See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sacred Triduum

News blackout.
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I'll be offline. Despite the fact there is astonishing news out there, and much one could comment on: The atmosphere is much the same as it was in Jerusalem so many centuries ago, when Christ was betrayed and denied, mocked and scorned, and then crucified amidst so much clamor.
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"Take warning from the example of Lot's wife who, because she was disturbed at the destruction of Sodom, and all of those perishing, turned back to look. God punished her for this, and she was 'turned into a pillar of salt' (Genesis 19.26). This teaches you that it is the will of God, even if you were living among devils, you should so live as not to turn back in thought to consider what they are doing, but forget them utterly. You are to keep your soul wholly to God, and not to suffer the thought of this or that to disturb you." - John of the Cross

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

Congressional Black Caucus leaders visit Cuba.
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"The aging, ailing, cigar-smoking icon Fidel Castro had three members of Congress visit with him today in Havana, which resulted in the bearded one asking, "How can we help President Obama?" In an effort to improve the relationship between Cuba and the U.S., Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) were the first U.S. officials to meet with the 82-year-old former dictator since his intestinal surgery in July 2006." - Source
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Who the hell are they to carry on diplomacy with Fidel Castro? Bobby Rush is a former Black Panther - how Marxist can you get?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I forgot Jacques' birthday.

The Good Thief
April 3, 1930 was the birthday of Jacques Fesch. The Jewish-Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger initiated the cause for his beatification in 1987; as a result, the process was formally opened in 1993. Jacques was guillotined in 1957 for the crime of murdering a police officer after a botched robbery. Through the influence of St. Therese of Lisieux, and the friendship of a Trappist monk, the Servant of God was converted and made great progress in the spiritual life during his imprisonment. Deeply sorry for his crime, he accepted his punishment in peace, and was reconciled to his wife the night before his execution, which he offered to Jesus. He has the infamous distinction of being the last person in France to be guillotined. His daughter is a Carmelite nun who promotes his cause as an example of the mercy of God to sinners. Jacques died on October 1, now the feast day of St. Therese in the revised calendar.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Praying for the victims of the Italian quake.


L'Aquila and surrounding towns in the Italian Apennines have been devastated by a strong earthquake early this morning. At least one village is reported to have been leveled. Praying for the dead and the living.
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Jesus, I trust in you.
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Photo: L'Aquila Abruzzo.

Happy Birthday Dodo.



April 6, 1901 is the birthday of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. When he was little he adopted the name Dodo for himself. The photos are of the "icon" I painted of him, as well as of my friend Ellen as she presented the panel to his niece Wanda. His niece placed the painting in the house at Pallone. I had based my version on the painting his mother did, which also hangs in the summer home.

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Now days I do not bother Pier Giorgio too much, as he is very busy working with youth.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

30 Second Bunnies Minisode - Bunnies: The Shining

For Fr. Erik.

Holy Week and Easter: A Time of Conversions.



Thoughts on Passion Sunday.
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When I returned to the Church in 1972, it was during the Easter season - But I can't recall at what point - sometime between Easter and Pentecost. My actual conversion took place earlier - again, I cannot recall the dates. It was a momentous event however.
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The very first thing I did was throw out the drugs. I flushed speed, acid, mescaline and marijuana down the toilet - and I never went through any type of withdrawal - which in itself was a miracle since I practically lived on speed.
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Just as soon as Our Lord revealed to me his real presence in the Eucharist, I began to attend daily Mass and spend as much time as possible before the Blessed Sacrament. In a very short time - one or two days at the most, the Holy Spirit tangibly convicted me and forcibly compelled me to go to confession. The convicting was terrible and fearful, and the grace of confession awesome - in the most sublime sense of that word. The graces were so intense the only explanation a spiritual director was ever able to come up with was that, "Our Lord probably wanted to reveal himself in a manner greater than any experience I ever had on drugs."
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In those early days of my conversion - maybe for the first couple of years - I think I was entirely focused upon Jesus. I didn't care what friends thought of my conversion or devotion; I hid nothing, I read a little Bible and Imitation of Christ, which I carried everywhere. I stopped going to the bar, and eventually my former acquaintances distanced themselves from me because I was no longer using or nightclubbing. I didn't think I had changed that much. I kept my long hair, lived in my jeans, rode my bike, continued to play my music, smoked my cigarettes, drank some beer, and so on.


I'd go to Mass, unconscious that I still looked like a hippie, and before and after Mass, I spent a lot of time praying the rosary or reading my two books. I never paid much attention that the Mass was in English - I was focused upon Jesus, happy to understand the prayers. I could barely contain myself when we were permitted to receive Communion in the hand, and drink from the cup of his Precious Blood. I never once felt out of place or self-conscious because of my long hair, patched jeans, t-shirts and dark glasses. In fact, I rarely noticed other people, much less what they were wearing at Mass. Neither did I pay much attention to the priest, unless he happened to be a gifted preacher - especially if he spoke about the interior life and prayer. For sure I never cared if he wore a collar or was dressed casually outside of Mass.
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Nothing really mattered to me except Jesus present in the Eucharist. Somehow, I had become very simple, uncomplicated, and unsophisticated; perhaps like the poor and simple who greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, riding on an ass... the humble welcoming the Humble.
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I need to go back to that. I need to return to my early love. I need to return to him, outside the camp, bearing the insult which he bore.


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Art: St. Thomas. Why did he consider his work to be straw, compared to what he learned from the Book of Jesus Crucified? The highest theology, the full revelation of the Divinity is accessible in the Book of Jesus Crucified.
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Photo: Me watching my friend sip from a fountain, the summer of my conversion - I wore sandals to be "discalced" like the Carmelites. LOL!



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Emails

I'm not ignoring you.
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If you haven't heard from me for awhile - or received a response to an email, that is because I have been having problems with my email service - I will respond to your emails as soon as I get it together. Thanks.

More Little Murders... Binghamton.



The killing fields of America.
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This morning columnists and journalists are asking the thoughtful questions about mass murder in our society, why it happens at all, why does it seem to be happening with such increasing frequency, and why does it appear as if Americans are no longer shocked by such events? (Check out, "Has America become numb to tragedy?")
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Good questions, huh? Which only means that many are going to demand stricter gun control, government surveillance, along with other threats to our civil rights. Others will blame it on our self-absorbed, hedonistic, materialistic culture. There will be too many opinions and studies on the subject. But it has been happening since the 1960's, as the steep decline in moral values began to accelerate. Of course progressives will disagree on the issue of morality, as always. The more enlightened will insist one has to study the problem more extensively to determine what is actually going on. Ban guns and do research, and more research, and we'll have it all sorted out; while the disgruntled find new ways to kill their neighbors.
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I think it is much more simple than all of that however.
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As one old lady once put it:
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"...I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?
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How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.
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By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
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Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." - Blessed M. Teresa of Calcutta