Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homage to Caravaggio

Happy New Year!

Giuseppe Veneziano's Head of Goliath, after Caravaggio

A partial examination of conscience ... for bloggers ... well, for me.

Take little notice of who is with you or against you... so long as you always try to please God and write what is true. 

Deacon Kandra posted a very good examination of conscience not long ago - check it out here.

The examination of conscience is something I was trained to do, so it is a regular practice for me - it is part of prayer - in fact a little examine and act of contrition is always the first part of prayer throughout the day.

Anyway.  I came across a sort of short-form examine at Shirt of Flame - it hit home:
And I'm ruminating on the year past and the year to come
One of the main things I see is that we cannot afford the slightest bit of resentment, bitterness and/or hatred. And I, for one, am utterly powerless to get rid of any of that on my own. No use trying to assert my "willpower," which only wants to win and will convince me that NOT loving the person in question is the goal and some kind of twisted triumph.
So I need to be in constant contact with a Power greater than myself. I've gotten in the habit these past few months of a nightly review, i.e. Examination of Conscience: where was I selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, fearful? In this way, my petty jealousies, enmities, resentments, meanness-es, and lies (I like to call these exaggerations for effect but they are lies!) are constantly revealed and then I get to ask to be forgiven and to do better. And I see how very much help I need. How very flawed I am. But also how much I yearn to do better so that, at least, is good and to be grateful for. - Source

 "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Mark 8:36

For "life is so short, the path leading to eternal life so narrow, and I know the just man is scarcely saved, while the things of the world are vain and deceitful, and all comes to an end and fails like falling water. The time is uncertain, the accounting strict, perdition very easy and salvation most difficult... My life has vanished, I know well I must render an account of everything - from the beginning of my life as well as this later part - unto the last penny, when God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles, and it is already late - the day far spent - to remedy so much evil and harm..." - St. John of the Cross

7th Day of Christmas

New Year's Eve.

Nothing.  Means nothing to me.

So anyway - still didn't get your card, Chevy.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Homophiles and the Old Uranians

Untitled, Henry Scott Tuke
The third way...

Austin Ruse wrote a very good article on the 'new' homophiles - gay-faithfully chaste and celibate Catholics who identify as gay.  Some of the new homophiles mentioned replied they were amused, disturbed, angry, at first - but then Austin Ruse politely replied to their objections, and/or concern, explaining that he was making forming his judgments based on the literature they have produced.  Indeed, I liked Ruse's approach and analysis, as well as his conclusion that this new 'movement' bears watching.

It gets so complicated when we discuss anything gay, queer, SSA -  it all becomes very tiresome.

Of course, there are good things being discussed and explored by the 'new faithful-gay-Catholics' who have written books and online articles on the issue of same sex friendship and non-genital intimacy.  It's quite good - although with some of the writers, the ordinary reader must wade through a great deal of intellectual-philosophical discussion - not unlike the complexity of research associated with Theology of the Body.  If they are writing for an exclusively academic audience, that is fine - but it becomes a tad esoteric, even gnostic for my gay relatives on the East Side of St. Paul, not to mention some of my Beauty School, Art and Design graduate friends.  They aren't interested in religion anyway, nor would they be interested in such research, so I suppose it isn't an issue.

Much of the discussion on spiritual friendship is quite good, but it seems to me it can at times, become unnecessarily complex.  Speaking rather subjectively, often times some of the writers from this movement lay out arguments how (their) younger generation are very comfortable with same sex friendships, just as they are with opposite sex friendships - that neither pose any danger to chastity or romantic intimacy.  Evidently some church people have said such close friendships can be an occasion of sin.  (Straight Catholics have the same issues BTW.)

Nothing new here.  The acceptance and practice of close, intimate friendships is not exclusively something younger people have discovered and excel at.  It is completely naïve, if not exclusive to make such a claim.  I grew up enjoying very close friendship with males and females.  We traveled together, slept together, lived together - no sex, no physical intimacy - no problems.  We are all still friends - some have families, others remain single, and since we live in different parts of the country, some of us no longer get together as we once did, but we keep in touch.  Some of us are gay, some bi-sexual, but the majority are heterosexual.  No one identifies by their sexual orientation.  Each is comfortable with their gender ... and perhaps there lies the difference between the new homophiles and the old.  But that's another post.

Speaking of old...

Ever hear of the Uranians?   (Not anything from Uranus, however.)  The new homophiles should be familiar with this late 19th century movement.  Like some of the prominent new homophiles, the 'prominent Uranians were trained Classicists'.

I know of the Uranian movement because of my art studies.  In my research I came across the artist Henry Scott Tuke and his figural work (shown at top).  He painted nude males, mostly adolescent, but his work is not homoerotic, though it is highly esteemed by gay men, both in the artist's lifetime, as well as today.

Tuke's work strikes me as rather innocent, he never painted erotic images and rarely painted boys showing genitalia.  In fact, what he does very well is that he portrays same sex friendship uncorrupted - and natural.  I find the life of Tuke interesting - though he had gay friends, I've come across nothing to suggest that he engaged in homosexual activity.  So I'm not sure Tuke would have considered himself to be Uranian, nor would he have intended his work to be pederastic* - I may be misinformed however.  If he did, I hope he repented like Oscar Wilde.

