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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Small Is Beautiful--Hello to Readers in Andorra

Taking Christ Seriously

I think people pick and choose the words of the Word of God.

We cannot. We must immerse ourselves in the Gospels, understanding that the words of Christ are real, true, exact. Christ is God, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity.

Those who do not take His words seriously do not believe Christ is God Incarnated.

Here are some of the passages for meditation and boldface highlights are mine:

Mark 1:22-27

"22 And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes.
23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24 Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God.
25 And Jesus threatened him, saying: Speak no more, and go out of the man.
26 And the unclean spirit tearing him, and crying out with a loud voice, went out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying: What thing is this? what is this new doctrine? for with power he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."

That is from Mark 1:22-27. Here are some others. 

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” Matthew 19:24.”

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword” Matthew 10:34.

“Another of his disciples said unto him, Lord suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead” Matthew 8:21.

“All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb; and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” Matthew 19:11-12.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48.

 And, perhaps the hardest saying from Christ, as so many people do not believe this, from John 6.

"51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
52 If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.
53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
57 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
58 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.
59 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
60 These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
61 Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?
62 But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you?
63 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
64 It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life.
65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.
66 And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father."

How To Prepare for Martyrdom Part Two

May I continue with the previous post, adding to the list, a list I pray I can implement with God's graces?

Eighteen, pray daily for final perseverance. The Hail Mary is a good start, "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death..."

Nineteen, accept the sufferings God decides to give you humbly, rather than looking for other types. God knows what you need.

Twenty, be realistic that things are going to get a lot worse, a lot. Realize that God does not spare Christians when He punishes those who hate Him.

Twenty-one, know that patience comes from humility.

Twenty-two, never, never compare yourself with someone else in holiness, and never, never say, "Why me?" but  "Why not me?"

Twenty-three, learn to think like a member of the Church Militant. Never rest, never go "off guard".
Be alert and know that discernment allows one to know when one has to be a martyr and when one does not. Prudence is the mark of a saint.

Twenty-four, be devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows.

How To Prepare fo Martyrdom Part One

Looking at the world and having thought of persecution for years, I was thinking today on the fact that all of us should be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for martyrdom.

I think this is possible. May I make a list of suggestions on how to get ready for, perhaps, the ultimate sacrifice?

One, let God purify you. Let God deal with your predominant fault. Pursue perfection.

Two, do sacrificial actions and mortifications daily. This could include fasting daily and other things which bring discomfort to the body and humble the soul.

Three, realize that God gives grace, and that one's own strength is severely limited. Only God can make a martyr ready.

Four, learn to pray constantly, even at work or in a parking lot, or waiting in line at the store. Learning to concentrate on prayer and God in any place leads to mental discipline.

Five, surround yourself with holy, good people so that you know you have "back-up" spiritually. Today, I phoned a holy friend for advice. She said she would be my prayer-back-up. We are not in this persecution alone.

Six, go to regular, even weekly confession.

Seven, get to Mass and Adoration as much as possible.

Eight, read the Scriptures and meditate on the Life of Christ, our model in suffering.

Nine, accept suffering, all types, daily, peacefully, gratefully.

Ten, meditate specifically on the Passion of Christ and desire to be joined with Him.

Eleven, realize that detachment and objectivity allow one to love one's enemies, forgive them and even pray for them. Martyrs are not angry or unforgiving.

Twelve, die to self daily so that it becomes a habit of being.

Thirteen. be honest about how many people hate the Church, the Pope and, therefore, you.

Fourteen, accept physical pain and suffering. Learn to endure it, instead of rushing for ibuprofen or whatever. Learn to transcend pain for the sake of others, as intercessory prayer.

Fifteen, learn to forgive anyone immediately, knowing that, except for grace, one could be the persecutor.

Sixteen, ask God to take away all fears of suffering, abandonment, rejection and replace those with His Love.

Seventeen, love, love, love....

to be continued....

St. Monica's Legacy

One of the things I learned from St. Monica is to never stop praying, never to give up hope.

She is the emblem, the model of perseverance in prayer.

For all of us who have been praying for years and years for loved ones, she represents hope and persistence.

Can you imagine if she had given up on her prayers for her son?

No St. Augustine, no Augustinians, perhaps no Pope Emeritus....

No Confessions, no City of God, no sermons...

No correction of the Manicheans, no end of the Donatists...

No St. Augustine of Canterbury, no Canterbury, no Mottisfont Abbey, no Walsingham Priory, plus the other 133 Augustinian houses in per-Reformation England...

No St. Rita, no Augustinian martyrs of Japan, no St. Nicholas of Tolentino...

No Angela of Foligno, no Augustinian martyrs of Africa...and more.

One woman's prayers began all of this.


Why Consumerism Is So Evil

As I have been traveling, I have seen the devastation in America brought about by the great sins of greed and lust. Consumerism, the relentless desire and accumulation of things, has killed the souls of so many Catholics.

The reason why consumerism is so evil is simply that it is idolatry.

The things made by humans cannot bring life to the soul, and, in fact, take life from the soul.

Consumerism hides many other sins, such as materialism, the belief that there is no afterlife, but only the here and now.

Of course, most of us know that things cannot make us happy, so why the relentless striving after things?

I am so sick of psychological double-speak about people being deprived of love in youth so they seek compensation in things.

Americans are among the richest people in the world. I hear people say to me that they are "poor" when in any other country, their lifestyle of eating too much, drinking too much, buying too much and having too much entertainment would be the lifestyle of the rich.

I know people who have food, clothing, housing, entertainment, alcohol, more food, more clothing, complaining that they are poor.

Consumerism has made them lose perspective.

Every American should travel to other countries and see the lower standards of living.

Consumerism has killed creativity as well. It deadens the imagination, the mind, the will.

It kills love.

James 4:3-4  You don't get what you want because you don't ask God for it. And when you do ask he doesn't give it to you, for you ask in quite the wrong spirit--you only want to satisfy your own desires. You are like unfaithful wives, never realizing that to be the world's lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who chooses to be the world's friend is thereby making himself God's enemy. 

Do you want to know who your god is? What do you think about most of the day? Self? Pleasure? Things? Another human? Status? Comfort?


Fear Culture

A friend wanted me to write about the culture of fear. Until recently, I did not realize that there were entire communities in America which live in fear.

They live in fear of strangers.

They live in fear of the "outside".

They live in fear of change, growth, repentance.

They live in craven fear of God.

Fear is a natural response to real danger. When a fear exists outside reasonable expectations, that fear is irrational. Some people with mental illness experience irrational fears.

Humans need to fear God, in a healthy realization that He is God, Almighty, Justice and Mercy.

