Thursday, December 3, 2009

Worth remembering...

"Every mother should teach her boys to look upon a woman as they would upon an altar."---Fr. Abram J. Ryan, Poet Laureate of The South

A Horse's Christmas Fable

[I publish this exactly as it was sent to me many years ago by a dear friend of whom I've lost track. Maybe she'll see it...]

The old gray horse sidled up to the pasture fence with little dancing steps. The place seemed familiar, yet somehow strange.
The grass was greener than any grass he'd ever seen, and when he looked closely at the white paddock gate it had a kind of pearly sheen. and there was another funny thing. A big, black cloud hovered just inside the gate. The cloud wasn't up in the sky where it properly belonged. It was like a great puff of black smoke rising from the grass.

Suddenly the cloud dissolved and revealed a horse. He was a small chestnut with a blunt head and one white stocking and brownish hairs in his tail and mane. The gray horse thought he had a kind of old timely look to him.

"Hello, old gray horse," the chestnut from the black cloud said. "Hey, that's a real good trick!" the gray horse exclaimed. "Where'd you learn it?"

The chestnut disappeared into the cloud again, but emerged immediately. "Learned it the day I was born," he replied, with a whinny that sounded like a chuckle. "You see, I was born on April Fool's Day and there was a total eclipse of the sun. So they named me Eclipse. I was always playing tricks on people too. Used to kick my grooms and try to throw my riders and I bit the auctioneer that sold me."

"My name is..." the old gray horse started to say politely, but the tricky chestnut ducked in and out of his cloud and
interrupted rudely. "Native Dancer," he said. "I ought to know you. I'm your great-great-great-great-great - I always lose count of the 'greats' 'a?" but anyway, you're a descendant of mine… almost everybody is, in fact. The Thoroughbreds, that is."

"Are you the gatekeeper?" Native Dancer asked.
"Mostly," Eclipse replied. "I'm on duty whenever one of my descendants is coming up. That's mostly so far as the Thoroughbreds go. Old Matchem has a few left and he takes over when one's due. And poor old Herod, he's posted here occasionally, but there's not many of his male line that aren't here already."

"What is this place" Native Dancer asked. "I guess I'm kind of lost." "the Green Place," Eclipse replied. "That's what
it's called. The Green Place. Most of the horses that get lost, come here.
We have to send some back of course."

"Why?" the Dancer asked.

"Because they don't belong here, that's why. Long before I came up there was this fellow Bayard, for instance. He was a devil-horse. Belonged to an old necromancer named Malagigi and he did the devil's work. Helped that villain Aymon of Dordogne to triumph over Charlemagne, they say. and a wizard named Michael Scott had a big black beast who used to stomp his feet and set al the bells of Paris ringing. He even caused the towers of the palace to fall down one day.

The Big Guy doesn't want that kind here. But we have Jesse James' horse, and Dick Turpin's too. The Big Guy says they did nothing wrong themselves. They were just faithful to their masters, and The Big Guy thinks that's a virtue."

"Who's the Big Guy?" Native Dancer asked.

"You'll find out!" Eclipse answered airily. He lowered his muzzle and pushed the gate open. "You might as well come in. You understand you're on probation though. The Big Guy makes his decisions about new arrivals every Christmas. Let's see, it's November 16, the way you figure things down there. So you won't have long to wait anyway."

"I'll bet The Big Guy is Man O' War" Native Dancer said as he moved inside and gazed over the emerald green expanses that seemed to stretch into infinity.

Eclipse snorted. "Don't get smart, boy" he said. Then he added maliciously, "You'd lose your bet too. the way a lot of people lost their bets on you at Churchill Downs one day."

Native Dancer felt hurt, for his ancestor had touched a raw nerve. His lip tremble a bit as he replied defensively, "That Derby was the only race I ever lost."

"I never lost even one race," Eclipse said unsympathetically. "So don't get smart up here. The Big Guy doesn't want
any smart-alecks in the Green Place. Remember that."
Native Dancer was a sensitive sort. He felt as if his eyes were teary and he hoped Eclipse didn't notice. "I won 21 out of 22, and Man O'War only won 20 out of 21" he declared. "And my son Kauai King won the Kentucky Derby."

