Tag Archives: Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

Yom ha-Kippur-im for a Catholic Priest

Yom Kippur 2018 begins at sunset on Tuesday, September 18 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday, September 19. For the long explanation of this Day of Atonement the Jewish Encyclopedia has a pretty exhaustive article.

English language translation and centuries of derivative pronunciation produced what we pronounce today: a-tóne-ment. , as if a piano is being tuned. Let’s change the pronunciation to something more original for the translation and you’ll get the idea: at-óne-ment.

It’s a day that sets everything in proper perspective. We are sinners before God and man, and should we have a humble, contrite heart (honest integrity in this sorrow before God and man), begging forgiveness and a new beginning with a firm purpose of amendment, then conditions are right for being at one with God and neighbor. This is a day which, appropriately, follow in the wake of the Jewish New Year.

For this Catholic priest (with Jewish lineage), my Yom Kippur takes place every time I go to Confession. Indeed, every time I offer Holy Mass, it being that Jesus is, in Himself, both God and man, making at-one-ment ever so available in Himself.

Unfortunately, in 1973, another aspect of this day was added to living memory. On Yom Kippur a bunch of Islamicist countries attacked Israel when all of Israel was busy with fasting and praying and going to synagogue. Early on, those multiple unprovoked attacks claimed some “victories”, but Israel ended up with even much more. Israel, in a long process with the Camp David Accords, exchanged land for peace. But that, mind you, is an accord, a contract. No peace, the land goes back. It’s more like paying rent. Egypt dumped Russia altogether. Don’t mess with someone in the moment they are trying to make at-one-ment with God and neighbor!

And, by the way, whatever our non-Catholic Christians have to say about it, those who condemn Jewish interpretation of Yom Kippur (a collective noun), this day is not only about institutional atonement on so many levels and in so many ways (note the plural), not only about atonement for the people as a whole as it were, but also and in all of these other ways it is about personal atonement before both God and neighbor. It is honest, with integrity.

I have an idea: How about brainstorming about starting a project whereby Catholics, meaning ALL Catholics, laity, priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, the pope, all go to sacramental Confession on Yom Kippur regardless of Easter duty and regardless of any other Confession practice. This would not only be a statement about the gravity of the necessity of Atonement but also a huge move in demonstrating the oneness of the faith between Catholics and Jews, regardless of any veil mentioned by Saint Paul.

If everyone is going to Confession regularly do you think we would have the crisis we have today which went hand in hand with NOT going to Confession for decades. No, we wouldn’t.

For some reason, ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists on the Catholic side freak out about friendship with the Jews, but I should like to remind them of what I believe to be the greatest exclamation regarding atonement made by anyone anywhere, seriously:

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9:1-5)

Try to top that for anguish for atonement. This is stunning. And this is the Apostle to the Gentiles. Awesome, that.

SUBARU DECALS

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Basic Law: Israel Nation state of the Jewish people [Catholic priest favors tweaking it for stability and clarity]

jewish yellow star jude

[[A Jewish friend of mine, a close friend, who is the dialoguing face of Israel, all quite officially, he often saving the day when, during the visits of Popes, those popes were attacked with Islamicist violence, he who is the consummate insider, string puller, the power in the background, answered my request for a comment on the newly ratified Basic Law of Israel as The Nation State of the Jewish People by saying that “It’s unnecessary.”

That’s it, ambiguous as to whether such an assertion is for or against the ratification of the law. It’s something you just repeat with disgust or delight depending on your interlocutor no matter what the pushing for more information happens to be. Convenient.

What “It’s unnecessary” does assert is that what the new Basic Law manifests is what is and has been and will be the state of affairs in this region of the Near East for a very long time, just not in print thus far. It changes absolutely nothing of the reality of the situation regardless of what actually has been in print up to this time. For all these reasons it is very useful indeed for instruction for the rest of the world. While there certainly was a flurry about all this in the Jewish world and among Arab countries, very little commentary hit the news, say, in these U.S.A. Things are said in the Basic Law which change everything inasmuch as the reality has finally been put in print. This draws a line in the sand as nothing else, for it frankly says that it’s all in the sand, and is erased just that quickly so as to morph to the changes it envisions as happening forthwith.]]

Basic Law: Israel – The nation state of the Jewish people

1.  The State of Israel

a) Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people in which the State of Israel was established. [[But “homeland” borders have never been accepted by the Knesset in favor of ever-expanding temporary borders. Deals made with Egypt and others more recently are not about borders, but about contracts: land for peace. That can be judged to be a broken contract broken on the other side at any time, right? Anyway, what we’re talking about here is “historic”; thus, we recall the borders, say, in the time of the partitioning of the land to the tribes, and then in the time of David and Solomon, much, much more expansive than anything today. Here’s just one snapshot in history (there are many):]]

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Levi doesn’t get a territory but is otherwise taken care of, while Mannasseh and Ephraim were adopted by Joseph. David’s kingdom, much more than this, took in most of today’s Syria, up to the “Great River”, the Mesopotamian. So this is quite the “Basic Law” filled with instruction to the entire world about the land of Israel.

b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination. [[Historic right? O.K., but in which year in history? It makes a difference. Is there a natural right of conquest from Ur of the Chaldeans (the Babylonians). That would be a blasphemous rejection of the supernatural calling of Abram by God himself. The assertion of a natural right makes God’s calling of Abram redundant, stupid. Mere natural right of conquest makes it a right to kill everyone else in conquest just to do it, a monstrous ideology of power for the sake of power. The reference to “religious” might have something to say about that, from the time of Abram’s call from God onward, throughout what the Israelis call the BCE times (Before the Common Era, meaning Before the Era of Christ). And that’s fine. A religious conquest directed by God as they are to be the chosen people whose history is to be a pedagogy for others and for themselves as they themselves know also with their own eventual dispersion of the north and the exile of the south. But Abraham is not the Messiah, the Savior, the prophesy of whose coming pre-dates Abraham all the way back to Genesis 3:15. That divine King of kings is to be Jewish, yes, but He will be the redeemer of all of Adam’s sons. His arrival changes everything. Suffice it to say here that this paragraph of the Basic Law, 5.b, needs some tweaking. Sometimes punctuation and an extra word here or there can work wonders regarding clarity and purpose. Cannot Catholics, for instance, who believe that the Jewish Messiah said that Salvation comes from the Jews, be Israeli citizens?]] 

c) The fulfillment of the right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people. [[On face value, this is a rejection of interference from, say, the United Nations. But it also denies full citizenship status to non-Jews, even if they have that status up to this time. My question is this: If a Jewish citizen of Israel becomes Catholic does he lose his voice in the public square? The Basic Law could have said “citizens”, but instead it says “Jewish people”, which, as I understand, may rule out a Jew who loves that Jesus was a good Jewish guy from back in the day. Anyway, if this is really just about rejecting interference of the United Nations, that’s all fine by me. This does need some tweaking, but I’m quite sure this was purposed phraseology. The ever present question is about one being Jewish because of faith, you know, like the non-Jewess who became a Jewess and indeed the grandmother of King David…]]

[[The above video, published just months before the publishing of this post, is an interesting historical artifact about the way things were at one time. But it’s not like this at all anymore. The promulgation of this Basic Law changes everything.]]

