Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Do Traditionalist Catholics form "Communities?"

My stomach growled as I darted across the impoverished "North Side" of Tulsa via the interstate.  The double arches caught my eye.  Ten minutes later I was sitting in the corner of McDonald's with my #1 meal--the Big Mac.  After a man asked for directions to the zoo, and the best I could offer were some sketchy directions, he mosied on over to what he called the "Old Timer group" for better help, which caught my attention.

For the next thirty minutes, while I polished off my hamburger and fries, and periodically checked my phone for the latest posts in Suscipe Domine traditional Catholic --I observed this group of a dozen or so older Black men mixed with a few middle aged and young adults.  And I was struck by their group dynamic, something we rarely encounter in "Midtown" or other parts of T-town we frequent.  It was an impromptu gathering of seemingly random Black folk from the north side grabbing a dollar burger or a coffee.  Something you might encounter in a Black barber shop.

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Which got me thinking about typical white society (or the lack thereof), including in your traditional Catholic parishes and chapels, or in the online Trad forums.

Every other newcomer to this group seemed to be unknown, but gravitated together apparently by virtue of being Black and from the Northside.  A bit of a nod was all that was needed to indicate they belonged and could slide their tray of food next to everyone else's.

One man looked about 50.  He was decked out in all black, and a gold chain with a cross.  I couldn't make out what he was saying except in every other statement he used the said "God" or "Jesus."  Others responded shaking their head humming "Uuugh huh.  Uuugh huh."  Like the black soldiers in the movie Glory with Denzel Washington, humming in agreement to the Black spirituals song the night before battle.  Before long the man got a call on his cell, and told the group it was his church staff reminding him of a meeting. He must've been a minister.

As he left, an older man maybe 60 walked in.  He was wearing the stereotypical decked out suit outfit of a 1970s "pimp."  He was fittingly proud of his threads and multiple, jeweled rings on his hands.  He joined the group too without hardly a word.

There was a quiet, seemless quality about the group, a close solidarity based on shared skin color and local ethnicity.  At any moment, most were silent, phlegmatically smiling and listening to one person at a time.  It was communal, respectful, and charitable.

Being a white, European-American traditionalist Catholic, first generation son of a German immigrant and an Irish Catholic American, I almost wanted to envy the spirit of this group.

When we eat at your average urban eatery, the atmosphere is something opposite--individualistic, cool, and lonely.

But is it much different in your average traditional Catholic enclave?  For as much incense and Latin and doctrine that we have, do we really enjoy this kind of communal spirit? For as saccharine as it can be, your urban, post-modern Faith Community Catholic parish, imo, has a One Up on us trads when it comes to fellowship and unity.  I know we sometimes have our coffee and doughnuts and pig roasts, but even in the best of my trad experiences, the atmosphere usually seems somewhat individualistic, cool, and and even a bit lonely at times.  Am I alone in this experience?

If random people can gravitate together in McDonalds, based on the simple metaphysical principle of "Like attracts Like," and the common bond is the simplicity of skin color, then youd think having a shared love of the Tridentine Latin Mass and the richness of our Catholic Faith, would even more strongly unite us.

Which brings me to a more specific local subject for my fellow Okie Trads.  Several years ago the Tulsa Fraternity parish split.  One group bought their own church.  The other placed themselves under the traditional-bent of one diocesan priest who had learned the Latin Mass.   Sadly, this good priest is now recently gone to other assignments, and the future of the traditional Catholic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma seems to be shifting.

Will the diocesan Latin Mass group continue? Or will the two groups once united under the Fraternity one day reunite at the new Fraternity church? Will the Society of St. Pius X community of Tulsa survive?

Time will tell.  But my prayer is we come together in some way. Recognize what unites us.  Grow as a traditional Catholic community.

And as I will hypothesize in my next segment, perhaps if/when/as the Society becomes regularized, that it's Tulsa Masses will become filled to capacity, that the sons of Archbishop Lefebvre (Society + Fraternity folk + all Trads) will come together across our little sector of the Heartland.

"Uuugh huh!  Clap. Clapetee clap.  Uuugh huh!  Clap. Clapetee clap."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Criticizing the Hierarchy--part II

Is it possible to not criticize the hierarchy today if you want to be an orthodox, practicing, traditional Catholic?  That's the million dollar question we'll be chatting tonight about in this latest installment of The Okie Traditionalist!

