Why Did Jesus Often Seem Abrupt With Mary?

Behold Your Son

By Charlie Johnston

Just about two months ago a reader from New Jersey named Jerry posed an excellent question to me. Read it yourself:

“I am struggling with an issue that has bothered me for a long time. I can’t seem to get an answer from clergy that I know. Here goes: Why does Jesus in scripture seem disrespectable to his Mother? As a boy disappearing and when found in the Temple He does not even apologize. At the Marriage feast at Cana, He acts like Mary is bothering Him about the wine situation. In, at least one other point, He is told that his Mother and brothers are waiting to see Him and He kind of blows it off! Also, I can’t seem to find any instances of Jesus expressing His love for his Mother. Sorry to bother you with this but I really need a satisfactory answer to this.”

Back when I was teaching RCIA, I had several tricks I used to encourage people to ask honest questions, to explore what really troubled their hearts. If you can’t get to the heart of such things, you can’t really dispel the fears and doubts that sometime plague us all. Unfortunately, people often self-censor in religious groups for fear of causing offense. Others pretend that things are not as they plainly seem to be in order to seem pious. I covered this phenomenon in my meditation on the Book of Job. Job’s friends were conventionally and aggressively pious, but their position required that they pretend to believe nonsensical things – and God later told them that, “You have not spoken rightly of me as has my servant, Job.” The best doctor in the world cannot effectively provide aid if the patient hides his wound. So it is with the wounds of our heart and faith.

I loved the sincere candor of this question – and it is something I have pondered, myself. I am certainly not the final word on this, so I only offer you the thoughts I have formed over the years.

When the adult Jesus speaks to His Mother, He begins by calling her, “Woman.” It is jarring to modern sensibilities and seems to lack much in the way of affection.

I started to read the Bible for myself by the time I was in second grade (I took to reading like a duck takes to water – and was tested to be at a high school level of comprehension in that same grade.) When I was a little kid, the Father was consoling to me, but the Biblical Jesus kind of scared me. Forget what people say: the Jesus of the Bible frequently went on hard, condemnatory fusillades. Pit of vipers…generation of vipers…you hypocrites…let the dead bury the dead (to a grieving adult child)…you must hate your parents. Jesus was a hard Man, in many ways. To make the Jesus of the Bible into the vague, gauzy hippie of pop culture is to be utterly ignorant of the Bible, itself.

There were a lot of hard things that the adults around me just did not speak of at all – probably precisely because they were hard. Jesus said, at different times, that we must love our enemies AND that we must hate our parents, spouse, siblings and children. How did that make any sense to those who actually read the text? So, would it be better for our families to make themselves our enemies so we could then love them? Tough stuff for a little kid. As I got a little older I started to learn more about things like rhetorical hyperbole. I also figured out that, in archaic usage, hate did not mean the malicious enmity it signifies in modern language. It could be as harmless as to prefer the company of one person over another. Thus, if an official had two counselors and regularly preferred the counsel of one over the other, he could be said to hate the counsel of the second best. I understood, but it was still unsettling.

I also noticed that Jesus was always gentle with the broken, the hopeless and the candid, even if they were broken by their own propensity to sin. He reserved His vituperation for the self-righteous and the aggressively hypocritical who sought to dominate and degrade those around them. Over time, this came to console me a lot. Jesus was a hard Man AND a gentle Man – hard on pretentious triumphalism and the protector of those who struggled. It is strange to me that many people who think themselves the most pious of all adopt the very behaviors that Jesus most adamantly condemned. Frankly, it often makes me wonder how many people have read the Bible in any detail at all.

Of course, almost everyone knows that, in the ancient world, women were usually treated as second-class citizens, sometimes as little more than servants. But the Jews were the most respectful of women, in general, even elevating some to Judges and warriors. I read some ancient literature and found the title, “Woman,” was usually used in a respectful way in formal situations. But I also found a few occasions where it was used peremptorily – usually to older servants. Whether respectful or not, it is certainly jarring to my ears – and is certainly not a term of intimacy or endearment. It was a formal mode of address. I took a different tack and looked at the behavior of Jesus following such encounters – and that painted a very different picture than the formal words.

Before continuing, I must tell you I have NEVER subscribed to the notion that the great saints were suddenly told all that God intended for them and then just serenely followed the schematic. I think that to be an absurdly childish notion, contrary to the way we know God acts through the Bible. Revelation does not pop up fully formed like some divine jack-in-the-box. It is always a process, one which unfolds over time and requires us to keep focused on what God intends as we stumble forward. Divine revelation is a mix of metaphorical and literal material – and sometimes the literal seems metaphorical and the metaphorical, literal. The closest any of the Major Prophets of the Old Testament got to seeing and reporting with clarity was Isaiah. Even so, it was not until hundreds of years later that it became obvious how clearly he had seen.

Thus, I am not of any school that believes Mary knew exactly what was to happen from the start. She had to struggle each step of the way, as well. Since she was focused on God (full of grace, you might say), she pondered each event in her heart.

When told by the angel, Gabriel, that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah, I do NOT think she understood that to mean she would be Mother of the Second Person of the Trinity; God, Himself. The Jews all expected the Messiah to be a great temporal leader at that time, thus, I suspect Mary initially thought her son would be the great King and leader foretold. The events of the Nativity and the Presentation certainly suggested that God was doing something new here, much bigger than anyone anticipated, and that the reality would confound Jewish expectations in many ways – and Mary contemplated this in her heart. And so, revelation started unfolding for her at a much deeper level.

After the Temple, Jesus’ response to His parents’ fears does seem insensitive. He only says, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) I think this is a pivotal moment in the ongoing unfolding of revelation to Mary. Jesus knew and understood His Mother’s personality. Here He boldly claims divine filiation to God, Himself. What He was doing was revealing a critical piece of information about who He is for His Mother’s contemplation. This coming of the Messiah was not going to be what anybody then in Israel expected. The tender affection in which He held both Mary and Joseph is revealed in the action that immediately follows: “…he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51)

Note that it does not say Jesus pretended obedience to them, but that He WAS obedient to them. God was obedient to man for a time. I often cite this bit of the Gospel to illustrate that, in Christianity, obedience is not a matter of the lesser submitting to the greater, but rather a means of channeling grace in a divinely-appointed order of things. In this case, the primacy of the family in human affairs is confirmed. Even more, Jesus is giving to His Mother illumination of a reality that is hidden from all Israel – and all the world – at that time. To me, it is the first great sign of how deeply He reveres and trusts His Mother.

Moving to the marriage feast at Cana (John 2:1-12), Jesus’ response to Mary’s observation that the hosts had run out of wine initially seems so brusquely formal that it could be seen as a rebuke. Yet Mary’s reaction – and what Jesus did then starkly reveal the nature of their relationship. Mary completely ignores any implied rebuke in her Son’s retort, but immediately tells the servants to “do whatever he tells you.” And then Jesus confects the wine. Have you ever really pondered this deeply? To put it in modern terms, after Jesus gives a sharp answer, Mary says the equivalent of “Yeah, yeah, yeah, kid” then turns to the task at hand with complete confidence He will do as she asked. I always thought of it as a great paradox – that when Jesus said His hour had not yet come and His Mother said, get to it, His hour had come, indeed. She adored her Son, but fully lived her maternal duty, as well.

I asked Nicholas Healy, the founding president of Ave Maria University and now working to firmly establish Newman College in Ireland, for his take as I prepared this piece. He offered an intriguing take on Cana that has enriched my thoughts on it. He said, “At Cana, what seems to be a rebuke could well be the message: ‘Mother, if you want me to perform a miracle it will start the clock running on my mission.’ Mary’s direct instructions to the servants “Do whatever He tells you” AND the immediate miraculous instructions given by Jesus shows Mary’s willingness to start the clock and Jesus’ acceptance of the consequence for her sake.”

It feels to me that Jesus trusted Mary as a real collaborator in His mission – and His affection is evidenced by His obedience and responsiveness to her by His actions.

Probably the most abrupt of all is the story told in Matthew 12:46-50. This is the passage where Jesus is told that His Mother and brethren were outside asking to speak to Him. And Jesus replied that His Mother and His brethren were whoever did His will – and did not go out to His family.

If Mary knew everything whole and entire from the start, this passage is incomprehensible to me. If, on the other hand, the intent of the revelation was unfolding for her, it completely makes sense. She was Jesus’ Mother. He had become the center of a great deal of controversy, with many people, including some in high authority, attacking Him with great vitriol. What Mother is not shaken by such things? Everyone who has ever been in a dangerous profession, such as policeman or soldier – or even in the heart of frequent controversy is familiar with this. The Mom is concerned that people are being mean to her child – or that her little guy is in danger. The son, focused on his mission and duty, loves his Mother, but cannot be distracted from that duty because of it. Jesus, in this passage, does not narrow His concept of family, but expands it while staying focused on His duty.

An event that my correspondent didn’t mention, but has been critical for me, is the passage from John 19:26-27. It is here that the Lord entrusts His disciple, John, to Mary’s care and the care of Mary to the disciple, John. This is universally considered among theologians to be Jesus entrusting the entire Church to His Mother.

When I was a catechumen, I was not convinced of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Oh, I accepted it, for I had come to believe what the Church teaches definitively. But I was not persuaded by the logic. I knew that, in archaic usage, cousins were routinely called brothers and sisters. But it seemed so frequently stated that James was the brother of the Lord that I did not see any compelling reason that this was not literally true. And then I saw this passage with fresh eyes. Ancient Israel was an honor culture. If the oldest son died, the care of a widowed Mother passed, as a matter of sacred duty, to the second oldest son. To even suggest otherwise was an unforgiveable insult and, even, sacrilege. With the exception of those things connected to His mission, where He challenged many Jewish practices and attitudes of His time, Jesus was a faithfully observant Jew on all other things. If James had been a literal brother, to entrust Mary to John would not have happened in that culture. This was important to me because it was my last tickle of doubt – and was swept away.

I agree with my New Jersey correspondent. The recorded conversations between Jesus and Mary are jarring and seem to show little affection. But their actions towards each other in these same passages reveal a very deep and tender intimacy – and the trust between them.

I don’t know whether this will resolve the concerns for anyone but me, but it is what I honestly think. I’d love to hear your observations, too.


Just getting back from my trip in late November and going into a very busy Advent season, I did not get my Christmas cards out. That does not mean I have forgotten them. Rather, my friends will be getting Christmas cards in Ordinary Time. I have resolved to get them done before Lent. Ah well, next year in Jeru

392 thoughts on “Why Did Jesus Often Seem Abrupt With Mary?

  1. My Pastor has a lovely reflection on Missing Jesus in the Temple and the Wedding at Cana. He states after meeting Jesus in the Temple, like any good Jewish Mother, she grounded Him until he was thirty.

    At the Wedding, Mary states do whatever he tells you, and walks away… thoroughly trusting in Jesus.

    Liked by 16 people

    1. It was a standing joke in Youth Ministry. You want your kids to go to church? They read the story. Jesus went church when he was 12 (classic age for knowing it all and being ready for life) ans was grounded for 18 years! No way your kids want that!

      And to follow it: Jesus lived at home – probably in the basement! At the wedding feast (talking party kid still) He says his time in not yet. Mary thinks of the basement, gives Him the LOOK, and THEN tell the waiters. Uh oh, Jesus knows when he has been called to the carpet…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. These Jewish jokes are so old that Joseph was probably telling them to Jesus;

      How do we know Jesus was Jewish?
      He lived at home until he was 30. He went into his father’s business. And his mother thought he was G-d.

      A young Jewish boy, maybe fifth grade, comes home from school one day and proclaims that he’s landed a part in an upcoming school play. His mother asks her boy, “What part will you play?” The boy says, “I got the part of the Jewish husband.”
      The mother replies, “Nonsense, you go back to school and tell them you want a SPEAKING part!”

      Sometime in the not-so-distant future, Americans elect the first Jewish President of the United States. The President-elect calls his mom: “I’ve won the U.S. election!”
      “I saw. At least you’re finally putting that law degree to good use.”
      “You’ve got to come to my Inauguration! It’s January 20th.”
      “I don’t know, what would I wear?”
      “Don’t worry, I’ll send a dressmaker.”
      “But I only eat kosher food.”
      “I’m the Leader of the Free World, Mom, I can get you kosher food.”
      “But how will I get there? They took my license, after that third accident.”
      “I’ll send Air Force One, you could be in D.C. by tonight.”
      “Okay, okay. If it makes you happy.”
      Inauguration Day arrives and Mother is seated between the Supreme Court Justices and members of the Cabinet. She nudges the woman to her right.
      “You see that boy up there? The one with his hand on the Bible? Well, his brother is gonna be a doctor!”

      Jokes courtesy of the following site;

      View at Medium.com

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlie, I must congratulate you for this post that delves into the scholarship required for understanding the meaning of scripture. In my own small way, I am a scholar of language, my dissertation having been on vagueness in communication, its cases and forms of expression; there is even now commercially distributed a computerized dictionary of terms indicating vagueness (360 terms sorted into ten categories, such as Bluffing and Recovery, Approximation, Admission of Error, Possibilities…). My contention is that reading scripture is complicated, because of the changes in both connotative and denotative meanings, translation errors, and extensive use of metaphors whose meaning may have changed from the time spoken in antiquity. This is said not to discourage self-study, but to encourage careful study, as you illustrated.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Hey, Jack, now that we’re here together, I would like you to know that I bought your Journal book for $9.90 back in November but never received the book. I sent an email to Quantum Dream a while ago, but I never heard anything back from them. I still don’t have the book.

      Can you give me any guidance as to how to get some customer service help from them to get the book? I realize you may not know, but “you’re my only hope, Obi-wan Ken-Hiller.” 😀

      Please don’t spend a lot of time on this, but if you’ve, say, got a phone number for QD, that might help me pursue my elusive quarry.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Steve, Please send your email address to me at mine (jh7138@gmail.com) and I will take the problem to the editor. Did you get it by ordering directly from Amazon?

        Subsequent to the paperback journal publication, I updated it a bit and posted it as an ebook on Amazon pricing it as a low-end Macburger ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081T7D7LQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Jack+Hiller&qid=1574353884&s=books&sr=1-1 )

        A few weeks ago, Windows showed there was a major update; when I attempting to install it crashed my computer so bad, I had to get a new copy of Windows 10, and got a new hard drive, just in case (had an original by then ten years old), so my own copy is corrupted.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Jack, thank you so much for giving me the link to the Amazon copy. I’ve purchased that one and consider the case closed. Putting everyone through a whole bunch of back and forth isn’t worth $4.95. However, if you talk to the editor, you might want to let him know my story so he can check up on Quantum Dream’s service quality. Besides, I’m a rich man – I was able to pay most of my bills this month! 😀

          I so sympathize with you on losing your OS and disk. What a mess that can be. Hasn’t happened to me for a long time, but of course, when I buy a new computer, the process is similar and takes a lot of time and effort. I hope and pray that you had a backup of all your files stored away somewhere, dude.

          Liked by 6 people

    2. I think another good example is the “Our Father.” where Jesus says, “lead us not into temptation” as Pope Francis fears that it implies God may lead us into temptation. I think the true sense is asking God the Father to lead us in any direction other then toward temptation. Perhaps a better and more truthful rendering would be, “lead us away from temptation.” followed by “and deliver us from all evil.” as I was given in an inspiration in those words. “Away” still carries a negative connotation but a more appropriate and less confusing one.
      I hope this is helpful. May God continue to bless and guide all here. jas

      Liked by 7 people

        1. In English, there is an interpretation that in praying we “not” be led into temptation that there is the possibility He could lead us into temptation. I don’t know about Italian or other languages. I had noted that interpretation myself years ago but never gave it a possibility nor was it a concern to me.
          May God continue to protect and guide and bless all here, jas

          Liked by 1 person

    3. My contention is that reading scripture is complicated, ..

      ““Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.””

      C. S. Lewis.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes, and it is also the case that our ordinary “reality” is not even real according to the thousands of NDE reports that I have studied. For example, our reality, according to the theory of quantum mechanics, includes a predicted phenomenon termed quantum entanglement, what Einstein derided as “spooky action at a distance,” in which by observing one member of a particle system, each of which has only probabilities of existence, by being poked by the observation it becomes real, and also instantaneously signals the other members of its system about what it has become, so that they too become real in a complementary way–regardless of the distance separating the individual members. The individual members could be 14 Billion light years apart, but, no matter, their transformation from possibilities to a definite reality is instantaneous, thus apparently violating the principle of Special Relativity that the speed of communication is bounded by light speed, so that instantaneous communication ought to be ruled out. However, numerous experiments now support this prediction from quantum entanglement of instantaneous signaling across any distance, however great.

          Perhaps even more pertinent is the specific characterization of perception during the Out of Body Experience (OBE). Without exception, those having the OBE state that their perception was immensely better than when they were in their bodies, that life on Earth was only a visit from their eternal home that they realized during their OBE . Normal perception on Earth in their bodies is by comparison murky, with perception during the OBE as what’s real.

          My little book summarizes the OBE perceptual characteristics (13 are listed) , and provides a theory for how our material world integrates with the world experienced during the OBE. In this theory, our consciousness or soul is hypothesized normally to function in a universal field of consciousness (this is the domain of Heaven) as the foundation for reality, with Earth life by comparison unreal.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Jack. I must have had an “Out of Body Experience” but I just can’t remember. It must be so because my friends keep telling me all the time that I’m “Out of My Mind.” 😉

            Anyways “Happy New Year” to all…

            Liked by 7 people

            1. Doug, While I have been able to relate the strange perceptual features of the OBE to principles from Relativity Theory and quantum mechanics, the deeper mystery is why there is anything at all. If you take the atheist position that there is no God, then you either have to accept that the world always existed (which obviously does not make any common sense), or instead that the world, as pure nothingness, all of a sudden )or even slowly, matters not) formed a huge concentration of energy/matter and exploded in the Big Bang, which also defies common sense that nothing became something all by itself.

              Myself, I prefer an explanation of God as the uncreated Creator (well supported by the OBE reports), but that explanation also faces the issue of God having always existed or instead emerging from nothingness. My analysis concluded that, from a mortal perspective, not only have we been unable scientifically to answer the issue of creation, but we can never truly solve this mystery.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. I always felt “I Am” was a fitting name for God.  It seems to encompass eternity along with past, present and future.  The deeper I ponder things like this, the more awe inspired I become and marvel at all its beauty.  I then circle back to how much he loves me (us) through all this.  I am full of gratitude.  May God bring you ever more profound blessings this year Jack!—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

                Liked by 3 people

              2. The “uncreated creator.” That is actually an expression in Byzatine theology that can be traced back to the Monophysite (Miaphysite) and Nestorian controversies of the 5th century. I recently read it both in in a 14th century sermon of St. Gregory Palamas and in the apocryphal Armenian Infancy Gospel of the 6th century.

                I love your discussion, here Jack. I do not often think of these questions anymore, because I have a personal relationship with the Father, Sion and Holy Spirit – it is hard to sit there and conceptually doubt someone you communicate with.

                When I did think of these things, Aristotle’s argument of the first mover was one of the arguments that I found most convincing, along with that of intelligent design. Working with chickens and trees convinced me that things such as an eye or an egg could not be the product of chance. The odds were too great. Darwin’s arguments struck me as an example of Plato’s discussion about shadows on the wall of the cave. I could understand that God worked in steps, sequentially, and that it gave the appearance of a Darwinian “Evolution.”. These sequential steps struck as God’s evolution/development.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Jim, It is commonly reported after the NDE that during the OBE all knowledge, including about creation, was readily available, but such knowledge was blocked when returning to mortal existence.

                  Copied below is an excellent article debunking the notion that living organisms evolved by chance, without there having been any intelligent design ( http://www.esalq.usp.br/lepse/imgs/conteudo_thumb/The-Complexity-of-the-Cell.pdf ).

                  ” The complex structure of the living cell was unknown in Darwin’s day and at the time, ascribing life to “coincidences and natural conditions” was thought by evolutionists to be convincing enough.
                  The technology of the 20th century has delved into the tiniest particles of life and has revealed that the cell is the most complex system mankind has ever confronted. Today we know that the cell contains power stations producing the energy to be used by the cell, factories manufacturing the enzymes and hormones essential for life, a databank where all the necessary information about all products to be produced is recorded, complex transportation systems and pipelines for carrying raw materials and products from one place to another, advanced laboratories and refineries for breaking down external raw materials into their useable parts, and specialised cell membrane proteins to control the incoming and outgoing materials. And these constitute only a small part of this incredibly complex system.
                  W. H. Thorpe, an evolutionist scientist, acknowledges that “The most elementary type of cell constitutes a ‘mechanism’ unimaginably more complex than any machine yet thought up, let alone constructed, by man.”

                  A cell is so complex that even the high level of technology attained today cannot produce one. No effort to create an artificial cell has ever met with success. Indeed, all attempts to do so have been abandoned.

                  The theory of evolution claims that this system-which mankind, with all the intelligence, knowledge and technology at its disposal, cannot succeed in reproducing-came into existence “by chance” under the conditions of the primordial earth. To give another example, the probability of forming of a cell by chance is about the same as that of producing a perfect copy of a book following an explosion in a printing-house.

                  The English mathematician and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle made a similar comparison in an interview published in Nature magazine on November 12, 1981. Although an evolutionist himself, Hoyle stated that the chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein. This means that it is not possible for the cell to have come into being by coincidence, and therefore it must definitely have been “created”.

