Thursday, March 30, 2017

I'm still working on my icon, and other thoughts for Thursday.

I discovered a new artist, Quint Buchholz.

Don't care.

I'm almost finished with the icon and then I need to apply a first coat of varnish before gilding.  I normally gild before painting, but this time I'm doing it last.  Then I will do the calligraphy and final varnish, mount it in the tabernacle frame, and it will be ready for presentation, I hope.  I've never prayed so much over an icon, never labored so long, and yet it doesn't 'show'.  I think I'm so slow with it because I don't want to let it go, I don't want to not paint and pray with it.  I'm also wondering if it will be my last real icon.  

Then, today, a friend sent me a card with a Quint Buchholz painting, and I thought, 'bears need to keep working, no matter what'.

Online stuff.

I decided people take things too seriously... myself included.

No one cares what we think, although every time we post something it registers somehow in the consciousness of those who read it.  So if you're always posting negative opinions and reports, and worse, engaging in detraction or calumny, at the very least, you stain the conscience of your readers.

No one cares.

I think that is something to keep in mind.  Especially when it comes to blog posts.  On Facebook a guy announced today that he's sorry but he's changed his mind about Pope Francis.  In other words he now has doubts about him because the Pope hasn't answered the dubia.  That's fine.  I hope he works that out.  We all have doubts about a number of things from time to time.  I don't know this man personally, but just because he has doubts doesn't make him a bad man.  I just don't care, and I wonder why it's important for him to post about that - because many people don't care.

Now if your doubts cause you to question the faith, that can be a problem - but that too can be worked out.  If your doubts cause your readers to doubt, that's not good.  The best thing to do when you come upon posts like that is just to move along.  Maybe it's just me that doesn't care - so ignore my advice - like you just don't care.

Why do we bother one another with this stuff?  Posts like that remind me of what Isaiah said to Ahaz: "Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary God?"  

Are things not confusing enough?  Do we not complain enough as it is?

I do not need to defend the Pope or the Cardinals or the encyclical or the dubia.  It's not necessary for my salvation.  Critics claim many souls are at stake ... that's commendable to be concerned for the salvation of souls.  So how much penance and prayer are you doing.  Because that is what Heaven asks for.  Penance, penance, penance.  Judging the Pope and the Magisterium and fellow Christians is not our call.

Who cares what I think?

No one.  But you lose me when you start on the Pope.  We'll know when we know - until then, trust God.  People accuse people like me of ultramontanism, but I'm pretty sure they are the ultramontanists, because they desire a Pope who fits their conception of what a Pope should be.  If they had the Pope they want, they would be lapping at his feet, in the same way Trump supporters defend everything he does.

So anyway.  No one cares, but here is what I think.  I wrote it in an email response to a friend:
I think the Pope allows many controversial issues to be discussed and debated openly in order for the truth to shine forth.  Catholic teaching cannot change, despite the fact dialogue with non-Christians and unbelievers may add to the confusion surrounding contemporary moral issues.  Yet that is where Cardinals and Bishops enter in - it is their shared responsibility with the Pope to clarify and correct misunderstandings. The way they've gone about that lately seems more divisive than clarifying however. If it was really any of my business, or if I were Burke and his buddies, I would simply develop a solid catechesis around Amoris and present it, with all due respect for the Holy Father, and not as a correction or contradiction to the Pope, but more at the clarification they want to see. In my opinion the Holy Father's lack of response testifies to the fact he has no intention of changing doctrine but rather desires a more pastoral approach to those who have fallen away who feel they can't be part of the Church because of their irregular state in life.
It's all over my head though, and as I told my friend, I can't defend my theory, more importantly, I don't need to be right.   I can be wrong - I'm happy to be wrong.  I don't need to be right.

I'm more concerned about salvation, and the obstacles to that.  Some day, before I die I would like to arrive at a place of genuine detachment from the world, along the lines of what St. Teresa of Avila wrote:   
"Now that I am out of the world, with companions holy and few in number, I look down on the world as from a great height, and care very little what people say or know about me."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Immigration fears and the 'Islamic Takeover' ...

"You become responsible forever for what you've tamed."
- The Little Prince

I see all the headlines online...

Fears that the migrant-refugee problems signal the end of Britain, or Germany, or France, or all the white people in the United States, seems to be a big problem these days.  You people read the news and discuss all of this in the church basement Argument of the Month meetings, so I'm not doing a big post about it.

The only thing I'd like to say is that in a strange way, it seems to me, we are experiencing a phenomenon of poetic justice.  All the nations and peoples exploited and colonized by Western Imperialist powers finally may be doing penance and taking responsibility for past crimes.

