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Jesus and Jacob’s Joseph – Similarities?

Several weeks ago, while I was on yet another Rosary walk and praying the Joyful Mysteries, I had an inspiration.  This occurred as I was getting ready to meditate on the 5th mystery (Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple).  I’m finally writing it now because when I get an inspiration, I must write it.

In my mind I was prompted to think, “What happened to Jesus?  Why was he lost and his parents had no idea where he was?”

Here is St. Luke’s account of what happened:

188012-mary-and-joseph-find-jesus-learning_smWhen the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. [Luke 2:43-47 NRSVCE]

The Navarre Commentaries on the subject states that when the Jews would travel to and from the Temple for the Feast of Passover, the men and women of Nazareth would travel in two different groups and the children were allowed to travel in either group.  So, it is likely that there was a miscommunication between Mary and Joseph on whether Jesus would travel with her or with him.

The inspiration was that Jesus, because he was such a good and virtuous child and because the “legend” was likely known, or at least rumored, that he was born the “king of the Jews” and “Son of God, was not well-liked by his cousins who were jealous, and that one of Jesus’s cousins deceived Mary and Joseph into thinking that Jesus would go with him, instead of Mary or Joseph, on the trip back to Nazareth – either with the men or the women, but then deceived Jesus into thinking that Mary or Joseph wanted him to wait at the Temple for them to pick him up.  After neither of them came, he stayed at the Temple, where he was found 3 days later by his astonished parents.    [Now, what made this so believable was the memory of Jacob’s son Joseph, whose story is told in Genesis 37 – 47, whose 11 brothers tried to kill him because he was so good and favored.  But I will take that up later.]

This theory becomes evident here:

When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”  He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. [Luke 2:48-50 NRSVCE]

His parents had no idea that he would be at the Temple, and Jesus thought that they knew he would be at the Temple because of his cousin’s mischievous lie.

On the way home, Jesus said nothing about the cousin’s mischief.  Jesus decided, in virtue, to keep the matter between him and his cousin, to see if Jesus could impress upon him why what his cousin did to him was wrong.  Jesus showed him what he had done – what might have happened and what would still happen similar to the story of Joseph son of Israel [Genesis 37-47].  Then Jesus, in his great love and mercy, forgave his cousin who was sorry.

Now, not stated in Sacred Scripture is the realization that this event was a symbol for what would happen in the future – that Jesus would be deceived by one, be killed, but then be resurrected a true King and Savior in 3 days.

As I stated early, if it can happen to Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), then it could happen to Jesus for many of the same reasons, too.  For, as it is written of Jacob’s Joseph:

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words…So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. [Genesis 37:5-8, 11]

Further, his brothers tried to kill Joseph and mislead his parents, too:

joseph-in-pitSo Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits…[Genesis 37:17-20 NRSVCE]

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They had the long robe with sleeves[c] taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. [Genesis 37:31-34 NRSVCE]

Joseph then is sold into slavery, rises to power as governor over the lands of Egypt, and is discovered there years later by his brothers who had tried to kill him.  Joseph, knowing who they are, does this:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. [Genesis 45: 1-5, NRSVCE]

Joseph, realizing what God had done to and for him and why, accepted God’s will and forgave his brothers.  Jesus, knowing his Father’s will and plan, also forgave his cousin for his mischief.

The story of Jacob’s Joseph made it clear to me what had happened to Jesus, how and why he had been lost for 3 days.  He was not well-liked as a child – he had the heavy burden of being not only virtuous and favored in every way, but having already the title of “king of the Jews” and “Son of God” as a child.  This was a hard burden on him – waiting until his mother, Mary was prompted to set in motion his mission and ministry at the Wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

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Darla Jones and St. Peter

In two separate waking dreams yesterday, i saw two people.

The first was a lady resting prostrate in a hospital bed. I was sitting down and gazing at her over the rails of the hospital bed from about 5 feet away. She was black complected, had a pleasant face, and she was probably in her early to mid- 40’s. She looked like she was sleeping, and she was covered in a blanket with her face and arms exposed in a bed with metal rails – definitely a small, curtained hospital room. I asked myself, “Who is she? Why am I seeing her now?” It came to me that I should pray for her, and I did. Her name seemed to be Darla Jones. Maybe she has no family or friends. Maybe she does not have faith. Maybe people need to search out lonely people such as these to help and comfort. That’s all know.

