Tag Archives: Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Thanks, Mother Mary, for… edition)

flores prince of peace

Thanks, Mother Mary, for…


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Hens and Chicks and donkeys edition)

flores hens and chicks

The Hens and Chicks are wildly blooming at one of my Communion Calls in the back ridges of the back mountains of the back forests. Beautiful. Like Jewels. For our Lady.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Don’t think that our Lady wasn’t as eager as her Divine Son Jesus for the Hour of her intercession to come to pass. Don’t think she wasn’t eager to see the donkey on which Jesus would ride to His crucifixion when those Hosannas rang out. Finally!

Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mother Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (That’s nice but… edition)

flores zillion pink

In hagiographical lore it is said that there was once a woman renowned far and wide for her captivating beauty and that Jesus appeared to a saint who was acquainted with her and asked him whether he thought that she was beautiful. He said that, yes, she was very beautiful. But our Lord was quick to disagree, and rather sharply, saying that she was quite ugly, she knowing nothing of the faith, she not living in grace, she not being a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. Then, some time later, after her conversion, our Lord again appeared to the same saint and asked the same question, but then answering it Himself, that now, yes, she was radiantly beautiful, for she now enjoyed the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, it being this which made her beautiful.

“The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Meanwhile, the most beautiful of all, Immaculate Mary, free of all sin, radiant in sanctifying grace, said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49).

She knew that also she needed redemption to enjoy the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity from the first moment of her conception. There was no one more thankful than her. It is good also for us who are conceived in sin to now thank the Lord for the grace He provides to us:

“It is good to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night” (Psalm 92:2-3).


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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (fieriest fiery fire edition)

flores orange yellow

The fiery Holy Spirit forms us to be members of the Body of Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, so that we might see the Father through, with and in Jesus.

Now, one would think that it would be true that it would be easier for us to take note in some small way of Jesus’ enthusiastic love for us if we didn’t take ourselves so very seriously. And, yes, that will be true, in heaven. And the Holy Spirit may indeed grant that we take note of Jesus’ love for us in this way or that for a short or longer period of time, He knowing how to work with us, He being our spiritual director in all things in view of all the circumstances of our lives. O.K. But…

Here on this earth such outrageously wonderful results of taking better note of Jesus as we take ourselves less seriously may be an occasion for us to think that besides taking note of the power of the love of Jesus that is stronger than our weakness, stronger than our darkness, stronger than death, means also that we will automatically – in this world – be nicer, more balanced, more stable, less weak, less tempted, more whole, you know, nicer… apart from Jesus (thus taking ourselves more seriously than ever).

Instead, here’s how the general trajectory of the spiritual life works: the Holy Spirit opens up our eyes to whence Jesus called us, from hell, so that He might draw us across Calvary to Himself, we seeing while He is doing this all of hell broken out on Calvary, we seeing ever more clearly just how weak, unstable, tempted and shattered we are because of original sin and whatever of our own if we would be without His grace, and this, not so that we beat ourselves up, but so that we can take that knowledge and immediately turn to Jesus to thank Him humbly, we now knowing better what He has done for us, not giving us strength and all such good things apart from Him, but drawn up into His love and strength and goodness and kindness.

Jesus ferociously condemns the “I can see all on my own” attitude, and praises those who say that, without God, they are, of themselves, terribly blind and needy, again, not so as to emphasize themselves and beat themselves up and get depressed and despair, but rather as an occasion to be fired up in humble thanksgiving by the Holy Spirit. This is precisely where we find joy in the Holy Spirit. This is where we find mirth, for we then see that even our weakness and temptation and mind games are no match at all for the love of the Holy Spirit which ardently burns through all such nothingness, revealing to us a bit more how much love there is for us in the midst of the Most Holy Trinity.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Brake-Man goes on the hunt edition)