In 1950 virtually every Catholic just had to listen to their parish priest to know what to believe, how to believe, and what to do as Catholics. There were no camps of traditionalists, conservatives, and progressives in the mainstream. There was no need to follow the latest news coming out of Rome, or to analyze when the pope or an Ecumenical Council is infallible.  You were on solid ground going down the block to your territorial parish.  Is that the case today?  How do you even ask that question and make an evaluation when our forefathers weren't faced with the paradox of the Catholic Church being in a state of crisis, or even that hypothetical.  We are faced with a problem.  If Catholics have generally always been able to uncritically follow the hierarchy, how can we now criticize this same divinely instituted hierarchy as a habit generally applied to virtually all the bishops?

But when what you witness on the altar appears to contradict what you learned in the catechism, how do you carry about the business of dealing with that paradox?  On one hand Catholics always have been submissive to our pastors without reservation.  Not absolutely, but generally.

But then Father is celebrating Mass like a Protestant service.  The whole spirit of the Sunday liturgy is non-sacred. Rubrics are constantly broken.  Objectively irreverence is at virtually every Novus Ordo Mass (I can defend that observation).


Yet today's orthodox and traditional Catholics are forced by circumstances to evaluate these abuses, and almost always these abuses are actively tolerated if not promoted by the pastor.  The observations are accurate if the fundamental truths of Catholicism are really true.

When I became a trad, part of my reference point were the main negative experiences I had had with Catholic modernism, and invariably with a priest whose behavior wounded me.  Not so much in a personal way as in how being subject to their scandalous behavior was like being gaslighted. I think back to my liberal university parish, to toxic experiences I had at certain church events.  And it always came back to the issue of these abuses coming from the priest or bishop themselves.  

Is it even psychologically or logically possible to completely set aside problems with the hierarchy itself, but at the same time zero in on those sacrileges approved by them?  To set aside part of the cause to just look at the effect?

But then doesnt it get old and also toxic to keep beating our drums to the same war song lamenting the errors of the conciliar hierarchy? When you're gathered with fellow trads around an All Saints Day bonfire, and you talk about how you discovered the Latin Mass, is it even possible to leave out our criticisms of the mainstream priests and bishops.  Of the spiritual torture we suffered.  I mean even if you gritted your teeth, shook your head, and said "No I won't say anything bad about the pastors of the Church," the reality is at least part of the reason you attend the ancient and venerable Roman rite is because of the common abuses you experienced in your territorial parish, from the hands of your parish priest annointed to administer the sacred mysteries. 

One paradox with openly and habitually criticizing the hierchical Church is traditionally Catholics have never done that on the level traditionalists and conservatives today.  The truth is that part of our pious priorities is lamenting clerical abuses, scandals, and heresies.  Go to any coffee and doughnuts after Sunday Latin Mass, these conversations are part and parcel of being traditional Catholics--both by the laity and the traditional clergy, who will grab a doughnut and quietly nod their head confirming their criticisms.

The problem is how it affects each of our spiritual lives.  Where do we draw the line?  How much time do we devote to studying the errors of Vatican II or the new Mass, vs trying to attend daily Latin Mass or study our catechism.  When our soul is on the line.

On the other hand, there's the paradox of how to respond to common abuses and a humanistic liturgy conducted by your territorial parish priest.  Do you plug your ears and close your eyes and wish it's just a bad dream?  Do you continue as our forefathers did and obey and follow your pastor? When the government of the Catholic Church is not of this world, but divine, and divinely instituted by Christ, as a supreme religious authority to which we are intimately bound and subject.

It's like an enormous ecclesiastical "Catch 22."

There's an easy, pragmatic solution to this problem that over the years I've seen take different directions within those enclaves of traditionalism I've encountered.  It starts with the obvious conclusion: "I must keep my Faith and use common sense to evaluate what my five senses are telling me.  The errors and problems are at least partly caused by the pastors, so if I am going to evaluate the errors critically, invariably I must evaluate the pastors in charge."  But after that point, trads of all stripes take it to different limits.  Before you know it, you're burnt out on traditionalist polemics, the petty factionalism between trads (and conservatives) especially evident on the internet, the blogosphere, and in the Catholic forums. Before you know it criticizing Pope Francis and the Local Bishop becomes a hobby, almost a form of piety.  I myself have crossed that line in moments of my traditionalist experience.  But when you neglect saying your daily rosary because of obsessions with Pope Francis online, then hasn't criticism of the hierarchy become the devil's playground?