We need to fear the devil and his minions.

We need to fear falling into sin.

But, perfect love does cast out fear.

The more one is drawn closer to God in love, the less one fears. Love does drive out fear.

Fear of others is demonic. Years ago, when I was in Ireland, my host had a television show on about home invasions. A couple who experience this were being interviewed. The documentary was two hours long.

When I looked up the statistics on Irish home invasions, I was not surprised to discover the low number of crimes in this category.

The television program producers were creating more fear than necessary. Fear breaks down communities and even causes families to have a "moat mentality", which can be extremely unhealthy.

I think today of St. Paul shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. The locals came out and helped all those in the terrible disaster. They fed and took care of St. Paul, who healed their sick and preached the Gospel.

Malta became, until recently, a beacon of light in a dark world, a great center of Catholicity.

What if those original people had feared St. Paul and the Romans?

Christianity created friendships, families, communities, even nations. Christianity created schools, universities, monasteries, convents.Christianity created beauty, art, architecture, music.

Christianity created "friendship in the Lord." Christianity brings about healing and new life.

Fear drives away love and healing.

Do not be afraid.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Novella Six: Part Nine; ADCE

Six weeks into the Vermont exile, Joe and Casey decided to go on the ham radio for news. What they heard shocked them into rethinking the two month safe haven plan.

One man from Maine reported outbreaks of the plague in Chicago, NYC, and Los Angeles. He said it was planned. Millions of people had died in those cities.

Another amateur radio operator from Pennsylvania said that the darkness lasted four weeks exactly, subsided, but was covering parts of America again. A third noted that looting and stealing flowed across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to the point where anarchy "ruled" in many medium sized towns.

The group had a meeting after Mass and breakfast on the seventh Sunday in exile. Father James led the meeting.

"We all thought, except for Joe, that our exile here would be temporary. It seems by these random reports that the infrastructure and moral structures of America have unraveled. It is time to decide on two things. First of all, can we and should we stay here? Second, if we go back, what are our group and individual plans?"

Jamie spoke first. "I do not intend to go back. My ancestors were pioneers in Kansas and I want to learn to live as they did. I think I can do this. But, I know it will be very hard."

Tammy spoke up next. She was sitting with the children, who were now considered old enough to hear the truth of where their lives may go. "If the children can handle this situation, I, also will stay here with them. My entire life will be dedicated to their and needs. I promised them this."  Thomas looked relieved, and Mary came over and sat next to Tammy.

Father looked at Casey? "Well?"

Casey looked at the floor. "To be honest, I have nothing to go back job was with the newspapers, which by now, are either completely in the hands of the tyrants, or shut down. I honestly believe that my role as a journalist in this world is over. However, I want to do something else.  I do not know how to do this, Father, but I want to join a religious order, like be a monk."

Father James smiled. He had suspected that Casey had a religious vocation, but had said nothing. Both women looked at each other. They had known this for a long time. Casey lived with his rosary in his hand. Tammy was so proud of her younger brother.

Father turned to Joe. "Joe?"  Joe surveyed the group. He was very quiet. "My sister has decided to take the children under her wing. I guess that makes me the adopted uncle. I stay here."

Mary burst out. "Father, are you staying with us, please?" Father smiled. "Of course, this is my little parish, my little church."

From that day, the group decided to organize themselves into a religious group of some sort. Father wrote a little rule. There would be three levels-Casey would be the first "monk", the first one to set himself aside for God. Father James said that as soon as he possible, he would find a bishop to bless the little church. He smiled when he said this and turned away to get a cup of coffee. Joe noticed that Father James was happier than he had ever seen him.

Food was no problem, but plants were beginning to die under the darkness. Occasionally, the sun would shine and plants, including trees, would "perk up". But, the darkness came back, although less intense than in that first month. Tammy was experimenting growing edible things with lamps, but she had to learn how to make alternatives to the oil, which was fast disappearing. She worked with animal fat, but all understood that if the plants died, animals would die as well.

Adjusting to "pioneer life"in a strange twilight was easy for some and harder for others, but all pitched in to learn new, basic, ancient skills. Tammy proved to be a whiz at sewing, canning, cooking, making soap and basically doing most of the cleaning and organizing of the daily chore-schedule for the entire household. Jamie taught the children daily, and Casey worked and prayed in the true Benedictine rhythm of the day under the direction of Father James.

The day was no longer marked by day and night, light and dark, so Casey worked on the hours of the day as if the sun could be seen. All had to follow the same schedule. All did. The darkness lasted most of the winter, but as the plants were covered in deep Vermont snow, Tammy thought some plants would survive, if the sun shone again.

Time passed quickly. Then, before Christmas, is was clear to all that some new type of bond between Joe and Jamie. In the New Year, Father James performed an unexpected sacrament, as Jamie and Joe married. The little church would grow, and a remnant of the Faith would pass down the Truth to the next generations.

No one knew for sure how long the little church could sustain life, but Joe thought the darkness was temporary, and he proved to be correct. By the end of January, it finally disappeared and the normal day and night rhythm returned. It fell away like a curtain, and Jamie imagined even the pines and firs sighed with relief.

Father James organized, with Casey, a semi-monastic day. Thankfully, these urbanites seemed immune to cabin-fever.

Then, one day in early March, Father asked for a meeting of the entire group. He said Mass first, and then remained standing in front of the small assembly. He was playing with a ring on his left hand.

"I have a secret which I can now share. I had been consecrated a bishop before we left, but could not share this information until six months had passed. These six months were a necessary delay, just in case life returned to as it was before the chaos began. My archbishop asked me to wait for six months before sharing this knowledge. Now, I know that my work is here, and that we shall continue here.  My instructions were to carry on the apostolic succession in hiding, if the land remained under tyranny. It has. I do. I am free to train Casey as a priest, who will carry on work either here or elsewhere."

The group was stunned. They understood the importance of Father's announcement. Now, for the first time, they understood that they were, indeed, a remnant Church.

Joe asked Bishop James to bless everyone. They small church fell into a deep silence. They felt as though they were surrounded by angels. Even the children sensed the importance, the sublimity of the moment.

As the darkness had covered the earth, so it did not last. One day, in the early spring, at Mass, Bishop James read from the Missal he had brought with him. With an ancient authority in his voice, Bishop James read this from Romans 11:5; 33-36--"Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace.... O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him?
For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.

Have we moved too far from "normal"?

 I read a lie today in a Catholic Diocesan newspaper. The journalist stated that Catholic schools are where children first meet Christ.

This is not only a false ideal, but an idea contrary to the teachings of the Popes on the parents, the family as the PRIMARY educators of the children.