The “Flower Lady” of the parish came over to the rectory and moved Brake-Man (welded together from parts of brakes) a few feet over into some other flowers. Within just a day or two I see that he’s being covered over with quickly growing vines. He’s a representation of Adam in his post-original-sin condition, Adam, who put the brakes on the glory of God’s creation. Yet, with the promise of redemption and the grace of enmity over against Satan, the ancient dragon, the fallen Oracle, there’s Adam now hunting for flowers to present to the Mother of the Redeemer mentioned in Genesis 3:15, the Immaculate Conception. Good for him, not taking himself so seriously, not beating himself down so much that he can’t see that her Divine Son loves him so very much, but instead taking the enthusiasm of the Redeemer and His good mom seriously, that is, seriously enough to, you know, pick a flower for the Immaculate Conception. Were you Mary, would you accept a flower from the likes of such a creature? We tend to see Brake-Man as depicted above. Methinks that Mary sees Brake-Man like this:

shepherd boy

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (fiery edition)

flores red yellow

These are out front of the rectory, reminding all and sundry, I would hope even me, of the fiery love of the Holy Spirit, who, at the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, fires us up to share the greatest love of our lives, Mary’s Divine Son Jesus, with those whom Providence places in our way from day to day.

Today, if possible, I will carrying Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament far and wide to the ICU and impossibly remote places. A great day off. I love being a priest. But that’s not because I have that love within me on my own as if I were anything special. No, no. That has nothing to do with me. I crucified the Son of the Living God with my sins. So, instead, that’s the Holy Spirit. I blame him. :¬)

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (the more things change edition)

flores buds

These are in front of Prince of Peace Catholic Mission in Robbinsville NC just over the Mountain in Graham County, the northern part of the parish.

Each flower is unique over the gazillion years that this type has been around, and yet the more things change the more they are the same. Nothing new under the sun.

I would like to add something new to there being no change for ten years with my not coming up with a popular version of the thesis on Genesis 2:4–3:24 with particular emphasis on Genesis 3:15 though I had promised to do up a readable edition for those not expert in historical philology of everything from Hebrew back to Cuneiform. Saint Ephraem the Syrian is the very first one who is cited in the thesis:


Brock translates that nicely:

“When I reached that verse wherein is written the story of Paradise, it lifted me up and transported me from the bosom of the book, to the very bosom of Paradise.”


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (important even if rushed edition)

flores leopard

I think our Lord Jesus, good Son of the Immaculate Conception as He is, created such flowers as these for those times when there’s simply no time to collect an otherwise varied bouquet to present to such a good mom as herself. You just have to pick one and you already have a whole bunch, already arranged, which can be easily popped in a vase with a bit of water. And they’re so beautiful, for her. Somehow, some way, there’s always time for flowers for the Immaculate Conception, because that‘s what’s important.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Halliburton, Redstone Arsenal edition)

flores avalanche

This avalanche of flowers on one tree are just outside the one room apartment of a 92 year old lady I visit regularly on the most remote ridge on the Appalachian Trail. She knows what the real battle is while we are in this world, the battle for souls, to help them know Jesus, to help them get to heaven. She’s most dedicated to our Lady.

Not that she doesn’t know about everything to do with the war efforts of this world. She was born some six or seven years after the First World War, growing up as a military brat, so to speak. By the Second World War, she was assistant to the top brass in what has a long history of familiar names, going from  Chemtronics Superfund to Oerlikon Tool and Arms Corporation to Celanese Corporation to Northrop Carolina Incorporated back to Chemtronics but as a subsidiary of Halliburton. To this day she still has the top brass associated with Redstone Arsenal visiting her. Redstone is historically over the Halliburton chemical waste nightmare mentioned above.

Completing the triangle over the back ridges of the mountains here is a military installation around Knoxville, just over the dragon’s tail, as they call it. But surely the existence of liquid plutonium in the midst of all this is controversial, you know, just like it is controverted as to whether Pluto, after which it is named, is even a planet. This would be a total destruction objection in any war, the number 3 target, only some miles away…

Meanwhile…. meanwhile… real life goes on, life which will last forever, and for which we must prepare, as it will be our time much, much sooner than later before we come to know the results of the battle for souls that we are in now. Saint Paul speaks of this battle:

Ephesians 6:11-18 — Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.

The Immaculate Conception stood in the midst of the battle on Calvary next to the one Soldier who lays down His life for us, but then rises from the dead. It’s enough to make you want to give our Lady a veritable avalanche of flowers.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (little kid style in prayer edition)

shepherd boy

As it should be for all of us.

But it’s not.

Oooo! I’m not worthy! I’m too… you know… or not enough… you know… whatever!

So let’s take a more emotional example. How about being about to die?

rescue by helicopter

Now you might object in saying that the two scenes are different, so that the little boy, without baggage of self condemnation was able to run up and make his little offering out of love, but that the person being rescued, with however much baggage of apologies for not being a good swimmer or whatever other non sequitur nevertheless just gets over it and allows the rescue to happen, you know, because it’s forced.

