As I was getting dressed for mass this beautiful (if not sweltering) Texas Sunday, I reached onto my dresser for my cuff links.
A note on that… I always wear my best for Sunday mass. Today it was my tan linen suit topped off with my dad’s old straw boater hat. I do believe I’ve just doxxed myself if any of my fellow parishioners are reading.
The cuff links – the charging primers from a couple of old .38 specials – were in a box amidst the myriad other things that have accumulated on my dresser. I’m generally a very tidy guy – some might say OCD – so the fact there is a pile of things on my dresser distresses me.
I grabbed the links and turned around and as I did I heard the sound of a piece of paper hitting the floor. Think about that. Paper hitting the floor. Wouldn’t usually make a sound and yet it sounded like a ten lb. weight. I turned back and looked down to find a holy card with a picture of the foster-father of Our Lord and the words “Ite ad Joseph” – Go to Joseph.
I do believe perhaps Our Lord is directing me to turn to the man who protected His very life in the womb of the Blessed Mother and again when The government tried to kill Him and countless other times.
Go to Joseph I will.
I’ve tried to foster devotion to him for many years, being a husband and father and all. But I know devotions don’t always flourish without any input. I should know this. I’ve got a flower bed in my front yard. I have to make sure it gets watered or I’ll have a crop of dead zinnias on my hands. Actually my wife will have a crop of dead zinnias. I hate gardening. I like the look of the flowers but I hate gardening. I do my best to take care of it for her because I love her.
And because I love her and our kids and the unborn; and because I am a man who strives to protect them all; and because Our Lord loved Joseph (and clearly dropped that holy card at my feet), I will go to Joseph.
Blessed feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to one and all!
I was awakened this morning to the joyous news that Roe and Casey have fallen.
Let that sink in.
We’ve Fought Side by Side for Many Years
I suspect you and I have been in the same trenches on this one for a long time. Remember how we were armed with prayers and tears?
Perhaps you and I crossed paths in the many, many years of bitter cold January days when we marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to peacefully ask our government for a redress of this grave evil. There were millions of us during those days. We’d get to the top of Capitol Hill and turn around to see the throngs streaming up behind us like ants and take comfort that we weren’t alone in an insane world.
Perhaps we crossed paths in the Spirit of Truth as we knelt before the Lord in Adoration and at the Holy Sacrifice begging Him to hear our voices since the tiny victims were denied speech.
Perhaps we crossed paths simply, humbly, and marvelously on our knees at night as we said our prayers and thought of our own kids – how they came into the world in love and how we would die for them out of love – and then thought of those snuffed out because the evil one demands child sacrifice and men choose to turn from love and the opposite of love is indifference.
Perhaps we crossed paths teaching the faith and trying – sometimes with facility and often against great resistance – to convince a few teenagers in a high school theology class that a human child in the womb is 1) human and 2) can’t be anything other than human.
Maybe we said the same things in our prayers. “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls and unborn babies!”
Our politicians didn’t help, except to say they were on our side when they needed our votes. One man promised us justices who would overturn Roe. He gave us those justices. Despite how he pushed a deadly vaccine (and continues to do so), I give thanks for his actions here and pray for him.
Our bishops didn’t help much. In truth, some were more vocal than others; but we totally could have ended this decades ago if they had stood up.
Is this perfect news? Far from it. In my home state killing a baby up to birth is now codified in law. In my new home state abortion is now essentially illegal altogether.
I’ll admit this is not how I imagined this day would go down. I’m genuinely shedding tears as I write this post. So many years… Did any of us believe that evil decision would be overturned? I bet Nellie Gray believed it, and Phyllis Schlafly too. I think my late dad probably thought this day would come. My widowed mom sent me a text. “God is sooooooo good.” She concluded it with a heart emoji because she’s 85 and texts. He is sooooooo good.
I know it’s far from over. Satanist groups are planning violence. We must pray harder now and be prepared to protect and defend ourselves and our churches.
As for me? I went to confession. Then I went to mass with my daughter. Meditating on the mystery of Our Lord’s Sacred Heart is so powerful. Lord Jesus, cleanse us with the water from Thy Wounded Side and then bathe us in They Precious Blood! Friends, stay confessed. Go to mass. Pray your rosaries.
And celebrate this moment for what it’s worth. You had better believe there’s a bottle of gin on my bar to be opened tonight. It calms the shellshocked nerves. Brothers and sisters, but especially my fellow Catholic men, NEVER give up this fight.
I saw a report earlier that, thanks to Megyn Kelly’s freakout about a “Cardinal or bishop or something” loitering around the Vatican, Newsweek or some other such moribund periodical is pushing for a Pope Tagle.
This would be a worse disaster than when the US Navy hired the Village People to record a recruitment video. “In the navy, yes you can sail the seven seas, in the navy…” Dammit it’s stuck in my head now!!!
