A day at the hermitage today. The hermitage is in the middle of nowhere.
If I flee to the ends of the earth… You are there…
A day at the hermitage today. The hermitage is in the middle of nowhere.
If I flee to the ends of the earth… You are there…
In our fallen human condition, we might think that an entitlement mentality is just the thing to live by day in day out, as it’s a kind of bullying power maneuver to present oneself as vulnerable but with an iron fist.
But then we realize that as Christians we shouldn’t be so obnoxious and so we try to be a bit more pleasant about it, but a few vestiges of this might remain, so that we hold our Lord’s redemption of us over the head of our Heavenly Father, not in the sense of the Divine Mercy prayer of mercy founded on justice — “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world” — but in the sense that since Jesus has redeemed us, we deserve heaven on earth, no more sickness, no more death, no more bad economy, no more bad people doing bad things…
But we have to remember that the consequences of original sin freely chosen with the sin and which we still suffer with while we are in this world — weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all over the place, sickness and death — are, in justice, part of the “economy” of salvation as theologians call it, the way, the manner our Lord has chosen (mercy still founded on justice) for us to assent to His goodness and kindness.
To wit: if we suffer the consequences of the sin (minus the guilt which He forgives), then we know better why it is we need to be redeemed and saved, then we know better why it is that we are to be in humble thanksgiving of Him, in praise of Him for stepping into this world when He didn’t have to do that, taking our place in the death we deserve because of sin so that, He remaining innocent but taking our place, He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
Once we see the benefit we receive in suffering the effects of sin, that we can use all of that as an occasion to run to Jesus to thank Him for coming to grab us out of this world, we can drop the entitlement mentality, the bitterness, the cynicism, and even thank Him for the opportunity provided by the consequences of original sin to praise Him.
The dew is due, but how that dew is provided might surprise us, what with, instead, the Holy Spirit forming us into the image of Jesus in heaven, but which action we perceive on this earth as being formed into His image crucified, and we don’t mind that so much because we finally look at the love which had Him stay on the Cross, drawing us all to Himself, we being taken by such great love that would stand in our place.
Thank you Jesus. And thank you, Mary, for standing under that cross to intercede for us.
We had a wedding last Saturday in the parish. The couple went to Mexico for their honeymoon. They reported back that there are now military checkpoints everywhere in Mexico. They don’t ask for documents or other useless rubbish. They want money, only. If you refuse, they let you go, but they call ahead to inform the drug cartel in whatever area that you refuse to donate to their cause. The cartel stops you, and simply kills you as an example for others. This makes me upset inasmuch as my identity was used for arms transfers to the Sinaloa Cartel just when Joaquín “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (now imprisoned along with his “godson”) started to terrorize innocent civilians, the government, the politicians, law enforcement and, finally, the Church.
This is the Dragon, the Jack In the Pulpit, very near the hermitage. The flower is just now starting to come up. You can see it just between/above the two middle leaves of the two plants. It is poisonous, even deadly, even used to kill people, the leaves, the stalk, the root, the berries, the flower, all of it. Super toxic. Hmmm. Not sure what the story is behind the reference to any pulpit in the nickname of the plant. The other nickname, with reference to the Dragon, isn’t any better. Other nicknames only go downhill from there. The Latin name, Arum maculatum, makes it seem that this is the flower one would never ever give to the IMmaculate Conception (macula=stain; immacula=no stain). Jack in the Pulpit maybe refers to some early American fire and brimstone preacher man who never referenced mercy in his sermons. You gotta keep justice in perspective with mercy. You gotta.
Should the flower blossom successfully, it would nevertheless make a good flower to give to the Immaculate Conception. After all, she also interceded for those preacher guys who know nothing about the beatitude about those who show mercy getting mercy. She wouldn’t make that intercession unless there were a bit of hope available for those seemingly lost to the dragon, toxic as they are. There is nothing more beautiful than a toxic sinner presenting himself now humbly before Jesus and His good mom. Pray for us sinners, Mary, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Confession! It’s so easy.
