If you want to know why you are having a holiday or earning time and a half today, this is it:

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.  Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense.

Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 6 He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.  But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute. Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,  and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived 13 a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord 9 appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant
and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that,
rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”


The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”

When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, 11 he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.  When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

The Conversion of St. Paul

“Almost all the great saints were great sinners or, like Saint Therese, knew that it was by sheer grace that they were not,”

Pope Francis

In his spectacular piece at Medium titled The Lesbian and Her Trophy Wife Stacy McCain talks about the Hustle and the grift that professional lesbianism and feminism have become.

Circa 1975, when I was a drug-addled adolescent, the Vietnam-era hippie mentality was fading like an old pair of blue jeans, replaced by a mood of cynical hedonism, as the “liberated” lifestyle became just another commercial marketing pitch.

Feminism quickly became nothing but a hustle, a scam, a way for Madison Avenue to promote commodities. “Sex sells,” and feminism is always about sex. Maybe you’re the kind of natural-born chump who believes all that jargon about the “gender binary” and women being “systematically limited,” but I know a hustle when I see one, and feminism is the biggest hustle ever.
Big Tobacco cashed in selling the Feminist™ brand, and so did all those women who parlayed their talk of “oppression” into book contracts and TV appearances and tenured professorships in Women’s Studies programs. Meanwhile, of course, there were millions of young women who, failing to recognize “liberation” as a phony scam, were trying to reconcile feminist ideology with the reality of their own unglamorous lives.

The bottom line of the piece in many ways is a favorite saying of my own: “There is nothing more dangerous than an excuse.” but more on that another day.

But today I want to talk about a single paragraph that is tangential to the piece but not to my argument here:

Some of my Christian friends say we should pray for women like Robyn Ochs to repent their sins, just as some of my non-Christian friends aren’t bothered by “bisexuality,” which they hope might lead to a ménage à trois. However, I’m not sure there’s any religious hope for feminists, because I don’t know how you can repent of sin while “celebrating” your sin as an “identity,” and how can you save Robyn Ochs’ soul, when she’s an atheist who doesn’t believe she even has a soul? Feminists do not believe that there is any eternal truth — no right and wrong, no good and evil — nor do feminists believe that human life has any intrinsic value, which is why feminists kill babies.

Feminism: We must kill more babies, because we haven’t killed them all yet!
If you want to spend time praying for soulless atheist baby-killers, go right ahead, but there are a lot of other people who probably could use God’s help, and would actually be grateful for it.

While it is true that there are many people we should remember in prayer I would remind Stacy who is a great lover of the old Testament,  of the story of Jonah and God’s admonition to him as he fuses about a dead plant that gave him shade.

Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished.

And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”

Jonah 4:10-11

Of Christ’s words concerning the lost in Luke

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’

In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:8-10

And how many people over the centuries might be burning today if God didn’t take an interest in this particular murderous sinner?

I myself once thought that I had to do many things against the name of Jesus the Nazorean, and I did so in Jerusalem. I imprisoned many of the holy ones with the authorization I received from the chief priests, and when they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them. Many times, in synagogue after synagogue, I punished them in an attempt to force them to blaspheme; I was so enraged against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities.

“On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with the authorization and commission of the chief priests. At midday, along the way, O king, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions. We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.’

And I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

Get up now, and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen (of me) and what you will be shown. I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you, to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me.’

Acts 26:9-18

God obviously things such folk are wort the effort.  This is not a coincidence as C. S. Lewis reminds us through his infernal character Screwtape:

The great (and toothsome) sinners are made out of the very same material as those horrible phenomena the great Saints.

and gives this warning in that small story Screwtape Proposes a Toast.

The great sinners seem easier to catch. But then they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first. They are capable, you see, of real repentance. They are conscious of real guilt. They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy’s sake as they were to defy them for ours.

And person familiar with the number of former abortion workers and advocates who are now tireless champions of the unborn know this to be true.

So I say yes it’s worth the time to pray for these women and I make the following suggestion to make it easier.

First lump all of the ladies that Stacy McCain writes about like Robyn Ochs into a single group called: Stacy McCain’s Women. This allows your prayers to be distributed to each new person Stacy adds to his list.

Then consider one of the two following prayers from my daily routine for them: the first invoking their guardian angel.

Angel of God their guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits them here, ever this day be at their side, the light and guard and rule and guide.

Finally offer a single decade of the Rosary (I suggest the Assumption) for them. Not specifically for their souls per say, but just for them and their needs, physical, temporal and spiritual. For who better to entrust these women to than Our Lady.

Of course you can use whatever prayer you like, what prayer is prayed is less important that it being done.

And what better day to begin the effort to produce rejoicing in heaven than the anniversary of the night where the angelic host celebrated the start of the great project of forgiveness with the words: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”?

