Days-off preparing for *The Day Off* Remembrance of USSOCOM *David* Suicide and Thanksgiving

wp-image-1076473502

This massive cross is at the entrance to the property on which the hermitage is to be found. The neighbor is a welder and created this from the downspouts that were being replaced at the parish church which is to be found way down the mountain.

This is where I often come for my day off, during which I often get in some target practice. As it is, I’m practicing quite a bit, as, at Thanksgiving, I may well be here once again, and an old friend will be attendance with some other extended family. The old friend may well have some special effects, if you will, to try out while doing a bit more target practice, or scenario based training and drills.

For those who are a bit cynical of all this “violence”, please know that all this can be quite healing, the get-togethers and the special effects and conversation about old times and hopes of heaven and the present trouble-making we all get into happily. We’re just trying to deal with the mistake of this old friend’s top-tier buddy who took too many pain killers the other week, leaving a small child of whom he had custody, the wife having abandoned them long ago. I wonder if the military provides for dependents in such circumstances. Anyone?

If you know what “top-tier” means, then you know that that buddy, *David*, had seen a hell of a lot of hell already in his short 39 years. These USSOCOM operators are made up of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Green Berets, Delta and the Navy SEALs DEVGRU.

Hey! An idea! Soup kitchens at thanksgiving are often busy places. Whatever you might do there, how about one other thing… Do you know any Vets who are stuck in V.A. hospitals who would enjoy a family thanksgiving even if their own families have abandoned them? Don’t know anyone? But the hospital might be able to tell you if there is anyone who is eligible for a day trip. Just a thought. I mean, after all, the way to celebrate thanksgiving is to say Thank You in an effective way, right? Yes. We say thanks to God, but the second commandment, love of neighbor as oneself, is like the first commandment, love of God, right? Yes. Just a thought…

2 Comments

Filed under Day Off, Guns, Military, PTSD, Suicide, Thanks

And I thought *I* was a pyromaniac

Here’s my 82nd Airborne fireman neighbor showing me how it’s done. I’ve never seen such a thing in my life. Very cool… well… HOT.

The heat generated from this reminded both of us of the story of the three young men thrown into the burning fiery furnace in the Book of Daniel.

Analogies in any which way can be drawn for the spiritual life.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Homily 2017 11 03 – Out for His blood

dropsy

2 Comments

Filed under HOMILIES

Laudie-dog, snakes, tears and tech

wp-image-866364329

When getting back last night from a second trip to graham county Laudie-dog noticed a snake coming out on the back porch of the rectory, despite the cold, and she was immediately in protective aggressive flurry mode. Poor snake.

Here’s the summit of the Trail of Tears, Tatham Gap Road, which basically starts in my parish church and makes its way out to Nebraska. The government of the time killed off thirty million bison so as to starve to death those Cherokees who survived the death long death march.

tatham gap summit info sign trail of tears

I would like to know how to turn my 770 ThinkWare clips into a YouTube movie so that you all know where I go on my screamingly beautiful Communion Calls with Jesus. This is paradise here on earth.

tatham gap washout

Perhaps there is a techy trick to this. Anyone?

1 Comment

Filed under Dogs, Nature, Road danger

OK, I’ll move off to the overlook

Cherokee Police 2017 11 02

This is at the Stecoah Gap, at 3,165 foot elevation. He looked like he really really really needed to get somewhere fast. Unless you pull off the road altogether, there’s hardly anywhere for miles where there is no double-yellow so as to pass. So, I try to be nice. Or, maybe I just didn’t want a cop riding my bumper for the next dozen miles! He was already riding my bumper for some miles. It’s surprising the number of police in this remotest of places. This guy is Cherokee Police, which is, effectively, Federal Police. He might not know that I had Jesus with me, making the rounds to many shut-ins up in the mountains here. It’s so cool to bring Jesus round about His own creation. I’ll try to post some pictures later. Off to a wedding rehearsal now…

