Hardly the size of the width of a blade of grass. Amazing artistry of Jesus for His Immaculate Mother. All flowers are from Jesus for His Mother. How could they not be? Right next to those are these:
The variety, the detail, the balance, the outrageous colors, for Jesus’ good mom. Of course.
Just a few weeds? Just good enough for the fire?
I mean, they will soon be ripped up, maybe this very day, as they are in the garden which needs to have some veggies planted. But it’s all part of it. Here today, gone tomorrow:
“Matthew 6 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”
The clothing of the soul refers to the robe of light Adam had before the fall, before original sin.
Oh. And the analogy continues. Fire. We are also here today, gone tomorrow. And all of us faces the fire:
“1 Peter 1 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy, now that you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Let’s get purgatory over with right here on earth, and the best way to do that is to pray for the Holy Souls in purgatory. Thrice Hail Mary…
The Omnipotent Judge, Christ Jesus, will examine His priests immediately after the death of each one about the declaration of resolution “I am” to each of the questions of the Bishop above. The only reason for renewal and for being resolved, repeatedly, year after year, is because we priests are just like everyone else: weak and in need of prayer. We might not want to face these questions, this interrogation, so it’s helpful, necessary to have this assistance with such an examination of conscience. Priests are attacked by Satan’s minions more intensely because they are responsible in a most extraordinary way in assisting the bishop with the cura animarum, the care of souls, that is, in assisting the bishop in getting souls to Christ Jesus and to heaven.
And that brings us to the laity:
The vast majority of priests attended, perhaps more than any other year to date. Outside of the Mass, it’s an opportunity for the priests to catch up with friends they might not have seen since the Chrism Mass the previous year and, in this case, years because of the Covid plandemic. We have so many exceptionally great priests in this diocese, so this is a real consolation. I took the opportunity to go to Confession, and I heard the Confessions of many others. Jesus is good.
There’s also a great meal that’s put on for the priests in the upper room, if you will, at the family life center of the Cathedral parish. The conversation was the best with priests and seminarians about the Rosary and miracles of grace and seeing Christ Jesus work through the priests when the priests let Jesus be manifested through themselves. I look forward to this year by year.
Also – and this is wonderful year by year – the parochial school students make placemats for the priests. Each different, each from the imagination of the children. Here’s the one at my place:
Across the top: Sacred Heart, Tabernacle, Easter eggs[!], Calvary, the Good Shepherd, Noah’s ark, Rosary.
To left and right: A cross to carry and the burning bush of the Great “I Am”.
At the bottom: The symbol of the covenant with Noah, Holy Mass, Calvary crosses.
Center: A note about the 50th anniversary of Charlotte Diocese.
Around the Center: The green… what do you see? Two doors… That’s a proper Confessional. This is the most profound movement of soul that I’ve seen to date depicted in art by a young child. The currents are running deep in this soul. Wow. I love this. This is why priests are priests, called by Jesus, to feed and take care of Jesus’ Little Flock. Go to Confession!
Jesus’ dearest Immaculate Mother intercedes for all this to happen every Holy Week. But flowers for her? Where are they? Glad you asked. Situated immediately behind the Lenten clad grotto of our Lady pictured above, there are heaps of these flowers for our Lady:
The immaculate white cross-shaped petals with evergreen hope bearing the marks of the passion and death of our Lord, as it were, couldn’t be more appropriate during this Passiontide of the Suffering Servant, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
Claire Dion has started writing, if we can say that in this instance, the Theotokos of Kazan and wanted to put it in the comments. I don’t know how to add pictures to comments, so it goes here. What about the flowers, you ask? Just starting up in front of a statue of Our Lady of Grace on the front steps of the rectory:
These will be red and yellow, with rather large blooms. We’ll make these on behalf of all those who would be giving our Lady flowers but cannot do so in war torn countries or while fleeing as refugees. Hail Mary…
Amidst all the chaos in the Church and in the world, some gardening is in order. It’s a food source in uncertain times. It’s a welcome bit of physical activity. But don’t think for a second that it is forgotten that wars are raging, refugees are suffering and dying, attacks on life and basic human dignity are ongoing, that there is ongoing confusion about doctrine and morality and liturgy and the spiritual life, that there are those here and there who are being denied the sacraments because of political CDC policies or, more likely, the policies of chancery rats and their overlords. The recitation of Hail Marys went up to heaven about all these things, with such melodies accompanying the gardening. And the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is just hours away!
Meanwhile, the wasp flew away as the dandelion was ripped out, the tomato patch soil prepared, the tomato cages put up, the asparagus patch cleaned up, the hoses laid out, green bean and sweet corn seed-packages and tomato seedlings bought. So much to do just in preparation. I love that. Although the dandelion took a hike, it gave place to very many flowers to come.