If I may, I'd like to suggest another possible reason why some gay Catholics seek to develop a particular gay-spirituality of same sex friendship, which may have something to do with a classic symptom in homosexuals (men) - that is, an inability or difficulty in forming healthy, nonsexual friendships with the same sex.  Natural, healthy same sex friendship is a source of healing and wholeness for those with SSA, and I think it should be encouraged, not discouraged.  Having a man-crush is one thing, and it's natural - pursuing it or fantasizing romantically about it is disordered.  But that's also another post.

"To have altered my life would have been to have admitted that Uranian love is ignoble. I hold it to be noble - more noble than other forms." - Oscar Wilde*

So what is it?  Definition of Uranian, from Wiki - for the sake of brevity:
Uranian is a 19th-century term that referred to a person of a third sex—originally, someone with "a female psyche in a male body" who is sexually attracted to men, and later extended to cover homosexual gender variant females, and a number of other sexual types. - Source
Today it is called 'queer'.  Queer is the third way.  There are queer Catholics who dissent from Church teaching and there are queer Catholics who are faithful to Catholic teaching and accept that homosexual acts are sinful.  Then of course, there are SSA Catholics who refuse to identify as gay or queer, and who live an ordered life of celibacy and chastity - just like the new homophiles, only the SSA's most often can be associated with Courage Apostolate, an organization the new homophiles are not comfortable with.  I could discuss that further, but I cannot take the time to do so right now.  Suffice it to say that many of the complaints about Courage suggest that well adjusted queer folk just do not need a support group, and so they formed their own - for normal gay people.

I've often speculated that gay people, especially gay Catholics like to think of themselves as a unique species - not unlike the Uranians, and within that paradigm, each person is a particular species - so no one may actually type them or generalize about them - unless they happen to be part of their movement.  It's difficult to ever pin them down however.

Their approach to spiritual friendship seems to me to tend toward the idealized and romantic, and in this they sometimes resemble another late 19th century movement, the Pre-Raphaelites, who imaged an idyllic chivalry.  At any rate, I can't help feel a few of the new homophiles are somewhat elitist and exclusive, not admitting challengers to their theory and research, and never, ever those 'parroting' traditional Catholic teaching.  Though they bend over backwards to be charitable, they can be rather condescending in their assertions.  That is not to condemn them, nor am I suggesting they are not having an impact for the good - insofar as softening the Church's official tone on homosexuality.  Gay Catholic dissenters have also had a similar impact, whether one is willing to admit it or not.  The 'new homophiles' have been rather well received by a number of churchmen - especially those who coincidentally, may not appreciate Courage Apostolate either.

Nonetheless, as Austin Ruse concluded in his essay, "The conversation is fascinating ..."

*Interestingly enough, the delectation for adolescent boys demonstrates something quite common to homosexual men, don't you agree?  Especially considering the sex scandals that keep popping up.  It is what happened to that monastery in Sketis...

6th Day of Christmas

Was the prophetess Anna a church-lady?

Or was she a contemplative, who never left the temple?  A prototype of early nuns, widows who dedicated their lives?  Or was she just homeless and took refuge in the temple?

Her example makes one appreciate the pious ladies we meet at church.  The faithful elderly who never miss daily Mass, who pray the rosary.  Those who volunteer to water the plants and tidy up.  Those who remind priests of the rubrics and how the Eucharist should be reserved and reverenced.

Old people are a blessing, not a curse. 
“let us ... think of those other exiles – I would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like burdens”. - Pope Francis

Song for this post here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

5th Day of Christmas

A simple year.

Evidence of Christmas at Dogwood Cottage...

This year I didn't do a tree - just candles in the windows and random splashes of décor.  It was very hidden and monastic, all of it confined to the 'enclosure'.  Guests do not even get to see it.

Today is Gabby's birthday BTW!  She had salmon and got a lambs wool mouse stuffed with catnip. 

Merry 5th Day of Christmas!

The reason why there couldn't be a tree.
(The garland had to be raised a cat-length higher.)
The Von Baer brothers taking refuge from Gabby
at her birthday party.
The Rabbitowitz's were invited, but unable to attend.
The Infant Jesus with his friends and some of his toys.
(A little kitty and bear from Austria.)
Kitchen nicho.
The enclosure shrine.
No Christmas trim however.

How 'modern' art can document what may be otherwise unnoticed ...

Gustav Klimt “Il fregio di Beethoven”, 1902

This morning the windows seemed to depict a Klimt design.  Minuscule frozen beads of moisture formed in patterns very similar to the backgrounds of Gustav Klimt's figural paintings.  I looked at the manifestation for a long time.  Each bead, ever so tiny, became a sort of convex lens, a microscopic  diorama depicting the view outside.

I thought of documenting it - making a painting of the experience, but then I thought 'why?'  It would never be understood.  It could never be as fascinatingly beautiful as the reality.

How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?*


Then there is Richter.  I love this series.

Ice (4) - Gerhard Richter

Then imagine the Ice painting is an obscure rendition of a Dali...

The Ecumenical Council, Salvatore Dali
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus

[Which reminds me - the television production of The Sound of Music was awful.  The singing was very good, even the staging - the acting was terrible.]  What?

