Tag Archives: Adoration

Coronavirus: Last night in our church

About those videos: Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating. 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. The OCDs 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. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

Meanwhile, during Coronavirus panic, the Stations of the Cross in our little parish church: We had a record number of people show up for the Adoration and the Stations of the Cross. We have:

  • Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
  • Some minutes of Adoration
  • Stations of the Cross with, of course, the Stabat Mater
  • Some minutes of quiet Adoration
  • Then I go back into the Confessional and hear lots of Confessions (it goes overtime), and the rest of the those present are led in prayers
  • Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament (one of our young servers is being trained into ringing the bells thrice x 3 during the Benediction itself)

Meanwhile, while all that was going on, Charlotte Diocese, working into the night, sent out policies and guidelines. I haven’t been able to look over them yet, but, now it’s Saturday, and people are wondering about the weekend Masses.

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Adoration: the Most Blessed Sacrament because Jesus is the One, the only One

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Total novices in the spiritual life often think they are well advanced in the spiritual life, and those who walk with our dear Lord throughout the day and night often think they are the most knuckleheaded among Jesus’ little flock. Truly. You just cannot, cannot, cannot judge yourself, proclaiming that you know you’re “advanced” because of this or that whatever that you think you recognize, say, in the writings of an Elizabeth of the Trinity, of a Thérèse of Lisieux, of a Teresa of Avila, of a John of the Cross, of…. of… Just. No. It doesn’t work that way.

Those who think they know where they are at are putting their attention on themselves. They walk with themselves. They do not walk with Jesus.

Here’s the deal, we do not have the beatific vision. We have no standard of comparison of where we are at. We are never adequate to judge ourselves. And even if we could get a somewhat accurate idea about ourselves before God, we would still be wrong. Indeed, even the great Saint Paul says he cannot judge himself. We are here upon this earth, while hopefully on our way to heaven, not in order to stagnate, but in order to grow. And that demands that we admit that we have room to grow.

A couple of years ago I met a young man who was thinking of going on a certain retreat for vocational discernment that had strict requirements for minimum and maximum age for participants. I asked how old he was, stupidly guessing 18 years of age. His response was utter dismay. He was 19 years old, and therefore, he insisted, so very much wiser, so very much more experienced, so very much more capable in every way than a mere 18 year old. It is he who has the wisdom of age. And how DARE I guess that he was a mere 18 years old. He was apoplectic about it. Well. Goodness. Alright then.

Any self congratulation is self condemnation.

Having said that – condemning myself, because that’s exactly what I do if I look to myself in any way whatsoever – I should like to relate an experience I had the other day here in the rectory, where there is a little chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. [The above picture is of our parish church the other day, not the chapel in the rectory!]

I was passing by the open door of this little chapel – greeting Jesus and Mary as I walked by – as I do a hundred times a day, but this time I was stopped dead in my tracks. It was as if Jesus and Mary were looking upon me with… well… with an attitude similar to that which I rejoiced to see in Rome with the Missionaries of Charity while the sisters would try to organize the geriatric street people in their hostel situated between the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. These sisters were really tough, but with charity. But, oh my, they were tough! You have to be tough with street people, and with geriatric street people to boot. Jesus had to be tough, hanging on the Cross as He did for us, Innocent for the guilty. His good mom, Mary, had to be tough, standing under the Cross in solidarity with Jesus, and therefore in solidarity with us.

Back story: Many years ago, during the most intensely academic of my years at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, I determined that if I were to survive as a priest of Jesus Christ, I simply had to have an apostolate of some kind. Volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity was a natural choice for me since I was great friends with many of them all over the world. The sisters were desperate for a man to give showers to some few of the helpless geriatric men who were to be in residence with them long term. “Showers.” That’s a euphemism. “Shower” means literally scrapping off of these helpless geriatrics their diarrhea which was long dried and caked and melded into their stand-on-their-own trousers. The stench! After that, maybe some of their other medical problems and issues could be dealt with. But first things first. I did this one morning every week for years. And, yes, if you’re wondering, this did lead to the spiritual life where there was none before. Tears on their part. Rejoicing on my part. Seeing a soul contrite before the living God, even while getting dried and caked diarrhea scrapped off of you is entirely beautiful to behold. “What you did for the least of these you did to Me” and all that.