And then you might object further in saying that while not being forced in prayer by such a dramatic rescue in progress, we who do have baggage of self condemnation and so don’t allow ourselves to run up to our Lord with flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and that there is no way out of this.

And you know, of course, that the lack of motivation comes from a lack of humility, a kind of self blinding, in which we don’t allow ourselves to see that the urgency of being humble and the urgency of running up to our Lord with a flower for the Immaculate Conception is just that urgent as a life or death rescue, and that our Lord is rescuing us by having us run up to Him with a flower for the Immaculate Conception with the simplicity and hope and love and eagerness and awe and wonder of that little guardian of the flock.

Note that in both cases there is eagerness on the face of Jesus and the first responder. And that eagerness is still there even if and especially if we are in full recognition of our unworthiness and nevertheless just get over ourselves and allow ourselves to be rescued whether in the turbulence of a storm or in the simplicity of a lazy Summer day.

Think about it. The two scenes are exactly identical. There is the same eager thanksgiving on the part of the little boy and the person being rescued. Right?

The question is, how does one get that humility since we can’t give ourselves what we don’t have: Nemo dat quod non habet. Fine. We can ask for this by grace. We make a little offering of ourselves, our gift being allowing ourselves by grace to be rescued by grace.

Some are shy of saying, “I love you” to Jesus and Mary, thinking that their baggage, their weakness, their temptation, their chaos, their distraction, their ineptness, their dullness, their… whatever… makes this assertion no more than rank hypocrisy. Some push through anyway, knowing by grace that Jesus and Mary love to hear us say “I love you,” knowing that we are being saved and so it’s not hypocrisy but is really O.K., even good, even very good.

Personally, I’m still a little bit shy of saying such a thing as “I love you” without asserting a preface: “Thanks for saving me, rescuing me; I love you.” Same difference but it’s just a lot easier for me, and helps me to notice the wounds on Jesus, and helps me not to emphasize myself, pointing out that my love is His love given to me, His love which rescues me.

“Here’s a flower for the Immaculate Conception; thanks for rescuing me, Jesus; I love you both.”


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Laudie-Dog Thunder-Rain-Dog edition)

mary shrine backyard rain

It was only some hours that had gone by after the shrine of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception went up when torrential rain came down with all sort of thunderous carry-on in the heavens echoing in and around the mountain valleys. Normally, this would make Laudie-dog frantic with fear, hyperventilating, shaking, freezing in place with nowhere being good enough to hide, but this time she has such a winning smile:

laudie-dog smile

Now that’s a lesson we can all take to heart.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Not my usual day off edition)

mary shrine backyard

It’s been raining pretty hard at the hermitage with all sorts of flood warnings, so I wasn’t able to make it there. Sticking around home on the day off provided a perfect opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  And since the new rose bush is really pushing out lots of blossoms (I’ve already removed about 15), it was high time to make a first attempt at a little backyard shrine for our Lady. We can’t let the perfect get in the way of the merely O.K., at least for starters. If I waited for perfection nothing would ever happen as I would procrastinate in hopes of future whatever until the moment I was six feet under. While getting older, time is flying faster. Pictured are some tiles in front of three rows of concrete blocks brought in from the hermitage some months ago. The statue is made out of some sort of polymer and so is fairly light and susceptible to be knocked over with a gust of wind. Solution:

mary statue backyard anchor

The hole was gorilla taped, the statue was flipped right side up and brought outside with the screws still sticking out about three inches from the bottom. Those were slipped in between the concrete blocks to provide some stability until the time comes to upgrade the shrine to something a bit more appropriate.

In this year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima I get nostalgic regarding the pilgrimages I made to Fatima at 16 years old in 1976 with Father Robert Fox and then in 2009 if I remember rightly with an entire busload of other permanent chaplains of the sanctuaries of our Lady of Lourdes.

A sense of urgency comes over me regarding the need to write something about Nostra Aetate and the true translation of the Latin regarding Islam. That’s really important.