There is a lot to be said for this piece by Stacy McCain titled #LashEquality: @CoverGirl Promotes Transgender Agenda in Commercials. Its discussion of history, references to scripture, celebration of his ancient ancestors (Being of Sicilian ancestry from a family that lived next to a volcano (Mt. Etna) I can go back to the mid 1800’s but before that is a mystery, particularly since everyone from the vikings to the Spanish to the arabs conquered Sicily during the course of history) and his defense of normalcy which everyone seems to be terrified to articulating.

But there are two things in this piece that need highlighting and a clarification added to complete the picture being offered by him.

The first the opinion of the greatest generation of the rebellion of their children most of whom still foolishly think they were and are smarter then their parents who conquered two of the finest militaries in history yet had the Christian character, to with the entire world at their feet, not to enslave it

the “Greatest Generation” knew what price had been paid for our freedom. The troops who came home from that war then fathered the “Baby Boom.” When their children reached adolescence, however, many rebelled against America’s patriotic and religious heritage, and by the time I started high school in 1973, the so-called “Sexual Revolution” had been raging for nearly a decade. Grown-ups strongly disapproved of the whole “hippie” youth culture. Our parents and teachers, our coaches and preachers were in unanimous agreement about the need to suppress this social upheaval that had erupted, the cause of which they believed to be either (a) Communism or (b) Satan, insofar as Communism and Satan weren’t the same thing.

It is my opinion that my generation, the baby boomers are the worst generation in the history of this country and possibly the world and that we as a generation for the good of humanity can’t die off fast enough and take our self centered narcissism, self defined virtue and complete ignorance of the wisdom and experience of our parents and the giants who came before them with us.

Secondly it’s worth highlighting Stacy’s statement concerning his own youthful rebellion (emphasis mine)

In high school, I was just a teenager who wanted to be a cool dude, and among my hoodlum buddies, being a cool dude meant getting high and growing your hair long, because that’s what all the cool chicks were into. So I was as far-out as I could possibly get away with, and I got away with a lot more than I ever got caught with. Could I blame all this on “peer pressure”? Maybe, except that I was an active agent of evil, rather than a passive participant. My extensive adolescent experience in the ways of sin — and all the consequences of evil that I witnessed with my own eyes in the ensuing years — left me quite cynical toward the kind of enthusiasm James Charles expresses about the “amazing progressions with gay rights, gender inclusivity and self-expression.”

I can not emphasize the importance of this paragraph because it does two critical things.

  • It acknowledges acts of evil done and witnessed by him
  • Rather than making an excuse for said evil, he takes responsibility for it.

One could call it a great example of the Penitential Rite of the Catholic church

I confess to almighty God
And to you, my brothers and sisters,
That I have greatly sinned
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done and in what I have
Failed to do,
Through my fault, through my fault,
Through my most grievous fault;
Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
All the Angels and Saints,
And you, my brothers and sisters,
To pray for me to the Lord our God.

That self awareness is a gift from God that should be treasured by him and mimicked by others whenever possible.

Now having highlighted these two bits let’s turn to the part that needs clarification.

Stacy quotes one of his favorite passages from Deuteronomy 30.  As I am quoting Stacy’s piece I’ll stick with his protestant translation here rather than the one on the Vatican site I would normally use

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live . .

He follows up with these two paragraphs near the end of his piece:

There are still quite a few Americans who believe in the Lord whose anger is kindled against those who turn away from him, and we have already tolerated enough “gender inclusivity and self-expression” that it’s a wonder God has not already destroyed us for this “amazing progression.”

America has had enough. Our ancestors did not establish this nation with the expectation that their descendants would squander their precious inheritance of God’s blessing. The men who died fighting to gain a foothold on that beach at Normandy did not give their lives so that America could sink into decadence, insanity and perversion.

And here lies the part that needs clarification here.  Stacy gives a lot of quotes from that good Old Testament but is missing some key ones from a slightly newer one.  Like Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house,  many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Matthew 9:9-13

And Mark

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

Mark 10:23-27

And Luke

“Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”  But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Luke 19:2-10

And John

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”

John 8:3-11

Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and redemption and every single soul from James Charles to Bob Iger to  Stacy to mine and yours is of value to God.  That same merciful God who sacrificed his son for the forgiveness of sins will give each soul a lifetime to repent of their sins and be forgiven.  As Christ said to St Faustina:

Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. 

Diary of St. Faustina

Stacy expresses surprise that God has not already destroyed us, But did not the Knights of Columbus offer a novena before the election for the country asking for God’s blessing and mercy that was prayed in churches all over the country?  Do not contemplative sisters and brothers pray unceasingly for the country the world and for the intentions of individuals?  Do not individuals like myself offer daily rosaries for the country asking since February for Justice Scalia and since April for Mother Angelica to join in these prayers for our land?  And do not relatives friends of those who have been deceived by the world and the culture pray continually for their salvation?  After all do you think it was just blind luck that Stacy himself, turned away from the admittedly evil path he once pursued?  And are not others even now evangelizing those who have fallen away?

