Tag Archives: Virtue

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“working” on virtues, edition)

While technically these red bits may not be flowers, exactly, precisely… still… this is a bit of exterior bark that could be chipped off and put with other things to give to Jesus’ good mom. Creation is by definition thinking outside the box, you know, there being no box to begin with. So, why be limited by definitions of beauty when the freedom of the children of God in such things should rule the day. Mary might roll her eyes at such efforts, but – hey! – getting Mary to roll her eyes and perhaps laugh a bit is good.

I saw these almost microscopically tiny “flowers” yesterday, driving in the car after having been at the hermitage, when, after doing some priest stuff on the “Day Off”, and more priest stuff, and more priest stuff, I eventually wound up there to do up…

  • the FBI “agent” tactical pistol course (getting a bit better at distance pistol shooting)
  • the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course (sharpening some of the stages)
  • the “failure drill” (slower than usual, but more accurate)

The advice of an Army / CIA friend has stuck with me: “Aim small = shoot small.” For the FAM course I put out Styrofoam pie plates on “pig-tail” wires, many times smaller than the standard target size.

Working on that “virtue” of aiming small, if you will, helped me to examine the forest with laser eyes to find the even much tinier flowers for the Immaculate Conception in the cold and gray dreary dead of winter mountain-top forest. I mean, a good hundred of those “flowers” could fit in just one bullet hole.

Virtues work together. Sharpen one, the others are sharpened with it. There’s a nexus of virtues. The driving force of virtue isn’t us so much “working” on anything like some sort of self-saving Pelagian as it is being awed by the wounds of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so much so that we are indignant at being unvirtuous in whatever way.

It is the mistake of many to “work” on just one thing before moving on to another.

  • “I’ll ‘work’ on stopping beating my wife and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on not drinking myself into a rage.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.
  • “I’ll ‘work’ on my prayer life, and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on loving my neighbor too.” No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.

And it’s not so much us “working” on anything as it is Jesus, when lifted up on the Cross, drawing all to Himself. Jesus, who is God, who is love, who is truth, is the driving force behind whatever virtue we have. And with Jesus, if one virtue of “ours” is lifted up, all of “our” virtue is lifted up.

Hmmm… How to say it? Maybe a picture would get the idea across. Our Lord would have us be virtuous in, say, lifting a hand in praise of Him, but He is really lifting up all virtues, our whole persons…

And, yes, it’s a virtue to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom. I think He did it all the time whilst He walked this earth. I think He continues to do it all the time in heaven as well. If Jesus draws you up to give a flower to His good mom, go along with it. It will help you out in all sorts of ways. Jesus is like that.

And don’t worry how small the virtues are. Don’t worry how small the flowers are. Or even if they are flowers, technically. ;-)


Filed under Flores

Cardinal sins and me: “You’re so vain!”

cardinal sin

Anything “cardinal” is about the hinge effect (cardo=hinge), something on which other things turn. A cardinal sin spins off so many other sins.

  • The cardinal sins are superbia (hubris/pride), avaritia (avarice/greed), luxuria (extravagance, lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath), and acedia (sloth). The fellow above is surely guilty of all these, but, with myself guilty in every way, who am I to judge?
  • These call to mind seven holy virtues, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. But I’m sure this fellow has none of these virtues. I mean, how could he?
  • The actual cardinal virtues are four in number: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Don’t look to him for any example with any of these, except in the via negativa.

Perhaps you suspect that I am upset with this fellow. The sin of the cardinal or red-bird (toxaway in the local language of WNC) pictured above is not what you might think it is, however. It’s not that he’s vain, looking in the mirror 24/7/365, nor that he’s pooping all over my vehicle, nor even that he’s overly aggressive in attacking his rival in the mirror, nor that he’s surely cracking his beak and giving himself a headache and causing himself spinal injuries so that he will disable himself and won’t be helpful in feeding the young ones in the nest. The sin is that he’s showing me what a bad auto mechanic I am by ripping off my perfectly good gorilla tape (this is almost impossible for a human, much less for a little bird) which holds the windshield frame on, which holds the windshield on, more or less, and thus holds the cab on to the truck and holds the truck together. Here he is, arranging a little piece in his beak before taking off to show his prize for nest strength to his nesting spouse:

cardinal sin-

And then, just to rub it in, after he does that, he sings about it! The gall! The nerve! I mean, look at that top-near-corner of the windshield. It was fine all this time until he, my enemy, my nemesis, the destroyer of my one good vehicle, has appeared. What to do? I think I firstly need to give him a name. We are so afraid to name our enemies these days, you know, like ISIS and such as that. We are our own worst enemies. But in escaping that latter discussion of ourselves being our own worst enemies, I’ll just project all my troubles onto him and accuse him of everything horrible and evil. I suppose I could just call him the Red Terrorist, but that’s more of a title. I need a name, you know, to make it personal. Any suggestions? Any mythic demon from the underworld? And galactic satan from the meta-beyonds?

P.S. Pope Francis vehicles allow you to have some fun like this. ;-) Sometimes I think I have too much fun. This is a benefit of being utterly convinced at each moment that we can be ever so easily catastrophic disastrous victims of cardinal sins if we are without friendship with the Most High God of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them; He has us in the palm of His hand; He has us look to Him in rejoicing.

Oh, and, by the way, the local mechanic shop said they’ll try to attempt to bring Betsy the Nissan Pickup back to life first thing Monday morning. Resurrection in Holy Week!


Filed under Jesus, Nature