You Cannot Serve Both God And MadAve

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Of all the advertising schemes promoted by Madison Avenue, is there ONE which does not appeal to human depravity one way or another? Is there a marketing campaign which does not depend on the seven deadly sins? Is there a sales pitch which is not at base contempt for the moral fiber of human beings? Maybe they know what they’re doing…

Pride envy, avarice, lust, gluttony, sloth, and rage.

All prime means of seducing the human spirit. All employed with vigor by Mammon and the votaries of Mammon.

Think how salesmen are trained (I once went through a lengthy class, before I realized I didn’t have it in me.) and what forces they are taught to use. Is there any sales mechanism which is not designed to target the worst of human failings?

Consider how, in keeping up with the Joneses, feeling the pride of ownership, knowing you deserve the best, you have succumbed to the base elements of human nature.

Consider also how if you do as the uncritical economic animals (homo economicus) in responding to these appeals, you will have not the wherewithal in time or resources to help the needy and downtrodden. (Not to mention the aversion you will acquire for having those smelly unwashed ragged muffins near YOUR shiny baubles.)

Consider how much you really and truly needed your last ten purchases, and why you made them.

Are you behaving like a human being? Like a child of God? Like a person seeking sainthood? (It’s our Vocation, you know.)

Or, are you a reactive alimentary canal with easily tingled reproductive apparatus and conditioned to dispense cash whenever a bell rings?

You cannot serve both God and Mammon.

 

Adbusters did this cute little thing a few years back. It is well done, just like what you see in the slicks.

And so damnably true.

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Sunday Stir-Fry Stew … and MORE

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It has been a while since I tried anything new in the kitchen. So there I am, in the local grocery, and meandering about as is my wont when my wife foolishly sends me to the store alone (!!), and I spy a package of stew meat in the fresh beef section. So, I pick it up. Then I go around the place, wondering what I could mix in with it. (I’m not a very experienced chef, one might say. One might.)

Yesterday, I put it all together.

What I came up with is this…

Ingredients:

  • One pound stew meat
  • One pound frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • Three medium Russet potatoes
  • One 12 oz can of beef gravy. (Not shown)

Procedure:

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  • Put one cup flour in a paper bag with whatever spices you fancy (me – a bit of onion powder and a bit of garlic powder). Separate the pieces of stew meat and drop in the bag. Shake it all up until every piece is coated. There should be very little flour loose in the bag when you are done.

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  • Pour contents of the bag into a medium frying pan, with olive oil (my preference, for the taste) and cook until the flour turns golden brown.
  • Peel and dice (big chunks) three medium potatoes. (Pix shows five, only used three.)
  • Dump all into crock pot. Add water to cover ingredients. Cook on High for 3-4 hours 100_4337.JPG(depending on the heat of the crock pot – don’t want the potatoes to get mushy.)

Variant – instead of water, use your favorite beer.

Let cool (trust me on this one) serve, and consume.

Postmortem says I could/should have added some more spices, but just what I could have put in?? Everybody’s taste is different.

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About those extra potatoes I peeled: I sliced them to ¼ inch thick slabs, and fried them on the stovetop while waiting for the stew. I sprinkled a light dusting of Lawrey’s Salt on one side, and cooked until tender. They came off with a bit of tan on the edges, and were delicious with a good IPA beer (local brew). [ No pix, I ate them before thinking the sight should be preserved for posterity.]

And that is how I spent my Sunday after Mass.

 

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No Worries, Mate

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All of the flapdoodle, hooey, bunkum, and hunting of snipe aside, what are we worried about?

Are we concerned about politics?

Relax. No human institution is perfect, and you may safely disregard politicians and preachers who declare the USA to be Divinely Ordained. (Any who insist on thinking thusly are hereby sentenced to reading the entire and unabridged edition of St. Augustine’s The City of God.)

Are you worried about natural disasters? Don’t fret. If the hurricane don’t get ya, the earthquake will, if the earthquake don’t get ya, the cholera must. (And God always has a few “dinosaur-killer” asteroids in reserve.)

Frightened by what’s coming over the Nightly News or your favorite 24/7 Niche Culture channel? TURN THE DAMN THING OFF!!! (And I do not employ the word frivolously. At best the mass media is a collective of nasty-minded gossips. At its usual, it is a semi-organized association of emotional pimps and panderers who make a fine living off other peoples distress.)

