Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (always edition)

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You don’t always have to say something. You can just light a candle, or not. Leave or flower if you have one, or not if don’t have one. You can just “be there” for a moment. Perhaps ask her to watch over whoever that day, help whoever that day to know Jesus better. And, by the way, she undoes knots. Did you know that?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Happy Feast Day edition)

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If a branch was to sprout from the rotted stump of Jesse, that branch would come from that which was not rotted, but rather immaculate. :-)

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Monsters, little kids, and God

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Monsters from the lagoon. Female above, methinks. I don’t know if these are poisonous or not, but I bet they can bite dog-tongue painfully. They’re in the water bowl. They’re always in the water bowl. So, they’ve been removed. Again. They had an egg sack. Poor things. Here’s the male:

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In other monster news, it’s just a guess, but was this one of those very long black beetles who’s now hatched into this flying machine? Looks like he could pinch a pencil in two:

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I think it’s good to be fascinated with nature (step one), and be in awe and wonder at the Creator of it all (step two). Only those who are childlike shall enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. Go ahead and take the first step. But do go on to the second step. This two-step is a very healing process.

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This Catholic Priest baiting Andrew Jackson Democrats: how Kryptesque

It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about unpleasant topics because that somehow besmirches him, but a priest would be besmirched in my opinion if he didn’t talk about the darkest of humanity’s existential peripheries so as to see about addressing the problem. You can’t solve the problem unless you can name it and address it, right? Saying that priests should just be wusses and stand on the sidelines is NOT the way to go about things.

It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about politics, as he is likely to alienate people from much more important religious matters, and therefore he is risking their eternal salvation for the sake of few banal comments on a few banal matters. This Catholic priest thinks that he has the right to talk about purely banal matters, being a tax-paying citizen, about whether or not, for instance, a road needs repaving before hiring more police, what with arguments about car-size potholes ending lives or lack of police who could have been there to slow people down coming to the fore depending on one’s point of view.

But some matters are both political and moral and therefore belonging both to the natural law and also to religion, God having created nature, after all. Thus, the morality of genocide, for instance, while being supported by politicians on one side of the political spectrum (Democrats, as demonstrated in the video above), is also a topic that a minister can validly address. God will be the judge if one is for or against, campaigns for or against, facilitates or places obstacles over against, for instance, genocide.

Sometimes certain matters are so important that methods of teaching that are out of the ordinary are called for. For instance, read a classic teaching-by-way-of-baiting event in Mark 3:1ff or Luke 6:6ff, when Jesus purposely called into the midst the man with the withered hand, curing him and making the others absolutely livid, furious, inciting their willful murderous intent so that they could see just how bad and evil they already were. Hah! “Oh, but, Father George! Baiting like that is mean! Jesus is a meanie!” No. Jesus was teaching truly horrifically cruel people a lesson. Period.

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMY

Recently I wrote a post about the genocide of the Cherokee promoted by Democrat Andrew Jackson. I compared the praise he lavished on those who took the land compared to some of those who took the land, the Scots-Irish. I’m also Scots-Irish, as I’ve redundantly pointed out on this blog (redundant because the name and family clan of Byers is, like, the definition of what a Scots-Irish person is). The baiting was to get a reaction to whatever the reader thought might be important, because, truth be told, I’m quite afraid that the same Democrat Andrew Jackson kill-em-all attitude is still to be found in abundance in this region. But sometimes it needs a bit of baiting to bring it out for all to see, including the people who, even unbeknownst to themselves, are genocidal without knowing it. It’s important to know who’s who. Law enforcement agencies do this kind of thing all the time, say, detectives, say, the FBI, say, the DEA, et alii. All the time. But, hey! You can even bait the baiters…

I would have hoped that it would be agreed that Andrew Jackson’s call for genocide was a terrible mar upon American history. But I thought, rightly, that some might take the bait and, revealing who they are in a comment, demonstrate that the only important thing for them is not that genocide began here, but that some among the Scots-Irish might have been criticized, I mean, like, you know, even the point of name calling, and in their opinion, entirely wrongly. Oooo! Name calling! “You, you, you, human being you!” I need to put up a post I wrote long ago about the name calling wrought by Jesus and His cousin John the Baptist. They’re the biggest name callers of all time because, truth be told, they were right both logically and morally and with integrity and honesty and goodness and kindness of actually taking people seriously enough to tell the truth. I’m not as proficient at name calling as they were, but – hey! – one can try!