If a child has not "had religion" but the age of seven, the formation of the conscience, the soul, the mind and the imagination has been severely impeded.

I have shared Maria Montessori's ideas on the "normalized child", with which I agree, on this blog.  Only a child raised in grace and in a Catholic environment, a Catholic culture, has a chance of being normalized.

The reason I bring this up today is that too many Americans have deviated so far from what our ancestors in the Faith saw as normal, that I am beginning to see how small the remnant really is and will be.

Unless parents drastically break with modern cultural "norms" and reinstate Catholic thinking, Catholic practice, Catholic culture in the homes, the children who are young now will be lost.

Formation of children belongs to the parents, not the state. This is the long teaching of the Catholic Church. If you are handing over your children to either state schools, or schools which are compromising Catholic standards, you may be in serious sin.

Exterior discipline and exterior forms of the virtues come before the internalization of both.

Go back and read my series, which includes these few posts. Last summer, I wrote a long series on home schooling. Check it out.

03 Sep 2013
Moving to the fourth characteristic of the normalized child, one see that social qualities come naturally and the virtues are strengthened. A child learns confidence through her work, on her own, accomplishing all the things in ...
02 Sep 2013
Going back to the four abilities of the normalized child, one sees that the first is the love of learning. This is God-given and encouraged by the parents. In language formation, the child begins by imitating the parent and other ...
31 Aug 2013
The signs of the normalized child were outlined first by Dr. Montessori and some may be surprised by the list. Now, I must add a distinction here for the sake of clarity. Baptism changes us. It takes away Original Sin, but there is ...
29 Aug 2013
There is no reason why a normalized child cannot be quiet for up to a half-hour thinking about Jesus on the Cross, or the Birth of Christ. Just holding the Crucifix and asking the child How do you think Jesus felt? is a beginning ...
13 Feb 2013
We do not need to raise children like a pack of cubs. Quietness and order are signs of the normalized child. I suggest you and your wife reading Montessori on the normalized child, and on my blog. 13 February 2013 18:27.
27 Jun 2012
And it is likely that this crossing of the line from child to adult, unfree to free—not homosexuality as such—was what affronted the more austere of the Roman moralists. And so we hear from Tacitus (56-117 ... Both concubinage and prostitution were completely acceptable; pornography and sexually explicit entertainment and speech were entirely normalized; the provision of sex by both male and female slaves was considered a duty by masters. Paeans to the glory of ...

Sad--Text from ChurchMilitant on Gregory Baum

Novella Six: Part Eight. ADCE

Two weeks passed quickly. Jamie had organized the two children into some sort of schedule involving ad hoc home schooling. Tammy made progress in healing. She was no longer limping. Casey managed to kill two deer and a grouse, giving Father a chance to teach all how to hang, clean and prepare animals for eating.

Casey and Joe decided to create army like guard duties, which involved teaching Father how to use a pistol. He knew how to shoot rifles, and took to his new skill well.

Joe thought more and more about how long they would need to stay here. Derek's last message, "One Month" indicated that, perhaps, martial law was half way over.

Father had dug out of a corner an old short wave amateur radio. They decided to think about using this after the month was out. Joe knew some amateur enthusiasts who would be against the present regime and could be broadcasting in this area. But, he waited.

This September brought much colder weather than usual. The contrived, odd darkness lingered, but it seemed to be abating. At night, some stars, and the moon shown through the cover of blackness.

No one approached the area, but on the Monday of the third week, something happened which caused great sadness and consternation.

About two in the afternoon, Casey, while on his "guard duty" saw a tall, thin man walking around the path from the lake. The man looked ill, and wobbled a bit. Casey signaled Joe, wand ho was walking behind him. They watched the man. Suddenly, the man fell, and lay as if dead.

The two raced over and turned the man right-side up, as he had fallen on his face. "He is sick, not dead. Look, feverish." Casey noted.

Joe was kneeling next to the man. "And, here is why, look, an old wound, with the bullet caught under his arm. Let's get him back. You run ahead and have the women get a bed downstairs. I can carry him."

Joe lifted the unconscious man and flung him over one shoulder. Once at the lodge, Joe laid the man in one of the small beds Jamie and Casey had brought down to the long room. Jamie had told the children to stay upstairs, but Thomas was looking into the room from the winding stair. "Dad, " he cried and rushed up to the sick man. The man opened his eyes and smiled, "Thomas. Son." Just then, Mary ran up and threw herself on the sick man's chest. Tears came to his eyes, but he passed out again.

"I hope I can get out that bullet. Jamie, help me and have Tammy keep the kids upstairs."

Joe had seen men die of infections less invasive than this one. The man's entire arm was swollen. Joe got to work and did his best.

Father James blessed the man and anointed him. The man seemed to be sleeping.

"I'm going back on guard duty," said Casey and he left suddenly. He truly was afraid the man would die.

But, the children's father, Mr. Haweraus, did not die. By the evening, he was awake and talking with his children. Joe watched him carefully. He knew Bob, for that was his name, was not "out of the woods", yet.

Bob looked at Joe, "Can you do me a favor, please, Joe?" Joe said of course. "There is a paper in my left jacket pocket. I brought it here on purpose when I heard in the country that perhaps a boat of people had escaped from the city. No one knows you are here and no one knows who you are, but something told me to bring this."

Joe took the crumpled paper out of the worn jacket. It was a newspaper item from the City Herald Newspaper dated two weeks ago. The article headline gave Joe a shock. Local Soldier Court-martialled. Fiance Missing. "Just like it for the authorities to keep printing and scaring people into submission," Joe thought. "Blast, I have to tell Jamie." He read the first paragraph.

Corporal Derek Jackson had refused to use force to clean out the camp on the Canada side of the river, in a cooperate effort to stem terrorist camps, with the joint operation involving American and Canadian forces. Derek faced the tribunal on Monday and was found guilty. He is imprisoned at F.D. awaiting sentencing.

Joe would ask Father James to break this horrible news to Jamie. Joe could not even bring himself to read the details of the article. Derek had refused to follow orders to round up Arnold's campers.

Joe wondered who else refused to carry out such orders-how many soldiers would act against citizens? Joe knew most would obey.

After dinner that night, Jamie and Father James went outside and talked for a long time. Bob fell asleep for hours, eating a huge dinner for a man in his condition. He had seen the soldiers come. He had seen Corporal Derek put in a truck and taken away. Bob said because he and the kids were hiding they could not hear, even across the water, but they could guess what had happened.

When Jamie and Father James came back in, Jamie excused herself and went upstairs. Tammy said "Leave her alone. She likes to work out suffering herself. I know her."

