Now, I fully realize that I’m damning myself with faint praise here… except for ONE THING. Apparently there has been $500 million sunk into CNN+.
Half a billion dollars.
👆🏻Has larger audience than $500,000,000 CNN+ 👆🏻😂🤣🥂👆🏻
I run off a donated AirBookPro (thanks again, Bud) and a $300 Podcast microphone, and I only have the podcast microphone because SuperNerd is a stickler for audio quality, especially my “plosive P’s”.
I’m currently in the midst of a huge internal debate about getting a new phone. My phone is old and on the struggle bus, but then, would my life be better if I were limited to internet usage of any kind from only my laptop or iPad (both of which are 5 years old but fully functional)? And do I want to give big telecom and big tech money – money which is DONATED to me? On the other hand, I’m writing this post from a restaurant table on my phone, watching human beings that Christ died to redeem walk past me in a steady stream, and greeting neighbors with Easter blessings.
I can’t shake the suspicion that CNN+ was a planned-failure money laundering scheme. I’m sorry, but investing half a billion in a business and then announcing that you are totally folding within 528 HOURS of launch just screams “White Collar Money Laundering.”
This also confirms what I’ve said for years about the cable/satellite racket. Cable channels get a royalty for every subscriber to a bundle that they are listed on, whether anyone watches, including YOU as a subscriber, or not. So YOU were paying Al Gore, the Gay Channel, the Disney Channel (but I repeat myself), MTV, even though you never watched those channels, and maybe even had those channels blocked on your box. Advertising revenue is trivial to these outfits.
Without that forced-subscription revenue, most of the mainstream media is catastrophically financially untenable.
I remember well my webmaster at the time sending me an email in ARSH 2011 that my audience was larger than Chris Matthews’ CNBC audience with accompanying graphs.
Folks, don’t fall for the fakeness and gayness. Don’t let anyone tell you “there’s nothing you can do”, much less that thinking that you might actually be able to help is some sort of sin of pride. That’s satan talking. THAT IS THE SERPENT IN ALL HIS HIDDEN SUBTLETY. Straight up.
If there’s anything we need to worry about, whether our audience be in the millions or the single-digits, it is the effect and influence we have, in word and deed, on others. Woe to him who gives scandal, verily.
The Resurrection, Francesco Buoneri (“Cecco del Caravaggio”), ARSH 1619-1620, Art Institute of Chicago.
This is my favorite image of the Resurrection. I have seen it in person as it is now housed in the Art Institute of Chicago. If you get the chance to see it, do. The overshadowing strength and virility of Our Risen Lord is indeed breathtaking as you stand before this enormous canvas. Remember the “overshadowing shoulders” discussion? That was in the context of the Crucifixion. Now here are OVERSHADOWING SHOULDERS in the context of the Resurrection – full circle.
But what is equally striking about this image as you stand before it is the angel. He is pointing upwards, but looking straight out at the viewer, and let me tell you, when you are standing in front of it, it feels like that angel is looking at your very soul. His piercing yet benevolent gaze makes you blush.
And now what has become one of my very favorite pieces of music, good ol’ Cherubic Hymn No. 7. The words are sublime (even if the translation is a bit of a fudge), paired with sublime polyphony.
Happy Easter to one and all. Christ is truly risen! Yay!
Come, let us cast off all earthly care And forget every vain employ For the King of All comes in triumph By unseen hosts of angels brought To us that bid Him welcome Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
For your “Just Too Cool” file, a reminder of a beautiful detail from the Resurrection: the significance of the “napkin” that wrapped Our Lord’s head in the tomb.
Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that had been about His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. John 20: 6-7
Over the transom came an explanation that a reader heard in a homily:
It was Jewish custom in the relation between master and slave that the dinner table was prepared with a cloth that was to be used as a napkin of sorts, sitting by the other utensils. After dinner, if the master was finished with his meal he would wipe his hands and face, and then crumble up the cloth and leave it near the plate. This was the signal to the slave that the master was finished and had left the dining area. If however, he folded the cloth and left it a bit farther away from the plate, it indicated he would be returning to finish his meal.