Anyway, I won’t approve that one particular comment or reveal who that person is, you know, unless it appears they are going to continue some violence on the Cherokee or anyone not themselves, like the Latinos.

I’ll have to write a post about someone here – super intelligent – who was seriously rationalizing with the most refined moral argumentation the gunning down of Latinos in Graham County just to do it. Think about that. It’s reminiscent of 1920s Germany, you know, the lead-up. But I digress. Though not really. Oh! What’s this:

fbi fairmont wv criminal justice information systems

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (nipped in the bud edition)

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Oddly, people speak about stopping something evil and bad in its genesis by saying: “Better nip it in the bud.” I mean, flowers are all good, right?

Ah, but here’s the deal: that which is evil and bad looks all good, and that’s why it’s attractive, a temptation. That needs to be nipped in the bud.

But for Mary? Well, as the Immaculate Conception, there was no stopping her. Instead, she let herself be in solidarity with her Son Jesus, who, also unstoppable, let Himself be in solidarity with us, laying down His life for us, nipped in the bud, we thought ever so stupidly. Nothing is as it seems.

The way it actually is: God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son…

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Homily 2018 06 07 Commandments 1-2

kosher ham sandwich

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Homily 2018 06 06 Filthy filthy liberals

liberals tender snowflakes

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Guns and cripplely shooting (day-off)

glock 19 9mm gen 4

Above, when I started out a year and some ago. Below, the present state of affairs:

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Different phone-camera. But, other than that, and other than a bit of wear and tear, other than the backstrap being removed, there have been logistical changes. Those happened within a couple of months of getting the CCH permit. If you know what you’re looking at you know what you’re looking at. If I say “Yikes!”, it doesn’t refer to the lower picture, but rather to the one up top. BTW, in North Carolina, a CCW (concealed carry weapon) permit does not exist. The permit is abbreviated with CCH as a concealed carry handgun is the only weapon allowed in law. All others being carried concealed do carry a felony with them.

Since the last time I was out to practice the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course the leg went bad, again. I was wearing the metal brace, which is really nice, very helpful. But I was wondering how that would have an affect on scores, cripplely shooting targets like that. I wasn’t able to do the spin-from-180-degrees from cover stage, but – Hey! – you do what you can, doing that stage with its three targets just minus the spin. If I don’t take off points for that defect of course integrity, I did pretty well, getting 100% a couple of times. Well, not really. While I was way under time for some stages, I was also overtime on some parts of some stages, a disqualification. But I’m happier with greater accuracy than shaving off that hundredth of a second or so. But that’s the continuing challenge, crippley or not.

Other cripplely situations, like wheelchairs (with which I’m also very familiar), also draw unwanted attention. Those with nefarious intentions are also cowards, and so they look for those they think are vulnerable. Those who are vulnerable should be all the more prepared.

True story: an old guy in a wheelchair was in the parking lot of our one big supermarket in Robbinsville, trying to make his way to the store. But a young man with a knife came up to him demanding his money. The old guy in the wheelchair said that he had a question for the young man: “Why is it that you bring a knife to a gun fight?” And by that time the old guy in the wheelchair was already pointing his pistol at the young man, who then ran away. Hah! For those who think that is overkill, it’s not. A knife is a deadly weapon. Delivery of that deadly force is probable (demonstrated as a threat which inherently includes more than a threat) and imminent (right in front of you). The old guy wisely just let el creepo run away. I’m sure he had a good laugh. Stories like this can be multiplied.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (leaves of three edition)

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Shiny oily green leaves of three, reddish when new. I’ve seen them all:

  • shaggy vines crawling 100 feet up tree trunks
  • smooth and twiggy growing tall and sparse
  • heavy duty woody bushy heavily laden with powdery white-blue fruit berry stalks

Almost amorphous. But always the same with the three leaves, green with red tints. Just like the difference in mosquitoes in Minnesota (murderous vampires by the trillions) and here in the southern USA (tiny and rare), just so is the poison ivy in Minnesota virulent (having put me in the hospital) compared to a few spots of a mere rash here in the southern USA. The above is what’s in at the back of the church in Robbinsville: be careful! Below is near the hermitage:

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But what caught my eye here was a flower for the Immaculate Conception. I didn’t see the poison ivy on the tall and lanky vine to the right of the picture until I was about to crop that part of the picture out.