The next morning, Casey and Joe decided to try the radio after the end of the fourth week. Bob said he knew quiet a few ham radio operators in the area. They were all against the present tyranny.

Still, Joe held a niggling doubt about using it. He wanted news of the outside world, but did not want to endanger the little group here. Bob had an idea.

"I know the territory. Let me go back out and get some news. The closest farm house is about 49 miles west and south. I know the people there. They are Quakers. I am related to them, although they think I am a heretic."

Casey objected strongly, "You have children You cannot take another shot. To be honest, you are not strong enough, Bob." Joe agreed. He said no one was to leave at this time anyway, and he left for his guard duty.

Father James thought it odd that he had never met the Quaker family so close, realtively, to his place.

He asked Bob some questions, "How long have they lived there, Bob?" Bob said he really didn't know. They were originally from Upper State New York, but had moved to Vermont because the community broke up, some going west.

Father James watched Bob. He did not exactly distrust the man, but why did he want to go out so soon, and just for news, which could wait?

Father decided he would watch Bob. The priest's instincts told him something was not right.

Two days passed and Jamie came downstairs to eat for the first time. It was obvious that she had cried her way out of grief and was accepting the worst. She knew Derek would most likely be shot.

No one talked about Derek, but Bob, at dinner, brought up his plan to go to the farm again. No one agreed with him. He seemed agitated.

Joe and Casey switched guard duty. Joe sat down and took a mug of coffee from the low table Casey had made out of wood scraps. Bob started talking about his idea again, Father James noticed that Bob was sweating and then, the thin man began to tremble.

Joe took over. "Get him on the bed. I need to look at the wound." When Joe took off Bob's shirt and opened the bandage, he sat down and wrapped Bob up again. "Jamie, get me some pain meds, please."

Father James began to pray over Bob, and when he bent over, Joe whispered, "Blood poisoning."

Tammy took the children upstairs. Father James followed. "Children, your dad is so sick, he may not make it." Thomas looked stern, but Mary cried. Tammy held her. The four sat together for a long time, and when Father James went back downstairs, he saw that Bob's face was covered with the blanket.

Joe just looked at the floor, "There was nothing I could do. No antibiotics."

Father put his hand on Joe's shoulder. "This is not your fault."

to be continued....

The Rudeness of The Whitehouse

Novella Six: Part Seven; ADCE

The "cabin" turned out to be an old lodge, looking very small from outside, but actually large inside. The front door opened up into a long room, like one in a Yeoman's House, with a large fireplace at the west end. A kitchen was tucked in behind the fireplace. On the opposite side of the room, at the east end, a winding staircase, narrow and wooden, scrolled up to the next floor, which was a huge open room, like a school dormitory. Six smallish wooden single beds without bedding lined one side of the wall, while windows on the opposite wall faced out to the grassy circle outside. On the far side was a separate bathroom, with Victorian fittings, and a separate toilet. One adult sized single bed stood separated by a screen on the east side of the room. Jamie thought it looked like an old hospital bed,

Two large armoires stood like giant guards on either side of the washrooms, and one could just make out linens in one. On top of the armoires, again, like a school dorm, several old leather suitcases were piled on top of each other. The entire room felt and looked like an old summer camp for boys, which it had been. Father James, one of six children, all boys, spent his summers here in this house built by his grandparents in the 1870s.

Dust lay everywhere. There was an old wood burning stove, which was set above the fireplace below. That stove had been considered an improvement after the First World War.

In the second armoire lay stacks of sports equipment, tennis rackets, a badminton set, a croquet set, ice skates of various sizes, (all boys), a very old baseball bat and an equally old cricket bat. Thomas went over and began rummaging through the things, but his sister lay on top of one of the bare mattresses and instantly fell asleep. Jamie whispered to Tammy, who was walking, but limping, "Let us get this room cleaned up so some of us can sleep here." So, the women got to work and Father James brought Thomas downstairs. As it was September in the north country, Joe and Casey had used some of the wood in a lean-to outside to start a fire. The chimney seemed clean enough and was drawing the smoke up nicely.

Casey began to organize the kitchen, when a loud howl stopped all work. Thomas clung to Father James. "Wolves. They come when the fires start for a few days and then go away. One year, when we were cooking steaks, Dad and Uncle Carl had to go out and scare them away with rifle shots. They smelled the meat."

Joe smiled. "Well, they would not like this meat," and he pulled some beef jerky out of his knapsack.

Casey found four oil lamps with oil and put two down on the floor in the "long room" as it christened, and brought two upstairs. Not only the little girl, but Tammy was sound asleep on the newly made beds.

"Just leave one up here," Jamie whispered. And, she followed Casey down the staircase.

Father James passed out food and drink, when Joe interrupted. "I found coffee and tea in the kitchen. When was the last time anyone vacationed here, Father?"

Father looked sheepishly. "After we decided on Vermont, I came back here and stocked some things. I wish I had time to do more, but there is coffee, tea, sugar and powedered milk to last months. And, cookies."  Thomas smiled, but a big yawn caused Jamie to suggest that he would go upstairs to bed. She led him back up, while Joe and Casey took out blankets and laid them on the long room floor.

"Father, you sleep upstairs on the one adult bed up there. We two shall take turns guarding this place. Please, Father, you look worn out."

Father knelt on the floor. "Do you know think we should stop and give thanks for our safe trip and deliverance?" All three men knelt and prayed. Then, Father blessed them. "I may come back down. As you can imagine, I am not used to sleeping in the same room with, well, family."

They laughed and said goodnight. Joe looked into the fire, which was dying down. "Casey, this is a strange place, like a house in a time warp. But, it has a good feel to it, despite the wolves."

Casey agreed, and said he would take the first watch. Joe, who had not slept since they all had left the city, rolled over in his sleeping bag with an extra blanket underneath him and immediately fell asleep.

In the dim light, Casey took out his rosary and began the first of the four mysteries he would say, partly in devotion, and partly to stay awake.

Casey heard a Northern Saw-Whet Owl in the distance, and another answer. This seemed a good sign to him. Then, over the trees, he heard the wind pick up in the firs and pines, making these stalwart trees sway and bow. A storm was coming. How odd, that even in this darkness, rain would come. Casey looked at his watch. It was three a.m. He drank some black coffee and started his first decade just as the storm broke. "Good," he thought. "Any footprints we may have made will be washed out."

He turned the gas down on the two lamps and they sputtered and went out. All was dark. But, through the large window facing the grassy circle in front of the house, Casey saw a remarkable site. It was the moon, white and full, piercing through the odd darkness.

"They will not keep us down forever, " he thought. He heard Father James on the stairs, bringing his sleeping bag and blankets downstairs. "Mind if I join you?" Casey nodded. "We can take turns on the decades, " said Father.