Later, I had another waking dream. This one startled me because it was more forceful than the previous one. I found myself standing within 6 feet of another man, gazing face to face with someone I can only conclude is like a very young St. Peter dressed in modest liturgical attire. His eyes were large and dark blue, his face fair complected, and his hair and beard were of a very tightly curled golden hair. He was wearing what looked to be a white linen robe with a decorative mantel resting on his shoulders and covering his chest. He was just gazing at me with a pleasant face. He was standing in a room which was ornate, marbled walls and an opening which seemed to lead outdoors to a garden. There were no words. I asked, “Who are you?” I heard, “Jehovah,” but the person did not say this, and that could not have been God the Father. But it can be that God indwells the Holy Apostles in Heaven and that it was His will for me to see this person who I think to be St. Peter because of how closely he looked to the photo here except that his beard and hair were not puffed out, but well ordered and uniform..

Evidence of the Church’s Ultimate Trial

St. Paul teaches about the Church’s ultimate trial before the Second Coming in his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 2. St. Paul writes:

1 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness [iniquity] is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches further:

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

EVIDENCE OF DELUSION – SUMORRUM PONTIFICUM, RESIGNATION OF ITS AUTHOR

We see that occurring under the moto proprio, Summorum Pontificum (SP), and the groups of people who, blind already to Jesus in the Eucharist within the God-willed Novus Ordo Mass, seek out the fashions of the Extraordinary Form in order to be nurtured by the form and culture, not by Jesus Christ. It’s very revealing. SP was meant to be a solution for SSPX and their adherents- a cause of unity. However, it is precisely a cause of disunity (and a tax on limited priestly resources) and a complete reversal of the will of God expressed through Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium. Pope Benedict XVI was deluded in this action. He has since been resigned, in good health, by God.

As has been expressed before in another forum, the action called by the moto proprio, SP, if enacted during the time of King Solomon and his successors, would have been like telling the People to vacate the Temple (a unifying structure which drew Jews and Gentiles alike) and move God’s throne back to the primitive Tabernacle of canvas and tent poles with only the twelve tribes on its periphery.

But here’s the catch – the great delusion: God is still in the Temple (His missioned Church according to His wishes as outlined in Vatican II Ecumenical Council), and those who refused to believe in and be satisfied by His Real Presence there, above all else, are now in the old Tabernacle (the Church He set out to reform) in direct violation of God’s wishes as expressed under Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium, worshipping form and scenery and fashion and self-aggrandizing music, but not God; turning inward to the old ways but not blooming outward in a way appealing to the lost sheep and God’s appointed mission.

For, if they believed in God and listened to and adhered to His call to unity and to evangelize the world and make conditions for bringing all back into the Church, they would not have left the Temple in search of “not-God.” If they heard His voice and followed it, they would have embraced Vatican II enthusiastically and with the knowledge that by obeying God’s will, we are loving God as best we can.

When Jesus comes to judge, who will he condemn? Those who have faith and a spirit of obedience or those who have doubt and a spirit of disobedience?

The Living Music that Calms, Sustains

Pretty Singing FlowerThere have been times during my personally-sung Morning Prayer (Lauds) that I have heard a beautiful form of what I can only believe to be divine music which, in a mystical way is alive – living.  I hear what I imagine could be music which comes from living creatures who know their music and who must cooperate with an unseen director or choreographer to blend their music into a soothing rhythm which is beautiful, sustaining the spirit.  I become like a hidden spectator – there, but not there, a temporary spectator of a hidden place and event, hearing music in parallel to my own sung melodies.  The tones are low and rumbling, the beat is enlivening and energetic but moderate, and it seems to be a combination of winds (large woodwinds and things with expanding skins – like one would find in a big bullfrog but which looks more like a big air-breathing mushroom), soft drums, and “shish-shish-ing” shakers – things which are natural in their construction, perhaps even alive, and all harmonizing in low, soothing tones.  flowers-from-alice-in-wonderland-disneyThere are no metallic instruments at all – no sharp tones – no humans or humanoid creatures holding and playing anything artificial.  It’s all organic.  It’s all comforting.  It’s all phantasmic.  I hope it’s true.  I hope I hear it again when I sing Morning Prayer again.

