Tag Archives: Jesus

Today’s Politics of the Sistine Madonna UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

SISTINE MADONNA full

M.T. sent in a postcard sporting the Sistine Madonna by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael). The postcard itself arrived a bit damaged, as postcards do, so the above is a Wikipedia file.

I’m thankful for a reminder of the Sistine Madonna (with its wild history of locations both for the real painting and my mom’s copy) as it throws me fully into nostalgic mode. But that would be known from what I’ve written over the years. This was my mom’s favorite painting which always graced the “living room” of whatever house we lived in. Her copy looked like the real thing (to a kid like me) and was very elegantly framed. My mom made the frame and “antiqued” it. All very stately.

I would stand before this painting in wonder as a kid. It was my secret way to peek into heaven. There was heaven, right there, for all to see. How is it that the angels in the background allowed me to live. Even the angels are bored down front as they tolerate my presence. Did others see the treasures to be found here, in heaven? For me, these were mesmerizing sacred moments, so many, but always the same right through the years and in different houses: I would be racing about as a kid but then, in passing this painting, I would stop, instantly transported to the gates of heaven. Out of breath in my running. But absolutely still. “Look!” thought I, “There are all the angels!” straining as I was to see not so much the two angels out front, but the zillions in the background.

“Wow…” constituted the extent of my art appreciation at the time, though I imagine that that word was inscaped with more of a Hopkins’ umph than most grownup critics could ever muster with all their ulterior motives.

I remember being miffed that I didn’t know who Pope Sixtus was, or, as such a little kid, what his tiara was, and that I didn’t know who Saint Barbara was. But no matter. I happily gazed into the faces of Mary and her Son Jesus. M.T. shared his thoughts about these faces with me. I suppose I should return the favor with some of my own musings at this stage in my life.

SISTINE MADONNA detail

M.T. says he sees something “stern” in the face of Jesus. The way I myself would describe that is something of dread determination in the face of what is to come for Jesus during His life upon this earth, yet joy for what the result will finally be when He comes to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Jesus and His good mom are totally in solidarity with each other and mean to accomplish that which they set out to do for our redemption and salvation. But as with all such paintings, you have to follow the eyes, and in context. What’s said with just this detail is not wrong, but it’s all out of context. So, let’s move back to the full painting.

You’ll notice that young Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, is looking down at the two angels who entered heaven, as did she, by the right choice to follow the Son of Mary. We have to remember that about angels. They, like us, had to say “Yes!” They expect us to use our free will correctly as well.

You’ll notice that Sixtus is bidding Jesus and Mary to look out from heaven to those here upon the earth. It’s as if Sixtus is saying “Look at what they are saying about me!” with “they” referring to those at whom he is indiscriminately pointing. And Jesus is looking over him – indeed over the viewer of the painting – and Mary is scanning the crowd also in back of the viewer of the painting (her eyes just a bit askance). As Sixtus makes his complaint, Jesus has already gone through His passion and death, and has risen from the dead and has ascended into heaven. But here Sixtus is addressing Jesus as a child. That surely refers to what Sixtus is complaining about.

There was a vicious gossip columnist in Rome at the time – given no credence by anyone – who wrote about Sixtus in such manner – repeating without discernment all that he heard – that you would think that gossip guy is writing in late 2018, all stuff about interfering with kids and young men.

Again, back to Jesus and Mary: there’s a certain foreboding, a certain sorrow, but also and more importantly a certain joy for those who will make it to heaven. Note as well that Sixtus himself is canonized in the painting. He’s up in the clouds of heaven. Is protected by the bored angels who would happy to do some janitorial work over against enemies if called upon, and can speak with Jesus and Mary at will, and they are right with him. But the gossip? Horrible. But the truth? That’s what Raphael is painting.

Lots to think about there. To M.T.: Again, thanks for the postcard.

UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

14 Comments

Filed under Angels, Jesus, Mary

Homily 2018 09 14 – Cross’ Triumph… Cri-de-coeur for Irony Incarnate

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

This is my cri-de-coeur for an appreciation of irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate.

3 Comments

Filed under HOMILIES, Irony, Jesus

Word order is important

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

  1. In the beginning was the Word
  2. And the Word was with God
  3. And God was the Word.

Linguistically, the order of the equation in number 3 makes no difference to the reality being stated, that the Word is Divine. But no one translates it this way: God was the Word. Indeed everyone goes apoplectic with my translation above. “No no!” they shout. “God is NOT the Word.” Don’t you know Philip, that the who sees me sees the Father?

