Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Cardinal Schönborn in Medjugorje


It is supposed to be a private visit - but it sure makes me wonder.  I would love to believe the apparitions are true - I would love to believe.  I watched a video of Jakov in his annual apparition - I would so love to believe. 
.
Alas, I must live in solitude and silence and darkness.  God have mercy upon me a sinner.
.
I await the decision of the Church.
.
Link:
.
Cardinal Schönborn speaks in Medjugorje

Some thoughts on the last day of the year 2009.


Moonstruck.
.
I came across a letter from a monk friend of mine - it was written 20 years ago.  I have letters - important letters - all over the house; in books, in folios, in drawers, in journals, in sketchbooks, in boxes - all over the place.  Fr. Tom's letter was interesting, deeply moving really.  I lost contact with him after a letter to the editor at NCR I had written several years ago had been published.  The letter was about a monk who had died young.  Without going into detail - the letter was misunderstood by the monks and I defended myself wretchedly and contemptuously - albeit apologizing shortly after.  I've always been something of a hot-head.  Eventually - mostly out of embarrassment - I just stopped writing or visiting.  (Things I say and write are often misunderstood, as my long time readers can attest.)

The interesting aspect of Father's letter was that in 1989 I evidently was still discerning - that is, considering religious life - 13 years after I had left monastic life, having lived in a Carmelite novitiate, a Trappist novitiate, a Carthusian lay-brother's cell for a month, and visiting numerous abbeys and convents in Italy, France, and Spain.  I had even been professed in Assisi as a Third Order Franciscan, yet in 1989 I was invited to join the Secular Discalced Carmelites - while still wondering if I should be a Carthusian.
.
Obviously I wanted to belong somewhere, to be someone or something.  Titles and letters of association behind a name, a habit - such things can become a type of status-symbol for people like me.  (I'm just talking about me here.)  I was looking outside of myself however, looking outside of my reality... learning much in the process of course.  But I wasted a lot of time in what most people today refer to as discernment - I spent years doing that - which is why I can at times adopt a rather imperious tone regarding others who seem to constantly spin their wheels anguishing over vocation.  I mean no harm, I would simply like to somehow relieve their anguish so they could get on with their lives.  Yet each life is a journey, each person's sanctification is a process - oftentimes very painful at that.
.
Anyway, Fr. Tom patiently wrote to me with kind advice and suggestions - appearing to be speculating with me.  (In fact - good spiritual direction is often that - not dictating behavior.)  Fr. Tom always seemed to know I was meant to be doing exactly what I was doing - except my worrying about a vocation was distracting me from the present moment - the reality that I was already in the will of God - just as I am in this moment.  A line from his letter impressed me deeply, and affirmed what I've come to understand about my state in life;  "... You will find, as did Catherine of Genoa, that associations do not help you, and it is better for you to be alone.  Only experience will tell you what is best for you."
.
There is another amazing paragraph in his letter as well.  I had mentioned to him one of my confessions - what a priest told me.  The priest was an ancient Jesuit - he had to be about 90 years old.  Fr. Andrew had been a missionary in China before the revolution.  He had been in Japan too.  He was a classic Jesuit - very holy.  I went to confession to him regularly at St. Olaf's.
.
I was struggling with a particular sin - and so I was confessing pretty much the same thing over and over - at the time I was going to confession 3 or 4 times a week.  One particular confession Fr. Andrew stopped speaking abruptly, looked up as if lost in thought, then he looked at me and said, "Yes.  Yes, I think you will make it."  I asked him what he meant, and he said, "You are going to overcome this."
.
Evidently I wrote to Fr. Tom about it and he responded; "Your meeting Fr. Andrew at St. Olaf's was certainly a signal grace.  Like him, I too sense that sooner or later your problems will disappear, or at least not be as intense.  I have known others who struggle for years and then one day the grace is there if they want to accept it.  As Julian of Norwich said, 'All will be well.'"
.
That actually happened, suddenly at adoration just over 10 years ago.
.
I write this - I don't know why - maybe someone can be encouraged?  Maybe just to praise and thank the Mercy of God.  I'm not sure.
.
Keep praying and seeking the will of God - even if you fail every hour - keep trying.  In the end, "All will be well."
.
Photo:  "The full moon setting over the west ridge this morning after Lauds." - Our Lady of Spring Bank Abbey, Br. Stephen, O. Cist.   Thanksgiving, prayers and heartfelt best wishes for Stephen - he recently made first profession.
.
If you really want to be edified - visit New Liturgical Movement - particularly Shawn Tribe's post on Monasticism.

Zibn Schvans



Oy!  Looks like they kilt one!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Please pray for our soldiers in Afghanistan.


Eight Americans were killed today, as were 5 Canadians...  Please pray for the soldiers and for the families of these men and women; one can only imagine the sacrifice and suffering these people endure.
.
Photo credit:  People chant anti-American slogans and burn an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama in Jalalabad, south Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009., during a protest against the recent killings of 10 civilians allegedly by the coalition forces in Kunar province, eight of them boys aged between 12 and 14. A NATO official said initial reports from troops involved in the fighting on Sunday indicated that the victims were insurgents. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Six Geese A-Laying? C'mon!


Christmastide or not - I need to get back to my day of recollection (penance) - so I'll be off line today - maybe.
.
But I will mention this...  I discovered Nancy Pelosi is a theologian after all!  The woman appears to know traditional Catholic Church teaching rather well. 
.
Mrs. Pelosi admitted, "I have some concerns about the Church's position respecting a woman's right to choose.  I am a practicing Catholic, although they're probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith."  The Speaker affirmed, yet lamenting, "I practically mourn this difference of opinion [pro-choice vs. pro-life] because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions," she continues. "And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will." - Story
.
Sadly, Mrs. Pelosi neglects to acknowledge the consequences of such choices.
.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

He walked in peace through the midst of them. - Luke 4:30


The perfect joy of Pope Benedict.
.
"Christ walked in peace through the midst of them" after the townsfolk dragged him to the edge of town with the intention of throwing him over the hill.  The assault upon the Holy Father Christmas Eve, and his remarkable composure afterwards, reminds me of this gospel passage.  The obvious peace and recollection the Holy Father exhibited seems to reveal the depth of his spirituality and his profound humility - in fact, maybe even a heroic charity.  Which indicates a preparedness for martyrdom.
.
I like to imagine the incident was the source of perfect joy for the Holy Father this Christmas.  
.
"'Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ. For we cannot glory in all those other marvelous gifts of God, as they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says: 'What have you that you have not received?' But we can glory in the cross of tribulations and afflictions, because that is ours, and so the Apostle says: 'I will not glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.'" - Little Flowers of St. Francis

Fifth day of Christmas.