In Dreams, I See People – Lila May Rose

In a waking dream this morning, it is as if I met someone in my mind. She was a pretty woman, apparently African American, and I think that she was sitting down and looking at me from about 4 feet away. It was dim (the sun had not risen), but there was light on her face, and she was clothed in a thick, probably brown wool-like garment. I asked her who she is. She said, “Lila May. I am beautiful” and she smiled. She added to her name “Rose.” “Lila May Rose.” Maybe she once was not beautiful. God is good.

It has been common for me to have waking dreams similar to this every now and then, but I usually see children. For example, several years ago, I was at a friend’s house up on a mountain top in the Appalachian Mountain chain, and I saw a little Native American girl in my waking dream. She was outdoors in the daylight but close up, and she was smiling at me, and she giggled. She was very happy.

img_2094Who did I see? What did I see? Did the little girl once live on that mountain top? Is Lila Rose associated with someone I know? Why do I see these beautiful souls?

I love seeing them in my dreams, for they remind me of peace and happiness, and they give me hope. They also remind me of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus [Luke 16:19-31], but in a very positive light.

Why Jesus Waited 30 Years to Start His Ministry

While I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary yesterday, I began meditating on the divinity of God in such a humble, helpless, undeveloped form of a tiny infant in the arms of His barely 15-year old Mother Mary. Why does He come as an infant and then wait 30 years before starting His ministry?

It seemed that He, as a 12-year old boy was going to start His ministry when He was lost for 3 days and then showed up in the Temple – “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” [Luke 2:49]. But, no; that seemed to be a test for whether His parents could handle it. They were clearly not ready at that time, for “When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.'” [Luke 2:48].

So, why wait until age 30? Understanding and loving His Mother dearly, He was waiting for His Mama to be ready. She had to tell Him when to begin, and she did, at the Cana wedding:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” [John 2:1-5]

img_2076

Mary prompts Jesus: “They have no wine.”

Mother Mary was there, and it was then that she signaled her readiness for His ministry by almost literally directing Him to perform a miracle – immediately. Mother Mary did so boldly and without hesitation. She knew who He is, what He must do, and why He was waiting. And so, with her approval, He knew that the time had come.

My sweet, tender Mama is ready. Let the Redemption begin — Jesus

Scriptural Authority of Mary, Mother of Jesus

When praying the Mysteries of Light (aka, Luminous Mysteries) last week on my Rosary walk, I had this “eureka” event where a truth suddenly became as a light in my mind.  I love it when these inspirations happen. It’s no wonder that it would happen while praying the Mysteries of Light!

Luminous-MysteriesThe Mysteries of Light include meditations on five historical and mysterious revelations found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These are:

  1. Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River;
  2. Christ’s self-manifestation at the wedding feast of Cana;
  3. Christ’s call to conversion via his proclamation of the kingdom of God;
  4. Christ’s Transfiguration; and
  5. Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Now, when I was praying, I realized a strong connection between the words of Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (Mystery 2.) and the words of God the Father at the Transfiguration (Mystery 4.)  At the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus performs the miracle of turning water into 180 gallons of good wine – at his Mother Mary’s prompting, Mary tells the wait staff, “Do whatever he tells you.”  [John 2:5]  She states this with an authority which is understated here, yet fully effective.

the-transfiguration-of-jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

Likewise, at the Transfiguration, an epiphany where the divinity of Jesus is made evident to the Apostles Peter, James and John, God the Father tells the apostles,  “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” [Matthew 17:5]  Of course, God the Father is gently speaking with authority here.

So, we see here a type of shared authority and will which Mother Mary has with God the Father in regard to their Son, Jesus Christ.  With authority and will, they both direct all to follow the commands and counsels of Jesus Christ.  Do you see?

Yet many, especially in Protestant Christian circles, and even believing in Sola Scriptura, tend to down play Mary’s role in the kingdom of God.  Some say that the Holy Spirit purposefully kept her quiet.  Okay.  But, God the Father does not speak much either.  Yet both command authority over our Lord, Jesus Christ, and both  – knowing who Christ is and the power and mission he has – knowledgeably direct our attention to Jesus Christ, and this is certainly scriptural.

