Tag Archives: Nature

Democrats: Abortionists, MS13, Cartels

So, I won’t put up comparative pictures of D&C abortions and MS13 butchering of their victims. They look exactly the same. Democrats love abortionists and MS13 activities.

Are they all animals? No. They are less than animals. So say the great saints of the Church. Animals do what they are meant to do by our good Creator. Abortionists and MS13 members do not act like human beings, making them less than everything in creation, making them less than animals.

Sure, our Lord redeemed us. He would love to save us. But we should not praise sin nor the sinner. Our Lord wants us to repent, agreeing to be turned by Him to Him, away from sin, away from the way we were, so that we become one with God.

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Seeing goodness in all, even in…

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Hanging from a spider web, very much alive, jaws ready to clamp down on anything or anyone who comes near. Some people would say, “Eeeeww!”, and have to deploy a parachute, you know, the kind drag racers use to slow down after a race. Some people, like me, would say, “COOL!” and examine whatever it is all the more closely, provoking this monster in particular to get its jaws moving. “COOL!”

I see goodness in all things, even in Satan. Does that make me bad and evil? Well, not in and of itself. One can appreciate how God created this once good angel with extreme intelligence, with infused knowledge. He hasn’t lost that, just the wisdom that should go along with it. That changes everything for him. But I can still praise God for Satan’s awesome attributes which Satan did not acquire, but were given to him, like, say, determination, like, say, well, it’s difficult to think of anything more than that!

This goes back to the clarity of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who insisted that evil was not something, but a lack of goodness that ought to be there, so that the good that remains, though out of context and bound to be unappreciated by that sinful subject, is still nevertheless good in itself. And in regard to Satan being in hell forever and ever (where he himself wants to be, with all the damned), we will praise God because of that, that is, for God’s justice and power and majesty.

Indeed, God’s love is everywhere. There are those who don’t like God’s love, those who suffer because of God’s love for them, such as those in hell, who perceive that love as incrimination and therefore their damnation, but it is only God’s love all the time, just like in heaven, but those in hell don’t see this. They lack the foundation of the wisdom they ought to have. But I can still appreciate whatever good it is that they have left in order for them to exist. That goodness comes from God.

Just to be clear, let me say this: Satan truly is very bad, and, so to speak, evil. Get it?

Saint Michael Department of Homeland Security

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Lake Wobegon in the fountains of Saint Peter’s

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Just inches tall: not a donkey, but cool

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My neighbor next to the rectory has a ultra-super-miniature-pony in his back yard, just a hand-full of hands high. What’s cool is that Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog are totally cool with that: no barking. I guess this grass eating machine, so tiny, is not a rival or threat, though I’m sure it packs a pretty powerful kick. The neighbor, a firefighter, has a kid who is small enough though just old enough to ride this “horse” (by species). Breed horses like that all you want. But, please, don’t do that to donkeydom. Then I would object.

Do the analogy. We’re all born a little bit – how to say it? – off the mark, not because God made a mistake but because of original sin. We get socked with all sorts of things. Too tall, too short, blind, crippled… or challenged in a thousand different ways… But, given that we’re all smacked down in this world. Given that we all have something, can we not just use these things in service of the Lord. The little guy in the picture above gives joy to the likes of a little kid which he otherwise couldn’t do.

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The ol’ fruit fly: nuclear 2nd thoughts

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So, I guess the fruit fly worms fall by gravity? Anyway, they look really cool!

fruit fly

I wonder if nuking food is really so bad.

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Tornado? It’s been a while…

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Tree downed near Peach Tree. It was right across the road. Imagine: night, bucketing rain, hail, blowing rubbish hitting your windshield, you know the road, but then… a tree across the road. This one was obviously cut by some guy who lives on the road just to get by. I myself have done the chainsaw thing like seven times on the backroads, at one point not going anywhere without my trusty chainsaw. This tree continues on the other side of the road.

Where I was, there was also lightning, thunder, a bit of rain and hail. But no wind where I was. Stupid me. I didn’t think: “tornado.” I should have known, having been in plenty of tornadoes as a kid, that these are all the signs of a tornado, for which you don’t at all need wind if the funnel hasn’t yet dropped down. The second it does, it’s all full speed out of control train on the run. I and the ones I was with should have taken cover. But, come to think of it, there was no place to go. Except. Heh! To heaven! At least hopefully on the way. As one reader said recently: Go to confession!

