Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Holy Spirit Pentecost Priesthood, ed.)

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These Fiery Holy Spirit Pentecost flowers specifically sent in to honor the Immaculate Conception were “picked” by a “junior” priest in the desert South West of these USA. He and his fellow diocesan priests are presently on retreat always with the intention of ever becoming more apt instruments of the One High Priest, Christ our God, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. For these priests just right now on retreat, a prayer please. I know: Hail Mary...

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Taking aim at my lack of aim because…

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Before I got my purchase permit and then immediately my concealed carry permit here in Western North Carolina 2+ years ago, I had never shot a pistol in my life. I got it because in some places of our Catholic Diocese a prerequisite for being a police chaplain is to go though critical incident training facilitated by the FBI. Part of the course deals with terrorists and terrorism and situational awareness and the handling of critical incidents so as to facilitate the most people surviving in whatever ways of assistance that is possible according to the possibilities.

Because of unforeseen contingencies, the agents make you familiar with, that is, know how to break down and set up and accurately fire under any conditions pretty much any kind of gun there is, at least all the variants used by any police department or police response unit in one’s region. While I figured I could learn how to work with rifles or shotguns easy enough (though I would have to stare at the math for sniper work a bit), I also thought that it would be more difficult to acquire skills for a pistol, such as shooting while running, etc., and that those lack of skills would slow me down.

As one can tell from the older pictures above, early on I was tending to make grip mistakes, with inconsistency being my strong point, you know, with being self-taught and all that. It’s pretty bad when inconsistency is your strongest point! I had plenty of hyper-qualified people giving advice, but only rarely would I be at a range with anyone. The hermitage is the most middle of nowhere place for a range imaginable. Leading myself, it’s the blind leading the blind. And it’s that way until today. So, I need practice. But I haven’t been able to have a good extended session for really quite a long time now. And since those pictures were taken above I’ve pretty much limited myself to various tactical pistol courses, such as this simple one for periodic pistol qualification for already serving FBI agents. It’s easy as they don’t want agents getting a DQ, a disqualification. Here’s that course pictured below:

That picture is also pretty old, but it exactly represents what I put up the other day in the exact same place at the hermitage. Those are legal size paper details of the inside bottle of the QIT 97-99 set out at 3-5-7-15-25 yards. One draws from the holster for various combinations of shots and timings. Here’s what I had just started to do on the infamous “Day Off” the other day in a totally relaxed manner. Timings are in hundredths of seconds:

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So, not so quick. Cutting those times in half would be ideal. But the hits were all in time and all accurate. But that’s a false report, really, as I didn’t bother to get myself worked up with a bit of adrenaline (as one can do with, say, hill sprints, or not!), which adrenaline is what will always happen in a critical incident. Anyway, after this, I had planned on doing the FAMs course and SEALs course, et al., but I didn’t even finish stage four (of five stages) a couple of minutes into the first run through the FBI course.

The phone rang. The police.

As soon as I answered, I knew I was done with any shooting for the day and started packing up the targets mid-course while I continued speaking. That phone call went on for a very long time there on that mountain trail up to the hermitage. The phone cut out multiple times (no strong cell-tower signal at the hermitage) but we reconnected and continued until we talked ourselves out for the day. It was getting dark out, so I headed down the ridge and had a great chat and meal with the neighbors and then got myself back home before midnight. Some hundreds of miles. The next day was given to research about that conversation, and today will be given over to answering this interlocutor by email.

The guy with whom I was talking is well known to all police chiefs in the country. He recommended lots of things to me to put some past skills at the service of law enforcement locally, in these USA, and on a more international basis. I recognized in him a spirit which I only sometimes come across. His devotion to God and country, his patriotism, his integrity, the suffering he’s been through, all so inspiring.

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Assumption Chapel where I grew up

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The rectory was visited by a locust the other day. I haven’t seen as healthy and big a grasshopper as this since I was a kid up in Minnesota. It’s twice as big as the biggest that I’ve otherwise seen around here.

Assumption Chapel instantly came to mind. Would we have the faith to do the same today in the plague of faithlessness we are witnessing in the midst of the Church?

The story behind Assumption Chapel – the Grasshopper Chapel – right next to where yours truly grew up, is amazing, well worth a look see at Wikipedia’s Assumption Chapel, well worth visiting if you’re just passing by the middle of nowhere Lake Wobegon.

The most practical thing in the world is do something like this. The most practical thing in the world is to get to know the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, Joseph. And don’t forget the angels.

