Tag Archives: Flores

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)


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)


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:


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)


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)


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)


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)


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.


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:


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:


I love Lourdes.


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



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:


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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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (What will be a man is already so, ed.)


It’s the “dead of winter.” February in the northern hemisphere. It’s not that there’re not any flowers in these dark days. You just have to know where to find them. They could be in bud-form. These buds were found on the very top of a mountain ridge at one of my Communion Call stops.

The other day we had a closing Mass for a Knights of Columbus sponsored novena of prayer for the establishment of a greater respect for life in these USA and around the world, that is, respect for life from natural conception to natural death.

So, “from natural conception…” Why is that? Surely that “product of conception” or that “tissue” or that “annoying multiplication of cells” – the deadly euphemisms the hellish “Planned Parenthood” would use… surely that little “thing” is not already a man, is it?

Yes. What will be a man is already a man. Those are the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas way back in the 1200s. His arguments, though he can also cite endless Scriptural texts and references to the great ecclesiastics throughout the millennia, his arguments are based on natural law, on philosophy, on reason, all of which applies to everyone whatever their religious background, whatever their opinion otherwise happens to be. In other words, that little one in the womb is not a salamander, or a cow. No. That’s what the money hungry abortion industry wants people to think. This is a vulnerable human being that we’re talking about.

Let’s take an example with Jesus. When He was just seconds old in the womb of His good mom, the Blessed Virgin Mary, she raced off to assist her cousin Elizabeth who was with child with John the Baptist in her old age. I imagine that at her age, she could have run from Nazareth down Ein Karem (Spring of the Vineyard), the tiny mountain village on the western cliffs of Jerusalem, where Elizabeth lived with her ancient of days husband, Zechariah. I walked just a bit more than that distance (except in the Jordan River Valley) in less than 24 hours as a crippley 30 year old two days before the outbreak of Desert Storm, some 50 miles. Fine, I was hurting for a couple of weeks after that, but – Hey! – I did it! I’m sure young Mary could have made much better time, especially since she had just become the Tabernacle of the Most High, a living Ark of the Covenant, she who stomps on the crescent moon, is clothed with the Sun, who is adorned with stars (as we read in the Apocalypse:


So, Jesus, just a few cells multiplying like mad in her womb, had his soul and divinity, was already a divine God-Man, and worked His first miracle of grace for His cousin, little John the Baptist, in the womb of Elizabeth. Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Spirit as well. Jesus did this when He was less than 24 hours old, just some cells. He’s already a Man, a God-Man.

Also, let’s call to mind dearest Mary calling herself “The Immaculate Conception” in Lourdes some 1858 years later. In other words, the Queen Mother, God’s good mom, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, equated herself with her first moment of conception, for at that moment, just a cell, was already herself, and from the first moment of conception, as she was without original sin, she was already absolutely perfectly doing the will of God. And what can be better than that, being the Queen Mum? No. Jesus points to doing the will of God. No one did this better than Mary, and from the first moment of her conception.

So, a budding flower for you, dearest good mother of Jesus.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Dead of Winter Hermitage death, ed.)


Being at the hermitage for the last time yesterday, grabbing some last minute items such as buckets and a special “stations of the cross” brought lots of memories, lots of nostalgia.

The tree above rises some 140 feet from the top of the ridge right next to the hermitage. The base is something like 12 feet around. I realize the little red flower isn’t a flower, but that’s all there was. I think my guardian angel pointed it out to me.

Here are those stations of the cross, and yes, those are thorns:


And then I recall, next to another hermitage-cave:

I am very grateful to our dear Lord for my time in the hermitage. My whole time was having the privilege of giving flowers to Jesus’ good mom. Again, my favorite, on the path up to the hermitage, destroyed later by – I think – the person who also, on multiple occasions, was throwing out deer rifle rounds in my direction, perhaps a dozen each time. But our Lady remembers them:

flores - holy souls lilies


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (On taking a Day Off, edition)


In searching for flowers for the Immaculate Conception on the Day Off, I found these microscopic “flowers” (I know, they’re not real flowers, just some sort of lichen, but our Lady will accept them). I love doing this on a Day Off. A manly thing to do, don’t you think, getting flowers for one’s mom? Meanwhile, a phone call came in from Boston yesterday encouraging me to go ahead and take a day off, because – hahaha! – Even God took a day off.