Despite having clarity about what's going on in the Church, and the necessity of reconnecting with Church tradition, after all these years I am still clear as mud what to think of the conciliar hierarchy, and how I should be thinking of it.
How much and how far should I go in criticizing them.

Lets face it.  Most of us trads are not smiling and singing praises about our present Holy Father.  Yet at the same time, if Pope Francis came to your town, to visit your parish, despite all your criticisms, Id wager a month's salary most of you would be happy and honored by his presence.  Eager to genuflect and kiss his ring.  Because he is the Vicar of Christ.  Mysteriously, he is the voice of Christ according to what the Church teaches about his office.

Tell me whatya think in the Comment Box below.  

Its August, so unless you live in Alaska or Greenland, keep cool.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Criticizing the Hierarchy. Including Tulsa Diocese

St. Catherine of Sienna did it.  But Catholic in Brooklyn says we shant. Voris and the Remnant have built a business around it.  And I myself blogged about this once upon a time.  The inverted hiearchy post a year ago.  

With a hierarchy turned upside down, where the pope answers to bishops conferences, bishops to presbyteral councils, parish priests to members of the parish Faith community, and last but not least, actually now in a supreme place of authority, it is children, toddlers, and babies ruling their parents and thus in an inverted pseudo-collegial hierarchy, babies, nay Embryos take the place of Supreme Pontiff.

Is it any wonder then the Church is in crisis?  And it is logically impossible to recognize and actively respond in conscience to said crisis without criticizing the conciliar bishops or pope.

But lets be honest.  The traditional Catholic today commonly lives on three activities that fuel their zeal (a good thing):  the Tridentine Mass, studying high scholastic thought, and focusing the problem on bishops and priests.

I for one am burnt out on the last part.  The trad newbie naturally follows this line of traditionalism.  How can't he?  To cure a disease we need to know the root causes, but also the main vectors by which the virus entered the host.

But sooner or later the evidence is overwhelming and superfluous.  I've read about one too many doings and sayings from the present pontiff.  Its old.  Unless it's new to you or you dont have much firewood to stoke the fire of your inner zeal.

Bishop Konderla of my Local Church shut down two traditional religious communities.  I posted about it last Fall.  This March I apologized for going somewhat too far.  Truth be told it bothered not just my conscience but my psyche.  It was not promoting my much needed inner peace.  Is what it is.

Criticizing the hierarchy is a very delicate matter.  Its not just about distinguishing criticism of word and deed from criticizing the bishop or priest in question.  It requires a reverent reserve and careful choice of words which is very hard to do when you witness sacrilege and heresy coming from those representing Christ.

Its very late here in Oklahoma.  What I'm getting around to saying is, as I start making blog posts more frequent, my clerical criticisms will decidedly shrink, and at least when I ponder the happenings of my own Okie Local Church, my lens will be widening to focus on what I can see that is good, true, and beautiful, yet ever through the eyes of a traditional Catholic, ie committed to Catholic Tradition and defeating Catholic modernism.

Keep cool.  😎

Monday, July 17, 2017

Happiness while in Pain

Its July here in Oklahoma which means humidity and more humidity, and evenings filled with the mass chirping of cicadas and blinking white dots of fire flies giving charm to the night sky.

And so I Joseph Ostermeir, yours truely the Okie Traditionalist, once again sit here in my Okie armchair ruminating and reflecting on this here Valley of Tears.

In a recent past post I listed a summer To-Do Bucket List dependent upon my health recovery, yet the all wise and good Divine Physician has extended my penitential period of rehabilitation.  Weekly physical therapy sessions, daily exercises and a health regimen, occupy my front lobe.  Its one day at a time until we resume our weekend country roadtrips and dip into the cool waters of eastern Oklahoma's finest swimming holes.

And so I turn to the subject of this latest installment of The Okie Traditionalist--happiness while in pain.  Until now I never knew, I really had just an inkling of understanding on the level of the abstract and academic, that it IS metaphysically possible to experience a state of peace and spiritual happiness while enduring constant pain.