Which brings me back to my stopped-dead-in-my-tracks walking by the chapel door at the rectory experience. I was instantly in the place of any one of the geriatric street geezers at that hospice, while Jesus and Mary were in the place of the Missionaries of Charity. Jesus was discussing with Mary what could possibly be done for me to wake me up to the glories of the Living God right before us, with me being so blind to all of this. I have no idea about that discussion, except my own two-fold reaction to the fact of it:

  • On the one hand I realized a bit more of my dire need, also that I was ignorant of knowing most of that of which I am in need.
  • On the other hand I rejoiced that Jesus and Mary had me in mind.

Those are both things that we can know and rejoice in on an intellectual level. It’s just that this were very personally to the center of heart and mind and soul, with the emphasis on a personal connection with them, even if I was just another of the geriatric old street geezers needing a bit of help from them. I could see that they did this in their great love that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything about any worthiness or unworthiness of mine. This was about their entirely gratuitous great love.

That’s the kind of thing that wins my heart over to the Heart of Jesus, you know, like the soldier on Calvary, after he had thrust his sword into the Heart of Jesus. That’s when that soldier knew that Jesus was the One, the only One. That soldier then immediately said: “Truly this is the Son of God.” No self congratulation there. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus is the One. The only One.

Should anyone proclaim that surely I’m a sinner in this way or that, you know, the usual, that I’m lazy because I don’t bilocate, that I’m gluttonous because I’ve had to go on a Keto diet (44+ pounds now lost in 2.5 months), that I’m a slob because I didn’t trim my beard today, and so on, my response is that they should update their condemnations, and say that I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God. I have. But while I have Jesus’ words “Father! Forgive them!” ringing in my ears while I continue to do my worst, piercing open the Heart of Jesus like that soldier, in recognizing that that’s what I would absolutely do if without the grace of God, that’s also my invitation to take the attention off myself and put it on Jesus, proclaiming “Truly this is the Son of God.”

And that’s how Jesus and Mary scrape the s*** off of yours truly and have me know that I’m part of the family, rejoicing that I can thank not me for this, but them alone.

Experiences like this speak nothing whatsoever about one’s growth in the spiritual life. Such experiences might speak to the fact that one needs special help, because of almost being a lost cause. Although nothing is impossible with God. Whether we notice that we are noticed by Jesus and our blessed Mother, we are nevertheless taken under their charge. We are all their special projects. We are all in need of being set right by them. For me, it is perhaps that I am in such need of getting a kick in the back end that I noticed the two of them noticing just me, a donkey priest. Not a vision, not a locution, no. Just my blackest and beadiest of black and beady hearts averting to the fact that Jesus is the One, the only One, and that His Mother is ours. Please God I will follow up on this. Our time is so short upon this earth.

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Some progress with the Confessional

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This parish, Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC, has a work-Confessional. No brooms, vacuum cleaners, zambonis or what not in our Confessional, converting it into a janitor’s closet. No, no. The clean-up here is for the soul, and is done with the abrasive force of none other than the Blood of Christ Jesus.

There’s more work to be done, like framed acts of contrition in various language to be added to the penitent side just to either side of the screen, and framed absolutions in various rites and languages on the priest side. Also, I’d like to move the crucifix and two oval pictures of Jesus and Mary alongside the door where it’s easier for the priest to see them. Then some kind of CD player for chant to be played softly as a noise muffler. Usually, there’s tons of prayers going on outside in the church, a rather raucous rosary (I like that) or an enthusiastic part of the Liturgy of the Hours. (I like that a lot).

More things to be added in future. But the huge consolation with all this… is that this is a working-Confessional. The heaviest use is during early morning adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Of course.

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6:00am Adoration / Confessions

On Sunday morning we had record numbers in our tiny parish. Did anyone say: “solution to the crisis of faith.”