1 Comment

Filed under Law enforcement, Road danger

Homily 2017 11 02 – All Souls – Purgatory

purgatory angelicum lawrence op

1 Comment

Filed under Purgatory

Father Thomas Weinandy: Thank you! Hoping Pope Francis reinstates you.

pope francis asperges

Dear Father Weinandy, I’m hoping that Pope Francis will reject the sycophants at the USCCB and reinstate you for your honestly trying your best to lay self-referential interests aside in favor of the Church and indeed the whole world. We all need such honest friendship. The Holy Father can take or leave what you say, but one should treasure any sincere words that you offer just because first of all they are offered in good faith. The USCCB has made it all about bullying. That’s so sad. I thank you for making it all about Jesus and His Immaculate Bride, the Church. May Mary’s Son strengthen you.

6 Comments

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

All Souls sotto voce moment of silence

consecration-

That quiet moment of prayer when Jesus lays down His life for us…

Did you know that the “moment of silence” came about with Irish Catholics who were imitating the silence of the souls in purgatory? With very few exceptions, the souls in purgatory cannot ask us for help – thus the moment of silence – even though they can only be helped by our prayers.

However weak and begrudging our prayers might seem to be to us (it being that they can’t ask and we can’t see the result right now), it is precisely for that reason that our Lord very much respects our prayers for them.

Our Lord expects that it be obvious to us that we ourselves are doing our purgatory hear on this earth, that is, painfully coming to know the depth of the depravity of original sin and whatever of our own sin by which He was crucified, and this so that we know how to properly thank Him, which will be our joy in heaven.

Our Lord expects that it be obvious to us that we ourselves generally do a pretty bad job with this, perhaps staying in the state of grace, attending the sacraments, but not being as generous as we might in having our hearts and souls wrenched open by reality, so that, it should be pretty obvious that we might well be headed to purgatory before hopefully being on our way to heaven.

Our Lord expects that we understand the very same for everyone else on this earth, so that we shouldn’t expect necessarily that anyone whosoever who dies is certainly going straight to heaven.

And that means that the debt we have to pay – of having our hearts and souls wrenched open – is payed by praying for the souls in purgatory.

Put it a different way. The holy souls in purgatory have something against us if we are not paying our own debt by praying for them. Nothing could be clearer to them. They are there because they were lacking in the same way. They pray for us that we might pray for them.

Jesus says that at the judgment He will hand us over to the jailers (our guardian angels?!), who will have us thrown into “prison” until we have paid the full amount.

The Holy Souls in purgatory are so grateful when we do pray for them and get them to heaven. They are the ones, Jesus says, who will be the ones to welcome us into the eternal habitations, that is, heaven.

Pray for the Holy Souls every day!

3 Comments

Filed under Purgatory

again and again and again and again and again and again and again and…

State Police 2017 11 01 Robbinsville

Here’s a snapshot of my life from the backview camera of Sassy the Subaru. It’s nice to have my own private motorcade, of sorts, this time made up of the State Police. Talk about security! I’ll take the high road and say that this is for my benefit.

I’m going 44mph in a 45mph zone, center of my lane. The State Police, breathlessly chasing after me, can barely stay on the road during the wild pursuit that utilized, however, no blue-lighting, no siren, no flashing headlights, no ramming or pit maneuvers. Never does. This continued, as usual, for miles (the longest “chase” being 26 miles, bumper to bumper). I can feel the love!

It starts, as it often does, right after morning Mass in Robbinsville. He was waiting for me in the parking lot right next to the church, the usual stakeout position for that… gasp… Catholic priest. The church is just a few hundred yards away on the left in the picture. I don’t get stopped, just, you know, to borrow a word from Pope Francis, accompanied. It was right at this point that I gunned it, as it were, and went 49mph in a 50mph zone. I guess that could be considered to be mockery of the police. I don’t mean it that way. Maybe I should go 50 1/2 mph in a 50mph so that they can pull me over and give me a ticket. Maybe that will make them happy and then they’ll give up such heart-attack level activities. I mean, these stakeouts must be expensive as the years go by.

