Tag Archives: Jesus

Fr Byers, who are you, anyway? Apologia.

[[ This post was originally published December 19, 2017. It’s republished now as baiting for some who need to be baited for their own good. ]]

With the videos above I poke fun at myself. Sorry for some of the language in them. I apologize to those who actually want an answer to the question about my identity, to those who don’t accept the answer that I am a simple back-mountain priest on the outside of the peripheries. That’s all I am. And I’m happy with that. Truly.

The problem is that there are those who are ferociously asking about my real identity even now as if that question has never been asked before, not knowing that I have been one of the most researched people on the planet by whatever wing of Catholicism, or Protestantism, or atheism, or of whatever religion, Judaism, Islam, or whatever political entity overseas, but most especially by our own intelligence services, the latter being interested because of my “Shadow”, and because and all the hyper-sensitive places I’ve been, all the terrorists with whom I have been “friends,” all the terrorist incidents in which I have in one way or another been involved, all the friends I have on the very highest levels in the military, in intelligence services, in the Church. But, hey! You newcomers! Go for it!

The question is, of course, why the interest in me? By all accounts, I am just another boring priest among the million or so priests on the face of the earth. I am just one more boring person among the billions of people who are presently alive. So, why me?

Inside the Church, the ultra-liberal swamp rats think that I am their hero because of some of the rather extraordinary people I know and the type of degrees I have behind my name, thinking that anyone with those qualifications (those people and those institutions) has to be one of the more dangerous-to-the-status-quo people on the face of the earth, and so I am welcomed, until they get to know me, but even then, their suspicions that I am way to the right in their estimation remains merely suspicion, for I simply can’t be of Tradition if I know their darlings and have the degrees I do. They think I am just being very, very clever, more political than they could imagine could be possible. Their question remains: “Who are you, anyway?”

Inside the Church again, the ultra-traditional-ism-ists treat me the same way, suspicious that I am a filthy liberal because of the people I know and the degrees that I have, and yet are confused by the things I have done in my life, doing more for the reinstatement of the Traditional liturgy (more than the Mass, also the sacraments and exorcism, etc), than most all of them put together. They think all that is subterfuge, a cover. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream, condemning me as one of those “priests” who loves “mercy,” but then wondering what is going on because they never see me embrace any heresy, any leftist position, so that they simply hate that I won’t hate who they hate as much as they hate, or even hate at all. They think I am a careerist, but then watch in amazement how I throw away “career” after “career.” I could certainly have had a multitude of careers in the Church, could have long been a bishop, actually archbishop at this stage, the problem being that I just won’t compromise, not to protect my record of not compromising, but because I believe in serving Jesus. But that is what they will not accept. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream again.

I suppose I should give a few examples. Early on I was invited to go to the Academia Ecclesiastica, but I turned that down with the excuse that I just would not make a career of compromising my priesthood. That was very offensive to some career diplomats, believe me. I’m sure many are devout believers. Some are anything but that. I knew quite a bit about those who were beholden more to the State than to Jesus. I have a lot of friends. But I felt I was too weak to last as a believer in such settings. Either I would cave in or be removed as useless to the ways of compromise. So, why bother? That’s just the way it was. That’s a confession about how bad and evil I was. Then there was a now long-deceased ecclesiastical superior who wanted to pull some strings and have me appointed as one of the Inquisitors at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but I dissuaded him as well. At the time, among some in the CDF, it was all about how to please bishops. I just couldn’t do it, fearful that I wouldn’t be able to remain faithful to Jesus, fearful that I would simply be removed as someone useless to the world of compromise. Mind you, the CDF did do some great things at the time under then Cardinal Ratzinger, especially the ghost-writing of the official interpretation of Canon 915 (upon which I had some incisive influence from afar). Anyway, there was also a push to get me into the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Congregation for Saints, heck, after my time at Vatican Radio, even Communications at their new offices was put before me. The biggest career I turned down, however, was to go to teach at a certain University in Buenos Aires, where I’m quite sure I would have in no time (if not from the very beginning) been put in administrative positions as a jumping board to other things. I turned that down because the whole thing seemed geared to smashing down my faithfulness to Jesus. I was afraid of my weakness, afraid of being removed as someone useless to political correctness of compromise. I have to wonder what would have happened between Father and then Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio and myself, what with our common friends. I have to wonder what would have been the future of the ghost writing of Amoris laetitia, if, instead, I would have written that in a manner manifestly reflecting the teaching of the Church. I am a failure, I suppose, for not having taken up those careers in the Church. I am certainly a failure for having been fearful of anything at the time. I have only since then learned by the grace of God not to fear anything, ever. Why? Because Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

Anyway, outside the Church, because of my life-time relationship of sorts with my “Shadow” (which has nothing to do with me, by the way), the State Department, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and various and sundry operators of any and all military or intelligence backgrounds have long wondered and frequently asked, always after long investigations and always with frustration, “Who are you, anyway?” This has become, over many decades and with countless examples, both humorous and predictable. Some, if they are good guys, just do what they are told in my regard (because of the “Shadow” thing) or they are afraid to bring it further to Mike Pompeo or [[Tillerson]] Gina Haspel because their own treasonous behaviors would be brought to light, especially now, but that’s another story, that is, as to how I’ve been trying to bring those treasonous behaviors to light. At this point, it seems that my “Shadow” has successfully turned the tables so that it must be me who is the too vaunted Gray Man, in which case the question, “Who are you, anyway?” becomes both a protection and liability. It has, in fact, always been this way. It is what it is. There are benefits. There are drawbacks.

As it is, throughout my life my identity has been a standing “inside joke” for me and Jesus, for He has given me the grace which He willingly gives to all, the grace not to be novel, that is, no novelties, with the point being that only One who is important, the only One who has anything to say, is Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One. We are to our utmost to be instruments of His, letting His love and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth and mercy and truth be manifested through us. We are to have nothing of our own, no identity apart from Him. It’s all about Him. He is ever ancient, ever new. I am far from it, but it would be my hope to say that if there is anything that is ecclesial and of God in my life, that people will say: “Look at that. That’s not Fr George. That’s Jesus. Thank God for his great mercy.”

At the rare time that circumstances are such that it is important not to be novel, not to compromise, not to betray Jesus as regards Church or State, I have not compromised, ever. This is in itself so very novel, you know, not to embrace the novelty of being a “man of consensus”, not to embrace being a coward, that I have also been condemned as someone who promotes “admiratio” for this very reason. Ironic how that works. The very attempt to respect faith and morals, the attempt not to be Promethean, not to be neo-Pelagian, not to be self-absorbed, or self-referential, not to be corrupt, is the very thing which makes people condemn me as being all those things, for, they say, only someone full of himself, arrogant and Pharisaical, would want to be different from them, and instead want to be in solidarity with some sort of Sign of Contradiction. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream, wanting to know how it is that I could possibly not cave into their bullying ways. I could give a thousand examples regarding faith or morals or national security. But why bother? I have learned that people are not interested in arguments. They are only interested in pushing and pushing and pushing to see if, for real, there is faithfulness. In all their cynicism, they want to know if faithfulness is possible in this world. In the end, it’s all about being smashed down and, even while being smashed down, saying with Jesus’ love and truth and goodness and kindness and mercy: “I forgive you. I want to see you in heaven.” And in that way, there is no compromise, no novelty, nothing of me, only Jesus. I’m sure I’m not there yet. I am totally weak. But He gives me the grace to want to be nothing, that is, for Jesus, that is, to have no identity apart from Him, so that He can use me for what He wants, that is, His love, His truth, His goodness, His kindness, His mercy.

