Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ex-Korn member now Christian writes book

I've just bought "Save Me From Myself" by Brian "Head" Welch, the former lead guitarist of Korn, and I can't wait to read it. I've already read the Introduction and looked at the pictures.

I'd heard about his story in the press and really look forward to reading his own story.

Interestingly, I'd not really heard of Korn until I bought my house in Connecticut in May, 2002. A Korn sticker was pasted on the window of what had been the older son's room. Normally I would have scraped off previous owner decorations but for some reason I left it on there...

Tracy McGrady of Houston Rockets visits Darfur

McGrady on Africa: 'I knew I had to go'
After a journey to refugee camps in Chad, NBA All-Star vows to spread the word about atrocities in Darfur

There was so much Tracy McGrady did not know. Not then, not in the beginning.

The Houston Rockets star had seen the news reports about the atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where a genocide has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions more homeless and living in bleak desert camps.

This is a great article in the Houston Chronicle, do give it a read. Kudos to Tracy McGrady.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Detailed review of "Heaven Sense" 1 of 2

Here is more from the book “Heaven Sense.” I put in quotes the author’s words, and my comments are without quotes. Passages from scripture are cited.

“So, far from a pale and extenuated existence, Heaven is the romance, the never-ending love story of the soul and God.” (Page 6) Fr. Ardenzen cites a line from the Book Song of Songs (8:6-7), a larger portion of which I include here.

Song of Songs 8: 5-8

5 Who is this coming up from the desert, leaning upon her lover?
Under the apple tree I awakened you; it was there that your mother conceived you,
It was there that your parent conceived.
6 Set me as a seal on your heart,
As a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
Relentless as the nether world is devotion;
Its flames are a blazing fire.
7 Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.
Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.

So Fr. Ardenzen suggests that the sublime love expressed in this poem that uses romantic love and marriage as symbolic of the mutual love of the Lord God and his people is also a glimpse of how it “feels” to be in heaven.

He writes, “Holy Scripture certainly makes it perfectly plain that our eternal happiness will consist in seeing God.” (Page 7) He selects five citations from the scriptures, one of which is the scene in Revelation 22: 2-5. When I first read it I thought he had mis-cited because I had Revelation 21:21-27 on my mind because it is the more general and informational description of heaven’s overall demeanor:

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure. During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there. The treasure and wealth of the nations will be brought there, but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:22-27).

Notice that celestial objects (planets, stars, galaxies etc) are not in heaven because they are of the physical world. Notice also that the source of the light is God. Notice that the fashioning of the light into the lamp is the Lamb (Jesus Christ). St. John observed kingly treasure, only of the goodly kinds, in heaven, and that may be a mystery what that could be until one reads the following passage, which is the one that Fr. Ardenzen cites portions of in his text. I include it here in full:

Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22: 1-5).

Fr. Ardenzen cites the above and the other four passages to demonstrate that the scriptures affirm that people will see the actual face of God in heaven. He also points out that this is not an entitlement because “It is not natural to any created being, however good, to see God” (Page 8) and “God is the reality, we the image” (Page 9). He explains that “The Beatific Vision is a free gift of God to man exceeding all natural merit of virtue by an absolute measure, and not only the merit of human virtue, but that of any angels and archangels, cherubim or seraphim; nay, even of Mary the Mother of God. God, infinite though He be, could not, even by exercise of His absolute omnipotence, create a being to whom it should be natural to enjoy the Beatific Vision” (Page 10).

Now, Fr. Ardenzen does not expand his citation of Revelation to speculate what it means, so I will do so here to build on what he is saying. Fr. Ardenzen correctly observes that no one who is created, not even the purest of humans, the Virgin Mary and the angels themselves, can view God without God’s assistance to enable it. Even in heaven (actually, especially in heaven) the infinite intensity of the Beatific Vision of God is such that no one except God can perceive and view Him in his fullness. Therefore God creates a structure in heaven whereby he can be viewed and perceived. This is why scripture states “for the glory of God gave it light” but “its lamp is the Lamb.” It is like in one’s home, you do not have the entire output of your local power station flooding into your room in the form of raw voltage; you have a lamp. In heaven God is God, and the Lamb (Jesus Christ) is the lamp, because he who was of human form can bring a portion of the light of God to those who view God in heaven.

That, by the way, is the clue to the nature of the mark of the faithful in heaven: “They will look upon his face and his name will be on their foreheads.” Like Moses who became radiant from repeated exposure to God’s light, those in heaven have the mark of God’s name on their foreheads because they reflect and bathe in the portion of the light of God. It is not a mark, symbol, or alphabet letters that appears on heavenly foreheads, but the glorified light of God that shines upon them, just as was with Moses. So rapture zanies can stop hoping to receive freckles shaped like a cross on their foreheads on earth, or a Greek Tau (more likely caused by so much frowning LOL). The name of God cannot be artificially written or induced, for it can only come from reception of and reflection of the pure light of the glory of God’s presence. The true faithful to God receive the glorified light of his presence on their foreheads.

Another important insight in the passage from Revelation is that there is “a river of life-giving water,” “a street,” “the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month,” and “the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.” Now, what can be the meaning of such earthly types of structures in heaven? Rather than explain, St. John writes how “nothing accursed will be found there anymore” and the long passage about the thrones of God and the Lamb and God’s eternal source of light. The explanation is very straightforward. Just as God is the source of all light, God is also the source of all life. God in heaven is the source, just like the well spring that is the origin of a flowing river, of all life, both animal and botanical. When people are in heaven they are able to “see” this well spring, the source of life in God. They are not seeing literal drops of water or eating actual medicinal leaves, but they are in the first garden, the real Eden, the fountain spring of life itself. The source of life in God is given structural flora and fauna form so that it can be seen and perceived, just as God’s light is shaped so that it is bearable and perceivable by the Lamb. When those who are in heaven perceive the cycles of the tree in fruit, they are seeing the origination of life in God that, if God wills it, translates into life forms and being in the physical universe. This is why the Qur’an is also correct in perceiving heaven as a garden.

So, while Fr. Ardenzen is not so bold to explain the literal reality of what St. John observed (I’m writing this with a smile) he does a very worthy job of explaining how: “It remains, therefore, that God should, in some mysterious way, fulfill the role that, in our natural cognitive processes, is played by the ‘idea.’ God will render Himself immediately present and intelligible to our minds” (Page 13) and “We are kept in being by God as the image in the mirror is kept in being by the person continuing to stand in front of it” (Page 15). Fr. Ardenzen recognizes St. Peter’s explanation in 2 Peter 1:4, which I quote here adding 2 Peter 1:3 for fuller context:

3 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. 4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

Fr. Ardenzen recognizes that St. Peter is not just preaching against sin, and extolling God’s power, but is also explaining that what is ultimately needed to see God is already infused in every person by God. Fr. Ardenzen explains, “But the effect of that participation of divine life is in some sense suspended, because our soul is still in our mortal body. Its mode of knowledge is restricted and restrained by our earthly conditions. Set it free from this mortal body, and grace changes into glory; the soul enters into its supernatural birthright” (Page 16). Notice that this validates the Revelation 21:27 mention that “nothing unclean will enter it” because as St. Peter notes that on death one is “escaping the corruption that is in the world.”

Fr. Ardenzen is therefore succinct and accurate when he writes that “they will cease to accept it on faith, for faith will be replaced by vision” (Page 17). He writes “We shall clasp God to our bosom spiritually, and we shall be united to Him with closer bonds than ever a beloved was joined to a lover. These are not mere expressions of poetic exaggeration or mere emotional piety. They are endorsed by strict philosophy and theology; they are almost technical in their value. To possess God is supreme happiness, for God is infinite beauty and lovableness” (Page 22). He also writes “he should recall the greatest and grandest scene of beauty he has ever gazed upon, the most entrancing melody he has ever heard, and remember that God created nature, and that nature is a feeble reflection of God” (Page 22). This makes another way to recall the Revelation scene of “the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” as the source of nature as the reflection of God. Fr. Ardenzen reminds “A further thought that will aid us is that the love between God and ourselves will be mutual. God is not merely a picture to be looked at, a scene to be contemplated. God is personal, and He returns the gaze we cast upon Him. God is a living God, not a mere effulgence of impersonal glory, however great. Our soul will be joined to God in mutual affection…” (Page 23)

Fr. Ardenzen explains that the blessed in heaven do not forget their own self identities, but that “in loving God, they love all that God loves, including themselves” (Page 25). He also writes “Heaven is no home for mock humility. St. Paul wrote, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am, and the grace of God in me has not been void’” (Page 25).

