flowers in the hair hippie he, no, no, no. Go ahead, read the rule for his fledgling community that he wrote. Remember, he was deacon, and had courses in the law of the Church such as it was at the time. He is precise. He wants his friars in heaven. He wants them to be crucified to themselves and the world so as to live for Christ Jesus.

  • “But Father George, you’re talking about being crucified to yourself and to the world and you’re afraid of a little sting? Bwahahahahahahaha!”

I know. I know. But it’s just that a little sting could do me in right quick.

  • “But Father George, you used to have bee hives!”

Well, I never said I was always prudent in having no fear of anything. And these beasties are different than bees.

Our Lord says that we will have no questions when we enter, please God, into heaven. But I insist that I will have a question, but it will be merely rhetorical. When something bad happens to us here on earth, we tend to ask, perhaps with some bitterness: “Why is it always me?”

When we enter, please God, into heaven, it seems to me that we will be so thankful and so awestruck at the love and goodness and kindness of the Lord, that we will ask the same thing: “Why me, Lord? I am a useless servant who only did what he had to do.”

And you know what that is? Going to Confession. Oooo! That stung, didn’t it? ;-) But don’t be afraid of a little sting. The happiness of the grace of absolution, just so wonderful.

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Rattler’s rattle rattles plot twisting. [Update: Father Gordon’s humor.]

Whenever I put up a picture of a snake and say it’s a Timber Rattler (common here in Western North Carolina, especially on the road where I was) there are those who say that that’s impossible, a conspiracy theory, an exaggeration, just more unnecessary drama, all in a laudatory effort, methinks – PLOT TWIST – to normalize the presence of rattlers (which, to be sure, I love to see around as well). I don’t want to step on them. But I also don’t want to run over them. I love to see nature in full force.

The fake nay-sayers will say that surely I didn’t see the tell-tale pattern, or if I did, it was merely being sported by an immature Eastern Racer (Black Snake) or some such.

Then they’ll that surely I wasn’t close enough to see if it had a triangular head, you know, like this:

But then, still pretending to doubt my insistence, will say that is surely didn’t have an actual rattle, and add that some snakes can shake their tails with no rattles and make them kind of sound like rattles (true!). But, then there is this:

Now what? Baiting someone to think that this is not a Timber Rattler and so is therefore great for using in a humorous selfie like this?

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[In the picture immediately above, that IS a Black Snake. But Father George is wearing a black shirt…] But what happens then – and this is the purposed intention of those deceitfully shrieking about conspiracy theories and exaggerations – what happens then is that I’ll pick up what is really a Timber Rattler and I’ll get bit by that serpent and die. [In speaking with Father Gordon this morning, he quipped that “it is unclear who was about to bite whom.” Hahaha. :-) I walked or rather slithered right into this. :-) ]

ANALOGY TIME!

  • “Father George! Father George! You’re exaggerating! You’re a conspiracy theorist! You’re melodramatic! Stop saying that Covid-19 vaccines are taken from living organs of human beings (aborted alive for this reason), because, you know, that means that you, Father George, are taking away our good feelings for getting Covid-19 vaccines! You meanie! You old meanie! Those were miscarriages taken out of dumpsters and, you know, stuff like that! Father George, you’re like that old Serpent, the ancient dragon and Satan, lying about doctrine and morality like you do. Father George, there is no sin, there is no Savior, there is no heaven, no hell, and therefore no Satan, no ancient serpent!”

And these people bait even the elect to fall into sin, getting bit by the demonic rebellion against the Living Truth that the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is.

But then, plot twist:

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Filed under Humor, Nature, Spiritual life

Evolution over 420,000,000 million years [updated in one day for evolution’s sake]

Zero change.

There’s never been even one instance of macroevolution proven.

There’s plenty of microevolution. I had freckles as a kid. But despite what Planned Parenthood says, I wasn’t a salamander in the womb.

