Tag Archives: Spiritual life

“Now you’ze can’t leave.” Line crossed.

The fuller scene is avoided because of continuous bad language, but what happens is that the Mafia crowd,  end the threat of the biker crowd who were trashing the Mafia crowd’s establishment.

The dark side lives for the time to hear those words – “Now you’ze can’t leave!” – crossing the line as often as they can on so many levels and in so many ways on so many occasions, pushing, pushing, pushing, until finally their dream comes true with some push back coming their way, not that the dark side enjoys that rather painful teaching moment, but relishing nevertheless the learning experience which no one else has been able to provide them throughout their lives, an instruction which they know they must endure in order to be brought out of their deep hell hole of escapism into rotted arrogance. We all know that that’s not the place to be. If only someone would help out.

Of course, we don’t want to hear those words – “Now you’ze can’t leave!” – just after entering hell. Anything that can get us to learn a bit so as not to go to hell is welcome, at least from the perspective of one in heaven who learned from his own smack down of whatever it takes, whether that comes from guardian angels or those who in the Lord’s providence are sent to do the necessary.

A word to the wise. This is true for everyone’s life. We all have a lot to learn. It’s best to avoid crossing the line and meet up with the Lord Jesus. He might have us thrown down from our high horse like Saul who would become Saint Paul, but Jesus means to bring us to heaven, you know, whatever it takes. He is the Lord of History. He’ll make the learning experience happen. It’s what we do with it that counts into eternity. It’s good to have our souls ready to go to meet Him at any time. A word to the wise.

If you think you’re immune, that you’re aloof, that you’re above all that, don’t. That attitude only proves that you’re ripe for a smack-down learning experience.

BTW and just to say, not all smack-downs are because we are lacking. Some are because we are close to our Lord. It is a powerful intercession for souls here and in purgatory when a soul who is close to the Lord is smacked-down, brought to nothing, humiliated, in pain and devastation, but remains in good friendship with Jesus. So, don’t curse those smacked down. They might be great saints. I call to mind that Jesus was smacked down, giving His life as a ransom for many, and that His good mom was in solidarity with Him regardless of Him being treated as a criminal on our behalf. The question is, are we also in solidarity with her?

pieta

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

holy sepulcher

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

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

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

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Snake in the grass at the rectory

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This fellow appeared last night. I’m thinking there is a brood of vipers under the rectory.

Despite the seemingly diamond shaped head, this just hatched serpent is surely NOT a baby Copperhead. It’s certainly NOT a baby Rattler, not even an Eastern of that ilk. I’m no herpetologist, but I’m guessing that the wide scale-plates on top of the head indicate that this kind of snake stays tiny. You would otherwise see a gazillion little scales. Maybe.

But it could get big, so that it’s perhaps a baby Eastern Black Racer, or Rat Snake, which anywhere else might be called a Bull Snake. They can get six feet long. Harmless. Beneficial. If you don’t have chickens!

He was let go in the Asparagus Patch. He can guard the spears from poachers, perhaps even underground moles who love to eat Asparagus roots.

Laudie-dog wasn’t invited to get a look-see, as she would instantly tear the poor creature to pieces. If one knows this, one can avoid it.

Shadow-dog was invited to get up close, nose to nose, and wasn’t nervous at all. Just inquisitive, and looking to me to know what to think of such a beast. I just let the snake go and so he absolutely didn’t care one way or the other. Gooooood daaaawgy!

Some notes:

  • We’re to be as clever as snakes even if as innocent as doves. One cannot actually be clever without being innocent. Being innocent develops cleverness right quickly.
  • Moses lifted up an image of the kind of snake that was killing the people in the desert so that all of those who looked upon it might live. Jesus said that He is that snake on the cross. He looks like us, we who kill each other off in sin, but He, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, providing us life, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • We are to beware, however, of the ancient Serpent, Satan, and we are to be aware of what Satan can do to certain willing parties, taking them over even though Satan makes them look good. Do you remember this scene of the false prophet, the anti-Christ, directed by the ancient Serpent, Satan?

SIGNORELLI ANTICHRIST

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“This is such a beautiful church!”

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That comment is to be heard frequently. I don’t know what people are expecting. Perhaps some unkempt nightmare? No. Not here. Parishioners love their little church and take care of it. In fact, we’re going to so some major (for us) renovations:

  • First off is the confessional. There will be no more possibility of face to face, with two windowed doors to two separate tiny rooms, the penitent side with a chair for the elderly and, of course, a kneeler. There will be a screen.
  • The entire floor will be redone.
  • All pews will be reupholstered.
  • There are plans to put in a marble altar, forcing the sanctuary to be redone, I’m thinking with an altar rail.

Meanwhile, other fixes are in the process, with windowed doors now going into the office area (I meet with people in other heavily windowed areas at the moment).

All is as it should be as we become ever closer friends with Jesus. The driving engine of all this in a time of crisis mind you, is the time we have for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The heaviest times for Confession are during Adoration and before the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Ah… That’s what’s being referred to! The souls of those who are drawn near to Jesus, those who make up the living Church. Yes, this is such a beautiful Church!

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Day Off: guns & spiritual conversations – Jesus bragging on His mother in hell

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Not having bought any ammo since, I think, sometime in late 2018, the “long-way” was taken to the hermitage, passing by a number of Walmarts with variously stocked ammo desks, some desk managers being more on top of things than others. Then, after hitting the UPS Store, it was up and up and up “the mountain.” BTW, can you spot the huge cross made out of I-beams partially hidden by the trees towering above the driveway in the picture above? The neighbor to the hermitage is a master welder.