The sheriff deputies follow me past the county line usually just another nine miles. I guess they get permission from the neighboring counties to go ahead and continue such hot pursuits. The State Police or Cherokee Indian Police (Federal Police) or the National Forest Police (Federal Police) can, of course, go anywhere and remain in their jurisdiction. Pretty much all of WNC is National Forest.

Sassy the Subaru Forester (el cheapo edition) could probably go 60mph flat out if pushed on the highway, going downhill, surely enough to leave all pursuit vehicles in the dust. :-)

JUST KIDDING! I APPRECIATE IT, GUYS!

Thank a police officer today. They risk their lives day-in, day-out, in an often thankless job. In wearing their uniform they are already targets for abuse. They do us all a great service.

5 Comments

Filed under Law enforcement, Road danger

Homily 2017 11 01 – All Saints

fra angelico last judgment

2 Comments

Filed under HOMILIES, Saints

Analysis: In denial of terrorist reality

terrorist attack NYC Oct 31 2017

  • Surely he’s a career criminal, because only career criminals are terrorists.
  • Surely he just snapped, because only people who have snapped are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s deranged, because only deranged people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s off his meds, because only people off their meds are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s just sick, because only sick people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s just crazy, because only crazy people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s just stupid, because only stupid people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s poor, because only poor people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s jobless, because only jobless people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s homeless, because only homeless people are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s without a family, because only people without a family are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s an American military veteran because vets are probable terrorists.
  • Surely he’s pro-life, because only those pro-life are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s pro-liberty, because only non-totalitarianists are terrorists.
  • Surely he’s pro-pursuit of happiness, because only happy people are terrorists.
  • Surely he supports the American Constitution, because only people who support the American Constitution are terrorists.
  • Surely nothing happened.
  • Surely everyone is nice.
  • “Terrorism” is FoxNews right-wing propaganda. It just doesn’t happen.
  • Surely the Qur’an’s command of hacking down Christians and Jews wherever you meet them is just propaganda because diversity is always nice.
  • Surely the Judeo-Christian command to love thy neighbor as thyself is terrorism because, well, just because.

We say cowardly things, manifesting that we are in denial, not because we’re afraid of terrorism but because we’re afraid of ourselves. The promised Messiah, our Savior, does not save us from nothing. It is He who provides us with love and truth and goodness and kindness, with His friendship. Why would He do that? Because we don’t have this on our own. We say cowardly thing because we have rejected faith in God, and therefore are immersed in fear, therefore in denial. But let’s continue with our sarcasm, but what people really say:

  • Surely this is the fault of rental trucks.
  • Surely this is the fault of guns.
  • Surely this is the fault of not surrendering to Islamicists.

I say, those who say cowardly things facilitate terrorism.

1 Comment

Filed under Intelligence Community, Terrorism

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Natura Morta Ma Vivente, Frozen edition)

wp-image-830893169
We’ve been having a bit of a cold wave with near or freezing temps and some snow flakes here and there. This day lily, with its six petals, next to “Brake Man” out front of the rectory by the statue of the Immaculate Conception, was frozen open last night, trying its best, no matter what, to give honor to the Immaculate Conception, who said “Yes” no matter that the “Brake Man”, the First Adam, said “No.” The Son of David, her own Divine Son, has perfected the sixth day on which Adam fell into the Seventh day, with Mary being the perfectly redeemed at the moment of her conception. The effects of original sin, what happened on the sixth day, are frozen in place for the rest of us while we are in this world. Like this day lily, we’re frozen for a moment in the weakness of original sin before we drop to the ground. And yet, we can give glory to God by depending on His strength in the midst of that weakness, retaining purity of heart and agility of soul regardless of the weakness. We are kept for a moment on this earth, in suspended animation, as it were, in exile, hardly knowing what we are doing until we get to heaven, but even here being able to give glory and honor to God. He makes it happen. Jesus’ good mom has put in a word for us with her Son.