REAL problems should be addressed, dealt with, and resolved. Most of what comes over the cable, satellite, or internet is a cocktail of artificially contrived nonsense which is never meant to be finished, because then those cards and letters and donations will cease flooding in.

It’s literally The Big Con.igetit.gif

If you deliberately do without “news” or “edutanment” or “commentary” for a week (all forms, TV, Internet, gossip at the coffee shop), there will surely be withdrawal symptoms. Sweaty palms, nervous tics, an almost irresistible desire to have just one little peek… Congratulations, you are addicted to Media Porn. Lust, envy, greed, drunkenness are relatively minor sins compared to the burden on the soul of an incessant snoop. But if you persevere, there is Light ahead.

You will feel/think/pray better. You will not be constantly under the clouds of malaise, but living in the sunshine.

(A while back, as previously noted, I gave up satellite TV, Facebook, deleted my own political blog, erased my DISQUS account for play in comment boxes, and discarded all (YIKES!) of my political and “news” urls.   Including the ones that are dedicated to political activism under the thin veneer of religion. I feel wonderful!

Not only do I have more time for the Better Things like prayer, reading books, listening to good music, making posts for The Catholic Sun, and watching the desert hares in the field behind my house [What’s Up. Doc?] I am sleeping better at night.)

Here’s the thing. We are not guaranteed a carefree, prosperous life. Other than a few dubious TV preachers, nobody is dumb enough to promote such a blatant lie. As Christians, we are guaranteed dungeon, fire, and sword. As followers of Christ, we are guaranteed the same things Jesus received: scorn, persecution, ridicule, poverty, abandonment, and an ignominious death. Cool!

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Butler’s Lives of the Saints is a good, sobering read. Here

Not only will we not make it out of this world “alive”, neither will any of us live in this world forever.

The world cycles. Things change. The Great Pendulum of History swings back and forth without ceasing. All attempts to speed up its travel or to freeze it at a particular moment of time end in failure and destruction for those who make the attempt. In point of fact, a reading of History is salubrious for illusions of success or permanent devastation.

Pick any hundred year period and see how vain ambition, discontent, anger, and greed wrecked so much, so many lives, and then wonder if today is really so different. The names of those people in the past are unfamiliar, even the major actors. For the most part, their vaunted legacy has been erased, and they and their events are known only to specialists.

the-inferno-canto-32Or, read Dante’s little fantasy about his guided tour of Hell in The Inferno. But be sure to get a good annotated edition so you can identify all those folk. I dare say 99% of us could care less for all the passions of Guelf and Ghibelline in the Florentine Republic. And so it will be with the extreme gnashing of teeth today.

 

 

 

When we make it to the end, if we haven’t allowed ourselves to be distracted by worthless mental junk food, we are guaranteed to share in the Divinity of Christ. (See the prayer said at Mass by the Priest or Deacon while pouring wine from the cruet into the Chalice.)

We have, unfortunately, been lulled into a false sense of entitlement by a century of good weather, a time of peace and progress. We thought Happy Days were not only here again, but would go on forever.

Ozymandias

By  Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias , King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

Not to worry.  Every thing of this Earth will be gone someday.  On the time-scale of the Universe, what disturbs you is less than the blink of an eye.

The truly important things, faith, hope, charity, are Eternal.

Here in the second decade of the 21st Century Anno Domini, we are beginning to learn what is ephemeral and what really matters.

Oremus!

 

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Got the Blahs? – Repent!

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I have just finished reading a remarkable book, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil Of Our Times, by Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., Abbot of Saint-Wandrille. I heartily recommend it to one and all. This is a condensation of a larger formal thesis which has been brought “down to earth” for laypeople and others who are not specialists.

You can get it from the publisher here.

Also from here

It may be a good idea to read it along with another book it constantly references, The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks. Here

OK, so now I have pumped this, what is acedia all about?

Best answer is from “The Neverending Story”, by Morla, the Ancient One.

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In a nutshell, that’s it.

Of course, if a gif were enough to explain, there wouldn’t be any need for a book, now would there?

The English translation was released last year (2015), and I finally got around to reading it during Holy Week. (Dante’s Comedia was my Lenten discipline, so this fit right in.)

I have known the symptoms of acedia, the blahs, restlessness, etc., all my life, in both my self and in others, but never knew what it was called. By accident, I stumbled into a partial “cure” on my own, praying the Liturgy of the Hours without fail, like it or not.