After a couple of hours of quiet time – a day off after all – energy returned, prayers were said, protection of angels was requested, targets went up, mags were loaded, timers were set, “ears” were adjusted, adrenaline was forced, trigger fingers, left and right, were steadied, concentration was narrowed…

The first course consisted of some six stages of drills, supposedly of a SEAL team, surely dumbed down and from “back-in-the-day.” Here’s a picture of the first stage, just three yards out, from cover/holstered, with an 8 1/2 x 11 target of the usual “body” (inside the two vertical lines: 5:3/4″ x 10:1/2″) and “head” (consisting of a 2″ x 4″ box at the top, an eye-forehead shot instantly “stopping the threat”). The first stage is just one shot from holster to the “head” ≤ 1.5 seconds. Dunno why, but this time I was much more accurate and quick for all stages of all courses, coming in mostly (way) under time and with smaller more centered patterns, mostly inside the “inside bottle” representing the spinal cord. Prayers for priests and the bishop while moving, marking, changing out targets.

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The target then moves further away for different stages until 75 feet away up the ridge.

DIGRESSION: Someone had given me some massively oversized targets (23″ x 35″), I guess to poke fun at my aim, the comment surely being that I’m not able to hit the side of a barn… from inside the barn! I took those dozen or so roll of wallpaper-esque targets just to see if there was anything superimposed. Nope. Having ascertained that, those targets will now go back to the giver. As of a couple years, the most recent policy really is no gifts from intel, ever, zip, zero, zilch… can’t happen. I’m guessing the targets are for zeroing in rifle scopes, say, from a mile out. But I’m not a sniper. I don’t own or use rifles. Not my thing. With a Glock, as the saying goes, aim small, shoot small.

After that, it was time for an FBI course with reduced QIT 97-99 inside bottle targets (that partial detail fitting on legal paper), and then the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal courses (that target consisting of foam dessert plates propped up by pigtail wires), and then some swinging breakfast blend plastic coffee buckets on ropes and filled with dirt (out to about 15 yards), totaling for day I’m guessing about 175 bullets. Not much, but enough. It was a good day for review and keeping edgy.

With the Glock thoroughly cleaned and oiled and the target-ammo changed out for appropriate carry-ammo, I was eager to go to the neighbors of the hermitage. That’s when the real happiness of the day began.

The spiritual conversations after plinking are becoming a thing, as it were, something that’s expected and to which we all look forward. We spoke of judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, witnessing to the point of martyrdom, suffering, angels, Jesus, our dearest Heavenly Father, the state of the Church, the state of our souls, the patience of our Lord with us sinners, and being happy for Jesus that after all He has gone through for us, He is now in heaven with our Heavenly Father.

But most of all – at length – we spoke about our Blessed Mother, Jesus’ good mom, about what she went though in this world, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul and clear vision confronting this fallen world, how it is that she was in solidarity with her Divine Son Jesus as He was tortured to death right in front of her. If recorded, these conversations would be good material for an ongoing series of blog posts.

A repeat-topic about our Lady came up, you know, which of the 14 Stations of the Cross would be most – how to say? –  involving to Jesus. The neighbor said it would surely be the meeting with His mother. I agreed, but in another way, saying that it may well be when Jesus is taken down from the cross and put in the arms of His blessed mother.

Aquinas says that the divinity of Jesus never left His body even when that body died and He, with His soul, descended to hell to preach to the fallen spirits. It struck me then, devastated as He would be in His soul that His mother was so devastated holding His dead body, that He would be bragging on His mother to the fallen spirits: “Look at her! She’s the mother-warrior who crushes you, Satan, under her heel. She’s remained faithful in the most adverse circumstances, all of hell attacking. You have failed! She has won souls for heaven!” These are the words, so full of love, which will torture those fallen spirits, so full of hate, for eternity.

Much better to have our souls in order, frequenting the Sacraments, to go to heaven and rejoice to be happy that, after all they went through in this world for us, both Jesus and our Blessed Mother are there.

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I’M BLEEDING OUT lyrics analysis

You know the Law Enforcement Tribute above dedicated to our finest who place themselves in danger and lay down their lives for our safety. I put it up top of the blog with some frequency. It happens all the time. The song has become a bit of a meme, with the subjects being from the Military or Law Enforcement or the Fire Department…

But what if we were to apply the lyrics to Jesus?

I’m guessing this is not at all in any way whatsoever what the authors intended.

But let’s see what happens… Amazing…

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

I’m bleeding out
If the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down [from our pride]
I’ll bleed out for you [standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty]
So I bear my skin [and get it ripped off with the scourging]
And I count my sins [His sins… are our sins, the punishment for which, death, He takes on so as to have the right in His own justice to forgive us. “Father, forgive them!”]
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
When the day has come [The “Day of the Lord”]
But I’ve lost my way around [The “Way” has lost His way: the irony points to redemption. Just how many times did our Lord fall while carrying His Cross, that is, our cross, on the way to Calvary. Have you done the Stations of the Cross during this Lent?]
And the seasons stop and hide beneath the ground [Indeed. All of time is drawn into that one “Hour” when our Lord draws all to Himself, so that we might be buried with Him, so as then, in His Triumph over death, over our sin, to rise from the dead to live forever.]
When the sky turns gray [There was, in fact, an eclipse at this time]
And everything is screaming [With all hell broken out on Calvary, literally, the chaos would be, is indescribable.] 
I will reach inside
Just to find my heart is beating [Wow. And Jesus will put Thomas’ hand into His own side so that Thomas might touch the very Heart of God, still beating, risen from the dead, all out of Love for us. “My Lord and my God” said Thomas, no longer doubting, but believing.]
You tell me to hold on
Oh you tell me to hold on [People will surely condemn me for “re-writing” the Lord’s prayer, but what it actually says about the battle on Calvary not with some generic evil but over against The Evil One, is that we are to ask to be delivered, saved from the clutches of Satan (who would have been “our father” instead of our Heavenly Father if we are without the grace of Our Heavenly Father). We are asking quite literally in the Lord’s prayer that Jesus not throw us into the battle (the trial, the “temptation”) alone, but rather that He carry us into the battle, He being our Warrior, our Soldier, only Jesus. And that’s why, dear friends, the Mass was always said, also by the priest, in some places still today, facing Jesus, not “facing the people”. It is Jesus who carries us all into the Sacrifice of the Mass with Himself.]
But innocence is gone
And what was right is wrong [And then we blame Jesus for the hell, blaspheming, saying that it’s all His fault that all hell has broken out, all His fault that we get sick and die and seem to face Satan alone. But, no, it’s not that way. He continues to carry us, trying to open our eyes to see not just the battle, not just Satan, but rather Him, Jesus, rescuing us from Satan. We’re so self-centered. “Woe is me!” we cry. We should instead be in humble thanksgiving as Jesus carries us into the battle. Be not afraid! Jesus is the Victor.]
‘Cause I’m bleeding out
If the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down [from our pride]
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bear my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
When the hour is nigh [“The Hour” – the hour of Mary’s intercession as Jesus explained at the Wedding of Cana, drawing an analogy with His own marriage with the Church, giving Himself totally to the Church at the Last Supper with wedding vows fulfilled on Calvary with His bleeding out for us: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice…]
And hopelessness is sinking in [Yes, hopeless that His own Mother would be spared witnessing His being tortured to death. This would have hit Him hard in the agony of the garden. This is what He would try to avoid if possible, the hurt He knew His Mother would go through. “Father, Thy will, not mine be done.”]
And the wolves all cry
To feel they’re not worth hollering [Wow. Those words required lots of previous suffering of all kinds to come out like that. Wow. Good for the author of these particular words. Wow. In our sense of worthlessness, we cry about it, and then we strike out.]