Something surreal happens and you're just going to have to take my word for it, like people had to believe Jodie Foster's character in the movie Contact when she returns to Earth from her alien visit.  Imagine being at the bottom of a vertical tunnel of fire burning alive, but making the raw decision to accept it and pray.  Part of your soul ascends out of the pit into the blue sky and gentle breeze.  Mind you, your lower nature is still down there in the fire, but the fire itself propelled your higher nature to ascend and calmly settle at the level of the intellect and will.  

Its a paradoxical experience I'm sure some of you have had the misfortune fortune to have.  This wasn't me; it was Grace and I've tasted it just a few times now.  Folks, this is me bearing witness that divine spiritual sweetness and delights await us.

At any rate, if God lets me choose, I choose recovery and normality asap, to get back my duties of state.  But this thing has changed me.  As I talked about in an earlier post about three choices we can make when confronted by serious calamity, the only choice is to "grab that bull by the horns." Pray for me I dont let go.

Wishing you all a cool summer.  Will post again soon.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thoughts on Life and Purgatory

I was pondering this today trying to finish my book on purgatory while recovering from some recent serious illness.  Purgatory and life here on Earth have metaphysical differences but seem to me to essentially to be the same thing.  In a way this life is purgatory. A constant state of suffering of some kind in reparation for our sins.  Check.  A temporary place.  Check.  In reality nothing compared to heaven.  Check. Where comfort is always secondary to suffering.  Check.  Where suffering prevails over reliefs and comfort. Check.  Yup, they sound to have enough of the same characteristics in common to place them in the same category of "Valley of Tears."

Its nice to think of having a full, happy life here in the natural sense, without much suffering, and to avoid purgatory completely just by being ordinary Catholics saying our prayers and earning indulgences.  I've always thought that way more or less, truth be told.  Deep down I still do. I'm still choosing the easier road to heaven hoping indulgences will make up the difference. 

But from what Ive been reading about purgatory, if we really understood the hard data about the place, we would gladly suffer terrible crosses here.  And apply our indulgences to the Poor Souls themselves out of charity because to be holy--ironically therefore to avoid purgatory--we should want to first relieve the suffering of others before ourselves.

If you want to avoid purgatory by gaining indulgences youd probably need a plenary indulgence right before a holy death considering even the best of us commit venial sins every day.  But we have to be detached from venial sin to gain the full indulgence.  Even if that does not have to be an extraordinary, mystical kind of detachment, it seems to me to be assured you will have it before you die, its important to already have that as a habit.  And to have it as a habit, not to mention to have a basic "holy and happy death," it is very important to live a penitential life beyond that of being an ordinary, devout Catholic.

Consider St. Padre Pio, our own contemporary saint and mystic. From the different Lives of the Saints I've read over the years, arguably he is one of the most holy saints who suffered the most.  The full stigmata, chronic GI pain/vomitting/migraines all his life, persecutions from religious superiors and members of the hierarchy, nightly attacks of body and mind by demons, crippling diffuse arthritis later in life, etc, etc.  None of which he sought out, but simply accepted because he had no other choice.  Yet he waited until just the last moments before his death for his final confession!  He must have known he had at least one venial sin to confess that could merit him some serious purgatory time.  He could read souls after all--why not his own?

Maybe Im taking this too seriously?? But if you study purgatory--shouldn't we all spend some time studying it ?--it is to a certain degree frightening...but ultimately consoling.  You realize that as strange as it may sound to earthly ears, all the countless revelations of the Saints about how long and terrible purgatory is for most who are saved, are really a gift from Gods mercy.  He has revealed them to Catholics--or rather to Catholics today fortunate enough to have stumbled across these private revelations--to actually help us suffer LESS.  And to help many of us practicing Catholics avoid damnation from just one mortal sin, who are just lax enough to think "I'll be fine if at least I make it to purgatory."  

In the most raw pragmatic sense of a believing Catholic human being who naturally wants less pain as long as they exist, it only makes sense to seek out more suffering and penance on this side of the grave.

I hope I'm not sounding or being scrupulous.  But its never resonated with me as much as it is right now deep down that this life IS essentially purgatory and that it is wiser to be more penitential now.  Not that most of us should be Religious or practice severe penances all day long.  But that we should embrace this life for what it really is--a kind of purgatory.  

