Tag Archives: Mary

Fulton Sheen on the lovely lady dressed in blue who teaches us how to pray

This was put up in these pages many years ago. I think it best to republish this now for many reasons, which should be quite clear.

This video is the most amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing recitation by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen of this poem by a religious sister in Pennsylvania. Don’t just read the poem in a second. Play the video and drink in the truth of it all.

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Teach me how to pray
‘Cause God was just your little boy,
And you know the way
Did you lift him up sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you tell him stories of the world,
Like Mother did to me?
And when he fell, did you lift him up,
And make everything alright?
And did you tell him his prayers at night?

I want to know my lovely lady, lovely lady,
Dressed, dressed in blue
Oh, God was just your little boy,
Your little boy and you know the truth
And did you whisper in his ear sweet lullabies,
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, did he cry?

Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Oh, won’t you please teach me how to pray?
‘Cause God was just your little boy, and
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, so teach me how to pray

Teach me how to pray

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How dare I preach about Mary’s Son Jesus?!

I had better get it right, because, if not, I’m liable to be scolded by Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception. She wants her priest-sons to speak rightly about her Divine Son, Christ Jesus, Christ our God, The Priest.

This family obligation, if you will, hit me quite strongly this past week. Because of renovations in the church, just painting and such at the moment, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima had to come down temporarily, so, she’s been standing right next to the priest’s chair in the sanctuary, off to the side.

I get distracted by noticing her fierce and, if I may, snarky eyes, as if encouraging me to speak more fiercely in an every more snarky manner. Since that’s the direction I’ve been heading over a lifetime, but more markedly in these past number of months, this is perhaps wishful thinking on my part, you know, the old “I’m blame Jesus’ good mom for any fierceness and snarkiness in my preaching.

I mean, here’s my view up close of those ever so fierce and snarky eyes:

Yes, she is happy to be our good mother as well, but what I see in those eyes is someone who has seen it all, and wants that the truth in all charity be preached to the little flock of Jesus her dear Son.

I have to recall when, at just 16 years old, as a Fatima Cadet of the Fatima Family Apostolate of Father Robert J Fox, I was able to help carry the statue of Mary on the vigil of the apparition of July 13, so, for the candlelight procession in Fatima the night of July 12, 1976.

These are the things I carry in my heart, into my preaching, to this day.

To be clear: what I carry in my soul is the grace of the good confessions of a life-time (at the time) in Fatima. Mary, you have to know, leads us to her Son. That she has interceded through the years that I might be able to preach about her dear Son is about enough to bring me to tears of thankfulness. Non sum dignus. Poor Father Fox, who had to hear my confession of a life-time (at the time!). His goodness and kindness and faithfulness have always been a good example to me to strive to follow.

It’s good to have a good confessor to whom to confess to Almighty God.

Go to Confession!

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Penalties for not wearing Covid-1984 masks? Song fest!

  • Francisco: “What are you in for, sir?
  • Thug: “Murder, rape, arson, pretty much everything. What are you in for?”
  • Lucia: “We were rushing to meet the Queen of Heaven, and we forgot our face masks.”
  • Thug: “Seriously, they threw you prison for that?”
  • Jacinta: “Yes, but as long as we’re here, how about singing some hymns with us? How about ‘Immaculate Mary’?”
  • All:

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“Old Slither” and Mary

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

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

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

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

JESUS DOG-WOMAN

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

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

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

Hint:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pieta

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July 16 – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

elijah mount carmel foot sea

  • You remember how Elijah stopped up the heavens from raining for years.
  • You remember how Elijah brought Israel back to the faith all of Israel with the great sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
  • You remember how Elijah took proper care of the necks of the 450 henchmen of Jezebel / prophets of Baal (not to mention the 400 fake prophets of Asherah[?]).
  • You remember how Elijah prayed for rain, and it did rain. He saw from his cave facing the Mediterranean Sea (above which I lived) a cloud in the form of a foot rising from the sea, bringing the rain. This is the foot which reaches out, taking the initiative, to crush the head of the serpent back in Genesis 3:15.