On the one hand, I’m happy that I have greater situational awareness for flowers for the Immaculate Conception than I do for poison ivy, but I don’t think our Lady would be disappointed if I were to increase situational awareness for leaves of three. I’ve put some pretty wild stuff in bouquets for the Immaculate Conception, but this is one thing I would not include. I think it’s the first thing ever not to include. Just. No. In fact, I don’t think I would pick the flowers above either, for the reason that, in the wind, they would blow over and touch the poison ivy oily leaves. So… just… no.

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Road Danger: Natural disasters

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This is one of the many hair-pin turns on the one-lane no-fault gravel road winding its way high atop the back ridges near the hermitage. On this particular turn – imagine this – we had a tractor trailer (an extended flatbed with forklift at the back) who, having made the turn, had the cab in far ditch on the one side and the 75 foot trailer spanning the ravine and being held up by its back set of tires on the other side, totally blocking the road with no other way around except to backtrack and circle around the mountains, fully 10 miles to get to the highway below instead of just 2. And what if there was a forest fire, as there was a while back, smoke everywhere. I think of Guatemala, of Hawaii.

Anyway, notice the washout, big enough to break off a front wheel and throw a vehicle sideways into the ravine. They can appear within hours with hard rains, and do. Right now there are many axle-breakers. Being a one lane road and the inside of the curve, the washout is is where people drive to make the sharp turn, all things being equal. But nothing is ever equal.

You have to have constant situation awareness, which is not just for emergency situations. This picture was taken on a beautiful day, sunshine, flowers blooming, birds singing. And then…

One will be caught off guard in the spiritual life if one is trusting in nice circumstances. “I’m doing fine! And everything is nice!” No. We must continuously be in humble thanksgiving mode before Jesus with all joy – however stressed out we can be. If not, we are trusting in ourselves and there’s not much there to trust in there.

Is this low self-esteem? It is actually low self-esteem to trust in oneself, to congratulate oneself, to think that one is one’s own savior, that one doesn’t need to be carried along in the friendship of Jesus, for then, merely trusting in ourselves, we are undercutting what we could be, that is, good friends with Jesus. Why undercut ourselves? Low self-esteem? So, it is actually great self-esteem to be good friends with Jesus, to be saved by Him, to be held in His friendship, to be in humble thanksgiving mode, and, in this way, to have constant situational awareness. A disaster could come along at any moment…  expectedly. We’re always looking for deescalations of situations, but in the spiritual life, this is done in a most pleasant way, by the love of God, with the joy of being loved by God.

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Fr Byers is… Scots-Irish?!

DNA scots-irish

Here’s a partial detail of a screen shot of my Ancestry DNA results. Ulster! Scots Irish! Who knew? I did. Actually, decades ago before any DNA whatever. You see, Byers is an Ulsterish name. My dad looks soooo Scots Irish. Byers is a terribly common name in Western North Carolina. Anyone who knows anything about Scots Irish knows I’m that. So, why…

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“Stop the spin, Father George.” “Genuflecting at Mass is forbidden.”

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A newly damaged again meniscus it seems.

  • I’m supposed to give up on the second to the last stage of the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course during which one spins about from 180 degrees toward three targets seven yards away and each three yards apart from each other (I use a foam dessert plate 4.7 times smaller than the normal QIT target). The spinning bit, I’m told, is hard on the knees, which the knee doesn’t need for the foreseeable and perhaps unforeseeable future.
  • Also forbidden is genuflecting. I’ve been doing a half-genuflection (also difficult) or just bowing. I did full genuflections after the consecrations at Mass on Corpus Christi and both times the knee went CRACK! while attempting to stand up again.

[~break into cold sweat, pretending nothing happened, bewildered~]

And to think that I was able to genuflect perfectly just hours before. Perhaps some will understand why I defended ancient of days Pope Francis for not genuflecting when pretty much everyone was condemning him to hell for not believing in transubstantiation. Knees come and go even in the same person especially as one gets older. I’ll be over this soon enough. So, it’s almost like you can turn it on or off, but it’s not you who decide when you can go down on your knees or not; the decision is made by your knees. It is what it is. I have to say that I was impressed in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis recently, impressed that he held the Host and then Chalice up at the consecration for a long time – no, let me rephrase that – for a really long time, obviously personally entranced with the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I’m sure there will be some who will also condemn me to hell for not genuflecting. I remember when, while teaching in the seminary, the knee went awry for a while and I decided that it would be best to bow. Wow. The barking from some priests and seminarians was unbelievable. I went from being thought of as a believer to being categorized as a heretic in one second. Zero solidarity for suffering. Absolutely zero. Dismissed. Marginalized. Out in the darkest of existential peripheries. Why? Well, whatever. I guess I was already there. It just took that event to let me know how fickle people can be.

