This altar way in the back corner of the Angelicum chapel was a favorite place way back in the day. Thank you Jesus, for all you did and do for us. Happy Easter.
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Abomination of Desolation: Jesus and…
Psalm 22 is cited by Jesus on the Cross: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” This is recalled even while all the apostles had run away.
In verse 6 of Psalm 22 the statement is “I am a worm and no man.” I’ve read that a million times before, but my eyes glazed over and I just kept reading and that was the end of it.
Being inept, weak, bad and evil most of my life (and not much better now), even though I had studied at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and have had so many of the biblical and so many ancient extra-biblical languages down, I simply continued to let my eyes glaze over with such exclamations as this: “I am a worm and no man.” I’m such a spiritual coward.
More recently I have waxed poetic on this worm-reference having reference to a maggot: “I am a maggot and no man.” You’ll recall that one of the names of the Evil One is Beelzebub, or Lord of the Flies, the reference being to maggots, to death. That’s quite fierce.
That recalls Jesus saying that just as Moses lifted up the serpent of bronze on a stake in the desert so that all of those who should look at it would live, so the Son of Man will be lifted up on a Cross and all who look on Him whom we have all pierced through will live. The serpent looked like the serpents who were killing the chosen people. Jesus looks like us, we who kill each other in sin. Because He stands in our place, Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, death, He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The irony… He who looks like the brood of Beelzebub is our redemption and, please God, our salvation.
Just the other day I thought I might take a closer look at the worm-maggot reference.
תוֹלַ֣עַת is a writhing creature sucking blood, like a leech, the image of a serpent, only worse.
Wait… What? That’s what Jesus is calling Himself?
σκώληξ is the word in the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation. Same thing. A writhing creature, the image of a serpent. Those in the Gospels who are damned go to hell where their σκώληξ never dies and the fire is never quenched, with σκώληξ again referring to parasitic worm-esque, serpent-esque, writhing of writhingness.
Dearest Jesus… your Mother had to see you suffer, had to see you mocked in this way…
And it get’s worse.
Of late I’ve been perusing things apocalyptic. There is a multitude of references to the Abomination of Desolation in the Old Testament, in the Gospels, in the Apocalypse.
Let’s see. What’s with the word “Abomination”?
Abomination = ab + omenation = ab + omen.
“ab” – in this case, the understanding of this preposition is taken away from something.
“omenation” – “omen”, from old Latin osmen, from “os” (mouth) + “mens” (mind), therefore, an oracle, in derivative usage, an oracle of foreboding, a sign or symbol of evil. An “abomination”, in the case of these translations of the Scriptures, is one who represents, is an agent of, one who speaks for Satan, one who is possessed by Satan. This speaks to this Abomination referring more to a person, an agent, who can speak, than a mere wooden idol or suchlike.
Desolation is, in modern derivation, a psychological state, so that someone who is desolate is sad, or sorrowful, or depressed. If the intention of this specious translation referred to the most intense state of this desolation, so that we have despair, a demonic despair by which in cynicism one loses all love, all faith, all ability to recognize truth, a willful disability to recognize Him who is Living Truth, then we’re on to something. But, etymologically, the word, in the Greek, is ἐρήμωσις, “desert-like”, referring to the wasteland steppe of the Judaean desert, where one will be destroyed, where one will die with no water, no food, where Christ Jesus went to fast for forty days and forty nights, temped by Satan. The desert is the home of the Evil One. Thus, the one who is bringing about such demonic desertification spiritually is one who is taken over by Satan, the one who is the Abomination.
Having said all that, let’s start over. The word in the Greek of the New Testament for Abomination is βδέλυγμα, but, when you go back, all the way back, maddeningly, into historical philological roots of words, one finds that the original meaning refers to a writhingness, like a serpent, and even more particularly, a worm, more specifically, like a blood-sucking leech monster.
Back in Genesis, when the angelic oracle “serpent” was cursed after he fell into sin by attacking Adam and his wife, the curse was not that he should proceed on his belly. That translation is idiotic. This word draws on vocabulary found only extremely rarely in the more ancient of the Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, so that what we have is that Satan should now writhe in his writhingness, that is, with the intense and eternal curse of spiritual and intellectual frustration.
