Tag Archives: Donkeys

Be smart, especially if you’re a donkey

donkey smart ass

Yes.

  • Donkeys are intelligent.
  • They can sing.
  • They only do what they understand.
  • They are always with the Holy Family, crib to the cross.

Be careful of who you are tempted to look down on.

Every donkey has his hour.

New readers might not know, but this donkey priest thinks donkeys are just so cool. As an omen of things to come, I won a palestinian donkey the day before I went to the seminary way back in 1978. I’ve loved donkeys ever since.

A long time reader sent the picture in by way of email, saying:

“I just received this and I knew had to share it with you.”

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This donkey-priest made it past April 1

DONKEY FOX

Donkeys, also known as jack [male of any species] -asses [technical name in Latin: asinus] are thought to be especially vulnerable to trickery and tom-foolery on April 1. I hesitated to post anything about it until today, pretending to wonder if I would survive the day. Three tricks were played on yours truly, one by a hope-to-be-one-day-seminarian (saying he converted to be Episcopalian, one by a fellow priest (he overthought that one), another by some LEOs (simple, yet elaborate, making me laugh out loud).

So, I didn’t fall for any of them, at least not for too long a time… But I do appreciate the attempts. It’ll have to be better than that next year. I can’t wait. What mere human beings don’t understand is that donkeys are fierce guardians of the flock. We trick tricksters all the time: “Oh, we’re just dumb donkeys!” And then, bam, a swift kick followed by a calm esophagal crush, and the donkey and the flock make it to the next day. We live a life of foolishness. I mean, did you ever hear a donkey sing?

IMG_20170401_225805Jesus played the fool on the cross, letting us mock him. And then, bam, He rises from the dead. Saint Paul bids us to be fools for Christ (1 Cor 4:10). The foolishness is all about what is not of the world, that which is mocked by the world: honesty, integrity, goodness, kindness, peacefulness, being tabernacles of the Holy Spirit.

Update: Jenny the Jeep (Jenny being the female of the donkey species), has a new tag as of yesterday when it finally came with the new registration in the mail. She proclaims “PRO DEO” (“FOR GOD”), of which the rest of the phrase is “ET PATRIA” (“AND COUNTRY”) and is the motto particularly of the USARMY but in general of the entire Department of Defense. In this case, it refers in a special way to 1 Cor 4:10, being fools for God. My 4GOD4USA tag is now retired. Sassy has 4GOD4ALL.

 

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I think of beer when I recall the great priest-saints & also my unworthiness

Yep. That’s about right. It’s really cool being a donkey-priest.

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Pope Francis, journalists & bad words: κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία

dung snow

When Pope Francis apologized for using ultra-technical terms used exclusively in scientific journals of psychiatry such as κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία, the apology was a self-accusation of being inappropriate because of not using more understandable street language, not for referencing the topics denoted by those “It’s-all-Greek-to-me” terms.

The Holy Father was directing those words at some journalists and some readers of those journalists, you know the ones and they know who they are, you know, those who publish false news stories or exclusively run after scandal or who twist everything into lies so that everything they see is darkness with their eyes covered with you-know-what. Jesus himself, mind you, spoke of this darkening of the light:

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a cellar or under a basket. Instead, he sets it on a lampstand, so those who enter can see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.”

These very journalists with their ever pious ears and snowflake fragility, were, as was to be expected, ever so violently offended and set off on a course of slander against the Bishop of Rome. He was rightly likening their work to the content of those terms. They, in turn, just to prove he was right about them, breathlessly said that for him to use such words was a scandal and the end of the world and that all is now hopeless and each and every one of us is to become a sede-vacantist and be filled with bitterness and hatred, blaming him for our going to hell so defiantly and arrogantly. They say that he himself is filled with κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία, thus fulfilling in themselves it seems the irony that is always required by Divine Providence. Saint Paul gives us the proper attitude:

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another. […] Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Those journalists, of course, in all their self-righteousness, turn those words of Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians exclusively to Pope Francis since they in their opinion don’t need any such reprimand, of course.

