Memories of Donna (R.I.P.) include a zillion times that she supplied actual flowers for the Immaculate Conception. They would go in the little chapel of the hermitage next to the statue of the Immaculate Conception. Donna got us the Monstrance for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that you see above. She also got us our chalice. She got us the votive candles right through the years.
Meanwhile, Jesus called her home. After the funeral, I stopped at the homestead, where I took a picture of this as her husband spoke to me about her comments on these continuously flowering flowers on the trees out front. He said that this picture better show up on my blog:
Nice. But here’s the truth of it: Donna prayed the Rosary, a lot, and for priests, even for yours truly. I am forever indebted. Thanks, Donna. Those Rosaries are really lots of most acceptable flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
So, of course, Jesus, without whom nothing was created, nothing exists, did create the universe in view of His Immaculate Mother. It just cannot be that the ecosystem we have was not wrought in view of her. How could it be that we who notice such beauty in nature do not immediate offer all of this to Jesus’ good mom, so that Jesus provides us the opportunity to give something to His mother? The flowers above were seen the other day on Communion calls in axle-breaking gullies in between ridges. I love it.
But there are more flowers for the Immaculate Conception than mere flowers. There are flowers of suffering while remaining in trust of Jesus’ mercy based on justice.
Mankind experiences wretched suffering and death because of Adam’s bad usage of free will. God didn’t “create” suffering and death. It is justice that such wretched consequences of original sin be experienced as these effects of sin are freely chosen with the sin.
To bring us back around to be the good children of God and be on our way to heaven, to elicit our assent to goodness and kindness of God, our assent to receiving mercy instead of remaining cynical, God Himself has to satisfy His own justice, coming into this world to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the death we deserve, the worst we can give out.
Reception of that mercy, of that forgiveness, which Jesus offers us so very credibly from the cross, with this mercy founded on justice, He bearing the wounds of hate we inflict on each other, doesn’t mean that while we are in this world the effects of sin chosen with the sin will be removed from us, you know, before we get to heaven and all these wretched effects of sin will be removed from us, providing us with the fulness of the freedom of the children of God, bearing without any burden the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, we being then the tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. But while we are here in this world, although we are forgiven having been out-of-friendship with God because of original sin, and because whatever of our own sin, we still suffer through weakness of mind, weakness of will, feelings and emotions in chaos, sickness and death.
Whatever of all that weakness and sickness and death, we can choose to the right thing with our free will, keeping the commandments, loving God and neighbor, even if tempted in such darkness. This speaks to us of the greatness of the love of God within us, stronger than temptation, stronger than our weakness, stronger than sickness and death, strong enough to bring us to heaven out of this hell of chaos.
And bearing the life of God within us in this fallen world, His light shining out from our otherwise-would-have-been-darkness, everything in fallen human nature militating against us, but bearing this life of God amidst it all, already having a foretaste of heaven in this steadfastness, we can also experience an enthusiasm which we are bidden to have in the last exhortation in the Apocalypse: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! Let’s get this done!
Get what done, you ask? Here’s the deal: we are so very blind to how far our Lord had to reach to get us, and this blindness is His mercy, for if we were to see what His wounds mean all at once we would be crushed by the wretchedness of our fallen human condition and crushed by the weight of the glory of God’s love for us. Jesus only very patiently introduces us to the truth of it all. The task of the spiritual life is to see in all humility just how far Jesus had to reach to get us, all the way into the hell into which we were running as fast as we could go. This is training for heaven, training us up to give the biggest thanksgiving to Jesus in heaven, for that will be our joy, to thank Him. But we can only thank Him if we know what He has done for us, how far He had to reach to get us. If we are humble in His grace, we receive clues, exactly what He calls the cross He commands us to carry, all those effects of original sin chosen with the sin, all the effects of our own sin chosen with the sin, all the weakness of mind, weakness of will, all peripheral chaos of feelings and emotions, all the sickness and death. Great! Let’s do it! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
But there is more, so much more. In the Apocalypse, those words crying out to Jesus to get through all the apocalyptic battle of hell over against heaven so that we are on our way to heaven is set in the aggression of those who entrench in the cowardly “power” they think to have with Satan. We also suffer the aggression of others, horrific aggression. But even in that aggression we can rejoice in the security of that love of God which cannot be ripped from us even in the worst of circumstances, that love of God being strong enough to get us through all suffering and death right unto heaven.
