The Crucifix and the Cross: Questions Answered

Cristo_crucificadoThere have been a lot of articles about banning crosses lately. Bridging the differences between east and west, we see people on two continents strive to get rid of them. On pretty much every article in question, I see at least one Facebook comment, “People should note the difference between a cross and a crucifix.”

I am not certain if the problem lies in the fact that no reporter bothers to investigate the difference, or if that the commentariat wishes that the difference be expressed in the  banning.

I’m inclined to believe in the former. The latter is too depressing to think about.

Just in case, I aim at both ideas.

First, the crucifix depicts Christ on the cross. (see painting above) There are many styles, from the dramatic, bloody, and starving, where suffering is plainly evident. There are stylized crucifixes, which suggest a shadow of a body to an almost generic figure. Others show a more loving aspect to our Lord while pinned to the cross, thus speaking plainly the closeness of the Resurrection to his suffering and death. These are almost exclusively Catholic. There may still be high church Anglicans that carry the crucifix, but they are swimming cross the Tiber by the day, as their own church, drunk on letting it all hang out, lose their flock to the howling wilderness.

By Dmitry Ivanov (Own work) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dmitry Ivanov (Own work) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Orthodox among us have the twin cross which might carry the corpus. (That’s what a representation of Christ on a cross is actually called.)

Even they are a bit more temperate than those Catholics at showing off the corpus. Catholics seem almost mad over it.

A plain old cross is, just that. Two planks of wood tethered together, used to describe almost every other flavor of Christianity other than Catholicism. There are an almost infinite number of ways to describe two sticks tied together, two planks of a tree, two rods of iron that intersect, welded unbreakably together.

By Kehlmann Studio Archive (Kehlmann Studio Archive) [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kehlmann Studio Archive (Kehlmann Studio Archive) [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So I must point out…

If both the crucifix and the cross both refer to Christianity, you will never convince a Marxist that there is any difference. To a bourgeois, you could argue that a cross without a corpus is a kinder and gentler thing. If he already believes that Catholics are harmful but another sort of Christian is benign, he will sleepily go along with what you say. But never, ever will a Marxist or any form of communist see the difference. If it points to God, he will destroy it, no matter how kind or benign the object. He will destroy the Easter bunny rabbit, along with the empty tomb.

You must understand that the Marxist revels in that which shocks, that which marvels and that which makes one uncomfortable. Inhumanity to man is the mark of his faith. Man’s inhumanity to God might make God plausible, and that must be eradicated first of all.

For Christ’s crime was not that he was kind, not that he was a wise teacher, that he healed the sick, or that he banished demons, that he sang or ate on the Sabbath day. It was not even that he raised his friends from the dead, or broke us free from the bonds of sin. It is that he is God and we are not. That is the full stated crime of Christ Jesus. And for that He must suffer for all of our sins.

I argue that a crucifix speaks this truth more eloquently, but a cross points to the same truth with a more general sort of point. An empty cross is a stage, a sentence without an object. A crucifix points to the lengths God would go to love his children.

A cross states there is room on his Throne for everybody. Think carefully, and tell me again which message is more gentle.

Keyboard_Cross

“Loyalty Day”

By Aznluvr (talk).Aznluvr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

By Aznluvr (talk).Aznluvr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

So I look at the calendar and see that there is this holiday called “Loyalty Day.” It is happening as we speak, apparently.  Yeah, I know. Because a man with an R behind his name put this travesty into print, I’m supposed to be thrilled by it. Because it’s supposed to evoke patriotism, mom, and apple pie…

Ahem. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t.

Nothing “Loyalty Day” will ever have to offer is going to hold a candle to “would you follow me into fire? would you follow me into darkness? would you follow me into death?”. So why fucking bother? Not to mention it’s undoubtedly a plot by people who don’t get that loyalty is EARNED by one’s own conduct, and whose conduct has, therefore, been contemptible.

My first reaction when I saw the name was, “god, where do I live? ‘The People’s Republic of Amerikka’?”