Holy Family

Melkite Icon of the Holy Family
Returning to Nazareth, Nazareth, Galilee

For me, this is a very suitable image of the Holy Family.  I'm not fond of those showing St. Joseph with his arm around Our Lady.

Parents, love your children.  Be holy and faithful.  Children need parents who love them, provide for them and protect them.  If you are faithful to your children, they will be faithful to you.

The First Reading for Mass instructs the children.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Obama Family didn't go to church on Christmas. So what?

A Very Glee Christmas!

The 4th Day of Christmas and people are getting bitchy again.

I live across the street from an old Lutheran church which is now a Seventh Day Adventist church.  Seventh Day Adventists, and some other Protestant denominations that do not have liturgical worship do not always celebrate Christmas.  Seventh Day Adventists do not decorate for Christmas nor do they have services on Christmas.

Obama is a Protestant and hardly ever goes to church.  My point is that many non-liturgical Protestants do not go to church on Christmas - even when their church celebrates Christmas.  And just remember, the Reagan's* rarely went to church.  Therefore all the criticism of Obama is little more than angry rants.
I think this is despicable. It also shows what is happening under the godless Obama Administration… who did not go to Church on Christmas, even though last week he (hypocritically?) said we should remember the religious dimension of Christmas.  BAH!
That was in reaction to a VA Hospital banning religious Christmas Carols.

If they tell you not to sing religious Christmas carols, sing non-religious Christmas songs -  it's Christmas.  No one is saying you can't celebrate Christmas.  Still a problem?

Then sing The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Religious people claim that is what they did in England when Christmas was suppressed.**

Anyway.  I've been in hospital situations when Carolers come through.  It's nice ... But sing something else Christmassy if those are the rules.  Don't make trouble at Christmas - it kind of cancels out the joy.

Have another drink Faddah. 

* President Reagan was the darling of the religious right, yet he never went to church, except for funerals, and regularly consulted and followed the advice of astrologers. (Source)

** Maybe not.  "In 1979, a Canadian hymnologist, Hugh D. McKellar, published an article, "How to Decode the Twelve Days of Christmas", claiming that "The Twelve Days of Christmas" lyrics were intended as a catechism song to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practising Catholicism was criminalized in England (1558 until 1829). McKellar offered no evidence for his claim and subsequently admitted that the purported associations were his own invention.  The idea was further popularized by a Catholic priest, Fr. Hal Stockert, in an article he wrote in 1982 and posted online in 1995.  In 1987 and 1992, Fr. James Gilhooley, chaplain of Mount Saint Mary College of Newburgh, New York repeated these claims. None of the enumerated items would distinguish Catholics from Protestants, and so would hardly need to be secretly encoded."

The good old days!
Remember how religious the
Bob Hope Christmas Specials 
used to be?  He'd never fail to
entertain the troops
with religious sermons
and Christmas carols.

A & E caves? Welcomes Phil Robertson back?


He was never gone.  It was all about marketing.
The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Phil will still be part of the series -- and since he didn't miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season. - Source
A & E knows how to spike ratings. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Bloggers we've lost in 2013: A look back ...

Oh - and those readers I've lost or who dropped me from their sidebar.

Nelson's List.

I will list the names and the reason why they rejected, dropped, turned on me.  I want them all to know I don't blame them.

Larry D at Ax of the Apostasy
Stopped blogging, commenting, dropped off the face of the earth.

Cathy at Recovering Dissident
Never heard from again after I accused her of conspiring to abduct me.
Fr. Mark of Downtown Meath Abbey
I think it may have been something I said.
God only knows.
Kat of Crescat Prickly Pines blog
Bad ads made her crazy and she attacked me.
I may never know.  What?
Fr. Frank
Not sure.  I think it was a photo-shoot I set up on apparitions after a storm.
Fr. Joe
Not a clue.
Random Friar
I have no idea.
Badger Catholic
Jealous.  Envious.
Adoro Te Devote
I was always wrong about something.
Just didn't like me.
Michael R.

Not black enough.
Maria B.
Just showed up in the combox.
Frank of San Francisco
Not gay enough.
Anonymous blogger(s)
Too gay. 
Bill B.
The intellectual quality of my writing has slipped.
Suburban Blogger
Unsuitable and creepy.
Kitty Bauble
Too black. 

Paul S.
Does not want to be associated with this blog.
Owen S.
Not interested.
Heather King
Not her style.
Much too illiterate for her.
Affluent Bloggers of Style
Much too low-class and homophobic. 
Blackballed. Blackballed. Blackballed.
Doesn't like my commenters.
Doesn't like the attitude.
David S.
I think I know.
Michael Bayly
He's on hiatus.
Ray M.
Doesn't want to be associated with this blog.
Puppy and Kitty
I'm just not sure.
John Corapi
He dropped everybody.
Cathy from Chicago
I'm not sure.
Hates me.
Leona Whittie
Not traditional enough.
Joan and Company
Were not happy to read about themselves on my blog.  
. . . 

The list goes on...

I was reading my archives hoping to reuse some old posts and couldn't help notice some of the commenters no longer come around.  I wonder what happened to them?  Not that I expect them to still be reading this blog, much less leave comments, I couldn't help but think about the many people I have met over the years - friendships won and lost.  I could post more names and reasons why I think they dropped me - or me them - but I don't want to get anyone upset. 