We see this today in table etiquette, particularly when eating in a fancier restaurant. If one gets up mid-meal, the convention is to either fold the napkin and leave it beside the plate, or to leave it upon the cushion of the seat. This signals the waitstaff that the guest will be returning, and in more elegant restaurants, if the napkin is left on the chair, the waitstaff will re-fold and place the napkin on the table awaiting the return of the guest, or replace the napkin entirely. When one gets up to leave, the napkin is left crumpled on the table.
This neat folding of the “napkin” indicating the Return of the Master is echoed in the Mass, of course, when the priest replaces the folded Corporal into the burse. Interestingly, the Pall (the small starched square of linen which covers the Chalice) represents the stone that sealed the tomb.
Look, look, LOOK at THIS display of fearless common sense and manful pragmatism. And remember , the Bergoglian Antichurch refused entrance to a Vatican building to Cardinal Burke, who had the Coof bad last September, becauseCardinalBurke refuses the DeathInjection.
The beautiful painting above is of Mary Magdalene seeing Our Resurrected Lord in the garden close to the Empty Tomb and initially mistaking Him for the gardener. In art Our Lord is commonly depicted in this specific scene as a gardener by his spiffy gardener’s hat – and only sometimes carrying a gardening implement, as in this image. As a great fan, connoisseur and wearer of hats, I am always tickled to see Our Lord behatted.
But there is massive meaning in all of this, and it goes back to the Garden of Eden, and teaches us about the Eucharist, and specifically about the importance of worthy and unworthy reception of the Eucharist. This is especially germane as one of the hallmarks of the Bergoglian antipapacy is the pogrom of sacrilegious desecration of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
Anyone who objects to the enthusiastic desecration of the Eucharist will, of course, be denounced as a “fundamentalist” or “rigid” or whatever is today’s entry in the Antipope Bergoglio book of insults.
Our Lord appeared as a Gardener to Mary Magdalene because He is, in fact, The Gardener of Eden (Genesis 2: 8-9) and would walk in The Garden (Genesis 3: 8).
Interestingly, we see from Genesis that it was His intention to commune with mankind AS FOOD from the very beginning, whether man fell to original sin or not. The Tree of Life wasn’t a mere foreshadowing of the Eucharist, it was in fact a species of the Real Substantial Presence of God, in the form of food, to be eaten by man in order to give man eternal life. Again, the Fruit of the Tree of Life was an actual species of the Real Presence, not a symbol. So Christ was not only The Gardener of Eden, He Himself was also the “Crop”.
Now think about this – when Adam and Eve fell, what did God do? He drove them out and even sent an angel with a flaming, rotating sword to specifically physically block them so that they could not COMMIT THE SIN OF SACRILEGE OF EATING OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF LIFE, THAT IS THE PHYSICAL SUBSTANCE OF GOD HIMSELF, AND THUS MAKE THEIR SITUATION EVEN WORSE. It wasn’t enough to merely tell them that they couldn’t eat of the Tree of Life (a species of the Real Presence) because Our Lord knew that satan would tempt them to eat it anyway, and they would, because they were now guilty of the sin of pride.
Our Lord drove Adam and Eve out of The Garden and posted an angelic sentry BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM. Our Loving God EXCOMMUNICATED Adam and Eve in order to protect them from themselves, knowing that they would do even further damage to themselves by eating of His Physical Substance unworthily.
Only after Our Lord had incarnated, and True God and True Man had suffered and died for the sins of the world, could mankind once again be able to eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. The Cross is The Tree. Jesus Christ hanging from it is The Fruit of The Tree of Life. The Eucharist is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, True Food and True Drink. Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection re-established The Garden of Eden, ended the protective banishment, and lifted the excommunication of mankind.
This is why Our Lord said to the Apostles in the Upper Room on Holy Thursday, “With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you…”
When God says, “I’ve REALLY been looking forward to this…”, something incomprehensibly good and profoundly important is about to happen.
And this is why, in these days, growing ever darker, that satan, through his infiltators in The Church – some of them consciously willing, some of them merely stupid, are pushing for what the serpent could NOT effect in The Garden: the sacrilegious desecration of the Fruit of the Tree of Life.
It is true. There are no angels with flaming swords to prevent unrepentant sinners from receiving the Eucharist. Would that there were. I would be very happy if I were blocked from receiving the Eucharist by an angel, because then I would absolutely know that I was not in a state of grace, and could take steps to correct that in the confessional. It is always a nagging concern in the back of one’s mind every time one receives the Eucharist. Or, at least it should be.
