Tag Archives: Nature

Just for nice, because God is good

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This was seen recently whilst racing through round about the winding roads of the back-ridges on the far-side of this parish that I love so very much. Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Smokey Mountains National Forest. I love it. So beautiful. I love those who are here, the criminals, the good people, everyone. Our Heavenly Father does. Jesus does.

Sure, there is – oooh! – this thing wrong in the world. Sure, there is – oooh! – that thing wrong with individuals who put themselves on a power trip in the Church. Yep. Jesus knows all about it. If we get all hyper anxious like “No one is doing anything about all the hell going on!” we might just lose sight of our Heavenly Father sending His only-Begotten Divine Son into this world so as to stand in our place, the Innocent for guilty, redeeming us, and, if we so choose in His grace, saving us. Our Heavenly Father has done and is doing something about it. Jesus took the place of the guilty, us, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin.

Is the beauty of this world passing away like the flower of the field, as Jesus says? Sure. But we can praise our Heavenly Father for this “first memory” of the beauty of creation (as Ratzinger in 1990 had it in Dallas) should we have a “second memory” of re-creation. That second memory – “Do this in memory of Me” – has to be first in our experience before we again begin to see, as it were, the memory of the first creation, the beauty. We have to be courageous enough to see the ugliness of the wounds inflicted upon the Divine Son of the Living God so as to see the beauty of the love of the One bearing them for us.

You see those trees in the picture above? Is there an analogy to help us see them? To be able to see them our robes, our bodies, must be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. We see the beauty of nature created by our loving Creator through the Blood of the Lamb.

If not, we are bound not to see any beauty, and then dump rivers of trash down the mountainsides (which can absolutely happen here in Western North Carolina). If not, we are bound not to see that we are to be tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, you know, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, and therefore dump rivers of trash of sin down into our souls.

Go ahead, join Jesus in anguish for the redemption of mankind and the salvation of those who want it while He prays in the agony of the garden. Go ahead and don’t fall asleep like the other apostles. Go ahead and don’t deny Jesus like Peter, or betray Him like Judas, or run away like all the other apostles. Be brave! Sure. But know this, you’ll only be able to do that, you’ll only be able to come back as did John to stand next to the Cross, next to Jesus’ good mom, if you yourself are the simplest (in a good sense), smallest child of God able to thank God with joy for His gracious creation.

Can you see some good in the murderous druggy criminal? No? Then you don’t get it. What we are to see in everyone is that God has loved us while we were yet sinners so as to get us out of that state and bring us to be His good children, looking to Him in humble and joyful thanksgiving. None of us are better than anyone else. We all fall short of the glory of God as Saint Paul says. We are have needed to be cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb. None of us has anything to brag about regarding our own salvation. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Filed under Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Nature

Global warming? Ask a Minnesota Loon. He will tell you about global unfreezing

This guy is paddling about on the waters of Ely Minnesota. Loon laughs can be heard for miles when the forests are dead still and the waters are reflecting that mysterious melancholic power humor: “This is my lake” coupled with “It’s time to raise a family.” I still remember individual instances of stopping my miles-long walk to and from school through forested paths along the lakes and streams and ponds and sloughs and marshes so as to listen intently to this sound shattering all pretense at having other thoughts in one’s mind and heart and soul.

Early on at the Prep School that was part of my home parish, our English prof whom we called “Slink” (O.S.B.) assigned us to write an essay. I hated this and I was disgusted at what I had written, knowing it was sterile, boring, without merit. I was not yet introduced to the fact that also I have an imagination that can draw in analogies – philosophical, theological, mathematical… – to whatever perspective I myself (who would’ve thought?) might want to envision, even putting all that into a story line.

After all was said and done, a friend let me read his essay. It was on loons calling in the quiet early morning shadows of the mists and fog rolling over the lakes and through the forests. I was captivated. “You can that with words?!” It was the entrance into another universe entirely our own and now more entirely “our own” than ever.

Meanwhile, I had been introduced to the concept of “global warming” since I was in Kindergarten in – what? – 1965. But don’t be fooled. This was truly scientific and it was not called “global warming” but rather “global unfreezing.” Up in Minnesota we have lakes and loons, and an explanation for lakes and subsequently loons that made sense to us as kids and which makes sense to me still today some 55 years later.

