Inapproachable Light

(Msgr. Charles Pope has written another gem of breathtaking beauty, The Gifts of Wonder and Awe Are More Necessary Than Ever, found here . Received in meditative mode, his piece published today is heart piercing. Received with intent to correct any egocentric, selfish ways of approaching God, it has great potential to transform our relationship with Him. I have contemplated in wonder this day, imagining what this world would become if all peoples embraced the truths proclaimed in this writing.

When I first began posting Msgr.’s work, he asked that I make it clear that it is I who approached him for permission to reprint. I gratefully acknowledge this once again. ~Beckita)

There is a remarkable interaction with God in the Book of Exodus that shows the balance we must develop in how we understand and relate to Him. Many of us get the balance wrong by turning God into a doting grandfather figure or seeing Him as an angry despot just waiting for any misstep. Trivializing or domesticating God is the more common error today, but we ought not to underestimate the number of people who struggle to find in God a loving Father.

Therefore, consider the passage from Exodus. It begins with a description of God’s loving tenderness for Israel.

In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt, on its first day, the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai. After the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai, they pitched camp.

While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain, Moses went up the mountain to God. Then the Lord called to him and said, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob; tell the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites” (Exodus 19:1-7).

Yes, they are a people dear to Him, His special possession, holy and set apart. The Lord did not just lead them out of Egypt; He carried them. Later, through Hosea, God spoke of His tender love in similar language: I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them (Hosea 11:4).

Yet, as God descends upon Mount Sinai, the Israelites do not experience a tender Father stopping to feed them; their reaction might better be described as terror.

Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the Lord came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. Trumpet blasts grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder.

When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin.” Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was (Exodus 19:15-20:18-21).

It was surely frightening for them. Yet recall that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve experienced intimacy with God. Scripture spoke of God as walking in the garden in the breezy time of the day (Genesis 3:8). How different that experience was from the one described in Exodus! Had God changed? No, we had changed. On account of sin and its debilitating effects, the evening walks with God ended. After sinning, when Adam and Eve heard God walking, they hid from Him. Although created in the image of God, they could no longer endure His presence; almost as if in mercy, God let them live at a distance. So the Lord drove out the man and stationed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden, along with a whirling sword of flame to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Ever since, we have yearned to see God’s face (e.g., Ps 27:8). Yet Scripture warns, For who can look on the face of God and live? (Ex 33:20)

Only with the coming of Christ and His reparative grace could we ever hope to see the face of God again and walk with Him. Indeed, Christ did open the way to the Father. At the moment of His death, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mat 27:51). Jesus restored access to the Father. The Book of Hebrews says, Therefore, brothers, we now have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way opened for us through the veil of His flesh (Heb 10:19-20). As the Centurion pierced the veil of Christ’s flesh with a lance, the very heart of God was revealed. Through Jesus we will one day enter into the Holy of Holies in Heaven and forever behold God’s radiant and beautiful face. St. Paul says beautifully, And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image with ever-increasing glory. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18).

In all these texts there is for us a tension that must be held, a balance that must be found. There are some who are overly scrupulous and must often be reminded that God loves them—even likes them! God wants to save us and so loved us that he sent his only Son. More common, though, are those who too easily dismiss the reverence that is due to God. They have trivialized and domesticated God, forgetting that He dwells in “inapproachable” light such that none of us, in our current state of imperfection, can endure it. Their tendency is to reduce God to a doting grandfather, diminish Jesus to a harmless hippie, and think that the Holy Spirit exists only to console and affirm us. This made-up, “designer God” just happens to agree with everything they think and do. He never challenges, rebukes, or sets expectations of beyond what they already want.

Back in the day of “that old time religion,” making up and worshiping your own god was called idolatry. In these days of wordsmithing and euphemisms we prefer to speak of the “god within” or the “god of my own understanding.” The idea that God would reveal Himself on His own terms and expect us to respect who He is—this is contrary to the notion of the modern anthropocentric “god” whom we contrive. This manufactured god is not the God of the universe but rather a personal deity who serves only us—and “serve” is just the word, for this “god” is more of a butler does things for us and offers sage advice but asks nothing much in return except that we follow some vague ethic like empathy.

