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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.

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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)

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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:

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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:

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (So… collections…, edition)

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Mom’s favorite statue of Mary, because she’s so pure and simple and graceful and reflective of God, she explained to me many times. Many times, repeatedly, trying to get me to think creatively about how to express the spiritual life with the materials of this world, insisting on making the sacred mysteries somehow accessable but even all the more sacred as mystery.

As the days go by, the wild flowers are repeating themselves as well in that they are also available to us so that we might enter into the sacred mysteries of Jesus having such a good mom for us, you know, by giving her some flowers. For you Mary. Amen.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (NOT meant to be picked, edition)

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The above can be seen at the moment from the lower parking lot of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC. It’s so delicate, so beautiful, perfect to give to the Immaculate Conception, right? Wrong. I think Jesus’ good mom, like any good mom in the world ever, would instantly reprimand and tell me to get that thing out of the house: OUT! However nice it is, it is sticky, really sticky, dripping glue all over everything, attracting dirt and bugs now dead because of being caught in its nightmare of fake niceness.

But that’s exactly why I would like to at least give a picture of this flower to the Immaculate Conception. All she met with her whole life on this earth (in solidarity with Christ Jesus, her Divine Son) was fake niceness. She deserves the beauty, but not the nastiness, not in the house. So, just this internet page. Electronic. For you, Mary. :-)

shepherd boy

We can all be that little boy, right? Be that little boy this very day. Too much violence in the world right now? Too much fakeness in the world right now? That’s the point: this is the time to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom. Let’s see an example of that:

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Bachelor Buttons, edition)

These were planted some months ago in front of the statue of Mary Immaculate on the front steps of the rectory here in Andrews, NC. Just to say, this priest, although not a husband and father in a biological nuclear family, is nevertheless NOT a bachelor, for all Catholic priests are married to the Church by way of the wedding vows of The Priest, Christ Jesus, with His bride, the Church, vows which priests recite in the first person singular – by way of their being ordered/ordained to the priesthood of Christ Jesus – this is my body, given for you, in sacrifice and this is the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. That’s why a priest is called “Father” (as we read in Saint Paul). This is why a local church is called a parish (a family home) and why a regional church is called a diocese (a grouping of those parishes) under an “over-see-er” (a bishop).

However, because people think that priests are unmarried, I’m just as happy to give Bachelor Buttons to Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception. Call me a “squire”, or a warrior in the making, or a worker of the fields.

Regarding that last bucolic/bachelor possible etymological reference, I am reminded of Adam, whose name is the verbal form of the soil, thus, a tiller of the ground, a worker of the fields in that ever so bucolic setting, so very often for “bachelors”, young men who can do up extensive work indeed.

Mind you, Adam’s vocation as a “tiller of the ground” inasmuch as he has free will and is in good friendship as a creature with his Creator, is a co-worker with God.

More than this, Adam is George in pretty much any other language, as in Γεώργιος or George or Jorge…. Moreover, Jesus called His Heavenly Father “George” or Γεώργιος (see John 15:1).

So, I think it’s appropriate for me, little George, to give Jesus’ good mom some Bachelor Buttons. :-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Blessing guns after Mass, edition)

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Metadata on that picture is Sun, Jun 14, 2020 – 12:42 PM. That’s after Sunday Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic church here in Andrews, N.C. This is just outside, next to the Guadalupe Shine, just before the blessing of the guns. Lilies always remind me instantly of Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception, because they are a reflection of the Star of David. She’s Jewish, by the way. So is Jesus, who said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” :-)

In the announcements after Mass I told everyone that because of a request by a husband and wife (who both carry!), I would be blessing any stop-the-threat tools anyone happened to have with them. I said that the blessing to be used, quite ancient, would be in Latin. I instructed that it had surely been used throughout the centuries by an untold number of military and law enforcement chaplains right around the world.

This isn’t a divine mandate to commit wrongful actions. No.