But, to get right to that which will have us truly crucified to ourselves to live for God alone, the need that such others have of God is brought to our souls. It’s not that the despair of others, the darkness of others, the cross that others still must carry becomes our own. NO! NEVER! That would be unjust altogether. Instead, the need of others is brought to us by having us, ourselves, carry our own crosses all the better. What that means is that our eyes will be all the more opened as to how far Jesus had to reach to get us. We can always go deeper into this mystery, more deeply into noticing the depths of hell that is to be for all of us except that Jesus is reaching into that hell so as to bring us to heaven. When someone, in the Lord’s good grace, is this humble, this trusting in God, utterly dead to trusting in ourselves so uselessly, this is when such a soul is so growing in saintliness, in the very life and friendship of God, that the very fact that they are in this world and still nevertheless with God itself becomes an act of intercession for the whole world, even for those who are otherwise lost to hell. They also can be snatched from hell to become the good children of Mary, with Jesus, and with Him be given as a gift to our heavenly Father.
We ourselves become flowers for the Immaculate Conception in this way. The trick to see these flowers even in the worst of sinners is to never write anyone off, saying that Jesus’ hard won grace of redemption is impossible for them to receive. That would be to insult Jesus, Mary’s good Son. Interceding for all those whom God wants us to intercede for – and what do we know? – we leave that up to God – is to give flowers to the Immaculate Conception. We have zero idea, methinks, about the multitudes who will make it to heaven because of our meagre intercession for them. We might never see it in this life, with them perhaps turning to Jesus, sincerely, at the hour of death, but we will see it in the next life. So many flowers. So, flowers for you, dearest Mary.
Would you like to see such human flowers for the Immaculate Conception, always and every time? You think this is beyond you? Don’t think that way. That would also be an insult against Jesus’ patience and grace.
Start small. Ask your guardian angel that when you see any flower, anywhere, anytime upon this earth, that you will recognize this as your opportunity from Jesus to “give” that flower to His good mom, the Immaculate Conception. When you got that as part of your God-given spiritual life – this being a grace – go ahead and ask your guardian angel to smack you down such that you see fallen human beings as at least potential flowers for the Immaculate Conception and treat them with the knowledge that Jesus also won for them the grace of redemption (even if we do not know if anyone will also assent to receive the grace of salvation). Regardless of that, our meagre intercession but in Jesus’ grace will be magnificent flowers for the Immaculate Conception. So, again, flowers for you, dearest Mary.
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….”
Hmmm, three…. a reminder of Faith, Hope and Charity? For me, yes.
And then… the five wounds of the Passion flourishing in our souls, thanks be to God? Yes, another reminder.
Saint Teresa of Avila is all about using nature to remind us of God and who we are before God. There are endless analogies which come to mind. This isn’t fiction or mere imagination. Being creatures of the Creator, we have a sense that creation is created by our Creator. Saint Paul has it that all of creations loudly proclaims our Good Creator (see Romans, chapter 1).
But it isn’t some mere academic exercise. This is personal. I can’t think of anything more manly for a man than to give flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
For instance, the Archangel Michael was not sent to announce to Mary that she is to be the Immaculate, Virgin Mother of God, the one singled out for battle against Satan in Genesis 3:15. No, no. It was the Archangel Gabriel who was sent to her for this announcement from the the throne of the Most High. I get the sense from the Scriptures that Gabriel is the military chief over Michael. The name Gabriel means “the ultra-warrior-hero of God.” Of course the ultimate warrior angel is sent to her who is the one singled out for doing battle over against Satan, she whose Motherhood for the God-Man would have her crush Satan with Him.
I imagine Gabriel coming in fresh from battle, ever so humbly taking a knee before she who is to be the Queen Mother of God, so as to make this announcement. So, yes. Flowers for you Mary.