And more than that, Redemption and, please God, Salvation, makes it possible for us to carry within us by created grace, sanctifying grace, the Most Holy Trinity. That ain’t happenin’ with other creatures even though created by… wait for it… our Creator. We are to be Tabernacles of the Holy Spirit with that fiery Love. God is Truth. God is Love.

UPDATE:

  • We are, in fact, creatures with free will and all mankind is fallen. I mean, let’s take a look at how reasonable, how scientific we are:

That looks well organized, thoughtful, surely a factory putting means of production into action out of love of God and neighbor… Shock! Nur Arbeit macht Frei. What’s that mean? Freedom? …

This was all so very scientific! scientific! scientific! just moving evolution along with eugenics! And human mothers only have salamanders in the womb! Margaret Sanger a sycophant of Hitler, literally. Perhaps it is possible that with any scientific theory, there may be some self-serving politics afoot, so that science in that case is not science, but an abuse of science by butt-hurt emotions, you know, the entitlement to be smahht, you know, not dumb.

  • Obviously, I’m baiting people to go on a treasure hunt for Peking Man! There’s even a treasure map: 39°55′4″N 119°34′0″E. I mean, who was that Marxist poet Jesuit guy who fancied himself as an impressive scientist, paleontologist (ooo! a multisyllabic word!), theologian and, of course, philosopher? Oh yes! Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Now there’s a trustworthy guy! Sigh.
  • I’ve not said one thing about what side of evolution I tend to think answers more questions more consistently in the most simple manner against critics coming from all sides, that is, with the least possibility that we are reading premises into where they must not be or extracting premises from where they must be.
  • What I did say is that pro-death idiocy is butt-hurt emotional greed, making us, as Chesterton has it in, if I remember correctly, The Everlasting Man, less reasonable than the animals, products of our fallen human nature.

One gentleman of Princeton fame chimed in with an article about Ratz from a guy in Vienna (with whom I first had a sit-down way back in the 1990s in Rome), an article which sports this citation:

I couldn’t agree more with those very well chosen words. They are, in fact, exactly what I was expressing in my original post up top. Logically, they mean almost nothing. It’s just baiting for more thought about it all.

In thinking about this, let’s try to limit discussion as to whether faith can purify reason. ;-)

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Moonshiner Crane sighting! Priesthood in the time of Covid-19, like it doesn’t exist

Whilst straightening out the curves and flattening the backside blue ridges of the Appalachian Communion Call routes, Sassy the Subaru had to have her new brakes tested so as not to run over an all too calm Sandhill Moonshiner Crane. He just stood in the middle of the road, eyeing Sassy screech up to this sudden standoff, just barely nervous enough to bat open and shut his six and a half foot wingspan a couple of times, and then ever so slowly tip-toe into some bramble cover in the neighboring field. In this picture you can’t see the head and bill and not much of the neck as he saunters to the left into natural camouflage.

Much more common than cranes on the road are turkey vultures and hawks and ravens and crows all eating the remains of road-kill. Reptiles include snapping turtles and a variety of snakes. Mammalian sightings, often in the form of road pizza, include squirrels and possums. Since there is little traffic, brakes are applied for dogs and cats, as well as, of course, for bears and deer. I’m happy to get a picture of picture of elk. I’ve not been quick enough for actual panthers (not melanistic lions), mountain lions (much heavier, stockier), a variety of lynx. Coyotes (the animal kind) and red wolves are to be seen, once a gray wolf (now also being introduced).

It’s all great therapy for the madness of today’s dark and violent world, the lies, the cover-ups, the manipulations, the power-grabbing, the….

Not everyone in this lock-down world has such opportunities to race round about creation doing Communion Calls with our Eucharistic Jesus, Creator of His beautiful creation. I share these posts for some respite with what few pictures I can get in hopes of assisting the imagination of the home-bound to take flight on the roads with Jesus and I. And it is like flight on these hilly, curvy roads…

Did I say straightening out the curves and flattening the hills? Eeeee Haaaawwww…

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Snow dogs?

A parishioner is up north at the moment. His view for a couple of minutes…

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Cicada! Cikada! CISA beware! Eschatological hopes of heaven to dare!

