Saturday, October 29, 2016

I'm outta here ...

I've never been more confused in my life ... and that says a lot.

I don't understand what's going on.

Hillary's Weiner?

Trump's feline abuse?

The Pope canonizing Martin Luther and Mary Poppins?

Divine Love Ministries?

Where's ISIS?

Where's Black Lives Matter?

What's Putin got to do with it ... got to do with it ... got to do with it ...?

I'm confused.

No wonder everyone is turning towards false mystics and locutionists and soothsayers.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Art Show ... Matt Talbot

Matt Talbot - T. Nelson [2016]
Acrylic on canvas


(The first unfinished image.)


Matt was said to be an 'undersized, wiry man,' and we know he was a laborer.  I read he wore his working clothes everywhere - so I imagined a jacket and collarless shirt, a bit worn - just as I always depict him.  The difference this time is that I have him balding more than in my other paintings.  There are a couple of early paintings, one by a religious sister, depicting him bald, and I wanted to do so as well.  My composition is spare - a few religious mementos and scraps of paper, upon which it is said Matt would make spiritual notes - a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and holy cards of Therese and Catherine of Siena comprise the 'still life' of minutia on the mantel.  Above these, a very small image of OL of Perpetual Help hanging by a string.  Matt stands in front of the tall, narrow tenement mantel, upon which these poor possessions are displayed.  Interrupted in his devotion, clutching a crucifix, he looks out at the viewer.

I tried to imagine him in his 60's now, and made a sort of composite of images of Matt Talbot and my recollection of a young man I met years ago in Lourdes.  

My apologies for bad photography and even worse photo-shop editing.

Art Show: The Dream of the Secret

The Dream of the Secret - T. Nelson [2013-2016]
Acrylic on canvas.

(Natural light version)


The Dream Secret. 
Briefly, all I can say is that the dream remains rather vivid in my memory and I never fully understood it until after the clergy scandals. At first I had thought it was diabolic - a nightmare - mocking the Church, as well as a temptation against the Church. Over the years I understood it differently.

In the painting, I lightened up on how the 'bishops' depicted really appeared in the dream. The bishop holding the child was much more creepy, and he always suggested to me two things, the tolerance of abortion and contraception by churchmen, as well as the sexual exploitation, disregard, and sexual abuse of children. As I said, the bishop is toned down in the painting - in the dream he was wearing garish make-up and his fingernails were painted, and he was especially effeminate. The image was so repulsive, I neutralized those aspects for the painting.

The naked man partially dressed 'as a bishop' represents homosexuality in the clergy. In effect, he is a bishop's boy toy masquerading as a minister of the Eucharist. He illustrates the corruption in the Church, the lack of faith in the Eucharist and the sacraments, and the emptiness of decorum without a living faith.

The ordinary people are the faithful and they look to the apparition of the Virgin, making intercession with her to the Trinity. before my conversion I often dreamed of Our Lady, yet I could only see her form from the back.

The smoke is incense, yet later I wondered if it wasn't the camouflage of the 'smoke of Satan' as PPVI mentioned - masking the filth in the Church.

There is no Mass being celebrated - just clerics going through the motions at the altar. The statues are covered as for Lent, while it is a call to penance, it also represents the eclipse of solid Catholic teaching and tradition as well as devotion. The Trinity remains present none the less, the Father offering the Son in the Holy Spirit - if you could see closely, the Father's body conforms to that of the Crucified - it is a sign of the Father's love and a pledge of redemption.

The church interior is an interpretation of a downtown parish church I once attended regularly. Later on, a more or less dissident bishop became the pastor there.

This is a brief explanation - the meaning is multi-layered and complex. I painted it to work through some things and to put them in perspective. The fact St. Nicholas - an image I borrowed from another artist - the fact he is present as the patron saint of children and orthodoxy speaks for itself. Originally posted here.

Art Show: The Secret Of Fatima

The Secret of Fatima - T. Nelson [2009-2016]
Acrylic on canvas

(natural light)


Like apparitions in general (to outsiders that is), the composition of the panel is all over the place - events and images and messages are dissected and examined individually and yet still pose questions for interpreters. Children and the simple usually seem to grasp the content and meaning of an apparition much better than scholars and theologians, and of course, the full meaning of the events and images is only more clearly understood after the passing of time. Therefore my composition is pazzi - crazy - it almost looks like a poster illustrating feature events while promoting something.

Top to bottom.

The mystical, the heavenly and the prophetic revolve in suspension at the top of the panel. The Holy Trinity, God, is at the center of things, the source of light as well as the author-ity for the message. The mandorla presages the miracle of the sun as well.