I can't think of anything controversial - 5 golden rings?  Cash value please.  Oh - well maybe I got something - I drank a fifth of Tequila last night.  (I'm so kidding...  or am I?)
.
Photo:  Woman on the beach in Malta...  Hey did Kat post Malta Monday?  I didn't think so - well here she is.  Oh I know!  If she ever moves there I hope she brings a private confessor.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back by popular demand: Learn disco - the easy way.

Cath and I will be giving lessons New Year's Eve day at Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul from 9 AM to 3 PM. Box lunch available. BYOB.

Antiquities at Loome's



One of the proprietors of Loome Theological Booksellers in Stillwater sent me these photos of two icons they acquired in an estate/library sale. He hoped I could tell him something about them, thinking at first they could even be Latin American. Most people are familiar with Greek and Russian iconography, and therefore regional styles sometimes confuse even the experts. I recognized immediately these were Balkan in origin, at first believing they were Bulgarian. I've since determined they are Serbian and or possibly Wallachian. I believe they are 18th century, possibly early 19th century. The wood panels measure approximately 7" x 10". I would expect they are tempera and gold leaf. If you are interested in purchasing, contact Loome's for more information: http://www.loomebooks.com/   They also have a blog: Ex Libris Theologicis - You still have time to purchase your gifts for Epiphany/Twelfth Night!  (The icon of Christ Enthroned is a gem BTW!)
.
Merry Christmas!
Posted by Picasa

Christmastide - the new penitential season.



And other thoughts of course...
.
Post-Christmas diets.  If you work in an office or are amongst people anywhere after Christmas Day, you will most certainly hear people complaining of how much they ate, drank, and all the weight they gained.  See - that's just so odd, foolish virgin talk - they pigged out all through Advent and are doing their penance during the most wonderful time of the year.
.
Holy day and Sunday obligations.  Remember a few days - weeks ago - I know, it's all a blurr, but I wrote on how some pastors and religious writers cannot bear to suggest attending Mass on Sundays and Holy days is actually an obligation.  They prefer to believe that people will attend because they want to, out of devotion and religious fervor.  That's so sweet!  Anyway - many protestant sects, as well as the Obamas, are not obligated to attend church on Christmas, and they don't.  Just sayin' Johann - that argument is shot to hell isn't it.
.
Christmas songs recorded by popular singers.  They shouldn't ever be played.  I was in several stores last week and the very worst Christmas songs I ever heard were played over the sound system.  One by Willie Nelson that sounded like some old drunk singing in a bar.  The other, "Ave Maria" sung by Stevie Wonder.  Horrible.  It was just horrible.  Now you know why unbelievers want Christmas eliminated from the public square.
.
Kids in Santa hats.  Did you know moms put baby girls in baby wigs now?  I didn't - but I saw a lot of baby girls in Santa hats at Mass on Christmas.  So anyway.  I went to the Children's Mass Christmas Eve.  It was wild - but I wanted to go early because we were having a big snow storm and I did not want to go out later or go out the next day.  I saw the Griswolds there - really, about 100 families of them.  I also noticed many 2 parent professional families with multi-national children - obviously adopted.  I could tell the women were professional because they wore suits, and the children were obviously from other countries because they  looked entirely different from the parents.  (Nothing wrong with that.)  The parish I attend is rather affluent - I mention that because it is very expensive to adopt.  Believe me, I think it is wonderful to adopt; children from the U.S. or elsewhere - I also know it's hard to get babies, unless you adopt from other countries.  I know a little about the process from friends who adopted, I also know there are many reasons people adopt, and so on.  So what's my point?  I'm not sure.

"Lunch under the bridge"...


That post title made me think of homeless people living under a bridge.
.
It's estimated that 3,000 homeless people, including kids, are sleeping in church basements, shelters and under bridges, mostly in and around downtown Minneapolis. - StarTribune
.
A group that assists the homeless and tries to provide a place for them to go for help is trying to raise funds for Chinese food sleeping bags and tents to help the homeless weather the winter in the downtown areas - because there is no room in the shelters.  Story here.
.
So.  "How was Christmas?"  I know! - I took that question from the other blog too.  You and I know  Christmas is not yet over - right?  My goodness - it is only the Fourth Day of Christmas after all... you know, four gospels calling...

Holy Innocents


Pieter Brueghel the Elder c.1530 - 1569.




The Murder of the Holy Innocents.
.
In 1566, Brueghel painted the scene in contemporary terms.  In the 1930's numerous images emerged from the Nazi death camps which could be titled thus.  How would an artist paint this scene today?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nativity


Jeffrey has assembled quite a collection of beautiful Nativities for our meditation.  Visit him here.  The example shown above by Johann Koerbecke is charming in that it shows the angels nearly as little as the Bambino.  Angels can be quite tiny you know... perhaps as small as a twinkle...

Start spreading the news...


The new Bishop Sheen?  The new Loretta Young?
.
Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today




I want to be a part of it - New York, New York


These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray


Right through the very heart of it - New York,


New York






I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep


And find I’m king of the hill - top of the heap






These little town blues, are melting away


I’ll make a brand new start of it - in old New


York


If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere


It’s up to you - New York, New York






New york, New York


I want to wake up in a city, that never sleeps


And find I’m a number one top of the list, king


of the hill


A number one






These little town blues, are melting away


I’m gonna make a brand new start of it - in old


New York


And if I can make it there, I’m gonna make it


anywhere






It up to you - New York New York






New York...
.
.
.
I know...  I know!
.
Something is going on!
.
Three French hens or Chinese duck for supper... I'm not really sure... he is very theatrical you know.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My apologies to all of you who send family-photo (or just plain photos of yourself) style Christmas cards...