                  One of the basic reasons why the theory of evolution cannot explain how the cell came into existence is the “irreducible complexity” in it. A living cell maintains itself with the harmonious co-operation of many organelles. If only one of these organelles fails to function, the cell cannot remain alive. The cell does not have the chance to wait for unconscious mechanisms like natural selection or mutation to permit it to develop. Thus, the first cell on earth was necessarily a complete cell possessing all the required organelles and functions, and this definitely means that this cell had to have been created. “

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. That’s cool Jack.   I would add that given the millions of different functions in the human body and couple that with millions of species of plants and animals that have their own millions of complexities in their systems and given the earth is 4 billion years old, and only a small portion of that time the earth could support life, this means there is a too short window of time for these multi, multi trillions of complexities (multiply the numbers) to evolve.  If everything did evolve, then it would have to occur so rapidly that it would be observable in nature.  Have we ever observed anything evolve in nature?  I don’t think so.  I see reasonable math would say we would have to observe it in nature due to how rapidly it would take place.Would evolution plateau or stop?  If dinosours became extinct, wouldn’t they naturally re evolve?  Now, if one subscribed to evolution, then logically, it would be acceptable to conclude that different races of humans could evolve differently when isolated as in long ago.  One could conclude that one group is smarter than the other or one is stronger.  Think of the trouble one would get in by saying one race is smarter?  We conclude that different varieties or breeds of dogs have different instincts and personalities.   Wouldn’t we be able to say the same about humans?  It makes sense from an evolutionary stand point.  This is another place where I see evolution fall apart.  Evolution is just not logical.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Dougism?  You flatter me Jim.  My Lambzie taught me something today on DNA that blew me away when it sunk in.  I need to study it more, but in short, she explained how all DNA is traced back to Adam and Eve.  Here is a link she referenced:  https://youtu.be/CFYswvGoaPU I have not listened yet, but plan too soon.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack


          2. Jack,
            I had a conversation with my brother Joe about the amazing person Hellen Keller. We discussed the near impossible way she not only learned how to communicate dispite being deaf AND blind, but learned how to do things considered impossible like speak, “hear” (with her hands) and even draw things accurately.
            We discussed how the larger parts of the human brain are oriented towards sight, sound and speaking (language). Being difficient in these senses, Hellen’s brain rerouted the use of the sense of touch (feeling) and recalibrated this sense into a working form of communication (for us who are not blind and deaf).
            Not unlike your quantum physics theories, Helen made a deficiency sufficient in communicating her understanding to others and herself. Of course, this does not include the understanding and power of the properties of the soul- a “sixth” sense which is concealed in mystery by its very nature. Your study of NDE and OBE gives us a glimpse into these mysteries as these collaborative views distill the essence of our spiritual state bevond the veil.

            Liked by 5 people

            1. When they were little boys, my Dad and his older brother used to visit Helen Keller frequently. She lived nearby. They said she talked funny and touched their lips to hear them, but always had a cookie or candy for them. Their Mom (my Grandma) tried to stop them from bothering Miss Keller, until she came to understand that Miss Keller loved the visits from the boys.

              Liked by 6 people

              1. Presumption here, but one can imagine when she initially entered the pearly gates, having all her senses restored, she would delightfully explore paradise exclaiming, “Aren’t those flowers exquisite, that music is ethereal, such vibrant colors,” etc. etc. 🙂

                Liked by 4 people

  3. Wonderful piece, Charlie!!! It helped me to read this even though a cradle catholic because ccd taught notta…lol..I’ve also heard that Jesus calls Mary, “woman,” because He was identifying her as the “women,” in the book of Genesis. I’m sure that’s common knowledge here.

    Hope you’re 100% now, Charlie. ..Mike and I are both down today but thanks be to God, we are currently not working…lol..to be sick is horrible but to be sick and have to work too is crazy.

    Early Happy New Year to all here at TNRS ASOH XOXOXOXOXOXO 🤗😇😘

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I always thought that Jesus’ use of the title “woman” was comparable to “my Lady” and had no problem with it. I guess I tend to have faith that such kinds of difficulty are due to differences in culture and language. I had long ago noted that many Americans seem to have a tendency to interpret history in terms of present day usages with little if any appreciation for the actual context of the times. But then, I was always a student of history.
      May God bless all here. jas

      Liked by 12 people

  4. Thinking about Mother Mary is always a great pleasure to me; I belong to Her as much as I am humanly able to do so. There are a couple of points I remember learning as I read this. One is that Mary, conceived without sin and concupiscence (inclination to sin), was in the same state as Adam and Eve before they sinned. They did not know sin, but had total free will. We cannot in our human states, comprehend what this state of being was like, including all the supernatural gifts that were part of it.

    Another point that comes from St. Thomas Aquinas, perhaps, is the way Jesus was born, maintaining Mary’s perpetual virginity, even in childbirth. He describes it as light flowing through glass, not changing the glass through which it flows. You don’t address this, Charlie, but others speak of labor pains etc. and Mary did not have these. Pain and death come from sin, and she was totally without sin and its consequences. It always hurts to hear her spoken of incorrectly because she means so much to me. May she some day be loved and honored by the whole world!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Annie, I find no place in Scripture that says pain is a consequence of sin – only death. Beyond that, Jesus died. What was His sin? I tend to think that original sin did not just affect Adam and Eve and their offspring, but the very nature of earthly material. I don’t know the full answer here, but your assertion that if one is without sin he will suffer neither pain nor death is refuted by the Passion of Christ, itself. Back to the drawing board.

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      1. My thoughts have been similar after contemplating Genesis 3:16 – “To the woman He said: I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. …”. I don’t really have a concept of how Eve would have given birth to children had they remained in the Garden, but it seems like it would have been without pain, and only after sin did childbearing come with pain. Now our Blessed Mother was of course affected by original sin in all that was around her, our fallen world and humanity, but since she was saved from original sin, I have imagined her giving birth would have been like prior to the fall. I imagine this, but do not really have a clue.

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        1. I agree, Barb. Charlie, i trust 16 yrs of Catholic education when it was to be trusted, sooo many years ago, and loyal Catholic theologians and mystics. Maybe in a way pain is a consequence of original sin as well as death, since we all have generations who have gone before us who were not sinless. “The sins of the father will be passed on to the third and fourth generation”. As Father Hampsch points out it is not the sin, but the tendency to sin. Not one person who went before us could compare to Mary’s sinlessness. We’ll have to see what we find out when we get to Heaven! 🙂 We do know that Mary suffered spiritual pain of course, seeing what Jesus went through, a different kind of pain than childbirth.

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      2. Charlie, I was wondering if you have ever read The Poem of The Man-God by Maria Valtorta. When asked by Marija, one of the visionaries of Medjugorje, Mary said, “You can read them.” Cardinal Ratzinger said we can, but to not consider them supernatural. They are beautiful and I recommend everyone read them. They are expensive but can be found free online. The scene of Jesus’ birth is this, “Joseph to avoid falling asleep, goes on his knees near the fire and prays. He prays with his hands pressed against his face… Mary lifts her head, as if she had a celestial call, and she gets up and goes on to her knees again… She is the only one who can tell what she saw, heard and felt in the rueful gent hour of her maternity. I can only see that the light around her is increasing more and more. It seems to come down from Heaven, to arise from the poor things around her, above all it seems to originate from herself… And the light increases more and more. It is now unbearable to the eye. And the Virgin disappears in so much light, as if she had been absorbed by an incandescent curtain… and the Mother emerges. Yes. When the light becomes endurable once again to my eyes, I see Mary with the new-born Son in her arms… Also Joseph, who almost enraptured, was praying so ardently as to be isolated from what was around him, now rouses and he sees a strange light filter through the fingers of his hands pressed against his face.” Pages 139-140 in Vol. 1 of The Poem of The Man-God. I left out a lot to give you the main part, but these books put you right there and are incredible, showing what humility Mary and Joseph had. Mary’s pain at Jesus’ passion, death and burial will rend your heart. I believe Mary was spared the pain of childbirth and of death because she was sinless, but endured pain and sorrow (along with peace and joy) throughout her whole life because Jesus had to endure pain and sorrow as He took on our sins so as to redeem us. They are the new Adam and Eve, reversing the disobedience.

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        1. Suzanne, I used to own the “Poem of the Mand God” but I loaned it out years ago and it’s still out there somewhere. I mean no offense, but I side with Cardinal Ratzinger and Father Mitch Pacwa that the Poem is just a badly written novel.

          On December 16, 1959, the books were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books signed by Pope John XXII. L’Osservatore Romano printed the condemnation on January 6, 1960 with the heading, “A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus”.

          Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in answer to questions, again reminded the world that the “Poem” has always been condemned. He went on to say in 1985:

          “After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, they were reminded again in L’Osservatore Romano (June 15, 1966) that ‘The Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution.”

          In 1993 Cardinal Ratzinger said the books cannot be considered supernatural in origin. He said that the best that could be said of them is that they were a badly fictionalized life of Jesus.

          I can’t source the quote but I recall Cardinal Ratzinger characterizing “The Poem of the Man-God” as a “theological hodge-podge.” He went on to say that if the faithful spend an hour reading this sort of material, they should then spend two hours reading Sacred Scripture. I am a huge advocate that we Catholics make reading Sacred Scripture a priority in our Faith-walk.

          Again, I intend no offense. As I said, I myself bought the book years ago. May the Lord bless you abundantly in 2020.

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          1. I take no offense, but… Maria Valtorta is buried inside the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation in the city of Florence, Italy.

            Bishop Roman Danylak has issued a Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur to the Poem of The Man-God. http://www.bardstown.com/~brchrys/Imprmatur.html

            Endorsements by Blessed Gabriel Allegra, O.F.M.: http://www.bardstown.com/~brchrys/Gablegra/GabAlleg.html

            In an interview with Attorney Jan Connell of the Pittsburgh Center for Peace on January 27, 1988, Connell asked the visionary Vicka Ivankovich if there were any other books Our Lady had told her about. Vicka replied:
            “Yes. The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta, ten volumes. Our Lady says The Poem of the Man-God is the truth.  Our Lady said if a person wants to know Jesus he should read Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta. That book is the truth.”
            And…During a broadcast interview on Mother Angelica’s EWTN cable network, which aired an interview with Medjugorje seer Marija Pavlovic conducted by retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip Hannan. On March 4, 1992 on the Archbishop’s Focus program, Bob, a call in viewer from Milwaukee asked Marija, on the air, “What exactly did our Lady say regarding the Poem of the Man-God?” Marija responded that our Lady told her, “You can read it” (1, 2).
            As Marija Pavlovic recalled in an interview conducted by Sister Emmanuel Maillard, in 1982 a Franciscan from Mostar, Father Franjo, asked her to ask Our Lady if this book is true.  Marija then describes how she received a positive affirmation from the Madonna: “Our Lady says The Poem of the Man-God is the truth.”  [cf. R. Laurentin, Dernieres Nouvelles de Medjugorje No 15, OEIL, 1996, p. 19]

            You can see why I really encourage everyone to read these. May all have a blessed new year.


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            1. Suzanne, I heartily agree with you about the writings of Maria Valtorta. I have read all her published works but “The Poem….” is my favourite. I had always struggled with reading the Bible because I was probably trying too hard from an intellectual perspective and became frustrated at my inability to get to know The person of Jesus through the Gospels. “The Poem….” almost requires a reading from the heart – similar to Charlie’s meditation on St Joseph. Having read “the Poem….” I am now able to better read the Bible and ponder what I read in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to work in me (the intellectual frustration being no longer obstructing.) There is an app you can download which gives the Gospel text for each Sunday of the liturgical year followed by the same text as elaborated by Jesus in “The Poem….”

              I am very sad that Fr Mitch Pacwa is so negative re Maria Valtorta’s work but I think his attitude is understandable given that he was “burned” in the 1970s by his initial subscription to and enthusiasm for new age practices such as the enneagram (sorry that I have lost the reference to his involvement in this). St Padre Pio recommended that people read “The Poem….” and that fact, in addition to the endorsement of Pius XII, encouraged me. I would recommend “The Poem…” to all who have enjoyed Charlie’s published meditations which, as with the one on St Joseph, are enriching. Let me note, here too, that although I love and respect Pope Benedict, I cannot agree that Maria Valtorta’s work is badly written; quite the contrary in fact!

              The Australian Maria Valtorta Readers Group website is a good resource (http://www.valtorta.org.au/)
              in addition to the site you referenced.

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              1. Carmel, if you would, please provide a credible source of Padre Pio recommending the Poem. I can find none (though I find several unsourced assertions, nothing in Padre Pio’s writings or public statements). Again, I have no problem with the Poem being reflected on as a pious contemplation – and find the excerpts I have read mostly quite nice. But I weary of various Catholic saints being marshalled to have recommended something or said something which aligns with what people want them to have said, but without any credible sourcing or attribution. If there is such a source, I will be glad to see it. Otherwise, we should be careful about such things.


        2. I have read excerpts, Suzanne, and find them to be a very lovely contemplation. I have somewhat avoided it, though, because so many are disobedient and treat it as supernatural and equivalent to the Gospels, contrary to the Church’s clear instructions on the matter.

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      3. I have been to the drawing board many times on this and have come to the strong belief that Mary did not suffer labor pains. Labor pains were the result of Eve’s sin. As Mary was sinless from conception she would not have been subject to the consequences of Eve’s sin. Apparently Eve was not meant to suffer labor pains or why would it be a consquence of her sin?

        Catherine Emmerich relates the same about Jesus’ birth based on private revelation to her. While we are not required by the Church to believe in private revelation, it is useful in helping us align our thoughts with those approved by the Church.

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    2. Annie, I agree with Charlie. Mary and Jesus had human bodies. There are serious reasons why human children need to go through their mother’s birth canal to be born. Also, Jesus had many experiences of privation, including fasting for 40 days, all of which would mean that the pain of the scourging and crucifixion would not catch Him by surprise. He knew Judas would betray Him, which caused Him emotional pain. Life on the physical plane is painful. People who for genetic reasons are born without pain receptors don’t last long because they never learn to avoid banging into things and damaging their body, so they die from their injuries. There is no sign that Jesus bumped into a lot of stuff and constantly damaged His body, so He had pain receptors that worked and gave Him pain when they were supposed to.

      No, the primary part of the Passion that makes it meaningful to me is that I know Jesus knew what pain was, that He was ready/trained to bear up under it, and still carried out the Passion despite His being fully aware of what it would cost Him in pain and suffering to the point of sweating blood in contemplation of its occurrence.

      I just figure that, as God AND Man, He didn’t get a free pass on pain.

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      1. STEVEBC I am reminded that when man experiences extremely intense pain, they tend to pass out. Jesus never did. Also the fact that at any moment in His suffering, Jesus could have put a stop to it all my a mere act of His will clearly tells us the great dedication He exercised in living out His passion and crucifixion. “Father if it be possible, let this pass from me, but your will not mine be done.” jas

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        1. I see now that the above comment was not as clear as I had intended. Jesus did indeed suffer intense pain, so much pain that any man would have passed out but Jesus deliberately endured more pain than any other man could endure, so committed He was to atone for all mankind’s sins in order that we might be saved if we but accept His graces freely given.

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        2. JAS, I agree that Jesus could have stopped the pain at any moment and chose not to. I don’t agree that Jesus experienced such extreme pain that He would have fainted and thus don’t agree that His apparent lack of passing out means that Jesus could not feel pain or did not feel it. I think He felt every bit of pain dealt out to Him for so many hours, and by the end, He was staggering from the pain and privations He was suffering, eventually dying from them. However, the description of all that happened to Him never has given me any reason to believe that His moment of peak suffering was so terrible as to cause Him to black out if He could feel it. But maybe I’m missing what you’re saying here. If so, I’d be happy to see you clarify your meaning a bit more. 🙂

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          1. STEVEBC Apparently I still did not make it clear that Jesus not only felt the intense pain but choose to deliberately endure it beyond what would have made any other man black out from its intensity. I hope this makes it clearer.


            1. JAS, it certainly does, thank you. I think when Jesus on the cross said, It is finished, he didn’t mean that His life was finished but that He had suffered enough (pain) to offset every sin and all sins. I guess it was a case of more intense, sooner done. I don’t understand the math of this balancing, of course, but once He was done with that task, He could let go of His life soon after and move on to His tasks after His death.

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              1. Stevebc,
                It is considered that a single tear or drop of blood from Jesus was sufficient to appease the Father. Saying this, why then did Jesus suffer so?
                By being “fully human” He took on the role of being fully human thus sanctifing man by his life death and resurrection. By being baptised the church says He sanctified the waters of baptism, not the other way round. By becoming human, He sanctified humanity. He also did this to suffering, fasting, etc.
                As far as how deep His suffering is or how, in the time frame of pain, it felt for Him to hang on the cross some suggest it was the duration of every life live from the beginning to the end of time! Now, even though this may seem impossible to bear, another probably more accurate statement would be that because He is omnipresent, He has always been and will always be on the cross! This reality is impossible for us to comprehend being finite and frankly, fallen in our intellect so we cannot properly understand this . But to qualify this mystery it should be said that even the angels do not fully understand it, they being finite as well.
                But Jesus accomplished His mission in time, not outside of it, so time had a proper function to His goal and when it was reached He said “it is accomplished” and set a calender of the rubric to His mission so we who are time based humans have a proper methodology to follow.

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                1. PF, I will have to say this stuff *is* impossible for me to comprehend, and I do have some sympathy for the idea that Jesus hangs on the cross for all time as another way reality plays out and sins get dealt with before God. However, I do also think that your post has a lot of speculation a lot of people think is cool or would like to have be true, but nobody can prove any of it. Mary was *fully* human and Jesus was both fully human and fully God, and some of this speculation goes way beyond the *fully* human part of this whole story. That stuff I will (have to) leave alone, because I honestly don’t understand why people have to make up not-human stuff, but hey, maybe that’s just me! 😀


                  1. Not sure if a mystic “makes up this stuff” or is speculating such things but the Church has found them believable enough to publish their work and canonize some as saints. Since we are spiritual creatures as well as physical I’m not sure how this is “nonhuman” either? If Jesus was fully human, the new Adam, and Adam was fully human and, before the fall, unlike the rest of us, it stands to reason Jesus was not exactly like us in His nature as we understand human nature to be in our personal “fallen nature” ability to understand. So when a mystic comes along and gives us the “inside view” of the mystical nature of Mary or Jesus, somehow this new insight cannot be so?
                    Mystical experiences are quite hard to comprehend on this side of the veil (just ask Charlie). Few people are able to hold on to the accuracy of the experience after a they have a locution or ecstasy (Jack mentions this above about those who have had a NDE loosing the depth of comprehension upon their return to life).
                    If, as Jack further recorded, these truths are more real than our reality is it makes perfect sense to consider them nonsensical to those who have only experienced this physical side of reality. Most high mystics are viewed as being “impractical”. Heck, even the Apostles on Pentecost were thought to be drunk!
                    I don’t know if you have ever been “slain in the Spirit” Steve. (I have not) but I know many people who have and they just can’t explain it. It is so “unreal” an experience that they cannot put it into words. Thomas Aquinas thought the same after his “Vision” and never wrote another line. Padre Pio said he was an enigma to himself, unable to fully grasp his mission, nore was he supposed to I guess, that being the proper role of the Church.
                    One can’t expect everyone to comprehend mystical stories simply because they are an explanation of the inexplicable and…” the heart (soul) hath reason that reason does not know”.
                    Grace and faith lend man “the mind of God” where these things come more into focus but few, if any, ever fully grasp the real meaning.
                    Great men of the church with learning and insight descerned these writings for many years, sometimes centuries, before they were added to the church’s treasure trove. I would hope that one man’s treasure is not another man’s trash just because he cannot define the value of it from his personal worldview.
                    As Charlie notes, there is a possibility of abuse by those who do not have a proper sence of proportion in their belief of things “seen AND unseen” but it doesn’t mean we should avoid them since we are to “keep what is good”. If a mystic has been properly vetted and the church allows their work, who are we to poo poo these insights?
                    On a personal level we should only keep what is good for us. There is a ton of things out there and much can get mixed up. Not everyone has the ability to speak/write with clarity (me) so it can be easy for things to be misconstrued.
                    I have to admit I am a flat-out layman who likes to pray, read and talk about God. Charlie talks about being accountable and I admit I write here in “fear and trembling”. But as he has noted, I would be remiss if I didn’t write what I believe to be true.
                    I don’t know if I’m overreaching or working beyond my paygrade but I am somewhat compelled to write or speak out upon what is in my heart.
                    So truly I say, (as Desmond says).
                    With all my love and in full hope of redemptive action,

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                    1. PF, I greatly appreciate your response. One of the reasons I take the positions I have here is because I do *not* have a long number of years investigating what the mystics have said about these matters. I am very uninformed on such mystical matters, so I have gone with what I consider the logical ideas. I note in another comment elsewhere under this article that Charlie has some sympathy with my idea that Jesus felt pain and did not ever move aside from it. So at least insofar as the idea that Jesus felt no pain, I’m going to stick with my logic, that to be fully human, He did experience pain normally.

                      As for my other positions, about how Jesus was born and so forth, my concern with all that you have said is not that you are not accurate in reporting what mystics have said, but rather that I have no way to evaluate the reliability of that particular aspect of what any particular mystic said about these issues.

                      It may shock you to hear this, but I think someone can be sainted and become canonized even if wrong in their speculation or mystic statement about how Jesus was born.

                      I’m not aware that the Church has as part of its Deposit of Faith or Magisterium that Jesus was not born through the birth canal, only that Mary remained a virgin at all times through that experience. Please correct me if I am wrong about that assumption. [[Correction: JIM says it *is* believed as such by the Byzantine and Orthodox Churches, so I must note I am *not* a member of those Churches and that I say I don’t believe the Catholic Church has supplied definitive statements on that matter.]] Since Jesus *is* postulated to have been fully human and fully God, I tend to lean toward Jesus having one of the most pivotal experiences of any human being which is birth through the birth canal. I can assume that God took care of the rest in a way that remains a mystery to us all. But hey, I could be wrong!

