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.”]


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Novena for Christmas Begins ... Today!


Little Jesus, unto thee I flee,
through thy Mother praying thee
in my need to succor me.
Truly I believe of thee
God, thou art, with strength to shield me;
full of trust I hope of thee,
thou, thy grace, will give to me.
All my heart I give to thee,
therefore of my sins repent me;
from them breaking, I beseech thee,
Jesu! from their bonds to free me.
Firm my purpose is to mend me,
nevermore will I grieve thee;
wholly unto thee I give me,
patiently to suffer for thee,
thee to serve eternally;
and my neighbor like to me
I will love for love of thee.
Little Jesus I beseech thee,
in my need to succor me.
That one day I may enjoy thee,
safe with Joseph and with Mary,
and angels all, eternally. Amen.
(Prayer of Fr. Cyril of the Mother of God.)

The Contagion of Catholic Scorn for Pope Francis.

It isn't just so-called 'liberals' who can be accused of trying 'to build a wall between Francis and Benedict'.

Catholics who dislike Francis are accusing the Pope of 'snarky comments' during his homilies at Mass.  They wonder who he is talking about? 
He fills his own daily fervorini with snarky comments about hard to identify groups of people.

Other critics are compiling lists for The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults.

Others say he 'makes digs' at people and economic systems.

Commenters on blogs actually question the Holy Father's sanity and intelligence.
I do seriously wonder if he has dementia. "Rambling" is the kindest one can say about some of the utterances.
Reminds me of something I read elsewhere:
How the Devil works to undermine and reduce the priest and priesthood (and papacy)!  People are all to willing to do the Devil’s work when it comes to this sine qua non of our salvation and God’s plan.
+ + +
Sometimes we may not know of what spirit we speak.
Worse than that, sometimes we do, insisting we have a right to do so.  Over the years I've known many devout Catholics who knew more than the Pope - some even boasted they were more Catholic than the Pope.  I encountered such people during the reigns of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  Some of them were priests and religious, and some of them abandoned their vows, frequently because they knew more than the Pope.
Many more were laity.  Well educated in theology and dogma.  One friend left to join a Protestant group.  I remember how surprised I was after he wrote to me how wrong Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin was.  At one time the poor man claimed contemplative graces from God in prayer - and he was most likely correct.
Another woman I knew - exorcised from demons, she claimed - a faithful follower of a rather charismatic, albeit strictly traditionalist, deliverance priest, she too abandoned the Church.  She studied and knew all the encyclicals and especially the Syllabus of Errors - nearly by heart - she 'searched the documents for eternal life', and used what she found to condemn those who didn't measure up.  She condemned Pope John Paul II as a heretic.  She told people who didn't measure up to her standards that they were going straight to hell, with all their protestant relatives.  She literally wore her religion on her sleeve, draping herself in medals and crucifixes and scapulars, etc..  She had a big orthodox voice online at one time.  Then one day - she blew it all off and returned to her old religion, Wicca.
I've known guys who have gone in and out of the SSPX like a revolving door.  I've know great defenders of the faith, who condemned every misstep of the clergy and the bishops, even going so far as to attribute to themselves the Pauline boast "I opposed [Peter] to his face" - who have fallen away. 
Most of the people of whom I speak have fallen away.  Some went to Protestant churches, some went to the SSPX or another Catholic break-away group.  A couple went to the Orthodox, and some simply returned to the vomit of paganism and their former way of life.  At some point in their zeal, they likely scandalized ordinary, faithful, Catholic believers, as well as those just beginning to believe.  Then their 'lights' went out.  Like foolish virgins they went to get more oil, and never came back.
Be careful. 
We ALL have to be careful!  As St. Paul cautioned:  If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. [1 Cor. 10:12]  We can not only scandalize others and drive them away, or cause them to join in our negative criticism with their own snark, we can even fall away ourselves.  We need to examine ourselves ... every day.
Have my words, actively or passively put down God, the Church or people?   Have I inflicted wounds on the Body of Christ by showing disrespect, dissent or disdain?  Have I mocked online the leadership of the Church—whether it’s my pope, my bishop or my pastor? - Deacon Kandra, Examination of Conscience

I'm guilty.  Christ have mercy. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Let's go Christmas shopping! Great Christmas gift ideas ...

Dimensions: 17.25"w x 9.25"d x 18.5"h

Santo Nino Buen Pastor

I discovered this statue at Wisteria - it is resin, not wood, although the reproduction is very well done.  It is on sale too. For information, go here.

Dimensions: 6"w x 4"h
Metal angels

I would use these in my art.  They also make great ornaments.  These are on sale too.  For information, go here.


Fine liqueurs

Or, just for fun
Visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads guaranteed.

Was Santa at the Nativity?


I was watching Jimmy Kimmel one night and he had this starlet-singer young woman on discussing her Catholic upbringing and Christmas.  She was funny because she had Catholic things really screwed up.  I loved it though when she told about how, as a little girl she thought Santa was at the birth of Christ - because of those Put-Christ-Back-Into-Christmas-Jesus-Is-The Reason-For-The-Season Santa figurines and pictures.


A war on Christmas? Really?

"People disagreeing with you is not an act of aggression."
Yeah Chuck!

