Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ignore the Pope

Never thought I'd hear a priest say that.

Fr. Z said it counselling a reader who expressed concern over reading reports on what the Holy Father says, or commentary on what has been said.  Reading his response in context makes sense - pulling the 'ignore him' quote makes it sound anti-Francis ...
If what you are reading causes serious anxiety and spiritual suffering, you might consider spending less time reading about current Church news.  If what the Holy Father is doing is causing you great anger or anxiety… ignore him.  Stick to your regular routine of daily prayers.  Perform concrete works of mercy.  Go to Mass.  GO TO CONFESSION!   Ignore the Pope and bishops, except for to pray for them… from afar. - Ask Father
I read elsewhere that the Holy Father spoke about the rapid decline in vocations, or the hemorrhaging of priests and religious leaving priesthood and religious life - a sort of second-wave exit I suppose.  I have to admit I wasn't aware of that problem.  I thought that in the United States there has been an increase?  

These things make me sad.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sometimes I feel duped ...

Hard to explain, but ...

The Pope has been talking about Freemasons and the Knights of Malta.  What does it mean?

Over the years I pretty much dismissed the threat of Freemasonry and the Church, and all the infiltration stories on anti-Christian movements of the 20th century - but lately, these things seem to be making more sense.  Like I said - it's hard to explain.

Except: New Age spirituality - Theosophy - goes hand in hand with Freemasonry, that fact I did recognize ... but what does it mean in the wider view of things?  Universally - in a Catholic sense?  Globally - in a political sense?  Bigly - in an American sense?

This year there is much talk online about the Leonine vision and subsequent prayer to St. Michael.  I now wonder if I was too dismissive of that?  Especially since Fr. Scanlon and Monsignor Pope have been discussing it's significance as regards the Fatima Centenary?  Is an era ending?  Is something going to happen?  What about the Knights of Malta and Freemasonry?  The Pope instructed Cardinal Burke to purge them from the Order.  The Pope has discussed Freemasonry.  I can't recall that his immediate predecessors had ever done so.  I could be wrong.

So.  Freemasonry, the occult, the New Age, the Golden Dawn, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, and all things related have been brought to my attention again.  It may not be just a conspiracy theory after all, huh?  Undoubtedly it has played a big role in forming the so-called 'New World Order' and cultural mindset ... going back, way back - but most stridently and significantly to the mid-20th century - and for sure, pretty much realized by the 1960's.  Remember Sr. Lucia said she chose the date 1960 to reveal the final part of the secret, 'because then it would seem clearer' - we would understand it better.  I think we must.

I may have been too dismissive then?  Perhaps something will happen by the end of the Fatima Jubilee year?  Perhaps this is the conclusion of the Leonine prophecy?  I don't know.

Pop cultures has been deeply influenced by all of this - no doubt about it.  Rock especially.  Consider The Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin - on and on.  A friend sent me an interesting link on David Bowie and the influence of Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and Crowley in his life and work. (Link)

It's nothing to be afraid of - but it may explain what has happened and the times we are living through.

"Things are getting desperate in our keep." 
Ooh ... it makes me wonder.

Here's a 'real' iconographer.

Royal Doors for church in St. Petersburg.
The Ohrid Annunciation was Fr.'s model.
I just came across this today and regret I didn't 
see it before I began my 'painting' using the same model.
See Fr. Vladimir's process here.

Fr. Vladimir Lysak.

This man is a master.  He was actually 'ordained' by his Bishop as an iconographer.  His work is exquisite and Orthodox.  (You can see why I do not claim to make icons - I prayerfully paint icon style paintings, but I can't claim to be an iconographer.)

Father Vladimir (Lysak) is a priestmonk or hieromonk currently living in Grayson, Saskatchewan. A Graduate of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, in June, 1999, he travelled to New Valamo Monastery in Finland to study iconography; he was ordained an iconographer on December 7, 1999 by Archbishop SERAPHIM of the Archdiocese of Canada. In the six and a half years there, he studied with Bishop ARSENI, Auli Martiskainen, Slava Mihaelenko, Helena Nikkanen, Egon Sendler, Ulla Tschurbanoff, and Alexander Wikström. While in Finland, he also had the opportunity to study iconography at the Moscow Spiritual Academy School of Iconography with Natalia Aldoshina, Archimandrite Luka, and others. - Fr. Vladimir's website

Click here to see the process of making an icon.