Meanwhile, today, just when I was going to send something off to the Holy See again about the Five First Saturdays of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my internet went down. I had to go to a Verizon store the next town over. This took quite a bit of the day. Always something. In the end, that something was sent off to the Eternal City.
Have you done the Five First Saturdays? Hail Mary…
Shrove Tuesday evening, shooting the breeze with the neighbors, I noticed that one of my neighbor’s trees is just now exploding with Lenten color, just in time. I know that flowers are not very Lenten, you know, in Church. But these are outside editions because, how can you not give flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
On that note, a package arrived with hand-made Rosaries to bless and give out on my rounds.
I’m grateful. The Lord’s Little Flock thanks you.
And… and… today, Ash Wednesday, with Masses all over the back ridges of these Appalachian Blue and Smoky Mountains, there’s time for extra Rosaries. Hey! A Lenten resolution: extra Rosaries.
I mean, did you notice? The world and the church and all of us need prayer. And… Go to Confession!
Still sad over my Yad vaShem video being taken down by some nefarious anti-Semite hacking into my locked-down You-Tube page (removing just that video). The February flowers up top have a Star of David providing the background to the bursts of yellow. They remind me of, you know:
Next to these flowers we see this up at the church:
Meanwhile, today was a more epic Saturday than normal. I wasn’t able to speak with Father Gordon. Instead, today we had a Marriage with Holy Mass, a Confirmation, a First Holy Communion. Confessions are scheduled, as is yet another Holy Mass. [[Update: Late in the evening Last Rites were also provided. Lot’s of Sacraments.]]
Run, run, run. But don’t think I’m complaining. Instead, I feel badly for those priests who have been forbidden to provide the Sacraments these past couple of years. Even Confession and the Last Rites were forbidden. Even marriages and funerals. When Maximilian Kolbe was in Auschwitz, he did what he could regardless of the powers that be. What was most important was not escaping the wrath of the malicious, but in letting God shine out in such darkness.
Many of those in that group – the powers that be – although tasked to instruct us about eternal life and lead us to eternal life, have instead given the distinct impression that life does not go on after death, and that death is to be avoided at all costs. Specifically, when it comes down to it, it is all about ensuring that the Lord’s Little Flock cannot meet up with the Lord. Everything has been done to keep people away from Jesus.
But life does go on, regardless of the death-mongering and darkness of this world. Amidst the darkness, we are to help each other see the Lumen gentium, the Light of the Nations, even at the cost of dying to this world. The one goal we are to have is to be close to Christ Jesus.
So many priests cancelled, and still being cancelled.
Large flowers can be beautiful. For instance, my favorite next to the one-time hermitage above. But unable to hide in the undergrowth, they are vulnerable to the weather. A moment of untoward temperature change and they’re so dead. And there’s a danger in being “the tall poppy” as they say. These large wild flowers were attacked by a nefarious neighbor just over the ridge who hunted them down, killed all the plants, shredding the woody stems. These large flowers, with all their security features of size and armor, had nothing more to brag about. It wouldn’t happen to tiny flowers:
The tiny flowers, in their trillions, just keep doing what they’re supposed to do, with marauders accidentally stomping on them (they don’t care), with snow and sleet and frost and floods (they don’t care). In the worst of conditions, there they are. Their very humility is their defense.
Analogy: so many hidden saints among the laity and even some priests and a bishop or two, who despite adverse circumstances keep on believing as they should, not becoming cynical and bitter and fading away. They are just so tiny before the majesty of the Sacred Mysteries. Their very humility is their defense. Who can hurt them? They are with Jesus. He rose from the dead after the powerful showed their worst.
Meanwhile, this fact enrages malice, and it’s the humble, the believers who are hunted down. It’s the tiny ones, the vulnerable ones, who are sought after to destroy, the littlies in the wombs of their mothers, for instance. It’s the cowardly powerful who go after the weakest. And sometimes it’s even the large flowers who go after the small ones, taking away all the sunshine and water.
For the haughty and mighty in their own eyes, I think it’s a desire to show just how evil and mean they can be. That’s makes them look sophisticated, clever, able to rationalize being men of consensus. Untouchable, they think. But there is always someone more evil, more powerful. Taken Satan, for instance, whom they serve. Satan will turn on them before they know what’s going on.
And while Satan is busy making them twice the children of hell as before, the little one’s go on doing what they always do in doing God’s will.