The bottom line is there have been many times when the power of evil, and error and sin have seemed insurmountable, yet the faithful still exist, and thrive and the Holy Spirit still calls those who have rejected him.

“If you’re there, you have to help me.”

Those are the words that poet Sally Read said to an icon of Jesus in 2010. Read, a British poet and atheist, had stopped into a church in Santa Marinella, Italy. She felt burdened. Her young daughter was having health issues. Her husband Fabio was enduring some stress at work.

“There was this incredible experience where this presence almost came down, and my tears just stopped, just dried,” Read tells CNSNews.com. “I felt almost physically carried up. It was as if someone walked into the room. I knew this person. I knew that I was a Christian.”

Up to that point Read, now 46, had been an atheist. “I was brought up an atheist,” Read notes in her just-published memoir, “Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story.” “At ten I could tell you that religion was the opiate of the masses; it was [driven] into me to never kneel before anyone or anything…As a young woman I could quote Christopher Hitchens and enough of the Bible to scoff at.”

As Pope Francis has said God never tires of forgiving us and as long as that potential is there the work of salvation will continue and we can and must aid it by our prayers.

Because even with this clarification Stacy point stands as evidenced by Christ words to Sister Faustina that followed his remark about the door of mercy.

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…

I pray to God that I and others will acquire and retain the wisdom to choose the door of mercy in our lifetimes.

Grail Knight: You must choose, but choose wisely

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989

A while back Donald Trump was asked what his favorite bible verse was “an eye for an eye” This is the full verse in question:

But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Exodus 21:23-25

For a person who proclaims Christianity this is a rather odd choice, given these words from Jesus Christ the son of God:

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.  If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.  Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.  Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Matthew 5:38-45

I bring up these verses because as Donald Trump gets ever closer to the nomination conservatives I see what is happening as a parallel to a biblical event.

Not those I have just quoted the moment in Exodus where the law was given to Moses, nor the sermon on the mount but from chapter 8 of the book of Samuel.  Starting with verses 1-3

In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel.  His first-born was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beer-sheba.  His sons did not follow his example but sought illicit gain and accepted bribes, perverting justice.

This is  parallel to the corrupt GOP that has been ignoring the voters for years angering them and looking for a solution said this in verses 4 and 5.

Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”

This is compatible with the voters (particularly evangelicals) saying.  Forget pols we want Donald Trump and turning out for him.

Samuel being Samuel went to God  who after noting their rejection of him told Samuel in verse 9

Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.”

and then did what the Lord told him and said the following to the people of Israel in verses 10-17

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king.  He told them: “The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:

He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot.  He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers. He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.  He will use your daughters as ointment-makers, as cooks, and as bakers.  He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials.  He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.  He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best oxen and your asses, and use them to do his work.  He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.

And while I don’t anticipate a Trump presidency or even a Trump candidacy will mean we will be conscripted to his kitchens, it is very apt thing.  We know who and what Donald Trump is, we have seen his campaign and even before this we have seen him for years and so has the left.  We have seen him equivocate on life, on culture and on position after position.  We have seen him flip flop on people and issues for our entire lives.   As Ace put it:

Out: “Leave it the way it is”

In: States should be allowed to do what you conservatives think they should do, whatever that is.

The thing about Trump is, it doesn’t matter if he gets answers wrong on everything, because I know, fundamentally, he shares my instincts.

Even though his instincts on so many issues are directly contrary to my own, and in fact are the instincts of the PC Democratic Left.

Moreover he has lived a life in the tabloids.  He is an opposition researchers wet dream.

Yet we as a party are getting ready to nominate him over a man more competent, more honest, 20 years younger and who would be the first Latino to head a major party ticket.

Yes Trump has talked about Radical Islam, Yes Trump may actually build that southern wall, but does anyone doubt that Donald Trump as president would nominate a moderate to the Supreme Court?  Does anyone doubt that he will be making deals with Democrats on both spending and social issues?  Does anyone doubt that a Trump presidency will cause a reaction from our foreign allies almost as disastrous as the last seven year has been?

and that’s the BEST CASE SCENARIO.

The worst case scenario?  The election of Hillary Clinton.

This is likely the very last chance for the gop to make an alternative choice.  The choice is before you dear voters and let me remind you of the last line of Samuel’s warning from verse 18:

When this takes place, you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”

The last seven years have been a horrible time but we got the government we choose and deserve, it remains to be seen if we deserve at least four more years of bad government.

The choice is yours.

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There has been a lot written about the Trump flips and flops concerning Abortion this week and on Jake Tapper’s weekend show State of the Union the discussion turned toward Trump’s days as a young bachelor and the question of if he ever dated a women who had an abortion.