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Editing Jesus’ prayer He provided to Saint Gertrude as a Daily Offering

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Just before the “Amen” I couldn’t but add: “and for me, as sinner, the worst of all.”

I recall a story about a bishop introducing himself I’m not sure on what occasion, perhaps a retreat for priests at which he was invited to lead a Penance Service. His introductory remarks were about himself, and were meant to put people at ease. It went something like this: “I’m Bishop So-And-So, and I’ve been a sinner since I was made a bishop [number of] years ago. And before that, I was a sinner since I was ordained a priest [number of] years ago. And before that, I was a sinner since before my first Confession, [number of] years ago. Good for him.

There’s another practice that I would heartily recommend to all, that of saying three Hail Marys daily for the souls in purgatory. Helping them out, it is they who will welcome you into the everlasting habitations, into heaven, as Jesus says.

  • Hail Mary…
  • Hail Mary…
  • Hail Mary…

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Lessons In Losing A Brother

Thanks, Mike the Cop.

You led me deeper into life.

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When Padre Pio met Saint Michael. When Father Byers knew nothing at all.

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Elijah with the flaming fiery sword on Mount Carmel, Israel.

[This was written ten years ago. Today, precisely, is a good day to repost it. Padre Pio’s feast day. /// BTW, today marks 25 years in prison of Fr Gordon MacRae. Hail Mary… St Michael the Archangel… ///]

You can read things dozens of times over the years and just not “get it” at all. That’s me. But this year when I read the following letter of Padre Pio, I was mesmerized. I now know a bit more just how much I absolutely don’t know anything about the spiritual life. I have written academically about that of which he speaks, the flaming sword. I am vindicated on that academic level at least, for I am alone across the millennia in what I have written. But on a spiritual level, well, I am thrust to the ground in deep humiliation, for I obviously know nothing of the spiritual life. But at least I know that I know nothing. These days, that’s something. And it’s way more than enough to ask for this great saint’s help. Apologies are given in advance for the inadequacy of [my comments] below. You can see from my Coat of Arms (thanks to Elizdelphi! No words on the banner yet) that I am grateful to have written about the sword of which Padre Pio speaks…

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revision

From the Letters of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest (Epist. I, 1065; 1093-1095)

I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him

“Out of obedience I am obliged to manifest to you what happened to me on the evening of the 5th of this month of August 1918 [Vigil of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus] and all day on the 6th [Feast of the Transfiguration].

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“I am quite unable to convey to you what occurred during this period of utter torment. While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [making them saints!], I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person [an angel, a cherub] who presented himself to my mind’s eye [So, not an apparition, but entirely spiritual. People think angels are all fluffy chiffon pastels and cutesy cutesy. Pio speaks of torment and terror, and this angel is from heaven!]. He had in his hand a sort of weapon [“weapon”] like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. [This is the sword mentioned in Genesis 3:24. It is the sword which “turns into its contrary by way of the fiery grace of enmity against Satan and by way of friendship with God whatever is presented to it.” This is the sword with which the Carmelites depict Elijah. This is the sword of Saint Michael. This is the sword of Saint Teresa of Avila…] At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. [Seeing that a cherub could crush the entire universe if given permission from the Most High, this is saying really a lot…] I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boys to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. [What an understatement of all time. They must have been scared for him.] This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon, [“weapon”] and nothing was spared. [“nothing” – and here I try to hang on to this and that. And in doing that I am totally lacking in generosity. I’ve done nothing in my life. I’ve not laid down my life as so many have done. Pio is going through his purgatory all at once, 40 some hours for him. And what would I do, I who surely have a purgatory lasting until the end of the world?]

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Elijah’s fiery sword on the Discalced Carmelite Coat of Arms

“From that day on I have been mortally wounded. [And this is no longer his wound, but that of humanity, with Pio now being in solidarity with Jesus on the Cross even as Jesus is in solidarity with us, loving us while we are yet sinners, drawing all to Himself as He is lifted up on the Cross. And we watch with Him…] I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony. What can I tell you in answer to your questions regarding my crucifixion? My God! What embarrassment and humiliation I suffer by being obliged to explain what you have done to this wretched creature! [For we do nothing to save ourselves. Jesus is our Savior. We come to realize this. We are nothing. He is all. He shows us what He has saved us from, and not just us, me, but we see how He has saved all of us as we gain some heightened perspective on the cross.]