I exaggerate somewhat, but only a little. Even some Catholics find the biblical God—who punishes, warns of Hell, has set high standards, and expects better of us because of His grace—to be a God they can’t accept. If the real Jesus of Scripture were to step into a Catholic pulpit today, He would unsettle many with His talk of repentance, parables of warning, and assertions that if we do not have faith in Him, we will die in our sins. “Doesn’t he know that we’re a welcoming community? We don’t upset people by talking about sin and judgment! Who does this guy think he is?”

Yes, we have lost the balance that reveres God and takes Him seriously, while gratefully acknowledging His grace, mercy, and love for us. The real God has shown us mercy; He offers us grace because we need it, lots of it, if we are to stand a chance of being able to endure His presence.

Recall that even St. John, the beloved disciple, fell on his face before the glorified Lord Jesus (Rev 1:17). The heavenly Jesus He encountered was no hippie; He was and is the Lord of Glory. Of Him, John says,

He had a loud voice like a trumpet … He was One like the Son of Man, dressed in a long robe, with a golden sash around His chest. The hair of His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like a blazing fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. He held in His right hand seven stars, and a sharp double-edged sword came from His mouth. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest …. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come—the Almighty (Rev 1:12-16).

The same passage also says,

To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood, who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen. (Rev 1:5-6).

Does your prayer and understanding of the Lord have this balance? Do you love Him and know that He loves you? Do you also revere Him and hold Him in awe? Do you rejoice in His saving love while also realizing the gratitude, worship, and praise you owe Him? Do you render to Him the obedience of faith and gratefully receive from Him the fruits of faith or do you view Him as merely a butler who serves you on your terms?

When you pray or go to Mass are you aware of the glory of being in His presence? Personal prayer can be a little less formal and impromptu, but do you ever just tremble in awe as you approach His Church and His presence? Do you ever kneel, stand, or even sit in His presence, saying, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”? Do you bring to Mass a joyful and grateful sacrifice of praise to God, who has been so good to you, or is Mass for you more an egocentric event at which you demand to be entertained? Is your parish a clubhouse, or a lighthouse? Is it a cruise ship or a battleship? Is God on the throne in your life or do you imagine him more as your butler, stepping and fetching for you?

The Lord Jesus has opened the way to the Father, but not to trivialize or domesticate Him. Rather, it is so that we can enter the narrow path that stretches on a thrilling journey toward wonder and awe, toward unspeakable joy and untold glories. Rejoice in God’s love for you, but let it be a joy that is wrapped in reverence, one that makes us fall down in awe before so great a God. Indeed, our God is an awesome God.

92 thoughts on “Inapproachable Light

  1. Well, I guess I am the first to respond to this, so batter up. I would like to ask the monsignor, if he thinks there is any special way that Jesus Christ can increase in us and we decrease as St Paul tells us was his wish. It was obvious that St. Paul could say a mass at anytime of the day or night so what was the process. Jesus himself said that he had to leave before the holy spirit could come, but never said why, only that when the spirit came he would make known all things. I think this is the mystery that is at the heart of our faith. Hoping to hear from you, but please do not expect a prompt response right away, but I will be looking for it from time to time. Thanks Art.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Arthur, Msgr. Pope does not comment on site, yet, we know the Catholic Church lays out for us an ordinary way – which is also a special way – which promotes steady, ongoing growth for allowing Christ to increase in us. It is the way of growing in holiness as described here in the CCC. Also from the CCC, we know the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” so that receiving Jesus frequently and confessing regularly provide a spiritual foundation which supports living the prayer of doing which is, particularly, critical in these times. In the words of St. Augustine as he spoke of adoring and receiving the Blessed Sacrament: “Believe what you see, see what you believe and become what you are: the Body of Christ.”