Now this actually is the wrong question in a critical sense.

There is no question that Trump has a liberal past, the entire premise of Ted Cruz’s attack on him are based on his own words and comments the question is, are his protestations to be a conservative NOW actually sincere or not?

It’s a very biblical question.

For example nobody would question if Saul of Tarsus was once a persecutor of Christians. In fact in his famous trial before Herod he admits it.

I myself once thought that I had to do many things against the name of Jesus the Nazorean, and I did so in Jerusalem. I imprisoned many of the holy ones with the authorization I received from the chief priests, and when they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them.

Many times, in synagogue after synagogue, I punished them in an attempt to force them to blaspheme; I was so enraged against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities.

Acts 26:9-11

But them came his famous conversion

On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with the authorization and commission of the chief priests.

At midday, along the way, O king, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions.  We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.

And I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.  Get up now, and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen (of me) and what you will be shown.

I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you, to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me.’

“And so, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.

Acts 26:12-19

and the rest is history.

However earlier in Acts there is a conversion story that didn’t go so well, the story of Simon the Magician

A man named Simon used to practice magic in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.  All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, “This man is the ‘Power of God’ that is called ‘Great.'”

They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, but once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized.

Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded.

Acts 8:9-13

 

But it turned out he was more interested in power than service

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.”

But Peter said to him, “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God.

Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven.  For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.”

Simon said in reply, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Acts 8:14-24

And that’s what it really comes down to with Trump and why his BS on abortion is a problem, because this is the question that GOP voters need answered.

Is he a real convert to conservatism as Paul was to Christ, or is he just out for himself as Simon was?

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You know the Boston Globe has for years had the best coverage of Baseball period, with John Allen they now have the best Catholic reporter in the world and he proved it again:

Pope Francis can be understood as a living, breathing embodiment of the “both/and” instinct that’s so much a part of Catholic DNA, but which is increasingly difficult to understand in a world where false dichotomies and “wedge issues” are the political coin of the realm.

Historically, as Pope Benedict XVI once put it, Catholicism has been the great Christian tradition of “both/and.” When Protestantism raised the question of whether Scripture or tradition is the basis of authority, Catholicism answered “both.” Likewise, when Martin Luther asked whether salvation is from faith or works, the Catholic answer again was “both.”

Francis is very much like that.

and he gives an excellent example of the dual nature of the church

A gay couple wants to enroll their child in a Catholic school. One option would be to say no, on the grounds of causing scandal. Another is to say yes, on the basis that some contact with the faith is better than none. Both are consistent with church teaching, but they give off different vibes.

Or to put it another way Christ over and over warns about the Justice that will come if one doesn’t repent:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Matthew 25:41-46

Yet when dealing with an actual sinner with actual sin the mercy pours out as in the gospel for this week:

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.

So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.

John :1-11

God will give us our entire lives to repent and will give us every chance to do so, but not a moment more.

Somehow I suspect Francis thinks the same and wants to do the same.

 

Mr. Scratch: A soul? A soul is nothing. Can you see it, smell it, touch it? 

The Devil and Daniel Webster 1941

 

Yesterday at the end of Mass our Pastor informed us of a special local event for the year of mercy. There will be a 24 day of prayer and mercy taking place at St. Joseph’s Church in Fitchburg stating at 3 PM EST including confessions being heard round the clock.

What jumped out at me about the announcement was the designation of St. Joseph’s as a place of pilgrimage for the holy year.  This means that if a person meets the usual conditions (1. receiving holy communion, 2. Praying for the Pope’s intentions, 3. Confession either within seven days before or after ) they can receive an indulgence which can be applied to themselves or someone who has died , by simply entering the church any time during the Holy Year. (A Full Plenary indulgence if you have no attachment to sin, a partial if you do)

It is quite possible or even probable that your local bishop has designated a place of pilgrimage in your area.  If he has then you will also have this opportunity to earn this indulgence regularly.

This should be cause for excitement & joy for faithful Catholics.  If it’s not then today’s first reading from morning’s mass about Naaman the Syrian is made for you:

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, was highly esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram. But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.

Now the Arameans had captured from the land of Israel in a raid a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.  “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,” she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went and told his lord just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said. “Go,” said the king of Aram. “I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments. To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death, that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”

When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.” Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. The prophet sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”

But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy. Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?” With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him. “My father,” they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”

So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.

2 Kings 1-15AB

There are few things that better illustrate that most deadly sin of pride than this reading.

Consider Naaman.  Here is a guy who has come to Israel because he’s been told in such a way that he believes it, that he can be cured of his leprosy by this trip.  This is not an easy trip.  He is traveling by caravan from Damascus to the king of Israel with his servants and a bunch of valuable goods in an age when the fastest mode of land conveyance is a horse or camel, and he’s doing it at a time when even Roman roads are far in the future.