I think they are wonderful and very personal, and your kids are definitely not ugly or Stepfordishly personality-less.  I especially love this photo-card (shown) from my physician, as well as the one I got from Millicent and her daughter - who thinks she is a poodle.  I'm grateful just to get any kind of Merry Christmas greeting at all - from anyone.

Organs and church music and church people and stuff.


While I was helping to set up the creche at the Cathedral (I had nothing to do with design, layout, grapevine, etc. - I just did painted backgrounds and painted ceilings.) - anyway - while helping install, the organist was practicing.  It was so loud I couldn't think - well, that isn't true.  But I told the person I was working with, "I hate organ music."  And a short conversation ensued about me disliking church music and organ music and loud noises that scare cats too.
.
Seriously, I like organs in church, and I like some hymns and carols, but I generally prefer silence.  I actually like to sing - but I don't always do so.  I like to pray quietly.  I don't like rousing renditions of Halle - Halle - Halleluia and clapping, neither am I a big fan of Handel's Messiah and the Alleluia chorus.  (I know!)  Yes - I like classical music and chant.  I also like some hip-hop too, but I prefer to pray in silence.  I prefer Masses without choirs and fanfares - Imagine if there was no Sistine choir.  I suppose I should mention that I happen to love medieval music as well as the music exampled in Nine Lessons and Carols as sung by Kings College Choir at Cambridge...
.
I like Gospel music too.  Just not at church.
.
Photo:  What?

"I'm so glad it's over - aren't you!"


A woman I know once said that to me the day after Christmas.  She also boasted she had taken the tree down Christmas night and had the ornaments all packed away before she went to bed - explaining garbage day was the next day and she wanted the tree picked up rather than sitting out on the curb for a week.  How neat and tidy.
.
Christmas in the United States.
.
Photo: Jayne Mansfield showing off her ornaments.

Feast of Stephen


St Stephen - Carlo Crivelli
.
(Proposed patron of stoners.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Going through the Christmas cards Christmas night, after everyone leaves...


Making a list and checking it twice.
.
People really do that you know.  If they sent you a card and you didn't reciprocate - you are so off their Christmas card list for next year.  I actually sent cards to the people I missed last year - the people who dropped me this year because I never sent a card last year.  I kind of did it just to confuse them.  ;)
.
FYI - that is so not what Christmas is all about, is it... you know - tit for tat stuff.

St. Joseph had to work on Christmas...



And other stuff like that...
.
Only in our Nativity sets does the Holy Family remain frozen in prayer and adoration - but their first Christmas was probably a busy one.  With the help of the shepherds perhaps, St. Joseph began constructing a more suitable shelter for Our Lady and the Infant Jesus.  In one cycle of paintings, I believe by Fra Angelico, the stable is transformed with straw siding by the time the kings got there.  I'm sure Our Lady was pretty busy as well - and the sheperds seemed to like them, so they must have helped out a great deal.
.
I don't have all of the dates and history of how Christmas has been celebrated throughout the world, but I doubt it was ever as emotion driven as it is today.  In fact our customs for Christmas developed in 19th century Germany and England.  Christmas extravagance and emphasis upon lavish gifts and decorations is a 20th century thing.  The wars spiked the emotional dimension, and alcoholism intensified they crazy bipolar-ism many people experience today.  (Hence last evening's posts with my sincere best wishes for a happy Christmas to the drunks and the sad and lonely, etc. - I was serious.)
.
Although when you get older - like me - it is amazing how all of those trappings - though pretty, quaint, nice, warm and fuzzy, and all of that - one is no longer obliged by them.  If you do not allow yourself to be sucked into all the expectations society, family, friends and marketing place upon you to have a Merry Christmas - as we understand it today - one is free to penetrate the mystery of the Incarnation in ordinary life.  One experiences a wonderful freedom of spirit marked by peace and joy, snuggled together in the closeness of Christ.
.
"The Lord provides everyone with tailor-made signals." - Benedict XVI
.
Sometimes loneliness, sadness, pain, depressions and addictions of all kinds - can be the place wherein such signals are perceived.  As the premier Shepherd stated last night:
.
"In our daily life, it is not like that. For most people, the things of God are not given priority, they do not impose themselves on us directly and so the great majority of us tend to postpone them.
.
The shepherds teach us this priority. From them we should learn not to be crushed by all the pressing matters in our daily lives. From them we should learn the inner freedom to put other tasks in second place however important they may be so as to make our way towards God, to allow him into our lives and into our time. Time given to God and, in his name, to our neighbour is never time lost. It is the time when we are most truly alive, when we live our humanity to the full.

.
We live our lives by philosophies, amid worldly affairs and occupations that totally absorb us and are a great distance from the manger. In all kinds of ways, God has to prod us and reach out to us again and again, so that we can manage to escape from the muddle of our thoughts and activities and discover the way that leads to him. But a path exists for all of us. The Lord provides everyone with tailor-made signals. He calls each one of us, so that we too can say: "Come on, 'let us go over' to Bethlehem to the God who has come to meet us. Yes indeed, God has set out towards us. Left to ourselves we could not reach him. The path is too much for our strength. But God has come down. He comes towards us. He has travelled the longer part of the journey. Now he invites us: come and see how much I love you. Come and see that I am here." - 2009 Christmas Eve Homily, Pope Benedict XVI.
.
Art: Adoration of the Shepherds - Murillo

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What I Say to the Bambino Jesu

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all the drunks and homeless, and those people whose friends are gone - leaving them all alone.

Pray for the Holy Father

As most of you probably know by now, the Holy Father was attacked entering the Basilica for Christmas Eve Mass.  He is reported to be unhurt and got up by himself after a woman jumped the barrier and pushed the Pope down.  Fr. Z has the news report here.

Merry Christmas

To all the sad and lonely.