“Hello Father George! Frances said today is chicken soup Gospel day. Hope you are feeling better. First Lenten Rose.” That’s from elsewhere in NC from old friends.
And that flower will be joined soon by other like minded souls. The Sunday after next is Septuagesima Sunday. Explain that to me and get the blue star award if I knew how to make that appear in comments. I’m going back to bed. Still sick. A Lenten Rose for your, Mary.
Here in Andrews, NC, we got about ten minutes of snow. It was dead calm the whole time. The dead of winter. In those ten minutes I had an inspiration to run outside to try to find flowers for the Immaculate Conception. I found buds of yellow flowers, almost microscopic, but there they were. Then, turning the camera upwards, the flakes of snow became heavy.
And then I had a hunch that I better run up across the mountain to check on the social hall of the church campus up there. Good thing, someone left the water running… again… (the worries of a pastor), and had closed the doors of the cabinets under the sink ensuring the little space heater (also turned away) would not keep the pipes from freezing! It looked more tidy, but I changed it back to protect the building. It’s not tidy when the pipes explode because of freezing. Thanks Guardian Angel, for the inspiration to go up there while looking for flowers for the Immaculate Conception.
Meanwhile, on the way back… looking one way…
And, from the same spot, the other way…
I’ve been thanking the Lord that the grid just here wasn’t taken down by the storm. I know that that might not always be the case. A gazillion lost power in these days. For them, Hail Mary…
Today, Tuesday, is the “Day Off”, nothing epic planned. I’m still recovering from Sunday, 12 December 2021, the Feast Day (somewhat displaced) of our Lady of Guadalupe. Awaking at 1:37 AM on Sunday, I opened the church 4:30 AM for the singing of las Mañanitas for an hour, then Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament for an hour. Everyone stayed for both hours! Thank you, dearest Mother Mary, for leading everyone directly to your dear Son. Really a lot of young men from the region, many kneeling on the floor for both hours. Do you want to do up some evangelistic outreach? Try Jesus with His dear mama. This is the most we’ve ever had so early in the morning in all the time I’ve been in this parish. Meanwhile, hidden from view in this picture:
That statue is temporarily from the shrine just outside the church.
Inside the church, on the other side, as always:
Then, racing across the mountain, Adoration again, again with Confessions before Holy Mass:
Then, racing back to the other side of the mountain, more Confessions and Holy Mass in Andrews, and then Communion Calls everywhere, even the Rehab/Nursing Home.
A thanks to the latter, which tweaked the rules in favor the patients and visitors and the sometimes too petite nurses: the patients can stay in their rooms and close family and clergy can visit in-room. Otherwise, oh my, getting the patient into a wheelchair when that might well be somewhat inappropriate for the patient’s health, and then bringing them outside or into a big common-area… too much. But now it’s better.
This vibrant, almost palpitating flower was outside the rectory the other day. Tiny! For you, Mary, when you were in the womb.
There’s lots of discussion these days about abortion and beating hearts, as if there is no human life, not even what science might call a conception, until there is a heart which is beating, you know, palpitating. John Hopkins uses the verb “to palpitate” to refer to hearts beating properly or improperly, as in “heart palpitations.”
What if Mary’s conception, surely immaculate, was said to take place only at the time of palpitation. Hmmm. That would seem like a denial of her immaculate conception, which, by the way, would take place at the time of her conception, right, the whole thing with Joachim and Anne? You know how it works.
I’ll have to think about this and about who talks like that… Hmm…
We had one freeze, 27F for just an hour after sunrise. That was enough to kill all the kudzu, which makes me think that if someone had a directional freeze machine that could be put on a semi-trailer and dragged around the roads of WNC every couple of weeks, that would solve a lot of difficulties for the road crews fighting the kudzu from making roads unpassable. Wishful thinking, right?
Meanwhile, yesterday temps were in the mid 70s. The sun even felt hot. But that’s relative to the 27 degrees hours before, not to the temps of high 90s some months ago. We can get used to anything, right?
But no one will ever get used to hell. Every moment will be hell, forever. And ever. Dante depicted a sign over the gates of hell: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
For that matter, no one will ever get used to the paradise that is heaven, whose ardent charity is ever ancient, ever new, full of life, life who is God. Dante might well have spoken of a sign over the gates of heaven: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Heaven is hopeless; there is no hope in heaven because one has attained one’s hope, though the fulfillment of that hope… well… we will never get used to it! Thank you Jesus, thank you, Mary. A flower for Mary, then, created by Jesus.