An even greater sense of urgency comes over me regarding the need to write something that I’ve been pursuing with imams and terrorists right around the world, that is, the meaning of Sura 37:100-113. If understood correctly – and I do think I have a handle on it – that passage of the Qur’an goes to very heart of all that is Islam for any Muslim of whatever sect. It is the tell all passage. I think the time has come. Of all things, that latter commentary would center on something which will be a surprise: the Immaculate Conception.

Ahh! But doesn’t that sound sweet and nice and irrelevant!?! Sure. But being so dismissive about what goes the very heart of what it means to be Jewish, to be Catholic, and, in a much, much different way, to be Muslim, is a fatal mistake of catastrophic proportions. Why would our military and intelligence services ignore that which gives them the key to understanding the very mindset of the Islamicists they are trying to figure out so as to be able to conquer them?

Anyway, the backyard shrine scene, bucolic except that it is missing only a sheep (oh, wait, that would be little Jesus) and perhaps a donkey (oh, wait, that’s me), is not just a nicey nice setting. It is, instead, an inspirational reminder to write something about what is pictured in the header of this blog:


So, the day off was a day of inspiration. Oh, and I finally installed those 24/7 security cameras someone gave me. :-)


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Father Kenneth Walker edition)

father walker fssp

  • Note the smile of joy and peace on face of Father Walker, and that of our Lady.
  • Note the Rosary in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.
  • Note the red rose of martyrs in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.

After writing this post the other day – (USCCA exam results: Master Defender. BUT that’s never good enough) – a reader sent me a link to the very detailed obituary of Father Kenneth Walker, and offered to provide the USCCA package for close-quarters defense training that may have been a help to Father Walker in his effort to save his fellow priest. You’ll remember that Father Walker lost his life in doing just that. Of course, when it’s our time to go there’s no arguing about it with the Lord. Of course, that doesn’t mean that prudence is no longer a cardinal virtue. Just because you train doesn’t mean that you’ll be successful. But that doesn’t mean you don’t train.

murderer of Father Kenneth Walker

  • Note the smirk on the murderer of Father Walker. The perp was only just sentenced to life in prison a few weeks ago (April 2017).

Some things I note from the obit of Father Walker:

  • Lots of significant dates happen on the 13th of the month, Fatima anniversaries.
  • Both my dad and Father Walker died on the same day, June 11.
  • In looking at the locations and dates… if, as a kid, he ever went to confession and I’m guessing he did, and if, as a kid, he ever served Holy Mass and I’m guessing he did, he may well have been a penitent of mine and served Masses for me.

I’m forever praying that those boys who serve Holy Mass for me will, according to the Lord’s will, receive a call from Jesus to become priests. I wonder if I prayed for a youngster called Kenneth. I’m guessing I did.

UPSHOT: Prayer for good, holy, strong vocations to the priesthood, young men who will be priests with the very Heart of our Lord Jesus, who will be good sons of Immaculate Mary. Hail Mary…


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Requesting Martyrdom edition)

flores papist

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

That’s today’s Gospel. Jesus is commanding us to ask for the grace of martyrdom, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest love, how He loved us. That’s the logic of that passage. Inescapable. Totally. This is what we are to ask of our Heavenly Father. I’m guessing that that request would make our dear Mother Mary most happy.

The flowers I put up for this post are in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception at the rectory. They are yellow and white, the colors of the Holy See, a tad bit Papist of me. Yes. This really makes people angry. It makes Islamists upset. It makes ultra-traditional-ism-ists upset. It makes the filthy liberals upset.

It is most Catholic to support not only the idea of the office of Peter (which support, cut off from Peter himself as so many do, is a heresy for the reason that the Church is founded on Peter and not on a mere idea of an office), but it is also most Catholic to support Peter himself, his very person, which filthy liberals, ultra-traditional-ism-ists, Islamists, etc., are loathe to do. I take a lot of heat for supporting the very person of Pope Francis. And that’s just fine with me.

Just because one is supporting Peter himself doesn’t mean that one is supporting everything that Peter says. That would be absurd. Peter himself wouldn’t stand for it. I couldn’t care less if Peter bets on a certain horse for the Kentucky Derby. I’ll bet on my own horse, or actually not bet at all. But I will pay attention when the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ speaks not just for himself but as the head of the Catholic Church, and not just to some group or another or as part of some dialogue (such as is the case with Amoris laetitia), but when he is speaking to the universal Church, to everyone, and as a teacher, not a mere participant in ongoing dialogue, and also, conjoined to this, when he speaks on a matter of faith or morals as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (or in the natural law for that matter), especially when this is deciding a controverted point.