This is so cool.

Andrew Garfield did the Spiritual Exercise with Fr. James Martin, S.J..  I love that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Caryatids, Prague.

I'm painting a large icon.

Praying, fasting, praying, painting.  I'm not writing it.  I'm painting.  After an ancient prototype - which was also painted.  Classical Greek painting.  But I digress.

I just painted a couple of caryatids atop the columns of the aedicule framing Our Lady in the Annunciation icon I'm working on.  The architecture will require some ornament, so I've been looking at classical Greek designs to steep myself in the culture, as it were.  I then spent a lot of time looking at really cool profane designs from antiquity to our day.  An example of modern architecture from Prague shown atop.

Anyway.  Below are some ancient Greek designs decorating urns and plates.  Nothing to do with the icon I'm doing, but wonderful iconography nonetheless.

I love the nimbus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

December 29, 1936 – January 25, 2017

She made Minneapolis famous.

May she rest in peace.

This is nuts ... Paris Fashion

Pour homme.

Another thing I stopped following.

I saw it first on Drudge - Vetements 2017 Fall Collection.  It's insane.  And totally ugly.

What to wear for a gala ... pour femme ...



Snow in Minneapolis ...

I may be losing interest in being online ... you know ... like blogging and reading stuff.

Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I'm available for speaking engagements.

I ran across that announcement on a blog post or Facebook post not too long ago.  I can't remember where, but if it was 'you' reading this, please don't be offended by this post.

I thought, "Really?"  Who are you?  Why would anyone be interested in what you have to say?  (That question can be put to any of us with a blog.)  Granted, some people are experts in their field and their advice columns are part of their job, so to speak, but that's not what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about those 'other' people looking for success and stardom through self-promotion.

I think 'experts' online, gurus, advice columnists, apologists on the parish-speaker circuit,  may have a lot in common with locutionists and mystics.  I say this by way of introduction to an interesting article I happened upon today when I got online... 'confessions of a self help guru'.

Actually, the article is titled, I was a self help guru. Here's why you shouldn't listen to people like me.

 It's a good read and may be helpful for people online who depend upon strangers for advice and direction.  It may be even more helpful for those who think they can direct and guide people with their advice based upon some sort of conversion experience or mystical insight, even though they need just as much help and direction as those they wish to counsel.  Some people online even want to tell others how to think and what to think - and they want to get paid for doing so.

The self-help circuit is basically a business, as is the apologetics circuit.  It's a business.  Fundraising is a business.  There is training for people who want to do that.  There are professional spiritual directors who charge - just like a psychiatrist or a doctor.  They have a degree - so they need to make a living.  Nothing wrong with that ... I suppose.

I knew of a layman who was a professional spiritual director who wanted to help a woman under his direction in sexual matters.  It turns out he needed more help than she did - after the lawsuit.

Just thinking out loud here.

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. - Flannery O'Connor

This young apologist once had anger issues
and now does speaking engagements on 
the sanctifying effects of righteous anger.

Monday, January 23, 2017

It's going to be interesting ...

So ... One prophecy bites the dust - but the good news is there are 'alternative facts' from other locutores to follow - if you're interested.

"I don't know what it is."

Locutions abound.

I'm just being facetious, kinda-sorta, but yesterday I followed a couple of links on Facebook and found another set of locutions about this and that ... one even with ecclesial approval.

So anyway.  I'm played out on the subject, not to mention the election-inaugural-protests-fakenews stuff.

That said, I did want to do a follow up post on why we often get prophecy wrong ...

Visions and locutions, even though from God, can mislead us.
St. John of the Cross in Chapter 19 of the Ascent lays out proof from Scripture on how this can be, for the sake of brevity, I will only high light a few passages to help explain the dangers and misunderstandings locutions can and do generate.