Driving in the ditch looks benign enough until you end up in dangers which have few warnings besides the ditch itself being, after all, the ditch. Sometimes people fall asleep or simply drive off the road on purpose so as to park, not knowing the dangers they face. Sometimes there’s a monkey see monkey do effect at play with some drivers all too eager to imitate the drivers either ahead or behind them. A LEO can drive near the edge of the road to test the sobriety of the person in front of them and, if that driver is drunk, he’ll start driving on the edge of the road as well. Clockwork. Sometimes people who are talking on the phone or texting get on the bumper of someone and simply mimic the speed and even turns of the car ahead of them, without once fully looking up.
Sometimes people imitate others for the sake of road-rage. Sometimes they do it just to be annoying. This was the case up in Graham County a while back, with the guy following others closely everywhere they went, that is, everyone, it seems, who was not born there, even if they’ve lived there for decades. This gets dangerous in this neck of the woods and so a sting was set up with the Sheriff’s office and the guy was smacked down.
This very following thing was happening to me the other day just at that point on that road in that county (same guy?). He had been on my tail for quite a long time, though staying back 200 yards exactly. The “exactly” thing, regardless of the speed I would go, made me put up my antennae. Meanwhile, I arrived at one of my shut-ins, a Communion Call, a 92 year old, and did a U-Turn some 10 feet into the ditch on the far side of the road so as to park, as is my practice, at that location. Meanwhile, I was watching the rear-view mirror, and the very nanosecond I started the maneuver, the other car did as well, like, without thinking, going fully right into the ditch where he was, but finding out that it wasn’t a great place to do that. Finding himself in trouble in the ditch at that point, he somehow got back on the road and drove past me all sheepish for being such a knucklehead. ;-)
Motivations become muddled with whatever is monkey see monkey do. Analogies can be made with political correctness, going along to get along, proving something to self or others as a reaction to whatever. Whatever! It reminds me a bit of what can happen at a Synod, one of those being on the road things. What we need are people who can just do what they are supposed to do in following Jesus, who went off the road into death, the Exodus (going off the road) in Jerusalem Jesus spoke about with Moses and Elijah during His transfiguration.
Donkeys, however mangy, can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand. They’re not stubborn, which is what mules are. And they listen. Look at those ears! And… and… they are always with the Holy Family.
Part of the day off is always listening, which does me heaps of good, as I have some great conversations about all things good, like heaven, like the goodness and kindness of Jesus. This time I listened to some pretty desperate stories in the midst of all the wonderful trust in our Lord’s providence and love for us fallen human beings.
It’s been a pretty full week. Besides the Stroupe guy, still on the loose as I write this, there was also the horrific murder in front of a parishioner’s house. I note that how he really died according to eye witnesses and what was put in the papers are two very different things. Obviously the police are holding their cards close. Monstrous. Grisly. And then there was a suicide in the family. They are all bad, but this was a really bad one. How to say it? And then, apart from all that, there was a really bad injustice. Etc., etc., with one thing worse the other.
When I was a seminarian, I asked one of my half-sisters for advice on how I should go about being a priest. She immediately said that she did have one bit of advice, which was that, unlike so many of the priests she knows, I was always supposed to listen to those who want to be heard. I’ve always remembered and followed that advice.
Sometimes listening has gotten me into terrible, terrible trouble, but, mind you, without any regret on my part. I would do it all over again a thousand times. Sometimes when you listen and no one else will, you save a person’s soul. I’ve seen it so very many times. Sometimes when people get upset with you for listening, it’s because they don’t want you to hear things that will get them into deep trouble, and they are rather unhappy about that. ;-)
But always, always, always, I’m the one who benefits from listening. There are some great saints among us, because Jesus is so very good and so very kind. I’m inspired by that.
And, just to say, Jesus is good at listening. He listens to the Father speak the One Word Who He Is, that very listening being the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father speaks Jesus to us. If we listen, that Word will reverberate within heart and soul. That doesn’t mean, for my part, that I’ll be any less of a donkey, but that’s O.K. There’re a lot of good things to say about donkeys. Anyway, Jesus has listened to me a lot. Also when I go to Confession. He’s good about that. Oh, and, by the way, the donkey is the symbol forever for the Jewish people. I call to mind Alexamenos.