Merry Christmas


To all the little people...
.
Heaven always seems to reveal itself to the littlest and most humble first... often in the lowliest of places.  The angel revealed the birth of Christ to illiterate, rag-clad shepherds.  These coarse fellows found the babe wrapped in swaddling, laying in a manger in a ramshackled shanty warmed only by the breath of an ox and an ass.  The poor were the first to hear...  Blessed are the poor.

Christmas celebrations.


Mash Potatoes.
.
Oh!  To have Christmas in Hawaii! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How the creatures served the Lady St. Mary and the Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve...


The extraordinary account of animal behaviour that first Christmas.
.
Although it is not recorded in the Bible, the story of how the lesser beasts behaved at the birth of the Infant Jesus has been handed down through generation upon generation in the animal kingdom, and the stories have varied little no matter what country one finds oneself in. Humans only know the story from their pets, the cats and dogs many people consider members of their family. Of course animal behaviourists like to claim that the animals' stories had been adapted from watching their masters set up a creche in their homes, and that they overheard the tale while the family piously read the Christmas story to children.
.
Perhaps - but I tend to doubt it, for why would, say a wolf in the forest know the exact same story? Or a country field mouse collect fir needles to festoon his nest with every Christmas Eve, and bring out the pine nuts he had stored up, only to be enjoyed for the twelve days of Christmas? In fact, it is the mice and rabbits who seem to have the most accurate stories of all. Of course the cats never forget a detail, therefore they deserve a great deal of credit as well. The dogs know the story, and tell it to their pups, but otherwise they don't talk about it much, they prefer to lay by the hearth and simply ponder the story quietly.
.
Oh I know, I know. People think it is the other way around, that dogs are boisterous and talkative, especially little dogs, that they would yap and yap about the story repeatedly throughout the Christmas season. They will argue that cats are more recollected and contemplative - but that theory doesn't hold up in this case. You see the cats acted in a most peculiar manner that first Christmas, and they are quite proud of it, since they feel their reputation for being ferocious and devious creatures had been redeemed that night. I will tell the cat's version of the story here.
.
How the cats took part in the birth of Jesus.
.
On that first Christmas eve, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of the holy Virgin Mary - and before anyone else knew about it, even the shepherds, the stray cats of Bethlehem gathered around the stable. They were hiding in the hay and behind the sleepy ox, one kitty slept on the back of donkey because it was warm, a couple of others cuddled up against St. Joseph who seemed to be asleep - although most mystics insist he was really in ecstasy.
.
The holy Virgin was kneeling upon a fleece laid over a bit of fresh straw, off in a pleasant corner of the stable, protected from view by the large sleeping ox and a low wall made of willow. The Blessed Virgin was in ecstasy as well, when suddenly a great light shone, and upon the fleece was a lovely newborn Infant, glistening as if bathed in star dust. No sooner had He appeared than the Blessed Mother swiftly wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger nearby. As if from nowhere, the tiniest angels appeared, about the size of bees, encircling the newborn in the manger, while strains of heavenly music could be heard, along with the gentle singing of heavenly choirs.
.
Joseph awakened by the humming of the tiny angels, made his way very slowly into the enclosure, his head bowed, tears streaming down a face made radiant by the light emanating from the Holy Child and his Blessed Mother. He knelt next to his wife, adoring the Holy Infant. The ox noticed and rose partially, although just enough to kneel, facing the Holy Family. The donkey did likewise. The cats, naturally shy and accustomed to being shooed away, kept their distance until they noticed all the other little animals; mice, chipmunks, rabbits, gathering in awe at the foot of the manger, completely unconcerned about any sort of threat the cats posed.
.
Now, as you know, stray cats are always hungry and always looking for prey - which is why many people who dislike cats, tolerated them in the first place, since they kept their homes free of pests. Amazingly, albeit unnoticed by all, the cats simply watched all the critters assembling, it seemed to them it was a living banquet being laid out before their eyes. However, grandpa cat whispered that this was not the moment or place for feasting. He proceeded to explain to the other cats that they had all just witnessed a miracle:  Indeed, God Himself, our Creator, had come down that very night to live amongst men; first of all choosing to be with the animals, the least of the creatures of earth. Grandpa nodded to all the little animals who had assembled, particularly the mice, and reminded the other cats of the scriptures which referred to the Christ when it foretold, "In that day the kitty cat will lie down with the mouse." (Grandpa cat knew the scriptures because he sneaked into Temple every Sabbath. He quickly related how the Virgin would be found with Child, that her Child is the Redeemer and Saviour, who brings peace to all the world, renewing nature itself, and so on.)
.
With renewed confidence all the cats crept out of their hiding places, their attention rapt upon the Divine Child. The kitties were neither distracted by the mice and other animals, nor were they a bit perturbed when the shepherd's dogs arrived... the atmosphere being so permeated with peace and joy that silent night. A few of the older cats cuddled near the Madonna and the feet of St. Joseph to warm them. As it was a very cold night that first Christmas, Our Lady picked up a very fat mommy cat and another beautiful Siamese cat, placing them gently near the Child Jesus, to help warm Him and console Him by their purring.
.
The End

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A rare view...


Into Cathy of Alexandria's bathroom - decorated for Christmas.
.
Photo:  Scan of Cath's Christmas card... thanks for the card hon!

What I want for Christmas...


"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!


Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is discord, harmony.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sorrow, joy.



Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not

so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."
.
-Prayer of St. Francis
.
Art:  Fresco - St. Francis at Greccio

British people are so eccentric...


I know!  Americans can be rather weird too.
.
That said, an Anglican priest in the UK is encouraging the poor to shop lift.  'So what' you say?  The poor  may get what they need/want by shoplifting, but they will still have to make restitution!  There's no getting around it - you have to make restitution for what you steal - so why bother?  Silly priest... who better to know about such things though, eh?  Oh I'm just kidding... or am I Fr. __?
.
"Poor people who are desperate for cash have been advised to go forth and shoplift from major stores - by an Anglican priest.   The Rev Tim Jones said in his Sunday sermon that stealing from successful shops was preferable to burglary, robbery or prostitution."   - Priest outrages police by telling congregation: 'My advice to poor is to shoplift'
.
Evidently Anglicans do not have to study moral theology before being ordained.  The bright side of this story is that if he was a fat Franciscan, he could maybe be the new Friar Tuck.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Nativity Backgrounds



I finished the panels last Friday - there are two sets to choose from - we'll see tomorrow how they fit and if they are suitable for framing by the stable windows. Visit Up Your Street to see the collection, here and here. (The photography is bad - flash back and all - but you get the idea.)
Posted by Picasa

Have you noticed Fr. Z is getting kind of "Poll-ish"?