The flow of the logic of John’s three assertions is that God, you know, um, like, GOD is the Word. He’s making a theological point.

I wouldn’t want to take terminal bus furiously asserting that God is NOT the Word.

After all, He is the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception and will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jesus

“Thank God for persecution. It means Jesus still loves His Church.”

I told my friend in the Holy See that the Church in the United States is soon going to suffer a terrible persecution. He immediately responded: “Thank God for persecution. It means Jesus still loves His Church.” Indeed, as the Master, so the disciple. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

2 Comments

Filed under Jesus

“I’m a maggot and no man”

img_20180821_172022921~27083611424617540151..jpg

This infestation of worms on a tree was seen yesterday near the hermitage. Disgusting you say? We were all like that in original sin. Jesus saw that and said, Hey! I’ll become like one of them, like a maggot and no man, and he came among us, a Worm among worms, the Innocent for the guilty, standing in our place, taking on the punishment we deserve, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Yep. It means He really loves us. A lot. Could you crawl into one of the worm webs? Do we thank Jesus enough? Think about it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jesus

It’s enough to ask: “What the hell is going on? Of what are we so afraid?”

consecration-

I remember putting this picture up a few years ago (I don’t know who so brilliantly created this) and then very quickly after that I think it was a seminarian who tweeted that this picture totally freaked him out, you know, with an attitude of one of those tender snowflakes who are entitled not to be educated about the reality of the way things actually are before God and man. He was really angry. Vindictive. He wanted to stop this in some way, in any way. It shouldn’t be allowed. What the hell was I doing he wondered, ever so bewildered.

In these days I see things that demonically attack the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Disgusting things. It’s enough to ask: “What the hell is going on?” Yep. I agree. There is an answer of course.

  • When’s the last time you heard your priest say that the Last Supper is united to Calvary in the self-sacrificing, totally self-giving wedding vows of Jesus with His Immaculate Bride, the Church, that the priest says in the first person singular: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice?
  • When’s the last time you heard your priest say that Jesus laid down His life for us, He standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that He would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, with mercy being founded, utterly, upon justice.

So, what are the laity supposed to think about the Mass if priests never speak to the reality of the Mass and the Most Blessed Sacrament?

So, what are seminarians supposed to think about the Mass if they have never had any of this presented to them in their training?

We need to stand up to total ignorance and teach the truth and insist that priests teach the truth about the love of God which demands honesty, integrity, goodness and kindness and TRUTH. Anything less leads to utter mayhem and immorality.

We want Jesus! We want to thank Him for laying down His life us, for redeeming us, for forgiving our sins, for bringing us to life. We do NOT want to be confirmed in sin, have rationalizations given to us for sin, or be pushed into sin.

Instruct your priests. Demand that they preach the living Truth of the Son of the Living God.

Be not afraid!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Always Jesus. Always. No matter what. Yep.

10 Comments

Filed under Eucharist, Jesus

The day Immaculate Mary died. Ecumenism between East and West.

20180814_2017492032999157999117559.jpg

One of our Russian readers sent this in. You can see the Apostles gathered about the tomb of Jesus’ good mom. But because the grave could not hold her, she the was herself resurrected from the dead and assumed soul and body into heaven.

It’s always been a tradition in the East that the ever Virgin Mary died. There have been some in the West who, instead, stupidly said that – splutter splutter – Mary could not have died because she was not subject to original sin and therefore could not have died and anyone who says differently is a heretic and should be dismembered and burned at the stake. Um… well… I say differently.

Jesus died. He’s God. He’s never been affected by original sin. He never sinned. The grave could not hold the author of life just because He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, death, so that He could have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Right? Let’s take a look at how He died.

In Luke’s Gospel we read that Jesus sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, at that moment standing in our place, obeying the will of our Heavenly Father. In John’s Gospel we read that blood and water flowed out of Jesus’ side, His heart, when the soldier pierced Him with his Roman sword. This shows up on the Shroud of Turin by the way. Anyway, the doctors of Calvary, as they are called, say that in a most traumatic incident, a subject can sweat great drops of blood, but in conjunction with a massive heart attack, itself to traumatic that the pericardium, the outside portion of the heart, actually breaks, from one dies immediately or can survive for just some time. In Jesus’ case, this pericardium filled with blood which itself separated into red blood cells and plasma, the blood and water. Pilot was surprised at Jesus’ early death, as crucifixion usually took three days. Jesus’ trauma was exacerbated by the torture and crucifixion. We can say that He died more of a broken heart for us, literally, than the crucifixion.