I remember being invited to teach in a major seminary in Australia (that ended up being two seminaries!). The pitch that was given to me is this:
“Come to Australia, where Pansies are flowers and men are men.”
“Great!” said I. “Sign me up!”
This was to be my first teaching experience at university level. I was having the time of my life. I met so many faithful believers. This is where I learned the Traditional Latin Mass at the behest of the then bishop. So providential for my priesthood through the decades.
We have to make men men again.
We have to make priests men again.
We have to make priests priests again.
There is zero chance of priests being men with the fortitude of sanctifying grace so that they might be in solidarity with Christ Jesus and not run from Calvary without having the same perspective as Jesus, who always had His field of view filled with the sight of His Immaculate Mother.
I do not believe for a second that a priest can be available for the High Priesthood of Christ Jesus without having a filial devotion to Jesus’ good mother. Impossible.
Who can stand with Jesus on Calvary? Only the one man enough to look upon her who – with the clarity of her Immaculate Conception – saw all the sin of all mankind vomited on her Son on the Cross.
What priest or bishop is there who does not replace the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God with demon Pachamama, ever so are afraid are they, ever so politically correct are they?
What priest or bishop is there who still offers Confessions, Last Rites, Baptism, witnessing of Holy Matrimony, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass regardless of what any politician has to say?
What priest or bishop is there who will refuse Holy Communion to the likes of filthy blood thirsty Biden? etc.
So, flowers for you, dearest Mother Mary. Hail Mary…
I dunno, but I get the impression that those priests who do not fulfill their duties to provide the Sacraments to the Little Flock of Jesus also don’t have the opportunity to “pick” flowers for the Immaculate Conception that I do, and even if they had the opportunity apart from visiting the elderly and sick and dying at their homes they might well not see what is right in front of them. Bringing Jesus to His Little Flock opens one’s eyes to the maternal goodness of Jesus’ good mom for Jesus’ Little Flock. And one wants to give her the flowers created by her dear Son that we might do just that. So, flowers for you, Mary. Hail Mary…
So, just in these last days and weeks, Canada has been following Ireland, so that everything is pretty much wide open, but if there are one or two people in church for Holy Mass (this time a Traditional Latin Mass), all hell breaks out and the Covid Police come to smack people down, chasing altar boys into the sacristy (Yikes!) and parishioners thrown out of the church, the police demanding that they want identifying info to put the offenders on “THE LIST” surely turning into “THE BOOK.”
But will this not turn out to be the Book of Life, with those so listed going to heaven, keeping up with the sacraments?
I’m not bragging with these Flowers for the Immaculate Conception. No. It’s easy for me in far, far, far Western North Carolina. Zero law enforcement officers of any agency could care less about Covid, masks, social distancing, whatever. And we have that on film, multiple agencies in a town meeting with extreme lack of social distancing, none of them wearing a mask. So, it’s easy for me to offer Holy Mass for the past year and a half as normal as normal can be. It’s easy for me to provide all the Sacraments for Jesus’ flock. That’s not to virtue signal. No. Any priest by chance in these parts would do the same, all things being equal, right?
For priests in Ireland, Canada, the Vatican, and elsewhere around the world, things aren’t so easy. There is an outright persecution. Would I be as brave as some of them are in persecution? I’m not going to claim that. That’s about God’s grace, and I have no control over that. Without God’s grace, I’m a total idiot.
So, if I’m doing my rounds to provide the Sacraments and I take a picture of flowers for the Immaculate Conception like the picture up top, it’s also as a gift to her on behalf of those who would do this if they could or are smacked down for trying. So, flowers for you, dearest Mary, from us priests around the world. Show yourself to be a mother to us! Monstra te esse Matrem! We pray for those who are ever so afraid afraid afraid afraid afraid. Hail Mary…
These are, of course, Better Boy Tomatoes getting ready to bear fruit. There are some tough times coming up this week, with temps threatening to freeze everything. Maybe I’ll provide them some cover from incoming frosty precipitation. But then it looks like summery temps after that.
They set a good example for those called to bear much fruit, fruit that will last, souls for eternal life. But we’re all pretty fragile, and need cover at times – you know, us helping each other – but then the grace of our Lord makes us strong in Himself to bear fruit, fruit that will last.