"My sons won three Derbys at Epsom" Eclipse said.
"Young Eclipse took the second running and Saltram won the fourth and Sergeant won the fifth, and I'd have won the bloomin' race myself, only they didn't run it in my time. So quit bragging. Somebody's coming and they might
overhear you and tell The Big Guy, and that would be a mark against you."

A bay horse who seemed even more old-timey than Eclipse ambled up. "Is it my time now?" he asked eagerly.
"Not yet, Herod," Eclipse answered in a kindly fashion. "Old Fig's on duty now. One of his is on the way."

"Who's Old Fig?" Native Dancer asked. "I never heard of that one."

"There's a lot of things you never heard of, boy," Eclipse replied. "His real name is Figure, but down there they called him Justin Morgan, after his owner. Here he is now."

A very small, dark bay horse with a round barrel, tiny feet, and furry fetlocks came bustling up to the gate. "OK, OK, I'll take over," he said busily. "Where is that boy? Can't stand tardiness.
I've got things to do. A load to pull, a field to plough, a race to run, a trot to trot. No time to waste. Where is that boy?"

In the weeks that followed, The Dancer met hundreds, maybe thousands, of horses. Some of them were famous, and some of them were his ancestors and a few of them were his own sons and daughters.

He met a snorting white stallion named Bucephalus who had been approved for the Green Place by The Big Guy even though he was rumored by some that he was cursed by the deadly sin of pride because he had carried a conqueror named Alexander.

He met another gray horse who limped because he had stepped on a rusty nail back home just before he became lost forever. His name was Traveller, and he was a war-horse too, in the days when a man named General Lee had owned him.

There were other soldier steeds, two of them descendants of the bustling little stallion they called Old Fig up here. One was Phil Sheridan's black Rienzi and the other horse called both Fancy and Little Sorrel who had been the mount of Stonewall Jackson.

Native Dancer found Man O' War an amiable sort despite his proud aristocratic bearing, and he grew especially fond of a bony old fellow named Exterminator, who patiently answered all but one of his questions.
He asked the question of everyone: "Who is The Big Guy?" And the answer was always the same: "Wait 'til Christmas."

He met Messenger and Hambletonian and Hindoo. He met horses that had dared the dreadful fences of the Grand National. He met a horse who stared blindly into the emerald darkness. His name was Lexington.
He met horses who had pulled circus wagons and horses who had pulled brewers' trucks and horses who had drawn man's plows over the fields of earth, and he met others who had been the mounts of kings and captains.

Always the answer to his question was the same:
"Wait 'til Christmas."

Eclipse fussed over him and kept a watchful eye on his behavior and said he neighed too much and asked too many questions.
Eclipse could not stand the thought of The Big Guy banishing one of his descendants from the Green Place. And Native Dancer did not wish to leave. He doubted he could ever find his way to Maryland again if The Big Guy disapproved of him. And the Green Place was very pleasant in all respects. The grass was lush and he met so many interesting horses.

Back home he had sometimes been troubled by nightmares, for a Dark Star haunted his dreams, but now he slept
peacefully and rarely remembered the Derby he had lost. He became nervous though, as the weeks went by and the stars grew brighter.

And finally it was time.

On a night when the skies burned with starlight all the horses gathered as near as possible to a little hillock of the vast paddock. There were hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of them, a murmuring and expectant throng that seemed to stretch over the emerald grass beneath the diamonds in the heavens.

Eclipse was very tense. He hovered over Native Dancer, whispering, "Look your best now. Be quiet and humble. The Big Guy will be here any minute."

Suddenly the vast throng was silent as the stars themselves. The Big Guy stood on the hillock in a blinding blaze of
starlight, and Native Dancer could barely contain himself. He choked back a whinny of derision and whispered to Eclipse, "Is he The Big Guy? He's so little! And he's not even a horse! What did he ever do?"