brown scapular of our lady of mount carmel

  • You remember how the crusaders preached by the greatest of saints in those bygone centuries, who fought defensive wars against the Islamicist slaughters of the faithful in the Holy Land.
  • You remember how some of the crusaders then removed themselves off to Mount Carmel not far from the cave of Elijah. They took what is actually the Dominican habit, just brown, with the scapular, the tiny version of which is pictured above. I hope you wear it. I do. And pray the Rosary. Daily!
  • You remember how the new Carmelites moved into the wadi, right were I’m standing to take the picture below, looking down to the Mediterranean. They wanted to become prayer warriors in the same spirit as they were crusaders. How embarrassing the mosque you see to the upper right of the picture. Sigh.

flores - mount carmel wadi

We gotta remember the history of Mount Carmel whilst we live our own lives today whilst we wear the scapular and whilst we pray the rosary.

And, of course:

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The “Hail Mary” thing for the Coronavirus

I should like to add that you can do one Hail Mary for the living, and one Hail Mary for the dead. Please share.

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Holy Family: Chaos Unexpected. Nothing calm, contemplative, peaceful. NO!

Holy Family not

I’m a bit rough on Saint Paul VI, who gave an address in Nazareth on 5 January 1964 in which he spoke wonderfully about the Holy Family. Perhaps I’m jaded, but I thought it was too sweet about the Holy Family, too nice, too peaceful, too calm, too silent, so contemplative, so prayerful. I’m sure he meant all that in an innocuous manner. But whatever his good and holy intentions, well, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I make that really quite clear.

Also, when I get on a rant like this, all worked up, I might make brave in attributing things to those to whom they don’t belong. I don’t know if it was in this particular recorded homily or another the same day in which I attributed the phrase “field hospital” not only to Pope Francis but also perhaps to Saint John Paul II, et al. Sorry about that. Don’t get stuck on that kind of thing. I’m getting older. Forgive me. The point is about holiness embracing chaos for holiness’ sake, you know, like Jesus stretching out His arms to embrace us… on the cross… And this chaos started at His birth and never stopped…

Paul VI did, of course, make plenty of great points about the spiritual life and the correct priorities in life we should all have. I agree with all those. But still, it set me into rant mode. Here’s that address of Paul VI. You might want to read over it before listening to the homily. Perhaps I go into rant mode because Paul VI, a saint, flies right over my head and I just don’t get what he’s on about.


From an address by Saint Paul VI, pope
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964) Nazareth, a model

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder Continue reading

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Not Three Kings, but Three Wise Women?!

This was sent in to Arise! Hmmm… Let’s take a look at that… [The one who sent this in, BTW, has a great sense of humor, and won’t mind a bit that I’m fisking this dish cloth hanging in front of the stove. What I say, although incisive, will I hope, also bring about a wee laugh.]

  • Three Wise Women would have ignored the guiding star instead asking directions to a place they had no idea where it was and so couldn’t ask directions and so would get themselves into trouble, at the least being sold into slavery…
  • Three Wise Women, in ignoring the star and so arriving in what they themselves think is on time – they being so wise – would have instead messed up the divine providence of the timing so that Herod would have been successful in killing Jesus with all the boys of Bethlehem two years old and under…
  • Three Wise Women would have tried to help the deliver the baby, which, instead of being born in the normal way, had a miraculous birth, much like how Jesus Himself walked right through the closed and locked doors of the Upper Room after the Resurrection, and this would have made them upset, because, you know, they came all that way…
  • Because of being upset with the miraculous birth, the three Wise Women would have ignored the moment and purposely busied themselves with the feces of the animals, because that’s the most important thing at the moment. We should call to mind that when Jesus’ good mom appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes, it was in the cave filled with pig-feces, symbolic of what was going on in Lourdes at the time. Mary is used to humble circumstances, and in being in solidarity with us, even standing under the Cross in all the violence, in the … feces of our sins.
  • Three Wise Women would have made a casserole, ignoring Hebrew dietary laws but bullying their way along, making everyone sad…
  • Three Wise Women wouldn’t realize the most practical thing in the world is to pray, not doing the Martha thing running about in frantic mode, but doing the Mary thing, at the feet of Jesus, in this case listening to His baby cooing.
    • Instead of gold for a king as a symbol of His good providence in governance for the poor ones of His little flock, the three Wise Women would have started a much more practical interest-bearing bank account, perhaps with Herod. Who else?
    • Instead of frankincense for The Priest as a symbol of how He would offer Himself in sacrifice for us, the Innocent for guilty, and so having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the three Wise Women would have given him Febreze™ Plug In Scents to suffocate the smells of the cave.
    • Instead of Myrrh used for the burial of a corpse – such as Jesus would surely be in speaking the Truth and thus being killed off like any prophet – the three Wise Women would have gifted Him normal spices that they could mix up in the casserole they themselves would eat.