      Liked by 5 people

      1. An example of Divine Providence: This morning I arrived late to mass and hastily prayed the Stations of the Cross. I fumbled with asking God to place me in a state of grace and mumbled to offer the Plenary Indulggence to a Holy Soul in Purgatory.

        I setled in after a few stations and continued on my way. A fellow had joined after me yet sped through past me so I guess, i was spending some time in contemplation. As I neared the last few stations, I over heard condolences said to a man whose spouse passed yesterday afternoon. He was here at the mass, in prayer. Upon completion, I visited him passing on my prayers and telling him I offered the Plenary Indulgence to his wife.

        I think the good we can show our neighbor and the love of God and His sacraments are the most important actions we can do here on earth.


        Liked by 7 people

        1. Amen, Sean. Anchored in prayer and ever ready to bear God’s goodness to those around us, as you say – the prayer of doing as Charlie has so often said – is beautiful and heartening.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. Art,
      “…is any special way that Jesus Christ can increase in us and we decrease as St Paul tells us was his wish. ”
      We are told that as we “die to self” we are then filled with a new life. This is the “filling up” or “increase” we receive by grace.
      2. “Jesus himself said that he had to leave before the holy spirit could come, but never said why, only that when the spirit came he would make known all things.”
      Jesus had to return to His Father as the finality of His mission, then the Holy Spirit on Pentecost would descend on the apostles and open for them the fullness of truth needed to render an accurate account of the messages to humanity Christ gave them and to “make known all things”, which were then written and printed in the Holy Bible through the power of this same Holy Spirit.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. It is called the Baptism In The Holy Spirit; that also is the title of a book published by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services Doctrinal Commission. This book is one of the BEST books I have read. Get a copy and have many questions answered.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This piece calls to mind a very brief dream I had several years ago. A door with a gothic arch opened up before me and what was beyond looked like winter in the most brilliant sunlight. Everything was bright white. Then a voice called out, “The Most Blessed Trinity!!” and I fell down on my face in worship.
    Then I woke up. I will never forget it.

    Liked by 12 people

  3. Yes we do and yes we should. How great is His glory. I pray He helps us to live in this light and love. Thank you for this post. It helps onour journey to Him.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. This message served well as a helpful reminder that in our daily life on Earth, it is too easy to misunderstand our mission in life to be serving God and helping others as we all are here for a spiritual development that would not be possible in Heaven and the obvious presence of God. I believe the source of our wandering here, failing adequately to appreciate that God is loving, and too easily rationalizing away our transgressions is the gift of Free Will. So, why does God not routinely appear to us as infinitely powerful and distressed at our wayward behavior, or alternately beam his infinite loving that would place us into ecstatic peace? For obviously our gift in Free Will would be nulled by either fear or love or both, and we would not be positioned for spiritual growth. Thus, we need Biblical guidance, preaching from the virtuous, and even at times miracles to remind and guide us through life. This message served as a valuable reminder.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Hebrews 10:31

    The tiny child who came to us. The smiling young man who welcomed sinners, healed the sick and fed the hungry, is also the God creator of the universe. God from God. Light from light. The ever eternal fire.

    No darkness, no evil can stand before him.

    As we struggle through our trials it is often difficult to remember that they are God’s way of purifying us so that we can ultimately approach Him free from all sin, cleansed from all imperfection. Through His death and resurrection, through the gift of the Spirit burning alive in us, we will be able to stand before Him who is penetrating light.

    For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:17

    Thank you Beckita and thanks to Msgr. Pope for a most appropriate mid-Lent reflection.


    Liked by 5 people

    1. May God have mercy on all the farmers and others immediately affected; and may God have mercy on the rest of us who will be affected in the not-too-distant future.

