• Tag Archives Jesus Christ
  • Today’s Democrats: Intolerance, Hatred and Cruelty are the Order of the Day

    Many Democrats have no intention of mending fences with those of us who did not vote for Hillary Clinton.  It’s obvious when we see their intolerance for people who do not subscribe to Leftist ideology.

    It’s running rampant in America. Democrats are teaching their children to hate the President and to shun other children whose parents voted for Donald Trump. Hatred and cruelty are everyday occurrences.

    I’ll start with an example of intolerance and hatred being taught to children by Democrats. Please watch this short video from Facebook:

     

     

    I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds this video disturbing. These Democrat parents are teaching their children to hate President Trump. Note the way the parents scream at the kids to “tear him apart!”

    They smile and cheer as their children rip this effigy disguised as a piñata limb from limb. After the Trump figure is ripped apart, the children are rewarded with candy.

    So, hatred and acts of simulated violence on a figure representing President Trump are rewarded by these Democrat zealots.

    Their children are innocent and are being used as pawns in a dangerous game.

    Now I have no idea how many Liberal Democrat parents are teaching their children to hate the President, (and, by default, anyone who voted for him), but I doubt this kind of incident is rare.

    My opinion comes from seeing young children at the various pussy marches that were held around the nation. Some of these kids were under 5, holding signs with messages of intolerance.

    If anyone believes this irresponsible parenting will end up benefitting the children involved, there’s a big bridge in Brooklyn I could sell you.

    This brings me to this past Sunday, where I ran into my dear friend at Mass.

    The gospel reading was Matthew 5: 38-48.

    38* “You have heard that it was said,x ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’39y But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.40If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.41Should anyone press you into service for one mile,* go with him for two miles.z42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.a

    Love of Enemies.

    43b “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’c44But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,45that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.46For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors* do the same?47And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?*48So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect.d

    One of the most difficult of Christ’s teachings for most people. The priest’s homily suggested that we ask God to help us in forgiving others, to pray for those who have wronged us, and to ask God to rain His blessings down upon them.

    Not an easy thing to do these days. We all have enemies. This is not conjecture.

    After Mass I greeted my friend, whom I met at church 8 years ago. We quickly became close during our work in the parish Pro Life ministry, and also community activism in opposing the Common Core curriculum being implemented at local schools. We are buddies, and she is my greatest friend in our parish. I love her.

    My friend suffered greatly at the hands of Leftist Democrat community agitators in her children’s school system because she refused to sit down and shut up about faulty texts and crappy Leftist ideological novels being taught as literature.

    For more on what happened please click here.

     

    After the hearing which other concerned parents were not permitted to attend, rumors began circulating that “some woman” was trying to ban books. The rumor was heard at the Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square. The rumor was also being spread in one of the New Garden polling places on election day, November 4th. People coming into the polling place to vote were told that someone was trying to “ban” books at Kennett High School. All of this talk of “banning” did the trick.

    On the evening of November 10th, my friend Angie went to the school board meeting alone. She had asked me to go with her, and I said no. I had no idea what was going to happen and neither did she. I’m pretty sure Angie’s husband did end up joining her at the meeting before it ended, but I wish I had gone. She could have used a friend.

    The room where the school board met that night was filled with adults and students wearing “We Read Banned Books” buttons. There was quite a large group. Angie told me she was sitting quietly and wondering what the hell was going on, since the vote was to decide whether the book should be kept under age restrictions. A group of about 5-6 kids sat nearby, along with a few parents. Angie decided to ask them why they were at the meeting. Following is the paraphrased conversation:

    Angie: Why are you all here?

    Students: Our teachers asked us to come, because some lady is trying to ban books in our library.

    Angie: Oh no…that’s not what’s going on. I’m the person who’s concerned about the book, but I didn’t ask for it to be banned. I’m just concerned about kids. Some kids may be too young to read what’s in the book, so we should make sure they can be talked to by someone like the counselor.”

    Students: What? You’re the lady?

    Angie: Yes. It’s me, but I don’t want to ban books.

    Students: We didn’t know. We were told by our teachers to come tonight to support the school because someone wanted to ban books. We didn’t know.

     

    Here’s more:

     

    The board whipped things up a bit more before they went on to other business. Following is a quote from board member Rudy Alphonso:

    “I think about the principles that our Founding Fathers laid ground for us (and) all the battles and all the people that have died over our 200-plus years to keep these fundamental freedoms in place and to allow us to have the choice whether or not we want to read something or not read something,” he said in his statement. “Banning this book, to me, would almost be like turning my back on all those hundreds of thousands of American veterans, men and women, who have died to allow us to keep those freedoms and not to have censorship. I see this attempt to ban this book as if we live in Nazi Germany. This is the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty rings for everyone.”

    This man and the other board members must have known that the book wasn’t leaving the school, yet he mentioned Nazi Germany. How unbelievably pathetic.

     

    So you see, Angie is not popular with many Democrats in her community. And now, because she is a Republican committee person for her township, and her neighbors know she supported President Trump, one of her children is being shunned by an “adult” neighbor.

     

     

    Virgin and Child

     

    After Mass on Sunday we went inside the multi-purpose chapel that was recently built at our parish church. Above is a statue that graces the chapel. I don’t know the title of the statue, but as you can see, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son are surrounded by children of many races and ethnicities.

    As Angie was relating the incident, we gazed at the statue. Here’s what happened.

    The neighborhood itself shows signs of displeasure with Trump. A mailbox is tied with a black ribbon, and there are other signs of dislike.

    Anyway, Angie related that her son, age 8, was playing in her yard with a neighbor’s child, and the child’s mother called him to come home, and not to play with his friend because “they” are mean people.

    *Note* – I have met the woman in question three times, at various parties at Angie’s house.

    Anyway, Angie’s 8 year old was upset at what was said, as any child would be. Then the following occurred.

    I don’t know if it was directly after the neighbor boy was told to get out of that yard or if it maybe happened later, at the bus stop or some other time, but the little boy approached Angie and said (paraphrase): I want to play here. I don’t think you are mean. But my mom says you are mean people and I can’t play with ___. (Angie’s son).

    Again, she told me this directly after we had listened to a priest speak of forgiving and praying for those who hurt us, while looking at a statue of Christ surrounded by children of differing ethnicities.

    It really was a strange feeling.

    Sigh…

    I would like to know how the Democrat mom in question is any different than a white woman before Civil Rights who taught her children never to speak or play with a black child.

    Or how she is different from a German mother in 1932 teaching her children not to ever associate or play with a Jewish child.

    If anyone can explain the difference, please do so in the comments.