When your eyes are red [The Shroud of Turin seems to indicated that the massive thorns from the Crown of Thorns went through His forehead and into His eyes…]
And emptiness is all you know [“My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?!” Now, go read the rest of Psalm 22 to know what that’s all about. Totally awesome giving love for us in filial trust of His ever listening Heavenly Father.]
With the darkness fed [Satan had full rights over us since we obeyed Satan in our original sin, Adam’s sin, rather than God. Jesus didn’t owe Satan anything as Jesus usurped Satan’s rights over us when He Himself took on the punishment we deserve for sin, which is death. Jesus was fulfilling His own righteousness, with mercy founded on justice, His own justice, He standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. However, with this, Satan is “fed,” that is, muted, as now Satan can’t complain. Jesus did it for us.]
I will be your scarecrow [Saint Paul speaks of being a fool for Christ’s sake. Jesus makes it seem like He is the criminal for our sake, the One from whom we turn our eyes. But He brings us around. He’s very patient with us.]
You tell me to hold on
Oh you tell me to hold on
But innocence is gone
And what was right is wrong
‘Cause I’m bleeding out
If the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bear my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
I’m bleeding out for you, for you
I’m bleeding out for you
‘Cause I’m bleeding out
If the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bear my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you


By Joshua Francis Mosser, Alexander Junior Grant, Benjamin Arthur McKee, Daniel Coulter Reynolds, Daniel Wayne Sermon. Bleeding Out lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group [N.B. I edited out “said” since I couldn’t hear it actually sung, at all, in any of the verses.]

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Re-post for humility’s sake: “Saint and sinner: it’s both or neither one”

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Philomena with the anchor; Mary of Magdala with burial supplies

[[This was written in the days of “Holy Souls Hermitage.”]]

I just love that: the Virgin Martyr Philomena and the sainted penitent Mary of Magdala, together. This is the glory of the Church Militant, the Church Triumphant, and the aim of going through purgatory in this life instead of the next. Both knew themselves to be saints and sinners.

It’s not that Philomena didn’t know that she was totally weak and conceived in original sin, absolutely deserving of hell because of that. It’s because she knew that all so well, and was filled with such humble thanksgiving for Jesus, the greatest love of her life because of His grace, that she was able to persevere in being a martyr because of the virginity which she gave to Christ Jesus, knowing that He appreciates the utter agility of soul which goes along with this, one’s very life becoming an act of intercession for the entire Mystical Body of Christ. Having said that…

It’s not that Mary of Magdala wasn’t a saint, though knowing full well her “past history” not only of original sin, but she must have felt somehow besmirched by having been possessed by seven demons (though feelings don’t make you besmirched at all). It’s because she knew of her need all so well by the grace of Christ — the standard of goodness and kindness — that she was able not to look to herself and get depressed and despair, but was able to take up the invitation of the goodness and kindness of Jesus in order to be a great, great saint, for whose intercession we are all of us so very thankful, never forgetting, however, why she needed that invitation in the first place.

If one gluts oneself in sin, one no longer knows oneself to be a sinner. For the sinner, there seems to be no sin. For such a one, saintliness is out of the question. If you’re not a sinner, you can’t be a saint! That is to say…

If one easily, simply, fully accepts one’s weakness, that one would easily fall into sin (the possibility not being a sin) without the grace of Jesus, then one can know that one is invited by our Lord’s goodness and kindness to be a saint, that is, to be His good friend, as He called us in a creative act after the Resurrection.

So, saint and sinner: it’s either both or neither one. Confession brings all this home gloriously. When’s the last time you’ve been? It’s a great experience of our Lord’s goodness and kindness.

Just to be clear: When people say “I’m a sinner” and they are not, or “I am in the dark” but they are walking with our Lord, they are not calling virtue “sin”, but are merely saying that this is the way they would be if they were without Jesus’ grace, His goodness and kindness, His love and truth, His friendship, the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity.

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Manipulative use of religion

DOUBTING THOMAS

Let’s just say it: Jesus is Religion Incarnate. Religion is a virtue belonging to the virtue of justice. One renders to God that which in justice is due to God. Only the Incarnate Son of God, obeying the Father perfectly, obedience unto death, and God Himself, innocent, with no shady motives, no self congratulation, can fulfill the precept of religion, in all justice, of rendering to God the Father what is God the Father’s due.