Eclipse whispered, "He's a donkey. He carried a woman heavy with child to a small town on another night when the stars were bright. It was a long, long time ago."
---author unknown

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Blessed Advent

Sunday, November 29, marked the beginning of Advent. Advent has nothing to do with "The Holidays!" but everything to do with Christmas---because there cannot be a feast without a preparation for that feast, just as food cannot be enjoyed by the sated. As the house must be made clean for the coming of a guest, the soul must be prepared for the coming of Christ.
Advent has been described as a "little Lent". Like Lent, it is a period of prayer and fasting and abstaining from meat. In the bad old days, married couples, to whom was reserved the privileges of sexual intercourse (yes, really!), abstained from sex during Advent as they did during Lent. Even today, a dispensation is required to marry during this season.
But prayer and fasting are a fitting way to prepare for the Christ Child. They help us to recall the desperate longing of the old faithful Jews for the Messiah---How long, O Lord?
O Come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom Captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear!
Advent means waiting and longing and preparing one's soul. How does one prepare one's soul? For the Catholic, it means partaking of the sacrament of Confession. Yes, I know it's called Reconciliation now, in Newchurch Speak, but that rather misses the point and smacks of slapping the Savior on the back and inquiring, "Hey, are we cool, Lord?"
No, one must rid oneself of the filth and garbage one has accumulated before one dare approach Our Lord, not as a "bro", but as the prodigal son approached his father: "I am not worthy to be called your son. I have sinned against you."
Confession calls to mind the gravity of really facing our sins and being accountable for them. It's a hard task, and not everyone is mature enough, or courageous enough, to seek out and face up to his own sins. Facing one's sins requires action. It requires reparation, when possible, and it requires change. It may require losing some habits with which we have become very comfortable, but that is what's required.
Now the Protestants argue that Confession to a priest is not necessary and that it should be between you and Jesus---and in one sense they are correct, because the very admission to yourself that you are indeed committing certain sins should immediately bring about such severe contrition and such heartfelt prayers of sorrow for your sins that the formal act of confessing to a priest should be almost an anticlimax emotionally. But it is very necessary, simply because God wills it so. "You are Peter. Whatever you hold bound on earth shall be bound in heaven."
And so we tell our sins to the priest and in doing so we humble ourselves and convict ourselves. The priest listens with Christ's ear to our sins and, in the name of Christ, by the power of Christ's Holy Church, he gives us absolution while we intone the Act of Contrition: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
" amend my life."
It's a terrifying proposition.
But all lives were changed with the Incarnation.
Have a Blessed Advent and save Christmas for the twelve wonderful days alloted to its celebration. Remember Good King Wenceslaus who was celebrating heartily on the Feast of Stephen (the first martyr) which falls on December 26 when he spied the poor beggar and went forth through the blizzard to bring him food and cheer. Remember the Beloved Apostle John on the 27th, and the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, slain by Herod, on the 28th. Remember Thomas a Beckett, the great Martyr of Canterbury, and Pope St. Sylvester. Celebrate the Circumcision of Our Lord, and the feast of St Basil the Great! Remember the joy of the Magi who traveled across continents to follow the Star that brought them to Our Lord on Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Don't let them take away your Joy on Christmas afternoon. Hang onto it as long as possible, but make it your first priority to ready yourself so that you can enjoy it fully and appreciate it completely.

Sicut et nos dimittimus creditoribus nostris...

Recently, I picked up my much-loved ragged copy of Kristin Lavransdatter from the nightstand and opened it at random. My eye was drawn to the italicized Latin text, "---dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris"---forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The passage follows the thoughts of Simon, Kristin's brother-in-law, whom, in her youth, she cast away to follow her passion for Erlend whom she subsequently married. Simon marries her younger sister, partly because the sister is devoted to him, and partly because of his own affection for Kristin's father Lavrans—but Simon always retains his youthful devotion to Kristin, his promised maid. He strives, because of his good character, to be a good relative to her and to Erlend. When Erlend forfeits his lands and faces death for his part in an ill-fated coup, Simon is responsible for saving his life, at a tremendous emotional and moral cost to himself. However, Simon now finds that he has been guilty of believing an ignoble lie concerning Erlend. Because the evidence seems to fit, and Erlend is certainly not innocent of dishonorable conduct, Simon believes it, and now must make apologies to his brother-in-law.
During their encounter, Erlend, who had married Simon's betrothed maid, Kristin, is dismayed that Simon could think so ill of him (you may make of that what you will)…The fact is that Simon also is dismayed, and cannot apologize strongly enough. "'Tis not worth taking so hardly," says Erlend.
Simon replies, "I am not so good a man as you! I cannot forgive so easily them that I have wronged!...I have heard you speak fair words of Sigurd…the old man whose wife you stole from him. I have seen and known that you loved Lavrans with all a son's love. And never have I marked that you bore me grudge for that you lured from me my promised maid—I am not so high-minded as you deem, Erlend---I am not so high-minded as you—I bear a grudge to the man whom I have wronged!"
It's an astounding concept. It is indicative both of Erlend's character, that he could so easily and sincerely speak well of and love all those whom he has monstrously wronged and ruined through his own thoughtless, selfish actions, and of Simon's character, that, rather than attribute Erlend's attitude to a lack of contrition, he chooses to call it a virtue. And who is to judge whether it is arrogance or humility? Only God knows whether people like Erlend ever comprehend the pain they've caused. But suppose they do…Would it not be a virtue to put aside the weight of guilt and forgive those whom we have horribly wronged?
We could do far worse than to add "and those against whom we trespass" when we whisper the Our Father…