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It’s enough to spook even the most seasoned of agents of the new CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), part of the Department of Homeland Security and headquarted in my favorite small town of Rosslyn, VA. ;-) A good friend is one of the few and the brave who work for CISA. The reason for any nervous spookiness is that these insects sound like transformers in the nanoseconds prior to blowing up, the last thing CISA would want regarding essential online military and intelligence stability:

To do anything about them you have to wear hearing protection. The cicada pictured up top and twice more below did his transformation thing on one of the old fence posts along my driveway.

The transformation thing means that he may well now be fully 17 years old. If he’s in sync with his fellow cicadas, there may be others – by the millions – hatching out right about now. The sound they make is literally deafening. Let the concert begin! That’s what I say. This is one of the coolest wonders of nature, of our good God’s creation. What a great imagination God has! Um… Can one even say that?

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Look, I’m sure we will all look much worse than that if we were buried six feet under for 17 years! That he comes out in bright green (green is for hope) ready to play an orchestral performance is – sorry if the analogy limps – is like the resurrection from the dead…

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Well. Fine. Some may find that the analogy isn’t just limping, but is rather crippled.

I bet such unimaginationed people find everything about cicadas to be annoying.

As for me, I find cicada concerts to be soothing. And I like how they look fierce with the big green hammer-head shark eyes.

I wonder what I will look like at the resurrection unto life before the general judgment wrought by Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, who will absolutely come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Oh! I remember:

  • “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

By the way, I don’t at all mean to be presumptuous in hoping to make it through the general judgement so as to be on my to heaven so as to be part of the Holy Family. Hope is an infused virtue that comes with sanctifying grace (which I hope to enjoy!). We have to have hope. Confession helps with that, right? It makes for a transformation, right?

If we didn’t have hope, we would only look forward to looking like the empty shell of a bug a couple of pictures above, but not just for 17 years, for all eternity.

As I always say really very frequently: “I wanna go to heaven!”

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Bald Eagle sighting above the Rectory

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Standing next to the American Flag in the driveway, this is best picture I could get of a magnificent Bald Eagle. Sorry it’s not clearer. But my heart thrilled to see this representation of my own patriotic spirit.

On Eagles Wings?

  • “You have seen for yourselves how […] I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. (Exodus 19:4)
  • “They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

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Beasts of WNC. I love my parish.

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Mama bear and baby bears headed in the direction of the hermitage, about three quarters of a mile as the bear walks, right up and down a back ridge or two.

Then there’s this guy out on the front walk of Holy Redeemer church here in Andrews. Just a baby, and despite the infancy camouflage, I think this is merely an Eastern Racer:

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Then, on a Communion Call to home-bound in the time of Covid-1984, fully 16 dear. It would have been 17, but one died after getting its leg blown off last hunting season. People who have guns but who don’t know how to shoot are so very annoying. I won’t tell you where these are, except that they are within the five state area near Andrews!

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American Dagger Moth at the rectory? Gun and dagger for a minister?

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Andrews, western NC, July 25, 2020. I doubt this is an American Dagger Moth, as the caterpillar – at least at this tiny stage – has no yellow fuzz at all, just smooth yellow, though with a multitude of dagger-life black spikes. It’s also sitting on a cucumber leaf, not up in various trees of its normal habitat. Maybe this is normal for the beginning stages.

Having said that, the biodiversity in WNC is immense, and the variations of the “norm” seen elsewhere are quite marked both in flora and fauna. Lots of “That’s unique!” going on here. I’m not sure if this one has both pros and cons. Some caterpillars are benign. Some inflict horrific health conditions. Some are to be especially tolerated for what they do later as moths and butterflies.

I’m no Lepidopterologist (I had to look that up…). I’m just putting this up for interest. It’s so easy to love the natural world that our dear Lord created:

  • “For what can be known about God is evident […], because God made it evident […]. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made.” (Romans 1:19-20)

The Lord makes it ever so easy to walk with Him when out in the creation He created.