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Divine Mercy Johannine Comma Trent distraction reposing Blessed Sacrament

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This was 6:00 AM Eucharistic Adoration in Holy Redeemer church in Andrews on Divine Mercy Sunday. It’s just the positioning of the monstrance of course, but a couple of the jewels just to either side of the Most Blessed Sacrament are reflecting bluish/white and red light. The paintings similar to the original always have those colors switched around.

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Such a distraction. Perhaps I especially look at the Sacred Host as the Heart of Jesus in that, after Benediction, after the Divine Praises, I make it a practice to recite a certain prayer which begins — “May the Heart of Jesus…” At that point I’m very close to the monstrance and looking intently at the Most Blessed Sacrament while walking around the altar to do the reposition. Of course, at that moment, the rays would be switched around again, wouldn’t they? Such a distraction. Red represents blood, of course. Water, represents baptism, of course. From 1 John 2: 5-8. Note the “Johannine Comma” between hyphens…

“Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses — in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these Three are One. And three they are which give testimony upon the earth — the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree.”

The self-congratulatory sophisticates hold that those words infamously called the Johannine Comma are said to be inauthentically interpolated. They are, then, of course,  weaponized for debates on the Most Holy Trinity. Pfft. People should grow up and take a look a the first dogmatic decree of the 4th Session of Trent, April 8, 1546, and then take a hard look at the MSS evidence and honestly ask about possibilities. The Catholic Church wins, as always. Don’t mess with Mother Church.

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Night Haunts #1: Midnight Pilgrims – Tyburn Covent

You might say a prayer for them, and Mother Xavier in particular, who’s been on the edge of the “life is changed, not ended” most wonderful time of life for some weeks now.

It’s good to pray for the grace of final perseverance, for a happy death, for ourselves, for us all. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that this grace of final perseverance is different than the grace with which we live during out lives, and we need that grace of final perseverance in order to persevere in that sanctifying grace. How about doing Mother Xavier a good favor and asking our dearest Lord’s good mom for just that grace:

Hail Mary…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Giving her flowers at the Cross, ed.)

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The men of the parish on their knees before Jesus, with flowers given to Jesus’ good mom, who stood under the Cross.

As the world rages, this is the most practical thing we can do. Get on our knees and give flowers to the Immaculate Conception.

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Adoration and chapel veils? Illegal!

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The veils have been multiplying over time. I never said a word. I recall Father Z put up a number of post about veils. He’ll make a comment one way or the other and then say that he’s now backing out of the room slowly… slowly… RUN!

But it’s not that way here. I guess because I’ve simply never said anything. This wasn’t so much a thing that started up here as much as it was brought up from Mexico with our immigrant community. But I can’t really say immigrant so much as time goes on, as lots of kids have now been born here, and have grown up here, fully citizens. So nothing “illegal” as some might strangely say, not with the veils, not with the people.

It’s this kind of scene pictured above that is so very different from what we see in the mass media.

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Adoration on the Vigil of Immaculate Conception: record numbers, again.

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While the world goes crazy, ripped in this direction and that, there are those who are stably before our Lord Jesus. Mary does that for us, leading us to her Son. Meanwhile, there are a zillion Confessions during adoration. This is when I am most happy as a priest and it very much strikes me that I am living out the fatherhood of priesthood, being a father of the parish family. Meanwhile, during these dark times, from round about this region, there are a number of men who are expressing interest in being candidates to be seminarians for Charlotte Diocese.

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Eucharistic Miracle: “Dispose of it”

Wasn’t a priest whistle-blower murdered in Buffalo Diocese hours before bringing files to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò? There seems to be a culture in Buffalo to buffalo. But it’s not that the Buffalo buffalo are striking back as in some sort of “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”

No linguistic spoofs here. What does “Dispose of “it”!” mean? Whatever of any miracle – Jesus can do that anytime He wants – it sounds like this was still an intact Host. And then we want to slow waaaay down. Does anyone know any more about this? Was this an intact Host that was “disposed of”?