In an effort to rid people of their make pretend pious ears, perhaps it would be good to hunt up a few biblical insults written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you know, some earthy ones, in order to demonstrate to these tender snowflakes that down-to-earth language is not always a bad thing. I for one wouldn’t mind at all if Pope Francis used some street language, not the really bad words, but you know, like manure, etc. Anyway, here’s a good insult from Ezekiel 23:20, with this being a pedantic and therefore honest translation, having no fear of the Holy Spirit’s fiery fierceness…

Their “genitals are like the genitals of donkeys, and their ejaculate like the ejaculate of horses” (Ezekiel 23:20).

The tender snowflakes of the time must have had a meltdown. Ezekiel, instead, is really cool. He’s surely the one who penned Genesis 2–3 (my thesis topic), also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Just to say, donkeys and horses are just fine the way they are, and to be likened to a donkey-as-donkey in all donkeyness (I’m a donkey!) or a horse-as-horse in all horseness is a compliment, but being likened to this or that mere aspect of a donkey or horse is, of course, an insult, objectifying donkeys or horses by a mere aspect in this way. But sometimes, as the Holy Spirit teaches us, insults are sometimes necessary.

No, Pope Francis is not filled with κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία just because he rightly described some lying journalists and some of their readers in this way. He said what he needed to say, and in my opinion was right to use those words. Perhaps he should have used translations, but, never mind, some of them made the translations for him. Ah, the irony. But, again, journalists shouldn’t lust after scandal, and shouldn’t lie and exaggerate and be filled with bitterness and hatred. They shouldn’t. The Pope is right.

Perhaps I should call to mind the insults used by John the Baptist and by Jesus himself against the Pharisees and scribes and lawyers of the time, you know, all those references to white-washed-tombs and broods of vipers and such-like. Some of them plotted the death of Jesus, tender snowflakes that they were.

And, yes, I do intend to write about the context of Ezekiel’s exclamations and hopefully apply them in a useful manner to various so-called pastoral ambiguities. This post is simply about calling out those who exaggerate for who-knows-what motivation. It is important not to be lost in bitterness and hatred. It is important to address the topics without every giving way to bitterness and hatred. We must remain with Jesus. Otherwise, we might think that we ourselves apart from Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Ain’t gonna happen. Jesus himself, with those truly righteous because they are with him, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Frances tells it like it is: I’m a donkey

frances

yiddish

Frances is one of my most favorite people in the world. She always tells it like it is, because that’s the way it is and there’s no other way to tell it. She’s the best. But then I interrupted her to say that she should teach me Polish, or better, Yiddish, not that she’s Jewish (but maybe she is). She knows my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are Jewish. She ran and got this book for me. One of my spies tells me that she actually got it for me a long time ago, but, instead of giving it to me, read it herself first since it seems that it’s quite humorous. And then she had to tell me that I’m getting famous as a donkey-priest. A common friend just published this children’s book which features three priests, her Pastor, dressed in cassock, then the Vicar for Education for the Diocese, dressed in Cassock, and then me, not dressed in anything…

donkey1

Well, I’m dressed in a cross on my back. The donkey is named George in the book. Donkey’s are symbols of Israel as seen in literature of surrounding nations since time immemorial, way back into Old Testament times. Donkey’s give rides to the children of Israel, and specifically, in New Testament times, to Mary with baby Jesus, and then Jesus alone…

donkey2

Donkey’s are always with the Holy Family. Going to Bethlehem, at the Crib, down to Egypt and back, bringing Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to be crucified… Jesus is the first born – as Saint Paul puts it – of the children of Israel. G.K. Chesterton puts it well:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

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Donkeys that don’t float downstream. Blast from the past: Fish that swim.

donkey floating

This floating donkey, seemingly with no hooves whatsoever, was seen in the pasture next to The Barn in Hanceville, Alabama. He’s not floating downstream, as it were, but purposely lets himself be drawn to the donkey whisperer (that would be me). A distantly analogous post on another long locked down blog comes to mind. Don’t be afraid. ///

fish dead floating downstream

Floating downstream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You end up in sedentary pools on the sides of the stream, clogged with other fish as effectively dead as yourself.