Meanwhile, me being me, I thought of my EDC when I saw the name “American Dagger”:

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This contraption is carried on the belt on the left side, just across from the appendix-carried Glock 19. The easy snap-in holster for the knife is attached to the paddle holster for the magazines, carried semi-horizontally for the quickest possible switch imnsho. The straight blade is 2.5″, just slightly longer than the American Dagger Caterpillar when it is full grown. The knife is upside down, if you will, as my left hand – weak hand – can grab it in what is already, then, an upside-up position for the hand straight out of the holster. Perfect.

The American Dagger Moth is quite benign, just like the caterpillar. The same goes for the Glock 19 and the knife. The knife is used all day long, in gardening, in opening letters and boxes. It’s a tool just like Glock is a tool. The caterpillar has spikes, tools that are useful in defense against unjust aggression.

Speaking of that, some say with a smile: “A minister with a gun?” finding this to be curiously humorous. When I mention that I’m also the police chaplain and that 2nd amendment capacities are prudent and moral, describing some of the situations one can and does get into accompanying officers, their exclamation turns into: “A minister with a gun!”, that is, no longer with a question mark, but with quiet admiration, nodding their heads in agreement.

Mind you, I’m not a law enforcement or any kind of officer. I don’t do that. But if someone’s actively pumping bullets into an officer, it’s entirely within the purview of the 2nd amendment for a citizen, a civilian, to exercise 2nd amendment capacities to protect a victim suffering from mortal unjust aggression wherein the imminent provision of death is actively in progress. One uses the least amount of force to repel that unjust aggression, whatever that least amount happens to be. It’s the last thing you would ever want to be involved in. It is what it is in this fallen world. Lest anyone think that there is such thing as unjust aggression at all, here’s just a few minutes with the great Kayleigh McEnany:

Our Lord has created the animals with tools for their defense.

The greatest of all prophets, John the Baptist, gave advice and encouragement to the law enforcement – even of occupying forces! – so that they too might be saved, not apart from their duties, but as they carry out their duties.

Our Lord Himself does not shy away from The Battle of The War. He also has the proper tools. And… and… He is the last one standing:

lion of the tribe of judah

A few scars to be sure in His hands and feet and side. He’s good with that. We thank Him for it. Amen.

Be the caterpillar, with great charity and goodness and kindness. But be the caterpillar. Our Lord expects it of you.

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gardening and walking with the Lord

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That picture was uploaded from the garden June 1, 2020. I was amazed. Gardening is an encouragement to walk with the Lord, to be a co-worker in the garden He planted, as we read way back in Genesis, the Lord desiring that we till the ground, walking with Him.

BTW, however much walking with the Lord is mocked, that walking with the Lord, such as to Emmaus, is not bad and evil. Gardening, walking with the Lord, can be a very fruitful time with the Lord during the day, in the evening, in the morning. Walking with the Lord does not necessarily imply progressivism or anything dialectical, or any kind of tolerant-of-all-mortal-sin-so-called-accompaniment”. We are to pray always. Always means always.

The Lord said that to enter into the kingdom of heaven we are to be like children. To be thankful to the Lord for His creation takes the heart of a child. In this violent drug town I’m quite sure that there are very few who see the paradise in which we live, the mountains and streams and national and state forests and stunning biodiversity.

Meanwhile, the three squarrrsh groupings have continued to grow, edging on 4 feet high and 12 feet wide:

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I’m guessing they’re starting to give up as it’s now mid-July and they’ve really been pumping out the squarrrshes, requiring harvesting twice a day. If it’s your first time gardening, this is a good first plant to plant.