Anyway, while some are already busy writing posts on their blogs about how demonic I am for not genuflecting – just like Pope Francis – let it be known that I have had some trouble not only as a kid with my leg, but more recently, in Rome, in an accident, on which occasion the tibia turned front to back while the femur remained where it should, rubbishing the meniscus at the time. Two other accidents[!] saw the lower leg smashed to little bits and pieces, 25 in all, the first one requiring the cage pictured below (Piazza Farnese in Rome) with something like 5 screws from the cage into the tibia (as big as pencils) and 12 heavy wires going from one side of the cage to the other – that is, from the cage and into the leg, through the pre-drilled bone, out the other side of the leg to the other side of the cage – stabilizing everything, an invention created originally with some bicycle rims and spokes deep in a sulfur mine in Siberia. It’s better than months of perhaps useless traction and body casts but dangerous for infections. The other accident had to have an operation which removed the patella so as to drill into the top of the tibia so as to hammer[!] a tibial nail (as thick as a carriage bolt) right through bits and pieces and deep into the ankle. Hey! Why worry about any meniscus!

just me 07

So, the “Stop the Spin!” bit doesn’t refer to my writing. I don’t spin, though admittedly I do bait some few individuals when needed, when most appropriate, from time to time, even in this very post. :-)

The contraption on the left knee in the picture at the top of this post was just now lent to me from one of our retired Air Force parishioners who had worn it for years and now hasn’t had to wear it for a couple of years. The V.A. prescribed it for him, refusing to ever do any operation on any damaged meniscus, telling him that any rough edges just wear away over time. I don’t know if that was simply save-a-buck policy of the time and it’s different today or not. Some of you readers may know.

The brace itself is made of unbendable aluminum (which I would spell and pronounce differently as a kid (aluminium ail-lou-mini-um) since I guess we preferred the more scientific usage since 1812 (no prejudice to other periodic table elements like platinum intended).

forrest gump braces

Such a relatively smallish brace reminds me of the Forrest Gump scaffolding I was supposed to wear as a kid but didn’t, with my mom letting me get away with wearing orthopedic boots for some years just like in the picture immediately above. Perhaps I’m paying today for my negligence back in the day. The much smaller Breg X2K I’m now using would be super-expensive to purchase. Frighteningly so. Especially since I immediately see the benefit of the extensive scaffolding Forrest was wearing. The under-the-heal-of-the-boot framing keeps the bars where they should be.

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Ooo! EU’s Privacy Policy & this blog: Cookies and cookies! Mmm mmm!

cookies

So, it looks the EU is paranoid. If you’re concerned about your privacy and visiting, like, you know, WordPress blogs, take a look at what the WordPress cookies are and do, that is, take a look at what seems to be, like, you know, some 25 or 50 pages or so of detailed technical presentation about what kind of computer gobbledygook goes into making such cookies: https://automattic.com/cookies/ They could call it a recipe.

A bunch of people have signed up for email notifications. Those go out automatically and each one, I guess, has a link by which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you subscribe through WordPress reader or whatever, you can unsubscribe to that pretty much in the same way you subscribed. :-)

There should be a banner which appears at the top of the blog asking you to accept or to instead stop using the site. On that banner you’ll see I’ve added a note that we also use StatCounter, which is almost useless since WordPress.COM blogs don’t use javascript, so only basic stuff comes back that can simply repeat what WordPress provides but in an easier to use format, like nicely colored world maps of where visitors come from across the globe. To do this, it does collect, like WordPress, the public IP, which, anyway, is no longer tied to any particular source as there are no longer enough numbers: IPs are reused now for any number of people at any given time right around the world, so, whatever.

WordPress seems a bit miffed about all this hassle, but provides this way to comply with new EU law. If you click Accept, the banner will disappear for 180 days but then reappear, just to annoy you. Sorry. Offer it up for the Poor Souls.

Sometimes computer users are a bit unknowing about all this. For instance, one dear reader left a nice comment only to be horrified that it appeared publicly and quickly asked me to take it down and that no message should ever go up. I took it down right away, of course. But now, there’s a mixed message wondering why messages never get put up! The reader is really wonderful, but just new to the whole computer thing. And that’s fine. We can work with each other.

If anyone wants to take a comment down or whatever, let me know. I’m happy to oblige.

In looking over all this kind of thing and imagining all the law suits and bickering that can go on, it comes to mind that I would rather just be heaven. That’s one of the reasons I have comment moderation turned on. I don’t want fights going on in the comments box. It all turns very ugly very quickly, so, no. I like civility.