Chesterton's defense of women...

"...the truth is that woman always varies, and that is exactly why we always trust her. To correct every adventure and extravagance with its antidote in common-sense is not (as the moderns seem to think) to be in the position of a spy or a slave. It is to be in the position of Aristotle or (at the lowest) Herbert Spencer, to be a universal morality, a complete system of thought. The slave flatters; the complete moralist rebukes. It is, in short, to be a Trimmer in the true sense of that honorable term; which for some reason or other is always used in a sense exactly opposite to its own. It seems really to be supposed that a Trimmer means a cowardly person who always goes over to the stronger side. It really means a highly chivalrous person who always goes over to the weaker side; like one who trims a boat by sitting where there are few people seated. Woman is a trimmer; and it is a generous, dangerous and romantic trade.
The final fact which fixes this is a sufficiently plain one. Supposing it to be conceded that humanity has acted at least not unnaturally in dividing itself into two halves, respectively typifying the ideals of special talent and of general sanity (since they are genuinely difficult to combine completely in one mind), it is not difficult to see why the line of cleavage has followed the line of sex, or why the female became the emblem of the universal and the male of the special and superior. Two gigantic facts of nature fixed it thus: first, that the woman who frequently fulfilled her functions literally could not be specially prominent in experiment and adventure; and second, that the same natural operation surrounded her with very young children, who require to be taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness."
----G.K. Chesterton

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Fairytale

Once upon a time there was a great Emperor, mighty beyond measure. He loved all that he ruled and cared for all his subjects with Justice and Tenderness. In the course of time, one of the Emperor's greatest Knights became jealous and dissatisfied and led a revolt against him. The evil knight was defeated and banished along with the others whom he had seduced, but he succeeded in invading and setting up a rebel administration in one region of the Emperor's territories.

The Emperor had a special love for that territory, and seeing that the renegade knight was seducing his beloved subjects into rebellion, he sent the Crown Prince to put down the rebellion and establish a visible Kingdom within which His subjects could dwell without fear from the evil knight and his minions. After a long battle in which he endured hardships and sufferings beyond imagining, the Prince established the Kingdom and his Father declared Him to be the King of that Realm.

But the Emperor loved his son and wanted Him to sit always at his right hand, so the King appointed a Steward to minister his kingdom in his absence. "I will return" He told the Steward and all his subjects, "and it is not necessary for you to know when. But I want you to go throughout this kingdom, and send your ministers, and tell the people that they must all swear allegiance to me. Tell them that they must wait here in my Kingdom, which I leave in the care of my Steward, for my return! Teach them and love them, as I would do. Temper justice with Mercy, and temper Mercy with justice, and always deal with each other in a spirit of TRUE Charity which must sometimes burn as well as comfort. Be brave and loyal to me, even unto death, for I am your king and I will reward you. Protect those who are weaker, because of age, or infirmity or a weak spirit. Help each other to keep my charge to you. Remember that the greatest among you must serve the least."

The Steward and the subjects gazed at the King with grief and alarm, but the King said again---"I will return".

The years passed and the Steward did as the King had commanded. The forces of the dark knight, though defeated, were always active, always and everywhere trying to seduce the King's subjects away from him. The Steward was murdered by the enemy, and another was appointed to take his place, and another, and another. The years rolled by, but the subjects, always fighting evil and always led by the Steward, fought on in the King's name and established His Kingdom as closely modeled after his will as they could---making their allegiance to the King to dominate every facet of their lives---not just the government, but the smallest and least important rite or celebration bore the marks of the Reign of the Great King----even though it had been many years since his departure and none were left alive who remembered seeing him. Under the administration of the Stewards, the subjects built and nurtured and upheld the kingdom for over a thousand years, and the King's name, and the title of Steward, became revered as far as men could walk, or ride or sail.