But, considering the steps that God took in The Garden of Eden, one should think very long and very hard about the gravity of unworthy reception, and of the truly satanic malignancy of this final push to get those in openly unrepentant mortal sin to desecrate the Eucharist, and for the priests, who have been the last line of defense, standing in place of the angel, instead to be the willing facilitators and encouragers of sacrilegious desecration of Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist.
And this is why Our Risen Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene as a Gardener, as we can tell by the spiffy hat.
So one of my absolute favorite, make-the-hair-on-my-arms-stand-up dynamics is when God, in His perfect and unsearchable Providence, causes even His enemies to testify, unknowingly but unmistakably, to His Godhead and His infinite love. For me, these episodes are even more compelling and convincing than levitating saints (St. Philip Neri, my direct patron, for example).
This tidbit comes from Dr. Mazza’s Church History Course. This is something that I feel like I SHOULD have known, but when Dr. Mazza said it, I was so shocked and overjoyed that I think there is no way I could have forgotten something so cool.
Let’s go back to Pontius Pilate’s court. Pilate knows Our Lord is innocent and does NOT want to execute Him, but the Jews, led by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin have threatened Pilate – they have threatened his life, and almost no one today understands this. Pilate was terrified for his life and the life of his family, which Mel Gibson alluded to in “The Passion of The Christ” in the scene between Pilate and his wife, Claudia, in which Pilate expresses the pressure he is under from Rome. But even Gibson’s treatment doesn’t fully explain how deep Pilate’s fear was.
Did you know that there was a man named Lucius Aelius Sejanus, who was the head of the Praetorian Guard, and was essentially the number 2 to Tiberius Caesar? When Tiberius withdrew to the Isle of Capri in ARSH 26 (some of you may have been to Capri as tourists, apparently it is very beautiful), Sejanus was left to essentially administer the entire Roman Empire. Sejanus, not Tiberius Caesar, APPOINTED PONTIUS PILATE the governor of Judea. So Pilate was Sejanus’ boy, not Tiberius’. Sejanus was executed by Tiberius in AD 31 because pretty much everyone suspected Sejanus of plotting to take over. SO, when the Jews, led by the High Priest and Sanhedrin in Pilate’s Court yelled out to Pilate…
“If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.” — John 19: 12
…what they were doing was threatening Pilate’s life – they were threatening to have Pilate and his entire family “canceled” and “Arkancided” by denouncing him as not loyal to Tiberius, and rather loyal to the Sejanus faction. “Not Caesar’s friend,” but rather “Sejanus’ friend.” Which would have meant torture and execution for Pilate, and his family.
Isn’t. That. Interesting.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, non?
And just so we’re clear, as we heard in the Sixth Lesson of Tenebrae of Thursday night-Friday morning, St. Augustine says that Pilate, even under intense coercion of his own torture and death and that of his family is still guilty, but less so than the Jews. Yes, succumbing to coercion, even the most severe coercion, does not absolve guilt. WE MUST DO THE RIGHT, NO MATTER THE COST.
“By the very fact of doing what he did, Pilate became a sharer in their crime; but compared with them he was much less guilty.”
But Pilate was still guilty. Because “much less guilty” is still guilty. WE are called by Our Lord to “be perfect”, that is, to not succumb to coercion AT ALL. It’s not okay to fold in fear, find an easy way out, and wash your hands of the mess, being content with being merely “much less guilty.” Pontius Pilate is NOT a moral example to anyone. In fact, he is a dire warning against the temptation to succumbing to coercion.
NOW, for the amazing part.
Pilate, as we all know, NOT wanting to execute an innocent man, but desperate (and now we know exactly why) to appease the Jews led by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, tried to appeal to the annual “release one prisoner” Jewish tradition. And we all know the prisoner that was offered was Barabbas. And as we all know, the Jews, led by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin cried out: “Give us Barabbas!”
STOP. Do you know what the name BARABBAS means? I’m ashamed for not making this connection. Dr. Mazza laid this out for us:
“BAR” means “the son of” in Aramaic. As in Peter’s original name being “Simon Bar-Jonah” – Simon the son of Jonah. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” Matthew 16: 17. The Apostle Bartholomew is “the son of Timothy”, Bar-Timaeus.
