Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Lady in art... and ads.


Virgin most admirable.
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I heard, and unfortunately glimpsed an example of a blasphemous ad depicting Our Lady and St. Joseph; the so-called Christian group - I believe Anglicans - who created the image have defended their statement with some sort of justification of course.  (Not interested.)  Whatever the case, it is doctrinally wrong.  I can't get over the fact that in our age, when ordinary men and women are the most highly educated people in the recorded history of the world, many are not above promulgating such nonsense.  And at the same time, we continue to pay such exorbitant fees to send our young people to colleges and universities which destroy faith and contradict authentic Christian dogma and teaching.  But I digress.
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Personal devotion.
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Of course anyone may have private devotion or meditations regarding the incidental details and humanity of the Holy Family, so long as they are not in opposition to truth.  For instance, years ago Rene Voillaume reflected in a homily that images of the Blessed Virgin collapsing, or fainting at the Crucifixion repulsed him and he went on to explain why, crediting the Mother of God with interior knowledge of the why and wherefore of her Son's sacrifice.  In other words she was too strong, too stalwart to faint like an ordinary woman.  Fr. Voillaume was making a solid point, just as those artists he criticized were doing by showing the collapsed Virgin.  You see, in showing the Holy Virgin collapsed in the arms of the holy mourners, (I suspect) what many painters were attempting to illustrate was the Co-redemptrix' experience of a night of the spirit so profound it was akin to natural death - albeit spiritual or mystical.  Nevertheless, both are opinions and both opinions point to a deeper truth without conflicting with Church teaching.
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Dogma.
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On the other hand, the blasphemous nonsense depicted in the New Zealand ad bears no resemblance to truth, nor does it reveal anything true about the Holy Family or the Virgin Birth.  Our Lady is the Immaculate Conception, Our Lord's birth is the Virgin Birth.  Unbelievers usually get the two mixed up, and/or mock the two together.  Believe it or not, there was an enormous Church Council once convened in Ephesus to discuss these matters.  The result of which came the solemn definition (dogma) that the Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God.  Therefore Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth.  Profane or even pious reasoning may not agree with that, but such ideas are mistaken.  People of good faith can never fully comprehend these mysteries through natural knowledge or understanding, but that is no excuse to deny it, dismiss it, reject it, or mock it.
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Witnesses to truth.
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Early in Advent my friend Elena posted a wonderful reflection concerning the Perpetual Virginity Of Holy Mary, Mother of God.  With permission, I cite a couple excerpts from authorative sources Elena included in her post.
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Even in the minds of many of the faithful, enfeebled by a forty year dearth of popular orthodox catechesis, a tragic confusion holds sway concerning the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, in particular, her virginity before, during, and after childbirth. There are many, alas, who, affected by various mutations of creeping Nestorianism and Arianism, have no grasp of what it means to call the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Those who do not confess the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary, honouring them and celebrating them, fall inevitably into one or another of the classic Christological heresies. - Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi
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The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin." - CCC
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And the most beautiful...
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Who is this gate (Ezekiel 44:1-4), if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity. (St. Ambrose of Milan, The Consecration of a Virgin and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, 8:52; c. 391 AD)
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Art: "Nativity" - Fra Fillipo Lippi.  You see from this painting (and types like it) the tradition of the Virgin adoring the new-born Infant Jesus, on the floor as it were - without cradle or manger - while the Holy Mother shows no sign of just given birth.  The composition was constructed to express the ineffable, the dogma of the Virgin Birth, and the Divine Incarnation, as foretold by the prophets.

Charity


Has no strings.
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I get a lot of post ideas after reading other people's blogs.  Sometimes they say (write) things - undoubtedly with the best intentions - that they haven't a clue as to how contradictory their statements sometimes come off - especially in light of their previous postings.  For sure I know I do it!  I say something about being charitable on the Internet and then I post something snide about Sr. Joan or Sr. Carol.  I do many things wrong on this blog - but I have never pretended to be an authority or a model of virtue either. 
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Last evening I came across a blog post concerning a beggar girl, written by a young man studying abroad.  Although he became acquainted with the beggar over time, he mentioned he never ever gives her money.  He said that where he is, the poor have a place to go for help.  Strangely enough this fellow solicits donations on his blog to help defray grad-school expenses.
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In our country many good people do not give money to the homeless people they meet for similar reasons, although many will give to charitable organizations that serve the poor.  Therefore they are entitled to explain themselves something like this:  "The homeless can go to Catholic Charities if they need help, if we give them money they will most likely spend it on booze."  That may be true.
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I always wonder about that however - for myself, that is.  Should I attach conditions to caring for those I meet?  Should I only give to those I think are worthy and who are more likely to use the money for the right things?  What if a pint of whiskey is the only warmth and joy a poor man is able to experience that night?  He already knows where the Dorothy Day Center is, but he doesn't know anyone really cares about him in that moment - unless I trust him and share something with him.  I used to worry about that stuff when giving money to a street person - I try not to do that now.
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True charity has no strings.  But it is really difficult to remember that.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Awakening...