The “inside joke” is all about what happens. Here’s the deal: when you don’t compromise, you will get smashed down, hard. There are damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations, but you don’t compromise. There are horrific circumstances, but you don’t compromise. All is hopeless, completely hopeless, but you don’t compromise. And then you are smacked down, hard. O.K. But then, in remaining faithful in all things, Jesus picks you up. He makes life so very, very interesting in this way. How boring non-faithfulness must be. In contrast, the vistas of faith upon panoramas of hard reality are exhilarating. No amount of darkness can quench the bond of love with God that God Himself puts into our hearts. And this is one thing that is novel. This is something new. It is God’s love among us, Emmanuel. But Jesus brings that newness, not us. We can only receive that newness when we have nothing new of our own, nothing novel, no identity of our own.

Who am I, anyway? I hope for a love which casts out all fear. I hope one day to say that I am nobody, nothing, that Jesus is my All. I hope to say that Jesus is the One, that He’s the only One, that I find my identity in Him, that He finds me and brings me into the reality of love and truth.

P.S. At the moment, someone is condemning me as someone who is enjoying the all too easy life of a pastor on the peripheries. If only they knew! Well, I must say that I love being a priest, a pastor, and on the peripheries. I love being a priest. I love watching Jesus, the Priest, at work. I love everything about any possible way and manner of being a priest. It is true that an intellectual / academic “career” would be tough, as the Common Doctor says when commenting on the brightness of a halo in the Summa, as there is a 1000 times more anguish for the flock in such circumstances. In this regard I would absolutely love being the or one of the Papal Theologians (though I’m not a Dominican). My goodness, the things I could write on Genesis, on ecumenical cooperation with biblical manuscripts (going to the heart of ecumenism), on the women of the Gospels, on papal infallibility, on reaching out to the Orthodox, on being a missionary, on mercy, on the formation of seminarians… But, I am here, and I am also happy where I am, in the tiniest parish in North America, in the most remote place possible. I love it. That’s who I am, one who is in love with everything about The Priest, Jesus.

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Filed under Intelligence Community, Jesus

The measure you give…

The above was sent in by a reader. I agree entirely. Hahahha.

Meanwhile, speaking of cats, let’s remember that all the saints are trying to live as one with the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the only One standing after the battle, albeit with scars:

The measure He gave was everything, which is what He demands of us:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

It’s His love and His truth that He draws un into.

P.S. I just noticed that I have a Dog administration-tag for dog posts on the blog, but no administration-tag for cat posts. Hmmm. I’ll still a dog-person. Pope Benedict was a cat-person. I guess we all have to be Lion of the Tribe of Judah persons. :-)

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Isaiah Cantrell’s racist identity crisis and the rest of the story: Thank you, Jesus

REPORT: “Reports later surfaced that police jailed suspect Isaiah Cantrell, who, according to the court affidavit, said Jesus’ ‘skin color of the statue was the wrong color.” Cantrell added that ‘Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color.”

My comment: Dearest Isaiah, you’re right, of course, about the outside thing, you know, the skin color thing, the melanin thing, sure, gotcha, I’m with you on that, totally. And the ol’ whiteys don’t like it, they just need to get over it. The Word of the Father become flesh, the Divine Son of God, the Divine Man, entered our fallen history in a very specific time in a very specific place by way of a very specific mother, bearing all those characteristics of that time and place and person. You’re right on emphasizing that: Jesus is a Jew, and salvation, as He said, is from the Jews. Yep. Great! That insight puts you head and shoulders above revisionist historians.

But you effectively kill off the statue of the very One you proclaim to respect? You got yourself some deep misunderstanding, deeper than just skin deep.

Here’s the deal: Jesus said that when He would be lifted up on the Cross, He would draw all to Himself, so that what He validated in one particular place and time as God-Incarnate with all those historically unrepeatable circumstances He validated, in Himself, for all particular individuals of all particular places and cultures and for all time, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Saint Paul speaks of this as the “Body of Christ” with Jesus being the Head of the Body and we, all of us, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, man and woman, are members of that Body of Christ. All lives matter to Jesus. He proved it. He laid down His life for all of us. We find our redeemed identity in Him, not in mere skin color.

As it is, I’m a lily-white white boy, lots of Russian, lots of Baltics, lots of Polish, lots of German. I rejoice that when Jesus reached down into this world at great cost to Himself he stretched out His hands on the cross so far that He was able to grab me, the lily-white white boy, and draw me to Himself, He having pardoned me my many sins, He inviting me to be in humble thanksgiving to Him. I rejoice that unlike what we do, He reached across skin color, across borders, across time, to do this. And for all those reasons I have much for which to be humbly thankful.

Don’t take all that rejoicing away from me, Isaiah Cantrell.

Don’t take all that rejoicing away from Jesus, who was happy to do this for us all.

I find my identity in being brought to life by Jesus. I’m a lily-white white boy, and Jesus is a Son, the Son of Abraham.

Dearest Isaiah, it’s a mistake to reduce Jesus to skin color. But Jesus died for you too. You can repent of all this foolishness. Go to Confession. I do. Jesus loves you, even to die for you.

You might notice, art critic that you are, Isaiah, that Jesus and His blessed Mother have been depicted with the skin color and cultural characteristics of all peoples right around the world right through the centuries, right through the millennia, not to claim Jesus and His good mother as only their own and to hell with everyone else, but to rejoice that Jesus’ redemption – good Son of His mother – has reached even as far as them.

I’m happy for Jesus and His mom to be depicted as a white, as Jewish, as black or brown or yellow or olive or whatever. This is our Jesus!

From the Apocalypse, 1:7:

  • “Every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”

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Distracted shooting & distracted praying: Distraction is the way to go.

Distracted shooting:

Not having practiced in, like, forever, 30 minutes of the day off was given to doing up a session of double-taps “to the head”. Best was 1.51 seconds with a chambered Glock 19 from a serpa holster carried appendix. Even that was so much slower compared to back in the good old days when Walmart was still selling Federal FMJ brass target rounds for cheap (the only thing that works in my Glock 19 Gen 4). Way too many of the double-taps were over two seconds. Not practicing often means slowing down, at least for me. But catching up on edginess just a bit is always good. Catching up on accuracy just a bit is always good. The 7″ Styrofoam pie-plates were out 25 feet.

This session, unlike any other since first acquiring any gun for the first time in my life (still in my third year) the enormous benefit of distraction came into play. Worms were falling like tender snowflakes. Un-staged distractions help constitute the best way to practice. It’s the difference between being edgy with sterile indoor range conditions (and no one cares about that, especially the entitled criminal element) and something much more attuned to real life where distractions are always abundant (like bullets hitting you one after the other). For great distraction for a good practice session, try tent worms falling on your sights with no warning:

Disgusting waves of tent caterpillars are munching their way across Michigan | News Hits

Practicing in this way provides the opportunity to learn to power through distraction and let adrenaline do it’s job by zeroing you in on the necessary at that moment.