But not only. I will also pray and stand in solidarity with Peter to the point where I feel that it is true that he who insults Peter insults me. Indeed, he who insults Peter insults Jesus who established Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built. He who insults Jesus insults me. Why? Because Jesus did the same for the likes of horrible, sinful me. Thank you, Jesus.

But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, I’m aware of that and about a million other things you haven’t even thought about. I know. And so I ask: “So? Does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? That I shouldn’t be a good son of the Church? Does it mean I can’t do my best to be the best priest I can be, teaching the best I can, praying the best I can, encouraging the best I can? I stand with Peter. I’m Catholic. I’m a priest.



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Holy See and Swiss Guard edition)


A Green-Thumb Lady of the parish has removed the other flower buckets and replaced them with white Geraniums and Blue somethingorothers for our Lady, along with some flowers signifying one of her special prayer intentions, the successor of Peter and the Holy See, the yellow and white flowers in the lower right (those being the colors of the flag of the Holy See).  On the corner of the yard she added what she calls Swiss Guard flowers in honor of our Lady, as they are the color of the uniforms of the Swiss Guard. Because of the angle of the sun right now I couldn’t get a shot with the papal flag and the statue of Mary in background, but, in the future… Here’s a closeup:


I’m sure that the Swiss Guard are also a prayer intention close to the heart of our Lady. It’s wise to share her special intentions. To that end: Hail Mary…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Happy Mothers Day edition)

guadalupe forabunda rose

And that’s all I have to say.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Herald of glad tidings edition)

flowers florabunda guadalupe

What was once just a pile of sticks has now just put out its first blossom in honor of the Immaculate Conception. This is the florabunda rose and named after Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have another indoor/outdoor statue now in the chapel that I’ll put outside near this rose bush. I’ll have to make a setting for that. Something simple to start. The buds are really very numerous. The rose is a herald of glad tidings. It’s an occasion to become a tiny little child of Mary Immaculate.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Arise! Let us be going! edition)

flowers showy lady slippers buds

Showy Lady Slippers for the Immaculate Conception have been growing up around the hermitage, now about 1000 strong, all on their own. This picture was taken 2 May. 

Deep in the garden there was a prophesy made by Yahweh Elohim that He, as Son of the Mother of the Redeemer, would rise up and take the initiative in crushing the ancient serpent on the head even while he would then simultaneously be crushed on the heel. While they are all bowed down with grief in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Redeemer speaks to His Apostles, saying, “Arise! Let us be going! Look! My betrayer is at hand!”  But the time would come when they would rejoice:

flores lady slippers bloom

Meanwhile, this picture was taken 9 May. These are orchids. They should last a while.

In seeing this with the Apostles, knowing that at least most of them came back since our Lord is so good and so kind, I have to exclaim “I just don’t care,” that is, about any untoward adverse consequences of just going ahead and doing the right thing no matter what. There will be time to rejoice later on, even if only in heaven. And yet, doing the right thing is it’s own reward already in the present even in the midst of even horrible circumstances. Knowing that one is doing the will of God means everything. Who cares about anything else?


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“Its complex” [Not] edition)

flowers japanese maple

Japanese Maple next to the rectory’s statue of the Immaculate Conception.

The answers to moral questions come in two ways, black and white, gray and red:

  • Black and white answers are condemned as being simplistic, childish, reactionary, stupid, subject to dismissal with condescending brow-beating because there is no actual logical response to that which is black and white.
  • Gray and red answers are, you know, sophisticated while at the same time almost but not quite admitting to be sophistries, you know, as a challenge to the black and white crowd who just can’t get enough brow-beating in their lives. Gray means it’s complex, too difficult for the black and white crowd to understand, subject only to the judgments of experts who have been around the block a few times and know the score, know what’s best, know how to get things done, know how to be tough, who are “professionals”, who know how to beat up and kill the black and white crowd with lots of red blood when it looks like the grey and red crowd might actually otherwise be caught out.

The red blood flowed on Calvary because our Lord added a comparative to His imperative: “Love one another AS I have loved you.” That makes all the difference, not admitting of any complexity that would have it that we are to love in truth only when it suits us and the truth does not shine on our evil.