Non-Catholic and usually non-mainline Christian communities, usually having a hate-preaching preacherman will call “religion” God-damned Satanism, Devil worship: “Damn all those Catholics with their damned Satanic Last Supper! We’re ‘spiritual’.”

Yes, well… Jesus is Incarnate whose heart of flesh was pierced through. But I digress.

It is true that religiosity, the stuff of religion, stuff you do, such as the sacraments, the sacramentals, the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, can be manipulated for that which amounts to self-congratulation. The Gospels are rife with Jesus and John condemning such hypocrites. Recall, for instance, the guy who goes into the temple to pray, lifting his eyes to God and saying, “Thank you God that I am not like other men! I’m so holy and nice! I’m better than that sinner guy over there!” Meanwhile, the sinner guy, not lifting his eyes to the heavens, but in all repentance, is begging for mercy, and is going home justified. But the hypocrite guy is on his way to hell. Religion can be manipulated.

People condemned Pope Francis for saying that people can, with all evil intention, hide behind holy things so as to make themselves look good, making an idol of that which is good so as to worship themselves. Of course they can! That’s what the hypocrite guy in the story above was doing and was condemned by Jesus for it.

But that’s all superficial. Obvious. Even if almost no one gets it.

There’s a much more devious manipulation of religion involving a truly insidious despair. It’s where one tries and tries and tries and tries and tries to stay away from sin, but just falls back into sin, and then saying that nothing “works”, that surely one is destined to hell, you know, because the religion thing doesn’t “work.” This is the manipulation of religion, using religion to prove to oneself that one’s sin is stronger than God Himself. “God Himself cannot do anything for me!” It’s the perfect excuse to go on in a life of sin and defiantly, hatefully, arrogantly go to hell.

And here’s where one can choose to try to do stuff that might “work”, you know, coping mechanisms and… stuff that replaces what one chose to use as just the stuff of religion.

Or one can choose to get to know Him who is Religion Incarnate, kind of like now Saint Thomas the one-time doubter. Thomas was all about putting himself forward: “Let’s go to Jerusalem to die with Jesus!” And then, of course, he ran away. How to put this: It wasn’t that Thomas was dedicated to JESUS. It was that THOMAS was dedicated to Jesus. The emphasis tells the story. For Thomas, Jesus was merely the stuff of religion that he could manipulate to his own self-congratulation: Thomas is an Apostle! Pfft. Thomas had not yet had not yet allowed himself to be drawn up into the reality that Jesus is Religion Incarnate.

Thus, Jesus, insisting that he is not a ghost, eating fish with the Apostles after His bodily resurrection from the dead, will also take the finger of Thomas and put it into the nail prints in His hands, and then take then hand of Thomas and put it into His side, into His now beating but still pierced Heart. “My Lord and my God.”

Now Saint Thomas realizes that thinking one is doing religious stuff while instead doing religious stuff so as to be hypocritical isn’t going to save oneself. Only Jesus is the Savior. Of course, we’re still to do religious stuff, but, with the grace of Jesus, not do so so as to congratulate ourselves, but out of God’s charity and truth and goodness and kindness.

Examination of conscience: Do I do anything in the spiritual life with a goal so as to congratulate myself? Or am I just falling to my knees before Jesus thanking Him for being my Savior?

My neighbor to the hermitage and I had a discussion about resolutions for the new year. I said that my only resolution this year is walk in humble thanksgiving with our Lord. All the rest follows after that, all the stuff of religion.

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On changing course: a race course!

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Laudie-dog is pointing out one side of a two-turn race course, the deep banked holes assisting in skidding to stop after flying through the air, and, using the now banked up back yard, instantaneously turning about, flying in the other direction. Landing on the opposite side of the yard, there is the same skid to stop banked up hole, exactly the same, identical, just in reverse. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Laudie-dog looks bewildered as this race course of changing of course doesn’t belong to her. This was created by Shadow-dog because Shadow-dog thinks he’s clever. Shadow-dog is a maniac. Behold, Saint Paul speaking of when he was a maniac, running from his good religious plan right into sin and back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, with his good religious plan being the same as his sin, you know, because he is the one doing it under his own “power,” which, of course, is nothing:

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” (Romans 7:14-24).

The idea here is that Saint Paul is critiquing his manipulative usage of religion as a way to congratulate himself. Note the constant mantra of egoism – “I” – “I” – “I” – as in “I myself come up with a religious plan that I think is good for me and I’m clever and I can save myself by my religious plan because I’m so special! Look at me! Look at me! I’m saving myself! /// He’s saying that that kind of attitude is B.S., or better, Chicken S***, inasmuch as what he’s depicted himself as is a chicken with it’s head cut off, running around mindlessly like it’s all normal and good. There are those who don’t get this until they read the last verse which I didn’t  include above. You’ll see it below, but don’t read it just yet.

Let me tell you of another crowd who have been a very large part of the crisis of priests not knowing who they are, and of the abuse crisis. They knew the last verse cited further below, but purposely went out of their way to ignore this. There’s a psych institute over in Rome connected to the Pontifical Gregorian University which trains up sisters and priests in psychology to be staff psychologists at seminaries right round the world. Their guru guy, a Jesuit priest, but actually a guru guy, Rulla, cites this passage as the be all and end all of proof that God made a mistake in creating us, or better, that God created us in a way that encourages us to save ourselves with coping mechanisms, you know, to cope with all the mistakes God made in making us. In other words, as I heard one student of Rulla say, “We’re the first ones in the history of the Church to find a way to save ourselves!”

I have very many friends who went to this psych institute and I bought the expensive books of Rulla and the institute, such rubbish, and have studied it all with some intensity. I offered the critique about Rulla’s treatment of this passage of Saint Paul to one particularly close friend who was a student of Rulla. He threw such a hissy fit. He left the lunch table angry and pouting and wouldn’t sit at the same table with me or speak to me for weeks. Finally, he apologized and said I was right. Then, after many years, having become a seminary rector, he contacted me though another friend to repeat that, yes, indeed, I was right. How’s that, you ask?