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Meanwhile, the spaghetti squarrrshes are getting way to heavy for their own good. I’m taking the advice of hammocks for the ones which have gotten themselves into impossible situations. And, yes, those are tiny zip-ties. :-)

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The 5-gallon bucket tomato plants are doing well, relatively speaking. These were grown from seeds. There were five seeds thinned out to three plants for each bucket, still too many… but now I know. If you can see them, there are seven tomatoes from this bucket at the moment. These plants are only 1/3 the size of the store-bought seedlings transplanted and given tomato cages. Here’s one of those, also seven tomatoes:

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One of my gardening parishioners laughed when he found out I was taking a census of tomatoes on the plants, saying that they would soon be uncountable. It’s only mid-July and there is a tomato, an early girl, already turning color:

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I know. I know. Gotta do up some weeding, which is not work, btw, if you’re “walking with the Lord.”

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Rectory garden delights day by day

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Besides the Squarrsh (two “Rs”) and Cucumbers and Asparagus, there are some 40 tomatoes at last count on the tomato plants, none of them anywhere near being ripe yet.

Watering and harvesting takes but a few minutes. And for me its a chance to unwind a bit, walking with the Lord in His garden, being thankful to Him. Is that a prayer as well? Yes, it is.

I recommend gardening, even inside if you have no outside space. It’s beneficial on so many levels. We were created to be co-workers with God in His creation. Adam is to “Till the ground”, as his name indicates, being the verbal form for the soil itself. It’s just right.

And if one thinks this to be superfluous in desperate times of Covid-19 insanity lockdowns, of Marxist rioting, of anti-Police defunding, on and on, such normalcy of gardening, if you will, is one of the most practical things one can do.

The most practical thing one can do is pray. Yes. Oh, Confession too.

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Some beasts in the rectory garden

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  • Snapper turtles. There’s a Mr and Mrs in the “Town Branch” that makes up one border on the side of the rectory lot here in town.
  • A wolf spider, which is very helpful in keeping undesirables away.
  • A hammerhead worm, an invasive species, which is terrible, as they eat the most helpful earth worms.
  • Some sort of tiny red spider. Red is a warning. I know nothing about this guy.

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A Decade of Sun

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Oh deer! Seen on Communion Calls…

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The deer on the left has no idea that peeking out from behind a tree with one eye and one ear doesn’t hide the rest of his body. Ha ha. A lesson to learn.

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This is, of course, the best parish in the world. I love bringing the Most Blessed Sacrament around to Jesus’ little flock in what is effectively now a four county area. That puts a few miles in the mountains on Sassy the Subaru, but I am supremely happy rushing about Jesus’ beautiful creation heart to Heart with the Creator Himself.

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Just for nice, because God is good

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This was seen recently whilst racing through round about the winding roads of the back-ridges on the far-side of this parish that I love so very much. Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Smokey Mountains National Forest. I love it. So beautiful. I love those who are here, the criminals, the good people, everyone. Our Heavenly Father does. Jesus does.

Sure, there is – oooh! – this thing wrong in the world. Sure, there is – oooh! – that thing wrong with individuals who put themselves on a power trip in the Church. Yep. Jesus knows all about it. If we get all hyper anxious like “No one is doing anything about all the hell going on!” we might just lose sight of our Heavenly Father sending His only-Begotten Divine Son into this world so as to stand in our place, the Innocent for guilty, redeeming us, and, if we so choose in His grace, saving us. Our Heavenly Father has done and is doing something about it. Jesus took the place of the guilty, us, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin.

Is the beauty of this world passing away like the flower of the field, as Jesus says? Sure. But we can praise our Heavenly Father for this “first memory” of the beauty of creation (as Ratzinger in 1990 had it in Dallas) should we have a “second memory” of re-creation. That second memory – “Do this in memory of Me” – has to be first in our experience before we again begin to see, as it were, the memory of the first creation, the beauty. We have to be courageous enough to see the ugliness of the wounds inflicted upon the Divine Son of the Living God so as to see the beauty of the love of the One bearing them for us.

You see those trees in the picture above? Is there an analogy to help us see them? To be able to see them our robes, our bodies, must be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. We see the beauty of nature created by our loving Creator through the Blood of the Lamb.

If not, we are bound not to see any beauty, and then dump rivers of trash down the mountainsides (which can absolutely happen here in Western North Carolina). If not, we are bound not to see that we are to be tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, you know, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, and therefore dump rivers of trash of sin down into our souls.