I know!  Every other day it seems he has another poll at his blog.
.
Smart move however.  By encouraging as many readers as possible to participate in a poll - jamming, as it were - it seems to me any chance of accuracy is cancelled out.  As it stands, many popular media polls are imbalanced to begin with, subject to vague parameters, too many variables, etc..  Indeed, it is not unheard of for poll results to be weighted to account for the unresponsive stats.  Nevertheless, I suppose this type of Internet poll can be useful - but I tend to think they are about as accurate as the daily horoscope.
.
[I'm sure my margin of error on this is way off the charts.]

Christmas Carol...


Yeah - that's what they used to call this girl in the office I worked in... every Christmas she'd show up to the party wearing leopard... -  Oops!  That isn't meant for this blog.

All I was gonna say is that I have not listened to one Christmas carole yet this season.  Yayeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

"Q's Jook Joint" though.

Behave at your office parties this week!
.
m'kay.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kat went out this weekend.


She'll be back on Monday.
Story.

Christmas dinner guest(s).

Just a couple of more days and everyone will find out... Watch out Larry.

A comment not published.



On "charity has no strings"...
.
A friend sent me the following anecdote from the life of Dorothy Day:
.
"Tom Cornell tells the story of a donor coming into the Catholic Worker and giving Dorothy a diamond ring. Dorothy thanked her for it and put it in her pocket. Later a rather demented lady came in, one of the more irritating regulars at the house. Dorothy took the diamond ring out of her pocket and gave it to the woman.



Someone on the staff said to Dorothy, "Wouldn't it have been better if we took the ring to the diamond exchange, sold it, and paid that woman's rent for a year?"


Dorothy replied that the woman had her dignity and could do what she liked with the ring. She could sell it for rent money or take a trip to the Bahamas. Or she could enjoy wearing a diamond ring on her hand like the woman who gave it away. "Do you suppose," Dorothy asked, "that God created diamonds only for the rich?"" - What I Learned About Justice From Dorothy Day
.
Thanks DJ!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Lady in art... and ads.


Virgin most admirable.
.
I heard, and unfortunately glimpsed an example of a blasphemous ad depicting Our Lady and St. Joseph; the so-called Christian group - I believe Anglicans - who created the image have defended their statement with some sort of justification of course.  (Not interested.)  Whatever the case, it is doctrinally wrong.  I can't get over the fact that in our age, when ordinary men and women are the most highly educated people in the recorded history of the world, many are not above promulgating such nonsense.  And at the same time, we continue to pay such exorbitant fees to send our young people to colleges and universities which destroy faith and contradict authentic Christian dogma and teaching.  But I digress.
.
Personal devotion.
.
Of course anyone may have private devotion or meditations regarding the incidental details and humanity of the Holy Family, so long as they are not in opposition to truth.  For instance, years ago Rene Voillaume reflected in a homily that images of the Blessed Virgin collapsing, or fainting at the Crucifixion repulsed him and he went on to explain why, crediting the Mother of God with interior knowledge of the why and wherefore of her Son's sacrifice.  In other words she was too strong, too stalwart to faint like an ordinary woman.  Fr. Voillaume was making a solid point, just as those artists he criticized were doing by showing the collapsed Virgin.  You see, in showing the Holy Virgin collapsed in the arms of the holy mourners, (I suspect) what many painters were attempting to illustrate was the Co-redemptrix' experience of a night of the spirit so profound it was akin to natural death - albeit spiritual or mystical.  Nevertheless, both are opinions and both opinions point to a deeper truth without conflicting with Church teaching.
.
Dogma.
.
On the other hand, the blasphemous nonsense depicted in the New Zealand ad bears no resemblance to truth, nor does it reveal anything true about the Holy Family or the Virgin Birth.  Our Lady is the Immaculate Conception, Our Lord's birth is the Virgin Birth.  Unbelievers usually get the two mixed up, and/or mock the two together.  Believe it or not, there was an enormous Church Council once convened in Ephesus to discuss these matters.  The result of which came the solemn definition (dogma) that the Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God.  Therefore Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth.  Profane or even pious reasoning may not agree with that, but such ideas are mistaken.  People of good faith can never fully comprehend these mysteries through natural knowledge or understanding, but that is no excuse to deny it, dismiss it, reject it, or mock it.
.
Witnesses to truth.
.
Early in Advent my friend Elena posted a wonderful reflection concerning the Perpetual Virginity Of Holy Mary, Mother of God.  With permission, I cite a couple excerpts from authorative sources Elena included in her post.
.
Even in the minds of many of the faithful, enfeebled by a forty year dearth of popular orthodox catechesis, a tragic confusion holds sway concerning the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, in particular, her virginity before, during, and after childbirth. There are many, alas, who, affected by various mutations of creeping Nestorianism and Arianism, have no grasp of what it means to call the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Those who do not confess the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary, honouring them and celebrating them, fall inevitably into one or another of the classic Christological heresies. - Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi
.
The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin." - CCC
.
And the most beautiful...
.
Who is this gate (Ezekiel 44:1-4), if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity. (St. Ambrose of Milan, The Consecration of a Virgin and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, 8:52; c. 391 AD)
.
Art: "Nativity" - Fra Fillipo Lippi.  You see from this painting (and types like it) the tradition of the Virgin adoring the new-born Infant Jesus, on the floor as it were - without cradle or manger - while the Holy Mother shows no sign of just given birth.  The composition was constructed to express the ineffable, the dogma of the Virgin Birth, and the Divine Incarnation, as foretold by the prophets.