We took field trips to numerous places used as examples by geologists and climatologists to demonstrate to the scientific community that the sheer abundance of lakes in Minnesota came from the landscape being plowed up by mountainous glaciers extending from the polar ice cap down to Minnesota because of an ice-age some 10,000 years ago that was itself caused by a cataclysmic event bringing about global cooling, such as the impact of a large meteor. When the world temperature started to heat up again as the atmosphere cleared up from all the ash, the glaciers started to melt, dumping their water, of course, in the basins they had plowed up, creating the lakes in which the loons now frolic. Call to mind such as mastodons eating ferns being instantly frozen only now being found in northern Siberia as the melting following the great freeze continues. It’s not that there is global warming. No. It’s that the earth is finally getting back to it’s normal temperature. I’ve been writing of this for a long time and no one has an answer. Tender snowflake ideologist bullies merely stare at me with glazed eyes, knowing I speak the truth but they are unable to “go there.” Another agenda is at hand for them.

Let’s glean some trivia from William Bornhoft on the lakes in Minnesota.

  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes over 10 acres each. Our license plates are low-balling us with 10,000.
  • Wisconsin says they have 15,000 lakes but with no size requirement. Going by their looser standard, Minnesota has more than 20,000 lakes.
  • Minnesota has 6,564 (69,200 miles) of natural rivers and streams.
  • We had 18.6 million acres of wetlands in 1850.
  • Red Lake is 288,800 acres
  • Mille Lacs Lake is 132,516 acres
  • Leech Lake is 111,527 acres
  • Lake Winnibigoshish is 58,544 acres
  • Lake Vermilion – 40,557 acres with 290 miles of shoreline. That’s a full day of car travel to drive around.
  • Lake of the Woods has 950,400 acres total with 307,010 acres in Minnesota
  • Total Area Covered by Lakes and Rivers (deep water): 2,560,299 acres
  • Total surface water area including wetlands: 13,136,357 acres

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“Day Off” Slaying *The Dragon* x 4

Tail of the Dragon road map names

The day off started with the alarm ringing at 1:00 AM. Early to bed, early to rise and all that. After feeding the dogs and taking care of some chores, I jumped into Sassy the Subaru with a full tank of gas and put on 548 miles round trip that also involved the most intense road one can find anywhere in the world, that is, for a “normal state maintained road.” That’s for the second time in a week. So, four times on that stretch of road. I love it. The motorcycle crowd and sports car crowd come from all over North America to do this ride. There are no guard rails, as these slashers are more dangerous to those one two wheels or three.

I’ve had some scary incidents on the southern stretch of the Taconic Parkway heading down to the Big Apple during morning rush hour – wow… – but the “Tail” is an intensity of another kind, with the emphasis not only on constant acceleration and braking, but also on gear shifting even multiple times every few seconds… for more than 11 miles, with a steering wheel continuously wildly spinning 180 degrees+ in one direction then immediately in the other. Not for the those who fear heights or are not used to an adrenaline rush, that is, if you’re actually trying to keep up with the 30 mile-an-hour speed limit. I’ve never been able to keep up to the 30 mph mark through all the curves, hairpin turns and switchbacks. Nevertheless, the tires did sing, or was this the dragon’s tail itself, the Subaru making the dragon scream, slaying the Dragon and all that?

On a sad note, and as a warning, a deadly serious warning, you have to be careful when dealing with dragons: don’t mock them, don’t push your luck. There is this:

Tail of the Dragon road map deaths

Even Saint Michael the Archangel did not mock Satan:

  • “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment 1 upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 1:9)

Let the beauty of the nature of the ride, the joy of the ride conquer the Dragon.

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Oh deer! Reason #289076092873490857 why this priest visits the sick and dying

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Even if priests have hundreds on their sick and dying lists, they should personally visit all of them. “EMsHC” cannot cannot cannot provide the sacraments of say, Confession and Anointing.

That’s reason number one for priests to do this. Aren’t priests supposed to be fathers of their parish families? Yes.

Reason #289076092873490857 for why I visit all the sick and dying is that, in this paradise of a parish in the heart of Appalachia, I rejoice to see lots of nature while I am out and about going from county to county, taking Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with me. There are the mountains and rivers and beasts of all kinds. Who wants to sit in an office all day?

There were actually five deer in this group. The picture is taken from the front porch of one of my home-bound. They stopped to listen to our conversation about them.

