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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Hey, A Man Site!

A Little Note from STM

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing –
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

Well, I can think of some things, like painting, having a rose garden, going to daily Mass, writing poetry, having tea with my son now and then.

God's Gypsy.

I actually like Arthur Rackham's illustrations of The Wind in The Willows best, so here are some below. The one on the left, and the one up above are by E. H. Shepard, the original illustrator. Although, I would not mind living in Lodsworth, home of Shepard, these illustrations, and, of course, the original Winnie the Pooh books.

NIce Article

Father Esper is also the priest who writes about the levels of persecution. I discovered him about four years ago.

The Pope on Angels Yesterday

On Mental Health and Sin

As I have left Father Ripperger's great book with a friend, I shall not be able to go back and comment on this masterpiece. However, I want to highlight a point which has caused me concern in the past.

Over thirty years ago, a person I knew had a breakdown at university. This highly intelligent woman all of the sudden became extremely depressed and suicidal. Her parents had to come and take her out of college and bring her home to see a psychologist.

Sadly, although the family is Catholic even today, the parents decided on one counselor who was not Catholic. This was hardly their fault at the time, as there were no Catholic counselors or doctors of mental health in the entire metro area where they lived.

The result was that in the several years of counseling which followed, this young woman was encouraged by the doctor to engage in fornication. The counselor felt that this was a way the young woman would experience "normal relationships" and "love".

The young woman's parents were, rightly so, horrified by this advice. However, the young woman took seriously the suggestion of this counselor and ended up in several extra-marital relationships with men. Needless to say, she did not become mentally sound, but lost her Catholic faith entirely and ended up not only on medication for depression for the remainder of her life, but unable to enter into real, solid, good relationships with men.

Father Ripperger notes over and over that one must choose not only a moral doctor for help, but one who understands that sin leads to an unhealthy mind. The mind cannot be separated from the soul, the imagination, the will.

Too many psychologists and psychiatrists are not religious themselves, or even moral. How can these people help another person to become mentally healthy by ignoring the very core of our being, the soul?

To watch a person fall farther and farther away from the truth of who they are, a child of God, an heir of heaven, if they are baptized, as this person is, and completely leave the Faith, and indeed, in this case, all Christianity, is painful. Following the advice of her doctor, this woman has never found stability mentally, and, of course, spiritually in her life she is far away from God. She is now an atheist as well as still combating depression.

Her parents regret their decision of taking her to the doctor they did. They are good Catholics who never dreamed a professional would recommend sin as therapy.

Sin is the turning against what it means to be human. And, habitual sin distorts a person's humanity. Only a life of morality and virtue can help a person recover mental health.

I highly recommend Father Ripperger's book, especially for anyone in the field of counseling.

On Mental Health and Reality

Father Ripperger, being a great Thomist, knows that mental health is related to a strong grounding in reality. A few points gleaned from his book emphasize this point.

1) The natural law, and the nature of a human being, that is, the reality of the soul, demand that mental health includes the spiritual life. Moral and spiritual principles cannot be ignored. Therefore, it is important for the therapist to also be a person who believes in and respects the soul, as well as natural law.

2) Sin contradicts what it means to be human. When the realities of good and evil become confused through habitual sin, a person becomes detached not only from themselves, but from the reality around that person, both other persons and objects.

3) A preoccupation with apparitions, both true and false, may lead to a loss of mental health and real mental illness.

I want to comment on this last point. When I read this, I exclaimed out loud to a friend, "Yes!" I have seen this happen in the lives of some good people, the apparition chasers, who become so enamored with the latest so-called revelation of Mary or Christ, that they leave behind the reality of the world in which they live. Some people I know refuse to accept the Church's judgment on some false revelations and fall into a state of unreality, insisting on following lies.

When one chooses to both be disobedient and to believe in something deceitful, one chooses to live in a fantasy world. Such are the followers of Bayside, Vassula Ryden and the Warning.

But, even those who follow approved apparitions may lose touch with reality. This next section is my extrapolation from Fr. Ripperger's point.

To become consumed with messages reveals an unwillingness to face reality, to face the demands of daily life, to believe in the normal ways to perfection.