Thoughts?  Objections? Counter-points?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Living in the Present aint Easy

A year ago a good priest recommended reading Kiersey on understanding my temperament $1.99 here.  If you've ever taken a personality test before, you may know the akward feeling you experience after discovering your psychological profile with unexpected results.  Turns out my profile is "INFJ" which is code for "Idealist-Counselor."  In a nutshell, I am so driven by idealism to better society and others around me, that I am almost exclusively oriented from the past towards the future.  My psychological DNA programs me to think of everything along a timeline of to-do lists and goals.

The INFJ wakes up driven by what will happen later that day.  What transpires over breakfast means very little compared to the grand goals of the day.

Going off to work or school is all about progress in the future.  Projects are about reaching future mile stones more than simply achieving a good in the present tense.  That's how I'm wired anyway.

The wife on the other hand is the complete opposite.  Her habit is not To-do-lists or exacting punctuality, but living in the needs of the present.  This is why she'll never forget to turn off the oven, and I will as my aloof mind ponders the future in reference to the past.

And it is this quality that is presently extremely challenging for me right now as work and educational pursuits were completely haulted recently by my medical deprivation from the normal world of work and leisure.   

The future hangs in a silent state of limbo. My life continuum has been temporarily dislodged from my psyche.  The past seems like a distant past life, with just recent memories of emergency rooms, specialists, and evolving symptoms.  The future looks like a foggy haze of uncertainties mixed with visualizations of renewed goals and hopes.

For an INFJ, living like this feels like being stuck in a limbo-like present surrounded by the once familiar mystical clouds of past and future.  The last time I was in this "place" was probably early childhood before that Ericksonian stage of development kicks in called "industry."

But so be it.  God has His reasons and I'm sure one intention He has is for me to spend more time in the Present, contemplating the Eternal Now, as St. Augustine calls it.

I'm learning lessons that have eluded me.  To not base my happiness on success in this life, or the esteem of others (except in spiritual and moral stsndards).  To no longer expect my life will or must follow my own plans in order for my life to be fulfilled.  To detach from hard to break bad habits that have kept me too many times from living a blameless life.

Today was not a great day, health wise.  I do not know what tomorrow will hold.  Perhaps I will experience more shifts back to restored health.  Perhaps not.  I don't know when I'll be back to my old self and reattached to the linear traintrack of my life moving familiarly forward towards future goals.

I am forced to go above my temperament for a while, to follow the good example of my wife, and many of the contemplative saints, and to just take one day at a time.  But still be goal driven to accomplish the life priorities just for that 24 hour day.

Time for my bath and moonlight rosary.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Daily challenges and blessings

I'll get the challenges over with.  My TMJ syndrome pain flared up unusually high today, I figure meriting some higher glory in heaven God willing I make it through the Pearly gates.  Offered it up for a certain someone out there.

That was actually the one challenge.

The blessings were just that.  Spent hours of quality time with the wife and mom, savored a Braums cheeseburger (eaten in small bites) and had a couple hours of so little pain I actually felt like my normal self and relaxed enough for us to visit my aunt.  Tonight enjoying the A.C.

Thank God for today.  A day closer to restored health in Gods time and our eternal reward.

How was your day?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another thing to add to my summer bucket list: dinner at the Amish

Well I'm waiting on God and Mother Nature to decide when I recover from my health situation.  In the meantime, I ponder the pleasant things we might partake in during this summer season which at present I'm limited to be able to do.  A few posts ago I mentioned going to Blue Hole Springs, Eureka Springs, among other local outings.  And I forgot to mention one of my most favorite daytrips that perhaps the Divine Physician in His good humor will make soon come true.  And that is dinner at a local Amish farm.

You gaze across the table at roast beef and fried chicken, the creamiest mashed potatoes, green beans, German noodles, huge yeast bread rolls, real butter, and a pitcher of ice tea.  Later each table gets their choice of two pies.  We usually pick the coconut cream and pecan pies, plus of course served with coffee.  Mind you the mother of the house woke up at 5am to prepare everything from scratch with the best ingredients.

Its the Earl Miller family about five miles southwest of Chouteau an hour east of Tulsa on 412.  You see how they live and dress.  You'll probably pass by horse and buggy on the way there, and maybe even their K-8 one room school house.

They host several dinners a week.  Bring a church group, or if there's already people there, a family can have their own private table.