Go ahead, join Jesus in anguish for the redemption of mankind and the salvation of those who want it while He prays in the agony of the garden. Go ahead and don’t fall asleep like the other apostles. Go ahead and don’t deny Jesus like Peter, or betray Him like Judas, or run away like all the other apostles. Be brave! Sure. But know this, you’ll only be able to do that, you’ll only be able to come back as did John to stand next to the Cross, next to Jesus’ good mom, if you yourself are the simplest (in a good sense), smallest child of God able to thank God with joy for His gracious creation.

Can you see some good in the murderous druggy criminal? No? Then you don’t get it. What we are to see in everyone is that God has loved us while we were yet sinners so as to get us out of that state and bring us to be His good children, looking to Him in humble and joyful thanksgiving. None of us are better than anyone else. We all fall short of the glory of God as Saint Paul says. We are have needed to be cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb. None of us has anything to brag about regarding our own salvation. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Global warming? Ask a Minnesota Loon. He will tell you about global unfreezing

This guy is paddling about on the waters of Ely Minnesota. Loon laughs can be heard for miles when the forests are dead still and the waters are reflecting that mysterious melancholic power humor: “This is my lake” coupled with “It’s time to raise a family.” I still remember individual instances of stopping my miles-long walk to and from school through forested paths along the lakes and streams and ponds and sloughs and marshes so as to listen intently to this sound shattering all pretense at having other thoughts in one’s mind and heart and soul.

Early on at the Prep School that was part of my home parish, our English prof whom we called “Slink” (O.S.B.) assigned us to write an essay. I hated this and I was disgusted at what I had written, knowing it was sterile, boring, without merit. I was not yet introduced to the fact that also I have an imagination that can draw in analogies – philosophical, theological, mathematical… – to whatever perspective I myself (who would’ve thought?) might want to envision, even putting all that into a story line.

After all was said and done, a friend let me read his essay. It was on loons calling in the quiet early morning shadows of the mists and fog rolling over the lakes and through the forests. I was captivated. “You can that with words?!” It was the entrance into another universe entirely our own and now more entirely “our own” than ever.

Meanwhile, I had been introduced to the concept of “global warming” since I was in Kindergarten in – what? – 1965. But don’t be fooled. This was truly scientific and it was not called “global warming” but rather “global unfreezing.” Up in Minnesota we have lakes and loons, and an explanation for lakes and subsequently loons that made sense to us as kids and which makes sense to me still today some 55 years later.

We took field trips to numerous places used as examples by geologists and climatologists to demonstrate to the scientific community that the sheer abundance of lakes in Minnesota came from the landscape being plowed up by mountainous glaciers extending from the polar ice cap down to Minnesota because of an ice-age some 10,000 years ago that was itself caused by a cataclysmic event bringing about global cooling, such as the impact of a large meteor. When the world temperature started to heat up again as the atmosphere cleared up from all the ash, the glaciers started to melt, dumping their water, of course, in the basins they had plowed up, creating the lakes in which the loons now frolic. Call to mind such as mastodons eating ferns being instantly frozen only now being found in northern Siberia as the melting following the great freeze continues. It’s not that there is global warming. No. It’s that the earth is finally getting back to it’s normal temperature. I’ve been writing of this for a long time and no one has an answer. Tender snowflake ideologist bullies merely stare at me with glazed eyes, knowing I speak the truth but they are unable to “go there.” Another agenda is at hand for them.

Let’s glean some trivia from William Bornhoft on the lakes in Minnesota.