Apparitions do not make us perfect. Honesty and humility do. I know too many people who spend an inordinate amount of time apparition chasing. An old person told me a few weeks ago that he finally "woke up" and realized that his spiritual life was actually being stifled by his over-attention to even approved Marian apparitions. He was neglecting the hard work of facing his faults, his sins.

Some people fall into great fear and forget their daily duties by being absorbed by apparitions.

Again, mental health is rooted in habitual goodness, the virtues, honesty about where one is actually in relation to God and others. Being besotted with apparitions takes one's attention off one's own spiritual journey, off the way of perfection.

Father Ripperger is not only wise but brave to cover areas which other writers miss or ignore. But, then, this priest is not only a psychologist, but an exorcist.

I am actually traveling today, but will try and do one more post, which is merely made up of a few gleanings from this priest's book.

They Come from Dust Part Five

Another two weeks passed and the monsoon rains continued. Then, on a Thursday, Mason surprised Brandy. "I am leaving you alone for exactly twelve hours.

I'm going up north to a small town near here to get someone and bring him back here. Do you trust me?"

Brandy said, of course. Mason continued, "You know how to shoot well enough if someone tries to break it. Can you do this, I mean, could you defend yourself?"

Brandy said, I think so.

"One more thing." Mason looked intently at Brandy. "Will you marry me?"

Brandy was not surprised at her own response. She had found Mason to be one of the most interesting men she had ever met. She had tried to convince herself that she was not attracted to him, but she could not lie. But, marriage? Well, everything was new in this odd world. She did not need to consult her heart.

"Yes, Mason, I will. I really like you and I think I could grow to love you more."

Mason smiled. He gave her a little kiss on the cheek and grabbed one of his pistols. He put on heavy rain gear and left without saying anything.

Brandy watched him disappear in the rain. It would be a very long twelve hours. Who was he bringing back and why? His mom lived in Atlanta and his dad, well, he never knew his dad.

Brandy decided to spend the day praying and cleaning, as the cabin was not exactly ship-shape. She did not want to be a clock-watcher.

Cleaning did not take long, about two hours. She looked out the window. It was raining so hard she could hardly see the line of trees at the bottom of the small hill. She began to read her prayer book.

Another two hours passed. Four down, eight to go. Mason had left about ten in the morning. She thought of the past three weeks. She thought of her job in the government and her daily routine of going to the gym, going out with her friends, basically doing what she wanted to do.

She thought of all the years she wanted to be successful, moving to be one of the top administrators of her department.

What department?

Brandy shook her head. Then, she heard a strange noise outside. She felt terrified, and she felt cold. She got her gun and stood by the side of the window. She thought her breathing was really loud.

She heard the noise again. Someone, or something snorted, loudly. Brandy moved into the small kitchen and looked out the small window. There, at the back of the cabin, was a huge buck. Brandy opened the kitchen window half-way. She took aim right at the head of the buck and shot. It dropped dead. Brandy took a deep breath. Well, she would have a wedding present for Mason. She felt like a grown-up woman for the first time in her life. She knew her long adolescence was over.

Brandy knew she could not move this carcass, but she took a tarpaulin and went outside to cover it up.

The young woman look down on the huge buck and smiled, and thought to herself, "My, haven't I changed?"

Six hours passed and Brandy decided to study Scripture. But, she fell asleep in the rocking chair and woke up when Mason burst into the cabin with his guest.

He was laughing so hard she could hardly believe his mirth. "A buck, well, what can I say? But, here is your wedding present. Father Gibson from the town up the road. He is going to marry us."

Brandy got up from her chair with a smile, but then, she burst into tears. "I don't have a dress, or shoes or a veil. Look at me."

Father Gibson came over. "Brandy, look, Mason thought of that. He did a little altering of something I had from my mother. Look."

Brandy stared at Mason. "You SEW?"  Mason looked a little sheepishly at her. "Yes, I sew."

They all laughed. Mason explained that Fr. Gibson had given him a conditional baptism. At least, they would have the Nuptial Blessing. Brandy asked if Fr. would hear her confession and Mason stood outside for the several minutes that took. Brandy was accepted back into the Church by Father.

Father suggested they would not waste any more time, as Mason would escort him back again after the ceremony. Brandy went upstairs and put on the 1950s wedding dress which had belonged to Fr. Gibson's mother. When she came back downstairs, with her long black hair tied up on top of her head, she felt truly like a bride.