Despite their Anabaptist rigorism, their traditional way of life is something I'd bet would intrigue many a traditional Catholic.

Just call the Dutch Pantry restaurant in Chouteau and ask for Earl and Lisa Miller's cell # to make reservations.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Wife

I call her my honey bunny, my best friend, my little tarsier (tiny Filipino monkey).  I gaze at her.  The innocense, beauty, and inner strength that shines through her face.

She is my help mate.  A home body, for her cooking, cleaning, and doing the dishes are relaxing forms of leisure, while for me they're chores.  She's been blessed with an unusual work ethic that seldom complains or shirks duties.

She is no less a saintly example when we pray evening prayers than she is working in the kitchen.  She's usually the first to light the candles at our family altar and ring the bell which says time for the rosary.  How many times I've called out from the other room "I've only got a few minutes left on this YouTube video."

Its just that her strengths compensate well for my weaknesses, and I hope it is also vice versa.

After all we are to be a model of the Holy Family.   The Blessed Virgin Mary is her model as wife; St Joseph is mine as husband.

She might read this post. I hope she does.  Honey Bunny, my best friend, my Tarsier, I thank God for you everday!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Peanut butter and jelly

It was Friday, so being a traditional Catholic I followed the old custom of abstaining from meat today.  Some penance united to the Good Friday cross, we are taught.

So what would it be?  Well I ended up not settling on something all that penitential.  Turns out I made a childhood favorite made popular probably back in the 60s or 70s, and that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with good old fashion white Wonder bread, Peter pan, and Welch's, slid onto a paper plate accompanied by, what else, Frito corn chips.  

I needed to eat after all.  Plus I did abstain from meat.  The ingredients just jumped out at me as an easy meal.  But truth be told there was really no penance in the meal, unless you count the paper plate--which I actually find makes for a more classic, eye-appealing presentation that indirectly somehow affects the palate.

But you've got to love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich...but next time polished off with a glass of ice cold milk.

Can I make you one?

TGIF fellow Catholics and my Okie trad patriots.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ruminating and Reflecting on Peace

Just polished off a plate of comfort food--tender roast beef, creamy mashed potatoes, and green beans with bacon, all smothered with a thick dark gravy.   It was medicinal and just what my body needed right now.

And so I lean back in my Okie armchair, take a good, deep breath, and ruminate and reflect on life.

Last night I wrote about suffering. Tonight I think I'll muse about peace, because I read recently that while the souls in purgatory suffer more than they did in this life, they are somehow actually simultaneously in an actual bona fide state of happiness.

Turns out that "somehow" is that they're in a state of perfect peace.  There is absolutely no disharmony or conflicts among the Holy Souls or with God.

I confess for years I've lacked a level of peace that should be becoming of a practicing Catholic.  I could lay out the series of conflicts and misfortunes years ago that tilted my soul away from the abiding peacefulness and easy-to-forgive attitude God singularly blessed me with in my youth--instead towards an attitude of tension, irritations, and even anger foreign to me in childhood.  But such corruptions of heart I think are common even among some of the most admirable men.

The young man emerges from the garden into the jungle.   The colors of the rainbow and warmth of the Sun give way to grey shadows and cold valleys.  Petty neighborhood childhood disputes are replaced by betrayal, malice, egoism, and cold wars.  Amidst all our shopping malls and ubiquitous sea of restaurants, in the middle of all the pleasure and prosperity is a constant battle between husbands and wives, siblings, friends, and coworkers.

If an abiding, spiritual, Christian peace is a prerequisite for happiness, even in the midst of the worst sufferings, then Id reckon most of us, including yours truely, are not exactly happy.

Can a paraplegic in constant pain be happy?  Can a man wrongly sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn't commit be happy?  Yes and Yes, but humanism cant explain how.

Peace.  Suffering.  Happiness.  These are pieces to the puzzle of life that cant be fit together using human reason.  Philosophy or science cant solve the mystery of the paradox of life.  It takes Revelation from God, i.e. the Catholic Faith.

Part of me thanks God for this Faith; without it Im not sure how I could have so far coped with the jungle of adulthood.  The other part of me is mystified how anyone without Christ, without a spiritual life united to Him, is getting through this valley of years.

