Tag Archives: Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (absolute alliteration, edition)

Next door to the rectory… If you look closely, you’ll see that there are many of these huge buds starting startlingly with Lenten color. Next to that there’s a tree trembling with the first petals of Paschal plenitude of life.

But we are still in the midst of Lenten observance. So… on the lawn of the rectory… the tiniest tribute terribly trying to be flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Are you ready? I’m READY!

Forsooth! Foolish fugitive’s final fixing


Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact. Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors…” But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. But the fugitive’s fault finding frater , faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile. His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.” – Originally composed by Rev. W. O. Taylor

Here’s the deal: It’s not a maze to come back to the practice of the faith. Simply:

  • Go to Confession
  • Go to Mass
  • Keep the commandments
  • Go to heaven
  • Don’t do any of this with your own strength, but depend on Divine Son of God who laid down His life for ours, taking on the punishment we deserve so that He would have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us, which makes that mercy credible, majestic, putting us in reverence and humble thanksgiving before Him.

And that is surely a flower for the Immaculate Conception.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (harbinger, edition)

This is the very first and only bloom, not even open yet, on the Forsythia at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews NC at the mid-end of February. In legend, they are supposed to be the first to bloom as harbingers of Spring, but this year there were about half a dozen other varieties that just beat them to it. I always remember the Forsythia being first in line. Does that mean – in Farmers Almanac fashion – that we will have a late Spring this year? Yesterday it was in the 60s Fahrenheit. Today will be the same. I wanting to plant vegetables but I know it’s too early. It’s still going to freeze hard quite a number of times, perhaps even get below zero a number of times.

What would the Holy Family do? Not worry about it. God provides, at least to get us to heaven. And that’s what’s most important. That’s a super-important lesson to learn in this life, to have our eyes peeled on heaven even while we love neighbor and God in the same act of love. In a previous Flower for the Immaculate Conception, the Star of David was recalled. The full reality is going on all the time, no harbingers needed. The closer we are to God, the more wisdom to see what’s actually going on. No need for harbingers. We are just to be the eager children of God, being signs to the world in prompt obedience to God’s will, harbingers of the Prince of the Most Profound Peace precisely when and where He wants us there for that. Mary was the best at that.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Star of David, edition)

Plenty of these six-pointed stars outside Holy Redeemer church, already blooming in February.

My first thought is to “pick” such flowers for the Immaculate Conception, the Messiah’s good mom, and ours.

But here’s the reality of this: my second thought is…

Because I am pretty continuously attacked from a myriad of world-views about the very fact of the Star of David, my third thought goes to the synagogue in which Jesus preached in Capernaum, the synagogue used by the Jews of the time to convince Jesus to do a healing on behalf of a Roman military officer, and He did:

The bit in the middle refers to the perfection (seventh point) of the Son of David, the Messiah, who brings us from Day 6 (when Adam was created and the day he fell, and we in him, the day when Redemption was promised by YHWH Elohim.

And that brings me to a final thought:

Mary’s heart is in solidarity with that of her Son. She’s the mother of the “Son of David”, Christ our God.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Poison Eastern Lenten Roses, non-poisonous Ad orientem Altar-Rails, ed.)

Not sure, but this might be a buttercup. If it’s an Eastern Lenten Rose, all parts of this plant are poisonous. It’s to be found here in North America at an old friend’s house some hundreds of miles round trip on the “Day Off”. There’s no fear in that house of poisonous plants. They’re happy to have them there for their beauty. Our Lady is also fearless. All she ever saw outside of her Son was poison. She just prayed for us to be close to her Son. There’s no fear of the fear-demic at that house. We shouldn’t have any fear even to die and… and… go to heaven. Speaking of heaven…

While there, I had a long chat with another old friend, an extremely capable wood worker, who wants to get a move-on regarding the Altar Rails I mentioned to him months ago. I haven’t been there in a while. Lots of things happening. We chose the wood appropriate to the rails. We talked about the balustrade. We talked about installation, construction, and the next steps I need to do, as in taking pictures, getting exact measurements. That’s a non-poison flower for the Immaculate Conception.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Lent marching, ed.)