Mind you, it’s not that masses of people float downstream because there are no benefits. Political correctness brings it’s own perks. First off, don’t think that one doesn’t get used to floating downstream, or even to getting caught stuck in fetid eddies with fellow fish. For selfish motives, such as job advancement and popularity, the feeling of power one has with being “successful”, a “consensus builder”, one can get used to anything, and then, in fact, fool oneself into thinking that one is actually enjoying oneself. The power of it all!

I mean, just think, one only has to look at the few dead fish within one’s self-imposed, extremely limited horizon, those who are with you, floating, unmoving, pretending not to be the floatsum these have made of themselves, insisting that, if anything, in a victim mentality, they are simply jetsam, getting along like everyone else, cleverly doing what one has to do to get along as a victim in this fallen society of ours, pretending all the while not to be depressed and falling into despair, because, in all actuality, one might no longer be reclaimable again by way of confession, by way of bearing the fruits of repentance, but lost forever as derelict, beyond the mercy of God and God-inspired compassion of real men (all of which is never the case as long as we have breath: Dum spiro spero!).

I mean, just think, it’s not so bad, after a while, even if it’s a good while. Not only can we can get used to anything, we can even start to rejoice in the good points of one’s fellow rotting fish:

  • Their scales glint in the sun, a rainbow of colors. Such distraction!
  • Their stench is actually kind of sweet, complacency of lifestyle!
  • The antics of the little parasites crawling in and around them are fascinating to watch, a great passtime. I want some too!
  • There’s no stress, no change, no challenge to grow. I’ve arrived!

And besides, “Everyone floats downstream!” — which is the useless defense before the judgment of God concerning whether we go to heaven or hell, a defense made by someone who is falling into despair and calling out for help.

bear salmon

Swimming upstream is altogether different. One is swimming, sleek and agile, exercised, full of energy, in the middle of the stream, in clear, sky blue, sparkling waters. With deft, lightning movements, one navigates not just around the few dead fish one had been with, but around countless others, always more. Not a pretty sight, but one is instead enjoying enthusiastic freedom, darting in and out, here, then there, always in the clear waters of God’s grace, always in humble thanksgiving. In exhilaration, one leaps out of the water and into the sunshine, high into the air, taking in the view: Wow! Look at those mountains! How tall the trees are! Yikes! A Kodiak Bear! A monster! A demon! An agent of Satan! The bear, of course, eats whatever fish forget humble thanksgiving and trust in their own talents, conglatulating themselves for being good, putting others down as worthless, and so rejecting their own redemption by the Son of Man, the Son of God.

There are even more benefits, mind you, to swimming upstream with humble thanksgiving for God’s grace, not only avoiding the bears and avoiding dead fish (though giving them good example and wishing that they turn around), but also — and this is not selfish — but also rejoicing in the height and depth and breadth, the entire expanse of God’s intimate, joyful love for us. We come to know Him as THE FISH, in Greek, Ichtus, ιχθυς, the letters of which stand for Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior, with the last word being a translation of the first word.

fish ichtus jesus christ gods son savior

Traced out in the forest next to the hermitage. As mentioned in another post, a Baptist who grew up not far from the hermitage and is now Catholic did the same next to the hermitage the other day. He’s wanting to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Charlotte. Outreach to the local Baptists back in the days of the hermitage is bearing fruit. Thank you, Jesus.

In early centuries under Roman persecution of Catholics, the faithful would get to know each other safely by way of code… by way of tracing out a fish on the ground with a stick, ever so casually, and if the other did the same, ever so casually, one would know that one was safely in the company of a fellow Catholic.

Jesus, like Jonas, was in the belly of the whale, the earth, for three days and three nights, but then was spit out, that is resurrected from the dead. He suffered like a dead fish, but death had no grip on Him. Jesus is just that good, just that kind, to us, who have all been dead fish, floating downstream, but whom He has saved, to have us swim upstream, with Him, with agility of soul, rejoicing.

