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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rainy Day Painting Exhibition


Photos of two of my recent paintings are up for your viewing pleasure at Up Your Street.
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(The Cappa painting was not inspired by Fr. Z's recent blogpost - I had this one in mind for quite a long time.)
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Praise tapping for Saturday.

Exorcism and the Church Militant

Matt Abbott has an excerpt from a new book by exorcist Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer of Human Life International, Exorcism and the Church Militant,  more or less confirming everything we suspected, but were afraid to ask...  The Devil is indeed in the details of contemporary life.

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The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill a most dramatic mission; it is perhaps the most dangerous and exhilarating of missions ever entrusted to men. It is the mission of saving souls.

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This mission cannot be accomplished without entering into conflict with "the world, the flesh and the devil." It is not a mission for the fainthearted or for those who wish to take the wide road to heaven. It is the path of warfare, of spiritual battle. And although we know that Our Lord has fought that battle before us, and won, every age of the Church must take up arms anew and fight it until the end of time. Let it be said with certainty that those who embrace wholeheartedly the Church's mission to save souls will live a difficult life, one full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but, at the same time, a life imbued with immense blessings that accrue only to those who risk everything for Christ. It is for those who "fight the good fight" for souls in hand-to-hand combat with the devil that this book is written, to support, encourage and strengthen them in their conflict with the forces of evil arrayed against man's salvation. Theirs is the work of the Church Militant.
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In today's day and age, Satan is growing exponentially more powerful due to the enormity of human sinfulness, and the Church must confront his power either willingly or unwillingly. Satan is normally "hidden in the dark sea of human sin and error," like Leviathan of the Old Testament, but nowadays he is walking tall in powerful structures of sin like abortion, pornography, sex slavery, rapacious greed and terrorism. He flexes his muscles in the massive diffusion of errors and sinful practices like the doctrines of myriad false religions, pernicious ideologies like radical feminism and "pro-choice" extremism, the militant homosexual movement and the aggressive mass media which is the ministry of propaganda for Satan and all his works and all his empty promises.

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Never in all of history have we seen evil promoted so effectively and the true good so roundly mocked and rejected as in this age of extreme technological prowess. - Read the rest of the excerpt here.
Just yesterday the Holy Father told priests gathered in Rome:

It’s no accident, the pope implied, that precisely as the Catholic church was celebrating a “Year for Priests” in 2009-2010, the sexual abuse crisis once again took on massive global proportions.
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“It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the ‘enemy,’” Benedict XVI said. “He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world.” - NCR

Friday, June 11, 2010

Whatever happened to Martin Short?


Is Nancy Pelosi Actually Ed Grimley?

Is it good to be always repenting?

I think it is.

Today's Gospel:  "I tell you... there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance." [Luke 15]
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"Yeah, but" nothing...
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"A brother asked a hermit, 'Is it good to be always repenting?'  The hermit answered, 'We have seen Joshua the son of Nun; it was when he was lying prostrate on his face that God appeared to him.'"
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"Abba Sisoes once said with confidence, 'For thirty years I have not prayed to God without sin.  When I pray, I say 'Lord Jesus Christ protect me from my tongue.'  Yet even now it causes me to fall every day.'"
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So repent, and every day give great joy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
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Icon:  Sisoes - a memento mori.

Rainy days.

I've been painting on these rainy days.  On Tuesday I finished a memento mori after the Swedish artist Owe Zerge, whose 'Canticle of the Sun' is shown above.  I liked it so much I did my own version - not nearly as fine as Zerge's work.  I'll post it after I photograph it - I need good natural light to shoot in.  My version was part of my daily painting regime and I changed it up a bit - blue jeans instead of the Franciscan habit.  The  subject matter may account for my dark humor of late as well.

Today I'll try and do an archbishop in a cappa magna for my daily paint exercise.

After that I may buckle down and attempt a more serious painting, an icon perhaps.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


Begging your pardon if I have offended any of you - my guests, visitors, readers, friends, enemies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Same-sex marriage quote of the day...

Gays start all the trends.
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"If you legalize same-sex marriage then everyone is going to want to get married." -Terrance Nelson
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(Because marriage has fallen out of fashion - get it?)