To be continued...

Saint of The Day; Blessed Thomas Percy

The Percy family proved to be an exciting and faithful one during the persecution of the Catholics under Henry VII and Elizabeth I. This martyr's father was executed at Tyburn for taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Some consider him a martyr, but only his son wears the crown of glory on the Church calendar.

Under Catholic Queen Mary, Blessed Thomas Percy was given back his hereditary titles, plus some:
Earl of Northumberland and the Baronies of Percy, Poynings, Lucy, Bryan, and Fitzpane.

Here is a section from Wiki on him:

On Elizabeth's accession the earl, whose loyalty to the Catholic Church was known, was kept in the North while the anti-Catholic measures of Elizabeth's first Parliament were passed. Elizabeth continued to show him favour, and in 1563 gave him the Order of the Garter. He had then resigned the wardenship and was living in the South. But the systematic persecution of the Catholics rendered their position most difficult, and in the autumn of 1569 the Catholic gentry in the North, stirred up by rumours of the approaching excommunication of Elizabeth, were planning to liberate Mary, Queen of Scots, and obtain liberty of worship. Earl Thomas with the Earl of Westmorland wrote to the pope asking for advice, but before their letter reached Rome circumstances hurried them into action against their better judgment.
After the Rising of the North failed, Thomas fled to Scotland, where he was captured by the Earl of Morton, one of the leading Scottish nobles. After three years, he was sold to the English Government for two thousand pounds. He was conducted to York and beheaded in a public execution, refusing an offer to save his life by renouncing Catholicism.[1] His headless body was buried at the now demolished St Crux church in York. His wife survived him, as did four daughters who were his co-heirs. The earldom passed to his brother.

Sacred Heart, Petworth

He was beatified in 1895, and in some places his feast is tomorrow and in others November 14th. I pray to him today for myself, my son, my readers, Great Britain.

May I mention his daughter, Mary Percy, who became a nun at the Benedictines in Brussels. That order has many connections to foundations in England.

See here for more interesting bits:

01 Mar 2014
I have already written about St. Thomas More's granddaughter and great granddaughter on this blog. See links. I have read the biography of one, which is no longer in print, Dame Gertrude More by Dame Frideswide ...
01 Mar 2014
Nuns in Persecution Part Two. Posted by Supertradmum. I have been researching the number of women who left England in order to become nuns on the continent, owing to the persecution of the Catholic Church in Great ...
01 Mar 2014
St. Margaret Clitherow's sons and daughters carried on the holiness of their saintly mother. Two of her sons became priests and her daughter, Anne, became a nun with the Ursulines in Louvain.
01 Mar 2014
The first of two of the reasons why I am posting this series on recusant nuns rest in my conviction that unless there are relationships among Catholics, some type of Catholic community, the Faith will die in many areas.

01 Mar 2014
Thomas More's House ... and breaking rank with the highly politicized and nationalized Anglican identity. That such great families as the Mores, Garnets, Clitherows, Vauxs, Herberts and others fled to the continent and that the daughters and granddaughters became nuns forms a pattern of connected to the universal Church. The danger of too many American and English Catholics today is that they do not firstly identify as Catholics, but either as Americans or English.

Novella Six: Part Six; ADCE

A strange fog grew and covered the land around the canal. The small canal seemed like a black ribbon in the midst of grayness. Neither Joe nor Father could make out any distinct shapes on land. Thankfully, the lake was so near, one could hear the water lapping up on the sides of the crescent-shaped body of water.

The shape of the water had baffled scientists for years. The lake was exactly a hemisphere, so perfect in dimensions it seemed to be man-made, but it was natural. The fact that this canal just ended in this lake also seemed odd, as archaeologists had found no trace of human habitation around the lake which one would expect from the end of a barge canal. After the last bridge and lock, the canal just merged into the lake, which was bound on three sides by steep forested hills marked with granite. In fact, because of the tree line, there would have been no room for houses or shops or the type of hamlet one would expect on a canal.

When the trial run had been made, Joe was shocked at the odd outline and surroundings of the lake. And, that it was virtually impassible, with a public canal draining in, or rather out of it, made the scene even more strange. It was as if the canal had been dug just to come to this quiet, almost private place, full of beauty and mystery.

Father James, having grown up in this area, did not find the site disturbing, but took it for granted, as people do who are familiar with geographical phenomenon.

After the last lock, Father steered the boat to the far side of the lake. The fog around the east and west boundaries, (as the canal had turned north gently over several miles), hid the tall pines and firs. But, Father James knew, that tucked in-between the giant trees, was a small path, which led to his property. In fact, the land surrounding the path was his as well.

The canal boat moved across the still, dark water in silence, as the group had decided on oars, not the motor. No one could hear anything except water lapping on the small, thin beaches, mostly made of rock, only about two feet before the tree lines met the water.

Docking the boat was easy, as a small clearing had been made years ago, just the size of the barge. The women had filled the knapsacks, rolled up bedding, and emptied the cabin. Everything which could be taken was fit into the large sacks. Even the two children carried medium-sized knapsacks.

The group did not talk, as any sound would be magnified by the water, which was so still at this point, it resembled a black mirror. Father James hopped off the boat the led the women and children to a small side clearing about twenty feet into the woods. A very old wooden bench without a back provided a temporary seat.

Then, he took the torch and the three men punched holes in the canal boat, Casey jumping into the boat and moving it out into deeper water just before it sunk out of site. Casey being the best swimmer, made his way back to shore just as the chimney disappeared under the silky water. Then, the three men stood there for a moment, knowing that they had cut off all present from the past, from home, from the familiar. All except Father James, who felt absolutely at home, experienced a strange excitement. A new life would be made here.

Quickly, the three men joined the women and children and Father James took the lead through the dense woods. It seemed unbelievable, but the usual darkness of the woods looked a bit lighter than the inexplicable darkness of the sky. The fog covered the lake now, as the group filed through the trees and up into the foothills.  No one felt afraid, but all were alert, even the two children, who, thankfully, had rested and eaten well.

Father James then turned due east, finding another smaller path, barely perceptible even in ordinary daylight. Joe looked at his watch. They had been traveling for only twenty-six hours, but it seemed like the chaos of the city, martial law, the sounds of violence, were in another world.

After an hour, the path led to a small circular clearing, and there to one side, on the north side of the grassy circle, was an ancient cabin. Father James walked faster. He was at his old, childhood summer home.

to be continued...

Monday, 25 August 2014

SO Excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A reader just sent me Fr. Chad Ripperger's Introduction to The Science of Mental Health. It is truly a phenomenal book. Thanks, M!