It is no wonder that, in her great wisdom and understanding and in light of anti-Catholic resistance, that the Church also formally proclaimed the Queenship of Mary in the encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam.  Even Sacred Scripture refers to Mother Mary as a queen:

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. [Revelation, 12:1].

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mother Mary’s Coronation, Queen of Heaven

Is Little Samantha an Angel?

Yesterday, in the early morning before getting up for work, I had a waking dream – a vision of sorts.  It was very simple.  It was as if someone had immediately and abruptly planted an image directly into my mind of a little girl – probably no older than kindergarten age.  I had no thoughts in my mind before that – it was like, “Woah!  Oh, hello!”  She was grinning at me with her dark blue-green eyes.  She had a fair complexion with blonde hair, was wearing a simple dress of multiple, conservative colors, and she had a slender gold band around her forehead.  She said nothing, but only sat and gazed at me.  The vision was brief – maybe 5 seconds.

I asked myself, “Who was that little girl?  Why did I see her all of a sudden and now?”

My first thought for a name was “Amanda.”  But, then I thought, “Well, isn’t that the name of the song from the group, Boston that I listened to the other day?” and I left it at that.  Later in the day, after noon-time Mass, I knew that her name must have been “Samantha.”  But who is she?  Why was I gifted with her presence in my mind?  My wife believes that it might have been a little saint from heaven, but I don’t know of a saint who was as young as this little girl appeared to be.

St Therese Liseux - Little Flower

Little St. Therese Liseux – The Little Flower

This is not the first time I have had a vision like this one.  Over the past 13 years since being received into the Church, I have seen visions, like this, of a handful of children – mostly static visions.  Their faces persist somewhat in my memory after having the vision.  There is one of whom I think about fairly often – I think of him when I think of my guardian angel; but I do not know for certain that there is a relationship there.  He is “Jeremy” to me.  I think of him as my son, though I and my wife have not had any children except for one child who was miscarried very early and who my wife says she has seen in a vision.

“My Mother”

In a waking dream this morning, after I had been awake and praying Morning Prayer at 3 AM (which I never do, but was moved to do so this morning), I heard the words, “My mother.” At those words, I saw a cameo of of a delightful, timid, humble and sweet face of a lady, wearing a white robe, who must be our Mother Mary – the Mother of Jesus. This was a great comfort for me (for several important reasons), and I bring this to you to be a great comfort to you as well.

The picture I have posted does not do her justice, but it is close. To see such a face and gesture, the virtue and good intentions which it proposes, is a great gift of kindness, and I thank the Lord for his great mercy.

A tribute to Jesus the Lord:

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

A Warning to Catholic Bloggers and Authors

Fewer words and a bridled tongue,
Peace it will bring to the wiser son.
Our opinions are our own, sometimes overblown;
They get us into trouble when bad seed is sown.

With the end of Scripture, Divine Revelation ceased.
It became, with Tradition, our Faith Deposit’s increase.
What better content to teach and opine gray areas within reason?
To teach obediently both in and out of good season?

Why must we insert ourselves into this mix;
With our own silly blog full of self-serving tricks?
Oh, yes, I say! This is what we do!
It is not enough, but we must sell our books, too!

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On Judgment Day, the Just Judge will say:

“Fewer words and a bridled tongue,
Peace it brought to the wiser son.
But you, my child, to Me you did not listen.
So now stand to the left and to the goats give listen.”

Amen.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.

For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. [Letter of St. James, 3:5-10]

 

At Mass – His Sacred Heart Exposed for All

Two weeks ago at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we were well into the Liturgy of the Eucharist and, after we welcomed the Most High Lord in the Sanctus and just before the Words of Consecration, I imagined the Glorified Lord, Jesus Christ standing below me dressed in light-colored liturgical attire with his bright, glowing Heart exposed.

When the priest uttered the Words of Consecration, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it,” Jesus touched His Sacred Heart and rays of light immediately poured forth from It – His very Light, Life and Love rushing forth to feed us.  This was a great gift.  It helped me to understand how He operates and why, when He was Resurrected, His Wounds remained.

I have waited a long time to post this because I was trying to find a picture which appropriately captured how He looked – the light clothing especially.  As of this morning, I have that picture below.  This likeness is it (very close), and I had never seen it before today, except in my imagining of Him during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Now, there was also a complication which I could not figure out.  When I saw the Lord in my mind, I was above Him and to His right, and looking down at him over His shoulder.  So, look at the little Cherub in the upper left of the picture.  That could be how I was viewing Him – through the “eyes” of a Cherub there witnessing Him.  This would be fitting since Angels are the special communication interface between the human and the divine.