  • On the one hand, this is about encouraging the rightful engagement of the right to defend the innocent with the least amount of force needed to remove the threat to life and limb that is coming anyone’s way.
  • On the other hand, this is also about asking the good Lord for his protection of the victims and defenders.

As a famous general said: men may shoot bullets, but the Lord decides where they hit.

I am reminded of Saint John Paul II’s insistence that Ali Agca’s bullet was guided by the hand of Jesus’ good mom, and under a specific title – Our Lady of Fatima – so that the bullet just missed arteries and vital organs in such manner that he could be stitched back together and then, eventually, have to health to go to the prison of Agca and offer him forgiveness.

  • On the one hand, I was heartily thanked by many parishioners who presented themselves for the blessing of the stop-the-threat tools.
  • On the other hand, I was severely reprimanded by an elderly lady (perhaps in her 90s), who said that what I was doing with proceeding with such a blessing just now was totally unfair. She said that she was so very disappointed that I didn’t warn them all first, say, last weekend, so that they could make sure to bring all their own guns to get them blessed! Ha ha ha! I love it. I told her that we would be having a much more organized event in the future.

I’m thinking we’ll have to have plenty of law enforcement protection for this, wherever we hold this event (perhaps in honor of Saint Gabriel Possenti, patron saint of gunslingers), which will have to be thought out well. No chambered guns, no magazines in the guns. It’s not the people presenting their weapons that are a threat. No, no. The threat would be from the thugs and buffoons who think that they could therefore just walk in – not to get their weapons blessed – but to steal all the weapons of everyone else like taking candy from a baby.

And I’m guessing law enforcement of all kinds would also like their weapons blessed as many of them were likely to have participated in such blessings already, say, in a previous life in the military, asking by way of that blessing that such armaments only be used with justice and mercy, and that they themselves also have the good protection of our Lord Jesus as they carry out their duties. But that might have to be done on another date, at another location, at an unadvertised time. It is what it is.

Back to Jesus’ good mom. Her “magnificat” recounted in the Gospel of Luke, 1, is gleaned from the Song of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2. Here’s a snippet from the latter (sound familiar?):

  • The bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering gird on strength.
  • The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry batten on spoil.
  • The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes.
  • The LORD puts to death and gives life
  • He casts down to the nether world; He raises up again.
  • The LORD makes poor and makes rich
  • He humbles, He also exalts.

It was little baby-still-inside-the-womb, Saint John the Baptist, who leaped in the womb of Saint Elizabeth his mother upon Mary’s greeting and Magnificat. Saint John, the greatest prophet of all time, gave advice to the occupying soldiers of his time, not condemning them, but encouraging them as soldiers (see Luke 3:14).

So, a flower for you, Mary, Mother of Divine Jesus, and relative of Saint John the Baptist. In fact, here are more flowers which I’ve been gathering in Coronavirus times for the Immaculate Conception: 

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Coronavirus misinfo & the stones, ed.)

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Here are some of the “volunteers”, as one farmer-friend names such unexpected friends, coming up through the very stones next to the parish church during this weedy time that we live in. This blog has experienced some radio silence, not for some 2 1/2 weeks – lots of reasons for that – but I feel I must put up some flowers for the Immaculate Conception. Perhaps that will kick-start me into jotting down outlines of discernment on so very many aspects of these rocky Coronavirus times. There are dozens of drafts in the admin section of the blog, beginning of posts that were abandoned as contingencies of urgent pastoral care took priority.

There has been much fake news both from the left and, alas, also from the right, with people not knowing where to land as the scientific indications are just as fake, or not. Who knows? or is it WHO knows? or not? But many feel they nonetheless they must choose “sides” with great emotion regardless of the politically correct spectrum being somewhat un-clarified. It’s almost as if horseshoe bats from China have been biting people, pretending they were each impersonating Count Dracula from some the other side of some forest in Transylvania.

horseshoe bats in china wsj

The truth of the matter is that we don’t know much about the truth of the matter. There simply is no taking things at face value. We just can’t land on any solid conclusions in a time also – mind you – of a U.S. presidential election. There is more and also much less sincere reporting going on in the news media. So, what to do?