"We mentioned the two reason why, although God's visions and locutions are true and certain in themselves, they are not always so for us. The first reason is because of our defective manner of understanding them, and the second because their basic causes are sometimes variable.

Clearly in regard to the first, not all revelations turn out according to the literal meaning. The cause is that, since God is immense and profound, he usually embodies in his prophecies, locutions, and revelations other ways, concepts, and ideas remarkably different from the meaning we generally find in them. And the surer and more truthful they are, the less they seem so to us.
We behold this frequently in Scripture. With a number of the ancients, many of God's prophecies and locutions did not turn out as they had expected, because they interpreted them with their own different and extremely literal method."
The Letter kills, the spirit gives life.
John goes on to cite several passages from Scripture, explaining why and how the recipients got it wrong and events turned out not as human nature expected. John then explains:

"[...] Souls are misled by imparting to God's locutions and revelations a literal interpretation, and interpretation according to the outer rind. As has been explained, God's chief objective in conferring these revelations is to express and impart the elusive, spiritual meaning contained in the words. This spiritual meaning is richer and more plentiful than the literal meaning and transcends those limits."

[...] "Anyone bound to the letter, locution, form, or apprehensible figure cannot avoid serious error and will later become confused for having been led by the literal sense and not having allowed for the spiritual meaning which is divested of the literal sense. 'The letter kills, the spirit gives life'" - 2 Cor. 3:6)" - Read St. John of the Cross, The Ascent, Bk II, Chapter 18 and 19

"Quit calling here - next time
you hear voices, 
go to the emergency room."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fr. Longenecker on the Women's March

10 Reasons why it will come to nothing.*

I was really impressed by the massive crowds gathered to protest in major cities in the United States and around the world.  When I read Fr. L's take on why it will come to nothing, I thought he was being naive and a bit reactionary.  I still think that.  (Fr. L's post here.)

The one point Fr. L makes which I agree on is that this protest is indeed about abortion - the 'sacrament' which is the source and summit of women's rights and equality.  No doubt about it.  Fr. Longenecker, in the eyes of the protesters, demonstrates how he is actually part of the problem (their POV) they are determine to end:  The end of structural patriarchy.

And that is exactly why it is naive to say the Women's March will come to nothing.

The Atlantic has an interesting article on the Women's March titled When Protest Fails, suggesting the Women's March will go the way of the Moscow demonstrations on December 10, 2011 when around 50,000 people came out to protest fraudulent parliamentary elections.  The author makes excellent points and very convincing arguments comparing the two events, but she seems to discount the global dimension of the protest and how sacred women's reproduction rights are to the Women's Equality Movement.  Likewise, on some level, the 2011 Moscow protest might have been a sort of precursor to what is happening now?  I don't know, of course.  I'm no expert, just an observer.

Major and relentless demonstrations can indeed topple governments.  I think it is important not to be so dismissive of what is happening.  I'm very much reminded of St. John Paul's precaution so many years ago:
"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously." - Cardinal Karol Wojtyla

Predictions and news reports and commentary which upset, which attempt to guess or predict the outcome of civil unrest, distract and worry us.  For me, the Women's March demonstrates the very deep division in society and culture, as well as the diabolic delusion which has pervaded popular culture, making idols of so-called pop stars and Hollywood celebrities - who have become spokeswomen for the Culture of Death.  The dividing line is becoming more distinct as we go forward.   Yet we need faith, we need to believe what St. John Paul said: "The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence."  We need to trust that... therein lies our hope.

This is why I find Don Dolindo Ruotolo's prayer of surrender so helpful and so consoling ... it seems to me it is more than just a novena.
Day 2
Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything. It is like the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way. 
Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in my care, so that only I act. Saying “You take care of it.” 
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times) - source

I may be wrong of course.

*Ultimately we know the plans of men come to nothing.  It just seems to me this battle has entered into a new phase and cannot be so easily dismissed.