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2.  National symbols of the State of Israel

a) The name of the state is Israel. [[This is a name which points more to citizens being so because of the faith. Otherwise, we would be talking about Judah (via King David and Jerusalem). Interesting. Catholics should be allowed to be citizens because of faith. Meanwhile, say a Catholic priest had a mother, grandmother and great grandmother who were Jewish. Would he be disqualified from becoming a full Israeli citizen?]]

b) The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center. [[It’s interesting how very much this has to do with Jesus, the Son of David, a good Jew.]]

israeli flag-.png

c) The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom. [[All of which is entirely acceptable and is to be praised by any Catholic.]]

menorah nation state of israel

d) The national anthem of the state is “Hatikvah”

[[Here’s the long history of the Hatikvah. ]]

[[Transliteration: Kol od baleivav penimah / Nefesh yehudi homiyah, / Ulfa’atey mizrah kadimah, / Ayin letsiyon tsofiyah; //// Od lo avdah tikvateinu, / Hatikvah bat shenot al payim, / Lihyot am hofshi be’artzeinu, / Eretz tziyon veyerushalayim.

Translation: As long as Jewish spirit / Yearns deep in the heart, / With eyes turned East, / Looking towards Zion. //// Our hope is not yet lost, / The hope of two millennia, / To be a free people in our land, / The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Original:  

כל עוד בלבב פנימה 
נפש יהודי הומייה 
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה 
עין לציון צופיה. 

עוד לא אבדה תקוותינו 
התקווה בת שנות אלפיים 
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו 
ארץ ציון וירושלים

]]

e) [Further] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law. [[I would love to see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.]]

3. [The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

[[The borders of the city of Jerusalem, including the old city, can be made to be extensive, say, an eight mile radius whose center is the Temple Mount. Cairo-Giza to the South or Amman to the East or Damascus or Beirut to the North are all just as massive in extension. This is a matter of security. I wouldn’t complain about this at all. The claim of Islamicists over against Jerusalem is that the heretic Mohammad had a dream. That’s it. So, nothing.]]

jerusalem

4. The Language of the State of Israel

a) Hebrew is the language of the state. [[Countries do have a right to have a common language for security purposes. I like Hebrew. People say I have an Israeli accent when I speak Hebrew, not that I’m great at it, as I have few with whom to practice.]]

b) The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law. [[Regulation will be regulated by regulation… I like that. But, how about saying: “Regulation of the use of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be enforced.” “Facing them” refers to obligations or not regarding logistics when Arab speakers who don’t speak Hebrew are attempting to communicate with state institutions.]]

c) This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created. [[I dare anyone to figure this out. This is actually so convoluted that it cannot be known what this means, and this is, obviously, by design, so that any presumed status quo can be held to be fluid, so that, I guess, Arabic can be phased out. It is what it is. I don’t think it’s a big ask to have Arab speakers learn Hebrew as the languages, the roots of the words, the whole right to left thing, are very similar.]]

5. The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled.

[[So, being open to Jewish immigration is to be expected and doesn’t on its face exclude all others. And I don’t think for a second think that this is necessarily directed at Jewish over against non-Jewish immigration. It also and perhaps primarily refers to Jewish immigration over against, wait for it… Jewish immigration. Already some thirty years ago, when I lived in Israel and studied in the “West Bank”, I overheard conversations between young Israeli immigrants who were practicing a bit of one-up-man-ship by smashing down their fellow Jewish Israelis for not having already given up on their dual-citizenship, not already having gone into the Military (having been there only a short time), not already having been there as long as whoever other Israeli was with them. You would almost think that Israel was only for those Jews who had been there before other Jews. Don’t think that some Jews are not looked down upon by other Jews. The arguments about assistance to be given to some arrivals and perhaps not so much to others can be extremely heated. So, good! Make it a law: The state will be open to Jewish immigration (no matter the provenance of those Jews, no matter how long ago someone else has immigrated).

The second half of law number 5 is that the state will be open to the gathering of the exiled especially in adverse situations. This refers to Israeli funded military operations which seek to transfer entire Jewish populations of whatever increasingly adverse countries to Israel, such as we have already seen with the transfer of the entire Jewish population of Ethiopia to Israel, which was an entirely amazing operation. And if there is violent anti-Jewish sentiment in various countries, and this is all about safety, and people are willing, what could possibly be wrong with this? This is a great service to humanity, the defense of the vulnerable. When Russia because increasingly hostile, getting Russian Jews to Israel was also a priority. ]]

6. The Diaspora

a) The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship. [[This is not only wrought through diplomatic means, but also through intelligence and military means, also by special operators, effected in countries around the world, as is only right. Security is a top priority. Don’t mess with an Israeli! I would expect friends around the world would help with this. I would do whatever I could.]]

b) The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora. [[Well, I don’t like the language here. Maybe it’s just the miserable translation. I don’t know. But in common usage, the word “legacy” is used for that which is quaint, cute, nostalgic, but definitely useless, out of date. The word “legacy” enforces the idea that everything cultural, historical or religious among Jews is of course to be abandoned in life. Instead of saying “legacy of the Jewish people”, why not say “life of the Jewish people”?]]

7. The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.

[[Here we go. Just to be clear, basically, the Basic Law has just put the remaining land up for grabs regardless of any international or Israeli law whatsoever. This is about ethnic cleansing. This does not rule out bulldozing entire towns to rebuild as Israeli villages. Thus, to give you a shocking example, this law takes in, say, for example, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, so that its occupation and destruction is entirely within the bounds of the law and such action is to be encouraged and promoted by the State on behalf of settlers. I just wanted to put that in perspective for you. That’s what it means. This is a declaration of all out war with non-Jews, that is, not just with Muslims. But no one in the world is saying a peep about any of this. It is stunning. This confirms my interpretation of the borders of the city of Jerusalem that I gave above. I cannot agree with the sweeping nature of this law. I cannot agree with ethnic cleansing.]]

8. The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law. [[This seems to ready the construction of another Temple and the reintroduction of Temple sacrifices. I dread that this will bring with it much more human bloodshed than that of any animal sacrifices.]]

synagogue of capernaum star of david

9. National Holidays

a) Independence Day is the official holiday of the state. [[Great.]]

b) The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state. [[Yes, perfect. I would even add other days and specific places of commemoration.]]

10. Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays. Details concerning these matters will be determined by law. [[Of course. Expected.]]

11. This Basic Law may not be altered except by a Basic Law that gained the approval of the majority of the Knesset members. [[I’m glad they had eleven laws here instead of ten! I’m just guessing that a Basic Law needs an ultra-super-majority. If not, the volatility would be more hurtful than helpful.]]

star of david

[[I should remind all what Saint Paul says of the Jews: “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the Law, the temple worship, and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them proceeds the human descent of Christ, who is God over all, forever worthy of praise! Amen.]]