Fr. Ardenzen has what I consider to be one of the money quotes on the subject of evolution, which he uses to open the section about having desires in heaven. Read what he says:
We Catholics are, as a matter of fact, great believers in evolution, but we do not trouble ourselves so much about the evolution of the past, for, whatever it has been, it has only historical interest; we cannot change it now. What has been, has been. We believe in the only evolution that really matters, the evolution we are actually undergoing, and in which our own free will plays a part. Because on this earth we are evolving beings, evolving according to God’s supernatural plan toward a life in union with Him, our mortal life is essentially imperfect (Page 27).

Wow! While this is a little off the subject, I wanted to point it out as one of the best explanations of the Catholic philosophy of the scientific reality of evolution that I’ve seen. And remember he wrote this in 1928! He demonstrates the serenity that Catholics have in discovers of the scientific means by which God nonetheless is fulfilling his perfect plan toward a life in union with Him. Trust in God means that no one need fear a scientific discovery, for it does not contradict scriptures or God’s plan.

He explains that evolution of life on earth illustrates that “Because we are imperfect, our life here is one of longing, seeking, hoping for the future. All this will one day end. We shall not always be dissatisfied with what we have and are. Our eternal existence will not be one of endless craving and not yet possessing, a waiting for something beyond; the fullness of our being will come at last, and our life will be one of tranquil possession” (Page 28).

“On earth, we can exercise our love for God on different grounds, loving Him now for His justice, now for His mercy, now for His wisdom, now for His tenderness. In Heaven, we shall see that all God’s attributes are identical with His being” (Page 30).

“Since our ultimate happiness consists in this perfect satisfaction of the faculties of our spiritual life, we can well understand why the term most commonly used in the Scriptures for Heaven is life. It occurs in this sense one hundred times in the New Testament, in the majority of cases followed by the adjective everlasting. It is remarkable that it occurs in this sense in every gook and letter of the New Testament, even in the short letter of St. Jude, with the sole exception of the letter to Philemon. It must have been the standing expression on the lips of Christ and His Apostles. In St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, the term kingdom of God is more usually employed, whereas St. John almost exclusively uses life and speaks only twice of the kingdom. St. Paul uses life more frequently than kingdom” (Page 31).

Advice for depression and anxiety sufferers

I’ve written a number of suggestions for people suffering from depression (and also anxiety). These tips have involved simple but important steps that can be taken day to day, such as the taking of a daily multivitamin (but not mega dosing), dropping one half hour a day of your computer or television time in order to read favorite nonfiction literature, and the carrying with you of an inspirational phrase from a holy book that has particular meaning and uplift for you.

Now I’d like to advise a very serious step. I recommend that anyone who is suffering from depression (or anxiety) either join for the first time or renew a lapsed faith relationship with one of the three Abrahamic monotheistic faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. You would benefit greatly from being on a firm foundation with a mainstream (not radical) church, synagogue or mosque and restoring your belief. Know that this is the first/second generation that has not had a mainstream belief as the foundation and support for their life in over a thousand years. From the age of human’s grandparents and back in time the majority of people had the structure of their mainstream belief and faith in One God alone, and therefore understood the realities of the joys and challenges of life.

Shopping for a religion, cobbling“spirituality” together like they are auto parts from different model cars, atheism, and weak faith (where you think someone is “out there” but it does not inform your life) do not lead to happiness and put people off balance in their lives. If one does not know and understand God, one cannot really be fully functional in life. Depression can be described as genetic in origin, or a chemical imbalance, but you need to know that chemicals are imbalanced and genes are activated by your thoughts and life experiences too. If you are omitting a huge part of the valid life experience, which is to know and believe in God, your chemistry is guaranteed to be off balance in the first place.

This is the example I would give my patients when I was a psychiatric outpatient intern providing counseling. We all know the experience of being over excited or fearful, how the heart pounds, hands may shake, one sweats and maybe gasps for breath. This is called the “fight or flight” instinct, which comes from adrenaline being released in the body. So your thinking process (being in danger or under stress) releases a chemical. This is not imaginary, this is a real example that everyone understands. It comes from the time when humans did not control their environment and like all other animals had to react quickly to danger, such as during hunting or being hunted. Excessive adrenaline experiences leads to a corrosion of the body’s balance. Likewise, if you have a caffeine drink, it is a great thing for stimulation and attentiveness, but if you have too much of it the benefit is diminished and your body chemistry is changed.

Religion and understanding of God’s existence and purpose provides the foundational balance in one’s thoughts and chemical balance that optimizes the ability of people to cope with life. When one does not have a mainstream faith in one God to believe in, in community with others, it is like having huge chunks of one’s mental and neurological “roadway” missing. People are meant to know God and to understand him, which is why the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and Mohammed received knowledge from God and transmitted it in their respective religions. Humans are not meant not to know God. And it is for humans’ benefit; not God’s. God exists in the eternal multitude of the just regardless of what one or a million people believe or not on earth. But people have a very hard time existing and having peace of mind with their lives (especially those who have it very difficult) if they do not have the mental and spiritual support system of true mainstream faith and knowledge of God. You know how sometimes your body craves a food, especially if you are running a bit low, something like a salty food, or sugar, or citrus? Depression, anxiety (and other illnesses like bi-polar) are often expressions of a craving for something that is missing, and I’ve observed that often it is because a true knowledge of God does not exist.

Notice I am not advocating my religion over the others within the mainstream Christian, Jewish and Islamic family of faiths. That is because all three of these religions allow the believer to know and understand God, and that is the most important thing above all. Where people get in trouble is when they either lack participation in any of the three Abrahamic religions or when they invent their own and cobble one together, which only reinforces the gaps that exist in one’s lack of understanding of God. Ad hoc spirituality deepens the holes in the pavement of one’s mental roadways, not pave it over. Far worse, it leads to more of what some AA people wisely call “stinking thinking.” Ad hoc spirituality leads people away from the true God, just as if you fed your child only candy all day every day, the child would suffer from malnutrition.

So my suggestion is to come out of the void (lack of any mainstream faith) and/or abandon the ad hoc search for a spiritual “pill” and do what is intended for humans, which is to draw upon the mainstream faiths who have maintained the knowledge of how God communicated his existence and will to people for their own happiness and fortitude during life’s hardships. The good old boring mainstream Christian churches, Catholic or Protestant, the synagogues and the mosques are the source of the true knowledge of God and provide stabilizing balance in one’s life and thought process, which ultimately helps mitigate the effects of depression, anxiety and other illnesses. Obviously I am not saying that mental illness does not afflict those with faith. And I’m not saying that mental illness afflicts people because they don’t have faith. I am pointing out that when one is without a mainstream faith, one lacks an essential tool in your first aid kit. Would someone try to heal a broken leg without a cast? Would you let your child eat only candy and never have any other food? Of course not. Likewise, humans were not meant to be in ignorance of God and to feel lost in life. How can one treat depression and other illnesses if one is missing an essential component to overall well being? Our grandparents knew this and faith was the source for much of their strength and ability. It is ironic that many people today know more about cholesterol, which the grandparents past did not know, than they do about God, who the grandparents (in general) did know.

So I would suggest joining a mainstream Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Islamic congregation of believers and bring the stability of understanding God back into your life. I hope this is a useful suggestion for those of you who may need it. Blessings.

Run From "Jungians"... I sure have

If you are considering being psychoanalyzed or participating in some sort of counseling based on a psychological or spiritual school of belief, run for your life from “Jungians.”

Carl Jung was a genius and his methodology for psychoanalysis is sound. However, his successors have perverted his system into a paganism and New Age travesty that is heretical and harmful.

Jung himself was a Christian and a believer. He understood that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. He understood that the just went to heaven. I remember he would speculate about whether those in heaven know about events on earth, a topic that many Christians still discuss. I therefore learned the Jungian system and endorsed it for the psychoanalysis of humans regarding their life here on earth.

Jungians, though, have abandoned Jung’s sound Christian belief. Many of them are reincarnationists, believers in New Age “karma” (that trash can for explaining any behavior or event without taking personal responsibility for one’s own one time life and one’s own soul), gossipers (they do not maintain confidentiality because they have “think groups” aka covens to discuss their “reincarnation” discoveries among their patients), pagans (by perverting the theory that archetypes describe patterns of human behavior and instinct into animating archetypes into god and goddess type of beings), and bad practitioners (they interpret dreams and so forth in the context of the “identity” they think you really are based on their New Age beliefs, so they are not objective or “safe containers” in the least. They would advise you to walk off a cliff if they think that’s your karma or reincarnation “doom,” without telling you that is what they are thinking.)