So, while the muddy rain beat on the roof, Mason and Brandy became man and wife. Mason gave Brandy another little kiss and rushed out, but first, he hung the buck in the mud room off the kitchen.

"I shall show you how to deal with that later. I shall be back in ten hours."

Brandy ran and gave him a big kiss and the two men disappeared in the rain. Brandy decided that she should have a long shower and just go to bed. She knew Mason would come back to her. She was not afraid.

to be continued...

They Come from Dust Part Four

Mason felt relieved that he and Brandy had a week of peace. He went out now and then to check the area, and they did not have a fire to cause smoke. After a full seven days, Mason decided it was safe to have hot food.

He and Brandy decided on a schedule to keep sane. She slept in the loft bedroom and he slept on the camp bed in a small side bedroom off the main room.

Chores were divided. The fresh underground stream which was accessed by an old fashioned pump seemed to be clear and good. No contaminants as of yet appeared in the waters.

Mason proved to be a top prepper. He has collected all sorts of dried foods and water for years, as well as building a water purifying system, a heating system which ran off an oil generator, and other useful items.

He even built a primitive washing machine and shower which did not need electricity.

On the seventh day, Mason decided it was time to have "the hard talk" with Brandy.

He made beans and franks, coffee and even a pineapple upside down cake in his dutch oven. He opened two beers he had made himself from a small brewing kit, and asked Brandy to sit down.

She did. Mason at first did not know how to start the conversation. He decided to start with nature.

"Did you noticed there are no birds, Brandy, not even small ones?" Brandy nodded.

"There are no geese, no pheasants, and I have seen one deer. If it comes back, I shall kill it and we shall have venison. But, most of the animals are gone."

Brandy listened attentively. She felt like a school girl being prepped for a test. She knew Mason wanted to explain how bad things were going to be. She would be patient and listen. But, she already knew how bad things were and that things could get worse. But, she wanted to her what Mason had to say.

"We could stay here for six months with the provisions I have, if there are no more volcanoes, earthquakes and the stream stays clear. The problem I anticipate are raiders, people stumbling across us, or seeing smoke it we cook using the fire. I do not want to deny us hot food, and I do have some smokeless fuel, which I suggest we use until we run out of that."

Mason stopped and watched Brandy. She was calm.

"I can guarantee your safety but I want you to learn how to shoot Please, let me teach you some basics."

Brandy stared. She had been a liberal all her young life. To think of joining the prepper Mason to the point of learning how to use a gun was a huge challenge to her ideologies. But, Mason interrupted her thoughts, "You know, Brandy, you might need to defend me."

Brandy looked at the floor. She thought of her ancestors, Kanien’kehĂ :ka Nation and French. She thought to herself, "Well, they used guns.."

"OK. I shall learn for your sake." Mason grinned. He was beginning to realize that Brandy was flexible. This was a good sign.

The next morning, Mason set up some targets in the back yard. He wanted her to learn how to use the Ruger 10-22, but first he showed her his small collection of guns. He had three Czech rifles, a British one and a Japanese one, used by the Brits in WWI. Brandy was fascinated that Mason knew the entire history for each gun. He also showed her how he made bullets. This was a new world for her, far from her somewhat sheltered background.

They practiced with the 22 for about an hour. Mason said he was impressed, and that, weather permitting, they would try again tomorrow. But, the sky was dark, and a heavy, dirty rain began to splatter muddy water so that had to go inside.

The rain seemed odd for both scientists. The dust cover should have prevented rain for some time. Mason had some idea. He noticed how fast the temperature was rising, which would cause the change. The dust was warming the air and this could lead to monsoon like rains. Mason said nothing of this to Brandy, but he liked the idea of being separated from other humans for a while by severe rains. The cabin he built was on a small incline and would not flood.

Brandy looked out the window at the rain. Then she said something startling to Mason, "Mason, are you religious. I mean, did you ever go to church or pray?"  Mason came over and stood by Brandy, handing her a hot cup of coffee. "Nope, I have to admit I am not a church-going man. But, I was in the army before I studied science and prayed a few times in Afghanistan."

"My uncle was in Afghanistan. He was killed by a landmine."  Mason said nothing. He had too many bad memories of mines.