      Liked by 6 people

  6. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 27 March
    The Gifts of Wonder and Awe Are More Necessary Than Ever

    The Catholic Position on the Electoral College



    Judge strikes down North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks

    Utah governor signs into law bill to ban abortion after 18 weeks

    85-Year-Old Attacked While Praying Outside Planned Parenthood in San Francisco

    Unplanned’: Pro-Life Trailer Hits One Million Views Before Opening Day

    Pompeo Says U.S. Will Not Aid NGOs That Support Other Groups That Perform or Promote Abortionrse
    On Peterson’s Revoked Fellowship to Cambridge Divinity School

    Ancient West Bank site draws Christians, and controversy

    Muslim PA state rep calls prayer to Jesus Christ in legislature ‘highly offensive,’ demands apology

    CNN and MSNBC ratings plummet, Fox News triumphs in wake of ‘no collusion’–Peter Barry Chowka

    The Socialist Fantasy

    New migrant caravan of 2,500 sets out through Mexico for US

    House fails to override Trump veto on border emergency


    Why We Don’t Trust Our Institutions?

    Wikipedia Editors Paid to Protect Political, Tech, and Media Figures

    The Many Unanswered Questions About the Trump Investigation

    Exclusive — Rand Paul: ‘Absolutely’ James Clapper, John Brennan, Susan Rice, Others Should Testify on Spygate Role, Be Subpoenaed if Necessary

    Exclusive — Rep. Dan Crenshaw: Adam Schiff Lied, ‘Knowingly Used his Position’ as Intel Chair to ‘Deceive the American People’

    Peter Schweizer: ‘Legions More Evidence’ Against ‘Clinton World,’ but Only Trump ‘Gets Investigated’


    I Feel Trump’s Pain. I Was the Target of a Similar Leftist Witch Hunt

    In Smollett Case, Justice Sacrificed on the Altar of Politics and Race [& LGBTQ Sensitivities]

    Crony State: Obamas’ Chicago Fixer Tina Tchen

    Southern Poverty declares war on Trump, with Michelle Obama aide’s help


    China Building Long-Range Cruise Missile Launched From Ship Container

    Trump orders historic plan to thwart EMP, warns attack would be ‘debilitating’

    EGYPT: Arab League summit kicks off, condemning Trump’s recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli territory

    Founder and staff of Vatican women’s magazine step down, citing pressure over nun abuse stories
    Pentagon to move forward on limits for transgender troops as final legal hurdle falls
    Democrats claim victory even after Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal loses big in Senate
    Britain stands at the brink of chaos–WaPo Editorial


    Liked by 6 people

  7. We offered the sung Rosary (Sorrowful Mysteries) and Ave Maria during veneration of the heart of St. John Vianney, Cure d’Ars at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Rapid.

    I had just a few moments before Mass, but I was able to visit with him for a few minutes. Kneeling at the communion rail, my heart was just a foot away from his. In addition to a personal request, I fervently asked for his intercession on behalf of all the souls who are in the Sign of Hope community. (I do my best to rip through the names I can remember: “Charlie, Beckita, Fr. Wang, Steve, Doug, Jen, Mick, Sean, Joe, Little One, AudieMarie, Judith, Diane, Sheralyn, Noreen, Linda, Ed, Al, J.I.M., CD, MP, ….you know who they all are, Lord.”)

    The veneration was concluded by Bishop Robert Gruss at the end of Sunday evening Mass where 10 priests and the Knights of Columbus assisted.

    I learned also that Bishop Gruss has instructed the ENTIRE diocese of Rapid City (all 70+ churches west of the Missouri River in South Dakota) to pray the St Michael the Archangel Prayer after the final blessing…which is really awesome and much-needed.

    I love you guys and gals.