It is a shame because the original work of Jung is so rich and has such potential if it is used as a psychoanalytical tool and not as a religion replacement. I had considered writing a book that would be structured along the lines that if Jung was still alive, in this troubled society, what would he advise a psychoanalyst. When I realized what a clique (and of course the psycho stalking) that takes place among many Jungians, however, I abandoned that idea (and them) like a hot potato.

When I was interning and still advocating Jung, many non-Jungians looked at me like they thought I was crazy. That is because some of them were aware of these abuses of Jung and specifically how Jungians have abused me. They figured I was a mighty dumb cluck to not know about it. I did, actually, but just because “followers” of a belief have perverted it does not mean that the originator, in this case Jung, did not have much of value. I’ve always been pretty good at recognizing the wheat from the chaff. (Hint: what happens to wheat and chaff in the Apocalypse).

Some of you, the few, who might be good Christians who are also Jungians might object and feel hurt by what I have written. Let me assure you that if you exist I don’t doubt your motivations, but know that your Jungian colleagues probably figure you are an idiot who doesn’t get it and treat you as such behind your back. They will publish your papers and books according to when Mercury is retrograde or whatever, and figure out that you were the sexually molested idiot girl (whether you are now a man or a woman lol) of a Pacific island back in the 1600’s anyway, and that the archetypes are giving you another chance to not be such a stupid loser in this life. I found that thinking pretty icky, don’t you? I wish I were kidding or exaggerating but if anything I am understating what I have personally observed over the years.

So this is why even though I remain so very fond of Carl Jung in my heart, I won’t touch any of the contemporary works or practices that are attributed to his school of thought, because it is corrupt and anti-Christian, anti-Jewish and anti-Islam because of the paganism.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Praying to God and the role of Mary

There are many questions about what the saints who are in heaven know about earthly events, and also about the validity of praying to them to ask for their intercession.

First, in this blog posting, let me start by clearing up some misperceptions about the Virgin Mary. She is not God and she does not possess the quality of “all knowing” that only God, God alone, possesses. Mary is pure, full of grace, the “Mother of God” through virtue of being the mother of Jesus, but this does not mean that she is God or possesses all of God’s knowledge and ability. No one does except God.

Prayer to Mary to ask her for intercession is very effective up to a point. Most people who pray to Mary for help in their intentions for God have put themselves in a mindset that is pleasing to God and conducive to receiving grace. By virtue of acknowledging the purity and grace of Mary and her shining example for all, petitioners to Mary are tuning themselves more to God’s will. The more one is in tune and obedient to God’s will, the more grace and granting of intentions can be fulfilled.

However, there are people who think Mary can be “used.” And I must warn you that God is alert and knows all. Intentions that are cynically or manipulatively directed toward Mary are, of course, crystal clear in their duplicity in God’s sight. Mary does not need to “know” that someone praying for her help is being manipulative: God Knows. God does not grant all that Mary asks for exactly this reason.

Remember that in the apparition at Fatima the children asked Mary for many cures and information about local people. Mary informed them quite clearly that many times the sick will not be cured and even let the children know that the two youngest of them will not have long lives. Now I’m not saying the children interceded with Mary with anything but the purest of presentation and intention. But I am citing this fact to show that not all that is asked of Mary is granted because all grace, intention, miracles and works come from GOD and God alone, with His perfect knowledge and will. So at Fatima there were thousands of witnesses to how Mary intercedes for humanity and their remission from sin, pleading with them to obey and love God, but how not all prayers and cures will be granted by God no matter how sincerely Mary is asked.

How much more so is the case if Mary is manipulated by those who pray to her for help and who figure they are short cutting to God, or able to take advantage of her good and blessed nature. To the contrary, God has perfect sight and knowledge of the hidden intentions of every person, and he never allows Mary, or any of the saints or angels, to be used.

So Mary, in heaven, does not concern herself and never has concerned herself with perfect knowledge of all that exists and all that humans do because no one has that role and ability but God himself. Mary continues to be what she was on earth during the time of Jesus, which is to be the Mother of the Church (“Mater Ecclesiae”). The Litany of Mary lists her many qualities, but her qualities are not the same as being God. Only God is God. Only God has perfect knowledge, eternal intent and willful action. To use another of Mary’s titles she is Mother of good counsel (“Mater boni consilii”) but she is not the source of God’s power and perfect knowledge. She advises and intercedes as a loving mother to all humans who love God, and she is a Seat of wisdom (“Sedes sapientiae”) but she is not the living, eternal and total wisdom that is God, or God that is expressed as the Holy Spirit.

In the traditional Mass on May 31 celebrating Our Lady Virgin and Queen, the Lesson is from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 24: 5, 7, 9-11, 30, 31:

I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the firstborn before all creatures; I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud. I have stood in all the earth and in every people, and in every nation I have had the chief rule; and by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all, the high and low. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded: and they that work by me shall not sin; they that explain me shall have life everlasting.

It is clear that Mary is created and graced by God, but she is not God (“I came out of the mouth of the Most High”). It is clear that Mary is there for everyone, of all peoples of the earth (“I have stood in all the earth and in every people, and in every nation I have had the chief rule”) but she is not God. It is clear that her rule is that of the heart, but she is not the wielder of the power of God (“and by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all, the high and low”). It is clear that she is the counselor, but is not the possessor of God’s knowledge (“He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded”). This is, incidentally, another reference to Mary’s role as refuter of heretics. It is clear that Mary is the inspiration against sin, but is not God, who is the one who judges and prohibits sin (“and they that work by me shall not sin”). It is clear that those who have faith in her virginal maternity of Jesus therefore believe in the teachings of Jesus about obtaining the kingdom of God, but she is not granting the kingdom of God (“they that explain me shall have life everlasting”). If one explains Mary then one is explaining Jesus as sent by God through Mary’s body, and therefore understands, believes, witnesses to and is justified in their Christianity for achieving the kingdom of God and life everlasting.

From that same Mass is this Offertory:

That Mary springs from royal stock shines out: with most devout mind and spirit do we beg the help of her prayers. (Alleluia).

Again, one is not praying to Mary so much as one is asking for her to pray to God on one’s behalf, and to correctly do so is to be of “most devout mind and spirit.”

When one prays to Mary for intercession, remember that only God is the recipient of prayer and worship. By praying to Mary one is showing the Mother of the Church respect and love and understanding that she has a special place in God’s heart. Humble understanding and piety of Mary’s human perfection as accomplished BY GOD tends to put one in a state of communion with God that will lead to graces and good things. This is why sincere prayer for Mary’s intercession tends to have good results because this understanding helps people to pray for graces that are in harmony with God’s will, and thus more likely to be granted. It is not because people are short cutting prayer to God alone, and it is not because Mary has the powers and ability of God, as she does not. That is the difference between veneration and worship. The more that people understand “the great things that God has done for Mary” (paraphrasing the Magnificat) the more people understand that God is the only bestower of the answer to prayer intentions.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More from the book "Heaven Sense"

More from "Heaven Sense" (page 3-4)

Heaven is essentially the sight of God face-to-face.

Almost eighteen hundred years ago St. Irenaeus wrote:

The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. For man indeed of himself does not see God. But God of His own will is seen by those whom He wills, when He wills, and as He wills. For God is mighty in all. He was seen then [by the Prophets in the Old Testament] through the Spirit of prophecy; He is now seen in the New Covenant, by adoption also, through the Son; but in the kingdom of Heaven, He will be seen even as Father. Man will be prepared by the Spirit in the Son of God. Man will be brought to the Father by the Son; man will be endowed with incorruption by the Father unto everlasting life, which comes to everyone by the fact of his seeing God. For as those who see the light are in the light and perceive its brightness; thus also those who see God are in God, perceiving His brightness. This brightness gives them their life; hence, they who see God, see life. God is beyond created grasp, intelligence, and sight, but He will put Himself within human sight, intelligence, and grasp for the purpose of giving life to those who perceive and see Him. God's greatness is indeed unsearchable, but so also is His loving kindness unutterable, even that loving kindness by which, being seen, He gives life to those who see Him.

footnote St. Ireneaus (c. 125-c. 203; student of St. Polycarp, missionary, bishop of Lyons, and Church Father).