                      I will conclude by saying that your comment above has opened to me an entirely new avenue of research that I was not aware existed, that mystics of the Church have commented on these issues. I just thought the ideas I was seeing in various places were modern human speculations.

                      I greatly appreciate that and will have to be more careful about these things when others here speculate on these matters, and I view that as a good thing, even as I reserve judgment on adopting those ideas without more and better information than I had up until now. Thanks! 🙂


                    2. You are right, Steve. The Church is adamant about Mary’s perpetual virginity. It does not make an article of faith about the specifics of how that virginity was preserved.

                      Also, I chuckled at this: “It may shock you to hear this, but I think someone can be sainted and become canonized even if wrong in their speculation or mystic statement about how Jesus was born.” That better be true, because there are substantial disagreements among canonized saints on such things.

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                    3. Hold on, Steve BC.

                      Doesn’t the Church hold that Mary is the Immaculate Conception? Just like Eve was before she disobeyed? And what was among the consequences of Eve’s disobedience? Gen 3:16 tells us. OK, so that only deals with the pains of childbirth. As for virginity, I think folks mostly look at that in terms of not knowing a man… and there are some physical/technical things associated with that as well that I won’t bother with as others could do a better job of instructing in more clinical terms.

                      Why do we apply virginity only to the beginning part of that process? Why not the birthing part as well? OK, so we only have this one case in all of humanity where this happened, but still, why not think in terms of the entire process. The Virgin.

                      Also, if the Holy Spirit saw fit to work the miracle on the front end of the process, doesn’t it seem likely –– holy symmetry even –– that He would work the miracle on the back end of the process? There’s your bookends.

                      Maybe it’s makes some feel better, makes the Woman and the Divinity more relatable, but I’m generally not in the habit of dragging everything down into the most human of terms for some added comfort or understanding.

                      I think we need to raise our sights much higher to even begin to properly understand. Though the destination will be a wondrous mystery here, the journey is certainly the thing. Worth every ounce of breath we’ve got.

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                    4. Steve,
                      You made a good point in one of your comments on how scientists are evidence based researchers who use corroborative or “reproducible” evidence as their litmus test (left brained thought) while creative minds have more latitude in their ability to see things, especially the “unseen” (mystical) things which take a more imaginative ability (right brained thought). Taken as a whole, both of these styles from spiritual writers writing about two or three similar events or Scripture scholars like Scott Hahn who shows the links between the old and new testaments form a cohesiveness to these revelations . These are then combined with Tradition and Magesterial works, writings from Doctors of the church, etc to bring some of these mysteries into a sharper focus. Of course, all this requires ascent to those who have combined these things into an abstract but the Church has the final say on what is and isn’t binding to believe and for good reason as it is impossible for an individual to read and assimilate everything that has been written much less understand what it all really means!
                      few things are considered “error free” with all the rest being open for some reinterpretation/correction.
                      Charlie mentions some of this in his post about common failures in most election processes (including the Popes election process) and how this does not negate its validity because of the proper intentions of those enacting the election and to their ascent of its validity after the election was finalised.
                      So error either by the “seer” descriptions or the readers interpretations is to be expected.
                      So again, “we dont get heaven (to see God as He truly is) until we get to heaven.”
                      I’m good with that as there is enough talk about heaven here to keep me interested until then!

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                    5. MP and PF, thank you for your great comments.

                      MP, I think most miracles God performs are quite parsimonious, meaning that He does the absolute minimum to create the effect He wants. Mary’s conception of Jesus was such an understated miracle, so to me, the birth of Jesus (I like bookends!) would also be parsimonious in this sense of least done to obtain the effect. But like everyone else speculating about what happened that night, we can’t ever truly know. We weren’t there. Certainly my own speculation here that the birth of Jesus was carried out in a certain mostly human way is fun but ultimately uncertain of any kind of truth.

                      Of course, at other times, God goes all “Cecil B. DeMille” on us all and does something so huge that it’s unmistakably His moment. I’m hoping for that kind of thing to happen sometime in the next few years.

                      PF, I hope we can all have some fun with our speculations. 🙂 I want to note that I’m not against people speculating about how Jesus was born. Such could turn up some interesting ideas and discussions. I do want people who venture into this area to remember that their statements about what happened that night are speculations, not known fact nor provable.


      2. Steve BC to tell you the truth I don’t see how the scourging at the pillar with the flagellum, the crowning with thorns, the “behold the man”, the struggle down the Via Dolorosa, the dialogue with His two thieves companions and his own Passion and death on the Cross could have any meaning without the Pain.

        It all would have been some kind of fraud. The whole Incarnation drained of true meaning. I truly don’t even know how this can be a question.

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        1. STEd, I agree with you, but some do consider that, so I’m trying to figure out why they think that and possibly what I might have missed. For example, Jesus was a child. Every child I know at some point falls and skins his knee. I figure that happened to the 5-6 year old Jesus about as often as to any child of age 5 or 6. Is it heretical for me to believe Jesus fell and skinned His knee and experienced that pain and cried about it? I don’t *think* so, but I think many people think He never got hurt or sick with the flu or a cold, that when He started to walk at 3 months, He just got up and did it without falling, that when He wanted to talk at 4 months, He just started in with adult sentences and ideas. A lot of time and effort goes into making that case, and I don’t really understand why, although I am totally OK with the idea that He was quite precocious for any particular year. What I do believe is that when Jesus went through His Passion, He didn’t collapse under the pain because He had already experienced pain many times. He was cold and shivered during cold winter nights. He was hot and sweated when working in the hot sun of summer. He got dirty when the wind blew dust on Him. He went hungry sometimes, fasted periodically, and so on. But hey, maybe I’m missing something crucial – I’m quite aware that I sure don’t know everything about this stuff. 🙂

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          1. I am very much with you on this stuff, Steve. To make Jesus into “God in a Halloween mask” robs Him of His triumph during the Incarnation. Anyone could do what He did if there were no real consequences, no real pain. The power of it is that He set aside the power of His divinity during the Incarnation and became TRULY man. I regard such thoughts as a revival of Docetism and Apollinarianism, both of which denied that Jesus was ever truly a man who lived within our normal limitations.

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      3. SteveBC,

        It is actually part of the deposit of faith for the Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox Church’s that the birth of our Lord was miraculous/pre-lapsarian and not a vaginal birth. Mary was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus. The ancient concept of virginity not only excluded sexual intercourse, but also of giving birth. This position is quite ancient and can be traced back to the first century.


        1. JIM, I’m not trying to be obtuse, but I see no reason to assume that Mary had Jesus inside her one minute and outside her the next minute after He went through her abdominal wall in what I can only term a miraculous cesarean. Perhaps I don’t understand prelapsarian birth arrangements, but what I see of prehistory says animals and humans gave birth naturally. There are other ways to retain virginity miraculously, and it would be very important for the baby Jesus to go through her birth canal for His human side to thrive. Why does everyone have to assume that Mary did not simply have an easy birth with another way for her virginity to be protected? That is far less of a stretch of assumptions, that the birth was easy, and that there was no permanent effect on Mary so she was the same before, during and after.

          I see a lot of people making a lot of assumptions about Mary and Jesus when in fact the most miraculous thing of all is that they were fully human and yet did all that they did and were themselves so much of who they were. How else could they possibly be examples for us to reach for in our own life? If they never gave or went through normal human birth, if they never tripped and skinned their knees as kids, if they never got dirty or felt gritty or ate bad food or went thirsty or hungry or were hot or cold or sick with the flu, if they started walking at 3 months without falling over and talking like an adult at 6 months, if they always knew what was coming, if they never had to crack a book to learn to read, or never had a bad hair day, then just how fully human actually were they? And how could we possibly hope to become like them no matter how much we tried, if we had no such advantages? I don’t need such miraculous ideas to believe Mary was holy and virginal, and that Jesus was fully human and fully God. In fact, assuming they did *not* benefit from these speculative miracles *helps* me believe they were real people and experienced life as we experience it.

          I hope I’m not upsetting you or anyone else here, and I don’t know much about theology and Bible history, so I know I could be wrong about this stuff, but I must say I don’t need all this extra miraculous stuff to be faithful. It doesn’t appear to be necessary to me to have these miracles, in which case I think we should all be more conservative in our speculations about this kind of stuff than we are. I think the more we hew to assuming human experiences for Mary and Jesus rather than miraculous moments that helped them avoid being human and experiencing human life, the closer to reality we will probably be. Occam’s Razor is the best assumption here, I believe, and the simplest assumptions are that they were human and miracles were very few (if any) until Jesus began His ministry in Cana at the wedding.


          1. SteveBC,

            You are not upsetting me, but as an orthodox monk stated in the 7th century, “You need to look at this with eyes of faith and not philosophy.” The monk was talking to a natural philosopher from Athens, the precursor of modern scientists. I caught this point when I was in law school and realized that, based on our occupations or profession, we have different methodologies to approach an issue. As a lawyer, from a legal perspective, I cannot give an adequate answer, but as a man of faith, I can

            Byzantines, unlike Latins, always made their arguments much more forcefully when they made a point. As St. Sophronius of Jerusalem stated in his 2nd Homily on the Annuciation:

            But no one was full of grace like you; no one was blessed like you;
            no one was sanctified like you; no one was magnified like you;
            no one was purified in advance like you; no one was enlightened
            like you; no one was illuminated like you; no one was exalted like
            you; no one brought God forward like you; no one became so rich
            in God’s gifts like you; no one received God’s grace like you; you
            exceed in every human excellence . . .

            When you think of the logical consequence of such language, it is conceivable that God could allow the Immaculate one not give birth differently. And, it certainly is the position held by the Protevangelium of James, which is part of the received magisterial heritage of the Eastern Churches.

            Granting Mary this privilege as a consequence of her immaculate conception is not an invitation to Arianism, either, but, an example of how she was not under the domain of sin. Yes, as the received texts for the Office of Our Lady of Sorrows demonstrate, Mary suffered emotionally. The Protoevangelium shows her very real fears when Joseph decided to put her away.

            Also, keep in mind that, to quote an Orthodox priest: “Truly, Mary gives birth to Christ, but in another, more profound sense, it is Christ who “gives birth” to Mary and, through her, to all humanity. The concept of prevenient grace (προδραμούσα χάρις) implies that God’s grace is not restricted by time,
            or, at least, by our conception of forward-moving time.” Since Mary was not under the dominion of sin, she could benefit from pre-lapsarian graces.

            Yes, as her son died, Mary, too had to die, in order to be the perfect example to us in following Christ thorughthe passage of death.

            I hope that helps, SteveBC! I always enjoy your comments, Pal!


            1. And I, yours, JIM. You are always thoughtful and illuminating.

              Yet still, I must disagree with you on this and do so as a man of faith as well as logic. Further, as I state elsewhere to PF, I am *not* a member of the Byzantine or Orthodox Churches, so I don’t have to believe what they say in their form of the Magisterium or their deposit of faith.

              Also as I state to PF, I can settle for logic on Jesus’s part, that He was fully human and thus was someone who experienced one of the pivotal moments in any person’s life, being born properly through the mother’s birth canal.

              At the very same time, my *faith* on this matter comes in believing that Mary did indeed remain a virgin throughout and after the birth, because God figured out some way for her to birth Jesus through the birth canal while remaining a virgin, and that is a profound mystery of faith.

              How much more mysterious is it to have Jesus experience His humanity in full with all that entails biologically, as Mary experiences her motherhood in full with all that entails for her biologically (as any mother will tell you), and as Mary remains a virgin throughout due to God’s miraculous attendance at the birth. It’s a far more profound miracle at least in my mind than to think Mary had no pain and Jesus just appeared in her arms one cold night in Bethlehem. That goes against all healthy biological norms for babies and mothers, both of whom react positively to the rigors of healthy natural childbirth.

              I suggest we let this event be human in every way except for what God does miraculously to retain Mary’s virginity. Then everything makes human sense and requires faith only where faith is truly needed.

              I hope that makes sense. We will see! 🙂


                1. Well, Doug, I hope that comfort is based on something other than my speculation about how He was born! Like you, I like the idea that Jesus was fully human even in this experience, with God taking care of Mary’s virginity in another way. However, my idea is simply speculation. 🙂


                  1. Yes Steve.  It is other than your speculation of how Jesus was delivered.  I think the epistle of Hebrews sums it well.  “He was like us in every way but sin”. —- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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                    1. Amen, Doug. Jesus, the God-man, surely is like us in all ways but sin. How often I am comforted in knowing that when I pour my heart out to Him in life’s trials, He totally gets me.


  5. The following is my own reflection, when I meditate on the 5th Joyful Mystery – The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple:

    As Mary & Joseph are packing up to return to Nazareth, Jesus asks permission to spend a few more moments with the teachers/rabbis in the Temple. Mary & Joseph, in knowing His love of the time there, give permission. During this time, reflecting further on the scriptures, a more deep realization of who He is and His mission is dawning on Him. Time is lost track of and Mary & Joseph, each thinking the other has retrieved Jesus, leave without him. Upon realizing He is not in their company, they return to the Temple.

    Now the following is hard to put in “writing”, I actually “acted” it out for folks in my Bible study… so I will re-write it a bit, to maybe reflect how I imagine He spoke with Mary & Joseph…

    When Jesus sees Mary & Joseph, He exclaims… “Wow, did you know that I must be about my Father in heaven’s work? And it was so important that I was here to learn more? Oh how wonderful to learn of His mission for me.” And since of course, it was not yet time for that work to begin, He went back to Nazareth with them.

    I know this is only my small reflection and I have no claim to any revelation and am probably wrong in so many ways, but it makes it very real for me.

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    1. Curious how our life circumstances affect how we view various mysteries. I tend to think the 5th joyful is more like the exasperation mystery. We lost our youngest son at Walmart for about 15 minutes when he was 2-21/2 years old. Oh, my word. Can you imagine losing your son for 3 days? First, I would want to wring his neck, especially since by his age he should know better. Couldn’t He send an angel to reassure his mother. Second, it would be 6 days of travel time. I’ve driven across this country with three kids in the back seat. Not that much fun. And we could even stop and get food made by someone else. I’m just common folk.
      Their ways are SO much higher than mine. Thank goodness!

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      1. Ain’t that the truth, HttP? Every parent knows how quickly a child can vanish – in some ways they are more slippery than an eel in a bucketful of oysters. And the intense fear that strikes when you don’t know where your little one has gotten to.

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        1. So true, Charlie. Years ago, when we moved and joined a new parish; after mass I was walking out holding our 2yr.old’s hand and our 4yr. girl slipped out from my husband’s grip. I was frantically looking down low and something told him to look up and above the exodus and lo and behold, saw a strange man carrying our blond-haired daughter! Hubby quickly meandered through the crowd and sternly inquired, ‘What do you think you’re doing?!” Reply-
          “Oh, I thought she was my daughter.” ?! Nobody else recognized the stranger and he never did go looking for ‘his daughter’. This was before child abductions was commonplace. Thank God the Holy Spirit and/or guardian angel nudged him to scan the adults.

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        2. Experienced that once when our girls were little and slipped away in a store. I always thought I was calm, but the fear and panic that set in told me otherwise. Fortunately, they did not wander off too far.


          1. I experienced the panic from the other side when I was a little boy under the age of 5. Got separated from my mother in a large beach arcade. Turned around and SHE was gone. Scared the spit out of me. Some kindly strangers saved my bacon. I recall the feelings of panic to this day. Not a good feeling at all.

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            1. Interesting Ed.  Probably be like this at the warning or illumination of conscience if this takes place as many saints and visionaries purport.  I can envision an intense feeling of separation from God for those who are steeped in a state of mortal sin.  They may experience the feeling of being separated from their heaveny father as we would experience as a child as you describe.  Shear panic and anxiety would be felt.  —- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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              1. Doug I think you are right on with the insight on the effect of the illumination of the soul. Not just immense chagrin but real panic as well. A thumb’s up Like from me.

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      2. HTTP: I’m with you on this on, HTTP. And part of that narrative is that Mary thought He was with other family members as they left Jerusalem. They were at least a day’s travel before she realized He was missing and had to go back to find Him. As a mother, these two mysteries of the rosary, The Finding in the Temple and the Marriage Feast of Cana are my favorites. I lost my oldest in Sears ages ago when he was @ 3. He slipped my grip as I was talking to the clerk. Realized quickly that to find him I had to let go of protocol. So I raised my voice in panic and started calling out his name. Lo and behold following the sound of his response, I found him sitting in a boat display, (sailing the ocean blue, I imagine and happy as a clam). My reaction: utter relief, mother anger and wondering how to correct this behavior for future trips and complete understanding of this little boy’s attraction to the display. I grabbed his hand. and said, “Let’s go have a Coke, we need to talk.” I have always thought the BVM probably had the same series of reactions. Cana, for me, is the intimate banter that a mother and an adult son often experience because of life long knowledge of one another. A word or two doesn’t reveal much to a listening bystander but to one another it speaks volumes. For me, it is humorous in tone. Like, “We need wine.”, “It’s too soon, Mother.”, “But, we need wine.” Why would she ask, if she did not anticipate the outcome?

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        1. My 24th (living) grandchild, Alice Noelle, came into the world a few days ago. I noticed a device on her mother’s wrist and she told me that it was an alarm that she and the baby wore that would be set off an alarm if the baby went beyond a certain distance from her. This alarm also shut down all exits in that wing of the hospital too! Amazing the technology we have today but still more amazing is that we NEED such technology! If not for the potential for abuse, I’d like to see such measures to protect our children in public as well.

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      3. My dad said once – in jest – that the reason Joseph isn’t quoted is because what he said wasn’t fit to print in the bible. As a father, he was quick to defend my mom when she was upset- even if she was upset with her kids. If that had been me or my brother’s the walk back to Nazareth would not have been pleasant.

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        1. I recently heard an interesting reflection from Fr. Micheal Rodrigue that Saint Joseph is a strong reflection of the heavenly Father and that one of the reasons he passed before Jesus ministry is that this would have put too much focus on Saint Joseph and taken away from Jesus message that the father in heaven is our true Father.  This is not to minimize St. Joseph in the least.  If St. Joseph is but a small reflection of the heavenly Father, then how protective, loving and kind is our true heavenly Father.  I found this very interesting to ponder.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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          1. Very cool renewing your wedding vows in Cana. I didn’t know there used to be a feast day for Spouses on January 23rd. It was left off the “new” liturgical calendar.
            I am on Day 13 of the 33 day consecration to St. Joseph. The book recommended by another ASOH’er late last fall. St. Joseph was truly an amazing man.


            1. HttP, my son and I are also on Day 13 of the consecration. I’m really loving the book and am so grateful that Frl Calloway wrote it. 🙂

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                1. Thank you Paula!  Still have such fond memories of your storm meeting.  It was a grace filled time!—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack


    2. @Barb Watry: I appreciate your enthusiasm but I think it may be an error of Modernism to consider that Jesus was at anytime from the moment of His conception unaware of Who He was and what His mission was. I’ve heard this explained that in as much as He grew in wisdom and knowledge before men after leaving the Temple with Mary and Joseph, as the God-Man He always had all wisdom and knowledge. Thus, no new deep realization or dawning occurred to Him as He reflected further on the Scriptures. It makes sense to me that He wouldn’t be the God-Man, the Second Person of the Trinity, a Divine Person if He wasn’t eternally omniscient. Anybody, please correct me if this is not what the Church teaches.

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      1. It is not what the Church teaches. There are several honorable schools of thought. One of them (the one to which I subscribe) is that, though He had all knowledge available to Him, He set it aside for the Incarnation so that He was truly human – learning in an unfolding as the rest of us do – but unlike the rest of us, had His Divine knowledge at His fingertips to call forth if it was needful or profitable. If it was that He was always aware of all things and His divinity at all times, it seems to me that the Incarnation would be a fraud – that He had not truly taken on our humanity, but was just God in a Halloween mask.

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          1. I often contemplate Jesus’ agony in the garden as His ability to see, in all time, all those who decide to reject Him and His love despite all the love and graces He showered on them. To see all our heinous sins. He fully chose mercy in full knowledge of every sin.

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          2. Jlynnbird; I also believe Christ was fully aware of what was about to take place; that the agony in the garden was His acknowledgement of His offering of self for this great time. I am certain the pain of what He saw in the depths of men’s hearts, past and present and future was so tragic and sad to Him, He could not just sustain a human effort, but sweated blood. Just as our Blessed Mother now at times, cries tears of blood for the world. Our Father in Heaven, knowing the task was so critical that no one but His Son, God, could bring about the Salvation offering to mankind. This is Divine, They are Divine. We prob won’t understand the separation of the man and God at that point until we understand the true meaning of Love and Sacrifice, which will not be here but when we are with our Lord in Heaven.
            I only know, modern or traditional, we are each given the opportunity to strive to be Christ like in this world; so we can be part of His World when we leave here. And finding the point which will sustain us in this understanding (each individual’s point) is vital and should be a continuous effort and prayer.
            I pray y’all have a Blessed and fulfilling 2020. Be good to your friends, family and those you don’t even like, we can all use a friend. Ave Maria.

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            1. There is much to ponder in time and learn in eternity. I just read a booklet in Adoration and subsequently brought home and watched a DVD from Anne the Lay Apostle titled “Heaven” that validates that God’s love and care for us is far more grand than we can ever humanly speak and/or comprehend. It sure does give us something to strive for and look forward to.