But after a time, the subjects began to forget what they had learned from the King regarding humility and service. They had been required to fight hard to keep the enemy at bay, and their thoughts turned to power and riches. Even the Ministers and the Stewards themselves became more concerned with power and policies than in the simple code of behavior that the King had left them to follow. Some Stewards became great Generals, and were more adept at leading men into battle in order to increase their holdings than they were at tending the King's subjects. Some were actually evil, and brought their mistresses into the King's own chambers. When such things occurred, the subjects were grieved and said, "This is a bad Steward. May the next one be a good man and uphold the King's charge!" But still, they remembered the King's words, and upheld the evil Stewards because they WERE the Stewards, and as the king's subjects, they had no choice.

Still the forces of the dark Knight flourished, and infected the Knights of the King over whom the Steward reigned in his stead. Knights once devoted to the King ignored his orders, and began to set up their own governments, declaring "The Steward is not the Steward" and worse yet "The King never appointed a Steward". The good subjects knew that the rebel knights spoke nonsense, but the bad knights began pointing out that some of the Stewards had been very bad indeed, and subjects whose simple fathers would merely have replied that the King's orders could not be changed because the Steward was merely human began to think too much, and to separate their reason from their hearts and spirits, and they were lost and followed the evil Knights.

The evil Knights began setting themselves up as false rulers and establishing false codes and laws which they claimed were taken from the ancient books written by the first Steward and his ministers about the King and His victory over the dark forces. Although they were driven by pride and self-aggrandizement, many subjects followed them, and the True Kingdom was persecuted and its borders reduced as the bad Knights established their own realms.

Still, the faithful subjects remained where the King had told them, and upheld the bad Stewards along with the Good, since the King had made no provision and no exception. But the most harm came from the subjects and ministers who, like willful children, wanted only to test their boundaries. Their quest became not "How can we best serve the King", but "How much can we get away with without actually leaving the Kingdom." In answer to these, the Stewards and their cabinets produced reams of detailed rules and proclamations which, although they were meant to instruct, were, like the ancient books, used and distorted by the willful to their own damnation and the downfall of the realm. For the subjects forgot that they themselves had been charged by the King: that they themselves had a responsibility. They became so lazy that they forgot that the Steward was just a man and began to imagine that the King would magically make the Steward a little version of Himself, just because he WAS the Steward, and that they could do the King's will merely by shouting HURRAY every time the Steward made a proclamation, no matter how idiotic or treasonous.

Because these subjects did not dare to voice their opposition, every bad Steward was free to distort the King's will. Stewards became more concerned with the adoration of the public than they did in upholding the King's laws. They became sated with the adoration of the good subjects, and began to desire the applause of those in the false kingdoms. They would dine with the wicked false rulers as if they were brother Stewards, instead of denouncing them for the deadly usurpers they truly were. They approved of the false laws of the false rulers, and set them on a level with the King's own Charge.

A few of the good subjects were scandalized, and a large number of those began to say, even as the evil ones said, "The Steward is not a Steward" and they left the Kingdom and tried in vain to reproduce it as it had once been. Others suffered agonies of doubt and despair, for they understood that if even the Steward was subject to confusion and ruin, they themselves must discern very carefully the will of the true King. Most of the subjects were happy, however, for the Stewards excused all infractions of the King's code of behavior as nothing, requiring only that they have fun and enjoy themselves and forget that the King had been very specific in what he told them to do.

At long last, the King returned! His castle had been turned into an embassy for false Kingdoms, replete with lavish excesses and much winking and nodding regarding his sovereignty and his rules, and the Steward and most of the subjects were very sorry to see him come, for he looked so stern, and seemed to feel as if their behavior actually mattered.
However, some of those who WERE happy to see him return were very hurt, for he had stern words for them as well.

"Why did you follow my wicked Steward into this treason?" he asked.