After doing some furious research… I find the whole thing was put in place by Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Really?  How… Ironic. He’s a man who would actually  know what real loyalty is. Hint: it’s not a flag waving naivete assuming loyalty to them that hasn’t earned it.

I am told that it was a symbolic replacement of May Day. No one talked about it much.  But now… funny how we are hearing about it again, as if it’s a real thing.  To our current regime? That’s enough to make me laugh.

They have no loyalty to our country. They resigned our borders, sent our troops to combat a disease, give aid and comfort to our enemies abroad, encourage criminals to kill our neighbors to score political points for a purely local battle, etc.

Well, it’s important to understand the distinction between what actually matters and what actually doesn’t. Most folks these days have at least as hard a time with that as Neville Chamberlain did.

“You can have monthly ‘Plutonium Parades’ through the central market of Tehran” is not the same thing as “you can have enrichment centrifuges”.

And Here’s what HuffPo said when Bush did it.  Now here’s Obama declaring the holiday. NO complaints. Not a peep. Funny that.

 

WW I, & WW II– or Godwin’s Post

H. D. Girdwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

H. D. Girdwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m mostly reflecting on what’s going on on this post. For some reason, she turns off her comment box after a little while. Because she gets hundreds of comments, maybe? 😉

I was a strange little girl. The moment I heard about WW II, (I was quite young, since my grandfather served) I would stage mock battles of the Battle of the Bulge with stuffed animals and make dioramas punishing Hitler. It is a satisfying war, because there are clear villains.

But really, it only gets more complex when you get older. You know that certain beliefs are evil, but it was harder to know that Germany was, in great part, a country held hostage by power–hungry mad men. These hungry men were also very good at seduction. It was the state-level equivalent of marrying a charming sociopath who turns out to be a serial killer. The sad irony was that the Wehrmacht were very good at providing what they promised– but at a terrible cost.  If one is desperate, and guided by circumstance rather than principle, one can overlook those sorts of horrors.  At least, until one has dispensed with the trivialities of  eating. Though a very sophisticated country, it was very desperate country thanks to the ‘concessions’ of WWI.

I learned more about WW II than anywhere else in a mental institution.  There I met a boy who believed that Hitler was the greatest man who ever lived.   What might surprise people was that he was not a racist, or even an avowed member of some organization based on racial superiority. He did not even think that white people (or, let’s face it anglo saxons–or nordic races:  there are plenty of us who are ‘white’ that a self-respecting Nazi would spit on.) were necessarily superior. He thought that particular part of Hitler’s “grand vision” needed some refining. He always said that making Jews the enemy was brilliant– but only because they had all the money one needed to jump-start the German economy.  And jump-starting a whole society is more important than a small, isolated and self-serving  group of wealthy businessmen, right? So, why not?

If this logic doesn’t chill your blood… I don’t know what to tell you. See a doctor– or a priest.

Nope. He really wasn’t a racist. What he was, was a well-read pragmatist who had no moral qualms about eugenics. Basically, his argument was that Hitler was closer to any other leader in history to delivering to his people what they wanted– whatever the cost.  And, until his mind started deteriorating from syphilis, he was brilliant at it.  He turned the function and admiration of the State into a well honed state religion. There was a time, when living in Nazi Germany could be a pleasant thing. Especially if you had been starving, out of work, and paying great bundles of cash– if you had it– for a loaf of bread.

The Jews didn’t see it coming, because the Renaissance took place even before heads started to roll. They were used to ugly looks and bad words in their direction, and there was nothing on the visible platform that bothered them.  Keep in mind, what Sarah said also applies, but I think there were a complex of factors that are worthy of examination.

Also, because there weren’t instantaneous communications, it was easy to hide– for a while at least– that some people just didn’t make it home.  Sure there was propaganda, but everyone told themselves that it was only the extremists rattling their sabers, needing someone to blame for what happened. This charade was drawn out by saying that these undesirables were being shipped out of the country.  Most Germans– and most Jews believed this. So they went willingly  onto the cattle cars, figuring that it was an efficient way to avoid the problem.  Except… it was a lie.