The book has four chapters, the first deals with describing acedia as seen by the Desert Fathers and Mothers, especially one called Evagrius. Chapter Two is an overview of St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought on the subject. Chapter three discusses the relevance of acedia in Christian life, and Chapter Four looks at acedia in the various states of life: religious, priestly, and lay married or single persons.

Among things found are the definition of acedia as “a lack of spiritual energy”. The five principal manifestations of acedia: interior instability, hypochondria, laziness, neglect of the rule (of life), and general discouragement. This is followed by the five remedies for acedia: tears, prayer and work, Scripture, mediation on death, and perseverance. Then follows examples from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and a wrap-up mentioning John Cassian St. Benedict, and Gregory the Great.

That is in Chapter One. The rest is no less instructive.

A similar book by the esteemed Kathleen Norris (she of A Cloister Walk) came out in 2008, titled Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life. I have not read it, but there are reviews out on the internet for any who might be interested.  You can find the book here.

There are also other articles which might give an introduction to the topic which do not involve laying out good money.  Here, here, here, and here.

Special, the writings of Evagrius are online. Here.

Please Note — I get no points, cash, or credit for recommending a book or providing a link to where one can purchase it.   If I were ever tempted to pick up a reward for shilling a product, I’d close this blog down faster than you could say, “This Way to the Egress.”

 

Below are some of my thoughts while reading this book. They are very prejudiced and full of my own bias. I place them “below the line” so others can safely ignore them.

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Personal Notes  — AKA Mad Ramblings:

How much of my ancient problem is simple bipolar depression and how much has been acedia? While I have seized on the idea of acedia, that may be only another level of deception used to cover up something deeper. Or may it be there is a psychological equivalent of acedia? Lastly, even if it is purely psychological (in my case), it seems the prescriptions for spiritual acedia have relevance and efficacy. – They work.

Next, we find this problem of sin versus mental illness (acedia is a sin, bipolar is a mental illness) is interesting. Is laziness a sin? The ancients seemed to believe it was. Is laziness brought on by apathy fueled by bipolar a sin? Moderns tend to think not.

Moderns in general do not appear to believe in Sin (unless one is in opposition to the current fad-of-the-hour) but have substituted psychological analysis for it. (I speak here as one whose undergrad major was Psychology – in the Sixties, before it got messed up.) Have the Moderns really made any progress? To be sure, they all advocate Therapy and cheer for psychotropic drugs, but if the base is still the same, and the patient finds no real improvement?? The cry has gone from “Have Mercy on Me,  a Sinner.” To “It’s not my fault, you can’t blame me, I’m a Victim!”

And as everyone knows, Victims are sacrosanct, beyond reproach and beyond challenge.

Yet, the un-locused guilt of modernity remains. It finds expression in the strangest places. (Augustine famously remarked the human heart is restless until it rests in God, and other have noted that restlessness can throw up some really weird substitutes for God.)

Were the Desert Fathers right? Is this apathy, this ennui, this case of major Blahs a manifestation of the Noonday Devil? For relief, should we not go to therapy or drugs, not to withdraw or plunge into business, but to repentance, top prayer, to persistence in the “dull and boring” routines of our spiritual lives?

Moderns tend to proclaim “mental illness” instead of “sin”, but that became stigmatizing, so they found another approach – victimization. Now, and for a few more years, until the fad collapses, a person is not sick or a sinner, they are a Victim, and are Brave for placing their particular form of insanity on display (to the applause of the legions of twisted hipsters.)

The DSM is constantly being revised, in accordance with popular prejudice and not on grounded research, with every shift in the social winds, so a reliable guide, it ain’t.

This is not to say at all real illnesses are not out there. I have too much direct, personal, and agonizing experience with friends and relatives to think otherwise. There as trauma from abused in childhood. There is trauma from events in adult life (shell shock, they called it a century back.) There is chemical imbalance causing biochemical problems in the brain. But the current epidemic of pill-popping and parading silliness has nothing to do with serious problems either. It is a passing thing, seized upon by those whose self-image is of such fragility they cannot, will not, admit to deliberate wrongdoing.

There’s the rub. Acedia is an evil, like lust or envy or pride. Of itself, it is temptation (albeit a pretty powerful one, which sneaks up on a person without warning.) As a temptation it is not a sin. But yielding to it is. And there is the dividing line.