Fringe element.


Just shooting off my mouth.  (I've been so serious lately that I'm getting on my own nerves.)
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Even if a certain priest blogger gets 10,000 hits a day - he still qualifies as part of the fringe.  What fringe?  Catholic conservative, right-wing-nut fringe.  That is pretty much what most of us are - to outsiders and quite frequently, to one another.
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A blogger friend of mine posted something about tearing down the facade.  I'm not so sure everyone who piously blogs has erected a facade - some people are exactly what they post.  Some bloggers are very good and holy people - especially all of the priests who blog.  They are like saints.  (Year of the Priest ends soon.)
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My intention is not to trash anyone, but it is easy to slip into pious sentimentality when blogging - real or imagined.  One easy way to recognize it is when the person starts to sound exactly like the devotional books he reads.  It doesn't mean he's a fraud or that his thoughts aren't inspired, but one can only take so much sugar in their tea, you know?
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On the other hand some people go too far with the self-deprecating humility thing - confessing their sins online, discussing their state of soul in the dark night of mental instability and so on.  Not a good idea - save it for confession.  Anyway, readers can tell we are big fat sinners - they read our stupid blogs.  I can usually tell who drinks, who is nuts, who has issues with Church teaching; I know what's what.  We betray ourselves through our writing - no need to lay it all out - subtlety is good.
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Have no illusions about bloggers.  If we are online we are self-absorbed, attention grabbing, members of some fringe group who have nothing else to do with our lives.
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Give me examples, you say?
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Okay then.  Have you ever read "Throw the Bums Out".  My first impression when I read the blog was "I knew people like this when I lived in Boston."  Then I thought, "How can you refer to bishops as bums to be thrown out?"  Every once in a while I check the blog out - the author rips apart the Boston Archdiocese like it's the reincarnation of the Soviet Union.  The Cardinal is constantly denounced - and yet the Holy Father just named him as a member of the visitation team for Ireland.  How can such an enemy of the Church be given such an important task.  See - that blog is an example of fringe.
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There are many others - usually the very, very traddy, written by famous theologians working at Walgreen's.  I've mentioned them before - most are descended from European nobility and have one or two degrees in theology.  Seriously unraveled fringe.
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What other blogs suck?  Oh no - I'm not caving in for that one...  LOL!  Don't get me started on the Catholic Priest Defense League?  No offense to spiritual mothers BTW, or aspiring nuns. 
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Then there is me of course.  I'm completely unravelled.  "Makes me completely mental, don't ya know!"
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Don't take blogging and bloggers so seriously - most of them are twits anyway.  (Nope - I don't do Twitter.)
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Please leave insulting comments.  Thanks so much.

And then, and then....


And then they try to pass themselves off as normal.
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Photo: Tea-Party Girls - Pewsitter

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"If anyone wishes to follow me...


Let him deny his very self..." [Mk. 8:34-35]
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"Oh who can make this counsel of our Saviour understandable... Oh who can explain the extent of the denial our Lord wishes of us..." - John of the Cross
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I have some sections of John of the Cross nearly memorized, so often do I ruminate upon them, as I do with Scripture.  Such as, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, only those to whom it is given to do so..." [Matt 19:11]  And, "This sort of talk is hard to endure!  How can anyone take it seriously?" [...]  Jesus said; "My doctrine is not my own; it comes from him who sent me.  Any man who chooses to do his will will know about this doctrine... whoever speaks on his own is bent on self-glorification." [Jn. 6:60,66; 7:16,18]
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People tell me I take passages out of context, or take them too literally, or that John of the Cross was writing for contemplatives and about contemplative prayer and the renunciation needed to reach union with God.  Whatever.  I repeat:  Oh if only people understood the extent of the denial our Lord calls us to...  This negation must be similar to a complete temporal, natural, sensual and spiritual death - that is in reference to the esteem of the will: the disordered attractions and affections and appetites. (My liberty with John's text.  Ascent, Bk II, Chp 7:6)
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That's all I have to say today concerning yesterday's post "The End of Homophobia".   Although I'll conclude with the following:
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12. What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian's suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ. - On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, CDF

Self denial is not  'self-hate'.
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Art:  John of the Cross.  An image of Christ carrying the cross spoke to John, asking him to make any request of Jesus whatsoever, and he would grant it, and John asked, "To suffer and be despised."  Oh!  Who?  Who can explain the extent of the denial our Lord wishes of us...