O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: come, and with outstretched arm, redeem us.
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"[T]he great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shocked or whether it is to remain so that we see thousands of things and know that they should not be and must not be, and that we get hardened to them. How many things have we become used to in the course of the years, of the weeks and months, so that we stand unshocked , unstirred, inwardly unmoved.
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Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to a realization of ourselves. The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which and by means of which we always build ourselves imaginary worlds. In this way we force reality to take us to itself by force - by force, in much pain and suffering.
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This shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God's promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened - only with these is life made capable of Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of "coming to," in the wretchedness of realizing our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth in these times reach us." - Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J.
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Art:  O Adonai:  "Moses before the Burning Bush" - Chagall

What?


Mr. Drysdale and Miss Hathaway.  (Beverly Hillbillies)
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Intimation



Has it ever happened to you?
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An intimation that someone needs your prayer - right now - drop what you are doing - pray!  I've awakened during the night like that.  Once I awoke as if someone had shaken me, and I immediately thought to pray for a man I met a few times, though I hardly knew him.  I should mention - for the sake of possible coincidence - that a parishioner had informed me a week or so prior to my experience that the fellow was ill and might be dying.  Anyway - the next morning at Mass another acquaintance from daily Mass came up to me and said, "Bob K. died during the night - did you know him?"  (I probably had been praying for him at the moment of his death.)
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Today I felt an overwhelming sense to stop painting and pray for someone - perhaps a suicide - I tried to dismiss the thought but I couldn't get it out of my mind and I soon stopped what I was doing to pray.
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Please pray for the fellow I was inspired to pray for today - or just pray especially for those who will commit suicide during the holidays.
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Thanks.
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Art: "The Suicide" - Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A petition to sign.


I rarely get on board with this type of thing. I must say, "We've waited long enough" seems a bit prideful and demanding, even somewhat dissenter-ish - but I get the point.
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The petition makes the request that the new English translation for the Roman Missal be implemented immediately while expressing opposition to any more delays in the process. The stalled updated translation, which accords more closely to the original Latin, and is accepted by the Vatican as well as English speaking bishop conferences elsewhere, is currently being held up in committee if you will. So it seems fair to me a couple of bishops need a kick in the ass like this to get the job done. Click here to sign the petition: We've Waited Long Enough (Afterwards, perhaps they will have the gallantry to retire early.)
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Thanks to Owen and Adoro for spreading the word.

"Stopped short".



How former free-lance exorcist, Archbishop Milingo fell in love with his wife.
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One evening as he was driving Maria Sung home from an exorcism, he had to "stop short"* for a pedestrian crossing the road in front of the Vatican Arms Hotel on the Via Di Porta Cavalleggeri.  The former Archbishop extended his arm to protect Maria from lunging forward, grasping her enormous bosom.  The rest is history, and interestingly enough, included in an episode of "Seinfeld". 

Oooooooooooo! My! Gosh! They found Atlantis!


Just like Edgar Cayce said!
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And right where he predicted...
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WASHINGTON, DC (Herald de Paris) - EXCLUSIVE - Researchers have revealed the first images from the Caribbean sea floor of what they believe are the archaeological remains of an ancient civilization. Guarding the location’s coordinates carefully, the project’s leader, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, says the city could be thousands of years old; possibly even pre-dating the ancient Egyptian pyramids, at Giza. - News story
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So who is Edgar?
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Joan River's first husband, of course!   Kidding.  Actually Cayce was an American occultist known as the Sleeping Prophet who lived in the early part of the 20th century.  He was a well known spiritualist and healer.  He made many outlandish prophecies that most New Agers accept as gospel - even though he missed on most.  The Atlantis thing is one of his best sellers.  He predated the New Age movement of course, but his teachings embody all that these folks embrace - environmentalism, relativism, ecumenism - one world religion, etc..
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The prophecy...
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"Atlantis Rising - Cayce most specifically timed forecast was that Atlantis would rise again in 1968 or 1969. Needless to say, Cayce was wrong on that count. [Note: However, it was in that time frame that the "Bimini Road" was located in the Atlantic Ocean. Whether this is a "road" or "natural, geologic erosion"  cannot be proven. Atlantis suffered 3 major destructions one of which was the deluge.]" - Source