The flowers at the top flourish when it gets cold. For a while. Then, with an insistent winter, they are gone as well. The fierce color of the trees in the face of cold – as if trying to heat up the atmosphere – last for a much shorter time even than that. Then they drop.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination of desolation,’ described by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop come down to retrieve anything from his house. And let no one in the field return for his cloak. How miserable those days will be for pregnant and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not occur in the winter or on the Sabbath. For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.” (Mt 24:15-22)
So, at least a shorter “winter” if it happens in winter. Mind you, there are many kinds of winters, including those which are used in analogies. Such is the case here. In context, there are 3.5 years +45 days. There are three winters in the time allotted for the worst persecution ever.
There is a “winter” of true shepherds in the Church. There is hardly a one who is happy to teach clear doctrine, clear morality. This is the worst persecution of all. Genocides are merely a symptom of the death of the souls of those bringing about a bloody persecution, the actuators of any physical deaths in the hundreds of millions. But the deaths of the souls that bring about the persecution itself, who set up the conditions for it, are the fake shepherds in the Church, those who commit the heresy of blah, blah, blah. More on that later. But know this: they are more deadly for eternal souls than all other mere sinners put together. And these fake shepherds are now legion, to use a term from the Gospels, and a “winter” is upon is, “The Winter” is upon us. But still pray. Pray all the more. And, as always, the best advice to all, especially to the fake shepherds: Go to Confession!
Today, early this morning, I got this together…
So, I say, give a flower to the Immaculate Conception. Can you do that? No, really. While you can. Winter is setting in. Actually do that. No, really! Go outside, pick a flower, put it in a vase of sorts. Put it in front of a statue or image of dearest Mary. She already saw all the hell to come beholding her Son on the Cross. And, because of that, say “Thank you, Mary. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
“But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! Winter is upon us! There are no flowers! I refuse even to look!”
Do we have to call to mind the flowers of winter brought by Juan Diego from our Lady to the bishop?
Do we have to be reminded of the flowers of winter brought by Bernadette from our Lady to the bishop?
After weeks of 24/7 freezing temps with thick ice in Lourdes I myself took pictures of flowers of winter at the grotto, ever so delicately blasting though the thick ice. Yes.
Even in the winter of lack of faith among the shepherds of the Church, the winter of a rejection of faith and morals, there are still flowers to be had for our Lady.
“But Father George! Father George! There’s literally six feet of snow outside my house due to global warming! I can’t even open the door of my house!”
I get it. So, let’s see… I know! In the winter… as at any other time, get out your Rosary by which roses of Hail Marys are given to our Lady. I mean I carry two Rosaries. I tend to break Rosaries, and to have a broken Rosary is unacceptable. A backup weapon is necessary. And… and… I have two more in the car, just in case. You can never have too many Rosaries. Just make sure you say them as flowers for the Immaculate Conception. For you Mary.
My Confessor gives me great penances. This time, it was to pray thricely the Ave Maris Stella, and to offer that for a special intention, namely, that the Pope together with the bishops consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (regardless of whether that was ever done or not, for once done, it can be repeated ad libitum, right?). So… Great!
Ave, maris stella, Dei mater alma, atque semper virgo, felix coeli porta.
Hail, star of the sea, Nurturing Mother of God, And ever Virgin Happy gate of Heaven.
Sumens illud “Ave” Gabrielis ore, funda nos in pace, mutans Evae nomen.
Receiving that “Ave” From the mouth of Gabriel, Establish us in peace, Transforming the name of “Eva”
Solve vincla reis, profer lumen caecis, mala nostra pelle, bona cuncta posce.
Loosen the chains of the guilty, Send forth light to the blind, Our evil do thou dispel, Entreat for us all good things.
Monstra te esse matrem, sumat per te precem qui pro nobis natus tulit esse tuus.
Show thyself to be a Mother: Through thee may he receive prayer Who, being born for us, Undertook to be thine own.
Virgo singularis, inter omnes mitis, nos culpis solutos mites fac et castos.
O unique Virgin, Meek above all others, Make us free from our sins, Meek and chaste.
Vitam praesta puram, iter para tutum, ut videntes Jesum semper collaetemur.
Bestow a pure life, Prepare a safe way: That seeing Jesus, We may ever rejoice.
Sit laus Deo Patri, summo Christo decus, Spiritui Sancto tribus honor unus. Amen.
Praise be to God the Father, To the Most High Christ glory, To the Holy Ghost Be honor, to the Three equally. Amen.
Nevertheless, when I was a kid, these are the kinds of things I would gather to put in a huge ceramic jug that I purpose made for such ventures. They would last quite a while, and looked great with cattails and milkweed pods and so on. Mom loved it. I’m sure the Immaculate Conception thinks the same. But it goes up with Rosaries, right.