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“On the morning of the 20th of last month [two weeks later], in the choir [making the traditional thanksgiving prayers after Mass], after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. All the internal and external senses and even the very faculties of my soul were immersed in indescribable stillness. Absolute silence surrounded and invaded me. I was suddenly filled with great peace and abandonment which effaced everything else and caused a lull in the turmoil. All this happened in a flash. While this was taking place I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of August 5th. [We entertain angels and even the Son of Man and do not know it. How much the angels reflect the Son of Man! And the fiery love of God, issuing from the throne of the Most High, from the Heart of Him who loves us so much, is just that fierce on that sword which transforms us utterly in God’s love.] The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should die and really should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. [We are utterly weak. It is all Jesus.] The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. [He speaks also and especially of his embarrassment, for he, as all of us from Adam until the last man is conceived, caused those wounds in our Lord. How is it that he, Pio, or any of us could share such wounds of love for all those Jesus has redeemed and wills to save?] The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday.

PADRE PIO SEAL OF CONFESSION

Padre Pio reprimanding the Bishop about the Seal of Confession.

“Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? [The embarrassment, mind you, is more than enough to end his life on this earth.] I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation. The person of whom I spoke in a previous letter is none other than the one I mentioned having seen on August 5th. He continues his work incessantly, causing me extreme spiritual agony. There is a continual rumbling within me like the gushing of blood. [This Hebrew description of this sword in Genesis 3:24 (which I think I am the very first to translate pedantically, as it really is just that difficult), the sword which the angel is mashing around inside Pio is variously and wrongly translated as the twirling sword, the sword which moves about this way and that, etc., is, instead, “the sword which causes that which is presented to it to be transformed into its contrary.” Thus, we don’t take from the Tree of the Living Ones, though we can humbly receive its fruit (the Eucharist from the Cross).] My God! Your punishment is just and your judgment right, but grant me your mercy. Lord, with your Prophet I shall continue to repeat: O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your rage! Dear Father, now that my whole interior state is known to you, do not refuse to send me a word of comfort in the midst of such severe and harsh suffering.” [If it were I who had to respond to him, knowing I know nothing, but despite that, I would say that in our very reception of mercy we must show mercy to the rest of the members of the Body of Christ, those whom Jesus has redeemed and wills to save. Our suffering is occasioned by the lack of others, lack of faith, etc., but it is not their cross we carry, but instead we come to know what we would be like if we ourselves were to be without the grace of our Lord in therefore our lack of faith, etc…. and our remaining in friendship by the grace of God in such horrific circumstances acts as an intercession for those who are truly without faith, etc. This is drawing all to Christ on the cross in solidarity with Jesus, who does this by His grace. He, the Head of the Body does this, but we are members of that Body and we are with Him. If we only knew! If we only knew! Now Pio had his eyes opened, his soul torn open, his hands and feet and heart torn open. But it’s all Jesus. Jesus’ love taking on our lack. Embarrassing to us? Yes. And we run away. Pio couldn’t run any more. The angel presented himself, and, fiercely raising his weapon of God’s love… I know nothing. Saint Pio: help this donkey-priest to come to know Jesus! Help all of us priests!]

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“Were you arrested, Father George?” Karaoke and Law Enforcement…

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  • Father George: “Hey, Father Gordon, guess what I did for the first time in my life last night.”
  • Father Gordon: “What’s that, Father George?”
  • Father George: “I did Karaoke! Two songs!”
  • Father Gordon: [deadpan voice] “Were you arrested?” [as such a bad voice is so offensive it should, of course, be outlawed]
  • Father George: “No, no. The first song I did was with one of our Police Officers, already some eight years in the Navy and still keeping up with training as he’s in the Reserves. Great singer. I think he gets some voice-time on patrol. (See the picture above). The other song was with him again, but this time adding a deputy retired after twenty five years with the Sheriff’s Department up in Milwaukee.” (See the picture below).

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There were some two dozen present. Lots of food. Lots of drink. I had Ginger Ale, though I have nothing against responsible consumption. The easiest song to sing had but one word, “Tequila!”

The Karaoke controller’s wife had the most difficult song with an impossible range. She did great. Being from the Philippines where Karaoke is ubiquitous and continuous, she’s had plenty of practice, though I must say the cop has got quite the range as well, as well as a friend of theirs who I thought might have to try out for America’s Got Talent.

Johnny Cash songs were the most popular. Lots of older stuff. And we had two languages going on. A Mexican couple did the obligatory La Bamba and their family did quite a number of songs, with their daughter also singing in English.

If you must know, the ones yours truly participated in are “You bring me back to life”

and then, from way back in the day, Buffalo Springfield’s “For what it’s worth.”