These guys have now left behind their protection mode and opened up exactly precisely in time for Ash Wednesday, the full royal purple honoring the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, exuberance which is perhaps short lived, as at the end of the last Mass today an ice storm sent over from the freezing Texans is set to begin with expected very cold temps (for us anyway). Meanwhile, next to the church:

All things that can go into a bouquet for the Immaculate Conception, well, at least if there’s a pot filled with soil…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (protection mode, edition)

The first flowers for the Immaculate Conception are appearing at the coldest part of February here in the northern hemisphere. Don’t be fooled by the grass, as it seems that may have a layer of ice over it very soon.

These are purple flowers, closed for now, in protection mode, wanting to be ready this Ash Wednesday, bursting forth in their royal purple apparel so as to honor the Divine Son of the Living God who was mocked by King Herod, who put his own cloak over Jesus to send back to Pontius Pilate. I bet that’s one of the sources of Pilate wanting to write “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” over the cross upon which the crucifixion took place. After all, we read in the Gospels that it was that day that Herod and Pilate became friends. It was with this that the Chief Priests proclaimed to God that they have no king but Caesar, effectively a death sentence for Jesus, you know, because He was good and kind, because He is Living Truth.

So, the beginning of Lent. Are you in protection mode over against sin? Confession is the best way. Regular Confession.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (barely berries, edition)

On the Day Off the other day I stopped to see some friends but first, as is my custom, tried to spy out some flowers for the Immaculate Conception as there are always some flowers, somewhere, somehow. Pretty scarce in the first two weeks of February. Well, there were some berries to be seen, so I got a shot of those. This is the kind of thing I would grab up for a bouquet for mom, that would also include such as Cat-Tails, Pussy-Willows, Milk-Weed pods, Northern Red Oak twigs with acorns…

Getting flowers for the Immaculate Conception, you know, to make a bouquet while walking about in God’s good, innocent creation, and putting those in a vase and putting that in front of whatever imagery depicting Jesus’ good mom at church, and then saying a prayer, or two, or three, is good for the soul on so many levels.

Don’t you like how that works? Jesus makes it possible for us to give “flowers” to His good mom. And we thank Jesus for that. And that has her rejoice, especially that prayer, or two or three.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (end of Advent, ed.)

Last minute preparations in the cave. Fresh hay in the manger. Swaddling clothes. Where’s the ox? Get the donkey! Look, a star! Are those angels I hear?


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (pre-procession readiness, edition)

  • Hey Father! Should we pull out your chair for Mass? You’re kind of hidden back there.
  • No, no! I’m very happy to hide behind the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“It’s the end,” edition)

This picture was taken the other week on the epic “Day Off” when I assisted the move of my neighbors of the hermitage to another local far, far away. That rose is at their new-old-house, so to speak, which needs quite a bit of work. They do have a shed outside, and I was able to bring them some of the wood of Holy Souls Mountain.

They can testify that the very first thing I did was to take that picture of that rose right when I stepped out of the new-twenty-year-old Taco. Honoring our Lady always comes first.

Here’s some pictures of them leaving the old property, making this, after years of threats of the property being sold, a reality… the property being under contract:

And then they were gone:

And that means the hermitage is also gone. Sigh… I’m sooooo nostalgic.

Before my mom and dad died in the early 1990s, they attended the speeches at the closing ceremonies of Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Mom and dad used to love to sit amidst the trees along the runway or out on the beach and watch the practice runs of the new guys in the new fighter jets. I did that with them many times. Dad had been a Top Gun instructor up in Andrews AFB just outside of D.C. before there was a Top Gun program. Anyway, at those closing speeches a highly decorated Airman said with some great emotion:

“It’s the end.”