Distracted praying:

If you haven’t noticed yet by this time in your life, we have a fallen human nature that suffers the effects of original sin chosen with the sin:

  • Weakness of mind
  • Weakness of will
  • Emotions and feelings all the hell over the place not following reason any longer
  • Sickness
  • Death

It’s only justice that we suffer the effects of sin chosen with the sin. Jesus calls such distraction our cross which we are not to deny, not to suppress, not to escape, but which we are to recognize, pick up and carry, not battling these things so directly as if we were our own saviors, but rather, as Jesus said, following Him, concerned with Him, with Him being more important that any stupid weakness of our own. The more we really try to try really hard to battle our distractions, the more we really try to really try hard to be our own saviors, the more frustrated we are in the midst of our lack of strength to do any such battle: we fall into the distraction we are battling by paying attention to it instead of to Jesus, following Jesus.

Look, all the saints were trained up to be saints in the midst of ongoing weakness and distraction. We are weak and distracted in this life until we die. Jesus told us to carry our cross daily, meaning until we die, but not looking at the cross (we already know it’s there) but instead looking to Him, thanking Him that – wow! – He really had t0 reach far into this fallen world to grab us to bring us to heaven. Thank you Jesus. Seeing all my distraction all the time helps me to understand just how far you had to reach to get me. Thank you so very much for re-creating me as your friend, as you said.

To do all that mercy in justice, Jesus had to come among us, show us damned cynics His goodness and kindness and truth, baiting us to test all that to see if it was verifiable. He knew we would show Him our worst, tortured death, what we deserve ourselves. He took our place, the Innocent for the guilty, now having the right in His own justice to command His heavenly Father as He died, thus passing our cynical test: “Father, forgive them!”

  • “But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised of the people.” (Psalm 22:6)

Actually, it’s not “worm”. In Hebrew this more precisely refers to “maggot.” Jesus cited this psalm on the Cross.

Here’s the deal, the saints were trained up with ongoing distraction in prayer and everything else by assenting in grace to grace grabbing their souls so that the greater love of God’s own love within us holds God as being more important than ourselves: the distraction is still there but who cares? That’s not what’s important. In fact, distraction helps us thank Jesus and walk with Him no matter the distraction.

This is a victory of the joy of the Holy Spirit in our souls. Yes. True joy of the Holy Spirit in the very midst of distraction. Yes. I love it. This is the victory of Jesus. He is risen from the dead, and working on our souls. He is truly risen.

Anecdote: I knew a guy who was overwhelmed with distraction and wanted some psych advice about this, and from the wrong crowd at the Gregorian University. I tried to dissuade him. Nope. He went, and came straight back, all the smarter as to why I wanted him to avoid them. They said that they would take away all his weakness, all his distraction, making him a fake automaton, mere Styrofoam. He exclaimed to them, immediately walking out: “No, that’s the only thing I have left, and you’re not going to take that away from me.” He was super wise, knowing that our our Lord uses our weakness to make us saints.

Saint Paul sums it up in his typical shorthand way of speaking and writing:

  • “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Get it? Use the very temptation to instead bring you closer to Jesus, remaining, by grace, closer to Him than every before.

This is the difference being arrogant, coming up with our own escapist way of salvation – “Let me pretend to be super-balanced and let me congratulate myself!” – and being humble, submitting to the cross of the consequences of original sin, which our Lord commands us to do: “Take up your cross!” Who the hell are we to tell Jesus “Non serviam! I will not serve!”? That’s what Satan says. We are not to say that we have progressed in the spiritual life because we think we have successfully suppressed any trace of weakness so that we have fake-saved ourselves and don’t need Jesus. That only leads to an explosion of arrogance and cynicism.

Humbly submitting to our punishment by not caving to ongoing temptation but in the face of it assenting to the saving grace of Jesus is joy in the Holy Spirit. Much better, that.

Are you also a worm and no man, like Jesus? Takes a bit of humility, doesn’t it?

But then we are trained up in matters spiritual, never congratulating ourselves for saving ourselves, thanking Jesus instead, and seeing ever so much more incisively how far He had to reach to get us, which is all the m0re reason to thank Him humbly, walking with Him, right to heaven.

Be trained up in the midst of distraction, whether you are target practicing or growing by leaps and bounds in the spiritual life.

And for all nay-sayers out there, who congratulate themselves that they are in a mystical union with the Most Holy Trinity, and have absolutely no distraction whatsoever, that they actually have the beatific vision already (and there are many like that), remember good old Saint John of the Cross, who, responding to a question from a novice in the spiritual life – and this is my paraphrase, obviously – said that our fallen human brains will always be going a zillion miles an hour, but we are trained in the midst of that distraction to assent to paying attention to that which, to He whom is more important; the distraction continues, but the soul learns by grace to stay with Jesus, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, even in the midst of our distraction, He who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

P.S. And if all the good that carrying a Glock will get me is that I have been able to make an analogy for the spiritual life by using tent worms while target practicing, so be it. I’m good with that. Absolutely. :-)

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Filed under Guns, Jesus, Spiritual life

“Old Slither” and Mary

“Old Slither” was seen near the hermitage, on the rock-garden wall in front of a statue of Jesus’ good mom, Mary. This is at the neighbors to the hermitage, just down the ridge. “Old Slither” has to play the part of getting stomped on as we read in Genesis 3:15. How’s your situational awareness? Can you see him in the picture above? Let’s take a closer look:

He thinks that hiding is going to save him? Don’t be fooled by this. He’s already been smashed down and has nothing by which we are to fear. Jesus commands us: “Fear not!” “Do not be afraid!”

Mary says the same thing also as a reprimand: “Of what are you afraid? Don’t you see that my Son has conquered by standing in your place, the Innocent for the guilty?”

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Homily: Jesus’ Mom is the “Dog-Woman” The most ferocious sermon of my life

JESUS DOG-WOMAN

When Saint Paul says that Jesus “became sin” for us, that’s rather a controversial statement. Speaking in shorthand begs some reflection, some questions. I take it all a step further, saying that “Immaculate Mary” “became sin” for us. This is a rather intense, if long, and emotional sermon for me to deliver.

I always and only speak from the heart, trying to listen as I speak to the my Guardian Angel and the Holy Spirit, since I know nothing and they know everything, and seeing that there is a grace for preaching in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I may not have cooperated with that grace. You be the judge.

  • Some parishioners were profoundly affected for the better. Those people have suffered immensely in life, in all the truth of God’s charity.
  • In summary of long reprimand of one parishioner, this sermon was an abject, total failure on my part, and was a perfect example of division instead of unity, horribly depressing and dark, but that I should be of good heart, as I can use this as an occasion for learning.

Hint:

  • I still see the “great faith” of the “Dog-Woman” in all her hellish suffering as the brilliantly shining glory of God among us as grace upon this earth.
  • I still see the crucifixion of Jesus as the manifestation of glory upon glory of God’s truth in all charity upon this earth.
  • I still see the Woman under the Cross as the manifestation of God’s glory upon this earth in a mere human being, although the Woman of great faith, the ever holy ever virgin Immaculate Mary now assumed into heaven.

Perhaps I am to be anathematized for what I say, but this sermon is what I consider to be the best of my entire life, bar none. Of course, I am biased.

Again, it’s a little long, but I’m speaking about Mary – OUR MOTHER! – throughout, regardless of whether or not I mention the “Dog-Woman.” I can’t help but speak at length about my mother and yours, Jesus’ Good Mom…

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“Be the Gray Man” he said. Lessons from Laudie-dog. Just be the idiot, blood red.