I hesitate to put up the videos they took of us singing, as I’ve already been trounced by the trolls for my obvious lack of dancing ability as well:

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Is humor forbidden? Is making others laugh outlawed? Is having a good time with friends the most terrible sin? Didn’t Jesus come eating and drinking? Are we all John the Baptist? What did Jesus say about Wisdom’s children?

O.K. So, here’s a few seconds of each song.

This is a post tagged as humor, so, there it is. Hahaha.

When people say that this is NOT the time for humor, the situation is dire. “We must be more serious!” they say. — Well, when people say that, that’s precisely the time to have some humor.

Are there not plenty of saints who, when asked what they would do if they knew that the world would be ending in ten minutes, their answer was “I would continue to do whatever it is that I was already doing, for it is a worthy occupation also in the spiritual life when whatever we do is done in the Lord and for Him.”

“But Reverend Father Byers! Reverend Father Byers! Haven’t we had enough of humanizing the priesthood already?!”

Nope. Not at all. Actually, there’s been way too much putting priests on pedestals, literally, up the steps of the high altar where the high altar and tabernacle have been done away with so that we have a new “god,” you know, those priests who think they are better than the Most Holy Trinity, thinking they can change the truth of doctrine and morality when the Most Holy Trinity cannot do that. Heck with all that rubbish. Jesus is the one. He’s the only one. Time for priests to be HUMAN, however much they are laudably dedicated to Jesus, the Divine High Priest. We ordained priests are nothing, and we had better get out of the way of Jesus so that Jesus’ priesthood with His love and His truth is manifested through us.

Do I obscure Jesus by a bit of a few minutes of singsong, by a few seconds (literally) of dance? I should hope not. I’m guessing that that would not be my fault, but the fault of those who are just overflowing with condemnation always and everywhere for everyone, but themselves.

It’s precisely the humor that can bring people in, by inviting to them, you know, while at the same time not abandoning truth and justice. Actually, one can insist on truth and justice more when one is also appropriately humorous.

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Church & School Shootings: Next Step

SWAT church

I have a number of FFL friends, that is, those who are Federally Licensed to sell Firearms. They tell me stuff. I heard something just now that provided an obvious next step to be brain-stormed and implemented as a Federal program – so that’s it’s consistent throughout the nation – but whose input is especially from local law enforcement vetting “if you see something, say something” information.

The idea would be to have a dedicated web-page with a color coded threat scale for a particular region. People would take a regional threat scale much more seriously than something as generic as North America or the contiguous United States. With the color coding for a local region, no one could game the system and have any certainty of results for any desired fame and notoriety: they said something and the coding changed, but they don’t know why.

What happened is that a guy showed up at an FFL and creeped out my friends so badly that they called law enforcement to listen in ever so nonchalantly to the lengthy conversation. Mind you, these FFL guys had been sworn law enforcement themselves and they’ve seen about everything and don’t get creeped out over nothing. The on-duty guys couldn’t catch out the guy in conversation and so left. But the guy was so creepy, going into the finest detail of the recent shootings, and into the finest detail of what he wanted to be able to do with the most damaging ammo in the most damaging way to the human body that the FFL guys called the on-duty law enforcement guys again.

I’m NOT talking about red-flag laws here. I’m talking about warnings to those who could alert security teams of churches and schools that there is a possible risk in the local region, you know, by color coded levels of threat. Again, just for, say, regions of a state.

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Jesus on “Some people did something”

When I got up this morning, as usual, at 3:00 AM, I played the dispatch chatter above. I’m sure you’ll agree that it sets a certain tone for the day. It’s always stunning to me how steadily calm the dispatch guy is. The only time his voice raises in pitch a bit is when he warning the guys NOT TO TAKE THE ELEVATORS as they are about to fall. He’s knows that his message in split seconds will save lives and he wants to make sure everyone hears what he says clearly. Awesome.

Fake news recently said about events on September 11, 2001 that a plane did something. Poor plane. The plane had nothing to do with it. And it’s not just that some people did something. It’s Islamicist terrorists who murdered thousands of individuals, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers, police and firefighters and medical personnel, thousands of individuals who never did anything to cowardly Islamicist terrorists. We have to say what happened and who did it. It’s never the case, as the Dems would have it, to mockingly ask: “What difference does it make?” But let’s see what Jesus says about this.