To become a police chaplain in North Carolina (at least in Charlotte) one has to go through the FBI course which includes being acquainted with firearms, including a variety of sidearms, assault and long rifles. That’s a whole different universe for me, so some months ago, on the same day:
Since then, I’ve been throwing out a few bullets so as to become more accurate more quickly in incrementally difficult circumstances, for my safety and the safety of others. Upon reflection, I think I’ve been having too much fun. I think I should get down to business and put myself through the FBI qualification course, that is, just for practice, on my own. Since the FBI targets are printed on larger paper than can fit in my printer, I’ve just magnified the most important detail of the target in 1 to 1 proportions, which will print out on legal paper (8 1/2 by 14). See the top of this post.
The FBI course requires 48 hits out of 60 for a pass = 80%. Meanwhile, using the same target, Kansas LEO qualification requires 35 hits out of 50 for a pass = 70%. Both courses are fairly demanding. Kansas has more variety. The FBI is perhaps more realistic.
From Three Yards (12 rounds fired):
From Five Yards (12 rounds fired) [two hands for rest of course]
From Seven Yards (16 rounds fired):
From 15 yards (10 rounds fired):
From 25 Yards (10 rounds fired from cover)
Points off at 75 feet out. So I’ll need to practice that. I haven’t done that since Ricky was out from South Dakota. I totally missed when going down on a knee (no knees). No excuse! More practice needed. Anything less than 100% is no good. Mind you, I have no timer but I think I was well within the limits.
JUST TO BE COMPLETE
I didn’t get around to doing any of these things yet.
JUST FOR FUN
I did do that again yesterday:
That will take some time to own. All that is just for pistols. One has to be familiar with assault and long rifles, etc. More on that in future.
Ever notice how nature never takes a day off? The Holy Family never takes a day off. God rested from all HE had done, sure. But we messed up right away and couldn’t make it to that Sabbath until God rose from the dead on the first day of the week. And not totally, as we fill up in ourselves what is lacking to the sufferings of Christ, as St Paul says concerning our reception of Mercy in showing Mercy. We rest in heaven, though I think the celebration and thanksgiving will be at fever pitch. The Father works now and Jesus with Him as Jesus says, even on the Sabbath. Priests work on the Sabbath/Sunday and as Jesus says, do not sin. Knuckleheads like me need if possible another day off. Jesus tried to do that with the Apostles. We’ll see what happens. Let’s start with a never-day-off-flower for the Immaculate Conception. See above. Jesus made that so that we could give it to His Immaculate Mother. I love that.
I got some hate mail that’s hateful enough, prejudicial enough, abstracted into crazy-land enough that I would not be surprised if there were some hateful actions, actual violence, that would come from this person against any Catholic target. There was no threat of physical violence. Yet all the signs were there that the mentality enabling such violence has taken over the sender, e.g., all members of a class of people (Catholics) are guilty of all crimes in the world and ought to be taken out. If there were to be violence, it would be difficult for any judge not to charge the person with a hate crime based on what was sent, difficult for any court reporter[!] not to write up the story as a hate crime. In the midst of a long diatribe, the sender writes: “Your church, your sick religion, is despicable, period.” At any rate…
Any sin any of us commits is like hate mail sent to Jesus’ good mom. If we would like to have hope for ourselves despite whatever we’ve done in our lives, we must also have hope for others, no matter what. Our Lord says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The Immaculate Conception brings us to Jesus regardless of any hate mail we’ve ever sent.
Father Gordon has moved to the top floor of “South” (3B). He’s a new arrival and so lives out on the main recreation floor on the bottom of multi-tiered bunk beds until such time as a cell just a few feet wide opens up.
Pornchai Maximilian Moontri was supposed to go there as well, but that somehow failed and failed again and again. We will see how that works out or doesn’t in the future. They’re working on some serious matters at the moment, so this disruption makes communication between the two much more difficult.
