Friday, February 27, 2015

Back from Hiatus

When we last saw our hero, he was sleeping by day and working as a mild-mannered Guest Registration Manager by night. In the four intervening years, he changed jobs again, joined the church "choir," took up new interests in classic movies, old time radio and model trains, and was adopted by a local family as though he was a stray dog. (Still no wife; refer to previous sentence for explanation.)

However, despite having connected his little mountain home to the outside world via the internet, he also stopped blogging. Now he's looking to change that. Nothing drastic, mind you; he has a lot of dishes to wash and usually works too long at the office. But he's also written a couple new poems, taken a few field trips and tested some good cocktails, all of which he thought he might tell you about occasionally.

And he still rants like a ninety-year-old codger as much as ever, because somethings never change.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rejoice Not When Thine Enemy Falleth

The car radio was set to the BBC when I left work, and it was a few minutes before the announcer repeated the headline, "Osama bin Laden is dead."  The news was so unexpected and shocking that I'm surprised I stayed on the road.

"Bittersweet" isn't quite the word to describe my reaction to the announcement.

I remember well that Tuesday morning.  All of America shared in the horror of that dark day.  But ten years later, this jubilation over one man's death disturbs me, too--even a man as hate-filled or destructive as Bin Laden.

Whooping crowds gathered outside the White House and at Ground Zero in New York chanting "USA! USA!" at the news.  A friend on Facebook posted that Bin Laden's body should have been dragged in the streets.  A morning news anchor wished that, rather than having been burial at sea, his body had been thrown off a high building.

This is not the Christian reaction.  In fact, to me these celebrations are eerily reminiscent of the sight of Muslims shrieking with joy over the American deaths of 9/11.

Worse, this man’s death and the following elation came on the very day we celebrated the beatification of the great John Paul II who publicly forgave the man who tried to murder him.  In these days when politicians and citizens are saying, "You don't pick a fight with America!  We will hunt you down and bring you to justice!  There is a sense of unity again!" perhaps it would be good for America to remember the blessed pope's words:  "Do not think that courage and strength are proved by killing and destruction.  True courage lies in working for peace."

There is only one man whose death we should rejoice over:  the God-Man Jesus Christ.  What would this world look like if, coming out of the Easter Octave, people were even half as exultant over the death and resurrection of the Savior of Heaven and Earth?

Scripture instructs me not to rejoice or be glad when my enemy falls (cf Prov 24:17).  My Lord calls me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me (cf Mt 5:44).  This is a hard saying, but I must accept it.  So this is why I am so uncomfortable with the reaction of my countrymen--many of whom insist America is a Christian nation--at the death of Osama Bin Laden.

May God have mercy on his soul.

May Christ's grace remake us all in His Image.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Holy Cross is My Light

For months I've been looking for a crucifix lapel pin to add to the cowbell and sundry bling affixed to my Y name tag lanyard.  (You will remember that I had been given a papal crucifix pin but it was stolen right off my jacket a few years ago. )  I'd been checking local Catholic stores to no avail, but finally found a nice one online which arrived in the mail a few days ago.

It is a St. Benedict crucifix, which contains St. Benedict's Medal at its intersection.  St. Benedict's Medal is a well-known sacramental used to invoke God's protection from evil, especially the Evil One.  The pin came with a little card, explaining the letters on the medal--abbreviations of Latin prayers of deprecatory exorcism.

I'd put that card in the drawer of my dresser valet, where I keep my Miraculous Medal blessed by John Paul II, my decade rosary blessed by Benedict XVI, some other small religious items and scraps of paper.

Earlier this afternoon I came into the bedroom to find this startling sight:

The drawer was cracked open and the St. Benedict card was sticking out.

I had not touched the valet since emptying my pockets last night.  I had been nowhere near my dresser today.  I had not even opened that drawer since putting the card inside a few days ago. And I've been alone here all day.

I snapped a quick picture, and sprinkled holy water after praying the prayer on the card:
The Holy Cross is my light
The devil won't be my guide
Be gone devil
You won't persuade me to do evil
What you show me is evil
Drink your own poison yourself
It is Tuesday of Holy Week, where in today's Gospel Jesus gives the morsel to his betrayer and "after Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him."  The devil is very real and so is spiritual warfare  And it can be unnerving to encounter it.

Today is also the sixth anniversary of the election of Joseph Ratzinger as pope, who took the name Benedict.

Very eerie.

St. Benedict, pray for me.  St. Michael the Archangel, protect me in battle.