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“New” day lilies edition)

img_20180803_140900067_hdr~23756091622025142775..jpg

These were donated from the neighbor across the street. Very healthy even after transplanting. Right next to the statue of Mary, Jesus’ good mom. I always but always notice the Star of David, the three petals overlapping the three petals. And then, with the yellow color and all, I recall what I always carry with me:

jewish yellow star jude

Don’t think this is morbid or only something dark and depressing. Instead, I also always carry this hope, as should we all:

star of david

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Ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists & the Jews

auschwitz

A priest just finished giving a six day “traditional” retreat recently in Virginia. Nice guy, I’m sure. Traditional Mass. Traditional Confessions. Traditional talks. Great. Except for the last day. Traditionally, that day is reserved not to the most unimportant matters, but to the summit of the spiritual life as exemplified by Jesus’ good mom, the ever virgin Immaculate Conception. Call to mind that she’s the highest honor of the Jews, and that Jesus is a Jew, and that, as the Divine Son of God said, “Salvation is from the Jews.” After all, as Saint Paul said:

“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.”

I’m sure he had great stuff to say about Mary. Great stuff. Sure. Stuff, like, to say. But, just to say, the last day of the retreat was given over to insisting that the Jews – you know: “the Jews” – are conspiring to take over the world through banking, one world government and control of Hollywood. Protesting too much, he said that he is NOT anti-Semitic. Of course he’s not. He’s just lumping all those, you know, those… those… those Jews together, piling them up in a big heap. Hey, I know! Let’s include the kids too! Here’s a video I made at Yad vaShem. It’s important to get to know some of them by name…

What to do with such a priest? Prejudice is all about fear of self. Fear casts out all love. How to overcome fear when one has no love? There’s this Jewish guy I know who says that love casts out all fear. Where to get love? Acquire it? Steal it? Control it? Manipulate it for self? Or, maybe that kind of religious plan is as good as one’s sin. See Romans 7. Wretched man that I am! Who can save me from all of this? Thank God for Jesus Christ who saves me from all of this. Dang it! Jesus is a Jew!

By the way, as a good Jew, typical Divine Son of His mother, Jesus is in fact taking over the world. He wants those in banking, those in governments, those in Hollywood. Yep. He loves us all just that much. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Jesus is the Lord of History. He draws all to Himself from all of time as He’s lifted up on the Cross.

N.B. To the very popular and widespread group to which this priest belongs: If you don’t smack this jerk down, correcting him and lifting him up into charity and truth, you’ll likely be the next group to bite the dust. Too bad, that. But that’s how things work in this world, you know, lumping people together, that kind of thing. So, hey! I know! Do it. Do it now.

BTW: To all the individual priests I know who congratulate themselves as being “of Tradition” and who are as anti-Semitic as the day is long, as long as the night endures: Tradition doesn’t mean you have to be jerks. In fact, that means that you know nothing of Tradition at all. Take care that Jesus, that Jewish guy, doesn’t say to you: “I don’t know you.”

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RE-POST: IT’S APRIL 8 – A MOST GLORIOUS DAY

COUNCIL OF TRENT

HEY! It’s the [472nd] anniversary of Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the most sacred and ecumenical Council of Trent in 1546. This is my most favorite of all magisterial interventions. Be awed by the syntax in Latin. Be awed by the breadth, the heights, the profundity, the glory emanating from this decree. Let yourself be wrapped up it’s reverence before the Most Holy Spirit. Let yourself be brought to your knees. Unfortunately, rebel Martin Luther, ex-Catholic priest, would die just months before this was published, though I have to think that he was kept up to date on the ruminations for the first drafts, not easy if one is in bad health.

First the Latin…

Sacrosancta oecumenica et generalis Tridentina synodus, in Spiritu sancto legitime congregata, praesidentibus in ea eisdem tribus apostolicae sedis legatis, hoc sibi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut sublatis erroribus puritas ipsa evangelii in ecclesia conservetur quod promissum ante per prophetas in scripturis sanctis dominus noster Iesus Christus Dei Filius proprio ore primum promulgavit, deinde per suos apostolos tamquam fontem omnis et salutaris veritatis et morum disciplinae omni creaturae praedicari iussit; perspiciensque, hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ab ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptae, aut ab ipsis apostolis Spiritu sancto dictante quasi per manus traditae ad nos usque pervenerunt orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam veteris quam novi testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, nec non traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tamquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit et veneratur. Sacrorum vero Librorum indicem huic decreto adscribendum censuit, ne cui dubitatio suboriri possit, quinam sint, qui ab ipsa Synodo suscipiuntur. Sunt vero infrascripti. Testamenti Veteris: Quinque Moysis, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium; Iosue, Iudicum, Ruth, quattuor Regum, duo Paralipomenon, Esdrae primus et secundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Iudith, Esther, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta psalmorum, Parabolae, Ecclesiastes, Canticum Canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Ieremias cum Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, duodecim prophetae minores, id est: Osea, Ioel, Amos, Abdias, Ionas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; duo Maccabaeorum, primus et secundus. Testamenti Novi: Quattuor Evangelia, secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, Lucam, Ioannem; Actus Apostolorum a Luca Evangelista conscripti; quattuordecim epistulae Pauli Apostoli: ad Romanos, duae ad Corinthios, ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, duae ad Thessalonicenses, duae ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos; Petri Apostoli duae; Ioannis Apostoli tres; Iacobi Apostoli una; Iudae Apostoli una et Apocalypsis Ioannis Apostoli. Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit: anathema sit.

Now my own slavish translation… NOT the usual translation!

The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided. See the Latin.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.

Note “almost as if by hand” since this is all about the Holy Spirit!

This is THE Counter-Reformation assertion by the Sacred Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church against the heretics who reduce revelation to theology and inspiration to feelings, the dark arrogance having them rewrite and remove things from the Sacred Scriptures so as to assert merely themselves. This decree is CATHOLIC!

On a personal note, I was ordained a deacon on this day in the Twelve Apostles Basilica in Rome. Also, this decree became the center piece of the beginnings of a doctoral thesis (the first chapter being 256 pages), the story of which needs to be told one day, reaching as it does into the very heart of the intrigue of ecclesiastical politics and stirring the pot so much that… well, I’ll leave that for another day. Just note that this decree is still THE engine driving any true ecumenical dialogue, that is, which brings unity in truth and charity those who sincerely follow Jesus.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Holy See, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Spiritual life, Vulgate

Jackass for the Hour: Two chapters

Jewish ghetto tempio maggiore san gregorio della divina pieta

Looking from across the Tiber River in Rome you see part of the Jewish Ghetto with the Tempio Maggiore. The (in)famous church of San Gregorio della divina pieta is on the lower far right of the picture. That church has a facade that is important in Chapter 28: Perfidious Jews.

It’s been a while since a chapter was published for Jackass for the Hour. Chapter 27 was just put up. That was just now followed by Chapter 28 (Perfidious Jews). The two go together. It would be good to see Rabbi Shelomoh ben Yishaq in all his glory.