  • “Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, [1] He rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it [2] He rested from all the work he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

“But Father George, Father George, you don’t understand: You’re not God!” You’re a crappy sinner who is wicked and the wicked have no rest and you don’t deserve any rest. Get back to work! Just review your horrible list of sins, you sinner! Let me list all your sins for you…”

And then they go on in the boring droning tones of browbeating huffiness. Boring. And it is boring because, without fail, the biggest sin is always ignored, and the biggest sin is that I have personally – by all those sins and faults and ever so much more – I have personally crucified the very Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Me. I’ve done that. That would be must more interesting to hear, our attention then being turned to Jesus, who laid down His life for even the likes of idiot me. Awesome, really. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.

“But Father George, Father George, you don’t understand, after any forgiveness, you’re supposed to do PENANCE! ♬ DO IT NOW! ♬

Well, yes, that’s all true. But, instead, I think I’ll take a Day Off:

  • “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.” (Mark 6:30-32 nab)

I know, I know. I don’t deserve a Day Off not only because I’m a sinner, but because all I have done and taught – even late into the night – hardly in any way measures up to what the Apostles accomplished. Be that as it may, Jesus is very good and kind to us, patient and long-suffering, with no compromise in His teaching us how to be entirely dedicated, working with us, knowing exactly, with those wounds upon Him, just how inept and prone to failure we are on our own, but also knowing how the Holy Spirit will fire us up.

Meanwhile, even while God rested from His absolutely perfect work of creation on day seven, original sin was enacted by Adam already on day six. We never made it to the seventh day, except in Jesus.

Jesus says: “My Father is at work until now, so also am I at work.” (John 5:17) This refers to the enactment of the work of redemption and our salvation promised in the first Gospel, the Protoevangelium, in Genesis 3:15, after original sin. God is at rest regarding His perfect creation, but is at work for our redemptive-salvific creation.

But we, in our wretchedness, know not how to rest on our own. We take a break so as to cry out to the Lord. He has no rest, bearing those wounds upon His risen body also in heaven. And there is someone else who has no rest: Jesus’ good mom, our co-redemptrix.

She is in solidarity with her Son. It’s a matter of aptness in justice that we call her co-redemptrix, though all the redemption itself and any grace of salvation comes directly and only from Jesus. By way of her Immaculate Conception, with her purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision, in seeing what we need for our redemption and salvation by witnessing all the sin of all mankind wrecked upon her Son being tortured to death right in front of her, she’s perfectly able to ask for what we need. She’s just a human being. Nothing more. But nothing less. How fitting that this be done. And her Son answers: “Father, forgive them!” So, Mary doesn’t rest until those destined for heaven are there forever. I love that love for us.

When Jesus laid down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, He stretched out His heel to crush the serpent on the head, bringing a mortal end to Satan’s power over us, thus also having His heel crushed such that His mortal frame would be brought to death (only to rise, of course). But in this redemption, in this source of our salvation, He made us one with Himself, and in doing so, laid down our lives with His own. If He stretches out His heel, we are brought to do that through Him, with Him, and in Him. Satan is utterly humiliated.

Mary is singled out in this battle. God, speaking to Satan, says: “I will put enmity between you and the Woman.” Her solidarity with her Son is so perfect that some few of the Church Fathers were beside themselves in praise of God’s action, so that even some few manuscripts have the feminine pronoun instead of the masculine, so that she is seen to be crushing the head of the serpent. This co-redemptive imagery, even if not truly supported in the manuscripts (see my thesis and conference), is not wrong in its incisive shorthand commentary. We also – but Mary preeminently – crush the serpent on the head inasmuch as we are united with the Seed of the Woman, as Genesis marvelously puts it.

Thus, in artwork, we see images of Mary stomping on the serpent:

mary serpent

But, as I say, I would love to see an advance in artwork. I would like to see Mary crushing the serpent on the head with her heel (not just a gentle caress with a couple of toes), and I would like to see how the serpent’s head is being crushed even while that serpent flipped around, and is also crushing the heel of Mary in all violence.

In Genesis, it is the Son of the Mother of the Redeemer who will stretch out His heel. But Satan, in his mockery and blasphemy, will possess Judas so as to have Judas raise his heel against Jesus, as Jesus Himself said:

  • “So that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.” (John 13:18-19 nab)

Mary was in totally perfect solidarity with Jesus, more than any of us and more than all of us put together could ever be in solidarity with Him. “Co”-redemptrix. Yes. Yahweh-Elohim, later the Word Incarnate, singles her out in parallelism as He curses Satan:

[1] “I will put enmity between you and the woman…”

and only then….

[2] “and between your seed and Her Seed.”

Parallelism! Singled out. The “co” of co-redemptrix. Get it?

So, Jesus hasn’t a day off, nor the Father, nor the Holy Spirit. And neither does dearest Mary. She’s always in the thick of it for us.