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Above you’ll see Laudie-dog patrolling the impossible tunnel she’s made through the Jasmine vines, which don’t much offer her concealment while she takes in the situation of the neighborhood. After negotiating otherwise non-navigatable labyrinthine pathways, she shows herself victorious, quite content with herself, as if bragging about her over the top skill sets. Here she is, way down the fenceline in the other direction:

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The lesson, if you didn’t quite get it, is about how to be the “Gray Man”, someone who melts into the crowd unnoticed. Most people don’t get this at all. Take note that however much Laudie-dog is low-key, not drawing attention to herself, she doesn’t mind sticking out from her surroundings. I mean, she’s red, right? Take the hint about how to do the Gray Man thing the right way.

UBL (bin Laden, CIA “trained”) and his fellow terrorists were caught for trying too hard to be the Gray Man, you know, using different phones at different locations, never twice the same, so very careful. Not great training there. That was the clue: way too careful, way too gray, way too nothing. That’s tradecraft without common sense. No one does that. Ever.

Much better to be the bumbling idiot, like Laudie-dog is so very cleverly demonstrating above. No smarter dog than she. “Do the Gray Man thing” a friend suggested to me recently. Fine. But no. Yes and no. In my experience, the guy trying way too hard be the Gray Man sticks out in a crowd as if wearing a red jump suit. No, no. I’ll just play the idiot and in that way be the Gray Man… because there is always an entirely dismissable idiot or two in any crowd that everyone overlooks, because… you know… they’re just idiots.

I’m really good at it, because, you know, I have a lot of practice. It’s natural for me to be the idiot. Not being afraid to be the fool can save one’s life. I’ve done it a number of times.

Anecdote which I think I’ve mentioned before. I sometimes go out on a friend’s private back ridge somewhere in the heart of Appalachia here, doing up tactical pistol courses (FBI instructor, pre-2001 Air Marshal course, the SEAL course, and a number of LEO qualification courses for a change-up, etc.). Lots of fun. But three times a visitor came along on the opposite ridge, not so far away, who, not liking the sound of serious tactical pistol courses going on (definitely NOT just some haphazard target practice), decided to have some fun. He could see me out in the open but he was concealed. I wasn’t being the idiot while practicing, right? I was rather overt in some skill sets. I thought I was alone. “He” (I guess a male) sent some rather speedy rifle rounds my way, each of which smashed through even a half-dozen large branches in the forest. No mere AR can do that. And while those came quite close, above and to the two sides (the zoooosh sound the bullets make next to your head is rather unmistakable), he was just looking for me to – I suppose – shoot back, giving him an excuse. Running was impossible. Shooting back was impossible. I sat down right where I was, in the open and played the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s Messiah on my little phone speaker. The forest was dead quiet, and so that could actually be heard as if in a sound room even at a distance. I’m such an idiot. Who does that? Only an utterly dismissable idiot would do that. Must be a mistake with who this is, then. All shooting stopped. Each time. I’m such an idiot.

Be the Gray Man. To do it, don’t try too hard. Be the idiot. You’ll be utterly dismissable. I do. And I am dismissable, therefore invisible, gray, therefore still alive.

TO THE POINT: But when it comes to being the Catholic Priest, I don’t play politics. All the truth is proclaimed, always, to everyone, no matter what. If we do that, we’re not the Gray Man. We’re targets. Great. We’re idiots in the eyes of the world in that case, but this time not dismissable. As Saint John Paul II said, there have been more martyrs in this last century than in all the other centuries put together. When it comes to being Catholics, let’s not be afraid to be blood red. Not quite hidden, not quite the Gray Man:

Passion of the Christ - crucifixion

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Bait so as to receive: how very Kryptos. Plot twist. Jesus reveals our identity.

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The picture above, taken at a parishioner’s house, is of Alex Trebek decades ago. Yes, there are re-runs of game shows from a lifetime ago. I just thought this particular scene was humorous and so took a picture of it. Sorry for using poor “Shadow” the other day as bait so as to watch the the knuckleheads show themselves. And they did. It is to laugh, out loud too.

Sorry if this is all a bit Kryptic. Some are bewildered at such Kryptesque posts that mention my “Shadow,” the guy who has been “established with secured identity” by those in DS-Rosslyn, with my own identity. The analogy for the continuing bewilderment that comes to mind is the befuddlement over seemingly entirely outrageous statements of POTUS Trump that he makes correctly but without revealing important circumstances. Like clockwork, over the space of a week or two, this exercise in baiting has the knuckleheads go full apoplectic and show themselves for who they are, and then after they make fools of themselves, good old Trump reveals the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. Checkmate. They know they’ve been had. In my own little world the rest of the story may or may not be revealed in this lifetime. I’m working on it, and I’m having fun while doing it, laughing all the way, even if the subject matter involves otherwise stunningly illegal arms transfers and rather shadowy characters and endless violence and loss of life. My “Shadow” might well be revealed even while exaggeratedly attempting to remain hidden, an unexpected plot twist. I digress.

This kind of entertainment – and it is just that, for me, entertainment – takes up about 0.00001% of my free time. I write about it because it’s all so stupid. It just is what it is. And I cannot, cannot, cannot write about what happens the other 99.99999% of my free time, not to mention what happens in my full-on priestly activities in confession, in spiritual direction, all that for which I actually live. Don’t get the wrong idea.

You have to know, I absolutely love being a priest, all of the priestly everything about visiting the sick, providing Last Rites, doing up funerals, and preaching!

Oh my! I love preaching. I learn about the Sacred Scriptures pretty much only while I’m preaching, that is, not so much any preparation, if any, but in the actual preaching. I’ve often spoken of this with my confessor. He has the same experience in being brought into a crushing-uplifting reverence before the Living Truth of Jesus by the Holy Spirit while preaching. I guess that’s how the Lord tells us that we’ve said enough and need to move things along, because… after that… we can get choked up, and simply not be able to say anything more. Preaching from the heart? This is more like putting one’s useless heart aside, because, look… look at that Sacred Heart of Jesus… In trying to reveal what is otherwise hidden in the Mystery of God’s love for us – plot twist – our own inadequacy otherwise hidden also to ourselves is – plot twist – revealed before the Light that comes into such darkness. Such Light! I love it, but…

This kind of thing is almost annoying. Take for instance the Consecrations at Holy Mass. I can usually get through the first, but by the second I have to battle with all my might from getting choked up in the presence of the Most Sacred Mysteries – the ultimate Kryptos – of our Lord’s ever so hidden love for us. I am a weak and useless and simple man. So, there we have it, a plot twist. Who we are, our identity, is revealed not when we claim an identity, but when we stand ever so simply before our Creator. We are revealed for who we are. Jesus strips us of our fear in which we stupidly try to hide ourselves. Fear is not an identity. Being forgiven reveals who we are before our Redeemer because He forgives by pouring into us the created presence of the Most Holy Trinity otherwise called sanctifying grace. How to say it?

“Hidden.” That’s “Kryptic.” Watch what happens the other way. The dear Lord, by way of His goodness and kindness and the Living Truth that He is, lays open our souls before His majesty. We know who we are when like the Apostle Thomas , we place our finger into the marks of the nails, and our hand into the gaping wound in His side that was made on Calvary by the sword of the Roman soldier.

Plot twist? Oh yes. And the games human beings play in this world which congratulates itself on being clever and shadowy? It is to laugh, but also to cry, for there is altogether too much game playing and violence and not enough of being drawn into the Living Sacred Mysteries of God’s Love and Truth, of Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

And if you feel lost in all this seeming convolutedness, like it’s all still too Kryptic, let some piercing eyes cut right into your very soul revealing how you stand before God, for her soul was pierced through that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed (see Luke 2:35).

pieta

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Filed under Flores, Humor, Intelligence Community, Spiritual life

Homily: Multiplication of the Loaves – Remember the gushing blood…

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Perhaps like you never heard it presented: Remember the gushing blood…

I guess I got a bit passionate with this one. No apologies to the ever-naive. Grow up.

