Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kitty In Boots - A newly discovered Beatrix Potter book...

Potter had only completed a single drawing to go with the manuscript.

I can't wait!


Did you ever see the film?


Having fun setting up on Etsy...



It's like a real job ... styling, shooting, editing, publishing.  There is still much to stock and much to write.  It's fun.

Check it out if you are curious:  Dogwood Details: Antiques and Fine Art

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Sinner's Pope...



For me, one of the greatest gifts of this papacy is the Pope's exposition on the mercy of God - God's love for sinners ... and sin itself.

Today the Pope spoke of King David again - and his grave crimes - his mortal sins - arranging for the killing of Uriah.  Astonishingly, David's sin did not harden his heart or lead to total 'corruption' as the Holy Father points out:
“David is a saint, but also a sinner.” He falls on account of lust, the Pope said, and yet God still loves him very much. However, the Pope notes, “the great, the noble David” feels so secure – “because the kingdom was strong” – that after having committed adultery he does everything in his power to arrange the death of a loyal man, falsely passing it off as an accidental death in battle.
“This is a moment in David’s life that makes us see a moment through which we all can pass in our life: it is the passage from sin to corruption. This is where David begins, taking the first step towards corruption. He has the power, he has the strength. And for this reason, corruption is a very easy sin for all of us who have some power, whether it be ecclesiastical, religious, economic, political… Because the devil makes us feel certain: ‘I can do it’.”
Corruption – from which David was saved by the grace of God – had wounded the heart of that “courageous youth” who had faced the Philistine with a sling and five small stones. “Today I want to emphasize only one thing,” the Pope concluded. “There is a moment where the attitude of sin, or a moment where our situation is so secure and we see well and we have so much power” that sin “stops” and becomes “corruption.” And “one of the ugliest things” about corruption is that the one who becomes corrupt thinks he has “no need for forgiveness.” - Chris Wells, Vatican Radio

The Holy Father has really helped me to examine my conscience in a new light, from a completely different perspective - perhaps even how God sees me.

... for he knows of what we are made,
he remembers that we are dust. -Ps. 103:14

That's how the Pope makes me feel.
(And my parish priests as well.)

Such a strange bunch...

So weird - even without Trump.

It's like the cast of Green Acres up there.

Mr. Haney's part played by Ted Cruz.

Lisa's part played by Donald Trump.
(It's all about the hair and NY.)

Fiorina and Rubio.


What?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Count of Mont Amis ...

Works for me.



"There is a love, of sorts: it is love of self, love for oneself. That narcissist idolatry that leads them to betray others, that leads them to abuse of trust. " - Pope Francis


At my last confession Fr. told me I should start examining myself as to who is Lord of my life.

Could the Internet be?  Do I spend too much time on it?  Does it command all of my 'devotion'?  Is the lap top a sort of 'home altar'?  (I'm glad I don't have a tablet or smart phone!)

I always think of the Gospel passage: "How can you believe when you accept praise from one another?"

Contemplative saints, such as Margaret Mary and Therese always cautioned against self-love, seeking affirmation and praise ...  Which brings me to the count ... the follower's app.

Somehow, I got sucked into watching it and checking stats.  I used to not notice - yet the wider my territorial spread, the more I began to pat attention.  (I'm on Tumbler now as well as Etsy.  The etsy thing is more like an estate sale than anything - as well as another place to get rid of my art.)

"Never take a man for your example no matter how holy he may be, for the devil will show you his faults." -
John of the Cross


The followers app is weird though.  It fluctuates so much - which is why I never really valued it so much.  Although, since last weekend I noted one app went from 291 to 267.  And then, and then ... I started wondering why.  Is it something I said?  (LOL!)

You will soon be deceived if you only regard the outward show of men. - Imitation, Bk. II, Chp. 7:3


The thing is - over the years it goes up and down and some people I know have used it to punish, or not - they just decided they don't like me.  But it's just a stupid app.  I wonder if it means anything at all except for people who live online, in their virtual world, astral projecting themselves around the digital continent?

John of the Cross, quoting Isaiah wrote, "He who praises you deceives you."