"Sire," they answered: "He is the STEWARD! We HAD to approve of all he said and did! He is your own STEWARD! What choice did we have? Would you have had us abandon your Kingdom and pay homage to a false king?"

"You were right not to abandon the Kingdom," said the King, "for that was not an option given to you. And yes, he IS my Steward and I will deal with him. But your allegiance was owed to ME, not to my Steward. When you applauded his treason, you not only offended me; you failed to call his attention to his danger. You have contributed to his treason when you might have averted it!"

They were sorrowful unto death, but the King knew the hearts of those who were as true to him as they knew how to be, and he gathered around him all the subjects who were in any way worthy and told them:

"You are no doubt somewhat surprised to see among yourselves those whom you believed were acting in opposition to me. Don't be concerned. That is not your place. But rejoice that you are now leaving this ruined Kingdom and coming with me to meet my father!"

And what rejoicing there was in the banquet hall of the Emperor, where all things were revealed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

single or "in a relationship"?

I am disgusted by the relatively new concept “relationship”. This is, apparently, a condition or state one chooses, and then defines the terms for, and then searches for someone who fulfills the terms… If the other person can’t be physically present as much as required (or whatever) one simply switches from “I love you” to “This just isn’t working out right now.”

I realize that in more sane times people married based on a criteria more often than they did based upon love, but it was a criteria of character and Faith, not of convenience. One had standards for one’s spouse. Even love didn’t over-ride those standards. One didn’t love someone whom one could not in good conscience marry. And one didn’t always expect to be “in love”.

But the new “relationship” thing has completely redefined love. Love used to mean an emotion that transcended time and space. You might be frantic to get back to your loved one, but it was because you missed them---because being with them was your whole earthly desire---not because you feared they might throw you over for someone who was “there”. Oh, the days before “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Love used to be taken seriously. To find someone worthy to love and actually fall in love with them was the stuff of fairy tales---but fairy tales are the truest stories. One would undergo any task, any hardship, because there was only one object of one’s affection. There was no question of “love the one you’re with” because no other face, no other heart, mind, or soul would do. There was one and only one true love and all others were repulsive by comparison.

I want that kind of love for all my children, and for all the children I love. I don’t mind if they “settle” for someone whom they admire and can be friends with, because I know that God and biology will take care of the rest when they marry. But when they say they are “in love”—I want them to mean REAL love, not some trendy “relationship” thing. Some of them will be blessed with a vocation, and Christ will be the Beloved. But for the others, I want REAL love---not a convenient companionship.

That’s what I pray for. For all the dear young ones I love, from baby to 40, I hold out that hope. Keep yourself chaste for the sake of your beloved. Do not choose to love one whom a natural sense of shame forbids you to marry.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My favorite painting...

George Frederick Cotman's "One of the Family"

...and look at the dog...

What more could anyone want for happiness?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Jews and Me and The Jews

So I really got off on a tear today. And of course, the reason is the screaming injustice inherent in the whole question of those humble devout families and communities scraping by on the fringes of European society during the first half of the last century and ultimately suffering for the bullying excesses of those who owned most of Europe and happened to be likewise called Jews...and then after being immolated on the Holocaust pyre they are still being exploited to the detriment of their own memories and the freedom and sanity of the rest of us...I really love the Jews...I really hate the Jews...

Odds and Ends...

The Bishop Williamson thing has been an eye-opener… Do we ever stop to look at any situation objectively anymore? Or is everything governed by a knee jerk reaction… I’d say the latter. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Jews. Specifically, the Wealthy Ruling Class as opposed to the everyday run-of-the-mill good citizen, good neighbor, expendable, religious, “superstitious” Jews—-not the atheist intellectuals like Ayn Rand who came and went with impunity throughout Europe in the first half of the last century, but--you know, the kind they kill in gas chambers or sacrifice on the altar of Zionism—-innocent girls in battle dress uniforms, modest young mothers separated from their frantic husbands and stripped naked for “de-lousing”-—the kind murdered by twisted little Austrian upstarts and then exploited by—who else? The Wealthy Ruling Class—who purchased England during the Battle of Waterloo and financed all the participants in World War II pretty much everything since.