His party has to stop to eat, to water and rest their beasts of burden.  The closest thing they have to headlights are torches fueled by oil so they are likely only traveling by day.  Since they’re carrying valuables they have to post guards at night and depending on how many are in the caravan might even be securing their camp with stockade.

Maybe,  if they’re very lucky,  he’s averaging making 3-5 MPH during the travel time from Damascus to the Capital of Israel where he delivers his letter.  That’s 135 miles as the crow flies but God knows how many miles via the trails available at the time, 150 miles?  200 perhaps?

Given all that let’s say he and his people traveling 10 hours a day make the trip in 5 days to a week if nothing goes wrong.

After all that time, all that trouble to get down there in the hopes of being cured of this horrible disease, what does the  prophet do?  He tells him:  Go wash in the local river and you’ll be fine.

And that’s when Naaman gets pissed off!

How DARE he not have me go on a heroic quest.  How is it possible that I don’t have to slay a dragon, climb the highest mountain,  storm a heavily maned fortification through a rain of arrows or recover the lost Ark of the Covenant (rumor has it that’s it’s in a pit somewhere in Egypt)  Naaman the warrior is thinking:  Cripes If all it took is a bath I could have taken one back home and saved the trip.

Some thing never change.

Fast forward to today.  Think of the sacrament of confession.  All you have to do is show up, wait your turn (and it’s not a long wait these days) confess your sins, be sorry, do your penance,  usually just a few prayers and BOOM!  You’re forgiven!

You don’t even have to go to your own church if you’re embarrassed to do so, and in my experience most priests will consent to hear your confession outside the normal hours if you just ask.  How hard is that?  It’s a piece of cake!

So why don’t Catholics go?   The church and Christ offers them the gift of a clean soul practically any time a person wants it and most people don’t bother.  Yet if those same people were given a card unlimited washes at any car wash of their choice they’d be driving through once a day and twice on Sundays.

That’s what confession is, an unlimited car wash coupon for your soul people don’t use it, why?  Usually Pride, I don’t do anything that wrong, and anyways God will forgive me.  Why should I bother confessing to a priest?

Even though Christ tells his disciples directly in the Gospel of John :

“Receive the holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

It’s the same with the Holy Doors and the indulgence.   Even if you’re a person who only goes to Church on Sundays it means that once a week you can earn an indulgence to shorten or eliminate your time in purgatory either for yourself or a loved one , a parent, a friend, a spouse a child simply by taking the extra time to drive to a particular church and walk in?  Here is a chance to completely or partially remove the temporal punishment for forgiven sins and yet how many people are doing it?  I mean if a policeman said, all you have to do is walk though a door and you’d be excused of a Traffic ticket or fine you’d do it in a second.

We look at the story of Naaman and laugh at the idea that he is so offended by the simple task that Elisha give him to be cured.  Yet all over America Catholics are doing the same thing turning down the forgiveness of Christ out of pride.  And remember, if Naaman’s had refused Elisha generous offer the consequences for Naaman’s would have lasted a lifetime.  When you refuse Christ’s generous offer of forgiveness, the consequences.

Naaman was lucky he had servants with a lot of guts willing to challenge his pride saying to him in effect:  Cripes why are you upset that he’s making it easy for you?  Just do it!  Thanks to them he finally consents to bathing in the Jordan and washed clean of his illness.

When pride keeps us from accepting the mercy that Christ & his Holy Catholic Church offer, will we have the wisdom to hear the voice of those telling us, Just do it and have our souls washed clean of our sins?

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Just a reminder that pretending to be a hero who fights for the west in movies doesn’t make it so in reality.

Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?

Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I’m not proudly defacing the book, but it’s a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I’m not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages — Leviticus 18:22 — that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.

That a member of the race that fought the book burning Nazis is doing this is frankly an insult to the memory of those who fought to destroy them but Sir Ian’s actions bring up three interesting thoughts.

The first is the obvious question to one familiar with scripture:  Why pull the pages from Leviticus but not from St. Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians:

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

I can’t see why one would leave St. Paul and the New Testament alone when it is much more read than Leviticus.  If the goal is to prevent people from reading that message the logical move would be to pull both or if one is removing only one, the latter.  I’m presuming it’s sheer ignorance on his part but given attempts to spin the New Testament lately by revisionist scholars perhaps doing so would be damaging to those efforts.  It would be a public statement that Christ stands against this sin and this would undermine too many pretending something else.

The Second thought comes from this ironic passage via Instapundit concerning syrian refugees:

Sir Ian McKellen comments on the influx of Syrian refugees into Western nations. McKellen says these people should ‘be looked after’ until they can return to their home country and that we should trust authorities to weed out any individual who poses a threat.