Brandy continued. "I would like to read the Bible and pray every evening. Would you do that with me, Mason? My mom and dad would read the Bible every night and say a few prayers. They were Catholics, but I fell away a long time ago, after they died in a car accident. I guess I have been mad at God."

Mason said nothing. "Well, it was hard for you to shoot today, so I guess I can compromise and read the Bible and pray with you. That seems fair. My parents were not religious. But, these are new times, and we all have to change."

Brandy smiled and drank her coffee. The noise of the rain on the roof comforted her. She went up to her loft room and brought down a leather-bound Bible and a little prayer book.

"After dinner,,,, " she said. "After dinner..., " Mason answered.

to be continued...

Monday 29 September 2014

They Come from Dust Part Three

The foursome, which made their way to Janet's parents, stopped on the way at a bookstore, which had the door wide-open. Inside, a young man in a baseball cap was eating muffins and an Italian soda.

"Hi, guys. Nice to see some people. All food is on the house. Help yourselves."

Dan answered first, "Thanks, we could use some food. Should we help ourselves?"

The young man waved a hand in the direction of the small eating area. "Help yourselves."

The four made up some Italian sodas. They found a pot of cold coffee and some chocolate croissants, lemon muffins and Danish rolls. The four did not realize how hungry they were until they began to eat.

Dan was the appointed leader of the group. "What's your name?"  The young man answered, "Levitt, yeah, I know it is a last name, but my dad was a famous author and well, I got stuck with this. Where are you heading?"

Dan answered, "We are walking to one of our relatives. Why are you here?"

Levitt took off his hat and mussed up his hair as if he had a nervous habit. "Well, someone stole my car during the night. and I live in the suburbs with my parents, so I can't get home. I figure I may as well stay here and see if one of my brothers comes looking for me. Who knows? Do you know what happened? I sleep upstairs now and then in a small apartment, and stayed overnight last night. This is crazy."

"Volcanoes, 69 of them, " mumbled Jimmy between bites. Levitt looked at him with wide eyes. "Wow, is this crazy? I mean where and how do you know? I guess that explains the dust."

"That explains the dust," said Janet, who was still wearing a mask. "We are scientists from the seismology lab."

"Wow, " Levitt sat down next to Jimmy at the largest table in the small cafe. "This is really bad. I suppose California is gone."

"We were told as much, but we honestly do not know much more than you do." Dan did not want to hurt Janet with references to Dave.

"Wow, I wonder what will happen next?"

Jimmy finished his cold coffee. "Nothing. The sky will look like this for a year."

"Wow, " Levitt apparently could not say much. Then, he added. "My brother is a prepper, but I use to make fun of him."

Dan smiled. "Well, I hope he forgives you. You will need him now."

"Yeah, he lives out somewhere and has a cabin full of stuff. Maybe I should go there."

Dan looked at Levitt. He knew Mason's cabin, but did not want to share any information. He was beginning to think one could not trust unknown people.

"Where is his cabin?"

Levitt scratched his head. "South Carolina." Dan said nothing. Jimmy said, "If I were you, I would go as far south as possible. But, wait to see if someone will come for you."

Just then, a Chevy truck pulled up in front of the bookstore. Levitt yelled. "Bobby, hey Man. Am I glad to see you."

It was the prepper brother. Levitt ran out and hugged his brother. He spoke to them for a minute. Then, Bobby came in.

"Hey, guys, I shall take you to the house, but then we need to get going. It is dangerous."

Dan looked at the others. "OK, great, the girls are tired." The men bundled into the back of the truck and with Levitt and Bobby squeezed the two women into the front. Janet gave directions. Bobby took back roads and in ten minutes, the foursome were at Janet's parent's house. Bobby did not say much. He was intent on his plans. "I am glad to get Levitt. I have seen some bad stuff." He stopped. He did not want to scare the women..

At the house, everyone got outside and just stood there in silence for a while. The house was quiet. But, they four waited to say thanks to Bobby and Levitt

The brothers got back in the truck and the four waved the two goodbye, knowing full well they would never see them again.

Life seemed so strange. But, there were some good people left.....

to be continued...

They Come from Dust Part Two

After the four left to walk the miles to Janet's parents, Mason, just for the heck of it, tried his cell phone. Amazingly, it worked, for a few seconds. He quickly checked a text from Adam.