It's funny.  Going through archives, I've been deleting stupid posts or condemnatory, gossipy posts - especially posts written about controversial issues or persons wherein I weigh in as a meddlesome old busybody - pretty much to get hits and up my stats.  (See what a hypocrite I am?)  Interestingly, I came across comments by former friend-followers praising me for saying this or that, or commending me for something I said.  See how fickle Internet, online friendships can be?  We must laugh or end up like

Problems arise when you become too concerned about it...



"It is quite foolish to hope you will reach your dreams 
while you are hanging onto people intent on pulling you down."

— Dodinsky (via onlinecounsellingcollege)




Song for this post here.

The Miracle at Snow Mass ... on the Turnpike.


Introibo ad altare Dei.


Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
To God, the joy of my youth.

The Turnpike Mass keeps edifying ...
Eucharistic Miracle?
Word of a possible Eucharistic multiplication miracle has already been passed around on social media, but Rotondo can personally confirm there might be some truth to it: 
I would like to mention how at first, we only had priests, a Mass kit, and 6 hosts. Somehow an estimated 30-40 hosts showed up and nobody knows from where. The priest then split up the hosts into little pieces so everyone could receive, which was an estimated 500+ people. 
It was God’s miracle that they hosts were able to be distributed to everyone, all down to the last person, who then received the last particles inside the priest’s chalice. There was exactly enough hosts for everyone. - ChurchPop
The event itself is like a miracle - the students gathered for Mass in the snow - their incredible witness of faith and devotion.  The story is taking on a very rich significance, miracle - or not.  (Personally, I believe it was a miracle.)  As I told Yaya in the com box of the last post on the subject:

I got goose bumps reading that! It is so scriptural - so beautiful. Years and years ago I was at Notre Dame for a Charismatic Conference - I walked into the church for adoration, hundreds of young people filled the church, many sitting and kneeling around the altar - on the steps, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed - it reminded me of the gospel scenes on the hillsides, when Jesus had everyone recline and sit while he taught them and fed them. 
This Mass in the snow impresses me just like that experience. This incident - with the young people and priests renews my youth! It renews and edifies my faith. - Miracle in the snow

My responsorial psalm on this:

 My soul, give thanks to the Lord
all my being, bless his holy name.
 My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.

 It is he who forgives all your guilt,
who heals every one of your ills,
 who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion,
 who fills your life with good things,
renewing your youth like an eagle's. - Ps. 103




This is it!  This is the faith, this is the truth, this is the Church!  The Church is so blessed with faithful laity, young and old, and faithful priests - good priests and deacons - young and old.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Miracle in the Snow ...


OC Sisters of the Valley seek Paypal Approval.

ARCNews reports O.Cann. Lay Associates (shown above)
presented the request for Paypal Approval
at the Wednesday audience.


O. Cann. Foundresses 
Ora - labora is their motto -
their work is their prayer.

They like to describe their way of life as 'spiritual, but not religious' - which may explain why they have so many vocations.

One of the foundresses is from the Wisconsin monastery of Perpetual Inhalation, in the very fertile area known as the Coulee Region just outside La Crosse ... they were a strictly cloistered and contemplative community.

Sadly, and mysteriously, the La Crosse monastery had to be suppressed.

After 10 years online, I think I finally get Jared French.

Evasion - Jared French


I knew it - or must have understood something intuitively, because this image is often reflected in my private work. Today I just noticed the blank sheet on the wall.  That is so key.  The figures always spoke to me.  They are indeed evasive.  French is showing us how deeply evasive such tell-all, narrative paintings or 'studies' can be - much like memoir.  There is a distinct confessional element here as well.  Pious positions, external piety can be evasive within that context.  John of the Cross writes about it regarding beginners - going to different priests and wishing to appear virtuous.  Face in palm - we often can't face up to such things - until stripped of everything ...

All the 'Magic Realists' or at least the top three, French, Tooker, and Cadmus to some extent, have been major influences in my work - even unconsciously.  I did a painting early on, The Dream - and another artist told me it reminded him of Tooker.  I had to look up Tooker to see what he was talking about.  I saw it.

In school, I did a watercolor with figures which resembles this work:

Business - Jared French

It startled me today ... my school piece depicted a man seated in the exact same pose - in a cafe.
I had never even heard of French or Magic Realism at the time - I recall the instructor looking at me curiously.

The experience is similar to my ex-voto paintings.  The same thing happened.
I made ex-votos with scenes from my life associated with
a particular private devotion.  Only in the late 1990's 
did I discover Frida Khalo's work.
Her style related to what I was attempting.