Now, take Mary’s case. If she were subject to original sin, she would, like us, be so blinded to the reality of God laying down His life for us that we would just feel sorrowful for this, but be almost totally oblivious to what this means. She, instead, Immaculate, had purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision. She knew that what she was seeing was God’s great love for us in the midst of our ingratitude. It’s not because she was sinful or subject to original sin that she was knew death. It’s because she was crushed, as a good mother, by the traumatic incident she went through in solidarity with her Son. I believe that she also sweat great drops of blood, that she also suffered such a massive heart attack. She survived, but, as Tradition has it, appropriately, only until immediately after the full birth of the Church at Pentecost. She had done all she could as Jesus’ mother and ours. Now it was time for one who gave Jesus His body to be brought herself soul and body to heaven, just like Him.

  • Jesus: If you love me you will rejoice that I am going to the Father.
  • Mary’s kids: If we love her we rejoice that she has gone to heaven.

A couple of points…

  • We can learn from each other, you know, East and West. Instead of hyperventilating so as, we think, to protect some doctrine, perhaps instead we should go to Jesus. Perhaps we can learn from Him. In this case we learn that Mary could certainly die and this fact not being offensive to our holding that Mary was never touched by original sin.
  • And, just to say, this post is misnamed. I believe this is not about ecumenism. The excommunications have been absolved by both sides. Take out the “ex-” and you are left with “communion.” Right?

Our problem today and every day is that we forget about Jesus and His good mom. We are more concerned about hyperventilating because that’s what we do. We’re just so afraid of Jesus being a good Son of Mary Immaculate. We’re just so afraid of Mary being such a good mother to Jesus and to all of us.

Saint John Paul II’s favorite citation of Mary’s Son Jesus was: “Be not afraid!”

BE NOT AFRAID!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Ecumenism, Jesus, Mary, Missionaries of Mercy

Why some exorcisms fail

img_20180717_210523137~23732075273782997045..jpg

The other night, coming back from the day-off, very near the hermitage, I once again encountered a magnificent Timber Rattler. Screech! Sassy the Subaru’s brakes work most excellently. Out on to the road I popped with telephone camera in hand. I kept about eight feet away as he was ready to spring into action. I took a couple of pictures, and then a car came. I put Sassy into gear and carefully, deliberately, exaggeratedly drove around our snake friend, hoping the crowd in the car behind me would take note of the nice snake and drive around this wonder of nature. Instead, they very slowly and deliberately drove over him, thinking they had accomplished something.

And this is exactly why some exorcisms fail: because of pride, because of attacking Satan directly under one’s own (lack of) wherewithal, in one’s own name, not in the Holy Name of Jesus, but still thinking one has accomplished something.

This is a mind-game with Satan on his own terms, on his own turf. He will be happy to make one think that he has been thrown out, only to come back in a more insidious way. Jesus Himself speaks of this kind of stupidity. This is a seven-fold failure, a perfect fail.

We must go about our entire lives not with self-absorbed mind-games, not with self-referential ways and means, not with the darkness and blindness of pride, but instead through grace received in humility, we are to walk in the presence of Jesus, who is Himself our Savior:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus!”

There’s a huge difference. It’s the same with authority, which one must have:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name and under my own authority because I don’t care what Jesus’ Church has to say about it!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus and with the express mandate to do so as given by my bishop!”

Again, the exorcist who works under his own authority may seem to have great success baiting him into thinking that he is right to buck the authority Jesus Himself gave to His own Church. The disobedient exorcist may think he is himself most charitable, a martyr of charity. No. Satan will come back in more insidious ways, destroying peoples’ lives all the more effectively.

The upshot in our own lives: We are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to attack sin directly. Yes, we are to make a firm purpose of amendment, avoid occasions of sin, get out of an occasion of sin should we find ourselves in such, all the normal, traditional things. Yep.

BUT! But we are NOT to make it all about us, about how powerful and great we are, because we not that. Instead, we are to call on Saint Michael, on our guardian angels, and do this with humility. We are to be humbly thankful to Jesus for coming into this fallen world to grab us and bring us to heaven, because, wow, it’s so obvious we need saving and it’s He that is our Savior, NOT us. The person who says: “I’m doing well now!” is the person who will fall almost immediately. We cast out Satan and sin by Jesus drawing us into friendship with Himself, by being in humble reverence, thankful, in friendship, before Jesus, confident of His love for us, of His immediate care for us.

