Friday, February 29, 2008
Tomorrow is March 1. There is throughout Catholicism a powerful devotion to the Blessed Mother following a tradition set at Fatima (correct me if I am wrong) that occurs on the First Saturday of every Month. This month, March this year it also falls on the first day of the month. It's a special day. Every month it's a great practice to start the month with a serious prayer for the intentions of the month, but this month is significant because it falls on a First Saturday.
This giving First Things to God concept is found everywhere. I am particularly drawn to it because I am the oldest child of two oldest children parents. So I am a first thing myself. Both my parents are first things-
All male children who "open the womb" or were first born were considered holy and consecrated to the Lord. That would include my Dad- who was a Deacon.
The First Fruits of the harvest were always to be given to the Lord in the tithe. All first created or born things belong to the Lord. In truth, everything belongs to the Lord of all creation, but there is a special consecration called for those first things. Tomorrow is such a day.
I was reminded by a kind anonymous person who commented on an earlier archived blog entry that Samuel, the great prophet, was the son of Hannah who prayed for a child after going many years barren without one and in answer to her prayer conceived, so consecrated her first born male who opened the womb to the Lord. The name Samuel actually means 'because i asked the Lord for him.'
Jesus of course also was so consecrated as the first born male who opened the womb (as if he needed consecration by any human when he was divine). He was consecrated at the Temple after the time of Mary's purification when Mary and Joseph could travel to the Temple.
John the Baptist would also have been such a first born male who "opened the womb."
We don't know (I don't know) of any siblings that Mary had, so Mary herself was in all liklihood a first born, first thing consecrated to the Lord. She was a "handmaid" of the Lord, perhaps a consecrated Virgin devoted to temple service. The reference to her stating to Gabriel essentially--how can this be? I have not been with any man, I am a Virgin--has been expounded upon to signify that she was a consecrated Virgin, for Life, dedicated to God, and Joseph was assigned by lot or duty to be her guardian-husband, forever chaste.
God calls people to himself- for himself. And as he created everything,
he calls us to give of ourselves back to him- in everything we are, have and make- including our children-especially, it would seem the first born of them.
Remember when you were a child and the first allowance money you got-I bet you bought something for your Mother with it.
If you are around a Catholic Church tomorrow- stop in and say a prayer. You may be surprised to see what you find there.
I'm Grand Master Slam
M-T Suit Man
I look Presidential
but talk like canned ham
I never was a muslim
just like wearing a cafkan
and i'm tight with the brother farrakan
I'm Grand Master Slam
M-T Suit Man
just want all the power
look at me wow-ya
let the policies eat cake in a hurry
I got more dough now than Pilsbury
All the press implore me
the Kennedies adore me
I'm hero adulated
Don't say that 'bout my momma
or I'll call you a bad racist
Don't really know my daddy
he was someone else's African man
left my momma wondering why she slept
with a foreign married man and wept
me to sleep for her sins-call me Slim
I'm in it to take it-are you in?
I am here to say I'm not a mistake
how much you want to gimme a break
see, lookie me I'm the President-see me bow
which makes adultery happy now
cause after the campaign fortune I spent
now you gotta call me Mister President.
I'm Grand Master M-T Suit
You don't know my policies cause I don't
know them either. I'm a PR bonanza,
just out to wow ya and trash-mouth
Hillary by calling her silly
when I don't have a plan to speak of
Didn't you notice? I'm slicker than Willy
in a pickle factory.
I'm Grand Master M-T Suit with Harvard attitude
I'm a Madison Avenue GQ Platitude
I'm so much smarter than you
I wanna be your President Dude.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The abortion debate is typically totally devoid of any reference to how the Dad feels about losing his child when he wants it. Usually one hears of the Dads who pressure or force abortion, tell their girlfriends to "get rid of it" or suggest that they "know what to do with it" or are just totally missing in action. The MIA Dads may or may not even know an abortion took place. How do the men who lose their children feel about abortion?
There is a campaign this lent continuing the "40 days" where people are praying in front of abortion mills misnamed "clinics." Here is an account of one Dad who was with his wife when he was met at the Mill by prayer warriors from this 40 day campaign which I forward for your thoughtful consideration:
When it comes to abortion, fathers have no rights.
There is nothing a child's father can do to legally stop an abortion.
That doesn't mean, however, that God cannot put it on a man's heart to reach out and beg the baby's mother to not go through with it.
The 40 Days for Life team in BAKERSFIELD,CALIFORNIA tells of a young couple who arrived for an abortion who agreed to talk to the sidewalk counselors.
"Don't get me wrong," the young man said, "if we had the money, I'd like to have another kid. But we're struggling right now just to care for our little son. And we had to drive a long way for this abortion, so we need to go in now.""Do you have a picture of your son?" asked one of the counselors. The picture was in their car, so they went back to get it. They talked.
"You have a beautiful little boy, and you're a beautiful couple," the counselor said.