My critique is that they don’t think of sin, at all, even though Saint Paul here speaks of sin repeatedly.  And that’s why they then don’t think of redemption. They don’t think of Christ. Saint Paul does. Behold: after criticizing himself, casting aside coping mechanisms such as is also a manipulative use of religion, Saint Paul points us directly and only to Jesus who is the One to save him, wretch that Saint Paul, on his own, is:

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).

Do we change course by running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth? No. Christ Jesus reaches down and grabs us and snatches us up close to His pierced Heart, and we say: “My Lord and my God.” Thank you, Jesus.

/// Having said all that, don’t think I’m against a good and wholesome psychology. If one takes up the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross and Saint Therese of Lisieux, to name but a few, one will be able to glean a well rounded and useful psychology, but this is all based on a good, honest friendship with Jesus Christ our Lord.

I categorize this post with “Missionaries of Mercy” because I insist on all this talk of Jesus to my own peril. One makes enemies in this way. Some years ago over in Rome, while I would ever so quietly mention my opinion, the Rulla-ites, overhearing this, would go so far as to threaten a major public debate. They were actually beginning to plot this as something to be held at the Lateran Basilica of all places, that being chosen cleverly, however, as it is the Cathedra of the Successor of Peter. Perhaps one day.

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Tết Offensive and… being overweight? Thanks for correcting my world-view.

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It’s now been more than a half century since the Viet Cong set about killing everyone they could, men, women, children and babies during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

While studying in Rome half that time ago, I lived at the same residence for priests as a Vietnamese fellow, a devout Catholic who understood and lived the faith and who today is a priest.

It was then that I had already for some years been taking a certain medicine to keep myself alive, a medicine I take to this day for that reason, a medicine which also guarantees weight gain. I had always been thin as a rail, but now I had been putting on the kilos. Because of that, I had given up on jogging around Rome.

Meanwhile, this Vietnamese fellow, named after the great Saint Ambrose, had seen many of his fellow countrymen hunted down and tortured and killed. He knew how to run, not jogging, mind you, but running in the sense of escape. Around trees. Over and up cliffs. Though destruction.

While walking around or sitting at table his fists would be un-clenched, and then ever so slowly, over minutes, crushingly clenched. It was quite notable, but I’m sure it was just second nature to him. It was fearful to watch, as it seemed his tendons would rip away from his bones, or the bones would break under the strain.

I asked him about it. Not quite isometrics, he explained. These exercises had brought him into perfect physical condition through the years. He insisted that I start doing the same, reprimanding me for starting to become overweight. But just as running for him was not about jogging, losing weight had nothing to do with any sense of good health. It was about an immediate ability to get away from fiendish violence. He asked me:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to escape when they come?

He inscaped into his words all the horror of what happened during his own escapes when they would come to kill. He had stories to tell backed up with horrific scars. Underlining this, he then asked:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

He asked that with the urgency and anguish of one is actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them. This isn’t one of those “eat your vegetables before dessert because don’t you know there are people starving on the other side of the world” platitudinous reprimands. No. Let me repeat that he asked with the urgency and anguish of one who is actively watching people get apprehended and tortured and killed because of my not being able to help them.

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

This was one of those moments when my entire world view was readjusted, when I knew I had been so utterly out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Father Ambrose, for opening my eyes a little bit more.

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I’ll spare you the pictures of the mass graves…

This doubles for natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism near you, by the way…

By the way, thanks to our Vietnam Veterans for winning that weeks long battle.

P.S. For those who say: “Yes, and transform dieting into fasting as a spiritual thing because the body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit like the saints say!” Fine. All that. Yes. And I confess I am miserable at all that. Can I just blame my medicine? I mean, at least I’m not gaining even if not losing weight. I could do better. To such enthusiasts with spiritual things I say this: Father Ambrose is helping us to escape our half-measures. The Body of Christ is not just the Head of the Body, Jesus, but the rest of us as the members. Being in good shape is not just about respecting God’s creation and God’s redemption of us in Christ Jesus, merely putting the body into submission because that’s a nice thing to do for God, but it is also about the charity we have for one another in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 9:22-27).

His urgency and anguish was of one who was actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

Indeed. And so…

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Chaque fois que j’ouvre ma bouche il est demandé «Est-ce que vous êtes Belge?»

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Pretending to learn “French”, again. Sigh.

When this American was living in France I discovered that no one speaks French on account of the fact that every citizen of France is actually from Belgium. The greatest insult the French can cast on anyone whomsoever is to ask them with mocking, sarcastic tone: “Are you from Belgium?” They all insult each other in this manner all the time, the North the South, the East the West, the center not holding.

It’s the difference in accent. For instance, English speakers anywhere pronounce “Bernadette” as do the Parisians, but those around Lourdes make for another syllable at the end, extremely well pronounced, as in “Bernadett-euuuh.” And then they both condemn each other as being from Belgium. No one speaks French in France.

It’s a losing battle, trying to learn French again. Maybe I should just learn some Belgian stuff, like Dutch, you know, with Brabantian, West Flemish, East Flemish and Limburgish – and hey! – if one crosses the street to the North, why not throw in Papiamento, maybe a couple of dozen low-Saxon dialects, some Frisian and a few dozen West Frisian dialects – and hey! – another few dozen Lower and central Franconian dialects – and hey! – why not add Yiddish? The question – « Est-ce que vous êtes Belge ? » refers to the mixing of French and any number of dozens and dozens of other dialects. Instead of making one’s identity more easily known, it all becomes murkier, and with such smack downs through the centuries, cutting one town off from another, what with devastating plagues and wars.