The Wealthy Ruling Class—“The Jews”. “The Jews” who carefully and craftily confuse themselves with the poor martyrs of Auschwitz because it buys them complete carte blanche politically and socially---complete immunity from any sort of accountability for ANYTHING they wish to say or demand. “The Jews” who by virtue of their shared genes with the victims of the Third Reich are not even challenged when they dare attempt to dictate the policies of the Holy Catholic Church.

“The Jews” --and WHY “The Jews”? What have they done to deserve the title “Jew”? Nothing apart from despising their faith and exploiting those who believe, and if “Jew” became a liability they would cast it aside. But it is not a liability. It is a title which allows them a privileged position ironically shared only with their ancient nemesis, Islam. Islam, the carefully deferred to so-called “Religion of Peace.” Has anybody ever picked up a damned HISTORY BOOK?

John Paul II kissed the Koran. It appears that Benedict may allow the Jews to dictate who he chooses to be his Bishops.

Williamson is accused of Holocaust Denial. What exactly does that mean? Certainly not what it says. For all practical purposes, Holocaust Denial means whatever “The Jews” say it means. In this case, it apparently means that Williamson, a man who doesn’t keep up with politically correct sensitivities, suggested that there may be a disagreement amoung scholars regarding the exact number of Holocaust victims and how they died. For this, he is accused of “Holocaust Denial”, which has come to mean that the perpetrator denies that the Nazis killed Jews and that he obviously does so because he hates Jews and wants more of them to die, and that any deviation from what “The Jews” dictate will lead to Jewish deaths.

In other words, if I am an socially oblivious accuracy freak history scholar who truly believes that 5,749,211 Jews died in the Holocaust and that two thirds of that number were buried alive rather than being gassed, I had better not say so. If I do, I will be a Holocaust Denier.

Do Catholics actually believe anything that they profess? I read an opinion recently that “Jesus Christ would not have allowed a Holocaust Denier amoung his apostles.” Really? He allowed a Roman collaborator who had fiscally raped his people not only to be his apostle but to write his biography… Then there was that anti-semite, John… Try reading John’s gospel, without any preconceived notions and tell me what John thought of the Jews. Of course, we know what John meant--we know that John didn't hate the children of Israel but was referring to the Pharisees and Saduccees who called the shots in Our Lord's trial, but somehow we are unable to extend that courtesy to anyone else. We can’t even contemplate the Jewish people with any kind of objectivity. We jump on the bandwagon when anyone yells “Holocaust Denier”. Does any of us ever turn and reply, “Christ Denier”? If we believe what Jesus said, then the First Great Commandment deals with loving GOD. The Jewish people deny the divinity of our GOD. The Talmudic Jews blaspheme and revile Our Lord and Our lady in the most heinous fashion, and instead of taking them to task, we fall all over ourselves kissing up to them and backing up their demands of retribution upon anyone who questions the details of their horrible national tragedy, which ought to be a matter for history and academic debate as much as any other national tragedy. Does ANYONE else enjoy this kind of privilege? Well, of course they do. The Muhammedans do. Anyone else?

What is wrong with our priorities, as Christians, when we take more offense at a historical inquiry than we do at having our GOD reviled? Does anyone get upset about the Armenians? The Sioux? The Cherokee? All those poor Russians starved by Stalin? Do any of those people command automatic immunity for EVERYTHING? Well, of course not.

“The Jews” control all the money in the world, and the Muhammedans are blood-thirsty barbarians who think they will gain virgins in heaven for every non-muhammedan they murder. We are justly afraid of both. But we ought to fear God more.

Let’s at least understand why we give preference to these two ancient enemies. Let’s stop pretending that we are somehow morally superior for allowing them to control us. We aren’t. Quite the opposite. We are bad Catholics and we are cowards.

Speaking of Ruling Classes, the English and Americans certainly don’t fall far below the Jews in the hierarchy of evil. Her Majesty Elizabeth II is going to knight Teddy Kennedy. There’s a rare pair for you. Sir Teddy Kennedy. The worst element of Irish Catholic depravity, knighted by the Protestant pretender. Will they dine cheek by ample jowl before the ceremony? What in the hell will they talk about?

I despise myself for the sorrow I’ve wasted on that woman in regards to her ill-behaved offspring. How else could they have turned out? Teddy bloody Kennedy.

Restore Francis II to the Throne of England and let’s be done with it!