Another note about St. Ireneaus; notice that he was the student of St. Polycarp. St. Polycarp was the student of St. John the Apostle, one of the twelve chosen by Jesus. So St. Ireneaus learned about Jesus directly from someone personally taught by Jesus' Beloved Apostle, St. John the Evangelist.

So this profound and accurate perception that speculates (accurately) about the nature of heaven was written by someone who was a "grandchild" level disciple from when Jesus lived.

What St. Ireneaus describes is that heaven and all of existence within it exists because God can be seen. It is living within the light of God's existence and being able to perceive Him that grants eternal life. You could think of it as the sight of God in heaven is the atmosphere that allows each eternal soul to live. So people in heaven not only are "able" to see God they must see God, because it is the sight of God that provides the eternal life of the soul through His light.

Understanding this about heaven helps understand its opposite, which is hell. The souls in hell are not being punished by not being able to see God; hell exists because it is the place where God is not seen or perceived at all. This does not mean that hell is outside of God's control, to the contrary, it is the place prepared by God for the damned through his withdrawing of His light from that place. It is the sight and light of God, as St. Ireaneaus explains, that maintains the life of each eternal soul in heaven. This maintenance of eternal life and blissful rest is withheld from hell.

Quote from the book "Heaven Sense"

Sample from the book " Heaven Sense" (page xiii)...

Hell is complete defeat and everlasting loss. Those who enter Hell completely pass out of the Communion of Saints and the Church of the Redeemed; they are outside the bond of charity and the benefit of the Atonement of Christ.

Those who enter Purgatory not only remain within the Church and the Communion of Saints, but are its holy and privileged members, who have made their salvation sure. Their state, however, is not a permanent one, and while it lasts,it combines the joys of security and the calm of resignation with the most intense pain of being deprived of the sight of God. Hence, the multitude of those waiting souls is called the Church Suffering.

Heaven is the only decisive and ultimate victory of which man is capable. Hence, the company of those who fought the good fight, won the battle, and entered into the land of their conquest is called the Church Triumphant.

A good and accurate description of the three states of being.

God and Forgiveness of Sin

Why do I read comments by idiots who post on news story boards?

I was reading yet ANOTHER story of a toddler being beaten to death with the alleged perpetrator (who confessed) on trial. There was a bevy of comments about how people who were angry and indignant about this murder should not be so enraged because "Jesus" and "God" forgives all sins. HUH? Um, these posters obviously don't spend a lot of time reading their Bible. Check out the Book of Revelations. Many who call "Lord, Lord" will not be saved and will be cast into hell for their sins. What kind of God are these posters thinking of who are already looking forward to God forgiving a child murderer (alleged) while the murderer is still on trial fighting the charges? Has not repented or performed penance of his sentence? Keep dreaming.... or rather, have a clue by reading what Jesus himself said about those who harm children.

God is capable of forgiving anything, but genuine confession, remorse, contrition, penance, restitution and purging of the sin must take place before God will even consider forgiving a sin. Wow, what a phony pastel color world some people live in. Justice first, then mercy.

Naked Picture Freaks

When I worked for what was considered at the time to be a very prestigious “white shoe” bank, JP Morgan, back in the 1980’s, there was an odd expression used by people throughout the department that I worked in. Whenever they spoke of someone who is protected in their job, or who gets away with stuff, they would wink and say, “They must have dirty pictures.” I always thought there was more to it than just an expression, because whenever there is a clique or cultish type of expression, it usually indicates some sort of strange secret information or mindset.

One day at home the UPS driver made a big thing about chatting me up for some conversation. I can tell when people are doing that (deliberately steering conversation) though I always play dumb. He told me that a driver he knew came up a driveway and the buzzer didn’t work so the lady who lived in the house didn’t know that a vehicle was approaching, and thus had curtains open while she was naked. The driver was making a big point of telling me that story. Now my house was on an acre of wooded property, with a hill in the back, so there is no way anyone could see into my house unless they were hidden on my property or had installed a camera. Trust me, I got the giggling hint. I’ve known for years that I’ve been stalked and photographed when I’ve been intimate, both alone and with my loved ones.

How has having those photographs of me enhanced anyone’s life? Has it not actually been a chain to perdition? I’m not ashamed. Jesus was naked and had his skin ripped off in public view. Little children were put in the Roman coliseum to be torn apart for the amusement of thousands. Everyone is naked on the Internet. What is the point? When people try to shame others by photographing them in their intimate moments in secret, all they are doing is dooming them selves to hell on earth, and eventually for eternity. People cannot say they were photographing me to prove I am a moral hypocrite because at the time I was not in public or private ministry, and I was making no special claims regarding my being. It is like the difference between trying for the “money shot” with a celebrity, and trying to get a photo of your mother or your child naked. If I was not claiming to be anyone sanctified, then why did people think photographing me in intimate moments was some sort of moral victory, or something to be desired? (As people have repeatedly pointed out to me, I’m far from beautiful.) Why is letting someone know that you have secretly photographed them being intimate with a man in their normal lives, and just dropping the hints about it over and over and over again something of benefit? God certainly won’t reward you. God knows all anyway; he does not need the sure shots of photography. I don’t care what pictures anyone has of me and who has seen them except that I mourn the depravity and desperation of overturned mind that thinks that such an act is ever “necessary” or justified. And you wonder now why even your tiniest children are unsafe from sexual and photographic assault.

Heaven: Book and Commentaries

I am reading the excellent little book “Heaven Sense: What Scripture and the Catholic Church really teach about Heaven” by Father John P. Arendzen, 2004, Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH. This book was originally published by the Macmillan Company, New York, in 1928 under the title “The Church Triumphant.” “Fr. John P. Arendsen (1873-1954), a native of Amsterdam, spent his life as a priest spreading the Faith in England. His eloquence and clarity led the “Daily Mail” to name him one of the ‘Preachers of the Century.’” (Quotation from the back cover of “Heaven Sense.”)

I plan to do a book review of “Heaven Sense” since there is a great deal of curiosity about what heaven (and hell) are like, and New Age material is fallacious and leads people into what often is fatal error.

Leading up to my book review, however, I will be doing an exercise to help people better visualize heaven (and implicitly, better envision hell.) I’m going to use a technique that is often helpful in therapy, which is to help people identify and subtract negative behavior and qualities, leaving a purer space to be filled by the productive and good.
Here is the first visualization. In heaven there are no bullies. Picture a place where bullying, whether minor, moderate or extreme, totally does not exist. It is not like bullying is a human tendency that is suppressed by superior goodness. Bullying (and bullies) simply do not exist in heaven, and cannot exist in heaven. I will leave it to your imagination where they can and do exist.

The people who oppress and bully either on the job, through their wealth or influence, through their civil service, taxing or military power, or through their ability to make you miserable and want to cross the street or hide in the bathroom when they approach will not exist in heaven. Bullying is a lack of charity, which the gospels have identified as the most important quality for a Christian to possess in order to be saved. There is no absence of charity in heaven because heaven is the totality of charity, being in the eternal presence of God. People who are bullies cannot exist in heaven. It is not a matter of being harsh, but rather, you should think of it as an oxygen breather being unable to live in a pure atmosphere of hydrogen. A person, who is a bully, whether on a small scale or a large scale, is in this example an oxygen breather. He or she, with every bullying, is refusing to adapt their body to breathing hydrogen, which is, in this example, the only “air” that can be “breathed” in heaven. So bullies are simply unable to exist in heaven.

So you can think, with solace and comfort, of heaven as being a place where no one will ever in eternity experience the deed of bullying or the soul of a bully.

Quote from John Paul II

God alone is absolute truth, but he made the human heart open to the desire for truth, which he then fully revealed in his Incarnate Son. Hence, we are all called to live the truth. Forgiveness, far from precluding the search for truth, actually requires it. Evil that has been done must be acknowledged and, as far as possible, corrected.


wa la ghalib illa Allah

power belongs to God alone

Qur'an Reading

Surah 39: 70

And every soul shall be paid back fully what it has done, and He knows best what they do.

Boycott Miller Brewing Co products

They have belatedly pulled their logo from a gay street fair event poster that depicts Jesus and the Apostles at the Last Supper as being gay sadomasochists with sex toys. I have just emailed them to say that how can they be surprised, after sponsoring this event for years (and still doing so).

Beer drinkers.... consider a better brand. Fund managers.... do you really want a company in your portfolio that depicts Jesus Christ with bondage and sex toys?

Better start managing your heavenly cooler and portfolio a lot better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 13: 11-13

11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. 13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of those is love.