Jesus said that we cannot, will not enter the kingdom of heaven if we are not like little children before our heavenly Father. Little kids don’t count on themselves to be saved. They look with confidence to others, and in the cases above, to Jesus. Jesus saves us from Satan. Jesus leads us into a true life of prayer, to walk in His presence, even in the most trying of circumstances. Thank you Jesus.

1 Comment

Filed under Exorcism, Jesus

Calling people names? WWJD? Hah!

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said:

“Name calling ends the conversation. It is rude. It is counterproductive. It’s not what Jesus would do. It’s not what the saints would do. It is not Christian. It’s plain mean. It makes for enemies, not consensus.”

However, name calling can be a good and holy thing, so that, even though it is hurtful to pride and emotions, it just may be an occasion to assist someone in the salvation of their souls. Having hurt pride or hurt emotions is nothing compared to suffering eternal damnation, or being in purgatory for any length of time at all. Take note that this charitable aspect of some name-calling is to be found in the Sacred Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, both in Old and New Testaments. Take note, in particular, of the Gospel of Matthew, where we find the holy name-calling of the greatest of all the prophets, John the Baptist (3:7-12 – rsv), he being a saint, with his name-calling geared to repentance and salvation of souls. Mind you, he does this precisely as the forerunner of Jesus:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Sometimes, this greatest of prophets is called an old meanie, and dismissable with the anti-Semitic statement that he is merely Old Testament, full of justice lacking mercy (which is not justice), so that there is then an insistence that Jesus, instead, was nice. Let’s recall some name-calling wrought by Jesus Himself (Matthew 23:13-38 – rsv):

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity.

You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.

I remember a priest, many, actually, who said:

“We are now beyond John. We are now beyond Jesus. They were then. We’re now. We better because we live today. We are a post-Ascension New Testament people. So, let’s see if post-Ascension Saint Paul was shy about name-calling (Romans 1:18-32):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.

They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

Whew! Saint Paul says such things not because he is hateful, or “homophobic”, but because he loves all and is in anguish that all be saved, if possible. Recall his success in this new evangelization (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – nab):

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

So, can name-calling be charitable? Indeed. It can be a spiritual work of mercy essential to the new evangelization.

Saint John the Baptist and Jesus Himself turned the world upside down for the greater honor and glory of God. Turning the world upside down is not an evil, but can be a great good, done with all goodness and kindness, even if some are — hopefully only temporarily — infuriated. The entire history of salvation is loaded with glorious saints who turned the world upside down.

But what about CIC 220, you might ask, about the right of others to a good name. Yes, well, sometimes that good name was forfeited by these others by the very public actions and/or statements that they have made, so that corrective measures need to be taken, even and perhaps especially when this is not done but should be done by those who are more appropriate for the task.

O.K., but can’t there be a different, you know, nicer way to go about things, more civilized, more, well, NICE? I’ll answer that question if you can answer me these two questions: Was John sent from God, yes or no? Was Jesus sent from God, yes or no?

Is there a danger about the hypocrisy of a splinter in someone else’s eye while we have a beam in our own eyes? Yes, Jesus warned us about this as well. Some think that since we have all of us, you, me, all of us, put Jesus to death with our sins, that we cannot ever reprimand someone else. But this is just a bit too convenient. With full recognition of our own unworthiness, we can surely do this spiritual work of mercy. We had just better not forget how weak we ourselves are. Recall the frightening and yet hopeful words of Ezekiel 3,18-21 (nab):

If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life. If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him. When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

Having said all that, in the end, we are supposed to call ourselves names, like “sinner”, in confession. Confession is great. It is there that we meet with a potential part of the virtue of justice, that is, mercy, as the Common Doctor says in his commentary on the sentences. Don’t delay. I love going to confession. Because I’m such a sinner. But Jesus is very good, very kind, providing us the grace to be innocent as doves, though as clever as serpents.

“Oh, but, Father George, that’s very nice as a clever study and all, but we must be prudent and actually nice to people. You get more flies with honey than with fly swatters. Calling people names takes you out of the discussion. It proves you have nothing to say, no argumentation.”