Laity to be beatified.



Alojzij Grozde, a 19 year old lay man in the Archdiocese of Ljubljana, Slovenia who was martyred by Communist partisans on 1 January 1943 in Mirna, Trebnje, Slovenia, is among those whose cause for beatification was approved on June 8, 2010.  Grosde is my favorite of the group because he had been rejected by his mother who bore him out of wedlock... needless to say he had a difficult childhood - and came through it a saint.
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Another favorite of mine is Lolo, Manuel Lozano Garrido, a Spanish journalist who spent most of his life in a wheel chair.  Garrido will be beatified Saturday, June 12.
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Read more here.
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(Br. William - I will do a post listing the names of several lay saints soon - sorry for the delay.)


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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

One on one...

The end of homophobia?

Catholics and straight guys may be gays new BFF’s...
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At least that’s what a recent Gallup poll indicates:

PRINCETON, NJ - Americans' support for the moral acceptability of gay and lesbian relations crossed the symbolic 50% threshold in 2010. At the same time, the percentage calling these relations "morally wrong" dropped to 43%, the lowest in Gallup's decade-long trend.Gallup

A friend sent me an email suggesting that Americans may be more accepting of the gay lifestyle because they do not know ‘what gay sex is all about’. I used to think the same thing and went to disgusting lengths to write about what homosexual sex entails – it’s a dirty job, I thought, but somebody has to do it. The joke was on me, as usual.  I decided not to go there any longer however, since I’m sure most people actually do know what is involved. A lot of people seem to use pornography in their ongoing studies of human sexuality - and they've probably glimpsed some of the behavior.
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However, I did respond to my friend that I felt gay activists and their supporters have often tried to cover up the nitty-gritty recreational sexual activities and present a Beaver Cleaver/Ozzie and Harriet image of same-sex domesticity to the world. I also think media has been the driving force in affecting the way men think about homosexuals.  It's been on TV everywhere since Billy Crystal's character in 'Soap' ('70's) and it is usually presented lightheartedly - not necessarily mockingly - but it remains a popular shtick for comedic situations, monologues by late night comedians, etc..  The trend is to use gay stereotypes camping it up to present product to regular guys, introduce a guest, perform skits, or just perform the 'straight-guy' in off-the-wall awkward jokes.  Queer-Eye may have done a lot to help the gay image as well.  Just last weekend a photo went online of Dustin Hoffman kissing another celebrity on the lips at a sports event. Lumped together, and over time, this stuff helps to convince a straight guy not to get all bent out of shape over the issue – live and let live.  And keep the subject alive - keep talking, get more people to come out, make it cool, etc..  It works.
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That said, I also believe the American male has been gradually sensitized and feminized since the women's movement gained muscle in the '70's: Through public education, media - especially advertising. Notice how TV and movies have for years now portrayed the contemporary straight male - he’s the weaker character, the dumber of the male/female couple, it is always the woman as the boss, the macho hero cop, the one who delivers the knock out punch, and so on.  Today she's the bread-winner and Ms. Fix-it, while dad does the cooking.  That's just gay.
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The so-called 'gay agenda' is working.
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It has been a brilliant and well supported campaign.  Acceptance is growing amongst Catholics too, despite the fact that officially, Catholic Church teaching is one of the last voices pointing out the truth about homosexuality. The poll suggests a different mindset amongst Catholics, reminiscent of the dissent which followed Humanae Vitae and the condemnation of artificial birth control.
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While the Catholic Church fights any and all efforts to recognize gay and lesbian relationships (the battle between the District and the archdiocese over same-sex marriage comes to mind), its flock is overwhelmingly supportive. In May 2006, just 46 percent thought those relationships were "morally acceptable." Four years later, a whopping 62 percent shared that view. That 16-point jump is 10 points greater than the jump among Protestants (6) and "other non-Christian (7). What's also interesting is that Catholics' growing acceptance of homosexual relationships is greater than that of Protestants. In May 2006, there was a 10-point gap (36 percent for Protestants and 46 percent for Catholics). Today, the gap is 20 percent.Washington Post
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Obviously there has been a subtle shift in attitudes amongst Catholics, despite the sexual abuse scandals and the gay priest/seminary scandals of the ‘90’s. And I don’t think all the credit belongs to Catholic pro-gay activists, like those who advocate for groups such as Dignity, Rainbow Sash, along with other pro-gay-rights organizations. I have always thought there exists a more subtle movement within the Church, albeit largely unorganized, seeking a general acceptance of the homosexual condition in and of itself as morally neutral or normative, a simple personality variant if you will – while emphasizing chastity and celibacy in accord with Church teaching of course.  Maybe with rather creative 'pastoral exceptions' as well.
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Please do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting acceptance and tolerance is wrong or to be condemned.  Quite the opposite.  Indeed, the Church doesn't teach that either:
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2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. - CCC
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That said, there are those who take certain teachings out of context and "create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage."  (CDF)  The confusion is the confusion of language, such as determining 'what the definition of is, is' - as Bill Clinton so famously put it. 
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Quoting form the CDF's document, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons ( a document often ignored by those who claim Pope Benedict has said nothing against the homosexual condition - His Holiness authored this document):
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Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.
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9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.
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There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. - CDF; On Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