But let’s use our Lady as an example of what happens. With her purity of heart and agility of soul she noticed how sharp the difference was between good and evil, between black and white over against gray and red, between right and wrong, between innocence and evil, between seeing God in the face over against seeing Satan in the lowest reaches of hell. She noted that the gray area was soon covered in red. She noted that cries touting complexity were rationalizations for simple violence, arrogance, greed, of the lust for power over the simpletons. She noted that there was nothing at all complex, hard to understand, mysterious, professional. She noted the calling card of all that which is diabolical, super intelligence coupled with a perfect lack of wisdom.

For, you see, there is not one level playing field with the black and white team on the one side and the gray and red team on the other. No, no. While the gray and red are running about trying to bait the black and white team to lower themselves just as Satan tried to tempt Jesus, the black and white team, full of wisdom, rejoicing in the heavens by grace, answer as Jesus did to all such baiting, that the truth of God is His love: God is truth; God is love. God’s truth and love cannot be manipulated. God’s truth and love sees through duplicity, though fake complexity, through all the arrogance and violence and self-congratulation.

There is no “fine line” between good and evil. Well, to the evil there is no line at all. To the good the “fine line” is actually an eternally impassible chasm, separating heaven and hell.

“But Father Byers, you don’t understand, my situation is complex so that I can rationalize sin by saying that otherwise I would have to keep the commandments and carry my cross and I don’t want to do that because I’m entitled to be the only Christian to never have to take up my cross and follow Jesus because I just follow myself in my complexity because I’m like sophisticated and all that.”

And then we recall the words of the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:35):

“And you yourself a sword will pierce through in order that the thoughts of many hearts be revealed.”

She’s seen it all already in seeing her Son being tortured to death in front of her as wrought by those icily assessing the necessity of His death with their sophisticated self-congratulating complexities. But then He rose from the dead and is alive forever.

It’s as simple as that.



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Road Rage edition)


The thing about flowers is that no matter what the storms or sun or wind or rain or mayhem is occurring around them, they just are what they are for the glory of God, no reactions to anything or anyone; they just do their thing in all simplicity. And so it should be for us. Sometimes maybe yes. Sometimes maybe no. We’re pretty weak. We can go about life just reacting to others, and that’s just not good. It’s like road rage just isn’t ever good under any circumstances. Well…

Right now in the parish, whose national park (Great Smoky Mountains) receives more than twice as many visitors than any other park in the U.S., there must be some 10,000 Mini-Coopers, cute little things, along with other itsy-bitsy vehicles that seem to be nothing more than go-kart/bumper car combos for the more well-to-do. But all is not well on the Dragon’s Tail when alcohol and drugs are involved. I thought that might be the case for a group of some five vehicles coming from farther South. They were passing on double-yellows around blind curves repeatedly. I witnessed them being extremely dangerous with other vehicles, taunting… This isn’t all too courteous since, for instance, just the other day, one of this crowd was doing just that and slammed head-on into an ambulance that was heading to another crash.

For my part, I called 911. I’ll do that when I see particularly obnoxious behavior, bullying that is endangering the lives of others. I’m sure dispatch is swamped with such calls. I myself almost T-boned a red pickup truck whose driver apparently had another but less felicitous solution to the problem of the mini crowd passing on double yellows around sharp blind curves (blind because of cliff-faces that come right up to the edge of the inside lane). He simply parked perpendicular fully taking up both lanes from the cliff-edge on the one side to the guard rail on the other. He was forcing an accident. I slammed on the brakes leaving half the rubber on my tires on the road, almost taking out the guard rail. He saw that I wasn’t a mini and decided he wasn’t prepared to deal with me and took off. Smart of him. I didn’t call 911 on him. After all, he got smart all of a sudden, right?

Anyway, much better to just have some stability, like flowers for the Immaculate Conception. I mean, imagine, there she stood under the Cross, all of hell broken out, immovable before her Son, having an unspeakable heart to heart conversation with Him regardless of all the chaos, a conversation that then continued for those post-Easter days until the Ascension, a conversation that would continue right through the winds of Pentecost, right to her coronation as Queen of heaven and earth, angels and men. It is good to have a Queen who is also mother. It is good to be not only subjects but also children and, in this case, because of total security, we can be those children with all simplicity, riding out the storms, hardly paying any attention to them, just being there for her honor. “Why do the nations rage?”

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