What goes around, comes around.

British in Aden

Gays in the Vatican: There has to be a story here ... maybe even a conspiracy theory connection?

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, second from left, 
and his husband Gauthier Destenay 
arrive at the Vatican 
for an audience with Pope Francis. 
 They were welcomed by 
Prefect of the Pontifical household
 Georg Gänswein.

Have we found the gay lobby?

Just kidding!

Seriously, I think it's nice that the Prime Minister of Luxembourg brings his husband to work.

The only thing I'm thinking may be notable about this story is that the Vatican will reject a gay ambassador's credentials, but when it comes to a head of state, they can't do that.

I don't get it.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Newly discovered stuff.

Daniel Mitsui's blog, here.

He's a wonderful artist.

I rediscovered him on Amy Welborn's blog, here.  She writes a lot, and well.  Her boys are fortunate to have such a wonderful mother.  What a fascinating life.

I have to get out more.

I've had it with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis sat in the crypt of Milan Cathedral 
before the Most Blessed Sacrament:
"He did not kneel, sat, 
not once did he remove his pileolous
 and assume an attitude of prayer"
Yeah - who's the lazy one now?!

He turns on you.

Today's homily is nothing but another insult - a direct attack on me - when he talks about the slothful complainer:

The Gospel story at the heart of Pope Francis’ reflection tells of a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. He was lying at the side of a pool called Bethesda with a large number of ill, blind, lame and crippled who believed that when an angel came down and stirred up the waters the first to bathe in the pool would be healed. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him: “Do you want to be well?” 
When Jesus, the Pope pointed out, asked that strange man if he wanted to be well, instead of saying “yes” he complained there was on one to put him in the pool while the water is stirred up and that someone else always got there before him. His answer, Francis said, was a complaint, he was implying that life had been unjust with him. “This man, the Pope noted, was like the tree planted along the bank of the rivers, mentioned in the first Reading, but it had arid roots, roots that did not reach the water, could not take nourishment from the water”. 
The Pope said this is clear from his attitude of always complaining and trying to blame the other. 
“This is an ugly sin: the sin of sloth” he said.  Pope Francis said this man’s disease was not so much his paralysis but sloth, which is worse than having a lukewarm heart. - Source*

Pick, pick, pick.  Always pointing out sin.  Why can't he ever say anything nice about the lazy complainers on the peripheries?


Monday, March 27, 2017

Male Makeup Alert.

Keep your chins up!

Yes, but notice the priest at the left in this photo...

He's 96 but looks much younger. Why? The 'slight tan' of Jergen's Natural Glow Moisturizer. (And maybe a little help from a top of the line men's makeup brand.) Notice the subtle hi-lighting on the brow bone above the eye, giving lift to the eyes. I picked up on that right away.  Looking more closely, I noticed the slight tan w/shading below the chin - to lessen the effect of the sure to get priestly double chin - from looking down at his Psalter all the time.  Add in a bit of shadow at the cheek bone to define and thin the face, dramatized with a dab of highlighter across the bone, top of the forehead, and down the nose. Crown the head with the very subtle highlighting of the hair-weave to capture that youthful look... And voila - he knocked off 30 years and he's back contending for a curial position.

Fathers, look your best.


Song for this post here.

Catholic Fundraising in Lent ...

Flooding my mailbox.

I don't care what anyone says, religion is a business.

When a church - e.g. the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of the Snows, National Shrine of St. Therese, or any other mega-church sends out unwanted gifts such as calendars, cards, holy oil, plastic rosaries, with a check-off of suggested donations* for the unwanted gift as well as an enrollment form for inclusion in the prayers and Masses offered - with a vigil light option - and a computer generated personalized letter to make me feel special - I call that a fundraising business strategy.  Just like other secular charities who send you nickels, dimes, pennies, and sometimes a dollar bill, while requesting a minimum return donation starting at $75-, if you spend that much money to ask me for funds, go away.  Keep your gifts and your small change and get a Go-Fund Me page.  Businesses hire and pay people to make money for them.

I've given to these charities, once or twice - but now I get multiple mailings and their gifts, my name is also rented to other religious fundraisers.  It's too much.  I've decided to give to charities who do not do that - who do not run seasonal, liturgical-cycle, fundraising campaigns with gifts and awards.

Sorry - I just got a pile of stuff in the mail again today.

So anyway.

Remember - the Missionaries of Charity do not even engage in fund-raising.  From an interview with Mother Nirmala, M.C.:
Q: What about financial means: food, medicines, material goods?