  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes over 10 acres each. Our license plates are low-balling us with 10,000.
  • Wisconsin says they have 15,000 lakes but with no size requirement. Going by their looser standard, Minnesota has more than 20,000 lakes.
  • Minnesota has 6,564 (69,200 miles) of natural rivers and streams.
  • We had 18.6 million acres of wetlands in 1850.
  • Red Lake is 288,800 acres
  • Mille Lacs Lake is 132,516 acres
  • Leech Lake is 111,527 acres
  • Lake Winnibigoshish is 58,544 acres
  • Lake Vermilion – 40,557 acres with 290 miles of shoreline. That’s a full day of car travel to drive around.
  • Lake of the Woods has 950,400 acres total with 307,010 acres in Minnesota
  • Total Area Covered by Lakes and Rivers (deep water): 2,560,299 acres
  • Total surface water area including wetlands: 13,136,357 acres

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“Day Off” Slaying *The Dragon* x 4

Tail of the Dragon road map names

The day off started with the alarm ringing at 1:00 AM. Early to bed, early to rise and all that. After feeding the dogs and taking care of some chores, I jumped into Sassy the Subaru with a full tank of gas and put on 548 miles round trip that also involved the most intense road one can find anywhere in the world, that is, for a “normal state maintained road.” That’s for the second time in a week. So, four times on that stretch of road. I love it. The motorcycle crowd and sports car crowd come from all over North America to do this ride. There are no guard rails, as these slashers are more dangerous to those one two wheels or three.

I’ve had some scary incidents on the southern stretch of the Taconic Parkway heading down to the Big Apple during morning rush hour – wow… – but the “Tail” is an intensity of another kind, with the emphasis not only on constant acceleration and braking, but also on gear shifting even multiple times every few seconds… for more than 11 miles, with a steering wheel continuously wildly spinning 180 degrees+ in one direction then immediately in the other. Not for the those who fear heights or are not used to an adrenaline rush, that is, if you’re actually trying to keep up with the 30 mile-an-hour speed limit. I’ve never been able to keep up to the 30 mph mark through all the curves, hairpin turns and switchbacks. Nevertheless, the tires did sing, or was this the dragon’s tail itself, the Subaru making the dragon scream, slaying the Dragon and all that?

On a sad note, and as a warning, a deadly serious warning, you have to be careful when dealing with dragons: don’t mock them, don’t push your luck. There is this:

Tail of the Dragon road map deaths

Even Saint Michael the Archangel did not mock Satan:

  • “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment 1 upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 1:9)

Let the beauty of the nature of the ride, the joy of the ride conquer the Dragon.

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Tail of the Dragon today making tires sing!

I was escapading today on the Tail of the Dragon. Being named after Saint George I had to slay that dragon, making him scream in pain. Or was that just my tires singing on the curves?

This being Tuesday, this being the infamous day off, I figure I always have to do something spectacular. Today I’m due to get a good talking to by a bishop from the Holy See, that is, me and other troublemakers like me. More on that after the fact.

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Australia’s fires: God’s love analogy heaven, hell, purgatory, and this world

australia fire

A picture of what is right now going on in Australia. A link to this was sent in a comment on a previous post about these fires: Procrastinating in a fire: hell! Note that in the picture above, the fragile leaves are still on the trees. One nanosecond before this picture was taken, these flames were not there.

Analogy: The Church is right now being purified and sanctified by the most fiery ardent love and truth of the Most Holy Spirit, sent by Our Heavenly Father and His dearest Divine Son, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Eternal Word of the Father now become flesh, as Saint John the Evangelist puts it, so that we might be formed to be one with the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body, we the members of the Body.

That ardent fire of love, God’s love (and God is Love), is always and for everyone good and kind, manifesting the very Truth of God:

