How do you solve a problem like Donald… And Why “Love” is the greatest Virtue

Yesterday, the leading Republican candidate Donald trump, basically in the space of a day, rubbernecked on a response to an issue, that of, if Abortion were suddenly made illegal, did he believe that the Woman should be punished.

The Article is Here  –>>  (I’m sure there are others.. this is the first I grabbed)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/30/politics/donald-trump-abortion-town-hall/

At one point his answer was yes, then later clarified his from the hip statement, and like so many republicans as of late, invokes St Ronald Regan – “”The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.” — As if this suddenly validates his statement.

Where to begin, as there are so many issues going on here. First and foremost, we need to affirm the Church’s position,  Where in the Catechism States

2258Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”56″

Got that?  All Life is sacred, and it’s not up to us to decide who goes, or who doesn’t. All Times, all seasons come from Him.  All that being said, I don’t pretend for an instance to know, what truly goes on in the mind of a woman when she is on that table or stirrups.

Here is what I do know though, both Mother and Child are victims. The obvious victim first, is the child, who unwillingly loses his or her life. To understand the second victim, the Mother, we need to take a hard look at our society, our theological understandings, and most importantly ourselves.

For years, we have objectified women, and this goes back centuries really. Whats interesting is, its flip-flopped. Where as before the Sexual Revolution and women were very much treated as property, now under this new third wave feminism, a woman is allowed to flaunt her sexuality as a form of “Empowerment”. I know that same group will call me a chauvinist, that’s the part where we need to look at ourselves. However no matter how one looks at it, a Woman’s sexuality is still being shown as what her value is, albeit in two very different ways.

Couple this, with what we see in the media – Think of Pop stars like..  Brittney Spears.. Niki Minaj, and others. There is nothing modest about them. Most of their music is based on how they can entice a man, and thus, this is who they are as a person. Now, where as men should control themselves,  women who do this devalue themselves miserably. So it rolls down hill.  Many women go about their existence thinking the only thing they will be good at is keeping a man. I know more than a few who have done this. The message it sends is,  they are available.. for the taking.

This same group.. is usually who falls into needing an abortion, as the cowards who they “date” usually (but not always) are the protagonists, either directly, via forcing them to have an abortion, or indirectly, not instilling the confidence a provider should,  and thus the women panic and decide they can’t possibly deal with this life they created.

Add in society and their championing of “Choice”. If you don’t make your own decisions you are considered old age.. a simpleton – a product of the past – Who would want to feel that way after all?  Our society places milestones on our ability to make decisions for ourselves. We Choose our first car. We choose our Major in College (those of us who go), we choose everything. But there is a problem – That choice isn’t ours. Never has been, never will be.

Now, we can go and say let’s make abortion illegal – After all, it technically IS murder. One creation has decided another creation is without value comparatively, and thus is expendable. However, this does not solve the issue, as what is needed is a change of heart, and most importantly, prayers and the Mercy of God, who’s mercy endures forever.

I find it ironic someone like Donald Trump, who is the poster boy for misogyny, is suddenly “Pro Life”. After all, on a much more sophisticated, wealthier scale, he is no better than the scum bag low-class person who has knocked up the frightened young girl or lesser means. Both see the woman as expendable, and consequently beneath themselves

– Maybe he, in a very simple understanding suddenly is pro-life – I know from experience, Children, and in his case Grandchildren, can change a man immensely. However, this greatly exposes not only the politician Donald is trying to be, but also his immaturity in spiritual thought – One can expect this given the “leaders” early on he surrounded himself with (I call to mind the being prayed over photo/video op). These same “Pastors” have the theological understanding of a Bazooka Joe Comic.. and deal more with canned catch phrases than any sort of real teaching, very similar to how Donald threw out some catch phrases and is suddenly “Christian”. I make no judgment on whats in the Man’s heart. Often we hear of “Holy Fools” .

Alas I digress. Its my opinion only, this is just another catch phrase on his part, and quite honestly is on the part of many “Pro Lifers”…. There is a difference between “Anti Abortion”, and “Pro Life”. Trump also would very aggressively deal with others, to the extent of war. This is quite the contrast to “Pro Life” that he claimed the mantle of invoking Ronald Regan . Incidently, off topic.. am I the only one who is annoyed at the invoking of St Ronald by every republican candidate?  Alas I digress yet again. Perhaps this too is another attempt at duping the people who are desperate for a strong leader who will bring about change.

I would go further than saying, simply punish the person performing the abortion, although in the situation of the law being made, there would obviously be an infraction here, however .. I am not a student of Law, and defer to those who are on that analysis.  What I do know here is, if we are going to assign the woman as an accomplice, then, we need to assign all ourselves as accomplices.  We after all, as a society, have created this climate of death, where certain lives matter more than others.

We need to remember to always pity and pray for these women, even if they go through the act. Simply jailing them will reinforce the false feminism idea that preventing abortions is simply stifling them of their “Choice”. It is not. This is something the Lord of Lies, Satan, has orchestrated, and is not how we were intended from the start to live. That same devil.. is doing a real number on everyone involved in the situation, and most importantly the Mothers. These same woman, often deal with extreme depression after the act.

To really understand abortion, we need to understand it for what it is, murder, and murder is a sin – That being said, two lives are lost, both the physical life of the innocent unborn, and the Spiritual Life of the Mother. Sin, is a severing of our connection to God. That in itself is its own hell, and in a sense, punishment. We are made to love and know Him, and to kill something made in His image, is tragic.

Donald  Trump is completely wrong, in his entire approach to his “Faith”. Being Christian is not a “badge”, but a deep commitment to relationship to God, through Jesus. I pray he can through this very juvenile faith he currently has, grow deeper in his understanding. Until that time though, I will take him with a grain of salt.

This election, is complicated beyond complication, and at the same time, really quite simple. We need to remember, that no politician can eradicate abortion. Despite any law we might pass, the problem is always one of heart. I wish I had an “alternative” to any one currently running. I don’t. Either we see someone who is very pro person, but not pro-life, or we see a person who is Anti abortion, but still pro war, or anti equality. Perhaps this is what we get in a society that has gradually removed God from their lips, and instead has created the golden calf of “Reason and Tolerance”.

I do know we need to pray, and pray hard… especially for those we would want to lead us.

 

Thirst – the Fifth saying

The Fifth Word:
“I am thirsty.”
(John 19:28)

Hanging there.. It would have been the 5th hour.  The Clouds would be gathering. It was probably humid. Every last bit of moisture Jesus had .. sweat.. blood. Was Gone.  To Say “I thirst” was an understatement. The Degree of dehydration, from lack of blood, body fluids, while at the same time his lungs continually filling with fluids.

The Soldier near by, would have had an uncharacteristic act of mercy for himself. He grabs a lance.. pierces a Sponge.. and dips it in some wine mixed with myrr.  This was a technique that they used to deaden the pain of the condemn. Naturally, it did very little to meet the need of thirst.  Jesus continued to struggle, because this would not quench his thirst. Again,  this fulfills the prophecy of  “Instead of Food they Gave me Poison” that is in psalm 69.

It would not be long now. The End was almost in site.

How Many times when God thirsted for us.. did we turn it back on him as poison. Did we come to the Altar with conditions… or did we thirst for him as much as he thirsts and longs for us?

 

Jesus, you were thirsty . Help me to nourish that, with my love.

 

i-thirst

Abandonment: the Fourth Saying


The Fourth Word:
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Mark 15:34)

It was around Noon Probably – Jesus had been hanging there for a while now. Probably every last bit of strength he had, was gone.  His friends had left. more then likely he was feeling the effects of the elements. He might have even had people throwing things at him.

With a voice he cries out ”  Eloi! Eloi! Lema Sabacthani” , or ‘My GOD MY GOD.. Why have you forsaken me!” . The Mental place that Jesus, as a man must have been. So many of us have seen that place of darkness.. where the only light.. Is God.

This was a very human emotion. To feel abandoned. I know I have felt it many times especially in my life lately. How could a good God, leave his servant to suffer so much? But, once again, there is more here then meets the eye. Two things are occuring.

Every moment of Jesus’s life was a fulfillment of prophecy. The whole of Psalm 22, is a prophecy of the Crucifixtion, and the life the Messiah would have. But Secondly, Jesus shows us that in our Darkest Hours.. its ok to feel afraid.. and to call upon God in a very personal way. God is Father.. not simply a far off Judge. The Word Eloi… Aramaic (which would have been for lack of a better term,., a more backwoods dialect of Hebrew), is a shortened form of Elohim..  Which is the Name of God Spoken in Creation. It is different from the other ways that a Jew would call upon God. They never use the name of God. God was always distant. Jesus changes that. God is More then Near. He is more then Yahweh, More then Adonai.. He is GOD.. right in front of us.  We can call on him, as a son or daughter calls to his father.

 

Jesus, you were scared..  you felt abandoned.  May I ever yearn to be near the Cross, and embrace my own Cross in life more fully.

 

forsaken

“Woman Behold Your Son” the Third Saying

A Little behind, Got caught up with Work –

The Third Word:
“Dear woman, here is your son.”
(John 19:26)

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.”  John 19-25-26

From the Cross, Jesus was Alone. Suddenly, he notices his Mother, and his Beloved Disciple, John – They are the only ones who bother to show up. Not Peter.. Not Luke..  no one else except his mother, and John, who its held would have been barely past his teens. Often he is depicted as a youth.. the only apostle without a beard to denote as such.

Jesus sees the care he is giving. He loved his mother dearly. He also as both a teacher and friend, loved John Very Deeply. Pulling himself Up he says

“Woman, Behold Your Son!”  “Behold Your Mother!”

Once again.. even in dying.. Jesus is a man of Change. There is more then just an attempt to take care of his mother after he is gone. This applies to all of us. At that moment,  Mary realized she was mother to us all… and we are all Sons, through our Relationship to Jesus, to Mary, Mother Of God, Theo Tokos.

Once again, Complete motivation through love. He could have used that breath simply for himself, but he uses it for us

 

Jesus, You loved your Mother and Disciple John the most. Help us to share that same love for you. Thank you for Giving us your Mother, who loves us as she loved you.

 

6a00d8341fd10e53ef0167636db06c970b

 

 

The Final Saying

The Seventh Word:
“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
(Luke 23:46)

Or “Into your Hands, I commend my spirit”  – It was finished. It was Done. Jesus Would pass from this world, to the next, as we all must do. This was the cost of his humanity, which was equal to his divinity.  He Would give up the Ghost, with his final breath

He would be Pierced… in the side. Blood and water would flow from his right side, in keeping with elijah’s Prophecy of “Water flowing from the right side of the temple” – His legs, would be left un broken, as he is an unblemished lamb.jesus-on-cross-light-of-heaven-shines

The Earth Would tremble. The Veil, in the temple, which separated us from God, in a literal sense… was torn from top to Bottom. God – Was now accesible to us again.

We truly had been reconciled.

But, this was only the beginning. the Debt had been satisfied. Now the Joy of His Masters house, is available for all. In a few days,  death would be over thrown once and for all

Jesus, you entrusted your Spirit to your Father. Teach me to do the same. May I one day here “Well done Good and Faithful Servant, enter into the Joy, of your Master’s House”.

A Baptism of Desire – The Second Saying

The Second Word:
“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

The Second Saying of Christ , is an answer to a thief hanging to his right. Tradition holds that his name was Dismas, we call him the “Good Thief”, because he accepted that his punishment was just, but he also realized that Christ, had done no wrong as he rebuked his partner in Crime. He recognizes who he addresses, when he says “Jesus, Remember me when you enter your Kingdom”. This is why we call it a baptism of desire. He would not live to see the Resurrected Christ. He probably had not lived a very admirable life, else he would not be where he was. He Knows this, but, he also recognizes and implores the Mercy of God, as it is being poured forth on that hill.

Jesus, you loved me so much, that by your death, you flung open the gates of Heaven, so that we your Father’s greatest creation, could finally know Him in fullness again.  Jesus, Remember me when you enter into your kingdom. Help us to know the joy that is you, that we can spend all our days in paradise.

 

 

Embraced-in-the-Hug-of-Jesus-Christ-e1409950520664-1024x703

It is Finished – The Sixth saying


The Sixth Word:
“It is finished!”
(John 19:30)

 

Its about 2 o clock. The Clouds have completelty gathered.  Jesus knows he has now finished what he started. He Says ‘It is Finished’

This plan had been in works since the dawn of creation. God created us to be with him forever in paradise, and instead, we took our destiny into our own hands. Where as Adam causes us to fall from grace, Jesus, the new Man lifts us up to heaven.

Only Jesus, who was true God, True Man, could be a fitting sacrifice. Money, Burnt Offerings..  Slaughtered Lambs does not atone for our Sin. Only the Pure , unblemished lamb accomplishes this.

It was Done. It was Complete. All of Creation was now reconciled, if they accept it, to God almighty.

 

Jesus, thank you for paying the ultimate price for me. You died, to redeem a poor wretch like me. What wondrous love you have for me.

 

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The Difference between Accused, and Condemned. Self Loathing

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

Matthew 26 20-25 (the gospel for today, Wednesday of Holy Week)

There’s a title for you – To be accused, is not to be condemned. Ive struggled with this the last week. For some reason all my faults.. came welled up in my face, to the point I was really even doubting my worth. Between the Car accident,  and my own personal struggles.. I was truly feeling not only less then a man, but pretty abandoned by a God whom I know is always there. The Enemy was doing a number on me “You arent Good Enough!  God cant forgive you!  You are Broken.. No one can help!”

Acknowledging your fault, is a good thing. Not moving past it, is not a good thing. If we sit there and allow the guilt to over come us, then eventually Satan doesnt even have to keep talking. He sits back, and enjoys the show. God’s Creation, placed higher then the first angel, made in His image and likeness, suddenly is ripping himself apart. Despair is his greatest tool, the thought that.. there is no help for us, that we are doomed.

We can either give in to that, or we can cry from the Depths for our Savior, Our fortress, Our God.

In the reading I copied above, we can see how the same thing happens to Judas. Those of us who know scripture knows.. He eventually hangs himself from guilt. I think Mel Gibson’s Passion, really describes that Spiritual Meltdown the best in the scene of Judas’s death. His own Demons follow him around… till finally all is quiet, and you see him dead. Judas gave in to his own guilt – His sin was NOT betraying Jesus… His Sin was the despair. He Died, and never asked for forgiveness.

hqdefaultMaybe Jesus, in his thoughts… Forgave him from the cross. I cant imagine Christ.. Simply abandoning anyone. Judas is therefore a tragedy, in that.. he lost a battle that so many people lose. The guilt, of their sin, completely rips them apart.So Either they despair.. and engage in the blasphemy of the omnipotent God being powerless, or worse they give up on God all together. When we hate ourselves.. in a way, we are hating God, whose image we are made in. That is what true hell is, despair.. and ignoring the Love that is always there to strengthen us. Thats what Jesus means above when he said “It would be better that man had never been born” – its not that he is condemning Judas.. God Never Condemns. In a very Human way.. he is expressing pity on Judas.. because he knows the living hell that Judas is about to endure.. the Self Condemnation that will occur.

Today’s reading was incredibly timely. It made me think… how many times am I .. or anyone else, just like Judas?  The Betrayal of Judas, isnt that he turned Jesus over, the Betrayal is that he doubted God’s plan for him, and doubted that God could ever forgive him. I asked myself.. was I going to be Judas.. and give up on any chance of mercy, or .. do I recall that my God is Awesome.. and very soon in the week, pays the ultimate price.

