Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Thursday, December 31, 2020
7: CNN settles with Nicholas Sandmann, one of the Covington Catholic school kids dragged through the mud over being confronted by Nathan Phillips in front of the Lincoln Memorial in January of 2019, who sued it and other news organizations for defamation.
8: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, “step back” as senior members of the Royal Family.
16: Beginning of the bogus impeachment trial of President Trump.
22: The Oakland Raiders officially relocate to Las Vegas.
26: A helicopter crash kills Kobe Bryant, his teenaged daughter Gianna, and seven other people.
27: 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
31: Three and a half years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, Brexit is finally accomplished.
Deaths: Mary Higgins Clark; Fred Silverman; Marj Dusay; Kobe Bryant; Jim Lehrer; John Karlen; Terry Jones (Monty Python); Christopher Tolkien; Sir Roger Scruton; Stan Kirsch (Highlander).
2: An Islamic terrorist attacked two people on Streatham High Road in London with a machete before being shot dead by police.
3: Rush Limbaugh announces that he has stage 4 lung cancer.
4: President Trump awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the State of the Union address. A butt-hurt Nancy Pelosi tears up her copy of the address.
5: President Trump is acquitted of the two bogus articles of impeachment against him.
12: Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod fails to deliver the goods to modernist clerics pushing for married priests and women deacons.
18: President Trump pardons former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
24: Sexual predator and all-around creep Harvey Weinstein is convicted of rape in New York.
26: The city of San Francisco declares a public emergency over coronavirus, before ever there has been a reported case there. Also: murder spree, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: a fired employee opens fire at the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee, killing 5 before turning the gun on himself.
29: The first coronavirus death in the United States.
Deaths: Bill Britten (Bozo the Clown); Kirk Douglas; Orson Bean; Robert Conrad; Joseph Shabalala (Ladysmith Black Mambazo); Kellye Nakahara; Ja'Net DuBois; Hosni Mubarak.
1: During the month of March, jurisdictions all over the country begin shutdowns and stay-at-home orders and endless states of emergency.
5: After a fourteen-year restoration, Egypt re-opens the stepped Pyramid of Djoser.
8: The Italian Bishops' Conference suspends all public Masses due to the coronavirus. Before long, all the world’s bishops will follow suit.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Friday, December 25, 2020
I think of this as my Charlie Brown nativity scene. It was only $12 on Amazon, because it was damaged. When it arrived, the donkey’s ears were broken off (I could only find one); the ox’s horns were broken off (I couldn’t find them at all); the angel’s right wing was smashed into a thousand pieces (one day I may take a crack at trying to reassemble them); and St. Joseph and one of the Three Kings (in hiding until Epiphany) needed to have their heads glued back on. Nevertheless, I am very glad to have this nativity scene, and thankful to have a place to display it.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
The other day I found myself standing next to and contemplating a little statue of the Infant of Prague. Have you ever noticed the orb with the cross that He holds in His hand? It represents the whole world, of which He is King and Lord. Earthly monarchs also have orbs surmounted by crosses as part of their royal regalia. There is one in the British crown jewels. It is a reminder to them of Who is really in charge.
|Photo by Petr Šleich|
So on the one hand, we have gigantic, muscular Atlas, straining every sinew to hold up just the heavens, crushed under the weight of his load. On the other hand, we have the tiny, apparently weak Christ Child, effortlessly carrying all of creation in the palm of His little hand. And not only is He not close to being crushed beneath the weight of it; He still has a free hand with which to extend His blessing.
There is a lot to meditate on in the contrast between these two images, from the macro to the micro. It is the difference between man-made religions and the true Catholic faith, between false gods and the one True God. It is the difference between mankind straining and striving to do his own will, and God’s will effortlessly moving everything from galactic superclusters to subatomic particles and beyond. It is the difference between me trying to manage just one of my own affairs, and God’s providence easily and sweetly disposing of every aspect of my life, down to the smallest detail, if I would only allow it.