You can get it from Amazon above. Of course, I shall do a series on this book asap.


Novella Six; ADCE; Part Five

Casey whispered, "Let me go on shore and look at this." Joe nodded. He did not mention that although they could see the cigarette tip, they could not smell smoke. Odd.

Joe steered the canal boat over to one side and Casey jumped out. The water was almost level to the ground, so the leap was easy.

In a few minutes, Joe heard voices shouting, "Hey, let me go. No, stop." Joe could clearly here young voices.

In a few minutes, Casey returned with two children, a boy about ten and a girl about eight. Joe could not help but smile.

They were dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Casey bundled the aboard while Joe hitched a line to one of the rusted links on the side of the canal.

"Smoking is not good for you," Joe said. "What are you doing out here in the dark, by yourselves, with cigarettes?"

The little girl spoke up, "Are you good guys or bad guys?" She looked like she was going to start to cry.

Joe said softly, "Good, I hope. Now, what are you doing out here alone/"

The boy spoke, while Casey got Father James and Jamie to come up and join the group.

"Our dad left us here. He drove until the car ran out of gas and this is as far as we got. We came from Canada, Arnold's camp."

Joe looked at Father James. "What happened?" The priest gave the children fruit and sandwiches. They wolfed down the food. "You'll be sick. Slow down," Father said.

Joe interrupted. "Let us all go below. Casey, move the canal boat out again and use the motor, but low. Are you kids really alone?"  The little girl began to cry. "Dad was going to get food for us. That was, maybe, four days ago. He never came back."

"OK, you are safe. Get below."

Casey moved the boat back into the middle of the canal and the rest of the group moved into the bunk area downstairs. Jamie put her arm around the little girl. The children were so cold.

"Here are some blankets. I can make hot chocolate."

The boy continued. "About a week ago, well, maybe six days ago, soldiers came into the camp from the Canadian side. Everyone was taken away, rounded up. We had been out on the lake with Dad in a boat, fishing. Dad pulled the boat into a small creek and under cover with over-hanging trees. He told us to lie down in the boat. For hours, we waited. Then, when it was night, we rowed back to the camp. No one was there, but Arnold's dog. Everyone was gone."

The little girl was crying. "We had to leave Mattie, the dog." Tammy, who was resting in a bunk, said, "I know, I had to leave my cat." The little girl looked at Tammy. Then, she walked over to the wounded woman. "Mattie was brown, with a white spot on her nose." Tammy talked to her about Sampson.

The boy went on. "Dad found a car with a tank full of gas. It has belonged to the Ellisons. He knew where they kept the keys. We took it. Dad said he wanted to take us to Vermont, to the next safe haven. But, Arnold's wasn't safe. So, how do we know the next one is?"

"We are that group," said Father James, and the two children stared at him. "In a boat?" The boy was truly surprised, but also, relieved.

"And the cigarettes?" Joe smiled. The boy squirmed. "Mr. Ellison had them in the car. Dad said to take them for bartering. I wanted to try one, but did not know what to do. I guess you saw the light."

Joe almost burst out laughing, "Well, I think God wanted us to find you. You will be safe with us, I promise. Now, let Jamie help you wash and get some sleep in the bunks."

The little girl, whose name was Naomi, asked, "Why is it so dark? Why is it so scary?"  Father said he did not know, but he would pray with them and after a while, have Mass. The children visibly relaxed. The boy, Thomas, said, "They took Father Andrew." Father James looked at Joe, "Andrew McManus, I know him. I did not know he was there."

Joe said it was Casey's turn for sleep. Father James went up to the tiller and Casey came down and threw himself on the floor in a sleeping bag. In minutes, he was asleep.

"Always can tell a real soldier," Joe thought and he went outside as well. Father James and Joe sat an angles against the back of the boat, Joe at one side and Father in the little seat for steering.

The darkness had not changed. "It was providential we found these children, Joe. Listen, coyote packs, and wolf packs are in this area. we are about to cross into Vermont. The lake is coming up soon."

The lake was at the end of the canal. They had been traveling almost twenty-one hours. Joe had let Father sleep for six hours. Casey would have less. Joe had not slept.

"This lake, is it deep enough to sink this boat? A boat left on a shore, or at the side of the canal, would be noticed."

Father answered, "Yes, I thought of that as well. All we need to do is open the drain holes and make more holes. We can first, of course, take all the necessary stuff off and pack the knapsacks. I have a small portable acetylene torch as well to make holes." Joe nodded. The entire journey would take at least another hour.

"How deep is the lake, Father?" The priest moved the tiller slightly. "No one knows, but this boat will not be noticed, especially in this darkness. Years ago, someone scuttled a small sailing boat in this lake and no one ever saw it again."

The hour passed quickly. Joe knew he would not get any sleep until they got to the old cabin. He could handle a few days without sleep. He had endured worse in Iraq.

"Well, I am going to take a very short cat-nap." Father said "Fine, but there is one more lock, you know. Coming up in about ten minutes."

Joe nodded. "I'll get Casey up to help."

to be continued...


I have been doing a little study on the word "wormwood" in the Bible. It has levels of meanings. I am not interested in futuristic interpretations, and, as a warning, we Catholics are not to do one to one correspondence with the symbols in Revelation and future events. The Catholic Church has done interpretations on these symbols. To read more into those than what Holy Mother Church allows is sinful pride.

However, I am interested in the translation from the Arabic and Hebrew, לענה (la'anah), which means "curse".  Before I expand on that theme, let me quote the Catholic Encyclopedia.


(Hebrew la'anah.)
Wormwood, known for its repulsive bitterness (Jeremiah 9:15; 23:15; Deuteronomy 29:18; Lamentations 3:19; Proverbs 5:4). Figuratively it stands for a curse or calamity (Lamentations 3:15), or also for injustice (Amos 5:7; 6:13). In Apocalypse 8:11, the Greek equivalent ho apsinthos is given as a proper name to the star which fell into the waters and made them bitter. The Vulgate renders the Hebrew expression by absinithium, except in Deuteronomy 29:18, where it translates it amaritudo. It seems that the biblical absinthe is identical with the Artemisia monosperma (Delile), or the Artemisia herba-alba (Asso); or, again, the Artemisia juidaica Linné. (See PLANTS IN BIBLE.) 

Wormwood as a curse is more in keeping with the struggles one sees in the lives of people who are trying to become holy. Curses are real and deadly. The Hebrews knew that a cursed family experienced bitterness, wormwood.

Curses come from anger, hatred, the occult, witchcraft and Masonry. Those who are under curses try to be good, try to become holy, but can feel, can sense something holding them back.