Seriously, friends… I worked in that industry (broadcast news) for a few years. Take it from me. If it bleeds out of its whatever, it leads – to mash up a Trumpian phrase with an old news maxim.
Listen to what she said and how she said it.
Highly unusual? You can’t swing a dead cat by its tail in the Vatican without seeing “a ton of cardinals”.
I’m not even getting into her truly retarded “reporting” that a “priest or a bishop or someone came into the Sistine Chapel and gave a blessing” and that this, too, is “highly unusual”.
Let’s review a few things.
1.) Bergoglio will not resign. He’s a Peronist. He’s a diabolical narcissist. He’s holding onto this as long as he can.
2.) Even if he did “resign”, he’s not the pope so it will mean nothing more than another faux-conclave while the one and only Vicar of Christ on earth, Pope Benedict XVI continues to reign whether he likes it or not.
3.) Megyn Kelly… She gets Harvey’s Gold Star for Dummies for the day!
I’m going to leave that one there as I’m headed out to Adoration. I was going to say “Megan Kelly is a twit,” but thought better of it. Our Lord is waiting for me and my son to keep Him company, to console Him, and to ask Him for our hearts’ desires. That thought gives me chills.
On my nightstand sits a tiny leather-bound book. This book was first published sometime around the year 1418. It features print appropriately small enough to match the 3″ X 5″ dimensions of the book itself (and just small enough for my aging eyes to strain each time I look at it). The size of the book is useful, though, in this one regard. It can easily be taken wherever one goes as it fits in most pockets.
The book, of course, is the classic Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
I first came across this book for use in my own spiritual reading about three years ago. I had just recently started attending the traditional mass when a student of mine mentioned that he had been given a copy of the book for his birthday. He thought I would find it insightful. I’m very grateful he suggested it.
Yesterday I mentioned that I would be looking more in-depth at seminary formation over the past few decades. I figure this is as good a place as any to start. In my own time in seminary, the devotional life was never discussed. I recall that things of this nature were understood to be between the seminarian and his spiritual director. In fact, the then-prevailing thought was (at least it was understood to be) that devotions as such were gifts giving by the Holy Ghost to each Christian. In other words, if you didn’t have a particular devotion, it probably wasn’t a devotion meant for you and that was apparently fine. And while I am sure someone with a much higher intellect like, say, a Fr. Ripperger, could expound upon that statement and parse its meaning in such a way that it might line up with a traditional Catholic understanding of charism, the statement itself is misleading. Devotion itself is a hallmark of the Catholic faith. More to the point, the devotional life must be fostered. How can anyone be expected to have any devotions at all if they are not taught, nourished, and fostered? I still remember my parents teaching me the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be as a four year-old child on our front porch one summer evening. Guess what three prayers are still my go-to for every moment in life? And that’s because the people I love and trust taught me to love and to trust in this manner.
But that’s how it was.
And for a long time after leaving the seminary I did not give it much thought. I knew what my own particular devotions were and I saw them as gifts from God. My dad taught me by example to go to mass every day. We had our family rosary. I have a strong devotion to St. Rita of Cascia. To each his own, I thought.
Then I began to meet some truly holy priests – mean who love their spiritual sons and daughters.
Through the proliferation of materials online in videos of conferences and sermons and retreats and of course through exposure to traditional devotions and classics of spiritual reading, I was exposed to a kind of piety I had only rarely encountered before. I do not mean to imply that only traditional priests possess this piety at all as I do know some truly holy priests who have not yet discovered the great blessing of the ancient mass. But it became obvious to me that the priests of tradition had been formed differently certainly than I had been.
Then I came across the following from the New York Times from 1977. A mere decade after the close of the Council and the effects were clearly being seen in how priests were being trained. The article is about the seminary I would come to attend. For context, in 1977 the seminary was on a beautiful country estate. A few years later, due in part to dwindling numbers, the seminary moved to the main campus of the diocesan university. Then-rector Fr. Ed Ciuba, is quoted here breathlessly exuding his joy that men were no longer trained as they had been in the “dark ages”.
Folks, if you want to know anything at all about many of the priests ordained from the 1970’s onward, just re-read that quote. Their formators decided it would be better for these young men that they develop social skills than develop a “very strong personal relationship with God”. And because God knows how to work even with these worst of intentions, some solid men still made it through. Perhaps they were reading one of these tiny copies of Imitation of Christ on the sly. They do, as mentioned, easily slip into one’s pocket.
I am happy to have been exposed to such devotion myself. I’m happy that kid told me to get a copy of Imitation of Christ. I’m happy my parish priests tend to the devotional life of our parish, for devotion is nothing more than an outward display of love, and love for God is the first commandment.
In the seminary, devotions were not taught. They were not nourished. They were not fostered.
Don’t even get me started on the optional once-weekly rosary. Not kidding in the least. Today, many years later, I have learned once again to carry my beads in my pocket at all times so that this symbol of my love for the Blessed Mother and her love for me is always on my person.