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 28 – Perfidious Jews

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 28 – Perfidious Jews

“My dear Cardinal Froben,” said the Rabbi, “there is a difference between Redemption and, then, its reception in grace unto justification which saves. Human-sacrifice, as a bribery of appeasement of bloodthirsty gods, is from hell, and those who do it deserve hell. Placating gods with one’s ‘generosity’ and ‘submission’ is not religion, but blasphemy, a self-deluding congratulation of oneself. A merely human child, because of Adam’s sin, is not worthy to be a sacrifice of vicarious atonement. Instead, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant – and I speak as a Jew – must be innocent of all consequences of Adam’s sin, then freely take on those consequences, so that, taking our place before the judgment of the Most High, taking upon Himself the justice which awaits us as sons of Adam, and offering our Heavenly Father communion in Charity, in innocence, in goodness, He then has the right in justice, so to speak, to have mercy on us, to ask God the Father that we be forgiven. This Child-Sacrifice – fulfilling all righteousness – makes true religion possible. It reveals what religion is. The would-be sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham pointed to this truth emphatically. Since we are to be children of God, the Suffering Servant must be God, as Genesis 3,15…”

“But is your own work of assent to the Faith not also your justification?” interrupted the Cardinal, trying to win points with both Jews and Protestants.

“Please, do not insult us, your Eminence.”

“I did not intend that anyone should feel insulted. I am sorry,” said the Cardinal.

“But why are you sorry?” asked the Rabbi. “Are you sorry because you think I feel badly about something which you regret only because it makes you feel badly? Do you feel guilty because you had something to do with these feelings? I’m sick of the emotionalism of blinded consciences.” Many in the crowd applauded. They were also tired of this kind of apology-by-way-of-accusation, of belittlement of the supposed over-sensitivity and lack of intelligence of the other.

This reprimand was a new experience for the Cardinal. No one in his office had the bravery to correct him when he attacked them for his own inadequacy, and then insulted them further with the unbounded condescension of blaming them for the ‘bad feelings’ he guessed they had. “I only meant to say,” the Cardinal continued, “that it was Continue reading

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Don’t think I don’t know, oh “Shadow.” Don’t think I don’t care. Death out East.

death gaza boy 2

My “Shadow”, starting at about the time he stole my identity (I think in the late 1970s), has been rabidly, apoplectically anti-Jewish, often going into spittle-flecked nutties which don’t accomplish anything except for bringing more obfuscation to any issues. I think I should say something so he understands where I’m coming from in being proud of being Jewish, albeit a Catholic priest. My “Shadow” follows my blog rather closely. Maybe if he understands me a bit better, he’ll just calm down a bit. He says he spends all his free time analyzing the conflict in Near and Middle East. He wants Syria to take Israel out. He showed me all his computer gear and what he does. Anyway…

First of all, I don’t know the story behind these photos [incorporated into the header of this blog] other than that this seems to be a boy in Gaza who was killed by, I don’t know, the Israeli military. I don’t know if the boy had been shooting a rocket or threw a rock or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with those who were getting themselves into trouble or whether he was just minding his own business or learning how to make an IED or suicide vest that went off prematurely. I don’t know. I don’t know who the guy is that shot him if he died in a hale of bullets. Did that guy have a good reason? Quite possibly. But maybe it was just target practice using this kid as a target even though he was, say, just getting a drink of water. Maybe the IDF guy just that second got a phone call that informed him that his entire family had just been blown up by a suicide bomber at a street restaurant in Jerusalem on an otherwise lovely Saturday evening and was now half-crazed, wanting to take out as many non-Israelis as possible. What do I know? And for that matter, my “Shadow”, what do you know outside of the fact that you were unable to manipulate a Jewish kid in the neighborhood when we were kids in the same part of town? What I do know is that all this has affected me deeply over the years. That’s why this kid is in the header of this blog.

death gaza boy 1

What I do know that the survivors of any violence want to do something to bring violence to an end as best we can in this sorry world, either by the “dead peace” of a more prolific violence in which a lot more people of both sides die, or by seeking solutions that will bring understanding of reality to both sides. Whatever about putting into place just measures of self-defense, the understanding of reality bit is done in two ways, by words, by actions.

  • Words are not to be underestimated.
  • Doing something without thinking about what one is doing is not to be overestimated.

Regarding words, in my own little world I’m attempting a number of things.

  • One is a dialogue between Israel and the Holy See on Scripture. I never give up. That started with some key players in the Holy See and Israel now ten years ago. It’s slow going. But the currents run deep all around. This would eventually nuance some of the deepest foundations the notion of the State of Israel.
  • The other bit with words are a few chapters in Jackass for the Hour (we’re about two thirds of the way through as of the publishing of this post). Some upcoming chapters on Islam are rather straightforward about the Qur’an. And more about some things about the preparation for the coming of the Messiah (1st time done, 2nd coming up) that have to be said.

Ideas have effects. I’m sick of those who obfuscate and pander, politically correct, bringing, in the end, only more violence. All of that is a license to kill.

Regarding actions, I’ve been attempting a number of things. Primarily, there is meeting one on one with terrorists. I’ve done that on a number of occasions:

  • sometimes with only a kind of success (one guy took his own life the first second he could without taking anyone else out, and this to make sure he wouldn’t take anyone else out later, people rushing to tell me this, pretty emotional…)
  • sometimes with the success only of a delay (the kid took nine more years to be reconvinced to blow himself up at the Dolphinarium discotheque, killing 21 others)
  • sometimes getting actionable intel that is so incredibly easy to get because of the roman collar I wear. Truly. Easy. Gosh. Get a stopwatch.

People think it’s hard, but it’s not. But you do have to think waaaaay outside the box. Totally. And you can’t have any fear whatsoever, just being matter of fact and super naive. I guess not many are willing to do that. Not many at all. But a field hospital isn’t in a box; it’s in a field, is it not? You don’t always have to have people in GTMO to speak with them. They’re really open, right away, when they’re not under pressure. Really.

Another thing I’ve tried to do but which I haven’t done for years involves baiting funders of terrorism and passing that information along when the bait is taken.

Having said all that, take a look at the header again:

Who’s in the middle of the field hospital. Jesus. He’s Jewish. The Pope, yes, he’s Catholic. The boy? Probably a Muslim. It should be clear what I think is possible. With that in mind, I also say to my “Shadow” what Jesus said to the sleeping Apostles: “Arise! Let us be going! Look! My betrayer (the one who ignores the truth he comes to know) is at hand.”

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 23 – So, that’s your problem?

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 23 – So, that’s your problem?

As Father Alexámenos and Rabbi Shelomoh continued to speak, the Muhammadan, no longer listening, sent his email to Shaykh al-Husayn, a member of what had for a long time been Europe’s largest Mosque and Cultural Centre, built with Saudi oil money near the Vatican so as to spit on Pope Saint Pius V’s ‘Rosary Victory’ over the Muhammadans at Lépanto, during the height of the Ottoman Empire, just after Elizabeth I of England was excommunicated.