And all this – let us be most clear – NOT because they are women, but because these three individual women would proclaim themselves as being wise (which the three kings never did), ending up, in their lack of wisdom, rejecting the entire economy of salvation to put themselves in front of everyone, drawing attention to themselves, you know, all in the name of Feminism, which brings the peace of a mere lack of war, what with everyone being dead already, instead of the sword of division which Jesus in His perfect wisdom came to bring, a sword of truth which instead brings us to reality, to repentance, to forgiveness, and therefore to love and respect for others, unto truth and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and therefore unto the true peace of Heaven. Jesus is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. I’ll stick with His ways so far above the ways of any of us who think we are wise. We have all sinned against Him whom we have all pierced. We have all thought ourselves to be wise… So… Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

Having said all that, I have to say that that dish towel perfectly sums up the Benedictine sisters I had for teachers when I was kid, that is, after 1968 and into the early 1970s. Yikes!

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Co-Redemptrix unnecessary for faith? Un-architecting “relational signifiers”

jesus faces

A rather anthropologically inhumane comment arrived to the blog stating “co-redemptrix as a title […] is not necessary for the faith,” and that “‘Co’ seems to be too strong of a relational signifier.” – That’s from a doctor of philosophy in theology, as it were, so to speak, who’s trying to architect Catholic faith with big words. Oooo! Big words! So, he says:

  • The “‘Co’ [of co-redemptrix] seems to be too strong…”

I guess he’s a man of his time. Are we all supposed to be absolute individualists, with no “relational signifiers” that are, you know, too strong, nothing that would disturb our faith so much as to be, like, actually related to others, to God?

Bwahahahaha…. Sorry. This is actually sad.

Let’s see what Saint Paul says about what kind of “relational signifiers” are appropriate:

  • “He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love. So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous…” (Ephesians 4:11-19 nab)

Get that? No? Try this:

  • “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.” (Colosians 1:13-29 nab)

Let’s see, Christ the Head, we the members, one Body of Christ, Mystici corporis Christi.

But all those “relational signifiers” – like “he” – are jussst toooo haaaard!

But wait, that one line there… “Filling up what is lacking…”

Let’s pray about this:

“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself.” (John 12:32)

I mean, that’s on Calvary, during the Redemption, Jesus on the Cross, and we’re supposed to be with Him on the Cross. We, with Him, on the Cross. What’s Jesus talking about? It’s as if while He is laying down His life, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us – He is also laying down our lives, like His whole Body, Head and members. There’s a highly “relational signifier” if I ever saw one. But, here’s the methodology of it: “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Luke 7:23), and “He must deny himself and take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23 – passim…)

But let’s go back to the outrageous Saint Paul, just to make sure we understand and it’s not tooooo haaard. I mean, “relational signifiers” is certainly tooooo haaard for me.

  • God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-12 nab)
  • Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? Of course not! (Or) do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.” But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20 nab)

So, let’s go back to Genesis, where the Mother of the Redeemer is singled out in battle with Satan. Then there is a parallel of sorts in the battle between her Seed and Satan’s seed, that is, her Son and those who belong to Him, over against Satan and those who belong to him. Lot’s of “relational signifiers” going on there. If you want to know about who crushed the serpent on the head, see my conference and thesis.