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 13

Ezekiel 13: 11-12

Say then to the whitewashers: I will bring down a flooding rain; hailstones shall fall, and a storm wind shall break out. And when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked: Where is the whitewash you spread on?

Bible Reading: Wisdom 10

Wisdom 10: 1-9

“Wisdom Preserves Her Followers”

She preserved the first-formed father of the
when he alone had been created;
And she raised him up from his fall,
and gave him power to rule all things.
But when the unjust man withdrew from her

in his anger,
he perished through his fratricidal wrath.
When on his account the earth was flooded,
Wisdom again saved it,
piloting the just man on frailest wood.
She, when the nations were sunk in universal

knew the just man, kept him blameless

before God,
and preserved him resolute against pity for
his child.
She delivered the just man from among the
wicked who were being destroyed,
when he fled as fire descended upon
Where as a testimony to its wickedness,
there yet remain a smoking desert,
Plants bearing fruit that never ripens,
and the tomb of a disbelieving soul, a
standing pillar of salt.
For those who forsook Wisdom
first were bereft of knowledge of the right,
And then they left mankind a memorial of
their folly-
so that they could not even be hidden in
their fall.
But Wisdom delivered from tribulations those
who served her.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sports talk: football fav team the Packers

I can’t keep talking and thinking about the depravity in the world, so here’s a sports respite.

While baseball is my favorite sport I’m a realist (the season's winding down, just me and my radio). And so I have restored my interest in football. I have for a long time also enjoyed football (my brother was high school team quarterback), including my high school team during those years, college, and also pro football. My favorite pro team is the Green Bay Packers. They’ve been my favorite since during the Vince Lombardi times. I do remember them from that time very clearly (and am sometimes still frozen in those times as far as thinking automatically of Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr when I hear the Packers mentioned!) So while I’ve lived in areas of the country near different football team powerhouses, I’ve really only kept fond thoughts and fandom for the Green Bay Packers.

Marijuana/cannabis: Satan's "gift"

Satan’s gift to humans: Marijuana/cannabis

And, of course, all the abuse of illegal drugs and prescriptions. But Satan is especially proud of his gift of marijuana/cannabis to humans. Satan likes to deceive, and to use human’s own “good” instincts against themselves. So marijuana is just perfect for his intentions.
I went to college in the early 1970’s and was one of a handful of people who never used any drugs, including not even “trying a puff.” People have thought I’m a corny dunce for a long time. But who are the sad idiots now? Read this sad story of an aristocratic girl who commits suicide after cannabis induced mental illness:

Liberal propaganda has denied the harm inflicted by marijuana for over thirty years now. Besides the obvious problems that I don’t want my children or myself in a vehicle that is being driven by someone who has been toking, it is obvious to anyone who is objective that changing mental pathways is wrong. Humans evolved to certain mental wiring for a reason. Some argue the problem is just because marijuana is stronger now than it was, and that may be true, but that does not mean that “light” doping of your mental circuits is right either.

Satan loves drugs (and alcohol abuse) because they are, however light the “abuse,” barriers between God and people. The rap that Satan gives, just like the apple for Eve, is that drugs are “mind expanding,” “pain relievers,” “enlightening,” and “natural.” Thinking people should be suspicious of an argument that something unnatural to the evolution of humans, such as the introduction of mind altering drugs, is of benefit to humans. Think about it. Why would not humans be constantly self medicating if it was essential to their survival and evolution? In fact, it is to the contrary. This is why Satan loves advocating marijuana, because not only is it contra to human’s overall survival, but mind altering drugs help to drown out the subtle voices of God and one’s guardian angel.

Parents who exposed their children to drug use will be severely chastised. Drug dealers and providers of all scale of operation will be severely chastised. I’m just stating what should be abundantly clear to anyone who has any thought process or understanding of God’s personal judgment.

Sexual Abuse: Disturbing posting

These days are worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems that every single day I read another account of babies, infants, and small children being raped by their own fathers, family members, or “boyfriends” of their mothers. I’ve just read about a Michigan “man” who raped his three month old baby girl and beat her over a period of two days, breaking 17 bones in her tiny body, dislocating legs and hips, and breaking her eye sockets. So, what will be his excuse? Runaway Viagra? Porn? The baby was wearing a sexy diaper and he could not help himself? Drugs? Alcohol? He was mad at his adult sex partner?

I have to be kind of honest and blunt here. I have noticed for a long time now, I’d say for about twenty years, the mutant evolution of thought that even young tiny babies are just rape bags with holes. Liberals argue that this type of abuse always happened and was just “under cover.” Well, assholes, I can assure you that this lame excuse is not true. It is only this generation that has proliferated the viewing of the very young as warm bodies with holes that you can fuck. Babies were better off a thousand years ago when people thought of them as extra hands for the fields, for goodness sakes. While there has always been the occasional pervert, society was not structured in a way where the very parent viewed BABIES as warm fuck holes. This was not even happening in Sodom and Gomorrah, and you may want to check out in your Bible what happened to that city.

I am long past sick of hearing of this happening. I am long past contemplating what to do about it. I strongly suggest that everyone become a part of the solution to this problem. I expect the sexualizing of babies and children to stop NOW. And that includes “movies” with a “message” about the problem because you know damn well you are just adding fuel to the fire. I expect no mercy for convicted perpetrators from the courts, with the maximum sentences allowable in every case, and hard time served. I expect family members to stop being complicit. “Single mothers” I have a message for you. Do I need to remind you that inviting a “boyfriend” to live with you and your child in these sex saturated times is inviting trouble? Do not act so shocked then when the unthinkable happens.

Muslim brothers and sisters, I urge you worldwide to resist the temptations of loosening morals in your existing societies. Trust me, it is a cancer that will lead to what I’ve just described: a society that no longer is shocked when a baby becomes a fuck sack and punching bag for an adult. If my language makes your stomach turn, then that is a good sign. You still have some human decency and fear of Allah in you, and love for your family. Cling on to that because that is essential to life itself. Sisters, it is not worth wearing short skirts, and being "free" if freedom means that the men start looking your babies that way.

Theologically, I must warn people that God will punish in hell not only the perpetrators of these monstrous and heinous crimes against babies and children but also everyone who has enabled these crimes. This includes people who both deliberately and tacitly advocate for sexualization of the young. When Mary appeared in Fatima she warned that crimes of lust would fill hell. Jesus warned that those who led children into sin would be better off maimed or dead than to face judgment for their deeds. I cannot believe that the times have become so degenerate that at a time when all I’d like to do is preach the gospel and bring together the children of the God of Abraham, that once again, I am having to write and warn how close to the brink of destroying it all that humankind has come.

Quote from "The Apostles"

I am enjoying reading “The Apostles” by Pope Benedict XVI (2007) Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Here is a sample from Chapter 12, Thomas the Twin.

The Evangelist [John] continues with Jesus’ last words to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” This sentence can also be put into the present: “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.”

In any case, here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for Christians who will come after Thomas, hence, for all of us.

It is interesting to note that another Thomas, the great Medieval theologian of Aquinas, juxtaposed this formula of blessedness with the apparently opposite one recorded by Luke: “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!” [Luke 10:23]. However, Aquinas comments: “Those who believe without seeing are more meritorious than those who, seeing, believe.”

In fact, the Letter to the Hebrews, recalling the whole series of the ancient biblical Patriarchs who believed in God without seeing the fulfillment of his promises, defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1].

The Apostle Thomas’ case is important to us for at least three reasons: first because it comforts us in our insecurity; second, because it shows that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any uncertainty; and lastly, because the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.

A final point concerning Thomas is preserved for us in the Fourth Gospel, which presents him as a witness of the Risen One in the subsequent event of the miraculous catch in the Sea of Tiberias.

On that occasion, Thomas is even mentioned immediately after Simon Peter: an evident sign of the considerable importance that he enjoyed in the context of the early Christian communities.

Indeed, the Acts and the Gospel of Thomas, both apocryphal works but in any case important for the study of Christian origins, were written in his name.

Lastly, let us remember that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen) then went on to Western India, from where he also finally reached Southern India.


Well, I enjoy everything that Pope Benedict says and writes, and this book, as this passage illustrates, is another very pleasing work. He captures the essence of each Apostle who personally knew and witnessed to Jesus Christ, and with large, general and insightful strokes brings their interactions with Jesus into useful and comforting perspective today.