A person who suffers from what they used to call schizophrenia, who hears voices, is not able to tell the voices to shut up and have them go away. All the will-power in the work will not make the disturbance disappear. It can respond to medication and other ancillary treatments, but it will respond . (Think of John Nash, he of A Beautiful Mind.) The devils of acedia respond to spiritual palliatives. Especially repentance. And prayer. And Scripture. (And Confession, and Mass, and… but you know that drill. The hard part is doing it.)

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He Is Risen

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Of course, yesterday, Easter Sunday, being a) a day I try to sty off the Internet, and b) a FEAST day, I am late.

Or am I?

The Octave lasts until next Sunday, and the Season is 50 days.  So.. maybe not.

Having just gone through Lent, with the Stations of the Cross prominent, I found something neat for the Easter Season.

Lent is Good, and it is 40 days.  Easter is Better, and it is 50 days.  (Think about it!)

So, for a devotional to help with the season, here is …

Stations of the Resurrection (Via Lucis)

1. Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-10)

2. The Finding of the Empty Tomb (John 20:1-10)

3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

4. Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)

5. Jesus is Known at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)

6. Jesus Appears to His Disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-43)

7. Jesus Gives the Disciples the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23)

8. Jesus Strengthens the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29)

9. Jesus Appears by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14)

10. Jesus Tell Peter to Feed His Sheep (Primacy of Peter) (John 21:15-17, 19b)

11. Jesus Commissions the Disciples on the Mountain (Matthew 28:16-20)

12. Jesus Ascends into Heaven (Acts 1:6-12a)

13. Mary and the Disciples Wait in Prayer (Acts 1:12-14)

14. The Holy Spirit Descends at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)

For more information on the Via Lucis, read this except from the Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy published by the Congregation for Doctrine and Worship in 2001:

153: A pious exercise called the Via Lucis has developed and spread to many regions in recent years. Following the model of the Via Crucis, the faithful process while meditating on the various appearances of Jesus – from his Resurrection to his Ascension – in which he showed his glory to the disciples who awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14, 26; 16, 13-15; Lk 24, 49), strengthened their faith, brought to completion his teaching on the Kingdom and more closely defined the sacramental and hierarchical structure of the Church.

Through the Via Lucis, the faithful recall the central event of the faith – the resurrection of Christ – and their discipleship in virtue of Baptism, the paschal sacrament by which they have passed from the darkness of sin to the bright radiance of the light of grace (cf. Col 1, 13; Eph 5, 8).

For centuries the Via Crucis involved the faithful in the first moment of the Easter event, namely the Passion, and helped to fix its most important aspects in their consciousness. Analogously, the Via Lucis, when celebrated in fidelity to the Gospel text, can effectively convey a living understanding to the faithful of the second moment of the Paschal event, namely the Lord’s Resurrection.

The Via Lucis is potentially an excellent pedagogy of the faith, since “per crucem ad lucem” [through the Cross (one comes) to the light]. Using the metaphor of a journey, the Via Lucis moves from the experience of suffering, which in God’s plan is part of life, to the hope of arriving at man’s true end: liberation, joy and peace which are essentially paschal values.

The Via Lucis is a potential stimulus for the restoration of a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith, in a society often characterized by a “culture of death”, despair and nihilism.

Some resources to help out are here, here, and here.

There is also this link, but it may or may not work.

 

 

 

 

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Lent is a Time…

Lent is a time for turning away from sin and toward God. This being Good Friday, it is an especially good time.

If thine eye offend thee…

Accordingly, my other blog, on which I would discourse on things social and political, has been deleted. (And my DISQUS comment-box avatars, and all of my political URLs in the ‘Favorites’ file, and my Facebook page…) It may be a drastic move, but sometimes a drastic move is the right thing to do.

For one thing, political commentary generates more heat than light, especially when your contending interlocutors cannot agree either on what constitutes a fact, or on matters of logic. (Lots of fallacies and unfounded opinions are roaming about, masked with invective and loud, very LOUD roars of outrage.)

For another, it was taking up entirely too much of my time. Politics can, and usually is, as addictive as the worst drug you can imagine. The part of your day it occupies can grow to encompass you entire waking hours.

And finally (well of the reasons I care to mention), it was beginning to cause schism and great discord within the family. Of all the stupid things to cause a rift between relatives, politics should be at the bottom of the list.

