Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Born to be wild edition)

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These, in their millions, are behind the church and social hall of Holy Redeemer, on the steep ridge on which the campus is built. These are, of course, born to be wild, it being that being wild is a good thing, that is, ironically, a predictable and therefore not at all wild way of going about life. Indeed, you’ll notice just how much they are all the same and yet unrepeatable individuals all with their own histories and difficulties and strong points connected however, mind you, with the unrepeatable circumstances in which they live, ever so wildly, or maybe not so wildly. Nature is going to be what it is created to be.

We on the other hand, have free will. We have unrepeatable circumstances in life with all the diverse histories and difficulties and strong points, but we are not absolutely determined in our choices with the free will we do have. Determinism is an all too easy excuse. Young people, generally speaking, and there are notable exceptions of course, but just to say, young people in the usual rebellion and individuality are the most conformist beings anywhere to be found. And, actually, people struggle with that ironic political correctness their whole lives unless they allow themselves to be found by the Creator once again. It’s not that He lost us; it’s that we ran away. But His love and truth stabilizes us in friendship with Him, unable to be ripped in this way or that because of whatever unrepeatable histories and difficulties and strong points. His love and truth aren’t demanding dead conformism killing the soul, stifling free will, but bring the soul to flower out to be what it is. Love and truth are good. They have us live as one with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. That’s really cool, totally wild, as it were. Born to be wild, born again to be wild.

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Homily 2017 10 11 – God’s Holy Name

saint francis brother leo

Here’s the Wikipedia page of the fellow I mentioned at the beginning of the homily, and here’s something he wrote a few years back about not holding God’s name to be holy: Betrayal of Trust: David and Bathsheba Revisited.

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Governing governments by extortion: when alphabet soup becomes the mafia. Revisiting death in the Holy See

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Remember Miriam Woldu of Eritrea (34), “Front of House” receptionist at the Pope’s residence of Santa Marta? She was assassinated with her baby in her womb. Intense culpable homicide investigations began after the autopsy and examination of her medical supplies. After. It’s the mercenary guy in my opinion. The deaths were a shot over the bow. Some people said she was simply stupid. But you don’t get an Intelligence job as “Front of House” for the leader of 1.3 billion people by being incompetent. I think she was the best in the world at the can’t ever forget a face thing. At any rate, at the time, the Holy See was under enormous pressure not to influence the Italian referendum on “gay marriage”, so much so that many of the Cardinals, apoplectic, publicly, really almost shrieking, exclaimed that they weren’t saying anything whatsoever about anything whatsoever during the referendum. Sometimes it isn’t about not doing anything evil; it’s about not doing anything good. And sometimes some governments think that neglect needs to be encouraged with extortion.

Thinking of some other things taking place, or not, along the Tiber and along the Potomac, I went to get some advice yesterday with an alphabet soup friend. “Just ten minutes,” I said. “Sure, c’mon over,” he said. That turned into four hours, as always. The result was simply the statement of ultimatums. It comes down to the typical mafia-esque extortion, the shot over the bow kind of thing.

Two questions:

  • On the one hand, the question would be this: if I was being extorted by someone who was holding a friend’s life in the balance in front of me, would I still do the right thing, you know, for God and country and all that?
  • On the other hand, the question would be this: if a friend was being extorted by someone holding my own life in the balance in front of my friend, would I still encourage my friend to do the right thing, whatever about me, you know, for God and country and all that?

Two answers:

  • I would hope that no one would expect me to sin gravely even by neglect just so they could get a bit more time on this earth as opposed to going to heaven.
  • I would hope that no one would gravely sin even by neglect just so that I could get a bit more time on this earth as opposed to going to heaven.

I should hope that no one can be bought, replacing God’s love within us with empty mind games of moralizing self-congratulation, you know, “sophistication” and “doing what you have to do”. God’s love and truth is stronger than death and is our treasure and is irreplaceable.