Charity


Has no strings.
.
I get a lot of post ideas after reading other people's blogs.  Sometimes they say (write) things - undoubtedly with the best intentions - that they haven't a clue as to how contradictory their statements sometimes come off - especially in light of their previous postings.  For sure I know I do it!  I say something about being charitable on the Internet and then I post something snide about Sr. Joan or Sr. Carol.  I do many things wrong on this blog - but I have never pretended to be an authority or a model of virtue either. 
.
Last evening I came across a blog post concerning a beggar girl, written by a young man studying abroad.  Although he became acquainted with the beggar over time, he mentioned he never ever gives her money.  He said that where he is, the poor have a place to go for help.  Strangely enough this fellow solicits donations on his blog to help defray grad-school expenses.
.
In our country many good people do not give money to the homeless people they meet for similar reasons, although many will give to charitable organizations that serve the poor.  Therefore they are entitled to explain themselves something like this:  "The homeless can go to Catholic Charities if they need help, if we give them money they will most likely spend it on booze."  That may be true.
.
I always wonder about that however - for myself, that is.  Should I attach conditions to caring for those I meet?  Should I only give to those I think are worthy and who are more likely to use the money for the right things?  What if a pint of whiskey is the only warmth and joy a poor man is able to experience that night?  He already knows where the Dorothy Day Center is, but he doesn't know anyone really cares about him in that moment - unless I trust him and share something with him.  I used to worry about that stuff when giving money to a street person - I try not to do that now.
.
True charity has no strings.  But it is really difficult to remember that.

.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Awakening...


O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: come, and with outstretched arm, redeem us.
.
"[T]he great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shocked or whether it is to remain so that we see thousands of things and know that they should not be and must not be, and that we get hardened to them. How many things have we become used to in the course of the years, of the weeks and months, so that we stand unshocked , unstirred, inwardly unmoved.
.
Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to a realization of ourselves. The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which and by means of which we always build ourselves imaginary worlds. In this way we force reality to take us to itself by force - by force, in much pain and suffering.
.
This shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God's promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened - only with these is life made capable of Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of "coming to," in the wretchedness of realizing our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth in these times reach us." - Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J.
.
Art:  O Adonai:  "Moses before the Burning Bush" - Chagall

What?


Mr. Drysdale and Miss Hathaway.  (Beverly Hillbillies)
.

Intimation



Has it ever happened to you?
.
An intimation that someone needs your prayer - right now - drop what you are doing - pray!  I've awakened during the night like that.  Once I awoke as if someone had shaken me, and I immediately thought to pray for a man I met a few times, though I hardly knew him.  I should mention - for the sake of possible coincidence - that a parishioner had informed me a week or so prior to my experience that the fellow was ill and might be dying.  Anyway - the next morning at Mass another acquaintance from daily Mass came up to me and said, "Bob K. died during the night - did you know him?"  (I probably had been praying for him at the moment of his death.)
.
Today I felt an overwhelming sense to stop painting and pray for someone - perhaps a suicide - I tried to dismiss the thought but I couldn't get it out of my mind and I soon stopped what I was doing to pray.
.
Please pray for the fellow I was inspired to pray for today - or just pray especially for those who will commit suicide during the holidays.
.
Thanks.
.
Art: "The Suicide" - Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A petition to sign.


I rarely get on board with this type of thing. I must say, "We've waited long enough" seems a bit prideful and demanding, even somewhat dissenter-ish - but I get the point.
.
The petition makes the request that the new English translation for the Roman Missal be implemented immediately while expressing opposition to any more delays in the process. The stalled updated translation, which accords more closely to the original Latin, and is accepted by the Vatican as well as English speaking bishop conferences elsewhere, is currently being held up in committee if you will. So it seems fair to me a couple of bishops need a kick in the ass like this to get the job done. Click here to sign the petition: We've Waited Long Enough (Afterwards, perhaps they will have the gallantry to retire early.)
.
Thanks to Owen and Adoro for spreading the word.

"Stopped short".



How former free-lance exorcist, Archbishop Milingo fell in love with his wife.
.
One evening as he was driving Maria Sung home from an exorcism, he had to "stop short"* for a pedestrian crossing the road in front of the Vatican Arms Hotel on the Via Di Porta Cavalleggeri.  The former Archbishop extended his arm to protect Maria from lunging forward, grasping her enormous bosom.  The rest is history, and interestingly enough, included in an episode of "Seinfeld". 

Oooooooooooo! My! Gosh! They found Atlantis!


Just like Edgar Cayce said!
.
And right where he predicted...
.
WASHINGTON, DC (Herald de Paris) - EXCLUSIVE - Researchers have revealed the first images from the Caribbean sea floor of what they believe are the archaeological remains of an ancient civilization. Guarding the location’s coordinates carefully, the project’s leader, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, says the city could be thousands of years old; possibly even pre-dating the ancient Egyptian pyramids, at Giza. - News story
.
So who is Edgar?
.
Joan River's first husband, of course!   Kidding.  Actually Cayce was an American occultist known as the Sleeping Prophet who lived in the early part of the 20th century.  He was a well known spiritualist and healer.  He made many outlandish prophecies that most New Agers accept as gospel - even though he missed on most.  The Atlantis thing is one of his best sellers.  He predated the New Age movement of course, but his teachings embody all that these folks embrace - environmentalism, relativism, ecumenism - one world religion, etc..
.
The prophecy...
.
"Atlantis Rising - Cayce most specifically timed forecast was that Atlantis would rise again in 1968 or 1969. Needless to say, Cayce was wrong on that count. [Note: However, it was in that time frame that the "Bimini Road" was located in the Atlantic Ocean. Whether this is a "road" or "natural, geologic erosion"  cannot be proven. Atlantis suffered 3 major destructions one of which was the deluge.]" - Source