This was a good break, these past few days, away with some great priests up in the mountains where such flowers as you see above grow in abundance. How could some of these not be “picked” to give to the Immaculate Conception?
She’s seen so very much. Talking shop with these great priests provided that I myself have seen a bit more. So many stories. So much going on. The glory of God is great. The machinations of the evil one are horrific, but never enough to obscure the Light of Mary’s Divine Son.
Shadow-dog, setting a good example, has most excellent over-the-top skill sets in hunting and shredding and then devouring “Easter Rabbits” with their baskets of eggs.
The Easter Rabbit comes from a time of fasting in which no meat at all was eaten during lent, not even rabbits. But now, with rabbits having had time to proliferate during Lent, they are everywhere just waiting to be devoured as part of the celebration of Easter when there is not fasting.
The Easter eggs thing comes from a time of fasting in which no eggs[!] at all were eater during lent. At Easter, there is no such fasting, and everyone would immediately hunt down all the eggs they could find, both eating them and, in their rejoicing that Lent was over because our dear Lord and God and Savior was now risen from the dead, they would decorate those eggs and give them to others, encouraging rejoicing all the more.
Dogs killing Easter Rabbits with baskets of eggs for the devouring of all and sundry. Great! Perfect card for Easter, actually. Kill that meat-rabbit! Eat those eggs!
By the way, Shadow-dog has been practicing right along to kill that rabbit and sack the eggs:
After the reading of the Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Gospel of John at the Good Friday liturgy, aka The Mass of the Presanctified, the rubrical guidance indicates that if there are a few words to be said by the priest, those words are to be brief. I obeyed. Here’s a brief summary:
Firstly, I confessed my experience of Good Friday as a kid and until recently. Good Friday was always a super-sorrowful day, with the darkness and heavy weight of the sin of all mankind and mine bearing down… on me. And because it was all about me – and this since I was a kid (I remember everything) – I always tried to distract myself with the rules of fasting and abstinence. That will make it all better, thought I, ever so stupidly. How very lost on the peripheries I have been. Dear Lord, I am so sorry for not being with you in all solidarity.
Secondly, I preached up the catastrophic trauma that Jesus’ good mom was going through in witnessing all the sin of all mankind vomited on her Son tortured to death, even while He died for us ungrateful cynical self-centered fallen men, Immaculate Mary being in perfect solidarity with her Son. After Jesus fulfilled all righteousness on behalf of mercy, standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty to have the right in His own justice to forgive us, after He died, she remained traumatized. The Body of her Son was lowered from the cross into her arms…
Thirdly, mention was made of Mary the mother of Jesus sitting outside the tomb accompanied by Mary of Magdala. Such a dichotomy. Mary of Magdala was already entirely saintly, and she was utterly in grief, and her accompaniment of Jesus’ good mom was entirely appreciated. But then, I said, Jesus’ mom and the Magdalene went their own ways to await for the Sabbath to pass. Good thing, said I, as it would be too difficult for Jesus’ mom to contain her… joy…
Think of it this way (1): Jesus’ mom was in perfect solidarity with her Son. This did not change when Jesus died. Mary rejoiced in her Son’s victory over all of hell broken out on Calvary: her son stayed on the Cross, did not come down. Jesus, her Son, conquered. Sure, it was difficult to see Him in battle. But now He is eternally victorious. This is cause for rejoicing.
Think of it this way (2): As we say in the creed, when Jesus died, he descended into hell. We read:
ἐν ᾧ καὶ τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν πορευθεὶς ἐκήρυξεν, (1 Peter 3:19) – In [His spirit] He went about proclaiming to the [obviously fallen] spirits in prison.
Καὶ ὅταν τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη, λυθήσεται ὁ Σατανᾶς ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς αὐτοῦ (Apocalypse 20:7) – And when the thousand years are completed, Satan [obviously a fallen spirit] will be released from his prison.