It will shed much light to recognize that this boy was also a BIG fan of Machiavelli.  Indeed that is his whole modus operandi for loving Hitler. Because he was the most prominent, most faithful follower of this criminal mastermind, who wrote the book for leadership by criminal masterminds.  If there was ever a justification for book burning, his how-to manual for being an awesome, well loved, yet brutal and totally dishonest autocrat is one of them.  You will note next to no similarities between this and reading Wealth of Nations.  Just saying.

However, if you want a truly evil villain and are running low on inspiration, it’s a great read for seeing evil in action “for the greater good”–his. Or hers, even. There are all sorts of great gems here about decision making. So now that we now know what truly ostentatious evil looks like, lets go for something a bit more subtle.

Who was the real bad-guy in WW I ? Those in Europe would probably say royalty as a concept.  My husband would say Woodrow Wilson. I would point out that he didn’t start WW I. He would say, “Yeah, well he ended it by setting up WW II.”  Ol’ Cold Willy’s actions do inspire one to declare lifelong fealty to Franz Josef of Austria.  Or who knows, maybe I read too much Zmirak to be quite sane.  I’m not actually a monarchist– yet. I still believe that a Republic can work. But we must return to something closer to what our Founding Fathers intended.

Because, in case you haven’t read “Extraordinarily Popular Delusions  and the Madness of Crowds”, an unruly democracy will, if left unchecked, becomes indistinguishable from tyranny in the worst sense.  I argue we are mighty close to that, if he haven’t fallen off that cliff already. That’s what happened in France during/after the Revolution. The unruly Founding Americans managed to avoid this because they were already well versed in statecraft and also had seen the worst mob rule had to offer.  Many of them were on good terms with France, and had seen the ugly result while struggling with these questions. They lived on the border between civilization and chaos– chaos being defined by the fact that they were 13 tiny colonies clinging to the edge of a vast frontier messily divided up among hostile foreign powers.

The Founders were dealing with realities. The French were inflicting ideas on reality, convinced  the grand design would just work. Also, the Founders, by and large, wanted to create a place where one could just go back to farming. In reality they were conserving a life they already knew from the incursion of an outside other.  That, being “the madness of King George”.  The French, while they chopped off the heads of the old empire, still dreamed of replacing it with their own new utopia. This is an undiscovered country, even more so than the future– because you can generally count on the sun to rise in the morning with an ordinary future. But utopia is ultimately a stranger, an alien thing where anything seems possible.  Our naive culture thinks this is a good thing. Let me put it this way. Thomas More gave us that term. It means “no place”, and much greater suffering results when people forget those small, ugly facts. It is arguable that he was killed for it.

Nazi Germany was merely the reanimated corpse of the Weimar Republic.  It fed off the life and treasure of it’s own people, and it’s entire economic structure required  expansion, the pilfering of other nations and empire to keep the goods coming.  Going back to the insane assylem for a minute. Because the poor boy was insane and not especially good at economic logic, he did not recognize that the greatest disease of his hero was not his misplaced hatred or even his ravening insanity.  It was using a destructive,  unsustainable financial system to save a starving people.  By bribing some of them and killing off others. This is the ultimate zero sum game.

You may be screaming at me that of course the death camps were the worst feature. Certainly they are the worst outward sign. We have confused the most terrible symptom for the disease. But I tell you what made Nazism so terrible was that it required death camps.  The endless stream of cash required to keep the National Socialist engine running was the lifeblood of every productive human being within reach.

Hating Jews was just an excuse to get the public sanction to remove them from view so they could be taken a part and squeezed for every drop of monetary value they had.  Whatever taxes a given population would willingly give couldn’t be enough for the level of redistribution they used to buy the loyalty of his constituents.  Sounds disturbingly familiar, doesn’t it?

That is how top heavy the economic situation was, and it was mostly a vacuum of any economic value inside the country– save it’s people, and whatever wealth they may have.   Once those become the state’s responsibility, every one of those becomes another mouth to feed. In Germany’s case, the total absence of any kind of monetary value was due to the crippling sanctions demanded from them by the rest of Europe– notably the French, the English, and the United States.