Today will be interesting. Sassy the Subaru will see some hundreds of miles, twice. A Mission of Mercy. A Hail Mary please.

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Tail of the Dragon today making tires sing!

I was escapading today on the Tail of the Dragon. Being named after Saint George I had to slay that dragon, making him scream in pain. Or was that just my tires singing on the curves?

This being Tuesday, this being the infamous day off, I figure I always have to do something spectacular. Today I’m due to get a good talking to by a bishop from the Holy See, that is, me and other troublemakers like me. More on that after the fact.

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Australia’s fires: God’s love analogy heaven, hell, purgatory, and this world

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A picture of what is right now going on in Australia. A link to this was sent in a comment on a previous post about these fires: Procrastinating in a fire: hell! Note that in the picture above, the fragile leaves are still on the trees. One nanosecond before this picture was taken, these flames were not there.

Analogy: The Church is right now being purified and sanctified by the most fiery ardent love and truth of the Most Holy Spirit, sent by Our Heavenly Father and His dearest Divine Son, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Eternal Word of the Father now become flesh, as Saint John the Evangelist puts it, so that we might be formed to be one with the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body, we the members of the Body.

That ardent fire of love, God’s love (and God is Love), is always and for everyone good and kind, manifesting the very Truth of God:

  • In heaven this fiery love is received as the ardent love that it is, the saints having been purified of self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy.
  • Upon this earth this fiery love purifies us – as it has all the saints ever – from all self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy, that is, if we allow ourselves by God’s grace, by the graced humble acceptance of His proclamation, “I call you friends.” This humility is reverence in action, thanksgiving amidst this purification. Humility is needed so that we don’t entrench in entitlement to be self-loving only, utterly concerned with our concocted protectionism of ourselves not needing any salvation from self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy. It is God’s re-creating love which cuts through our self-congratulatory arrogance and opens us up to being one with the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head, and we the members of the Body, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation and culture and time and place. But, mind you, the purification of the fiery love of God, more fierce than the mere worldly fires pictured above, is a purging fire, like gold purified by fire. Graced humility has us be trained in – like all the saints – in piercing through the dross with this fiery love. The fiery love is our Paraclet, our Advocate, our Consolor, our Friend.
  • In purgatory this fiery love instructs the Holy Souls, who are by sanctifying grace the Tabernacles of this same Most Holy Spirit, who bear within themselves the presence by grace of the Most Holy Trinity, who are on their way to heaven where, as Saint Paul says, that grace will flourish in glory. Those Holy Souls (for whom we pray!) are instructed as to just how far Jesus had to reach into this world to get them, to get us, stretching out His hands from East to West, from the rising of the sun to its setting, upon the cross, 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. The depths of this truth is what these Holy Souls wanted somewhat to avoid, as it is a painful truth for us upon this earth who are so tempted to being self-congratulatory. Jesus really is our Savior, the One, the only One who can fill us, recreate us with the fiery love of God, with God’s presence. God is love. Once the Holy Souls are purged of any remnants of entitlement to think of themselves as their own saviors in any way on any level for whatever reason, once they have been instructed by this now purging and purifying fire – always God’s love, God being Love, they are then on their way to heaven, having been trained in for heaven, for their greatest joy in heaven, which will be to thank our Lord Jesus. We can’t thank Him if we don’t know what He has done for us. God reveals to those in purgatory what He has done for them. This is we should be allowing – by grace – to happen to us upon this earth. This is painful, as painful as being purged and purified and brought to humility, but by love, fiery ardent love. All the saints who went through purgatory either upon this earth or just after death, were purified of self-love, all calculation and political sycophancy.
  • In hell this fiery love is not at all received by those who are there. They don’t want it. They reject it. They blaspheme because of it. It is “burning” to them inasmuch as this brings their entire being into frustration and rebellion and hatred, on emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels: “NO! NOT GOD’S LOOOOVE!” They are reduced to nothing by the flames of God’s ardent fiery love. God can only be God. God is love. God provides His love to all. But it is received differently.

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Procrastinating in a fire: hell!

blue ridge mountains fire australia

The above picture is taken from the home of the Publisher of These Stone Walls. She’s in the Blue Mountains, not of WNC, but in NSW. What you’re looking at is a wall of fire and smoke racing over the ridges consuming everything in its path. She’s next on the list to get an evacuation order. Prayers for all those involved, residents and firefighters.