    I myself see no difference.  I have known this little boy for many years. He is a wonderful child with a big heart, yet he is shunned by a woman who used to eat in his home.

    This woman is a Democrat, and seemingly sees no irony in what she did. Democrats pride themselves on being tolerant and loving, yet she was cruel, intolerant and hateful to an 8-year- old boy.

    Again, for any Democrat who might be reading, please help me to understand why this, or the hatred in the above video, is acceptable in America today. I’ll wait.

    My opinion is that these children will grow up to be sad, guilt-ridden individuals, or perhaps hateful bullying thugs like the ones we see beating people and pepper spraying them for wearing a Trump hat.

    And now for my own reflections on the unfortunate fact that the Democrats are practicing intolerance and hatred.

    White Clay Creek, Chester County, PA

     

    Above is a branch of White Clay Creek near my home in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I run here in White Clay Creek Preserve.

    On Sunday afternoon I went running and snapped the above photo. Though not visible in the picture, the park was full of people. It was a beautiful day, and I saw many families walking together with their dogs, and also other runners and some trail bikers.

    As I was running I smiled and said hello to everyone who made eye contact, all the while wondering if they would hate me if they knew I voted for Trump.

    I have had similar experiences over the years while running, but they usually occurred when the park was almost deserted.

    I once got a strange feeling about a man who was walking his dog in the dead of winter while I was running in the bitter cold. I don’t know why, but the man seemed off. I got the feeling he might be out looking to hurt someone.

    He was there on and off whenever I went to a certain trail. Sometimes I saw him in the parking lot and took off down the road so he wouldn’t know which path I planned to take. Other times he was on the road but very close to the trail. He was always wearing a parka with a hood, and walking a little dog.

    When I saw him I was put in mind of the movie The Silence of Lambs. I have no idea why, but I always ran away as fast as I could.

    And then one day I came around a bend in the trail far away from the road. I was all alone in the bitter cold, running in an isolated place. This was 8 years ago.

    As I ran I wondered what to do. I prayed. I didn’t stop or turn around, for whatever reason.  I kept running right toward him, praying.

    And then out of nowhere came a tall, fit man, running directly toward me. He passed me as I was passing the guy with the dog.

    He came along out of the blue. I had never seen him before, and I never saw him again. And that was the last time I ever saw the man with the dog.

    Now you may say I’m imagining things, or I was paranoid, or any number of 21st Century notions. But I believe an Angel passed by at the very moment I need God’s help.

    After that, I began to carry pepper spray while running.

    And on Sunday I ran with my paper spray, smiling at people, half of whom were probably Democrats that might hate me for my beliefs, remembering what the priest had said. Pray for those who hurt you.

    It was surreal. And then I heard the sound of gunfire. People were target shooting off in the distance. The sound carried, and everyone on the trail could hear the shots.

    It went on for the remainder of my run. It was like a balm. I was comforted. Because again, everyone in the park could hear it. If any far Leftists like the ones described above were walking along wondering who voted for who in that park, they were surely put on notice.

    We know many Democrats hate us.They tell us in many ways everyday, in social media comments, in acts of violence at riots, and in their obstruction and slander of Trump and every person he appoints to his cabinet.

    And they know we know. But they also know that as a group we possess the great equalizer.

    Again, it’s comforting to have the protection afforded by the 2nd Amendment.

    The Democrats who teach their children to hate us would do well to teach them about our right to bear arms while they instruct them on shunning, bullying and hating other children. It might be helpful to the children at some point down the road.

     

    Related Posts:

    The Unhinged Left ~ Immigration Riots

    #GetOnGab

     

    Shameless Self Promotional Plug

    Below is a one minute ad for book two in my series. Check it out, and see what you think. A free preview of the Notice is available at the top right. 🙂


  • #ImWithHer

    Tomorrow will decide whether America moves toward Liberty or into a hellish Tyranny.

     

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    From “The Crisis“, by Thomas Paine:

    December 23, 1776

    THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

     

     

    As the old saying goes: Pray and don’t worry. So, here are some powerful prayers.

     

    The Holy Rosary:

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    I used to pray it daily, but have slacked off over the past year. Still, it’s my go to prayer in times of uncertainty.

    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

     

    The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

     

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    Saint Michael the Archangel, Pray for us.

     

     

    Saint Patrick’s Breastplate- (Lorica)

     

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    This prayer is so lyrical and mysterious. I’ve been praying it almost daily for some time. It’s also beautiful in song.

     

     

     

    Saint Patrick, pray for us.

     

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    Prayer for Religious Liberty:

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    #ImWithHer

    Mary Immaculate, Patroness of Our Country, Pray for Us.

     

    Divine Mercy:

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    Jesus, I trust in you.

     

     

     


  • Saint Augustine and The Donald

    Today, in the Catholic Church, is the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

     

    Son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of GodTaught rhetoric at Carthage and MilanItaly. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

     

    As you can see, Augustine was sort of a sinner in his younger years. Here’s the operative quote: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

    Yet Augustine turned his life around and became such a devoted follower of Christ that he was canonized a saint and a Doctor of the Church.

    So…what does Saint Augustine have to do with Trump?

    Sigh… my opinion won’t be popular. Still, it’s my opinion, and to comfort myself and others who are voting for Trump, I’m going to use the therapy of writing to say why.

    During my daily Scripture reading and reflections, I have always applied the Scripture and the gospels to my everyday life. I’m not sure if other people do this, but I do, and I have for many years.

    Today’s Mass readings and the homily, combined with it being the feast day of St. Augustine, brought on the following reflection.

    If Saint Augustine were here today, in 2016, would he have ever become a saint? With his life–running around with women, getting drunk, having an illegitimate child, defying his mom St. Monica and causing her to cry about him and what he was doing–would the court of public opinion and the call of the world by the “cool people” have, perhaps, drawn him away from the Lord?

    Probably not; lots of people turn their lives around, regret things they did while they were young, and count on the goodwill of others to forgive them and not hold it over their heads.

    But, there are always those who refuse to believe anyone who once led a life of ill repute can ever really turn around.

    So, during Mass, I listened to the following:

     

    My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
    and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
    Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
    and you will find favor with God.
    What is too sublime for you, seek not,
    into things beyond your strength search not.
    The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
    and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
    Water quenches a flaming fire,
    and alms atone for sins.
    SIRACH 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

     

    And then this passage from the Gospel of Luke:

     

    On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
    at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
    and the people there were observing him carefully.