It really is the Mother of the Redeemer’s Son.

Sometimes the “relational signifier” was in the feminine, so that the Mother of the Redeemer is presented as crushing the head of the great deceiver. This points to how our lives are laid down with that of the Redeemer, whose heel is crushed (and He dies) and we with Him. One Bread One Body. All that.

I would love to see an advance in artwork. I would like to see Mary crushing the serpent on the head with her heel (not just a gentle caress with a couple of toes), and I would like to see how the serpent’s head is being crushed even while that serpent is crushing the heel of Mary in all violence. More on that in a Flower for the Immaculate Conception…

Anyway, to those who think they can quote Cardinal Ratzinger from the Seewald interview, think again. At the time the great Cardinal was burdened with his utter rejection of original sin, and therefore his complete misunderstanding of the import of the Immaculate Conception. You can read about that in a homily reprinted in In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall. Get the German. For him, at that time, it’s all about original sin not as original sin, not with propagation, but by way of imitation. This isn’t hard. Moving ahead – and this is all a long story which deserves to told at length – now Pope Benedict XVI gave his Angelus address in Lourdes on Sunday, September 14, 2008, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Suffice it for now to say that he reversed a lifetime of thought about original sin and the immaculate conception. Follow the French. Stare at it long and hard, repeatedly. It’s inescapable. Really. This goes to the heart of a lifetime of thought for him. This is not a small thing. He just didn’t get how close it is that Christ makes us members of His Body. But since then, he does. A gentleman. A scholar. Does he himself quote Saint Paul as I have. Yes. But, at that time, a bit from the outside. But no longer.

Look. Christ is our Redeemer, alone. I know that. But try to go deeper into the intimacy in which He unites us with Himself, His Body. There’s a couple of pages in the thesis dedicated to the great Cardinal. I made it easy for you in the link above. You don’t have to go to the Pontifical Biblical Institute to peruse it, after you get your degrees there.

I can’t resist, one more from Saint Paul, as I just can’t get over this guys usage of “relational signifiers”:

  • “For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:23-32 nab)

Talk about “relational signifiers”… HAH!

When someone says that such closeness with humanity is just too much, I think of Islam, which is scandalized by the Cross, for God could NOT love the world so much as to send His only Son so that He might make us one with Himself to give us as a gift to our Heavenly Father, through, with and in Himself, again… He having stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us:

  • For the sake of His sorrowful passion (justice)
  • Have mercy on us and on the whole world (mercy)

For Islam, God is tooooooooooo hoooooooooly for such love. But God is love. Jesus does make us one with Himself. When He lays down His life, he lays down our lives with His.

To think any other way is to prostitute oneself to the world. And by the way, the prostitute doesn’t need to be accompanied in her “job”, she needs to be gotten out of that.

And that’s, analogously, why I write such things, also for Pope Francis. I had the time to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He didn’t. We help each other out.

All this is encouraging me to do up the popular version of the thesis. I know that the time has come when people say that it is imprudent to speak of the Redeemer and the Mother of the Redeemer.  (More “relational signifiers” there, btw.) /// end of rant

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Pope Francis rejects seven popes on Co-Redemptrix

I’m going to offer a critique of Pope Francis’ impassioned rejection of Mary as Co-Redemptrix at Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the other day, December 12, 2019. The video above is the entire homily.

And yes, I’m aware through second hand information – I know, “second-hand” – and from a private conversation with then Cardinal Ratzinger – I know, “private” – that the then Prefect’s opinion of the title co-redemptrix could be misleading, but not that it was wrong in itself. Analogously, that’s what Saint John Henry Newman said about Papal Infallibility, right? It’s entirely correct, but maybe that wasn’t the best time to be proclaiming that truth of the Gospels in Matthew 16, what with the sum of all heresies running rampant in both the Catholic Church and the Anglican get-togethers at that time (it’s no different today). I would counter that the best time to preach the truth is all the time: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient [in season or out of season]; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Anyway, that objection of “it’s correct but the wording could be misinterpreted” is all a far cry from Pope Francis’ putting the absolute worst spin on that title for Mary – Co-Redemptrix – that he could possibly ever dream up in some nightmare, having it that not only is it misleading, but wrong, he even saying that efforts with this are “stupidities.”