Forest fires in Australia are particularly dangerous as the common Eucalyptus tree has a highly flammable oil, making the trees literally explode like a bomb. In the heat the flaming oil is through up into the fire storm’s own turbulent winds, and is able to carried as fire balls for even a few kilometers, giving such fires the potential to spread crazy fast.

Add to that the fact the temps are up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit and we have a recipe for absolute disaster. I’ve lived in those same blue mountains down under, saw the same rising of smoke and flames shooting across the road in the front of me while driving from place to place, and, mind you, just place to place, not evacuating. It’s surprising how close we let hellfire get to our own personal lives… spiritual lives, too.

The trouble is that you tend to listen to the laid back words of the laid back Australians, and ignore it all. It’s like living on Key West and saying that you’ve weathered hurricanes successfully before as a hurricane blows you off your feet. It’s not a guarantee that things will turn out just fine this time. As I get older, I think I would just go ahead and evacuate. Or maybe I would let myself entrench in my ways. Hmmm… my spiritual life again…

Father Gordon told me this morning that he himself has no problem at all with procrastination since, of course, he’s already put off thinking about any problem with procrastination that he might otherwise have.

Hahaha.

Confession time: I can procrastinate with the spiritual life. But – hey! – knowing such horror is the first step in going about changing things up. But in this case, it’s not about me working at it so much as just allowing myself by God’s grace to be drawn into a closer friendship with Jesus, trustful of His providence from the one moment to the next. To evacuate this world and escape the fires of hell, well, there’s no room for procrastination. And our Salvation is Our Lord Jesus Himself. No fear! Confession time!

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Seen while doing priest stuff

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My friend: Neoscona crucifera spider, making friends of your enemies

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  • neo = new or newly
  • scona = beautiful // derived from badly pronounced German – perhaps referring to a more interesting color scheme as the spider grows. The red and red are striking.
  • cucifera = cross bearing // some patterns up top are very clearly cruciform

This guy is fairly big as spiders go. He can bite, hard, but there’s nothing that can hurt you. He’s great to have around natural insect control. I love it.

Typical of these orb-weavers, he’s been hanging around the doors of the church and at the end of the social hall of the parish in this late Summer, early Autumn time of year. The strands of the webs will cover doorways or stretch between buildings. Some might be temporarily surprised, but they get over it right away, and find it rather humorous.

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

Last night was no exception. Our bishop graciously made the four-hour trip from Charlotte to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation Wednesday evening. We had fourteen confirmands:

  • 11 from Holy Redeemer in Andrews
  • 1 from our Prince of Peace mission in Robbinsville
  • 2 from Immaculate Heart of Mary mission in Hayesville (of St William, Murphy)

Our next class (every two years) should be quite large as well. The Deacon from Maggie Valley Living Waters Retreat Center assisted, as did his son, who is the pastor of the next parish over, both good friends. It was the most packed we have ever had the church. The city of Andrews must have wondered what was happening, as all three parking lots were overflowing far unto the neighbors lawn. Ooops. Sorry about that!

Earlier in the day, in protective mode on behalf of the spider, I grabbed a stick and had him crawl onto it, and placed him up the steep ridge next to the campus. I’ve done this before and it’s taken him a day to get back. But, learning the ropes, he was back within hours and made a grand appearance at the reception after the Confirmation Mass.

The bishop and I ended up having a seat for a bite to eat outside the social hall at the end of the tables at the end of the carport, just where our spider friend dropped down on a bit of silk thread right in front of our faces. Haha! I swept my hand above the spider so as to drag the thread to the side. The spidey, not to be outdone, simply dropped into the food of one of the confirmands, which I immediately flicked off. Our confirmand said that spidey was crawling on me. I brushed him away, for the sake of those at table.

That didn’t work. Throughout the rest of the meal until the bishop was in his car, the spider kept returning to me. He was on a leg, on a hand, on my neck, on my head. Brushed away again and again. Back again and again. Quite the triumphalistic spider if you ask me. He was reeling himself in with his silk thread. I tried to ignore him as I was speaking with the bishop. To no avail. This went on for a good twenty to thirty minutes. The spider knows I don’t want to hurt him. The bishop was most amused. :-)

You have heard that it was said, keep your friends close to you and your enemies even closer. I say, made friends of your would-be supposed enemies. Our Lord did that with us, right?

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WNC Cecropia Moth and… Jesus!

