Saturday, December 12, 2015

Unusual 'Holiday Tree' Ideas ...

Say Season's Greetings without making people uncomfortable by saying which season you are actually celebrating ...

The Environmentalist Tree ... 
the Festivus pole recycled with recycled materials.
Say Laudato si - say it loud!

The Archbishop Emeritus DVD Tree.
A TwinCities favorite.
Recycled anti-gay-marriage DVD's.

Hanging-fruit Tree...
very traditional in a strange way.

The Mommie Dearest Tree.
Sentimental and a little sad - 
but that's what the holidays are all about Christina.

Climb Every Mountain Tree.
The most 'spiritual' but not religious
idea of them all.  So evocative of the 'Ladder of Perfection',
and works well for the ambitious careerist as well.

My Favorite:
The Bottle Tree.
Fun to make and add onto -  
all the way through the entire holiday season!

Happy Holidays Poodles!

Song for this post here.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Virgin of the Apocalypse.

And a great sign appeared ...

Our Lady of Guadalupe

“When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. 
A land of generosity." - Pope Francis 2013

Just think, Our Lady appeared as the Great Sign in the Americas - what does it mean for our times?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Who was the saint the Pope mentioned? The one the Lord asked to give him his sins?

Once upon a time there was a mean old, cantankerous
saint who liked lions and always dreamed of projecting
an image of one onto a church - instead he contented 
himself with telling off other prelates and fighting
with curial officials while talking all the time about
mercy and pulling thorns out of kitty paws.  He wrote letters
and said whatever he thought and people thought he 
was nuts.  One day, the little Jesus came along with
a sore foot and asked him to give him something.
The mean old Cardinal gave him everything he had
and the Divine Child then said,
"Give me your sins you old fool, I'm going to
Jerusalem to dispose of them ..."
or something like that.

Screen Shot:  Francis explains God's mercy, tells of saint with lots of penances who God asked to 'give him his sins'? 
... more

I knew I had heard a similar story.  Was it from the Desert Fathers?

Turns out it was - kind of.  It was St. Jerome.  Here is the story - a lovely Christmas story at that ...

After many years spent in Jerusalem translating the Word of God, Jerome finished his grand project just days before Christmas.  To celebrate his accomplishment, Jerome decided to spend Christmas Eve in nearby Bethlehem, in one of the many grottoes that dot the countryside. According to the ancient account, sometime around midnight Jesus appeared to him, saying “Jerome, what will you give me for my birthday?”
Immediately and enthusiastically, Jerome declared, “Lord, I give you my translation of your word.” But instead of congratulating him, Jesus simply replied, “No, Jerome, that is not what I want.”
Jerome was speechless. Then he began to complain and remonstrate with Jesus, asking why he had let him go on for forty years, far from home, laboring at something other than what God most wanted from him. But Jesus remained silent. Jerome started suggesting other ways of honoring Jesus’ birthday – fasting, becoming a hermit, giving his possessions to the poor. To each of these Jesus replied, “No. Jerome. That is not what I want most.”
Finally, Jerome protested, “Then you tell me, Lord. Tell me what would give you the most joy on your birthday, and you shall have it.
“Do you promise, Jerome?”
“Yes, Lord, anything at all.”
Jesus replied, “Give me your sins…”
- Nun News Blog, Sr. Mary Fidelis.

 Now I know what I'm giving the Little Jesus for Christmas!

Lions and tigers and bears!  O my!
What a world!
Naked men too!
For Christmas we could have a light show
and put up pictures of teddy-bear-bow-wows
made by sinners!
It would be poodlewampusness!

So this is what really makes me sad ...

The Remnant's Letter.