"But you have a beautiful baby brother or sister inside too. "Volunteers filled up the couple's gas tank, and another agreed to help the man find a job. Because they had the opportunity to think it over, they did not go through with the abortion. "That really got to me when you talked about our little boy's brother or sister," said the dad. There are other fathers who need your prayers --even more so, perhaps, than this young man. These fathers are the men who have dropped out of their children's lives. Maria in SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, met awoman at the clinic -- a single mom with two children who is relying on a friend's generosity just to have a place to live. She was pondering abortion because she would need to work and she feels ashamed that she would have less to give to her other children if she continued her pregnancy." We talked for quite a while," said Maria. "She was emotional throughout our conversation, and finally agreed to talk to a counselor about the help they could find for her. She is a woman of faith, and a loving mother and I feel God will lead her to be strong with her decision not to abort. "The father, however, is nowhere to be seen. The parents are no longer together, and he offers no financial support whatsoever for his children. Although this father needs your prayers, there is always hope. "Even on a very dark day like today,"said Maria, "the Lord reaches someone's heart and lets us know that He wanted us to be there for this young woman."
Today's devotional was prepared for you by Carmen Pate, the co-host of the nationally syndicated "Point of View" radio talk show...
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Apparently YouTube did first ban this-
you said you didn't know me
before roosters in a mediteranean paradise
crowed three times
and sold your soul for the price
of a small flowerbed and an electric bill
Hell is the betrayed space where
you spat in your heart's face
and told the God who is Love
that there was no room for him
at his own altar. Hell is the betrayed
space where your ego overtook
you and the Pride King
slaughtered the innocence
in a coup d'ame.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
You think your heart is pure
but the demon basement hell hag put a spell on you
She glares down your attraction
With a demon evil eye
She hides and prays as a saint disguised
and trails and tracks you
with incantations to attract you
and hook you in her gaze and glare
Your soul is perilously there
dangling in codependent purgatory
as she drags you deeper and deeper
into the gehenna of her craggy desires
as she whimpers and orgasmically sighs
The demon basement hell hag put a spell on you
she wants you so bad she could eat you
and you give her chores and jobs
to keep her fixated on you,
you threw a party and invited the devil
to set the table for you.
The demon basement hell hag put a spell on you
and like the one before you she will ultimately
kill you too.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
youtube text-Miracle captured on video by Daniel Sanford of New Jersey. On 11/13/98, as part of the pilgrimage, he went to see the Bleeding Host of Betania at the Chapel of the Augustinian Nuns in Los Teques. The Spiritual Director, Father Mazzarella, said Daily Mass. When they finished, he opened the Tabernacle door, which contained the Bleeding Host. The Host was in flames, bleeding, and there was a pulsating heart bleeding in the center of the Host. Daniel watched this for about 30 seconds or so, then the Host returned to normal. HOWEVER, He did manage to film this miracle with his camcorder!
Visit http://www.InDefenseOfTheCross.Com for more
Friday, February 22, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Today there appeared in church a bowl full of what purported by the sign to be 'Lourdes Water.' [thought i would mention it in the event the PTB - powers that be-didn't think anyone paid attention to what was lying around the church.] It stopped me in my tracks.
What is the big deal about Lourdes water? A Dominican Friar Brother Hugh tries to explain in his article in http://www.godspy.com/ (he has a longer fancier title but you have to go to the site and read the article and find it---)
This Dominican Friar should start writing books because he is an excellent writer. Google him- if you are lucky you will get him to talk to your church.
I visited Lourdes and thought I should share my experience. Really, you should go and share your experience. Maybe my experience will encourage you to go. I have a whole photo-album in storage full of shots of the place. I took special artsy angle shots of the Way of the Cross walk up the hill where life sized bronze figures of Jesus lined the trail. Don't make me find them. OK-make me find them but you have to help.
When you get to the town of Lourdes you think you landed in the Shrine gift-shop where streets are lined with plastic glow- in- the- dark Virgin Mary shaped bottles and every tacky souvenier you imagined the French could invent to keep a town in tourist industry solvency. I am sure entire families survive off the mark up of fake limogue knock-off porcelaine Madonnas. My Protestant sister would say I landed in "chatchki heaven" and please don't bring any home, it's not on my Christmas List.
I settled into a quiet small two star hotel, the Saint Etienne (Saint Stephen), right off the main street into the gated holy park with amenities about up to par of a convent, complete with metal cot, small old wooden desk, closet without a door, bathroom without tub and a shower with an unmanageable crazy spirol fosset head that flooded the room if I took more than five seconds. I recommend it. It's right on the main evening candle-light procession route into the round driveway leading up to the main Basillica.
I went there mostly to pray for a wayward relative-a troubled brother as I was ignoring whatever ailed me and wasn't sure anything did too much- although that cough that kept me up all night for a few weeks wasn't anything I wanted to be concerned with.
The mountain air did me good. The mountain air will do you good. It's in the heart of the Pyraneese in a beautiful place by a river-the River Greve. I decided I needed a routine; a discipline even. So I decided I would drink every morning and night an entire large
water bottle of Lourdes water (with lemon in the morning), walk the Way of the Cross every day, visit the Adoration tent, pray more or less all day, and do whatever else the Spirit moved me to do. I went alone so nothing annoying would distract me. So every morning I went to the outdoor fossets and filled up my water bottle. Then I started to pray. All day. I went to Masses in French, English, Italian and Galic (I don't understand Gallic- I just love the way it sounds and I look like the people). Only later did I realize I crashed the Masses of about five different pilgrimmages-but no one seemed to mind.