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This is a rare Cecropia Moth, as big as a bat. They don’t bite. They don’t even eat, surviving only for some days after caterpillar stage. For all of his fake eyes, this guy surely doesn’t even see me. I’m not in his purview. He’s on his way out. This picture was taken just down the way from the rectory at the gas station pumps, in the way of everyone, not long from death. Everyone was busy talking on their phones. No one else noticed him. Perhaps such things are not in their purview.

Are there other things not in our purview? Think about it. We can’t really know if we have no time or desire to see whatever it is we don’t even know we are not seeing.

So, we can ask whether Christ Jesus is in our purview. What a dumb question. As if we would even know what that means. We would ignore Him if we were without His grace even if He had His hands on both of one’s shoulders, trying to get us to notice Him. Our ineptitude of purview is total. What’s important is that we are in His purview. That’s what counts. We’re on our way out. But He sees us. Salvation is then wonderful to behold.

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Great American Hornet! Populism? Ultra-Nationalism? Globalism?

This gargantuan fellow was out at the hermitage, a Great American Hornet that is also called the European Hornet. There’s a controversy about this. Apparently everyone calls them only European Hornets. You have heard that it was said: “European hornets are the only true hornets native to the U.S.” Stare at that. Native. To the U.S. If that’s true, then can we not say that “The Great American Hornet, truly native to the U.S., is also native to Europe.” That’s my view of it from the hermitage. Making Hornets Great Again, and all that.

Meanwhile, Jesus has stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty – for all human beings from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Jesus redeemed all. We do what we can that the many be saved also from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

In the face of that, can we be so proud of one nation over another? Well, yes, but on other levels. Those other levels, be they political, economic, social, linguistic, artistic, etc., are appraised not by relativistic standards – which is what most all do – but rather appraised by mercy founded on justice, on respect for the individual as necessary to the common good, on honesty and integrity about who we are before God, where conditions of whatever nation are either a help to the free exercise of true religion, of the sacraments, or not.

No individual is better of himself more than another individual of himself. We all stand subject to original sin and whatever of our own rubbish sin, and all of that is responsible for the death of the Son of the Living God.

This not being better thing is also true with time. We’re not better today than those of the past just because we live today. No.

Having said all that, and having been in – if I remember rightly – some 26 countries, it is America which is, in my not so humble opinion, far and away the best country, the greatest country. I’m NOT saying that there are not sins against life, against justice, against reason, against mercy. There are. But the Constitution we have is soooo much better than dialectical materialism, etc.

I am patriotic. I’m a proud American.

Thanks, dad, for helping me to understand. Thanks for taking me to all those 4th of July parades when I was a little kid. To all the fireworks shows. Thanks for showing me around Northeast Virginia, Washington D.C., all around this great country of ours.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saprotroph, edition)

A group of Ink Cap saprotroph mushrooms in the backyard… thinner than paper…

They come up in hours at night, burn away in the sun hours later after dropping their spores. So, I thought that’s all I would see. Instead, the backyard has been taken over by these guys.

Laudie-dog is scared of them, even though they seem to have contributed to her getting over her fear of heights:

Laudie-dog has not been shrooming, by the way, as these mushrooms are harmless if one doesn’t drink alcohol at the same time. These mushrooms are called Tippler’s Bane. Laudie isn’t a tippler.

Anyway, I know these aren’t exactly flowers, and I know they these are the ultimate “Natura morta” presentation to Our Lady, but – Hey! – this oldster is still fascinated by all that is nature as all that is nature shouts out the glory of God, with things being as they should be, each thing having its place, each cooperating with all other things to make it all work.

“Natura morta” or “Dead nature” is badly translated as “Still Life,” as in paintings that include fruit and flowers, things that are dead because they cut off from the supply of life from a plant or tree, and therefore are for the moment especially to be valued because of their passing beauty, the reference to “the flowers of the field” made by our Lord Jesus, the Divine Son of Mary.

I myself have often been the subject of analogies to mushrooms of all kinds, you know, someone who is kept in the dark and fed, well, you know…

Why give such a saprotroph to Our Lady? Isn’t that an insult? Not at all.

On the one hand, saprotrophs, in and of themselves, have a beauty all their own.

We, on the other hand, have only our sin to claim as our own, and that sin makes us less than the animals, less than anything, including saprotrophs, which instead feed on us and turn us to dust when the time comes, and it will come, much much sooner than later.