An Urgent Appeal to Pope Francis to Either Change Course or Renounce the Petrine Office 
December 8, 2015
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Your Holiness:
Pope Celestine V (r. 1294), recognizing his incapacity for the office to which he had so unexpectedly been elected as the hermit Peter of Morrone, and seeing the grave harm his bad governance had caused, resigned the papacy after a reign of only five months. He was canonized in 1313 by Pope Clement V. Pope Boniface VIII, removing any doubt about the validity of such an extraordinary papal act,
confirmed in perpetuity (ad perpetuam rei memoriam) that “the Roman Pontiff may freely resign.”A growing number of Catholics, including cardinals and bishops, are coming to recognize that your pontificate, also the result of an unexpected election, is likewise causing grave harm to the Church. It has become impossible to deny that you lack either the capacity or the will to do what your predecessor rightly observed a pope must do: “constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it downand every form of opportunism.”
Quite the contrary, as shown in the annexed libellus, you have given many indications of an alarming hostility to the Church’s traditional teaching, discipline and customs, and the faithful who try to defend them, while being preoccupied with social and political questions beyond the competence of the Roman Pontiff. Consequently, the Church’s enemies continually delight in your pontificate, exalting you above all your predecessors. This appalling situation has no parallel in Church history.

Last year, speaking of Pope Benedict’s resignationYour Holiness declared that if you felt incapable of exercising the papacy “I would do the same.” On the first anniversary of Benedict’s resignationyou called upon the faithful to “join me in prayer for His Holiness Benedict XVI, a man of great courage and humility.”

With no little trepidation, being under the gaze of the One who will judge us all on the Last Day, we your subjects respectfully petition Your Holiness to change course for the good of the Church and the welfare of souls. Failing this, would it not be better for Your Holiness to renounce the Petrine office than to preside over what threatens to be a catastrophic compromise of the Church’s integrity?

In this regard we make our own the words of Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, in her famous 
letter to Pope Gregory XIurging him to steer the Church aright during one of her greatest crises: “Since He has given you authority and you have assumed it, you should use your virtue and power: and if you are not willing to use it, it would be better for you to resign what you have assumed…”

Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!

Your subjects in Christ,
Christopher A. Ferrara
Michael J. Matt
Dr. John Rao
Professor Brian McCall
Elizabeth Yore
Timothy J. Cullen
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Chris Jackson
Michael Lofton
Father Celatus
Connie Bagnoli
Susan Claire Potts 
Robert Siscoe
John Salza, Esq.
James Cunningham
Vincent Chiarello
John Vennari

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Prayer shaming - never thought of it that way.

Shortly after the San Bernardino shootings, MSM and social media lit up with hit pieces upon those who say, "Our thoughts and prayers are with you."  Calling out such responses as cliche, critics taunt those who say such things with, "Your prayers aren't working - God isn't fixing this."

Catholics, already weary from Papal shaming they claim is coming from Pope Francis, rushed to the defense of prayer and railed against the bloodless persecution of 'prayer shaming'.  Apparently some sort of action alert went out, and the call was heard by members of the Catholic defenders league and faithful remnant bloggers to defend the practice of prayer.

The criticism isn't new.  Secularists and nonbelievers, along with enemies of religion have always taunted believers.  The psalms are full of laments over it ... My tears have become my bread,by night, by day, as I hear it said all the day long: "Where is your God?"  ... You make us the taunt of our neighbors,the laughing stock of all who are near  ... When I afflict my soul with fasting they make it a taunt against me.  When I put on sackcloth and mourning then they make me a byword,  the gossip of men at the gates, the subject of drunkard's songs.

Nearly every psalm talks about the taunts suffered by the man of God.  Christ himself bore these taunts.  I don't know what Christians expect?  Rewards?  Praise?

We do it to one another as well as to those who are not religious.  How many Christians mocked those who sang John Lennon's "Imagine" after the Paris attacks?  Those who placed flowers and candles and notes?

People mock the Pope and the bishops, as well as the Year of Mercy.  They say the Pope is mean and offers only insults to the faithful.  So many feel abused, and return the abuse, condemning one another.  It's no wonder the world scorns and derides us.

The climate-change in the attitudes of religious people reminds me of growing up in an abusive home; fighting parents, bullying siblings, hostile to religious practice.  As one who grew up in such a hostile environment, and experiencing so much 'shaming' even from people outside the home, I'm kind of accustomed to this sort of treatment.  My sister used to say, 'if God is so good, then why are you so screwed up?'  My mother called me a hypocrite every time I did something wrong, 'you run to church for Mass and come back worse than before.'  My dad and brother were worse.  Even the priests and school sisters were mean and said I prayed too much or was just pretending to pray, or 'you'll never amount to anything.'  LOL!  Sounds like a bad movie, Ive replayed too many times on this blog before - the general conclusion seemed to be: Prayer isn't working - God's not fixing you.