Jesus’ heart could not be extorted, and so a sword pierced that heart in His tortured, crucified body. But God’s love and truth is stronger than death, and He has led the way. He is the way. I should hope we all say that we cannot be extorted.

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Killing the CIA chief. But, why tell me? Cui bono? Res ipsa loquitur.

William Joseph “Bill” Casey directed The Company, i.e., the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1981 to 1987. He suffered an anomalous death, leaving much of the medical community caring for him muted, except perhaps to come up with a guess at an imaginary etiological reason for his passing: his brain cancer was blamed in an unreasonably convoluted way for his death. It would be like saying that a hemophiliac died from blood loss the moment his finger was pricked to test his blood sugar levels. It ain’t gonna happen. It seemed ridiculous to everyone at the time. Of course, that reaction then came to be dismissed as an ever so very dismissable with a laugh conspiracy theory.

Someone in the CIA at the time told me some hours ago that Casey’s very own in the CIA neutralized the threat of him going under oath in Congress just hours later. That was told to me as one of many examples to make me aware of the ruthlessness that can go on, it being that I am so naive. But, I ask: cui bono? To what good? Why should I know that? The answer is evident, and is the title of my dad’s antiquated Georgetown law journal: Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself. Indeed. But whatever about me, my concern here is to make the comment that such a neutralizing sets a formative precedent  for the following decades until today that should be noted, although there’s really nothing that can be done about it except to begin to change the culture inside the company itself. So, one might ask, cui bono? And the answer is: unto the good of all.

And if it is true that any given Director knows pretty much nothing of what actually goes on in the agency (this was repeated strongly many times), I say that he can nevertheless have influence in the long game in changing the culture so that loyalty within The Company and within the structure of these United States (e.g., Congressional oversight from the likes of Trey Gowdy) is such that the underling swamp dwellers won’t be able to continue to call the shots, that is, the deaths of those who are perceived to be getting in the way, even their own Director. The long game is the one to win.

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Trump, Tillerson, Pompeo, Sessions vs the self-serving swampish underlings: “Gray Area” – right or wrong or clever?

MAIN STATE DoS

“If you see something, say something.” If a tree falls in a forest with no one around to hear it, does it make a noise?

The bear that screams as it is crushed to death can’t even hear itself as it dies. Is that what the tree wants in falling? Sorry to be so cryptic (except to a few), so cynical (no choice on my part at this point). The country is not being served by the unpatriotic swamp who put peoples’ lives at risk.

“If you see something, say something.” If a tree falls in a forest with no one around to hear it, does it make a noise?

Today may be an interesting day.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (all the best flowers are… edition)

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These are to be found at the house of one of those on my “shut-ins” list. As it is, all the best flowers I can get for the Immaculate Conception happen to be at the houses of those on my “shut ins” list. Now, why is that?

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Deputy Nick Tullier improving, transferred to Galveston facility

Deputy Nick Tullier improving, transferred to Galveston facility.  Thanks, Mr Tullier, sir.

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Listen up NFL! Vietnam War Memorial Moving Wall moved us to tears. You?

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I went over to one of my “shut-ins”, “Mr Win”, to see if he was up to taking a wheel chair ride at the memorial today. Couldn’t do it. So I said I would go to the Wall for him and take back a stencil of the name of a friend of his, Arthur J Elliot II. One of the guides there gave me this medallion for him. That already about set him to tears, as did the stencil…

arthur j elliot II

Elliot was a Lieutenant Commander, a Navy Seal, who was in charge of setting up ultra-temporary tactical forward operating bases. Mr Win (finally a Full Bird as they are called) was in charge of logistics. The commander of the entire war effort in Vietnam was having a meeting with Elliot and Win. “Can you supply what’s needed?” he asked. “Yes,” said Win. Later, Win went down to the docks at their base in the Mekong Delta, asking the whereabouts of Elliot. “He no longer exists,” he was told. “What do you mean he no longer exists?” asked Win. “He took a B-40 right to the chest. Nothing left, sir.” A B-40 is a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

B-40 RPG

The guy got his heart ripped out.