I was a bad and evil little kid, and I once hit a snake on the head. Wow… the writhing of writhingness… unforgettable… I brought that to Confession later…
Biblically, this βδέλυγμα, much worse than a serpent, is a blood sucking writhing serpentesque creature, an image of those possessed by Satan drinking the blood of the saints, which will earn them condemnation to hell for all eternity in the writhing of their writhingness. It is an image of despising the life given by God, of mocking God to His Face.
Now, what this means for the man of sin, the man of perdition, the one whose number is 666, the antichrist, the false prophet and so on… well… however much any of those overlap or are figurative or whatever… that will require more delving… Who is that whore of Babylon drunk on the blood of the saints? Would that be Jerusalem? Would Jesus look like Jerusalem, taking on the sins of Jerusalem?
The point about our Lord Jesus in all this is His humility, His founding mercy on justice, His standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, to the point of His looking like that man of sin. Saint Paul just says it in his shorthand: He became sin for us. Jesus, personally, looks like the man of perdition, destruction, like the one whose number is 666, the antichrist, the false prophet, even like me, like all of us while we were yet sinners.
And dearest Mary watched as the bloodthirsty possessed sinners tortured her Son to death. Jesus hated to see His mother suffer.
To stand with Jesus in His trials is to stand with Mary even if the bloodthirsty leeches should all of a sudden attack in the writhing of their writhingness.
Filed under Jesus
Unity all alone, but then…
The Chrism Mass, and then the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Good Friday service… the Sacred Triduum so far… for me, this year…
- … is enthrallingly all about the unity in the Mystical Body of Christ which comes about as He is lifted up on the Cross and draws all to Himself right across Calvary where all hell is broken out…
- … and also is frighteningly all about that aloneness (not loneliness) which is to be experienced in some manner when one is at least in the smallest way in solidarity with Jesus when He cries out: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!”
The two could not be more different nor more simultaneous, one tied into the other.
Some Scripture verses come to mind:
- “My people has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow. If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword; if I go into the city, I see the ravages of famine. Both prophet and priest have gone to a land they know not.” (Jeremiah 14:17-18)
- “We are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader…” (Daniel 3:37-38)
My experience so far this Holy Week is a distant and mere shadow of the intensity of the experience of Saint John when he, of all the apostles who ran away when Jesus was arrested, returned quite alone, all hell broken out, all friends vanished, but to accompany Mary who was in perfect solidarity with Jesus there on Calvary.
The aloneness acts as an invitation to prayer for those still running away in whatever manner even as we are bidden by Jesus to behold Mary as our dear Mother. But with that, for me, ever the spiritual newbie and knowing nothing of anything, such unity with Jesus, standing with Him in His trials, standing as His vicar with His Mother, brings all the more aloneness: Who are we, amongst all the others, to do such a thing? And yet, where are they? Jesus entrusts her to us and vice versa even while He then precipitates to preach to the fallen spirits. He goes to do His Father’s will. We are left with great responsibility in His place. We are so inept. The most inept. If only those who had run away would have stayed they would be so much better right here, right now. Everyone else has run away.
And then our eyes are opened at least a bit, and we see that so many of our brothers not only have been standing there with us the whole time, but were there before us, have been praying for us, with Mary. Wretches that we are, we’re there. In the aloneness of the full number of the brothers who are to witness to the Lord Jesus not yet fulfilled, we pray for that to happen even as Jesus draws all to Himself as He is lifted up, yet crying out: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
For me, something like that, but from a distance, and yet… right there…
Filed under Jesus, Spiritual life
Why women cannot be priests
This is not difficult, unless one has lost sight of Jesus..
The image of God as we read back in Genesis is male/female/marriage/family. The image of God imprinted upon human nature was destroyed with sin. Fallen humanity has ever since rebelled against the image of God, assassinating the image of God by same-sex sex: a denial of male/female, a denial of marriage, a denial of family, a blasphemous attack on God.
Redemption is, in justice, wrought, ever so fittingly, by a marriage of God with His Immaculate Bride, the Church, God Incarnate suffering the punishment for sin, death, the Innocent standing in the place of the guilty, so that He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, providing that we are once again the image of God, and even more, as members of the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body, we the members of that Body.
The marriage banquet of the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world is the Last Supper, which we call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The wedding vows are the total self giving of Jesus at the consecrations: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. It’s the fulfillment of all righteousness, of justice, that makes the mercy of the provision of the image of God to us once again possible.
What a terrible mockery of Jesus’ Wedding it would be to have a woman “priest” attack the image of God in marriage by taking the place of the Bridegroom, of Jesus, at the Last Supper, at Holy Mass. That would be a lesbian image. No.
Back in the day, most “priests” in the pagan cults, sacrificing children, were women. Men set that up, of course, protecting that mockery of God. That’s what fallen human nature does. Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus redeemed us the right way, with such majesty, laying down His own life for us to do this.
How terrible that the whole world is now sexualizing children, sacrificing children. How terrible that the whole world is promoting same-sex “marriage.” How terrible that it is the leaders of the church which promote this activity either actively, or by “benign” neglect. A reprimand given but with no penalty is, in the end, active promotion of that sin, that blasphemy, that mockery of God.
And so many souls run to take the scandal into their souls. And that risks the eternal damnation of so many.
Pray for good, strong, holy vocations to the priesthood, for strong men. Ask Immaculate Mary for her intercession. Hail Mary…
Filed under Priesthood, Priestly Celibacy, Priestly Celibacy Series
What do these greatest of saints have in common? The beatitudes!
- Saint Gerard Majella – CSsR
- Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney – Curé d’Ars
- Saint Pio – Francesco Forgione, OFM Cap
Moreover, what of that filthy criminal Jesus! As we read on the sign Pilate is holding up, Jesus is guilty for having been accused…
- … of being Jesus [which name means Savior, specifically not salvation by the State, perceived by the State to be an insult to them]…
- … from Nazareth [a rebellious jurisdiction, so, guilt by association]…
- … King [not sanctioned by Caesar and thus a direct threat to State]…
- … of the Jews, the Judah-ites [now speaking to the jurisdiction of Pontius Pilate]…
And while all of that sounds political and makes it seem that Jesus was guilty of political inconvenience, what’s really going on here is that the State is nervous about the goodness and kindness of Jesus, nervous that He is Truth Incarnate.
Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
Meanwhile, Jesus gives us a faith stronger than our death, strong enough to bring us to heaven. And that is our hope. Thank you, Jesus, for showing us how to do it right. Thank you for uniting us to yourself. Thank you for raising up the saints. Let us rejoice and be glad and leap for joy.
PRIESTLY VOCATION: WHAT IT IS & IS NOT
WHAT A PRIESTLY VOCATION IS NOT:
- “I feel like I’d like to be a bishop, so I’ll join the seminary to get started on my career.”
This is no straw man. I know many like this. Zero faith. Nothing to do with Jesus. One spoke it out loud throughout the seminary, and soon after ordination to the priesthood he was made a bishop. He had “friends.” Or is it some sort of “mafia”? Another with the same attitude, thinking to be untouchable in his overconfidence in himself, was “laicized” on his way to being a bishop, monster that he was and is.
- “I feel like I’d like to be a priest because, like, you know, you get to have the power of having the laity have fake power, like having the laity preach at Mass, and give out the ‘wine’ at Mass, and like in pastórial ministry, never doing anything by way of clericalizing the laity and having them do fake anointings like pretending to do Last Rites or even hearing Confessions. I’ll get to do nothing and they’ll all think I’m a hero. What a cushy life!”
This is no straw man. I’m thinking of one seminarian in particular. He made his choice to follow his heroes in the priesthood, those priests who were diametrically opposed to good doctrine, good morals, good instruction in the spiritual life, reverent liturgy. He verbosely, loudly, made it clear that he had friends and was protected and had a good career ahead of himself. Nothing and no one was going to stop him from ladder climbing. That consumed him. Too sad. None of these people have a single thought for Jesus, that a vocation is a call coming from Jesus.
- “I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I for sure have a vocation to be politically correct in the seminary where you learn to be politically correct with the bishop. I know how to be a ‘yes man’ first time, every time. I’ve already compromised myself in the parishes I’ve been in as a seminarian and young priest. I’ve already lost my virginity… um… you know what I mean… Hahaha…”
This is no straw man. I know plenty of seminarians and young priests who are expert at not thinking, who have so learned to compromise themselves being ‘men of consensus’ with bishops and presbyterates that they cannot have a discussion about good doctrine, good morality, good instruction on the spiritual life, reverent liturgy, but immediately shut down, eyes glazed over, stone faced, but who are ever so ambiguously clever in stock phraseology, whether it fits the would-be conversation or not, about how it is that the bishops or priests have an “approach” or “posture” and that that is what they are following. Notice that this isn’t about following Jesus.
- “I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I don’t feel like I’d like to be married and have a family.”
This is no straw man. This is a sickness. Everyone is called to be married as this is the image of God, male-female-marriage-family, as we read in Genesis. And this is how Jesus redeemed us, with His own recitation of marriage vows with His Bride the Church at the consecrations at the Last Supper united with Calvary, “My body given for you in Sacrifice” and “My blood poured out for you in Sacrifice.” Priests are married by the Holy Sacrifice they offer, reciting those vows in the first person singular, in Persona Christi. Other single people, religious or secular, fulfill this image of God united with Jesus. But the guy who goes into the priesthood not understanding that this is a vocation to be married to the Church is a walking disaster, a freak show, who is literally a danger to himself and others. Abandoning Jesus and misunderstanding His Sacrifice is what brings about the abuse of the Little Flock. Yep.
- “I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I like doing holy stuff because it makes me look good to myself.”
And Jesus will say: “I never knew you. Get away from me you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23). Doing holy stuff doesn’t justify. God justifies. “But I absolved sin in your name! I consecrated your body and blood in your name!” Nope. That doesn’t count. Only God’s grace counts. Jesus doesn’t call someone to be a priest to do stuff. The priest might do things, but Jesus can raise up stones to be priests. The guy who simply enjoys doing nice stuff is all about being self-referential, a narcissist, perhaps a sociopath. This is the most dangerous guy of all. He can rationalize anything. He is diametrically opposed to Jesus even while doing holy things which, in his own mind, are for Jesus.
- “I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I have a lot of talents to offer and I’m just the one!”
The only talents Jesus is interested in from anyone He calls to the priesthood is His own five wounds. Jesus had all talents much better than all priests put together. He’s interested in priests standing in solidarity with Him in His trials for us, His being in solidarity with us. If it takes getting rid of earthly talents, not using earthly talents, for this end of salvation of souls, that’s what Jesus will do. A priest is to follow the Holy Spirit who goes where He wills in forming priests to be one with the one High Priest, and that always involves the wounds of Jesus. Anyone who foists their talents upon the Church is a fraud.
Those are just some random thoughts in the early hours of a Sunday morning before 6:00 AM Holy Hour with Confessions, you know, the holy things of the priesthood, which, mind you, are holy, but that’s not what a vocation from Jesus to the priesthood is all about. I’m typing a million miles an hour and not reading over what I write. Sorry. There is so much more to say about what a vocation is not. But you get the idea. A fake vocation is a not a vocation. A fake vocation mocks the real vocation. Let’s put out some random thoughts on what a real vocation to the priesthood is all about:
WHAT A PRIESTLY VOCATION IS:
- While the bishop confirms a priestly vocation by calling a man to Holy Orders, that vocation is not in the least from the bishop, but rather from Jesus. Jesus calls. No one else.
- Jesus calls a man to get his own little hell out of the way of the one High Priest, Christ Jesus, so that Jesus can work through, with and in such a man. We recall the prayer of John Henry Newman (1801-1890): “Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be You shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen.”
- A priest is called to go to Confession. Then he will offer that sacrament to others. He will know exactly why he is a priest, so that we might all be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus in heaven.
- That’s about it. Everything else is contingent on God’s providence. Including offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A priest is called by Jesus to suffer with Jesus. For instance, say a newly ordained priest, having received his faculties for Confession at the end of the Ordination Mass (a quite common practice) is walking from the church to the reception at whatever social hall minutes after his ordination and he’s accosted between the two buildings by an apparently enthusiastically devout penitent wanting to be the first confession that the new priest will hear. The new priest obliges. But then the “penitent” runs to the bishop and is publicly accused of solicitation of sin during Sacramental Confession. The bishop then suspends the priest from active ministry and starts the preliminaries for laicization. It just means that the priest was called by Jesus to be in solidarity with Jesus in Jesus’ trials more fiercely, more quickly than other priests. And if that priest perseveres, Jesus will say to him: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 5:34). The priest and Jesus will know each other very well. Brotherhood in blood.
- There are, of course, many more things to say, but allow me just one more, the most important for a priest to be close to Jesus, to answer Jesus’ call. If we are truly close to Jesus in His trials, we will know what hurt Him the most during His passion and death for us and it’s not the betrayal of some Judas-priest. What hurt Jesus the most was that His dear Immaculate Mother had to see Him tortured to death. A priest that Jesus calls is called to be in solidarity with Jesus in this greatest of His trials. It is for this that He sweat blood in His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. It is for this that there was that dichotomy, if you will, between the will of His human nature and that of the Father. He did not want His Immaculate Mother to suffer so terribly. But then: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” That’s the vocation of a priest. And should the priest have a chance to offer Holy Mass, absolve sin, send people to heaven, great! But the priest’s prayer absolutely, in view of the suffering of dearest Mary, must be with one voice with Jesus, una voce, through, with and in Jesus: “Abba! Father!”
Filed under Priesthood, Priestly Celibacy, Vocations
Sacred Heart graces Holy Redeemer
About a half a ton, but He ain’t heavy. He’s my Brother.
That method didn’t work. We thought about cranes, the works. Finally we figured it out. A special machine. Brute force. Prayers.
A caption for the statue? “Welcome home!” to those who have been away all too long. Is Jesus trustworthy? This statue also correctly provides instruction on trustworthiness: there are wounds, large and deep. Yes, Jesus laid down His life, Innocent for the guilty, to take us up in life for eternity.
This is the Sacred Heart of our Holy Redeemer.
Filed under Jesus
So, this Jewish guy told a priest a story about Jesus who saves
Over at yet another parishioner’s house the other day, I was told a story by the husband, who is Jewish and loves to tell stories. Here’s one of his favorites:
“So, one morning, dark, foggy, cold, temps in the teens, my friend and I, both of us Jews, mind you, were traveling along in our car and we saw one of those “
Bridge freezes before road” signs right before crossing the bridge. It was one of those S-curve bridges. You approach from a sharp curve into the bridge and there’s another sharp curve right after the bridge. The car was still carrying centrifugal force as we hit the ice, setting the car spinning around three times on the icy bridge, and throwing us spinning in the wrong direction when we hit the sharp curve going in the opposite direction on the far side of the bridge. But the road after the bridge wasn’t icy, and we hit the road exactly in our lane and going the right direction. Had we hit any other way we would have flown off the road and, right there, that would have been catastrophic.”
“Directly, squarely in front of us, as we hit the dry road on the far side, there was a billboard saying “JESUS SAVES”. We looked at each other and were both dead silent for, like, thirty seconds as we travelled safely onward. And that’s a long time after something like that. And then we looked at each other again and said to each other simultaneously, ‘Did you see that? Jesus saves.’ And then we went quiet again.”
“Jesus is Jewish,” he added to me so very many years later.
“We need to get you baptized,” I said to him.
Filed under Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue
Army worms on the attack
My poor tomatoes.
Are you disgusted?
Jesus said about Himself (in our perspective) Psalm 22: 6-7…
- “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me. They hurl insults, shaking their heads.”
Yep. That’s us, in our fallen human nature, if we are without grace. With grace, we already know that that’s who we are on our own, total idiots who don’t see God right in front of us.
If we don’t recognize that that’s who we are if we are without grace, we have zero integrity, zero honesty, zero humility. We are full of ourselves, and we’re full of **** as pictured above. That’s not the kind of person who goes to heaven. I wanna go to heaven. The way to go to heaven is not to congratulate ourselves that we are holy, having saved ourselves because we’re the ones, the only ones; the way to go to heaven is to recognize that Jesus is our Savior because He’s the One, the only One.
Oh, and we are to be happy to stand with Jesus in His trials.
That means that if we are with Jesus, we are also considered to be worms by the rest of the fallen world. Ready for that?
Just be to persnickety: It’s not so much “worm” in the biblical text, but rather more specifically, “maggot.” Baalzebul, however you wanna spell it, means “Lord of the Flies”, that is, The Lord of Death, so, rotting corpses, so, maggots, hence, flies. Satan is the murderer from the beginning. Jesus says, “I am a maggot and no man” (in our perspective). How far we have fallen.
Jesus is considered a maggot because we are fallen and that’s how we roll in self-protection: Jesus is bad and evil, not me.
Again, the cure to this, in Jesus’ grace, is a bit of humility, honesty, integrity, so that, redeemed and saved by Jesus, being in His grace, standing in solidarity with Him, we are also then considered to be maggots, the worst of the worst. And moreover, we’re happy about this.
Filed under Jesus, Nature, Spiritual life
Shroud of Turin proves the Resurrection. Yep. But you know what Jesus says Abraham says…
Great video on the Shroud. For myself, I was always entirely taken by the shroud. What scientists say in our own day as different even from a couple years ago is amazing. Proof for anyone of good will.
But that’s the catch. If you are malicious. If you are defending your own sinful life, you will simply refuse to believe. No proof can force someone to believe. Jesus says Abraham says this:
- Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and feasted sumptuously every day: 20. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, 21. And desiring to be fed from the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: and even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22. And it happened that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23. And, lifting up his eyes in hell, when he was in torments, he seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he, crying out, said, Father Abraham, have compassion on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25. And Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus likewise evil things: but now he enjoys comfort, and thou art tormented. 26. And besides all these things, a vast gulf lieth between us and you; so that they who wish to pass hence to you cannot, nor can they pass to us thence. 27. And he said, I beseech thee, therefore, father, to send him to my father’s house: 28. For I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29. Abraham saith to him, They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them. 30. But he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent. 31. And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.
The universal salvation heretics say that the rich man is not in hell but in purgatory. They go against the parable spoken by the Truth Incarnate wherein trustworthy Abraham explicitly says no one can pass from one side to the other, over the chasm between heaven and hell, ever. Ain’t gonna happen. “Abraham is a liar!” they shriek: “Jesus is a liar!”
The universal salvation heretics say that the rich man is a nice guy, charitable, and should go to heaven. But in saying that, they actually deny the resurrection. Let’s examine that:
- (1) The rich man cries out: “Father Abraham, have compassion on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” The idea is that unless Abraham sends Lazarus to hell for the sake of mercy, Abraham himself along with Lazarus will go to hell for being unmerciful. To deny justice for the sake of a false mercy is in fact a sin. So Abraham rebukes this malicious “Bring ’em all to hell!” plot of the rich man: “Abraham said; ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus likewise evil things: but now he enjoys comfort, and thou art tormented.’ So, the rich man stays in hell and Abraham and Lazarus remain in heaven marveling at how evil the rich man is.
- (2) The rich man cries out: “I beseech thee, therefore, father, to send him to my father’s house: For I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Obviously, the rich man, Dives, is the Herod under whom Jesus lived and died and rose. Rich, feasting sumptuously, dressed in purple, there’s only this one possibility: Herod. Lazarus is, of course, the Lazarus of Martha and Mary fame, the one Jesus raised from the dead and who the henchmen of Herod wanted to kill all over again. The five brothers are who-knows-who? amongst the insane genealogy of Herod’s father. Remember, there is no word for “cousin” in Hebrew. It’s always “brother.” But surely they are a well known, trusted group close to Herod, evil even in the eyes of the rich man in hell. Sending Lazarus to them would mean his instant murder at their hands. But more than this, Lazarus would be committing a sin worthy of hell if he were to disrespect Moses and the prophets by effectively saying that Moses and prophets weren’t good enough. With that sin Lazarus would simply go to hell with Abraham. That’s entirely evil and malicious of the rich man in hell who obviously deserves to be there. Abraham is right to say: “They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them.”
- The rich man in hell cannot stop being malicious and evil and plotting to get everyone in hell. He said again: “Nay, father Abraham; but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent.” He’s again disrespecting Moses and the Prophets, who spoke of the resurrection. So, Abraham rightly responds: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” So, the rich man stays condemned in hell forever, and Abraham and Lazarus remain safely in heaven. I love this.
Here’s how malicious and evil people are in hell: they want to be in hell and they only want everyone to be hell. They don’t want to come out of hell. They want to hate God and themselves and everyone else in hell, forever. That’s what they hotly desire, so to speak.
Is that kind of person going to be convinced by scientific studies and reason concerning the shroud? No. Because they don’t want the truth. Sure, the shroud is absolutely a proof of the resurrection. But it’s not a proof that will be received by those who are malicious and evil. You cannot force someone to believe. We are saved by grace. These proofs are but aids for someone to assent to the faith that God is already crashing down upon them. So, we provide such things, but we must rejoice that God is doing the work of salvation. People can say “no,” and do say “no,” but we can and must be there for them to try to get them to say “yes.”
By the way, those eyes on the shroud, opened up, they remind me of these eyes:
Meanwhile, I am many times a day being dragged through the mysteries of the Two Hearts Rosary as I call it. More to come on that. The currents run deep. The Rosary is amazing for those who pray it.
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