We often tell others the same thing.   People say that to lost causes - like some alcoholic or drug addict who continues to relapse, or a gay person who sees no hope for change, we call them hopeless cases and say, God's not fixing this.

Welcome to the real world.

I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

Oh yes Sister, I know I'll never amount to anything,
my dad already told me that.

This is horrible news ... if true ...

ISIS split a man in two in its latest public execution.  
Islamic State fighters tied his legs to two different cars and drove them in different directions.

ISIS terrorists, in one the most brutal methods of execution, killed another media activist by cutting him in half, in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, As-Safir News Network reported. 
The man was sentenced to death on a charge of spying for Syrian army and revealing ISIS locations. 
ISIS executed the man, in public, by tying each one of his legs behind of two cars and drove them in different directions. 
There are no more details about the story and the nationality of the journalist.
So far ISIS terrorists, who are known for their brutal way of execution, have killed so many journalists from different nationalities. - Gateway Pundit

The feast of Our Lady of Loreto

On December 10, 1294, the Holy House of Nazareth was moved by angels
 because of the Muslim invasion of Albania. 
It landed first in Recanti, Italy, but was shortly thereafter moved for a third time 
to its present location in Loreto.

The Translation of the Holy House.

How this Shrine came to be is a fascinating story. This is the House of Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, which had been brought by angels from Nazareth to the Dalmatian coast, and later, by the same angels, transported to Loreto where it stands today enclosed in the huge Basilica just described. The history of Loreto is based upon a wealth of sound tradition and reliably recorded historical facts. We know from the visits of reliable witnesses to the Holy Land, whose journeys were carefully recorded in documents, that the Holy House of Nazareth was intact in Palestine at a relatively late date. St. Louis, King of France, heard Mass in Nazareth in 1253 in the same chamber where the Angel announced the coming of Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
The Holy Land had seen its last and unsuccessful Crusade in 1291. The last of the Christian soldiers withdrew from Nazareth the same year, leaving behind the holiest of houses unprotected. It was to be dealt with according to the Muslim tradition of pillaging and destruction. It may seem far fetched to think that a tiny clay house venerated by a handful of Christians could merit such vindictive rage. But this was a unique house -- visibly an edifice of mud and straw, but preserving within its framework living memories of its Royal Household -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
The first assault was that of the Seljukian Turks in 1090. They rampaged through the Holy Land, looting the treasures left in the churches of the Holy Places by devout Christian pilgrims. They turned basilicas and churches into mosques, and destroyed what was deemed useless for their unholy purposes. Among the last class fell the fate of Santa Casa, home of the Holy Family. Fortunately, when Constantine had the first Basilica built over the holy spot in 312, the house, along with the grotto that was attached, was interred within a subterranean crypt. And so it survived the initial desecration of Islam. - Finish reading here.

I suspect few Catholics know the story, and fewer would believe it any longer - but I do.  The Holy House is my favorite shrine of Our Lady.  

Trimming your house for Christmas: Acorns are quite decorative.

Acorns are very Catholic as well.

They were also sacred to pagans and symbolic of the gods.  The sacred tree of Thor was an oak tree.  The acorn is a symbol of fertility and immortality.

Tuck them into garlands, swag about a lovely column - add into festive floral arrangements and wreaths and rings, or include them into the Holiday Tree branches.  You can even gild them, or add glitter and moss.  Couple them with evergreens, pheasant feathers, mistletoe, and antlers for a genuine forest look.

It's a good thing.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I heard that Pope Benedict liked this image the best ...

"We both love cats!" - Mons. Ganswein

Pope Francis said: "To save time, I posted my Laudato si photos to my wall."  Literally.  He felt it was more universal - as in Catholic - than posting photos to his wall on Facebook.


How much Our Lady loves us ...

"No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?"

St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin,
pray for us.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Light Show Upon the Facade of the Basilica of St. Peter

This evening at the Vatican, a wonderful light show illuminated the facade of St. Peter's.

Oddly enough, Fr. Z and some of his readers found it sacrilegious.  Such holographic light shows are wonderful examples of contemporary visual art which often take for its canvas the great facades of historic buildings.  It is very common in Europe and larger cities, such as NYC where several displays have been projected upon the facades of landmark buildings.  The technology is also used to create backdrop for theatrical performances and concerts.  All sorts of themes can be digitally displayed on just about any surface.