One doesn’t like to leap to conclusions, but there is probably some sort of lesson in this.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
2020 has been an eye-opening year. We are seeing, in Technicolor, realities about the true current situation with both Church and State that we have ignored for many years. We can no longer ignore them.
The chaos surrounding this year’s presidential election shines a spotlight on just where we are as a nation. I think we are seeing on full display what has always been the case: political power does not in fact reside with the people, but with a powerful, moneyed minority of parasitic elites. Maybe we should have figured this out years ago, from the fact that we keep getting hit with things that are bad for society, contrary to the common good, and not wanted by most people with common sense:
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
On a Saturday just before dawn, he was on his way to pursue divine worship and to engage in his own errands. As he reached the base of the hill known as Tepeyac, came the break of day, and he heard singing atop the hill, resembling singing of varied beautiful birds. Occasionally the voices of the songsters would cease, and it appeared as if the mount responded. The song, very mellow and delightful, excelled that of the coyoltototl and the tzinizcan and of other pretty singing birds. Juan Diego stopped to look and said to himself: “By fortune, am I worthy of what I hear? Maybe I dream? Am I awakening? Where am I? Perhaps I am now in the terrestrial paradise which our elders had told us about? Perhaps I am now in heaven?” He was looking toward the east, on top of the mound, from whence came the precious celestial chant; and then it suddenly ceased and there was silence. He then heard a voice from above the mount saying to him: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” Then he ventured and went to where he was called. He was not frightened in the least; on the contrary, overjoyed. Then he climbed the hill, to see from were he was being called. When he reached the summit, he saw a Lady, who was standing there and told him to come hither. Approaching her presence, he marveled greatly at her superhuman grandeur; her garments were shining like the sun; the cliff where she rested her feet, pierced with glitter, resembling an anklet of precious stones, and the earth sparkled like the rainbow. The mesquites, nopales, and other different weeds, which grow there, appeared like emeralds, their foliage like turquoise, and their branches and thorns glistened like gold. He bowed before her and heard her word, tender and courteous, like someone who charms and esteems you highly. She said: “Juanito, the most humble of my sons, where are you going?” He replied: “My Lady and Child, I have to reach your church in Mexico, Tlatilolco, to pursue things divine, taught and given to us by our priests, delegates of Our Lord.” She then spoke to him: “Know and understand well, you the most humble of my sons, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.” At this point he bowed before her and said: “My Lady, I am going to comply with your mandate; now I must part from you, I, your humble servant.” Then he descended to go to comply with the errand, and went by the avenue which runs directly into Mexico City.Juan Diego complied with our Lady's request. But to his great disappointment, Bishop Zumárraga, who had kept him waiting a very long time before granting him an audience, would not believe him. Dejected, he went back to the Lady on Tepeyac Hill and told her how he had been rebuffed. "For which I exceedingly beg, Lady and my Child," he said,
that you entrust the delivery of your message to someone of importance, well known, respected, and esteemed, so that they may believe in him; because I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf, and you, my Child, the least of my children, my Lady, you send me to a place where I never visit nor repose. Please excuse the great unpleasantness and let not fretfulness befall, my Lady and my All.However, the Lady insisted that this important mission was for Juan Diego alone, and bade him go back and try again. He obeyed, and this time the bishop questioned him closely regarding what he had seen and heard, and told him to ask the Lady for a sign. When he returned to Tepeyac Hill after this second interview, the Lady told him to come back the next day, and then he would receive the sign that would convince the bishop to comply with her request.
Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my embrace? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.She then told Juan Diego to climb to the top of the hill, where he found a variety of choice Castillian roses growing out of season and on a barren patch of land. He gathered them and brought them back to the Lady, who arranged them herself in his frail cactus-fiber tilma and told him to present them to the bishop.
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.
A self-professed ex-Catholic turned non-denominational once commented on this blog:
Mary had to have sinned. She called Jesus "my Savior" and what is Jesus the Savior for? Sinners. She had sinned. And there is no biblical evidence for her having no sin.