Sister Nirmala: Absolutely nothing is lacking. God provides-- everywhere in India as well as abroad. You know, that is the promise of God for us. When Mother started the society and Mother was called, she did not start on her own, Jesus called her to start this congregation. He wanted her to be poor and the poorest of the poor. He wanted her to be empty-handed and serve the poorest of the poor free. It is such a paradox, isn't? He said: I will provide. That was Mother did, and that is what we are continuing to do: trusting in God's Providence, serving the poorest of the poor, free. And God does it. His promise is fulfilled every day. All we need to do is to keep being faithful to our commitments, to answer the call of God, everything else follows.

Q: But Sister, what would you tell those people who are so afraid of lacking the "indispensable?
things every day, or those who want to possess more material things?

Sister Nirmala: Trust in the Lord and do your best. Let the kingdom of God in your lives and he will provide everything.

Q: How does the Order cope with all the financial and economical demands?

Sister Nirmala: By trusting in God, and he is providing. We never ask for things. People just come and give. Everywhere they want to carry out fundraising activities, we say: "Please don't
fund-raise; we don't want to use Mother's name. No."
We want people acting on their own. We want their spontaneous collaboration. But if somebody is going around fundraising in Mother's name, we don't accept it. We want to depend on God's providence--only. - Source

*If you don't respond you often get a follow up letter asking where your donation is.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jesus said, "You are seeing him" ...

Think of this after Communion, when you look into your soul, and see Him who dwells there.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

While I've been offline: There have been reports Martin Luther has been rehabilitated ...

I'm against it.

Michael Voris and Church Militant have a new look ...

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Hail Mary!
Full of grace!

Seeking to know knowledge that cannot be known, the Virgin cried to the ministering one: Tell me, how can a son be born from a chaste womb? Then he spake to Her in fear, only crying aloud thus: 
Rejoice, initiate of God’s ineffable will: Rejoice, assurance of those who pray in silence! Rejoice, beginning of Christ’s miracles: Rejoice, crown of His dogmas!
Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down: Rejoice, bridge that conveyest us from earth to heaven! Rejoice, wonder of angels sounded abroad: Rejoice, wound of demons bewailed afar! Rejoice, Thou Who ineffably gavest birth to the Light: Rejoice, Thou Who didst reveal Thy secret to none! Rejoice, Thou Who surpassest the knowledge of the wise: Rejoice, Thou Who givest light to the minds of the faithful! Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Traditional Feast of St. Gabriel Archangel

Russian icon of the Pre-Annunciation

According to the apocryphal Protoevangelion of James, the Blessed Virgin first heard the greeting of the Angel while she was fetching water from the well, frightened, she returned home.  The scene is often depicted in iconography depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin.
In the Protoevangelion of James, there is first a “pre-annunciation” scene, in which Mary goes to the well to fetch water. There she hears a voice saying: “Greetings, favoured one. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” Mary looks around but does not see anyone. Frightened, she goes back inside and, “taking up the purple, she sat down in her house and began to spin.”

The angel then appears visually to her, telling her initially not to be afraid: “You have found favour in the sight of the Lord of all.”

The Annunciation story then continues along the same narrative outline found in the Gospels according to Saint Matthew and Saint Luke until the author returns to the story of Mary’s role in weaving the temple veil: “And she finished the purple and the scarlet and took them up to the high priest.” - continue reading here.
At the moment when the the Angel of the Annunciation revealed himself, the Virgin is depicted weaving the veil of the Temple - in purple and red - the liturgical colors for Lent and Holy Week.
This is the Annunciation scene that appears on the “royal doors” of the iconostasis of almost every Orthodox church.

Mary is depicted either standing or sitting, with purple or red skeins falling from her fingers. The threads Mary is holding reveal that she wove the Temple veil that later was rent from top to bottom when Christ died on the cross. Her acceptance of God’s will in this and in all things is represented by her upraised and open hand or, in some cases, by placing her hand upon her heart.

Saint Andrew of Crete, in his Great Canon, sang to her: “As from purple silk, O undefiled Virgin, the spiritual robe of Emmanuel, His flesh, was woven in thy womb. Therefore, we honour thee as Theotokos in very truth.” - ibid

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Kids Are All Right

Our Lady kept her promise.

At the very first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, she promised to bring the children to heaven, Jacinta and Francisco first, then Lucia ...  Pope Francis has officially recognized the miracle attributed to the intercession of two Fatima children - Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto. - VR

The promise of Our Lady - at the very first apparition.