These demands  came out of WWI.  Europe had lost her innocence, a whole generation of good men and energetic women, and her great hope in an optimistic future. The full brunt of the horrors of industrialization were made painfully evident, and sucked out the soul of the whole continent.  For this catastrophic loss,  they made Germany pay. They merely demanded all of her output for themselves.   Woodrow Wilson especially pushed for the punishment of Germany– but then he wanted everyone to suffer. But at least it gave him some ammunition to use back home.

One could argue that our shuffling Democracy is still suffering the consequences of his rule.  Europe certainly has, for WW II nationalized Germany’s great despair. Europe stared too long and saw too much in that abyss. Thus she give up all hope for humanity- or God.  Though I argue that she was set up for this devastating blow by having talked herself out of hope and God by the time WW I rattled to it’s universal defeat. All that was necessary was to verify the most cynical conclusions derived from the previous war.

But these two wars helped define modern life in ways the brainiacs of the Enlightenment could never hope to understand.  Because while some were indifferent to the God of Hosts, and referred him to stay remote and unknown, they also knew that an absence of such would lead to great horrors.  The modern nihilist says, “we already have horrors. What’s a few more? What does it matter?” It did not seem to occur to them that the specter of the primacy of words (with variable meaning) could ever return to primacy in the mind of mankind, after her thorough inculcation of Right Reason.

Perhaps someone needs to send Europe the memo.  While we did kill God (so Nietzsche did get something right) , but God did not die.  We just casually decided He didn’t exist.

Quote for the Day

Description: Facade of the Celsus-Library in Ephesos, Turkey. Taken September 2004 by Michi (Michi) Creative Commons License

“No matter how much we know, we want to know more; no matter how much we love, we want greater love; no matter how much beauty we attain, we sense that there is a perfect beauty we have not seen.”

~  Fr. Robert Barron

 

 

Book Review– A Pius Stand

10850749_10100911630906260_1023520507_n

[“ ]They have threatened us with death, … to destroy our way of life. If they want to take from us, they better brace for impact.[“]

A Pius Stand is the long awaited last book in a trilogy by Declan Finn.

I was so thrilled when I finally got my hands on  this book!  This means, you should read up on the first two before embarking on this one. This is not to say that the book makes no sense at all if you read it first on it’s own.  So much water has roared under that bridge, you want to start from the top.

So how do you give a synopsis of the end of a trilogy?  Sadly, I can’t do a complete job.  Giving away the ending in a review is a cardinal no-no. There are just too many cardinals involved for me to risk it. Please note that  talking about enough history and action to suck all the cruft out of Wikipedia.

Where do we start?

Step 1: the world has gone insane.   The UN has decided that the Catholic church is guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.  But instead of being just another bit of bloviating from the world stage, a fighting force is assembled to exact revenge, er, I mean “justice”. We find that not much assembly is required. All too conveniently, a murderous set of villains is  waiting in the wings to be unleashed. Their mission: to give unto Caesar– and themselves– what once belonged to the church. Her documents destroyed, her buildings stripped looted and razed, her people led off into camps.

What we see happen is the assembly of the defenders from some surprising places to help defend where Western Culture began.  These determined looters with epic street cred do not back down so easily. Yes, their first few efforts were repelled.  The trouble is, a determined enemy always doubles down to exact tribute. We are shown exactly what is at stake and what needs to be done to make a last stand for the City on the Seven Hills, and ultimately good will throughout the world.

There is a lot of history here, and most of it is real.  There are a few plot details as always because it is still fiction. (So far.) He makes it very clear up front, and you never have that sense of unreality– except when you go look stuff up and discover it was really that bad.  Watching it unveil between  riveting fight scenes and shootouts is a great joy.  A Pius Stand brings us to the final chapter, the final standoff between the forces of Good and Evil.   All the pieces that were put into place for the first two books come together for a hair raising finish.

Ultimately, to make the bid for civilization, you need to be willing to sacrifice your skills, your talents, all your effort, and your life.  What separates the friends from the flatterers is all about who is willing to do just that.