Lets see what he himself says at 2’17”:

  • “Fiel a su Maestro, que es su Hijo, el único Redentor, jamás quiso para sí tomar algo de su Hijo. Jamás se presentó como co-redentora, no: discípula.”
  • “Faithful to her Master, who is her Son, alone the Redeemer, she never desired to take something of her Son for herself. She never presented herself as co-redeemer, no: disciple.”

Well, that’s all true:

  • She was faithful to her Master, who is her Son, He alone being the Redeemer.
  • She never desire to take something of her Son for herself.
  • She never presented herself as Co-Redeemer. [nor does she have to for this to be true.]
  • She was, in fact, a disciple.

The problem is that Pope Francis contrasts all this with the title Co-Redemptrix, attacking the historical interpretation of that title by, say, the “Servant of God” (first step toward canonization) Sister Lucia of Fatima, and by, say, Pope Saint John Paul II, who used that title a half-dozen times (and also a few more times for all the rest of us, by the way, inasmuch as we are to be evangelizers of the redemption). The title was also used by Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII. Anyway, let’s move on:

In the video, at 2’55”:

  • “Nunca robó para sí nada de su Hijo. Lo sirvió porque Madre. “
  • “She never robbed anything from her Son, but she served Him, because she is Mother.”

Fine. That’s all true as well:

  • She never robbed [stealing by way of arrogant violence] anything from her Son.
  • She served Him as Mother.

But that has nothing that contradicts her being Co-Redemptrix. With overwhelming irony, all that misses the point of her being the woman and mother that she is, as we will see. Let’s move along…

Then, at 6’07” (he’s mumbling a bit…):

  • “Quando vengan con historias de que de declarala esto a ser trato como un dogma o esto – non la perdamos in tonteras.”
  • “When they come with stories of having to declare this [Mary as Co-Redemptrix] to be a dogma or whatever – let’s not lose her in stupidities.”

“Stupidities.” This, of course, is not a named, but is nonetheless a direct attack on seven previous popes, as well as, it seems to me – and this is perhaps to the point – on Mark Miravale, who has made this title of Co-Redemptrix a life project. He’s done a lot of excellent work on this. What Pope Francis does is simply offensive. If he wants to pick a fight, he should name his adversaries who are alive today instead of hiding behind a bully pulpit. All stupidities about Mary? Really?

Let’s do some reasoning about this:

Pope Francis considers the title Co-Redemptrix to be falsely assigning Mary a function which she steals violently from her Son, as if being a woman and mother wasn’t enough for any woman, including Mary, to have dignity.

But this is missing the point altogether. It’s so dark, so dismal, so unable to see goodness and kindness in being a woman, a mother. Here’s the deal:

  • It is because Mary is a faithful woman, mother and disciple that she is Co-Redemptrix. Only she could be so faithful, such a mother, and such a disciple.

Let’s unpack that a bit…

  • Mary is free of original sin as we know from Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 (see my thesis on Genesis and Ignace de la Potterie’s study on Luke 1:28).
  • That means she has purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision such that she sees the contrast between God’s goodness and our sin. In looking upon her Son on Calvary, she sees all the sin of all mankind wrecked upon her Son. As a woman, as a mother, as His mother, she is in solidarity with Him while He accomplishes our Redemption, He alone our Redeemer. In her immaculateness, with her clarity of vision, seeing what we need perfectly, she perfectly intercedes for us in that solidarity, heart to Heart, with her Son.
  • Here’s the point: it is entirely fitting in justice that one of us mere human beings (only she is capable what with her being free from original sin) asks for all that we need in Redemption. Her request, in all justice, and her Son’s answer as a command to His Heavenly Father (Father! Forgive them), makes of them co-workers in our Redemption. She asks. He provides. That’s what the title Co-Redemptrix for Mary is all about. Nothing more. But nothing less.
  • Being Co-Redemptrix is the flourishing of her being a woman, a mother, His Immaculate Virgin Mother, and ours. She’s not brutally, violently stealing anything from Son to make herself look good. No. How sick is that? Instead, she serves Him in unimaginable suffering as only a good mother could. How could anyone look into her eyes and insult her that her motherhood is not flourishing here under the Cross?