The globe at the right of the panel is taken from the outer doors of a triptych by Hieronymus Bosh, only the contents of the object have been re-constructed to convey one aspect of the secret revealed in 2000: "the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way..." (Sr. Lucy) Even within the secret there are layers of scenes - I separated this within a globe of light, which is repeated elsewhere on the panel, since Lucy and others spoke of seeing Our Lady approach as in a globe of light before the apparitions. In her memoirs, she quotes Francisco as seeing everything "in the light that is God". In the text concerning the third part of the secret, Lucy writes, "And we saw in an immense light that is God, something similar to what people see in a mirror when they pass in front of it..."

I can't help but think that if these things happened today, the seers would compare the visions to what it is like to view something on an LED screen or computer screen rather than a mirror. Therefore I tried to show another part of the secret in a more surreal manner at the center of the panel - as if on a digital screen.

The bishop dressed in white "going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross of roughhewn trunks, etc.." The Holy Father is seen walking towards the mountain, the cabeco, or Golgotha, topped by the cross which is only partially shown. Above the 'screen' is the Crucified Christ of Dali, looming from the cosmos, who sanctifies all the martyrs, who, dressed in white as well, are shown entering and leaving, ascending and descending, the scene. Their sacrifice indicated by the blood dripping from the summit of the mountain. I do not show the Pope shot or dead, the blood hints at all of that. Instead I show a Pope walking placidly towards the mountain... As Cardinal Ratzinger said; "We must affirm with Cardinal Sodanno: '...the events to which the third part of the secret refers now seem part of the past'. In so far as individual events are described, they belong to the past."

Seem. That leaves the interpretation somewhat open. Though I agree with what the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith taught, I painted Benedict XVI as the Pope who walks toward the mountain. Unless this is as good as it gets regarding Our Lady's promise of peace if her wishes are met, it seems to me the prophecy at Fatima may yet be playing out. (My personal speculation of course.)

To the left of the screen, we see an angel, disintegrating, holding an aspersorium dripping with the blood of the martyrs, this corresponds to that part of the secret which says, "Beneath the cross were two angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered the blood of the martyrs and sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." Cardinal Ratzinger suggested the imagery used by Lucy may have been inspired by "images she may have seen in devotional books..." therefore I employed traditional iconography to illustrate this aspect, hinting at multiple angels by showing the Eucharist in the angel's other hand. Although not part of the secret, prior to the apparitions of Our Lady, the children experienced preparatory visitations by an angel who also distributed Communion to the seers. To the right of the angel is another apparition from 1915, which simply appeared as a cloud above a group of trees in the form of an unknown figure.  I reinterpreted this to coincide with a theory some have proposed regarding an astrological event to occur in 1917 involving the constellation Virgo and the 'Great Sign'.

The upper right of the image depicts that part of the secret which describes Our Lady's intervention in time; "At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an angel with flaming sword - flashing it gave out flames that looked as if they would set the world on fire, but they died out in contact with the splendor Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand the Angel cried in a loud voice: 'Penance, penance, penance!'"

As stated many times, the Secret of Fatima is comprised of three parts - what I've described is my imaging of the third part. The other parts include the revelation of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, shown on the panel in a luminous globe between the earth and Our Lady. To the right of Our Lady is an indication of the sign she promised which would precede the next war (WWII) if her requests went unheeded. Sr. Lucy said it was an unusual aurora borealis that most of Europe witnessed.

In the lower left corner is the vision of hell - which Our Lady explained thus, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart." This remains the most important part of the secret. (Of all the horrors of war, genocide, and immorality (abortion) of the 20thcentury, including the disruption in the Church, Our Lady presents hell as a much greater evil than anything else.) As Sr. Lucy insisted in a letter to John Paul II in 1982: "The third part refers to Our Lady's words: 'If not (Russia) will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'.
The third part is a symbolic revelation... and if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides." Letter of May 12, 1982.

Very quickly then, I represent the children experiencing the vision, the envelope containing all we ever knew of the third part of the secret (until the year 2000) suspended above them. In a globe of light I show the original Basilica at Fatima with the Holy Father and his entourage entering - Our Lady specifically asked for a chapel to built, and is therefore part of her requests. In the lowest left corner is a penitent contemplating the mystery, standing on the shore of the sea, which also forms a subtle question mark (partially cropped off in the photo) - leaving room for doubt. Not as to the veracity of the revelations, but rather as to whether or not they are simply 'a part of the past'.