Good thing that Jesus even takes away our sin, so that we have nothing, as the neighbor to the hermitage told me recently.

And that last point, then, is what giving saprotrophs to Mary is all about, namely, it is about the wounds of Jesus witnessed by Mary, we casting our sin unto Jesus and, revealing the glory of the love of the only Begotten of the Father, we see His mercy upon us, having us die with Him, but this time on the Cross… under which Mary stood.

All that comes to mind with a saprotroph. :-)

Of course, we don’t need to overthink it when giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception. We can just do it.

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Turtles, snails, EPA, DOJ, and… Jesus!

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It is said that this guy’s species is vulnerable, not quite endangered, but getting there. Near the hermitage, Box Turtles are everywhere to be seen. Like the turtle pictured above, they eat snails, raw. I guess you would have to call that poisonous Sushi or badly prepared Escargot.

If he’s eating a vulnerable snail, I wonder… if it went to DOJ prosecutors as handed over by SWAT teams from the deep-state EPA, which one would be protected more, the turtle or the snail. You’d have to kill the turtle to get the snail, which is already mortally wounded… So… Let’s spend billions of dollars on litigation while the whole rest of the world is going to hell and both the turtle and the snail die anyway! All so very absurd. I’m sure you can make analogies…

Meanwhile, in the Church, regardless of whatever improvements in policy are being made or not in regard to the abuse crisis over decades of more of the same abuse of authority, the ONE WHO IS IMPORTANT, JESUS, IS STILL NOT MENTIONED FOR MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS. How has that worked out? How’s the Church doing with that?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Fathers Day, edition)

These guys have just jumped out of their little purple martin bird house a few feet away for the first time, learning how to fly, with purple martin mama anxiously protecting them from the neighborhood around the rectory which gathered to see the sight. I mean, these don’t look like purple martin kids, do they? I mean, the beak is hooked… Is that right? And the “babies” are already twice as big as the mama before they even know how to fly. What’s going on here?

Anyway, my first thought was “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception,” which I always have on the front burner. I’m thinking that that’s not a bad thing. Oh, and here’s another, who keeps looking at how far down the ground is…

Last night after the Vigil Mass the Latinos had a Fathers Day party, complete with singing and cake:

On Mothers Day the Latinos give all the ladies roses after Mass in the social hall with another party, of course. I said last night that the Fathers should get something as well. Many suggestions were made but all immediately dismissed as it was said that it just doesn’t work that way. But to my my way of thinking, it’s a gift to any Father to be able to give a gift on Fathers Day. So, a whole heap of flowers for you, Mary. I suppose the birds will fly away, having learned how to fly. But that’s as it should be.

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Satan’s camouflage: humility

Insignificant, unassuming, unnoticed, blending in, not because he’s humble, but because he’s the ultimate “gray man”, the one who’s a fly on the wall while actually being the elephant in the room, the most clever of all creatures. What to do with such insidious deceit?

  • If we’re trusting in ourselves, you know, so that with our own strength we do not have we go about trying really hard to be insignificant, unassuming, unnoticed, just blending in as one to be congratulated for being so humble, then, with such mind games, imitating Satan, the ol’ monkey see monkey do, we will fall.
  • If, instead, we trust in our Lord Jesus, that He is our Savior, that he doesn’t give us strength but rather draws us to be united to His strength – that is, His love, His truth, and therefore this being a matter of actual humility in action, that is, thanksgiving – then the insidious deceit of Satan’s fake humility is easily seen for what it is, terribly arrogant, hateful without limit. And we remain in awe before the majestic love of Jesus for us, He bearing the wounds of having faced the entirety of Satan’s arrogance and hate for us. Irony Incarnate, the Divine Son of his good mom, kills off our idiocy; He says: I am a serpent, a worm, a maggot and not man at all (see Psalm 22:7).

The serpent in the picture, only some inches long, was seen yesterday in the gravel just outside the church.

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Getting reprimanded by a professional

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“Look! A Squirrel!” Yes, the squirrels in these parts commonly lack color, so much so that there is a white squirrel festival complete with the soup kitchen guy wearing a white squirrel outfit put together by the neighbor to the hermitage.