Later, I was to find tiny scraps of paper citing that speech and that particular phrase. I knew that this went so deeply into her heart and soul as she took them to refer to their lives here upon this earth: “It’s the end.” Instead, as they were to find out in a way we cannot begin to imagine in this fallen world, the closure of our own lives in this world is just the beginning of life, for life is changed, not ended. I think she made those little notes at a yearly retreat they had gotten into the habit of attending somewhere not too far from there.

Memories are good, in season, out of season:

“It’s the end…” The Immaculate Conception has the joy of enlightening them about life being changed, not ended, even when it seems like the end refers only to an end:

So, let’s start this all again with that flower for the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, the Queen-Mother, Jesus’ good Mom.

And, yes, those are tiny little roses on that rose-vine right before Mary’s eyes. :-)


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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Our Lady of the Snows edition)


This is a re-publishing from years ago, a way to honor the Immaculate Conception on this day, 8 December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It’s set to snow today, ice all around, black ice on the roads in the mountains here in WNC as Sassy the all-wheel-drive 2016 Subaru Forester braves transport to three Masses. My parish sports the American-esque version of the Hautes-Pyrénées surrounding Lourdes, France.

Back in the day, when I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes I took the picture above of fresh roses bursting from the ice next to the Grotto. It was February at the end of weeks of 24/7 sub-freezing temps with ice and snow precipitating down on the pilgrims daily. As you can see, the ice and snow are no match for the gentlest of petals when it is time to give due honor to the Immaculate Conception at the Grotto. Below is a view from above the grotto, and, yes, this is also a color picture. It was just that dark and dreary and ferociously cold:


Meanwhile, in the brutally hot August of Rome it snowed exactly where the Basilica in honor of Jesus’ good mom was to be built, and only there, you know, when tender snowflakes had rightly, for once, had something to do with water despite adverse temperature.

Today I am thinking about Saint John Paul II, how he used the phrase “co-Redemptrix” dozens of times, I think 29 times. This title for our Lady refers simply to how appropriate it was in justice that one of us who is not divine should ask for such graces perfectly, graces coming directly from her Divine Son. It was because of her Immaculate Conception that she had agility of soul, purity of heart, clarity of vision, see exactly what we needed from Christ Our God. Thank you, Blessed Mother, for being a good mother to us. Continue to show yourself a mother to us!

Monstra te esse matrem!



Perhaps this theme of co-Redemptrix is the key to my making a popular version of the thesis, finally. My hope is that this would bring some light to the darkness, including my own dark little life. The glory of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception entering this world to grab us and bring us to heaven fires me up, enough, methinks, to melt the ice and snow of my own heart and soul so as to finally start writing. [I know, I know, I just have to do it. Time goes on. Life is short. Yikes! And, I know, I know, I wrote these words years ago… I’m so bad and evil. I beg for the wherewithal to do this.]


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Remember the bitch of Pontius Pilate, ed.)

Just a reminder. Purple. Advent. It’s royal purple. Jesus is King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

But filthy, effeminate, luxuriating Herod, clothed Jesus in a robe of purple to mock Jesus. But Jesus had called Herod a female fox, in Jesus’ words: “Go and tell Herod, that bitch…” you know, to use technical canine vocabulary. Check it out. Luke 13:32. The translation will say “fox” because the translators are chickens favoring Herod the bitch. But Herod would decapitate such tender snowflake sycophants though without the regret he had about John the Baptist. In their political correctness, they are already as good as chickens with their heads cut off by the politicians that be.

And this is why royal purple is used for penitential seasons like Advent and Lent. The King will be placed in a wooden manger and nailed to a wooden cross. How do we perceive the purple?

Meanwhile, all the more purple:

If you’re having trouble with all this – too much reality all at once – ask the Immaculate Conception to help you out. She saw what that bitch of Pontius Pilate and what Pilate himself did to her Son. Just look into her eyes:

Advent. Purple. A penitential season. Because of that bitch, Herod.