But we’re so overwhelmed, so weak. How good of Jesus to say to us:

  • ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’

I gotta wonder if Jesus and His Apostles had had a moment before being inundated by the crowds who followed them, and if during that brief moment Jesus had them pick flowers for His dearest mama. I think so. :-)


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saint Joseph Canon ball, edition)


img-20191116-wa00124725813947784215292.jpgSo, sometimes I go a spell without putting up any flowers for the Immaculate Conceptions. So, sometimes people help me in doing what is most appropriate. These “Canon Balls” as they are nicknamed, now sit before two shrines in India, one to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, another to Saint Joseph. That’s the actual flower a priest friend sent in. Generically pictured also is the tree that these grow on. Wonderful. Explosions of flowers. I love that.

Meanwhile, this next year in the Diocese of Charlotte here in North Carolina has been decreed by our great Bishop to be the Holy Year of Saint Joseph.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (O felix culpa! Oh happy fault! ed.) Question and Answer time.

These are not flowers, but they do represent what I would give to my mom in a huge ceramic vase I made as a Sophomore (wise-fool) in high school for this very purpose. These are out on the ridge of the hermitage, though I’ve never seen them in Western North Carolina in the eight years I’ve been here. Up in Minnesota they are everywhere to be seen. I was fascinated by them as a kid and still am today. I love God’s good creation. That doesn’t mean I bow down to Pachamama. No. But I do think of friends who walk in the Lord’s presence in the Lord’s good creation and praise Him as might a little child for all the good God’s goodness. And after all the Pachamama rubbish, I think it’s imperative to give flowers (at least of sorts) to the Immaculate Conception, Jesus’ good mom.

But if you think all of this is irrelevant to the challenges of today’s society and culture, think again. I had a wild conversation with an unbaptized person the other day who grew up quite entirely unchurched, so to speak. That person had some questions, for which I attempted some answer, all of which is here paraphrased:

QUESTION: Would Mary, having been immaculately conceived, without original sin, have died, whether or not Jesus, the Word Incarnate, came among us.

ANSWER: Mary had to be redeemed like anyone else. Time is a creation of God, who holds time, as it were, in His hands, from beginning to end. If Mary were not to have been redeemed at the moment of her conception (which is indicated in the Hebrew text of Genesis), Mary would have died because of having been subjected to original sin with all of its consequences. Death is specifically pointed out as a consequence immediately in Genesis and then by Saint Paul.

  • Excursus: Saint Augustine, having been inspired by Saint Ambrose, exclaimed “Oh! Happy Fault!” regarding original sin, a bit tongue in cheek, in that this was the occasion for so great a redemption, so that with this, we not only walk in God’s presence once again, but we do so as united to the Mystical Body of Christ, brought through, with and in Jesus before the Father by the fiery Holy Spirit in this way. The great hymn at the Easter Vigil, the Exsultet, fully exclaims: O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem (Oh happy fault, which merited us to have such a great Redeemer!) But Mary’s exclamation is even greater, for not only was she redeemed, but she also became Jesus’ good mom.

QUESTION: So, how is it that Mary died if she still had a pristine agent-intellect (otherwise lost for us by Adam with original sin) that could draw matter to spirit with integrity and therefore have her live forever without dying at all?

ANSWER: Pius XII plainly says that Mary died prior to her assumption. We might split some hairs by saying that Mary didn’t really “die”, but that, in her assumption body and soul into heaven was rather changed “in the twinkling of an eye” as Saint Paul says for those who are alive when Jesus comes again, their mortal bodies putting on immortality (and so a kind of death to our present state).

But methinks such talk is wrought in fear of offending Mary’s immaculate conception: she was not subject to original sin and its punishment of death, so SHE DIDN’T DIE! But Jesus, the innocent and divine Son of the Living God died for us, right? What about that? Jesus came into this world to take our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that having suffered our own punishment for sin even while being innocent, He could, in His own justice, justly have mercy on us: “Father, forgive them!” But He rose from the dead as one cannot keep the very Author of Life down. He didn’t have to die. Not only could He have kept aggressors at bay (Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and He will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?”Matthew 26:53), but He could also have kept His body with full integrity by way of His pristine agent intellect. But He chose not to do this, in obedience to the Father (see John 3:16). He let Himself die on purpose.

In my not so humble opinion, although Jesus would have eventually died from the scourging and crucifixion, what precipitated His death is what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. The sweating of blood indicates a trauma of such magnitude that it would be accompanied by a massive heart attack, so that even the pericardium, part of the heart surrounding the heart, would break. That would fill with blood, which in turn would separate into red blood cells and plasma, and gush out when Jesus’ heart was pierced the next day. Jesus’ dies from his broken heart beginning in Gethsemane, with the trauma coming about because of not wanting his good mom to see His sufferings. But: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” He did that for us. For us. That’s very good and kind of Him. Thank you, Jesus.

I believe that Mary also died in this way. She dies from the same kind of broken heart for having seen all the sin of all mankind from Adam until the last man is conceived by way of looking upon her Son tortured to death on the cross. That’s all of our sin written out in His wounds. She understood what His death meant, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul following upon her immaculate conception. We have no idea, but she saw our need perfectly. She was in perfect solidarity with her Son’s purpose. She interceded for us perfectly. She had in order to do this, to be in perfect solidarity with her Son.

This is only right in justice: if she is to ask for what Jesus gives to us because of her maternal solidarity with her Son, she then has to see what she is asking for, which means she has to suffer all the horrific trauma this will bring to her maternal and now literally broken heart, which means that she has to see it through to the end, all the trauma, all the death, no giving up, no compromise, no being a mother merely part-time or only until it gets rough. Mary lasted until Pentecost, but I don’t think long after that at all.

  • Excursus Question: Couldn’t Jesus have saved Mary, or vice-versa?
  • Excursus Answer:
    • The shorter answer is that they wouldn’t have done this, as everything about the manner of our redemption requires that mercy is founded on justice, with God the Father’s Son, with Mary Immaculate’s Divine Son, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. God is the one who works miracles, not us, not even the Immaculate Conception.
    • The longer answer that when the saints work miracles, it’s not them, but God happily following up on their intercession for others or even for themselves. Jesus often said: “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” We have no integral agent intellect, but Jesus does, and by living faith we become, as Saint Paul says, living members of His Body, the Body of Christ, or as Pius XII says, the members of the “Mystical Body of Christ.” The Person of the Divine Son of God Incarnate works the miracle also through His human nature.

So, that’s a pretty intense Q and A, don’t you think? Remember that this is with an unbaptized, quite entirely unchurched person. Methinks that the Lord’s little flock is hungry for the truth of the Son of the Living God, Jesus, so much so as also to want to know something of Jesus’ good mom. That’s as it should be. The weight of the glory of God bears down on us all in this sorry world, bringing us hopefully to our knees before Mary’s Son, Jesus.

Back to flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and looking at the milkweed above, and to use Jesus’ own parables: when the seed goes withersoever the wind blows, to that dark storm on Calvary, it is finally planted deep in the earth, and then bears much fruit, having witnessed to its vocation unto the end. And then Jesus rises and ascends to heaven. And then Mary, who gave Jesus His human nature, is rightly also assumed into heaven. All a pledge for us, that we are intended to go to heaven as well.

O felix culpla! O happy fault!


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Keto, edition)


Diverse from the generations of plants and animals, human beings were supposed to be immortal. Aquinas grapples with this. The anthropology of original sin, if you will, described in the Hebrew text of Genesis was unknown to him, nor was, therefore, our actual original condition in its entirety.

With original sin, death entered the world for all of us as a punishment for that original sin. So, we’re really connected one with another. The Hebrew text goes into all of that. The flip side, of course, of that closeness with the first Adam, is the closeness that we now have with the second Adam. We’ll see that more clearly when we, as we hope, get to heaven. Right now, we’re in the midst of the just consequences of original sin, but with the grace, the friendship of our Lord enabling us to do what is right and just and to walk in His presence even in the midst of our fallen human nature.

As longtime readers know, I’ve been wanting for some 12 years now to do up a popular version of the thesis on Genesis, speaking to all of this. I was able to write a 45 min conference back in 2013 for IVE up in Silver Spring. That conference developed some points in the thesis on the flip side of original sin, that is, on the immaculate conception of the Mother of the Redeemer. With that we also know more clearly how we stand before God and neighbor after redemption, though having been subjected to original sin. And that’s immensely helpful.

Not being immortal, health has declined a bit since then, and I’ve been wanting to get back on track for the specific reason of writing on Jesus’ good mom. It’s my one goal in life. But, being Jabba the Hut, it’s not easy. Being overweight brings a myriad health pitfalls. Writing in an intensely academic manner requires great health. What to do?

A young couple introduced me to the Keto diet. Today’s my second day. So far, so good. But I’ve yet to hit the transition – the Keto flu – if I do indeed get it. That signals the body’s transition from depending on carbs (that’s almost exclusively what my diet was) to depending on the melting of one’s body fat into a kind of sugar, if you will, for the blood. They’re giving me lots of encouragement. “Power through it, Father George!”