Church Attack WNC

It’s in the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal spent his would-be inheritance before his father died, meaning that he wished his father to just go ahead and drop dead. What an el creepo. Do you think the father didn’t know this, didn’t care? Did the father just say that “someone did something,” and shrug his shoulders? Upon the prodigal’s return, the father, embracing him, said out loud for all the world to hear just how serious the sin of the prodigal was:

“This my son was dead.” The father wanted the son to know that the father knew how serious and personal the sin was, so that the son could appreciate that the father was forgiving the son just that much. This cost the father plenty to do this. The Greek text doesn’t say that the father had compassion or pity when he saw the prodigal returning. It says that the father’s heart was sacrificed. Yep. That’s personal:

sacred hearts

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…

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It’s an alien! And it’s not even Area 51!

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In Nevada (with each “a” pronounced like the second “a” in “area”), the U.S. Air Force has appropriately set up a Test and Training Range. They call it Area 51.

Let’s see:

  • Air Force – stuff in the air for use of force
  • Test range – meaning cool and new and unforeseen stuff

That would make for that which, by definition, are unidentified flying objects.

Strange how all these UFOs turn up in a military testing range. If I were a smarty alien I wouldn’t try landing in a place that by definition wants to know how to shoot you down.

Strange also, as Father Gordon MacRae has pointed out many times… Strange how we look for alien life when we kill so many of our own in the womb, just born, or elderly, or just to do it.

My response to to the music loving, drinking, drugging, violent hippies is… is…

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Satanist defends Satan against me, attacking prayers for Pope Francis

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From time to time I’ll ask for prayers for Pope Francis. That’s always a good idea. There is no one more attacked by Satan than any Pope, whoever it happens to be, saint or sinner, who lives within the Tradition or is simply a heretic, who lives as an ascetic or as el creepo. One wants the Pope to assist in bringing us all into unity with Him who is the Living and unmanipulatable Truth, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Praying for the Pope doesn’t comment that one agrees or disagrees with anything he says or does. Your prayers are that he be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus, and therefore that he live and teach in a saintly manner always regardless of what he is presently doing and teaching, or not. This is not difficult. But for some, apparently, it is.

I received this Speedy reaction to my last appeal for prayers for Pope Francis the other day, light lightening. It is from a Satanist in Canada, apoplectic that I get absolutely everything wrong. Let’s take this sentence by sentence. Let’s call this person Speedy:

  • “It is obvious you do not know what Bergoglia’s [[“a” – That’s a bit insulting]] agenda is.” [[What I apparently don’t know is that Speedy‘s agenda is identical to that of Pope Francis, which, in Speedy‘s opinion, is praiseworthy. Of course, what Speedy says Pope Francis’ agenda is does not mean that such is in fact the agenda of Pope Francis!]]
  • “At the very beginning of his Pontificate, he praised Lucifer, who is the god he believes in..”  [[As has often been said, Pope Francis has dissed Satan and called for exorcisms perhaps more than all other Popes put together, right from the beginning of his Pontificate. This might throw one off guard, but Speedy is actually using Pope Francis as an authority to hide behind, you know, to say that Satanism is a good thing: If the Pope believes that Satan is god, can’t we all do that? Speedy explains:]]
  • “To begin with, Lucifer is the Original Evil, in existence at the same time as God.” [[And there we have it. Speedy insists for us numbskulls that Lucifer is just as much God as God, kind of one half of a dualistic God, part good, part evil, so that Satan is as eternal as God, so that Satan is not a creature, but is also God. “Original Evil.” That’s not “Original sin. See what Speedy says now, following up on this:]]
  • “Lucifer’s greatest Deception is the belief that he is a fallen angel created by God.” [[Get it? Speedy is saying that the truth is that Satan, Lucifer, is not created by God, is not a creature, but instead that Satan, Lucifer is God, just the evil side of a kind of binary god. In that case, always according to Speedy, Lucifer cannot be an angel, that is, a messenger of God, but is a God in his own right. Moreover, Speedy insists that Lucifer is not fallen which would somehow say that evil is less than good. Some others have said that Satan is a personification of evil (a figment of the imagination, therefore, or a mere imaginary analogy with original sin, which is all also incorrect). Speedy is saying that being evil is not being fallen. It is what it is, so that evil is just as good as good is good.]]
  • “His agenda” [[The agenda of Lucifer (follow the referent of the pronoun).]] “is to bring all churches, denominations, including Islam under one church with him [[“him”=Lucifer.]] as the leader of the New World Religion in the NWO [[New World Order, which refers back to New World Order of Professional Wrestling? Just askin’. Speedy is saying that Pope Francis shares in this “church” and so is also trying to proselytize Muslims to be in church. That would be the very first time I heard of Pope Francis trying to proselytize anyone whomsoever. Sure, Satan wants everyone under himself because Satan, Lucifer, hates us. Conversely, Jesus wants to give us as a gift to our Heavenly Father, because Jesus loves us. “The many” will be saved, but not all. We do have free will.]].