When I was in the hermitage there was a level 5 tornado that when right overhead, slamming the hermitage as a number 3, but skipping over the mountains until it landed harder in eastern North Carolina, Virginia and D.C. How quickly I forget.

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Be the turtle: patience x 3

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I’m guessing this is a mama box turtle, or maybe a snapper, out near the hermitage. She’s looking to lay a few eggs in the unusually warm late Winter weather. She’s taking her time, wanting to get the placement of the eggs in the ground just right. I’m told the eggs can last two years, waiting for just the right conditions. Turtledom survives, slow but sure, getting it right.

I got a bit of practice with all this while doing the thesis on Genesis 2:4a–3:24, four years of slogging through every letter of every word with brutal historical philology, right back into the cuneiform, correcting revered technical dictionaries, certain that I was doing the right thing but not seeing where any of it was going until the end: patience, patience, patience. I think it goes along with Pope Francis’ humility, humility, humility and Father John Neuhaus’ fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.

These are just some basic foundational aspects of our lives. Just to say: just because I got a bit of practice with some of this doesn’t mean that I’m any good at it. It just means I’m starting to see the supporting scaffolding and thought I’d use a turtle to write about it. Saint Teresa of Avila says that it’s good to make analogies of the spiritual life with the things we see in our daily lives. Yes. I like that. I like it a lot. Nature is very cool altogether. Do you see analogies with stuff in your daily life?

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Elevation of the parish: in heaven

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The Appalachian Trail crosses the road just here. Just 3,165 feet. The peaks in the parish go up 5000 feet plus. Not far from the hermitage the peaks can get well beyond 6000 feet. On the other side of Asheville, the next big city over the way, some peaks edge on 7000 feet. These are the tallest mountains in the Eastern United States. Mount Washington up in New Hampshire comes in below Mount Mitchell here. Of course, there is nothing as high as the Himalayas or the Rockies or Alps or Andes or Atlas Mountains, nothing like that. No, no. Just humble mountains here. Heck, the tallest of the megatall buildings like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai seem to be about to get in the competition if there is one.

But, in Jesus, you can touch heaven from the deepest valley as well, right? Right?

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1 in 4 washed away without a trace

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It’s been raining and raining and raining. The stream next to the rectory rose up and grabbed one of our new Holly trees and threw it into the river on the other side of town. And then the water went down again, like it never happened. But the tree remains gone.

And so I think of so many who have gone on their way to the next life in such a way, in waves of violence, waves of sickness, waves of war, waves of accidents, waves and waves. We can look to what would have been, what could have been. Or we can look to what might be, what may be, what we hope will be in heaven. Life is changed, not ended.

We are in exile here. Exile, I say. Far from home. So very far. And yet, God is with us, right with us, the indwelling it’s called, of the Most Holy Trinity, so that we are tabernacles of the Most High, the one thing that is important, and it cannot be ripped away from us by anything, by anyone. Jesus loves us.

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Ever ancient, ever new, we are in exile

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Peter Strzok would call this a hillbilly house. This is one of the extremely few stick-built houses in the northern region of my parish that I past by at the tops of the ridges of these mountains on Communion Calls. Dwellings are mostly mobile homes of the extremely tiny variety, although there are longer ones that fit the description if not the reality of single-wide and double-wide.

Just in the 4 1/2 years I’ve been racing around the mountains here this house has decided to disintegrate markedly. When they get to this stage they collapse altogether before you know it. I’ve seen quite a few houses and barns simply fall under their own weight, weighted down as they are by humidity and mold, weakened by rodents and carpenter bees and termites.

Such dwellings would be filled with memories, but their owners are long gone as well. The forest reclaims the house and the Forestry Service reclaims the property. We think we keep such houses alive with imagined memories, but they just continue to cave in to the inescapable pressures round about. And they don’t even do that. They just fall down.

We, however, think that we are as young as we feel, that is, not regarding our health situation (for we can have all the aches and pains and misery anyone could ever experience), but regarding the state of our minds. If we have discarded past baggage of whatever, and we feel free, and we set about having a second childhood, well, maybe then the reality sets in that good memories in the dwelling that these bodies are don’t quite give us back the health we once had. I have great memories of insane extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean I can do them up again.