Prayers for success for what they are working on is much appreciated. Hail Mary…
“I have carved you into the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).
Jesus has carved us most securely into the palms of His hands and He wont let us go until He gives us as a gift to the Immaculate Conception, His good mom. After all, she asked about us under the Cross. Behold, He makes all things new (see Revelation 21:5).
Practiced concealed carriers will laugh with me (if they’re polite, as most CC crowd are) regarding my attempts at defending myself from stationary adhesive dots on stationary paper (that’s a full mag of 15 above), with me standing in a stationary position. I least I start holstered turned away from the target.
Always taking laughter seriously, I’ve come up with what is now a challenge, cutting a 1 inch by 1 inch by many feet long stick in half (marking the point with florescent orange spray paint) with target ammo using my Glock 19 from 15 to about 25 feet out (at the end of the arc), swinging the stick on a string that was thrown over a branch 35 feet up (this being out in the woods with a ridge as a backdrop). Here’s a three second video I made and just now uploaded to youtube to show you what this looks like in action, thought I’m not shooting while filming. Of course not.
Hey! It’s got a whole 5 views while I put up this post! I think people don’t watch youtube by principle or simply are afraid of anything to do with guns. I think it’s a cool three second video. But I’m biased ’cause I made it. Anyway, here is the result after what I think are too many attempts (but you gotta start somewhere, right?):
9mm FMJs go right through and won’t break a 1 inch by 1 inch stick in two with one shot. You have to saw across the stick at the same place. Not easy for me anyway when, after some hits, it’s only hanging together with something similar to a toothpick. I’ll be the first to admit that a bunch of shots were not on my spray-painted line. This will be a good play-time distraction on days off for quite a long time. This can always be made more difficult, with me moving either much closer (in which case it seems that the target is moving faster) or further away (in which case it seems that the already small target is smaller). Then you can add walking at the same time, and “running” (a kind of crouched fast-walk). I’m sure that won’t be easy. The more difficult in practice, the more accurate in a hoped-to-be-never-actual-incident.
In my younger seminarian days I got on a bus and headed out on pilgrimage to the Passionist Monastery where Saint Gabriel had been a seminarian. The account given by all is that he saved a young lady from being raped by soldiers who were pillaging the town by demonstrating his marksmanship in killing a tiny lizard. Some people may feel sorry for the lizard, but I feel sorry for the young lady who was about to be brutalized and raped. Self defense for self or others is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.
Those lizard loving people might want to ask what the ladies think about it, you know, those who have been raped by, say, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda or ISIS or whatever and are then gunned down in some backwater alley because they complained about it. I’d rather take out the lizard. Saint Gabriel rocks!
You’ve been had! Laudie-dog doesn’t get hypotized. You’re the one hypnotized by her while she fakes getting hypnotized, awesomely smart dog that she is. ;-)
Thanks go to the wonderful Charlene – whose amazing State Department feats right around the world at significant moments in recent world history I’m getting more acquainted with as time goes on – for she sent in a shipment of milk-bone dog biscuits (one pictured above) and doggie bacon strips and… and… even lots of trail mix. I’m thinking that the trail-mix is for yours-truly, though I had better behave myself lest Charlene say that the trail-mix is also for Laudie-dog!
I am reminded of a mass hypnotism incident of my entire senior class of some 135 students of our smallish Prep School in Central Minnesota, when the Headmaster did a psych experiment on all of us together. While he did this he kept glancing over at me, getting ever more frustrated. I was actually trying to be polite, playing along just to see where he was going with all this. He kept up his hypnotism antics and was having success with the class, but then stopped and explained his frustration with everyone, an explanation which made everyone really pretty upset, enough for a good half the class to complain rather loudly protesting that what he was saying was not true at all and that they just couldn’t believe what he was saying because, of course, they were always in control of their lives. They were really disappointed with themselves. Shaken.