Shaykh al-Husayn was well placed, being Albanian by birth, Catholic by Baptism, Muslim by apostasy, and ‘advisor’ by professional history in the Arabian peninsula. He was a ‘trophy convert’ on show. Brilliant at public relations and proselytism, he gave school children praying-tours of the mosque, delighting in ‘catechising’ them in Islam as they bowed down to Allah. His belligerently anti-Catholic attitude upset Catholic students of interreligious dialogue, which is not easy to do.

Shaykh al-Husayn read the email which he had just received from the flight to Rome. He would have deleted it had it not confirmed what was just coming on the television screen in his office. The news report included the images of Father Alexámenos, complaining that he was already on a flight to Rome. He was being accused of fleeing justice. The email was from a member of the mosque, and gave the details of the flight number, something the television reports had not yet done. The email mentioned the news report about Haïti, but centred on the discussion Father Alexámenos was having with one whom the Muhammadan had mistakenly taken to be the Chief Rabbi of Rome. “Can you not do something about the interference of this priest?” asked the Muhammadan in his email. “He is inciting Jews and Catholics to declare war on Muslims, as if we all lived in Jericho when it was taken more than three thousand years ago. Since Italy and the Holy See treat Islam nicely, it’s easy to put pressure on them, especially for you. He’s to be punished for his crimes in Haïti, and then suffer the punishment for his words against Islam.”

Shaykh al-Husayn clicked on the audio file sent with the email. He knew Hebrew better than the Jews, he thought. He listened in disbelief as he heard the priest describe his understanding of the Qur’anic version of Abraham’s would-be child-sacrifice of his son and, then, the Rabbi’s question about whether or not the continuing slaughter of the Palestinians was divinely mandated to this day. Shaykh al-Husayn sat back in his chair. He decided not to respond to the email. He did, however, like the idea about making an official protest. This had to be handled by diplomats in Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the other Arab states. Involving the one they thought was the Chief Rabbi of Rome was too dangerous to ignore, especially since this Rabbi was such good friends with Pope Tsur-Ēzer, also a Jew. “After all,” he thought, “if Jews and Christians want another crusade…” A wave of anger overwhelmed Shaykh al-Husayn, which was followed by a wave of regret, for so many might die fighting a crusade.

That Father Alexámenos had stayed in the Catholic Nunciature made matters worse. Even a CIA agent was volunteering information on the television about Father Alexámenos. Shaykh al-Husayn thought it looked like preemptive damage control. The agent called Father Alexámenos stupid for having taken the liquor he gave to him, which was only meant to pry information out of the priest about the priest himself. Despite it being past midnight, Shaykh al-Husayn rang the diplomats in Saudi Arabia, now his longtime friends. Continue reading

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 22 – Sag niemals nie! Never say never!

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 22 – Sag niemals nie! Never say never!

Before Father Alexámenos answered, the Rabbi continued with an intensity his priest friend enjoyed so much it all almost set him to laughing, wishing all his interlocutors had the intelligence and, he suspected, the streak of mischievousness of the Rabbi. “The Old Covenant must effectively be replaced by the New Covenant inasmuch as the Old is to be fulfilled and transformed in the New. The Old Covenant cannot be salvific on its own, even before any Messiah comes, for the Old had to look forward to the New, which fills it with Life back in the day. Time is not a barrier to its Creator. If the view is that the New has come, the Old must necessarily become sterile, even if it is not purposely cut off from the New, and no matter how much God respects the sincerity of Jews who do not even know what Christianity is. In that case, God gives grace to the Jews simply as His gratuitous gift, but not because God makes valid what cannot be made valid in the Old Covenant except in its present day fulfilment in the New.” Since Father Alexámenos did not interject, the Rabbi continued: “Your Cardinal Froben, nevertheless, gives us the lowest common denominator of no one having any covenant, telling us, absurdly, that both the Old and the New Covenant can be salvific at the same time. If the Old Covenant doesn’t look forward to the New, it is not actually the Old Covenant we are talking about, and if the New Covenant doesn’t fulfil the Old, it is not actually the New Covenant we are talking about. Two independent, salvific covenants are two other religions, neither Jewish or Catholic. Froben and his kind must stop insulting our intelligence. Tell me you understand!”

“Rabbi, I know exactly what you are…”

“Do you?” pressed the Rabbi.

“I regret,” said Father Alexámenos, “that Cardinal Froben has scandalously claimed that our aim in a dialogue is not to come into any kind of communion or unity, but simply to improve constantly those relationships and to work together. What he says is not what the Church nor I believe. I’m for unity in Charity and Truth. Saint Paul goes out of his way to say that…”

“I wonder about your regret,” interrupted the Rabbi, “Your Saint Paul makes it clear that he loves the Jews,” said the Rabbi, “but Froben and those like him do not seem to know who Paul of Tarsus is. They take every opportunity to send us to Auschwitz again. Take that document on the Shoah…”

“In reading that document, I just couldn’t believe that…” Father Alexámenos began to say.

“You Catholics,” interrupted the Rabbi, “speak of Continue reading

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 21 – They burned them in a raging fire

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 21 – They burned them in a raging fire

Although Father Lia-Fáil had received the fax from père Jacques and had alerted the Holy Father about the contents of the web-site, he hadn’t heard from anyone else, including Father Alexámenos. Pope Tsur-Ēzer had don Hash and padre Emet summoned.

✵ ✵ ✵

As the plane kept its course to Rome far off the coast of New York City, many in the plane were glued to the windows on the port side of the plane, leaning over the passengers in those rows of seats, who were themselves trying to get a glimpse of the Tribute in Light, two beams of light piercing high into the night skies from where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center had once stood, now One World Trade Center. The Port Authority finally understood that a memorial was not meant to facilitate one to look merely ‘at’ something, but to gaze ‘toward’ Someone. Every year on September 11 the memorial was lit up, and was being tested with some new technology on this evening. The plane’s distance from the Big Apple, more than three hundred kilometres, made the effect of the light piercing many kilometres into the heavens all the more dramatic. They were high enough in the plane so that the beams of light were able to be seen over the curvature of the earth.

Thousands simultaneously ‘burned at the stake’ by Islamic fundamentalists raised strong emotions in the viewers, regardless of their nationality or religion, especially since they were flying. The cabin crew knew that they had to delay the main meal until New York was behind them. Father Alexámenos was impressed that the years had not meant the usual out of sight, out of mind.

A Rabbi in his seventies had been sitting a few rows in front of Father Alexámenos. He was returning to Italy after visiting Bard College in New York – where he debated the interpretation of the Talmud – and then The Shoah Memorial in Miami Beach, where living anguish reached up to Heaven. After he caught a glimpse of the beams of light, he saw that Father Alexámenos, obviously a Catholic priest, was still asleep next to the window and had no one sitting next to him. He had also noticed that the gentleman seated immediately in front of Father Alexámenos had not bothered himself about the Tribute in Light, and still looked upset that everyone had made such a fuss. He was wearing a taqiyah and Thawb, traditional clothing for a Muslim. The Rabbi chuckled with such an opportunity for entertainment and, perhaps, according to the will of the Most High, an advance in what was otherwise the murderous intrigue of merely interreligious politics. The Rabbi took the seat next to the aisle leaving the middle seat of row between himself and Father Alexámenos empty. Continue reading

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Homily 2018 01 25 – Can we really speak of Saul’s conversion to be Paul?