But maybe this will be the discovery of the Blue Stone...
.
"Blue Stone - Cayce may or may not have predicted the coming of a certain 'blue stone' of Atlantean origin, that was to be found on "an island in the Caribbean" and was to have the power to heal. In 1974 a Volcanic blue pectolite now known as the Larimar was found in the Dominican Republic. References to Blue Stones are also a metaphor for the color blue which goes to this file and on to blue apples, blue grapes, stargates, etc. Everything is connected and most of what you read that is channeled contains metaphoric content.
.
Cayce also prophesied that the Earth's axis would be shifted by the year 2001, bringing on reversals in climate, so that where there has been a frigid or semi-tropical climate, there will be a more tropical one, and moss and fern will grow. By this time, he indicated, a new cycle would begin." - Source
.
Quick!  Someone get Al Gore on the phone!  Oooooooooooooobama!  This could change everything in Copenhagen.
.
Thanks to Paula for the sunken city tip.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


The "O" antiphons.
.
I know.  It is a liturgical thing - very good - very nice - very lovely - all of that.  Awesome!  You will hear them recited, repeated, chanted, sung -  now until Christmas - and others talking about them as if they had never read scripture or heard such words and attributes of the God-man uttered by mere mortals ever before.  Very nice, very good, very lovely - all of that. 
.
Seriously, the antiphons are just awesome and beautiful - truly...  Indispensable during the preparation for Christmas.  Nevertheless, liturgical bloggers, liturgists, and choirmasters tend to carry on about them - almost to excess.  If perchance some cleric or liturgist corners you and expounds on and on over the extraordinary beauty of the antiphons, just tell them, "I know!  Oooo!  I know, I know!"
.
If these people did not carry on so dramatically - a soul just might be able to discover the spiritual beauty all on their own - as the Holy Spirit wills.  "The wind blows where it will, and thou hearest its voice, but knowest not whence it comes and where it goes: thus is every one that is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8
.
Art:  Monks - no further information available.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in a death camp...


"Men find it hard to look evil in the eye and call it by its true name."
.
Did you ever see the film, "The Hiding Place" - it is a wonderful film.  It helps to understand Christmas in a death camp... from the prisoners' perspective.  "No pit so deep that his love is not deeper still." - Betsy Ten-Boom
.
While the prisoners were suffering from starvation and cruel and inhuman conditions, Nazi soldiers and camp workers had every thing they needed or wanted.  In fact, their lives were relatively normal and comfortable - unaffected by the diabolical work they were engaged in.  Not unlike many of their fellow civilians who denied such things were happening.  Astonishing?

This morning I came across an interesting story (H/T SpiritDaily; New Oxford Review) exploring new research and data that demonstrates how gradual acceptance and practice of contraception and abortion may have laid the groundwork for Adolf Hitler's eugenic-abortion policies.
.
Men find it hard to look evil in the eye and call it by its true name. It was no different in early 20th-century Germany, where women spoke of the need to "curb coercive procreation" by legalizing abortion. Coercive here meant having to bear to term a child who was already in the womb. In 1908 the "bourgeois" Federation of German Women's Organizations demanded repeal of the abortion clause, §218, so that every woman might be Herrin ihres Körpers, or master of her body. In this specious slogan the child in the womb was reduced to part of the mother's body. Before World War I only elite women used this new­speak, but after the war ordinary women chimed in, as in a 1931 rally in which "many thousands of women were mobilized under the communist slogan Dein Körper gehört Dir! (Your body belongs to you!)." The year 1931 also saw the birth of the Committee of Self-Incrimination Against §218, which encouraged celebrities to come out and admit to having had, or having aided in, an abortion. Among those who came out was Albert Einstein. - Read the entire article here.
.
I laugh, you laugh, we all laugh - ignoring the atrocities occurring in our society.
.
Photos:
Top:  SS officer Karl Hoecker lights a candle on a Christmas tree

Bottom: Laughter lines the faces of camp staff as they prepare for a sing-a-long.

Read more here:  Laughing Death Camp Guards At Play.

Novena to the Infant Jesus


The solemn novena for Christmas begins today.
.
Art: Birth of Christ, Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beautiful Nativity



Nativity Group with Angel, 18th century


Guatemalan

Wood, polychromed and gilded, with glass eyes and silver-gilt halos

(.168ab): H. 20 in. (50.8 cm); (.169a–c): H. 20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm); (.170ab): L. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm); (.171a–c): H. 18 in. (45.7 cm); (.172): H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)

Gift of Loretta Hines Howard, 1964 (64.164.168ab–.172)
.
The workshops that generated Guatemalan devotional sculptures, whether Nativities or Crucifixion scenes, developed a style and technique that remained fairly constant over time. But while sculptors remained fairly faithful to set compositional models, those responsible for the estofado, the layering of gilding and paint that reproduced the effects of lavish silk and gold textiles, enjoyed more freedom to vary the patterns they used. Guatemalan estofado is the finest practiced in the Spanish Americas and is distinguished also by the use of delicate relief that adds variety to the surface of the sculptures.


Elements of Asian style, perceptible in the robes of Mary and Joseph, reflect the importation of Chinese silk via the Manila Galleon trade; their faces, especially the Virgin's pure oval countenance and heavy-lidded eyes, recall the features of Hispano-Philippine ivory carvings.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

A proper and serious Advent reflection...