    He told a parable to those who had been invited,
    noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
    “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
    do not recline at table in the place of honor.
    A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
    and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
    ‘Give your place to this man,’
    and then you would proceed with embarrassment
    to take the lowest place.
    Rather, when you are invited,
    go and take the lowest place
    so that when the host comes to you he may say,
    ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
    Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
    For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
    but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    Then he said to the host who invited him,
    “When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
    do not invite your friends or your brothers
    or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
    in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
    Rather, when you hold a banquet,
    invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
    blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
    For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

     

    LUKE 14:1, 7-14

     

    The priest’s homily was all about “tooting your own horn”, and how people in business must advertise in order to let consumers know that they have a good product, so the above passage from Sirach is a hard one to live up to.

    And how about that parable in the Gospel? Jesus told us to not get too big for our britches, and to invite people who can’t do anything for us into our homes, etc.

    So, again, what’s all this got to do with Trump? He’s a terrible sinner and a bad dude, as many of the leading people in the Conservative movement tell us.

     

    Here’s an example from a recent article in National Review, by David French, who thought he might run for president as an independent earlier in the year.

     

    Look, this was bound to get ugly. It’s been ugly for a long time. Because Trump represents such a radical departure from decades of Republican leadership, the choice to support him involves a host of moral compromises that are atypical for a Republican primary, much less the general election. And since most of us in the conservative movement scorn notions of moral relativism, we’re simply not going to be content with reasoning that says, “My choice is right for me; your choice is right for you.”

     

    Here’s more

     

    The Kentucky church my wife and I frequented early in our marriage was one of the best churches I’ve ever attended. Never before or since have I seen such zeal for the Gospel or such a desire to reach the most desperate and vulnerable members of society. It wasn’t a wealthy church. I was the only lawyer in the congregation, and there was only one doctor. Many people struggled to make ends meet.

    Sadly, that rendered them vulnerable to scams, and when a diet-pill pyramid scheme started racing through the congregation, I was aghast. People were spending money they didn’t have to join networks and create “down lines,” firmly believing that economic salvation was at hand. The sales pitch was slick, but the pills scarcely disguised the pyramid. One presenter even said, “You can get rich without even selling any pills.”

    I’d worked on consumer fraud cases before, and I thought that I could help stop the madness. I went to the presentations, I researched the materials, and then I started talking to friends. Some listened, but most got mad and a few got furious. To this day, those are some of the most painful conversations I’ve ever had, and I realize now why: My friends were hearing two voices. One of them was speaking authoritatively about numbers and dollars and selling hope. The other was speaking with the same degree of assurance about numbers and dollars but was instead trying to extinguish hope. I never stood a chance.

    Yes, voters have a responsibility to exercise good judgment. But the greatest responsibility lies with the con artist and his knowing enablers. Trump — like Obama before him — is selling hope. But that hope is a false hope, and all those “establishment” figures who scorn the alleged “moral preening” of Never Trump know it. They’re aware of the pyramid scheme, and they choose to further it anyway, like the minions who circulate to cheap hotels across the land, pitching scams in meeting rooms. They’re co-conspirators. No one likes to be told they’re wrong. But it is, in fact, wrong to support Trump, and when I see a member of the GOP establishment selling the Trump brand, I’m transported back to Kentucky, watching a huckster exploit people I love.

     

    I’m not questioning French’s motives in telling people what he believes, but it is a bit insulting that he considers every person who is voting Trump to have been taken in by a snake oil salesman and a con.

    I mean… there are doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals who voted Trump in the primaries. Were they all that foolish? Did they all really buy themselves some snake oil?

    Or did they just have a different opinion than French and the others at NRO, the Weekly Standard, The Resurgent, and the other publications that hate Trump?

    You can make your own decision on that question.

    Sigh… the above Gospel, where Christ asks us to invite everyone, no matter their social status, or how much money they have, or their disabilities, sort of disagrees with French’s condescending attitude toward the working class poor.

    He mentioned the people in his congregation and said they were taken in by a scam. I wonder if any of them have read his words. I myself fell for a scam once or twice in my time. Nobody knows about it, thank the Lord; I wouldn’t want anyone to talk about my foolishness, let alone write about it in a National publication.

    And how many of us have sinned in the past? I have; I’m a only a poor sinner with my many faults.

    I’m voting Trump because I still have hope in God. I don’t want to despair. If that makes me a buyer of snake oil, then so be it.

    I don’t know God’s mind. I don’t know everything. I have to believe that Trump is where he is for a reason, even if he was my next to last choice of candidates. (Trump beat Jeb Bush in my line-up).

    I’ve read many articles on why we should never vote for Trump, and many of them are quite a turn off. Many of the poor that Christ asked us to invite are most likely voting Trump.

    I’m not sure Jesus would approve of David French right now, especially because of this article, where he agreed with a fellow journalist that the poor who are in need of jobs should just suck it up, put their worldly possessions in a U-Haul, and get out of their rickety towns because the jobs are gone, and they’re never coming back.

    Perhaps the poor or unemployed want jobs to come back to their towns. Maybe they don’t want to be the 21st century Joads. I certainly don’t blame them. Why should they not give Trump a try? He can’t possibly be worse than Hillary, and he might even be better. Only God knows the future.

    As for Trump himself, I know for a fact that he has recently helped people in need. Click here.  Also, there are many testimonials, videos, articles and interviews that show without a doubt that Trump is not the boogeyman the NRO folks believe him to be, even though he never was, nor is he now, a saint.  I’m not going to link to all of them. They are easily found in a quick google search.

    From the linked article:

     

    Tony Perkins announced Friday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s $100,000 donation for relief efforts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was received by the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which is serving as a hub for distributing supplies and hot meals. 

    Perkins said: “All funds that are marked for disaster relief are being placed in an account separate from GSBC’s general fund and will be used only for expenses related to GSBC’s disaster related efforts and restoration. For example, these funds may be used to purchase relief-related supplies, material and services. The funds will not be used for normal church expenses, nor will the funds be used for cash grants to individuals. Any funds not used in this initial relief phase will be used for subsequent efforts to support and/or directly restore and rebuild homes and church facilities impacted by the flood.”

     

    Would Christ approve? Would Saint Augustine approve? You can decide for yourself. And, who are we to judge why Trump donated the money? Shouldn’t we just be happy that he did it?

    One more point. I have seen comments from Christians who are not voting Trump because they are afraid their own souls will be lost. One lady, commenting on a new friend’s Facebook post said that Trump voters are selling their souls to the devil.

    Another commenter, on twitter, said that she would not vote for either Hillary or Trump, as both are evil. Now I understand that some people can’t vote Trump because they simply don’t believe he is going to do what he says he will. And I do understand that; I was not exactly thrilled with his actions during the primaries.

    Also, it is none of my business what people do with their votes. Your vote is your vote and my vote is my vote.

    But to tell others they are selling their souls by voting for a human being to be president is rather… harsh.