I really only did this list just for fun, not to start anything.  It could be a very funny post if I listed more sites and bloggers with the real reasons I think they had for dropping me.  Leaving well enough alone, if I left anyone out, my apologies. 
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently …” — Steve Jobs 
So yeah - crazy people make better bloggers.

Happy Christmas!

Art: Michael Sowa

Maybe you're mental.


Is it just me, or are people kinda nuts?


People online.

I mean blogger types. 

You know - religious fanatics who blog.


I crack up when people say 'mental'.

As an adult, Ed Grimley revived my love for the term.

"Makes me completely mental."


"Don't you know."

Now laugh like Lola Heatherton.

View Lola's Christmas Special here!


Now ask yourself this:  "Do you blog to live?  Or do you live to blog?"

Either way, it's kind of sad, huh? 

There is no right answer.


Catalan Art and thoughts about that ...

Catalan Nativity
Paysage Catalan - Miro
Altar Screen, Las Trampas, New Mexico
I love Catalan art.
I see a continuity between the early religious iconography with modern artists such as Joan Miro.  I also see a connection with the early Catalan iconography and our Native American religious iconography as found in the Southwest United States. 
At one point in history, Church officials tried to get rid of the simple retablo style in churches in New Mexico, but the people never let it go and the form has been revived and greatly admired.  It is truly an authentic American art form.
I included the Miro because of the simplicity of line and color.  I also wanted to mention something I noticed this winter.  My storm windows frost up when it gets especially cold, -0.  Curiously, some of the windows formed crystal patterns similar to the work of Joan Miro - circles, straight lines, check marks, and other geometric shapes.  I like to study the frost patterns on windows, especially when they are opulent floral and fauna patterns, but the geometric shapes surprised me this year.  All of the shapes and lines were composed fractals - each line possessed minuscule fractal 'fringe' - but from a short distance, they appeared to be clean straight lines.
I think it is very good to study nature very closely, minutely, even microscopically, it is so beautiful.  You can get lost in wonder.  I think that is what it means to 'stop and smell the flowers'.  You can see the cosmos, the entire creation reflected in the smallest ice crystal. 
I think that we can understand many things in modern art or primitive art, using nature as a reference.
Not long ago I saw a news story about a horse who paints.  The horse's paintings look amazingly similar to a local artist's work I viewed at Saachi Online.  I have to admit I preferred the horse's work to the artist's work.  That said, thanks to the horse, I understood the artist's work better.

Christmas truce...

Peace online.

Christmastime means it's quiet online.  Not many people are online - probably because many are off work Christmas week, and they have a lot going on.  That's good, because it makes for a sort of truce - no com box fights because there are fewer contentious posts.  Things should pick up after the weekend, or at least after New Year's.

I was wondering last night why we get so upset over what people write on their blogs?


Third day of Christmas

My apologies - I missed Festivus.and I didn't want to screw this one up too.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day!

Tired of being told how you should celebrate Christmas?  Or what Christmas is all about?  Or 10 things you should know about nothing? 


"I beg your pardon!
Why that is not what Boxing Day
means at all!"

The Feast of Stephen

St. Stephen the Deacon

The second day of Christmas.

I have not had to run into burning schools or put my life at risk, and my complaints about ill treatment are generally little more than privileged whines. Nor do I want to be a martyr, if it can be at all avoided. The point, though, is not whether we die for Christ but whether we are willing to die for Christ. If it’s love, it’s total. There’s no middle way when it comes to the romance of faith. - Read the rest at Christmas, Suffering and the Cross


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

Oh, that you were my brother, 
nursed at my mother's breasts!
If I met you out of doors, I would kiss you
and none would taunt me.
I would lead you, bring you in

 to the home of my mother.

 There you would teach me to give you

 spiced wine to drink and pomegranate juice. - Song of Songs 8

Art:  Virgin de la Leche with Infant Jesus and St. Bernard, Peru c. 1680, Peyton-Wright

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What pilgrims and beggars and shepherds do on Christmas Eve ...

Shepherds, you who go
up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
if by chance you see
him I love most,
 tell him I am sick, I suffer, and I die.
- St. John of the Cross

I love the anticipation of Christmas Eve - nothing can restrain love!
"When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word from heaven's royal throne bounded...  And as he alighted... he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth." - Wisdom 18: 14-16 
Wishing all of my readers and friends a very blessed Christmas...  happy and merry!  Thank you for all of your kindness and generosity towards me.  I pray the Little Jesus grant you every grace and blessing.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Novena: Day 8

“'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad ...'"

Everything is mine... Christ is mine.  The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph and all the angels and saints are mine.  Mine are the heavens and all the earth and everything created, 'God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is all mine and all for me'. - John of the Cross

Nothing else matters.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Novena: Day 7

Some people really dread Christmas.

For some it is really hard.

Some desperately seek shelter

from all the happiness ...


O Jesus, Who has said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened," through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.
O Jesus, Who has said, "All that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you," through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask your Father in your name that my prayer will be granted.
O Jesus, Who has said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass away," through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

*Popularly known as the 9 hour emergency novena, particular requests are made after each invocation.

Art: Joseph and Mary, Arrival at Bethlehem. Olivier L. Merson

What the Angel told St. Joseph...

