Lazarus 1

Lazarus is a very poignant figure in scripture. Most prominently, we see a Lazarus as the brother of Mary and Martha dead and stinking in his tomb. We also see a Lazarus greatly afflicted in his body and positioned outside of the gate of “the rich man.”

Before the tomb of the former, we know that Our Lord wept (the only time God Himself was brought to tears in all of scripture) and brought him back to life as a sign of His own power to raise the dead to life, and to conquer sin itself, the end of which is death. In His response to the plea of the rich man, suffering a burning pain beyond the chasm separating the just from the unjust, we see that God has brought a final rest, joy, even comfort to the suffering Lazarus whose sores were licked by dogs at the rich man’s gate.

It is common, these days, to say to one another, “We are Christ in the world.” It is common to look at ourselves as little Christs, which presumes that we are holy and pure, generous, virtuous, fully given to sacrifice for another, and worthy of praise. This is a common and popular theme that tends to dominate preaching in certain regions in which the people hold reign.

However well-intentioned this preaching may be, it is deficient in reconciliation with the whole of the gospel which uses quite different imagery to define the place of man in the economy of salvation.

It is much better to give ourselves the name Lazarus, than the name Christ. It is better to take our place on the floor gathering crumbs with the dogs than to walk briskly to the head of the table in presumption. None of this is to suggest that we should deny any of the wonderful gifts given to us by Our Savior. Instead, it is to draw upon the humility of an ancient, traditional perspective and to allow it to mollify our hearts so prone to stiffening in pride and presumption.

The rich man had no need of God and, therefore, no need of a name.

Lazarus, the man by the gate, had to beg for the necessities of life. He was pitiful and helpless. His name means “God is my help.”

So if we call ourselves “little Christ’s” let us go by the name of Lazarus. Then may our striving in anonymity produce something that, by the grace of God, might be worthy of the name of Jesus.

As for me, I am Lazarus and an unprofitable servant of Our Lord. I am not Christ.

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What does it mean to be Christian?

I had a dream in which a man asked me, “What does it mean to be Christian?” In my sleep, I began to meditate upon what it means and I awoke awash in tears. Who can describe a share in the life of the eternal living God? Who can describe the eternal glow of awesome and loving power, the fire that feeds and does not consume? What does it mean to be Christian?

Who can express it? It is life itself. It is the power of all of creation within one’s grasp yet the strongest desire to remain powerless. It is the eternal wonder of the gift of life and the true desire to give it up rather than betray the Giver. It is the joy that is the fruit of faith ever increasing as wealth and health are taken away. It is the most intimate love found only in the starkest anonymity. It is perpetual adoration of the Miracle Worker in a gaze undistracted by continuous miraculous wonders. It is freedom itself, a boundless, inexpressible peace, joy, and wonder. It is total awareness of being and total detachment from it, an eternal plunge into the sacred heart of Love Himself. It is a broken old man carrying a thousand souls to the altar on his knees as a Virgin Mother’s lullaby is carried to his ears upon the wings of angels while time itself stands transfixed from its very boundaries in perpetual witness of the Lamb Who was slain. It is a burning desire that others may live and share in the deepest abyss of wonder in the Logos, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. It is the sweetest most beautiful most peaceful prayer that never ends. It is the everything by which all else becomes nothing.

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Pure of heart

Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.

Who has looked on the face of God and lived? Good men tremble and fall on their faces, but the pure in heart shall see God.

How many people, seeking sanctuary, come before the altar, into the holy of holies to answer the call of God?  They hear the voice of God and long to encounter Him. They know that where they find Him, they will find peace.

In chapter 9 of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John, we hear of a man who was blind from birth. “And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?” And what did Jesus say in reply? “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” It was declared from the mouth of God that these people had not sinned. It was moreover, through these faithful people that God would work to bring light to the people. It is through a family living in simple obedience to the Lord that Jesus chose to work the glory of God. After the Pharisees had questioned the blind man, reviling him, the blind man testified this, “Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes.”

The wise are made fools and the simple wise.

It is not the sophistication of our thoughts, nor the power we wield in this world by which we may attain that one greatest vision, the Lord of all, Creator Blessed. It is in our simple obedience to God, the jealous guarding of our hearts from all defilement that our eyes are opened that we might see God.

Guard your hearts my dear brothers and sisters from all defilement. Guard your hearts with the care of a loving Father for his children. Defend it with desperate zeal and your last ounce of strength. Confess your sins often and reconcile with God and your fellow man in order to keep pure that most delicate heart and preserve it in its sustaining hope to gaze upon God and bask in His glorious wonder.

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Diary 2015.09.05

At the mill (Feminist Women’s Health Center at 1924 Cliff Valley Way, Atlanta, GA)) September 5, 2015.

I arrived just before 7am, the guard was on top of the hill across the street in the parking lot of the mill along with one car. Seven cars arrived in the next half hour. One was carrying five older people maybe in their fifties to sixties. I wonder what their business could be?  Helping Margaret Sanger in her grand eugenics vision?