    Also, the “vote for neither evil” sentiment seems to come from this one clergyman’s quote:

     

    Of two evils, choose neither.

    Charles Spurgeon

     

    Okay. So one clergyman who lived in the 1800’s is what you base your philosophy for voting in this important election upon?

    Remember who Trump is running against? I don’t need to list Hillary Clinton’s many crimes, her immorality or her evil intentions here, because everyone who isn’t a Democrat already knows what she is.

    This election is make or break for America and our freedoms. One quote?

    For perspective, here are some other quotes by Charles Spurgeon.

     

    ‘You are no saint,’ says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope, I have none. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    We do not pray to God to instruct Him as to what He should do; neither for a moment must we presume to dictate the method of the divine working. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    He who has felt his own ruin will not imagine the case of any to be hopeless; nor will he think them too fallen to be worthy his regard. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    Few men would dare to read their own autobiography if all their deeds were recorded in it; few can look back upon their entire career without a blush. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    And here’s one that’ll make you go hmmm… What does Charles Spurgeon mean by the following? Did he believe only “certain” people were “predestined” to get into heaven?

    What about Saint Augustine? Hmmm….

    I believe that nothing happens apart from divine determination and decree. We shall never be able to escape from the doctrine of divine predestination – the doctrine that God has foreordained certain people unto eternal life. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    And, for fellow Catholics, there’s this gem:

    If I were a Roman Catholic, I should turn a heretic, in sheer desperation, because I would rather go to heaven than go to purgatory. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    (Reminds me of Davy Crockett. “You can go to hell. I’m going to Texas.”)

    So…. Charles Spurgeon was sort of a mish-mash. Some good stuff in his quotes, but also some questionable tenets to his faith. I don’t think I’m going to base my vote on what he said 150 years ago.

    In fact, since our Mass readings today included a passage from the book of Sirach, Spurgeon, no matter how close to God he was, couldn’t possibly have read it, since the Protestants removed Sirach from the Bible. (And he would never have read it anyway, since he didn’t approve of Catholics).

    So, I’m voting for Trump. If I find out that I bought myself some snake oil, I’m sure David French will tell the whole world, and say: “I told you so.”

    But, what if he’s wrong?

     

    Related posts:

    Never Hillary, Pre-Convention Musings & a Reluctant Fisk

    I Wish You Peace

    Evil Never Rests


  • Good Friday Reflections

    Today is one of the saddest, yet also one of the happiest days for Christians: Good Friday.

     

    The name itself seems a paradox. We commemorate Christ’s Crucifixion, a day of unimaginable brutality, betrayal, denial and despair. On that day the sun disappeared, the earth shook, and God Himself was taunted and mocked by His own creations.

    So how can it be called “good”? It is good because He Himself lay down His own life, for us, so that we may rise again with Him.

    We will never be in darkness. We who follow Christ will be in the Light for all eternity. This is why today is good.

    At the Good Friday Celebration today, we venerated the Cross. During the veneration we sang one of my favorite hymns– Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord).

    The following version of this American Spiritual, sung by Johnny Cash, is quite beautiful. The legend behind the song is explained by Cash.

     

     

    Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?

    Were you there when they pierced him in the side? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

    Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

    1899 Old Plantation Hymns

     

    There is also this version, with scenes from The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson’s film portraying Christ’s crucifixion. (Click only if prepared to see a realistic portrayal).

     

    I used to watch this film every Good Friday, but I no longer do. I find it difficult to watch such suffering right now, with all the brutality in the news each day.

    I just pray for God to be with all who suffer. He knows the pain of each person intimately. And He is Risen.

     

    Wishing everyone a Blessed and Happy Easter.

     

     


  • Resolutions, or Goals?

    New Year’s resolutions usually don’t work out for me. Then I feel guilty that I didn’t keep them, so I usually set myself goals instead.

     

    I have many goals for 2016. I want to advance in health and fitness, and maybe, this summer after book three is published, I may even train for another half marathon. I want to connect with more readers, and make book 3 my best ever. I want to worry less and pray more, and give more to others. I want to be a good daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. But all of these and more can be encompassed in just one word: Trust. So this year’s main goal is to focus on the word trust. Trust in God.

    cropped-photo-2-511.jpg

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5

     

    Focusing on one word was a suggestion made in the Bible Study/Health & Wellness group at my parish church. And for me this year’s word can only be “Trust.”

    I’m working diligently on book 3 in my series. At times I worry about deadlines and other book related matters, and sometimes I become overwhelmed. But connecting with God, and understanding—really knowing and understanding—that He is in absolute control, and that whatever happens is His will, takes the worry away.

    So my goal is simply to trust. This can be applied to many different situations. When worry about what the future holds tries to creep in, I can simply pray the following:

     

    Jesus, I trust in You.

     

    None of us knows what the future holds, for ourselves, our families and our friends. Sometimes not knowing can cause anxiety. But that isn’t what Christ wants for us. He wants us to live IN Him. He wants to live in our hearts. And by reading his word, praying, and allowing Him to help us through any problems that crop up, we will find that we worry less and trust more. In any situation, I can think of the word trust, and and know that God will help me through. This is my goal for 2016. To trust.

     

    Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. ~ John 14:1

     

    I can do all things through Christ


  • Christmas Eve Reflections

    This weekly column by Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia and my Bishop, has given me much to reflect upon over the past week. The message pertains to Advent.

     

    Geertgen_tot_Sint_Jans,_The_Nativity_at_Night,_c_1490
    Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490 (public domain image). After a composition by Hugo van der Goes of c. 1470, influenced by the visions of Saint Bridget of Sweden. Sources of light are the infant Jesus, the shepherds’ fire on the hill behind, and the angel who appears to them.

     

    The last few days before Christmas are usually, (I admit it) filled with harassment. Last minute shopping & wrapping after waiting to be paid, cooking, scheduling times when our immediate family can all be together before and after larger family meals, finishing handmade gifts, etc., can sometimes push Christ onto the back burner.

    However, I went to Mass Saturday evening, and Archbishop Chaput’s message was in our parish bulletin. After reflecting on the contents,  I found myself  less concerned with perfection in gift wrapping and more concerned about Christ’s coming.

    As the Archbishop reminds us, Christ came here to redeem us. His coming changed this earth forever. And He also came here to die for us, so that we might be saved from “the world” and its ruler.

    Everyone loves the magical aspect of Christmas–the lights, the caroling and gathering of family, giving gifts and watching our children’s faces alight with joy as they find their presents on Christmas morning.

    Sometimes, all in a flutter over these wonderful aspects of the Season, we forget why Jesus came. Yes, he came as a tiny infant. But He also knew He would grow up, people would reject Him, and He would ultimately die for us.