I can just hear it now, the Bishop reading a thousand complaints about me in letters complaining that I’m not appropriate, that’s I’ve crossed boundaries:

  • “Dear Bishop, you gotta do something with Father Byers. He’s so mean. He’s, like, using bad words and stuff – splutter, splutter, splutter.”

These bitchy people… sigh… They should read about political correctness and what God thinks about prostituting oneself to political correctness, say, in Ezekiel 23. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!!!!

You know, what would happen is that the Bishop would laugh, heartily, as he knows I’m quoting Jesus verbatim. He loves that. :-)

Then, I’m quite sure, in his own chapel, he would give a purple flower to the Immaculate Conception. How about you?

But I can still hear it: “Splutter, splutter, splutter….”

Heh heh heh.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Thin Blue Line, ed.)

In a post flower for the Immaculate Conception I made a big deal about two groupings of Montauk Daisies planted out front of the rectory. They’ve been ripped up because this beginning gardener had recently put down a heap of lime in the soil of those two seed boxes for the winter. A bit too recently.

But there are still roses on the rose bush at the corner of the house, just under the new Thin Blue Line flag, which isn’t about racism, but rather about law and order for all the children of God regardless of such characteristics. I’m a firm believer that all lives matter because the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, Christ Jesus, had redeemed all and wants that we also assist all to assent to be saved, all things being equal.

Mary, Mir-yam, as her Hebrew name suggests, is the thin blue line for us. She is in perfect solidarity with Jesus, who, to the point, upholds Natural Law (as He’s our Creator) and the Ten Commandments, and all legitimate societal law and order in view of clemency and mercy and forgiveness without ever offending justice and righteousness.

She sees it all. She intercedes for all. She is a good mother to all.

As I also continue to work on the front window for celebrations this Winter in this Northern Hemisphere, I’m thinking about repainting firstly Mary with a blue cloak and a more human Israeli complexion. Jesus did enter our history with all of His own unrepeatable historical circumstances, after all. And, after all, as Saint Paul says, He is the Head of the Body of Christ, while we are the members of the Body of Christ.

A prayer to Mary also for the souls in purgatory: Hail Mary…


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Montauk, ed.)

In a mad rush on the “Day Off” – always filled with multiple sacraments – I was able to stop at the house of a most wonderful lady-friend (that doesn’t sound right for a priest to say, does it? But I have many lady-friends all over the world), and take some pictures, as usual, for another Lady, the Immaculate Conception.

“Montauk Daisies are what’s growin’ now!” she exclaimed, the old Nipponanthemum nipponicum. “Of course they are,” I said, happy that for once there was that which reminded me of a childhood barn cat we had in Minnesota, gray and white stripes, called Nippagon, and sometimes Nippagonque. Such a nippy cat was surely developed by the Native American Algonquian tribes, for whom the daisies are named.

Having stopped in a couple of days later at Lowe’s, I asked a lady in the gardening department what grew in Autumn and Winter. “Montauk Daisies are what’s growin’ now!” she exclaimed, the old Nipponanthenum nipponicum.” So, with that insistence, two heaps of such nippy flowers were purchased to go out front, hard to see just now in front of the statues. The Lowe’s lady said not to worry: they will spread out fast and grow nice and tall all on their own. Great!

But it’s not any nippy cat which is spying on this bucolic scene, but rather Laudie-dog from just behind the screen door. The question is, does Mary appreciate such store bought-ness? But they were planted now, just there, becoming indigenous to this area as well…

Meanwhile, some other flowers for the Immaculate Conception that the flower lady was pointing out to me, knowing that I would put them up in a post honoring the Immaculate Conception:

  • “But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! We don’t have time to give flowers to any Immaculate Conception! We have stuff to do, like… like… you know…. stuff!”