Bitterness is families can be the result of years of unforgiveness and resentment. Old grudeges not set aside can cause a life of bitterness. I have seen this is some families.

Often, these families have been literally bogged down by wormwood.

Daily Mass, Adoration and monthly, if not weekly, Confession, can change a life of bitterness into one of fruitfulness. But, it takes work and focus.

If one suspects wormwood in a family, seek out an excellent priest. Join the Auxilium Christianorum.

God is stronger than all evil. But, one has to choose life, not death, sweetness, not wormwood.

Novella Six: ADCE; Part Four

Joe prayed for a diversion and he got an answer. Six youths with Molotov cocktails attacked the police about half a mile up the street from the armored cars. "Go now, " he said to Jamie, Casey and Fr. James, who would go out at the maintenance door, into the back alley, to the canal, about twenty minutes to the west of the apartment. Jamie and Tammy had been instructed to leave their cell phones in the apartment, and Fr. James had left his at the rectory. Casey had "lost " his at the coffee shop. He had temporarily bought a new pay-as-you go with cash, but left that in the street in the opposite direction of the apartments. Joe had kept his for a reason. All trusted his military sense.

The three left quickly while the police fought with the six youths up the street. Shots were fired. Tear gas spread over the sidewalks. Joe took out masks for Tammy and himself. "Tam, I am going out for seven minutes exactly. If I am not back in that time, leave the same way as the others."

Tammy looked at him with teary eyes. "And, Sampson?" Joe smiled. "Take him with you in your arms, no cage, but if he wants to go, let him go."

Tammy hugged Joe and he left. She did not watch him go. In seven minutes, he was back. "Are you ready?" The police had shot all six of the youths and were moving back to their ground around the armored cars. "Yes, and I decided to let Sampson go on his own." Joe gently touched Tammy's arm. Joe told her to go downstairs to the kitchen and wait by the door. Tammy did as she was told. When she got to the door, she heard an enormous blast. Then, another blast. She was confused, but grabbed Samson and when Joe ran down the stairs, they left the apartment, ran to the back door, into the alley and down the side road to the canal. They were running in the dark, but a huge explosion lit the sky.

"Get down." Joe pushed Tammy to the ground by the side of the canal which jutted up against a small house. Samson finally wriggled out of Tammy's arms and ran away. "Don't worry. Animals have sense."

For a few minutes, Joe shielded the prone Tammy he has pushed into the grass on the side of the canal, then he said, "Go", and the two scrambled down some old stone steps to be level with the water. They ran along the side, then walked, moving west. They saw no one, but heard the sounds of sirens in the background. Moving quickly, the two reached a small bridge and crossed to the other side. Within twenty minutes, they were at the boat. It was dark, but Joe could just see the other three inside.

"Get down, all of you." They obeyed. For several minutes, they all laid on the floor of the canal boat until Joe gave the all clear word. "Use oars". Father James and Casey pushed the boat out from the moorings, and into the center of the canal. Jamie and Tammy stayed on the floor. After about a half hour in the dark moving north and then east, the two women could hear Joe chuckling. Father tended the tiller in the back of the boat.

Although they were afraid to talk,  the women's curiosity was too much to fight. "Joe, what did you do?"

Joe whispered. "Bombs, in the cells."  Tammy looked surprised.  Joe continued, "I put them in the cars. Sorry, ladies, I used your phones and mine. Nothing will be left of them or some other things."

Surprisingly, the entire trip out of the city went without a hitch. Joe passed out arms to all at this point.  But, just as they were entering true countryside, near the first lock, Joe saw movement on the shore. He had a large light, but did not want to use it. He crept up to Casey on the starboard side. "Do you see that?" He asked quietly. Casey grunted, "It's a cow." Father was in the back, still steering.

The cow followed the boat's course, and Joe thought this was not good. He knew, however, that if they tried to get rid of the cow. they would draw attention to themselves. They were entering the lock and wanted to get through quickly. Thankfully, they cleared that first hurdle and move up the canal, almost silently.

The cow moved off the side path bordering the canal and turned towards a field to the west. Then, the group heard a horrible sound. Coyotes. A pack attacked the cow. The men pushed the canal boat forward. Tammy thought of poor Sampson. Maybe the cat was safer in the city.

After two hours with oars, and moving through two more locks, Joe suggested using the motor. Also, he asked Father to say grace for a quick dinner. Hours had passed since they left the city and they were now in countryside marked only by old farms here and there, all dark, all silent.

After four hours, Father James said Mass and consecrated five Hosts. The two women said rosaries while clearing up, when suddenly, Joe yelled, "Get down". There on a small bridge about 200 feet away, several people were standing and pointing at the canal boat. They began to yell, "Get it. Hey, here, down here."

About seven people began moving from the bridge to both sides of the canal, three on one side and four on the other. One fired a shot into the window of the kitchen. Tammy caught the bullet with her leg.

"I'm hit. Oh." And she fell on the floor. Joe shot back and hit the man with the gun, who fell into the water with his pistol. Joe then turned to the other side, where some men, two, were trying to get onto the boat. Then, one jumped, and missed. Shouts came from both sides, "Back off, back off. We'll get more help."

All five thugs left moved away into the darkness."Get the engine going full speed." Joe ordered, then he went down into the kitchen. Tammy was crying and biting her lip until it bled. A bullet had scraped her left leg, but did not go into it. Joe gave her some pain killers and tended the wound.

"Jamie, stay down on the floor with her. And wrap her up so that she does not go into shock. Give here more of this if she needs it."

The two women remained on the floor. The three small lights of the kitchen had been turned off by Joe when the trouble started. "Keep in the dark, " Joe whispered.

He went out to Casey and Father, who was steering the boat. "Use your weapons if you have to..." He said sternly. He could hear, in the darkness, men calling. "Father, I think the next bridge is about an hour away, am I correct?" Father James answered, "Yes, and it is, thankfully, full of holes. It would be hard to use it, especially in the dark."

"Well, keep an outlook. Casey, use the rifle if you have to before they get to the bridge."

Casey agreed.

Joe went back downstairs and stared at Tammy. She was "out". "Good", he said. "The pain meds will make her sleep. Are you OK, Jamie?" Joe was thinking of his promise to take care of Jamie on pain of death he had made to Derek. "I'm fine." Joe looked at her gun. "You know how to use this."

Jamie whispered, "Yes," but she really did not want to do so. She sat on the floor holding Tammy in her arms. She prayed.

An hour passed. The bridge with the holes loomed ahead in the dark. It was painted white. Joe could make out about seven men again. He laid down in the bow of the boat. No one could see him. Three of the men had weapons. He aimed at the closest one's right hand. He waited. A shot rang out just over Casey's right ear. Joe shot the hand of that assailant. Then, another shot whizzed past Father James at the tiller, in the back, and hit the side of the boat. "Amateurs." Joe muttered,and shot that man, who fell through a hole in the bridge. The rest scattered, but two went to either side of the canal and ran alongside the boat. One person shot again, and just hit the chimney coming out of the kitchen. Joe responded.

All ran away. Father James stood up and prayed over the water where four men had ended their lives in the two skirmishes. Casey moved over to Joe, who was standing up. "I did not expect this."

"I did. People will panic in this darkness and steal anything. There are four more locks and four more bridges. Father, go into quarters and get some sleep. I shall take over the tiller. In two hours, Casey it will be your turn to rest."

Father came over and blessed Joe. "I am tired. But, I want to be with Tammy when she wakes up."

At the next four locks, nothing happened. Once, Joe saw lights being carried in the distance. No one approached the canal for hours. Strangely, there was not one light in the sky. And, there were no stars. A cover of cloud pressed over the area still. Joe could hardly make out hills, or trees, or fields.

"What do you make of this darkness, Joe?" Casey asked. Joe had passed sandwiches and juice over to Casey. "It is not smoke. It is weird. I do not think the army or any of the forces could make this."

"So, what is it?" Casey felt nervous as if he knew the answer. "It is something other worldly, Casey. It is not natural." The darkness lay like a blanket over the entire area, maybe over all the United States. There was nothing chemical about this darkness. Joe leant back against the back of the boat and thought.

Then, he saw, in the distance, the lit end of a cigarette. "Casey," he whispered. "Get ready." Casey fingered his rosary in one hand and a pistol in the other. Joe held onto the tiller with his left hand, and quickly cocked his rifle in his right hand. He watched the small, red fire on his left. He had a strange thought. He wondered what Derek was doing at this time.

To be continued...

Novella Six: And Darkness Covered The Earth; Part Three

Part of the key to Casey's plan involved bribery. He carried all the money, almost a quarter of a million in various bills. He had been taking money out for months, and closed his account just before the banks closed, and the ATMs went down.

Money may or may not be worth anything, but Casey knew the hearts of men could be swayed by money. He also had the women give him all their jewels. Jamie turned over her engagement ring immediately. "No, wear it for now. I'll let you know when I need it." Casey kissed Jamie on the forehead. 

In the small group, an order of roles had been arranged months before this day.

Joe was the natural and appointed leader. He had the weapons and the experience. Casey was in charge of the cash. All jokingly called him "the Bankster." Tammy was in charge of the bug-out bags and the camo clothes, and Jamie was in charge of Father James, who was to be protected down to the last "man".  Jamie, of course, Miss Organization, had helped Tammy with the stuff in the bags, but her duty was to be the shield and guard for the priest. Father, of course, was to be the spiritual adviser and confessor to the small group, and when they reached the safe haven, if they did, Father would say Mass for all who has made it there. Others knew where to go months ago.

No one was thinking that far ahead at this time. One of the odd ways to get away, planned by Casey, was the old canal which cut through the old city. It ran north-south, in one direction and east-west in the other,and had been built as a connection to the old large canals. In the summer, vacationers rented canal boats and traveled north the sixty to seventy miles of canal into a smallish lake bordering Canada, or south about two-hundred miles out of the state at an angle into Vermont. At this time of year, boats would be rare and the group knew they could be obvious from the narrow canal to the shores, especially when going through the many locks. They had practiced a run both ways last summer, taking a holiday together. Casey and Joe voted for Vermont, but Jamie and Tammy had voted for Canada. Father James was the deciding vote for Vermont.

Joe had purchased a boat and stocked with two months supply of fuel, blankets, clothes, meds, food and ammo for six people. He was not sure the plan would work, but there were two possible safe havens established at either end of the canal.

One was just over the lake into Canada, a medium sized camping ground full of Catholics, who over the years had bought sites there. The camp grounds was run by Arnold Mead, an old Navy man and one with a special gift of discernment, as well as a great sense of humor.

Captain Mead only had one stipulation for those buying camp grounds. One was that the owners to be had to be practicing Catholics, and two, as he did criminal checks on all of them, they had to be willing to pay for the check, and do it. With children in the camp, Arnold adopted the role of the commander of safety. Twelve families were already there with about ten children. They wanted Father James to join them. But, the group vote had pushed the decision to go to Vermont, which became a sign to all. Arnold and company would have to do without this particular priest. All this had been decided about three months before this day of darkness.

The so-called safe haven in Vermont was much less organized. There was no Arnold and no camping facilities. There was no lake, no propane gas, no septic tanks, nothing but trees and small openings in the trees. But, the advantage was that Father James owned the property. He, as an only child, had inherited it from his parents. On one small plot of flat land was an ancient log cabin. Once, there had been a working well, but a stream did fall from some hills onto the property and a small pond held this water. The water was good, clean, cold. Sometimes fish found a way into the cold pond.

Jamie also had wanted to go to Arnold's because the campsite was closer to F. D., where Derek was stationed, at least for now. She knew that her reasoning was not completely objective. She sighed just once, and then, plunged into the new plans for Vermont with a passion.

Of course, the most dangerous part of the plan was getting out of the city. Once at the canal, one had to take a chance of boarding the canal boat and then chugging up the canal, or even quietly using side oars. Danger surrounded each step, but try they would, for the sake of Father James and future Catholics. The Church must carry on, and this little group of the Church Militant had determined to set up a chapel wherever they stayed.

Now, as Joe looked out the window at the armored cars, he noticed a hole in the barriers. Two blocks on the right, barriers had been pushed aside and not straightened. He watched the police carefully. Once in awhile, one would leave the group and move through the hole into complete darkness. After many minutes, even a half-hour, the man would return with boxes. Supplies? Lunch? Joe watched.

Jamie and Tammy had changed into camos. Two reasons had been suggested by Joe for this garb-one was to confuse soldiers into letting Jamie and Tammy by at a distance, and, second, because camos did work to a point. Father James was offered camos at first, but decided on civies. He said he could never pass as a soldier, and right he was. He looked and acted like a professor of philosophy.

Casey worn normal street clothes, dark jacket and jeans and Joe wore camos. He felt at home in his old gear

Now, the plan was to watch the movements of the police to try and find both the time and way to escape the apartment block. Joe noticed that some guys from downstairs, two known to the women, had tried to leave with bug-out bags and were forced back in. No one was hurt, but all were virtual prisoners.

Joe wondered why the police were not doing door to door searches. Then, it dawned on him. They had no reason to search. The populace of the city were all the enemies now. All were under curfew and martial law.

to be continued...