    34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted…

    Luke 2:34

    Two brief passages from Archbishop Chaput’s weekly column give us something to reflect upon.

    The first is from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Incidentally, I read Eric Metaxas’ biography of Bonhoeffer some years ago. I highly recommend it, as we face some of the same issues today. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was eventually executed by Hitler for resistance to the III Reich.

    We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the [Advent] message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.

    Only when we have felt the terror of the matter can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love. God makes us happy as only children can be happy. God wants to always be with us – in our sin, in our suffering and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us.

    The second passage follows in these words written by the Jesuit priest Alfred Delp, from a prison cell. Delp was also imprisoned by the Nazis, and executed shortly after he penned these words.

     

    We may ask why God has sent us into this time, why he has sent this whirlwind over the earth, why he keeps us in this chaos where all appears hopeless and dark and why there seems to be no end to this in sight. The answer to this question is perhaps that we were living on earth in an utterly false and counterfeit security. And now God strikes the earth till it resounds, now he shakes and shatters; not to pound us with fear, but to teach us one thing – the spirit’s innermost moving and being moved…

    The world today needs people who have been shaken by ultimate calamities and emerged from them with the knowledge and awareness that those who look to the Lord will still be preserved by him, even if they are hounded from the earth. The Advent message comes out of an encounter of man with the absolute, the final, the gospel. It is thus the message that shakes – so that in the end, the world shall be shaken.

    So, are we sometimes complacent? I regretfully admit that I am. But what is the greater meaning of this wondrous season? Why the stress about cookies? Jesus doesn’t mind if the pizzelles don’t get made today. Pizzelles are lovely snowflakes that can be eaten on Christmas, but if making them by tomorrow takes away my joy and leaves me less time to reflect upon the real meaning of Christmas, what good are they? I can make them next week, next month or at Eastertime.

    Worrying about these trivial matters puts Christ in the background.  Making sure everything is perfect can steal your joy. Maybe that’s why, after so many years of Christmas that for some means little beyond shopping and partying,  we find ourselves “shaken by ultimate calamities.”

     

    800px-Guido_Reni_-_Massacre_of_the_Innocents
    Guido Reni, Massacre of the Innocents, 1610 ~Public Domain Image.



    Christ was born in Bethlehem, and angels proclaimed Peace on Earth and goodwill to men upon whom His favor rests. But shortly after His Birth, His parents were warned to flee to a foreign land. The men who would reject him began with King Herod, who, in his zeal to protect his own power, ordered the child killed. In order to make sure the Newborn King of the Jews (a threat to Herod’s worldly power) was destroyed, he went a little overboard, and decreed that all Jewish male children under age two in the vicinity of Bethlehem be killed with swords.

     

    When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[7] When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”[3]

    Matthew, chapter 2

    So, Christ came as a beautiful child, and we should celebrate His coming with joy.

    But we should also remember that He was hunted from birth by the powerful, in an effort to destroy Him. It’s the same today. Jesus came to change us. He wants us to be poor in spirit, despite our western lifestyles. He came for all mankind. We should remember Him everyday, & not reject Him in our complacency, lest we find ourselves shaken.

     

     

    The above hymn is one which makes me contemplate Christ in His whole message. It’s not a performance on a stage, with all the glitter and perfection, but a simple video in the studio. But is it any less beautiful because of its simplicity?

     

    Wishing everyone reading this a joyful and Merry Christmas.


  • Pray For Paris and Peace in the World

    Last night’s news of the attack on Paris was no surprise, but simply an expected gut-punch. No surprise because ISIS and other manifestations of radical Islam have been at war with the west for many years, even though some refuse to acknowledge it. A gut-punch because even though you expect to hear of attacks, such evil still shocks the conscience. At this point there’s nothing we believers can do except pray for Peace in this dark world.

     

    My go to prayers are the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and some others. Following are the Patron Saints of France, along with Our Lord Jesus and his Mother.

    St. Joan Of Arc, Patron of France
    St. Jeanne d’Arc

     

    St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.

    St. GenevieveSt. Genevieve, pray for us.

    St. Therese de Lisieux

    St. Therese the Little Flower, pray for us.

    St. Agatha, pray for us.

    Queen of PeaceMary, Mother of God, pray for us. Immaculate Queen of Peace, pray for us.

    Lord Jesus Christ, We praise You: Bring peace into the world By bringing Your peace into the hearts of all. Help us to turn away from sin And to follow You in love and service.
    Glory be yours, and honour, For ever and ever.
    Amen.
    Archangel Michael Statue, Kiev, Ukraine
    St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of Soldiers

     

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in this day of battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

    Jesus Christ

    O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection for all our men and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to defend with honor, dignity and devotion, the rights of all who are imperiled by injustice and evil. Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold and let them draw their strength from you. For you are God, for ever and ever.


  • U.S. House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood ~ An Answered Prayer

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood on Friday. I’m rejoicing, since this is an answer to my prayers.

    f52d600f472b7a72714088d3324dc9fb

    All pertinent information on the reason Planned Parenthood must be defunded, the legislation, and the vote itself, including a breakdown of votes along party lines can be found here.

     

    I understand that some Americans disagree, and believe Planned Parenthood should continue getting taxpayer funding. They will eventually lose the fight though, because a majority of Americans simply can’t stomach what goes on in the abortion business. People know that Planned Parenthood has committed crimes against humanity on par with those committed during the III Reich. Since we are, for the most part, decent human beings who abhor the death and destruction of innocent unborn babies and the sale of their body parts to labs for use in questionable experiments such as humanizing mice, Planned Parenthood will be defunded at some point. It may take awhile, but it will happen.  I hope the people who fight FOR Planned Parenthood’s continued funding  will heal after their ultimate loss. I will continue to pray for all involved in this darkness.

    Of course, Friday’s vote must pass the Senate, and then be signed into law by President Obama. This is unlikely occurrence; Obama will probably veto any such legislation that lands on his desk, even if the bill passes the Senate. Obama’s support of the Planned Parenthood death machine is common knowledge for people who keep up with such things, so I don’t expect that PP will be defunded during his Presidency. Still, this is a first step.

    And again, it’s an answer to my prayer.

    I’ve been praying for the unborn and respect for all human life every day for many years. I understand that God works in His own time, not ours, and so, we must continue to pray. However, I have a deep faith that my prayers will eventually be answered.

    Christ and His Mother

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4: 13.

    prolife photo

    Please continue to pray for a deeper respect for all human life, from conception to natural death.