I am standing in the grass across the street looking in their direction. My spirit is low. I hate this place.  I wish I never had to come here. I hate the culture in which we live. I see people coming in from North Carolina, from Alabama, from all over the southeast to discreetly eliminate their own children or to help others do the same. At the same time they teach us, in their scandal, by their actions that the solution to problems is death, the elimination of anyone who is in our way, who threatens our ease, our pleasure, our comfort. They come to do their father’s will. Their father is the father of lies. They may as well be marching into the pit of hell as they walk into the doors of this building.

I stand here as a witness. I see what they do. I am only a man. God sees into their hearts.

A man carefully backs into his parking space. He is careful to park away from the other cars. He carefully centers his new shiny black truck between the lines. He carefully protects it from all possible damage. God is looking into his heart. I am simply observing his behavior. A woman gets out of the passenger side and walks up the sidewalk to the doors. The “man” stays in his shiny new black truck. The tinted windows and the steel roof cannot block the vision of God. The brick edifice enclosing the evil operations cannot block the vision of God. The people inside do the work of their father.

The doctor arrives, apparently late, in his shiny black Porsche. The guard standing at the top of the driveway smiles and raises his arms in a “V” as if in victory as the doctor drives past him into the back of the building. Does this action say, “Finally, our hero is here?” Do these people believe they are victorious? Can death be victorious when Christ has been raised?

My brother Elloyd approaches like rain in a desert. He cannot see my heart starting to soften in the consolation of his presence, but God sees into the heart. We pray a rosary together.

A woman drives past us down Cliff Valley Way in her shiny red car. She looks angrily in our direction. She slows so that we may notice her thumb turned down to match the direction of her scowling face, of her angled brow and of her frowning mouth. She sees our actions, as we stand holding our rosaries and praying to God in Heaven. She cannot see into our hearts, but God sees into the heart. Her bumper sticker says “War is not the answer.” I suppose she saw the weapons in our hands (our rosary beads) and our attitude of prayer. It is against me and my brothers and sisters who dwell in the body of Christ that she rails. It is against us who wake every day to fight in this war that she delivers this evil message. It is silly and pointless or deceitful to say war is not the answer, when, in fact, war is the reality in which we live. We live in a raging war.  How can we simply acquiesce to the enemy and relinquish our rights? Those who do not recognize the war are working for the enemy.

Elloyd and I finish our prayer and leave to go to mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary, just down the street. We get in our old, dirty little red trucks and drive to the church, hoping to clean our souls.

Thank God for my brother Elloyd. Heavenly Father, may there be peace for all men of good will, and torment and anxiety for all who follow the father of lies, until they repent and seek the light of truth. This I pray out of love for the creatures You love. Amen

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mourning and weeping in this vale of tears

I have been meditating on the “Hail Holy Queen,” and I have something to share that I hope will be of some help to you to read, as I hope it is a help to me to write.

I saw Fr. Robert Barron struggle to defend God against the atheists who insist that the God of the Bible is evil.  He was trying to convince them that God alone can find the best way for men, and sometimes He must allow children to get bone cancer. He did not convince the audience.

But the teaching of original sin and of this special prayer to Mary are clear. Fr. Barron could have simply said, “All suffering is the result of original sin. We must all suffer through this life with hope in the life to come. Our pitiful claims against God are unreasonable because they stem from an abject ignorance of original sin and the holiness of God, Who needs no one and Who is beholden to no one but His own decrees, and Who has spoken His Holy Word. There is a place for everyone who hates Him, and the proud shall always find that place, but the meek shall inherit the earth, and the fear of God shall be the wisdom that leads all to the light of salvation.”

So we who are in our fallen state and who are helpless therein but for the grace and mercy of God, pray to our mother, bequeathed to us from the cross, Mary, ever virgin, Mary immaculate and faithful, Mary Queen of Heaven.

“Hail Holy Queen, mother of Mercy, Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in the vale of tears. Turn then most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, o loving, o sweet virgin Mary. Pray for us o holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

I wonder how many people today apprehend the definitive theology behind this prayer, even those as great as Fr. Robert Barron? It seems the days of apprehending the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man are gone. We are a nation of little Pharaohs and Caesars, and the Church leaders are not speaking of the holiness of God and the danger of going to hell. Even the perpetual suffering in this life cannot stir the fear of God in the hearts of men. Instead we strive for temporary pleasures and comforts as if each ephemeral pleasure is worth exchanging for the eternal joy that is the triumph of the Holy Spirit. There is no justice among men, but only dominance and submission of one over another. There is no one among us to right the unseen wrongs or to protect the weak from the strong, but always someone to declare himself master over another, even over God.

These words (“mourning and weeping in this vale of tears”) are at once an acceptance of a harsh reality and a consolation because we know that it is not a psychological wound that we suffer, but a fact of life in the fallen world. It is not our attitude and our ineptitude, but our very constitution to fall when offered the freedom of life in the communion with God, to wonder what might be greater, to always be unsatisfied, no matter what God gives to us from His very being, even the promised Holy Spirit.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but few, truly very few want to pick up their crosses daily and follow Him. Most people truly and deeply despise the cross. They want nothing to do with it. Blessed are we who walk in a somber procession to venerate the wood of the cross, and woe to those who reject it.