And on the subject of Royalty, albeit in a roundabout way, I’ve suffered more than minor irritation lately from young ladies? Women? Like that McCain girl for instance, who complain because men like them for what they consider to be the Wrong Reasons. Ah, the angst. How will I know if I’m supposed to marry someone? What if he only likes me for my looks? Blah blah blah blah blah, you spoiled stupid female children! It’s none of your business, you whiney little twits, WHY the boy likes you! How dare you question the particular little twist of your lip, or tilt of your nose or arch of your eyebrow which God Almighty put on your simpering little face which, for WHATEVER reason, inspired that silly little boy and may at some time so motivate him so that he will become a man in order to embrace you as his wife? And how dare you whine, when God sends you a man, because you don’t know if he’s “really the one”?

When my girls were little, “Fergie” appeared on some idiotic news show and bemoaned her disillusionment with her royal marriage. The contrast with the queens represented in Beowulf, which we had been studying, was breath-taking, nor did the Little Girls miss the point. “I thought it was going to be like a fairy tale,” whined Fergie, and “I didn’t know that the entire Royal Navy would be going with us on our honeymoon.”

“What the hell’s wrong with her?” stormed Stuart. “She married a PRINCE of ENGLAND! What the hell made her think she was going to have a private life? What an idiot!”

“Yeah!” said Seguin. “I’m only a seven-year-old American and I know better than that!”

Well, my girls, I hope you never forget it, nor that you yourselves are royalty, and daughters of the most-high King. Like the queens in Beowulf, you must marry for the greater glory of God, and conduct yourselves with humility, dignity and unselfishness, observing all the tenets of Chivalry. Therein lies your happiness, and therein lies your answer.

And I have dishes to wash and floors to mop.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I've figured out the upside!

Every day, I tell myself that since there is nothing I can do about the national situation, I'm going to withdraw from the whole thing, and just be isolated and ignorant...and you know what? Things have gotten so bad that I really HAVE withdrawn and isolated myself! I am mentally ghettoed up! It's wonderful! I didn't watch the news this morning, or yesterday, or the day before...I may bloody well never watch it again!
Free at last, free at last! Etc! Folks, I'm not kidding when I say that I feel happier and more relaxed than I have in a long time. I know it will make me mad to pay my taxes, but it always does, and anticipating it won't help, and it's not as if I can possibly affect the situation. So I am going to pretend I live in Middle Earth and just not worry about anything.
I have the Best Bishop in the Country! I have the Best Husband in the World! I have 7 beautiful children! I have my wonderful animals and lots of paint and a word processor and pens and pencils. I certainly have more than enough to eat and drink, and for the time being I can still afford roll-your-owns. I have the sweetest life possible. I have no right to be anything but happy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Whole Blessed New Year!

Happy New Year

I am fixin' New Year's Day dinner, and only have a moment, but wanted to put down in writing that all my friends would all be surprised to know how often you cross my mind, and how dearly I cherish God's blessings for you---every one of you...

What a difference a year makes! 2008 has been so much better than the year preceeding it. Even 2007 had its good and beautiful moments---Stuart's graduation, Chisum and Erin's wonderful wedding! What an incredible grace that has been for us all. So good to have dear Erin in our family!

2008 had a few problems---my health is worse, but Seguin's is SO much better! Stuart has had to work her butt off in vet school, but she got in! and Forrest is Out of the Army!

2009 is already shaping up to be beautiful---starting with Our Rachel's baptism in two weeks, and her Wedding to Crockett three days later! I'm baking cakes and choosing frostings. Such a happy time!

I am so grateful for the continued happiness of Chisum and Erin, who seem to be more crazy about each other with ever day, for Forrest's new status as a civilian and his wonderful pilgrimage to Europe, for Crockett's new life with dear Rachel---what are the odds of people even FINDING each other these days?---for Stuart's increasing interest in her chosen field and for the good friends who get her throught the hard days, and for my baby Seguin's lupus remission and for her renewed resolve to trust Our Lord and herself, and to put bad things behind her.

Most of all, I'm grateful for my Dennis. I know that he is a saint, and if you knew all that he has carried throughout his life, all the sacrifices he's made, you would know it as well. I ask God's blessing on him, and may he receive gratitude and admiration from his family here, and glory in Our Lord's Kingdom forever.

God bless you all.

Happy new year, and a blessed Feast of the Circumcision!