Review the name calling above, including the one about hypocrites. This is logical name calling, entirely different from, say, four letter words. We have to take people seriously and point out to them that they are on the wrong path (making sure we are repentant of anything wrong in our own lives, of course).

2 Comments

Filed under Confession, Jesus

WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Haha!

WWJD What Would Jesus Do

The question “What would Jesus do?” can easily be asked in the taunting, brow-beating manner of a niceness-bully, thus providing the ultimate ultimatum: either stop doing what you are doing in creating a scene, or know that you are condemned to hell forever and ever and ever, you know, with singing: “Nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah!”

Jesus is not our plaything to use to beat other people up with such fake niceness. Instead, remember what Jesus said of Himself:

JESUS I AM

1 Comment

Filed under Jesus

Consecration at Mass: The irony!

consecration- 

Father Gordon J MacRae (About) over at These Stone Walls asked me to publish some pictures of day pilgrimages during my Missionary of Mercy trip to Rome in the days surrounding Mercy Sunday 2018. The churches and basilicas involved saints who had been imprisoned, a kind of tradition throughout the centuries.

God’s revelation to us of love and truth and goodness and kindness is also manifested through these members of the Body of Christ, and is a kind of Sacred Tradition if you will, so to speak, as it were. As the great Cardinal Siri pointed out in Gethsemane, the supernatural faith and charity received with sanctifying grace are univocal, always the same, ever ancient, ever new, as they always have the same source in the Holy Spirit.

Christ Jesus was imprisoned. As the Master, so the disciple:

jesus mary solidarity prison

So, we have the tradition of Tradition. We are captives of the Captive One. His love and truth and goodness and kindness is captivating. People push and test His love and truth and goodness and kindness in us, wanting it to be true, but treating us in the same way as our sins treated Mary’s Divine Son. We are, then, captives of Catholic Tradition.

Fr. Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Moontri: Captives of Catholic Tradition

That seems to have gone a little viral with more than 20,000 shares as of this writing. Father Gordon complains: “So, my first post to hit 20k was not even written by me?!!!!” :-) It’s really a very short post. Pretty much all pictures. If you haven’t seen it yet or don’t know Father Gordon or TSW, go over and take a look, especially at Father Gordon’s About Page.

Anyway, Monica Harris dropped a comment on that post saying this:

“The root word of Tradition can also mean betrayal, right? Makes the title of this post true in both senses.”

Sacred Tradition, traditio, or, as the Council of Trent puts it, traditiones – traditions in regard to the articles of faith supernaturally infused into us by the Holy Spirit with Sanctifying grace, refers to a handing on among us of the faith it seems as if by hand (quasi per manus), but really wrought by the Holy Spirit. The Second Vatican Council in its dogmatic decree Dei Verbum, against all definitions of the “spirit of the Council”, repeats what Trent pronounced in Sacrosancta, its first dogmatic decree of the Fourth Session on April 8, 1546.

Judas handed over Jesus to be imprisoned and put to death. Judas, in handing over Jesus, betrayed Jesus. Yes.

In the consecration at Holy Mass, Jesus says:

Hoc est enim corpus meum quod pro vobis tradetur.

For this is my body which will be handed over (given up, betrayed) for you. In the inspired Greek of the Gospels, this is expressed in the present participle: διδόμενον “being handed over now”, thus uniting the Last Supper with Calvary.

The Holy Spirit’s action upon us, flooding us with sanctifying grace, bringing us supernaturally into faith and charity, Sacred Tradition, thus forming us into being the members of the Body of Christ depends on, has its foundation on the obedience of Jesus to the Father, obedience, ob-audire, the eager, prompt listening of Jesus unto death, our redemption. When Jesus lays down His life in this way He also lays down the life of the members of His Body. The most holy moment in the history of the universe, the consecration at the Last Supper, that upon which even Sacred Tradition depends, speaks of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, indeed, of all the members of the Body of Christ. It is Tradition to be handed over, to be made captive so as to be free. Jesus unites us with Himself in His offering to the Father, handing us over to the Father with Himself.

Good one, Monica.

1 Comment

Filed under Eucharist, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison, Spiritual life

Those three letters

In Greek, meaning the One who is being.