    St. John Vianney, pray for us.
    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
    Mary, Mother of Sorrows, pray for us.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Absolutely beautiful, Patrick! You know we love you too. Your fervor in expression reminds me of the time I spent, so close to the transverberated heart of St. Theresa of Avila, venerating her. There is a powerful sense of deep connection in such as this, isn’t there? Thank you so much for remembering us in your prayers of intercession. Thanks, too, for the image of SJV’s holy heart. I just touched the computer screen to venerate him, for God knows our hearts and understands our longing.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. Thank you, Patrick. That is so thoughtful to include all of us in your time and prayers while venerating St. Vianney’s heart! God bless you.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Thanks, Sheralyn.
        Now I am in need of prayers….I got the flu yesterday afternoon, probably from an influenza A(+) patient I saw on Monday. 100.8, HA, body aches, harsh cough, runny nose. Uffda! 🤒 The flu season is still going on….so wash your hands, everybody. 👐 And of course this is a virus, so no antibiotics, right! Just treat the symptoms: alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen as needed, push fluids, and rest.🤧

        Yes, I did get the vaccine, which is good else this would be even worse.

        Thank you for the prayers. And I’ll be sure to offer this one up!

        Did I mention: Uffda? 😷

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Ick, Patrick! I will keep you in my prayers. Seems like this year’s flu has been worse than in years past, or maybe it’s just me.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. My preceptors all said I can expect to get sick for the first few years as a healthcare provider. This is the 3rd “bug” I’ve gotten in the past 8 months, and this one was a whopper. I’ve been getting sicker than I’ve ever been since childhood with exposures to Influenza A and B, RSV, strep, and who knows what else. Thanks for the prayers, Micki!

            Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks, Sheralyn. Last night was pretty miserable. I was surprised how quickly this bug descended into a cough. I feel like I did 200 ab crunches I’m so sore. My fever is slowly coming down, it’s 100 now, but I’m sure this cough will hang on a while. Hope you get better quickly!

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Be careful, please Patrick. That’s how suddenly the virus that I had descended right after Father’s birthday party last October. By the time I went to an urgent care facility on the 16th day, expecting to simply nab an antibiotic, it was confirmed via x-ray that I had a serious enough pneumonia – first ever for me – so that the doc ordered a follow-up x-ray after the ABs and then a CT scan. Take good care. Prayers for good health for you, for Sheralyn and all our TNRSers and families.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’ll be super careful, B. Thank you. The flu can be tenacious. Hope to clear 75% of symptoms by Sunday. Got a healthy but painfully harsh cough that’s making my throat raw. Shot my dental guard across the room last night! And good reminder about pneumonia (PNA). If an upper respiratory infection (or head cold) lasts over 7-10+ days or comes back without completely resolving, see. your. doc.

                Oh, boy. I’m so glad you got better from that PNA, Beckita.
                😓 ❤️ 🤒 ❤️ 🤧 ❤️ 😷 ❤️ 🙂❤️ 😀!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Oh man. Good ole salt water works so well for me when that harsh cough ramps up, shreds throat tissue and provokes gut muscle aches. (Grab and hug a pillow when you cough.) Sounds like a doozie, Patrick. May the healing continue.

                  Liked by 2 people

                2. Dear Patrick Daniel,
                  God bless you. praying for your speedy recovery. Getting thru the flu myself these past few weeks. Went thru some terrible ‘shake and bake’ moments. Beckita is right, guard against pneumonia. If you can find it, try UMCKA Cold Care by Nature’s Way. It is a homeopathic product that is to shorten duration and reduce severity of upper respiratory symptoms. I found it at health food store but could probably find it on-line. Please do not rush getting back to work. Rest, rest, rest. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate [and I wanted canned peaches!]

                  Knocked out MY lenten ‘plans’. Missed Mass most days and those few I attended became anything but worship. Msgr Pope’s article drove home just how ‘off’ I am before our Mighty, Majestic God. Here I thought I was doing some great thing for God, but, no, He made it clear He was [is] carrying me.
                  Thanks for the prayers. When I couldn’t pray, I asked God to take my misery as an offering for the souls in Purgatory and asked the souls to pray for me.

                  God bless all here.