So, what does all that have to do with the seemingly floating donkey at the top of this post, the one willingly drawn to yours truly, the donkey whisperer? Well, it’s like this: Jesus is the soul whisperer, with His quiet voice, speaking into our souls, drawing us to Himself like a Star Trek tractor beam. That’s a matter of salvation and love, not at all of political correctness. We show all of our rottingness to Jesus in Confession, and then He makes all things new. And I’m very happy about that. Very happy indeed.

Also, just to say, and it always happens this way, and I already knew it would be the same this time as well… I knew that being in heaven on earth down in Hanceville at The Barn would be a God given respite, however short, for the times to come in the immediate foreseeable future. I knew I would be extremely busy, literally run off my feet, not getting back home most nights until the wee hours of the morning and having to get up hours before sunrise to start on the run again. I love begin available for my ailing parishioners. I admit I have not been all too available to write some comments about two books I’m supposed to read at the request of some, but I’m getting to that soon!

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Where can hot and bothered donkey priests go on retreat for free? :-)

donkey 1

When it’s scorchingly hot and yet drenchingly humid, even Palestinian donkeys can be hot and bothered, sweating by the bucket. Priests, much like donkeys (see The return of this Jackass for the Hour), can suffer from hot situations in their parishes and dioceses and religious orders. Unlike donkeys, priests can take advantage of a retreat center in the gentle hills of the lower Appalachian range in central Alabama. This donkey is on the grounds of the retreat center, aka, “The Barn.”

The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville host priests for free in “The Barn.” The retreat center for priests is actually converted from a barn at which, I’m sure, this donkey had stayed as a young colt. His name is surely “Brother Ass” in honor of Saint Francis. Everything is there. You need merely call to see if there is a room available. Sometimes you’ll be the only one. Sometimes there are large groups. Don’t hesitate, my priest friends, to take advantage of this opportunity. It’s truly a pilgrimage spot.

Of course, you need not be in a hot situation to take a day of recollection or to make your canonical retreat here. My Vicar Forane and I came down for a day just to do it. The “just to do it” reason is always a good idea for us priests. Always. There’s never a time when it’s not a good idea. There are no retreat masters, but all your meals are provided. You needn’t worry about a thing. There’s an exquisite chapel in “The Barn,” and there’s the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Both awesome, both conducive to prayer. Confessions are, of course, available from the Friars who are chaplains to the Poor Clares.

Oh, and did I mention that one of those chaplains is a Missionary of Mercy? I mention that because many of the faculties granted for absolutions concern priests. Just do it.

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The return of this Jackass for the Hour

crucifix

This “Donkey”[!] is found crucified above the tabernacle (see: “Brother Ass” in “The Barn” Mon-Wed) of the absolutely gorgeous Turris Davidica chapel found inside “The Barn” where yours truly went for a day of recollection with “The Very”, the Vicar Forane of the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese of Charlotte. Note the cross inside each of the golden stars of David.

There are, perhaps, nearly 100% of readers who will think that it is rude to refer to anyone as a donkey, and should this appellative be used for the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception that this would certainly be counted as blasphemy. But this is a badge of honor for Jesus, for He did that which is much more “blasphemous” for us, becoming “sin” for us, as Saint Paul says. Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews were always referred to by this symbol of humble hard work by the surrounding nations. Don’t forget that donkeys can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand (really smart, that), not at all stubborn like mules. Also recall that donkeys are everywhere with the Holy Family. Here are some pics from the massive bronze doors of the larger chapel (some hundreds of yards from “The Barn”):

donkey 4

donkey 2

Of course, a donkey also brought our Lord into the city of Jerusalem for His crucifixion…

Thanks to all those who said a prayer for yours truly these past few days. The day of recollection went very well. Priests can stay at “The Barn” for free. Only priests can stay at “The Barn.” Many priests from the Diocese of Charlotte take refuge in “The Barn” on a regular basis. It’s equidistant for me to Charlotte one way and “The Barn” the other way. Another priest, from Saint Anne’s, is there today for the feast of the translation of the relics of Saint Clare. O.K. Those are enough hints. Do you know where this is?