On the “Day Off” I spent some time in town at a friend’s house, parking in the shade of a massive tree. Before going in, I sat in the car with the windows down for a few minutes checking emails and such. This girl didn’t like it one bit, parking herself on the tree just a few feet above me, scolding me continuously for minutes on end without a break. I thought I had better just go in so that she could get back to her young squirrels.

We fallen human beings thrive on being reprimanded when this is done for a good reason, is reasonably carried out, is consistent, predictable. And we learn. And we recognize that as a good thing. That’s when it’s all reasonable. But it needs to be met with reason on our part as well, a bit of humility. The Lord has given us commandments. As He said, if we love Him, we will keep those commandments of love of God and love of neighbor.

The reprimands for our lack, we have to know, will be as continuous as a mama squirrel. Our guardian angels will make sure of that. Count on it. Don’t discount it. When it happens, don’t get frustrated, upset. It’s best to thank our guardian angels for doing their job and helping us get to heaven.

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Dam Road! It’s for the birds!

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It’s been raining. The creek is flooding over the road out front of the rectory, with the road acting like a dam. Water is up to the house. The birds don’t care. There are three here:

  • A purple finch
  • A sparrow (Did you know you’re worth more than a whole flock of sparrows?)
  • Some sort of black bird. I have no idea what it is…

Meanwhile, Nebraska is still mourning, still suffering from its worst flood ever, with 76 out of 93 counties declared disaster zones. Remember this picture?

Nebraska flooding March 2019

Hail Mary

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Holy Communion: receiving on the tongue vs grabbing with the hand

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Tiny little feathered friends seen on the Day Off. Very humble, that. Merely receiving. Not grabbing. What does the Lord say to us all in Psalm 81:11?

“Open wide your mouth that I may fill it.”

Also, the Tree of Life, i.e., the Tree of the Living Ones, comes to mind. Adam may receive the fruit of the Tree, the Eucharist from the Cross, but Adam may not reach out his hand and grab the fruit of the Tree, pretending that in that way he will live forever, that is, because he reached out his hand as if he’s saving himself. No. But he may receive if he is receptive.

Adoration this past Sunday at 6:00 AM at Holy Redeemer:

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Mr and Mrs Elk. Finally, a sighting.

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This is toward the end of the Smoky Mountain Expressway near my parish, last evening, on the infamous “Day Off.” This is the first time since early 2011 to see any Elk. Big creatures! You can tell they are Elk and not Caribou since Mrs Elk does not have a rack:

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To rejoice in God’s good creation is good. Mind you, this is not some nothingness, irrelevant, a distraction, forgetful of the worst torture and death, to be condemned as tree-hugging and a sacrifice to the gods and goddesses of new age hooey. No.

Behold, the praises of the three young men thrown alive into the fiery furnace but saved by the Lord:

  • “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
  • Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
  • Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
  • Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
  • Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever.
  • Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • You heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Sun and moon, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Stars of heaven, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Every shower and dew, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • All you winds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Fire and heat, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Cold and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Dew and rain, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Nights and days, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Light and darkness, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Let the earth bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Mountains and hills, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • You springs, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Seas and rivers, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • All you birds of the air, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • You sons of men, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • O Israel, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
  • Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. For he has delivered us from the nether world, and saved us from the power of death; He has freed us from the raging flame and delivered us from the fire.
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.
  • Bless the God of gods, all you who fear the Lord; praise him and give him thanks, because his mercy endures forever.”

 

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“Don’t mess with mother” – analogy

Sorry, I couldn’t help but make the analogy…

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Of course, Mary’s ferocity is to get us to go to Confession and go to heaven.

Anecdote time – and this does NOT break the Seal of Confession!

When I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes and hearing zillions of Confessions of the 12,000,000 pilgrims that 150th anniversary jubilee year in the “Confessions Chapel,” the last penitent left the confessional leaving the door open. Another pilgrim appeared and, before coming in, declared before God and everyone else in ear shot (really a lot of people as it was jammed) that he didn’t know what he was doing there, that he didn’t want to be there, that he hated this, but it was just that after some moments in the grotto he felt compelled to come into the Confessions Chapel, and there he was, hating the whole thing, surely with his guardian angel smacking him down hard. And then he came in, closed the door, and…

That’s how our Lady works. Don’t mess with Jesus’ good mom. She’ll get you every time.

P.S. I have not ever, not now, nor will I ever, as far as I know, ever own an iPhone.

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Filed under Confession, Lourdes, Mary, Missionaries of Mercy, Nature