Intuition plays a big role in art, in life - it is important not to ignore it.

I once restored a very old icon for a bishop.
It was a remarkable experience.
Of course imagination was at play,
although intuitively, I'm convinced I encountered
the monk who painted it in the 18th century...

Anyway - here is a Jared French I want a friend to see ... I wonder what he will think of it?

Crew - Jared French

Will he see what I see?




Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vocations: This is so beautiful - The Sisters of the Valley ...

“We believe that one day science will prove that there’s actually a transference of energy where we do our prayers with the medicine, and that travels with the medicine to the people." - Sister Kate, OC*



I would love to be their chaplain.


*OC - Order of Cannabis

Works for me


Abbey-Roads Tutorial: Beating around the bush ...




That's what happens when you are unable to get a straight answer from someone - or pin them down to understand their point.

Here are a few synonyms for that:

baffle
confound
dodge
evade

shun
stall
stonewall

unfriend
block
avoid
ignore

dissimulate

what?




Allow yourself to be found ...



To be loved.

In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow. It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5) which is the root of all sin. - Pope Francis, Message for Lent

Allow yourself to be found ... out.

I like this: " ...the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such."



When there are no more lies ...

When you're down and they're counting 
When your secrets, all found out 
When your troubles, take to mounting 
When the map you have, leads you to doubt 
When there's no Information and the compass turns 
To nowhere that you know well

When the doctor failed to heal you 
When no medicine chest, can make you well 
When no counsel, leads to comfort 
When there are no more lies, they can tell 
No more useless information and the compass spins 
The compass spins between Heaven and Hell - Sting 


Allow yourself to be found.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Ongoing Examination of Friendship ...

Cima da Conegliano, 1507

Avoiding idolatrous friendships ...

I was going to write a funny post in reply to another post with that title  and my solution was going to be - How to avoid idolatrous friendships?  Just have ugly friends.  But no one thinks I'm funny, so I decided against it.

Until I discovered another Friendship post, a rehash on the Spiritual Friends movement and SSA people attempting some sort of understanding, and, and ... it's an exhausting subject.  Let people be - live and let live, huh?  It's not a bad idea.

However, sometimes it doesn't work so well when one insists upon tweaking Catholic teaching on faith and morals in pastoral care ... kinda, sorta - especially when you aren't a pastor or even a group leader in a support group.  Sorry - I don't mean to dis anyone with that clarification - I'm just saying.

I'm just saying, when it comes to Catholic teaching you can't really have it 'both ways'.  You can evolve in understanding and acceptance - but there's very little chance you can compromise teaching and get away with it.  As I like to say when asked, you take your chances.  I love you and you can do what you want - you know right from wrong - I'll pray for you and be your friend, but you take your chances as regards salvation.  I've had people close to me who had death bed conversions - but I wouldn't count on it.

You gotta have friends.

Anyway - Richard Evans has voiced some 'new' observations on Spiritual Friendship here.  Attempting a dialog of sorts, perhaps seeking to reconcile the two camps of Side A and Side B in the gay-Christian movement, and actual Catholic teaching about disordered sexual attraction to persons of the same sex - sometimes called SSA, gay, Homo, queer, etc..  Richard is a good man who has struggled for decades with same sex attraction and identity.  His struggle has been good, it has been blessed, I would suspect it has been chastening and sanctifying as well.

That said, Deacon Russell and Joe Sciambra made some very observant comments to add clarity to Richard's essay.  Deacon Russell has worked in this area and debated these topics for a very long time.  He's very precise about Catholic teaching.  Joseph Sciambra has given ample evidence, and heroic Christian witness to what is wrong in the homosexual movement, as well the dangers posed by the Spiritual Friendship Movement - which embraces, or seems to tolerate the gay Christian concept of Side A and Side B approaches to homosexuality.

God and mammon.

The proposal of two camps, with one camp making provisions for the two other camps in one, is sort of like two sides to the same coin.  It doesn't work.  You can take your chances with it, and try to have a nice life, but in the end, each one of us will be required to give an account for our life.