Virgin of the Sign
Behold a virgin shall conceive,
and bear a son,
and his name shall be called...
Emmanuel. - Is. 7:14

Is the same as what the Angel said to Ahaz.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Before that "Duck Dynasty" Fool* there was St. Andrew the Fool ...

The first time I saw this photo
I thought it was of an Orthodox monk.

I pity the fool. - Mr. T

I don't have cable so I had no idea what Duck Dynasty was/is all about.

Besides, the only reality TV show I ever got into was "Third Rock From the Sun" which was mysteriously cancelled when people caught on that it was indeed a documentary/reality show - but I digress.

Now I know all about the brouhaha, and I just shrug.  Nothing new - except the loss of free speech I suppose - although something tells me this is about ratings. 

Anyway, long before Phil Robinson came along with that long beard and Duck Dynasty business, there was dear St. Andrew the Fool.  They talk alike, maybe look alike, but are separated by centuries...  But probably not class. 

St. Andrew the Fool.
The following dialogue consists of a chapter in the Life of Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ. It is a complex passage dealing with sensitive issues with unexpected twists and turns and paradoxes, as real life situations usually are, and for this reason it should be studied carefully, completely and within context. Saint Andrew was a holy man, specifically with the gift of being clairvoyant and a fool for Christ, who knew the secrets of men's hearts, and he spoke the truth as it was revealed to him and in the appropriate way for a particular moment. The story begins with Andrew sitting in front of the gate to his disciple Epiphanios' house.
As he sat on the ground in front of the gateway there came a young eunuch who was the chamberlain of one of the nobles. His face was like a rose, the skin of his body white as snow, he was well shaped, fair-haired, possessing an unusual softness, and smelling of musk from afar. As Epiphanios had been brought up together with him and was his friend they loved each other dearly.

Now this eunuch carried with him dates, about thirty in number. When he saw the naked body of the holy man he was alarmed and asked Epiphanios, "My dearest and beloved Epiphanios, who is this man and why does he go naked, although it is winter and unbearably cold, being like those who have been shipwrecked at sea?"

Epiphanios answered, "My dearest brother, I do not know what I shall say about his appearance, since his mind has been taken prisoner by the Evil One and he wanders about like one possessed and confused. All such people tear their clothes and run about without feeling anything." This he said because he did not want to reveal the holy man's virtue.

When the eunuch heard this he fell silent and, having pity on the blessed man as one of the poor, gave him all his dates. "Take these just for now," he said, "for I have nothing else with me."

But the holy man, who with the eyes of his spirit already knew the works of his soul, looked at him sternly and said, "Fools do not eat a gift of colophonia."

The eunuch, who did not understand what he said, replied, "You truly crazy man, when you see dates, do you think they are fruit from Colophon?"*

The blessed man said to him, "You deceiver, go into your master's bed-chamber and perform with him the sick practice of the sodomites, that he may give you other dates too. You wretch, you do not see the rays of the kingdom of heaven, who do not know the cruelty and bitterness of hell, do you not even feel shame before the angel who accompanies you as a Christian? What should be done with you, impure that you are, because you frequent the corners and do what should not be done, things which neither dogs nor swine, nor reptiles nor serpents do? You accursed fellow, why do you do this? Woe to your youth, which Satan has wounded and thrown down headlong into the terrible depth of hell and vehemence and boundless vigor! See that you do not go further, lest the Godhead treat you as you deserve, here burning you whole with flashes of lightning, there with the hell of fire."

When the eunuch heard this he trembled with fear, his face turned red like fire and his shame was great. - Please finish the story here. 

Obviously St. Andrew wasn't as nice as Phil Robertson in how and what he said in his interview with GQ, still Mr. Robertson got a lot of flak from it.  That's news, I guess.  I have to say, I'm with Fr. Longenecker on this one: 
We don’t watch TV. I’ve never seen Duck Dynasty. I read about Phil Robertson’s statements in GQ and don’t see what all the fuss is about. He’s simply stated the historic Christian view. He might have used crude language, but he’s just being himself. You can’t be entertained by a hillbilly and then expect him to behave like an East Coast liberal. 
Besides, are people familiar with what homosexuals do with each other?  It seems strange to me in this sexually liberated age that people are so coy about the actual facts of gay sex. 
We’re talking about anal intercourse between two men, oral sex, oral-anal sex, an obsession with the penis and anus and other stuff which is too disgusting to discuss.  If gay sex is so wonderful why are otherwise sexually liberated people so prissy and Puritanical about it–blaming Mr Robertson for being vulgar? He was only talking bluntly about what actually goes on between two men and saying he found it disagreeable. - Source
Follow-up on St Andrew the Fool...

When asked why he reprimanded the young courtesan, the Saint explained:
[After they finished their feast Epiphanios said to the blessed man, "Venerable sir, why did you rebuke my friend so bluntly?"]

The blessed man answered, "Because he is dear to you and beloved, for this reason I did give to him this lecture, for had he not been your friend, he would not heard a single word from me. This is not my vocation, to rebuke sinners, but to run the straight road which leads to a better life."

The Saint then went on to explain to Epiphanios, who, as a defense, tried to explain the courtesan's untenable predicament as a slave:
[Epiphanios said, "If a master enjoins a slave to minister to his needs, be they physical, or spiritual, or sinful, and the slave fails to obey, you surely know, my Lord, how much he will suffer, being maltreated, beaten, threatened and receiving all sorts of punishments."]