God can do the impossible more rapidly and easily than we can blink our eyes or draw a breath. It was perfectly within His power to preserve Mary free from the taint of sin from the instant of her conception. This singular privilege of His grace was purchased for her by the limitless merits of Christ's suffering and death on the Cross. God, not bound by the constraints of time or space, was perfectly capable of applying these merits beforehand and granting this privilege in advance of the Crucifixion. Thus God really was Mary's Savior, and did not need her to sin in order to be her Savior: His intervention to prevent her from receiving the taint of sin that she would otherwise have contracted as a descendant of Adam was also a salvific act. Have you never been prevented from committing sins, by being deprived of means or opportunity, or because you have never experienced the temptation to commit particular sins? These are also interventions of God's grace. So you should know from experience that God saves us, not only by forgiving sins we have actually committed, but also by preventing us from committing sins we would otherwise have committed, perhaps to our eternal ruin. Why, then, should it be so hard to accept that God, out of the abyss of His goodness and mercy, could exercise His infinite power to prevent the Mother of His Son from being tainted by the least stain of iniquity from the very instant she began to exist?
It is altogether fitting that God should preserve Mary inviolate and immaculate from the first instant of her life. God always gives us the grace we need to do the work He gives us: the greater the work, the greater the grace given to carry it out. Was ever a more important mission given to a mere human being than that entrusted to Mary? It was her task to supply the matter out of which the all-holy Son of God would take flesh, to bear Him in her womb, to nurse Him and to rear Him to manhood, and to share in her soul in the agonies of His Passion. This touches on a point raised by my correspondent in a follow-up comment:
Here my correspondent, though off the rails in the implications for the importance of Jesus, hits on an important truth. Mary did in fact suffer with her divine Son, more than any other human being could have. The saints (e.g., St. Alphonsus Liguori) are of the opinion that her sufferings were greater than that of all other men who have ever lived or will ever live put together, and that only a miracle kept her from dying of grief. This is why Catholics honor her under the titles of Mother of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs: only her Son's sufferings exceeded hers. When she presented her Son in the Temple, holy Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul, that out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed (Luke 2:35). It makes sense that she should bear so great a share in her Son's Passion: not only was she his loving mother; she was also fully aware that He was God, and therefore of the horrible outrage that He should be murdered by His own creatures. Moreover, would it have been possible for her to suffer entirely for his sake and not at all for her own if she herself had had a share in the sins that caused Him to be nailed to the Cross? Still, this share of hers in Christ's suffering does not in any way diminish Him. Jesus was the perfect Sacrifice not only because He was without blemish, but because He was God. Mankind had outraged the infinite God, and therefore it would take infinite merits to repair the outrage; these could only be offered by the Son of God.Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for dying for our sins because He was without blemish. If Mary had no blemish either, that would pretty much validate her for crucifixion too. Which would make Jesus less important.
If you do not accept the Immaculate Conception, then I am bound to ask you why you would want the Mother of God to have been a sinner. Is this not tantamount to wanting an unworthy vessel for the Incarnate God? Does it make sense for the woman entrusted with bearing and caring for and suffering alongside the Son of God to have spent even a single instant under the dominion of hell? No: especially when you consider that the Woman of Genesis 3:15, between whom and the serpent God put enmity is none other than the Mother of God, and her Seed is none other than Jesus Christ:
Here is scriptural proof of the Immaculate Conception. If God creates perfect and implacable enmity between the Woman and the serpent -- and surely it is unthinkable that if God creates enmity between the Mother of God and evil, this enmity will be imperfect and half-hearted -- then it follows that she could never be under the serpent's sway, or in allegiance with him, as she must be if she had sinned. Thus it was fitting for God to preserve her without sin from the very beginning.I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
Since it was perfectly possible for God to preserve Mary free from sin from the moment of her conception, and it was fitting that He should do so, it follows that He in fact did do so. It would be a gross omission on God's part, and incompatible with His infinite perfection, if He should leave undone that which was fitting. Therefore, we may safely take it that He did not leave it undone.
Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit! He could; it was fitting; therefore, He did it!