There were fallen angelic spirits and fallen human spirits in the time of Noah (to which Peter refers). The flood was a punishment for such disobedience to the will of God. The disbelievers during the building of the ark are especially the fallen angelic spirits. When Jesus goes to proclaim to them… what is He proclaiming? This proclamation is not necessarily any evangelizing for conversion, but rather proclaiming victory over all of hell that had been broken out on Calvary, over our sin, over death, by His death, by His innocence, by His carrying heaven within Himself.
In hell, in that prison, Jesus is delivering His victory speech, which will in eternity for the fallen spirits the source of eternal spiritual and intellectual frustration, having Satan proceed in writhing in all writhingness, the curse in Genesis, the punishment for those to be in that hell for eternity, even if loosed for a moment before the second coming of Jesus.
Immaculate Mary, having witnessed all hell broken out on Calvary, having seen her Son be victorious by NOT coming down from the Cross, she knew exactly, immediately, what He was doing in those three dark days. And she rejoiced: “That’s my good Son, Jesus, who’s doing that!” Meanwhile, she’s still catastrophically traumatized, yet joyful in her Son’s victory, joyful that the fallen angelic spirits are getting a good tongue lashing that will be their hell for eternity.
How could she tell Mary of Magdala about this. Jesus would let her know about His victory first thing Easter morning. If it is Mary of Magdala that Jesus meets first, it is not because He is ignoring His mother. She was always in perfect solidarity with Him, knowing what He was doing, her Immaculate Heart ever close to His Sacred Heart.
And with that, “my” Good Friday, as it were, is no longer about me — It’s so dark for me… so sad for me… so heavy for me… how do I distract myself? — No, no. Now it’s about rejoicing to be with Mary in solidarity with her Son, rejoicing in His great victory.
Easter is glorious, yes! But the greatest glory — glory unto glory — of God’s Love in Truth is witnessed in all the darkness and sadness of Calvary, but only in solidarity with Mary, with Jesus, rejoicing in the victory over all of hell!
Now when I look at Mary holding Jesus under the cross, having received the forgiveness of her Son at her intercession, it is no longer a question as to whether I am with her, with Him by the grace of redemption and please God salvation, what I see is an invitation to be in solidarity with her, with Jesus, as He goes to make His victory speech in hell, but wanting the fallen human spirits in this world to join with Mary, to join with Jesus in the victory, jumping for joy as Satan is put in his place. Yes!
So, flowers for you, Immaculate Mother, even while you are catastrophically traumatized.
For those fallen human spirits yet in this world, for their conversion: Hail Mary…
So much Royal Purple round about in mockery of the King of kings, Jesus. The purple of penitential seasons is always in reference to the purple royal garment put on Jesus by filthy “king” Herod in order to mock the True King.
Of course, the flowers are innocent of all this, and, in their own way, simply proclaim their Creator’s true kingship. They know it better than we do, so to speak, and are arrayed by God in greater finery than ever even king Solomon could come up with (those being Jesus’ own words). This is natures way, that is, Jesus’ way of giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception, His good mom.
For Jesus, this is a way to thank His good mom for remaining at His side while He was ripped to shreds and crucified right in front of her. But His attitude in giving her such flowers is to say: “Behold, I make all things new.” And she is in solidarity with Him right through the mockery, right through the death, she with Him in making all things new.
Because of Jesus, we have the privilege of giving flowers to His good mom. Thank you, Jesus. Flowers for you, Mary.
Those are not tender snowflakes on that tree outside the house of one of my stops on the Sunday Communion Call circuit. No, no. Those are flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and those at this stop are stalwart soldiers in the Church Militant, humbly thankful to stand next to Mary as she stands under the Cross of dear Son, Jesus. Good souls with purity of heart and agility of soul may seem like pushovers to the world, easily manipulated, but no. They have steeled themselves in God’s grace, and withstand all the fires of hell. They do not melt like tender snowflakes. And those flowers they provide the Immaculate Conception cannot be burned. They are like the three young men – Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego – thrown into the great fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 3). The flames do not touch them, and one like the Son of God joins them. And the Immaculate Conception says: “Well, yes, of course!” We pray for each other: Hail Mary…
This view of a gazillion flowers hides three perspectives from the back yard of the rectory:
What you can’t see is the dark side, but it is there and, quite guaranteed, anyone anywhere in that murky world involved in such obscurities are not witnessing the beauty that Jesus created for His good mom. They just don’t see it, at all. Nothing. In fact, such beauty makes them all the more miserable. You want to bring such minions of the dark side to the light…
What you can see is the peripheral beauty but only through the eyes of a fallen human nature, which, even united with sanctifying grace, is always at the ready to try to escape such beauty so as not to face the reality of the goodness of God, because, then, we would be pushed into change for the better, and the temptation is to escape. But, in the state of grace, we are able to invited to lift up heart and soul to the Most High. A great way to give assent to this is to give such flowers to the Immaculate Conception. Hast thou a vase at the ready?