On Sunday May 13th 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holmoak, "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun". The lady spoke to them and said: "Fear not! I will not harm you." "Where are you from?" the children asked. "I am from heaven" the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. "What do you want of me?", Lucia asked. "I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time." Lucia said : "Do you come from heaven...and will I go to heaven ?" " Yes, you'll go". "And Jacinta?" "As well" " And Francisco?" "Him too , but he will have to say many rosaries". In the end Our Lady asked : "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?" "Yes, we do." said the children. "You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort. "Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them : "Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war." And She disappeared.
Today it was announced that the Holy Father approved the miracle necessary for the canonization of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, ahead of his visit to Fatima scheduled for May 13.  Perhaps he will canonize them at that time, and wouldn't it be great if he waived the requirements for Lucia, and canonized her with them?

I came across a rather sobering account of Sr. Lucia's conversation with Fr. Lombardi* (not the Vatican press secretary) regarding hell and the loss of souls.  Sr. Lucia wrote:

The existence of Hell arouses disputes. Sister Lucia wrote, a few years before her death on February 13, There is no shortage of unbelievers in the world who deny these truths, but they are no less true for being denied. Their disbelief does not save unbelievers from the horrors of Hell, should a life of sin lead them there. ... At Fatima, (God) sent us His Message as one more proof of these truths. This Message recalls them to us, so that we do not let ourselves be fooled by the false doctrines of unbelievers who deny them, or of deceivers who distort them. To this end, the Message assures us that Hell is a fact, and that the souls of poor sinners end up there." (Calls from the Message of Fatima, 2003, ch. 14)
Later Interview with Sr. Lucia on Hell
The following is a rare interview with Sister Lucia [the Fatima visionary who died in 2005], by Father Lombardi. It was recorded in the Vatican weekly "Osservatore della Domenica" February 7, 1954. 
Fr. Lombardi: "Tell me, is the 'Better World Movement' a response of the Church to the words spoken to Our Lady?" 
Lucia: "Father, there is certainly a great need for this renewal. If it is not done, and taking into account the present development of humanity, only a limited number of the human race will be saved." 
Fr. Lombardi: "Do you really believe that many will go to Hell? I hope that God will save the greater part of humanity." [He had just written a book entitled: Salvation for Those Without Faith] 
Lucia: "Father, many will be lost." 
Fr. Lombardi: "It is true that the world is full of evil, but there is always a hope of salvation." 
Lucia: "No Father, many will be lost." 
Father Lombardi remembered that Lucia had seen Hell and added: "Her words disturbed me. I returned to Italy with that grave warning impressed on my heart." - Source

Detail: The Secret of Fatima - Vision of Hell

*Fr. Lombardi and the Better World Movement.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Preparation for the Solemnity of the Annunciation

An archangel was sent from heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to her such things as these: Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth: Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease! Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam: Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve! Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts: Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels! Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King: Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all! Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear: Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation! Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed: Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator! Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Prayer to the holy Archangel Gabriel 
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the Angel of the Incarnation, because God specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a very tender and devoted love for the Incarnate Word and his Blessed Mother, more like your own.
I venerate you also as the “Strength from God”, because you are the giver of God’s strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God’s faithful and teach them important truths. 
I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions; renew my courage; comfort and console me in the problems, trials and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in his agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.
Saint Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God made man and for his Blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, it it be God’s holy will.
Pray for us, Saint Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Limited Use: Social Media

I closed my Tumblr, privatized Facebook, will most likely close the Etsy shop, and cut back on this blog.

I'm amazed at the time wasted writing about stuff that is essentially none of my business.

How stupid to have written so much about myself, and worst of all - other people.

"How can you believe when you accept praise from one another?"

Many people who live online, writing their blogs, judging and condemning others - even going so far as to judge the Pope, have lost their faith.  Some may be mentally ill or terribly deluded, but they are all endangering their salvation and leading others astray, even to the loss of faith.  Others who oppose these people do the same thing - responding with hostility, daily criticizing the bigotry of conservatives - political or religious - they are obsessed with being 'right'.  Perhaps this Scripture can be applied to them - to all of us: "You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves." [Matt. 23:15]

People online look for affirmation, praise, agreement and esteem - and some expect to be financially compensated for that - like money-changers in the Temple.

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

“Today, let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand this, seventy times seven. Let us ask for the grace to be ashamed before God. It is a huge grace. To feel ashamed of our sins and then receive forgiveness and the grace of generosity to give it to others, because the Lord has forgiven all, so who am I to not forgive?” - Pope Francis

Remembering Blessed Alberto Marvelli

Blessed Alberto, pray for us.

He reminded me that today is his birthday.

I did a drawing of him once.