I know, I know. But I think, even bombs and bullets and being busy applying tourniquets and such, if I were to happenstance spot a flower, any flower, I would spiritually offer that to the Immaculate Conception. We are walking with Jesus and Mary through this life, are we not? They have time for us, busy as they are, right? Giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception keeps things in perspective which only comes about through prayer, by far the most pragmatic thing we can do ever.

Regarding that last picture in the slideshow above, the marigolds: they are said to keep varmints away, like mice and racoons and possums and turtles and such. “Just make a hedge of them around everything you plant,” they say. But I ask: “what about the insect varmints, and the mildew horror, and the worms and the caterpillars and such like? Should I give up on organic gardening and go all chemical? What would Mary say?


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (situational awareness, ed.)

Now that’s a situational awareness beast! He’s saying: “Hey! There are some flowers for the Immaculate Conception! Let me rush to see them closer up!”

But then there’s another kind of situational awareness, spiritual, about the Corpus Christi Mysticum, as Pius XII called it, the Mystical Body of Christ, what Saint Paul simply calls the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head of the Body and we the members of the body.

If we go about all self-entitled with… self-entitlement… entirely unaware of the Body of Christ, whether Jesus or we the members of the Body, we’re not spiritually situationally aware. If we love Jesus, then we keep the commandments, learning necessarily to depend not on a strength we don’t ourselves have, but on Jesus’ strength which He will draw us into, His love, His truth.

We will walk in sanctifying grace, humbly thankful to Him who saves us from being the minions of self-entitled Satan. Being in His life, His grace, we see more clearly, in contrast, just how far Jesus had to reach to get us in this sorry world, just how far we were from God, how wrapped up we were with ourselves, entitled, we thought, to do so. But we stay with Jesus, looking to Him, praising Him.

We learn how to carry our own cross of weakness better in looking to Jesus, following Him. Seeing the darkness more acutely in the light of Christ, our very lives become an act of intercession for the the other members of the Body of Christ. We begin to recognize that love of God is an act which in itself is also love of neighbor. We do not decapitate Jesus, saying we love Him while we discard the rest of the Body of Christ. It’s one act of love, for Head and members, the one Body of Christ. Only He is divine. Only He is God. But we are drawn up to be one with God. In that we desire that all get to know the Head of the Body as they are called to do. One act of love.

It is in this way that we are spiritually situationally aware. Our lives become – to repeat this – acts of intercession for the whole Church.

This is NOT about weird extra-sensory perception. This is about having a vision of reality as it is, that is, a vision from the Cross, one with Jesus as He lifted up on the Cross, then, as He said, drawing all to Himself right across Calvary, right across all of hell broken out. This is not frightening for the one who is drawn into this love thanks alone to Christ Jesus. We witness His glory. We witness His love and truth.

And in this spiritual situational awareness one is brought up into the joy of the Holy Spirit, if but our very lives become a sacrifice, a life of friendship with God in a world that is aggressively set against God, a life of friendship with God while we are still subject to weakness, darkness, seeming distance from God. But as we stay with the Head of the Body by His strength, by His love, by His truth, this reaches out to others to bring them closer to Jesus than they are, whether very close or, for now, very far away.

And that’s all very much much a flower for the Immaculate Conception. There was no one more spiritually situationally aware than she was and is for all of us.

So, in my own lowly beastly way, as in the picture above, I exclaim: “Hey! Look! There’s a flower for the Immaculate Conception, another soul that must be on its way to heaven!”