We are also to be co-redeemers of sorts, co-workers with the redemption, evangelizing the redemption. Is that so bad, so blasphemous? No. It isn’t.

I have much to say about this connection between the motherhood of Mary and her title of Co-Redemptrix, foundationally in my thesis, and then more precisely and especially  in the conference on Mary, Mother of the Church Militant, which I gave back in 2013:

So, we pray for Pope Francis and for each other, doing this as, um… co-redeemers… and we ask Mary to show us all her motherhood, you know, as the Co-Redemptrix:

Monstra te esse matrem! Show yourself to be a mother!

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Pope Francis and my “rabbit” mom

just me 04

On December 12, 2019, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis denounced a title of our Lady, with an edge. I started to write about all that to defend that title used many times by Saint Pope John Paul II and which has a history in the Church. But the only thing I could think of was Pope Francis’ deep hatred for women and mothers. I forgive him. I do. But I’ve never heard him repent of what he said.

I know, I should be even more forgiving, especially of Pope Francis, and maybe not ask him for repentance, just a condescending permission for me to “accompany” him. After all, I’m his own Missionary of Mercy, right? I use those particular faculties all the time. I accompany people right to Jesus, not to sin. I hope I don’t lose those entirely useful faculties for NOT being a “Yes man”. Pope Francis doesn’t want “Yes men.” He said so. Therefore, NO. Pope Francis needs to repent like anyone else, with sincerity.

What came to mind for me during Pope Francis’ Guadalupe Mass homily about Mary the other day were comments he made on Monday, January 19, 2015, during the in-flight press conference from the Philippines to Rome, in which he demonstrated just how much he despises mothers and motherhood. Sorry, but that’s the way my heart and soul and mind work, that is, with reality.

Pope Francis said: “I believe that the number of three [children] per family, which you [the reporter] mentioned, is important, according to the experts, for maintaining the population. Three per couple.” Then, after citing an example of a woman having more than three children he says that this is a “form of irresponsibility.” Would that be a sin, perhaps an ecological sin that he’s accusing that woman of committing, publicly? And then he speaks of rabbits: “Some people believe that – pardon my language – in order to be good Catholics, we should be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.”

So, any woman who has more than three children is irresponsible, perhaps sinful, and a rabbit.

That makes my mom an irresponsible rabbit. Mom had two daughters with her first husband, and then, when he was killed in plane crash, she remarried and had two boys, including me, the last. That makes me child number 4. Last time I checked, 4 is more than 3. So, my mom is an irresponsible beast, and I’m the son of an irresponsible beast, according to Pope Francis. And she was probably sinful in her irresponsibility.

I thought it was bad enough when my “Shadow” called my mom a “b*tch.” A “b*tch” is a female dog. I’m not so sure how that’s so different from a rabbit. But this is the Pope.

So, that seals it then, right? He’s the Pope.

So, my mom is surely the most god-damnedest irresponsible beast.

Is that right, Pope Francis?

How about an apology?

There are plenty who follow this blog in the Holy See. They can give this to Pope Francis, who, as it happens, follows American blogs through his minions closely. I don’t want a phone call with an apology. I want to see him publicly repent of his remarks.

Now, I’ll set about writing about how a particular woman, Mary, can be more than a birth-robot. Stay tuned.