I had a week. I went to volunteer to help the really sick people, but they said I needed to get a letter or some sponsorship from a priest or someone-I couldn't just show up alone and volunteer. That was a good policy I thought- what if I am a crazy person who gets off on traveling a few thousand miles to roll around tragically sick people in homemade blanket covered ancient rickety wheel-chairs? They suggested I just enjoy my first time and take in the sights and sounds and suggested I come back to volunteer. I tried to journal but there was too much going on and I was compelled to do more praying than writing.
This blog is too short to explain everything that happened at Lourdes-the things I saw, the people I met, prayed with and spoke with, the Masses I attended, the events I witnessed. There are, however, a few noteworthy things worth mentioning, some more subtle than others. I will relay some personal experiences. You have to believe that this happened because I am a lawyer and we aren't allowed to lie.
I followed the procession into the underground Basillica where I was surprised to see a display of saints including one of my favorite -Saint Therese of Lisieux whom I discovered had the title Patron Saint of Missions. I had been on Protestant Missions and didn't even know one of my favorite Saints was watching me then (actually I knew she was watching other times but that's for another day)
I watched lines of white robed priests whom I later learned must have been Dominicans process with the Monstrance in the underground crypt as volunteers wheeled in rows and rows of very sick people in wheelchairs. They are called the "malades" which just means sick folk in french. Some of these people were visibly badly palsied, twisted and crippled, others obviously very ill, possibly terminally ill. This really was the cruise to the Last Resort (I think Br. Hugh might have mentioned that line first and it's very apropos).
The ambiance was intense-intensely mystical and prayerful. Something was going on and I knew I could only see the tip of the iceberg. Truthfully, I didn't know what was going on.
I was still trying to process and take in everything that happened underground and decided to take a walk. It was a bit strange, but very beautiful. I walked across the river (there is a bridge- I wasn't that adept at walking on water...)
I was sitting on the other side of the river looking at the smallish Virgin Mary tucked in the cleff of the craggy grotto-side. I thought she would be bigger. I started talking to her. You are allowed to do this there- it's her house basically. If you don't talk to her in her house it's kind of rude. I realized that she is a Mother, like my Mother, with a Maternal heart- which is a very special kind of heart. No matter how mad I ever am at my mother, when I show up at her house, she instinctively does a few things without fail- she immediately wants to feed me-usually has a plate of something already ready if she is expecting me- she insists on taking my clothes and washing them (this sort of offends me sometimes because I don't think they are always that dirty, but she likes to clean everything, especially me)-
she asks about how I am feeling and does whatever she thinks she can if something is a bit off - do you need vitamins? Aspirin? A heating pad? What do you need?-She has an instinctive healing impulse. In my mother this may be even more pronounced because she is a licensed nurse and there are medical professionals in our extended family history.
The Blessed Mother is not just a nurse. She nursed the life of the Great Healer, the creator of all Wholeness, the Source of all Life. If you show up at her House, she wants to wash you clean, and she provides the water, even runs the tub for you-there are actually healing baths there you can go dunk yourself in. She wants to fix whatever is "off"- whatever ails you. If you show up at her House she won't let you be sick-whether you know you are sick or not.
So there I was talking to her. I won't get into what I was saying- but I will tell you that I started that annoying night-time coughing only in the middle of the day. And up I chucked some fuzzy
massive thing the size of a ping-pong ball that was festering in my lungs. Yuck. It was so gross and so large I threw it in the River and it audibly splashed. Yuck. People saw this and smiled. Like it happens all the time. I slept soundly thereafter and the cough disappeared. This won't make the annals of any medical journal because I didn't even know I was sick. But the Blessed Mother did-and she wasn't having it.
I processed around the Grotto as everyone does- I had my left hand on the Grotto wall and walked slowly around, and I felt a splash on the back of my legs. I looked back to see what bratty kid was dousing his water bottle on my ankles and there was nothing of the kind- just people processing in an orderly fashion behind me.
Now the Lourdes water is not the same as the River Greve water. The water of Lourdes comes from a Mountain source that is different from the River Greve that runs through the town and right by the Basillica. The Lourdes water is of a different mineral content. This stream was shown to Bernadette, a peasant girl of an age about not much younger than the Blessed Mother would have been when she had a visit from Gabriel by the Blessed Mother herself. Prior to this it was hidden. The Blessed Mother has a habit of showing people things previously hidden that can heal them.
When I returned I had to go get new glasses. I had my eyes examined and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn't need correction any more for a stigmatism that I had since birth. I had no stigmatism. My glasses dropped a .5 correction on the prescription. Your eyes are supposed to get worse as you get older. I am a lawyer and do a lot of reading and computer work. People my age were starting to complain they needed bifocals. But after I returned from Lourdes, my eyesight improved- markedly. Every pair of glasses I ever owned ever since I first wore glasses had correction for a stigmatism. Now I didn't need it.
I didn't ask for that either. But one of Jesus' favorite things to do is make people see more clearly. I think he especially likes it when he helps people see Him more clearly.
The brother I prayed for is still more than a bit wayward. So it's about time I went and volunteered to wheel around the really sick people.