Quote from JPII: God is Father and Mother

God is Father and Mother: A Reflection for the Family
(from the book previously cited, June 5 reflection)

I would like to draw your attention to a basic aspect of conjugal love: its intrinsic openness to life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses this when it points out that the spouses’ love “naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.” Grasping the mysterious greatness of this event is of fundamental importance. As I wrote in the Letter to Families, “God himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood… Indeed, God alone is the source of that ‘image and likeness’ which is proper to the human being, as it was received at creation. Begetting is the continuation of the creation.”
Discourse at Castel Gandolfo, July 17, 1994
My comments:

While the point that Pope John Paul II was making in this passage is to justify why openness to life (conception) is key to conjugal love, he has an equally important insight that I would like to emphasize. When people try to characterize God as being “male” or “female,” they are wrong and worse, attempting to shrink God down to a human component, rather than understand that the whole templates and conceptualization of male and female are contained within the infinite expanse of God. John Paul explains this in a way that is very easy to understand here, when he says that God is the source of Male and Female (fatherhood and motherhood) in their image (how they appear) and likeness (what they are like, their qualities, in other words). Pope Benedict has also answered questions on this topic and has too explained that God cannot be thought of as either "male" or "female" in the sense of gender assignment.

God is infinitely much more than being “male” or “female.” He is the source of both of their patterns, their archetypes, and their reality. This is why those who suffer and who lack one or both parents can turn in confidence to God for paternal or maternal comfort and understanding. God encompasses both realities and so much more. Jesus refers to God as God the Father because Jesus had a mother, the human born Mary, and the father of Jesus was the Holy Spirit sent by God to overshadow Mary. Therefore Christians are correct to emulate Jesus Christ and think of God as God the Father, but this in no way limits the all encompassing reality of God in total. This is one of the many reasons why fallen away, heretical, or, to be charitable, "confused" Christians who try to make God to be female or a mother goddess are totally wrong and are fallen away from the faith of Christianity. A Christian follows Christ's example and as Mary his mother exhorts them, "Do whatever he tells you."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

To Nuns and Ex-Nuns Promoting New Age Beliefs

Unlike the Muslims I do not warn three times, so be sure to hear and believe what I am saying. Those of you who are promoting New Age practices such as but not limited to reiki, astrology, enneagrams, channeling, wicca, earth worship, the feminization of God, mockeries of the Mass and the profaning of the priesthood by allowing lay people to "costume" and conduct themselves as priests have written your own names in the book of the damned.

I am not joking and I'm not saying this to be shocking. It is the truth. Those of you who have in the past and who do so now have written yourselves in the book of those who will be damned.

Let me address those of you who think you are in possession of some special knowledge about people who live today that fuels your profane beliefs. You are mistaken and those who have shared this "secret" information with you have totally misunderstood what they have observed. You know exactly what I mean.

If you have any hope to save your souls from eternal hell fire you had better drop the promulgation of New Age beliefs so thoroughly that it will seem as though you never even heard of them, and return to the total (and I mean total) orthodoxy of the faith (or leave the church and never return if you are too corrupted to repent). Having offended God, and led astray so many who depended on you, it will take the gravest and most complete effort by you to prove and re-justify yourselves to be as pure as driven snow in orthodoxy in order to be forgiven by God and the Holy Spirit, who you have profaned. Pray you do not die and be judged for your sins before you have completely reconciled to the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bible Reading: an Unchained Melody

Matthew 13: 16-17

But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Matthew 13: 18-23

Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

Matthew 13: 34-35

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

"I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation [of the world]" [From Psalm 78]

Psalm 78: 1-8

Attend, my people, to my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in story,
drawing lessons from of old.
We have heard them, we know them;
our ancestors have recited them to us.
We do not keep them from our children;
we recite them to the next generation,
The praiseworthy and mighty deeds of the LORD,
the wonders that he performed.
God set up a decree in Jacob,
established a law in Israel:
What he commanded our ancestors,
they were to teach their children;
That the next generation might come to know,
children yet to be born.
In turn they were to recite them to their
that they too might put their trust in God,
And not forget the works of God,
keeping his commandments.
They were not to be like their ancestors,
a rebellious and defiant generation,
A generation whose heart was not constant,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Matthew 13: 51-52
"Do you understand all these things?" They answered, "Yes." And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old."

Matthew 15: 10-11
He summoned the crowd and said to them, "Hear and understand. It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles the person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one."

Matthew 15: 15-18
Then Peter said to him in reply, "Explain this parable to us." He said to them, "Are even you still without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that enters the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled into the latrine? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands do not defile."

Matthew 19: 12
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it [marriage between a man and his wife].

Matthew 21: 14-17
The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wondrous things he was doing, and the children crying out in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant and said to him, "Do you hear what they are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; and have you never read the text, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise'?"

Psalm 8: 1-10
O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
You have set your majesty above the heavens!
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have drawn a defense against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place-
What are humans that you are mindful of them,
mere mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them little less than a god,
crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them rule over the works of your hands,
put all things at their feet:
All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the path of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the

Qur'an Reading for today

Surah 31: 5-13

These are on a guidance from their Lord, and these are they who are successful.

And of men is he who takes instead frivolous discourse to lead astray from Allah’s path without knowledge, and to take it for a mockery; these shall have an abasing chastisement.

And when Our communications are recited to him, he turns back proudly, as if he had not heard them, as though in his ears were a heaviness, therefore announce to him a painful chastisement.

(As for) those who believe and do good, they shall surely have gardens of bliss.

Abiding in them; the promise of Allah; (a) true (promise), and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

He created the heavens without pillars as you see them, and put mountains upon the earth lest it might convulse with you, and He spread in it animals of every kind; and We sent down water from the cloud, and then caused to grow therein (vegetation) of every noble kind.

This is Allah’s creation, but show Me what those besides Him have created. Nay, the unjust are in manifest error.

And certainly We gave wisdom to Luqman, saying: Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for his own soul; and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised.

And when Luqman said to his son, while he admonished him: O my son! Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity-

Jesus had no parables about Windows, IPOD, Internet

Jesus had no parables about Windows, IPOD, Internet

Have you ever thought about how so many of the parables that Jesus spoke were based in agricultural, farming, or nature situations? Many people assume this is because most people of that time tilled the fields and tended flocks and so he spoke to them in a way they could understand. And this is true. However, in today’s reading (the parable about the seed that falls on different types of ground), notice he still had to explain it to the disciples. One reason is obvious: they were fishermen! I’m kidding a little here, but behind my humor I’m making a point. If Jesus only used parable settings to enhance understanding, he would have talked “fishing” to those who fished, “taxes” to those who taxed, “sowing” to those who planted, “herding” to those who kept flocks and so forth. He could have targeted and focused the parables even more to specific audiences than he did. So there is a larger reason that many of his parables dealt with nature and farming, and that is to reinforce the culture of life. Life is real and based on growth and stewardship of the earth, not on the artificial creations, however necessary they may be, of humankind. For example, Jesus did not tell parables like, “A painter needed the color purple one day, and he had only red paint and blue paint, and so he mixed it together to get purple paint.” The parables taught the deepest truths and meaning of life (and implicit in that, how humans can survive and thrive in charity and justice and, ultimately, achieve the kingdom of God). Therefore in order to access God’s truth and reality, the parables drew heavily on agricultural and natural situations.

I’m trying to re-sensitize people to the need to understand and participate in agriculture in their day to day lives, even in this so called scientific and “knowledge industry” society. If humans were meant to only relate to a flickering TV or computer screen, Jesus would have preached and taught parables that, like my paint example above, focused on human’s artificial creations and realities. He could have done it even then, of course, as I show in that example. But Jesus, bringing the kingdom of God to humankind, did not preach artificial creation, secularism, or relativism, because none of those are anything but ultimately dead ends if the objective is to seek God and ultimately be rewarded in eternal life. Jesus would have been perfectly capable of expressing parables in terms that would have great significance to “knowledge workers,” “service industry,” “financial analysts” and “media consultants” of today, if he so desired and more important, if there would have been any validity to do so. He could have taught a parable that would make a Microsoft programmer jump up and go, “Yeah, I know what he means!” But Jesus did not teach to “relate” to people. He taught to bring God – who is unchanging through and beyond all times – into terms that people not only can relate to but had to relate to in order to understand God. The less educated farm worker of a hundred years ago would have had deeper Biblical understanding than the education information technologist of today, because the farmer shares God’s world view and lingo. By moving away from a farming society (even if we are speaking of a backyard garden, or to some of the more radical ideas I have for bringing hydroponics and gardening to every corner of society) people have lost much of God’s lingo and ability to understand him. I say that it is vital that agricultural and natural cultivation be brought back into mainstream understanding and activity, regardless how one ultimately obtains one’s paycheck. The Qur’an, even more so than the Bible, articulates the understanding that paradise (heaven, the presence of God) is in a garden. Both holy books are totally rooted (pun intended) in the agricultural reality of life and the kingdom of God. In Revelations there is the harvest, so it is clear throughout, from Genesis in the Garden of Eden until the harvest and eternal garden of God.