              Wishing all a safe and blessed evening and new year! ❤


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          3. I’ve heard it said – by someone who maybe ought to know, but I cannot think who now – that Jesus was at His most human when He was in His Passion. Perhaps He set aside all His Godness, to experience and enter into more fully this awful happening.

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            1. Nance, this is a good thought. Another one of the moments I have pondered on is when Jesus is on the cross and says something like, Father, why have you forsaken me? Your point that He might have set aside all His Godness might lead to such a remark. However, this is one pondering I have no current ideas about.

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              1. STEVEBC I remember reading years ago that “God my God why have you forsaken me” is the opening of a famous psalm that most of His listeners would have recognized which I do not recall the number of but their posting quoted it and it was very appropriate to Jesus’ situation. Perhaps someone with a better memory or familiarity with psalms could provide it.

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                1. OK, but that misses or perhaps highlights even more my question. Did He say that “forsaken” line because He was just connecting to Psalm 22 in order to fulfill a prophecy, or did He say it because He *felt* it just before He died, that God’s spirit had withdrawn from him, leaving him bereft and experiencing that which the rest of us normal humans also feel at various points of our lives, that God has forsaken us? I lean toward the latter or perhaps better, a combination of both, because it makes Him even more like us. I think He also consciously did fulfill prophecies by taking specific actions during His life. I would not think this particular moment would be useful or significant if all He is doing is saying a line to complete a prophecy, like a simple actor in a play saying a line. I prefer that the event be something deeper than that, an actual experience of a loss of some feeling of connection with the Father, as so many of us feel occasionally. A last bit of human pain for Him to feel, at which point He said, “It is finished” and died. But I really don’t know if He was acting forsaken or really *feeling* forsaken.


                  1. Steve, Consider that there is more than a single perspective that may offer alternative, non-contradictory, perspectives on the words of Jesus. The human body was found to be acting on its own according to at least two apparently authentic NDE reports, one of which I referenced (a motorcyclist in a violent collision has an NDE/OBE and watches from outside of his body, with no feel or control over it, and sees it attacking the driver who caused the accident) and another NDE/OBE referenced by Kevin Williams (a swimmer who has an NDE/OBE and sees his body swimming to shore while he watches with indifference), webmaster for an extensive NDE website. For the body itself, for its cells to have their own consciousness, is consistent with the analysis of panpsychism, and makes sense if everything created is created by and from God with inherent consciousness.

                    In theory, and as reported by numerous NDEs, the spirit attaches to the neonate body, and while attached is termed “soul.” The soul thus has an existence as spirit preceding and following the mortal body’s life. The eternal spirit which is Jesus may logically at times refer to his mortal body, and at other times to his eternal spirit.


                    1. Jack.
                      There are also evidences of “bilocation” where the body/consciousness are in to places at once but the person only seems to remember the away from the body period while the body performs normal tasks, even speaking or it can be placed into an ecstatic state.
                      There is also some stories of an angel controlling the body while the soul is elsewhere.
                      Some things to ponder….


                    2. Phillip Frank, Yes may reports tell that. During an “ordinary” OBE, many reports state that they could simultaneously see what was going on, to include perceiving conversation. The phenomenon of bi or really multiple locations appears to be natural in what I have termed the 2nd Domain which is a universal field of consciousness that does not possess spatial separation functionality the way it does “ordinarily” in our material domain. Here, travel takes time, and we are located in a single space-time point (as time runs, creating ongoing points of time here, as well as 3D movement). I placed “ordinarilly” in quotes, because the phenomenon of quantum entanglement defies the ordinary limits here of travel and communication, by being instantaneous. I tried to describe and explain such behavior here in the 3rd )material) Domain and the 2nd Domain in my little book.


                    3. I kinda see time and this dimension we live in as one axis and eternity as a different axis of a transcendant reality that exists.  Generally, I see it as the soul has to leave the body to see the transcendant reality or God lets one peer in every now and then through visions.  I assume since this is outside of time, one can see events, past present and future.  The thing that I cannot wrap my head around is, if one can see the future, then does this mean God already knows the choices we are going to make?  How does this align with free will?  Do we really have free will if God knows the future?  Maybe this can be explained by God showing us different futures depending on our choices, but in reality God ultimately holds back the real future so we are not caught up in fatalism.  I am not sure I want the answer to all this.  For now, I am content with it being a mystery.  I am also content with God is real, he loves me, he offers me eternal salvation through his son and he has a plan for me.  How awesome is that!—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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                    4. Doug, Supported by two specific NDE reports, I have conceptualized time in the spiritual domain as “true” fourth dimension, such that time here maps to locations there. However, “space” in the spiritual world does not function the way it does here, in which it takes time to travel from on location to another; there, time does not run, and it takes no time to think or to move. I have worked to describe and explain all of this in my little book with an overarching theory about the world as we experience it here, and as the NDE/OBE reports describe it in the spiritual domain.

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                    5. That makes sense to me Jack and I do have an inkling of that.  For a long time here, I have kept telling folks that when we get to heaven, I’m going to have a big red wagon train and go explore the universe and observe and marvel at all the beauty of God’s creation.  You are welcome to join in on the trip when the time comes!—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack


                    6. Jack,
                      Mary of Agreda talks about her bilocating to New Mexico and Arizona to teach the native Indians about Christianity. She describes how at first they were just visions of the natives but one day she knew she was actually there in the flesh because she could feel the temperature change and the Indians saw her as well. Several times they attempted to kill her but she was instantly back in Spain. After finally accepting her, (she being able to speak their language), she catechised them and bid them travel to a mission to be baptised by the priest there. They told the local authorities about her and after returning to Spain they looked her up to question her about the events. She was able to tell them intimate details about many things which proved to them her story was real.
                      Interestingly, she was able to function in Spain while bilocating to New Mexico and Arizona.

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                    7. Thanks, Jack. I myself have had dozens of OBEs but no NDEs (I have to distinguish between the two at least in my mind). I’m looking forward to reading your book, which I now have on my Kindle.

                      To be clear, are you agreeing with me that Jesus, just before his body died, did in fact experience a loss of connection to His Spirit? And perhaps we should clarify that that loss of connection did not compromise His status as fully human and fully God? His Spirit left his body shortly before his body’s death on the cross, a very human experience, as has been proven so many times in NDEs.


                    8. Steve, My answer is based on my theory, a theory I cannot prove, but believe to be consistent with the NDE/OBE reports, and the physics of Relativity Theory and quantum mechanics. A thumbnail sketch follows.

                      “In the beginning,” there was God alone existing as “consciousness,” (a primitive term that is not enhanced by any other words or references). There was no space, time, or energy/materiality. I term this existence the 1st Domain.

                      God manifests light, and spirits to inhabit a universal field of consciousness; there are no stressors in this 2nd Domain which we ordinarilly refer to as Heaven. Spirit existing in Heaven initially has no appreciation whatsoever that it exists in a divine Heaven, and no experience to appreciate Good vs Evil.

                      God creates the 3rd Domain in which our bodies live. From our existence in this Domain, we do not ordinarily see into Heaven, although those in Heaven can see us (higher dimensional beings can see into lower dimensions). We exist first in Heaven as spirit, and attach to the unborn baby during gestation. Spirit attached to the material baby is termed soul.

                      Everything that exists was made by God from God’s own being, thus our spirit and mortal being are an expression of God.

                      Jesus came here as spirit, and attached to a baby; it is possible that God directly supplied the DNA to create the bay that lived as Jesus. During His life, he would ordinarily have taken on the ordinary mortal form with its ordinary bodily weaknesses and pain. Given his mission to redeem Humanity, he accepted the terrible pains of crucifixion until his body died, at which point his soul detached to regain its form as spirit. The NDE reports describe seeing Jesus in spirit form as vastly more energetic than human spirits and angels.

                      The OBE, as you know first hand, does not require a triggering trauma. In fact, NDERF has a whole section devoted to OBE reports not having been triggered by an NDE (https://www.oberf.org/new_stories.html ). Today, an interesting OBE was posted that includes Jesus and Mary ( https://www.oberf.org/cal_m_meditation.htm ).

                      Hope this explanation worked.


                    9. Doug,
                      I don’t see how God knowing our future effects free will? We have the freedom to do our own thing and God is true in His Being to allow this. He cannot be anything else but Himself.
                      Being omnipresent, omnitient and omnipotent He is unchanging, all knowing and, (as you mentioned earlier), eternally “Now”.
                      We are who have the freedom to change. The angels did this at the moment of creation (when God separated the light from the darkness). But THEY changed. Not God. He separated them by a test and a third fell. The other 2/3 changed, but for the better, and accepted God through Michaels “who is like God?”.
                      This is similar to St Peters “But where else shall we to go?” test.
                      Same test, different method. The apostles grappled with the mystery of the Eucharist but chose to stay dispite the lack of understanding it at that time. Each one of us is tested in a similar way. God gives us the test AND the answer by His life as Jesus Christ. He shows us every single step how to be a perfect Christian.
                      But we have a free will to choose the wrong answers to this test because “this is too hard” or I will not serve” or “we go away sad because we have so many possessions”.
                      In the end we decide to either remain “being ourselves” and eternally perish or “die to self” and eternally live.
                      Or we can ignore the test and fail by omission.
                      But all these are personal decisions and God knowing what you will do does not effect you but He does allow for remedies by graces given from those who pray and expiate for sinners but even these we have to accept when that time comes for us to choose. During this, God may clear the way so you may see more clearly, but this is only right as one making an eternal decision about one’s soul should be as clear about what they are choosing as possible.

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                    10. Phillip Frank, At the risk of blasphemy, I think that even God does not know the future in fine detail, because of his gifting free will to all of his spirit creations. Edgar Cayce and many NDE reports say that the future is not fixed, but may be altered. Isn’t Mary reported to have told humanity to improve its ways to create a better tomorrow?

                      The way I have theorized the future in the spirit world, in relation to time here in the material world in which time runs, and things change, is that time does not run there, but existence there is experienced as an eternal now–but that “now” does change. In the spirit world, a clock does not run to time changes in time, but instead, different locations correspond to different material times here; thus, a spirit could move to a location where the past yet exists as when it happened. Regarding the future, there are place holders on its dimension of time for the past, present, and future. What has happened is set. But what will exist in the future is an infinity of possibilities. I like to think of the future as modeled in quantum mechanics as superposition of possibilities not yet settled. Folks seem to get glimpses of future possibilities, but what happens is not set. I would think too that God may intervene as He may desire, as well.


                    11. Well Jack, I believe God is all knowing and knew the future outcomes of events before time began. The conditional future based on Marian warnings and warnings from Saints and Mystics were for our sake, not God’s. God already knows the outcome. Just another example of God’s infinite mercy.


                    12. Hi Phillip, I see it as some what of a conundrum.  On the surface, if he already knows what we will choose, is it really free will?  It seems more fatalistic.  I fail to see clarification in your response.  I wanted to leave it alone for now and bask in knowing the father loves me(us).  Now, I have long held to Peter’s words, “Lord, you have the words of eternal life, where else shall we go?”  As I am now thinking on this more, what is coming to me is God set aside his omniscience when his son came into the world as fully human.  Thus, he had free will and did not see everything in the future or it was not revealed to him right away.  It was revealed only as the father allowed.  The thought that he could have failed in his mission, but did not, in a sense gives me great hope and comfort.  To me, this testifies on the subject more than anything.  God became man and was tempted just like us (Hebrews).  Thanks be to God who conquered sin and death!—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack


                    13. Well, this has become quite a thread!

                      Doug, I’ve been thinking God can know everything and still play tennis with us. If we hit the ball to the left, He will go left, and if we hit the ball to the right, He will go right. I like the idea that Jesus looked to Mary as the human side of the decision to do something. If Mary had decided to leave Jesus alone in the temple when He was 12, He would have started His mission. However, she may have told Him no and that He needed to come home, and that in turn created the need for the other bookend at the wedding at Cana.

                      I also don’t believe that a human body could withstand having even a moderate amount of God’s presence in it without dying due to overwhelming spiritual energy. I haven’t thought about that until tonight, but if you view God and all knowledge being like a rolodex of individual cards containing specific knowledge, then because He was actually fully human, Jesus would flip to the right card on the rolodex and hold *only* that card in Himself at that time. Even one card would have tremendous energy in it, but where the human body can’t withstand all the cards at once, it could withstand one card at a time.

                      If my speculation here might be true, then Jesus would only need the directory or table of contents of the rolodex plus the needed card in Him at any one time. Since the card for that time would have all of the information He would need for that moment, and He had a table of contents with pointers to every other card, He was in effect in any moment omniscient for the moment, and His body, His human side, would survive the experience.

                      A fun speculation.


                    14. Hi Steve, I don’t think of Jesus as omniscient at any given instance when he became human.  I believe Phillip Frank sees otherwise.  I just do not think he was omniscient.  I think things were “revealed” to him by the Father and Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit worked through him in the way it works through us.  This is a fully human quality.  Jesus said the apostles would see greater miracles.  We all have the same ability more or less based on the talents given us.  He may have been taught directly by the Father through visions and also through his earthly parents.  I think he had to learn trust and obedience like the rest of us.  We all have this same access which is what makes our faith so amazing and beautiful.  It is accessed through love and obedience and a willingness to follow the will of the father.  Is our goal to access these gifts? No.  Our goal is to trust and believe to lead us to a life of obedience and love of God and neighbor.  In the process, we may be given super natural gifts, but it is usually the trust part that has to come first and the focus is not on the gifts.  Jesus trusted the Father implicitly.  He knew his Father intimately and knew his Dad would not let him down no matter what.  A big part of his mission was to teach us this trust.  Peter started to get it when he walked in water when Jesus called him.  But Peter still had human weakness like all of us and started to sink.  Our learning to trust is a life long process.  I don’t think of Jesus as having magic bullets when he needed them.  If this was the case, and he used them, he would not have acted out of love.  He always exercised his will in obedience to the father through his divine and perfect love that he has for all of us.  He was motivated by divine compassion and divine justice.  He had all of our frail human weakness, but lived a life of perfect love and never sinned.I love St. Catherine of Siena who is a doctor of the church.  Since God, the Father, is infinite, it only takes one little sin to push us out of his will.  Again, since he is infinite, it takes an infinite or divine atonement to account for that sin.  Thus, no human in the world could atone for Adam and Eve’s sin.  It takes someone who is infinite and divine to atone for that one single sin.  This is why it had to be God’s son.  God became human through his son and thus, the human and divine was married.  Through his perfect sinless life, he made the atonement needed for that one sin.  This opened the door to heaven for all of us who choose to amend our lives and live a life of love and obedience to the Father’s will.  It all starts with a simple repentance which is the key to break our stubborn pride.  As the scripture says, “thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Christ Jesus”.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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                    15. Such great discussions and pondering have been flowing here. Such mystery, too! For all we speculate based on whatever the sources, I remain stumped – but not frustrated – at how a person is, at once, fully human and fully God. And I believe the plumbing of this mystery will continue, with great joy and newer levels of revelation, into eternity.

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          4. And yet remember that we sometimes suffer even more, the more we know…
            Jesus and Mary are said to have suffered more ‘exquisitely’ — as in the highest but sharpest degree, because sin did not dull their senses and awarenesses.

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        1. Thank you for the correction, Charlie. The mystery of the Hypostatic union and its operation in the God-Man is, as it should be, beyond me. He is 100% human and 100% divine and as such has a 100% human will and 100% Divine Will and the operation of each will, divine or human, involves memory, intellect, and imagination–divine or human–in which the divine is ALL and the human is limited. So, okay, He can turn off and on the divine at will. lol

          You say that there are several honorable schools of thought on this subject. Would you agree that Modernist thought is not honorable? What is the school of Modernist thought regarding what all Jesus knew and when He knew it? I ask because I have an awareness of how much my own formation has been steeped in Modernism and I want to avoid this insidious heresy in all its sneaky and ambiguous manifestations. Thank you.

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          1. The technical term, modernism, refers to some specific doctrines – and not just to everything that is modern. It would be a mistake, I think, to reject everything that is modern as if there are no valuable insights there. When it starts degenerating into sophistry trying to reject the Gospels, that should clearly be rejected. But even an evil age has its insights.

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            1. To be clear, Charlie, I do not reject everything that is modern. I am looking for solid ground upon which to place that next right step. The scene that comes to mind that well describes my angst is from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the optical illusion makes it seem as if there is a chasm between ‘the next right step’ and the other side where the Holy Grail can be found. The difficulty is solved by scattering sand across the “chasm” and looking from a perspective that reveals the reality, the Truth: a solid, rocky, albeit narrow bridge to step out on. (I believe that piece of the puzzle in the professor’s secret journal was called the “leap of faith” even.) I’ve read the Oath Against Modernism and even made my way through a catechism based on Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical about Modernism. It is the trickiness and slipperiness of this “synthesis of all heresies” that clouds the Truth with its “degenerating sophistries” that I am talking about not simply modern things and insights. I actually like running water, electricity, etc…

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            1. Thank you for the link, Sister. I see that the Catechism on Modernism that I happened upon relates directly to this encyclical. I’m sure that it is over my head, but I am glad to have it bookmarked for a reference. Thank you!


        2. “What was not assumed was not redeemed. What was not redeemed was not saved.” St. Maximus the Confessor in response to the Monotholite heresy, 7th century.


  6. Another thought on self-censoring is to not look dumb.

    “Do whatever He tells you”’ has always been a comfort to me. It is especially true when some of my Protestant friends say Catholics worship BVM.

    One thought/question I have always had is the birth of Jesus. Somewhere in scripture it says Mary had birth pains. Wasn’t she without sin? Didn’t we “get” birth pains because of the sin of Eve?

    During the Joyful mysteries it came to me that it was a miraculous birth. Maybe my mind just made it up because after having 3 kids I just can’t fathom our Blessed Mother having to go through that. It is probably me being simplistic.

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    1. There are some theologians who think she went through normal birthing pains; more who say she didn’t. It is not doctrinal that she did not suffer birthing pains, so you are free to examine the questions as you wish – no matter how harshly another may chide you for whatever you think on the matter. Of more consequence is the Church’s consistent insistence that the birth did not affect her virginity.

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  7. Charlie,

    Very good. I would say more. But I have been hit with recurring colds and now influenza A. All I can do is offer it up.

    I can say this. A critical edition of the protoevangelium of James is on it’s way. It is now the scholarly consensus that it is the work of a first century Jewish Christian.

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      1. Charlie,

        I have a 2019 translation by Professor Lily Vuong that I have ordered for you as a belated Christmas present. She has some super commentary that ties in the ancient church at Dura-Europos. You will really like it!

        Now, here is an interesting point – when the Concilium was redoing the Calendar for the Roman Catholic Liturgical year, they decided to remove Marian feasts on the grounds that they were not ecumenical with Protestants and that they overshadowed Jesus. So, the Feast of Mary on October 11 went into the trashcan, and the feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of all Graces was left as a devotional mass. Other masses, such as Our Lady of Ransom, were left up to national Bishop’s conferences. They also moved to knock of the feasts of Mary’s nativity (September 8) and her Presentation in the Temple, on the grounds that they ultimately derived from the “apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James. The feast of the Mary’s nativity survived in part because somebody on the Concilium pointed out that Mary had to have a birthday, so why not keep what was already there, hallowed by the Church’s tradition?

        The argument against Mary’s Presentation in the temple (November 21) was much more strongly made, but failed because it would offend the Orthodox. To keep those who were against this feast happy, the reading for the 1971 Office of Readings were changed from the wonderful, on point, readings from St. John of Damascus found in the 1960 Roman Breviary, to the current one of St. Augustine which is a generalized encomium on Mary.

        There was an attempt to remove the feasts of Joachim and Ann, also, as having no scriptural grounds and that they were based on the so called apocrypha. However, the reaction against removing St. Ann was too strong, so in the end, the two feasts were combined into one.

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    1. Sorry ur under the weather too, Jim. I think Our Lord needs much suffering right now. On a side note, I seem to notice with each suffering I go through i feel just a tiny bit more purified…lol…then I get well, get cocky again and the process repeats…hahahahaha Jesus we trust in you! I will pray to St Raphael for you to feel better asap, jim🤗

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      1. Thank you for your prayers, Linda – I am all better now, thanks be to God! St. Raphael is a good friend, so i appreciate you calling upon him for help!

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        1. That is soooooo wonderful Jim…my hubby and I are still not well..lol…sort of funny me trying to take care of him while I’m totally sick too…we had an all day pj day yesterday. .first thing this am he says, time for urgent care…lol..I walked in n put mask on to further protect my weakened state and to protect all others there..Dr came in sick as all get go…said she has bronchitis. ..hahahahaha. ..poor dear…I felt so bad for HER!!##..SO….MY hubby, Michael, got a steroid shot and a non narcotic shot, one one both sides of his cheeks for severe gout flame up and inflammation too much making merry…and ..we all joked and laughed that it was decidedly a good way to begin the New Year!!! I think I’m fevering up again…😂😂😂 Obviously God needs our suffering, I think…but truly Jim..I am sooo happy for you to have a respit…love that healing angel Raphael. ..God is good🤗😇 God bless and keep you well Jim..you’ve had more than your share😣

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          1. Linda,

            If Mick does not mind, I will answer. In the old days when there was a Christendom, Every area had its own local shrine, whether Marian or that of a saint. Pre-reformation England, which was conisdered the dowery of the Virgin Mary was covered with Marian shrines. I provided Mick the lsit, but here is where to find it.

            First, go to the blog: http://www.sunlituplands.org/2019/09/englands-return-to-walsingham.html

            Then read the article. Click on where it says: dozens of Marian shrines

            You will be surprised as to how many restored and new shrines there are to our Lady in England. Look at all of those beautiful statues of Mary!