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Filed under Eucharist, HOMILIES, Jesus

Saint Joseph, Baby Jesus, 9th Station of the Cross, Confessional, Adoration

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Seen from the Confessional seconds after entering to hear Confessions during early Sunday Adoration (6:00-7:00 AM) at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, NC. Between the stained glass windows we have pictures of the Stations of the Cross (which fit in our tiny church building). You’ll see Saint Joseph and baby Jesus being reflected in the 9th Station. That statue is up in the sanctuary of the church near the tabernacle. I guess this is my situational awareness coming into play. :-)

The 9th Station is Jesus falling under the weight of the cross for the third time. We put that burden on Jesus. Did we also trip Him up so that the cross would smash down upon Him on His way to Calvary for us? Did we do that? Yes, each one of us.

Here’s Station 9 on Mount Carmel, Israel, acid-damaged by vandals:

mount carmel stations of the cross station 9

In the reflection of Station 9 in the picture up top, baby Jesus has a face. Later, in Station 9 on Mount Carmel, Jesus’ face was removed… by our sin. His appearance was not that of a man…

We recall Saint Therese of Lisieux who took the religious name Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face…

At the judgment, I imagine that Saint Joseph will be with Jesus, and it is Saint Joseph who will ask us about Jesus falling the third time, about where the weight of that cross came from, and whether we had tripped Jesus.

Confession does wonders for the soul!

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Filed under Adoration, Confession

Flag, freedom, nominalism, symbols: reality of the blood of Christ our God

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nominalism

Basic definitions of terms used in public conversation based on privately perceived statistical perceptions as in “It seems to me that lots of people think that this word means that” are useful only for exacerbating divisions so as to smash others down, making sure that all are sinners except for oneself.

“Freedom”, for instance, might well be equated by some as narcissistic behavior that does not respect others, you know, the ol’ I feel like murdering you, so I have the duty and therefore right to murder you, you know, because I’m just enjoying my “Freedom.”

Um… No… That’s not what Freedom is all about. We are provided free will by our Creator so that, in all love and in all truth we might continue always to choose that which is consonant with the love and truth which we are called to live. Beautiful. That is eating from the “Tree of the Living Ones” described way back in Genesis.

The word “Freedom” for some has become a moving target, much the same as some have made male/female a moving target with their weirdly self-perceived gender-bender narcissistic “definitions” of masculine/feminine whereby someone momentarily confused about any life experiences would have them think they have to get a surgical intervention to make their genitals fit their momentary depression leading – because of the pandering of society – to suicidal despair. Um… No…

Symbols are particularly open to this kind of manipulation, so that the American Flag is said by some to be a symbol of hate because many say it is. Oh? Really? A symbol of hate?

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Making definitions of terms used in public conversation based on privately perceived statistical perceptions as in — “It seems to me that lots of people think that this symbol means *fill-in-the-blank* because lots of people emotionally throw tantrums about it” — making definitions in that fashion is useful only for exacerbating divisions so as to smash others down, making sure that all are sinners except for oneself.

What does the flag actually stand for as a symbol, and what should we all insist upon in public conversation? How about the resolution itself?

  • “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.”

After standardized numbering, the thirteen original colonies are still represented by the thirteen stripes, while the stars unified in the azure sky have increased with the number of states in the union, and it is a symbol of unity. Thus far I myself have lived under two revisions, though all such changes to the flag are nevertheless The Flag.
That the Flag represents Freedom is not arbitrary. It is by its very existence placed in contradistinction to the oppression of the Brits, whose oppressive regime at the time disallowed, for instance, the free exercise of religion whether hidden away or in the public square.

There are other symbols of the Flag which were understood at the time, not as arbitrary personal whims, but as historically verifiable meanings. Thus, we find way back in the day, that the secretary of the Continental Congress had it that “White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue…signifies vigilence, perseverence & justice.”

  • White = “purity and innocence” — for, of and by the people, but under God
  • Red = “hardiness & valour” — lots of blood shed in that valor my friends
  • Blue = “vigilence, perseverence & justice” – as continuous as the sky holding the stars

But let’s get back to the Freedom which the Flag does in fact represent. I would like to take the faces of any self-congratulators who dismiss all the teenagers in our national cemeteries, buried there for having shed their blood for our Freedom, having confined themselves to their graves for our Freedom, who laid down their lives for us analogous to how the very Son of the Living God laid down His life for us, so as to grant us the greatest of freedoms – freedom from sin, the freedom to praise God on this earth and in heaven forever – I would like, I say, to take the faces of all those insulting the flag, insulting all those who laid down their lives, and put them face to face with all those youngsters in our national cemeteries, you know, until they appreciate the cost of that freedom.

Does God give us our unalienable rights which we are indeed free to exercise even at the cost of our lives? Yes.

Are those youngsters in our national cemeteries co-workers with God in giving us that free exercise of religion, that freedom of assembly, that freedom of speech…? Yes.

Rant story: While enjoying a meal with a large group of Colombian priests who were discussing all their pastoral initiatives for their respective flocks, I blurted out that, wow, they have done so very much. I’m so naive. I was instantaneously and quite ferociously reprimanded by the youngest of them, who went from calm to white hot over against my stupidity. He stated in no uncertain terms that, No! They have done NOTHING! They have not laid down their lives – yet – for their flocks. He said that they all personally knew priests who had been killed in the line of duty for their flocks. And then came the flood of stories about how those priests had been viciously executed in public even right in front of them. You have to know, this affected me profoundly.

Here’s the deal: We have nothing about which to boast unless this boasting is about the Son of the Living God who threw away His own Freedom to be nailed to the Cross for us, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. We will all of us stand before Him, looking upon Him whom we have all pierced through with our sin, original sin and whatever personal rubbish we ourselves have added, all of us, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

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If we think we have actually done something, we’re pretty much lost. But, having said that, the death of the faithful is precious in the eyes of God, and there is no greater love than that one lays down his life for his friends.

Just yesterday I mentioned how many times I’ve been shot at throughout my life, from my earliest years until much more recently, bullets whizzing by my head, an unforgettable sound. My favorite interlocutor said that that’s nothing. Nothing ended my life. There’s nothing there; it’s just normal life, said he. Yes, indeed. I agree. I stand corrected. I’ve done nothing.

Even if we have laid down our lives, for instance, for the free exercise of religion for our friends, I can absolutely guarantee that no one, not even one, will be bragging at the last judgment upon seeing the wounds of the actually innocent Son of the Living God.

In fact, let me just say this right now about myself, because I will certainly do so at my judgment, so says Christ the King; Jesus instructs us to say this:

  • “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'” (Luke 17:10)

Well, I hope to be able to say that I’ve done what I was obliged to do, that presuming I have done ALL that which I, which we have been commanded. When it comes right down to it, the one thing we are obliged to do, that which sets us up for a reward, is to get on our knees and humbly and contritely and with firm purpose of amendment confess our sins. “I am a sinner,” says Father George. I beg Jesus’ forgiveness and the forgiveness of any and all I have offended by my idiocy and brashness.
But Jesus will say to those who did bear His love: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

I hope Jesus will say that to me and will say that to all with whom I’ve had any contact with in this world.