I find this a rather odd contradiction give Islam’s great love for Homosexuality as the very publicly gay Milo Yiannopoulos:

So you can accuse me of being “islamophobic” if you want, because no, I don’t want to be shouted at or spat on in the street. Maybe my gayness is standing in the way of a Muslim utopia… but I’m going to be selfish here and say maybe we don’t import all the people who want to murder me.

I’m serious. Gay people are getting stoned to death all the time in the Middle East, and not in the fun way: in the throw-big-rocks-at-your-head-until-you-die way. I don’t mean to be callous, but what are we gaining by letting these people in? Why can’t we help them with overseas aid? Why do they need to come here? Aren’t we just encouraging more of them to risk the trip by throwing our borders open?

and we’re not just talking ISIS either:

These are the attitudes we’re importing by allowing millions of Muslims to settle in western Europe. Sorry if that sounds intolerant, but remember women and gays aren’t just treated like shit by ISIS, but mainstream Muslim culture, too. I can’t remember how many Muslim countries have the death penalty for homosexuality. What is it, ten? Eleven?

If Sir Ian can’t handle the christian scriptures, thousands of people bearing the Koran or books of Hadiths which are still being used to kill gays all over the world under local law should be unbearable for him.

We don’t have any word on if Sir Ian feels compelled to tear pages out of the Koran or of Islamic Hadiths when he encounters them.  Larry King didn’t bother to ask, if he does perhaps he may choose to keep quiet about it.

I can’t imagine why.

 

Finally and most revealing is his self congratulatory statement of restraint saying it’s a choice between defacing the book or throwing it away altogether.

What’s so interesting is that there is an obvious 3rd choice:  Leave the book alone. 

While we often hear the culture portray Christians of all stripes as “puritanical” and “intolerant” there seems to be a distinct lack of christians defacing or destroying what would be considered “gay friendly” material when encountering it during travel.

The fact that the wealthy and comfortable Sir Ian doesn’t seem to have the restraint that’s shown by the average Christian speaks volumes about the supposed tolerance and open-mindedness of the left but I suspect it speaks to something else.

As I’ve said many times no amount of belief on my part or disbelief on someone else’s part changes has any bearing on the actual truth of Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular (or any other religion for that matter).

As a Catholic the truth of the faith is a given and while I might object to the long term cultural damage the changes the left have brought to society I don’t let myself be made crazy by them because in the end none of it changes eternal truths.  My primary responsibility is my own soul.  While I might pray for and advise others concerning said truths in the hope helping them gain eternal life & sparing them the sufferings of eternal damnation the final responsibility for their souls is ultimately their concern and while it’s sad I don’t allow it to keep me from functioning.

Yet to McKellen who considers scripture a fantasy to be ignored and is clearly an educated man simply can’t handle a page in a book.

Mind you he doesn’t have to read that page, he doesn’t have to open the book in fact he doesn’t have to open the particular drawer that the book is in.  Simply knowing that a page in a book in a drawer in a room condemns his life choices is too much for him.

Now if he believes the Bible is just a fable and Christianity is just a made up religion such an obsession to destruction is beneath a man as erudite and educated as Sir Ian McKellen.  It’s an act that is completely irrational.

But if I’m right and the whole thing, Jesus, God, Angels, Devils etc are in fact reality than said obsession makes perfect sense.  It would mean that the page in that book is a reminder of a truth that can be denied only for a time, a truth that his guardian angel whispers in his ear, a truth that at age seventy is closing in.

Proverbs says:  The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, (Proverbs 9:10a).  I submit and suggest that Sir Ian’s apparent fear is completely rational and is a sign of hope for him, because there is always the chance that said fear will move him to different action.

I wish him luck.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

My pastor is gone for the week so Monday I attended my old parish for daily mass .  It was the feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil who were martyred in North America by the Iroquois.

During his sermon Fr. Leo talked St. Isaac’s first captivity (he was martyred during his 2nd) and how he was comforted by a book with commentary on the letter to the Hebrews and regretted that unlike the saint so few Catholic take advantage of the treasure of scripture sitting in their homes on a coffee table, even those who attend mass.

Never was I more made aware of this then today.

Ladies & Gentlemen meet Call to Actioncall to action

They describe their mission as:

Call To Action educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles.

As you might guess looking at their site their agenda is gay marriage, woman priests and abortion or as I call it “Catholics for Mortal Sin”

I’d never heard of them before but today while checking out the #catholic hashtag I saw them tweet this out concerning the synod on the family.

While unfamiliar with Catholic Call to Action I’m very familiar with Fr. Thomas Reese SJ and what he and other of the Catholic left have had to say about St. Pope John Paul II & Pope Benedict during their pontificates so I found this statement incredibly ironic and said so.