Teaching:  When we go to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, we should meditate on Who we are receiving and His Gifts to us in that receiving. At the Words of Consecration, see His Sacred Heart opening and the bright, penetrating rays of His Divine Power emanating therefrom. Think of His meekness, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness, compassion, healing, hope. Think, “Fiat” and receive Him.

May God bless you in this reading, now and forever.  Amen.

A Blessing on My Niece and a New Springtime is Coming

Pierre van Dijk - Little girl with rosesOne of my grand nieces, I’ll call her “Trinity”, turned 14 the other day.  I have only seen photos of her.  But, whenever I see those photos, I always see an aura of peace about her and a pleasant grin – never a big smile.  She reminds me of the still, sky-reflecting water on a pristine lake.

I am touched by all of my nieces and nephews in some way (I have very few nephews compared to nieces – one former autism afflicted nephew stands out…a high quality young man, talented, and a natural leader now).  There are three of my nieces who seem to have been given much, much grace in their lives.  I have one grand niece whose father was a deadbeat, and now she is joined with her mother’s new family as the oldest of 2 more sisters and a new brother – an A student, she is qualifying to be a Rhodes Scholar and wants to be a pediatrician.

I have another niece who is the middle child of her family – the quiet one – but oh so richly blessed with a full measure of talents within the arts and sciences; she was the top in her state in French and is extremely intelligent in mathematics, a great singer, and now involved in acting and producing plays in college – an A student.  I keep reminding her that she has all of the talents to be a good mother, too.

And, finally, I have this grand niece, Trinity who is like calm, humble, meek peace.  TCrown of Flowersoday, I offered my Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her to be abundantly blessed.  Antique Religious Cincture for AlbAnd the Lord blessed her and showed her to me in a beautiful white lacey gown, a flowery crown, and a golden cincture around her waist, and she was joyful – even giggling.  But, I have never met her.  She is peace and hope.

Fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts – pray for your families to be healed and renewed in the Lord.  The Lord is renewing the face the earth.  Though the weeds have crowded the fields, Humanity is beginning to sprout new, pure, natural flowers…a new Springtime is coming, I can sense it.  Pray that the new Flowers overcome the weeds and set the fields afire with grace-infused virtue and a pleasing perfume rising up to the Lord.  Pray, pray, pray!

Flowers in Summertime

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation, 21:5]

The Meek and Humble Can Do God’s Will

In my prayers at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning, I strained under my obvious weaknesses to ask the Lord to let me know His will that I might obey it.  I asked “What is your will” and I heard, “Nothing.”  I have heard this before, but this time, it bothered me.  I asked, “But Lord, how could it ever be possible that I could not do SOMETHING to obey and serve you for want of loving You?”  And then it dawned on me.

I – me – me alone – can do nothing to serve God’s will.  It is the very Life of Christ in me who makes it possible for us to do God’s will.  I thought back to the Lord saying,

Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. [Jn 6:53-56]

I can not even begin to live without Christ first living in me, much less abide in Him.  The definition of life, to live, is Christ in me.  To do His will, I must accept Him and abide in Him – in a way, see what He does and then do what I see Him doing.  I must become even as St. Paul became, writing to the Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  [Gal 2:20]

And so God reorients me to what I have not been fully seeking and teaches me a lesson in humility, that to do the will of God, I must do it through and in and with the life of Christ who must live in me.  I must be intimately bound to Him and live because He lives in me.  For he says here, again:

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. [Jn 15:15]

This is what came to me when I reached out to God and complained this morning that I did not know what His will was for me to do.  I was being like an ignorant (or lazy) child because we all have the wherewithal to learn and know His will and how to obtain the ability to live it more fully.  But, we often walk away from Him for a while, don’t we?

It gives me comfort knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ is a good man whose exemplified ambition was in loving and healing and guiding others, not in working and making lots of money and in creating luxurious conditions for Himself.  He taught us to seek after the more important things in life.  And He gives us this comforting exhortation and promise:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [Mt 11:29]

Who doesn’t want rest for their souls?  Who doesn’t like to be around someone who is meek and humble?  It is not too hard to become more like the Lord.  We can do it!