Flowers… so… if you didn’t know… we’re always talking about the Rosary, with each Hail Mary being a flower for the good mom of Jesus.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Defense of the innocent, edition)


Some years ago marauders were trespassing on Holy Souls Mountain of Holy Souls Hermitage fame and went out of their way to destroy a small field of these magnificent flowers for the Immaculate Conception. There were no blooms at all for some five years. The sturdy very sinewy woody stems where shredded. They died forthwith. They would always bloom just in time for August 15, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, soul and body, into heaven. This year, one small blossom, pictured above, appeared from the edge of that destroyed little field. It must have been just a small shoot at the time, and it’s taken all these years to be strong enough to put out a blossom. A shoot of Jesse as the good Book has it. It’s like Jesus’ gift to me so that I might have the joy of giving it to the Immaculate Conception, His good mom, once again. Since Jesus is the Lion of Tribe of Judah, Mary is the Lioness of the Tribe of Judah.

synagogue of capernaum star of david

Six petals… I always recall the six pointed Star of David, referring to the Son of David. Capernaum’s synagogue where Jesus preached had the Star of David carved into the stone from which the synagogue was constructed. Note the interweaving bands. I took a picture of one of those intricate stone carvings of that synagogue, while living in Israel during my biblical studies, from 1990 well into 1991, in the midst of the Gulf War, with scud missiles falling round about. The center bit of the Star refers to the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The whole world was in expectation.

These days, the Star of David, especially when depicted with yellow color, brings us deeply into the violence of this past century:

jewish yellow star jude

Sometimes people ask why I mention such things from a bygone century. There are a number of reasons:

  • I just heard the Nazis praised once again a few days ago by a supposed pillar of the community. He said that they were a good example in doing all things in an orderly manner. It turns my stomach.
  • Not all the criminals are deceased. There are some who are still living the high life, high above the mountains of corpses of all those they assisted to murder. They must be brought to justice.
  • Not all the survivors are deceased. There are some who are still living in the depths of the hellish violence, all of it playing over and again throughout each day and throughout each night. No Post Traumatic Stress for them. They are in present day distress every day.
  • All the worst evil of history is bound to repeat itself unless we keep history before our eyes. We are living in one of darkest of dark ages of ignorant self-absorbed narcissistic entitled truly evil human beings. We must carry the past with us, seeing the breadth and depth and height also of the evil in order to be assisted in our being schooled by the goodness and kindness and truth of the Lord.
  • If we don’t let the screams of the past be heard loud and clear in our own day, we will be the very ones screaming as meat hooks are rammed into our stomachs and we are dragged alive into the ovens. Yes. It happens right around the world. Where have you been?

Back to the defense of the innocent. This is a God-given unalienable right that carries a duty. Having asked the advice of really smart leaders in the parish, these stickers have appeared in discreet but visible places on or near entrances up on the church campus:

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I asked them what they thought it meant, and they all said on their own on different occasions that it meant that mass shooter terrorists are much more likely NOT to come to our church. I feel sorry for those churches where they will instead go. I wish everyone would put up such notices.

Of course, that slideshow of the stickers above is bait, just a humorous jab – but serious enough in its instruction – at my charlatan troll (or is it Charlottan?), who wants people to be mowed down by mass shooters in churches because defending the innocent is scary bad, because tools fit for the job as described by the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution may need to be employed, and in his opinion, that altruistic defense of the innocent is bad and evil.

On that note, within steps of the flower at the top of this post, I tried to do up some double taps, not so many, as ammo is scarce or non-existent.

Is that timed target practice keeping me sharp in certain lawful and laudable skill sets inconsistent with everything else in this post? Not in the least. Defending the innocent belongs also and very much to the maternal instinct and grace of the Immaculate Mother of God. The father protects, yes, but when women have to step up… Oh my! So, a flower for you Mary, even in a blog post promoting 2a.