This led to a long twitter exchange.

but while I find the whole “Catholic Left doesn’t want people dissing a the pope” business ironic, that was nothing compared to this

If both my assertion concerning Christ & Truth and their answer sounds familiar to you then congratulations, unlike Catholic call to action you’re familiar with the passion &  know your scripture

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (emphasis mine) John 18:36-38a

I couldn’t believe me eyes so I called them on it

Think about that for a second A group that calls itself “catholic” yet disputes the doctrines of the church claiming they were “developed exclusively by older white men from Europe” when challenged by the proposition that Christ offered Truth answered with the very words that Pilate pronounced upon handing him over for crucifixion.

It’s one thing to dispute the truth of Christ’s church, it’s another to use Pilate’s own words to do it.  And these guys are going to persuade actual mass going Catholics to go along with them?

Seriously you can’t make this stuff up, you just can’t.

Update I answered their last tweet with a very simple question

As of this writing 21 hours later this “Catholic” group has no answer.

Update 2: Wow, just wow! That answer deserves its own post

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The only pay I get for this work comes from you. My goal for 2015 is $22,000.

Given that fact and the discovery that the repairs needed for my car that failed inspection will run between $500-$1000 I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.




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Mrs Cooper:   [Walking into a Catholic chapel] Oh, this one’s sweet. You know, for your rosary rattlers.

The Big Bang Theory The Rhinitis Revelation 2011

If there is one thing that tends to unite many Protestants it’s their dislike of the Catholic faith.  One may go from being a Lutheran, to a Methodist to a Baptist to a Congregationalist and it will produce nary a reaction from any other protestant.  But if a Protestant goes from any of these denominations to the Catholic Faith the shock and horror this produces never ceases to amaze.

And of the various Catholic Devotions none seem to promote more of a visceral reaction that the Holy Rosary and the primary prayer of it the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb,  Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners.

Now, and at the hour of our death, Amen.

Nothing seems to set Protestants into a fit like this prayer.   As St. Louis De Montfort described it in his classic book The Secret of the Rosary:

They still say the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary.

I’ve always found this fact to be one of the oddest things about the Protestant version of Christianity as the Hail Mary is built in its entirety of words that most Protestants would consider the building blocks of Christianity itself.

So this being the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Hail Mary being the most common prayer of the rosary (said 10 times in a decade, 53 times if saying one set of mysteries, or 203 times in a full Rosary, 206 using my methods) this is an excellent time to take a close look at the Hail Mary piece by piece and explain why it is a prayer every Christian should use with pleasure.  I will do this in several parts so lets begin with

Part one:  The Angelic Salutation:

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”

If one studies various books on the Hail Mary you will see that it is often referred to as the “Angelic Salutation”.  This make a whole lot of sense because this prayer begins literally with the salutation of an angel.  Now throughout the Bible there are many occasions when angels appear, usually to deliver a message, or a perform a specific task.  Most angels like the one who frees Peter (Acts 12)  are unnamed.  The named angels (Michael, Raphael, Gabriel) are rarely seen and the use of named angel to deliver this message emphasises its significance but ,   just as important as the actual words being said, is what is goes on in this encounter.  Let’s examine it in four parts:

A:  The substance of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary.

As I’ve said the Hail Mary or the Angelic Salutation literally begins with the salutation of Gabriel the Angel:

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1:26-28

For my protestant friends here is the King James Version

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Now the simple fact that this opening is directly biblical should, in itself make it acceptable to any Christian of any denomination but the words being said makes the point even better.  For reasons that will shortly become apparent let’s examine these words in a way one might normally not, in reverse order.

Gabriel closes with:  “Blessed are thou among women.”.  This singles Mary out from her entire gender as important, but that in itself isn’t a big deal.  While this puts her above half the earth’s population women were pretty much property at the time so that only suggests she is first among the lowly, but let’s continue to go back.

Gabriel precedes this with “The Lord is with you.”  This echoes the words of the unnamed Angel who greeted Gideon the same way  (Judges 6:12) So it establishes her parity with one of the Judges of Israel.  That’s rather significant,  but even beyond this while Gideon’s angel is unnamed this greeting to Mary is made by a named Angel who stands before God.  Thus Mary is not just equal to the great Judge Gideon, but superior to him.

This is preceded by “favored one”  Now one might think that being visited by an angel alone would make such a statement superfluous after all who is more favored than a person visited by God’s angel?   But the explicit statement of this denotes rank, you are favored, you are special, but consider that this is the only time in the entire bible that this description is given by an angel to any person.  Thus makes Mary Unique not just above a Judge or the Judges of Israel but above everyone.

Finally this entire greeting from Gabriel begins with the formal HAIL, this signifies a person of authority and is usually given by an inferior to a superior.  Gabriel having established Mary above humans, establishes her above himself.

All of this is entirely in keeping with a Royal Style, a person of rank with multiple titles is addressed by their highest first, and then by their lower ranks and honors in decreasing order.

Thus Gabriel in that initial salutation immediately establishes Mary’s rank, above women, above judges, above creatures and above himself.