And the NFL can’t put their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem…

The mobile wall is called the Moving Wall for a reason. You can’t but weep.

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I was shown the following picture which I later in the morning showed to Mr Win. He said that this was an absolutely typical scene of a Catholic Mass being said immediately after the guys would come back in from combat:

Mass after battle in Vietnam - Father Kevin Devine

The priest pictured, Father Kevin Devine, is still alive as far as we know. It’s Father Kevin who supplied my guide at the Wall with this letter of a young man to his parents, written just before he was killed in combat. I read this to Mr Win and, of course, we both got choked up. It’s as if he wrote it today in the midst of the NFL protests:

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Please share this! Honestly!

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Papal colors ripped in half & shredded

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Sometimes it’s the weakest of hurricanes that can do the greatest damage, just because you’re not expecting what could happen. Late Sunday night the wind picked up, and, oh my, the rain. The creek flooded and the papal flag was destroyed.

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Homily 2017 10 09 – How to be the Good Samaritan

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“Democrat”: that’s the big lie

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Homily 2017 10 08 – Stephen Paddock: analysis of analysts & motivation profile

las vegas shootings aftermath

I hope I don’t get sued. It’s just my opinion. Free speech don’t you know.

Look, I know someone who was the head of security for a casino under the umbrella of Caesars, that is, number two to the owner. That one had been a special operator for the Department of Defense and in intelligence for that person’s branch of military service. A nice person, but even with that resume, simply not capable of the kind of analysis that needs to be done to prevent such attacks.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Rosary edition)

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It used to be when I was a seminarian and a young priest that I would come up with wildly academic ever so cerebral meditations on the mysteries of the Rosary, reading the relative Scripture passages in Greek and Hebrew and letting all this race through my mind as the Hail Mary prayers were playing, as it were, as it is sometimes said, a symphony in the background.

But that’s a lot of work, and, by the way, not a prayer, just a recitation of the facts, all true, mind you, all awesome, all mightily traditional and in line with the Fathers of the Church. But, sorry, it was all a bit frustrating. I was forgetting one thing: prayer. Since then I’ve discovered a secret to saying the Rosary: prayer. So…

Why not put the facts of the mysteries together with the recitation of the Hail Mary into the background just a bit, the mysteries still visible, as it were, the words of each Hail Mary still recognized, but putting an emphasis on Jesus and Mary right here, right now, as they are in heaven and as they are with us, thanking them for what they did for us back in the day whilst upon this earth, but, mind you, thanking them right here, right now. Prayer once again. And the Rosary flies by. Goodness! What happened? Reality. Much better, that.

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Update (prequel): Nightmare, two nights in a row now [So, three nights]

charles de gaulle airport tunnel terminal

It’s probably imprudent in a too-much-information kind of way to speak of one’s nightmares, but, really, I just never have nightmares. But I did have one on the last night of the retreat, and it continued last night, clear as a bell, places, faces, words. I say “nightmare” not because it was scary in any way whatsoever, but because of my circumstances in that now ongoing dream.

Just to say, the retreat was good, really good, lots of time with prayer, peaceful prayer with Jesus, lots of great, great talks by Father Cameron, O.P., lots of great priestly fraternity, lots of new friends among the priests new to the diocese, lots of diocesan logistics taken care of, really just a great time all around. So, like, why the nightmare? There’s nothing about any of it that is “unresolved” or whatever, for, as it is, there is nothing quite exactly like this in my life.

Update: The actual first installment of the dream I ignored when I first wrote this post because it was so short and, as the others, not scary. What first happened was that, as with the other installments, I found myself to have been drugged up. But here, I was on the ground, unable to stand, but still aware of my circumstances, much like an zoo animal being shot with a tranquilizer dart. I was aware that there was a van on the street off to the side with its side-sliding-cargo-door opened for yours truly. That was it. Just some seconds.