1 Comment

Filed under Flores

Homily 2017 10 30 – You’re just like Satan

mary serpent

Maybe I’ve fixed the audio so that it’s a little louder / clearer…

There’s those who need exorcism and then again, those who really need exorcism.

4 Comments

Filed under Exorcism, HOMILIES

Trent, Kryptos, coriolis, treasure maps, religion, analysts, security, strategy

trent session 4 treasure map

Why is it that analysts ignore that which is the context for the key, for text without context is pretext. Ideology over reality? A bit of power, self-congratulation, no humility before the massive sweep of history?  While everything seems to blow apart what is the one thing that stays the same? Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. Where to find that? The context, the coriolis effect, as it were, can be found in the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta of Session IV of the Council of Trent of 8 April 1546, that is, the bits before the list of books and the laying out of the treasure map. If one doesn’t know what the treasure is, in finding it, one won’t even know one is looking at it, and will bypass it.

The arrogance, impatience, spitting cynicism, bitterness of the rejection of all that which is important while calling it irrelevant and sheer idiocy is astounding, and should put on guard those who don’t have so much baggage to deal with. Purity of heart and agility of soul and humble thanksgiving before the Most High is the only way. It’s not mathematics, encoding or decoding, statistics or any other mind games so available to manipulation. It’s the reality of what is actually happening. And there are those who are open to this, also analysts. They need to be encouraged. For the long game. And the short. But life is difficult. There are bullies. So be it. That’s O.K. The coriolis effect plows through all that. ;-). Anyone want to analyze the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta?

8 Comments

Filed under Intelligence Community, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Donkeys are the best!

donkeys1330672975.jpg

Did you know that Saint Corbinian’s Bear on the Coat of Arms of Benedict XVI is actually a donkey?  Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Donkeys

The 33 year homily

PCI

Today’s the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. It was I who preached the homily as a new transitional deacon in the seminary in Rome that I attended. It was a Monday evening Mass, 1985, and it was customary for all the people of the nationality of that national seminary who were in Rome, whether lay or clerical or religious, to show up for this Mass every week. The pressure was on. There were many important visitors from that country there.

The visitors loved my homily, saying it was the best they ever heard, congratulating me for going after such a difficult topic with such soft-spoken, good natured humor and obvious good faith. What I had tried to do is be ever so novel in not presenting any novelty, just the fascinating brilliance of the faith as it is.

But that was not the opinion of the powers that be at the seminary. They didn’t like it one bit. Their reaction could well be written in historical novel form and published as part of the national history for the national archives of that county. The homily was very much like a nuclear explosion that hasn’t yet finished its course, now 32 years on and going into it’s 33rd year of far reaching repercussions. It won’t be over until I’m finally installed as pastor of the parish. As it is, I got the letter of appointment, but I haven’t yet been installed. Getting to this point has a direct line of causation all the way back to that 6:30 PM Mass. Mind you, I don’t regret anything whatsoever. God is good.

That homily was not recorded. I wish it was. It was written out, and I had to use that time and again as a kind of proof of what I had actually said. I don’t know where it is. Basically it was this:

  • There will be a unity in which we can rejoice with great joy if we are obedient to the faith and morals provided by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, obedience (ob+audire) being an intense and eager listening filled with love and enthusiasm to the will of the greatest love of one’s life, Jesus Christ and His Bride the Church. After all, it was the feast of the Apostles.
  • There will be a disunity such that the Church and society will fall apart in cynicism and bitterness and failed individuality if we are disobedient, each of us doing our own thing, not being able to care less about Jesus who is ever ancient, ever new.

Ever since then all I’ve heard from all and sundry is that we cannot possibly know what the Church teaches, much less Scripture and Tradition, but we have to depend solely on theologians to tell us what we are supposed to think. Um… no.

That homily was given in the chapel all the way down the “cortile” in the picture above. In that same picture, just on the immediate left, is the “salone” in which the plotting of some manipulation of the conclave of 2005 took place. At least that’s what I gather. I had been invited. The full story of the vote of the conclave was later told to me. What a fright. But God gave us Pope Benedict, not who the plotters wanted, to say the least. I digress.