And if I did learn any of that, would that satisfy the one asking: « Est-ce que vous êtes Belge ? » Everyone calls French the “Diplomatic language.” Uh huh. Tongue in cheek, making for yet another dialect. It’s no mistake that the likes of Michael Edwards, from England, is a most influential member of l’Académie française.

The arrogance of weirdness of language differences, insisting on attacking communication so that there is no love lost, isn’t about this or that human being being cut off from any mere human being – not just that. All such Tower of Babel smashing down of others is really about shaking one’s fist at God.

God the Father speaks Himself in one Word, now Incarnate among us, who would like to reveal the Father to us, according to the will of the Father. But will we hear that communication, that “language” provided by the grace of God? We can ask God for humility. We can ask our angels to teach us humility.

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On Ravens, the Holy Spirit and OCD

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Racing along the highway with The Bread of Life, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, while going from nursing home to shut-ins on Communion calls the other day, this raven decided to do up a bit of photo-bombing. I just wanted to get the snow-capped ridges.

He’s empty-beaked. In this case, I’m the raven of Elijah the Prophet’s fame as I’m bringing the Bread of Heaven to the great prophets, that is, those friends of Jesus in the parish.

And this got me to thinking about the Holy Spirit and the Carmelites who speak of Elijah as Our Holy Father Elijah just as the Benedictines speak of Our Holy Father Benedict. My mind wandered, as it tends to do, to the way of prayer, so to speak, of the Carmelites, and to someone who was refused entry into a Carmelite prayer group because he couldn’t make all the meetings because of his pastoral duties, namely, Karol Wojtyła.

When interviewed as Pope John Paul II, he was asked about how he goes about praying. His answer was, in great Carmelite fashion, to say that one would have to ask the Holy Spirit, who, as it were, transported his soul to the needs of the world such as they are on any given day.

Not so diversely, one may recall that any cloistered nun of any contemplative order may answer to say that such a vocation has one accompany Jesus’ good mother in her maternal concern for the members of the Body of Christ still battling away in this ecclesia militans, in this Church militant, and so are transported in their intercession whithersoever such a good mother would have them go, so to speak.

 

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Suffering teaches? My bad. Update: solution to imperfection

This Benedictine at Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls – the last of the four Major Basilicas in Rome that I’ll be able to visit this time around – was born the same year as my own dad, 1924. I was born late in his life.

I sat down with him for a visit and I found out he had suffered quite a bit in his life. I very stupidly repeated a platitude to him. Don’t do that with wise people unless you’re willing to be humiliated.

  • Me: Suffering teaches a lot.
  • Him: Pfft. No. God teaches a lot.

Update: I had lapsed, of course, into some brand of Pelagianism here. In putting this up again as a kind of confession, I recall other conversations I’ve had across the decades when others have stated that “Suffering teaches a lot,” and then have gone on to recite their suffering, some of which, mind you, was crushing just to hear. Did I have the clarity and simplicity to say: “Pfft. No. God teaches a lot.” No, no I didn’t. A pity that.

But I have a solution, a self-imposed penance: some prayer that those with whom I haven’t witnessed perfectly will nevertheless be taught by God. And they will all be taught by God (see Isaiah 54:13 and John 6:45). Of course, that goes along with also being drawn to the Lord all the more to be taught by Him ourselves.

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27 years a priest in a time of abuse, happy to remain a priest. Why?

Today’s the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Ordination doesn’t refer to “orders given” as even some Catholics say today in such de-sacramentalizing, democratic fashion as if a mere commissioning given by a commission was ever sufficient, as if a degree and certificate saying “ordained” was actually something, like a graduation, a rite of passage. No.

The Sacrament of Orders refers to how the person himself, ontologically, is ordered, structured, fit to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, so that the priest might act in Persona Christi, in the Person of Christ, or perhaps better, so that the Person of Christ might act in the priest, accomplishing His sacraments, His priesthood through His merely human priest, regardless of whether or not that human priest is worthy, or even a believer of any kind. There’s really only One Priest: Christ Jesus. Holy Orders is not about putting the priest on a pedestal, but rather about smashing him down so that he is all about and only about Jesus alone.

Yours truly, 4 January 1992, ordained a Catholic priest. All except one other has already passed away in this picture.

Holy Orders is about the One Priest, Christ Jesus. It is Jesus who consecrates at the Last Supper; it is Jesus who forgives sin. Just as mysterious as we becoming members of the Body of Christ as Saint Paul puts it, so does Jesus take up mere men to accomplish His own priesthood. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus marries His Bride, the Church, by way of His wedding vows at Mass, the Last Supper, that Wedding Feast of the Lamb: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. The mere human priest recites those words, those vows in the first person singular and is himself thereby married to the Church by the sacrifice that he offers, and should thereby be willing to lay down his life for the flock as much as Jesus. But this is Jesus’ wedding with His Bride the Church by which He redeems the image of God within us.

How dare anyone say that priests are not married! It is that ignorance and malice and hatred for Jesus and His priests which has brought us the crisis we are in. People think they are nice in wishing that priests could get married, but this is really quite demonic. Listen up! If we priests don’t know that we are married to the Church, that we are to be fathers of the family of faith, what do you think is going to happen in living a lie that one is just a secular administrator, a functionary, and is not otherwise married for no discernible reason? The fruit of any marriage, children, will be attacked. It’s clockwork. Either everything that the priest is is given over to the priesthood of Jesus Christ – whose Priesthood is established by the vows of His own being married to His Bride the Church – or that priest will be a detriment to the salvation of himself and others. Period.

The priesthood of Jesus is all about re-establishing the image of God within us, and as Genesis says, this is a one-man, one-woman marriage and family image of God. Jesus has the right to marry His Bride the Church, that is, to redeem us, fill us with the life of God, eternal life, sanctifying grace, because He has, at the Last Supper and Calvary, laid down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty. That re-establishment of the image of God within us by way of that marriage must respect the one-man, one woman for marriage and the family structure of creation in the sacrament of Holy Orders. Women priests would be a sterile, lesbian, monstrous image, a mockery of Jesus’ marriage with His Bride the Church, a mockery of redemption and salvation, a blasphemy. Even if one goes through a ritual and says the words of ordination, a woman cannot ontologically be ordained. That’s the way marriage works. It’s not unfair. It is what it is.