The Headmaster, a good friend, was telling them that he could easily hypnotize the entire class except for one person, me, insisting that he could never ever hypnotize me, ever, no matter what. Maybe he realized that I was hypotizing him by faking that I was being hypotized. ;-) Things are never as they seem. Rare is the person who realizes that things are never as they seem even in unexpected situations when one’s guard is down because one thinks oneself to be in control. Charlene is one of those people and, of course, has had to be, working for the State Department where, truly, nothing is ever as it seems. That’s all they do is deal with politicians and spies. And now she has to deal with me to get Laudie-dog her treats with no one involved getting hypnotized. You gotta be pretty clever if you ask me.
Since the very beginning of Pope Francis’ “Missionaries of Mercy” project there were indications that there would be progressive phases to the activities of the Missionaries of Mercy. With the present reconfirmation of some – I’m guessing most – Missionaries of Mercy, now mid-2017, there was again mention of a “new phase.” So far, this refers to the encouragement of the Missionaries of Mercy to get off their back-ends so as to provide opportunities for celebrations of mercy, this time with the added faculty (now five total) detailed on Arise! Let us be Going! previously.
I surmise that it was planned that by this time there would be a total of six special faculties, but all the hoops that civil and ecclesiastical penalties were not yet readied or were finally considered impossible. I’m referring to the desire of Pope Francis and his special two-fold Church and State commission to study and then, if possible impose the excommunication of those convicted by the State of mafia-esque crimes. You don’t impose a medicinal penalty unless you have at the ready a way to deliver the medicine. I’m guessing that the Missionaries of Mercy would be involved in revoking any such excommunication and the absolving any related sin. That might be the case if the revoking of an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See. I’m guessing that this would be the case since mafia-esque crimes often involve multiple ecclesiastical territories, even multiple countries.
The Missionaries of Mercy are required to attend a formation get-together in Rome shortly after Easter 2018. I’ve already arranged some lodging at a guest room of the best Benedictine Nuns in the world. I’m eager to return to the Holy City where I’ve spent so very much of my life.
The directive to the re-confirmed Missionaries of Mercy concerning providing penances to penitents for the “New Phase” of the Missionaries of Mercy phenomenon is this:
“Regarding the penance, I would strongly recommend that it be such as to truly assist the full conversion of the penitent.”
Mind you, the penance is always meant to be medicinal. The penance mentioned here is not the normal penance, but for sins so serious that a great deal of medicine is needed for much healing. Sanctifying grace heals immediately, but our Lord wants to continue to work with our minds and hearts and wills and the most profound reaches of our souls.
When last in Rome for all that which regards the Missionaries of Mercy, I had the opportunity to consult on various difficult questions regarding, say, the faculties given. I am thankful for the many and lengthy discussions I had with the Apostolic Penitentiary, particularly about penances to be given for such matters. Such penances, spread out over time, involved time before the Most Blessed Sacrament. Why? Because…
It’s all about Jesus!
In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving this instruction on the remission of censures (emphasis is in the letter itself):
“Regarding the remission of censures, it is sufficient that the Missionary use the regular formula of absolution, which remains unchanged, with the intention of absolving from the censure. However, if it would bring greater peace to the penitent, the Missionary may, before pronouncing the regular formula of absolution, absolve the penitent from the censure by pronouncing the specific formula proposed in Appendix I of the Ritus Poenitentiae. (In this regard, it is advisable to consult the version of the Rite of Penance used in your territory).”
Appendix I is very short, merely providing the formula:
Of course, if one uses the traditional formula, this formula is incorporated into the rite with some conditional words (“inasmuch as I am able” and “inasmuch as you have need”).
Obviously, all this refers ONLY to the internal forum, and therefore, for instance, only to those censures which have NOT been publicly imposed on an individual. Therefore, for instance, the Holy Father’s proposed excommunication of those members of the Mafia who have been convicted of Mafia-esque crimes by the State and subsequently declared to be excommunicated would not fall under the jurisdiction for absolution by a Missionary of Mercy unless he was otherwise granted that extra faculty, it being assumed (we will see) that such an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See.