I read a great post on the so-called war on Christmas at Sr. Mary Martha's blog.  The subheading for my post is lifted right out of Sister's post.
 There is no war ... The President and the Congress pray publicly on a regular basis.* They actually shouldn't do that, but no one has stormed the halls with machetes to make them stop. Some people have merely complained about it, which is their right as a citizen, not an act of war.
Perhaps you are merely referring to the notion that because abortion and gay marriage (in a growing number of states) are legal, your religious tenets are being trampled.
But they are not. Unless you have been forced to have an abortion or marrying someone of the same sex, your beliefs are safe and sound. The rest is hyperbole. People disagreeing with you is not an act of aggression.

 And, if I may be honest, comes off as a little whiney. What warlike thing has happened? I'm having trouble seeing the gunsmoke through the Christmas lights. - Sr. Mary Martha
I couldn't agree more.

Last week a woman told me
black people can't sing Christmas carols.
That's cold.

The Directory of Public Worship

Some of Catholic bloggers are beginning to resemble characters out of Cromwell's England.  It wouldn't surprise me if a few would be in favor of setting up their own Directory of Public Worship.  Last week one blogger complained about unchristian Christmas music and 'adulterous' holiday songs - too secular without nary a mention of Christ. 

Merry Christmas Terry! - Love, Ray-Ray and Ginger

Photo Christmas cards celebrate the family and help far-flung relatives and friends connect.

Another site complained that Christmas cards, like social media, is now all about us - me - you.  Why?  Photo cards with pictures of family and travels - though they carry a Merry Christmas greeting - evidently they aren't religious enough.  I suppose the emphasis is supposed to be 'Jesus is the reason for the season' - works for me.  But guess what - maybe not for everybody.  So, even if those narcissist Christians send such cards and still go to Mass or church on Christmas, they didn't celebrate according to the rules set down in the Directory of Public Worship. 

Obviously, I'm missing something.  Or maybe we're all missing the something.  Wasn't it Christ himself who made Christmas all about man - that's what the Incarnation is all about, right?  God became man.  A Saviour was born for us.  Us.  He was born for us - in that sense he did indeed make it all about us.  Some people may have a hard time grasping that as easily as the great theologians in Catholic social media do.  Yet many non-religious types know enough to celebrate Christmas, and the majority seem to respect what it stands for.  Some even go to church or Mass on Christmas - albeit the only day of the year they do so.  Some may have sent all about me holiday cards.  Others may be drunk, some may be living in sin, some may be dirty, some may be “barboni” who live in a cardboard box under a bridge.

Not good enough?

Remember when Pope Benedict hosted
Christmas lunch for Rome's poor?

How about this then  Just for laughs, I guess:

Of Nativity Scenes and Vatican Budget Cuts

Over the last years we have learned that the St. Peter’s Square nativity scene has often cost upward of half a million euro. There has been not a little graft involved.

We also know that the Holy See has some money problems.

In the spirit of the new Franciscan renewal of the Curia, I have a suggestion to save money and to empower special groups of the marginalized in the Roman scene.

I propose that groups out there in Rome could be invited to build the crèche each year!
They would put their best efforts into it and the results would be, no doubt, edifying. They should construct the scene according to their own lived-experiences (which is how most modern theologians these days are reinterpreting doctrine… but I digress).

For example:

School-children from the periferia, a poorer outlying area of Rome.
They would create, perhaps, a classroom surrounded by a depressed area such as along the Via Flaminia with lots of old cars parked in the streets and maybe a pack of dogs (“cittadini non umani”) roaming about.  Don’t forget figures from video games.

“Barboni” is the Roman word for bums, street-people, the homeless. They would create a scene based on the cardboard boxes they live in under bridges along the Tiber or on top of grates. Over all, the 1% would be passing them by in their luxury vehicles.

LCWR nuns
This would involve mostly nice apartments, hair salons, and hotel conference centers. There would be an emphasis on walkers and slide-shows depicting their oneness with the cosmic egg in a futuring process of conscience evolution. Over the speakers we would hear recordings of talks by lesbian advocates and proponents of the ordination of women and the transgendered.

Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagians.
Theirs would be a classic scene, depicting the Baby Jesus being adored by the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the Magi and lots of shepherds and angels and donkeys and moo-cows, etc. Front and center would be conspicuous gold and lace accoutrement. Gregorian chant plays over the speakers while aroma-therapy gadgets pump expensive incense into the piazza.

Each Roman dicastery of the Curia.
Frankly, by the time the list gets down to them, there won’t be any of those left.

. . .
Because that is so funny and Christmassy at the same time, right?

Color him annoyed.

. . .

Don't be discouraged.  Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

Like I said the other day: The war on Christmas?  It isn't real.  No one can stop Christmas - it already happened and happens now.  It is beyond any one's power to abolish it.  It is a mystery unfolded and unfolding, revealed and revealing - for those who are able to accept it, able to receive it.  Christmas is a gift to be received - and the gift we receive we give as a gift.  Nothing stands in our way except the desire to control and construct the holidays into an idol of our personal preference - an ideal we imagine to suit our taste, with the decree, 'this is how it should be' - only when it disappoints, or someone breaks the rules, we become disgruntled and annoyed.

Every year it becomes clearer to me - and I hope for you:  Christ is already born - he dwells amongst us - now.  He is risen and lives to make intercession for us, and we participate in that, in and through the prayer of the Church.

 Let them eat bûche de Noël. 
* The President led the festivities at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, and amongst other things, he said this:
Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him.  But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia.  He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast.  He healed the sick.  And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.  - President Obama