But maybe this will be the discovery of the Blue Stone...
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"Blue Stone - Cayce may or may not have predicted the coming of a certain 'blue stone' of Atlantean origin, that was to be found on "an island in the Caribbean" and was to have the power to heal. In 1974 a Volcanic blue pectolite now known as the Larimar was found in the Dominican Republic. References to Blue Stones are also a metaphor for the color blue which goes to this file and on to blue apples, blue grapes, stargates, etc. Everything is connected and most of what you read that is channeled contains metaphoric content.
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Cayce also prophesied that the Earth's axis would be shifted by the year 2001, bringing on reversals in climate, so that where there has been a frigid or semi-tropical climate, there will be a more tropical one, and moss and fern will grow. By this time, he indicated, a new cycle would begin." - Source
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Quick!  Someone get Al Gore on the phone!  Oooooooooooooobama!  This could change everything in Copenhagen.
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Thanks to Paula for the sunken city tip.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


The "O" antiphons.
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I know.  It is a liturgical thing - very good - very nice - very lovely - all of that.  Awesome!  You will hear them recited, repeated, chanted, sung -  now until Christmas - and others talking about them as if they had never read scripture or heard such words and attributes of the God-man uttered by mere mortals ever before.  Very nice, very good, very lovely - all of that. 
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Seriously, the antiphons are just awesome and beautiful - truly...  Indispensable during the preparation for Christmas.  Nevertheless, liturgical bloggers, liturgists, and choirmasters tend to carry on about them - almost to excess.  If perchance some cleric or liturgist corners you and expounds on and on over the extraordinary beauty of the antiphons, just tell them, "I know!  Oooo!  I know, I know!"
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If these people did not carry on so dramatically - a soul just might be able to discover the spiritual beauty all on their own - as the Holy Spirit wills.  "The wind blows where it will, and thou hearest its voice, but knowest not whence it comes and where it goes: thus is every one that is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8
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Art:  Monks - no further information available.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in a death camp...


"Men find it hard to look evil in the eye and call it by its true name."
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Did you ever see the film, "The Hiding Place" - it is a wonderful film.  It helps to understand Christmas in a death camp... from the prisoners' perspective.  "No pit so deep that his love is not deeper still." - Betsy Ten-Boom
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While the prisoners were suffering from starvation and cruel and inhuman conditions, Nazi soldiers and camp workers had every thing they needed or wanted.  In fact, their lives were relatively normal and comfortable - unaffected by the diabolical work they were engaged in.  Not unlike many of their fellow civilians who denied such things were happening.  Astonishing?

This morning I came across an interesting story (H/T SpiritDaily; New Oxford Review) exploring new research and data that demonstrates how gradual acceptance and practice of contraception and abortion may have laid the groundwork for Adolf Hitler's eugenic-abortion policies.
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Men find it hard to look evil in the eye and call it by its true name. It was no different in early 20th-century Germany, where women spoke of the need to "curb coercive procreation" by legalizing abortion. Coercive here meant having to bear to term a child who was already in the womb. In 1908 the "bourgeois" Federation of German Women's Organizations demanded repeal of the abortion clause, §218, so that every woman might be Herrin ihres Körpers, or master of her body. In this specious slogan the child in the womb was reduced to part of the mother's body. Before World War I only elite women used this new­speak, but after the war ordinary women chimed in, as in a 1931 rally in which "many thousands of women were mobilized under the communist slogan Dein Körper gehört Dir! (Your body belongs to you!)." The year 1931 also saw the birth of the Committee of Self-Incrimination Against §218, which encouraged celebrities to come out and admit to having had, or having aided in, an abortion. Among those who came out was Albert Einstein. - Read the entire article here.
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I laugh, you laugh, we all laugh - ignoring the atrocities occurring in our society.
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Photos:
Top:  SS officer Karl Hoecker lights a candle on a Christmas tree

Bottom: Laughter lines the faces of camp staff as they prepare for a sing-a-long.