Henceforth I propose to recall my citizenship and first loyalty is in Heaven, and not in the ephemeral squalor of contemporary American politics. When passing through our local Border Patrol checkpoint and they ask, “Are you a Citizen?” my reply will be, “Well, I was born here, in Illinois. Does that count?” Nor do I have any interest in exercising my franchise. When I am told I must hold my nose and choose the “lesser of two evils”, what I am really being told is that I must choose Evil. And that has worked so well in the past, has it not?

Sorry. Et non faciunt.

As 1/300,000,000th of the population of the US, my “contribution” to the ongoing contention will not be missed.

Of course, saying Non serviam has been known to have “unintended” consequences.

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(My choices are not what will be appropriate for any other. Everybody has to do as they see fit, and not as someone else does.)

Now, I may have more wherewithal to work on THIS blog.

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Join The “Away Team”

You say you have been feeling a bit “dry” lately in your spiritual life? You say you feel Jesus is somehow “distant”, and not right with you every step of the way? And you say it may just be a “testing” to see how you are doing?

Could be.

There is another possibility.6a00d8341bffb053ef0148c7dc9b71970c-500wi

Remember how the Good Shepherd left the 90 and 9 (good, hymn-singing, faithful, churchgoing) sheep) and went off looking for the one (filthy, despicable, utterly irredeemable sinner) lost sheep?

Maybe Jesus is out looking for the one you forgot to look for?

As they say in Star Trek, perhaps he’s on an away mission.

If so, you know where to find him. If you want to go find him.

After all, that’s where The Action is…

Hmmm… I wonder if that’s why Pope Francis wears this cross?

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An Idea For The Year Of Mercy

Year of Mercy – We’ve got 11 ½ Months to  go! small year of mercy logo

So there you are, driving down the road, and up ahead at a stop light, you see a homeless/tramp/beggar at the corner with a homemade cardboard sign which has some variant of “Broke, Homeless, Hungry, Please Help.”

So, not wanting to get contaminated, you speed up and squeeze through the light barely before the traffic-cam gets your number.

And then, you start thinking about all those lessons you learned in Church, even though you stopped going long ago. Your conscience (you DO have one, you know) begins to belabor you about the head and neck, but it’s too late.

So, why not be prepared. It costs very little.  The fiver is the new dollar. So, why not have a few five dollar bills ready so you don’t have to scramble for them?

There’s more you could do. Here in the Southwest, it gets very hot, and even when it isn’t hot, it is dry. A bottle of water can be a blessing. So can a few items of food in a paper bag.

The important thing is to do what you can. If you can’t afford a fiver, a dollar will do. If you can’t afford a dollar, some change will do. If you can’t make a food bag, how about a bottle of water and a granola bar?

Every bit helps.

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A bottle of water

A small can of beans

A desert cup

A package of cheese crackers

A granola bar

A plastic spoon

A napkin

A couple of peppermint candies.

Doesn’t cost much, can go rather far.

(I have read the homeless also appreciate a pair of fresh sox. Think about it.)

 

 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

 

 

The Judgment of the Nations

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Matthew 25:31-46 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

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Ave Maria

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Thanks Be To God

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All The Fixin’s

Tomorrow, as you feast on your turkey or ham, gorge yourself on stuffing and yams, and settle back to watch the Macy parade or the football game of your choice, say a prayer for those who have to be at work so that you can luxuriate in a holiday.

No, I don’t mean those who have to be at Walmart or the other big box stores, serving your lusts for a “deal” on the pre-Black Friday Sales.

Rather:

For the soldiers and sailors who stand on the wall and keep threats at bay.

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For the police and firemen who keep us all safe.

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For the doctors and nurses who tend the ill who would rather not be in a hospital.

For the electric company workers and the other “utilities” who let you have light and warm, and provide power for the refrigerators to keep food cold and stoves to cook it hot.

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For those who work in institutions of incarceration or refuge.

For those who drive the ambulance, and the taxicab, and the busses, the trains and airplanes and all the ships at sea.

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For the staffers at the all-nite convenience store who are there so you can fill up with the gas you forgot today, and to replenish the beer or soda you drank up tonight.

convenience store   gas station

Yes, people get outraged at what the big box stores do to their workers on the holidays, when they should be able to be home with family and friends. But – whose fault is that?

For society to function, some folks have to be there 24/7.

For your convenience.

For your safety.

For your pleasure.

Pause, and remember all those who guard and those who serve, active and on standby including the priests and preachers and counselors.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.

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