    Until recently, America always protected life. It was simply unthinkable for Americans to condone such brutality and disrespect of humanity, as evidenced by our role in defeating Hitler and liberating his death camps. We must go back to being a country known for compassion, a country that respects all human life.  Some American citizens and many elected to positions of supposed “leadership” have lost this. They are a shrinking minority. As news of the atrocities continues to trickle out, more and more Americans are turning away from Planned Parenthood and the culture of death. We will eventually overcome this loss and return to our former role as people of decency, generosity, bravery compassion, empathy, and love.

    Jesus Christ

    Thanks be to God, for answered prayers.


  • Writing Christian Fiction in a Secular World

    How do we, as authors, manage to write good, appealing Christian fiction in the onslaught of secularism without creating characters that seem to be fake, or even caricatures? In today’s world such a thing is no easy task. In fact, it’s much more difficult than simply writing FOR a secular audience.

    This question has been asked recently in numerous forums. How do we manage to write realistic characters who act like everyday sinners if we must sanitize the manuscript? I grappled with this question for months while writing my first two novels.

    Rosary & Holy Bible, prayerI wanted the characters to seem like real Americans, just average, small town blue-collar people, living their lives while dealing with encroaching government interference. Writing a sanitized version of my books, try as I might, simply wasn’t possible. The characters seemed fake.  There is a lot of “me” in my characters. I am no saint, and need to ask for forgiveness daily and sometimes hourly. I spent a lot of time praying the rosary, reading scripture and just asking, asking,  asking: “Should I remove the foul language? Should the characters have sex? Should they break the speed limit, or smoke cigarettes, or buy guns off the street?”

    At one point I myself was so depressed about America that as a result my characters cussed every other word. They were crude and nasty in their language, because I was thinking (and sometimes even saying) the F-bomb every other minute of each day, despite my prayers. I eventually removed most of the gratuitous language because it didn’t add to the story, and in fact detracted from the quality. Still though…If I was in such a state and thinking such thoughts about what was in store for America, how could my characters not be thinking and speaking similarly when actually dealing with what I envisioned?

    I prayed daily for guidance in this matter, and I ended up writing my characters to be flawed sinners, just trying to do their best to live their faith. Unfortunately, for the male characters at least, this included writing dialogue containing references to fornication, foul language, and other such un-sanitized elements. My first book, Tears Of Paradox, takes readers through protagonist Jason’s courtship and marriage to the girl next door, (Michelle) who also happens to be his best friend Brad’s baby sister. In the opening chapters of the book, Brad is a wild college student and Jason has just returned from four years in the U.S. Military. How could such characters have been portrayed realistically if I had written their dialogue in a sanitized fashion? Or if I had pretended that such men were choir boys? The answer is, simply, that it couldn’t be done. Believe me, I tried.

    Following are two examples from chapter 3 of Tears. In the first, we see Jason (Wallace) speaking to Brad on the phone, and gearing up to break the news that he, Jason, and Brad’s sister Michelle are now an item. Michelle, age 17, has just left for her first year of college, and Jason is five years older. This is written in first person from Jason’s POV. (Please forgive my excessive use of adverbs. This was my first book, and I hadn’t yet heard of the no adverb rule when I decided to go ahead and publish it. I had been working on it for 5 years already).

    “Well, you’re making it sound like a sorority house is nothing but a whorehouse, and I just wondered what your thoughts might be, now that your sister left home.”

    “Wallace, what the hell are you talking about?”

    I changed the subject. “I ate at the house earlier. Your mom made lasagna.”

    “You bastard,” he answered darkly. “I wish I could have had some. The sum total of supplies in my house right now is a fridge full of beer and half a bag of pretzels. Nobody ever restocks. We were out of TP the other day, and I didn’t know it until it was too late. Nobody else was around, so I had to use my damn boxers and then toss them.”

    I howled with laughter at his statement. Even though I was nervous about him finding out, I couldn’t let such an admission pass without ragging him a little.

    “Damn, Brad,” I laughed. “Were they the Calvin Klein ones?”

    We’d been having a running disagreement about that very subject for the past five years. Brad tended to enjoy wearing clothing with labels, even when it came to boxer shorts. I, on the other hand, may have liked a label or two, and once in a while I’d pay extra for a shirt, or some shoes or maybe a pair of jeans, (unless they were work jeans). In my opinion it was a waste of good money to buy designer boxers, though. And lucky for me, I hadn’t needed too many clothes anyway, not for the previous four years at least. That’ll have to change though. And I hate shopping. Maybe Michelle will help me pick out some stuff.

    “No Wallace,” Brad retorted in an aggravated tone. “They weren’t the Calvin Klein ones. They were Tommy Hilfiger. They were an old pair, but I was still pissed off about it.”

    I continued to howl at the image of Brad, stuck on the can without toilet paper and being forced to wipe his ass with his high end boxers.

    “Shut the hell up,” Brad snapped, irritably. “I had to do it. There was nothing else in there except Doyle’s towel. It was on the floor, and he’d already used the damn thing, and I’d have wiped my ass with brand new boxers before I’d ever wipe with anything that touched Doyle. So shut up.” Doyle was one of the guys who lived in Brad’s dump of a house. I’d never met him, but I’d heard a lot about him, and judging from what I had heard I agreed with Brad.

    “All right, Brad. But answer me this. Have you bought any underwear since?”

    “No, Wallace,” he snapped. “I haven’t.”

    “Well, the next time you do are they gonna be Tommy Hilfiger, or are you gonna do what I do? Nobody sees the damn things anyway.”

    “Maybe nobody sees yours, Wallace, but they sure as hell see mine every once in a while,” he retorted. “And the next time some chick does see them, I’d prefer it if the label wasn’t decorated with pictures of fruit.”

    “Yeah Brad? Well I don’t give a damn who sees what. And I still think it’s a waste of good money. What good did it do you? They’re in the dumpster now, aren’t they?”

    Silence on his end, except for a little sputtering. I continued laughing. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him that it wasn’t the damn boxer shorts anyway, but the equipment underneath that mattered, and that I’d never had any complaints when it came to that. But I stopped myself.

    Can’t say that. Not anymore. Especially to him. And I had a feeling no one but me would have any idea about what kind of boxers I wore, for a very long time. But that’s a price I’m willing to pay. What do I care? Michelle means way more than that to me. And she did. It was a lesson I’d learned during my time away from her. A hard lesson. I changed the subject then.

    So, we learned from the excerpt above these things:

    • Jason is very nervous about telling Brad he is dating Michelle.
    • Brad is a player and a sharp dresser.
    • Brad and Jason are close enough to speak freely about sexual matters and bathroom issues, indicating to readers that they have a pretty deep relationship, one which Jason is worried might suffer with his news.
    • Jason, though formerly a player himself, has vowed to change his ways.

