Maybe it happens to every American who lives past the age of fifty.
You see your country change. You see opinions do a 180 degree turn.
What was once a cliche meant as a slam against women, suggesting that we are all fickle, is now totally an applicative accusation against Americans.
Charles Dickens in American Notes observed how dearly we like to put people on a pedestal just to knock them down again. And, we do.
We also do it with our core beliefs. We set them up. We knock them down.
Our country was once pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-chastity, pro-work ethic, pro-frugality.
We now embrace something else.
Today, I am toying with another memory from the past. There is a growing mindset that Israel is the occupier.
As a child, I was told something quite different, not merely from parents and grandparents, but at school.
Our country advocated for the Jewish people to have a homeland.
We were horrified during the late 1970s when the PLO terrorized Israel. It was in our current events. We saw the filmstrips. And we stood with Israel.
Either our country was clueless on so many levels “back in the day,” or we are a fickle country. The American prerogative is to change her mind, again and again.
We keep putting ideas up on pedestals just to knock them down.
We stand on stages and proclaim things to be absolute Truth, only to reverse our position a few decades later and call old ideas archaic, deluded, misinformed and new ideas … progressive.
Truth is unchangeable. But we beg to differ.
I am so very tired of the American audacity to think this modern era can make it up as she goes through history. By “it” I mean truth.
Our children’s children will not agree with our children. They will consider themselves far more progressive than we.
Americans will continue to fulfill Dickens’ observation. Set it up. Knock it down.
Repress … truth.
This has been the year of more negativity than I can ever remember.
It makes me think about how I find my happy place. It can’t depend upon the voices swirling around me. Goodness, there is no way out of the mire that way.
These are my tried and true methods for peace.
- Read the Scriptures for the day. I love my Missal. For someone who may be a negative nelly out there and think, “Why didn’t she say the B-I-B-L-E… yes that’s the book for me.” It’s because the Missal is Scripture. It is a lot like those compilations of daily readings so popular in the 1990s… Read the Bible in 365 Days. So, don’t judge me.
- I put on music. Good music.
- I walk. In my own back yard. With my dog. And I look at all that God has permitted us to have. Yes, I know those are sentence fragments. I have an M.A. in English. I use phrases for emphasis. So, don’t judge me. An English professor once told me that I could break the rules when I had mastered them.
- I don’t listen to the negativity. It’s not that I don’t see it. I see and hear it all. Hearing and listening are two different things.
- Other people do not get to have power over me. I used to have this necklace that said I’m a King’s Kid. I was ashamed to wear it back when I was in high school. It’s tough enough being a preacher’s daughter without advertising it every day in a public school. But now, I let my King’s kid status shine in bright neon letters. I’m not only the daughter of the King of kings, I am Catholic. And I am not ashamed.
- I love Mother Mary. Goodness, how does one keep from feeling anxious without her constant companionship and intercession. We all need a mother. A mother who sticks with us no matter what.
- I pray. All. Day. Long.
- I hug my grandchildren as often as I can.
- I try to be a giver rather than a taker.
- I go to confession and when I receive the Eucharist…I lower my head because I am not worthy. Praise God for the words of absolution! Praise Him with loud cymbals and close-packed branches waving joyfully…I am not worthy, but just one Word, and I am healed.
- I say the daily offering before I get out of bed.
- I pray the prayer to St. Michael… often.
My favorite line in today’s Gospel Reading is this: It will lead to your giving testimony.
Everything else … not so much.
I am looking forward to Sunday night. I will give my testimony – my conversion story – and talk about my journey into the Catholic Church and my encounters with Mary. To be clear, it is my joy. Absolute joy.
Today’s Reading doesn’t really refer to this kind of sharing, though.
This kind of testimony is made up of the same stuff, but the audience isn’t a friendly one.
This audience is filled with betrayers, detractors, and plotters.
This audience is comprised of the powerful and the familial.
This audience hates you and hates what you say.
Seems like, if one ever prepared to give a testimony, this would be the time to prepare. Rehearse what you will say over and over.
But we are told not to prepare a word.
For God Himself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
It won’t be you.
You can’t prepare.
While everything in you may be saying, but I don’t wanna do this. What will I say?
The Peace of Christ will be with you. And He will speak for you.
Don’t be afraid.
Last week, we watched the protests.
Some wondered. Some still wonder.
In the last decade and a half, we have seen war. We have witnessed refugees. We have watched the displaced as they walk and walk and walk. Untold stories in their hearts. Their eyes seeing things not in front of them, but repeating scenes from where they were.
We have watched the ancient places like Nineveh be sacked. Christian churches that are centuries and centuries old destroyed.
Men with the name of Jesus on their tongues slain.
Yesterday, there was an earthquake in Japan. And a tsunami.
Another in New Zealand.
A few days and weeks ago, one in Rome. And a tornado.