We are bought and paid for. Any thought that takes away from that joy, is a lie. It took reading this to hit home with me.

 

“For My Life, Belongs to him, Who will Raise the dead again” – Jars of Clay, All My Tears

The donkey…by GK chesterton

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

~G.K. Chesterton


Sacred Space

lantern

 

12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”… 1 Kings 19:13-15

The other night after benediction, there was mass. They rang the Altar bell , and After mass, actually said the prayer to St Michael. People left the church quietly. Outside was loud..but inside.. maintained the sacred space

My Old Parish (of 12 years) had the bell for a while.. then decided to get rid of the thing – wasn’t rang once. A relic of a time when there was a liturgical structure, now useless as people are desperately trying to make church “relevant”.

I would pray the St Michael Prayer after mass…(there is real power and protection in it..). Trying desperately, despite the people chatting it up. Saying Pre mass prayers are a joke honestly there, as its social hour these days. Its not uncommon for people to be walking about the church, to get close to someone else. Then if you are on a good day, you’ll hear someone with “baby got back”.. or something else obnoxious as their ring tone.. Usually as their phone goes off half way through the Psalm or consecration.

Eventually they got rid of the bell. The Parish has been steadily declining in North St Louis county.. though people cant see it. They went from 3 Masses to 2, and there were 9 parishes in the area closed withing the past 10 years. the 3 masses were packed.  The two Masses hardly meet capacity.

Yet there is nice little clique. Lots of people who are “important’.. doing God knows what, but making sure you are signed up for this that and the other.. and they themselves not bothering to even show up. There is a whole bunch of organizing, and no results.  Meanwhile there are numerous evangelical “church plants” popping up all over the place.. Or.. People have just moved to another parish close.. or moved away.  But I don’t see empty houses.. just different people in them.

Despite having a rather Charismatic Pastor (and.. Im not criticizing him at all, He is a wonderful priest, but somewhat has his hands tied), the parish isnt growing, even despite another parish merging with it. There were other things too..No Consecration bells (one lady claimed they went out with Vatican II… (thats verbatim)), and.. my pet peave… The Obnoxious Ambo is as big if not bigger then the Altar… because “word and sacrifice are the same” (which.. they are but arent.. I digress)

I try to be more progressive in my take on Worship. People are people.. and need that interaction. But I think this says something about the stupid things we Catholics do, that can make or break our understanding of Sacred Space. Instead of challenging the Evangelical perspective based off of Doctrine.. we try to “beat them at their own game”, and come up ridiculously short.

People now a days have no idea who is present in the Tabernacle. Nor do they care really. We’ve bought into the idea we can talk to God Anywhere.. that “we don’t need no stinking church”, thanks to the massive Televangelism Evangelical empire. Church has become business, and its all about how many butts you can put in the pew. There isn’t a noticeable effort at the Gospel, at least not the one the Man from Galilee spoke.

But even from the Start, we first had the temple, and then we had Jesus go into the Temple. Even after the Ascension.. The Apostles still went to synagogue.. and they still showed Proper Reverence.

Paul even goes into detail about men removing their Head Covers… Women keeping them (as signs of humility), and so forth.

When we worship.. we are “caught up in the sky with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), which means in short.. He doesnt come down to us.. but we mystically go up to him. We have left where we are and when we are mystically.

I think we need to bring back these traditions, but with a modern understanding and perspective, and attitude. These sacramentals and traditions remind us of what we are doing and for who. Most importantly that points us to who we are.

I don’t mean this to be a rant or suggesting one period of time or style of Liturgy is superior over another. Simply pointing out…  Something has changed.. and its not the Language.. or the flow of mass,  nor is it the music. It all comes back to understanding, we are there for Him, and we are privileged to be in his presence. Nothing more, nothing less.