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Lol! But then… Donkeys and Jesus

Donkeys, always with the Holy Family, know the entirety of the hell the Holy Family went through. Behold, the reality of a donkey with the Holy Family, with Mary being the Ark of The Covenant:

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I love it.

Mind you, if you think the donkey is scowling and is upset with his burden, no no, it’s not that way; instead, the donkey knows he’s on a forced journey bringing the Holy Family into exile in Egypt because of Herod murdering all the boys in Bethlehem in order to kill Jesus. The donkey, hardly upset with the Holy Family, is practicing his situational awareness. Gooood donkeeey!

This is my life while bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on my far flung Communion Calls to shut-ins, to those in Rehabs and Nursing Homes and Hospitals. I hope Jesus thinks I’m a gooood donkeeey! ;-)

And if anyone needs reminding about the great situational awareness of any good donkey, remember that donkeys are put in with flocks of sheep as they are superb at protecting the flock from predators. All priests should be gooood donkeeeys!

DONKEY FOX

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Adoration in the darkness

A record number of parishioners were drawn by our Lord through the cold and the dark for a 6:00-700am Holy Hour. Confessions! All a consolation for any priest in a time of great darkness.

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Adoration at the retreat

Ah yes! There He is, He who is the living Truth, our Way, our Life.

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Adoration, Confession, Peter’s Keys

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Our weekly Sunday morning holy hours 6:00-7:00 AM at Holy Redeemer sometimes have a quiet moment or two, during one of which I took this picture. We have the rosary or a chaplet, lauds, chants. After exposition, to make sure we have some quiet, I stay on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament for the first ten minutes. But after that, I go back to the Confessional. I mean, people kneeling before our Lord makes for a busy confessional. Always so very inspiring, making any priest, even me, happy to be one with Jesus in His priesthood.

I would just like to point out the bit of yellow that you see through the window on the outside of the door. That’s the flag of the Holy See, the Papal Flag. We have to remember, do we not, that the Holy Father, whatever anyone might think about him, whatever Jesus might think about him, still has the power of keys, still delegates such powers with the apostolic mandate of bishops, who still sub-delegate that to the priests.

I make no apologies for being in solidarity with the Bishop of Rome – the most attacked-by-Satan bishop in the world – praying for him. I always mention him during Mass (not all do, you know), and at the end of the intercessions, the bidding prayers. I mean, I have cloistered nuns who pray for my wretched soul. When I complain to them that they are getting me in trouble with all those prayers because Jesus will ask me what I actually did with all those graces, they instantly say that such trouble with Jesus is alright since – “Look at it this way” they say – just think of where you would have been if we weren’t praying for you at all. Oh my.

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Eucharistic Reparation again!

At the Mission church as well this morning: explicitly Eucharistic reparation.

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Eucharistic Reparation

This morning explicitly for reparation.

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Adoration, Rosaries… MOAB!

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Sundays are busy:

  • 6:00-7:00 AM – Adoration at Holy Redeemer in Cherokee County. This includes the Rosary or a chaplet, Lauds from the Liturgy of the Hours, lots of singing and other devotions. Full Benediction. While adorers are leading those prayers, I’m hearing confessions which are very well attended.
  • 7:00-7:30 AM – race up to Prince of Peace in Graham County
  • 7:30-8:00 AM – set up the church for Adoration and Mass. The above picture is from yesterday in Robinsville. Adoration includes Rosary. Again, I’m available for confessions during this time.
  • 8:30 AM – simple reposition and then Mass
  • 10:00 AM – race back to Holy Redeemer in Cherokee County
  • 10:30 AM – Confessions while the Rosary is led by others in church
  • 11:00 AM – Mass
  • 12:15 PM – Social in the social hall
  • 2:00 PM – Quarterly Finance Council meeting
  • 3:30 PM – Communion Calls (@ 100 miles across four counties) ending 8:30 PM. All the stops were super-inspiring for me, watching Jesus at work. Absolutely beautiful. I love being a priest. I love being with the sick and shut-ins and the dying.
  • 8:30 PM – Feed eager Laudie-dog and enthusiastic Shadow-dog, and, finally, me.
  • 9:00 PM – Go through some emails, and missed phone calls and social media.
  • Zero-Dark-Who-Knows – zonked out: Oh angel of God, my guardian dear…