If we have the wonder of a child before the entire universe and God Himself – hey! – we are in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new. But our bodies can’t quite keep up. Walking through life in the stability of being with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, provides a youthfulness that does not shun the grave, but rather, with living hope, in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, one looks forward to heaven, knowing that, in that present friendship, it is already starting.

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Nature… I never cease to be amazed

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Moss and ferns in the frozen high ridges of WNC don’t care about frigid temps, but are as green as ever you might find in the Spring.

Meanwhile, WNC, at least at the hermitage, has by far – no comparison – the longest hoarfrost in the world. Looking at google images, I see nothing like it, but hoarfrost it is. These ice crystals grow out of the always saturated with water forest floor (where there is a break in the ground on a steep ridge). They can be two inches long, or three, or four or even more inches long, breaking up the ground by carrying chunks of the ground out into the air.

Just to say, Saint Francis appreciated nature so very much because nature just “obeyed” the will of God for it, while we, endowed with so very much more spiritually, have gone ahead and become weak through original sin and our own rubbish. Nature is like an exam of conscience, shining a light on our lack of promptitude in following up on the will of God for us, that is, goodness and kindness and truth.

We can think it is easier to go the way of weakness. But, instead, that is so very difficult and full of anguish. Looking to the Lord as little children in humble thanksgiving, with prompt enthusiasm, brings one into amazement before the throne of the Most High. And that’s just awesome… awesome.

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The luckiest priest in the world

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The various seasons of the year here in the mountains lift me up into the profundity of all that is ever ancient, ever new, Him who is ever ancient, ever new, the Creator of creation, Jesus, who wants us to be like the littlest of children so as to enter the Kingdom of God. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit autistic, but I like doing things such as counting the ridges on the mountain chains when they have a light layer of snow on the trees. I count 25 vertical ridges in the picture above. I’m amazed at things like light and darkness. The scene below grabbed my attention. Brrrrrrr!

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Bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to the shut-ins is always a great joy. He’s my companion while wandering through His creation. I love it.

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Stop! Look! Mountains to climb!

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Traffic lights stopped me dead after returning to Andrews from Airport Road looking for furniture for an elderly lady who just moved to Andrews from out of state and is dirt, dirt, dirt poor. So, there I was, just sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there. It’s a long light. And then I saw them like I’ve never seen them before. Being in Andrews is like being in a small mountain town in Colorado. I had to take a picture.

I met a really old guy, you know, older than me, in the supermarket parking lot the other day, who, in pointing to those very mountains, said that he was going up in a few days to do some trail hacking, that is, for the Forest Service, that is, making the trails more passable for crippley old people like me, much younger than him. He was older than me by a good ten years.

I’m thinking that I’m out of shape, and let getting hit by a bus some decades ago over in Rome be a good excuse for me to let myself get out of shape. Perhaps I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. Perhaps I’ve been sucking in all the consoling words of those who saw me in a wheel chair for the longest time, and then, forever it seems, on crutches. That’s not good for the body or the spirit. Perhaps in my own small way I could learn from the Navy Seal guy who was pretty badly hurt but wrote this sign to put on his hospital door:

jason-redman-attention

An old codger, full bird, the Shadow of all Shadows Gray Man, a good friend, told me that any hero we might look up to is NOT just to be looked up to, for that misses the point altogether. A hero is someone you strive to be like.

Going to the “absolute utmost” and then going 20% beyond that. I like that. Perhaps I’ll give it a try. Can you hear my reluctance. Gotta get over that. I should go back on my diet. I lost 20 pounds in a  few months and then plateaued out as people do. Then gained about five pounds and stayed there for about a year. Time to start down again. I could stand to lose about 55 pounds. I’ve given up on the BMI thing as it was made for only one body type and not like mine. According to that I should lose about 100 pounds and be as thin as a toothpick. Not going there. At least I don’t drink at all and don’t smoke at all and try to stay away from sweets. I gotta tell the Church ladies I’m going back on a diet.

Oh, and the spiritual analogy? A mountain to climb? And it’s getting dark out? The spiritual analogy is easy, right?

“I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself” (Exodus 19:4).

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Laudie-dog, snakes, tears and tech

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When getting back last night from a second trip to graham county Laudie-dog noticed a snake coming out on the back porch of the rectory, despite the cold, and she was immediately in protective aggressive flurry mode. Poor snake.