I want to be like the souls in purgatory.  Wanting 100% to embrace my crosses to do penance for my sins, but at the same time in a state of peace with God, my neighbor, and myself, and therefore to be truely happy.

Well its time for the evening rosary.  That's where I can work all this out.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Suffering.  A personally relevant subject that has admittingly been compulsively occupying my mind as of late.  I've learned in new ways there are degrees of suffering that, if it weren't for faith in the Revelation of a divine, eternal reward vs. a black, eternal punishment, would lead one to despair.

I mean if a car swerved on the highway and hit someone's car, making it flip, severing their spinal cord, leaving them bedridden, paralyzed, and in constant spastic pain for the test of their life (btw this sort of thing happens all the time), and the victim was a secularist (ie your average American), from tpohe point of view of today's values, what would be the point of their life?

My wife sadly sees these kind of patients often in the hospital.   Miserable and lost.

Faith is a gift, much more than an intellectual achievment, and so few people have this gift.   Without it, people are sitting ducks.  In an instant, an act of nature can turn someone's life upside down.

There is a long member of Suscipe Domine traditional Catholic forum named Chestertonian whose illness and physical suffering makes that of the Elephant man look like a case of the flu.

Ches, as we call him, has mitochondrial disease.  He is bedridden, almost completely paralyzed, can't breath, cant speak, can't eat.  He has all sorts of tormenting kinds of pain.  He's in his 30s, sick like this for several years, and could still live another decade with ever worsening symptoms.  He is constantly in a state of struggle going back and forth between his home, hospital, and nursing home, having surgery after surgery, and procedure after procedure.

And Ches is a devoted traditional Catholic, husband, former teacher, and father of two young boys.

I confess I am too weak to simply accept these stark realities without questioning or rather becoming bewildered about God's ways.

Right now out there is someone who suffers very little.  God gave them excellent health, properity, success, and a rich family and social life.  They may even be close to God yet live a nice, long, healthy life devoid of tragedy.

Then there's someone out there whose one of the most suffering souls on Earth.  Imagine a blind, deaf, mute, retarded, quadriplegic little girl, who has never been taught about God or the hereafter, sold into a dark underworld of prostitution, to be raped over and over, day after day, for decades.  In some sick pagan corner of Asia, I could imagine a victim like this.

Suffering is a mystery.  All we know is suffering is in reparation for our sins, gains us merit for salvation and a higher reward in heaven, and to help convert sinners.

That's it.  That's all we know.  We suffer.  And by Gods grace we are saved.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Bucket List

As some of ya'll may know, I've been going through a health challenge.   Been doing all I need to do to overcome it, praying I'm back to normal life soon, as in by this summer which we're about to go into.   As I wrote about before, I'm keeping up my new garden and daily exercise.

God willing here's some things I'd like to do this summer, a Summer Bucket List.

1.  Outing to Blue Hole Springs near Salina, OK, a privately owned Eden-like oasis park built up around a refreshingly cold Spring.   Its a must go for Okies, but a hidden gem.  I've got the low down on the details, but they are on FB.

2.  Trip to Eureka Springs, AR, another surreal spot of heaven, imo, i.e. if you can ignore certain local politics if you know what I mean.  European village-like arts and crafts, bed and breakast getaway nestled in the Ozarkmountains.  Serene, relaxing, otherwordly.

3. Beach picnics.   With Oklahoma's endless lake shores--we've got a lot--there's plenty of little beaches, some very nice out of the way hidden ones, that would make you think you weren't in Oklahoma.   A little hibachi grill to grill tilapia and salted sweet potatoes, a few towels, and some sunscreen.  Nothing like it.

4.  Set up a bird bath.  To compliment my bird feeder I made last summer.  By the time our flowers bloom and garden starts producing, it will be invigorating to see the lawn come to life.

5.  Bbq on the front porch.  Admiring the garden--God willing it is bountiful--while sipping diet Coke with Rum.  Maybe some sparklers too.

6.  Adoration chapel visits. I should already make more, but a renewed health would compel me to give thanks after thanks to the good Lord.

7. Participate in some local trad events.  You can count on them over at St Peter and Paul parish or Most Precious Blood. Hope to visit with old friends again.

8.  Hiking in Arkansas.  Maybe Devils Den day hike.   Their camp restaurant makes the best butterscotch pie.

9.  Picnic at Greenleaf lake. Then visit Batfish submarine museum on the way home.   My present nerves would prevent me squeezing through the submarine, but by then, God willing, I'm comfortable again in situations like that.