Saint Paul Conversion Damascus Caravaggio

Here’s the first half of the homily for the “Conversion of Saint Paul.”

Can we really call it conversion?

I think Saint Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Siri, and Garrigou Lagrange, O.P. would hesitate with that kind of language.

I would add that I find it odd that the week of Christian unity centers around this Feast of Saint Paul, who is ferocious with those who do not have the same judgment of the same faith as he calls it. Pretty brave to use him as a patron saint when so many think that ecumenism is about bullying people to rejoice in remaining in our divisions so that we can have whatever doctrine and morality we would like to concoct on any given day at any given hour at any given moment for whatever reason or for no reason.

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Trent, Kryptos, coriolis, treasure maps, religion, analysts, security, strategy

trent session 4 treasure map

Why is it that analysts ignore that which is the context for the key, for text without context is pretext. Ideology over reality? A bit of power, self-congratulation, no humility before the massive sweep of history?  While everything seems to blow apart what is the one thing that stays the same? Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. Where to find that? The context, the coriolis effect, as it were, can be found in the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta of Session IV of the Council of Trent of 8 April 1546, that is, the bits before the list of books and the laying out of the treasure map. If one doesn’t know what the treasure is, in finding it, one won’t even know one is looking at it, and will bypass it.

The arrogance, impatience, spitting cynicism, bitterness of the rejection of all that which is important while calling it irrelevant and sheer idiocy is astounding, and should put on guard those who don’t have so much baggage to deal with. Purity of heart and agility of soul and humble thanksgiving before the Most High is the only way. It’s not mathematics, encoding or decoding, statistics or any other mind games so available to manipulation. It’s the reality of what is actually happening. And there are those who are open to this, also analysts. They need to be encouraged. For the long game. And the short. But life is difficult. There are bullies. So be it. That’s O.K. The coriolis effect plows through all that. ;-). Anyone want to analyze the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta?

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Most emotional * Way of the Cross * “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”

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, back in 2009. Seems like yesterday. The O.C.D.s had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. 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.

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Lion’s Gate: Preparing the 4th Temple with the blood of the peacekeepers (This Jewish Catholic Priest’s opinion)

lions gate

Islamic terrorists like any other criminals simply ignore the fact that crime is always counter-productive. Just a little while ago, some Israeli LEOs were assassinated at the Lion’s Gate, right next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The LEOs weren’t expecting the unprovoked attack and were exactly where they were supposed to be.

The immediate visceral reaction to this kind of violence at the Temple Mount (where you also find the ultra-vulnerable because basin-like Jewish prayer area at the Western [wailing] Wall), is to remove the Islamicists definitively, destroy the mosque, rip out the Dome of the Rock, and build the 4th Temple. Proof of this is that the immediate statement put out by Prime Minister Bibi is that the Status Quo of the Temple Mount will simply remain the same. In other words, if this was the instantaneous answer with no question being asked, the presumed question is whether the Status Quo will finally change, as it is soon expected to be changed within the foreseeable future. In other words, the tension is so much at fever pitch that anything could bring about a major change. It’s just a matter of time, sooner than later.

So, what’s this opinion of this Jewish-Catholic Priest? I think that whatever about the status of Jerusalem as an international city desired by some, blah blah blah, it is intense insanity to have more than one group contending to have ownership of the same place at the same time anywhere at any time for any reason. That’s simply not how fallen humanity is able to maintain peace.

Is it not better to have, say, the Israeli Defense Forces control the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and then allow visitors with controllable security measures in place for each visitor? I think so. That doesn’t mean anything is any less international if whatever about that “international” issue were to be decided. One group in control just means greater security. If it’s the first most holy site for a group, shouldn’t that group be in charge? The Temple Mount is the first most holy site for the Jews.

The Church of the Resurrection is Catholic from the beginning. I think the entirety of the Church of the Resurrection, including Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher, should be given over to the Franciscans at the Custody of the Holy Land exclusively. The extreme violence of some of the groups there is simply unacceptable.

Take an example. Should Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica be given over to Islam? I mean, after all, they’ve raided and pillaged Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica (of the time) a number of times (the reason for the massive defensive walls around Vatican City). I don’t think so.

The easy largesse of those who shout “BE NICE!” and don’t lift a finger to help keep the peace and who don’t take account of ongoing horrific violence caused by the insistence on that easy largesse.

// (begin sarcasm) — Hey! Let’s make the Swiss Guard in charge of the Temple Mount! –(end sarcasm) //

This opinion does not have anything to do with what I think about the fulfillment of the covenants in Christ Jesus our Lord and God. No, I do not believe that any building of any 4th Temple is productive in any way on any level.

Further disclaimer: I’m Catholic. I’m Jewish. I lived in Jerusalem for a good while, arriving when Jewish pilgrims were stoned at the Western Wall from the Mosque above, and when, then, 19 Palestinians were killed. I walked from the U.N. compound South of Jerusalem back to Jerusalem down the length of the Silwan valley into Silwan and back up to the Temple Mount. That was the day after fake “Christians” went into the town of Silwan to celebrate the death of the Palestinians. Those fake “Christians” say that “ethnic cleansing” (genocide, really) of all non-Jews throughout the Holy Land is the only way for Jesus to come back again. Those fake “Christians” are simply monsters. My saying that the Jews should have control of the Temple Mount has nothing to do these fake “Christians”. It’s the other way. What I’m pushing for would save many lives on a day to day basis.

Of course, there are those who would say that this would start a war. My answer to that is, “Where have you been?” I’m guessing that when the USA takes out North Korean nuclear capabilities, the Israelis will do the same for Iran, which is perhaps the best time to take peaceful control of the Temple Mount.

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Republished: John the Baptist’s birthday, because he was sanctified in his mother’s womb

visitation from peregabrielcom.png

[The painting above is from peregabriel.com. A very cool site!]

Remember that the easiest way to pray the rosary is to recognize that Jesus and Mary and Joseph are with you right here, right now, as they are in heaven, not as they were a couple thousand years ago. Sure, take a look at what they did for you and all back in the day, but, in our Lord’s grace, with a spirit of humble thanksgiving for them, right here, right now.

Remember, it’s not about your imagination that you are in their presence, which Pelagian effort of imagination is a lot of hooey. Rather, your act of the will in our Lord’s grace to humbly thank Him and our Blessed Mother is what the prayer of the rosary is all about.

Clever meditations, whether in “rant” style such as in this article, or, later, please God, in a style presented in a more genteel manner, don’t get anyone anywhere. The only way what is presented on this blog is going to help anyone is if that someone, by the grace of our Lord, uses these words as an occasion to humbly thank the Holy Family right now for what went on back in the day.