My grandmother Mary Margaret Montgomery used to sign her name MMM. I called her M-cubed . Now I had additional meaning to add to M3-
Mother Mary Miracles.
now i think you give not a whit
but for your pomp and circumstance
the prance of parading piety and position
I hoped your heart proved true when tested
instead it proved itself feckless and transitional
i'm more deflated than a punctured party
baloon twisted in the shape of a grotesque
swollen creature. i used to call you my love
now i call you my incinerator
as dust to dust you remind me I am
and stardust all the rosepetals I held in my hand
I think those Hour of Power guys can read minds -
This is what I got in my inbox today:
"The truth is, every Christian passes through a time of winter in his or her spiritual pilgrimage. There are times when the light flickers, the glow burns low, the zeal fades, desolateness sweeps over the soul, doubt flashes its frigid face across our wintry path. Music no longer stirs the heart. Worship no longer lifts the spirit. Sweet tears no longer come to visit the eye. Prayer-a foolish empty wind! The heart shivers in a cold cell of cynicism. The window, once clean and sparkling, is covered with film. We wonder whether we still love our spouse, whether we still believe in God, and whether or not we are in the right profession. Careful! This is the winter season of the soul! Make no rash, impulsive, far-reaching decisions. This is a dark night for the heart. This is a stormy season for the spirit. But remember this: No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. "
From the Pastors Schuller.
(I am very fond of these guys because my grandfather watched Schuler Sr. every Sunday from the first day he was on television in the early 1970s as one of the first consistent televangelists who has been on the air now for over 30 years. My grandfather loved him because they were both from small rural farming towns in Iowa)
Has anyone read that book found on their site "Single Men Are Like Waffles, Single Women are Like Spaghetti?" The title sounds appetizing.
an heiress to a kingdom's ransom
not an ordinary waifelike pauper
inconspiciously hidden but
a veritable Queen in another realm
who met a man who looked verily down upon her
apparent troubled paultriness and poverty
and said to himself you must be as you seem
and as people have been saying-I shall
treat you as a lowly beggar and deign to
let you speak to me. Be off with you when
I prefer to be sleeping. She demured
and backed away, and prayed for him sincerely
as she knew he would be
overcome with sorrow one day
when he discovered ultimately
that he might have been a King, truly.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Turns out that you can think you are in "love" but just a bit delusional- remember that Fatal Attraction Glen Close chic? Turns out there is a phenomenon called "Limerence" which is an obsessive-compulsive disorder likely to be soon listed with the American Psychiatric Journal as a real mental disorder. http://news.aol.com/health/story/_a/limerence-makes-the-heart-grow-far-too/n20080207103309990058 . There is an old classic book called "Obsessive Love" that touches on the phenomenon.
You know it when you see it- everyone knows it when they see it- it's usually patently obvious to the world- sometimes before even it's object of attention figures it out. It's that glassy drooled glint in a lonely eye that fixates obsessively on someone like the person is their entire salvation. They stalk them. They cleverly sabotague anyone threatening their "relationship" which is usually more fantasy in their head than anything truly reflective of anything real. This of course is pure idolotry and displaces the rightful savior from the picture in the place of a fantasized super-human whom they wrongly imagine will fill that God shaped hole that only God can fill. It distorts and exaggerates the significance of a person to a degree where they are viewed as something larger than themselves-larger than life. The types of people who get targetting for this sort of Limerence are typically successful, they may hold positions of visible power or achievement- they may have a public image or profile that projects an illusion feeding into the fantasy. They attract the Hinkleys of the world, the Fatal Attraction Glen Closes.
Tonight I was at a Valentine's party followed by a movie with a film club I like to hang out with (because a great friend organizes it). There was wine and chocolate and people chatting over background music at the Goethe Institute, the German Cultural Center in Washington. No one was dancing. I was surprised that a guy I had never seen before walked up to me and asked me to dance. I may be uncharitable to the poor bloke but the thought of dead rabbits crossed my mind and "limerence threat" orange alerts flashed before my eyes. The song playing at the time was dreadful- beatless and metalic. No one was dancing. The man's eyes looked wierd. No other way to describe him- just wierd. I got a wierd vibe. I didn't know how to be gracious. The first thing that blurted out of my mouth was "would you be terribly offended if I said No?" He got a bit insistent- "Come on! We will break the ice!" He started to grab my elbow to coax me to the dance floor and I jumped back away. I said as politely insistently as I could
again "terribly sorry this just isn't my kind of music but I appreciate the thought." I didn't really, the thought of dancing with him was a bad stomach acid "flee now" sort of feeling. I fled and hid in the movie theatre.
This little encounter was actually my best Valentines present. It was from God. I watched earlier not long ago a similar episode in reverse where I observed a man have the same response to a woman asking him to dance recently. I didn't understand what was going on. God showed me what it felt like by staging it with me in the place of the person I watched.
This was the best Valentines Day. I got chocolates and wine at a party and got to feel exactly what it must feel like to be too sexy for my shirt (even though I was wearing Mission black).
God cracks me up with his sense of humor. It's past midnight on Valentines Day and God and I are still cracking up over it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Pope on Women; The New Anthropology:
CHRISTIANS MUST PROMOTE THE DIGNITY OF WOMEN
VATICAN CITY, 9 FEB 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received participants in an international congress on the theme: "Woman and man, the 'humanum' in its entirety". The event was organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for the twentieth anniversary of John Paul II's Apostolic Letter on the dignity and vocation of women "Mulieris dignitatem".
"The relationship between man and woman in their respective specificity, reciprocity and complementarity is without doubt a central aspect of the 'anthropological question' which is so decisive to contemporary culture", said the Pope, going on to mention the many documents the Church has dedicated to this theme, from "Mulieris dignitatem" to John Paul II's 1995 "Letter to Women", as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in The Church and in the World".