From what I understand, the light show was a gift to the Holy Father on the occasion of the opening of the Holy Year and to coincide with the climate change summit in Paris.
The initiative, featuring images by National Geographic and well-known photographers including Sebastiao Salgado, is similar to ones that used the U.N. headquarters and the Empire State Building in New York as backdrops. - Source
At least one reader at WDTPRS understood the event, and left the following comment:

  1. Polycarpio says:
    Let me take a stab at defending the light show, which coincides with established light shows in Europe which commingle secular and sacred objectives. December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated in France since the 1800s with the Fête des Lumières, in which the Basilica of Fourvière and other buildings are lit up with flares, fireworks and other light-based decorations including similar projections as the one today. Obviously, the tie-in with the environmental imagery is the recent papal encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis. Moreover, the presentation today was entitled “Fiat Lux,” an obvious reference to Genesis, and the showcasing of the wondrous biological and natural diversity in the slide show is a great tribute to God’s mercy as reflected in the Creation. In short, the projection can be argued to constitute the technological 21st century version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for a digital age. I thought it was beautiful.
To each his own, of course, but I especially like public art events like this.

I'm not trying to defend the Pope or engage in a dispute over the subject, but I see nothing wrong with the light show and certainly agree that it is a sort of 21st century version of not a few frescoes which embellish halls and corridors, chapels and chambers, facades and doorways in the Vatican.

Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke ...

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness

Leaning upon her beloved?”
Amazed was the universe by your divine glory ...

O Mary!

by thy holy and immaculate conception,

make my body pure

and my spirit holy.
Thou art all fair, O Mary!

And the original stain is not in thee.

O Mary, conceived without sin,

pray for us who have recourse to thee.

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness

like a column of smoke,

perfumed with myrrh and incense made

from all the spices of the merchant?"


I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders beyond our understanding. She is the vast and divine world of God where unutterable marvels and beauties are to be found. She is the magnificence of the Almighty where he hid his only Son, as in his own bosom, and with him everything that is most excellent and precious. What great and hidden things the all-powerful God has done for this wonderful creature, as she herself had to confess in spite of her great humility, "The Almighty has done great things for me." The world does not know these things because it is incapable and unworthy of knowing them. True Devotion

Something to think about ...

I wish I'd written this ...

The following opinion piece comes close to what I've been trying to say whenever I write about the online Stepford bloggers, the 'Likers' and the 'Followers'.  [I accuse myself, first and foremost, BTW.]
The idea that everybody thinks they’re specialists with voices that deserve to be heard has actually made everyone’s voice less meaningful. All we’re doing is setting ourselves up to be sold to — to be branded, targeted and data-mined. But this is the logical endgame of the democratization of culture and the dreaded cult of inclusivity, which insists that all of us must exist under the same umbrella of corporate regulation — a mandate that dictates how we should express ourselves and behave.
Most people of a certain age probably noticed this when they joined their first corporation, Facebook, which has its own rules regarding expressions of opinion and sexuality. Facebook encouraged users to “like” things, and because it was a platform where many people branded themselves on the social Web for the first time, the impulse was to follow the Facebook dictum and present an idealized portrait of their lives — a nicer, friendlier, duller self. And it was this burgeoning of the likability cult and the dreaded notion of “relatability” that ultimately reduced everyone to a kind of neutered clockwork orange, enslaved to the corporate status quo. To be accepted we have to follow an upbeat morality code where everything must be liked and everybody’s voice respected, and any person who has a negative opinion — a dislike — will be shut out of the conversation. Anyone who resists such groupthink is ruthlessly shamed. Absurd doses of invective are hurled at the supposed troll to the point that the original “offense” often seems negligible by comparison. - Bret Easton Ellis

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Thou art all fair O Mary...

Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain is not in thee!
O Mary!

By thy holy and Immaculate Conception

Make my Body pure and my spirit holy.

Thou art all fair O Mary!
Draw me in the odor of thy ointments.
Encompass my heart within thine.
Show thyself my mother!

But thou O Lord, have mercy on us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Vouchsafe, O sacred Virgin, to accept my praises.
Thanks be to God.

By what praises dare I extol thee?

Hail Mary!  Full of grace!