* * *

For this preliminary “rant meditation” on the second joyful mystery of the most holy rosary, let’s leave off Luke 1,5-25 (the scene with Zachariah) and Luke 1,46-80 (saving those for future meditations!), concentrating on Luke 1,39-45, for which a summary interlinear comment will be provided, based on my own in-your-face translation from the Greek, with an eye to the Vulgate. I’m not into the esoteric practice of translating one word for one word, as if, magically, all languages had absolutely perfect one word for one word equivalents. Such pretension cannot ever provide a great translation, unless you’re in a position to create the language, as was the case with the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which made up a goodly number of words, but paraphrased the rest. Instead, trying to avoid coining any words, I’ll provide a translation with more in-your-face accuracy than any one word for one word translation could ever present. Note that the “perfect” verbs, with their continuing perfection, are not easy to translate! …

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days, went out into the hill country with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah, 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed. 43 And how has this come about to me that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.”

O.K. Let’s try some interlinear commentary:

Luke 1,39 But Mary, having arisen in these days [“these days,” not “those days.” This speaks to what is happening to Mary interiorly. She’s immediately thinking of Hanna’s words, and singing the “Magnificat”. But, more on that in a, please God, future meditation.], went out into the hill country [which is also way up from Nazareth] with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah [Just a couple of miles down from Jerusalem: “enthusiastic haste”… I remember walking from the Sea of Galilee down to Jericho with enthusiastic haste the day before the first Gulf War with Saddam Hussain. I had intended to go up to Jerusalem past Saint George monastery, but the military nicely, but forcefully had some of the settlers crowd drive me the rest of the way to Jerusalem. Anyway, just to say, I was about twice the age that Mary would have been. It took me one day to do that. Her enthusiastic haste bore the Son of God, giving wings to her feet], 40 and she entered into the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. [What a greeting! Mary was filled with her “Magnificat” already, her heart and soul bursting with the praise of God…] 41 And it came about that as Elizabeth listened to the greeting of Mary, the unborn child leaped in her womb [This is traditionally understood as the sanctification of John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth. This is why the birthday of John the Baptist is celebrated, along with that of Mary and Jesus. He was already holy in the womb, as were Jesus and Mary.], and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [This cannot but give great joy to our hearts and souls!]. 42 And she cried out with a great exclamation [to be repeated countless times in later centuries] and said: “You are perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed among women, and the Fruit of your womb is perfectly continuing to remain perfectly blessed [which completes the first part of the Hail Mary, the earlier parts being those said by the angel Gabriel to Mary, a very biblical prayer…]. 43 And how has this come about to me [such humility, which can always be had before the greatest goodness and kindness, so far beyond us, and yet with us…] that the Mother of my Lord might come to me? [“The Mother of my Lord”… A prophecy to be noted today: the blastocyst is not implanted in the uterus in the mother until about nine days after conception. Give Mary and all her enthusiastic haste, very likely traveling alone, about – what? – a day, two days, three to get to Elizabeth… At any rate, before implantation of the conceived Child, just a few cells at this stage: “The Mother of my Lord”… Pius XII instructed us that the just conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary embraced the entire Mystical Body of Christ from, in fact, the first instant of His conception.] 44 For behold! As the voice of your greeting came about in my ears, the unborn child leaped in exaltation in my womb [Not the normal “kick”!]. 45 And blessed is she who has believed that the things spoken to her by the Lord, perfectly continuing to remain with their perfective force, will have fulfillment.” [Elizabeth… What a great saint… So filled with the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Holy Spirit… knowing the truth of it all. Wow! The two of them! What joy they would have had during those months with Mary helping Elizabeth. Our Lord Jesus, always foremost in their thoughts… Just so awesome… ]

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My autosomal DNA results just arrived. The question is: who am I anyway?

ancestry dna gdb

So, I did the AncestryDNA, autosmal DNA test, which, unlike Y- or mtDNA tests, surveys “a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations where genetic markers that identify an individual typically appear. Plus, autosomal DNA tests look at both maternal and paternal lines, meaning discoveries come from both sides of your family tree.” Apparently, I’m not from Mars or the dark side of the moon. There’s still some guesswork, but, as more people do the test, the markers might indicate ancestors with a bit more precision as time goes on.

What came back is exactly what I expected, plus a bit more. I had been hoping (for political reasons, because I’m evil and bad) to have something from Africa. Nothing. Fine.

My father’s ancestors seem to have originated in Ireland 5%, but then moved up between Scotland and England 6%, whence the family name Byers originated. My dad said his side of the family had been in Germany for some centuries, that is, Western Europe, which came in at 12%. They then seem to have migrated eastward.

I’m guessing from this that the Northeast Russia with Scandinavia bits and the Norse bits (less than 1% each) were the most ancient on my mother’s side. They settled eastern Europe. Coming from the other direction on her side again are the western Asia percentages coming in at 4% (as much as 8%). They moved up to Eastern Europe, where I now clock in at 71% (but as much as 79%) where the typical local resident today retains an average of just 82%). From the little I understood from my mom, her side of the family came from an enclave in or next to Warsaw, you know, a Ghetto, so I’m guessing the Warschauer Ghetto which saw most of its 400,000 residents exterminated at Treblinka concentration camp. She spoke some Yiddish, while her mother and grandmother were fluent.

However, the map is a surprise, as I was expecting something from southern Italy and Greece, strong in the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews. Nothing. The Shephardic Jews can be ruled out as well. So, what’s the deal with my mom? I’m thinking that the western Asian percentages are from the Mountain Jews (the ridges and to the North in present day Russia, descendants of the Persian Jews) diverse from the Caucasus Jews, south of the dividing mountains. I say that because the Mountain Jews are closest to Poland and, unlike the Caucasus Jews, have no Ashkenazi population. The history of this would be that Mountain Jews going to Poland would stay to themselves with their wildly different language (though picking up Yiddish from the Ashkenazi crowd) and would have come over to the USA pretty quickly in the mid-late 1800s, having no Ashkenazi contact for the one or two marriages from which my mom was born.

At any rate, we are all children of Adam and children of God, and hopefully children now of the Holy Family. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our Savior.