People can fill their libraries with books and have Bible study galore, but they who live today who do not understand agriculture understand less of the Bible than those who lived a hundred years ago. And conversely, one of the reasons that so many youngsters are hyperactive, rootless and faithless is that their parents are not in professions and trades that pass on the affirmation of life (and receptivity to grace) that agriculture did. The humble person who tilled the field but had no education is much more in tune and receptive to hearing and understanding God than those, who through specialized education and technology isolation, have been, in a sense, “born deaf” to God’s specific language of creation and life. Children, like most modern day parents, have literally been uprooted from the earth. Phony (or genuine) interest in climate change and environmental causes, while laudable, are not at all what I am talking about. Most who are interested in environmentalism are doing so with a hobbyist or “righteous cause” perspective. It is much more recreation and quality of life oriented. Agriculture, gardening, and cultivating of natural spaces comprise participation in God’s actual work and language. One is able to hear God and speak in God’s language when one understands agriculture and natural cultivation. Agriculturalists and cultivators are instinctive partners and dialoguers with God. This is what some shrill right wing conservatives mean when they claim that environmentalists “hate people but love animals.” While I don’t like the discourse and verbiage they have felt, but not been able to articulate, a fundamental truth. The earth was not created by God so that half of it could be used to produce phony artificial human products and services and the other half be preserved for recreation, extreme sport, or just knowing that it’s there and the right thing to do. In other words, the same people who think nothing of the chemicals and so forth that goes into producing their recreational modern conveniences (computers, media, housing and so forth) are then hostile to people who live in a more dynamic way in their own environment with natural resources. Dismantling the toxic outputs of the consumer society is less a concern to some people than justifying people’s decisions to drive a car and consume some gasoline. Heavens! So I am not speaking of environmentalists and their supporters at all in this blogging. I am speaking of the need for everyone to become much more intimately reacquainted with agriculture and cultivation (whether it is of food, ornamental, or natural spaces) as an activity, rather than designating preservation spaces or fighting pollution (all essential and worthy causes, but not ones that teach the listening to and speaking the language of God).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quote from "A Year with John Paul II" = Sept 18

September 18
The Work of Justice and Love

Recent events, including the terrible killings [of September 11, 2001], move me to return to a theme that often stirs in the depths of my heart when I remember the events of history that have marked my life, especially my youth. The enormous suffering of peoples and individuals, even among my own friends and acquaintances, caused by Nazi and Communist totalitarianism has never been far from my thoughts and prayers. I have often paused to reflect on the persistent question: How do we restore the moral and social order subjected to such horrific violence? My reasoned conviction, confirmed in turn by biblical revelation, is that the shattered order cannot be fully restored except by a response that combines justice with forgiveness. The pillars of true peace are justice and the form of love that is forgiveness. But in the present circumstances, how can we speak of justice and forgiveness as the source and condition of peace? We can and we must, no matter how difficult this may be, a difficulty that often comes from thinking that justice and forgiveness are irreconcilable. But forgiveness is the opposite of resentment and revenge, not of justice. In fact, true peace is “the work of justice” (Isa. 32:17). As the Second Vatican Council put it, peace is “the fruit of that right ordering of things with which the divine founder has invested human society and which must be actualized by man thirsting for an ever more perfect reign of Justice” (Gaudium et Spes).

Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2002

Book: "A Year with John Paul II"

"A Year with John Paul II: Daily Meditations from His Writings and Prayers" Edited by Father Jerome Veres, 2005, Harper San Francisco.

I LOVE this book. The daily selections are wonderful and of course, the insight and intellect of the great Pope John Paul II is such that even a paragraph has so much material for thought, reflection, further exploration, and prayer. I sometimes think a dozen homilies could be written off of any one page of John Paul II's writings.

And I LOVE the sublime photograph of John Paul II sitting in a chair, reading, that adorns the dust jacket. It shows another deep side of him that the more popular photos do not.

Quote from "A Year with John Paul II"

September 20
Listen to Your Inner Voice

All of you are bidden to give hope to humanity by transforming it from within by the force of the gospel. Some of you will fulfill this call by founding a Christian home, which will become a missionary cell. Others will feel drawn to live in chastity, poor and available to others in the religious life, to radiate the Beatitudes. Others again will be ready to consecrate their life as deacons or as priests to lead the people of God on its journey. Today, to each one of you, the Virgin addresses an important piece of advice, as she did at Cana when the wine ran low at the wedding: “Whatever he tells you, do it” (John 2:5). So that your life may retain a taste of the feast, be dynamic and joyful in the service of others. Seek to carry out what Christ asks of you; answer with Mary’s “fiat”’ “I am the servant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38).

Radio Address to a Pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, August 15, 1988

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And just as strange...

While no one has ever asked me to my face about church attendance being OBLIGATORY oddly enough, people think because I do not regularly attend a parish Mass means it is OK for THEM not to go! Without ever once asking me my reasons or spiritual direction!

*Annoyed with "monkey see monkey do but monkey do not ask"*

People are strange

In all these years I've tried my humble best to be a low key spiritual director, no one has ever asked me to my face to pray for a family member with illness - or to actually intercede - yet people have stolen (I kid you not) bodily sheddings and fluids and other personal stuff thinking that will work.

And I doubt waving photos of me lip locking with a beau (from long, long LONG time ago) has actually cured anyone either.

*Yuck* *Ick* *Barf*

Today's eletter from Friars about Mary

September 19, 2007

A Prayer to Jesus in Thanksgiving for Mary
Lord Jesus, I thank You for Mary. You gave her to me to be my mother after she had walked with You to Your death and witnessed You being betrayed, mocked, spit upon, and scourged by the very people You had come to save. After you had appeared “defeated,” she stood by Your side, while tears, like rain, poured down her face, and the memories of Your life together screamed out at her from her heart.
She is Your special gift to me, more precious than anything this world has to offer. She reminds me, like only a mother could, of the necessity of walking by faith, and that I am not alone on this journey to the Father. Yet she teaches in silence, without words and complicated answers, like a rose that buds forth in spring, leaving those gathered around it in awe...
Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary, Yonkers, NY
Do follow the link and read the whole thing. This is so beautifully written and I also think will be an assistance to those who confuse worship of Mary (which Catholics do not do) with deep love and veneration of her.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lots of problems in Reno Nevada

Makes you wonder sometimes.

When women became mean; sports my refuge

By the way, just because I enjoy sports does not mean I am “masculine” (or just too dumb to realize I’m a reincarnated male ha ha, for you idiots who still believe in reincarnation). I grew up in a time when women talked about babies, homemaking, and being alluring… and these were often women with jobs, by the way, not homebound zombies. I remember twenty years ago hearing about the accident at Chernobyl while I was at work. I was actually having lunch with a younger colleague, who I liked very much, and she was so feminine, totally into disco dancing after work with her boyfriend. I loved talking to her! She had great fingernails (manicured herself, not fiberglass from some manicurist LOL) and she gave me advice about how to grow my very soft fingernails. That was what we were discussing, at lunch break, when we heard about Chernobyl.

But not long after that women discovered PMS and it was the beginning of them being unbearable to talk to. Literally, meanness, victimization and “bitching” replaced a good half of the conversation of women. While I dealt with monthly cramps with Midol, a heating pad, and exercise (that love of sports) more and more women started worshipping a war goddess of PMS. Man hating through PMS “jokes” became OK. I stopped talking to those women.

And now, can you believe what “women” want to talk about? Their “right” to tear a baby apart out of their womb. Strippers and pole dancing. Girl on girl kissing and the “plasticity” of lesbianism. Oral sex. Competing to be in rap videos where they can have a credit card swiped in their butt crack. And of course their endless victimization. (And by the way, abuse is very real, but I’m amazed how they cheapen violence at the same time they suffer from it). This is what most of the public discourse is about today.