UPDATE: I will post a link to the book just as soon as it comes out.   Until then, we have links to the other two books in the series.

Second UPDATE (as promised!)  There are two links you need to know.

One for paperback.

One for kindle.

The Broken Artist

By tiegeltuf from Bexbach, Saarland (daneben) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Classically, artists are a mess. Starving outcasts who could not do anything practical, fell in love for the wrong reasons, or just plain bombed at making a life for themselves.  There is a temptation to romanticise this existence, since artists have to live with themselves and subsist on the fuel of their dreams anyway.

The reaction of the practical workaday man is to snort and tell him to get a real job.  But there is a problem.  We NEED art. It’s not just a want, it is one of the things that make civilization meaningful, let alone worthwhile.  The conservatives have belatedly discovered this as the culture slipped between their fingers. As a result, we have stumbled into a self-indulgent orgy of ugliness and loathing.

The values we hold dear say nothing if there is no way to enjoy them.

The problem is more complex than a lack of artists. What you want more of, you must incentivize. The Left learned this a long time ago and has a nice gravy train set up for their artists.   What Conservatives need to do is create opportunities for artists, attract them to their banners.  What I see is not a lack of talent, but a lack of opportunity.

 

By United Artists [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Transitioning to a Capitalist paradigm seems to be the worst decision for aesthetics humanity has ever made. We need to come up with a fine way to make the arts a viable occupation, so the artist may still be broken but also self sustaining.  Relying on governments has led to a wretched crash in quality and art being art.  Art inspires one to the Good. Broken people, from their perilous position, have a perspective that grabs the common man, and has throughout time.   But as long as we ignore the arts, the timeless aesthetics and the values it upholds, the more we will always be on the outside looking in. The more our culture will rot from the inside, not from a lack of understanding, but from a lack of love for what it stands for.

Leopold Pilichowski [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The ultimate message of the artist is to sacrifice and suffer for the greater good. That is, full stop, why such dysfunctional people still squeeze blood  from their palms to make good art.  But we need a framework. We need right reason and judgement. But most of all, we need the love and the fire that burns brightly to light our way through the darkness.

Fuel is needed for that fire. And it is that much more important now that nobody has money to burn.

Sunday Shrine 11/9

 

mage: Title of the basilica of St John Lateran Author: de:Benutzer:Moguntiner; Date of creation: October, 2003 Licence: GNU-FDL

Welcome to the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran.

By MarkusMark (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain. Wikimedia commons.

Since it is the feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran, I thought I’d bring out the big guns.  So why does anybody care about the dedication of a particular church, especially not one in the Vatican?  Well… this church WAS the original Cathedral parish of the Bishop of Rome. It is not in Vatican City, but is still owned by Holy See.  It was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester as Domus Dei, or “House of God.” (Thanks, Wikipedia, Famouswonders.com, and the Catholic Encyclopedia)  It is the oldest church in the Western World, has been rebuilt many times, but the facade is relatively new. You have to go around back to really see the ancientness of this building.   Dr. Hahn has more insights here.

But we’ll linger a little while on the exterior.

By Lucius (foto scattata da me) [Public domain, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The notes on this image say, “Jesus Christ surrounded by St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Baptist and Doctors of the Church.”

By Joonas Lyytinen (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.

ff

⇑Photographer:  cat’s_101Taken on: 2005-02-06 Original source:Flickr.com, North Gate.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.

By Quinok (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,

By user:Lalupa (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.

Source: Gryffindor, 10/05/2005, Public Domain.

Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

But wait, there’s more.

More here.

Photo by antmoose, September 11, 2005. From Flickr.

And here.

By Berthold Werner (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the tomb of St Leo XIII, who indeed was a Lion of the Church. He elevated Bishop Newman to Cardinal, and restored the Scottish hierarchy.

There is really so much here, that I can only share a small segment of the wonderful images of this holy space. Enjoy!

Foretaste of Heaven

These are some prayer gardens that I found while doing the graphical work for the book review that’s going up tomorrow. (really, honest!)   I found so many nice things, I decided to put some of them up tonight. First, a reminder that prayer gardens are a tradition that comes from the roots of Christianity.

The Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane are both pictured on here. There is  argument about where the latter is located. There are two popular options.

צילום:ד”ר אבישי טייכר [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑BTW, they still do prayer gardens in Israel.

The vast majority of these are from The Marian Orchard of Balete at Barangay Malabanan,  Balete, Batangas.  My first impulse was to showcase exclusively pictures from this beautiful location. I mean, Ramon F Velasquez gifted over 1000 pictures of this incredible location to Wikimedia Commons. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of his work.

Also, this is the sort of place I’d love to visit.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons And

They are not all from a Catholic retreat and garden on a tropical island. Baptists like prayer gardens, too.

By Regrothenberger (Reagan Rothenberger) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from the prayer garden at the Baptist University in Dallas.

By ThePrayerGarden (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from The Emmanuel’s Holy Ground Prayer Garden is an Outreach Ministry of Emmanuel Independent Baptist Church in Roebuck, SC.

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Lest we forget, every cemetery is also a prayer garden.  Praying hands sculpture, Prayer Garden, Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton, Michigan.

By Boston Public Library [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This Baptist love of gardens goes back a ways. Here’s a post card. That may have been the original worship space for the congregation.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Okay, back to Batangas. I love this little prayer cell, made from natural materials and a cascade of what looks like hanging grasses.  I bet it makes a lovely sound in the wind.

Yes, there are still more. Maybe I’ll put more up in a post-review post.

What is wrong with contemporary worship?

By InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What is wrong with contemporary worship?

In theory, nothing. Singing praises in every day life, relating God to your circumstances is certainly laudible. Indeed, that God is with us even in the dust and dirt of our existence is a profound revelation. A cursory look at the litany of Christological heresy is enough to drive that home.

The problem then, is human beings.

If you don’t make a big deal about someting, how do we know it’s special? If we see something, or /Someone/ every day, we tend to take it for granted. We assume we can do as we please, and whatever grace we are granted will continue to flow.

We will not know in our hearts that worship means to set aside. To set aside, as in put first. A church that looks like an office building communicates to our deep psyche that we cling to God for the bottom line. Office buildings are where we go to toil, not to be drenched in sacrificial love, to taste God, or to beg forgiveness.

Ancient Catholic churches look like wedding cakes because it is the House of the Nuptual Banquet for the Lamb of God. Is the Lamb of God served in a plastic wrapper, shipped from New Zealand? Not that there’s anything wrong with New Zealand,–they have tasty lamb– but it is not the Kingdom of Heaven.

By Nheyob (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Kingdom of Heaven is Other. It is set apart, it is above and beyond our comprihension. It is a goal to aim for, not a thing we can accomplish or grasp in our lifetimes. To turn the revelation of our God to a taupe mush of popular show tunes is a crime against worship. It trivializes Eternity, Grace and God Himself. How will you even know that you put Him first if you don’t distinguish worship from all the other things that clutter your life?

Like a junk drawer, you might have trouble finding your connection to the Almighty when you really need it.

That connection is a bridge of will that you offer to Him who heals all hearts. We as Catholics do not believe in Irresistable Grace. We can say no to God. Indeed we will, when we think that a continual Yes is not necessary. There is no warning that “Yes” is a supernatural Yes, if we aren’t confronted with that when we go to meet Him. In those extraordinary circumstances that inevitably come in this troubled life, “Yes” will seem impossible. We must be reminded that nothing is impossible with God, and a litany of saints smiling at us in Church is a good place to start.
Read about the saints and show me even one that was truly ordinary. Who should be dressed in the same stuff that the cobwebs of life are stuck to? Would you at least put on some nicer clothes and clean your house if one came to call? These are just ordinary people fortified by the grace of God. How would you prepare your house, dress your table, and play your music, if the supreme Creator of the Universe were coming to call? Would you really sing Kumbaya?

Would you break your vial of expensive ointment over His head, or would you complain that money was wasted on Him and should go to the poor?

By Nheyob (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons