That Time of Year… Thoughts on Hallows Eve (Halloween).. In the End we win.

Ahh. Tis that time of year.. that magical time. No, Im not referring to Christmas, but rather, the end of seasons.. liturgical years, the setting of a Sun, the Rising of a Moon, into the New day.

Next Tuesday, we will celebrate All Hallow’s eve… commonly known as  ‘Halloween”. Kids will don costumes, in attempt to get the neighbors to give up some loot, or, in the more “progressive” neighborhoods, the children might do something called “Trunk or treat”.  The tradition of wearing costumes dates to well into medieval times, back to Celtic “Samhain“, where locals would wear these costumes, in order to avoid the Evil ghosts prowling. Treats became an effort to bribe the evil spirits away, and later that tradition was adopted by children, who would of course give you the option of a “Trick Or Treat”.

The name all Hallows eve came from when the church purified the day, out with the old Pagan ways, and in with the Church Triumphant, celebrated on All saints day, a day which would celebrate all those who triumphed over the world, and are in Paradise.

Over the centuries, alot has happened in this month, that is indicative of the battle of Good and evil, light and Darkness. Revolution raged in Russia, Exorcisms went on for the month (Right here in St Louis might I add), and Our Blessed Mother made the miracle of the sun, and gave us the Fatima prayer.. and showed 3 children the souls in hell and that prayer being a means to avoid it.

October is a cosmic transitional point in the year, where not only seasons change, but the earth itself begins to settle into a different tilt. Leaves change… and fall . Daylight diminishes, and temperatures drop. It’s easy to fall into a rut of despair, and feel as if all is lost. This is where we become most vulnerable to oppression.

Now, I’m not saying that mental issues are a direct cause of it, or that “the devil made you do it”. Rather..  we all carry certain dispositions. Very often, they can be dualistic high points of our personalities, which can often in an instant, become our greatest vexes and vices. My own is my empathy and care for others.. which very often gets exploited, as do so many others. Whether it’s A Talent that becomes Obsession, Love turning to lust.. often those things which we do so freely and innocently, become the very tools the Enemy uses against us.

Because of the Cosmic state of things, he is MOST potent this time of year, and we need to be more on guard than any. This month has been particularly hard for me, with the dispute over the custody of my children, the pace picking up at work, and my overall attempting to Fix/Reboot a life that I alone created. Today I sunk.. the pressure got to me, and for an instant I just didn’t care about anything.

Why me? Why do I fight all the time, only to have to keep fighting? When does it end?

After a miserable (but fun) 28 miles of gravel riding through Busch..it reaffirmed to me that one – I’ll always have to fight, and there are many reasons… the chiefest of it is..Im Bought and paid for, and I have a purpose. We all have the same purpose… as the old Baltimore Catechism says ” The Purpose of Life…is to Know and Love God…so that we can be with him for all eternity.” . The enemy hates that fact. In the end.. he has no control over us… unless we give it to him. The only person who does, is the One God united in three.

A lot of people get up in arms over Halloween. They see it as contributing to the Devil..and delving in paganism. While there are pagan roots to the day..  our most recent interpretation of such ( within 200 years), is the Halloween, points us to All Hallows Day..also known as All Saints day, the day of the Church Triumphant. That alone should remind us of ONE SOLID FACT. In the end.. He wins… and our Victory is through him.

So get out there.. celebrate your Halloween… and then Embrace the day of Saints. Those brothers and sisters who go before us.. and show us the way.

Yes this month will be crap. Chances are, the closer you feel.. or the better a person you try to be, the more you will be outright attacked (as I often am). Take courage and be stout-hearted, trust in the Lord.. all of this is temporary. IN the End, we win.

Gloria Patri, Et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto, Sicut Era, In Principio, et nunc et hora, Et in Saecula, Saeculorum –

 

Glory be to the Father, The Son, and Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

 

IN the END WE WIN.

Some Thursday Thoughts on things

**Real Thoughts ahead**

Facebook and social media has distorted our intuition I think. We used to be forced to interact with people more..and what they did, became what we thought of them. They were defined by their actions

Yet this media, and other social medias, have allowed us to paint a picture of ourselves that isnt always true. The more I think about it.. how some people use social media, seems nefarious, and somewhat diabolical.

The “Fall” was rooted in Pride.. and Arrogance. I see that same pride and arrogance sometimes one display, and its not just Social Media but our greater media in general.

We dont have TV shows anymore that simply entertain or tell a story. Everything is about focusing in on one person. Christy Knows Best..Simple LIfe.. The Osbournes.. The Kardashians. … and on and on.

All of those shows seem to focus on one person and making them the center of the universe, and we follow this like lambs to the slaughter. Often, these people have become defacto heroes… that seem to be able to do no wrong, or if they do… we simply arent understanding them, thus we need to just get in line and be tolerant and accepting.

Is it no wonder that on a lesser scale.. the internet has propelled those who might normally be ignored as having nothing to contribute, intellectually, culturally, or spiritually?