What we have no idea about is the perspective of Jesus and His good mom. Jesus, as Creator, sees the analogy, obviously, of what is created with the Creator, that is, with it’s pristine purpose of love in truth. That’s all very wonderful, but in the lived experience on this earth of the human nature of the divine God-Man Person of Jesus, and of Jesus’ good mom, they noticed in a way that we cannot begin to see the contrast between the goodness of God and the fallen darkness of the world. This would be a suffering to endure for our sake. All the beauty and all the darkness all at once.
Seeing really beautiful sights in the paradise which is Cherokee County in far southwestern North Carolina is so common that it almost amounts to sensory overload. That’s especially the case in my quaint, Really-Good-Town, USA, that is, Andrews. There are Flowers for the Immaculate Conception everywhere. Great!
Oh, I forgot, that’s called virtue signaling, not the bit about Flowers for the Immaculate Conception being everywhere, but the bit about Really Good Town, USA. Could it be that the good Lord had these Flowers for His good mom here in such superabundance because, instead, Really Good Town, USA, is just like any other town USA, or is it actually the most drug filled, den of thieves anywhere, at least that being the reputation far and wide into the surrounding states?
I took this picture from the point of view of the street side gas-pumps here in town just after being really stupid, twice in a row. I’m so stupid.
While filling up Sassy the Subaru for today’s “Day Off” road trip to help in construction of the Communion Rails for our church sanctuary renovation, I was practicing my usual situational awareness, which includes a hobby of memorizing all the cars and license plates in the parking lot of the convenience store / gas station as well as the cars passing by on main street. I get a good look at the walkers and skateboarders and bicyclers and those getting out of their vehicles. It’s good entertainment. This helps in noticing possibilities of de-escalation maneuvers and avoidance of stupidity worse than my own lack of over-the-top skill sets, not that anything is ever going to happen, but it’s just skill sharpening. And it’s good fun.
What happened next – twice – is a good lesson in filling in the gaps of situational awareness. Topping up the gas tank with an extra gallon after it has already clicked off has long been a habit since a “Day Off” will often amount to mileage that will not entirely drain the tank, but will have me running on fumes, quite literally, by the time the return trip is over. Topping off the tank provides a little leeway to burn fuel in the frequent traffic jams on certain highways on the yonder side of the “Day Off”.
The trouble is that when topping off the tank in this way, attention is solidly and only on what you’re doing, lest fuel is spilled onto the car and pavement and yourself. That’s means situational awareness is right at zero. Bad mistake.
While I was doing this topping off, one of the most notorious druggies in town came out of the store (I didn’t know he was in there) and went out of his way to do something I’ve never seen anyone do before. He took a severe detour to slide through the cars on the store side of the pumps, and then squeeze through the space between the pump I was at on the street side and the garbage container / squeegee bucket that was there, just so as to be inches directly in back of me, with my back turned to him, occupied as I was with topping off the tank. I instantly turned. He instantly stopped and froze, hesitating, mumbling unrepeatable things, hesitating, and then slowly walking off, continuing to mumble away. When he arrived to the far side of the parking lot, I went back – oh so stupidly – to doing exactly what I was doing before: topping off the tank, losing once again all situational awareness. Just because one incident is over doesn’t mean it’s over.
