(I have been very busy all week – and in a spot where the Internet was by satellite and not particularly reliable or fast. I hope to get some work done here tomorrow.
Meantime, some are slipping into some bad habits I need to remind you of. Remember, this is a public spot, so if you recount a family story that could bring shame to someone who is recognizable, you need to use a pseudonym so you do not do that. We don’t engage in defamation here, so don’t make shadowy allegations or sinister defamatory comments. Make a vigorous argument from documented facts and make it with some grace.
I am getting a lot of mail from people shaken by the writings of Dr. Kelly Bowring. He was once fairly orthodox, but after being deceived by the fraud who was Maria Divine Mercy, instead of humbly repenting, he has taken up her mantle of trying to defame the lawful authority of Pope Francis – and so lead people away from the safety of the Church and the faith. What he is doing is execrable…and there are European former Catholics (I call them former because, while claiming they are Catholic, they too are trying to pull people off the ship into the Storm-tossed sea) doing the same and mounting an even more furious assault than Bowring. I warned of this last year. These things must come. YOU keep to the safety of the ship which is the Church. As this grows, I will consider other things to do, but for now pray and boldly proclaim your faith – and your fidelity to the Barque of Peter.
I feel kind of sorry for Francine, who wrote the lovely article yesterday on medical care during trying circumstances. Her primary point was to have faith, that help comes from unexpected quarters – and yet some started went into panicked prepper mode. May I remind you that the Storm comes to all…including a multiude of doctors and nurses who will take real comfort that, in the midst of the hardships of the Storm, they will be able to once again practice medicine instead of constantly pushing paper. God has a plan and you are not without recourse to Him. Make that your first principle and you will not be terribly frightened of the waves that wash over us.
Finally, I offer this piece by our dear friend, Pelianito, who offers some calming advice in these strange times. – CJ)
From the Second Reading on the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24,25)
I have felt led to ponder lately on the swaddling bands of Christ and what they symbolize in the Divine Will. I was thinking about Jesus, the glorious, infinite Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, about whom St. Paul wrote:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20)
I have to say, this is one of my favorite Scripture passages. It so clearly and beautifully depicts the glorious participation of Jesus in the act of Creation, yet more than participation, it speaks of Christ as the very reason that creation exists at all. It was a glorious gift from Father to Son, but not just something to be played with, not a bauble or a toy, but something to die for—literally! This passage says so much that we could spend a lifetime meditating on it and never plumb its depths.
All the more amazing, then, is the fact of our Lord’s Incarnation! In the Divine Will, Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave” and imprisoned himself in the darkness of the Virgin’s womb for nine months. He had the infinity of heaven and the entire created universe to move in before the Incarnation, now he had but a small bubble of darkness. When, finally, it was time for his prodigious birth, did he revel in the freedom? No! He allowed himself to be tightly wrapped in swaddling bands by the humblest of all people on earth—Mary!
What I believe this signifies and prefigures is not just Our Lord’s total surrender to the Divine Will, but also his willing submission to his holy Mother. In the womb, he became a prisoner submitting his will to the Father, but in the swaddling bands, he submitted his will to his Mother! What unimaginable humility and trust!
There is a profound message in that for us. We too are meant, not only to surrender our will to the Father, but to allow our Mother to bind us hand and foot and do with us as she wills! When we make our consecration to Mary, this is in fact what we are asking. We completely surrender our wills to her ministrations.
Swaddling bands restrict our movements—we do not go where we would like, we do not even move a finger unless she allows it. But swaddling bands also comfort. After the safety and warmth of the womb, the outside world is shockingly harsh, cold, and bright—the nine month embrace has come to an end. But our loving Mother is there. The swaddling bands help us feel coddled and safe. She will always keep us safe, even if at times we don’t understand why things happen that may be frightening or uncomfortable. We don’t understand, but she does. We only have to trust her. Our Celestial Mama is worthy of all trust, even when she lays us in a lumpy, scratchy, smelly old manger!
So if for a time, we feel restricted, tied down, paralyzed even, it may help to meditate on whether this is Our Mother working for our good. The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes she has to restrict our movements. She knows best. For our part, we can never be wrong if we entrust ourselves completely to her.
Hail, Full of Grace. Bind us to the Divine Will! We love you and we trust you! Amen.
Isaiah 37:30-32 And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards; for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
“Children, again and again I have told you, do not be afraid! Surrender to me. Live in my will. Be docile, humble, little. Filter your thoughts through the sieve of humility. Use the finest sieve to filter out the least impurity of pride. Pride is what you must fear. Let humility be your safety. Ask our Mother to teach you the ways of humility. No creature was ever more perfectly humble, or perfectly human than she was. Even now she keeps nothing for herself, but everything that comes to her passes out again. The prayers of the faithful she adorns with her merits and presents to her Son. The graces showered on her by the Holy Trinity she in turn showers on all who receive them with a sincere heart. Take heed my children—humility is the antidote to the world’s ills. Ponder this, my children. It has never been more urgently needed.”
Heavenly Father, humility is a difficult discipline and we buck against it. Therefore, through the limitless graces that flow from our Mother, grant us every grace we need to grow in humility. Mother Mary, teach us! Queen of Humility, lead us! Amen.
Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved… From the desire of being extolled … From the desire of being honored … From the desire of being praised … From the desire of being preferred to others… From the desire of being consulted … From the desire of being approved … From the fear of being humiliated … From the fear of being despised… From the fear of suffering rebukes … From the fear of being calumniated … From the fear of being forgotten … From the fear of being ridiculed … From the fear of being wronged … From the fear of being suspected …
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I … That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease … That others may be chosen and I set aside … That others may be praised and I unnoticed … That others may be preferred to me in everything… That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…