If you have ever prayed this prayer to Our Blessed Mother, you surely know in your heart that after this our exile, the Queen of Heaven will, indeed, show unto you the blessed fruit of her womb. This is our hope, our reason for being.  Let us persevere together and help each other along the way, and Mary, the New Eve, mother of the living, who loves her children will faithfully pray for us “that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” And we shall receive the promised rewards gained for us by our ever-living Savior Jesus Christ. He will receive our cross. He will take it from us with the joy of heaven and bestow unfathomable rewards to those who persevere in humility of spirit. He will receive us into His kingdom, in which no man shall violate the heart and hopes of another, a kingdom in which the lowly are exalted and put in the positions of highest honor, a kingdom of peace and justice and wonder and beauty and everlasting life. Amen. Amen, The Lord God is just and good and holy and worthy of our praise. He exalts the lowly and brings down the princes of this world. He is faithful and kind. Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Our Savior.

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Love of the body

January 18, 2015

We read in 1 Corinthians:9-17 (Douay-Rheims)

“Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them: but the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Now God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by his power. Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.

Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.”

Do we not see clearly the teaching that God so loved the human body (a world full of human beings with bodies and souls), in fact, the very bodies of the people He loves, that he gave His own holy and sacred body for them. This is the heart of God, to love us body and soul. Did He not condescend to become human for this purpose, to raise us body and soul into a new and holy life? Our bodies, desecrated like the orphaned infant in Ezekiel 16, covered in filth and blood and repulsive in our sin have been saved along with our souls. Our very bodies have been made into the white garment of holy perfection according to the will of God.

This word is not for the unbeliever, who scoffs at it without understanding. It is for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. Do we believe this, my brothers and sisters? Do we really believe?

No. We cannot believe, not when we aid and abet the desecration and destruction of bodies fashioned by the hand of God. If we do not speak with the voice of the prophets against this abomination, then we neither believe, nor are we saved. Where there is no faith, there is no salvation. The grace given to us to believe also gives us a desire for the truth and a contempt in our own hearts and minds for every evil. If we, therefore, live in indifference to God’s holy law, to the love that He has for all of His people, great and small, then we have no faith, no faith that can save. Faith is not a magical incantation, recited to effect salvation. No, such things are witchcraft and illusion. Faith is the grateful and continual reception of God’s grace. Faith falls from the lips of Mary at the Annunciation, “Be it done to me according to thy word,” and it continues in her daily acceptance of all that God had planned for her. Such is faith.

Do not be deceived that you can wield the heart of God like a magic wand. It is the one who does the will of the Father who loves God. Yes, it is by grace that we have this desire, and it is by the power of the Holy Spirit given to those who ask for Him, that we can strive towards holiness. Work out, therefore, your salvation in fear and trembling. Always, continuously confess your sins and pray for help daily. God, Who loves you is your guarantor. Trust in Him with your whole heart. Hold nothing back, not the tiniest idol nor improper desire. Give it all away. Pick up your cross daily and follow Him. Remember Him Who has planned great things for you. Trust in Him alone and lean not on your own understanding.

Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate, the Lord is with you. Dear Mother and Queen of Heaven, whose heart is pierced by the ignorance, indifference, and hatred of men. Ever Virgin, whose fiat is a gift to all men. Mary, mother of the living, hear us and obtain for us, by your intercession the grace we need to live a holy and devout life, true to the gospel without compromise, without shame, without indifference or apathy. Pray Holy Mother, that we may give ourselves completely to our Savior and be free at last. We fly to you. We honor you. We pray thanksgiving to God for you. We ask for your help in our daily lives. We ask for your intercession now and at the hour of our death. In the name of your divine Son, our Redeemer, our Hope, we ask all of these things, and doing “all that He says,” according to your instruction, we live in the confidence that God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven, that His goodness will envelope us on the last day and fill us with everlasting joy and peace.  Amen.

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Lamentation

I allowed my heart to get close to God, today. I saw humanity in its brokenness. I saw it in its pitiful state. I saw God’s children disfigured and maimed, born with defects and afflictions. I saw them writhing in sewers and covered in sores. I saw them with defective minds, unable to reason nor discern any truth, in abject ignorance. I saw them so close to the animals, living according to the flesh in all things, unable to see their own worth, their own dignity, their own place in the Kingdom of God won for them by their Savior. I saw them given over to vice, living in hell and desiring nothing more. I saw the fools among them shaking their fists at God and stroking their own egos, saying “Follow me.” I saw the proud promising to save everyone by the schemes and plans of Satan. My heart was broken. I saw so few who sought their place in the sacred heart of Christ. I saw great multitudes gnashing their teeth and burning with unsatisfied desires, always turning away from holiness. I saw little hope and great sadness and I thought of Christ on the Cross, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” I felt his agony, the agony of a Father losing a child to death, a Father having His beloved creatures depart from Him never to return.

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