It’s almost as if this was all but one pillar in a larger plan to destroy the priesthood and then the Church radically transform the faith to make it more accessible to the modern world (and less in love with God).
Between the years 1996 and 2001 I was a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Newark.
Well, not quite. I will be working on a piece or two recounting my time in seminary by way of trying to help the reader understand the current state of priestly formation, or malformation as the case may be. Even better, I hope to be able to help the reader know how our current priests came into the priesthood – what kinds of things were taught or withheld, what spiritual formation was given, what the subcultures were like. I can tell you that every seminarian in my house of formation was indeed scrutinized, though not necessarily in a laudatory manner.
Speaking of Newark, does anyone know where McCarrick is these days? His boy McElroy is going to get one of those nifty red hats. Ooh, I have an idea. Let’s play a game. It’s called “Insult My Intelligence”. Here’s how it works. I make the perfectly logical connections and state the obvious that, even in his early 90’s Teddy is still kind of calling the shots in the American Church and you tell me that’s crazy! But you have to promise to say it like Rod Roddy. Anyway, last I heard he was still living on Church property. He was still being, in some way, supported by the Church. I wonder why that is. Why is it a man with his kind of money – keep in mind he was besties with Leona Helmsley and the entire Hilton family – needs remuneration from the Church? Speaking of which, I’ll never forget the time I saw Leona entering the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica for a dinner date with Teddy. I heard some stories afterwards. That’s called a tease because I want you to keep reading (and even to subscribe).
Friends, these are just this trad dad’s musings on a Friday night. It’s been a long week. I hope yours was blessed. I hope you had opportunities to spend time with your families and to meditate on the Passion. I hope you enjoyed the few words scattered on these pages. I’ll leave you with one final thought.
I wonder if we could ever get the Archbishop of San Antonio to say the line: “Rich, Corinthian leather…” If you get it, you get it.
My friends, to say it has been hot here in Texas these past two days is an understatement. I have lived in Texas for eleven years now. I moved here at the height of the hottest summer on record. It was so hot that summer that when our moving truck arrived I almost decided to leave all of our belongings on the truck and send it back rather than exert myself by unloading it.
This weekend has been something else. The high humidity played a factor. That’s not too normal around these parts. We routinely see temps in the triple digits for most of the summer but never with this much moisture in the atmosphere. Stepping out one’s front door becomes something akin to stepping into a blast furnace. We sought relief at a friend’s pool. The water was 90 degrees.
I’m not complaining. I’ve turned shades of brown that would make George Hamilton green with envy. And my hair (what’s left of it) has turned the most Nordic of blondes. My wife is even jealous. FYI my eyebrows have completely disappeared.
It’s so hot…
(How hot is it?!)
It’s so hot that I saw a dog chasing a cat. They were both walking.
Look folks, I told you I’m a dad above all else. You’ve just got to expect these kind of “jokes” and then roll with them. Admit it. You love it.
Speaking of cats and sodomites… Last week upon my return from a long cross-country road trip with the family, I discovered that a neighborhood stray had adopted my home as his new dwelling. For the past week, despite my best efforts at not caring in the least, a gray and white American shorthair has been calling my front porch his home. This is only slightly annoying to me as I typically call my own front porch my home. It’s summer in Texas. That’s the place where I sit all day long, musing on trad dad stuff, and sipping my gin and tonics. Also I have a dog who would under normal circumstances demolish this cat. Yet, when I brought the dog outside on his leash to “intimidate” the cat into leaving (I am from New Jersey), the two looked at each other, rubbed noses like Milo and Otis, and both laid down. Again, it’s the heat.
I really don’t want this cat. However, I’m not cruel. I don’t want to see an animal suffer. I broke down and gave him or her (I’m absolutely not checking to verify) a drink of water. The cat refused. Seems he just wants to lay on my porch and then try to sneak in my front door, despite me shoo-ing him away.
This morning after the high mass, while my wife made breakfast, I attempted to retrieve something from our garage. I entered from the kitchen. Guess who was waiting there for me. He gained entry when my mother-in-law came for a visit yesterday.
I gave him a name.
Since he arrived during pride month, I’ve taken to calling him James Martin, SJ.
Fortunately, this James Martin hasn’t spouted heresy yet. Nonetheless, he will be making a trip to the animal shelter tomorrow where he will hopefully be placed with a loving family who do not own a schizophrenic terrier and who actually want the damn thing.
Perhaps all the other James Martin needs is a bowl of water, a can of tuna, and a flea dip and he’ll leave the rest of us alone.
Folks, I got off all that social media nonsense a while ago. Sorry but I'm not on Twitbook, Facepalm, YouHu, WingWang or any of the others. Maybe an event will happen to make me change my mind like Peter and Paul coming down with flaming swords and commanding it be so. Until then, read the blog and if you feel a comment is in order or you feel like sharing a tip or suggestion for a topic, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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