Read more here:  Laughing Death Camp Guards At Play.

Novena to the Infant Jesus


The solemn novena for Christmas begins today.
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Art: Birth of Christ, Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beautiful Nativity



Nativity Group with Angel, 18th century


Guatemalan

Wood, polychromed and gilded, with glass eyes and silver-gilt halos

(.168ab): H. 20 in. (50.8 cm); (.169a–c): H. 20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm); (.170ab): L. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm); (.171a–c): H. 18 in. (45.7 cm); (.172): H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)

Gift of Loretta Hines Howard, 1964 (64.164.168ab–.172)
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The workshops that generated Guatemalan devotional sculptures, whether Nativities or Crucifixion scenes, developed a style and technique that remained fairly constant over time. But while sculptors remained fairly faithful to set compositional models, those responsible for the estofado, the layering of gilding and paint that reproduced the effects of lavish silk and gold textiles, enjoyed more freedom to vary the patterns they used. Guatemalan estofado is the finest practiced in the Spanish Americas and is distinguished also by the use of delicate relief that adds variety to the surface of the sculptures.


Elements of Asian style, perceptible in the robes of Mary and Joseph, reflect the importation of Chinese silk via the Manila Galleon trade; their faces, especially the Virgin's pure oval countenance and heavy-lidded eyes, recall the features of Hispano-Philippine ivory carvings.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

A proper and serious Advent reflection...



"Walk through these days as an announcing messenger."
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The horror of these times would be unendurable unless we kept being cheered and set upright again by the promises of the Advent angels, who speak their message of blessing right into the midst of anguish, scattering seeds of hope. These are not yet the loud angels of rejoicing and fulfillment. Quiet, inconspicuous, they enter the rooms of our hearts...proclaiming to us the wonders of God, for whom nothing is impossible.
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Thus for all its earnestness, Advent is a time of inner security, because of these angels of annunciation. Oh, if it should ever happen that we forget their tidings; if all we know is the four walls and windows of life's gray days; if we can no longer hear their gentle step; if our souls are no longer both shaken and exalted by their whispered word - it will be over with us. We will have lived wasted lives.So the first thing we must do, if we want to be alive, is to believe in the golden seed of God that the angels have scattered throughout time, and still offer today, to every open heart.
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The second is to walk through these dark times as an announcing messenger oneself - to carry and spread the angel's message. So many need their courage strengthened; so many are in despair and in need of consolation; there is so much harshness that needs a gentle hand and an illuminating word; so much loneliness crying out for a word of release; so much loss and pain in search of inner meaning. But God's messengers know that this is not all: they know of the blessing that the Lord has cast like seed into these hours of history.
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Understanding today's world in the light of Advent means enduring in faith, believing in the fertility of the silent earth, and awaiting the abundance of the coming harvest.
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Not because we have any trust in ourselves, but because we have a task - because we have heard God's message, and have met one of God's announcing angels ourselves. -Alfred Delp, S.J. [Delp, Alfred. Prison Writings (Orbis, 2004)]
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My conclusion.
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Each of us have something to give... to offer support for one another in these days of moral anarchy...  As Fr. Delp noted - we have a task... we have something of value to communicate - to edify and encourage and defend our brothers and sisters.  To the point of exposing ourselves to ridicule, rejection, contempt, unto  loss of life - everything human nature fears.  Souls are at stake.
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"What must we do?  He said to them in reply, 'Whoever has two coats should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise...'" (Luke 3: 10-18)  Just so, whoever has survived some form of tragedy, suffering, sorrow; anyone who has been converted from a sinful life, a life of addiction; anyone who has encountered that place where "justice and peace have kissed, mercy and truth have met" - needs - must - give to those who have not.
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Photo:  Trial of Alfred Delp, S.J.
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Thanks to my Bruderhof brother for the Fr. Delp passage.

"Christmas In New Hope" - A Tuesday Story Corner Presentation.