"The fundamental anthropological truths of man and woman, their equality of dignity and their unity, the deep-rooted and profound diversity between male and female and their vocation to reciprocity and complementarity, to collaboration and communion", said the Pope, "are based on the foundation of the dignity of each person created in the image and likeness of God, Who 'created them male and female' avoiding indistinct uniformity and flat and impoverished equality, as well as massive and confrontational difference".
"Hence, when man or woman seek to become autonomous and completely self-sufficient, they risk being trapped in a form of self-realisation that considers the overcoming of all natural, social and religious barriers as the conquest of freedom, when in fact it reduces them to a state of oppressive solitude".
The Holy Father highlighted the need for "fresh anthropological research which, on the basis of the great Christian tradition, brings together the latest scientific progress and modern cultural sensibilities, thus contributing to a deeper understanding of .. female identity", as well as of "male identity which is also not infrequently the subject of partial and ideological studies".
Benedict XVI also recalled how at the opening of last year's Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean he had mentioned "the persistence of a male chauvinist mentality, ignorant of the 'newness' of Christianity which recognises and proclaims the equal dignity and responsibility of women and men.
"There are places and cultures", the Pope added, "in which women are discriminated against and undervalued for the mere fact of being women, where even religious arguments and family, social and cultural pressures are brought to bear to uphold the inequality between the sexes, and where women are subject to acts of violence, ... and exploited for the purposes of publicity".
"In the face of such serious and persistent phenomena, there is an ever more urgent need for the commitment of Christians to become promoters of a culture that grants women, in law and in everyday life, the dignity that is theirs by right".
The Pope continued: "God gave man and woman ... a specific vocation and mission in the Church and in the world". In this context he also mentioned the family, describing it as "a community of love open to life, the fundamental cell of society" in which man and woman "together play an indispensable role in life.
"From their conception, children have the right to a father and mother to take care of them and accompany them as they grow. For its part, the State must support with adequate social policies everything that promotes the stability and unity of marriage, the dignity and responsibility of the spouses and their right ... to be educators of their children".
Benedict XVI concluded by invoking the intercession of Our Lady "to help the women of our time to accomplish their vocation and their mission in the ecclesial and civil communities".
AC/WOMEN/CON-L VIS 080212 (650)
He sent me this email (with 2,000 of his other closest friends)
Dear Lovers of La Maison Française,
The French-American Cultural Foundation, Roche-Bobois and Capitol File are proud to invite you to a very special event: La Saint-Valentin!
On the most romantic day of the year, we are pleased to welcome you to an unforgettable soirée! You will enjoy the finest champagnes, wines and cognacs while listening to hip music from Fly Lounge's DJ! An exquisite pastry menu and a sumptuous fountain of chocolate are some of the delicacies you will savour throughout this memorable rendez-vous.
This delightful evening will also feature a silent auction with luxurious items donated by Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Van Cleef and Moulin Rouge! The soirée will conclude with a raffle, where the luckiest couple will win a round-trip airfare* on Air France to Paris, the city of romance!
Start an affair with us on Thursday, February 14!
WHAT: La Saint Valentin at the Embassy of France
WHEN: Thursday, February 14, 2008 from 8 pm to 12 am.
WHERE: La Maison Française (4101 Reservoir Road, NW – Washington, DC 20007) ADMISSION: $140 per couple which includes:
- Admission for 2 people (bring your friend, your sweetheart...)
- Dancing evening with Fly Lounge’s DJ
- Pastry tasting menu
- Fountain of chocolate
- Open bar with the finest French wines, cognacs and champagnes
- Sleek lounges
- Luxury silent auction
- Valet parking
- One chance to win a round-trip airfare for 2 to Paris on Air France
TICKET PURCHASE: online at http://www.instantseats.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.venue&VenueID=164
(Your purchase will grant you access – on a first come, first served basis – to the Embassy's underground parking garage.)
The French-American Cultural Foundation, Roche-Bobois and Capitol file
* Restrictions apply: Airfare ticket valid from March 1, 2008 to May 15, 2008 and from September 10, 2008 to February 13, 2009. Departure date must be Monday through Thursday. No change permitted.
Patron of Love, Young People, Happy Marriages
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to he memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, the Roman Missal of Thomasius, in the calendar of F. Fronto and that of Allatius, in Bede, Usuard, Ado, Notker and all other martyrologies on this day. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.
The Origin of St. Valentine
The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].
Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."
St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.
from some on line catholic encyclopedia of saints
editorial note: is anyone else amused that the patron saint of "plague" is the same as the patron saint of Love? And what's with the bees?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
When Justice at the trial level falls short, for example when Judges at the trial level don't review all the evidence and dismiss someone's credibility even when confirmed by other evidence, one is tempted to throw in the towel and go- Who Cares. To Hell With Them. Life is a Crock. It's a Set Up. There is no such thing as Justice. Take me out Scotty, I am ready to leave earth now. Done Playing. No fun anymore.
It's sometimes just a question of personal like or dislike or what some people call "favor" coupled with power that can bring "judgment." When you know you are 100 percent credible and someone finds you less than that sometimes you have to take it---and sometimes you don't.