10.  More summer blogging.   To refocus daily health challenges back to my old daily past times.   Would be nice to chime in on President Trump and Church events.

Dear Readers, please keep me in your daily prayers I recover my health and can take on some of this Summer Bucket List.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

My Dog Today

The morning sun was streaming through the blinds.  I was curled up under the comforter, hugging my pillow.  The wife up earlier than me, as she usually is, opened the bedroom door and in skipped Peanut, my canine "man's best friend."  She leaped across the room and jumped on the bed.  One of my doggie commands I've managed to master with her is the command "Curl!" which means to curl up next to me in bed, which she did.  I tucked her under the covers, and she nestled next to me, her head on the pillow, staring up at the ceiling.

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I was in the middle of eating my sunny side up eggs, mackerel fish, and oatmeal breakfast (cue my recent blog post about renewing my lower carb diet: here), when I heard a high pitched yelp from the living room. It wasn't our mild mannered, quiet Japanese Spitz named Snowy.  Of course it was Peanut, saying "Hey, when are we going for a walk?"

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Morning walks have become a habit the last month or two, and that usually involves Peanut, and sometimes Snowy if I'm up to two dogs pulling me like a human dog sled through the neighborhood.  "Bobo, Peanut, Bobo!" I called out.  That's another command for the dogs, but one that doesn't always work, which means to me, and hopefully by now the dogs, "No bark! No bark!"

This morning both Peanut and Snowy enjoyed the walk.  It did help the wife joined in, with Snowy on her leash.  By the way, if you're a regular reader and forgot, Peanut is a Dachshund.

If you know Dachshunds, they have a particular set of behaviors specific to this species.  They love to dig their noses in the dirt, they can use said long nose to unfold any blanket and wrap it around themselves.  And they are hyper.  Peanut is hyper, especially when it comes to any opportunity to go outside.

So it was this evening going out to water the garden.  Yes, still keeping up my renewed hobby I talked about here.   A little, tolerable bark reminded me to take you-know-who outside.  One thing I have to always watch our for about Peanut, when we go outside, is her untethered compulsion to squeeze through the side gate of our front fence and head towards the nearest stray cat or dog (which we get a few of on our street).

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Peanut's been doing this.  

Right now as I write this, its just past 9pm, and I'm sitting in my proverbial Okie Armchair, glancing to my right across the room.  Peanut is curled up under her blue blanket, with her head set on part of the blanket puffed up like a pillow.  She looks tired, a good tired, because today she spent a lot of time outside!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sitting on My Perch: a Personal Reflection

Recently, as I looked out across the landscape of my little life here in Oklahoma, across this state and diocese, across the historical timeline of my own life and the last several decades, across the crisis in the Church that deepens every day even in our own backyard, I actually became very acutely aware of something.  Something I've noticed before, but not given much attention.

That something is that when I think and talk and write about life and society and church, in my mind's eye I am often "sitting on my perch" looking down on it all.

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What do I mean?  Imagine sitting on a branch in a tree looking down on people.  You have a distant, imperial vantage point in your mind to look down on everything and make judgments and prognostications.

For example, imagine this historical timeline:

1900------------1950----Vatican II, etc-------2017

I know every mind is unique and has its own ways of imagining and conceptualizing.  I often literally imagine this timeline in my mind.  And it is like I am perched up above it looking down from a distance, judging and prognosticating.  

We do have to step back and look over things objectively. When monks take their afternoon walk up the hill to look down on their monastic grounds, it affords them a brief retreat to look at their life from a different vantage point, the advantage being a moment of calm recollection.

But folks, I must confess I too often perch up high looking down.  There's wisdom to be gained, but its also dangerous.

We see so little from even the highest spots, with the highest IQs, and with the most information.  We see so little.  But we (I) pretend to see so much.

There's an awesome power and talent in being able to rise above events and geography and look out across it all with logic and vision.  Perhaps traditional Catholics, especially those who read and think a lot, as it seems we often do, have that ability, but its a powerful, potentially harmful gift, if we are not humble in our intellect.  And the older and more aged I get, the more I realize I need to spend more time on the ground.

Am I making sense?  What are your thoughts?