Trump announced at his press conference yesterday that he'll be bringing jobs back to Michigan. The vehement Trump-hater was made famous by his (questionable) film "Roger & Me," which dealt with the economic demise of Flint, Michigan. Mr. Moore, you want jobs in your home state so much.....here you go! A campaign promise kept!
We are fundamentally social creatures. We are not meant to be alone. The Father decided that Adam should have a "helper" and that they should bear children. All sins are considered by the Church to be sins against the community, that is one reason we confess. We are not even meant to keep our deepest and darkest secrets to ourselves. This is how much we are woven into the fabric of humanity. Many of our challenges in this testing ground which determines our eternal fate, called earth, involve how we relate to others, how much we love them....how much we are willing to put our own desires aside. So why did God make us social creatures? Because HE is fundamentally "social" in His own nature, three in one, Father, Son and Holy Ghost....because we are made in His Image and Likeness. Its not a perfect comparison, but it is significant.
Happy Valentine's Day. Saint Valentine, pray for us. Lord have mercy on us for our sins against chastity. May we, in our own small way, console Your Heart on this day by remaining pure in mind and body. May we continue to be a witness to the virtue of chastity, especially to our young people. Amen.
An immersion in chaos.
When I look around my house and consider how hard I try and how "wrong' everything still is, I wonder.....how does anything work in the world? I have been meditating lately on the immersive quality of life. Life is an immersion. We are placed into an environment full of the good, the bad and the ugly. Babies have an innate ability to navigate this environment. They just seem to know how to do it. It's only as adults, after developing stodgy habits and ideas, that we can begin to forget. We develop behaviors that are incompatible with life. We want to control an environment that cannot be entirely controlled. Life has its own agenda.
We'll never discover the Authentic Life if we don't understand the nature of life. We'll never survive the coming days if we are not able to accept....to embrace....chaos. We will navigate through much chaos. And as the Body of Christ, the Remnant, we can do no less than accept this task with complete joy. It is what we are given. Just as Noah navigated the tumultuous deluge...it is all for a purpose. And it is all good.
Holy Church dedicates this month to Our Lord's Passion on that fateful Good Friday....such a terrible day, yet the day which wrought our Redemption. So how can we remember and honor His suffering this month? We honor His Passion every Friday by some act of penance and every Lent through various exercises and devotions. How then, does the month of February distinguish itself? Well, that is up to you. We are at such a juncture in human history, in the history of the Church, when we need to take the bull by the horns and create new traditions that will last perhaps, till the end of time (which, by the way, may not be too long from now).
So let's examine this month a little more closely....LENT begins exactly on March 1st, creating a nice clean cut between February and March! That means the 2 1/2-week Time of Septuagesima, our preparation for the rigors of Lent, begins about halfway through the month. What a great time to begin our commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord. I'm not going to give you any ideas. I assume if you are reading this blog, you must be intelligent enough to come up with something!
Shrove Tuesday also presents a wonderful opportunity to do a special meditation on the Passion...it is also the feast of the Holy Face of Jesus, given to Saint Veronica in the very midst of His suffering. I also am a proponent of doing penance on this day, to atone for the over-indulgences (a nice way to put it) that go on during Mardi Gras celebrations.
Some unique features of this month: a few feasts which call the New Testament to mind (Presentation, Chair of Saint Peter, Saint Matthias, Holy Face), 2 Cyrils and feasts pertaining to Lourdes and Fatima-the 2 most spectacular approved Marian apparitions of all time.
Here is a sampling of some upcoming feasts....I will begin to give the years associated with the saints, so we can have a better understanding of historical context....
2/2-Presentation of Our Lord (Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary/Candlemas)
2/3-Saint Blaise, 316-invoked for throat disorders
2/9-Saint Cyril of Alexandria, 444
2/11-Our Lady of Lourdes, 1858
2/12-Septuagesima Sunday (warning that Lent is coming!)/Seven Holy Founders Order of Servites, 1233 (trad)
2/14-Saints Cyril & Methodius, 869, 885/Saint Valentine, 269 (make reparation for sins against chastity on this day!)
2/17-Seven Holy Founders Order of Servites, 1233 (new)
2/18-Saint Bernadette, Seer of Lourdes, 1879 (lesser feast-it appears this date was chosen for its proximity to the date of the first apparition at Lourdes, but interesting to note there were in fact, 18 apparitions in total)
2/19-Sexagesima Sunday (even closer to Lent!)
2/20-Blesseds Francisco & Jancinta Marto, Seers of Fatima, 1919, 1920
2/22-Chair of Saint Peter
2/23-Saint Polycarp, Martyr, 166
2/24-Saint Matthias, Apostle-replacer of Judas
2/26-Quinquagesima Sunday (are you ready yet for Lent???)
2/28-Shrove Tuesday/Holy Face of Jesus
Leonard Cohen, may he rest in peace, has a song called "Waiting for the Miracle." The protagonist asserts that there is "nothing left to do" when things have reached an all-time low. The only option for him is to "go on waiting for the miracle to come." I don't envy this person. He does not know....the miracle has come. And it is all around him.
Christ did not come and go. He came and stayed. The Most Blessed Sacrament lies in every tabernacle. This is the Miracle. And the only Miracle that matters.
So next time you feel completely lost, completely emptied, completely bereft. Remember despair has no place in the Catholic soul. It may feel like your last shred of sanity...appeal to this Miracle which you have received in Holy Communion. And He will do the rest.
If you want to change your life....
You have to change your life!
Life is like a casino.
It's always rigged in favor of the house.
I normally don't like explaining myself too much, because I never want to insult the intelligence of my audience and I also like to get people to think for themselves. What does evil do? It enslaves, it destroys the self. Good seeks to empower. It seeks no power for itself, only to assist others. I am very much of the mind...."If you wish to feed a man for a day, give him a fish. If you wish to feed him for a lifetime, teach him how to fish." However, I'd like to just say a few words about the above sentiment. There is another saying, which Pope Francis is also acquainted with, which illustrates well, what I mean. These are his words from a press conference two years ago, “God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one." This has everything to do with the search for the "authentic life." Okay, I'll leave the rest to you and the Holy Ghost.....
"When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement.
And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
....And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator....God bless you and God bless America....God bless America."
As I watched Donald Trump's inauguration speech yesterday, I sat stunned and speechless when I heard the above words. How wondrous to hear our Commander in Chief speak fearlessly and proudly of faith in God and the sanctity of life. Let us pray for President Trump, his family and his new Administration. Let us pray for their safety, well-being and all their spiritual needs....and for faith and life to flourish once again in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free!
Following is a wonderful traditional prayer (abbreviated), written specifically for the United Stated of America, in 1791 by Archbishop John Carroll. He was the first bishop, and later the first archbishop of this country, of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. His cousin was Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence....
Traditional Catholic Prayer for the United States of America
We pray Thee, O almighty and eternal God, Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. We pray Thee, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through Whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides, by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion, by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. We pray for the Governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled by Thy powerful protection to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy Law, that they may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world cannot give, and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal. Amen.
+++ God Bless America! +++
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
But sometimes, it grows legs and runs.