And we should know what the Aramaic word “Abba” means from Our Lord’s words in the throes of His Agony in the Garden: “And He saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee: remove this chalice from Me; but not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” –Mark 14: 36
“Abba” means “father”.
So the criminal Barabbas’ name literally means “Son of the Father”.
So Our Blessed Lord, standing beside Pilate on the loggia of Pilate’s palace, looked down into the packed courtyard, upon Israel, the historical proxy for mankind, led by the High Priest of the Temple, and they shouted with murderous hatred and narcissistic rage:
GIVE US THE SON OF THE FATHER! LET HIS BLOOD BE UPON US AND UPON OUR CHILDREN!
And Our Lord, infinite power, infinite LOVE, infinite mercy, said…
Amen. So be it.
And so it was, and so it is. And so we ARE redeemed, and so we might be saved. God is so powerful that His Providence causes even His most intransigent enemies to unwittingly testify to His Godhead, and His Sacrificial Love.
(And we worry about the likes of Antipope Bergoglio and his Antichurch, or the New World Order, or the Deep State in Washington…?)
This moment is made manifest at EVERY Mass, because the Mass is the bending of space-time behind a supernatural veil such that the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Our Lord’s Passion is made literally present upon the altar. This moment in which the the entire Church cries out, “GIVE US THE SON OF THE FATHER! LET HIS BLOOD BE UPON US AND UPON OUR CHILDREN!” occurs at the elevation of the Chalice. Angels come and dip supernatural hyssop branches into the Precious Blood in the Chalice and sprinkle the world, and the Poor Souls in Purgatory, AND YOU, with Our Lord’s Blood, the Blood of the Lamb.
Now you know why I prefer to be in the front row at Mass. Maximum angelic sprinklage. I’m only about 30% kidding. At every elevation of the Chalice, I now say inaudibly, “Give us the Son of the Father. Let His Blood be upon us and upon our children!” I have said “Let His Blood…” for many years, after a conference in Denver in which the visions of St. Gaspar del Bufalo were shared. But now I complete the moment with, “GIVE US THE SON OF THE FATHER!”
And THIS, friends, is why we GO TO MASS. We go to Mass because Our Lord stood at the top of Pilate’s steps and fallen man (which is me) begged for Him and His Blood – not even knowing what they were actually saying or doing. But Our Lord knew, and knew what Love demanded, and what we all need and want: HIM. Our Lord knew why He created mankind, and the entire universe for man, in the first place. And Our Lord in His Providence even had the infinite Mercy to arrange for fallen man, mired in sin and consumed with hatred for Him, to testify to His Divinity and the Power and Glory of His Blood.
And Our Lord said, “Amen.” So be it.
If you aren’t teared up, you should be.
Here is Gibson’s version of the incident. This clip is good because there are no subtitles. Now that you know exactly what was going on, and EXACTLY what was being said and by whom, it is far more powerful without the subtitles. And consider – Our Lady, there present in the courtyard with St. John, certainly “got” what was being said, and St. John very probably understood too.
And now, so do you. (Thanks, Dr. Mazza.)
“GIVE US THE SON OF THE FATHER!”
As always, I hope and pray this helps. Even just one person.
Go to Confession. Go to Mass.
Pray for Pope Benedict, the one and only living Pope since ARSH 2005, the Papacy, and Holy Mother Church, the Body and Bride of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation.
The key to beginning to understand the Incarnation, God becoming Man, is Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and His Passion and death on the Cross. If you recall, after the Last Supper in the Upper Room, Jesus and the apostles, except for Judas who was on his errand of betrayal already, went to the Garden of Gethsemane. John tells us that Jesus went there with the apostles frequently to pray, and thus it would be one of the first places Judas would have known to look for Him. The wheels of the Passion are in motion. Jesus knows exactly what is coming, and that it is coming within a matter of hours. He withdraws a short distance from the Apostles to pray, but close enough that they can still see Him. He asks the Apostles to simply stay awake (because it is now the middle of the night) and to watch and pray. Jesus withdraws and begins to pray. But what the apostles see is horrifying.
Jesus isn’t calmly and serenely kneeling in prayer. Jesus is literally lying on the ground, curled up in a ball, writhing in agony. Our Lord is a quivering, trembling, sobbing mess. Jesus is in such stress and agony that the capillaries in the sweat glands in His scalp and forehead are bursting, and there is blood in the sweat that is running down His face, mingling with His tears, and dropping on the ground. This is the first bloodshed of His Sorrowful Passion.