The holy man answered, "This, my son, is the martyrdom of Jesus Christ at which he hinted when he said: 'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Thus if the slaves do not bow to the abominable sodomitic passion of their masters they are blessed and thrice blessed, for thanks to the torments you mention they will be reckoned with the martyrs." - Mystagogy

It is what the Church teaches.  Let's try not to be so sensitive.

* Please don't be offended - I mean that in the best sense of the word - fool for Christ.

Naked without virtues
bridges burned
my sins my


Christma Novena: Day 6

Hark!  My lover comes,
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
Here he is
behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.

It seems to me that Advent is an unfolding, a revealing of God with us ...

as well as a deeper recognition of my need for mercy and the grace of conversion and reconciliation.

I ask the forgiveness of all whom I have offended in my writing and comments on this blog and elsewhere.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bunch of heretics trying to destroy Christmas...

"You're not a failure George - you're an alcoholic."

Oh man!  Another 'Angelologist' claims angels have no wings...
Angels do not have wings or look like cherubs,” he said.
Angels exist but do not have wings and are more like shards of light, at least according to a top Catholic Church “angelologist” who says the heavenly beings are now back in vogue thanks to New Age religions. 
“I think there is a re-discovery of angels in Christianity,” Father Renzo Lavatori told AFP on the sidelines of a conference on angels in a lavishly-frescoed Renaissance palace in Rome. 
“You do not see angels so much as feel their presence,” said Lavatori, adding: “They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase.” - Source
Fine.  I'll accept the no cherub thing - because everyone knows cherubs are putti - little unbaptized kids from Limbo - but I gotta call his bluff about angel wings.  Remember Clarence?  The angel in "It's A Wonderful Life"  - he got his after helping George Baily get his bank back.


Tune into Duck Dynasty and find out what's wrong with these people.

I have to go to the bathroom ... Lavatori.

Christmas Novena: Day 5

Nino Cautivo*

O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel; who open and none can shut; who shut and none can open: Come and lead to freedom the prisoner who sits in darkness and the shadow of death.

*Traditionally, the Nino Cautivo has been petitioned by those seeking release from some sort of impediment, restriction, or trap, especially financial problems or drug addiction or alcoholism as well as by loved ones seeking the release of a friend or family member who may have been abducted and held for ransom, or imprisoned unjustly.

I finished my Christmas cards

Angels Decorate*

The ones I made, I should say.

I still have to send out cards.  I've lost track of time I guess.

Each year I pretend I have to create things for the Christmas season, and once again this year, I worked on Christmas cards as if I they were to be published or sold.  The cards I send are real Christmas cards - not my doodles.  Mine are just for fun and provide something to update my art blog with.

More Christmas card samples here.

*too big for the scanner and it's crooked.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Novena for Christmas: Day 4




Oh beautiful Child of Atocha! Nino de Atocha! Fathomless abyss of love, Child of my heart, inexhaustible fountain of wonders, river of delight, and Father of all mercy. Oh blessed Child of Atocha! At your sovereign feet we humbly prostrate ourselves, ungrateful sinners  who beg with tears in our eyes, the forgiveness of all our sins.  I make my prayer through my intermediary your holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, and with trust placed in her powerful intercession, I beseech your mercy. Before you I stand, yet  with all my heart I confess my heartfelt sorrow for having offended you by my numerous sins.

To you, most powerful Child of Atocha, because you are who you are, God of God, I am asking that you give me the contrition you gave Saint Dismas when he was nailed to the cross with you; that you give me the tears you gave Saint Peter the night he denied you; and the sweet contrition of Saint Augustine, that I may return to you all my heart.

Oh merciful Child! Forgive me for having offended you.  With the help of your grace, I resolve to sin no more. I ask this grace through the intercession of your sweet mother, Santa Maria de Atocha.

I will wait for you and I trust you.  Because you are faithful even though we are unfaithful, I hope to obtain your pardon, my salvation. and all I hope for in this novena. I am confident that you will not refuse my petition, if it be in accord with your will. I trust you will use my sorrows, my poor works, my needs, my grief, as a means to sanctify me. Grant me joy to balance my affliction, freedom of spirit in my prison - you alone are my Savior. I beg you to help me, to assist me, and especially to be with me at the hour of my death, that I might praise you forever in your Holy Kingdom, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen. - Adapted from Novena Prayers to Santo Nino

*When I first heard that Archbishop Nienstedt stepped aside because of accusations against him, my first reaction was to make an act of contrition for my sins.  It seems to me personal repentance may be the correct first response to tragedy.  It certainly seems to be an appropriate preparation for Christmas.


Do not let sad Christians take your joy away...

And watch out for blog-rage.

The other day I closed comments because some people, convinced of their own self-righteousness, insisted upon denigrating others who disagreed with them.  When the Catechism says gay people must be treated/accepted with respect, it doesn't stipulate - "yeah but, only those gay people who live chaste and celibate lives in accord with Catholic teaching."