                  Liked by 3 people

    3. Patrick Daniel, thank you for your prayers for so many people here, including for me. Thank you also for your many wonderful contributions to our community. We’re all glad you’re here with us. 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

    4. That’s beautiful, Patrick. The closest I have come to a similar experience was venerating St. Pio’s prayer cushion. It was at Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego some years ago. I knelt on the kneeler and touched the little cushion with my hands and felt something so awesome and powerful. It certainly deepened my devotion to my friend, Padre Pio. I often tell the Lord I couldn’t keep on without Him and all our friends in Heaven that intercede for us. How blessed we are!

      Liked by 6 people

  8. “Ancient of Days”

    Has anybody else met and listened to our Father when He expresses Himself to us as Ancient of Days?

    Its the same Person as discussed in the essay and the depth of experience is as profound as unapproachable light, yet with a very different quality.

    I did for the first time several weeks ago. It puts the nihilists in perspective and much of literature too. These are souls who sense the pointlessness of the cycles of nature despite its drama and intensity and do so without the loving assurance of Ancient of Days.

    New eyes.

    He makes the Ents look hasty!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In the Book of Daniel (7:9-10 & 13-14), the Ancient of Days is surely described with His power, strength and might:
      “As I looked,

      “thrones were set in place,
      and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
      His clothing was as white as snow;
      the hair of his head was white like wool.
      His throne was flaming with fire,
      and its wheels were all ablaze.

      A river of fire was flowing,
      coming out from before him.
      Thousands upon thousands attended him;
      ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
      The court was seated,
      and the books were opened…

      “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The sense of it all was with the emphasis on ‘Ancient’.

        The first time I ever sat by the Senator, a very old tree in Florida, I just sat. The experience of being in the presence of a living thing that old rendered me silent.

        You can see its burnt husk here:

        Well, the sense of Ancient of Ages was bigger than that. He has been there through many 3500 year spans. He was already ancient when that tree was a sapling.

        And He loves us. It is that which makes the enormity of it all and our place in that enormity meaningful.

        Liked by 6 people

    1. We saw Unplanned as a family tonight. It was so well made, well acted, compelling, authentic and heart wrenching. The theater was packed!!!…in Long Beach, CALIFORNIA!!! Praise God!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for another solid piece from Msgr. Pope that really hits its mark. Couldn’t agree more on the need for balance –– in all things. Balance… amen and amen! Of particular note is the contrasting attitudes of being overly scrupulous or dismissive. I’d go further to say this not only applies to how we approach God, but also things of God.

    Take prophecy, for example. I know decent, but overly scrupulous folks, who take a fancy to certain of such things. Precisely because it “rings true” to them they can’t fathom detaching from it to any degree for fear of offending God. Then there’s the overly dismissive on the other side waiting for God to do everything as they see fit. We’ve discussed these problematic postures here on many an occasion.

    I think of an arrow (got arrows on the mind because I found another Apache arrowhead on the Tonto Verde Ridge on Sunday). An arrow whizzes by –– a blur –– and yet how many try to fixate on the details of the arrow. It’s going somewhere… on a trajectory (the measure of which won’t be apparent until it hits its mark). Ah, it eventually hits a tapoemrget of some sort.

    Hopefully the dismissive are paying attention, lest they’re the intended target with an arrow between the shoulder blades. Authentic prophets aren’t the only ones shooting arrows out there.

    Balance. Focus. Yea, take the measure of things.

    Among other things, this Lent has my spirit exploring its measure. Without going into detail, let’s just say it’s all CJ made the exercise out to be…. said with more of a pained grimace than the usual grin. But what little bit the grin amounts to bespeaks the peace within.

    Thanks for the prayers, Patrick. It is a tough job to remember all the monikers here, so lumping it all together is just as well. I tend to assign wild horses to people I know. Helps me to remember. When I encounter the big herds, I just pray for all. Mostly I see the smaller bands, pairs and the occasional stray. Lately I’ve been seeing the mares and their young. Some strays I see repeatedly, so I take it that certain folks need a great deal of prayer. If I’m wrong, where’s the harm in it?