"Walk through these days as an announcing messenger."
.
The horror of these times would be unendurable unless we kept being cheered and set upright again by the promises of the Advent angels, who speak their message of blessing right into the midst of anguish, scattering seeds of hope. These are not yet the loud angels of rejoicing and fulfillment. Quiet, inconspicuous, they enter the rooms of our hearts...proclaiming to us the wonders of God, for whom nothing is impossible.
.
Thus for all its earnestness, Advent is a time of inner security, because of these angels of annunciation. Oh, if it should ever happen that we forget their tidings; if all we know is the four walls and windows of life's gray days; if we can no longer hear their gentle step; if our souls are no longer both shaken and exalted by their whispered word - it will be over with us. We will have lived wasted lives.So the first thing we must do, if we want to be alive, is to believe in the golden seed of God that the angels have scattered throughout time, and still offer today, to every open heart.
.
The second is to walk through these dark times as an announcing messenger oneself - to carry and spread the angel's message. So many need their courage strengthened; so many are in despair and in need of consolation; there is so much harshness that needs a gentle hand and an illuminating word; so much loneliness crying out for a word of release; so much loss and pain in search of inner meaning. But God's messengers know that this is not all: they know of the blessing that the Lord has cast like seed into these hours of history.
.
Understanding today's world in the light of Advent means enduring in faith, believing in the fertility of the silent earth, and awaiting the abundance of the coming harvest.
.
Not because we have any trust in ourselves, but because we have a task - because we have heard God's message, and have met one of God's announcing angels ourselves. -Alfred Delp, S.J. [Delp, Alfred. Prison Writings (Orbis, 2004)]
.
My conclusion.
.
Each of us have something to give... to offer support for one another in these days of moral anarchy...  As Fr. Delp noted - we have a task... we have something of value to communicate - to edify and encourage and defend our brothers and sisters.  To the point of exposing ourselves to ridicule, rejection, contempt, unto  loss of life - everything human nature fears.  Souls are at stake.
.
"What must we do?  He said to them in reply, 'Whoever has two coats should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise...'" (Luke 3: 10-18)  Just so, whoever has survived some form of tragedy, suffering, sorrow; anyone who has been converted from a sinful life, a life of addiction; anyone who has encountered that place where "justice and peace have kissed, mercy and truth have met" - needs - must - give to those who have not.
.

.
Photo:  Trial of Alfred Delp, S.J.
.
Thanks to my Bruderhof brother for the Fr. Delp passage.

"Christmas In New Hope" - A Tuesday Story Corner Presentation.



Home for Advent.
- By Terrance J. Nelson
.
It happened during the pre-dawn hours of December 15, 2001...
.
It was an unusually cold December morning, just after the bars closed.  The guy was driving through Bucks County and stopped at a gas station on the edge of New Hope, to ask directions for Old Covered Bridge Road.  The attendant never looked at the guy but gestured towards the general direction he needed to travel.  The man - Helmut was his name - got back into his Aston Martin and started down the road the attendant seemed to indicate. 
.
The tree lined road was overgrown with snow laden hedge-rows, while the icy lane zig-zagged through multiple curves and over small rolling inclines.  Undeterred, Helmut began driving faster as he recalled the way... lifting his wrist to his nostrils, deeply inhaling the cologne he had purchased that afternoon:  "Gio!"  Helmut exclaimed.  "I loves dat schmell!"  He shouted lustfully!  "Und so shall my schatzie...."  Suddenly, without warning, the driver swerved to avoid hitting a chicken crossing the road;  the car swung around and around and around like a top on the ice covered surface, crashing into a tree, killing Helmut instantly. 
.
The End
.
Note:  The center photo in the montage (above) shows Helmut exactly as he was found by rescuers at the scene of the accident.  Though killed instantly and violently in the tragic accident, Helmut appeared almost as if just awakening from a nap - with no visible injuries.  It was considered an Advent miracle.
.
Suggested background music: "Leader of the Pack" playing slowly and softly, hoarsely sung by Whitney Houston.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My favorite Christmas carole: "Shine A Light!"

Listening to this - I added lights to my Nativity backgrounds! Merry Christmas!

Last full week before Xmas!



Quick pics.
.
I'm still working on the backgrounds for the Nativity - driving myself nuts because I get too detailed - no one will really notice the panels since they will be viewed through 12" x 12" windows.  Then I have no idea how they will be mounted in order to work - I've never -  Oops!  Sounds like I'm complaining - I am not - just stressed now... what if they do not work?  What if they are too dark?  Nevertheless, I'm enjoying the painting - like I said - they are not good art - they are just backgrounds and a little fanciful - especially the cat angels!   
.
Cath wants me to write my Christmas stories - but those may have to wait until after the 25th - despite the fact they should be told for Christmas Eve.
.
I'll tell you about a couple of dreams though.
.
I don't know if it is the stress of the season or what, but I've been dreaming a lot.  So real quick like - I'll tell you about a couple of them. 
.
So anyway.  Last night's dream was about being at my old job, but trying to stay out of sight of management because I'm banned from the premises - which is the source of heartache for me because I miss a couple of the guys I really liked there.  Anyway - one of the guys saw me and I had to get out fast because he is a very unforgiving guy and married to one of the owners.
.
So I run down the street and realize I'm actually in the warehouse district of Minneapolis and looking for something, and then I'm a block off Hennepin - the main strip downtown, and this huge, black tornado is coming and I run into the Saloon - a gay bar - and get under the tables, and there are a bunch of old ladies already taking cover and they are blogging.  So I start praying the rosary and the tornado passes and I end up in City Center shopping for Christmas.  That is all I can recall - but it was really stressful.  I left out the part about the tornado hoses - little tornadoes, almost like the hoses on gasoline pumps - swirling towards my face - and yet all I wanted to drink was a Coke.


.
The Digs dream.
.
The other night - I told Cathy this one - I dreamed a dream - no - that's Susan Boyle.  But seriously, I dreamed I was in the back shade garden gardening when I heard a ruckus in the main yard.  I looked over the hedge and the neighbor's dog was frantically digging a trench - he looked like Wishbone, so I wasn't too concerned.  Then I noticed the neighbor family standing there staring at me, all Stepford-like.  So creepy.  I also noticed a very large rabbit watching it all.  He was about 6 feet tall, very beige with tawny shading, and a white tummy.  His ears were quite big, and he looked at me very sternly.  I thought to myself, "What?"  You know - like I did something bad.  (I always feel like that.)
.
It was then that I noticed a couple of regular sized rabbits watching the dog as he kept on digging like a maniac - and I thought to myself, "I guess it's true what they say about Jack Russell terriers."   And then I saw what was going on - the dog was uncovering the rabbit's nest, snatching the babies and dismembering them - obviously killing them - and scattering body parts and fur all about.
.
Weird, huh?  But I know what it means.  Without going into detail, it is all about blogging.  I'm the dog - digging for stories and ripping people apart - and that huge rabbit disapproves.
.
All righty then.  I have to get painting.
.
Art: "Holiday On Eis" - Michael Sowa

Nada


Feast of St. John of the Cross.
.
That's all.
.
Photo:  Statue of the saint - no further information available.