The rude, inflammatory comments are not limited to my blog by any means - most online Catholics know which sites advocate that stuff.  Last evening I came across a comment at Fr. Blake's blog very similar to the comments I get - the comment on Father's blog was in reaction to the controversy surrounding the Franciscan Friars of The Immaculate, the author of the comment spewed the following venom:
If I were to meet Fr Volpi I would spit in face, no more 'Holy Obedience', no more 'offering it up' the time has come to storm St Peter's and throw the diseased pieces of filth such as Fr.Volpi and the sodomite clergy into the gutter of Rome after being ritually humiliated (like Mr Banks in Mary Poppins).  - comment @ 1:48 am
Fr. Blake kindly admonished the author.

The other day, a friend of this blog, offered this:

[...] The time to be nice is over. The time to be truly Catholic and call out these heretics and evildoers, like ____, is now. I'm a fighter, and I will no longer take ____ crap, or crap from any other homosexual activists attempting to destroy my Church and my life. No more being nice to you and no more accepting any of your bullshit.
It is time to stand up to them. We need to lock arms and protect our Church like the brave men in Argentina. These vipers will not stop until they destroy the local Church. - comment removed from post Archbishop Nienstedt
After I removed the comment and closed the com box, my friend responded on another post with this:

Wow. No place for zealots. No place for those who choose to stand up to bullies and heretics, huh? Wow, Terry.
Fact is, there really is no room for zealots - especially when charity is lacking.  There is a good zeal and a bad zeal.  These examples, and the like I see elsewhere on angry blogs, which are also more or less encouraged by the blog administrator, are no longer permitted here.  It seems to me, such comments lack humility and charity. 

Maybe people are just not feeling in a 'Christmas mood'?

A few of my friends, online and off, tell me they just aren't into it.  I think that is what may contribute to their feeling sad - in part of course, because we all get sad from time to time.  We are so accustomed to having our way or taking some medication for sadness when we don't get our way, or feel real perky, we can blame it on all that is wrong with the world.  But listen - the world has always been wrong, life isn't a box of chocolates, Forest.

When we feel good, and everything is going our way, we think we are sitting on top of the world.  We are so good, God is so good, I can see Russia from my house.  Squeaky clean good!  I've had very fervent religious, holy-holy friends who were so charitable they could gently correct me - out of charity - and it didn't even hurt.  A week later, when they were in the deepest stages of their dark night of the soul - not the purgative one, but the "I'm suffering for all the sins of the world expiation-reparation-victim-soul kind.  The same correction I might have received so sweetly the week before can be suddenly slapped across my face with a vengeance!  Sr. Mary Toonces is pissed off and Jesus is so not nice!  Get what I'm saying?  When you're in a good place - you are so good.  When you are in a bad place, you think you are better than you are.

You don't know of what spirit you speak.

Jesus told the Apostles that - after they asked if they should call down fire from heaven on their enemies.  He rebuked them.  Yet we little lay people imagine ourselves so holy that we can shout prayers at the top of our lungs in the Cathedral.  We can miss Mass on Sunday and on Monday tell off a heretic.  We can get drunk one night, and the next morning after we did the dirty-dirty with ourselves, call out a creepy fornicating SOB.

Homosexuality can make us nuts.

It may not be on APA's list of disorders any longer, but it sure seems to drive us all nuts.  Especially if you're religious, and even more so, if you are rigidly religious.  Many traditional Catholics fit that category as well - don't bend the rules, don't strain the rubrics - it is the only thing I have to support myself.  Not all trads are like that, TO BE SURE - but some are.  They do weird things and see things so much differently than other, normal mortals.  Sometimes they know better than the Church, they know so much they can tell the Church how to govern religious orders, such as the FFI.  But I digress.

The other day I told some one that zealously Catholic gays have a tough time of it because they are fighting the spiritual combat on so many fronts.  Though they can adhere strictly to tradition and prefer the loveliness of the Extraordinary Form of Mass with all of the rubrics and decorum, their preference cannot be their stability.  Sometime, as it happened in times of persecution, war, and history's disasters, our structures, our supports can be taken away.  We need faith, a deeper faith, and complete dependence upon God.  We need to accept from God whatever he permits to befall us.

Gay people who struggle and fall, who cling to this or that stage of freedom from unwanted same sex attraction wage a fierce battle in our culture.  We defend ourselves from innumerable assaults to the senses, the spirit, and most of all the emotions and the heart.  Our struggle for chastity and wholeness can sometimes make us feel totally nuts - wondering who am I?  What am I?  The saints asked the same questions.

That can scare us at times. 

When we are scared, we react, we do and say things to defend and protect ourselves.  The saints did too.  The saints struggled with their own demons.  What we can lack is charity, and without doubt - humility - and bam!  We fall.  If we don't fall into sin, we can fall into sadness and gloom - acedia.  All because we were scared we already failed in this or that, or we were afraid we might fall, or we just do not have the courage to go on.  Often because we were scared that we might be the only person in the world suffering.  Or because we were scared to admit we were envious that other people could be so happy and gay, yet we are so miserable because we can't accept that way of life for ourselves.

Maybe I'm way off, maybe it is just me - maybe the rest of you are already saints, already perfect, and already completely happy and content.  Good for you. 

If the house is all swept and cleaned and tidied, be on guard. - Luke 11:25

Over the years - the decades, especially before the grace of the Holy Year in 2000, I also vacillated from time to time on these issues the world has a way of bombarding us with on a daily basis.  Even today I can begin to second guess myself.  We are so deeply influenced by the culture and the general acceptance of homosexuality as normative.  We see or hear of others living wholesome lives with their partners, sharing benefits, while we can wonder to ourselves, how can they justify it?  How can they be so happy?  If they can do that, how can it be wrong? 