Jesus Christ Meek and Humble

Virginal Love of God

On 2 December, as I prayed my Rosary while walking, I was enamored by the contemplation of Divine affections, a beautiful presence who whispered my prayers back to me as I prayed them, our lips touching and our breath exchanging, and holy, youthful smiles. I was blessed.

Statue of Hildegard of Bingen, Eibingen Abbey

Statue of St. Hildegard of Bingen Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Before I set out to walk and pray, I had listened for the first time to St. Hildegard of Bingen’s song, “O dulcissime amator” (O Lover Sweet) from her “Symphonia virginum” (Symphony of Virgins). St. Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century and is a Doctor of the Church now. I invite you to read the words here: http://www.hildegard-society.org/2017/05/o-dulcissime-amator-symphonia-virginum.html or listen here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lkjODhUgrVs

I also contemplated the virginal love of God and how that might be. It is true that God, who is Love, desires to marry humanity. This is not just through the Incarnation; His desire is to indwell us with Holy Spirit, as we are all expected to be as building blocks of His Body, as holy temples suitable for His holy Presence. But what is the fruit of this glorified marriage, and how can this be?

Now, having gone back and found this draft, I am amazed to see that I have now visited the Shrine of St. Hildegard of Bingen without even remembering that I wrote this

Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Eibingen Abbey

inspiration, and without any real plan to visit her shrine.  I and my wife visited her sisters’ abbey (Eibingen Abbey) and also her relics in Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany on 23 December (just a few days ago).

 

It is wonderful to invite God to visit with you and then follow His inspirations and to take in the surprises which come with them.

 

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen in her Shrine

 

One Mystical Body of Christ – Yet Still Wounded

I am still amazed at the frequency at which I see some Protestant ministers privately preaching against the Catholic Church to their congregations. It amazes me for the following reasons:

  1. Catholic priests don’t preach against Protestant denominations. Though willfully separated, they are considered fellow Christians, dignified by baptism.
  2. All Sacred Scripture and most Protestant faith traditions came down to Protestants from the Catholic Church which was founded by Christ on St. Peter, the first Pope.

We need to strive to learn and accept that there is and can only be one Church of Christ, the entire Body of which subsists in the Catholic Church, against which Christ promised the gates of Hell would not prevail (the “gates” being, among other things, the proud spirits of rivalry, division, schism, and in some cases, even hatred).

Hurricane Nate: Psalm of Warning and Calling

This came to me early on the morning of 8 October 2017 when Hurricane Nate was making landfall on Biloxi, Mississippi in the vicinity of the gambling casinos there. Much harm of hurricanes (and other disasters) can be averted through the true loving prayer of God’s chosen ones: they have merit with God because they have chosen to respond to His graces and be obedient to His Word.

A psalm of warning and divine calling.

Looks like Hurricane Nate
has been a friend of most;
A reminder not to boast;
A gentle chastisement;
A worthy appeasement.

Give thanks to God
For those who prayed
Against his strong hand
which He did stay.

Another time will come
For those sins he did forebear,
To turn hearts of sinners
Back to God;
To give to God what is
His fair share.

God does listen
To those who remain close.
He hears your prayer
When obedience you chose.

But go on sinning
If you must.
Rely upon your own strength
When it is not God in whom you trust.

But beware that you are
Mere creature, mere dust.

The wind shall blow!
The waters shall rise!
Your fate will be sealed!
And then in whom will you trust?

You were not obedient.
You did not remain close.
You did not love God
Who you should love the most.

Despair overcomes you;
Hatred thickens.
You blame God for your own choices.
Your anger sickens.

But God will not be outdone
In his strong love for you.
He returns again and again
And he asks, “When you come to…

“When you come to your senses
I will be there.
I will hear your confession;
I will treat you with tender care.

You only need to choose right
To listen and obey Me.
For I will only what is good,
What is right, that you may see.

Come back to Me child
With all of your heart,
and I will bless you.
Never again shall we be apart.”

Amen.

“Manifest Me. Magnify Me.”

The Lord’s intimate words on how to be His “Pearl of great price.”  Mother Mary is the proto-Pearl of Great Price.