Jesus of course was totally deemed not credible by the vast majority of people jeering at him around his trial before Pontius Pilate and Crucifiction. People mistook him for a criminal when he was the Savior. He took it- but should we always? Smaller lesser people will always project their own shortcomings and deceptions upon us- in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary- that is human nature. That's why we have appellate courts some may argue. One trial judge may not see the contradiction in evidence (If Jesus was a devil how could he cure so many people and drive demons out?) some may be asleep at the switch. Sometimes the contradiction in evidence stares one in the face-- and they still don't want to believe it just because they don't like the cut of your jib.
It is comfort to know that there is a final judgment - that God is a Just God, that he sees you when you are sleeping- he sees the wicked for their deceptions and the evil that they do. He sees demons transform themselves into Angels. He sees how people set you up, how they lie to you, and how they use you.
Today we said again in church- forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us-
that does not mean we have to pay people to trespass against us. And we don't have to take it lying down when people judge us wrongly in effort to hurt us.
There is a Redeemer. His name is Jesus the Lord. The Highest Appeals Court in the Land is
called the Judgment Seat, theThrone. It may take us a lifetime to get there and we may have to suffer a million petty indignities before we do, but It's a promise- He Knows Everything.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
...and something beautiful from Sinead O'Connor's albumn THEOLOGY
...and even though we ain't got money, i'm so in love with you honey, everything will bring a chain of love. and in the morning when i rise, bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me everything's gonna be all right.
What do Nancy Grace, J-Lo,and Angelina Joie all have in common? They are all having TWINS!
Double the Fun.
(I was reminded because an office mate is also a Twin- God has a sense of humor:-)
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The resemblance to anyone you know is purely co-incidental.-unless it's You and You know who you are
Ode To The Poser
You threw my heart to the meat-grinder
as if it were made of granite and marble
I awoke from my dreams in a bloody trauma
of the drama you created to hide yourself
from your own desire and call it holier than
me. You don't even know what anything means
that you actually say or say anything you mean.
I believed you once and held in my head each word
like a dove in my hand or a fragile butterfly
hoping it wouldn't fly away. You squished it
flat in my hand before I could even show it to you.
Perhaps there was love once a time ago
Now there is just your grand dog and pony show
and lots of dead butterflies I tenderly carried
and laid on the windowsill.
Hillary Clinton is reported to have commented on one of her wardrobe malfunctions wherein she sports a coat that resembles something you might find in a Wallmart upholstery section if they had one, noting "I am a big fan of recycling-even carpets!" She describes a polyester polka dot three piece ditty as not that bad but "an optical illusion."
You can't take yourself too seriously in that job- too many people will dwell on every pimple and untweezed eyebrow. Gone forever, dare we hope will be the red tie predictable stuffiness of the Commander in Chief-
Might I suggest that scottish blue plaids go well with orange seersucker stripes? (just testing....)
Are they going to get mad if we no longer call the pair Billary and instead give her the proper front billing- as Hillbilly?
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Yesterday was Mardi Gras- which is french for Fat Tuesday-because you are supposed to eat like a grand gourmand before Ash Wednesday wherein you have to fast for about 40 days before Easter-or at least give up meat a few days a week. This year it fell on SuperTuesday.
So there was a party in church basements across the land --while others were glued to the returns for Super Tuesday. The church basement shin digs were much more subdued than the jazz blaring streets of the Big Easy. If your church basement was anything like the one in my hood, people mingled, drank just a little too much sweet tea and wine, ate a little gumbo and listened alternatively to laptop projected dixieland and bad disco tunes from the 70s- No offense to Gloria Gaynor but honey, hang it up.
The scragly creepazoid geriatric church lady from Brooklyn who saw one too many reruns of Travola in a white suit under a mirror ceiling ball who served up the vegetarian side dish thinks she is married to the priest as the church basement housewife (which he claims is purely platonic all for the service of the Lord) She tells him to thank the DJ, and he follows her orders nicely. She taps him on the shoulder and attempts to entice (pull) him to the dance floor to the mild horror of a quarter of the room. Whatever in the world would give such a woman half a notion that it was remotely appropriate to do this to any priest is another story for another Bad B movie in a sleezy Brooklyn theatre. It isn't that she is so pathetically emotionally disturbed, or that she dances with the grace of a strangled chicken so much as she actually thinks she is hot-or at least hip (with or without a replacement). If only he knew exactly how completely retarded she looked to the rest of the world and how even more retarded this priest looks giving her the sort of attention that fuels this amazing misperception. Life must be really lonely in the Rectory. Reality altering lonely. (Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln the gumbo was yumbo)
Then there was that cake with the tiny plastic toy baby in it. They call it a King Cake, having something to do with the wisemen. They brought Gold, Frankinsense, Myrr and coffee Cake apparently. Cake with a pink plastic baby in it maybe. No actually, I think that the baby is supposed to be the Baby Jesus.
Another sweet priest explained that in New Orleans in offices people start bringing in these cakes after Epiphany up until Mardi Gras, and the person who gets the piece with the baby in it has to buy the next one. So people play tricks like when they find there is a baby possibly in one piece they cut around it and leave the piece with the baby half hanging out. That's because they are too cheap. The piece with the baby in it will cost them. They might actually have to work an hour overtime to get the $30. to buy the next one.