Sobbing and shaking, Jesus BEGS the Father to let the events of the next twelve hours pass from Him if at all possible, but resigns Himself to the will of the Father. Reading this, some may be unimpressed with Jesus. After all, many, many men and women have gone to their torture and execution fully aware of what was coming, while managing to maintain their composure. Some men, especially, might be tempted to view Jesus and being somewhat cowardly in the face of His Passion, and thus be a bit turned-off by the whole scene.
Yes, Jesus is terrified. He is more terrified in this moment than all of the terror felt by mankind in all of history combined, raised to the power of infinity. His terror is testing the limits of the human body. If any of us felt anything even close to the sort of fear that Jesus felt, we would drop dead. People can and have died purely of fright and/or intense psychological stress, usually by means of a heart attack precipitated by massive adrenaline production.
But the real question is, “What is He afraid of?” His terror and agony are NOT purely centered around the physical means of His death. He is not trembling and sobbing because he is thinking solely of the pain of being scourged, or the pain of being crucified.
He is curled up in a ball crying so hard that He is sweating blood because He is thinking about WHO is going to torture and kill Him.
When God took on human flesh, human nature, He took on EVERY ASPECT of our existence. He experiences the same things that we do – except with complete purity and at an infinitely amplified level. And that obviously includes love, given that He is Love Itself. And being that He is also completely God, that is He also has a Divine Nature, He is in Himself infinite knowledge and infinite love. In a nutshell, this means that Jesus went through His entire life on earth completely in love with every single person. Every person He saw or passed on the street He had known from all eternity; He had created that person atom-by- atom accordingly in the fullness of time; He had full, intimate knowledge of that person’s every thought, desire and deed; He was infinitely in love with that person.
Can you imagine what simply going into town and walking through the market must have been like? Every face He passed was His beloved. Every person who brushed by Him was a source of simultaneous joy and the pain of unrequited love. Every laugh of delight He heard was a laugh He wanted to share, and every whimper of sadness was sadness He wanted to console, every struggle was a struggle He wanted to help, and every bit of pain was pain He wanted to soothe. And not in an abstract, altruistic way. He wanted to engage these things personally, as we would with our intimate beloved. But He couldn’t. Can you imagine having all of that love pent up inside of you, with your beloved so near, and have to hold it all inside? Are we starting to get an idea of how terrible and wonderful the Incarnation is? Remember all of this.
Let’s go back to the Garden. Jesus takes a couple of breaks from His prayer to go back and talk to the Apostles, who are His best friends. Yes, He loves everybody, but the Apostles are different. They know, to a small extent, who He is. They have spent many days and evenings together working, playing, eating and just talking. Jesus has told them who He is, and He has told them in no uncertain terms that He loves them. And they have assured Him that they love Him too. Their relationship is not one-sided. Jesus – God Incarnate – has gotten to experience reciprocal human friendship and love with these men, infinitely lopsided though it may have been.
Jesus has just spent a considerable amount of time in agony a stone’s throw away from His beloved friends, and when He comes back to them, He finds them all asleep. He is dying. (My soul is sorrowful even unto death.) He asked them, His beloved best friends, to simply stay with Him, watch, and pray. And they couldn’t even stay awake. And this happened twice. Heart. Ache. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
Now here comes Judas. As with every other person, Jesus is loves Judas infinitely. Judas is the person Jesus loves most in the world (and that goes for every person because Jesus is God and thus has infinite capacity.) And Judas has sold Him out. It is one thing to be betrayed by an enemy. It is quite another to be sold for 30 pieces of silver (which assuming one ounce pieces would equate to just under $1000 today) by the person you love most in the world. And just to make it as terrible as possible, Judas has told the guards that the man he kisses, the man to whom he gives the gesture of FRIENDSHIP and LOVE, is Jesus. And so when Judas kisses Him and Jesus says to Judas, “You betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” there is agony there that can not be described. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
The guards. Every single one of them is the subject of Jesus’ infinite love. And they despise Him. Jesus could have stopped it all at any time, not by some act of miraculous violence, but by asking the commanding guard if he remembered that certain tree he used to climb as a child, or that certain toy. He could have frozen them in their tracks by simply reminding them of their own experiences and feelings – which He had already shared with them because He had been with them the whole time. But He didn’t, because He couldn’t. If He didn’t let them kill Him, there would be no hope of ever being with them in heaven. Agony. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