Here’s the summit of the Trail of Tears, Tatham Gap Road, which basically starts in my parish church and makes its way out to Nebraska. The government of the time killed off thirty million bison so as to starve to death those Cherokees who survived the death long death march.

tatham gap summit info sign trail of tears

I would like to know how to turn my 770 ThinkWare clips into a YouTube movie so that you all know where I go on my screamingly beautiful Communion Calls with Jesus. This is paradise here on earth.

tatham gap washout

Perhaps there is a techy trick to this. Anyone?

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Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

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This isn’t my picture but it’s exactly what I saw near the hermitage the other day, an Appalachian bobcat, except that what I saw seemed to be much bigger with much darker spots. Also, the back feet seemed to be ever so much bigger and the hips much higher than the shoulders. Everything seems to be bigger and more spectacular in this most remote of places in North America in WNC. I thought I was looking at a cross between a Siberian Tiger and some sort of sasquatch on all fours. I mean, the back feet were really huge, something more like the Canadian lynx:

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Anyway, that’s now multiple times I’ve seen a lynx, besides panthers and bears and coyotes and red wolves and a grey wolf and have seen tracks for a massive mountain lion. Some think that panthers and lions (so very much bigger and different in so many ways) are the same as a lynx and bobcat, but not:

black panther

The above might be a melanistic jaguar, but what I saw two separate times was taller, much more lanky with a longer neck, definitely a panther, which has a narrower paw print than a mountain lion, which is a heavier, stockier animal.

mountain lion

Anyway, I am reminded of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the last One standing after the deadly battle with the evil one. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is always with us, watching over us, fighting for us:

lion of the tribe of judah

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Fall at the Hermitage on a “day off” but paradise is carried within

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The Hermitage water fall. And then there’s this above another water fall:

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And, of course, content as ever, my friend, close to the river starting not far away at the continental divide:

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I was at the hermitage twice on the “day-off”, the second time to make sure that “grandma” would be getting her diabetes shot since the neighbors were gone to the funeral for her brother, making her the lone survivor of the family.

Both morning and afternoon – I couldn’t but do it – I did up some target practice, this time replacing the QIT-99 with my 7″x9″ targets, not getting 100% anymore with the targets just a 1/3 the regulation, but still passing with 80% and 85%. Grandma, herself a crack shot with both a pistol and a long rifle, said that all that target practice is useless since, if you need to shoot, you just shoot and it’s done. But she’s a natural at it. I need to keep sharp with practice. And… and… for me it’s really fun, and it’s a real distraction, and it gets me outside and in the forest, making me feel at home, though in exile…

WNC is paradise. But, here’s the deal… you carry paradise within you (2 Cor 4:6-18 nab):

For 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. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

donkey blessed sacrament

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Laudie-dog Eclipse-dog; Islam and the crescent moon; Jesus and me.

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So, there I was, sitting in a chair, head back, eclipse glasses on, staring at the moon crossing the sun, with Laudie-dog trying to get my attention. So, I took a number of pictures of her, including this one. Mind you, she is not blind, this moment was just a millionth of a nano-second in length in which I somehow managed to take the picture just as she also looked up just before totality. She wasn’t just imitating me; she was trying to tell me that something weird was going on, like, um, me sitting and staring at the sun, because, how dumb is that, right?

During totality, Laudie dog was shaking with fear. But the shaking wasn’t, mind you, in fear of the celestial events. Rather, the town of Andrews was playing super weird spooky music even while others were shooting off fire-works. Laudie dog has no liking for that activity. Anyway, here’s the totality to my naked eye (and naked camera):

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I loved going to the planetarium in the Twin Cities as a kid. It’s totally different when you see things happening in front of you. When the moon started blocking the sun, the first thought that came into my mind and heart and soul was: “God exists! God is so very wonderful! God loves us!”

But this wasn’t just an intellectual thing. I suppose people will make fun of me for saying this, but this was a spiritual event for me, very very very peaceful. By that I mean something beyond Saint Paul’s chapter one of his letter to the Romans. All creation speaks of the glory of God, yes! But more… It was as if Jesus was with me watching the eclipse, which, although He is creating that eclipse, although He is creating me, He can come in His wonderfully condescending love (in the absolutely best sense) and be in His own creation (He is incarnate!). And, by the way, He can also give a flower to the Immaculate Conception.

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Meanwhile, with the crescent sun a thought came to mind about the crescent moon and Islam.