Deacon Russell explains the delusion behind the two camps scenario more clearly:

The problem, Richard, is that there are not actually just "two camps." There is that which is in *accord* with Church teaching and that which is *not* in accord with Church teaching. We cannot relativize this into "camps" but must articulate the *truth* in charity. If your view is that it's appropriate to criticize "both sides" as though the truth really *is* somewhere in between, then you're taking a view that is part of the problem and not part of the solution, in my view. This isn't merely the realm of prudential judgment in which differing views can represent a faithfully "Catholic" understanding. This is the realm of truth regarding the human person. SF writers get a lot wrong about that truth. And they stubbornly refuse to take any correctives seriously or engage in serious respectful dialogue. - Comment, Deacon Russell, on Spiritual Friendship

I don't have much to say about this stuff any longer.  It's not part of my life, so to speak.  Deacon Jim and Joe Sciambra are working in this field and they offer an awesome response to Richard's essay.  All I can say, the idea of two camps is misleading and erroneous.  One can't live a divided life well.  One can't live with one foot in one camp and another planted outside the camp.  Consider Paul's letter to the Hebrews when he admonishes his hearers:
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching...
Go to him, Christ outside the camp, bearing the reproach (shame) that he bore.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come. - Hebrews 13
To be honest, at various times I kept trying to compromise - trying to juggle these concepts, but it doesn't work. That's the double life - that's fence sitting - it's another closet. It's using God and religion for ones own purposes.  To use an old cliche - 'been there done that'.  It's very difficult to admit that - although losing friends helps one to understand it.  I always think of Matt Talbot who found out who his friends were after he quit drinking.  It's kind of the same thing.

That's all.


Dirt Digging: Looking for the Kolvenbach Report ...


Kolvenbach with JPII



Too bad people don't have more to do.

The Holy Father had a negative report filed by a Jesuit when he was Fr. Bergoglio, and his name was offered as a possible auxiliary to the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1992.  Traditional bloggists are trolling for the contents to be made public, pointing out:

The report is said to be highly detailed, and to reveal all the character inclinations that are evident in the personality of the current Pope.

Now, it would be one of the scoops of the century if a journalist revealed to the world this most important historical document. - New Catholic
Fr. Bergoglio was not liked by the Jesuits at the time and was more or less exiled because he was deemed to conservative.  That's a fact.

I'm reminded of the notorious anti-Catholic sede-vacante site, Novus Ordo Watch, the editors of which had a sort of open bounty on Cardinal Mahoney, willing to pay for any damning information on him - such as homosexuality.

This is no different than the anti-clericalist determination to shame and destroy the reputations and vocations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Finn.

You people have no idea of what spirit is motivating you.  If you claim a good spirit you are even more deluded than I thought - you listen to strange locutions and put more faith in counterfeit mystics than the Church.

The devil is our accuser and he has been cast out - in the meantime - realize it is he for whom you work whenever you accuse.

Time to let the light of Christ in - or you'll end up an "Old Catholic".

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowy Novus Ordo Mass on Pennsylvania Turnpike: A Tragic Showcase of Liturgical Abuse!

March for Life Group Stranded in East Coast Storm, Celebrates Mass on Make-shift Snow Altar—



See how many abuses you can find:


1) Filthy, sweaty, stocking cap laying on the 'altar'.
2) No vestments - just albs and stoles.
-Which makes me wonder about those 'stole fees'.
3) No doubt Mass was celebrated in English.

1) No kneeling.
2) Hats on during Mass - even at the consecration.
3) Filthy snow pile altar - no evidence of corporal.
4) What are those cruets?!

1) Lay EMHC - properly deputized?
2) Communion standing, and in the hand - during a blizzard.  No thought
of fragments which would be undetectable in the snow.
3) Guitar in background - really?

1) Is that a woman priest with the sunglasses and camouflaged stole?
2) No kneeling - again.



Can you spot the others?


One can only imagine the cringe-worthy, banal music.


Shouldn't the Mass be, so to say, "super-earthly," separated from the secular world, in order to show in the world— the Kingdom of God? - Fr. Schmemann





What?




h/t ChurchPop
h/t Aleteia





Disclaimer:  I'm totally kidding with these 'criticisms' - I think it is a beautiful testimony of faith and devotion.  

She left her full-time career writing on Facebook to campaign for Trump...


“I wanted to take a break from my full time career from writing things on Facebook and fly down here to lend my support for the next president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.”

I can't stop laughing.

I love this ...