Meanwhile, people you meet in this tiniest of all parishes in the middle of nowhere are always amazing. After Mass in Robinsville I met the guy who, hundreds of miles and four hours away from home, now on a yearly camping trip in these parts… a guy who, after a lifetime in the Military, went to work on designing MOAB or GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (the “Mother Of All Bombs”). He’s a devout Catholic, very active in the apostolate, as is his wife. He spoke of the “kill-zone” being a 25 mile radius. I said it would be better to call it a “stop the threat” zone (using concealed carry terminology). He laughed at that immediately – which tells me something – and admitted that that was not his language, but that of his physicists. Here’s one of his nerdy scientists talking us through a test explosion.

How to say it? “Unconventional-Conventional”? All war is hell. No one “likes war.” But, because of unjust aggression, there it is. If something like the MOAB gets us a step away from nuclear bombs that’s a step in the right direction. You can avoid:

  • Nuclear radiation for the unforeseeable future in affected areas
  • Nuclear winter
  • Nuclear famine
  • Billions of people dying for consequences of even regional conflicts

But besides all that, carpet bombing populations is immoral. That’s true. But this isn’t true of a MOAB if it’s not used on a population center. I would never say that this guy wants his MOAB dropped on population centers. No. We did use the MOAB once for real, and it was used in the middle of nowhere, taking out 36 militants.

But, of course, it could happen. That’s true. The U.S. dropped nukes on the only two solidly Catholic population centers in Japan. And, yes, I’ve been having this discussion with those involved in one way or the other off an on for decades, since the early 1980s. It’s simply not true that killing so many innocent people just to make an intellectual point about power is ever a good thing even if the consequences are good, such as stopping a war. You can always find another way. Tell people to look at their military base in the middle of nowhere and explode it while they are looking. That’s more than enough.

Any tool could be used the wrong way. That’s not the tool’s fault. A butter knife is a good thing, but it can be used the wrong way. A car is a good thing, but it can be used the wrong way. So…

Meanwhile, in the midst of designing such bombs, there is time for prayer, is there not? Yes, there is. Adoration. Rosaries. Even in this tiniest of all parishes. Prayer is, after all, the greatest of all weapons beating down any need for a defensive war in which one might have the need to make a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by making use of such a thing. Again, all war is hell, but Jesus has faced and conquered all of hell. You might say that the love of God shouldn’t make up part of an analogy with weapons of war. But Satan thinks of prayer and the love of God in exactly that way. It is always the love of God, but for those who reject love, it is more devastating than any kind of bomb whatsoever. For Satan, God’s love is hell. For humans on this earth, it’s a chance for conversion from darkness to light.

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Visiting prison: Tarcissius! Prayers for Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai

In the last moments before leaving Rome I made it out to Saint Lawrence’s Outside the Walls. This is in the Blessed Sacrament chapel below the altar: Saint Tarcissius. Or am I wrong? This little boy was commissioned by the Pope (who would be forthwith martyred in the catacombs) to bring the Blessed Sacrament to prisoners at the Coliseum. He was doing this…

He was doing this when he was smashed down and beaten to death by some other boys who wanted whatever it was he was carrying. They could not wrench it from his hands, even in death.

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Will you join me with some prayers for them? It’s like taking the good example of Saint Tarcissius…

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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Seen at Church in the night

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Adoration in the parish. Early early!

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The parish has Eucharistic Adoration every Sunday morning from 6:00-7:00 AM at Holy Redeemer. After spending the first 15 minutes in adoration, I head to the Confessional in back of the Church and hear Confessions. The church is pretty tiny, but very devotional, if you will. The ceiling is no higher than the crucifix above the tabernacle. I had a second to take this picture. It makes for good memories. I love this little parish to pieces.

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