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Catholic-Judeo Spirituality of Fasting: It’s all about squealing with joy

anthony paul

Fasting with a spiritual purpose is different although overlapping in many ways with mere nutritional dieting, the latter of which can, by the way, also have profound spiritual motivations. After all, we are not Promethean Neo-Pelagian Self-Absorbed Self-Congratulatory Manichaean Gnostic haters of the physical universe, are we? No. After all, our Lord Jesus is Incarnate, the Divine Son of none other than the Immaculate Conception. Some quick points:

  • Fasting goes way back to the time of the formation of Adam in the Garden of Eden, even before his wife was brought forth. God commanded Adam not to eat that which would harm him, but gave him free will to do as he chooses. Adam did not fast from the forbidden fruit of perceiving any good as admixed with the evil of egoism except if he should assent to enmity over against Satan, assent to the redeeming, saving grace from the Son of the Mother of the Redeemer.
  • Adam was thrown out of the paradise aspect of the garden lest he attempt to grasp after that which he could not understand, the fruit of the tree of the living ones, feigning unsuccessfully that he could, by his own efforts, thereby gain eternal life, but instead necessarily only hurting himself all the more. Mercifully, the cherubim with the fiercely flaming sword were stationed to protect the tree of the living ones, converting his grasping into receiving if he should humbly so choose.
  • As we grasp and are then painfully routed by the ardent enmity over against Satan that is God’s love at the end of that sword of the fierce cherubim, we see our weakness all the more clearly, excruciatingly clearly, so that we might choose to give up trusting in our own efforts of grasping and be humbly content with receiving the fruit of the tree of the living ones, thankful for the eternal life we then receive.
  • But we are weak, and we fall when we choose to grasp instead of receive, setting up gods for ourselves and being delayed in entering the promised land. And we are pedagogically punished, analogously, for forty years of anguish in the desert, learning not to trust in ourselves but instead in the Suffering Servant.
  • That Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, would, of course, found mercy on justice and stand in our stead, demonstrating this by being tempted for forty days and nights in the desert, fasting because we had instead glutted ourselves. In those temptations, those mind games of Satan, Jesus answered each and every time – no matter the temptation – with reverence before, obedience to, and love of His Heavenly Father. That is what we must learn: not mind games, but love. He, Love, conquers all.
  • Brought to the tree of knowing good admixed with evil, the cross, our Lord transforms it into the tree of the living ones, and after we fast in those days of His passion and death, He would have us feast on the fruit of the tree of the living ones, which then we don’t dare to grasp ourselves, but which we then, by His grace, that ancient enmity over against Satan, He would have us instead humbly receive, providing us thus with eternal life.
  • Fasting is not about saving ourselves, pretending to become ‘stronger’ (preparing for a bigger fall in our pride), but rather we begin, endure, and conclude fasting with friendship with Jesus:

Before: “Jesus, I’m terribly weak, and if I fast I get headaches and am at the ready to be testy with anyone in any situation. Jesus, please, in having me see how desperately weak I am, have me die to myself altogether so as to live only for you, trusting only in you.”

During: “Jesus, I trust in you… Jesus, I trust in you… Jesus I trust in you…”

After: “Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me so much about how you are our only Savior, and that to trust in you is to love you, and be brought by you to our Heavenly Father. Thank you, Jesus.”

I think it was reader sanfelipe007 who mentioned the joy of a young child jumping in the arms of a loving father, squealing with joy, and how much Jesus could not but immediately present such a soul as His gift to our Heavenly Father. I paraphrse. But I really, really like that… squealing with joy…

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Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Spiritual life

Father Byers: Thank you Nikki Haley! “USA! USA!” and “US-UN! US-UN!”

All of a sudden America is no longer a puppet for Islam.

I love that. I could have written that speech.

Disclaimers: I’m a Catholic priest, and I’m also Jewish, you know, mom, grandma, great-grand-ma… enough for me to be a Knesset qualified Israeli. I’ve lived in Israel. Been there multiple times. I have friends there. Contacts. Dare I say המוסד has always been really good to me. I think Israel has a right to defend itself, has a right to security, has a right not to be obliterated by Iran or others. Moreover, “Salvation is from the Jews,” said Jesus. And Paul:

They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

Disclaimers: I also deplore unjust actions meant to antagonize, and I saw really a lot of that while living in Israel and spending really a lot of time all over the West Bank, far North to deep South, West to way to the fence on the East. I raised my voice about injustices to the consternation of many others. Economic slavery only brings frustration and anger and… revenge. There are a million little anecdotes that I heard from friends, but those add up to make a culture, a policy. Also, just to say, anecdotally, a Palestinian man saved me from getting shot by wild IDF gun-fire (spraying bullets just to do it, or perhaps a bit directed). Another saved me from abduction. Another very dramatically stopped me from getting killed. Ironically, it was while I was attending a university in the occupied West Bank that I noted just about half of the student body also wanted peace by way justice, so, I’m not alone in that. I would like to see it be easier for priests and nuns to renew their visas so as to work in the clinics and schools and orphanages that no one else takes care of. I condemn what comes down to a forced removal of Catholics from the West Bank to anywhere else in the world, as the former Patriarch had warned was happening in one of his pastoral letters.

Having said all that: Thank you, Nikki Haley. What you said had to be said. Utterly reasonable. Keep up the good work. I had to laugh out loud at your rambunctious and repeated statement: “US-UN”! Hah! That should be a new chant at all South Carolina sporting events along with “USA! USA!” Let’s shout: “US-UN! US-UN!” Hah! What a great day brightener.

img_20170222_073706Totally off topic (and I ask forgiveness in advance… I put these things up for a reason…). After my sacramental visits on my day off yesterday (some hundreds of miles), bringing Holy Communion, Anointing the sick, and other sacraments, I was able to get off a clip or two from the Glock. It’s been a while. This is really the first time that, instead of aiming so much, I was concentrating on the basics (as I’m a complete beginner), so that with now abandoned Israeli-carry, I was practicing drawing from the holster hot. This is what I did with the bottom corner of a moldy folder from the hermitage (which is still there I’m happy to say). That folder was the only target I had to use. I was aiming to the upper right side of that pattern, so I’m still a bit South and to the left. But still pretty good I thought for this activity.

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Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Military, Politics, Terrorism, המוסד

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (The Jews will survive edition)

Update: This post in the Flores series was originally subtitled as (Tooth of the Lion edition), but that needed an edit for the encouragement of our soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan, who are just now reading the post. Here’s the deal: Saint Paul says that the Jews as a group will convert after all the gentiles convert just before the second coming of our Lord Jesus. This means that any attack on the Jews as a group, while doing damage, as with the Nazis, will not at all bring the Jews to and end. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, still standing, will make it so in His great love for them (for us [I’m Jewish]). But this shouldn’t embolden anyone to think that any particular place is somehow protected by that Lion, as no one said anything about exemptions of places or numbers of people for that matter. Jerusalem was leveled in the first century. That very Lion of the Tribe of Judah was put to death. But… but… He rose from the dead, always the last One still standing. That should give attackers pause, and bring them to conversion.

Original post:

dandelion2

LEODandelion = dent-de-lion = Tooth of the Lion. The name seems to come not from the flower so much as the leaves, with their jagged saber tooth appearance.

I’ve had three experiences with lions (panthers) in the wild, all within 100 miles of the parish here in the mountains. Whenever I hear talk of lions, I think of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Christ Jesus, who is the only one standing after any battle. I remember someone once objected that the lion in this picture couldn’t be Jesus since he is scarred. But of course, we only have to remember that Jesus, also risen from dead bears the scars of the battle upon Himself. He won the battle by dying instead of giving up; He won the battle by then rising from the dead; He won the battle by bringing His Immaculate Virgin Mother, soul and body into Heaven; He won the battle by bringing the bloodied martyrs to Himself; He wins the battle when you and I go to Confession.

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Filed under Flores, Jewish-Catholic dialogue