Wednesday, September 02, 2015

an unusual crucifxion

In most paintings of the crucifixion you see St. John standing by Our Lady  or comforting her. I think this is the first time I've ever seen St. John folded in to her comforting, protecting arms and I think that it is closer to the truth than other paintings I've seen. St. John was there because he ran to Mary after leaving Caiphas's house. It was she who gave him the courage to follow Our Lord to Calvary.

Story time

This painting reminds me of Sr. Jean Marie, from 1rst grade.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Random thoughts on magic, the traumas of Gen X childhood and other bits...

  •  Rocky and I visited the chapel of the Comboni Missionary Sisters in Richmond.  The sister who showed us around was Italian and so kind. It's a lovely chapel and they have a retreat house for big groups. After than we went to the Botanical Garden and spent hours walking and sitting amid the plants and flowers.

  • Once, the Vatican rebuked the author Alexander Dumas because he portrayed a member of the clergy in an insulting way. Today we have a Vatican official writing on behalf of the pope to a lesbian who writes pro-gay books for children.  I'm reminded of the last scene from the movie , The Manchurian Candidate where a grief stricken Major Marco can't go on anymore with what he is saying and just leans  back  and moans "Hell....Hell."

  • The deliberately ignored Christians of the Middle East have a message for us.   I don't think most of us in Europe and North America are going to like it but maybe tears and blood has to be shed, maybe the scourge of Islam is what is needed to restore people to their senses.
  • Am I the only one who can't wait for the pope's visit in September to be over? It looks like Philadelphia is going be a public relations failure. Besides the pro abortion involvement in the planning of the World Meeting of Families,  Philly people are not going to be happy with closed roads, bridges and towed cars. Much like Evilene from the musical, The Wiz, Archbishop Chaput seems to be singing "Don't bring me no bad news."  and in DC the diocese don't seem to be managing the logistics as well as it did when Benedict came to DC.
  • Three is no such thing as good magic. In rural South Carolina, where my parents come from, witches are known as root doctors. A skilled root doctor can give you a potion to make your arthritic hands hurt less, he can also give you a tea that will cause a heavy menstrual cycle--an abortion really---, or give you a powder that will make someone you don't like very sick or dead. All magic seeks to take the power belonging only to God. All magic is evil. Certain forms are very flexible which is in part, why they are so sucessful. My mother remembers that a person could go to the root doctor on a regular basis and still go to church. This shocked her as a girl but only a few adults that she met seemed to be troubled by it. 
  • I don't want to get into Harry Potter because even decent people lose their minds over it and can not be reasoned with but magic is pushed heavily by our media. Remember Buffy,the Vampire Slayer? That was one toxic show. Fathers were either useless or cruel. Mothers, even the one gentle and loving one  on the show, were useless and needed to be kept ignorant or their own good. Sex outside of marriage was normal. Sex with non-humans was also normal. In fact fornication of all kinds was ok, except for that between a normal man and woman. Conjugal relations were never mentioned and there wasn't a single happy marriage. Witchcraft was normal, and so-called white magic was held in high esteem. A whole lot of girls were influenced by that show and their daughters and younger sisters were captivated by Twilight, another toxic series of novels that portrays normal humans as boring and cursed humans and lessor demons, as beautiful, exiting, eminently superior and worth dying for so long as you can be with them forever. Somone is reading this and asking "What about Narnia?" Oh bother, Narnia. I was eight years old and realized that it was an allegory and that Aslan was supposed to represent Jesus. The White Witch was not at all appealing and was clearly a satanic figure. 
  • Hilary White has an interesting post on science fiction  where she wonders if  the constant drumbeat of hopelessness, and godlessness of  70s and 80s sci-fi didn't help cause the anxiety that seems to be so much a part of Generation X.  It wasn't just science fiction though, Lurleen McDaniel made a fortune writing teen-aged liebestod  novels. I think I picked up one  and it depressed me so badly I never touched her stuff again but think of all the poor silly girls who did read that stuff and grew up believing that you better grab "love" now because you could die young and miss it all. I'll bet that some of those girls are the ones who impulsively divorce their husbands, blow up their families but do it because they have a right to be happy NOW and life is too short to miss out.
  •  After an apparently homosexual reporter slaughtered two people in Roanoke the media had a quandary. They can't bring themselves to criticize the murderer so  they blame weapon that he used.  Some people have been shocked by the conduct of the female victims family. How could you talk politics when your child is dead? I think it's because the lure of being on TV is so powerful that it trumps all natural inclinations.  I've seen people being interviewed who had glazed eyes and goofy grins while a dead body lies only a few feet away. It's like a drug. Later they may cry or go silent but while the camera is on them they go through the motions like zombies. It's astonishing and frightening to watch. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Passion of St. John

This painting may be seen by visiting St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal, Virginia

I can't figure out how to repost properly so thanks to the copy and paste feature here's what I wrote about John, and the Herodian clan, last year.

 The House of Herod was an astonishingly sick one even by the standards of the day. Herod the Great, was a monstrous individual and the first of a long line of anti-Christs. A Roman contemporary famously quipped that it was better to be Herod's pig than his son and that was true. Herod did not eat pork--in public anyway but his paranoia drove him to kill not only his wife, her mother and her still teen-aged brother but two of his sons as well.When Herod wasn't killing his family, he was killing enemies, real and imagined and making his subjects miserable. His viciousness was such that his courtiers probably weren't shocked when he ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents.

Herodias  who was a key figure in the Passion of St. John, was the granddaughter of Herod the Great by one of his murdered sons. She was married to her half uncle, Herod II, (also called Herod Phillip) a son by King Herod's third wife.  At some point she dumped  her husband and taking her daughter, Salome went off to Gallilee  in order to be with his half brother Herod Antipas, another son of Herod the Great by his fourth wife.  Her new husband, Herod Antipas was both her brother-in-law and her uncle.

St. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, of whom Our Lord said there was none greater born of woman, looked at the adulterous, incestuous couple and saw that they were crooked people sprung from a crooked house. Most people would've turned away, repulsed and given the situation up as hopeless  but John did not. The Gospels tell us the rest of the story. His passion is commemorated on August 29.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Reparation prayer


Eternal Father, turn away Thy angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in Thine eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Thy Beloved Son, for this is the Face of Him in Whom Thou art well pleased. We now offer Thee this Holy Face, covered with shame and disfigured by bloody bruises in reparation for the crimes of our age in order to appease Thine anger, justly provoked against us. Because Thy Divine Son, our Redeemer, has taken upon His Head all the sins of His members, that they might be spared, we now beg of Thee, Eternal Father, to grant us mercy. AMEN.

(from the Holy Face Devotion prayers)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The most beautiful thing this side of Heaven

Mass tonight was even more thrilling than usual. There were a lot of new people there besides the regulars and the confession line was long. Among the regulars were a charming woman I've nicknamed Sweet Mommy and her Delightful Daughter. Sweet Mommy is married to Funny Daddy. The Handsome Indian Couple were their usual pew. Big Irish, who looks like he could kneecap you but is actually a very tender hearted guy was up front, the Three Cute Girls were on the St. Joseph side, the Shy Young Fellows were on the Our Lady side and the Big Jolly Family who come in a tank were spread out in two pews. There is always a big assortment of single people in their 20s and we get worshipers from around the world. To see this kind of variety in peoples you'd have to go to a cathedral in the city but we were were all together in a little back water parish for the Tridentine Mass. What a beautiful thing.