2 Comments

Filed under Jesus

Conquering the world flesh and devil with the cross and Jesus

My hero Pope Sixtus V (but am I his favorite son?) put this up with the cross in top and these bits at the base:

I had a good chat with a guy who was finding a great deal of consolation in these words. That should tell you something about the suffering he was in. But a good chat. A real connection.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Jesus

Once in a super blue

This picture was taken between Holy Hours of the two churches in our parish early Easter Sunday morning. Its a super-blue. Rare. But, really, there’s nothing new under the sun, even a super-blue, except for the Son of our heavenly Father who says, behold I make all things new. He’s ever ancient, ever new, always awesome. We’ll already realize this here just a little bit, then in purgatory much more, and then, being drawn through the gates of heaven…

1 Comment

Filed under Jesus

Resurrexit sicut dixit! Alleluia! Surrexit Dominus vere! Alleluia!

The scene at 6:00 AM at the parish, Easter morning, early.

Happy Easter to ye all.

5 Comments

Filed under Jesus

Holy Saturday with “Jerry Miculek” of our parish. Un-holy-ing this Saturday?

img_20180331_112805133~2126198286..jpg

Here he is, setting up some targets for a variety of OLD shotguns that I was supposed to shoot, full bottles of Coke, upside down.  I learned a lot about the benefits of a shotgun with buck shot. I had no idea. I know nothing about shotguns. He wanted me to shoot all six bottles within four seconds. You have to pump it to reload it. I got all six, but not within four seconds. He then told me what that would mean in a competition. That really put me in my place. Now I know.

The other targets down the way, some smaller than others, were for rifles and pistols of all kinds. One included a rifle from the 1880s, way back in the day. That one had a “safety” that put your trigger finger on the trigger as you swung it down into the trigger guard, you know, because that’s safe.

img_20180331_114942278~21845623306..jpg

One of the pistols was a S&W 357, which is a 9mm with a heck of a lot more gunpowder as it has been called. Actually, the rifle from the 1880s shot black gunpowder, quite the rarity these days. The 357 was as smooth as ever, as revolvers are, especially compared to pistols. He got that one from a State Trooper, who had had the trigger fixed. A glock has about 5 pounds of trigger pull. This 357 had two ounces. You could hardly look at it without it going off. I hear that that State Trooper was the one to beat at the range. I wouldn’t ever want to fix a trigger. The heavier the pull the better if you ask me.

There have been some difficulties with my Glock. I shot it a bit and he noted that it would regularly mis-load, mis-fire, and jam up on the ejection of the cartridge. He tried it. Same thing. He put the mis-fires into the 357. They fired just fine in that gun. I thought it was me the whole time. He said that that wasn’t the case. The super famous gun wasn’t as good as I thought it was. He suggested that I either fix it, which might cost the amount I could sell it for at this stage, if fixing was possible, or get something else. He’s no Glock fan. I guess I’m not either now. I’m looking at Sig. I’m open to suggestions.

Back to Holy Saturday. The walk through a history of guns by firing the guns brought a history of violence of our fallen human race to mind, the conflicts, the rancor… but not only that, also the heroism and self-sacrifice of those who serve in law enforcement and the military. People step into this violence also with good and holy intentions. Guns are just tools. I’m quite sure that some of those guns saw a lot of death. Lots of bad stuff, but surely lots of good stuff too. But what is good suffers no matter what when there is bad. It’s all hell. That hell has to be faced.

Jesus stepped into hell for us… for us who are guilty, bad, the worst. And then He breathed His last. Holy Saturday.

Jesus fought against the entire history of hell in our wold and against our sin. If we are available for the defense of the innocent against unjust aggression putting ourselves at risk, well, I should hope we do that not only with the best of intentions but also with the love of God within us. I think of the guy down in the Florida school shooting who simply threw himself in front of the bullets so that others might live. Awesome. I wish he had had a gun available to him. Sometimes people feel dirty just at the mentions of guns. I wonder what they would feel like to be next to Jesus on the cross, watching Him draw ungrateful sinners to Himself, the whole lot of sinful humanity. Jesus didn’t mind being dirty, in the battle, in the midst of all that is bad and evil. Neither should we as we sit beside His tomb…

1 Comment

Filed under Guns, Jesus

Jesus goes to hell. Of course he does. Itinerary Good Friday Holy Saturday.