Lots of drama. Sure. Life is super interesting and one can see Jesus at work ever so clearly with all the irony, all the truth, all the love, when we try even in the smallest way to be faithful to Him. He loves us, and uses this. I absolutely love being His priest.

3 Comments

Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy

IRONIC UPDATE: Ready to shoot the tires of… oh my… Really?! HER car?!

wrong way off ramp

The first time I had my gun at the ready, brandished and all, was when I was the victim of a carjacking on highway 40 while bringing a retired cop to his major surgery appointment. Lucky for me, nine cruisers showed up just when I needed them, that very second. Thanks to the cops!

The second time I had my gun at the ready was today. With the neighboring priest sick to death, I was on my way to the hospital in his parish in Bryson City to give one of his parishioners the last rites, priest that I am, and I had Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with me. I was coming down the off ramp at Exit 67 on Interstate 74, clearly marked on the far side with the proper wrong way signs for any would be knucklehead drivers not paying attention, something like the picture above. It’s not a good thing to get on an interstate highway going the wrong way.

As I slowed up for the intersection, an ultra-sports sports car, the kind with really wide tires pulled up into the off ramp coming right at me, going the wrong way. It wasn’t a Corvette or a Lamborghini, but perhaps, if I remember rightly (looking now at some pictures), a Bugatti Veyron (one or two million for the el-cheapo version). It can go 60 mph in 119 feet, 255 mph maxed out (410 kms per hour for those across the pond).

I pulled right into him, decisively, slamming on the brakes with a bit of attitude. I didn’t hit him but he knew I meant business and he was pretty upset that I had totally blocked his access. The thing is, he thought he was in the right, or had done this on purpose to scare his wife by screaming up the highway in the wrong direction. He wanted an explanation of my behavior and so put his window down halfway even as he continued to go around me in the ditch. In the ditch. He was determined to get on the highway going the wrong way. It wasn’t like he was making a mistake. Another car came down the off ramp behind me and went around this scene of mayhem. It couldn’t be clearer that this was on off-ramp, NOT an on-ramp.

I jumped out of Sassy the Subaru with my hands up, waving him off, so as to stop him. My message was unmistakable. He kept going. I ran right in front of him and told him with calm authority (where did that come from?) that I wasn’t going to let him go any further. I stared him down like I’m sure he’s never been stared down before. He wife was shrieking with her hands to the sides of her head and he was looking at my hip. He was intent on his adrenaline joy ride edging forward absolutely knowing he was in the wrong, but…

Here’s the deal, I wear a black and frumpy 5-11 tactical shirt (with Roman collar!) over my Glock 19 which I carry OWB but unseen on my right hip. But when I’m in the car I pull the shirt back behind the Serpa Blackhawk holster so that the gun is immediately available even with the seat belt fastened. I still remember the carjacking and I refuse to be a victim.

I forgot that the shirt was still tucked behind the holster and so he was seeing what was important to see. But that’s O.K. North Carolina is an open carry state also for those who have concealed carry permits but who may happen to want to open carry on occasion.

I didn’t brandish. I never threatened. I wasn’t terrorizing the public with a weapon. I was formulating a plan to perhaps shoot out his tires if he continued if conditions indicated this was the proper thing to do for the safety and welfare of all concerned. I’m practiced enough now that I could do that with certainty of not hitting the occupants. Easy peasy. It didn’t come to that, thank God. There are plenty of videos on-line demonstrating that personal defense rounds from a 9mm will leave a big enough hole in a reinforced steel-belted extra heavy duty truck tire so as to let the air out in about 15 seconds, so, no worries there.

Anyway, however upset he was (and you can bet he also had a gun, though he didn’t brandish that I could see), I’m sure he just couldn’t believe what he was seeing what with me wearing the Roman collar and all. I actually think that made him all the more angry and upset, though he just couldn’t fathom what was on my hip. His purposely scaring his wife and terrorizing other drivers and risking the lives of so many is one thing. That he would have to deal with that which could stop your car for certain before you even got started is another.