Every official Church document on the complex subject of homosexuality must be considered and placed within context of the Church's teaching on the the subject as it relates to the perennial teaching on human sexuality.  As with John Paul II's catechesis on theology of the body, texts are often taken out of context or extrapolated and contorted to fit modern, secularized views of sexuality.  Indeed, the Chris West version of TOB enjoys just such popularity and is often referenced by gay Catholics in attempting to create a gay spirituality or mysticism which I referenced in my post, "A Carnal Love for Christ".  I think a close examination of these 'teachings' and new approaches is required to make certain they are truly Catholic.  Precisely because "the neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve." (CDF)
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Popular writers, saying the right stuff on being gay and Catholic.
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"I love being gay," stated Eve Tushnet in a New York Times piece on her.  “I really think the most important thing is, I really like being gay and I really like being Catholic,” she says. “If nobody ever calls me self-hating again, it will be too soon."  - NYT

More liberal than a "Courage" dyke perhaps, Tushnet does seem to be a good Catholic, sticking to her guns on the chastity-celibacy mandate for homosexual persons, against same-sex marriage in a more culturally intelligible way, and so on.  her frank honesty on the subject, and acceptance of self is admirable.  Her thinking on the subject of homosexuality is excellent.  I just question ideas such as, "I love being gay" - a statement which by itself indicates a healthy self-acceptance while affirming an objectively disordered condition.  It seems counterintuitive and appears to come close to contradicting what the CDF document says: "Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity."
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In her defense, to my knowledge Tushnet (and her counterpart John Heard of Dreadnought) insist they do not condone homosexual activity, but both appear to believe the condition itself is morally neutral, always placing the onus on actions separate from inclination, when in fact the homosexual condition itself is 'objectively' disordered.  The reason I take issue with their emphasis to the contrary is because when one identifies as gay one is held there, as it were.  The Church does not define men and women by their sexual preference or behavior:  "The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be described  by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.  [...]  The Church provides a badly needed context for the case of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a 'heterosexual' or a 'homosexual' and insists that every person has a fundamental identity:  the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life." - (CDF)
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"Show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse." - Mart Crowley, Boys In The Band
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So anyway - I'm not condemning Heard or Tushnet, just questioning their 'teaching' much as I do Christopher West.  Nevertheless, these folks have grabbed the attention of many churchmen and laity, many perhaps 'like-minded' - and this may provide another accounting as to why homophobia is dying out and the gay agenda is winning.
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We live in rapidly changing times of declining morality.  It is more difficult than ever to remain faithful to the Gospel.  One by one, through love and patient perseverance, we will save our souls, and hopefully save those around us as well.  We need to love one another and not hate any longer.
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That's all.
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Photo: Elton John and Eminem

Rainy days and Tuesdays...