"Gone to base 2. No electricity expected until cloud goes-one year, states Rob. I am walking south."

Then, the phone went dead. Mason got up and walked over to Brandy, who was just sitting, staring at her computer.

"One year prognosis from Base Two." Brandy stared with her big brown eyes. "One year?" She could not comprehend the news. "Nothing will be alive in a year. Adam is leaving and walking south. I expect he is going to his wife in North Carolina."

"What? Walking to NC? Walking?"

"His car ran out of gas and all the stations have electric pumps. He got as far as Base Two. Well, what would you do?"

"I don't know, I just don't know. We all talked about this for weeks in staff meetings. Weeks, and none of us prepared. I mean, we laugh at the preppers."

Mason smiled. "I have to tell you something. Don't laugh at me. I am a prepper."

Brandy looked at him. "You hypocrite." Then, she smiled. "Well, what is the point of staying here."

Mason said he would break into the canteens, but the food was all spoiled by now. He would try and get money out of the machines.

"We drank all the pope yesterday."

Brandy stood up, "Let's go, now. This place is creepy, and there is not a thing we can do here. I have a full tank of gas. Where do you live?'

"About twenty-miles east, but my cabin with my stash is south of here. And, I want to avoid the metro areas. Looting, I mean people will be going crazy. Let's go now. As you know, I only have the motorbike and we are safer in a car. And, I have a gun."

Brandy looked shocked. "You are full of surprises. OK, let's go."

Within minutes, Mason was driving on back roads to his place. In the car, he explained to Brandy, that she would have to accept that he was "way more conservative" politically than he ever let on. "I belong to two gun clubs and, well, I vote far-right."

Brandy just smiled. "Well, I never thought I would be riding with a red-neck scientist." She laughed out loud. "I guess I have to set aside my prejudices."

"If you are coming with me, I guess so," Mason answered and they raced to a small state park area south of Reston. "I bought this cabin years ago, for fishing, just at the edge of the park area. I have tons of food and supplies for cooking and warmth. But, I only stocked for six months, not a year."

Brandy felt like she was in a dream. "I wish I knew how my family was doing in Arlington. I just never thought we would ever be completely cut-off."

Mason looked out his rear-view mirror. "We are being followed. I am taking a diversion. I know where I can leave this car and we can walk through the forest. Are you ready? I am not going to be killed over a car. And I don't want to shoot anyone, yet."

Brandy put her hand on his arm. "I'm scared." Mason pulled over to a housing estate and parked the car in the parking lot, They could see the edge of the woods. "I am leaving the keys in the car. Get into that open garage, Run, I am behind you."

Brandy ran to the small garage, and Mason followed with his small pistol. They hid behind some boxes. An old Buick came up and two men jumped out. They looked around and then opened Brandy's car. The one gestured to the other, they got in and drove away, fast. They move due west.

"Someone is chasing them. We need to make those woods in the next few minutes. Can you do it?"

"Sure, I was all-state runner in college. Let's go." Mason smiled, "I guess I am not the only surprised one today. Let's go."

Within minutes, the two made the woods, Mason told Brandy to lay down. He really wished she was not wearing red today. "Smear mud on your clothes." She obeyed.

He looked back and saw a police car drive into the parking lot and two men got out, in military gear. They went over and checked the car. "Move, now, Go." Mason whispered. The two were off.

Forty-five minutes later, Brandy and Mason found the cabin. Brandy collapsed at the door. "Get in, now," Mason helped her in and went out, dust was falling everywhere. Their tracks were already covered.

"Well, We are here for awhile. No one followed us. I have clothes you can change into."

Brandy fell on a small sofa. "Yea, I guess red is not combat color."

Then she began to cry. "I'm sorry. This is too much."

"Take a nap. I be on first guard." Mason went to a cupboard and pulled out a pillow and blankets.

Within minutes, Brandy was asleep. "Poor thing, She has no idea how bad this can get." And, he propped himself under one of the front windows.

to be continued...

They Come from Dust.....Part One

Dan looked at his cold cup of coffee. He was not sure he wanted to drink it, but he thought, ruefully, this may be his last cup for a long time.