The entire scene was repeated again. Another one of the most notorious druggies came out of the store and did the same thing, with me being entirely oblivious. I again turned around realizing someone was inches away in back of me. He stopped, froze, hesitated, and actually started turning around to square off with me. He hesitated again, stopping mid-turn, mumbling unrepeatable things, but then kept moving, mouth yapping away.
Mind you, there was zero threat from me either in movement or in verbiage. I said nothing. I didn’t move from where I was. I was just taking in the scenery.
But here’s a confession: I thought by now any such weirdness would be over, what with two incidents clocked in already. And the weirdness was over. But I didn’t know that. Nevertheless, I continued topping off the tank, again losing all situational awareness. Having said all that, I have to say that once I do learn a lesson, it’s ingrained. I was immediately reflecting on this – post hoc – a learning experience.
Some might say that I should use these occasions as teaching moments of evangelization, but, really, there is a time and place for that – any other time, any other place – but waiting for a lit match to be flicked at your gas pump, hose stuck in your vehicle, blocking an escape route, is not the time or the place. Evangelization at that moment would surely be escalation because it may well be perceived as… virtue signaling…
NOT being aware of the druggies at a vulnerable moment at the gas pumps like this means that I do not perceive myself to be as bad and evil as I congratulate myself to be. If I were to be more honest with myself, who I would be without the grace of God, I would know that this kind of aggressive posturing on the druggies part might be a likely possibility also at the gas pumps. They have already shown their violent aggressiveness, having many times times threatened to beat the brains out of my neighbor’s sweet and ultra-shy-dog (who barks only at the druggies, no one else). But if I were to actually have some honest self-awareness, I would have to have some humility. Oops. I’m guessing I could request some help in humility from my guardian angel. I will ask him to be gentle in the smack downs he might well provide.
Meanwhile… meanwhile… our dear Lord has been providing Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, His good mom, all along. I saw this tree right after the two druggies at the gas pumps experience and, now sitting in the car at the gas pumps, ready to go, I had to take the picture. How surreal, thought I, equally stupidly, with such events being back to back. Not at all surreal.
You know what’s really surreal (so to speak)? It’s the likes of me giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
Except that it’s not. Jesus creates these flowers and has us notice them precisely so that we can give them to His good mom. She has interceded for all of us, we who, so oblivious to reality, crucified her Divine Son, the Son of the Living God with our sins following up on original sin. This is God doing this for us, for her, she who stood under the Cross. How could we do such a thing, torturing her Son to death right in front of her? Are we drugged out of our minds, not knowing what we are doing? Pretty much. Yep.
Flowers for you, Mary, right in the middle of Really Good Town, USA, right from one of the worst residents if not but for the grace of God, for which, Mary, you offered intercession. Yes, these flowers for you, dearest Mother of God and ours.
The trees next door to the rectory are exploding with flowers for the Immaculate Conception. I recall a certain martyr dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, who died in Auschwitz, who was once asked by our Lady which crown he should like to wear in heaven, the crown of purity (white) or the red crown of those who laid down their lives for others. He, Maximilian Kolbe, said: “Both”.
While searching for that picture above, I found a similar one, more realistic for the circumstances:
A bit more realistic. I talked to Father Gordon about this and his immediate response was that “People don’t like realism.” My answer was: “Well, in purgatory, it will get more realistic, and there’s no getting out of it.” He said: “People won’t like that either!”
Moral of the story: choose both and go straight to heaven. Do it for the Immaculate Conception. Flowers for you, dearest good mom of Jesus and us.
Gazillions +- of these beauties are blooming out next to Prince of Peace Catholic Church up in Robbinsville just as Laetare Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, is upon us.
Laetare Hierusalem et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam; gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis, ut exsultetis et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. [Psalm:] Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus.
Rejoice ye with Jerusalem; and be ye glad for her, all ye that delight in her: exult and sing for joy with her, all ye that in sadness mourn for her; that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations. [Psalm:] I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord.
The glory of Jerusalem is the Immaculate Conception. Mary asks during the passion of her Son, “How long, my Son?” His answer to her: “Behold, I make all things new.” We rejoice not because we’re sick of a Lent that is now almost over. No. Rather, we rejoice that Jesus’ good mom will get some relief from the trauma of the passion and death of her Son.