  • In heaven this fiery love is received as the ardent love that it is, the saints having been purified of self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy.
  • Upon this earth this fiery love purifies us – as it has all the saints ever – from all self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy, that is, if we allow ourselves by God’s grace, by the graced humble acceptance of His proclamation, “I call you friends.” This humility is reverence in action, thanksgiving amidst this purification. Humility is needed so that we don’t entrench in entitlement to be self-loving only, utterly concerned with our concocted protectionism of ourselves not needing any salvation from self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy. It is God’s re-creating love which cuts through our self-congratulatory arrogance and opens us up to being one with the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head, and we the members of the Body, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation and culture and time and place. But, mind you, the purification of the fiery love of God, more fierce than the mere worldly fires pictured above, is a purging fire, like gold purified by fire. Graced humility has us be trained in – like all the saints – in piercing through the dross with this fiery love. The fiery love is our Paraclet, our Advocate, our Consolor, our Friend.
  • In purgatory this fiery love instructs the Holy Souls, who are by sanctifying grace the Tabernacles of this same Most Holy Spirit, who bear within themselves the presence by grace of the Most Holy Trinity, who are on their way to heaven where, as Saint Paul says, that grace will flourish in glory. Those Holy Souls (for whom we pray!) are instructed as to just how far Jesus had to reach into this world to get them, to get us, stretching out His hands from East to West, from the rising of the sun to its setting, upon the cross, 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. The depths of this truth is what these Holy Souls wanted somewhat to avoid, as it is a painful truth for us upon this earth who are so tempted to being self-congratulatory. Jesus really is our Savior, the One, the only One who can fill us, recreate us with the fiery love of God, with God’s presence. God is love. Once the Holy Souls are purged of any remnants of entitlement to think of themselves as their own saviors in any way on any level for whatever reason, once they have been instructed by this now purging and purifying fire – always God’s love, God being Love, they are then on their way to heaven, having been trained in for heaven, for their greatest joy in heaven, which will be to thank our Lord Jesus. We can’t thank Him if we don’t know what He has done for us. God reveals to those in purgatory what He has done for them. This is we should be allowing – by grace – to happen to us upon this earth. This is painful, as painful as being purged and purified and brought to humility, but by love, fiery ardent love. All the saints who went through purgatory either upon this earth or just after death, were purified of self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy.
  • In hell this fiery love is not at all received by those who are there. They don’t want it. They reject it. They blaspheme because of it. It is “burning” to them inasmuch as this brings their entire being into frustration and rebellion and hatred, on emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels: “NO! NOT GOD’S LOOOOVE!” They are reduced to nothing by the flames of God’s ardent fiery love. God can only be God. God is love. God provides His love to all. But it is received differently.

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Procrastinating in a fire: hell!

blue ridge mountains fire australia

The above picture is taken from the home of the Publisher of These Stone Walls. She’s in the Blue Mountains, not of WNC, but in NSW. What you’re looking at is a wall of fire and smoke racing over the ridges consuming everything in its path. She’s next on the list to get an evacuation order. Prayers for all those involved, residents and firefighters.

Forest fires in Australia are particularly dangerous as the common Eucalyptus tree has a highly flammable oil, making the trees literally explode like a bomb. In the heat the flaming oil is through up into the fire storm’s own turbulent winds, and is able to carried as fire balls for even a few kilometers, giving such fires the potential to spread crazy fast.

Add to that the fact the temps are up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit and we have a recipe for absolute disaster. I’ve lived in those same blue mountains down under, saw the same rising of smoke and flames shooting across the road in the front of me while driving from place to place, and, mind you, just place to place, not evacuating. It’s surprising how close we let hellfire get to our own personal lives… spiritual lives, too.

The trouble is that you tend to listen to the laid back words of the laid back Australians, and ignore it all. It’s like living on Key West and saying that you’ve weathered hurricanes successfully before as a hurricane blows you off your feet. It’s not a guarantee that things will turn out just fine this time. As I get older, I think I would just go ahead and evacuate. Or maybe I would let myself entrench in my ways. Hmmm… my spiritual life again…

Father Gordon told me this morning that he himself has no problem at all with procrastination since, of course, he’s already put off thinking about any problem with procrastination that he might otherwise have.

Hahaha.

Confession time: I can procrastinate with the spiritual life. But – hey! – knowing such horror is the first step in going about changing things up. But in this case, it’s not about me working at it so much as just allowing myself by God’s grace to be drawn into a closer friendship with Jesus, trustful of His providence from the one moment to the next. To evacuate this world and escape the fires of hell, well, there’s no room for procrastination. And our Salvation is Our Lord Jesus Himself. No fear! Confession time!

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