He backed away and turned his car around. Off he went getting an ear full from his wife. I’m guessing this was a corporate exec with his wife – both about 65 years old – on a scenic tour of the mountains here in their new car. Very elegant looking couple. The look of big money. I think he still thinks that he was in the right, and is fuming. But that’s O.K. I’m sure he has a new and better opinion of priests. ;-)

I was elated as I got back in my car. I looked over to the share-ride parking that is there as I came up to the stop sign at the intersection, and some guy in a pickup, looking very much in the part of an undercover cop, gave me a big thumbs up, which I also returned. I’m sure he also had a good view of what was on my hip. He looked terribly amused to see my Roman collar as well. I was amused that he was amused. I’m sure he was happy to see civilians doing their part, even the clergy. I’m quite sure Jesus was amused as well. I think I give Jesus lots to be amused about.

I was also quite impressed with this incident that you just don’t know when bad things can happen. It can all go down in mere seconds. I gotta thank my guardian angel for arranging the timing of this and for smacking me down to make sure I did the right thing. I could have let him go. But to what end, to kill themselves and others? That’s not right. I realize that this could have all gone south very, very quickly, but that’s O.K. too, isn’t it? I mean, just because something could go wrong doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing, right? I’m sure Jesus doesn’t mind if we do the right thing. I’m still elated it all went well… and I’m still thanking my guardian angel.

UPDATE: I’ve added more details to the account above. But here’s the update: The face of the woman in the passenger seat was burned into my mind, as she framed her head with her hands and was shrieking at her husband. All pretty intense. When I was on the phone with Father Gordon MacRae this morning (still only hours after the incident above), we were sending a note to a lady who is perhaps by definition the most anti-Catholic, anti-priest person in these United States. (She’s quite willing to receive the messages, by the way). Her photo came up with her email address. She’s a spitting image of the lady in the car. The face, the age, the exact weird color of hair, the exact exact exact hair-do. Everything. 100%. That’s her. That’s also why she was screaming I’m sure. It was her worst nightmare: to be rescued from malicious death at the hands of her husband by a priest who helps Father Gordon, her biggest nemesis in the universe. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! I love it. I just love it. Happy to provide the nightmare. Maybe she will also have, upon reflection of what happened, a better regard for priests. As I say, the angels arrange just this very kind of ironic circumstance. I love it.

2 Comments

Filed under Guns, Road danger

Most emotional * Way of the Cross * “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”

I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel, back in 2009. Seems like yesterday. The O.C.D.s had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity.

2 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Prayer

Homily 2017 10 27 – Signs of the Times!

purgatory angelicum lawrence op

  • Dissing “spiritual plans” and “goals” with Saint Paul, because it’s all about Jesus.
  • Signs of the times and being up to date!
  • Purgatory as the example of Jesus, needing purity of heart and agility of soul and… and… humble, humble, humble thanksgiving.

Again, if I were to have given this homily in the seminary back in the day, I would have been thrown out for sure. Why? Because, at the time anyway, Jesus didn’t belong in the seminary, just smarty jesuity theologians, because we can’t otherwise know Jesus, or Scripture or what the Church teaches. But instead… well… listen to the homily.

1 Comment

Filed under HOMILIES, Purgatory

Homily 2017 10 26 – Best way for Jesus to create unity is to be divisive! Yay!

wp-image-1052064003

Above is a picture today of Prince of Peace Catholic Mission, part of our parish. And below is audio for the rather ferocious homily given today at the quaint storefront church. Had I given this homily in the seminary as a deacon way back in the day, this would certainly have gotten me thrown right out. Those were the days. I so really enjoy ever so very much giving a homily as pastor of an entirely remote parish. There’s little danger of getting in trouble for proclaiming the Gospel. :-) Of course, that’s not really a very good attitude for a priest, is it? I should want to be as divisive as possible!

2 Comments

Filed under HOMILIES