B:  The submission of the Angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary

While it’s one thing to argue that the greeting of Gabriel suggests his inferiority to Mary, it’s the contrast between his actions in her presence vs his previous  conversation with Zechariah, the husband of her cousin Elizabeth that really puts the exclamation mark on Mary’s rank in the eternal hierarchy.

Consider the scene Luke 15-17:  Zechariah has just been told his prayers have been heard.  His elderly wife will conceive by him and his son will have the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah.  That’ pretty good news for and old priest but an incredible thing to believe so Zechariah quite rationally asks:  How?

Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”  And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel,  who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  But now you will be speechless and unable to talk  until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Luke 1:18-20

Despite being not only a priest (Luke 1:5) and a man:  righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly (Luke 1:6b) when he asks the perfectly rational question:  “How?”  He is punished for the full term of his wife’s pregnancy for daring to question Gabriel words.

That’s a pretty severe punishment.

Contrast this reaction to Zachariah question vs how he replies to the virgin Mary who in verse 34 asks:

 “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

Does Gabriel ask how dare this mere woman question the angel of God?  Does he note her youth and inexperience and demand she trust?  No.  Not only does Gabriel answer her question directly in verse 35 but he even offers variable tangible proof of his assertions in verses 36,37:

 “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

So Gabriel who stands before God, who smote a righteous priest for daring to question him, when standing before a person who in the 1st century had no standing or importance whatsoever deigns to submit himself to her, providing explanations when asked.  Just like a subordinate would.

C:  The Submission of Mary to the will of God:

While all of what has come before is of great importance when considering the relationship of Mary with God, the single most significant part comes not from the Gabriel’s greeting to Mary or even his answering of her questions.  It’s what follows that elevates Mary beyond everything else.

Consider Mary’s position.  She has just been told that it is God’s intention for her to conceive his son, but Mary being a product of her time and place knows very well where she stands in the pecking order in Jewish society and what turning up pregnant before her wedding means in 1st century Nazareth

1. As an unmarried woman found to be pregnant before her wedding and not by her betrothed the BEST CASE scenario would be a quiet divorce (Which was Joseph’s original plan see Matt 1:19) having the baby secretly and giving it up, keeping silent because if she repeated this tale she would  be considered a liar, a fool or a blasphemer subject to being stoned to death.  Again, this is her BEST CASE Scenario!

2.  Alternatively she might be divorced and not be able to keep the reason quiet marking her as an unclean woman the object of scorn and ridicule for the rest of her life forcing her to flee elsewhere with the ambition of living as a beggar or a whore.

3.  Of course she could just be publicly denounced as an adulteress and stoned to death according to the law of Moses.

All these are the reality of her times, yet given these very real possibilities what does she say:

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

She in one fell swoop declares her faith in the Lord, her trust that God will deliver her from any of those very likely scenarios before her.

Furthermore her statement makes an affirmative declaration that the child she will bear,  Jesus Christ,  is the son of God and by doing so gives birth to Christianity 9 months before the birth of Christ himself, even before his very conception.  She becomes by these words the very first Christian.

D:  Gabriel’s departure AFTER her consent

The final piece of this incredible puzzle comes in verse 38b and seems almost not worth mentioning:

 Then the angel departed from her.

I can hear the words now.  “Well of course the Angel left her, he’s an angel not a midwife or a lamaze coach.”  But there are three salient points worth noting here.

 1. At the beginning of the sequence in verse 26 Gabriel is referred to by name, but from the moment he proclaims the initial angelic salutation to this final verse, he is no longer named, he simply becomes “The Angel” while Mary is continually named each times she speaks.

2. If God considered Mary simple the object to be used to fulfill scripture Gabriel could have easily left after his explanation in verse 37 or even after his basic announcement after verse 33.  Instead he waits for her answer.  He waits while Mary, a mere creature decides if God design will take place through her or not.  This act makes Mary’s “Yes” not a formality but the necessary final ingredient for God’s plan to take place and his waiting for that “yes” is a formal acknowledgement by the powers of heaven in her unique role in the salvation of all of mankind

 3. Finally he does not leave till dismissed

This gives the final touch to the argument concerning Mary rank vs the Angels

So in summation in four parts we see  we see Mary:

Marked as holy by God (part 1)

Submitted to by the heavenly Angel (part 2 & 4) 

And giving affirmative consent to God submitting herself to his plan of Salvation (part 3)

and all of this starts with the opening phrases of the Angelic Salutation:  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”

It is the phrase that all Christianity begins with.

 

Next time:  Part 2:   The Human Confirmation

****************************************************************************

The only pay I get for this work comes from you. My goal for 2015 is $22,000.

Given that fact and the discovery that the repairs needed for my car that failed inspection will run between $500-$1000 I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.




Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.


Choose a Subscription level



Additionally our subscribers get our podcast emailed directly to them before it show up anywhere else.

I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.