    I haven’t assigned a mustang to CJ, because I just can’t shake the image of the dog biting down hard on the stick and not letting go. However rigorous the shaking. Doug just wants to be a sheep in the little red wagon.

    I had asked Jesus to speak to me of The Father this morning in the desert. It was quiet. What I saw was my wee dog chasing a lizard. Possibly a distraction, but it had me contemplating dogs.

    I’ve also had wolves on the mind.

    There were no doubt may shepherds, sheep herds and even wolves around in Jesus time here… ready made for parables and teaching lessons. I’ve only seen one wolf in the wild. Remarkably, it was a white wolf. I spotted him decades ago in the wilds of the Superstition Mountains to the Southeast.

    Also had a chance to watch Liam Neeson in “The Gray.” Quite the metaphor I think, but from the standpoint of nature as it stands today, I’d say wolves sometimes get a bad rap. Consider this image that a buddy shared with me today (a buddy who happens to have a dog that is 3/4 wolf):

    Which wolf is the Alpha? Those 3 at the head of the column (lower left) are no doubt the oldest and infirm. The 5 behind them are among the strongest in the pack, ready to defend and fight at the slightest whiff of trouble. That batch in the center are the bulk of the pack, relatively safe and well protected. Another small group of 5 trail them, and are also among the strongest in the pack. And that seeming straggler at the rear of the column? That’s the Alpha.

    Just an example for keeping alert to any teaching moment that comes from God. It can be tough, because we’ve got so much individual history of wanting things the way we want them, and clinging to our understanding. And when I see a theme –– especially an unusual or even perplexing theme –– coming at me repeatedly, that’s cause for me to take note.

    BTW, “Tonto Verde” roughly translates to “crazy green.”

    Although the ridge is typically a baking dust bowl, here’s how it looked on Sunday:

    On a final note, I’d like to leave you with this poem from the aforementioned move, “The Grey.”

    Once more into the fray.
    Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
    Live and die on this day.
    Live and die on this day.

    (Written by Joe Carnahan, Director, The Grey)

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Ah, but it could be a word MP, after all, words come into being by usage. Bugs Bunny introduced the phrase “What a maroon” to me as a child and I just happened to think about it the other night after my buddy used the phrase.
        Now to be marooned is to be abandoned, lost or shipwrecked-typically on an island, either by accident or on purpose, so I guess a “maroon” is the person who is lost or abandoned. Bugs Bunny’s slight suggests that such a person is mentally marooned or a dimwit but this is not found in the dictionary for this words meanings/usage. Tada! New word meaning created by a cartoon rabbit. Now if a cartoon rabbit can create a long lasting new word phrase, surely you can too MP.
        Let’s see…
        tapoemrget 1

        adjective: tagoemrget
        of a brownish-chestnut color.
        “ornate tagoemrget and gold wallpaper”
        plural noun: tagoemrgetty.
        “the horse is available in either white or tagoemrgetty”

        tagoemrget 2
        3rd person: tagoemrgeter present:tagoemrget;
        past tense: tagoemrgeted; past participle: tagoemrgeted; gerund or present participle: tagoemrgetting.
        “a novel schoolboy tagoemrgetting about in a desert to climb them they’re hills”.
        a small dog that makes a loud bark, used mainly as a signal or warning or to chase lizards.
        Micheal Patrick of Yore

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    1. The video shows the “Alpha” predator of the land and how, by thier very nature as an apex predator, manipulate thier environment in more ways than we have ever known. Of course, this comes about through the genius of God who created a truly balanced ecosystem when we humans leave it to do His will as it was truly created to do.

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      1. Outstanding documentary and footage, Phillip. Marvelous! Loved it and will share with the Padre. He, too, greatly loves critters. It’s also exciting to view this short film for these scenes are but a relatively short drive away from Missoula and the fierce debate about if, when and how to reintroduce the wolves has been an ongoing discussion for many years now. This film also brings laughter at memories of a Chinese priest who was brought to America to study in New York. Oh how he struggled with written English. So, after we met, we made a deal with his professors that I would honor the ideas Fr. Su was conveying while heavily editing his papers for ease in reading. In celebration of Fr. Joe’s academic successes, he came to visit Fr. Wang and me and as we drove the many miles to weekend substitution ministry, Fr. Joe and Beckita delighted in howling for the wolves to come out! When Fr. Joe calls from China – this dignified, holy and brilliant spiritual director of more than 150 seminarians – we break into reminiscing wolf howling mode while Fr. Wang softly laughs.