Finally, for those who want a rant of rants in favor of the Freedom of these United States of America. To critics of the Flag, get out of your safe spaces and sing along with Whitney Houston, meaning also reading an analysis of the words of the National Anthem:

Coronavirus: Flags Half Mast and Full because this priest will NOT cancel honor. Still singing the National Anthem with Whitney Houston

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Filed under Free exercise of religion, Patriotism

Steven Crowder: Best ANGRY Pro-Police Rant

Language warning. He’s upset. Rightly so. If you’re in law enforcement on any level. You gotta listen to this. A must listen.

While you listen, remember that although there were two officers in the Atlanta Wendy’s event, there were also two Taser shots in the stolen Taser. Listen to the end. He’s not attacking “Christians” nor Catholics (“the Church”). No, no. He’s attacking those who are “pussies” in leadership, in the hierarchy.

Sorry, but I’m not offended by language, by the hurling of insults. For the “pussies” out there, do I really need to put up again my own rant supporting the insults hurled at others in the Hebrew Scriptures? Do I really need to reiterate the ferocious insults hurled at the enemies of all that is good by both Saint John the Baptist and Jesus? And by the way, for all the “pussies” out there, Saint John is the greatest of all the prophets, ever. You’re not. And Jesus is the Divine Son of the Living God, true God and true Man, who stood in our place, the Innocent for the Guilty. You “pussies” out there are not Him. Get your pussiness out of my life.

If any “pussies” think Crowder’s occasional F-bomb is over the top, so that you don’t listen to the content of what he’s saying, refusing to admit that you have ever once been (hypocritically) really angry in your life, I’ll give you one insult to start you off, about how it is that you prostitute yourself to a lusty political lover, who, then, we read: “lusted after her lovers [you “pussies” out there], whose genitals were like those of donkeys [!] and whose emission was like that of horses (Ezekiel 23:20).” Those “pussies” out there are f***ing their brains out with lust, with crooked finances, with self-aggrandizing political maneuvering, at the expense of Christ’s faithful, at the expense of the whole world. Those f*** words are in the Divine and Holy Scriptures inspired by the Most Holy Spirit. Yes. Go ahead, read from the beginning of that chapter, Ezekiel 23:1… By the way, I’m dropping my own F-asterisks-exclamation and that very specific quote analogously about politicians and church leaders today for a very specific reasons. Yes. And there are going to be a lot of people who will be able to do me a lot of damage for my calling out their hypocrisy, both near and far. So be it. But let me concentrate right now on far away (not so far away by way of internet):

How dare Pope Francis congratulate the Bishop of El Paso for kneeling in front of BLM, whose main objective is to murder police. Just. Wow.

  • BLM CHANT: Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.
  • BLM CHANT: What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!

Again, when you listen to Crowder’s rant, remember that although there were two officers, there were also two Taser shots in the stolen Taser. Also, where is that unreleased video from which a mere singular frame was provided? That’s extra work to do that. Why was that done?

  • I almost forgot my disclaimer: I’m a police chaplain. Does that make a difference? No. It doesn’t. I’m a human being. So are the police officers. And so are the enemies of this Constitutional Republic under God by the Rule of Law. I’m a chaplain for the police, but that’s because I’m a chaplain for everyone, even for the perps and “pussies” out there, to convert them and bring them to Jesus.
  • Oh, another disclaimer: I do believe with all my heart and soul and mind that ALL LIVES MATTER. Jesus redeemed us all. He wants us all to assent to salvation, keeping the commandments, demonstrating that we love God and love neighbor. God is Love. God is also Truth. Don’t forget that. The Truth. Jesus said it. He’s also the Way. Any “pussies” out there are not the Way, the Truth, or the Life. Any “pussies” out there are not God.

Are any “pussies” out there offended by this? Really: go read Ezekiel 23. Now. Get the full context. Or are you afraid?

Are there any political-law-enforcement politicians out there offended by this? Really: go read Ezekiel 23. Now. Get the full context. Or are you afraid?

Thanks, Steven Crowder. For those of you who think you’re too good and all sufficient not to listen to Steven’s rant. Think again. It’s not all that long. It’s rather riveting.

But again, I insist that my disclaimer about being a police chaplain means nothing, as I would say all of the above regardless of being a police chaplain:

By the way, that level 4+ ballistic vest with side plates is meant to help keep me useful in any untoward event. Ballistic vests are defensive. They’re not meant to be “scary”. If I had a vest that was actually concealable at level 4, I would do that. The rest of the molle-carry is all innocent: a PFAK prepared by an EMT-friend specifically for bullet wounds and such of any who need immediate pre-EMT assistance for any bleed-out events, two different styles of tourniquets, a midsize Olight to see what’s happening with medical assistance or with ongoing threats, a window-breaker/seat-belt cutter, an easy to use GoPro, the phone-cradle (the phone being used for the picture at the moment) with the phone normally going in back to front for unobtrusive secondary recording and emergency communications. 

The rest is EDC and has nothing to do with anything with my being a police chaplain. That’s just my 2a rights like any other civilian-citizen of these USA. Of course, those rights include being at the ready to assist in efficiently averting any threat that is, say, already pumping bullets into one or more of our properly acting officers. This town is one of the most violent druggie towns in the five State area of western North Carolina, western Virginia, East Tennessee, north Georgia, northeast South Carolina. Since there are so many licence plates from Florida, New York and Texas, I’ll include them too. Why that ill-gotten fame is the case is for a possible future post…

Finally, I have to say it because people may get the wrong impression. This priest is intent on bringing Jesus’ love and truth and forgiveness and truth and happiness and truth and fortitude and truth and goodness with kindness and truth to all: Jesus’ Love and Jesus’ Truth. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. We’re not the ones. Jesus is the only One. But Jesus is also fierce in His insistence on love and truth. And so is the Holy Spirit. “Pious” ears will be offended. So very offended. They should grow up and see what the Holy Spirit has for the Churches. Or in all of their fake self-serving softness they might well end up in hell. There. I said it. Read Ezekiel 23.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Officer Down!, Patriotism, Priesthood, Vocations

Juneteenth of this white boy priest

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Black lives do matter. Blue lives of whatever color do matter. ALL LIVES MATTER. I’m told that I cannot make any statement about racism that can count as that which could possibly further the conversation in a good direction in that I’m surely just a privileged white boy (read white trash). Perhaps. Let me know in the comments if you’re brave enough to read to the end AND watch the short video farther below.

As you can see from the picture of yours truly above, this priest belongs to the ICPC (International Conference of Police Chaplains). That doesn’t mean I’m racist. Racism is one of the things that make me angry. Maybe I can write about that. I have already written about that many times in the past.

In fact, the protagonist super hero of an ecclesiastical thriller novel I wrote some years ago was “black.” I have a lot of my own personal autobiography in that character, Alexamenos. Is that “appropriation” or some other anti-social thing? No. I’m not making utitilitarian usage of “blackness” in having that character be “black.” It’s integral to the story line.

You can also see that my hair is shaved off in the picture above. The first real comment I’ve got on that was a happy and I must say sincere (in that point of view) congratulations, that finally I’m surely proclaiming myself to be a woke-racist, a skinhead. No. Don’t jump to conclusions.

That’s about solidarity with Danner (DANNERSTRONG), in town here, whose family I visited after Danner was diagnosed with an extremely rare incurable cancer whereby all parts of the body are manufacturing cancer in all other parts of the body. Danner, of course, lost all his hair. There is a lot of like solidarity with him here in town.