Only a handful of people had made it to the office in Virginia this morning. Six or seven employees of the government seismology group which dealt with emergency information stood around. Janet looked like a surgeon with her mask on. This was not a good day for asthmatics. She looked tired as well, but smart in her blue suit. Carrie stared out the window at the grayish-red sky.

"Well, we predicted this, but no one believed us, Jim, " she said to the man sitting near her. Jimmy looked up. "Yeah, and I want to take the generator out and see if I can determined any activity. Do you want to go out?" Carrie lowered her voice, "Yeah, I'll go. Janet will be imprisoned inside while this is going on."

Jimmy stood up and walked over to the window. "I know, but without the air working, this office will not be much better than outside, to be honest."

Dan was taking notes on a small notebook. In the entire area of North America, this reddish-grey cloud covered the land, from the top of Canada to the edge of South America, covering Mexico and Central America.

Last night, about 1:00 a.m.,Yellowstone blew up, setting off a chain reaction of volcanoes and earthquakes from Colorado through California, including Baja. Before his cell died, Dan had three texts from his best friend in Denver, Dave

"7 here, California is dead. Moving out of the building to the south in car. Have generator/stuff."

Stuff meant his mobile instruments. Then, about a half hour later, Dan received another text, "Going farther south. This will be the day that I die. But, want more readings. Stupid song on the car radio-the last song I shall ever hear-American Pie. Why is Sirius working in the Twilight Zone?"

Dan could hardly read the third one, but wrote all these down before his phone died.

"Bye, friend. Pray for me. Dust is poison here. Tell Janet I love her. Can't get through to her. See you all, God willing, on the other side. Radio died. All is silent. God is Good."

Dan stared at Janet. Dave and Janet were supposed to be married in January, right after Christmas.

He had showed her the texts about two hours ago. Now, all was silent.

Janet had gone into a little cocoon of her own, quiet, distant. She knew Dave was dead, out in the field somewhere, covered in ash, in a land where all the trees, plants, people would die completely, perhaps already now, burnt or poisoned, choked,

Dan watched her, giving her space. He understood her and knew that she would work this out by herself and talk when she was collected. He admired her strength.

The two with the mobile stuff moved outside. Dan walked over to the window and watched them set up the generator and instruments on the "flat" as they called it, a small piece of land in a small courtyard. Dan did not expect any activity this far east, but the city was getting a fair amount of dust even in Virginia.

He looked at the sky.  Dust fell like rain. "Man," he thought, " the West must be like Pompey. 69 explosions recorded for prosperity, for who?"

As a child, Dan and his parents had gone to Italy and visited both Pompey and Herculaneum. He was eight years, old and then and there, he had decided to go into the science of volcanoes, specializing in debris dynamics. He never thought he would be watching such a show. He had been to Mt. Etna in 2003 when in college. That is where he met Dave and Janet. They became instant friends.

Carrie and Jimmy walked in with the stuff. "Some activity even here-2.5s." Dan looked at them. His mind flew to the map in the staff room of America's fault lines. He had them all memorized. He knew the West, most likely from the Mississippi, was dead, burning, covered with the debris of the sixty-plus explosions which were triggered by Yellowstone.

"Carrie got a message from her sister before the cells stopped. All the airlines are closed. Absolutely no flights from Alaska to Nicaragua. Her sister is stuck in Alabama." Carrie's sister worked as an airline flight attendant for Delta.

Dan stood up. "Well, I would imagine people are alive there." Carrie came over and put her arm over Dan's shoulder. No one said a thing. They all had loved Dave. He was special. He loved people, God, nature. His nickname was "The Monk".

Janet finally left her vigil at the window and turned to look at Dan. Dan knew she would be OK, She had absorbed the tragedy.

She came over and sat down next to Dan. "Want some cold coffee?" She took the cup from Dave.

"At least he is buried. I would not want to think of him just laying out in the open."

"Yes, God buried him with His Own Hands." Janet stared at Dan, "Thank you. I thought the same thing. He was the best man I ever met. Maybe just too good for me, for this world."

Dan knew this was true and said nothing. "Well, I guess we have to think of what to do next."

"My parents live about four miles from here. I can walk it. There is nothing to do here without electricity. Do you want to go?"

Carrie walked over to the small table where Dan and Janet sat. "I'll go. Why not? What about Jimmy?"

"Well, they will have food and none of us have eaten since last night. Sure, I cannot phone, of course, but they would be less worried if they knew I was fine."