To Be Surprised by Children 

Sarah, in her old age, chuckles at God’s promise of a child (art by Bethany Vanderputten).

My wife has not yet turned 50, but she is well on the way beyond her childbearing years.  As I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary this morning during our walk together, I was thinking about how it might be possible for us to still have children, if God wills it, even at this late time in our lives, even given the scientific probability that “it just ain’t gonna happen.”  In fact, I dedicated my Rosary to my wife and to the good health of our child if God so wills it to happen.

Now, when I got back to the house, I saw a reminder on my IPad that I was to be Lector tomorrow morning at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Having forgotten that completely, I immediately found the readings for tomorrow, and imagine my surprise, given my thoughts and prayers, when I saw the first reading.  Here it is:

Reading 1 from 2 KGS 4:8-11, 14-16A:

One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her.  Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.

So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”

Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?” His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.”

Elisha said, “Call her.”

When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”

Well, when I read that, it touched me because of 1) the coincidence with my thoughts and prayers, 2) the coincidence that I will read it tomorrow as if a witness to the miracle, and 3) the realization that God was speaking to me through this situation.  He knows how I feel about children.

Now, that stated, I have accepted that I may never have children, and I am okay with it.  This gives me room to live life more for others doing things that regular fathers would not ordinarily do perhaps.  But, if the Lord wants to bless us with a child, then I will give Him all of the Glory, and very happily.

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

SIGN OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP: GRATITUDE IN MIDST OF SUFFERING 

Because Love is radical and not practical, it often involves suffering. This is why Jesus rebuked St. Peter when he suggested that Jesus should not suffer and die for us: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matt 16:23) Not that Peter is Satan, but that Peter was thinking in line with the desires of Satan and God-less men – that we not be saved by the Lord’s Sacrifice. Yes, in the divine life, love and sacrifice, and therefore suffering, often go together.

If we look down upon suffering for or with Christ for His sake and ours, then we are not worthy of Christ. For the Lord Himself clearly said: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”(Lk 14:27)

If we do not understand this, then we are like strangers who follow a strange “Prosperity Gospel” which selfishly seeks pleasure and avoids suffering (of true love) which diminishes that pleasure, and we may very well be met with this rebuke from the Lord Himself one day:  

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”(Mk 7:21-23)

There is little excuse for our ignorance. We have all of the resources available to us today in order to know the Lord – that is – to hear and do His will.

Let us ask ourselves: Does love inconvenience us? Do we love grudgingly? What is our habit? Do we choose not to respond to the inspirations to love when it requires some sacrifice? Do we calculate the cost? If God is Love, and if love is selfless, are we compatible with Him?

Well, we can not be God in our finitude. But we most certainly can be grateful to Him for His own sake. Our response to Him can be gratitude, even in the midst of suffering – a gratitude worthy of His infinite love – a gratitude which does not complain, but sees the riches of mercy He bestows upon us in all of the goods around us, and then responds with giving back in some way.  

If we overflow with God’s love, then let us be instruments of love for those around us. If we are in truth branches on the life-giving Vine, let us bear fruit that is sweet and which lasts.

Yes, let us seek to know the Lord, His thoughts, and not our own thoughts, that we may know true Love, be thankful for true Love, and respond with love out of the joy of our gratitude, but not out of the misery of our selfish ingratitude, the ingratitude of the thoughts of men who do not know God.

A Spat Between Reasoning and Conscience 

Conscience: “You know.”

Reasoning: “But, what about this excuse?”

Conscience: “One is not excused from truth.”

Reasoning: “But, what if it’s not true?”

Conscience: “The Lord your God told you that He is the way, the truth and the life, and He created me so that you can know Him – that is – the Truth.”

Reasoning: “What is truth?”

Conscience: “You know. Do you deny the Truth?”

Reasoning: “I don’t know what you are talking about. Shut up!”

Conscience: “Just remember what Truth Himself said, ‘So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.'”

Reasoning: “But I don’t deny that God exists.”

Conscience: “But you say you don’t know what is true, and He is Truth Itself, and He speaks to you through me, your conscience which He gave to help you know right from wrong.”

Reasoning: “But I know better.”

Conscience: “Do you also deny your own conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, I deny my own conscience.”

Conscience: “Then you deny God’s help freely. You have made your choice to carry on without God then.”