            Our Lady of Glastonbury can be clearly dated to at least 1154, when Henry II Plantagent (ff Thomas A’ Becket infamy) came to the throne of England. However, it is likely older, based on an Anglo-Saxon Shrine.

            These are the Glastonbury prayers:

            O Lord Jesus Christ, whose glorious Mother was honoured for so many centuries under the title of Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury, grant that through her intercession, together with that of your blessed martyrs Richard Whiting, Roger James and John Thorne, who in Glastonbury laid down their lives for their Faith, that true unity of Faith may be restored among Christians in this country and that we your servants may ever rejoice in health of mind and body to render you fitting praise. Amen.

            At this Shrine of Our Blessed Lady we ask you, Almighty Father, to fill our hearts with thanks for our redemption. And as the names of Jesus and Mary were linked together in Glastonbury’s ancient Shrine, we confidently ask through the merits of your divine Son and the intercession of his Blessed Mother, that You will grant us all we need for soul and body. Amen.

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        1. All better, Mick! Thank you for the prayers!

          A little update on our friends over in Glasonbury. Father Bede Rowe, who sent us our statues has created, under his bishop, the Benedictine Community of Our Lady of Gastonbury. Here is the website:

          http://www.glastonbury monastery.co.uk

          There basic form of prayer is the Benedictine Monastic Diurnal.

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    2. HI Jim…hope you’re doing a little better today. Mike & I prayed a pmt for you last night. We are a tad better..fever is a little better…but will not venture out, of course, don’t want to spredict this thing..but our hearts and prayers are with you this day….we know how ya feel. Get well soon and happy new year 🤗😇🎉🎊

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  8. Well I must confess there were times I was a little disrespectful to my Mother (God Rest Her Soul) but I loved her very much. Just saying…

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  9. I tend to think that Mary and Joseph did understand that the Child Mary carried was a new expression of God’s presence, but I agree that I don’t think they thought of an Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in so many words. The angel used the term “overshadowed” by the Most High, they would have understood this terminology as relating to the shekinah, the Glory of God which descended onto the Ark and rested in the Holy of Holies. So they would have understood something of God’s Glory dwelling within her. Also the angel told Mary that her son would be called Holy, the Son of God (Luke 1). So, while Mary perhaps did not know to think of her Son as the Incarnate Second Person of the Trinity, she did know the gravity of what was going on. The Prophet Simeon put this in another context for her too as she pondered this mystery. She knew plenty of scripture, I imagine she often considered and re-considered these prophecies as she and Joseph discerned their missions. Also, that bit where Jesus was found in the Temple, I also like to think of it as the time where Jesus Himself was coming to know in His human nature who He was. I think He knew who He was in His Divine Nature right from birth, but not in His human nature because it is not necessary for a toddler to know such things. I like to think of Mary seeing Jesus in the Temple and looking at Him with not only relief that He has been found, but also in wonder as she sees her Son start to come into His own a little. At the Wedding at Canna, they are both using language with double meaning, as two close hearts understand each other . . . and two hearts that know a LOT about scripture. Mary says “They have no wine” . . .well, she was also referencing Isaiah, which says that the Messiah shall bring new wine to the nations. Thus, this moment is kind of when Jesus announces the beginning of the Messianic age, He addresses her in language that alludes to the Woman of Genesis and the promise made ages ago. Mary is calling for Him to begin, and she doesn’t back down, but I don’t think it’s because she has set herself to make Him do it, I like to think of it as the fruit of a profound understanding between the two. Two hearts reflected and in agreement. So, in a spirit of understanding and trust, Mary tells the servants to “Do whatever He tells you”. I believe that much of the conversations between Jesus and Mary were similar, not abrupt, but very little needing to be said because their relationship was so strong. I imagine they often spoke using the imagery of the prophets and scripture to convey meaning and, maybe, make little dignified inside jokes. On a final note, the Bible is written both like a historical text which omits all but the most necessary information and also a legend with events and words recorded with the greatest dignity and solemnity due to profound respect for the subjects. So, unlike a novel, there would be no little scenes which are meant only to showcase the relationship of Jesus and Mary in an easily accessible way. I tend to think that their relationship was so obviously one of respect and love that the writers did not even think it needed special mentioning. Also, records of their exchanges would only include the most important ones which had import for all of humanity out of respect.

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    1. Perfectly logical Katherin if one understands that the apostles wrote this AFTER Pentecost when all that Jesus revealed to them was rendered clear.
      So every single event recorded in Scripture is pregnant with meaning and it has taken us the last 2000 years to amass what we now know through Scripture scholars, saints, Doctors of the church and theologians. Even so, one of our greatest Doctors, Aquinas, thought all his efforts but straw when a mystical experience revealed to him unfettered truth and widened his view immensely. He did not refute what he wrote as wrong but as insufficient to what he now understood truth to be. But God, knowing the weakness of men, allows us the limits of men like Aquinas to teach us “what is sufficient for the day” as we, as a whole, move forward in truth in time toward eternity. But only in eternity will we see God as He truly is.

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  10. Merry Christmas to all, I have been following this site for years (an OG squirrel), but rarely comment. I find that my spiritual reading follows a cyclical pattern. During the Christmas season, I enjoy reading The Admirable Life of the Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph (it is an excerpt taken from The Mystical City of God by Maria of Agreda). I would suggest reading this book to all, especially those who have enjoyed Charlies’s own reflections on the mysteries of the rosary or Job.

    For Jerry from New Jersey, along my spiritual journey I have encountered many questions and stumbling blocks similar to yours. I have found that in all those instances that it was either my own selfishness or worldliness that has blinded me to the truth. When I am experiencing such a difficult moment I like to return to Matthew 7:7-8. I have even be known to repeat these verses as a daily mantra. Just understand that the spiritual journey is a process and all will be revealed in God’s own timing. Sometimes I am blessed and the truth is revealed in short manner, and at other times it may be years. My own personal viewpoint in regards to the questions that you have is that Jesus never disrespected his mother. His final words are proof enough of that, showing his love and concern for the wellbeing of his mother after his death. I also believe that Jesus shows how much love he has for Mary when she is chosen to be his mother. Out of all the women, over all the time that has passed throughout all of creation, she alone is chosen for this most blessed gift. You can also say that the relationship between Mary and Jesus wasn’t a typical mother/son relationship and that their relationship was more of a spiritual one.

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      1. I do not doubt the intimate understanding between Our Lady and Jesus. When I referred to a “typical” mother/son relationship, I was inferring a “worldly” one. I do not think Mary concerned herself with the same worries that a majority of mothers in today’s world do. Mother’s usually are responsible for teaching their children and showing them how to live life. Mother’s generally are worried about their child’s health and well-being, their soul, their education, their extra-curricular activities, who their friends are, who their child dates and marries, what their child’s career may be, and so on.

        Therefore, to try to interpret and understand more fully the scenario at the Temple I try and place myself in their shoes. I imagine Mary felt that she was unworthy to be the Mother of God, yet she humbly submitted to the will of God. I do not feel that Mary taught her Son, but it was her Son that enlightened Mary’s soul and inspired her to live a more holy life. I have a strong feeling that Jesus spoke to Mary in a conversational manner starting when he was still a young infant, when most children normally start speaking their first words around 9-12 months and that their conversations were about matters regarding spirituality. Mary knew of the suffering her Son would undertake for the salvation of the world and this would understandably add to her own suffering. Mary was born without sin and naturally would have a deep reverence for her Son. Proverbs 1:7 states, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and discipline”. Our Lady Queen of Wisdom, is one of my favorites, and her fear of the Lord helped her to achieve this title.

        So when Our Lady had lost her most holy Son. When she was entrusted to be His Mother and earthly caretaker, it is quite understandable that she would worry and have much consternation. Some thoughts that I imagine concerned her were that she somehow offended God and He deserted her or that Archelaus, son of Herod, might have apprehended Him. For 3 days she searched for Him. Now we are at the temple and Luke 2:48-50 states, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety. Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be at my Father’s house? But they did not understand what he said to them.” A possible interpretation of these verses could be that Our Lady might of asked this question to find out if it was indeed something she might have done to offend Him and ask for pardon, but so overcome with joy at having finally been reunited with Him she could not understand Jesus’s response.

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        1. Shane, My comment was not meant as an objection of what you wrote. It was meant as an affirmation as one earthly mother (me) and my experiences with my sons. I just think that Jesus and Mary knew exactly each others intent without many words between them.

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  11. Charlie,

    Minding your previously expressed preference for the Ordinary Form over the Extraordinary Form, I simply chime in that I would bet some of your Christmas card list includes people who still wish that Christmas were still fully held as starting on December 25 and lasting until February 2 (rather than the seeming acceptance of it starting on Nov. 1 and ending at the stroke of midnight of the new day, December 26). 😉

    More seriously: I appreciate your assessment of Jesus’ relationship to Mary very much. Some terrific food for thought and prayer. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Fr. Joel. I subscribe to your position on Christmas. I think many people have gotten a renewed appreciation of Advent as a penitential season – but I am somewhat dismayed that most of those have no sense of it simultaneously being a season of joyful anticipation. How I would that people would truly see it as both. And then it would be Christmas, in its way, all the year long!

      I hope you do know the deep regard I have for the Extraordinary Form – and my appreciation of the fact that many who feel like me are going over to the Extraordinary Form because right now it is the most reliable means of surrounding yourself with people who take the faith seriously and with reverence. I am fortunate, indeed, to have a solid Parish, a solid Pastor, and a solid Archbishop. I know well that many do not.

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  12. Interesting conversation, though I’m not the least surprised that certain folks approach it from a scholarship position, while others take different routes. Clearly this is a group project that could go on for some time.

    A single practical (scholarly?) thought from my perspective. Some of those Bible passages quoting Jesus certainly can sound harsh. I could be missing it, but I don’t see anything from the writers themselves pointing it out as harsh. Surely they knew how much He loved Her and how He interacted with Her. Case in point: I caught myself in the past couple of years using more dry humor around my ma, which she never seemed to be particularly fond of in my dad who passed a couple years back. Funny thing, I think it soothed her, as I’m a bit of chip off the ‘ole block.

    We’re dealing with words on a page here folks… oh, I know… what WORDS they are, but still words (a snippet of the scene) that can only get us so far. Some of us listen pretty well, but also rely on so many more tools. You’ll laugh, but I think there are certain scenarios where listening is the least useful tool in the bag.

    I would have liked to have seen these scenes with my own eyes, but have to rely on the Holy Spirit to fill me in on what He thinks useful.

    Mostly I think we have to be careful not to project. I love my own dear, sweet ma who sets the bar pretty high in my expectations for Our Mother, and sorta leave it at that.

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  13. “Obedience is…a means of channeling grace in a divinely-appointed order of things.” Thank you, Charlie. I find this a comforting thought as well as a powerful reality in part because I can envision it. In light of this definition, in what does the “divinely-appointed order of things” consist and since obedience is “not [merely, perhaps?] a matter of the lesser submitting to the greater” how does one respond in obedience to the “divinely-appointed order of things” in the midst of confusion and chaos?

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    1. I stopped at this, too, Islam. I figured it meant following the Spirit for each ‘next right step.’
      Assuming the sources of open channels like prayer and sacraments are utilized.

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      1. Great! I would go even further and say that habitual or reflexive dissent–dissenting for the sake of dissent or to get attention–is destructive.

        So my question remains, in what does the “divinely-appointed order of things” the “lawful commands of lawful authority” consist? What is its basis, where does one find it? I do not mean to be pesky in my persistence. These questions seem reasonable and finding answers to them seems to have eternal ramifications and, yes, there are limits to what I can comprehend.

        To be brutally honest, Charlie, I’ve been wounded by betrayal. While, by the grace of God, I do forgive the betrayers, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, part of forgiveness is to do what is within one’s ability and powers to not be betrayed by the same sources. You know, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice or thrice or hundreds of times, shame on me”.

        I think that Modernism and modernists acting with authority are as destructive as knee-jerk dissent; maybe even more so since they at least have the appearance of “lawful” authority. (As Modernists, do they even have authority?) It’s one thing for my gut to ask, “Is that Catholic?” and another to gain the assent of my reason to seek an answer. Jesus promises that I will find answers sufficient for my individual needs and I believe Him.

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        1. I appreciate your dilemma, III. If someone has suffered a serious betrayal, they often retreat into excessive legalism to try to get a sense of control. Unfortunately, there is no easy and certain formula. That is why I so emphasize “The Next Right Step.” Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It is hard and we have to find our balance with each step. You cannot reject what is modern just because it is modern, nor venerate what is old just because it is old. I say read the Bible regularly and completely. Personally, I read a little from the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament each day – and when I reach the end of a section, start over. Just a little a day. And think about what is written. Many people with a Bible are more dangerous than with a pistol. They find something they like and beat it to death to the exclusion of everything else. Understand that almost all of the great heresies were not so much diametrically opposed to Scripture as they were over-emphasis of an otherwise valid point.

          Then read some of the giants – start with St. Augustine and, perhaps, ST. Thomas Aquinas (though I recommend Peter Kreeft’s Summa of the Summa to get a true sense of St. Thomas without having to grapple nakedly with his very advanced material. Then read some of the Church Fathers. Add some great popular apologists, such as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis and Scott Hahn. This will give you a sense of balance.

          Good for you on your persistence.

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          1. Thank you for your suggestions some of which I have read. I really do appreciate them as well as the time you are taking to address my dilemma.

            Perhaps the very rudimentary even primordial ooze-like thoughts to consider as I try to make my (and perhaps others’) dilemma more clear to you are what I call my First Things starting point, those solid, rock-like, foundational Truths that I take out whenever the confusion tries to overwhelm me: there is a God and I am not Him.

            What next to consider? Divine revelation (Scripture and Tradition), the Second Person incarnate, The Way, The Truth, and The Life, Who gave us one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church to teach whatsoever He commanded WITHOUT FAIL… But then you say there is no “certain formula”. Hmmmmm

            Of course there is fear and trembling and no ease in following the Crucified One–He’s the Crucified One after all, but at the same time you say that there is no ‘certain formula’. No Way, no Truth, no Life? Surely that is not what you mean when you say there is no “certain formula” to look to, to follow when establishing one’s balance in next right stepping. Is it?

            Of course any approximation of a possible “formula” for taking next right steps would be as varied, unique, and intimate as each individual ever created is varied and unique. But that there is no “certain formula” in general does not jive with at the same time there being a “divinely-appointed order of things” as well as the need to obey “lawful authority and lawful commands”. To me, phrases like those sound like grounds for at least a level of certainty if not exactly a “certain formula”. Do not the Beatitudes and Commandments connote certain formulas? What precisely do you mean, Charlie, when you say there is no “certain formula”?

            Finally, when it comes to the heresy of Modernism in all its various parts and pieces, did not several popes describe it/them in order to help the Church defend against it/them? How does the heresy of Modernism differ in its teaching from Catholic teaching (those honorable schools of thought that you mentioned) about what Jesus knew and when He knew it?

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            1. I’ll start with the last first: the heresy of modernism has nothing to do with what Jesus knew and when he knew it. It’s as if you asked how does refined 89-octane gasoline differ from Newman’s Spaghetti Sauce in its effect on the tides. I get flustered sometimes because you conflate apples, bananas, beach balls and ten-penny nails as all being the same thing, when they are dramatically different in substance, use, and property. Hermeneutics, theology, apologetics, eschatology, and many more disciplines have a place in Catholic Study – but they are not interchangeable and many are not directly related to each other (rather, fitting like a puzzle). Don’t mistreat them as if they do.

              You take broad leaps that sound plausible, but don’t hold up under examination. Do you think you have “gotten” me with the business of no certain formula? God has given certain commands. It is up to us to decide how best to apply them to specific situations – and in that, there is no certain formula. Only the next right step, with humility and trembling. The oddity is that the heart of the heresy of modernism is that it posits that man can access absolute truth through the use of science and rationalism – that there IS a certain formula that does not require individual moral agency or humility. Amusing to me that as you condemn “modernism” your argument advocates for it while I constantly warn against it.

              I do have trouble understanding you much of the time, III. Sometimes, you seem to be a sincere seeker, trying to find the way forward as best you can. And then in any extended conversation, you tend to go into an aggressive mode, coming up with sophomoric arguments that are not internally coherent and that fall apart with the least examination. And then you claim to have studied deeply such things as “modernism,” then use the principles of this condemned heresy to try to prove your point. Bizarre.

              Here’s the reality…some people are solid enough that they are close to being genuine white hats, others conniving enough that they are close to being genuine black hats. But most are grey hats – with plenty of good and bad in the mix. Your job is to try to be as white a hat as you can AND to draw other in-betweens closer to Christ rather than to drive them farther away – and you will be judged on how you succeed at these tasks. When there is no certain formula on how to apply the Gospels to all conceivable situations, you must hold fast to God with real humility and resolve while exercising your moral agency with resolve. The certain formula you seek, the modernism, would allow you to release your hold on God and just show you clearly what and who to condemn. At some point, I think you lost the narrative of what Christ calls us to.

              I really think you would do well to PONDER the C.S. Lewis line that Timothy quoted: “Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.” -C. S. Lewis. You don’t draw closer to God by developing the certain formula, but by little insights, often painfully gained each day. Contemplate 1 Kings 19:11-12 and try to hear God’s little whispers.

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              1. My simple understanding of “there is no certain formula” simply means that whereas normally formulas are presented as specific, clear, simple, short and inclusive, directives on the other hand are general and must in application include all applicable aspects in order to reach a balanced and true next right step. jas

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              2. I sincerely thank you for your time and efforts. I really, really, really appreciate your second paragraph and believe it or not I understand and actually try to practice much of what you teach in the other paragraphs.

                I think I finally get this! I sure hope that I do. If you could just abide a little more of my frustrating way of approaching things, I would be ever so grateful because I believe that your distillation of what is at the heart of the heresy of Modernism has resolved my quandary! You say, “the heart of the heresy of modernism is that it posits that man can access absolute truth through the use of science and rationalism”.

                Please allow me to paraphrase that distillation so that I can solidly “make it my own”: a Modernist is one who rejects the Supernatural Mysteries of the Catholic Faith in favor of and striving for the impossible: absolute certainty based on science and rationalism alone. Is that a fair paraphrase?

                I hope so because it feels solid and like a tool that I can add to “My First Things” starting points. Do you see that it would be reassuring to have a kind of template to refer to when my gut asks, “Is that Catholic?” and I go in search of the reasons that test my gut reaction?

                Please feel free to tweak my paraphrase more precisely. You can not know my relief if I’m on the right track with this. To have a possible tool for aiding me in discerning “the divinely-appointed order of things” while I take the next right step would be a God send. Please feel free to tweak and prune. Even more important to me, please tell me if I am way out in left field.

                Also, thank you for expressing your frustration and acknowledging that you often do not understand me. That helps me, too.

                Perhaps I’m like the student who makes a question seem complicated not because what he is really trying to get at is complicated or because his motivation is one of aggression but more because while the student might have the vocabulary because he read the textbook, the teacher knows so much more and has things figured out so much better than the student that he can’t understand the question or the mish-mash going on in the student’s brain?

                On this particular occasion of exasperation I think I see the nub of the issue and once again I sincerely apologize for seeming to know more than I actually do. You see after having read the Oath Against Modernism and trudging through the tedium of the Catechism on Modernism, I would never say that I have studied deeply. Oh, my, no! In fact, my takeaway on what I read is that there is some kind of foundational and small but HUGELY significant difference between the process that involves Scholasticism (which has something to do with St. Thomas Aquinas) and Phenomenology (which has something to do with Modernism) and that because of the difference in those starting points, conclusions get way screwed up once they come out the other end of the faulty reasoning process that underlies Modernism–whatever it is.

                From what I read, I could not for the life of me tell what was going within the different reasoning processes AND because my formation is bereft of Scholasticism has been steeped in Modernist conclusions (which I had been betrayed into thinking were actually Catholic), it’s almost impossible for me to discern that there is a difference in the conclusions except by an unsettling sense, a whisper, if you will, that “something’s not quite right”, not quite Catholic.

                In all fairness, with me at least, Charlie, could it be that what is actually most frustrating is based on the assumptions that you make about me and my motivations? Even so, for whatever reason, especially with all the frustration you experience I find your willingness to deal with me nigh on heroic. Thank you for hanging in there. I really do appreciate it and I look forward to your critique of my paraphrase.


                1. Your last line may be a fair, but incomplete, take. I think we are on the road to understanding and then something comes out of left field making me think….wha???

                  Anyway, the means is significant, but the heart is that we can achieve absolute certainty on how to respond to all things. We really can’t. Many Catholic writers, including ST. John Paul and Pope Benedict (most recently) have written about the marriage of faith and reason in the Church. And yet, the upshot is that we cannot attain all truth until we are glorified – and so this earth is a pilgrim journey for each of us.

                  My first Spiritual Director told me once about a man who came to him seeking direction. The young man confided he wanted to be a “heat-seeking missile against heresy.” Fr. Bill declined, noting the fellow did not even understand the most basic thing about the faith and had entirely wrong motivations that would ultimately do a lot of damage. We struggle along.


                  1. III – I appreciate your coming from a place of being betrayed. It happened to me many years ago and blew my world apart. The most challenging thing immediately was not willing to trust anyone or anything or any writings – and realizing that the root of the distrust was that I did not trust myself. For me, in addition to that pesky forgiveness process of several years, I had to go back to simple. The Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. Daily Mass, Confession, and spending time reflecting on scriptures from Mass helped. Being quiet at least 30 minutes a day before Him was essential. The waves of His love gradually remake you. Gradually – like years. St Faustina’s image of Jesus was deeply profound for me. I couldn’t trust myself – all my intelligence and insight and “trying to figure it out” had failed me, but I could trust Him! He is so magnificently patient with us and lets us take our little tiny steps as best we can.