And that’s the end of the screed. It’s like I can hear howling and barking from this Satanist upon finishing this attack on Jesus and Jesus’ Church, upon heaping praise for Satan. If this is a someone who allowed “theirself” to become bitter and frustrated and angry and icily cynical and vicious, well… speaking directly to this person… I hope you will come around: choose eternal life, not eternal death. So, therefore:

Go to Confession!

Here’s the deal: Even if Pope Francis were to be teaching and doing all those truly evil things listed above (NOT!), would we not all the more want to pray for Pope Francis to assist in bringing him out of the darkest of existential peripheries? Yes. So, also:

Pray for Pope Francis!

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Ooops! My Bishop reads local newspaper

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The bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte was out to the parish for Confirmations the other day. He picked up the local paper to have a look see. He’s much more perceptive than yours truly. He showed me the front page, bottom fold, chuckling at what will surely be the maelstrom of confusion that I’ll be confronting today and tomorrow:

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Here’s the deal: Saint William Catholic Church is in the town of Murphy, while Holy Redeemer Catholic Church is in the town of Andrews. Hahaha.

I’ve heard it said that sucking the brains out of mudbugs is some good eat’n’, you know, with hot pepper powder shakers as big as a swamp rat, um, as big as a “nutria.” Truth be told, I just eat the tails…

I’ve never been to one of these local fests, so I don’t know if there will also be jambalaya, gumbo, boudin and other assorted Cajun delights, perhaps some alligator meat cooked below ground. This fest only started up in the last few years with a Cajun guy moving into the area and bringing some of the bayou culture to these back ridge mountains. I also don’t know if there will be any Cajun music…

The Cajuns I know introduced me to a perhaps saint-to-be, little Charlene Marie Richard. Back in the day, I hunted down the little graveyard where she’s buried (she died before I was born), and said a prayer for her and then asked her intercession. She has quite the story. I also learned about a now beatified Redemptorist priest, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. The persecuted Cajuns have much to offer.

For them to be called Cajuns, les Cadiens, les Acadiens, was considered an insult by the name callers, though there is nothing derogatory about it. Quite the contrary. But the tone of voice implied disdain. It’s that they were Catholic. That was the problem. That was always the cause for which they were thrown out of France and persecuted right down the American eastern seaboard until they arrived in the back bayous and no one cared much to run after them while also facing fierce swamp beasts.

We are, of course, happy for their arrival, not only in Louisiana, but here in Cherokee County. I think I’ll wander down to Saint William’s Catholic Church IN MURPHY today.

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My friend: Neoscona crucifera spider, making friends of your enemies

img_20190918_052537~28471469832527198879..jpg

  • neo = new or newly
  • scona = beautiful // derived from badly pronounced German – perhaps referring to a more interesting color scheme as the spider grows. The red and red are striking.
  • cucifera = cross bearing // some patterns up top are very clearly cruciform

This guy is fairly big as spiders go. He can bite, hard, but there’s nothing that can hurt you. He’s great to have around natural insect control. I love it.

Typical of these orb-weavers, he’s been hanging around the doors of the church and at the end of the social hall of the parish in this late Summer, early Autumn time of year. The strands of the webs will cover doorways or stretch between buildings. Some might be temporarily surprised, but they get over it right away, and find it rather humorous.

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

Last night was no exception. Our bishop graciously made the four-hour trip from Charlotte to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation Wednesday evening. We had fourteen confirmands:

  • 11 from Holy Redeemer in Andrews
  • 1 from our Prince of Peace mission in Robbinsville
  • 2 from Immaculate Heart of Mary mission in Hayesville (of St William, Murphy)

Our next class (every two years) should be quite large as well. The Deacon from Maggie Valley Living Waters Retreat Center assisted, as did his son, who is the pastor of the next parish over, both good friends. It was the most packed we have ever had the church. The city of Andrews must have wondered what was happening, as all three parking lots were overflowing far unto the neighbors lawn. Ooops. Sorry about that!

Earlier in the day, in protective mode on behalf of the spider, I grabbed a stick and had him crawl onto it, and placed him up the steep ridge next to the campus. I’ve done this before and it’s taken him a day to get back. But, learning the ropes, he was back within hours and made a grand appearance at the reception after the Confirmation Mass.