Right down, down the road, I saw this sign at a local gun store:

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Sigh.

June 19 used to be called Emancipation Day as this is day of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The South, in instantaneous reaction, went to war with the North in a war they call the War of Northern Aggression. Look, I don’t know much about the terminology here, but I’m afraid that Junetenth is so far distant from the terminology about the liberation of African Americans that such emancipation will no longer be celebrated. I’m afraid that June 19 will be used only for the anti-police, homosexualist agenda of BLM. That would be truly sad, truly divisory, truly anti-human, where all are reduced to being judged by the color of their skin instead of the integrity of their character.

You want to know what I really think? I got just as emotional in solidarity with Charles E. Brown, Chief of Staff of these U.S. Air Force as he is emotional in the video below. After Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream speech,” this is one of the best speeches I have ever heard in my life. Really good, really worth the listen. Well spoken. This is truly a great man, a great American. He wants what is best for us all, together, as human beings.

Perfect. Thank you, General, sir. Tremendous. Hats off to you. Total respect. Thank you.

Here’s the deal. What I see when I see anyone, black, white, brown, yellow, olive… whatever… when I see anyone do see a color, and that color is blood red, regardless even of the integrity of their character. I see the blood of Jesus drenching them all, redeeming us all, regardless. I see that we all, whatever condition or circumstances we are in on whatever level in whatever manner, all need to come closer to the Son of the Living God, who came into this world to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might save us, if we are willing, so that He might give us as a gift to the one who sent Him, Someone we now call OUR Heavenly Father. “Our” means no racism is allowed in heaven. We are all the children of God. ALL of us.

For God, black lives do matter. ALL lives matter. Because Jesus’ Blood matters. Get it?

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Filed under Jesus, Racism

“All whites” guilty of police brutality of “blacks”? “All whites” must apologize to “blacks”?

A reader sent in the following comment on a previous post, but it is highlighted here for greater visibility. [[My preliminary comments.]]:

  • “Father, I’ve heard several Catholic radio show hosts and journalists talk about “collective guilt” as if it is a Catholic teaching. [[I’m happy not to listen to or read such things! And I would guess some rather important personages have pushed this in whatever way… right?]]  One person went so far as to say that “whites” should go to confession and confess their participation in white supremacy! I let fly a couple of “cazzos” myself when I read that. [[That demand is pretty much demonic. That’s what hell would be like. Sorry, but to follow suit, that kind of F***ery has to stop, and stop now.]] How abhorrent & divisive that comment is. [[Yes.]] Is this a thing? [[Sure hope NOT!]] If it is, then should Jewish people ask for forgiveness for the crucifixion of Jesus? [[Yes, they should, like each person who has ever existed, for we, all of us, together, will gaze upon Him whom we have all pierced through with original sin and whatever rubbish sin of our own. No one is exempt.]] Should all priests get down on their knees because of the sexual abuse scandals? [[In reparation for the sins of others if not their own, yes, of course, but not because as a category of people they are automatically guilty.]] Should every Church leader beg for forgiveness because some moved these predators from parish to parish? [[Those who have not done this can express their regret, which is different from saying they were personally guilty of such stupidity.]] I don’t believe so (well, maybe except for the last one…where’s the McCarrick report??). [[I would surely like to know who knew what when and why it is that we haven’t heard a thing… and the whole China thing…]] Can you discuss in detail in your next posting?”

So, some more general comments of my own:

  • Back in my seminary days, in moral theology class, or “pastoral theology” class [whatever that is… still haven’t figured that out…], it was common to hear statements always ambiguous, non-sensical in nature (error never makes sense), about societal sin, or collective guilt as it is now being called, I guess. I didn’t understand it then. I don’t understand it now. Not on this level. No one is forced to sin because “everyone is doing it” or “I’ll be thrown in the ovens if I don’t throw others in the ovens.” You can always chose to do what is right, and go to heaven.
  • Meanwhile, original sin, the just consequences of which chosen with the sin are suffered by all, throws upon us a collective guilt, not in the sense of a personal sin as if we were directly identified with Adam himself in his personal choice which affected all of us, but in the effects of not being able to correctly appreciate God and love Him as we ought and therefore guilty of sin in not loving God as we ought. But original sin, irony of ironies, is rejected outright by the same people that promote collective guilt for the actions of an individual who we never even heard about before.
  • In the midst of the collective guilt of all for the offenses dreamed up by those who are narcissistically entitled to accuse, the same people promoting that nonsense hold themselves to have been immaculately conceived and are still absolutely sinless, everyone except, of course, the Immaculate Conception herself, Jesus’ good mom. No, really.
  • Saint John Paul II did apologize as the Vicar of Christ on earth for sins against the Jews that were wrought by whomsoever, taking such guilt on himself, even though he was never ever anti-Jewish and was not at all in solidarity with those were truly guilty. Many were quite upset with him because of doing this as the Pope. He went on to explain that it is only right for Jesus’ own vicar to do this not because he is guilty, but because he is not. He held himself to be guilty because he was in solidarity with Jesus being in solidarity with us. A bit convoluted, you say? Let’s take a look:
  • God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to take our place, the Innocent for the guilty, to take on the justice we deserved – death – for the worst we could give out: death. Death is the just comeuppance of sin, of a creature shaking his fist at his Creator. In standing in our place, not only because of Adam’s sin, but for all sins of all individuals, something horrifying and marvelous at the same time takes place.  Imagine yourself going to Confession, confessing any and all sin that mankind can and does commit, but now replace yourself with Christ Jesus, so that He is confessing your sin as if it were His own. Yes. That is what He has done for us, accusing Himself of our sin. And He is given a penance, to be ripped to shreds and crucified, the baptism in blood which He so desired to accomplish for our sake… for… us…
  • But that doesn’t mean that “whites” should apologize to “blacks” for the abuse meted out by one “white” individual over against a “black” individual. No, that’s just stupid political correctness which sets up all the wrong dynamics of bullying and kowtowing, mob rule. Also, talk is cheap. Let’s see – if need be anywhere – training upgraded, etc.
  • What we must uphold is a Constitutional Republic with the rule of law, with any democratically elected officials of whatever party upholding that Constitution and the rule of law.
  • Due process for all is to upheld. If not, we descend into entitlement to lie for the money or “power” over others that accusation equated with automatic guilt brings in its wake.

Finally, stare at that drawing above. Gaze upon Him whom we have all pierced (see Revelation 1:7) even as He took upon the collective guilt of us all. Tears come to my eyes. I am reminded of the words of a Psalm: “To You all flesh will come with its burden of sin.”

It may be that someone or other will mock me or even commit some sort of violence against me for holding that forgiveness is necessary, saying that I don’t have standing in the matter, or that such is self-serving. I answer by saying that a lack of forgiveness will rot the soul of anyone and everyone. Lack of forgiveness never helps the wronged person, the true victim. Lack of forgiveness only brings hate and violence in its wake, a self-loathing, a self-destruction.