Dan murmured, "Can you realistically take the walk?"

"Sure, for my mom and dad, anything."

The other two in the office, Brandy and Mason, said they would stay and hold down the fort. They did not expect anyone else to make it in. Just in case electricity came on again, they would hang around. A seventh person, Adam, had disappeared hours ago. No one knew where he went.

The four got raincoats and the girls changed into their walking shoes, which they kept at the office for field duty. The four set off, south, not knowing what to expect.

to be continued...

Hello to Readers in Australia, including one dear American friend

Hello to Friends in The Netherlands

Hello to Friends in France

Too Many Children Are in Darkness

Children who are baptized are radically different than those who are not.

The problem is the lack of baptism, as well as the following formation.

More later. We lack acuity of judgment, keenness of memory, discernment....

(Savants remind us of what we lost.....)

Dullness of the intellect and the senses are results of sin, Original and our sin...we get dumber and dumber.


Say a decade of the rosary for Fr. Ripperger.

Two More Posts From Fr. Ripperger

Tomorrow, I hope to post two more and the last posts I shall do from Fr. Chad Ripperger's book, Introduction to the Science of Mental Health, which I highly recommend to anyone in counseling or spiritual direction, as well a psychologist.

I am passing the book on to someone else, so I need to work on it later today.

In the meantime, read everything else....God bless.

Why Do Women Want To Be Men?

Sent by a reader....

Happy Feast of The Archangels

Archangel St Michael. Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco. Venezia ITALY
St. Gabriel, the Duomo
St. Raphael

Good News

The Bishop of East Anglia, His Excellency, Alan Hopes, will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the EF at the Cathedral, St John the Baptist, Norwich, on the Feast of All Saints, November 1st, 2014.

News about the Net;_ylt=AwrTWf2ygCdUCj8AYlfQtDMD

Follow Up Commentary on Garrigou-Lagrange

St.Catherine with Demons
There is much confusion on demonic possession and obsession, which is why I put the two long excerpts from Garrigou-Lagrange on the blog on Saturday.

One must make distinctions, which, sadly, Catholics who are not working in order with the Church confuse. I have cautioned about so called charismatic deliverance teams before on this blog many times.

Obsession can occur for several reasons: family history of sin; personal sin; or God allowing a holy person to be tested for further growth in holiness. Many saints were subjected to horrible obsessions in order to become perfect.

One can discern the difference easily. But, if one feels "tormented", the beginning of freedom is in the confessional.

Possession is either brought about by years of serious sin, or by the giving of an innocent person over to evil. God allows possession for His great glory, but some people choose it by following witchcraft, satanism, years of drug abuse and so on.

As Fr. Ripperger notes in his talks, the hardest possessions to break are those when a child has been given over for satanic use. Sadly, this is a real thing which happens, as some of you know.

The reason I am posting and discussing this topic is that many Catholics are encountering difficulties in proceeding on the path of perfection. They seem to get so far and then hit blockages which seem out of their control.

All freedom from obsessions begins with repentance of certain sins. Once a person is in sanctifying grace, that person can speak with a priest about the persistence of spiritual and physical obsessions.

Sometimes, all it takes it weekly Adoration and frequent even daily Mass, if possible. Adoration is essential to freedom.

But, one cannot expect to be free of obsessions unless one repents of serious sins.

Of course, real possession, which is rare, but increasing, takes a Catholic priest exorcist to deal with the demonic presence.

I think Garrigou-Lagrange and Fr Ripperger's talks, as well as his book, are the best sources for discerning obsessions or possession.

As Father Ripperger notes several times, the devil is not under every rock, just every other rock.

to be continued...

Job, Paul, And The Dark Night of The Soul

What does Job have to learn? He has not sinned, but he is not humble. Job's life is the Dark Night of the Soul. He is learning perfection. 

The same is true of St. Paul, who was not sinning, except for zealously killing Christians, but he was loving the Lord. He had more of an enlightenment, rather than a conversion. His enlightenment was that God was the Trinity and Christ revealed Himself to him. He came into the Illumination Stage after his eyes were darkened, a sign of the Dark Night.

The Dark Night is the time we become, finally, humble. These ideas were given to me by a seminarian, who has been reflecting on Job, Paul and the Dark Night.