Now before the High Priest Caiaphas. Same thing. Except Caiaphas, and the rest of the Sanhedrin, have been as their entire vocation and purpose in life, praying for the coming of the Messiah. They have been praying to Jesus (unwittingly) for Jesus (unwittingly). And Jesus has heard their prayers, and the prayers of all of the priests for generations past, and is finally, finally now standing in front of them. And remember, He loves them each personally. They look Him up and down and utterly reject Him. “No, no. You’re all wrong. You’re not what we want. We want a big macho-man king to vanquish the Romans and sit on the throne and then make us all rich by association. LOOK AT YOU. YOU’RE ALL WRONG. WE DON’T WANT YOU. Go to hell and good riddance.” Agony. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
Pilate. Selfish indifference. “Look man, I neither know nor care who you are or who you say you are, and frankly, I think you’re just another loon. I have a lot on my mind and I simply can’t deal with crap like this.” Agony. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
The Roman scourgers. Jesus was whipped and flagellated until most of His skin was gone by men whom He loved infinitely and intimately. Can you imagine how He felt as he walked to the pillar, turned and saw the faces of his scourgers, and seeing the face of every human being looking back at Him, including me, and you? Can you imagine being slowly and brutally whipped to the brink of death by the person you love most in the world? Say your spouse or best friend? It would be one thing to be whipped by a total stranger or a known enemy. But to be tortured by the person you love most in the world? Unfathomable agony. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
The crowds. Everywhere there were crowds of people looking on – the scourging, the trial, the streets he walked while carrying His Cross to Calvary. Every single face was intimately loved. And every single face, excepting Mary, John, Mary Magdalene and a few other women, were either viciously hostile or completely indifferent. I wonder which was worse? The reason I ask is because the opposite of love is NOT hate, as most would assume. The opposite of love is indifference. There is no greater blow that can be made to a human soul than indifference. How many people saw Jesus that day – locked eyes with Him – and honestly didn’t give a rat’s @$$ either way. “Live. Die. Whatever. Just don’t bother me. You’re messing up my plans. YOU’RE MAKING MY LIFE HARD. Now I’m going to have to go completely out of my way to get around You and this damnable mess You’re making.” This may have been the worst agony. This is the reality of the Incarnation.
Almost everyone treats Jesus with indifference to one degree or another. We are all inflicting that agony on Him. How, you ask? By sinning. We know that our sins hurt Him infinitely, but we commit them anyway. Few people sin because they actively HATE Jesus personally and want to hurt Him. A few do, with Catholic apostates and satanists being the most common, the ranks of both swelling in these dark days, but not too many relative to the broad population. No, most people are just indifferent. There He is at the pillar, and our sin is the next lash. And we do it anyway. In fact, we lean into it. CRACK! Because we’re indifferent. And again, and again.
“Live. Die. Whatever. Just don’t bother me. You’re messing up my plans. YOU’RE MAKING MY LIFE HARD. Now I’m going to have to go completely out of my way to get around You and this damndable mess You’re making.”
“But I love you. This is all for you.”
“That’s your choice, and your problem. Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
Agony beyond words. This is the Reality of the Incarnation.
That is why Jesus was sobbing in agony in the Garden. He didn’t fear the physical pain. He feared being utterly, completely and totally rejected to the point of torture, execution and the indifferent witnessing of this by the person He loved most in the world, which is YOU. And ME.
He feared not being tortured and killed, but being tortured and killed by the person He loved most in the world. And despite this, He still chose to go through with it all. Not only that, but He would do it even it was only for you and you alone. And beyond that, he would do it all for you and you alone AS MANY TIMES AS YOU ASSIST AS MASS OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, plus more. Infinite love means INFINITE. LOVE.
He went all the way to the end, just so there would be a CHANCE that one day as He tells us “I love you,” that instead of responding with a hissing, contemptuous, “Oh, F*** you!”, which face it, is exactly what we all do to Him, we might instead respond with…
“I love You, too. Have mercy on me, O Lord, a sinner.”
A longtime reader emailed in asking that one and all be reminded of the events recorded in the twentieth chapter of St. John’s Gospel. If any of you readers out there are “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” in the Novus Ordo, you really, really need to stop. Immediately.