For me, writing about the Immaculate Conception, would be my flower for the Immaculate Conception… given to me to give back. It may not be possible. I would like it to be. But that’s me. What do I know? That may not be God’s will. I just want to do God’s will. There’s so much to write about, including… “Abraham’s three children.” Sigh. More on that later. I’ve much to say on that. Perhaps I’ll start with some incisive edited chapters of Jackass for the Hour edited to emphasize that topic. Speaking the truth about that, about anything, is also a flower for the Immaculate Conception.

But I need energy. The thing is, once the body finally goes into ketosis, one is full of energy and thinking more clearly. Yes. That is what I need. Keto! Keto! Keto!


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“working” on virtues, edition)

While technically these red bits may not be flowers, exactly, precisely… still… this is a bit of exterior bark that could be chipped off and put with other things to give to Jesus’ good mom. Creation is by definition thinking outside the box, you know, there being no box to begin with. So, why be limited by definitions of beauty when the freedom of the children of God in such things should rule the day. Mary might roll her eyes at such efforts, but – hey! – getting Mary to roll her eyes and perhaps laugh a bit is good.

I saw these almost microscopically tiny “flowers” yesterday, driving in the car after having been at the hermitage, when, after doing some priest stuff on the “Day Off”, and more priest stuff, and more priest stuff, I eventually wound up there to do up…

  • the FBI “agent” tactical pistol course (getting a bit better at distance pistol shooting)
  • the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course (sharpening some of the stages)
  • the “failure drill” (slower than usual, but more accurate)

The advice of an Army / CIA friend has stuck with me: “Aim small = shoot small.” For the FAM course I put out Styrofoam pie plates on “pig-tail” wires, many times smaller than the standard target size.

Working on that “virtue” of aiming small, if you will, helped me to examine the forest with laser eyes to find the even much tinier flowers for the Immaculate Conception in the cold and gray dreary dead of winter mountain-top forest. I mean, a good hundred of those “flowers” could fit in just one bullet hole.

Virtues work together. Sharpen one, the others are sharpened with it. There’s a nexus of virtues. The driving force of virtue isn’t us so much “working” on anything like some sort of self-saving Pelagian as it is being awed by the wounds of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so much so that we are indignant at being unvirtuous in whatever way.

It is the mistake of many to “work” on just one thing before moving on to another.

  • “I’ll ‘work’ on stopping beating my wife and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on not drinking myself into a rage.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.
  • “I’ll ‘work’ on my prayer life, and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on loving my neighbor too.” No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.

And it’s not so much us “working” on anything as it is Jesus, when lifted up on the Cross, drawing all to Himself. Jesus, who is God, who is love, who is truth, is the driving force behind whatever virtue we have. And with Jesus, if one virtue of “ours” is lifted up, all of “our” virtue is lifted up.

Hmmm… How to say it? Maybe a picture would get the idea across. Our Lord would have us be virtuous in, say, lifting a hand in praise of Him, but He is really lifting up all virtues, our whole persons…

And, yes, it’s a virtue to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom. I think He did it all the time whilst He walked this earth. I think He continues to do it all the time in heaven as well. If Jesus draws you up to give a flower to His good mom, go along with it. It will help you out in all sorts of ways. Jesus is like that.

And don’t worry how small the virtues are. Don’t worry how small the flowers are. Or even if they are flowers, technically. ;-)


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (’cause leaves are the new flowers, ed.)


When I was a kid, if there weren’t many flowers to pick for my mom, I would get whole branches of leaves to put in a big pot. I would do the same for Jesus’ good mom. So I will. There’s the above, and the below:


The great dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan, call it Pachamama and Consort, are not representative of the Immaculate Conception. No.

Pachamama and Consort be damned.

These leaves, the new flowers, are only for the Immaculate Conception, who, with her Divine Son Jesus, also conquered, crushing the heads of all idols just by holding her Son:



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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (The Dead of Winter, edition)


Just because it’s the dead of winter in so many ways and on so many levels, that’s no reason not to give flowers to the Immaculate Conception. Here are some frosty Jasmine in the back yard of the rectory, with seeds that looks to have downy like feathers perhaps to help them fly a bit to spread out in a wider area. And that’s a good thing: more flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Would that these would spread all the way to the Vatican, and that someone there would get the good idea to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom, but NOT to Pachamama of death. The truth of the matter is that Jesus appreciates flowers being given to His own good mom, and specifically NOT to Pachamama.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (True Old Fashioned Rose, Ed.)

The perfect ocassion to give a rose, especially a True Old Fashioned Rose to our Lady. Her Divine Son, methinks, agrees.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Frozen, edition)

What’s Our Lady to say except what we read in Daniel 3:69-70?

  • Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

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