The bishop and I ended up having a seat for a bite to eat outside the social hall at the end of the tables at the end of the carport, just where our spider friend dropped down on a bit of silk thread right in front of our faces. Haha! I swept my hand above the spider so as to drag the thread to the side. The spidey, not to be outdone, simply dropped into the food of one of the confirmands, which I immediately flicked off. Our confirmand said that spidey was crawling on me. I brushed him away, for the sake of those at table.

That didn’t work. Throughout the rest of the meal until the bishop was in his car, the spider kept returning to me. He was on a leg, on a hand, on my neck, on my head. Brushed away again and again. Back again and again. Quite the triumphalistic spider if you ask me. He was reeling himself in with his silk thread. I tried to ignore him as I was speaking with the bishop. To no avail. This went on for a good twenty to thirty minutes. The spider knows I don’t want to hurt him. The bishop was most amused. :-)

You have heard that it was said, keep your friends close to you and your enemies even closer. I say, made friends of your would-be supposed enemies. Our Lord did that with us, right?

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Why I’m thankful to Pope Francis: Typical Missionary of Mercy?

pope francis asperges

So, let me count the ways:

  • I’m a Missionary of Mercy. That’s helped many souls. Some are apoplectic that Missionaries of Mercy even exist and even insist that they cannot possibly be real priests. I have never gone against proper canonical sacramental norms. I wonder if those who complain will bear the weight of the sins of those that I have absolved. People should be careful about damning properly given absolutions. It seems to me that they are doing the bidding of Satan.
  • Both cases that go to the heart of the abuse crisis, one policy and one a person, were totally taken on board by Pope Francis when I delivered those cases to him. That’s not nothing.
  • I have learned a bit of humility by being condemned for asking for prayers for Pope, as I would for any Pope, regardless of what people think of him. There is no person on earth who has so much pressure put on him by Satan. And being the leader of 1.3 Billion people and of influence on the others is not nothing.
  • Unlike those who rant about Pope Francis, who are consumed day and night with condemning him, I have learned not to grant so much real estate of my life over to this fellow who lives in Santa Marta. Those who do so are making an idol of him. Why? Does it get them notoriety? Are they heroes because they are “brave.” Pfft. It’s not nothing to learn that Jesus is the One, that Jesus is the only One.
  • I should like to think that I know the faith, that I grow in the faith, in the life of the Church, that is, not just academically, but, as Pope Francis says, on the peripheries, and from the whole of the Body of Christ. Is that wrong? It is not nothing.

To those who are now screaming at their computer screens that I should write a list of the things that I am not thankful for whatsoever, I say that first of all, they should also write a list for what they are thankful about regarding Pope Francis. No, really. Open up a screen on the computer and start writing. You might be surprised at what you come up with on your list.

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NOT shot 2x head priest prays for cop shot 3x chest

Here’s the news story. Awesome.

I’m guessing a feather of Father’s guardian angel jammed the gun, twice.

This is a Hail Mary story if ever there was one. The power of the Rosary!

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Mrs Kavanaugh’s request: Psalm 40

david harp

1 For the leader. A psalm of David. 2 I waited, waited for the LORD; who bent down and heard my cry, 3 Drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, Set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps, 4 1 And put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and they shall trust in the LORD. 5 Happy those whose trust is the LORD, who turn not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood. 6 How numerous, O LORD, my God, you have made your wondrous deeds! And in your plans for us there is none to equal you. Should I wish to declare or tell them, too many are they to recount. 7 Sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; 8 so I said, “Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. 9 To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!” 10 I announced your deed to a great assembly; I did not restrain my lips; you, LORD, are my witness. 11 Your deed I did not hide within my heart; your loyal deliverance I have proclaimed. I made no secret of your enduring kindness to a great assembly. 12 LORD, do not withhold your compassion from me; may your enduring kindness ever preserve me. 13 For all about me are evils beyond count; my sins so overcome me I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head; my courage fails me. 14 LORD, graciously rescue me! Come quickly to help me, LORD! 15 Put to shame and confound all who seek to take my life. Turn back in disgrace those who desire my ruin. 16 Let those who say “Aha!” know dismay and shame. 17 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. May those who long for your help always say, “The LORD be glorified.” 18 Though I am afflicted and poor, the Lord keeps me in mind. You are my help and deliverer; my God, do not delay!

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HALO 78,000 ft > mach 3 SR71

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Tattoos: Edu by the PoPo, PJ feet, Jesus

sharps biohazardBecause of the immediacy of a certain set of weird circumstances in which would-be misdemeanor activity of a certain individual – objectively speaking – could have jumped to a class “H” and then class “I” felony (here in NC), a cop from the other side of these USA was telling me sometime later about the meaning of some tattoos[!].