The Lord is with thee!

Paradise of the children of Eve, refuge of sinners, consolation of the afflicted, solace in sorrow, light in darkness, enclosure for the homeless, rest for the weary, health of the sick, gate of heaven....

Pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to thee.

Cause of our joy!  Pray for us!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Disgruntled Catholics


I'm cleaning out my archives.  I think I deleted at least 200+ posts so far today.  I've deleted more than that if I count the past few weeks of editing.  They are mostly opinionated posts, critical of others, or simply evidence of being a disgruntled Catholic... as in disgruntled employee too.  Filled with resentment and the remembrance of wrongs.  Scoffing, mocking.  Detraction, gossip.  Seeking approval.  Trying to be 'hip' - I used to use tags or popular search words to get more traffic - for what?  So vain.  All the stuff I accuse others of doing - I've done that - I do that.  So I'm trying to clean up the blog - delete the crap, the filler nothing-to-blog-about idle-thoughts posts.

How can you believe when you seek approval from one another?

Christ said that.  The other day I accused some of using the Summorum Pontificum on the Roman Liturgy as a sort of license to goad Novus Ordo bishops and superiors legally - in the canonical sense.  Holding up the traditional liturgy and all that goes with it as a sort of 'weapon' against liberals and progressives.  I think we all do that type of thing at one time or another.  There's an unhealthy competitiveness religious people get into.  The so-called conflict between the active and contemplative life for instance.  Or the proposition one school of spirituality is better than another.  Perhaps my support of Pope Francis has become for me some sort testimony to my Catholicism - that I'm all right.  How many times have I posted some sort of testimony of my orthodoxy or fidelity or celibacy - to prove somehow I'm a faithful Catholic.  Why?  And to whom?  What does that even mean?  Aren't I suggesting I'm somehow better than someone else?  Or better than a reader thought I was?  That's vanity.  That's self-righteousness.  That's hypocrisy.

Self-righteousness sneaks up to bite you, or nibble at your heel - constantly...  at least it does me.   Disgruntled is crazy - because one believes they are entitled to feel that way, and that 'my way is the right way'.  Deluded and disgruntled.

You learn to pick it up in others online when you begin to recognize the same faults in yourself, I think.  The danger is taking oneself too seriously, believing you are somehow indispensable.  No one needs me to point out the faults of others, or to defend this or that person.  It is a great freedom of spirit to accept that - I always forget that lesson and keep committing the same sins - and keep doing posts like this.

I so like this meditation from Sr. Wendy which was in Magnificat the other day - I'll copy a portion here:
"Which of us can dare claim we see the truth?  ... The whole truth?  The truth with a capital letter that Jesus identified with himself: I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  The truth is immensely vast and challenging.  Would we be eager to see our conduct, our fulfillment of our responsibilities, our unselfishness as God sees these things? If there is no glaring wrongness, do we not quite happily jog along, conscience clear? ..." - Wendy Beckett
Someone told me the Pope doesn't need me to defend him, much less try to explain what he says or does.  What a light his words became for me.  Just because I feel I understand the pope - doesn't mean he needs me to defend him.  As Jesus said, they have the Law and the prophets - in other words, we do too, we have tradition, the Fathers, the catechism, the Scriptures, the Mass, and we have Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  So if someone asks - 'how can the pope say this or do that?' or, 'does this mean I can do this or that now and do whatever I want?'  The only answer I need to give is 'what does the catechism say?' or, 'what does the Church teach?'  I'm not qualified to speak for the Pope - and he doesn't need me to do so.

"Recognizing our failures is the first step to allowing the grace of God to purify us.  We all have a stick and a begging purse.  If we allow our Lord to cure our blindness, we can throw both away ..."

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. - St. Teresa of Avila  
Jesus is in The Blessed Sacrament
All will be well.

"Lord, I want to love you, but you know you can't trust me!" - S. Philip Neri
Jesus, I trust in you.

Song for this post here.  My 'visitor' also told me that everyone will let you down ... except for Christ Jesus - he is in the Eucharist and will never let me down.

I said in my alarm;
'no man can be trusted'
all have gone astray,
there is not a good man left -
there is no one who does good,
no, not even one. 

Happy St. Nicholas Day

Don't forget the kids.

The kids need St. Nicholas.

The kids need Christmas.