Home for Advent.
- By Terrance J. Nelson
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It happened during the pre-dawn hours of December 15, 2001...
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It was an unusually cold December morning, just after the bars closed.  The guy was driving through Bucks County and stopped at a gas station on the edge of New Hope, to ask directions for Old Covered Bridge Road.  The attendant never looked at the guy but gestured towards the general direction he needed to travel.  The man - Helmut was his name - got back into his Aston Martin and started down the road the attendant seemed to indicate. 
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The tree lined road was overgrown with snow laden hedge-rows, while the icy lane zig-zagged through multiple curves and over small rolling inclines.  Undeterred, Helmut began driving faster as he recalled the way... lifting his wrist to his nostrils, deeply inhaling the cologne he had purchased that afternoon:  "Gio!"  Helmut exclaimed.  "I loves dat schmell!"  He shouted lustfully!  "Und so shall my schatzie...."  Suddenly, without warning, the driver swerved to avoid hitting a chicken crossing the road;  the car swung around and around and around like a top on the ice covered surface, crashing into a tree, killing Helmut instantly. 
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The End
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Note:  The center photo in the montage (above) shows Helmut exactly as he was found by rescuers at the scene of the accident.  Though killed instantly and violently in the tragic accident, Helmut appeared almost as if just awakening from a nap - with no visible injuries.  It was considered an Advent miracle.
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Suggested background music: "Leader of the Pack" playing slowly and softly, hoarsely sung by Whitney Houston.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My favorite Christmas carole: "Shine A Light!"

Listening to this - I added lights to my Nativity backgrounds! Merry Christmas!

Last full week before Xmas!



Quick pics.
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I'm still working on the backgrounds for the Nativity - driving myself nuts because I get too detailed - no one will really notice the panels since they will be viewed through 12" x 12" windows.  Then I have no idea how they will be mounted in order to work - I've never -  Oops!  Sounds like I'm complaining - I am not - just stressed now... what if they do not work?  What if they are too dark?  Nevertheless, I'm enjoying the painting - like I said - they are not good art - they are just backgrounds and a little fanciful - especially the cat angels!   
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Cath wants me to write my Christmas stories - but those may have to wait until after the 25th - despite the fact they should be told for Christmas Eve.
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I'll tell you about a couple of dreams though.
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I don't know if it is the stress of the season or what, but I've been dreaming a lot.  So real quick like - I'll tell you about a couple of them. 
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So anyway.  Last night's dream was about being at my old job, but trying to stay out of sight of management because I'm banned from the premises - which is the source of heartache for me because I miss a couple of the guys I really liked there.  Anyway - one of the guys saw me and I had to get out fast because he is a very unforgiving guy and married to one of the owners.
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So I run down the street and realize I'm actually in the warehouse district of Minneapolis and looking for something, and then I'm a block off Hennepin - the main strip downtown, and this huge, black tornado is coming and I run into the Saloon - a gay bar - and get under the tables, and there are a bunch of old ladies already taking cover and they are blogging.  So I start praying the rosary and the tornado passes and I end up in City Center shopping for Christmas.  That is all I can recall - but it was really stressful.  I left out the part about the tornado hoses - little tornadoes, almost like the hoses on gasoline pumps - swirling towards my face - and yet all I wanted to drink was a Coke.


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The Digs dream.
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The other night - I told Cathy this one - I dreamed a dream - no - that's Susan Boyle.  But seriously, I dreamed I was in the back shade garden gardening when I heard a ruckus in the main yard.  I looked over the hedge and the neighbor's dog was frantically digging a trench - he looked like Wishbone, so I wasn't too concerned.  Then I noticed the neighbor family standing there staring at me, all Stepford-like.  So creepy.  I also noticed a very large rabbit watching it all.  He was about 6 feet tall, very beige with tawny shading, and a white tummy.  His ears were quite big, and he looked at me very sternly.  I thought to myself, "What?"  You know - like I did something bad.  (I always feel like that.)
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It was then that I noticed a couple of regular sized rabbits watching the dog as he kept on digging like a maniac - and I thought to myself, "I guess it's true what they say about Jack Russell terriers."   And then I saw what was going on - the dog was uncovering the rabbit's nest, snatching the babies and dismembering them - obviously killing them - and scattering body parts and fur all about.
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Weird, huh?  But I know what it means.  Without going into detail, it is all about blogging.  I'm the dog - digging for stories and ripping people apart - and that huge rabbit disapproves.
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All righty then.  I have to get painting.
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Art: "Holiday On Eis" - Michael Sowa

Nada


Feast of St. John of the Cross.
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That's all.
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Photo:  Statue of the saint - no further information available.