Metaphors exploded. Isn't that what guys do when they don't want to pay child support and tell their girlfriends to abort instead? Isn't that what men do when they get involved in relationships and don't feel like paying for anything involving children so they cut around the good part? Leaving the baby dangling out unprotected and unfathered.
The baby of course doesn't go away, nor the potential of discovering that there is a baby hidden in the cake. The baby remains- it just doesn't get delivered to the person who cut around it---
because they are too cheap. And isn't that just, well, retarded.
In a larger sense- cheapness is of course wed to that demon poverty which keeps people from the fullness of life under the misbelief that God is a stingy God rather than the source of all abundance and blessing. That is a misperception of God's goodness almost as dramatically off the rails as the bizarre notion that the scraggle-hag psycho church-basement wife travolta groupie wanna-be doing the throttle-chicken trot is remotely hot.
Then there was Lent. Maybe the geriatric basement Hell-Hag will give up the witches brew bucket of libido-enhancing pharmaceuticals that make her hormones act outside her decade.
God, please take me to the desert because I can't take much more of this party-hearty Joy.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Ever watch a new mother with her baby? My sister had a baby about a year ago. Baby Jack is now about 14 months old. I asked my sister if she sometimes catches herself standing in awe going "Did this come outta me?" (to quote Rosanne RosannaDanna). She said "All the time."
Baby Jack is this unbelievably georgeous happy tumbly todler who can walk, utters sylables to try to form sentences, walks over to me to give me my morning coffee cup, gets really excited when Baby Einstein is on the DVD player and loves going for walks by the Long Island Sound. For the first nine months of his life, when he lived inside my sister his name was "Master Peanut" after his resemblance on his first sonogram. My sister adores every little wrinkle, joint and hair on Baby Jack. She loves his tiny few teeth coming in and counts them. She loves his smile, his eyes, his eyebrows, his toes, his fingernails and his ears. There is nothing that my sister doesn't adore completely about her Baby Jack.
God feels that way about you times infinity. You have heard the cliche that if God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it. Scripture says he has all the hairs on your head counted. He knows your comings and goings (even before, after and during the dinner bell for Mass) -
When Jesus was approached and told that a little girl was ill, then that she had died, he didn't say- Oh Well- whatever--win some lose some. Even though people had written off the girl and said- she's dead already, don't bother- he went to find her. Upon seeing a girl that looked good as dead he spoke life into her and said "Talitha Koum" which basically means "Get Up! little sweetie!"
Get Up! And the girl did get up, and she was restored to perfect health. Jesus spent his ministry on earth healing, raising the dead, feeding people and casting out demons. He never cursed flesh to die, cursed it to barenness.
There are saintly people who are called "The Incorruptibles" who once they died an earthly death and passed to heaven, their physical bodies did not rot, were not eaten by worms, and remained preserved as if in life. There are a few of these recognized by the Catholic church-and you can actually visit them. They include Saint Bernadette who can be seen in Nevers, France to this day. She's been dead about a hundred and fifty years. Her body was preserved as if alive and whole and healthy. There are even saints who died with malformation or disease that left scaring or marks while they lived, who when they died were restored to perfect physical form and beauty such as the blessed Katerena Takewitha, the Mowkawk Native American/Canadian who was converted by the North American Martyrs. She was marked with the small pox epidemic that killed her parents and orphaned her with pocked skin all over her face. When she died her face was restored to the beauty of her pre-small pox youth plainly visible to all who saw her (as the legend goes).
These demonstrate just how much God loves his creation. He looks on his creation with the same awesome love to the infinity power that my sister has looking on Baby Jack. I can imagine God dancing with a paint brush as he finished off your nose, your eyes, your throat, your hair, your neck, your arms in your DNA Code.
God is the owner of Restoration Hardware of your Body- he loves it. Every aspect of it's functionality he designed with better precision than an engineer on a Toyota hybrid. If God loves what he created so much, shouldn't you?
Monday, February 04, 2008
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…” (II Corinthians 4:7 NKJ).
As it is the 150th Anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions, (wherein the Blessed Mother appeared to a young girl known as Bernadette, now a Saint) this is one they are saying at a church in Washington every evening from now for the next 2 weeks:
O Mary Immaculate, Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, Desiring to make this novena with the greatest devotion of my soul and to answer the call that you made to all your children in the person of the humble Bernadette, I kneel at your feet to listen attentively to your voice to make known my necessities and seek your powerful protection. Do not refuse me, my Mother, on account of my unworthiness. Look only at the repentance that I feel for having wounded your maternal heart and renewed the Passion of your Most Beloved Son. Come and help me during this novena to purify my soul and to obtain through your intercession the special grace which I impore from the divine Majesty (mention your specific request here) and to give thanks to God for all the benefits received by me, and especially for that which is the purpose of this novena. Amen.
and to Pray for the Sick
O powerful Virgin of Lourdes, full of affliction and with tears in our eyes, we fly unto thee comforter of the afflicted and health of the sick. Placing in thee all our confidence cognizant of the innumerable and wonderful cures made by thee not only in Lourdes but all over the world, we humbly prostrate before thee in this dreadful hour of distress and sickness and beseech thee with all the fervor faith and devotion of our souls to hear the supplication which we direct to thee in favor of this our beloved patient (friend, relative...) .Since you have worked so many cures among your devotees, do please make one more and save this beloved member of our family. Take him/her from all danger if it will not be an obstacle to his/her salvation and we solemnly promise to spend the rest of our lives as good and practical Catholics in thanksgiving for your powerful patronage. Amen
Virgin of Lourdes, pray for us
Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us
Health of the sick, pray for us
Immaculate Lady and my Mother by the love you showed to the world deigning to appear in a rustic Grotto to teach the young and happy Bernadette, I beseech you to grant me a share in the same great joy. And as you O Lady cause a rich spring of crystal and health-giving waters to gush forth, obtain that Your Divine Son may pour upon my soul the sweetest and most fruitful water of grace to extinguish the love of earthly things and to cleanse my sinful heart so that I may be worthy of the most pure joys of heaven. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
I agree without amendment with most of it.