Does that mean that I think I’m worthy to be a priest because I’m a man? Pfft. No! And any priest who does think that is a danger to himself and others. Without Jesus I know that I could commit any sin anywhere at any time for any or no reason, given whatever wildly varying circumstances and history of life. I don’t have all those varying circumstances or histories of life – nor do any of us – and so it would be psychologically quite impossible at the drop of a hat to do this or that monstrous thing even if lacking the grace and friendship of Jesus. Fine. But lack of monstrous actions doesn’t justify. I know that fallen humanity is such that we do need redemption and salvation and that nice circumstances don’t save and that anyone self-congratulating themselves for their own niceness has already granted themselves a licence to sin in whatever way, even in the most monstrous ways. Are there specious motives for a man to become a priest, like running from a past from which he wishes to emancipate himself by pretending to be holy? Sure. But that doesn’t mean all priests have done that or are doing that. We need to know that we are already married, married to the Church by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer daily. That changes everything. No false celibacy. No loneliness. A robust spiritual life in which the priest is nothing and Jesus is all.

Priests should know more than anyone what all of sin and all of redemption looks like. Priests should have the perspective of being high on the cross where Jesus is drawing all to Himself, across Calvary, through all of hell, starting with us when we are yet sinners. Priests should see all the breadth and width and depth of hell and our need for redemption because of noting the breadth and width and depth of the mercy founded on justice that Jesus came to bring to us, from the cross, from the fulfillment of the wedding vows of the Last Supper, the Mass, that the priest celebrates daily, like any other day. It’s just that that day, today, this very day, is Dies Domini, the Day of the Lord, which stretches from Creation until the end of the world, until there is a New Heavens and a New Earth. Priests should see, because of seeing all the rest of this, that they are the most unworthy of all.

Rant. Rant. Rant. For some, the question is this:

“Hey, Father George, you seem like a nice guy. So, like, why don’t you leave the priesthood in view of all this abuse stuff we hear about? Don’t you get sick of people cat-calling and being dismissive and calling you a pedophile just because you’ve been ordained a priest?”

Actually, that monstrousness of bad priests attacking the fruit of marriage, children, is symbolic of precisely why we need holy priests for the One Priesthood of Jesus, that is, to go against the sin, to weed out those who would be so monstrous. You don’t help the Church by leaving the Church. You stay. You fight. You suffer. It’s just that serious. Serious enough not to abandon the flock. Jesus was ripped to shreds, tortured to death on the cross. As the Master, so the disciple. Just because some idiot does an unthinkably monstrous deed doesn’t mean everyone is like that. We priests need to man up and fight the good fight, keeping up with Confession ourselves, being fit instruments of Jesus, because we are nothing and He’s everything. It shows our thanksgiving to Jesus to stay. If I can keep up with Confession and help other priests to keep up with Confession, well then, I think I’ve done something as Jesus’ instrument for the Church and the world. I remember a bishop who gave us Missionaries of Mercy a talk and a talking to, as it were, over in Rome, introducing himself as a sinner since the year he was ordained, and for a long time before that. Good for him to recognize it and encourage us all to participate in the Sacrament of Confession frequently, you know, for sins of thought and mind and deed and… oh my… of omission

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The Joke Picture. It’s real. But purely a Joke. Hahaha.

As the now sainted Mother Teresa often said, we don’t need more priests; we need holy priests. Indeed. We need priests who know they are married to the Church. We need priests who know that they are fathers of the family of faith. We need priests who know that they are totally unworthy and are utterly dependent on Jesus, the One Priest. We need priests who go to Confession. We need priests who won’t run away because the wolf says: “Boo!” We need priests who have a love within them provided by Jesus that is stronger than death, stronger than mockery, stronger than slander. We need priests of the horrifying exhilarating life of the beatitudes: Blessed are you when…

Am I happy to be a priest even today? Oh yes. Especially today. When all of hell has broken out. I want to be where Jesus is: In the midst of this hell so as to grab souls for heaven. Today I offer Mass wherein the One Priest lays down His life for us, as unworthy as we all are. Yes, I’m always happy for one more day as a priest, as Jesus’ priest, a day like any other day in the One Day of the Lord, the One Worthy Priest using the likes of me, such as I am, utterly nothing and worse than that so that He might show us all the more stridently His wisdom in having such priests as me and my fellow priests who I know to be dedicated to Him. He can use even me! Even us! All glory to God for His wondrous mercies. As Jesus said to Saint Paul: “My strength shines out through your weakness. My grace is sufficient for you.” Yes, Lord. Thank you.

As it is, I’m having a great time at this stage in my priesthood taking Jesus through these back mountains to parishioners. Jesus’ creation is gorgeous:

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As I think back on the 27 years, some of the best times, were of course, at Holy Souls Hermitage when I was writing about the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of the Redeemer, in Genesis 3:15. Long time readers from way back in those days will remember the different scenes:

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Happy New Year! (and a resolution)

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In Andrews, NC, far western WNC, we have a possum drop. He’s not actually thrown off a cliff or anything, just lowered on a comfortable platform with a fruit buffet and, as the paper reported, a variety of sleeping options. He’s given a medical review before and after. PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) were pretty up-front with their objections, perhaps because there weren’t enough road-kill possum pies for sale. Dunno. No one seems to know who Guy Lombardo is in these parts.

When I was a seminarian in Rome, I would make my way to the Major Basilica of Saint Mary in Rome and go through the Te Deum with Pope Saint John Paul II in thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year as the way before God to launch into the New Year.