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                  2. “….the upshot is that we cannot attain all truth until we are glorified.” Charlie,(or anyone), does that mean there will or won’t be tiers of intellect in heaven? Or will everybody continue on learning, gaining knowledge and wisdom at the level they were on earth?
                    If so, sounds like those of us with average intelligence will never catch up with some of the learned/philosophical folks here b/c you’ll be attaining that which is way beyond the stratospheres of St. T. Aquinas 🙂


                    1. I don’t know, Maggie, but it is an interesting question. St. Thomas Aquinas ridiculed the notion that all would be equal in heaven – as absurd as asserting that all the stars in the sky shine with the same brightness. Yet all will be equally glorified.

                      I sometimes think much is dependent on how steadfast in faith we are on earth. To wit: all will be filled to their complete capacity – but not all will have the same capacity. Thus, as there are 10-oz. tumblers and gallon jars here, all will be filled – but with a different capacity for how much they can hold. Yet, I think our sojourn on earth has a big impact on how large our capacity there will be. What is certain is that all will be completely joyful and content there, despite any differences of capacity, for there will be no envy there – just gratitude and joy.

                      This is largely speculative on my part, but as you can see, I have speculated on it over the years – and consider it a worthy question. I think the idea that we will all be just the same with exactly the same capacities is puerile. I agree with St. Thomas on that point, though I very much doubt I understand the implications of that near as well as he did.


                    2. Maggie.
                      There are degrees in heaven, even the Bible mentions this in Revelations about the “elders” around the throne. Then there are the martyrs (who are under the throne), virgins,
                      Priests, Prelates, Popes, mystics, desert fathers, etc.
                      Some Saints have discussed this and record that each person will be filled to capacity and, as Charlie mentions, each souls capacity is different. But we will “see God as He truly is” and be fulfilled up to our own level of perfection to the point that we will not want or need any more enlightening accept through reception of “accidental grace” which is described as a universal blessing like what occures to the Body of Christ when one receives Holy Communion.
                      Scripture says “no eye has seen nore ear heard” what is in store for us since it is a spiritual existance unlike our physical world so we really don’t know for such what is going to happen there!


                    3. Sorry, Maggie. I’ve always been fascinated with words…rolling them around in my head and on my tongue to see what they feel like. So I have a fairly large vocabulary. In all fairness (as you know if you have been to a talk) I write pretty much the same way I talk.

                      Even back in high school, friends would tell me my stuff in the school paper was too “scholarly,” that I needed to tone it down. I pointed out I was, by far, the most popular writer on staff – and that people were not as dumb as they thought they were…and that I embed trickier words in a way so that the context largely provides a definition. And that if people had to pull out a dictionary from time to time, what was the harm in that? I also (with no little cockiness) told them their time would be better spent worrying about how to build an audience for our other writers rather than worrying that I might lose some of mine if I didn’t do it their dumb way – which was not getting much of an audience. Sometimes I’m humble – sometimes I’m not. Either way, I usually have some fun along the way.

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                    4. We should always strive to improve our vocabulary. It’s so easy now on a smart phone just to tap the word and up comes the definition; not like in the ‘ole days flipping through the big dictionaries when mom used to make us read Joe Sobran’s columns from the Wanderer or The Mindszenty and PhyllisSchlafly Reports to keep our ‘brains fed’ during the lazy days of h.s. summers (even though we had jobs).
                      Speaking of ‘fun along the way’ and PF’s ‘not need any more enlightening’, I guess this scenario won’t likely happen after all on the other side of the veil: Off in the distance a certain unmistakable laughter fills the air, and this TNRStepper says, “I just heard Charlie’s chuckle, let’s go ask him, b/c he’ll know how to explain this perplexing philosophical mystery and remember on 1/3/20 he said that he’ll always be full of ‘gratitude and joy’ in heaven. He won’t mind if this is the umpteenth time today we’ve pestered him.” 🙂 Instead, I’ll be blissfully content in my simple ways just praising the Lord and praying for my earthly friends/family, (and those who have no one to pray form them), to be able to join me when their time comes.

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                    5. Here is some interesting Math.  If there are ten billion souls in heaven and you spend 1 second every day with a different person, then you will spend an infinite amount of time with all 10 billion.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack


                  3. This is really tough, Charlie, and I apologize up front but I do not understand what you mean when you say, “Your last line may be a fair, but incomplete, take. I think we are on the road to understanding and then something comes out of left field making me think….wha???” To which last line do you refer and how is it a fair but incomplete take? Is that which has come out of left field something to do with the paraphrase about a Modernist that I hit upon? If so, what part is in left field? If not, what are you referring to about “left field…wha???” I’m really trying to be clear.

                    Also, when you say, “the means is significant, but the heart is that we can achieve absolute certainty on how to respond to all things”, what do you mean? The means of what is significant? The heart of what exactly?

                    You didn’t ask but I’ll tell you in hopes that this will give you insight into me and maybe clarify my own position so that you are not working on assumptions about me. In fear and trembling while trying to cooperate with grace in order to be as “white of a hat” as God would have me be, I am quite certain that not only can I NOT know about Supernatural Mysteries with absolute certainty and fullness, I do not want to know with absolute certainty and fullness because then God would not be God.

                    Also, please correct me if the following is not what the Catholic Church teaches: I’m pretty certain that even when glorified (God willing), I will not know in eternal, infinite fullness the Supernatural Mysteries that are God because I am always limited, as a creature can only be in the proper order of things. However, that which I will know in the mystery of the Beatific Vision (God Willing), as limited as it will be, will be certain sure and as full as my limitedness allows.


                    1. I sometimes DO doubt your motives. That is what I mean, quite simply. You quote some very solid stuff, sometimes interpreting it okay, at others completely misinterpreting it, then you sometimes do not understand the simplest, most straightforward statements – or at least say you don’t. Add to that that I AM aware of your presence on other message boards where you have said at times that you are going to stick around here as long as we let you in hopes of enlightening some of us poor, ignorant, misguided fools on this site. So yes, I do mistrust your motives often. But if that was the end of the story, I would have given up on you already. Ordinary, common idioms that almost everybody understands seem to often stump you. When I say the means, I meant what I was talking about, modernism – and that the means of science are the means most often used to achieve that absolute certainty, but that the heart of it all is that absolute certainty can be obtained on this plane.

                      And yet, at other times you do seem an honest seeker. And for all the things that make me hold my head, sometimes you come up with really good, even important, insights – as you did in the last paragraph here. I think Steve BC may be on to something here. You come across as trying to be a clinical academic, yet clearly lack the knowledge, rigor and discipline to pull it off. I actually am somewhat hopeful – because of late you have been speaking more plainly and in a straightforward way. And also, it has been a few months now since I have seen you denigrate this site on other message boards. So maybe we are getting to a modus vivendi.


                    2. It seems like maybe you’ve given me the benefit of the doubt while at the same time, perhaps, denigrating me. Oh, well. That doesn’t strike me as your usual way of doing business; so I will give you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps it comes from frustration due to the sincere effort you have made in trying to figure me out. I hope you will forgive me for exasperating you. It is likely that you won’t believe me but except for the one time with the “cryptic” unmentionable reference, my intention has not been to exasperate.

                      Also, I hope that you are right that in answering Steve BC’s questions and “speaking more plainly and in a straightforward way” your quandary over my motives will be resolved and an “agreement to disagree” will be reached.


                    3. III, Charlie is not denigrating you.  I sense a certain insecurity masked by a need to appear super knowledgeable.  Has there been trauma or pain in your life?  Over critical father?  No need to reveal anything publicly, but consider interior reflection on this  if you see a connection.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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                    4. Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, Doug. I value your input.

                      Of course there has been trauma and pain in my life; I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had both. However, neither stem from my father.

                      I mentioned earlier in this comment thread that with which I am wrestling. It is betrayal. I am coming to terms with betrayal by authorities in general as well as coming to terms with having been betrayed by authorities in the Church specifically and especially in light of Jesus’ promises. Next is a two-parter, self-imposed mission for me: figure out how to constructively use this realization in some way in order to try to end the cycle of betrayal and at the same time not jump out of the Barque of Peter either to the left or to the right while searching.

                      What is the particular matter of my betrayal? My patrimony–the teachings of the one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic faith–was not given to generations of us whole and entire. Once I figured that out, I started seeking for my patrimony in earnest only to discover what seems to me to be even more betrayal, even sometimes with the best of intentions.

                      Perhaps because I’m a generalist and not in the least bit a scholar, what I posit to be betrayal (because it is often unsatisfactorily based on my gut feeling) is actually not betrayal at all. Very well and very well. If that is the case, GREAT!

                      Frustratingly, I know that I don’t know, but what exactly it is that I don’t know I am unable to discover BECAUSE, it turns out, I don’t do well asking intelligible questions about my gut feelings even when or perhaps especially because I’ve studied–in general–and tried to find the reasonable basis for my gut feelings. Thus I apparently sound like I know what I’m talking about.

                      I guess that I don’t ask intelligible questions because I confuse this with that and that with this and I didn’t even know I was, but apparently I’m supposed to know that I’m confusing stuff because I sound like a should know that I’m confusing stuff. Grrrrr

                      Like Charlie told me earlier, “Here’s the reality…some people are solid enough that they are close to being genuine white hats, others conniving enough that they are close to being genuine black hats. But most are grey hats – with plenty of good and bad in the mix. Your job is to try to be as white a hat as you can AND to draw other in-betweens closer to Christ rather than to drive them farther away – and you will be judged on how you succeed at these tasks.” Very well.

                      In light of all the long-standing, on-going, never-gonna-stop-in-this-life betrayals, how does Jesus’ Church fit into the whole “drawing other in-betweens closer to Christ”?


                    5. Hi III, betrayal is a hard thing to experience.  I don’t know where that stems from, but it generates a loss of trust and can very easily degenerate to cynicism.  If one is especially vulnerable, as in a young person, it can be very traumatic.  Who do you trust after that?  How do you trust after that?My Lamzie was given up at 1 year and institutionalized in a mentally handicapped institution until she was almost five.  The abandonment caused great emotional trauma and led to emotional insecurity. This has affected our relationship and parenting all her(our) adult years.  We have been married 35 years now.  At age 47 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We were married 23 years at the time.  It was through a prayer session we were both paricipating at this time that it was revealed to me.  God allowed me to peer into her soul.  He allowed me to glimpse her value as he sees it.  It instantly penetrated deep within me how intensely valuable her soul is.  The value is beyond measure.  In the next instant, it was made clear to me that I was given a great charge over her and very intentionally placed in her life.  She suffered years of trauma basically due to  what was abandonment from her parents.  There was a life time of insecurity growing up and the charge I have been given is to counter that with a life time of love, affirmation and trust.  Her healing was not going to be instantaneous, but a long process of rebuilding trust and security.  I have been given a great gift and it is a miracle we ever came together because if you knew me before my conversion,  I was very self focused.  We dated 3 years and I broke up with her.  It was then that I experienced my conversion to God.  I was agnostic on my good days prior to that.  Mainly God got hold of me and we got back together and got married.  This time,  for both of us, we made God the central part of our marriage and it has been such to this day.  It was not always smooth, but if not for God in our lives, I am not sure we would have made it.  All thanks giving goes to him.So where am I going with all this?  First, your soul.  The immense value of your soul is beyond measure.  It is priceless and God’s view of your soul is also beyond measure.  You are of the most intense value to him.  You are his beloved treasured child.The unfortunate thing is we have been given free will to chose good and evil and God calls us to chose the good.  Unfortunately, many chose evil and even worse, use that evil against others and it can even be in leadership in the church.  Jesus said there would be sin, but woe to those who cause one of these little ones to sin.  It would be better if a mill stone was tied to them and they be thrown into the sea.  No doubt, church leaders will be held to greater account due to their position.I have a saying.  Forgiveness is granted, but trust is earned.  It can take many years to rebuild trust as can be attested by Lambzies and my relationship.  We are best friends now.In regards to the church, there is the church and then there are the people in the church.  Due to free will, there can be bad actors in the church.  If you can detach the bad actors from the church, you would have come a long way.  I hear it from an apparition, I think it was Medjugorje, that there will always be Judas in the church.  If you think about it, Jesus was betrayed by one of the original 12.  Think of Jesus ultimate betrayal that lead to the crucifixion.  Jesus understands betrayal more than anyone and with all the recent comments here about his humanity, he understands you and your betrayal.  If you can detach this betrayal from the church, you have come a long way.  This is why Satan wants to attack God’s church so badly.  He can bring many souls down if he infiltrates the church in high places.  This is taking place today and will go a long way, but God will eventually stop this.  He will purify his church.  This will take time and patience,  but he will do it.  He promised.Here is what I suggest.  Have you read Saint Faustina’s diary “Divine Mercy in my Soul”?  If not, I suggest you read it.  It is a long read and ment to be read in bits and pieces.  In the beginning, you can see how insecure Saint Faustina is, but as Jesus continues to reveal himself to her, you can palpably see the transition in her soul to one of great trust.  Jesus will not betray.Next, I suggest to get back to basics.  Move away from intense theological studies for a while and focus on reading the scripture and especially the gospels.  I especially like the gospel of John.  Bask in Jesus love.All this will take time and commitment on your part, but I assure you, you will not be disappointed.  Freedom and trust will increase.  Your worth is immeasurable.I finish with Numbers 6:22.  “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord let his face shine upon you, the Lord be gracious to you, the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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                    6. Thank you for your revelations. I have read St Faustina’s long but meaty book. The betrayal I have experienced is greasy kid stuff compared to your dear Lambzie’s. God will purify His Church. He is doing it while I type. There will always be Judases and Jesus’ betrayal and response teaches me much. I’ve read St. Faustina and it was a long read. : )

                      Charlie’s summation of White Hats, Black Hats, and inbetweeners is what I have understood for a long time. Usually by grace, I don’t hold fallibleness and weakness against anyone.

                      I myself am limited in understanding the technicalities of discipline, doctrine, dogma, magisterium, as well as the theology, philosophy, ecclesiology, history, etc. of any number of Jesus’ Church as well as any number of heretical ‘-isms’. Steve BC has assisted me in clearly articulating that I have only general ideas about these and most subjects which is sufficient and satisfactory for me.

                      By grace and grace alone I have the gift of Faith as well as the grace of holy fear that I can lose that gift.
                      To reiterate and put it simply, I trust Jesus, but I do not trust myself OR humans yet knowing that Jesus uses men as instruments to bring us to Truth it seems to me to be a dangerous and even Protestant position where the unholy trinity of “me, myself, and I” decides what is true and what isn’t true rather than believing what the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have revealed and teach through the Church.

                      Also, because Recognize and Resisters (those sincere Catholics who recognize that there is a pope BUT determine to resist what he teaches whenever it is not Catholic–according to their own studies) seem to me to be practical Sedevacantists (or even perhaps schismatic in as much as they do not submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff because they recognize him but resist the authority of what he teaches), I do not want to take that route. At the same time, having to depend on my gut seems like deciding for myself what is and isn’t Truth and that strikes me as a Protestant position when what I really want is to just be Catholic.

                      So back to basics it is. A program has been suggested that I am encouraged to begin. It includes study to some extent but most of all, to reconsecrate myself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to do everything I do for love of them, and to repent of every sin and habit of sin. For until I do the latter, I am like a plug not plugged into its socket.

                      Thank you again, Doug. It is a privilege and an honor to have your attention and input in seeing a way clear through my struggles.

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                2. Islam is Islam,

                  I would note that scholastic theology is not the theology of the Catholic Church. It has been, more or less, been the dominant methodology of theological thought in the Roman Catholic Church since the 12th century. Its roots go back to St Severinus Boethius and Leontius of Byzantium. Scholastic theology is larger than Thomism (the thought of Thomas Aquinas), which is one particular school of scholastic thought. You also have Scotism, and other approaches. Too often one falls into the temptation to get caught up in the scholastic approach or methodology and forgets the message of Christianity.

                  An over reliance on Thomism is not healthy, and has caused problems. It is no coincidence that Byzantine/orthodox Mariological thought begins to question what was understood as her pre-purification before birth ONLY after they are exposed to Thomas Aquinas’s arguments against the Immaculate Conception in the 14th century (despite what the late Father John Meyendorff argued, the Byzantines were just as much scholastics as the westerners). Ironically, the contemporary Orthodox Church, which for the most part views Thomas Aquinas with suspicion, has in advertently adopted his anti-immaculate conception thought in this matter, and more or less forgotten their older perspective, that of Mary being pre-purified. But, by reaching back to patristic roots, the older position and orthodox position is appearing again, as a challenge.

                  This does not mean all Thomism is bad. Thomism is very good, excellent, and useful, for the most part. But Thomas’s position on the Immaculate Conception does is illustrate that one should not slavishly devote themselves to one particular mode of thought in developing their faith, unless they are an academic in that field, or under the advice of their spiritual director.


                  1. Thank you, JIM, for these clarifications about the methodology and history of Scholasticism. I tend to prefer the processes methodology and thought processes of Duns Scotus however those would be classified and differentiated from St. Thomas’ methodology, I wouldn’t know.


                3. Islam is Islam, everyone here is engaging with you at the level of scholarship or thought. If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a few personal questions to see if I can get to know YOU a little better before I add a little bit to this roundabout debate.

                  Everyone takes his or her own approach to the World, but there are only a few generic approaches. I mean no offense here, but I think your natural process of dealing with the world is not the scholarly process that you appear to be taking here, and I think that is causing a lot of confusion for you and everyone else.

                  Are you a naturally creative person? Maybe with curly hair? 🙂 Do you wear glasses? Do you look like a back-of-the-library scholar? Do people around you consider you neutral in look and when you are relaxed and quiet, or do you wear flamboyant clothing and stand out in a crowd? Do people look to you for knowledge or for laughter or fun or color advice? When people who know you pretty well talk about you or compliment you, do they compliment you for being knowledgeable or for being creative or for being very active and athletic, or for your humor, or an ability to organize and get people to carry out a project?

                  I know these questions may sound a little weird, and please, if you don’t want to provide me with this information, that’s entirely OK. I’m not asking for your name, or where you live. I don’t even know or need to know if you are a man or a woman, although it might help to know if you are young, middle-aged or elderly. Rather, I’m looking for what your characteristics are, what others see as naturally who you are, or what you feel is most naturally you. There is some method to my madness here, and I might be able to give you some information that could help you in your search, or perhaps better to say in *how* you search.


                  1. Thank you for asking, Steve BC. I’m a plain Jane, I prefer not to stick out in a crowd. I prefer to sit in a library and read rather than be in the cafeteria for lunch. I like science and prefer laboratory sample-prep over a coffee klatch. I can participate in a coffee klatch, but it’s outside of my comfort zone. People will complement me for being articulate about that which I know. I don’t go out of my way to be funny, but have been thanked for bringing humor and diplomacy to strained situations. My creativity generally runs toward utility: seeing a problem and thinking outside of the box to resolve it. Thank you again for asking. I hope these insights are helpful for you in suggesting some ‘hows’ for me to proceed.


                    1. Thank you so much, III. I appreciate the description. Believe it or not, you are a lot like me in these traits. I would describe myself in quite similar ways. As such, I will run a bit of a risk here with you and hope my own experiences might be helpful to all here. If you find my remarks offensive, III, please simply dismiss them from your mind.

                      Scholars like the two of us have one lesson we need to learn above all others. Our theories, our thoughts, are not reality. They are only theories or thoughts *about* reality. Their validity is not inherent in themselves simply because we believe them to be true or fall in love with the intellectual beauty we find in them. They must be tested against the physical world and against other people’s knowledge and experience before we can move them from the theory side of our minds to the truth side.

                      A secondary part of that lesson is that the proving of our theories is our responsibility, and we must not approach others without some humility, that we might actually be wrong about something we think is true. This requires a lot of self-discipline. When we tell others something we think but do not know is true as if it actually *is* true, we abuse our scholarly status with others, who naturally tend to give us scholars some credibility as knowledgeable about the subject we are speaking of, simply because of who and what we are.

                      I speculate that you are disputing with Charlie because you are still unclear in your own mind about what you know to be actual knowledge and what is only theory about this subject, *and* you yourself have not recognized that you are in that state. Charlie has schooled me several times for essentially the same thing, not properly distinguishing between what in my mind or in what I say is theory and what is proven true prior to me saying it. He himself is intensely rigorous in his thinking, so he has some degree of right to take me to task in this way! 🙂

                      I would recommend two things for you to consider doing, and I do this because it is what I did myself a number of years ago when I discovered to my dismay that my theories about the world were not the world.

                      First, I recommend you step back from all your current conversations about *all* the subjects you are interested in. Rigorously force yourself to review all that you think you know. You need to know what you actually know to be true and what in each subject you *think* may be true but have not verified yet and which ideas are provisional.

                      Second, I recommend after your review, that you make a commitment to humble rigor in future conversations with others. Learn not to be afraid to let someone else know what you believe is true and when you are considering something that might be true or not. Scholars who let others know when they are speaking from clear knowledge of truth and when they are speculating about what they think might be true gradually develop even more scholarly credibility with others than they used to have, and they *deserve* that credibility. And people who (unlike generalists like you and me) *are* experts in their specific field will become founts of knowledge for you when you speak as both an equal and a seeker of knowledge and verified truth in that field.

                      As a scholar, you can best affect the world and those you know and love by speaking truth, not by filling the spaces of a conversation with intellectual fog. Creative artisans can afford to have disorganized minds, but we scholars must keep our minds organized. Be Thomas Aquinas, not Vincent Van Gogh. Be rigorous in all things, including *especially* within your own mind.