So you wonder why I listen to baseball hour after hour, and am learning to like listening to endless football discussion? If I can’t discuss babies, homemaking and being alluring with women who actually love themselves as real women and who live that way (even while working on a job) then I’d rather listen to lots of real guys.

Talk shows: turning the other mean cheek

I’ve turned on the computer earlier in the day than I usually do, because it’s obvious that I need to share how fed up I am with something. I’ve even postponed the refreshing hair wash that I was going to give myself (using a wonderful Bath & Body Works Eucalptus Spearmint Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner I’ve recently discovered). So haters who like to mock my lack of being “hot” can rest assured I’m typing this with hair that needs to be washed LOL. I need to get a few blogs out of the way first.

This blogging will condemn most conservative talk show hosts. Now, left wingers, do not rejoice, because I’m just adding them to my disappointment list, where you have already resided for a very long time. Because I “work” (the spiritual directing and writing) at home, and do not have a TV, my radio is on for most of the day. I enjoy getting to know the “radio personalities” and listening to the issues, and of course, being quite conservative in many issues (I used to be classical liberal but that has become depraved in values and stupid in vital issues that liberal has no meaning or significance in my life anymore) I’ve listened to quite a few of the conservatives. I used to listen to them on Fox, but have pretty much stopped. Patriotism is not jingoism alternated with celebrity scuttlebutt. The people who I cheered because they correctly identified and fought the “War on Christmas” (which is true and if anything is understated) have become boring in their yapping. So I’ve stopped listening to the ones I used to listen to on Fox (and you know who the big names are) because I just can’t stand their solution-less whining. True, O’Reilly has gone after lenient judges and pedophilia, which I applaud. But the growing emphasis on celebrity and pop psychology has turned me off. Hannity is just shrieking this past year, and his lack of charity toward a Catholic priest, turning a great chance to talk about morals and societal/individual pressures into a total waste, turned me off. I wrote to Colmes (his Fox talk show co-host) to say that while I don’t agree with Colmes about as much, gosh, at least he is civilized and kind. Even the daytime hosts that I used to like, Shepherd Smith, Neil Cavuto, John Gibson…. I don’t know if it’s producer advice or programming necessity but they, especially Smith, developed a slyness of style that didn’t work for Aaron Brown of CNN (remember him?) and is not working for them. Cavuto and Gibson are still very good and I’m not writing against them, but I’m saying since I dropped out of the line up, I don’t catch them anymore.

So I had turned to listening to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the Schnitt show. I’m listening to Beck now. I cannot believe what has happened to him. He has been virally attacked by a combination of Messiah complex and being barn sour. (For those of you who are non pastoral, barn sour refers to a horse that is kept in the barn so much that it turns ornery and mean). He has such a personal meanness now that I actually don’t recognize him. He thinks he has no choices but act this way, but he is wrong. When mocking opponents or stories that are or may be ridiculous he twists the knife in an unbelievable way (barn sour), and calls himself justified needing to “wake people up” (Messiah complex). Rush I dropped because his shtick is so obnoxious that it cannot be tolerated even as self parody anymore. Like the others he turns the other mean cheek. By this I mean that because liberals are mean and have virtually destroyed the morals of this country, he is satirical and mean in return. So I’ve turned him off too. Schnitt was an experiment, and there are times he was interesting to listen to. Same with McConnell. But then it seems as soon as I start listening, what I hear in the first few shows starts to evolve into something very unpleasant. It’s almost like just because I’m listening they think they can become smug, sly and hostile toward stupid call-ins and about their superior insight in general. And trust me, as with the average Joe, I go into every communications encounter erring on the side of openness and being ready to like the person and listen to their message (though of course I am not persuaded by anyone, since I already know my stance on all issues. I like to hear the public forum discussion however). So I’ve turned them off too. But Beck in particular has seemed to lose his balance and his mind the past few weeks. I’m not surprised because like I said, there is a pattern that I’ve noticed when I listen to “radio personalities” that at some point they become inflated to the point of being counterproductive, to put it politely. So it’s going to be “Bye, bye, bye Beck” I deem.

So what am I listening to? ESPN Sports Radio. Sports has always been the refuge of the real. Even if games are fixed and players are arrested, it still is a physical event where someone and a ball needs to get from one spot to another, and people enjoy watching it and talking about it. I’ve always enjoyed watching sports (when channel surfing I’d stop for just about any sport, if it flickered I’d find it interesting!) Now I’ve abandoned listening to the public forum of these vital, terribly important issues for the future of humanity because the meanness and self superiority of the radio and TV personalities have driven me away. Give me the Cowherd any day, and Jason Smith at night. Even if they personally have issues, LOL, at least the format requires them to talk about sports, which is good. People, this country and world are in grave trouble, and this is not a news flash. But what is a newsflash is that if I can’t stomach listening to people’s “public forum” discussion (something I have vigorously defended) and turn to sports instead, well, that’s not a good sign. Turning the other mean cheek never fixed a single problem on earth (or in those other two places either, by the way). It just takes everyone to that hell on earth place that humans seem to do so well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bible Reading and Commentary regarding faith

I’ve been reading quite a few conversion and reversion stories. I’ve always enjoyed reading biographies, but especially autobiographies, because no fiction is as interesting as reality. (Conversation with a real person is even better than an autobiography, of course, LOL). But I am especially interested in and moved by people’s faith journeys. I may not always agree, but I feel affection for the authors. For example, many years ago I enjoyed reading some of the Dali Lama’s autobiographical works, even though I would have never left Tibet if I were him. I would have stood my ground and stayed with my flock. That is the whole point after all. However, this did not mean I would not read his book or have affection for him. Recently with the advent of blogging I’ve become interested in people who have “crossed the Tiber,” which means to join for the first time or return to the Catholic Church. I am also keenly interested in the awakening spirituality of the Chinese people, as I have been for a long time.

I have to say I’ve been agape and open mouthed in amazement at the hostility some have for Catholics (I’m referring to some Protestants and non denominational). I’ve noticed it in some spewing when people cross the Tiber, while reading the blogs and comments sections, and newspaper accounts. I remember the first time someone was hostile to my being Catholic to my face was in college, but goodness, it was a crack about having children and so mild compared to what I see others subjected to. I now realize that people just didn’t say it to my face all these years but more of it than I like was there all along.

Anyone who is genuinely receptive to the Holy Spirit and who examines the history of Christianity realizes that there is a paper and witness trail directly from Christ’s lips through the Apostles and disciples by way of the Catholic Church. Denying that is just plain ignorant and bigoted. However, humans are exactly that and a lot worse. So I honestly don’t even bother to get in dialogue with people like that. I also tend to withdraw from even well motivated people who are accusatory in their dialogue.

For example, I commented on the blog of someone considering crossing the Tiber with the intention of helping to discern when the Holy Spirit is an agent and when he is not. I pointed out that if someone is restless in their heart about their faith, then the Holy Spirit is working on them. I also said that if the person is content in their faith, then let them be, because the Holy Spirit is not working on them in the sense of agitating them to consider a change. The blog author’s response was so harsh I was taken aback. He crammed words in my mouth basically accusing me of mushy faith and so forth. I told him he didn’t have a clue what I was saying and just stopped visiting that blog. People are entitled to their opinion but they are not entitled to shout their version of my opinion at me LOL. I know a lot of Catholics receive this kind of flak. And then people wonder when we just don’t talk about it! However, I want to remind people of two passages said by Jesus on this very matter. These tend to be the only replies I make nowadays before retreating from people having a flipping meltdown.

Mark 9: 37-40

John said to him, “Master, we saw a man who was not one of our followers casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, because there is no one who shall work a miracle in my name, and forthwith be able to speak ill of me. For he who is not against you is for you. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

So when someone who is ignorant enough to think that Catholics are not of Jesus’ Christ’s own Church I tell me, OK, go ahead and believe that, but you are disobeying this admonition of Jesus’, so where is your adherence to his word?

Luke 18: 24-27

But Jesus, seeing him become sad, said, “With what difficulty will they who have riches enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” He said to them, “Things that are impossible with men are possible with God.”

So when someone persists in saying that “Catholics will not be saved” I just tell them that I trust in what Jesus Christ said, that “Things that are impossible with men are possible with God,” *broad wink* and finish the, um, conversation.

God decides who is saved, not men (or women). And of course this passage applies to all peoples, not just the rich man example that it is spoken in connection with. Christians who state that other Christians or non-Christians cannot be saved are putting themselves in direct contradiction to what Jesus said and worse, are attempting to usurp (in their own heads) God’s role. Ugh!