jesus peaches to fallen spirits

//// We say in the creed every Sunday – before we say that Jesus rose from the dead – that Jesus descended into hell. Of course we do, because he did, as the good book says. See 1 Peter 3:19ff. In context, it’s pretty much what is depicted above. Jesus goes to proclaim the good news to those who all were fallen but who He redeemed and saved. But not only. For those continuing in disobedience would also hear, including the fallen angels, the demons, Satan. I know one priest who wrote on this passage for his doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, getting full honors. He says that the main audience was the fallen angels, who would carry these words of Jesus through eternity to their eternal intellectual frustration, a writhing agony that is unspeakable. Anyway: here’s the meditation of an author way back in what, the 2nd century perhaps, for Holy Saturday and this preaching of Jesus. It says homily, but, of course, there is no Mass on Holy Saturday if not the later Easter Vigil (not this). I’m guessing this is a final preparation for the catechumens: ////

From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday
(PG 43, 439, 451, 462-463)

The Lord descends into hell

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Jesus

Homily 2018 03 30 – Good Friday and the Silence of God. Oh my…

holy sepulcher

Too long of a homily, so, just some bullet points:

  • God’s Word, His Son, becomes Incarnate so as to forgive our sin in all mercy but by way of justice, He taking on the punishment for our sin, death, the innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • We ask in our idiocy: “Where is God? Why is He silent?” But we don’t mean it. We don’t want to hear God speak to us. That’s why we killed him.

  • Jesus’ corpse answers with silence that screams out His love for us so loudly that our reaction so as not to hear Him is to distract ourselves with such noise that can’t hear His silence speaking to us from the tomb. We seal ourselves off from everything and everyone, especially Jesus in His eloquent silence, through alcohol and drugs and distractions which really cost us lots of money. When I mentioned in my homily about the distractions which really cost us lots of money, there were very many who laughed.
  • When we finally hear the silence of God, of Jesus, in the tomb, speaking His love for us, He having heard us, He coming to the rescue with a mercy founded on justice, doing it the right way, with God knowing what suffering and death means, when we are stunned finally by the goodness and kindness of Jesus right to the end, perhaps then we can say in all the unearthly silence with His blood all over us – along with the soldier who had just shoved his spear into the side, into the Heart of Jesus: “Truly this was the Son of God.” That is: Truly this is the Son of God who hears us and speaks to us so eloquently from the tomb.

Leave a comment

Filed under HOMILIES, Jesus, Spiritual life

Adam below the Cross on Calvary

crucifix traditional

I’m sure you’ve seen the skull and cross bones on traditional crucifixes. That’s Adam being redeemed by the New Adam. “James T” on stackexchange says this:

According to Emmanouela Grypeou and Helen Spurling (The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity, Brill 2013, p71ff), the earliest Christian reference to this idea is Origen (c. 184-253), who traces it to Jewish tradition:

Concerning the place of the skull, it came to me that Hebrews hand down [the tradition that] the body of Adam has been buried there; in order that ‘as in Adam all die’ both Adam would be raised and ‘in Christ all will be made alive’. (Commentary on Matthew, 27.32, original in Greek; later Latin translation here does not mention any Jewish tradition)

Essentially the same story is recounted by:

  • A text of c.325-350 attributed, probably falsely, to Athanasius of Alexandria (c.297-373)
  • John Chrysostom (c.347-407) in a homily on John’s gospel, 19:16, says “Some say that Adam died there, and there lies; and that Jesus in this place where death had reigned, there also set up the trophy.”
  • A fifth or sixth century commentary on Isaiah, attributed, again probably falsely, to Basil the Great (329-379)
  • Epiphanius of Salamis (c.310-403) in his Panarion 46.5, against the Tatianists, says Adam “was buried there, on the site of Golgotha. This is probably the way the place, which means ‘Place of a Skull’, got its name, since the contour of the site bears no resemblance to a skull.”
  • Basil of Seleucia (d. 458) in his Sermon 38 (Patrologia Graeca 85.409)
  • Jerome (347-420) in his commentaries on Matthew 27:33 and Ephesians 5:14, both written in 398; though he finds the story doubtful.

Even at this stage of Christian history, there was some doubt about the archaeological truth of the story, despite its tempting doctrinal resonance (Christ as the second Adam).

Whatever with all that, I think this has to do with a certain rock to be found in the crevice atop the rocky knoll of the quarry where the cross was inserted to give it stability. In that chapel built above that rocky knoll in the Church of the Resurrection (The Holy Sepulcher) in the old city of Jerusalem, there is an altar over the spot. Underneath that altar there is an opening in the floor and a fairly deep hole. If you go down on your knees and crawl under that altar, you can reach down into this hold and touch the rock below. Having done that, camera ever in hand, I also took a picture. It seems to me that the apt tradition about Adam being buried here came from this rock. And I don’t think anyone back in the day ever thought for a second that this was Adam himself, but that this rock lent itself to being a great reminder of why Christ Jesus had to redeem us.