Job 38 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Lord Answers Job

38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
    I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together,
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
    when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made clouds its garment,
    and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed bounds for it,
    and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and it is dyed[a] like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.
19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21 You know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a way for the thunderbolt,
26 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
    on the desert in which there is no man;
27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
    and to make the ground put forth grass?
28 “Has the rain a father,
    or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
    and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
30 The waters become hard like stone,
    and the face of the deep is frozen.
31 “Can you bind the chains of the Plei′ades,
    or loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you lead forth the Maz′zaroth in their season,
    or can you guide the Bear with its children?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    that a flood of waters may cover you?
35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
    and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the clouds,[b]
    or given understanding to the mists?[c]
37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
    Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38 when the dust runs into a mass
    and the clods cleave fast together?
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 when they crouch in their dens,
    or lie in wait in their covert?
41 Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God,
    and wander about for lack of food?

A Good Scene

From one of my favorite movies...

Rudy: Maybe I haven't prayed enough.
Father Cavanaugh: I don't think that's the problem. Praying is something we do in our time, the answers come in God's time.
Rudy: If I've done everything I possibly can, can you help me?
Father Cavanaugh: Son, in thirty-five years of religious study, I've come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I'm not Him.

FYI, my top fifteen favorite movies, not in order:

The Passion of the Christ
Lawrence of Arabia
Tree of Wooden Clogs
Little Dorrit
The Mission
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Star-Trek Four
Funny Face
A Man for All Seasons
King Lear with Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack because Scofield is brilliant
Random Harvest

Sunday 28 September 2014

One More "Kieran" Comment

The media is having a hay-day with the scandal of our bishop, now resigned. It seems to me that Catholics do not understand the right tone to take with scandals.

We hate the sin and love the sinner. I have not seen much love today, mostly self-righteousness.

I wonder if Kieran Conroy, myself and a few others charitable souls, like Michael, are the only sinners in the world?

Yes, that the man was a bishop makes the matter of sin worse, but what of parents who sin against their own children with bad example, what of children who sin against parents by ignoring them, putting them "out of the way" in homes, what of abortion, and contraception-the last the most common sin among English Catholics?

I am convinced that when God lets a person "get caught", it is a sign that God has not given up on that person. How many priests have lost salvation through hidden sins?

This man may yet become a saint. Pray for him.

And, may I add a comment I put on another, famous blog today?

I think the laity forgets where priests and bishops come from-Catholic homes and Catholic schools. If there is a crisis among the clergy, we have only ourselves to blame. It is not the case that young men are completely set on the wrong track morally or theologically all of the sudden in seminary when they are in their twenties. By that time, they are formed.
No, parents form their children first. Then teachers, and only then, college or university teachers and peers. If the lay people want holy priests and holy bishops there are several things we can do.
1) Be holy ourselves.
2) Raise holy children
3) Avoid wishy-washy Catholic schools; home school
4) Make sure the children have strong Catholic friends-go to TLMs
5) Teach the faith at home
6) Encourage leadership skills, morality and counter-cultural values in our teens.
7) Fast and pray for our clergy, bishops, seminarians
8) Give to good seminaries
9) Fast and pray some more
10) Stop being judgmental. Luke 6:37 from the mouth of Christ Himself
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Words of Wisdom from St. Paul

It seems that some people on line and in the newspapers do not understand that we are not righteous in our own selves, but only because Christ has redeemed us by His Sacrifice on the Cross.

We do not save ourselves by good works, but by understanding that we are sinners, horrible sinners all, and in need of Christ's Mercy, as well as Justice. Good works follows repentance, purification, prayer.

All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, as St. Paul states.

To want revenge, or to want to see a sinner suffer is evil. God takes care of justice and mercy. God passes out judgment.

While we live, none of us are assured of salvation. Any of us could fall and lose eternal life. I see too much anger and self-righteousness.

I suggest a day of prayer and fasting.

From 1 Corinthians  4 and 6

Servants of Christ

1 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.

Paul's Life as Model for his Disciples

6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. 7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8 You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 

10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 

1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 

7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. 

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

From Romans 3

None Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews any better off?[a] No, not at all; for I[b] have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands, no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong;
no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.20 For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Righteousness through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith.[c] 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 2:1-3

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?