It is always a good idea to remain steadfast in one’s relationship with Jesus, perhaps opening up one’s eyes a bit more to the times in which Jesus lived with all of its similar misinformation. Even when there seems to be a bright moment, with people crying out to greet our Lord riding into Jerusalem on a donkey on that first “Palm Sunday,” it will be the same ones who would soon be asking for His death.

Mary saw it all. She’s been there, done that, seen it all before. Have we lost a loved one because of Covid-19? She lost her dear Son due to misinformation in her time.

Jesus said that the very stones would cry out. The stones around our parish church are crying out. They are on the “Guadalupe” side of the church. The crying out might have been fickle in the time of our Lord, but it was still a crying out. Our own cries might be fickle, unbeknownst to us, but our Lord, with the maternal intercession of His good mom, can rectify our wavering prayer, and have cries issue from a steadfast friendship regardless of any rivers of misinformation. So, some flowers from the stones for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Thursday of Holy Week, edition)

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We’re in the final few hours of Lent, what with the Sacred Triduum beginning this Holy Thursday Evening with the Mass of the Last Supper of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Divine Son of His good mom, the ever Virgin, Immaculate Conception, now assumed souls and body into heaven. This picture above was taken outside the house of an “essential worker” in this time of Coronavirus. BTW, I have the right, and the forms, to be able legally to designate “essential workers” for the purpose of their traversing check points (of which we have many) in this time of Coronavirus.

Later today, we put aside the purple vestments of Lent. That’s the Royal Purple of monstrous King Herod’s robe which he had placed upon Jesus in all mockery. It is a reminder to us of how our own sin mocks Jesus. But now we put that purple aside.

Tonight, the vestments are white, in honor of the Institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Most Blessed Sacrament, Jesus, High Priest, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Sacred Host, the Eucharist.

On Good Friday we have red vestments, with the fiery Holy Spirit ardently forming us to be one with Christ Jesus, that we might witness to Him in this world with all integrity and honesty, often to the point of shedding our red blood, that solidarity with the Son of the Living God being a privilege as He is in solidarity with us, providing us that opportunity of love, of truth.

Saturday, at the Easter Vigil, white vestments, in joy of the risen Jesus.

But for the moment: purple. Uggh.

How did our Lady bear with us? Some flowers for you, dearest Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Annunciation during Coronavirus, ed.)

 

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Don’t think that flowers for the Immaculate Conception wasn’t on this priest’s heart and mind and soul daily and for a long time before the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, and on that glorious feast day, and every day since then. Sometimes I can take pictures and many times I simply cannot. Things have been rather… busy… But here are some of the pictures I was able to get in the slideshow above.

This is the way I look at it: If I were to show up at the Annunciation itself to give Mary some flowers… Um… Well… I think I would be interrupting just a bit. I mean, I think Jesus’ good mom was rather busy:

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And then, if I were to tag along with dearest Mary as she ran with great haste to help out her cousin Elizabeth in her old age, and then presented her what would now be grubby flowers… Um… Well… I think I would be interrupting just a bit. I mean, I think Jesus’ good mom was rather busy:

visitation from peregabrielcom

But now, fully ten days later, I’m guessing that if I dropped the flowers and ran to hide away from the power of God and the glory of God taking place in that little town nestled in the mountains just below Jerusalem… I’m guessing that if those flowers were noticed for a second or two, perhaps that would provide an occasion for a smile: “Oh look, that little donkey was here!” You know, something like that. ;-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Meanwhile, edition)

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We gotta get this straight: this isn’t a situation in which one says: The Coronavirus is getting out of hand… and… and… meanwhile, I think I’ll give a flower to the Immaculate Conception. No. It’s while we give flowers to the Immaculate Conception that we happen to have the Coronavirus going on. It makes a huge difference. It’s about the spiritual life. The Lord Jesus provides us with a love stronger than death.

  • Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.
  • The Cross reigns steadfast while the world spins away.

Let’s see… Mary standing under the Cross… So, a flower for you, Mary, always, and also in the time of Coronavirus.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Magnolia Magnificat, edition)

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In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” — Luke 1:39-47


John the Baptist was born again before he was born the first time, as it were, being sanctified in the womb. Elizabeth is also fill with the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Divine Son of the Living God is there, Body Blood Soul and Divinity in the womb of Mary, rendering His first miracle of grace.

The Church celebrates the birthdays only of Jesus (God), Mary (immaculately conceived) and John, sanctified in the womb. There have been a few temporary exceptions to this, what with the exuberance of people rejoicing in the lives of the saints.

But, as it is, the rest of us are all born in sin, original sin. Personal sin might come along later if we survive that long in this sorry world. For this reason, still in living memory much of the world outside of these United States has not so much celebrated birthdays as “name days”, that is, the day of one’s baptism with the name one received or which was affirmed at that time, now in the sanctifying grace of the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, which presence brings about the forgiveness of original sin and any personal sin.

Today’s my own birthday, the big 60, pulling 50, pushing 70, black balloons. All that. Strange thing, birthdays, for us, I mean. Do we celebrate being born utter heathens? Of course, after her labor pains, a woman rejoices that a man is born into the world, but…

Stepping back from all this, yes, we can celebrate birthdays even of utterly heathen wretched blackened by original sin babies such as I was when “brought to the light” as the rest of the world calls the event of being born. We are to see that our Lord has redeemed all, and will bring salvation to those who (all things being equal) desire to be saved. We are to see with joy that our Lord is bringing his love even to us all while we are yet in sin as the Good Book says.

Meanwhile… stepping waaaaaaaaaaaaay back, seeing the even bigger picture, when Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord, her Savior, He having looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid, He having done great things for her, she is also thanking Him for bringing us to the light also by way of her intercession in view of His redemption of all of us. To use Saint Paul’s terminology, Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the Head of the Body of Christ, and we the members of the Body of Christ. None of this would have come about if Mary had not said Yes to the announcement of the angel that she was to be the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God.

But stepping waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back, we find that we are right in the midst of Him who is All in all (St Paul again). From my own non-immaculate condition, having been subject to original sin, having my own rubbish sin, in my own remotely analogous way I also, we also, can repeat that magnificat of Mary, you know, in her honor. A flower for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Trump should be more insulting, edition)

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Whatever this is, perhaps a kind of Tulip Tree or Magnolia, it tries to bloom with a zillion blooms in early-mid-February, with many bursting out, only to end up frozen solid. It did get down to nine degrees below freezing the other week, but, it seems, that wasn’t enough to kill these guys off. This tree is about 35 yards from the rectory.

Many people see the beauty of this tree. Saint Paul says in Romans 1 that all of creation shouts out that Almighty God is Creator of all, and is intelligent, and loving, and wants us to love Him and each other. As I say, many people see the beauty of this tree.

But many do not. They do not want to see the beauty of creation all around them, not this tree, not the paradise of the national forests and mountains and rivers and lakes and wild-life. They do not want to hear creation shouting out that Almighty God is Creator of all, and is intelligent, and loving, and wants us to love Him and each other.

As it is, there has been quite a bit of violence near this very tree in the past year or so. One event in particular included a druggie lifting a cinder-block-sized stone above his head so as to smash it down on a four year old girl, in broad daylight, with her extremely capable and loving father standing next to her. That violent action of the druggie was brought to a stop forthwith. Everyone is alive and healthy.