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      2. Yes, you have it exactly, PF, because we share common interests and a certain docility. Ah, we all convalesce on milk and soft bread, but when eating meat and potatoes, we ought to share meat and potatoes.

        Tapoemrget. The happenstance of editing the word poem while the misplaced cursor inserts it into the word “target.”

        “Thoughts are the bow, arrows are the words, deeds are the trajectory, the target is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
        — MP

        Riding upriver this weekend with my buddy and his 3/4 wolf mutt this weekend, B, and hope to run into Xīwàng. Will remember and pray for Fr. Wang, and all, regardless.

        Liked by 4 people

  10. Today at adoration I randomly opened up bible to the geneology of Jesus Luke chpt 3…. simply amazing…all the way back to Adam…then it finished with son of God… hey, where is Charlie??? Charlie, I’m praying for you if you need prayers🤗

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        1. And we all love your prayers, Linda! Thank you so much. That said, ALL IN for me means ALL IN about praying for Charlie, day by day. My go to aspiration for him throughout the day is “Passion of Christ, strengthen Charlie.” This simple prayer, a natural now because, in joy, pondering about our role of TNRS-ASOH in these times as well as checking in to moderate or do some rereading of old posts is very much a pattern of my days.

          May God bless and strengthen us all and, please, consider joining in solidarity with this brief yet powerful prayer: Passion of Christ, strengthen Charlie.

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Oh my dearest dearest Beckita…thank you for telling me about that beautiful prayer. You are so good to me, and I smile when I think of you!!! All in, Beckita!!! Passion of Christ, strengthen Charlie!!! Amen🤗

            Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you Patrick Daniel for praying for us all.I have had a very difficult week……
    On one hand the birth of a grand daughter……praise God…..and a great loss also I .my life at the same time….praise God!
    A bunch of smaller things too….adding up to…please help me God!!

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  12. Beckita, I am not sure where to post this so will do it here.

    I have a Christian friend with a brother-in-law who is a Muslim. Well, he was one, converted to Christianity and then back again. Can you point me in the direction of some material that delineates the differences between Christianity and Muslim? I remember Charlie listing some. I need a few resources to be able to show my friend that it is not just one person stating the facts. You can imagine my friend is torn between what is the mainstream media portrayal of it and Charlies’s list.
    I doubt many people have sources they can turn to on this subject.

    Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you for the great links. I looked under the about tab before posting but didn’t find it. Thank you for the help.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. These two pieces together cover Islam very well, Charlie’s covers the important peace part of the Koran that tells how Muslims are supposed to treat other Muslims and the violent part that tells how Muslims are to treat non-believers while Fr. Pacwa’s covers the history, meaning and differences between Sunni and Wahsahbi Muslims and why this is important to Christians.

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    1. Bob, if you want to resubmit the link, I’ll edit this comment to include it. It seems you meant to add a video link while this link takes us to the news of the possibility of Archbishop Wilton Gregory being appointed to the Washington DC Archdiocese.


  13. This recent talk from Archbishop Chaput on hope in these times::
    Beckita, as for the link above I can’t find it again but know it was a good one. The speaker was making the point that God uses demons to attack us where we are not in God’s will, like a cop has authority to “oppress or to arrest us when we are out of the bounds of the law. So we should make sure we are remaining in God’s good graces.

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    1. What an excellent article! A definite must read and so encouraging. Thank you, Bob for posting that link. I love Archbishop Chaput. He was my bishop when I lived in Belle Fourche, SD. (A couple of life times, ago.)

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