The first [second] installment of the dream starts outside of Paris walking along the Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) terminal tunnels which are long and colorful but certainly not scary. I came up to the desk of the airline I needed but then realized I had no passport, no ticket, and didn’t quite know where I was going, except that surely it was somewhere at or near Tripoli, Libya. I took a step back as a lady with the air of some authority with which one could not argue took charge of the situation right next to me, all in hush-hush tones over the counter, even while those at the desk just submissively followed her wishes in my regard, realizing something way out of their control was going down. In my dream I was questioning to myself who this lady was and why it was that I had been drugged into a zombie-like state. Where was I being brought, exactly?

In the second [third] installment of the dream, repeating the first part, the continuation was that, I guess in Libya (everyone looked Libyan, but what do I know? I didn’t see any flags), I was placed before a panel of multiple judges / interrogators of what looked to be an actual court of law of some kind, however Kangaroo it might be. I again am aware that I am drugged and unable to answer, indeed, unable to hear the questions as I faded out. And then I awoke once again.

It’s not like I was watching this in a dissociated sort of way. I was the one from a very personal POV walking though Charles de Gaulle, I was the one with my own POV being asked questions at the desk, I was intensely the one in North Africa before a tribunal of some sort, with the one fellow, his face burned into my mind, asking me questions eye to eye, I being held up before him. His face was like that of the ex-Prime Minister of Gaddafi, only rounder, more pocked up, terribly bored with the show-trial, knowing full well I couldn’t answer, just going through the motions, annoyed at the whole procedure.

I wasn’t frustrated, upset, disappointed, scared, feeling caught-out for some reason, abandoned, worried, none of that. Nor was I snarky, confrontational. Nothing. Except maybe that I thought it was somehow to be expected. Not that I know why.

And that’s that. I wonder if there will be a part three [four].

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The gaze of Jesus upon us

The presence of Jesus changes everything.

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The priest is a parable

Look closely…

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The scene at the church

Last night I had a few errands to run at the parish after the last events for the retreat were over for the day. You’ll notice the flag at half mast because of Vegas. This is patriotism, which, btw, is a virtue. I had requested that lowering from the retreat and the parishioners were so eager to carry it out. Our most unpatriotic parishioner can recite all verses of Taps.

Someone set up Laudie-dog with a new doggie house complete with wind flaps for the door, transparent of course. Very nice. More on that when I’m back from the retreat.

Meanwhile, someone’s been working on the creek bank. I didn’t see it at night but was told about it. Could be nefarious or really good. I’m thinking someone was good and kind. People are awesome.

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Las Vegas shooter’s motive

“What’s it like to be that unfeeling, that evil? Complete disregard for innocent lives. I’ll have to ask a Muslim someday.

That’s the ignorant comment of someone on a news story about the shooting.

If we cannot admit that we ourselves could commit any sin, any crime, then we cannot admit that we are guilty through original sin and our own sin of the torturing to death of the Son of the Living God, who stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking in the death we deserve, the worst we can give out, death, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Creating us with free will and then, when we messed up, redeeming us with mercy founded on justice makes the forgiveness credible, majestic. Humility dissipates cynicism, bitterness.

If we do not accept that, we give ourselves a licence to kill. Anyone who says that he’s better than someone else is giving himself a licence to kill. Do you think you’re better than Stephen Paddock? You would never do what he did? Given the life circumstances and being without the grace of God you would. So would we all. There but for the grace of God…

The shooter’s motive? Look in yourself. Look at the wounds on the Son of the Living God who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Analysts should look at this.

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Cruel and Unusual: Noriega treatment given to USA citizens. Prison insanity.

Alfred Hitchcock The Birds comes to mind.

Remember what we did in playing bad music on blaring loud speakers 24/7 for days at the Embassy of the Holy See in Panama where el presidente Noriega, terrorist and drug kingpin was holed up way back in the day, trying to make him go totally crazy and leave the Embassy?