    Here is the next excerpt, from a little further on in the same conversation. Jason has tried to break the news to Brad by joking and references to Michelle’s upcoming 18th birthday, but Brad simply doesn’t get it:

    Brad was getting annoyed again. “Wallace, what the hell is this? Why would you care whether or not I got something for Michelle? And why would you be buying her a birthday gift?”

    I smoked and kept quiet.

    “Wallace, are you there?”

    “I’m here.”

    “Well, answer my question,” he said, impatiently.

    “I bought her a bracelet,” I stated. Brad finally snapped.

    “Damn it Wallace!” he exploded. “I don’t give a flying crap on a magic carpet what you bought her! I just want to know why.”

    I took a deep breath then. It was obvious he wasn’t going catch on, so I opened my mouth and just told him. “Okay Brad,” I replied evenly. “I thought you might have been able to figure it out with a couple of hints, the way Johnny did earlier, but apparently your one-track mind isn’t going to allow that, so I’ll just tell you straight up. Michelle and I are seeing each other.”

    Complete silence. Then I heard the click of his lighter, as he lit a cigarette. I lit another one with the remainder of my first, and thought I could hear what was running through his mind. Brad and I had been friends for so long that sometimes we knew what the other was thinking. Well I’ll be damned. My little sister. Wallace, you son of a bitch…what the hell are you trying to pull?

    I could hear him dragging on his cigarette. By that time I was on the edge of town, driving down Main Street, at the point where it turned back into Route 24, headed toward my mother’s place.

    “Did you hear me, Brad?”

    “You’re joking. Right?” He sounded incredulous.

    “No Brad. I’m not.”

    “Wallace, come on. You can’t be serious.”

    “Your parents don’t seem to have a problem with it.”

    “Wallace, come on,” he repeated. “Is this some set up? I don’t see any cameras around here, but whatever. Did Doyle put you up to this? That son of a bitch…April Fool’s day is six months away.”

    “Brad,” I said, slowly and patiently. “Listen to me. I am seeing your sister. We talk every night on the phone. I will be taking her out on the weekends when she comes home. This is a fact. Can you understand me?”

    “Wallace, you better watch it.” Brad’s voice was a little wary. Maybe even warning. “You know you don’t have girlfriends. When’s the last time you were ever serious about a girl?”

    “I understand your misgivings Brad,” I stated quietly. “I admit I don’t have the best track record with women, but Michelle is different.”

    “Well, if that isn’t the all-time understatement of the year,” he retorted sarcastically. “She’s different. Wallace, I don’t even know what the hell you’ve been doing for the past four years. You never say anything. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing? You could have been hopping from whore to whore in every country you called me from, for all I know. I know how you are.”

    I was determined to keep my temper. I put myself in his shoes for a minute. “You don’t know as much as you think you know, if you think I’d be whore hopping.”

    “I didn’t mean you were paying for it, Wallace. I know you’d never pay for it. I’d never pay for it. But that’s not the point.”

    That’s what he knows.

    He was right, except for one time. It had happened on Michelle’s birthday, the October following my departure for basic training. It was a weak moment on my part; she’d been blonde haired and blue-eyed, and I was drunk that night. I was wasted as a matter of fact; regretting my decision to leave home. A guy I was stationed with, Lawson his name was, had driven a bunch of us into town for a night out. On our way back to the base, we saw her in the headlights. She was slim with long hair, wearing a short skirt and a tank top, walking along the highway about a mile from the base, almost in the middle of nowhere. Just her and the deserted two lane road; little lights twinkling off in the distance from the Interstate on our right, the base on our left.

    I could only remember a little. More lights, hanging in the sky; a cargo plane coming in for a landing. I remember clouds scudding across the face of the moon, sending shadows traveling. The clouds seemed to stretch far away in the sky down in Texas, not like home.

    No. Not like home.

    The moon was far away.

    She looked sweet to me; young and innocent.

    Like I said, I was drunk. When I woke up the next morning, in her room in the cheap motel next to the truck stop right off the Interstate, everything looked different. Her, especially. The whole episode was a mistake. I found out I’d gotten more than I paid for a few days later, when I woke up crawling. It was the worst money I ever spent, and from that time on I stayed away from hookers, no matter how young and sweet their eyes were.

    Brad’s voice brought me back to the present.

    “Wallace!” He snapped loudly. “Will you listen to me?”

    “I am listening,” I retorted. “But you shouldn’t be mentioning your sister in the same breath as you mention whores, Brad. And how do I know you haven’t? Paid for it, I mean. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing with yourself, Brad?”

    “Well, whatever, Wallace,” he blew by me. “Makes no difference whether the two of us paid for it once or twice or not; that’s not the point. The point is that I know damn well you go after a piece every once in a while, whether you pay for it or not. And I know the type you go after, too.”

    “Well Brad,” I answered, “since you know all that, I guess you also know I like to keep a few things to myself from time to time.” Brad had a tendency to give me too much information about his sexual escapades sometimes, but that didn’t mean I had to reciprocate.

    “Well, if you’re gonna be seeing my sister, there better be more than one thing you’re keeping to yourself.”

    So, from the above excerpt we learned quite a bit more about both men.

    • Brad had no idea of Jason’s feelings for his sister, even though Jason had been in love with Michelle since they were kids.
    • Brad and Jason are so close that sometimes they know what the other is thinking.
    • Brad, though a player and a bit of a cad, is very protective of his own sister, and does not trust his friend to do right by her.
    • Jason had an encounter with a prostitute, which he keeps secret from Brad, along with other aspects of his private life.
    • Brad admits by inference that he himself has slept with prostitutes.

    Now, all of this was shown for a reason. These two men are products of their environment. (This scene takes place around 2007). I could not write realistic, entertaining characters who by the end of the book are completely different than they were during the above dialogue if I had written a sanitized book. What would I have written if I had left out the foul language? (Which, in fact isn’t actually that bad, IMO–it’s just the way men speak to each other, and could have been much, much worse). These are American men, speaking to each other in a private conversation. They are flawed human beings in need of God and they are not perfect.

    By the same token, what would have been lost if I had left out the encounter with the prostitute? For one thing, readers wouldn’t have seen that there are consequences. Jason only went to a prostitute one time, because of the consequence a few days later, and he admitted the episode was a mistake. In a few short paragraphs readers could see that getting drunk out of your head and losing control doesn’t always end well. Showing the consequences for such behavior is sorely lacking in many secular books, even books in school libraries. (See my posts on the book Nineteen Minutes).