  • The cop mentioned the biohazard symbol that I see all the time at the local hospitals and rehabs and nursing homes. It’s pasted on all the sharps receptacles, and was invented by Dow Chemical. It’s so prevalent that I don’t even see it anymore. The cop said that if it’s a tattoo it apparently means that someone is HIV positive. But maybe just where he’s from.
  • The cop also mentioned a scorpion, which also apparently means HIV positive. But maybe just where he’s from. Elsewhere, I imagine that there must be a gang that uses a scorpion and the last thing they’re thinking of is HIV.
  • Anyway, he also mentioned diamond tats, a number of them, diamonds in the shape of the “diamonds” on playing cards. Who knows what any of that means? I’ve not heard nor seen any explanation. Anyone?

scorpionAfter this conversation, I spoke with a prisoner, and he said that, in his area, again in an entirely different area of these USA, those kinds of tats did not have anything to do with HIV as far as he knew. And if they did, one would immediately want to make a distinction with how it is that someone came to have HIV. For instance a druggy “lifestyle” using used needles isn’t necessarily the same as an “alternative lifestyle.”

I rarely ask people about their tattoos. But I do. I would if I saw tear drops, which can reference even a number of murders. I asked a guy who stopped in front of the rectory asking for directions about his full body tattoos that reminded me of MS-13. He was fearful of letting his tats be seen, even wearing one of those girly shirts with the ultra-long-sleeves that are tied around the thumbs so as to cover the hands. But the tats spilled out onto his fingers and up his neck and face.

  • Do I have any tattoos? No. I did get my hand stamped with red ink at the county fair in my home town as a kid saying I paid some sort of entrance fee. I also got an ultraviolet stamp on my hand while visiting my Shadow at a maximum security prison in Mexico, you know, to make sure it was me on the way out, since we look like each other and are the same age. But I digress…
  • PJ Green FeetWas I ever tempted to get any tattoos? Someone said I might be entitled to get a pair of green feet on my bum out of thanksgiving for services rendered by the great PJs. However, that tradition in honor of those utterly unique first tier operators would surely not be inclusive of preventative measures provided by their overwhelming accompaniment of yours truly, right? The immediacy of a critical incident was not evident. So, no. I didn’t do it.

I discovered trying to do up fingerprints recently for NC-SBI and FBI background checks for getting my concealed carry with the sheriff that my “natural tattoos” (fingerprints) are pretty much worn away. I guess I’m older than I was at one time…

The only real imprint you’ll find with me is the permanent character of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders while I hope that, as Saint Paul says, any sanctifying grace will turn to glory forever in heaven. We’re already “branded”, if you will, for our Lord by our Lord. By this time it’s not something that covers over but the Most Holy Trinity shining out.

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Homily 2019 09 15 Prodigal Son and descriptions of (im-)perfect contrition

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The one thing I forgot to mention in this homily was that the “pity” or “compassion” the Father had upon seeing his prodigal son is something rather altogether more precisely the kind of mercy that belongs to Jesus alone. And, indeed, the word used is employed exclusively for the mercy Jesus shows to us sinners. It’s not that Jesus merely had compassion or pity, but rather that His very heart was sacrificed. Yes. And it was, for us, literally, in the agony of the garden and upon the cross and upon our altars.

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Homily 2017* 09 15 Our Lady of Sorrows

Mary pieta

Word-carved Pieta from Austria 1420 AD, not the one I speak about in the homily, but similar to it in a remote kind of way.

[[ I’m reposting this as not many sermons in the world were on Our Lady of Sorrows as the feast fell on a Sunday this year. ]]

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I’ve been recording my homilies these past days, but it never worked, until I realized that I have to but the little flash card in the recorder for it to work. Sigh. But I did it today.

About today. Here’s something humiliating but great for improvement. I realize in listening to this – it is so very painful – that if I’m thinking out a homily on the spot, you can hear me thinking kind of like hearing the grass grow. Sssssllllloooooooowwwww.

Well, now I know. Glad I know. Anyway, I tell two stories, one about my mom and one about Lourdes. Kind of. I need to be more prepared.

I also learned I’ll have to keep the recorder closer to me while I speak. It’s a little fading here and there. So I learn. Anyway, hope you like it.

UPDATE: This is the Pieta I mention in the homily. Originally, the bank of candles surrounded the image in front and to both sides on wooden shelves, in front of which, all the way around, there were kneelers so that many people could be there at the same time.

pieta st mary cathedral st cloud mn

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