I think not.

[I forgot to mention the nuclear explosion at the upper right - representing what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as well as the continued threat of nuclear war. In the upper left is the crescent moon and star, suggesting a connection to Islam and the threat to Christian culture.] - Originally posted here.

I saw this on Facebook and I think it is very important to view ... in or out of the womb ... it really is a baby, a human being, a person.

I wish I could live here ...


And never leave.

I've been thinking of this photo since I first saw it at Badger's blog.

Doesn't it 'lift up your heart' though?  It does mine.  Such beauty.

It brings to mind the psalm, "One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere..."

And, "I had rather lie abject on the threshold of the house of God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked."

I could be like the sparrow who finds a home there, close to His altars.  If I could, I would be content to remain there, hidden, off to the side, so as not to scandalize anyone.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Or why I get excited about earthquakes.

I read once that children of alcoholics and those coming from abusive, dysfunctional family settings love drama.  Gay people do too, so I'm told.  Not sure about SSA people though.

So anyway.

I had a really crazy childhood.  My mother freaked out every time the wind picked up, or a storm was approaching, or someone looked at her wrong.  If my dad was late for supper she called all the bars to see if he was there.  (He usually yelled out, "Tell her I just left.")  If he was really, really late, she called the hospitals.  Once we were in a hail storm at an amusement park, huddled under a tent over some sort of ride, she was crying and frantically praying the act of contrition out loud, hugging my dad and me.  She was terrified.  I may have mentioned before that she and my dad had violent fights and sometimes both chased us around the house trying to beat us up - yelling and screaming, overturning furniture and so on.  It wasn't unusual to be awakened in the night by screams, or a slap across the face and shouting - "Get out of that bed!"

There was a lot of drama.

I thought maybe I should mention this in order to explain why I get excited over earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disasters.  Don't get me wrong, I am concerned for the victims, loss of life and property, and the souls lost - but I'm really fascinated by the events.

Once, when the sirens went off and reports that a tornado touched down in Minneapolis, I ran to the roof of my building to see it pass by.  It was only 8 blocks away.  I was disappointed because it was so low all I could see was a wall of swirling clouds, it had no distinct funnel.  I was maybe too close.

So you see.  I get excited - not sure that is the right word for it, but you get what I mean.

Both my parents are dead now and I miss their calls.  They enjoyed calling to say they were disappointed in me, and that they were going to disown me.

And I still laugh.

Oh.  My Internet was down this morning too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

EARTHQUAKE! A pair of "apocalyptic" aftershocks shook central Italy on Wednesday ...

(Matteo Crocchioni/ANSA via Associated Press)
Residents walk past rubble in the village of Visso, central Italy, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 following an earthquake. A pair of powerful aftershocks shook central Italy on Wednesday, knocking out power, closing a major highway and sending panicked residents into the rain-drenched streets just two months after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 people.

ROME (AP) — A pair of "apocalyptic" aftershocks shook central Italy on Wednesday, crumbling buildings, knocking out power and sending panicked residents into the rain-drenched streets just two months after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 people. 
Two people were injured in the epicenter of Visso, where the rubble of collapsed buildings tumbled into the streets. But the Civil Protection agency had no other immediate reports of injuries or deaths. 
The first quake carried a magnitude of 5.4, but the second one was eight times stronger at 6.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 
"It was an unheard-of violence. Many houses collapsed," Ussita Mayor Marco Rinaldi told Sky TG24. "The facade of the church collapsed. By now I have felt many earthquakes. This is the strongest of my life. It was something terrible." 
Calling it "apocalyptic," he said: "People are screaming on the street and now we are without lights." - Continue here.

[Fr. Z is in Rome shopping and dinning out!  He said he felt dizzy but just thought it was the booze - then he got a text about the earthquake.]

Very seriously, prayers for all suffering from the quakes and the rescue.  And for Fr. Z too.

Something really, really bad is going to happen ... and it did!

Bayside seer, Veronica Lueken
There are so many similarities to 
how public 'visionaries'
act today during 'ecstasy'.

The choice.

Fr. L and Mark Shea and many others are predicting four years of badness after the elections.

Charlie Johnston has been predicting THE Storm for years - details might be off - but ...

All the mystics say so too.

Then a friend sent me this:

Secular reports say the UK is deploying troops to the Russian border. Wars, rumors of war.

The choice.

It's our choice.  We have been going towards this, little by little for decades.  Choice by choice.
When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice.  If you choose you can keep the commandments ... it is loyalty to do his will.  There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.  Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. - Sirach 15:14-17
It's our choice.  It's never more apparent than during an election.