Reasoning: “No, I want God’s help.”

Conscience: “But He helps you through me.”

Reasoning: “No, my help is through my other conscience.”

Conscience: “Oh, so you are possessed of another person in your soul – one who gives you another conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, you are that other person, and I must be rid of you.”

Conscience: “Then you do so at your own peril.”

Reasoning: “No, I do so at your peril.”

Conscience: “But I am part of you.”

Reasoning: “I do not accept that.”

Conscience: “I can not die as long as you live.”

Reasoning: “Then we shall both die.”

Conscience: “Exactly.”

Reasoning: “But it would be better to live.”

Conscience: “Exactly true.”

Reasoning: “Okay, I will tolerate you.”

Conscience: “I can work with that.”

Reasoning: “Great. Perhaps we can be closer friends now.”

Conscience: “I would like that. Rest assured, in my friendship, I will never steer you wrong.”

Reasoning: “That is good. Thank you.”

Jesus Comes Crying

Today (Monday) on my Rosary walk, right before the Hail Holy Queen, in my mind, I saw a man standing in front of me, face-to-face, crying.  I understood it to be Jesus Christ.  It was no ephiphany, but only a faint image and inaudible hearing.  He was worn and crying because, in his humanity, he knows rejection and he knows remorse for those who are lost, burning in Hell.  This makes him very low – those who reject him and seek lustfully after sin and those who, in their choosing to follow their own ways, are lost to the burning flames.  He is even remorseful for the many who, in the hardness of their hearts, were lost in the desert so many thousands of years ago.  He did not want that to happen, but they chose to doubt.  

He sought from me a pure oblation of love to comfort him.  Of course, I offered him my loving obedience, my true desire to follow and serve him and to care for him in his suffering.  You do so also, in truth.  Offer the Lord your true desire to obey and comfort him.  Offer him a pure oblation of your good intentions toward him and his desires for you.

The Last Judgment, By Comparison

When praying during my Rosary walk the other day (Sunday), I had this insight that the truth of who we are at the Particular or Final Judgment will be revealed simply by being in the Presence of the Lord.  That is, our true thoughts and habits (virtue and vice) will be at once compared to that of the Lord Himself as He enters spiritually, without filters, into us and we into Him. 

We will either be repulsed or drawn ever closer in filial communion and community; we will either know Him and He, us or not.  We will either get along and we will love the disposition of the Lord, or we won’t, and it will be undeniable.

Calling for New Political Party: The Standard Party

I call on us to join a new political party:  

The Standard Party

It is neither conservative, moderate, nor liberal:

Conservative is off balance, to the right; 

Liberal is off balance to the left; 

Moderate is either weak-Conservative or weak-Liberal, both leaning and tottering left or right – defined by the characteristics of either opposing pole. 

These are of the world of opposite, bi-polar, false-standards, which do not recognize the Center around which they bounce, lean and stretch.  

In contrast…

The Standard Party (SP) is for the real Center; 

SP is for the Rule of Law (which is just and compassionate);

SP is for Virtue in All Humanity (which is good);

SP neither operates in nor uses Vice.

SP promotes the true Standard which all humans have in their hearts to achieve, the same hearts which traditional, partisan parties strive to deceive.

The Standard Party is the Good Party, with All for One and One for All through Virtue and the Rule of Law.

Lord Jesus, En-Salt Me With Purity in the Eucharist 


Why does Jesus say, “You are the salt of the earth”?

He says that because it is in you, us to be good and to resist, prevent evil just like salt prevents infestation and decay.  We promote societal health through acts of virtue (charity). We become an agent of immortality.

“But if salt loses its taste…it is no longer good for anything.” [St. Matthew, 5:13-16]

If we don’t do good, we add to the problem that Jesus came to fight. We advance societal decay through acts of vice (viciousness). We become an agent of mortality.

This is precisely why we need Jesus in our souls, to keep us “salted” against evil, and “salty” like medicine for each other.   

This brings out the reality of the promise which Jesus made to us, and that many do not accept:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” [St. John, 6:54]

For if we are really salted by our Savior, His own spiritual flesh, we can not die. We will live joyfully through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

En-salt me with purity, Lord Jesus, in the banquet of Your sacrificial Love, the Eucharist.  Thank you for Your Life which is our life, in and through Your Life.