My resolution this year is to have no resolutions. Goals are counterproductive as they are what you imagine where you are right now. Goals actually put you into reverse. Walking in Jesus’ presence aided by my guardian angel in the present moment is the way to say thanks for the blessings of the past and the way to launch into whatever comes by way of divine providence.

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Shadow-dog Gladiator-dog: Teaching session

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The heavy knotted short-rope, which is like, say, an enemy intruder (I have a good imagination!), is a good demonstrator tool for Shadow-dog who makes me his student in his gladiator school. In the above picture we see how one is to toss ever so calmly one’s adversary into the air with a gentle side-spin so that, in follow-up, one might put one’s entire weight and strength into viciously ripping in the opposite direction, which violent ripping could easily shred to pieces whomsoever the adversary happens to be:

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This ripping spinning motion will spin Shadow-dog himself about 180 degrees and the adversary round about some 540 degrees, and back and forth multiple times so very violently in just nanoseconds, so that I’m thinking he himself is going to be ripped in half, growling so loudly that all the neighbors either laugh with glee at the protection against home-invasion that they all have with Shadow-dog in the neighborhood, or half die of fright with the show that is put on. Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is the friendliest dog around. And the neighbors know that too. He’s so smart. Gooooood dooooggiieee!

You can always tell how good a dog is by how willing they are to teach you their tricks in their justifiable efforts to make you part of the team. Part of being more alpha than a forever alpha dog like a German Shepherd wolf is to be a good partner with him in the job that needs to be done. That’s when they’re in their element.

An absolutely inadequate and inappropriate analogy for which I beg the pardon of my guardian angel, who guards not a dog but me, nor learns from me but rather instructs as John was instructed: “I am a fellow servant of yours” (Revelation 22). But also our guardian angels are in their element, so to speak, when we are with them as fellow servants, fellow slaves, co-workers of our Lord. They teach us how to be warriors, so to speak, in this Church militant, where we fight as best we can to keep the faithfulness and hope that are given to us, the purity of heart and agility of soul that are given to us, the love of God and neighbor that is given to us. We are made into a show, of God’s goodness, really, as Saint Paul has it. Gladiators for God. Shadow-dog is a good example in his own way.

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Shadow-dog Bite-dog: action training [Note on Situational Awareness]

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  1. Step 1: Get a good look at your adversary, individuating and isolating.
  2. Step 2: Subdue your adversary in any way you can, say, under a paw, making sure that the adrenaline is pumping:

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3. Step 3: Chew up your adversary and spit him out.

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Situational awareness demands a certain low-level of adrenaline that is at the ready to be pumped up instantaneously; otherwise it’s all intellectual and useless, even hurtful as is a sense of overconfidence. GSDs are always a bit on-edge, made to be that way with super-sensitive sensory receptors: they’re all nose and ears and eyes, with height and strength to carry all that.

Analogy with the spiritual life: We do well to be on edge for the sake of our friendship with the Lord Jesus. We remain weak in this world looking to Him to be lifted up into His strength and truth and goodness and kindness… but we are so weak. To be on-edge over against our triple-adversary – the world, the flesh and the devil – we have to have the humility to realize that we could fall prey at any time and in any way and that there is nothing we can do about that except to lifted up into the strength and truth and goodness and kindness of our Lord, remaining with Him no matter what, that steadfastness in our Lord’s grace putting the death-bite on our triple adversary. It’s the bond of love with God, who is love, keeping us on-edge. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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GSD: “You have to be bad to be good”

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Shadow-dog has been racing about on his patrol, looking like the idiot-dog by practicing his spot-turns on the snowy-wet mud path he’s carved into the backyard. This sprays mud into the air as if his paws are spinning knobby off-road tires of a climber-jeep. When the acrobatics get a bit complicated, he gets himself on an intense learning curve… mid-air. And then… crash. But he gets better at it.

My mom once reprimanded me for the doing this kind of thing – being bad in order to be good – she not quite getting the gist of the process, trying to keep me from getting broken bones while she fretting during some of the more complicated maneuvers of my extreme sports. What she didn’t know is that what I was doing was surely keeping me away from broken bones. You have to be bad in order to be good.

Drawing the analogy with, say, prayer, whereby prayer is an extreme sport, whereby you are brought along without being in control of any progress, our Lord accomplishing a friendship with Him which we could not set as a goal or have any helps or coping mechanisms to lean on while He does this in His way. When He is lifted up on the Cross, He said, He will draw all to Himself. That means He’s drawing us through all the hell that was broken out on Calvary. We already know that we’ll be stupid enough to try to depend on our own strength which we actually don’t have ourselves anyway, and therefore in this way we will surely pull away from Him in this way and that, and we will look mighty stupid in all of this. But He is very patient, and we slowly learn in His grace that He is more important than our ongoing distractions, and we allow ourselves in whatever distraction that hell has to offer, to be stably with Him. Have no fear. You have to bad to be good, you know, not on purpose. No. But go ahead and just tell our Lord, in His grace, “Yes!” You want to begin. You will surely confront your weakness of stupidly depending on your own strength. But that’s part of it. You’re name might be mud for a while. Have no fear. That will turn to a name He gives you, that, as it says in the Good Book, is only known to you and Him. When He calls your name, you’ll be standing right before Him, perhaps with mud all over your face, but – Hey! – you’ll have learned to stand right before Him. And that’s where we want to be.

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In heaven, it won’t be this way

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The neighbor at the hermitage on the “Day Off” yesterday showed me the two pumpkins you see in the slideshow. I instantly thought of the gentleman you see with Pope Francis. Any one of us could have whatever difficulty, but do we see the heart, even for ourselves? That’s the question: “…even for ourselves”? Then we can love others as we love ourselves. That’s a command of our Lord by the way.

“The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

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Mysticism mist then schism

The only way to overcome false mysticism of mist then schism is to be grounded in the true mysticism of the Incarnate Word.

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