Anyway, the “return” mentioned in the title of this post doesn’t refer to me being back in the parish so much as an advance in the Chestertonian sense of the return of the fallen creature back to its Creator by way of the redemption. I mentioned to one of the wonderfully Catholic priests to be found in the environs of “The Barn” about Jackass for the Hour, saying that everything has changed so very much in the last few years that I doubt if I could even revise such an ecclesiastical thriller novel that goes to the black heart of and offers solutions for the Rebellion so ubiquitously and wrongly called the Reformation, and that the Scriptural commentary on the “Dog-Woman” that I wrote would hardly be able to be received by anyone anymore. I was, of course, gently but firmly reprimanded, being told not to be despondent. Donkeys are quite miserable if they are despondent, and that just won’t do at all. So, joy with the singing of a donkey, a braying which is also praying, on the march, as donkeys do.

And if there are still readers who don’t like it when priests are called guard-donkeys:

DONKEY FOX

And if there are still those who think that it is inappropriate for priests or anyone for that matter to be called any kind of donkey at all, I simply cite Saint Augustine in response:

“Asinus es sed Christum portas” (You are a jackass, but you carry Christ).

And if there are still those who hesitate, I offer this Orthodox kind-of-an-icon (slightly damaged through the years with window-sealer… sorry!) for their contemplation. Remember, that we carry Christ within us. We also carry each other. We belong to the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head and we as the members, with His Most Sacred Heart inflaming ours with the fiery ardent love of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Saint Augustine donkey icon

And if there are still those who hesitate about the appropriateness of all this hopefully childlike joy and not childish idiocy, please feel free to call me the donkey-priest. I will simply laugh with appreciative enthusiasm. I still think I have too much fun.

Oh, and did I mention that Saint Francis called himself Brother Ass?

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Jesus, please, make me a good donkey

man leading donkey

Man Leading a Donkey in Front of the Palais de Justice, Tangier, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1912, the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim. He moved to Paris in 1891 to study, and decided to stay there, being readily accepted in French artistic circles. His painting entitled Daniel in the Lions’ Den was accepted into the 1896 Salon.

“In the difficulties which are placed before me, why should I not act like a donkey?

  • When one speaks ill of him – the donkey says nothing.
  • When he is mistreated – he says nothing.
  • When he is forgotten – he says nothing.
  • When no food is given him – he says nothing.
  • When he is made to advance – he says nothing.
  • When he is despised – he says nothing.
  • When he is overburdened – he says nothing.

The true servant of God must do likewise, and say with David: ‘Before Thee I have become like a beast of burden.'” ~ Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

Our Lord says that, no matter what, we will say: “I only did what I had to do.” And I say, “I am just so very far from that. I wish I could say that.”

This bit from Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez is the thing I need for an examination of conscience. I am not worthy to be the donkey that I am. I am tempted so that…

 

  • when someone speaks ill of me – I speak ill of others;
  • when I am mistreated – I respond in kind;
  • when I am forgotten – I make sure everyone takes note;
  • When no food is given to me – I nevertheless eat all I can;
  • When I am made to advance – I say that it’s the wrong path;
  • When I am despised – people will be afraid to do that again;
  • When I am overburdened – I find even more things to do, or do nothing.

 

The mistake I am tempted to make is to take myself seriously. No donkey ever does that. Dear Lord. Please. That I might be a true donkey.

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Christmas at the rectory

image

Leading up to Christmas. I note a theme of donkeys, and that makes me very happy indeed. Thank you. The rosary is a work of art. More on that in a future post. This post is an experiment, as it is created entirely with my phone. I would rather not travel to Rome with a computer this time.

The Donkey

BY G. K. CHESTERTON
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

=========

Of course, a donkey brought Mary to Bethlehem. A donkey’s breathing kept Jesus warm in the manger. A donkey accompanied the Holy Family to Egypt and all the way back to Nazareth. A donkey was used by the good Samaritan. Donkeys can sing. Most intelligent, they only do what they understand. They are not stubborn as mules. They are hard workers and terribly loyal. They are the symbol of Judaism along with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. They have suffered humiliation by elitist Democrats but are nonetheless resilient. It is the donkey who protects the sheep.

image

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