We wait. We wonder. And we read.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
The grapes are not yet ripe. Harvest time is not quite here.
But we are closer today than yesterday. Closer than when the millennium changed. Closer than we were with the breath we just took, and exhaled.
There is still time.
Hurry with your yes.
While there is time.
If we can help one child to have a better education, why wouldn’t we?
Ask only this…
If it was your child, would you want him to have school choice?
How is it different from using federal funding when receiving financial assistance to attend a private college or university?
If anything, it is more important. What happens from K-12 sets the stage for one’s entire life.
It isn’t about politics.
It’s about a child.
These are the days that are difficult to explain to those who grew up with sola scriptura. Only the Bible. If it’s not in the Bible, it just isn’t so. It is, actually, false.
Which is a belief that even the Bible doesn’t teach. The Bible does not teach sola scriptura. If you don’t believe me, do the research.
In fact, it is much easier for those who had no faith formation at all to accept when they encounter Marian teaching. They have a tabla rasa. A clean slate. An absence of preconceived ideas about Mary.
So here we are. The Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
They went up to the Temple and presented Mary to the LORD.
Here she is. She came from You. She is Yours. Do with her as You will.
According to tradition, she even worked as a holy virgin at the Temple.
A Jewish friend of mine once said she didn’t think that happened, holy virgins consecrated to God, working at the Temple. So she did some research. And, actually, it did.
The girl who would become the Ark of a New Covenant served on the Temple Mount.
The girl who would become a Temple of the Lord Most High from the moment of the Annunciation — she was dedicated at the Temple and served at the Temple.
Don’t you think that made God smile?
If you permit yourself to imagine it, something that is not contrary to what you read in the New Testament and is, in fact, consistent with Old Covenant practices – though rare…
doesn’t it make you nod your head and also say, I can see it.
I can imagine it happening.
I can’t, in fact, imagine it not happening.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm.
Who is Mary? ^^^ You have the answer right there.
Henceforth, all generations shall call her blessed.
And the Mighty One has done great things for her.
We join Mary’s parents in saying, here she is, LORD. May we present ourselves with her and also say, we are Yours. Do with us as You will.
Jesus is King of the Universe. Just let that sink in a moment.
Whatever you can’t stop thinking about right now, whatever disturbs you, whatever you spend your time trying to fix, mitigate or avoid…
He is King of that.
And your family.
And your country.
And the world.
Oh…and He’s King of the Universe.
I think we need more than one day to process that reality. Maybe it will take all of eternity to process it…
and to take our place in that Kingdom.
It has long been a source of speculation for eschatological theologians, especially fringe Protestant ones.
What do some passages in Revelations mean?
I’m not going to try to answer that one. I think the best answer came from Dr. Scott Hahn in his book The Lamb’s Supper.
I just want to throw this out there. Having been to Mount Tabor and pondered the Transfiguration a time or two…
Does anyone else see a similarity here? Revelations 11?
A voice from heaven.
Both bearing testimony prior to the enemy’s strike – and ultimate failure.
These two, like two olive trees, two lampstands, two with power can both prophesy and call forth plagues like water turning to blood.
Like Elijah and Moses.
Something seems like death.
Until it isn’t.
I’m ready to go back to Mount Tabor and ponder a little more.
This place looks like a cyclone hit it.
That’s what Mom used to say when she saw our room. It usually meant my sister and I would be cleaning for most of the morning.
Today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus mounts the steps of the Temple, overturns some tables and says It is written “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”
The whole passage has a back-then kind of sound to it. There hasn’t been a Temple on the Temple Mount since 70 AD.
But look out.
Here comes Mom.
This place looks like a cyclone hit it.
YOU are the Temple of the Lord. He dwells within you — and just look at you!
Baptized and Confirmed, yet you have turned the Temple into a den of thieves.
Hey, sign up for dating sites like Tinder. Or worse. One night stands. Everybody is doing it.
No guard on the eyes.
No guard on the tongue.
If people only knew what you said behind their backs, yet you criticize those who speak their minds openly… but you don’t have the courage to say what you should and the things you shouldn’t say, you say in the privacy of your homes.
You are His Temple. No matter where you speak or what you think, it is said and thought in the Temple of the Lord.
And your top goal is to take that Temple to the highest rung in the corporation, or the lowest level of morality.
No time for Adoration.
Too much alcohol.
Eat whatever you like, as much of it as you like. As long as high-priced clothes still fit and make you look really hot.
So what if I take a few pain pills that are in the medicine cabinet. Nobody will miss just one or two.
And if anyone suggests that I should modify how I treat my own body, they will have hell to pay.
And every day Jesus was teaching in the temple area…
You are beloved of the Father. Created in His Image. The Holy Spirit dwells within you. The Eucharist comes to you.
A House of Prayer.