Some points about seeing the beauty of creation and, therefore, our loving, intelligent God:

  • We can be fascinated with the laws of nature and, if we are honest, proclaim with exhilaration that God is a Creator who uses reason and, because everything fits so perfectly well together, we can see that God is, obviously, love. That realization, being awestruck and in thanksgiving, is an occasion to be brought to repentance for not always having been up to fulling that obligation. That realization is an essential start, a sine qua non. It could be that we will be receptive of such graced understanding and take another step. Seeing things and thanking God for them is one thing. But it’s a kind of peripheral experience. It can be done with faith and reason and it’s all good. But there is another step.
  • Being filled with the love of God, we walk in His presence whilst we are in this world – no beatific vision, no! – but we know that we are in a bond of love with God who is love. He’s is the Creator of all. He holds us in being. He has redeemed all with salvation being for those who want it. And then, in such friendship (Jesus said: I call you friends), we also see God’s beauty everywhere, even in the violent druggie about to murder the little girl recounted above. How’s that? It’s not that the druggie or his violence is beautiful. No. God’s hates the sinner as a sinner and the sin, but with a love that may bring that sinner to be a sinner no longer. God wills that such a monster is redeemed; God wills that should it be that such a monster wills to be saved, then that monster will be saved. That’s beautiful. Just because that monster wills to be on the dark side (for now, anyway) does not mean that the children of light cannot see God’s goodness and kindness. Don’t get me wrong. I say that when POTUS Trump said that MS 13 are animals, he was wrong; they – and anyone who is a sinner in their sin – is less than an animal. I mean, animals are great. They do what they are created to do. If we sin, we don’t do what we are created to do, and so we are less than the animals. To call people in their sin animals is untrue because it is too generous, flattering.  I wish Trump would be more incisive with his insults. It would do us all a lot of good.

Meanwhile, these are flowers for the Immaculate Conception, because that’s how I see it, even there are those who do not not, at least right now. Mary saw that scene of near-murder next to that tree. Mary saw the murder of her own Son from beneath another tree, on Calvary. A flower for you, Mary, who walked in God’s presence upon this earth. A flower for you, Mary, who intercede for us that we might do the same.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Snow and Lourdes, edition)

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The daffodils on the side of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in North Carolina are blooming in mid-February, just in time for today’s feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The picture above was just before the snow and ice came crashing down upon them. And then the rains came, melting the snow and ice, but not enabling them to stand up again. That will need some sunshine.

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Lourdes has its own weather system. It can be all sunshine and blue skies just a mile out of Lourdes, but the village is nestled in the mountains in such a way that it can entirely overcast, and misty, and pouring rain, only in Lourdes. In mid-February, this can make for mighty cold, damp, freezing, dreary days. Here’s a picture I took of that slate-grayness back in the day when I was a chaplain in Lourdes. This is from the Immaculate Conception Basilica above the grotto:

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At that time, after a good month of entirely below-freezing temperatures, I laboriously made my way down the icy zig-zag path from the Chaplains House above to the grotto. Stopping at the grotto before heading off to hear confessions, I noted these gentle roses smashing through the ice and snow to give honor to Our Lady on her feast day:

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I love Lourdes.

LOURDES-GROTTO

When Saint Bernadette insisted on knowing the lady’s name, the response in the local dialect was:

QUE SOY ERA IMMACULADA COUNCEPCIOU

I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

In humility we find truth. She who is the Queen Mother, the immaculate, virgin, Mother of God, Mother of Jesus, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, is equating herself with her conception. Why? Because at that time – due to her being free from original sin as we understand from Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 – she was completely and already perfectly doing the will of God just as she is now in heaven. And that’s what’s important, doing the will of God. For us that means remaining in the state of grace, keeping up with the Sacraments, being on our way to heaven, love of God and love of neighbor, our lives entirely dedicated to the Immaculate Conception’s Divine Son, Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One, and His good mom always points us to Him.

Oh, and I promised to put up this picture as well:

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This is the statue that used to be in the shrine at the parish church. That was replaced, with this one finding a place in a kind-of-a-grotto high up on a ridge overlooking the parish from the mountain range due South of the church. I’m happy to see the angel there. Can you see him?

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