Avoid the echo chamber online - it simply adds to the confusion.

If you are worried about what is happening, read the stories of people who know what they are talking about - people of faith who have been through war and terror and persecution.  Read people like Alfred Delp SJ, Walter Ciszek SJ, Corrie Ten Boom, Immaculee Ilibagiza, and others - these people have lived through events so horrible, yet they witnessed to their faith in Jesus.  Their witness is an example for all to live by.

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate" - and quit complaining.

Only recently have I learned to be grateful to have grown up with abuse and anti-Catholic taunts, even from my own family.  To have experienced mockery for my devotion, to be laughed at for trying to live according to Catholic teaching, and called out as a hypocrite for having failed to do so - and rightly so.  Yet what a grace all of that is - it seems to have prepared me to not be surprised when confronted by all the 'turmoil' so many fear and complain about today.  It has helped me not to become disquieted when similar taunts recur today.

"Optimism and pessimism are twin forms of self-deception. We need instead to be a people of hope, which means we don’t have the luxury of whining." - Archbishop Chaput

Purported miraculous photo from Bayside,
depicting the 'stairway to heaven'.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Germany's Shrine of the Micturition.

Al fresco micturition - it appears to be a ritual at Ulm Minster, in Ulm, Germany.  Turns out it may be eroding the foundation of the church ... there's a metaphor in that, I think.  Story here.

I learned a new word today too.

Sculpture in Denmark

Sculpture in Czechoslovakia

All silent on the Western Front ...

No terrorist acts in Europe or the United States...

Isn't that strange?  It's the height of the Presidential Campaign and all is quiet.

I think there is a conspiracy theory just waiting to be revealed in that.

Song for this post here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I thought this was funny.

Archbishop Chaput: Smarter Than A Jesuit ...

We need to speak plainly and honestly. - Archbishop Chaput

I think the Archbishop is smarter than most everyone I've been reading lately.  He certainly knows what's going on in American politics, and what has been going on in the "American" Catholic Church.  At least what he has to say really resonates with me.

I want to speak first about the people we’ve become as American Catholics. Then I’ll turn to how and why we got where we are. Finally I’ll suggest what we need to do about it, not merely as individuals, but more importantly as a Church. We need to recover our identity as a believing community. And I think a good way to begin doing that is with the “catechetical content” of our current political moment.
My focus today isn’t politics. And I won’t waste our time weighing one presidential candidate against the other. I’ve already said elsewhere that each is a national embarrassment, though for different reasons. But politics involves the application of power, and power always has a moral dimension. So we can’t avoid dealing with this election at least briefly.
The 2016 election is one of those rare moments when the repellent nature of both presidential candidates allows the rest of us to see our nation’s pastoral terrain as it really is. And the view is unpleasant. America’s cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice. But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills. And supported by sympathetic media, they’re remaking the country into something very different from anything most of us remember or the Founders imagined.
The WikiLeaks email release last week from the Clinton entourage says a lot about how the merit-class elite views people like those in this room. It’s not friendly.
But what does any of this have to do with our theme? Actually quite a lot. G.K. Chesterton once quipped that America is a nation that thinks it’s a Church. And he was right. In fact, he was more accurate than he could have guessed. Catholics came to this country to build a new life. They did exceptionally well here. They’ve done so well that by now many of us Catholics are largely assimilated to, and digested by, a culture that bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance and dulls our longings for the supernatural with a river of practical atheism in the form of consumer goods.
To put it another way, quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new “Church” of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They’re part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties. - Chaput at Notre Dame

That's a lot to quote - but it's important - the entire address is very important for Catholics to read and ponder.  I was especially struck by Chaput's notion of a smaller, more faithful Church - which echoes what Pope Benedict XVI said.  I don't hear Chaput condemning anyone - but simply pointing out some very serious differences.

During his years as bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI had the talent of being very frank about naming sin and calling people back to fidelity. Yet at the same time he modeled that fidelity with a kind of personal warmth that revealed its beauty and disarmed the people who heard him. He spoke several times about the “silent apostasy” of so many Catholic laypeople today and even many priests; and his words have stayed with me over the years because he said them in a spirit of compassion and love, not rebuke.
Catholics today—and I’m one of them—feel a lot of unease about declining numbers and sacramental statistics. Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church. But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness. Making sure that happens is the job of those of us who are bishops.
Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss. It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight. We have nothing to be afraid of as long as we act with faith and courage.
We need to speak plainly and honestly. Modern bureaucratic life, even in the Church, is the enemy of candor and truth. We live in an age that thrives on the subversion of language. - Read the entire address here.