Beauty and culture...



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Public figures and facial hair issues.
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"The experts say that weight loss, especially in obese women, can help in decreasing high levels of the male hormone testosterone which could also be one among other possible causes of excessive hair growth and massive weight gain and bloating. Cosmetic treatments such as bleaching (for unwanted hair) and lyposuction (for unwanted mass) also turn out to be effective for women struggling with these issues." - The problem of excessive facial hair in fat women.
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Photo - J. Chitistter, can't remember where I got it - nice blouse though, huh?  Looks like it could be a detail of a mural by Gabriel Loire I once saw.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The importance of spiritual joy and Gaudete Sunday.


Rejoicing on Gaudete.
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I love the image of Divina Pastora - Our Lady the Holy Shepherdess.  I took it (above) from Rorate Caeli blog - one of the better blogs online BTW - it is contained in the post:  Manila's Grand Marian Procession in honor of the Immaculate Conception  .  If I had grown up amidst such Marian devotion I would have died of love at a very early age.  Our Lady must love the Philippines very much.
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Devotion to Our Lady, who is called, 'Cause of our joy' - for obvious reasons, fills us with joy, even amidst the greatest sadness.  Try it.  Recite her Office, or go aside and pray a quiet Rosary while meditating the best you can on the mysteries - even if it just entails looking at the pictures of the mysteries.  If you are really little - just recite her litany.  If you do not feel anything, or do not notice that you feel different afterwards, you will at least notice an inner peace... a joy unfelt, if you will.  Although I am quite sure, Our Lady will not disappoint you and she will fill your soul with a joy the world cannot give.  She always does. 
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Spiritual sloth - the sadness which begets rancor and sadness...
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Although perfect love should be disinterested love, no human being is capable of sustaining such love - our human nature needs the consolation of spiritual joy - which is the 'fruit of generosity in the love of God.'  Disgust for spiritual things - authentic piety and devotion - when willed, may indicate the spiritual ill of acedia, or the grave sin of spiritual sloth.  Not to be confused with the trial of spiritual aridity of course.
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'Acedia is a disgust for spiritual things, a disgust which leads one to perform them negligently, to shorten them, or to omit them under vain pretexts.  It is the cause of tepidity.'
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Acedia or spiritual sloth, is a sadness of spirit which oppresses the soul and causes all sorts of evils... think of Ebeneezer Scrooge.  It is a capital sin which "is the root of many others.  Why is this?  Because a man seeks material consolations in order to flee from the sadness and disgust which spiritual things inspire in him on account of the renunciation and self discipline they demand." 
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"Consequently disastrous results follow disgust for spiritual things and for the work of sanctification - a sin which is directly opposed to the love of God and to the holy joy resulting therefrom.  From this evil sadness are born malice - and no longer only weakness - rancor towards one's neighbor, pusillanimity in the face of duty to be accomplished, discouragement, spiritual torpor even to the forgetting of the precepts, and finally, dissipation of spirit and seeking after forbidden things."  - (Everything in quotations/italics is from Garrigou-Lagrange, Three Ages, Vol 1: 29)  
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The Cause of our joy.
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To conquer spiritual sloth, a good, frank sacramental confession is in order.  It is overcome by genuine love of God exercised in true devotion of the will - authentic piety - which includes mortification and the practice of the virtues.  Even when sensible devotion be lacking - that too can be offered as a sacrifice in reparation.
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As Garigou-Lagrange ends this particular chapter:  "Thus instead of losing time which flees, we recover it and gain it for eternity.  And gradually we recover spiritual joy, that of which St. Paul speaks when he writes to the Philippians"  'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!' (Phil. 4:4-7)"
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Our Lady is the Cause of our joy because she consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer Who is all our joy, our love!
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Retablo: Source

Diorama:  Source and history.


Image Source.

Gaudete Sunday


It is also the feast of St. Lucy... Legend has it that her eyes were gouged out with forks during her martyrdom.
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Notice the rose colours used in the painting.  Rose is also the colour of the vestments worn on Gaudete Sunday - as a sign of rejoicing in the midst of a penitential season. 
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Art: Reference
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