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How to make a processional litter as traditional Catholic life sees resurgence

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The two wooden outlines of the bottoms of the statues of Mary and Juan Diego are meant, of course, to keep the statues from sliding off the litter while it’s being carried by four men (of the same size!). When the statues are in place, I would recommend sliding a couple of pins through the wood and into the bases of the statues, just in case there’s an emergency.

And a close up of the brackets which hold the pipes as supports for the array of flowers that arc over our Lady:

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Guadalupe procession and dance

Starting the procession with blue light accompaniment above. Then below, passing by the rectory:

You can some singing and instruments in the video above.

After Mass at church there was a bit of dancing…

And a short video of that…

Then there were festivities in the social hall.

Lots of prayers and preaching and confessions and celebrating.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

guadalupe-

GUADALUPE

Update: at 5:00 am at las mañanitas:

Followed by 6:00 am Mass.

At 4:30 pm procession from end of town to the other.

Then 6:00 pm Mass.

Festivities follow.

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Immaculate Conception, Mother of the Church Militant in her motherhood

LOURDES-GROTTO

IVE GENESIS IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONFERENCE 7 FEBRUARY 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O felix culpla! O happy fault!

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End result of Mary’s enculturation

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

The end result of all good enculturation is described for us in the Scriptures:

  • Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
  • John 19:37 – And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
  • Apocalypse 1:7 – Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

The Immaculate Virgin Mother of God is singled out in Genesis 3:15 as one to do battle over against Satan. She does that maternally with us, placing us – of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and, dare I say, culture – before the wounds our Warrior, her Divine Son, Christ Jesus. No exceptions. Mary is the leader in enculturation because she simply places us before Christ’s goodness and truth and kindness and truth and love and truth. Being with Jesus, God, cuts through all cultural expressions of whatever madness. Look at her and tell me it isn’t true. Can’t do it, can you?

pieta

Seriously, that reaches across cultural “boundaries” does it not?

God Himself, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, that touches even fallen human hearts unless they have totally given themselves over to Satan purposely.

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Becoming upset with the chaos. “Beginning the Church’s downfall”

We usually get upset when we’re frustrated, which is when things are out of control, when we get nervous that the spinning of worldliness is spinning away while the true pole of the earth is tossed as irrelevant. However, it remains true that the Cross remains while the world spins away:

Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

That’s just a two second video of Shadow-dog above. He demonstrates well my reaction to anyone holding the cross to be irrelevant. That’s my reaction because I’m not as close to Christ Jesus as I should be. So, I get nervous, upset. How stupid is that. We must retain our peace of heart even if we also have anguish of soul. Anyway, I had that frustrated reaction the other day to something someone who should know better said of a proclamation of Saint Pope Paul VI to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council which received something like a dozen minutes of thunderous and unanimous applause in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Try anything more than ten seconds of applause…

Because Jesus is the Head of the Body – so to speak – and the members of the Church are the members of that Body, Saint Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae, which title is no innovation, no heresy, but is instead a title which is humbly bestowed upon her so as to celebrate the reality of her motherhood. She is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and her prayers for us under that steadfasat Cross that we might receive the grace of redemption as salvation directly from her Divine Son appropriately confers upon her such a title, for she is, then, our mother in this way, Mother of the Church.

The nasty thing I heard someone who should know better say is that this proclamation was the beginning of the end of the Church. I was stunned. Perhaps I didn’t hear correctly. Perhaps he meant to say that Mary’s inclusion in Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic decree on the Church, was and is somehow the driving engine bringing all to hell. Or perhaps he was saying that in general about the Council itself and he had no intention of demeaning our Lady.

But this is a symptom of the times, is it not? Flippant statements smashing everything and everyone down? Two seconds to throw all into chaos, and then smirking away. Wow.

But things are not “out of control”. The Lord Jesus remains the Lord of History. And we can remain with Him. He can and does make us part of the Holy Family. He does forgive us. He does fill us with sanctifying grace. He does give us the wherewithal to continue.

If that video above were to continue, one would see Shadow-dog immediately lie down and peacefully oversee his domain. A good example. Goooood daaaawwwg!

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