  • Holding out forgiveness doesn’t mean you can tell someone you forgive them, as they might just kill you, saying they have nothing for which to be forgiven.
  • Holding out forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person can ever take this in, but that’s irrelevant to you holding forgiveness out to them, at least spiritually, even unknown to them.
  • Holding out forgiveness doesn’t meant that the crime, the sin wrought wasn’t important and can be dismissed as if it were nothing.
  • Holding out forgiveness is not an invitation for someone to commit the crime or sin again.
  • Holding out forgiveness does an infinite amount of good to the one who holds out the forgiveness… regardless…
  • Holding out forgiveness means that one is freed from just being in reaction to someone else, to the perp criminal sinner. This is soooo beneficial to the person who is the victim. And, if the truth be known, it heaps burning coals on the head of the one who is guilty, frustrating them because they no longer have power over you. Maybe they will come round to Jesus.

A little bit challenging all of that? Sure, as much as staring at that picture above…

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Filed under Confession, Jesus, Law enforcement, Racism

Ascension Thursday (Sunday): It’s been 40(+) days. Today’s the day for flying lessons!

transfiguration

[[ Update (May 24 2020): We’ll see if I can’t record the homily today and post it. The post below is from four years ago. ]]

“It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.'” (Acts 1:7-11 nab)

two prophets moses elijah

The two prophets: Moses and Elijah?

The two men (andres)… Are they angels? Are they men? If men, could they be the Law and the Prophets, that is, Moses and Elijah, who, with Jesus, appeared to Peter, James and John on the top of Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration, and who were speaking with Jesus about the exodus, the death which He was to accomplish in Jerusalem. They, in Jesus, as it were, as the Law and the Prophets, would be slain by the great serpent, the ancient dragon. The Apostles need to preach to the whole world about Jesus being the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Just a thought. Of course, I love the idea of these two being angels who are reprimanding the Apostles for gawking too long, as they needed to begin their work.

I am reminded of watching planes take off from the local airport which was situated right next to our house when I was a little kid. I would watch and watch until the planes disappeared. I would strain and look and catch another glimpse of the tiny dot in the far distance. Then it would disappear again for seconds on end. And I would strain and look and catch one last glimpse. And I was filled with wonder at what the view of the pilot must be, and about where he was going, and about just how very big the world must be. My dad was a Marine Attack Fighter pilot.

Jesus says that if we love Him, we are happy for Him that He has gone to the Father. Of course, we long to be there with Him. It is not as if He has abandoned us. He is with us until the close of the age. It’s not for us to know the times and seasons. It’s for us to be formed into being members of the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things in this way, that is, with us being made to be One with Christ Jesus, looking through, with and in Him to our Heavenly Father.

And although in this world we say, “Abba! Father!” as if we are in the agony of the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus (the Ascension taking place just above that garden), we do so with a heavenly vision of the Father, that is, inasmuch as we are with Jesus. Unlike us, who, please God, will have the beatific vision in heaven, Jesus always and continues to have the blessed vision (for this was never given to Him, but instead was always with Him through the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures of His person). He sees God the Father for us who are yet on this earth, who, in the state of sanctifying grace, with the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, are nevertheless burdened with the darkened intellect consequent to original sin. But we are with Jesus, one with His Mystical Body. He is the Head of the Body. He sees for the Body. He presents us to God the Father in Himself.

Yes, we are to be happy that Jesus is with the Father, that He sees the Father for us who are here yet a little while longer, that He accompanies us in this way as we strive in His grace to fulfill the Law and the Prophets in our own lives in Jesus, we being prepared in this way to be ever so eager to be prompt in obedience on that day and in that moment when our names will be called in all love so that we immediately fly, fly… fly!… on our way, upward, please God, to the heavens! Talk about joy in the Holy Spirit at that moment! Yikes!

Update:

church of the ascension

Here’s the Church of the Ascension, perhaps the most desolate, barren, ugly church in the world. Weeds on the outside, trinkets being sold, walls surrounding it, it seems, not so much to protect it as to keep in from being seen. Islam took it after the crusaders were tossed out, and Muslims added the insult of sealing it up like a tomb and constructing a dome over the top of it so that, you know, no one would think that Jesus ascended into heaven from this spot. The crusaders purposely built it without a roof of any kind. But, instead, Islamic intolerance is what it is.

But here’s the deal: We’re supposed to evangelize Muslims as well! ;-)

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A Coronavirus Easter Triduum Octave

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The Empty Tomb! The Light is shining brightly. Here’s the Easter Fire we had…

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The Light of Christ always was and is and will be shining. Christ’s love, His grace, His presence within us, a love stronger than death, bringing us from the darkness of this world to eternal life, comes from – just to say it – Jesus, who is always alive even in His momentary physical death. We see that glory of the only Begotten of the Father in the darkness of Calvary – glory unto glory of the Light from Light, a love that is proven, with wounds, with taking on our punishment of our sin, standing in our place, the Innocent for guilty, to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. We all look upon Him whom we have all pierced.

Because He endured to the end, dying for us, He conquered, and is is victorious. He has the right to give us the wherewithal, that grace, that friendship, that we might walk with Him in this world right unto the next, even with our justly still suffering the effects of original sin, our own personal sin, and the sin of others while we are yet in this world. We are weak and continue to be weak. But He is strong and draws us up into His strength.

Even the weakness helps us, reminding us of why we need salvation out of the total hell of this world so that we might be brought to heaven in eternity. We are so very weak that we need to be reminded. All things work together for the benefit of those who believe. We find our security in His love that is, again, stronger than any weakness, stronger than any disease, stronger than death. This brings us joy, and a peace adequate to go on because this is not just some intellectual “ideology”, but a living faith, a bond of charity with God Himself. It’s personal.

Yes, there is an empty Saint Peter’s Square and empty Saint Peter’s Basilica:

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So what?! Everyone is scampering to meet Jesus in the upper room and then up in Galilee. Great. I’m running 24/7 all this time. Aren’t you? Peter and the “other Apostle” ran to see the Empty Tomb. Great. But then what…

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“Let’s go fishing…”

We are so very weak.

More on that later.

Meanwhile, this is the Octave of Easter. It’s like Easter Sunday every day until next Sunday.

I, for one, am exhausted from my scampering about. I can’t speak much about all that as there are different interpretations of the law regarding quarantines. I just do what I need to do to provide the Sacraments. Clever as snakes but innocent as doves and all that. But, thanks be to God, I am joyful, and at peace. Thanks be to God.

I hope ye are all doing well. Happy Easter to ye all. Be at peace. With joy.

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Sacred Heart to St Margaret analogy for Coronavirus times

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Meanwhile, edition)

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

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

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

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Lenten Transfiguration of Jesus. Arise! Let us be going!

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God’s glory in the Face of Christ: What happened to Jesus’ Face on Mt Carmel

Jesus’ Face is our face. Are we in solidarity with Jesus while He is in solidarity with us, He, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty? Here’s Saint Paul:

  • “For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-12 rsv)

Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating.

  • Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world isn’t a bad thing, a hurtful thing, that which is meant to make us have bad feelings of despairing self-condemnation because we are all tender snowflakes absolutely entitled to spit on His face. No.
  • Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world is a good thing. It should elicit an assent to the love which He gives to us.

I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. The OCDs had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. The chanting was recorded at the cave of Elijah, sung by pilgrims from around the world.

I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

Our Stations of the Cross here at Holy Redeemer in Andrews are “normal”, with pictures being used. The church is so small that any use of sculpted stations no matter how minimal in relief would block use of the side aisles. Everything is doubled over in both English and Spanish, except the Stabat Mater, which so far we’ve just sung in English. No one minds both languages as the common language is humble thanksgiving in witnessing our Lord’s great love for us. In fact, because of this, it goes the other way, with comments being about how wonderful it is that everyone comes together for the Stations.

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