I love rainy days - always have - ever since musical chairs instead of recess in 1st grade - I would get so excited I'd almost pee!  So anyway, my garden has already received an inch of rain this morning.  I have a rain gauge you know.  I love rain and natural irrigation.  (No asking for donations for more rain or trips abroad either.)  Hearty laughs all around!  Oh darling!  Life is good, isn't it!
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"In the face of egotism, it is up to Christians to proclaim the fundamental notion of sacrifice; in the face of raw pride - even intellectual pride; the notion of humility; in the face of sensuality and indulgence, the law of duty, not made by humans but coming from above..." - Betty Leseur
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Photo:  Linda Mellor, UK: "Teddy Bears in the Garden"

I'm working on it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Okay - that's it!

I just came across a blogger I know for sure is ____ - I knew the guy before blogs were invented - he was ____ then and he is ____ now.


Of course, just because someone is ____ doesn't make them a bad person - I'm just sayin'...


But the guy is psycho.


This post will self-destruct with no warning.
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It did too.  But that was yesterday and this is today.

I couldn't get into blogger since sometime last night after I removed the "Okay - that's it!" post.  I don't know what was wrong - I thought I did something really bad an the Google gestapo were coming for me.  In the meantime I had several people email me asking what happened to this post?  Telling me they couldn't get into blogger either, and did I think it had anything to do with Helen Thomas?  (That part's a lie.) 

So anyway - I took the post down because I wasn't using very PC language about a guy I was referring too and I was afraid people with mental health issues they are working on might be offended.  I don't want to be uncharitable nor do I want to offend people suffering with these issues when I use terms like 'nuts'.  In this case I should have said delusional or something similar - but psycho worked well.  I wish I could tell you who I was writing about, but it would be uncharitable to do so - I assure you, no one here knows him.  Let me simply say that the guy went from this, to that, to this, and now he's that - but like this.  I know you don't know what I mean - but if I showed his photo you would say, "Terry, that guy is nuts!"  And I would ask you not to use that term.  (No - it's not a priest or any of my friends.  Just don't even try to figure it out - he doesn't even comment here or know my blog exists - well he might.)
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But what it boils down to is the age-old 'you never know whose online' story.  Just watch out while online folks - don't believe every one and every thing you read in their 'confessions' or profile.  I tell you that all of the time and it's true.  I could tell you stories about some bloggers... never mind. 
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BTW - I'm working on a post about an unsavory topic - and I'm afraid it is going to be a lengthy one - I hate long posts, but sometimes one has to do them.  I could break it up into a mini-series, but people would comment before I printed everything and it might just confuse everything more. 
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Is Fr. Z job hunting in NYC?  I think he is.

That's all.
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Photo:  Belinda's mom showing the kids how to set a lovely table for a luncheon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Pious thoughts for Sunday morning...