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Homily 2018 06 03 – Corpus Christi

consecration-

Yikes!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Father it’s one of your friends edition)

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The other day: Banana Lilies? These are next to the Fort Delaney info center here in Andrews NC. It was raining. Meanwhile, we just finished First Saturday Holy Hour for Our Lady’s Guild. As expected, there were a number of Ninjah Ladies there. Afterward, they were taking care of the flowers to the side of the church.

img_20180602_134322971~31685218689..jpg“Father! Father! It’s one of your friends! A snake! A snake! Come look! Be careful! Be careful!” exclaimed the Ninjah Ladies.

“Aww! It’s a cutie pie snake!” said I, responding to them while they gathered their parachutes which they had deployed after running away from the snake. It’s just a black snake,” I continued. “The babies have fake-news markings to look scary, but there’s no there there: no triangular head, meaning no fangs, meaning he’s just a cutie pie snake. Aww!” They gasped, aghast, as I took pictures, snake whisperer that I am.

Meanwhile, the Immaculate Conception, much more fierce than any Ninjah, is in direct battle with the ancient serpent, Satan, as we read in Genesis 3:15. She deserves a cool flower for that, and more.

mary serpent

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Guadalupe has the last laugh edition)

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There, on the lower-right, two roses popping out from the Superabundant Guadalupe Rose. Shadow-dog did the honors earlier in the year by trimming it down to four-fifths of it before I could get it transplanted about thirty yards out of his reach, out on the front road, next to the “Town Branch.” The water had come up to the flower bed for a while as Tropical Storm Alberto passed by just to the West. Many of the roads round about in the parish were impassible for flooding. There are about a dozen analogies to be made.

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Delicious Patriotism in my Parish

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Every Sunday, creations such as this, with hot firsts and seconds, are in super-abundance after the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC. The same is true on the second Sunday of the month after the 8:30 AM Mass at Prince of Peace in Robbinsville up in Graham County.

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Update: Road Danger: reverse PIT maneuver

road danager reverse PIT

I mean, it’s not that I was going slow. I was right at 55. It’s like he was trying to do a reverse PIT maneuver, cutting sharply in front of me despite both lanes being wide open ahead and despite not turning left at any of the exits farther on. I was going to turn left and had my left blinker on. It’s one of those “the road is only big enough for one of us situations.” I bet these kind of cowards, hiding in their cars, beat up vulnerable children or parents or spouses or live-ins. It’s an occasion to pray for the coward. Anyway, should such a maniac actually hit the front corner hard-bumper of an all wheel drive Subaru like mine, the effect would still be the same as a PIT wrought against the aggressing car. Forget what a PIT maneuver is? Here’s the best example ever:

UPDATE: I took a look at the rear-window video just to make sure I hadn’t done anything that would have offended this guy. Nope. Instead, he closed the distance of, say, a quarter mile within seconds (meaning he’s maxing out his engine going say 90 miles an hour), with the road turning to a four-lane before he passed me. He did it just to do it. I had seen all this (situational awareness!) and was already on the left hand side of the left lane for the upcoming turn and to get away from him…

To show what PITs can very often do with the slightest touch (video starts at the PIT):

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Aww! Such cutie pie babies! edition)

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Hey! The Day Lilies are out in force! This one is especially for the Immaculate Conception as it is growing next to “Brake-Man”, the guy made from welded-together brakes. He’s next to her in front of the rectory. “Brake-Man” reminds me of Adam and how he but the brakes on all of us with original sin. But Mary, Jesus’ good mom, was free of original sin.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. Brake-Man, Adam, is covered over with greenery. But, let’s take a closer look. I think I hear something… What’s this?

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I think I count six of them. The eggs were speckled blue. The mother seems to be speckled brown in color…

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They’ll soon be singing their hearts out for Mary, as held by Adam, Brake-Man.

I recall my ordination to the priesthood in the middle of Winter. Totally unexpectedly – and many mentioned this to me afterward – song birds by the zillions had descended upon the lawn outside the chapel at time of the ordination and were singing their hearts out until the end of Mass and then departed. Mind you, this isn’t because I was being ordained, to become an alter Christus, but rather for Mary, who had interceded under the cross even for the likes of such a wretched wretch as me, and isn’t she good for doing that? Yes. And she did that for all of us. These cutie pies are just outside the chapel window at the rectory. :-)

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Homily 2018 05 30 Daily “Fix” of Irony

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