As I have recounted on the Barnhardt Podcast, in my first year after being received into the Church (Novus Ordo), I did prison ministry at the Arapahoe County Jail. It was all laypeople. Not even the “permanent” deacons went. And, to my abject horror in retrospect, we were enjoined to perform “Catholic Communion Services” using a script authored by the not-very-conservative “conservative” Archbishop Charles Chaput. The “team leader” for the day would pass out, completely casually in the locker room of the jail, The Blessed Sacrament to each team going to one of the six cellblocks. “How many do you want? Six? Okay. Here.” I think back on that and cringe. More than once I was handed a pyx filled with Hosts, which I then PUT IN MY POCKET and carried down to the cellblock. The only thing I can say in my own defense is that as I was walking down to the cellblock, I would “talk” to Our Lord, generally remarking to Him that He was the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Infinite Love and Power Himself, and… He was in my pocket. At least I acknowledged Him, and the situation, which is more than could be said for most. But it was still so totally, horrifically wrong.
Since I could speak a little Spanish, I was almost always sent to the Spanish-speaking cellblock, and most of the men who came to the “Communion Service” were either maximum security or super-max, that is, wearing either orange or red jumpsuits. Was I ever scared? No way. I was safe as a kitten. I had 15 or more exceptionally capable bodyguards at all times. The men were mostly Mexican, with some Central Americans. And I learned two very important lessons about Eucharistic piety from those men. First, many of them did not receive Holy Communion. Why? Because they had, in their words, “two wives”. That is, they were divorced and civilly “re-married”, or divorced and shacking up with another woman. They KNEW this meant that they could not receive – but they still came. The other thing I learned from the Latino felons in the jail was pre-conciliar Eucharistic piety. When they walked into the room, and saw the pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament on the table, they would immediately fall to their knees and reverence Our Lord. They believed in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Far, far more than the upper-middle class American Novus Ordoists.
The Fruit of the First Sorrowful Mystery, Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden, is SORROW FOR SIN. Oftentimes poorly formed priests tell people that once they have confessed a sin, they should never think about it again. This is wrong. As one progresses and tries to advance in sanctity, one of the graces that follows is realizing not only what sins one has committed in the past, but realizing WHY those sins were sins, and just how awful they were. So, not only did I confess my participation in these “Catholic Communion Services” and the intrinsic sacrilege of them and of my physical handling of the Blessed Sacrament, but I also always mention these sins when I make a General Confession. Thank God! Thank God that now I not only know, but that the horror of it gets continually stronger. Let this process of realizing the kind and gravity of my sins never cease!
Which brings us to the whole question of physically touching the Blessed Sacrament. It is all in John 20. Our Lord tells Mary Magdalene that SHE MAY NOT TOUCH HIM (verse 17), but just a few verses later specifically tells St. Thomas to stick his finger in Our Lord’s side (verse 27). What is the difference?
St. Thomas, having been present at The Last Supper which was not only about the institution of the Mass and the Eucharist, but also about the INSTITUTION OF THE PRIESTHOOD (Do this in memory of Me), was already an ordained priest. The Sacramentally Ordained may touch the Blessed Sacrament (Deacons, Priests, Bishops). Anyone else, male or female, may NOT. Period.
It isn’t a question of contrition. The Penitent Magdalen was more contrite than any of us will probably ever be for our sins. St. Thomas was in a state of extreme and even obstinate doubt until the moment he physically touched Our Lord. It is a question of the supernatural reality of the priesthood, and of the supernatural reality of the consecration of the Eucharist within the Mass, and the Real, Physical, Substantial Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Having unconsecrated hands touch the Blessed Sacrament is a direct attack upon the priesthood, and the Eucharist itself. It is a premeditated introduction of scandalous desacralization – the modern buzzword here is “DEMYTHOLOGIZATION“.
If you are NOT a Deacon, Priest or Bishop, STOP TOUCHING THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. Only receive Holy Communion from the hands of a Deacon, Priest or Bishop, and do so kneeling and on the tongue. Do not participate in the Freemasonic scandal of desacralization, the attack on the Priesthood, the Church and the Eucharist, which is what the whole “Extraordinary Monsters Ministers of Holy Communion” thing is. Believe me, you will be glad you did, and you will regret not having done so sooner.