It’s not that, but the sound of a hawk screeching madly every thirty minutes day and night that’s being played over loudspeakers for thousands of prisoners.

The speakers are right outside the secure psychiatric unit but echos through the whole prison on amplified loudspeakers. The noise of hawks on the hunt are meant to scare away pigeons (in their thousands) but at night as well? Really? Every thirty seconds non-stop is driving everyone crazy, you know, also in the psychiatric unit. And that really is cruel and unusual. Sadistic really.

Prisoners in the secure unit of solitary confinement tie 12 foot pieces of fabric thread to pigeons they caught through the security grates of their windows by dangling a piece of cereal through the grate. They then fly the pigeons like a kite and they then fly to Father Gordon and he frees them of the kite string. In prison, he’s the PLO, the pigeon liberation organization.

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Guardian Angels and our ineptitude. Gotta repost this.

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  • Guardian angels see the face of God. Quite a perspective, that. They also see us, and in comparison to seeing the face of God, you have to know that they are amazed at the love of Jesus for us, letting Himself be tortured to death for us as He takes on what we deserve so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • The angels cannot forgive us as they have not become incarnate and cannot stand in our place to have the right in justice to forgive us, but they can rejoice in the Lord’s forgiveness of us. There is no greater joy for the angels than this.
  • But when we are not interested in such forgiveness, any angel is at the ready to end our lives at the command of the Most High. Just one angel – one, mind you – took on the Assyrians and, in one night, killed 185,000 soldiers. We might wonder about our access to them, amazing the angels who have plenty of access to us.
  • To have some awareness, so to speak, of the angels is not about being a tender snowflake who thinks he is entitled to being some sort of gnostic new-age guru channeler of self-importance.
  • Being aware of the inspirations of the angels, who see the face of God and who want us to have the reverence before the Most Holy Trinity we as members of the body of Christ are to have while we are given as a gift to our heavenly Father through, with and in Jesus by the fiery Holy Spirit, being aware of the inspirations of the angels isn’t about us trying to control the mechanism by which we are aware of the angels but about following their lead in humble thanksgiving, the reverence of a creature before His Creator, of a friend before the One who makes us His friends.
  • When we talk to our guardian angels making this request — Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide —  when we make that request, are we not asking to be inspired, that is, to be enlightened (to wit: “to light”), thus admitting we are not inspired, not enlightened, in need of their assistance but that we can nevertheless receive that help?
  • Are we not asking to be guarded (to wit: “to guard”) because we know we are so ridiculously unguarded in every way, so that we are even asking to be smacked down – whatever it takes – so that our souls are first of all protected, admitting in this way that we can, in fact, allow ourselves to be guarded?
  • In asking to be ruled (to wit: “to rule”) are we not saying that we can recognize that and allow that, unruly as we might otherwise be, so that we have some sort of capacity to follow up on that being ruled?
  • And if we are asking to be guided (to wit: “to guide”) are we not admitting, finally, that we are out of control without their guidance, and that we can nevertheless recognize and benefit from such guidance?
  • To put it Thomistically, the angels can use the same mechanism to inspire us that is used by supernatural faith which our natural brains cannot otherwise grasp, that is, that which the conscience founds itself upon in order to make judgments that we can either go along with or not. This can be recognized readily by any soul in the state of grace who therefore has some purity of heart, some agility of soul. This is not gnosticism, not anything special, just the normal state of affairs in the family of God.
  • Guardian angels can also use other means to help us along. They can intervene to manipulate the physical universe in whatever way according to the will of God. They can make an impression of an apparition upon us even as we are very aware of their presence, even to just about bring about our deaths, crushed by the weight of the glory of God that they reflect (this being the experience of Daniel and John…).
  • Having said all that, is one to reject what seems to be an extraordinary intervention? Discernment is a good thing as John of the Cross points out. If it is something that makes perfect sense in view of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Sacred Magisterium of the Church, and if it is not something about spooky future events, about anything that would push the self-importance of the human subject, or is about otherwise unknowable things about times and places and people and the thoughts and motivations of others, if it is that which would have one recognize oneself for the fool one knows oneself to be but at the same time if it is that which places one in profound humble reverence and thanksgiving in all friendship before Jesus, if it is that which makes one all the more want to regularly participate in the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, if it is that which smacks one down for the sake of the Kingdom of the Heavens, one might go ahead and take it for what it’s worth. Thus, John of the Cross didn’t have himself or Teresa of Avila excommunicated by the Inquisition.

Example One: Before beginning the Genesis project, I made brave and asked my guardian angel if it were possible to figure out the mechanism of the transmission of original sin by propagation instead of by imitation using the most ferociously pedantic scientific historical philological examination of the ancient texts to date, and thus giving honor to the Immaculate Conception, showing how she is that woman, the mother of the redeemer, in Genesis 3:15. There was no verbal answer, but I must say I did take note of the weight of the glory of God in all my darkness, feeling terribly unworthy but that it is possible, but I had better make my number one objective in the present to be the tiniest little child, following Jesus, with the rest falling into place. In other words, the answer wasn’t about the future, it was about what is happening starting now if only I would remain in reverence before Jesus.

palestinian donkeyExample Two: I’ve told this story many times before, but it is ad rem, to the point. This happened in the Summer of 2010 on Highway 65 between Lebanon and Indianapolis, Indiana, on the way back to the Josephinum from an Extraordinary Form practicum up in Mundelein. As usual, for the hundred millionth time over the space of very many years, I was asking my guardian angel to assist me in having the same reverence before God as he did, it being that he sees the face of God and I don’t. What I was asking was incorrect theologically, impossible in reality, and simply a rejection of the present economy of salvation. He answered me while I was driving. It didn’t cause an accident though I did want to drop to my knees should that have been possible in a car while wearing a seat belt. It’s not that I heard words at all, but the communication was crystal clear, full of irony, full of humility on his part, full of putting me in my place, but with the most tender solicitation for my welfare. John of the Cross may well be annoyed with such events, but they do happen, and he admits that, adding, however, that this is usually done for souls who are so weak and such asses that they need this extra help. This was his answer:

“I’m an angel. You’re not an angel. I see the face of God directly. You don’t. I’m to have the reverence before God that I am to have as an angel. You will never have this kind of reverence before God that I do. I’m an angel. You’re not. [Sounds pretty dire, right? But watch what happens now…] You’re to have the kind of reverence before God that you are supposed to have, and which I will never have, because you are a human being, but I’m not. I see the Most Holy Trinity directly, but right now, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, you are to see God the Father, but through, with and in Jesus, for you are a member of His Body of which He is the Head. He sees the Father for you, for you one with Him by grace. This is the kind of reverence you are to have before God, a reverence you can have but I cannot ever have, for you are a human being and I am not.”

As you might imagine, my response, first stunned, then full of joy, then laughing with glee, was this:

“So, O.K. Guardian Angel, therefore, help me to have the kind of reverence before God that I am to have, through, with and in Jesus, for you see the face of God in heaven right now, and I’m so weak in walking with Jesus who sees the Father for me. You are strong and I’m not. Help me to live the reverence I’m to have in humble thanksgiving.”

I’ve told that story to plenty of skeptical theologians, you know, that my guardian angel told me something, and they are eager to hear the story so as to pounce on me for being an idiot visionary. And then as they listen you can see them turn right around and finally say, “Well, yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly what you should do.” What they were impressed with is that it was just so normal. Nothing esoteric, nothing gnostic, no new revelation. Just. Normal. Logical.

Remember Mary’s meeting with Gabriel. Joseph’s meeting with the angel. Zechariah’s meeting with the angel. Remember that Jesus said he could call on more than twelve legions of angels to assist Him in Gethsemane (well over 60,000 angels), but did not. And remember that just one angel can in one night take out 185,000 soldiers. Just one.

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