    My books are written for adults, yet they are better suited for older teens than many books in schools and libraries because they show real consequences. (I won’t mention the unfortunate state of publishing at this time. I will simply say that my books would not and do not pass the ideological litmus test demanded by mainstream publishers today. For evidence of this litmus test in action one merely needs to investigate the contretemps surrounding the recent Hugo awards, where authors I respect and admire from afar were treated like trash by certain segments of the Sci-Fi community simply for being what the elites might consider “uppity.” Their work did not pass the litmus test, they persisted in their quest for inclusion and deserved recognition, and they were smacked down and humiliated at the recent awards ceremony. For more information on this debacle please see the series of blog posts entitled Sad Puppies, by Declann Finn, or simply google the name Larry Correia).

    But back to the question at hand. Should we or shouldn’t we write characters who actually do and say the things we ourselves do and say? My answer is: How could we not? After all, we are following Christ for a reason. We are all sinners. If we weren’t we wouldn’t need Christ. What good would it be to write characters who don’t sin and struggle? After all, if they were perfect they would have much less need of Christ’s light. I’m sure some folks would disagree with me, and of course that is their prerogative, but I must admit that I like a certain amount of true to life grittiness in the fictional books I read. This includes books with Catholic or Christian themes, precisely because such works show the world realistically.

    IMO writing realistic characters can actually be a boon. If Jason had been a choirboy while getting ready to begin serving overseas during the Global War On Terror, it would have seemed fake, fake, fake. He had just left the girl he loved behind and his future was uncertain. Such a man, though a believer and even a sporadic churchgoer, simply wouldn’t have not gotten drunk at least once, and probably many more times. The same goes for Brad, a student of pharmacology in Memphis TN. A product of the times, living in an old dump of a house with a bunch of roommates. Of course Brad sowed wild oats.

    However, during the course of the book, times begin to change. It is made clear in early chapters of Tears Of Paradox that both Brad and Jason were given a moral upbringing in the Catholic Church. Though they did drift away for a time, they found the “world” to be not of their liking. This makes their ultimate return to the Faith and Jason’s treatment of Michelle all the more satisfying. When Brad finally marries he too becomes a changed man, in part because of his faith, even though he doesn’t see it at the time.

     

    monstrance and Blessed Sacrament

    By the middle of the book both men are married to women they love and treasure, and Jason, due to his struggle to cope with circumstances beyond his control, is spending time in Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament.

    Such a transformation — from lady killer to a man relying solely on Christ — would have meant much less if Jason hadn’t been portrayed as a sinner. And in fact, he continues to fall and fail and ask for forgiveness throughout the series. I use the word transformation deliberately. Tears of Paradox and The Notice are part of The Storms of Transformation Series. As usual there is irony, or perhaps paradox, because not only is America being transformed, but the characters are as well.

     

    Jesus Christ and His MotherThere is a great deal of human suffering in my series. Some might find the books dark, depressing and scary. However, they are true to life. The suffering endured by Michelle, Jason and Brad is pretty much ripped from the headlines, or will be shortly if America continues on its present course.

    Such suffering is explained by the cross. That is the only way I–and by extension my characters–can deal with what is happening. The cross is the answer to  everything that means anything in this earthly life. How else can we cope with all of the change and transformation? Without the cross we wouldn’t have the strength, or perhaps even the inclination to stand and struggle upstream as the waters of the world attempt to drag us down. We might not speak up for the unborn who are targeted for death without the knowledge that we must help Christ carry His cross. We might lose hope, and begin to believe we are just animals, here for no reason, meaning nothing. And then we would be swept away. We would just float downstream along with the refuse and wreckage of a Godless society.

    No matter how hard it seems, we just wouldn’t be His if we didn’t allow ourselves to be transformed. This is what I’m attempting to portray in my books, even if I’m doing it in a fashion that some might term rather un-Christlike.

    This is the answer I received. We are all sinners, we need Christ, and we should use the gifts given us to show Him to others, even in unconventional ways.


  • He is, indeed, Risen

    Easter Blessings to each and every person who happens to read this. What a lovely day, alive with hope, promise and beauty. How different things are after three short days.

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    Gospel JN 20:1-9

    On the first day of the week,
    Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
    while it was still dark,
    and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
    So she ran and went to Simon Peter
    and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
    “They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
    and we don’t know where they put him.”
    So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
    They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
    and arrived at the tomb first;
    he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
    When Simon Peter arrived after him,
    he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
    and the cloth that had covered his head,
    not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
    Then the other disciple also went in,
    the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
    and he saw and believed.
    For they did not yet understand the Scripture
    that he had to rise from the dead.

     

    On Friday we were sad as we reflected on Our Lord’s suffering on the Cross. But by His Holy Cross He has redeemed the world. This year, when faced with sadness, hard times or disappointments, try to realize that such things, as difficult as they are, are temporary. We have the promise of Life as shown by the Risen Christ.

     

    VICTIMAE Paschali
    laudes immolent Christiani.
    CHRISTIANS, to the Paschal Victim
    offer sacrifice and praise.
    Agnus redemit oves:
    Christus innocens Patri
    reconciliavit
    peccatores.
    The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb;
    and Christ, the undefiled,
    hath sinners
    to his Father reconciled.
    Mors et vita duello
    conflixere mirando:
    dux vitae mortuus,
    regnat vivus.
    Death with life contended:
    combat strangely ended!
    Life’s own Champion, slain,
    yet lives to reign.
    Dic nobis Maria,
    Quid vidisti in via?
    Tell us, Mary:
    say what thou didst see upon the way.
    Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
    et gloriam vidi resurgentis:
    The tomb the Living did enclose;
    I saw Christ’s glory as He rose!
    Angelicos testes,
    sudarium et vestes.
    The angels there attesting;
    shroud with grave-clothes resting.
    Surrexit Christus spes mea:
    praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
    Christ, my hope, has risen:
    He goes before you into Galilee.
    Scimus Christum surrexisse
    a mortuis vere:
    Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere.
    Amen. Alleluia.
    That Christ is truly risen
    from the dead we know.
    Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
    Amen. Alleluia.

     

    Victimae Paschali is the Sequence for Easter Sunday. At one time there were many sequences in use, but the Council of Trent abolished all but a few. Today only four are used: Victimae Paschali (Easter), Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Pentecost), Lauda Sion (Corpus Christi), and Stabat Mater (Our Lady of Sorrows), of which the first two are obligatory and the later two are optional. Victimae Paschali is usually attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (1039), chaplain of the German Emperor Conrad II in the 11th century. It has also been attributed to Notker Balbulus (10th century) and Adam of St. Victor (13th century).

    Following it is prayed in Latin.

     

    Today, while enjoying time with family and friends, be happy. He, who loves each of us as if there were only one of us, has, indeed, Risen.

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