While I was studying the Syrian language I came across a cultural tid-bit well known to every Muslim in that part of the world but not to someone like me from the North woods of Minnesota: the moon is a man, enlightening in difficult circumstances, helpful and kind, never threatening, even while the sun is a woman, always threatening, burning, hurtful, unrelentingly cruel. During a solar eclipse, the moon beats down the sun. The phases of the moon are actually just the sun trying to escape on the other side of the earth. Once in a while the moon hunts down the sun and shows the sun who is boss. The crescent moon is lifted up above every mosque/cultural center. The meteor rock in mecca is part of the moon come to earth, right? In that part of the world, the received mythology treated various celestial bodies as the gods, that is, the sons and daughters of the original deities which progressively became more material as time went on.

Meanwhile, the woman clothed with the sun in the Apocalypse (and our Lady of Guadalupe) has the crescent moon under her feet. Heh heh heh.

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Day off – part 2 – Bambi

Mother doe and her little bitty fawn – at her right shoulder – had their antennae up near the Hermitage. I wonder if the lion will get them, or the wolves, red and grey, or panthers. Or..  or..  they could be OK.

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NASA comes to my parish: Eclipse 2017 Full Corona Andrews North Carolina

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eclipse map august 21 2017 Andrews NC USA

NASA has rented out an entire abandoned strip mall here in Andrews NC to get ready as we’re directly in line with the center of the eclipse on Monday August 21 2017. [NASA will be at the middle school.] So, this is the official place to be. Of course, the moon doesn’t care about anything “official” but runs it’s course where it will. On the map below, the vertical moons show the extent of the corona that you will see depending where you are. You can see the full corona in the greyed out path:

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Here’s the timing and duration. You’ll be able to see the full corona for a just more than two and a half minutes if you’re in Andrews, North Carolina:

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The hotels are all booked out on that date already months ago. But bring your own vittles and fixins and drinks and you should be just fine. We’ll have an extra big supply of food after the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 214 Aquone Road (see map above). Monday you’re on your own. Be sure to get your eclipse glasses. Someone gave me a pair today. They sell them in City Hall for $2.50, or for lots less if you buy many:

eclipse glasses

I think the population of our little town is something like 1,700, but “they say” that there is an estimated 10,000 people coming, with some saying 20,000 (from as far away as Europe) and some saying 100,000. That’s a lot of porta potties for 2 1/2 minutes! But it might well be a three day event.

Be careful of the pickpockets and be aware that the end of the world people come out of the woodwork at such times. Be situationally aware in these weird times we live in.

A spiritual note: Jesus said that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights. There was a full eclipse when He died on the cross. That passed and the sun came out again. That’s one day and night right there. Then Friday and Saturday night. He rose on Easter Sunday.

Mass Schedule: On Sunday, 11:00 AM, Holy Redeemer Church 214 Aquone Rd. Andrews. We have a “Social” afterward with lots of food. All welcome.

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Rejoicing in Rainbows?

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I always rejoice when I see a rainbow because I love how nature works, including natural law. This double-rainbow was seen the other night with a good sized group of young priests over at the parish church where we were. Some of them had suffered in the seminary or in their priesthood from the lavender mafia, as it is called. All of them were happy to see the symbol that the castigation is over and the promise of good things to come has arrived. None of them thinks of God’s promise of goodness symbolized by the rainbow as a symbol of continued sin, but instead find such an interpretation of self-congratulation for sin to be disgusting, blasphemous. All would agree with this:

Rainbow

For myself, in this year of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, of Our Lady of the Rosary, of graces and mercy, I think of another splash of light across the otherwise threatening skies:

fatima lucia trinity mercy

And with much emphasis on Divine Mercy we recall this light coming from the Heart of our Lord and Savior:

divine mercy

As a priest who hears confessions, I don’t care what sin it is that people confess. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever other sin, right? I only care that people turn away from sin by turning to our Lord and His Divine Mercy. I rejoice in that Divine Mercy for all who want it, who want to be on their way to heaven. I know that His Mercy is a sign that the castigation is almost over, with the clouds dissipating, with the floods receding, with the promise of goodness and kindness to come. So, I hope I haven’t made the LGBTQetc crowd too upset. That’s not my intention. I’m just saying that mercy is for everyone who wants it. Is that a bad thing to say?

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