It's the times we live in - we can't help being influenced and questioning why we are like this.  I for one cannot understand gay Catholics who say - it doesn't matter how or why I'm gay - I'm just gay.  Nevertheless, that is their affair - maybe they don't want to know.  That said - these things impact us in our spiritual combat - which, as I said before, is fought on many fronts. 

However, as St. John of the Cross said, no one can escape drinking somewhat of the cup of the Whore of Babylon, and I might add, nor avoid accepting the Mark of the Beast.  Which means all of us live in a  constant struggle.  Sometimes we seek to protect ourselves in strict enclosures which offer stern adherence to rules and rituals - only to collapse from exhaustion and depression.  We need to pray very much, and get up from every fall.  God is humble and allows us to fall in order to become more humble after we repent and recognize that he alone can save us.

We can never say, 'the time to be nice is over, no more obedience, no more offering it up'.

Therefore, always try to remember how incredibly patient God is to you and me, and remember how patient he has been over the years, even when the temptation to apostatize over some triviality seemed to overwhelm us, and maybe even swept us away for a time.  How many sinners have returned to their old way of life and sought to justify themselves and work out for themselves a religion easier to practice?  Sometimes they come back.

We must try never to fall into that trap wherein we believe we are so safe and secure, so spiritual and religious,  that we can condemn others.  I know we can condemn sin, and that it is a work of mercy to admonish the sinner, but we need charity and humility to do it efficaciously.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Novena for Christmas: Day 3

Dream of St Joseph – Francisco Rizi 1665

Do not be afraid...

"Joseph wanted to leave Mary not because he was suspicious but because, out of humility, he was afraid to live beside such great sanctity. That is why the angel told him, `Do not be afraid'." - St. Thomas Aquinas

O chaste spouse of most holy Mary, glorious St. Joseph: the trouble and anguish in your heart were great when you were perplexed over sending away your immaculate spouse; yet your joy was immense when the mystery of the Incarnation was revealed to you by the angel. By this sorrow and this joy we ask you to comfort our souls, now and in the sorrows of our final hour, with the joy of a good life and a holy death like your own in the company of Jesus and Mary.

Holy father St. Joseph, be to us a protector and guide and keep us from all that can separate us from the love of God and neighbor.  Share with us your charity in loving Jesus and Mary, and let us in turn show it to our brothers and sisters.  As you were so eager to protect the Blessed Mary from shame, teach us to do likewise for those we encounter on our way to the feast.  As you welcomed the Holy Virgin into your home, and received the Infant Jesus close to your heart, so make us eager to receive his peace and love in every Holy Communion, as well as in every encounter with those we come into contact with each and every day.

Present our petitions, our needs, to the Divine Infant - ask Him to grant us every grace, especially that grace He so ardently desires to give us, even though we may not know to ask for it.

Thank you Blessed Joseph.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Novena for Christmas - Day 2

Adoration of the Infant Jesus
Francescuccio Ghissi

The Passion of the Infant Jesus.
Sometimes, indeed very often, His approach to us coincides with a catastrophe and is in the midst of it, and for that reason is hardly noticed. We are too intent on the din of the disaster to hear the "still, small voice," or we drown it with noisy tears. Disasters are not God's will; they are the result of sin and opposed to God's will; but in His mercy He does allow the suffering resulting from them, although never the sin that caused them, to be caught up into His love and do good. Thus Christ's first coming on earth was in the midst of the disaster of the world's suffering caused by sin, and it was precisely to take hold of this suffering and transform it by love that He came. - Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross,  Caryll Houselander


“Divine Infant Jesus, I adore Your Cross,and I accept all the crosses you will be pleased to send me. Adorable Trinity, I offer you for the glory of the Holy Name of God all the adorations of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Infant Jesus.” - Ven. Marguerite of the Blessed Sacrament O.C.D.
 O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve - with the help of thy grace - to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.  Amen

Heart-Breaking News: Archbishop Nienstedt voluntarily steps aside from public ministry.

From the Archdiocese:
Archbishop John Nienstedt is voluntarily stepping aside from all public ministry, effective immediately, while St. Paul Police investigate an allegation that he inappropriately touched a male minor on the buttocks in 2009 during a group photography session following a confirmation ceremony. 
In a Dec. 17 letter to the faithful, Archbishop Nienstedt called the allegation “absolutely and entirely false.” 
“I have never once engaged in any inappropriate contact with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree,” he said. 
“True, I am a sinner, but my sins do not include any kind of abuse of minors,” he said. “I have met victims and I know the lasting damage that such abuse causes.” 
Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, in his role as a vicar general, will cover all of the archbishop’s public duties while the matter is being investigated, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Father Charles Lachowitzer continues in his position as a vicar general and moderator of the curia. 
The allegation of the single incident was brought to the police by a mandated reporter within the Church. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. - Finish reading here

Please pray for our Archbishop.  He steps aside voluntarily, until the case is settled.  Pray for the accuser as well.

Pray very much.

[I believe the Archbishop when he states:  “I have never once engaged in any inappropriate contact with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree.”]