The Archbishop discusses inclusivity at the end of the address.  I apologize for such a long post, but what he has to say is especially important to ponder and come to terms with ...

If by “inclusive” we mean patiently and sensitively inviting all people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, then yes, we do very much need to be inclusive. But if “inclusive” means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the Church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying. And it’s not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who do believe and do seek to live according to God’s Word. Inclusion requires conversion and a change of life; or at least the sincere desire to change. 
Saying this isn’t a form of legalism or a lack of charity. It’s simple honesty. And there can be no real charity without honesty. We need to be very careful not to hypnotize ourselves with our words and dreams. The “new evangelization” is fundamentally not so different from the “old evangelization.” It begins with personal witness and action, and with sincere friendships among committed Catholics—not with bureaucratic programs or elegant sounding plans. These latter things can be important. But they’re never the heart of the matter. - Finish reading here.

Don't read too much into the title of this post.  Remember Tim Kaine is very proud of his Jesuit education - and rightly so.  Archbishop Chaput is smarter though. More credible as well.

h/t Ray

Sunday, October 23, 2016

He addressed this to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else ...

I couldn't resist the Noonan quote, after I saw it on Tumblr.  

It made me wonder if our real problem in the United States is that we all regard one another and anyone else who opposes us, as inferior.

That self-righteous thing really bites us in the butt, doesn't it?  For sure me, and I'll go out on a limb and suggest most of us.

If we are lucky - that is - if we are open to grace - we might just recognize this arrogance in ourselves, and rather than deny it or defend ourselves, we can repent and ask for mercy - that is, for forgiveness.  Our Lord uses every means to help us understand and seek his salvation, to seek his grace, to ask for his love and mercy.  The more contemptible our sins, the more 'shameful' even, the more we may humble ourselves - at long last, perhaps.  Broken and alone, after everyone leaves us to ourselves, perhaps exactly like the woman caught in adultery, left alone at the feet of Jesus, barely able to lift her head ... or just like the tax collector in today's Gospel ... we are finally able to pray ..., "God, be merciful to me a sinner".  

I think that is how we can come to rejoice in our powerlessness, our defects in character, our disability to attain the virtues we envy in others, and to be content with our imperfections, confessing our failings while ceaselessly praying for the Divine Mercy to engulf our soul.  As St. Therese said, "Everything is a grace!"  She explained it like this: "Sometimes it happens,that despite their best efforts, some souls remain imperfect because it would be to their spiritual detriment to believe they are virtuous or to have others agree that they are."

I may have missed the intended irony Noonan expressed at the close of her article concerning the Wikileaks anti-Catholic emails, writing:  "I don’t know about you but when people look down on me I want them to be distinguished or outstanding in some way—towering minds, people of exquisite sensibility or learning."  Nonetheless, it brought to mind the Pharisee in today's Gospel, thanking God he wasn't like the rest of men.  That same Pharisee might have been among those who later challenged the man born blind, after he had been cured by Jesus, accusing him, "You who were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!"  The Pharisees were considered to be men of  "towering minds, people of exquisite sensibility or learning."  Yet they were Christ's inferiors, weren't they.  The Son of God submitted like a lamb, without exulting himself.  He took the form of a slave - a sinner - humbling himself, allowing himself to be shamed and condemned, and made into a fool, crucified like a criminal.  It was at that point when he was 'lifted up'.

We can never be more humble than Christ.  
"I will limit myself to recommending one virtue so dear to the Lord: He said, 'Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart." I risk saying an error, but I am saying it: the Lord loves humility so much that, sometimes, he permits grave sins. Why? So that those who have committed these sins, afterwards, having repented, may remain humble. One is not tempted to believe oneself half–saint or half–angel, when one knows that one has committed grave faults. The Lord so much recommended: be humble." - Pope John Paul the First

Today's Gospel is a great grace - a call to me for certain - urging me to give up my self-righteousness - how?  To confess it in prayer - to acknowledge it.  Then, to accept the consequences of it - not expecting to be congratulated or exulted for recognizing my shortcomings.  And to be sure, not to be surprised when I find myself alienated or alone, but rather, as John of the Cross knew well - to even rejoice to suffer and be despised.  Or at least to allow it - if that be God's will for me.  I haven't fared very well with all of that thus far.  Yet that failure too is a grace.  I think.

Big smile!

"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others."
 - Science of the Cross