While I’m the preacherman at the smallest Catholic parish in North America, I’m guessing I also have the smallest rectory. This is the ad orientem altar in a chapel in a tiny room. Really cramped. But I’m good with that. I think our Lord is as well. All with the permission of our great Bishop. The altar with proper altar stone comes from the orphanage that became the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, a major seminary at which I taught just about everything during the couple of years in which all things were much more traditional.
The flowers are, well, I explained that in another post, but they will be planted in honor of the Immaculate Conception just as soon as things warm up just a little bit more. They are in memory of someone before the Lord. May he rest in peace. Hail Mary… And that is not all of them. There’s more to come!
There are actually still four candles present, plus the sanctuary candle.
All in honor of Mary Immaculate and her Divine Son Jesus. I feel close to the person in whose memory these flowers were given.
I get it. Now in mid-March here in Appalachia, the above flowers are NOT roses next to the church, now in many clumps and in superabundance. Neither are these roses below, next to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, now exploding altogether in honor of the Immaculate Mother of God:
But any flower is appropriate to give to the Immaculate Conception. So, there we are. They remain outside for now, since it’s Lent, and we don’t have flowers in church during Lent, as per the rubrics. However, we will have a heap of flowers in the Rectory Chapel in a few days as a prayer to our Lady for the eternal repose of a kind soul who I never met on this earth but whom I consider a good friend in heaven. For those wondering about the rubrics on this, which forbid flowers during Lent, know that I’m considering this to be an early preparation of the Altar of Repose after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening.
Also, as a disclaimer about these posts of Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, I have to say that there is a very dear reader who is helping me get insurance from the USCCA (the U.S. Concealed Carry Association). This protection-tool-related donation is conditioned on me putting up flowers for the Immaculate Conception every time I put up a gun-related post. Yes, that keeps a certain balance. But that series started well before that offer, and continued despite whether or not there have been any gun-related posts. Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way.
But the problem is that I had gotten into the habit of putting up a Flower for the Immaculate Conception close to the timing of any gun related post, and the Flowers post actually diminished a bit as the gun related posts diminished since the possibility of doing up tactical pistol courses has disappeared altogether (with the hermitage now being sold and occupied by others) – Sniff – and what with there being a shortage of ammo. My bad, absolutely. So, getting back into the Flowers series, perhaps a combined post would be appropriate.
How about some commentary on a Guns N Roses song hopefully appropriate also a Flower for the Immaculate Conception. I know, I know. That will take some imagination on my part. I’ve never been accused of not having an imagination! So, how about the Guns N Roses‘ song for an analogy about end of life. Haha. I have ZERO idea about the original intent of the lyrics, and I’m quite sure that what I will do in making for an analogy is not at what was intended. But it is what it is:
Mama take this badge from me [Sounds like a law enforcement officer giving up. He’s appealing to “Mama” to take his badge. For the sake of this “Flower for the Immaculate Conception,” let’s just say this is Mother Mary, Jesus’ good mom. But why should the officer be giving up and why turn in his badge?] I can’t use it anymore [But why?] Getting dark, too dark to see [Uh oh… Was he shot and he’s now bleeding out, he’s going unconscious, so that it’s too dark to see?] Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door [Does he realize that he’s heading quickly to his judgment, that he’s knocking on heaven’s door. Is he giving his badge to Mary as a token of the good works he’s done in protecting and serving at the cost of his very life? Is he calling out to Jesus’ good mom for her intercession for his soul as he goes to meet her Divine Son? This bespeaks great faith and hope, that belonging to the Holy Family is for all of us. I hope I have such faith when it’s my turn to go before Mary Immaculate’s good Son…] Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door, eh yeah Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door, eh yeah Mama put my guns to ground I can’t shoot them anymore That cold black cloud is comin’ down Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door… /// … oh yeah … /// [skipping some un-necessary lyrics not fitting the analogy!] Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door, wow oh yeah
Let’s get some proper perspective, you know, from the Officer’s point of view. 2,321,939 views April 23 2018 (That would be the Feast of Saint George!)
For a shorter, somewhat more intense video with an analysis of the lyrics by yours truly:
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.