Look, we are all on our own journey. God knows I am as imperfect as they come. We need to get aware of this though. Humility and Self reflection need to become a thing again, and that starts with us learning HOW to think again. We’ve lost that. Somewhere in the past 20 years we have confused Memorization of Facts… With Knowledge of facts. Grab any 20 something off the street..and they could probably speak in a text book fashion endlessly about anything they are passionate about, Social Justice.. Gun Control.. Religion (or lack there of), politics.

However, at no point do we really see critical thinking or Logic anymore. Rather, people seem to simply latch on to the catch phrase or idea of the day, without putting much thought into what that means.

Whether its Hand Up Dont Shoot.. Or Make america Great again.. or any number of other items.. We are quick to jump on the bandwagon. The First phrase I mentioned and the Second Phrase both are based around false hoods. One was proven to not be what happened.. and another assumes that America wasnt ever great. Both are rooted for example in the ego..of all things hinging on one person. Both have far deeper motivators and roots then most people give credit for. Both are right and wrong.. Depending on how deeply you articulate those concepts.

We need to get woke up, and fast. We arent Democrats… we arent Republicans. We are Americans.. People.. Made in the image and likeness of God.. and we need to start acting like it, and shunning those things that overly corrupt that image, and not simply write them off in a libertarian manner.. But at the same time… not simply tolerating them to tolerate them.

There is right.. and there is wrong… and then there is the Truth. We dont seem to be worried about the truth… we simply are embracing what we think is “Right”..and shunning all others who dont fit that mold.

God calls us to Love. Love isnt acceptance. Thats complacency. Love also isnt Hatred..Hatred is rooted in narcism. Love Demands us to Think better, Do better, and be better then we ever were.

I see people with things like “Dont let hate win”. While noble.. Do we really want to eradicate hate? OR do we just want people to simply fall in line? There is a difference..and until we get to the roots of our issues.. We will always have hate.. we will always have issues.

Something to think about on your Thursday

Fatima 100 years later

“I am the Immaculate Conception”

 

 

100 years ago today, Our Lady , Mary, the Mother of God, appeared for the 6th time to 3 children in Portugal. During the Third visit, Lucia had asked our Lady to provide a sign, so that the Bishop and others would believe her

 

Then it happened, on the 6th apparition, it had been raining all day. The People were soaked.. the sky was dark. Suddenly the sun appeared…as if to hurl itself towards the people. It Literally danced across the sky.  The people were dry at this point.. and believed our Lady’s message

 

  • “The sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl, when suddenly a clamor was heard from all the people. The sun, whirling, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible.” —De Marchi attributes this description to Dr. Almeida Garrett, Professor of Natural Sciences at Coimbra University.[29] Theologian Father Stanley L. Jaki wrote that it was actually given by Dr. José Almeida Garrett, a young lawyer, and is often mistakenly attributed to his father, a professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra,[17] named Dr. Gonçalo de Almeida Garrett.[30]

Mary would make 3 predictions. The Great war would soon end, and there would be peace.. However if the people of the world did not repent, there would be a 2nd..more terrible battle. The Third Prediction has been debated  as having been fulfilled. It mentioned a Man in white..on a hill.. being pierced with Arrows. Some say it was the Attempt on the life of John Paul the 2nd, others that there is still a second part to this.. that has not been revealed

2 major things came out of Fatima. One was Our Lady’s instructions that Russia’s Heresies (she speaks of the Communist revolution) would spread through the world like wildfire, and only a consecration of the whole country to her Immaculate heart, would spare the world of the turmoil to come.

As of yet, this consecration has not occurred in earnest (despite supposed confirmation from someone who isnt around now to validate it ). As such.. we still have much distress in the world.

The Second piece of this, was the Fatima prayer.. which has great power of intercession  “Oh My Jesus, forgive us our Sins.. Save us from the Fires of Hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy Mercy”. This would be taught to the children, after receiving a vision of the souls in hell.

 

All of the above is narration. I really have nothing to contribute, other then Our Mother loves and cares for us. When she Appears.. Its to warn us..and love us.. and to give us a chance to ammend things. I do know the world is in a bad state.. and unless we start following Mary’s example and guidance. She always points us to Jesus.. and she loves us like a mother

 

Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have Recourse to thee

Francis of Assisi

Today is the feast day of probably one of the most “popular” of Roman Catholic saints, Francis of Assisi.

Born around 1182,  He lived a life of privilege, and had hoped to become a knight. He lived a life of somewhat impropriaty, and was actually somewhat a drunk. He would be stricken with  disease, and later received the vision “Rebuild My Church”. Upon this,  he gave up everything he had, even his clothing (as in… in the middle of the street… ) – He Donned a Beggars Robe, and embraced what he called “Holy Poverty”. He Would found an order, later known as the Franciscans (who …their original rule was actually based on St Benedict’s rule of life). At first the Pope wasnt prepared to grant his request, but after a dream of seeing a Tiny Monk holding up a Church.. He saw it as a sign from God.

Francis’ new order would grow over the years, and Francis himself would travel to the holy Land, not as a Knight…but as a herald..a Monk… “God’s Troubador” is what they called him.