                    2. Thank you, Steve. Your observations, descriptions, and suggestions are edifying. Thank you also for the kindness of your approach and your permission to disregard whatever does not apply–whether I find it offensive or not. For a start, I do not consider myself a scholar and whatever theories that I have, like the possible definition of a Modernist I recently put forth, for example, I do bring out to be tested–even rigorously tested. As I see it a theory is not of any use to me if it doesn’t hold up to the rigors of reality and thus it needs to be discarded however much stock I might have formerly put into it.

                      I realize with great clarity of late that I don’t even know what I don’t know. Even more profoundly confounding is discovering that I don’t even know that I don’t know what I don’t know. Rather I have an unsettling gut response that something’s not quite right. I thought that this was my motive for asking questions–to move from merely gut response to a more solid but not absolutely certain position of reason, too. I didn’t intend to be disputing but now it appears quite likely that I don’t even know how to ask questions about what I’m trying to find out and so I guess that I appear to be disputing. Great.

                      I fully and readily admit that I am a generalist and not a scholar and I have apologized several times in the past as well as recently for giving the impression that I am a scholar or even the impression that I think of myself as one. As you have observed I’m more a “Jack of some trades and master of none”–a generalist.

                      I do appreciate that you have taken such a novel approach to discover/uncover and help me with sorting through the difficulties I am having at present and of late. To be honest, at this time, I don’t think that my spirit can handle much more study–rigorous or not. Thank you again.

                      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Charlie! Thought I’d share something I heard in a homily about 35 years ago. It was given by Archbishop Joseph M. Raya, , Associate Priest of Madonna House, Consecrated Archbishop of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee. He was Lebanese and an Arab, so he knew the culture. He spoke about how we read Scripture as Westerners. He told us how he had heard his father address his mother as “Woman” only twice in his life. And the reverence that was in his voice when he spoke that word made such an impression on him. He was actually honoring her by addressing her that way.

    It has occurred to me that we can misread many things since we simply do not hear the tone of voice in which it was spoken.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Yvonne R

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Thank you, Yvonne. Sometimes we develop a peculiar temporal provincialism which cause us to interpret other cultures only through the prism of our own. I really appreciate you sharing this with us.

      Liked by 6 people

  15. Mother Angelica gave her take on the wedding at Cana. She said Jesus did not rebuke His Mother. Rather, He was waiting for her fiat. Just as Mary gave her fiat and the Word was made flesh, Jesus was asking for her fiat to begin His public ministry. When she said, “ do whatever He tells you,” she was giving her fiat. She knew what He was asking.

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    1. Kristinreh, I have the same belief as you here. She did not give her permission when He was 12 in the Temple (the first bookend) and she needed to reverse that at some point. The Wedding event was that moment and the other bookend. In between those events, Jesus was obedient and subject to His mother. Someone else here mentioned that the age of 12 is really the first age where a child could be said to make a conscious choice to be obedient to his parents. Whether Jesus said, “Oh. OK, mother” or was consciously offering/waiting for her to choose for Him how He would go forward from that point, she did choose for Him to be obedient, so the corresponding release became necessary later in their lives. And yes, I believe both of them knew exactly what that moment in Cana meant. 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Steve, wonderful pondering. I appreciate the depth of your thoughts.
        Beckita, I posted this before but I have yet to see it. If this is a duplicate, please delete.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Ah, Mother Angelica. I always could accept her Teaching ( only a few indirect opinions jarred me:)

      Looks like a bunch of us agree about Cana; and so about God waiting for our fiats in one area after another, it seems!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It turns out I have also pondered the scene in the Temple many times. Jesus left His parents, who had to search him out. I too have always been confused by this apparent act of arrogance, which He had to know would hurt His parents badly, and He apparently lacked remorse. Yet He did obey.

    I also have been trying to figure out the words at the wedding in Cana. It seems odd that He would say His time had not yet come and be so dismissive, and then do what Mary said.

    Finally, a few weeks ago it all clicked together for me, when I realized the two events are bookends. Of course, I have no idea if what I figured out actually happened, but hey, I’ll pass it along to you folks for your comment.

    I think the Bible does not help us figure this out because it just said that she pondered His words, but I believe that Mary was actually pretty put out by Jesus. When He said, “Do you not know I must be about My Father’s business” or as Charlie said above, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”, I think Mary replied with some acerbity “No, we’re going home. Your time has not yet come.” He heard that, went something like, “Oh. OK.” and then bowed to His parents as He should have. No apology would have been necessary.

    Perhaps Jesus as God always knew everything, but I think this subject has been considered here, with the basic decision being that Jesus knew what He needed to know when He needed to know it. Perhaps at that moment, Jesus found Himself realizing it was actually not His time and that He needed to be obedient until released some time in the future. He still had to be human and abide by the Fifth Commandment, which says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Indeed, if you do calculations, His time of obedience added 18 years to His life.

    So the years go by, Jesus remains obedient to Mary, and then one day, they go to Cana to a wedding. Mary realizes that the wedding party is running out of wine, so she goes to Jesus and says, essentially, “Do something.”

    This is the moment that bookends the scene at the Temple when He was 12. With a twinkle in His eye and a slight smile, He says to Mary, “My time has not yet come.” (In this view, He would have said these words gently, as a reminder of the initial bookend 18 years previously.) And Mary, getting the joke as well as the underlying understanding that Jesus has been waiting for her to release Him from His obedience since He was 12, shares a smile with Him, possibly one of those mixed smiles where you know it’s a joke but that something big will change in the next moment, something that is serious and may mean pain in the future. She turns to a waiter, says, “Do what He says.” And the world changed.

    To me, this makes sense as a pair of bookends marking His choice to obey, with the latter bookend providing an opportunity for a gentle moment with His mother, sharing an inside joke that nobody else in that wedding would understand. A singular moment in time where God was explicitly released by Mary to begin His true task. A shared grin, and a shared moment of deep seriousness and even some sadness that only the two of them could share that day. One who could have shared the joke and the seriousness of the moment was not there, so perhaps there was even a little recognition of Joseph’s absence.

    So that’s my take on those two events. Anyone want to comment, let us know what you think of my additions to this tale? 🙂

    Liked by 11 people

      1. Leslyek, that was of course what I came up with a few weeks ago. When I read Charlie’s write-up of the incident, I find myself wanting to use his idea that Jesus was using Mary to make a decision, and He abided by what she decided for him. If He was God and fully aware of such, He could certainly have gone out into the world at that age and done miracles and said all that He later would say, but I like the idea that Mary was a kind of human touchstone for Him, and perhaps that He modified His life not just then but in conjunction with her later in life and perhaps with all the other humans He ended up interacting with, using their free will to let Him know where to go next in a kind of on-the-go byplay with everyone else.

        Liked by 8 people

    1. That is a truly lovely contemplation, Steve. I love what people are doing here. That is a big point of contemplation – not so that we know with certainty, but so that we get out of ourselves and try to live, in a way, what they lived. It broadens us and draws us closer to God – so long as we do not deceive ourselves that we have found the one, final answer.

      I must say, though, Steve, that I LOVE your concept of bookends here.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Great, I’m glad you liked it. It just seems to me that we should apply a lesson most of us have learned about emailing and texting, that words in writing can sound harsh when actually the writer meant something funny or kind. If we approach the Bible as having some of the same problems as we have with understanding email writings, it gives us an opportunity to see the speakers in a less formal or harsh fashion. So Mother and Son can share a private joke and a smile that would not be transmissible in written words.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Hear, hear! Scott Hahn’s study course on “The Bible and the Virgin Mary, Journey through Scripture” gave me a fresh insight to this question and SO much more for me several years ago. Fortunately I am currently able to access the series at Formed and can share the link.

          In this episode (I highly recommend watching the entire series) at about the 16:20 minute marker, the narrator gives an eye opening interpretation of the use of the word “Woman” ~


          Liked by 5 people

        2. Tone is often lost in texts and emails. I agree with your view of humor and intimate understanding between them at Cana. And I don’t think there was much humor after having to return to Jerusalem and finding Him. Based on my mother/son experience, she (Joseph probable saw it differently) went from utter relief, to some anger, to what to say so this doesn’t happen again to complete understanding of Jesus’s attraction to the debates He was having in temple.

          Liked by 4 people

      2. III,
        I understand your PTS of woundedness. I have a fair amount of it myself.
        PTS is a natural reaction to fear, especially fear of death. Even animals use this fight or flight instinct to their benefit. It is a reflexive action to insure survival. But because of the fallen nature of man, it can become phobic and an impediment to growth, both temporal and spiritual.
        Mortal sin is the most complete form of death in existence as it separates us permanently from God if we die in such a state so your fear of error has its merit. But just like any phobia, it can make us inhuman in our ability to act and think rationally. We must also remember to trust since our stuggle towards salvation is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
        Charlie statement of “no certain formula” is accurate. Just look at the lives of the saints. Do you see a “one form fits all” formula in them? St Paul finishes his letters with “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith”. Did he mention a one fit formula for this? If there is a one-fits-all formula why do we work out our salvation in “fear and trembling”?
        Some pious followings are said to be a “sign of predestination” and these are fairly easy signs to recognise/live. Do they say they are the “complete” list? No.
        But no one can be totally sure of being in the state of grace, even St Joan of Arc admitted this mystery when she was asked the question if she believed she was in the state of grace. She simply stated:
        ” If I am, may God keep me there. If I’m not, may God put me there”.
        God judges us according to the higher or lower standard given to us because of a myriad of reasons like degree of holiness, vocation, our social position, intellect, illness, disabilities, etc. And these can grow or shrink if our condition changes. Even if you fit into a category somewhere you as an individual with individual experiences, traumas, intelligence and worldview would not be expected to be just like anybody else.
        We live, grow and die one moment at a time and each phase if this time is different especially if one compare our beginnings to our ending.
        If we choose to live for God, dispite these inevitable changes, He plucks us out of this world when we are ripe for harvest. It could be today, tomorrow or eons from now. Who knows?
        But He expects us to be “fighting the good fight to keep our faith” when He does.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Or it could be everyone was having a good time, the wine ran out and they needed more. Works out well when God is your son and can make some more. 😎

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Seriously, nice contemplation Steve. I think that one event in scripture has more undertones than almost any other part of scripture. For me, it extolled how great an interccessor she is. It was not his time, yet he granted her request. And her response, always pointing to her son. Bookends is apropos.
      Through her hand, many of us are given a second chance. She brought me into the church of which I am eternally grateful.

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    4. I always thought of these 2 events as bookends too Steve. Especially in light of the Jewish idiom that Jesus uses at the wedding; “what have I to do with thee? ” or “what is it between you and me” depending on the translation.
      It’s interesting to see the context where this idiom is used elsewhere in scripture. In Matthew 9:29, the demons use it in addressing Jesus. In Genesis 23:15, Ephron the Hittite addresses Abraham with this idiom. In both cases, it implies that the one saying it is under the power of the one they are addressing, and gives the sense “I may not like or agree with what you are telling me to do, but I’m going to have to do it anyway”
      Now if looking at the wedding of Cana, Jesus uses this same idiom to address His mother. What a testament to the power of Mary’s intercession ! (Scott Hahn talks about this in his audio course on the Gospel of John.)

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Fulton J Sheen’s book Life of Christ was the starting point for my coming back from a dark place in my life. I remember his treatment of the topic for this discussion: https://sacredheartshrine.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Life-of-Christ-Fulton-J.-Sheen.pdf
    Go to pages 395-397. It is from the chapter on the seven words from the cross, the third word.
    It begins: The third message of Our Lord from the Cross contained exactly the same word that was used in addressing His mother at the marriage feast of Cana. When she, for the sake of the embarrassed host, made the simple prayer that the guests had no wine, He answered: “Woman, what is that to Me when My Hour is not yet come?” Our Lord always used the word “Hour” in relation to His Passion and His death. …

    Liked by 7 people

  18. I haven’t read any comments yet. I appreciated this post as I had forced myself to come to some conclusions on the intention of each Rosary mystery; and they are similar!
    For the Annunciation it’s been for obedience — though I wonder about Mary’s knowledge of all the Scriptures and what she made of the suffering Massiah.
    For the Presentation and sword to Mary’s heart, and revelation of many thoughts, the intention has been Purity of Offering.
    For Cana the intention has been for a holy boldness in asking, and obedience.
    For the losing and finding in the Temple it’s for, also, a holy obedience plus resignation to God’s will.

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  19. I believe the finding in the temple was a foreshadowing of the time Jesus lay in the grave and so a balm for the heart of Mary to draw strength from the words of her son. “Mother did you not know I must be about my Father’s business.” I believe the wedding at Cana symbolizes that via Mary’s call on her son the water of our salvation is ever more changed for the better to the wine and celebration of our salvation. Much mystery there to yet be unfolded. I believe that there is no nepotism with Jesus. Mary is not our mother and the Queen of heaven because she was the mother of God but our mother, Queen of heaven and Mother of God because she was the perfect doer of the will of God. Christ was conceived in her heart before being conceived in her flesh. Jesus’ pricks may seem abrupt or cruel but in fact, they are always purposeful, with meaning and fruitfull beyond our understanding. A tool of faith I have to remind myself often is that there is no guile in Jesus. And though the world is cruel. He is not.

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  20. “Jesus replied that His Mother and His brethren were whoever did His will – and did not go out to His family.

    If Mary knew everything whole and entire from the start, this passage is incomprehensible to me.” ( Charlie)
    I figured Jesus was just pointing out the value of obedience ( like Mary’s) to others.

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  21. Thanks, Charlie,
    Hope you are well and that you were able to sing on Christmas.
    Prayers for healing for everyone here. We have been lucky to have had no illness this year. Thanks be to God.
    My goodness, I very much enjoy this discussion! Mary’s obedience and humility have been on my mind lately so this has been food for me. Thanks so much!
    Wishing and praying for a very blessed 2020 for us all. Praying for a definitive win this fall. Lord, hear our prayer!
    And God bless our endeavors as we try to follow his will.
    Happy New Year!
    Katey in OR 🙏🏼✝️🥳

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  22. Having read much on the subject of Mary I have gained some insight into her relationship with God and her Son. Of course, since I have not received this knowledge directly from the Father Himself, what I write here is of my opinion but based on statements of some great saints and mystics well recognised by the Church.
    A main point to consider is Mary was a mystic from conception and was uncommonly made, in flesh and spirit, by direct intervention of the Father to be the worthy mother of His Son, the third person of the Trinity (God from God Light from Light; True God from True God).
    Scripture passages only reveal what is necessary for salvation and to know that Jesus is Lord.(John 20:30-31). But great revelations are held within and many have been revealed through the great doctors of the church, mystics and other saints when our Lord decided that these things were ready to be revealed to the church.
    St Paul’s relationship with Jesus came completely through mystical experiences yet he is considered one of His greatest Apostle. If a sinful man can show so much understanding and wisdom through a mystical encounter with Jesus, how much more then can the Queen of heaven and earth?
    St. Louis de Montfort has spelled out much about the relationship and role of Our Lady. Pope St John Paul ll claims him for his understanding of the role of Mary in the church and says so in his encyclical ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope’. A thorough reading of his book “A True Devotion to Mary” will do wonders to dispel confusion as to why she is considered who she is in the church.
    As far as the “behind the scenes” view of the lives of Jesus and Mary, City of God by Mary of Agreda and the writings of Catherine Emmerich tell their mystical experiences to the “why’s” to many of the questions being discussed here today.
    So, to keep this somewhat short as I could go on and on, Mary had a very deep, constant mystical union with God (Trinity) from the moment of Her conception. This is when God tested and exempted her from original sin. He also asked her if she was willing to obey Him in His desire to save mankind but did not reveal WHAT this was to be.
    Her yes to this was her first fiat.
    Being a high Holy mystic she was aware of and experienced the Triune God, the angels and demons in a truley singular way. After her fiat to Gabriel and just before conceiving Jesus, she saw Him devest Himself of His Deatific throne and “take the form of a slave” (in the created nature of a fetus), He, decending from on high and entering her womb. The mystical union she had experienced with the Trinity was only expanded with her conception of Jesus who she had constant communion with that only ebbed during the three days she lost Him in the temple (as a test for her, He being there to set the stage with the elders who would later become His advocates.)
    Steve’s note about Mary’s fiat at the wedding defines very well that Jesus, being omnipresent and all knowing, used that opportunity to reveal himself through His mother who, even now says to us “Do whatever he tells you”. Jesus further shows this divine nature in His statement about the blind man He cures:
    “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:3).
    So why would God allow a man to become blind just to show us who He is? One answer is His statement to Job when He does not answer Job’s call for justice who seems to have been put to the test for no apparent reason. God rather turns the tables on Job and asks him questions instead and reveals His omnipotence to Job. It may seem John 9:3 answered this question too that this happened to Job so that the works of God might be displayed in him too. And they both have become a teaching moment of the power of God for the entire church for all time.
    As Jesus’ first and greatest apostle, Mary would be the first to reveal Him. And having revealed her in the very beginning as the “Woman”, He links her by name as THE woman so commonly mentioned through Scripture.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Wonderful. This thread seems to be a course on Christology and Mariology. I have been reading since this morning with a few intermittent gaps watching the videos and living. Thank you to all erudite exchanges.

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  23. Thankyou Charlie this piece has answered a lot. I have often wondered why Jesus seemed so abrupt with his Mother. May God bless all on this website and as they are currently saying around here Bonne fin de l’anee. 2020 is going to be a very interesting year !

    Christus Vincit.

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  24. The person who asked the questions that inspired this piece asked great questions. I have wondered about those same issues. I do want to ask just one further…I contemplate this often while praying the fifth Joyful mystery and don’t get to a place of peace with it. But reading it just now I had a moment of clarity (I get few of those) so: is it possible that it isn’t a rebuke to ask ‘How is it you sought me?’ if what Jesus was pointing out that Mary and Joseph should have started at the temple, His Father’s house, to find him. In other words, you won’t find me in the world, but where my Father is? More of an instruction?

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    1. As the only reference to Jesus between the Presentation in the Temple and the Wedding at Cana, this is clearly a very important event in the life of the Holy Family and for us as well. Often the question arises, “what did Jesus know and when did he know it?” To me, the purpose of this encounter is to let us know that Jesus knew who he was at the young age of twelve since he knew he was in his Father’s house, similar to what you are saying Michaela.

      Jesus’ tone has always been perplexing to me as well, but in my heart I cannot believe Jesus would be terse with Mary or Joseph. As we know from using email, it is difficult to read someone’s heart when the words are expressed one-dimensionally and occasionally it seems someone is being rude when that was not their intention at all.

      Perhaps this event is left open to interpretation precisely to begin the process of meditation and contemplation. That is it one of the mysteries of the rosary upon which we are to reflect, that seems correct.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. It never ceases to amaze me how some of us get so tied up in parsing each word of scripture as if it was given to us in those precise words to in our own language. I find it more helpful to look for the more general sense of what the story is telling us with trust that scripture is a sure guide when properly interpreted and understood within the whole context never contradicting the basic tone and words. We sometimes insist on knowing everything when some mystery always remains according to God’s plan in a test of our trust. Some time ago I asked of the Lord, “Why all these tests?” And in answer, within a week, I came upon a quote from St. Augustine saying that we are tested so that we should know ourselves better and become better able to more freely give ourselves in trust to God. I recognized that as the answer and continue to learn what that means in depth.
      May God continue to guide and bless all here. In Christ’s love, jas.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yup. Sometimes, it’s best to leave mysteries alone too and just savor the moment or the beauty. You can admire a beautiful flower from a distance, but if you dissect it, you learn a lot, but it isn’t that beautiful flower any more. I love the mystery of our faith.

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    3. I have also another question: there are many instances in the Gospels when Jesus ‘would withdraw to a lonely place and pray’. Why pray? Isn’t He God? Why pray to the Father? Isn’t He equal to the Father? Then again, His humanity was at play —the Sacred Humility He undertook and the kenosis He wants us to imitate.

      So how does the hypostatic union of His Two Natures work? As a human being, His knowledge was progressive, hence, His need to pray. Like what Charlie said, did He suspend His divine nature during those times?

      But then He walked on water! So He put His humanity aside? Does this mean Jesus ‘switched’ natures as warranted?

      I am interested to know your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Joyinthelord1, What could be a more definitive clue than his water walk that He varied his presence as appropriate to his instant purpose. He surely must have accepted His suffering on the cross despite the pain, for he could have left His body to avoid any discomfort. Even ordinary folks who are sensing or arriving at intolerable pain report going Out of Body to escape it. For some people who face chronic pain, they even report getting skilled at repeatedly going Out of Body for escape. I am here only reporting what I have read, as I have never had an NDE or OBE myself.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Jack, I agree with Charlie. Nice insight and totally logical. It may not be true, but I suspect it fits the facts better than anything else I’ve seen. One time I had my soul drawn into my body for about a minute. It was absolutely overwhelming, to the point where if any more of my soul had come in, my human personality would have popped like a balloon and died. Always working with one’s Spirit deeply inside one’s body would be incredibly difficult for a normal human, not to mention hard on the body. That He varied His Indwelling would not surprise me at all. That He could do it at will also does not surprise me.

          On another point, that experience taught me that Free Will is a gift our souls/spirits give us by staying mostly out of our bodies and leaving our personalities to run things and make our choices. Draw one’s soul far enough into the body, the personality’s free will disappears. No thoughts, no choices, no ability to choose. Only an observer is left.