Random too.
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Sparked by an earlier post this week, I've been thinking about men's spirituality - how men might use their imagination at prayer.  I thought of St. Peter at the Transfiguration, John at the last supper - which gay people attempt to eroticize, or at least romanticize.  Then I thought of my little brother.  Once, when he was about 4 or 5 years old, while I was babysitting him (as usual), he began annoying me and I think I kept yelling at him to stop whatever it was he was doing - until he pushed me too far and I must have said something very harsh - either to scare him or make him feel really bad, and I'm sure I threatened to slap him as well.  Just before I could, he pushed himself onto me, wrapped his arms around my neck and said, "Oh Terry, I love you!  I'll behave."  He melted my heart - the anger disappeared immediately, and I hugged him and told him everything was all right.  I think that is one way for men to imagine themselves with Christ.  Like a little kid, hugging their brother, their dad.  Nothing romantic - just pure love.  I don't know - it is all very subjective I suppose.
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I met a saint last night.
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Last evening after Mass, while waiting to speak to Father, a rough looking character came up to introduce himself to me.  His hair was growing out from a shave, he was dressed rather scruffy, although he seemed fresh and clean.  He told me his name and that he had been sober now for x number of months, but added that he falls off the wagon now and then.  I told him I quit drinking too, and unexpectedly he asked me how long I'd been sober.  I actually just quit drinking for Lent and decided I would make it a lifestyle adjustment afterwards.  I love to drink, but it wasn't as if I got drunk every time I had a drink - of course I didn't tell him that.  I just told him I quit drinking. Nevertheless, I congratulated him on his sobriety, after which he explained to me he also had a head injury, which may have accounted for his simplicity.  He showed me the crucifix around his neck and his rosary and it occurred to me he looked very much like St. Joseph Labre.  I worried I gave him the wrong impression in my effort to empathize by quipping "I quit drinking too!"  I realized how condescending and patronizing I had been... and worse, I excused myself as Father approached us because I was more interested in talking with him.  I felt really guilty... 
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I'm no better than that guy.  He's better than me - he reminded me of the passage, "This is the one I approve, the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word."  He clutched his crucifix and rosary as he left us and said, "This is why I'm sober - I couldn't do it alone."  The man's name is Kevin - please pray for him, and pray for me too.  In my secret thoughts I keep thinking I'm better than others.  I'm not.
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Once in a vision Our Lord bade John of the Cross to ask any favor of him and he would grant it - John asked, "To suffer and be despised."  He had to ask for the grace because it is completely against nature to want to suffer and be despised.
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That's all.

Got to give it up...

Sometimes you have to pray to want to give up what you need to give up.  Sometimes we are so attached to a certain vice that no matter how much we try, no matter how often we confess it, we keep falling back into it.  Then it is we know we have to pray for the grace to want to give it up.  "Give me the grace to accept and utilize the graces you are offering me."  "Give me the grace to want to give up this sin."  "Give me the grace to want to pray."  "Lord, I'm powerless..."  You know, stuff like that.
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Sometimes it takes a long, long time to give it up - but you will if you keep praying.  We have to become very little, very humble... very, very humble.  Until the Lord actually takes it from us.  Sounds like a contradiction doesn't it?  It isn't really - because everything is a grace.

The Pope and the Cross


Last evening I watched the last part of a film on Paul VI on EWTN - I saw a part of it last weekend as well.  It was quite good - at least I liked it.  I also liked Paul VI very much.  One evening several years ago, I was visiting a priest in his apartment on the campus of a local university.  Another priest professor stopped by and we talked for quite a long time.  Somehow Paul VI came up and I told how thrilled I was to be so close to him at his Masses whenever I was in Rome.  Somewhat enthusiastically I blurted out, "I loved him - I think he was a great pope."  The other guest corrected me and stated in an imperious tone, "I wouldn't say he was great..." and went on to list all the reasons he wasn't a very good pope. 
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I left rather bewildered.  Before that evening, the only people I had ever heard criticize the pope so harshly had been secularists, radical progressives and ultra traditionalists.  The things that priest said that evening remain in my memory as if I was hearing them for the first time.  The cursing, the use of God's name, the invective against the pope.  Perhaps it was the brandy speaking.  It remains one more reason why I have kept my distance from church people.
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Anyway - I don't know the name of the film on Paul VI, but if you do get a chance to see it, it would be good to watch.  If one looks for an authentic hermeneutic of continuity it can be located in the person of the Pope - contrary to what the grand historians, liturgists, and theological geniuses may tell you. 
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Anyway - for your edification...
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... [T]he message of the Cross has been entrusted to us, so that we can offer hope to the world. When we proclaim Christ crucified we are proclaiming not ourselves, but him. We are not offering our own wisdom to the world, nor are we claiming any merit of our own, but we are acting as channels for his wisdom, his love, his saving merits. We know that we are merely earthenware vessels, and yet, astonishingly, we have been chosen to be heralds of the saving truth that the world needs to hear. Let us never cease to marvel at the extraordinary grace that has been given to us, let us never cease to acknowledge our unworthiness, but at the same time let us always strive to become less unworthy of our noble calling, lest through our faults and failings we weaken the credibility of our witness. - Benedict XVI  In Cyprus, On the Cross