Towards the end of his life, he would receive the Stigmata, the Wounds of Christ…as he desired most earnestly to be Joined to Christ’s Cross. He would die Oct 3rd.

 

One of his most known writings, called “The Instrument of Peace” or  “The Prayer of St Francis”… Defines his spirituality perfectly…and to a great degree, true contemplativism. For every vice…we are called to be a positive.

Francis is dear to me personally. MORE THEN ONCE his intersession and example have dragged me out of the hole.  The First was a vision during prayer of this image, which until this time I had no idea even existed.  I would almost for get it until seeing it at Our Lady of the Snows shrine.

There have been other cases as well.

 

Below is a wonderful recording of his Prayer..  from Sarah Mclachlan. It stays in my playlists on spotify often.

 

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
Amen

 

Heart of Worship thoughts

 

I’ve always enjoyed good gospel music. Maybe its from having lived in the south for a time (From about age 4 to age 7 we lived in North Carolina…Im a Good Ole Boy…or something). I don’t really know the appeal to it. Im not “southern”, and particularly, black gospel…Im not black/African american, obviously. No…I think I have always been keen to good worship music.

But what is good worship music. Does it match a certain style… or text? Does a composer make good worship music?  The Definition of Worship from a google search says “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”  . I think that’s pretty clear. Worship is something personal. Belief is personal..and as such..worship is a gift of self to God. It cant really be pigeon holed. A Motet from the Renaissance holds equal value to a great gospel piece.. in that both were created out of love for the Creator.

These days we seem to debate about form of worship… or you go to a church and they have “Traditional Worship” on a billboard like the flavor of the month at a Baskin Robins. what I think we need to get back to is understanding what worship is..a Gift.

When I hear groups like the Fairfield Four (above)… or the Opposite extreme..perhaps a diocesan choir….I hear first and foremost Love of God. That’s what worship is. A Connection. Sure, emotion can come out of it… but at its root.. its a connection.

St Augustine said “Those who Sing well Pray Twice”. As a musician, I’ve always led with that…and I certainly think its applicable here.

 

(Photo Credit I THINK is Father Bede Price. I recognize that Hair)

And RCA on Recent events…and every bad thing that happens

One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”

 

This morning a great tragedy was brought to our understanding as a people. 50 Shot and killed last night in Vegas. Immediately people are saying this person or that group is to blame, but for understanding , scripture helps us.

In our society, we like to find a root cause. The problem is we are unwilling to consider all options. In our arrogance, we have completely ignored the motivator, from the beginning of time, who forces people to go against their nature.

Arrogance. Thats really the root of all sin. The thought that you know better, that your way is virtuous, and there is no other way. The very thought process, denies the existence of a god. If there is a God.. then that means you don’t have all the answers.

The first Sin… involved the lie, that we would have all the answers if we simply ate of the fruit. Man fell… but God was one step ahead. He wanted to allow man to fall..so that he could pick us back up. This is the point that Satan became corrupt. Man was created in God’s image, and as such that places us second in creation. Not even the angels share that privilege. Where it is true they are called ‘The Sons of God”..  they are something different. Satans corruption is rooted in the inability to accept man as not only equal..but above, even himself… The “Morning Star”.

Over the centuries, he had worked to cause man to fall. This was always in his nature. The name Satan means  “To Test” or ” Tempter”. At his root, that alone is not what makes him evil. There’s alot more to the Angels then people realize…and they were created to be messengers and servants, NOT to be “good” or “evil”..atleast based on Human understanding of the words. However, the evil became manifest by jealousy and hatred. Satan being an angel.. cant go against his nature, as such.. he became what he became.. and his singular goal, is our damnation.

Whenever man commits attrocities… especially to other men and women, he in essence defiles the image that we are all created in. This is what the end goal of sin is, for the devil to say.. SEE, You are wrong God.  Man is not good. man is Corrupt, your way was wrong.

This is exactly what he attempts to do to God through Job. He sees Job..who in the story is a metaphor for all of us, as favored. He claims that Job only loves God because of that favor…and is given power over him.. Again… playing into the role of Tester.  In the End.. Job Remains steadfast..does not curse God. Later Satan would again attempt to get a greater prize then Job.. The Man himself. He would ultimately fail again..and further fall into corruption.

In Root Cause Analysis, to solve a problem fully,  you have to identify what caused it. While I certainly would never say the Devil killed anyone… he does pry and push for us to go against our Nature… which at its root is to “Know and love God, so that we can live with him forever ” (paraphrase Baltimore Catechism).

When these things happen..when these people manifest who seem “crazy”..”Off”..we need to go further then the surface..and realize the real presence of the Spiritual Warfare we are all caught in, and acknowledge our enemy.

Our arrogance has led us to the point we are at as a people. Not acknowledging our enemy, allows Him to continue to manipulate and corrupt the beautiful creation that man is. We need to start seeing Christ in each other again. Ignore the voice telling us we arent good enough..or that person isnt Good enough. Embrace the voice that says we are precious…loved…and saved. Once we do that… we will see like Job, our treasures returned.