          We should all view free will as the great gift it is, even when our connection to our soul becomes tenuous enough that we are left feeling forsaken. Contrarily, we should have a real understanding of the truly heinous nature of possession by a demon, which forcefully removes one’s free will and supplants one’s own personality with its own. Frankly, I can’t imagine a worse crime.

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  25. Maria Valtorta is considered a great mystic by many: http://www.bardstown.com/-brchrys/
    Jesus gave her a very detailed account of His life with many comments. For instance, if you go to http://www.dmnx.eu/1.pdf and scroll down to page 129 you will find an explanation of what Jesus wanted to teach His Mother when She and St. Joseph found Him in the Temple, for instance, “You do not ask ‘why’ of Him Who knows “Why” etc.

    Liked by 6 people

  26. Charlie,
    I am honored and grateful for your response to my confusion. As usual, your take is thoughtful and valuable. I am just as impressed with the comments! I have followed you for many years and met you once in Philadelphia and again in Cherry Hill just prior to the 2016 election. I was at the urinal next to you as you proclaimed “I will hold my nose and vote for Donald Trump!” Lots of water over the dam since then! Thanks again and God bless,

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I think president Trump is becoming quite holy… has anybody here ever seen the youtube video about President Trump and the hermit story about President Trump’s name put in the Vatican wall??? Sure I’m not telling this correctly but hopefully you all can Google it and get it

        Liked by 1 person

  27. A well known priest Father William McCarthy, a scriptural scholar, once told me that the words Jesus used at Cana interpreted as “how does this concern me” could also be translated as “what concerns you, concerns me.” I prefer the latter interpretation.

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  28. As I understand it the word for Woman in Aramaic when ADDRESSING SOMEONE DIRECTLY is a formal term of respect meaning Lady or Ma’am. Part of the problem is that we are not getting many of the words used by Jesus in the NT in the original Galilean Aramaic but via a Greek translation further translated into English. The connotation can be blurred in the translation.


    So what did the child Jesus call his mother? A term of endearment rather than a title of respect or honor like Lady or Ma’am. Something like momma, or mommy or mummy. What would it sound like?

    “It is interesting to mention that the very common word for “mother” in Israel- ima (אמא)- is actually Aramaic (and means “the mother”).

    The Hebrew word for mother is “em” (אם), but in daily speech it is almost never used. Only in idioms and more “flowery” speech, perhaps.

    Ima is also used with the diminutive suffix “le”- imale (אמא’לה) as an expression of affection (something like “mommy”).”

    Ima. Imale.

    I called my mother Ma and my father Pa. Not far off. There’s nothing new under the sun.

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  29. A humorous note. My wife had a dream last night that Mary and Joseph were looking for the landlord to pay rent for the use of the stable but after many contacts were having trouble finding him. So keep looking Mary and Joe. God Bless you.

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    1. “I did not get my Christmas cards out. That does not mean I have forgotten them. Rather, my friends will be getting Christmas cards in Ordinary Time. I have resolved to get them done before Lent. ”
      Isn’t it in Poland that Christmas is celebrated though Candlemas Day, (24 days before Lent begins)

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      1. One of my millenials thought: In honor of, (wink wink), TIME magazine’s person of the year: climate activist Greta Thunberg, we should send only electronic Christmas cards this year, thus no trees would be felled for paper cards or stamps. It was summarily vetoed as I knew doubters would be suspicious that I was merely being facetious…..(Although there were lovely religious e-cards to choose from.)

        Liked by 4 people

      2. And here I thought that leaving my christmas tree up (artificial 🙂 ) till Candlemas was thing to do. I just put it up on Christmas Eve. That drives my kids crazy. lol

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  30. ❤️ Please pray for a 51-year-old man named Patrick. He has 2 job interviews deep in the heart….of Montana!!!! Frontier towns in the middle of nowhere…sounds perfect to me!


    It is interesting the variations in translations with these exchanges between Jesus and Mary in the Bible.

    “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
    Luke 2:49 RSV-CE

    Or KJV and a few others: “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?”

    I’ve liked the idea that Jesus had a certain amount of time to accomplish the Father’s will, and that once Jesus began his ministry — whenever he chose to begin — would require so many things to be accomplished prior to his Passion. And once he chose to begin — with a miracle — then the clock started ticking.

    So, Jesus asked “O Woman, what have you to do with me?”
    I believe Mary helped answer that question by telling the servants to do whatever he tells you. Jesus then demonstrated EXACTLY what Mary has to do with him….she is his mother, he loves her immeasurably, and is obedient to her. He asked a question and he immediately gave the answer and example by his action.

    And to the next line: “My hour has not yet come.” We understand this to mean something like “I’m not quite ready yet”….and perhaps that is what Jesus meant. But the “yet” implies something else must occur first. So how about this: “My hour has not yet come”…..until you, Mother, have personally asked me for this favor to help this married couple. And then the clock started ticking.

    Enjoyable to ponder Mary and Jesus in this way….in the spirit of Mother Angelica!!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Didn’t Archbishop Fulton Sheen have an interpretation of the words of Jesus at Cana to be almost like a warning:

      “WHAT TO ME, TO YOU!”

      From Venerable Fulton Sheen:

      ❤️ “In our own language, Our Lord was saying to His Blessed Mother: “My dear Mother, do you realize that you are asking me to proclaim my Divinity-to appear before the world as the Son of God, and to prove my Divinity by my works and my miracles? The moment that I do this, I begin the royal road to the Cross. When I am no longer known among men as the son of the carpenter, but as the Son of God, that will be my first step toward Calvary.”

      “My hour is not yet come; but would you have me anticipate it? Is it your will that I go to the Cross? If I do this, your relationship to me changes. You are now my mother. You are known everywhere in our little village, as the ‘Mother of Jesus.’ But if I appear now as the Saviour of men, and begin the work of Redemption, your role will change too. Once I undertake the salvation of mankind, you will not only be my mother, but you will also be the mother of everyone whom I redeem. I am the Head of humanity; as soon as I save the body of humanity you, who are the mother of the Head, become also the mother of the body. You will then be the universal mother, the new Eve, as I am the new Adam.“

      “To indicate the role that you will play in Redemption, I now bestow upon you that title of universal motherhood; I call you-Woman. It was to you that I referred when I said to Satan that I would put enmity between him and the Woman, between his brood of evil and your seed, Which I am. That great title of Woman I dignify you with now. And I shall dignify you with it again when my hour comes and when I am unfurled upon the Cross, like a wounded eagle.“

      “We are in this work of Redemption together. What is yours is mine. From this hour on, we are not just Mary and Jesus, we are the new Adam and the new Eve, beginning a new humanity, changing the water of sin into the wine of life. Knowing all this, my dear Mother, is it your will that I anticipate the Cross and that I go to Calvary?” Our Blessed Lord was presenting to Mary not merely the choice of asking for a miracle or not; rather He was asking if she would send Him to His death….”

      Liked by 11 people

      1. PD, great find! It’s why in my visualization of Mary and Jesus at the wedding in Cana, I see them smiling rueful smiles at each other. I think they knew what they were doing at the moment of that bookend.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Pat,

      As you remember, you sent me the wonderful book on Prayers for the Dying. A wonderful ancillary to that has been published by Ignatius Press, and the author is Nicholas Diat. It is entitled “A TIme to Die.” It is far and wide the best book on death I have read in years. I cannot say enough about it. For anyone who is in geriatric/elder care, it is a good book to read for insight as to positively approach death.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the tip about the book, JIM. As I’m about to embark on a new career, I continue to contemplate where the Lord ultimately wants me….and that’s in hospice. I will start out in Family medicine to establish the skills, but with the goal of specializing in end-of-life care when the time is right.

        Happy new year to you and your family!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. You, too my friend! And, happy Theophany/Epiphany to you!

          What a wonderful calling, to hospice. Helping prepare souls to meet their loving Father!


  31. Thank you, Charlie. Great explanation. I have also heard that Jesus called Mary woman to connect her with THE woman in the Old Testament that would crush the head of the serpent. I don’t know how true that is, but it makes sense from a theological perspective to me.

    Liked by 5 people

  32. I see in the world today and even in myself a growing impatience with things and with people. We must be aware of this satanic influence in the world as the storm intensifies and resist it, practice more patience, humility and love as we work toward our each individual part in our path toward the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of our Mother Mary. May God continue to guide and bless each and everyone here. jas

    Liked by 7 people

  33. Ugh….the bugs with using WordPress on an iPad are frustrating:

    * The need to periodically wipe out all browsing data just to log in.
    * Then sometimes the need to log in over and over before it “takes”
    * The inability to log in to the app (which I just downloaded) despite staring directly at the username and password on a different device, yet the app does not recognize it. Tried all permutations too.
    * The inability to edit a page on the app. I want to edit the “contacts” page, but then it opens up the home page to edit with no way to get to the contacts page.

    What’s the answer to this and a dozen other bugs? Buy a laptop?

    I just lost 90 minutes, accomplishing nothing. Don’t have time for this. It’s 2020, got things to do!

    Suggestions welcome.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. For every one of those 90 frustrating moments (we all know the feeling!!!) say “Jesus, Mary and
      Joseph, I love you,save souls. (or ask God for a soul to be freed from purgatory for each minute)

      Spoke to a friend recently, we both acknowledged whenever God needs prayers, all he has to do
      is make us loose something or as above. 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

  34. Charlie, could you write on the history of the idea of Mary, Co-Redemptrix. This was commented on recently by Pope Francis. And so it is in the Catholic press again. PF has gotten criticism for his negative comments on it but it is my understanding that no pope has accepted this attempted doctrine. You do not have to print this comment on the website. I just wondered if you would take some time to assess all the turmoil associated with it. It may be that Francis got it correct. It’s the Pachamamma idol that has resurrected the issue. And while I’m here, there is video of a Christmas venue in or near the Vatican with Cardinals in attendance, with the idol being featured from the stage, directed from the stage and a “new” way of crossing ourselves in homage to the idol. Cardinals sitting there, actually the crossing their arms over chest with hands flat on the chest in acceptance of it. I sent it to a priest friend and he had a fit. He said it will never happen in his parish church. Take as much time needed to discern both of these questions. I think I read too much. Sometimes in a storm a safe harbor is ignorance. Thanks.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It is hard to imagine that PF would go along with it when, for the working document of the latest synod, he agreed that all religions are willed by God meaning.  I have to reserve final judgement on this because the final synod document is not yet official.  For now, I am not surprised by his decision.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

      Liked by 2 people

  35. Last night, father said the greatest Christmas gift ever given happened at Calvary: Jesus gave us to His Mother (“Woman, behold, your son!”) and then He gave her to us (“Behold, your mother!”).
    One of the most beautiful chapters in Sheen’s book Life of Christ is chapter 5, The Beginning of “The Hour”
    One part of it: When she took Him away from the temple as a boy of twelve, it was because she sensed that His Hour had not yet come; He obeyed her then and returned to Nazareth with her. Now, He told her that His Hour had not yet come, but she bade Him begin it, and He obeyed. At Cana, she gave Him as a Savior to sinners; on the Cross He gave her as a refuge to sinners. When He suggested that His first miracle would lead unerringly to His Cross and death, and that she would become henceforth a Mother of Sorrows, she turned at once to the wine-steward and said:
    Do whatever He tells you. JOHN 2:5
    What a magnificent valedictory! She never speaks again in Scripture. Seven times she had spoken in the Scriptures, but now that Christ had shown Himself, like the sun in the full brilliance of His Divinity, Our Lady was willingly overshadowed like the moon, as John later on described her. The six waterpots were filled, making about one hundred and twenty gallons, and in the beautiful language of Richard Crashaw, “the unconscious waters saw their God and blushed.” The first miracle was something like creation itself; it was done by the powerof “the Word.” The wine He created was so good that the bridegroom was reproached by the steward with the words:
    Every man at first sets forth the good wine, And when they have drunk freely, Then that which is poorer. But thou hast kept the good wine until now. JOHN 2:10…
    Thus He did at a marriage feast what He would not do in a desert; He worked in the full gaze of men what He had refused to do before Satan. Satan asked Him to turn stones into bread in order that He might become an economic Messias; His mother asked Him to change water into wine that He might become a Savior. Satan tempted Him from death; Mary “tempted” Him to death and Resurrection. Satan tried to lead Him from the Cross; Mary sent Him toward it. Later on, He would take hold of the bread that Satan had said men needed, and the wine that His mother had said the wedding guests needed, and He would change them both into the memorial of His Passion and His death. Then He would ask that men renew that memorial, even “unto the consummation of the world.” The antiphon of His life continues to ring: Everyone else came into the world to live; He came into the world to die.

    Happy feast day, Mary Our Mother.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Joyfulhope20: one of the loveliest explanations of the Marriage Feast of Cana especially the comparison of the Blessed Mother leading Him to the cross and Satan tempting him from His sacrifice and our salvation. I have never thought of it in this way. Astoundingly privileged to be exposed to this insight. She is so totally the Mother of us all as she was His mother.

      Liked by 3 people

  36. Happy New Year.

    Under the heading of things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.

    Donald Trump was impeached in a partisan party line vote on Saturday Dec. 18, 2019. The Leftist mob that executed the hoax Impeachment was giddy in celebration although admonished by Nancy Pelosi dressed in black that it was “a sad and somber day”.

    It appears that the Left was expecting a joyous and celebratory wave of excitement and approval in the country to match the feeling in the Party. Something funny happened on the way to universal condemnation of the man who made us feel sad and uneasy so he should be removed from office.

    The public wasn’t and hasn’t bought the story so assiduously and relentlessly pounded into the minds
    of the people by the Left media propaganda machine. The internal polls must have been awesomely bad for the Marxist Democrat Party leadership. The blowback must have rocked them and shaken them to the core. The country was not and remains stubbornly unamused by the Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Nadler shenanigans.

    The problem the Left seems to always have is that they believe their own talking points. See Hillary Clinton.

    What is the tell indicating that this whole thing has blown up in the Democrat’s face? The bellweather of Marxist thinking in America — The Washington Post.

    The Washington Post went on a glee filled joy ride of chest thumping anticipation of the end of Donald Trump for exactly one week. Impeachment was on the front page, the back page and every page in between of that misbegotten propaganda rag. For one week.

    The funny thing that makes you go hmmmmm is that suddenly, as if on command from on high of the Anti-Trump cabal, The Washington Post has gone dead silent on Impeachment. Nothing. Nada.

    For the last week since the day before Christmas the approach of the WP has been:

    Impeachment? What Impeachment?

    Yup. Those internals must be awesomely shocking.

    Liked by 5 people

  37. Happy New Year, everyone!

    I know Charlie keeps telling us we will see only one step ahead and even that with difficulty. However, I’m hoping that this year will see all of us improving our vision to perfect 20/20! 😀

    Liked by 7 people

  38. The story of turning water into wine also puzzled me. I wondered why after drinking the poor wine, Jesus ordered the water jugs to be filled with good wine. Wasn’t that a temptation to over drink and get drunk? Charlie, can you clear that up for me? Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question Judy.

      Here’s an explanation I got on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

      Weddings in those days were community affairs. Everybody in the village got invited including the bigwigs and near strangers. A big crowd rotating through the party. People traveled from far and wide. The wedding was a least a week long celebration. You had to put your family’s best foot forward or be embarrassed that you couldn’t keep up with the Joneses. A status thing. Much like our version of the wedding celebration is today.

      So Jesus arrives late to the Party. In the middle of the celebration. Three days late. He has been recruiting his Apostles and he brings some of them with him from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is just off his time in the desert baptizing people as he went from near the location of the Dead Sea where John Baptized Him and the subsequent 40 days in the desert. He spent time baptizing up the East Side of the River Jordan all the way up around the Sea of Galilee focusing on John the Baptist’s followers who lived there. A matter of some months.

      A theory that makes sense to me is that Mary had some kind of organizing role in the wedding. She commands the servants. Something like a maitre d’. In the kitchen organizing the food. Indicating perhaps a familial relationship to the wedding participants. Some kind of very close connection. This means HER family and Jesus’ family is about to be humiliated and embarrassed by the failure to provide sufficient provisions for the occasion.

      So Jesus shows up late as the floor is caving in on the reputation of this family and His own family to the extent that Mary is involved in the planning and execution of the whole wedding. Kind of a prefiguring of the death of Lazarus as He deliberately delays his departure from the Sea of Galilee to Bethany a few miles south of Jerusalem. He performs a miracle there in a similar fashion. For the purpose of demonstrating His true nature for those witnessing the event. At least the effect is the same. It is the same for all His miracles.

      The Miracle of Water to Wine is for his new disciples benefit. Leaving them with the question: Who can change water into wine? Supernatural. Only God can do this. Can you imagine those newly minted disciples looking at each other and asking themselves what have we gotten into with this man?

      John 2 11-12

      Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

      * After this, he and his mother, [his] brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there only a few days.

      A complicated situation. His mother was involved. His mother probably gave him the mother death stare. All mothers here know what I am talking about. All mothers have one of those stares. “Do something Jesus and I am not kidding,”

      Mary put the problem on Jesus. Get me some wine. Jesus had two options. He could walk back to the Sea of Galilee with his new disciples and buy wine at the wine merchants which would take a few days walking, shopping, and returning with wine. He had just arrived with his new entourage. Another two trips was not an appealing option. The other option was taking matters into His own hands. For the first but not the last time.

      So Jesus accomplishes two things with this miracle. He saves the reputation of the families of the bride and groom and perhaps his own Mother’s family. Maybe one of the greatest wedding presents of all time. Second, He lifts his skirt a little bit to show his disciples what is underneath. He demonstrates His true nature … who can do this? who can change water into wine? … for the sake of his new (perhaps only days or weeks) disciplines trying to get a handle on who He was.

      …. the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. ….

      A miracle Jesus was late to. By design. Didn’t have anything to do with overindulging wine drinkers. Just guessing but those six water jugs of wine was a sufficiency but not an over supply. Just guessing.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Love your take on it Storm Tracker.
        A couple of other thoughts I have heard through the years about the wedding feast miracle.
        A wedding was his first public miracle to put emphasis on how important marriages are for the faithful. The family of a husband and wife (later children)is the domestic church. Partly why the family is under such attack now.
        Another time the speaker talked about how the water is us and when Jesus gets done with us we are transformed. Jesus didn’t do it halfway either. It was the best wine and filled to the brim. That is what He wants for each of us.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. It can also be a prelude to help us understand and believe when a priest turns the bread and wine into his body and blood.  So packed with many deep insights. —- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Judy, the Wedding at Cana can be seen as the literal story and miracle that it was, but also at another level. The miracle is a type of Jesus’ ministry. There are 6 purification jars, and in the Bible, 6 is regarded as the number of mankind.

      Jesus tells the servants to fill the 6 jars to the brim with water. In my eyes, Judy, this is a type of the water baptism that we (6 = mankind) all must go through to ceremonially be washed clean (they’re purification jars). The jars are filled to the brim with water, right to the very top. Jesus then changes the plain water within the jars into the most excellent wine. Isn’t that just what Jesus does to us? When we accept Him as our Messiah/Saviour/Christ, He fills our spirit with the Holy Spirit, all the way to the very top, overflowing. Ever been the recipient of the Gift of Tongues? At times, people feel like it’s bubbling up within them, and they can’t hold it in anymore. It’s going to overflow.

      apologies for this brief response – I have to go to the Post Office before it closes!

      Liked by 5 people

        1. That link is excellent, Ed. Apparently, jars of exactly this type have been discovered in the area of Cana. The entry concludes with the following;

          ” ….. stone water jars were regularly used in purification rituals during the 1st century. Additionally, many vessels of this type have been discovered in Judea and Galilee, and drinking wine from jars used for ritual purification would have sent a powerful message of spiritual purification to those in attendance at the wedding.”

          Liked by 3 people

        2. and from the above article…”and drinking wine from jars used for ritual purification would have sent a powerful message of spiritual purification to those in attendance at the wedding.”

          Liked by 2 people

  39. Here again, it may be wise not to invent problems not evident in and of themselves that are not part of the picture. I prefer to trust that Jesus knew what He was doing in making available all that wine (I too had made note of the seemingly large quantity of wine provided) and trusted that those to whom the wine is provided will use it wisely and inspire them to do so.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. ‘ A Hidden Life’ movie does justice to a Catholic hero’s ultimate profession of faith. Excerpt from Angelusnews review…

    “Although ostensibly a saint’s narrative, “A Hidden Life” is more truly a love story of married life. Frani’s struggle is every bit as heroic as her husband’s. And although Franz suffers physically after his arrest, he spiritually transcends that suffering relatively quickly while in prison, while Frani must endure the hard labor working the farm with her sister and the insults and humiliations visited upon her by former “friends.
    Terrence Malick is one of the most schooled philosophers among Hollywood’s elite filmmakers. A translator of German philosopher Martin Heidegger, he studied with American philosopher Stanley Cavell at Harvard and British philosopher Gilbert Ryle at Oxford. As a director, he is known for his artistic ambitions, improvisational style, and daring innovations.
    Malick’s technique is to suggest God’s presence through sublime music — Bach, Górecki, Psalms sung by the Boys Choir of Sweden — accompanied by dazzling cinematography capturing the natural beauty of rural Austria”

    Remainder: https://tinyurl.com/sphtre2

    Not in our area yet; however check locales and the trailer here:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have seen it with my wife in St Louis. It is well done and shows a man who refused to compromise with evil. I once read a book about him “In Solitary Witness” and he refused to serve when he had a dream, not fully seen in the movie but hinted at, in which he saw the Nazi regime as a train headed to hell. Are any of our current political parties acting like a train headed for hell?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Charlie, by the grace of our ever loving God we have had some of the best comments ever here.

      Prayers for everyone, everybody everywhere.

      Liked by 4 people

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