God does not require at all that we detest or die to desire of all earthly things, and it is incorrect that a proper love of earthly things impedes the journey to or hinders the joy within heaven- but God requires instead that we subjegate earthly things with a proper appreciation to the service of God as everything was created by Him and for Him (just denying earthly things denies also their purpose for God which is just wrong)- there creepeth in again that nasty apostacy known as the Albigensian heresy wherein all things of the earth, or "matter" as opposed to "spirit" are deemed evil and all things "spiritual" are deemed holy. This borrowed from the paganistic Platonic Realm of the Forms which taught that there were various "forms" of existence, such that matter was not intrinsically valuable or holy. Eros was viewed as evil rather than the servant of Agape. Thus anything approaching human attraction is viewed wrongly and immaturely as "lust" and anything deemed holy cannot also encompass within it marital union.
The incarnation teaches just the opposite. God was made manifest in human form, human flesh, which was not inconsistent with his deity and co-existed within it. This could not take place were all flesh or matter evil- were that the case his holiness could not be contained in human flesh, it would bubble out like oil through vinegar. His entering the world as a human indicates that he himself stands in the place of a human to emphasize the point that Humanness is holy. Insofar as Christ's spirit dwells in a person, humannes is the very holy vessel of Christ's further manifestation in the world.
If priests stand in persona Christie, Jesus stands In Persona-Deo Humana.
He does this just to make the point contrasted in radical juxtaposition with the pagan Greek philosophy of the times which held that the body was a lesser form and evil, asserting instead that humanness is a vessel of holiness. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The Divine Birthed in Human Flesh is a Marriage of holiness with humanity that gives the Dignity to all Humanity that God intended from the beginning of Creation.
What was the Temple? The House of Prayer. The body is the House of the Spirit.
This --all earthly things, all matter is evil heresy borrowed from paganism is at the root of the notion that holiness is unattainable through a path that honors matter as carrying holiness within it. This pagan heresy is at the root of the medieval belief that if a priest married and had children he was somehow less holy and less worthy of his priestly calling. Taken to it's logically absurd reduction, it provides twisted rationale for why love is redefined as something divorced from and extrinsic, etherially separated from human fleshly union such that the highest form of holiness cannot co-exit with it. I call this persistent heresy the "Revenge of the Albigensians."
God never invented matter to curse it. God never created man to self-flagulate himself to death. That is not a proper ordering of his passions.
Jesus didn't create human emotion so people would kill it and call it holy. That is pure evil perversion.
When God created the world, he looked at it- all the matter within in, and he said- It's Good. It's really Good. It's very Good. It's Intrinsically Good.
At the heart of the Miseducation of the Monsignor Martyrs of the world who believe mistakenly that they are following Christ by immitating his death on a cross by putting to death all their earthly passion (as well as anyone who inspires it) is the supreme hubris that they have any atonement capacity whatsoever for redemption by mortification of their bodies. That is why the mandatory celibacy rule of the Church is not scriptural. Christ ALONE was able to provide the atonement by his death on the Cross because CHRIST ALONE is the MESSIAH, the Son of the living God, born of the Virgin- There is ONE Sacrificial Lamb who was an acceptable substitute for us- no Priest is- Any Priest who puts his essential self to death (and Christ didn't commit suicide by the way), is guilty of a sort of murder- and it serves no redemptive purpose because they do not have as mere mortals any capacity to convert a bodily death into The Atonement.
This Redemptive Act cannot be achieved or attained by any mortal including priests. Without accepting this reality the necessary depth of appreciation of what Jesus actually did can never be attained. If any of us, or all of us can by mortification of the flesh immitate Christ's act of atonement in any meaningful way, it dethrones and displaces Him- who uniquely and only had the ability as pure holy God in human flesh to die a death that atoned for our sins. When you displace God in this manner you make an Idol of yourself.
Christ told NO ONE to follow him to the Gallows. Christ's death served a purpose that cannot be immitated by mere mortals. To the contrary, Christ flatly said that he laid down his life and would take it up again in resurrection so that we all would have LIFE, not death, to the fullest in abundance. He died so that we would have Life- so that anyone who understood and believed in the atonement would Live-forever.
So if I were to rewrite that last part of the Novena I would edit out completely the sentence that said "to extinguish the love of earthly things and cleanse my sinful heart" and write instead:
"take my profound love and admiration for the powerful wonderful creation and everything great and small in it and help me to use it all for your highest service as I dedicate my life to maximally manifesting in all matter and spirit the fullness of your goodness"-
So that is what I will pray at the Novena-
And I will invoke also one of my favorite Saints who sought to teach *Love*
Saint Therese of Lisieux, The Patron Saint of Common Sense