15222867176741429605254279405079.jpg

Meanwhile, longtime readers will be acquainted with Brake-Man (another symbolic symbol of the Adam of olden day), who is not particularly in his glory, nor should he be before the Friday we call Good.

3 Comments

Filed under Jesus

Update: Chrism Mass & little kid artists *Je suis un enfant terrible* Kryptos!

img_20180328_095645877~2176211100..jpg

At first, just the first part of this post was put up in favor of eliciting some art-appreciation comments from readers. Really fantastic comments came in: Chrism Mass and little kid artists… I hesitate, therefore, to put up my always way too imaginative perspective, but I am the way I am, and I can’t be anyone else, so, here goes nothing. The following two paragraphs are the entirety of that post; what follows after is the update.

//// The little kid artists at Sacred Heart school were again tasked this year with coming up with original one of a kind place-mats for the meal for the priests after the Chrism Mass. Not looking at the place-mats, I just sat down any old place and then, oh my, took in this well thought out prophesy-prayer place-mat. Nothing is coincidental, is it? I showed this later to the neighbor at the hermitage and he got all choked up, as did I. He prays for priests all the time…

Here’s my take on this, some random thoughts. Of course, I’m just reading into whatever I want, but it’s my place-mat, right? :-) It’s all probably just geometric designs. But since I have a very active imagination (which can be a good thing), follow me in my art appreciation. We’ll end up in… ////

…a Libyan prison… um… in my imagination!

  • The point of view of the artist, guessing the perspective of the priest looking on, is very specific. In my imagination anyway, we’re looking out the window of a plane in a steep climb right after lifting up from the runway. About the only airport in the world like this is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, because…
  • With the blue on either side, not above, mind you, I’d say we’re looking at the Potomac and Four Mile Run rivers to either side of Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Why’s that? Where else but in just such a cemetery do you see paved roads through green grass? Those buried there laid down their lives for their fellow man, the greatest love ever. That would be a good state of soul for priests, would it not? And there is kind of a patriotic theme of sorts.
  • And then there’s the central scene, which the artist has ably zeroed us in on. It’s a prophesy for the priest and the wish of the artist, who is a tremendous theologian. He depicts the Holy Mass, the Last Supper, the Sacrament, as united with the Sacrifice on Calvary: both the Chalice with the Blood being poured out along with the Body being handed over as united with the Cross of Calvary. Great, that. Stunning. His wish is that God protects and serves, protects and blesses the priest. I’m guessing this all has provenance in a LEO family, a military family, a family that flies a lot, also up to DC. (Such an imagination I have!) Anyway, the protection is the very presence of Jesus, the blessing is, mind you, the blessing of the Cross. The idea is that the priest needs that particular kind of protection and blessing.
  • In the background of the Cross and Eucharistic Sacrifice there are 21 stripes, red and white, 12 red (the number of Apostles), red being for the Apostles and for martyrdom, interspersed with the white of purity. One recalls the two crowns of martyrdom and purity that our Lady offered to Maximilian Kolbe. He took both.
  • But then the red stripes also look like prison bars, don’t they? This comes to mind from Father Gordon MacRae (about) at TheseStoneWalls, with which I help him really a lot.

GORDON MACRAE

  • And maybe a prison where there is a lot of violence (what with the red), as with hostages… O.K., I only think of that because I was once being taken in the Jordan valley by bunch of thugs until their main guy told them to let me go… memories…

charles de gaulle airport tunnel terminal

And then I remembered a three part dream I had on three successive nights in early October 2017, not a nightmare by any stretch, but not pleasant, a detailed dream. After being abducted into a van (first dream) and transferred through Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris (second dream), I ended up before a kind of makeshift military tribunal in Libya, the proceedings being filmed and the judge’s face being especially detailed (third dream), who I was able to look up. I wrote about those dreams months ago: Update (prequel): Nightmare, two nights in a row now [So, three nights] This is what happens when you have a really active imagination. Good for entertainment. I bet you were wondering how we would end up in Libya.

After all that… back to reality… What we have is an admonition to the priest to be open to the reception of blessing and protection from Jesus, whose superabundant divine mercy endures for ever. Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Jesus