Here’s a sunshine shot a little while later:


Thank you Jesus, for bringing this flower back to life after being murdered some five years ago, also so that I might have the joy of giving it to your Immaculate Mother. Let’s see… where’s that picture? … … … Ah, yes!

shepherd boy

That little shepherd boy is all of us, right?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Assumption, edition)

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A priest-friend of some three decades (I’m now getting to be a senior priest) in the land of Saint Thomas the Apostle, which everyone Catholic in the world knows is the Asian Sub-Continent of the Great India, has sent in some flowers for the Immaculate Conception on the glorious feast of her Assumption into heaven, soul and body, a family feast, as it were, Jesus, her Divine Son, wanting that His own dear mother be with Him straightaway in heaven. When we wish each other God-speed, we are wishing them a quick trip to heaven – in God’s time – without any detours in purgatory. I like how my friend starts at a distance and, as if hunting, gets closer to his prey. All for the Immaculate Conception now assumed into heaven!

And then, a parishioner, totally on the other side of the world, sent in this flower for the Immaculate Conception on her feast day:


How about we get some souls in purgatory into heaven who are awaiting a Hail Mary from us for them? Hail Mary…



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Our Lady of the Snows, edition)


Jasmine is just now coming into bloom on the patio fence. The cruciform snow will soon be drifted up in great snowbanks, with so many thousands of white crosses.

Jasmine is of the olive family. That was a surprise to me. Wikipedia also presents the etymology as “derived from the Persian Yasameen (“gift from God”) through Arabic and Latin.” In Hebrew that would be Nathaniel. In Latin: Deodatus. The Italians will often shorten that to just Donato.

I can’t think of a better flower to give to Jesus’ good mom on the anniversary of the dedication of the major basilica named after her over in Rome: Saint Mary of the Snows.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has it that in the middle of the 4th century, “during the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honor. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary that they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honor of Mary on the very spot that was covered with snow.”


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (On the road, edition)


The above was taken quite a while back about 100 miles from the parish, and I’m only getting to it now. I like the flora and fauna in the same picture, but any flowers picked wouldn’t include any beasts of nature, unless they were secret passengers, like ants and snails and aphids and such.


This picture was taken just the other day. I have no idea what these are, or what stage of growth. I should, as these are to be seen right next to the hermitage.


Back home again, the cucumbers continue their progress to the top of the fence, giving me a couple of offerings daily.

The “on the road” bit in the title refers to making these bits of nature, wherever one might happen to be at any given moment, aspects of one’s spiritual situational awareness, whereby one is to pray always. Reminders of that are occasioned by the goodness of our Lord in nature, and I cannot but think that Mary’s Son Jesus created flowers especially for His good mom, the Immaculate Conception. So, for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Freedom’s Mother Libertatis Mater ed.)

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I heard a priest a while back attack the phrase “Mater Ecclesiae” which refers to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God as the Mother of the Church. He went on the attack because this title of Jesus’ good Mom was used by Saint Paul VI during an Ecumenical Council about which he allows himself to be thrown into a maelstrom of continuous tantrums. The Church is the Body of Christ, Christ the Head and we the members. Mary is indeed Mater Dei, the Mother of God, of Jesus, God-Man, who, again, is the Head of the Body while we are members.

What if — oooh! scandal of all scandals ever to scandalize! — what if we were to come up with a title such as Mother of Freedom and what if we had the nerve to put that title into Latin? Here we go: Mater Libertatis.

  • “Splutter, splutter! Spit, spit! Father George, you don’t understand! Freedom is a word used by those who say that any and all religions are just the same as each other, who say that all truth is relative, who say that we are to be free of the oppressive truth and oppressive goodness and oppressive kindness of Mary’s Son, Jesus Christ our God. Stop using the word Freedom!

But instead, if I choose in my freedom by the grace of God to enjoy the freedom of the children of God, that is good, and gives glory to God:

  • “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:14-21)

Note how Saint Paul would have us the children of God, and therefore with Mary also as our mother inasmuch as she is also the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, the Mother of our very Freedom, the Mother of Freedom. Here’s a picture of that Mother of Freedom, not for tender snowflakes entitled to freedom being narcissism; ours is a freedom to lay down our lives for others:


So, heaps and heaps and heaps of flowers for you, Mary Immaculate!


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